10 April 2017  Bee-fly

A decade-plus back, when I was still getting to grips with things that didn't have feathers, I was astonished to come across a bee with a nose like Pinocchio. Looking at it closely, however, I determined that it was more like a fly than a bee. At which point, realisation dawned. It was a bee-fly, and the 'nose' was its absurdly long, erectile proboscis. Every British spring since, I have yearned for the year's first bee-fly encounter. For me, it tells tales as enchanting as the first returning Swallow. I saw my first in 2017 a couple of weeks ago, and have spent quite a few moments since admiring them. One chilly morning this week, however, I chanced upon one that was motionless and, even better, that allowed close approach. This Dark-edged Bee-fly is an absolute cracker. 

James Lowen