Hey all! I have been offline for 2 weeks, so that accounts for the silence.
Funny story and question...
I went pheasant/quail and coyote hunting with two friends this past weekend. It was a great time. We saw one coyote, which lived. (I could not get the 50grain 22-250 off in time to poke a hole in the thing). And, we flushed 5 covey of quail, 6 singles, and about a dozen pheasant! The dogs worked it up very well, and we ended the day with 7 quail and 1 rooster pheasant. Not bad for three guys and three dogs at 5 hours of upland game hunting, and 7 sets for the coyotes.
Here is where the trouble started. At the end of the day (read: it is now dark and chilly, and we are tired, dehydrated, and cold), we started cleaning the birds. My job was to cut off the wings, legs and heads and give them to my buddy. My buddy (we will call him Billy Bob... not his real name) is a very successful financial advisor and a strong Type A personality. As Billy Bob was taking the broken down birds and unpeeling the breast feathers, something happened. He was 1/2 way thought the rooster pheasant when Billy Bob stops, drops the rooster, jumps up and starts dancing around whilst yelling "It is in my ear! Get it out of my ear!” My immediate thought was that my friend had gone insane. My second thought was that a feather had gotten into my buddy's ear, and he was overreacting (badly), thus embarrassing himself, us, his dogs, his wife and children, his parents, and all men who upland game hunt. Shameful. So, I stand up slowly and look in his ear... seeing feathers, lots of feathers. As I begin to reassure Billy Bob that it was just a feather, he repeatedly yells... "A fly was buzzing in my ear." Yah. Sure.
After getting my friend calmed down, we got back to work on the birds, taking off the feathers and bagging the meat. Billy Bob kept carrying on and griping about how a “fly” got “into his ear.” I tried repeatedly to reassure him that there were no flies in central Illinois in late January, and that the only thing in his ear was pheasant feathers. Keep in mind that at this moment, IT IS FIVE DEGREES OUT!!!!
Billy Bob, feeling like a reactive fool, quietly slipped into denial about what he felt. He even got quiet and… almost sad about dancing around in a circle doing the “get it off me” dance. I was busy thinking of a new hunting nickname for him that would capture the hilarity of the moment and shame him at the same time. I had decided upon “Dances with Feathers”.
Fast forward 10 minutes. After all the quail were broken down and we were into the fine cleaning, Billy Bob stops again and starts yelling his “get it out of my ear!!!!!!!” I stand up, eyes rolling at this second outburst, and peer through the dark to look into my friend’s ear… again. In the haze of dusky darkness, all that I see in his ear is… ear. However, BEHIND his ear, something moves and it has legs.
Now before I go on, I should say that I am a pretty expressive person. If I am thinking it, you can see it on my face. I am certain that my face was showing that I was both annoyed and alarmed that Billy Bob, an otherwise smart guy and cool friend to hunt with, had lost his mind. I was unsure if I wanted to hunt with a guy that periodicly breaks out into panicked dance at the end of each hunt. The annoyed look on my face shifted to horror and I could see a moving insect THE SIZE OF A DIME on my friend’s head…. Probably drilling into his head to lay eggs on his brain.
So back to the story… I can see a large dark fly on my friend’s head, right behind his ear. It was bigger than any bird tick that I had ever seen, buy at leaste four pounds. In seeing this ghastly beast on his head, I do the most logical thing one might do…. join Billy Bob in his “get it off me” dance while slapping at the side of his head with the tips of hands. (why tips of my hands???… because it is important not to overcommit in these moments, and risk touching a bug with the palm of the hand, back of the hand, or the thumb). I knew it was an insect, and that caused me to feel weak and afraid. However, my hope was that this was a housefly that had somehow resurrected itself though the cold and landed on him, or perhaps the world's mightiest ladybug. However, in the back of my mind was the thought that this insect was far more sinister… a parasitic, winter breeding, flesh eating mite perhaps.
As I slap repeatedly at the crawling bug… it falls off of his head (thank goodness)… AND FLIES THE FRICK OVER ONTO MY FRICKING HEAD, LANDING ON MY FRICKING EAR!!! The feelings of horror and mourning that I had for my friend (who I assumed had been inoculated with botfly “mind nymph” eggs) turned to hypersonic, ape-crazy, bat-insanity now that this insect had moved from attacking my friend, and begun attacking me and my valuable ear. So naturally… I begin my own middle-aged rendition of the “get it off me, kill it with fire!!!!” dance. I began speaking in tongues, loud.
After repeated slaps, jumps, yells and pirouettes… the death worm fly falls off of my precious head and onto the snow. As I begin to look through the dusk at this beast, it occurs that this may not some innocuous lady bug or house fly. Waves of horror begin to wash over me. It touched me. And it probably lives on pheasant blood. And it comes from eggs. The world is full of sadness and horror. I did find the bug, which looks nothing like anything I have ever seen. It almost certainly is parasitic. It has wings. It has a flat body, strong legs, and moves fast cross skin. It is like the velasoraptor.... but a gut-churning scary queen bug. I am certain it is a new species. It may be from space. It touched me.
I will hold off on the rest of the story. However, I have a question. Does anyone know what this is? I looked at a million insect identification websites today and could not find it. It is the width of a pen, has wings, has a pointy mouth (hard to see in the photos), dark brown body with a light brown belly, and came back alive after being frozen all night. I locked it into a very thick plastic bag. I am certain that it thinks.
I am going to take my fifth very hot shower now.