Resting on a puddle, the shadow of my dads head is in the photo!We can't find any pictures like this.
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This looks to me like a terrestrial insect that has accidentally fallen in to the water. B. hortulanus is a big fly with a brick-coloured thorax - it might be something like that, although these are usually around earlier in the year...
Definately a poor terrestrial fly fallen onto the water.
These are brilliant photographs as they clearly show the strain on the surface tension of the water beneath each foot. It reminds me of the scene in Jurassic Park 2 where one of the characters is on a sheet of slowly cracking glass suspended above a 100ft fall (don't ask why, watch the film) - the slightest move and the glass will give way. Only here the slightest move and the surface tension will break and the fly will drown. Sorry, I think I need a rest or a straight jacket!
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Sorry to spoil the drama Graham, but I think this fly is perfectly happy skating over the water! It looks like Poecilobothrus nobilitatus, which lives around ponds, puddles and wet mud, and often goes for a stroll over the water surface. The males can often be seen frantically waving their wings and showing off their white spots to the females. I can spend hours watching them (so perhaps it's me that needs the straight-jacket!). Despite their charm, these flies are predators of smaller insects.
For comparison see the photos here:
Entomologist and biological recorder
Dear Martin, thank you for identifying it, we had no idea what it was! I'm quite sure it's a water insect as well, it moves and holds its self on the water like a water boatman, but my dad says its got a very red spot.
I stand corrected Martin, it was a good story though!
Lat/Lng: 53.343476511975, -1.7609791158975
OS grid ref: SK160829
Edge of river.