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Bee Flies

Yesterday morning I was on my regular foray through the Wilderness looking for fungi and slime moulds, when I noticed several largish flies buzzing around in a sunny clearing between the trees.  Occasionally they would settle on a dead leaf on the ground to sun themselves.  After photographing static fungi through the winter, I had to relearn the technique for photographing insects: take off my white sun-hat to make myself less conspicuous, start taking photos from long-range, and slowly creep closer taking photos all the time.

These are bee flies, Bombylius major (Diptera: Bombyliidae).  I remember them from last spring.  With their long proboscises they look like little humming birds.

Both of the flies shown here are male: their eyes meet on the tops of their heads.  In females the eyes are well separated.

Photos taken in the Wilderness, Whiteknights Park, Reading University grounds, Reading, UK, on 2010-04-09.

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