Friday 22 April 2011

Happy Earth Day

A walk through the woods this week turned up something interesting. Well more than one something actually.

First there were the flies. Blinking great black things with their legs dangling down. They look rather creepy as they dance about in front of your face. We get them over on the fields by the hedgerows, but not in such huge numbers as I saw them in the woods.

Turns out they are called St Mark’s flies as they often appear around St Mark’s Day (25th April). They’re not creepy at all and like everything in this world (except perhaps humans) they have an important role to play.

Apparently they do all this dancing round with their dangly legs whilst looking for females. They land on anything that happens to be in their way and I suppose we were – I mean the last thing you want when you’re out on the pull is a load of humans getting in the way, but if they are and you fancy resting your wings – well why not.

Their larvae feed on leaf mould and the flies are thought to be important for pollinating trees. I bet you always wanted to know that didn’t you?

The woods used to be full of primroses and bluebells years ago before people started digging them up and taking them home. Now there are just a few here and there.

A week or so ago the wood was carpeted with white, but now only a few wood anemones remain.

We saw a tiny bird disappear into a hole at the bottom of a tree and waited for it to emerge. It was a coal tit. I didn’t know until I looked them up when I got home that they prefer to nest close to the ground. Sounds a bit risky to me but I daresay they know what they’re doing.

We walked for miles then the dandelion clock said it was time for lunch so we came home.

I love our planet don’t you? Quite right it should have its own day.


  1. I'm with the coal tit, Teresa. I like to nest close to the ground, too (always hated heights). Lovely post and lovely pics. Have a great Easter!

  2. Happy Earth Day to you too, Teresa. Have a nice Easter.

  3. Good point, Frances - and the chicks wont get seasick when the tree is swaying in the wind either! Thank you - and I hope you have a lovely Easter.

    Thanks Keith, you have a nice Easter too :-)

  4. Sounds like it was a wonderful walk through some beautiful woods, Teresa. Happy Easter!

    Julie xx

  5. Thank you, Julie - Happy Easter to you too.
    I've tried to visit your blog on several occasions, but my computer seizes up every time - very frustrating, but hope when I finally get a new one sorted I'll be able to visit you again :-)

  6. Happy Earth Day, Teresa.

    Lovely photographs - particularly the one with the children. But I don't like the sound of those flies (even if they are useful).


  7. You're so right. Everything in nature has a purpose - even those pesky things we're not so keen on!

  8. Lovely photos Teresa,
    Have a lovely Easter. The woods are beautiful at this time of the year.

  9. Thanks for the info on the flies. On our walk we interrupted an orgy of them but didn't realise at the time just what we were interrupting. Oops!

  10. What would we do without our walks in the country to ground us? No matter what kind of day we're having it's always there and always beautiful in a different way (even if that does involve flies - yuk!).
    Have a Happy Easter, Teresa and lots more lovely walks! x

  11. Greetings Teresa,
    Absolutely. Our legacy should be that we make this a cleaner, greener, more peaceful world for our children and their children and the precious animals and vegetation on our fragile planet.
    May you have a peaceful and positive Easter.
    With respect and kindness, Gary.

  12. Thanks for the lovely post and photos, Teresa. Not so keen on those flies, though, yet they too have their important place in the world. Have a Happy Easter!

  13. Thanks Suzanne – I love that one too. It looks like the girls are plotting something, but actually they were just about to have a hug!

    I still struggle to find a purpose for insects that bite and sting, Helen, but I daresay there is something useful they do.

    This is definitely my favourite time of year, Suzy. Everywhere is so green and fresh!

    An Orgy of Flies – I wish I’d thought of that, Lynne! Describes it perfectly!

    Thank you, Lydia – how right you are about it grounding us.

    Beautifully put, Gary – thank you. I hope your Easter is peaceful and positive too.

    Thanks, Rosemary. I’ve always felt with those flies that they gather round my head and follow me round in a little cloud – like Pig-Pen from Snoopy. Maybe they do!

    Hope you all have a lovely Easter xx

  14. I remember lovely walks with my Dad and our dog through Roundhay Park in Leeds. I wish I'd taken more notice of his nature study lessons! Remind me what good stingy wasps and nasty filthy flies do?! Happy Easter to everyone x

  15. Ummm,well Sue the flies - these flies anyway - pollinate trees and the wasps, well um... I'm sure someone said they did something useful, but I can't remember what it was!