The Greenbottle Fly2 minute read

A Greenbottle Fly

A greenbottle fly features in part four of the Rosthwaite to Dock Tarn nature writing series. As per usual, this piece can be read as a stand-alone piece; however, you may first wish to read the earlier parts (oldest to most recent): The Clapping Wood Pigeon, The Fiery Robin, and A Peacock Butterfly.

The Greenbottle Fly

Just seconds pass by before something of interest catches my eye. To my right is a drystone wall, a drystone wall thrummed with moss and over which fruit-laden blackberry shoots creep from the other side. Basking in the sunshine atop a warmed capstone on the wall is a winged insect, its bulbous, little body comparable with an emerald green, cut and polished, semi-precious gemstone gifted with the shininess of a piece of highly-burnished metal.

The jewel of an insect is itself bejewelled with a pair of red garnet cabochon studs—its opulent windows into this wonderful world—and even the translucent wings, together forming a V-shape, are laced with slivers of attractive opalescence.

Every once in a while the greenbottle fly disappears into the air as if having teleported somewhere, only to reappear a few seconds later at the exact same spot from where it left.

Emanating suddenly from a young tree, just a few metres away on the other side of the wall, are the melancholic murmurs of a juvenile blackcap. The whimpering tone of the bird’s short, feeble cries, along with its markedly tentative movements, express worry, unease and a lack of confidence in this big wide world beyond the bounds of the nest.

I turn away from the slightly-smaller-than-a-sparrow-sized warbler for two seconds, and when I look back I see that the youngster is being well looked after by two devoted parents. All three birds are grey, but the wings, mantle and tail are significantly darker than the rest of the body, with the exception of the cap i.e. the forehead and crown, which on the adult male is as black as can be, and on the adult female and juvenile, a chestnut brown.

The adults hang around just for a jiffy, just enough time to administer a feed; then, one following the other, they depart, undulating down the valley to a distant tree, to where, unfortunately, I cannot see.

I continue along the footpath, passing blackthorn shrubs that bear small, spherical, unripe sloes, eucalyptus green but for the odd anomaly that has blued up so soon.

Foxglove spears have now lost their glamour, their petals rendered useless since the completion of pollination. Columns of cone-shaped seed capsules only remain, partially wrapped in wrinkled calyxes.

Eventually, I arrive at a divide in the path where I take the left to begin the ascent of the forested slopes of Great Crag.