Daddy Long-legs

Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
Tuesday 3rd 1999

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amphibious bistort, land version AMPHIBIOUS BISTORT, which was flowering in the canal about a month ago, is now in flower amongst the rough grass on the bank nearby. It looks very much like its relation, Redshank a weed of cultivated ground, but redshank has a dark 'thumb-print' on each leaf.

A Lapwing flies over the canal from marsh to pasture. A Common Tern is heading the other way, down the valley following the canal, probably returning to its nest at Pugneys nature reserve a couple of miles away.

garlic and spring onions A narrowboat moored by the pub has tubs of marigolds on its roof and a large box, planted with Garlic with a couple of rows spring onions around them.

'We grow enough to keep us supplied during the winter,' explains the woman of the boat.

halterescrane fly After dark, a Crane Fly flies in, in a rather uncontrolled fashion, attracted to the light. This is a true fly, along with hoverflies, clegs, mosquitoes and house-flies, one of the Diptera, a name that means two-winged. The second pair of wings has become modified into a pair of drum-stick shaped organs known as halteres. These seem to assist with balance in flight. They are plain to see in the Crane Fly.

As children we called these Daddy-Long-legs, a name often given to Harvestman 'spiders'.

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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