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Do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Often, when I’m out on my wanders with wildlife, I get a little tingling in the back of my neck as if my extra-sensory perception is trying to tell me I’m being stared at. When I look around, there’s never a person or a bird or an animal but there’s often a fly, just sitting quietly on a leaf or a twig, minding its own business though focussing its gigantic eyes in my direction. Is it wondering if I’d make a tasty meal? Is it curious about what I’m doing? Is it staring in case I might turn up something it could eat? Is it monitoring a potential threat? Do flies think?

I will never know the answers to those questions but their watchfulness has made me notice the flies around me and, amazingly, some of them are rather lovely little creatures. May I present to you: a Flesh fly (Sarcophaga sp.); one of the Muscidae family, Coenosia sp.; Eurithia anthophila; Eriothrix rufomaculata; a Dagger fly (Empis sp.); and Graphomya maculata.

(By the way, that feeling of being stared at has a label, scopaesthesia, and, despite several series of scientific lab experiments, the phenomenon remains unproven. In my case, the tingling is probably a tiny spider I’ve picked up amongst the bushes.)