Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Crane flies have been flying all over the estate the past week. This one (Tiger crane fly, Nephrotoma wulpiana) caught the light of the rising sun on its wings, and so caught my eye as I showed up for work early. These are beautiful ethereal creatures with gangly, often tangled legs and sadly often mistaken for mosquitoes. Crane flies apparently become fish food when they are flying in an environment where there are fish, and fly tiers do their best to imitate the long-limbed look of the fly to catch trout. Never much of a success at fishing, I do like the idea of it. Fisherpeople study the fish, the terrain. They are cognizant of the times of day, the wind, the seasons, the proper bait to use. Our crane flies just happened to be flying as the early opener in the Eastern Sierra got under way. I know this because I love the Eastern Sierra and keep track of its doings.
If I had a trout stream running through my yard, well that would be something for me and something else again for the crane flies. Instead I have black phoebes. These insectivorous birds watch from a phone wire or a branch overhead, and when they see something good like a crane fly rise up from the vegetation, they dip down into the stream of the garden to pick off their prey and swing back to the perch as neat as a trout surfacing in a stream to take a fly.