Number 500 at Taf Fechan

Calliphora vomitoria at Taf Fechan

Calliphora vomitoria at Taf Fechan

The day was beginning to look rather Spartan but having reached 499 the previous day with a Cream-spotted Ladybird I was as determined as Leonidas…. Ok so trying to unobtrusively crowbar references to Thermopylae (I really wanted to use the word phalanx) into an article fundamentally about a “Bluebottle” is more difficult than it seems and should probably go under the heading “It seemed like a good idea at the time” plus the fact I’ve just realised it was “The 300” not “The 500” (although most historians put the actual number at around 1400 which only goes to prove the saying “never let the truth get in the way of a good story” or that the Spartans had a really good communications officer) so let’s forget this ever happened and move on, anyway back to the point (breathe Graham, breathe – the editor).

Where was I? Ah yes, Number 500.

Despite some heroically intensive bimbling it was actually looking rather Spartan with not much about until a flash of blue caught my eye, this flash of blue landed on a nearby Birch leaf.

This flash of blue was quite happy to stay on the nearby birch leaf (which is quite a rare occurrence with flashes of blue on birch leaves). I admit I had to squash the thought “Oh it’s only a Bluebottle” and I nearly moved on but as this particular flash of blue was happy to sit as I poked my camera in its face I took its picture (side view, top view and front view).

Despite being common there are only 251 records of Calliphora vomitoria (which is what it turned out to be) across Wales and if I’m honest despite this low number I was hoping for a more glamorous species to sit as Number 500 on my list but there you are.

I subsequently found out that Calliphora vomitoria is one of several flies that go under the name “Bluebottle” and as they all have the same vitally important though, let’s face it, rather unpalatable life habit; my mind just refuses to consider what that black fluid its blowing bubbles with actually is.

So ladies and gentlemen Number 500 on my Taf Fechan species list, the Bluebottle!

Graham Watkeys – Taf Fechan Warden