Thursday, March 01, 2007

Attack of the crane flies!

The crane flies are here. And, like a bad horror movie, the delicate, gangly flies are everywhere. In spite of our best efforts, they manage to get into the house by the dozens. They congregate around light fixtures, bounce along the ceilings and oftentimes land in inappropriate places. This evening one even landed in Lori's glass of wine, and she took no pleasure in gagging and pulling fly legs off of her tongue after she inadvertently took a sip.

Crane flies have many other names; some people refer to them as "mosquito hawks" even though they (unfortunately) don't eat mosquitoes. My dad calls them "dingle flies" owing to their fragile and gawky nature. They're harmless, and they're little more than an annoyance.

They're only significant in that their arrival, much like the passing-through of the robins, is a sure sign that spring in Houston has begun. Ususally, they emerge a few weeks earlier than they have this year; some late-season cold weather earlier in February might have delayed their arrival somewhat. By the same vein, our semi-annual visit from the robins has lasted a lot longer than normal as well. Usually, they stay for a few days and then disappear. This time, they've hung around for a few weeks, as if they were waiting for the weather to the north to improve. I haven't seen any robins in a couple of days, however, so I assume they've finally decided to continue their migration. They'll be back for a few days in the fall as they fly to warmer climates to the south. The presence of the crane flies, likewise, is only temporary; a weeks from now, they'll all have mated and died off, and we won't see them again for another year.

Indeed, springtime in Houston has begun. The weather, in fact, has been rather nice over the past couple of weeks, and we'll likely enjoy the mild temperatures of the Houston spring for a couple more months before the oppressive heat of the summer finally sets in.

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