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Dark Giant Horsefly


I shared a bench overlooking Hay Meadow with the Dark Giant Horsefly on Monday. These flies are huge (25mm long) and apparently the heaviest flies in Europe. This one is female (her eyes don’t meet unlike the males) – not good news as she is the one that feeds on blood, though only just before she lays eggs fortunately; otherwise she feeds on nectar like the males.  Thankfully she prefers the blood of cattle and ponies – watch out White Parks!  Humans are sometimes bitten, though, and can have a severe reaction).  Dark Giant Horseflies are not that common, mainly occurring in boggy areas in the north and west of Britain, so right at home in Fairfield Reserve.  They fly in July and August.

Thistles and Insects

The large patches of thistles around Pony Wood were proving a magnet for insects today. There were at least four species of bumblebee feeding from them, along with numerous hoverflies and some meadow brown butterflies.

There were also good numbers of swallows feeding over Flora Field.

Steve Bullen



A stoat shot across the path in front of me adjacent to School Pond, about 5pm on 10th June.

I also saw a meadow brown or small heath (it looked a bit small for a meadow brown) on the hedgerow alongside the path in between Little Wood and the canal, Sun 14th June, about 10.30am.  I’d be grateful to anyone who can confirm what it was.

butterfly 10 06 20 crop