Tuesday, January 17, 2012


According to Wikipedia: a crane fly is an insect in the family Tipulidae. Adults are very slender, long-legged flies that may vary in length from 2–60 millimetres (0.079–2.4 in) though tropical species may exceed to 100 millimetres or 3.9 inches.

In appearance crane flies seem long and gangly, with very long legs, and a long slender abdomen. The wings are often held out when at rest, making the large halteres easily visible. Unlike most flies, crane flies are weak and poor fliers with a tendency to "wobble" in unpredictable patterns during flight, and they can be caught without much effort.

Adult crane flies feed on nectar or they do not feed at all. Once they become adults, most crane fly species exist as adults only to mate and die.

I was very surprised to find this dead crane fly or, more commonly called, mosquito hawk, next to my keyboard this morning.

The mosquito hawk has always been my personal harbinger of spring but I believe this little guy has been misled as it is still January albeit a very temperate January. Currently it is mid-70s. It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow but the next several days also in the mid-70s.

Although we have had a few nights down to 30˚ and several weeks of highs in the 50s, we are having a very temperate winter so far and while I do have on blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt, I am also sitting here barefoot with the door open.

We had been having mild winters before the last bittercold two reminded us what winter was about with snow and ice and wind and temps hovering in the 20s for weeks and coming too soon and reluctant to leave. But we had been spoiled. Tropical plants got put in the ground and never died back.

Our winters usually consisted of 4 - 6 weeks of continuously cold weather, a couple of three freezes that never lasted more than a night or two preceded by and followed by several weeks of changeable temps and then spring.

It wasn't always this way. I remember having a winter coat as a kid, a heavy coat. And back before we could wear pants to school (not til I was out of school), I was cold all the time. I think I've still got a winter coat tucked back in the back of the closet somewhere but I can't remember when it was I last wore it. Silk long johns, a jacket, and a hat do me fine mostly. Or I just don't go out.

But back to the mosquito hawk and spring. I hope that this little guy was just confused. I haven't seen any others and I don't really want it to be spring yet even if it means several weeks of consistently cold weather ahead. Not in January, too soon in January. Or even February, unless it's late February. March is good though. It can be spring in March.

Early March.

In the meantime this has not been a bad pattern.

A few days of cold, a few days of warm.


  1. As much as I love spring, I must agree with you. Old Man Winter needs his time, too. Beauty is all about balance.

  2. i just get the feeling we're going to be smacked with an icy and snow storm in march this year. we're just all messed up!

  3. We hit 60 degrees today. It was wonderful, but I sure do wish it would snow already. We haven't had a hint of snow yet and it is bumming me out. I LOVE the snow.

  4. The weather has been crazy here, too. It was up to 60 F. here today, though Brother Wind is supposed to blow in tonight.


  5. The deep freeze for us came in this after noon and will drop throughout the night and day tomorrow. Back in the fifties Friday.

    We always called these Gal Nippers. It was a good day, I learned something new.

  6. We're having the same weather pattern here, very warm, with a few cold days thrown in the mix. And other than a dusting of snow last night, no other flakes since our odd October storm.

    But a local meteorologist put the nice warm winter all in perspective for us. He warned, Don't worry. We'll pay for this sooner or later.

  7. It's been mostly mild up here - some really cold days, some surprisingly warm days, but mostly mild. Kind of freaky, actually :)

  8. It was 70 yesterday. Then 28 today. My bulbs have tried to pop up outside and my peach tree had buds. Crazy.

  9. Up here where life is a little too simple at times, we call them mosquito eaters. I was in California this time last year but I remember right before I moved here in early February there was a terrible ice storm and then snow which caused people to be shut in. This year, I am hoping we escape that of course.

  10. I didn't know that this insect was a symbol of spring, but now I do. I'll look for them. Last year I fed a recently-dead one to a starving Venus flytrap. I swear that plant was grateful.

    The weather here in OR vacillates between mild and kind of cold. At the moment it is sleeting. 36 degrees. We've lived here since 1998 and I still haven't figured out the weather; of course climate change hasn't helped.

  11. Your crane fly looks enough like a Canadian soldier that I took a look at Wickipedia. No relation; the soldiers lay eggs in fresh water lakes. This weather is so strange--the rest of winter will be interesting.

  12. It's been a warm winter here too. Last year we and two or three snows, but not this year.
    We did have a few flurries last week, but not much.
    The thing that's bad here is when it gets unseasonable warm, we usually get violent weather, which is not fun.
    ....but I do love spring.

  13. As far as I am concerned, we have had our winter here. Snow and so cold! Time for spring now!! Ha

  14. It was 2 degrees when I left work last night and lots of snow here.

  15. So bloody cold here it hurts - the dog is unhappy and growly- Baby jay huddles next to the window and the squirrels run so fast they barely touch the frozen harsh ground- at least everyone is still alive and eating as many nuts and seeds as i can supply.

  16. I would like some more winter as well, I enjoy the cold

    I was in middle school and one of the first girls to wear pants, I was sent to the dean's office but I would come back the next day with pants on again
    they insisted I wear a skirt so I wore a skirt over pants
    we were the beginning :)
    I was proud

  17. I've got spring flowers like aconites showing colour and the hellebores are out. Something's badly wrong here.

  18. On the other hand, the coots just arrived in the area about two weeks ago. They're late, and I haven't heard any geese here at all. Maybe we're too dry.

    But we're too warm, for sure. Intercontinental broke the record high today - 81 or 82, I can't remember.

  19. It was four degrees here yesterday morning. Last night I had to shovel snow. I hate you, Ellen! :-P

  20. trekking your superb blog! keep blogging and inspiring people!


  21. We found several of them in our house late last summer.. into the autumn. That was a first for me.

  22. I hear ya, Ellen. A time and season for everything.
    (And we got major snow today!:))

    Ack, the crane fly scares me!


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.