Laura (tavella) wrote,

Happy 90th birthday to one of my favorite naturalists

So at certain times of the year,  a small cloud of tiny flies hangs out on my porch in front of the door. I hadn't spared them much thought before, except to wonder why they were there when there wasn't any food for them.  But today I sat and properly watched them while cooling off after transplanting an aloe vera.  And I noticed something familiar about their patterns: hanging out nearly still in midair, then sudden lightning fast moves at each other.  I had seen something just like that... oh! I said to myself, David Attenborough shooting peas at a hoverfly.  But wasn't he in some jungle somewhere?  Are there hoverflies in San Jose?

I checked my phone, and indeed, there are a vast variety of species here.  So through Sir David, I have learned another small thing about the world around me: that during the summer, my porch is a display stage for mating hoverflies. I'm not entirely sure why they love my porch so much; it's true that at this time of day, the sunlight pours in and shows them off well, but there must be some other thing that makes them favor it. Perhaps the cream walls make their  performance show up particularly well to the female hoverflies?  Or maybe the walls and roof mean they have a little protection from the insect-hunting birds.

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