Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh, yes. I believe in magic...

Because I've seen faeries dancing in the woods:

(The video doesn't do them justice. What looks like snow or petals falling is actually dozens of little wing├ęd things dancing up and down...)

The mayflies (family Emphemeroptera, how wonderful--and apt!--a name is that?)
were out in Belleplain State Forest on Tuesday, March 20th...

Magic will happen when you least expect it. I wasn't sure what I would find when I chose to walk down that side road, but it certainly wasn't clouds of dancing mayflies that would land on my hand...

(Ooh, and they were doing more than just dancing!)

Come away, O human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faerie, hand in hand…*


And for those of you who must have a name: these mayflies are likely Black Quill, aka Early Brown Spinner (Leptophlebia cupida). Okay, so those common names are actually rather nifty... Many thanks to my new favorite bug man (he knows mayflies! and moths!), Stephen over at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philly. And I knew the fly-fishing world would have more info on mayflies than most of the rest of us: a "spinner" is the mature, final-stage adult. A "dun" is the mayfly stage just before that, the one that comes between the nymph that lives in the stream and the spinner that dances before it dies.