The cold weather has meant I have not made much effort to look for flies, rather I have been trying to catch up with identifying material I took at the Dipterists Forum's Summer field meeting at Speyside. I have found several species of hoverfly that I have rarely, if ever seen before. I have a lot material to work through before the season starts.
I have only recorded two species of fly in Northants so far this year. On the last day of January, beating an evergreen bush at Castle Ashby yielded the fungus gnat Mycetophila ocellus.
Today I visited Pitsford Reservoir and spent some time looking at dead wood and searching leaf litter. The best thing I found were 3 woodcock but I did find one fly. It was in leaf litter very close to a pile of deer droppings. Appropriately enough it turned out to be a lesser dung fly, Sphaeroceridae, a female Crumomyia fimentaria. This is a widespread species but, as few people record them, it is a new record for the reserve.
John O'Sullivan, the Bedfordshire recorder for hoverflies tells me that he has had a few records of the marmalade hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and the drone fly Eristalis tenax. So there are hoverflies about still.