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Strange midgy thing with long, kite-like "tail"(?)

Observed: 26th July 2012 By: peterwr

Observed at 2030 BST on the south side of Edgbaston Reservoir, Birmingham. No photo, sadly - the insects were flying close to the water, which was about a metre below me and fenced off.
These were small, midge-like insects, about 5mm or less across, flying a few centimetres from the water. The unusual feature that stopped me dismissing them as mere midges was that some of them (about 20-30%?) were trailing long, translucent appendages of some kind - about the width of the insect's body and perhaps 5-7 times its body length - that resembled a sloughed-off skin or an old nylon stocking, or the tail of a kite. At first I thought they were mayflies, but for their size and the fact that the majority lacked the "tails". I thought I saw one of the insects lose its "tail" when the tail touched the water, though I could see no trace of the tail on the water afterwards - though it could be that it crossed paths with a "tail"-less individual and I ended up following the latter.
Their flight was rather mayfly-like - quite sedate, with rapidly-beating wings like a midge, but with the tails drooping towards the water's surface and not so erratic as a midge or a gnat.
There are no pubs in the area. ;-)
Any ideas?


No identification made yet.

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