Today I finally made it out on the ski trails. (I’ve reached a point where if I have a relatively flat, groomed trail to ski on and I don’t have to go too fast, I can manage to avoid embarrassing myself too badly.) We got about four fresh inches of now last night and the woods were beautiful. It was also a lot warmer than it was last week, with an air temperature right around the freezing point.
While I was huffing and puffing along I spotted several wingless Chionea snow flies of the same type that I wrote about at length last winter, walking over the surface of the snow.
When I was almost back, though, a different insect caught my eye – another tiny fly in the snow, but with one crucial difference from the Chionea ones.
This one has wings! After doing a little digging, I think this critter is from a different branch of crane flies, family Trichoceridae. I couldn’t find a lot of information about them beyond the fact that they’re a type of crane fly that’s active in cold weather, but I’m still amazed by how many small insects and other arthropods are actually active in the middle of winter here if you keep your eyes open for them.