This was a monstrous fly hawking over the hide pond this afternoon and I actually thought it was a short-bodied dragonfly, such was its size. I tried to get one of my body parts in the photo to give you more of an idea of its size, but it flew. For those of us that are a magnet to any biting insect, this fly is the stuff of nightmares – it’s the Large Marsh Horsefly (Tabanus autumnalis) which grows to 22mm long and its body mass had to have been eight or more times that of a normal horsefly. Much as I try to celebrate any British wildlife, its hard to have warm feelings about this one.
In actual fact, this fly has a big brother, Tabanus bovinus, the Pale Giant Horsefly, which grows up to 30mm and is not deterred by any insect repellant and thankfully has never been seen here.
On a happier subject, we are having some fun with the badgers. Last autumn, we cleared out the pond and stacked the pulled reeds close to the pond. The badgers dragged these reeds in as bedding and since then, whenever we put anything on that pile, it disappears as bedding within a day.
Like Poldark but with our shirts on, we scythed some long grasses yesterday and put them on the pile:
Several loads were dragged back to the sett overnight, which involves getting it all under the fence. The badger comes through backwards and then pulls the grass after her.
There has been no rain here in June and everything is parched. The water levels in the ponds are so low that we couldn’t actually see any water in the wild pond through the vegetation. A trial pulling of a reed, showed that it came up really clean, without mud and hidden living things, and this encouraged us to clear some channels through:
That felt much better. Once those reeds have dried, they can go on the badger bedding pile and provide us with more entertainment.