This is one of the earliest flies to appear in spring after coming out of hibernation. The wings have fairly distinct markings, and the abdomen and thorax are light grey with darker markings. The upper legs are reddish-brown, and the lower section is black. Male and females are similar. Length 6 to 8mm.
The larvae live in humus and amongst mosses, where they hunt for other insect larvae, particularly leather-jackets. The adults feed on nectar.
The adults fly February to October, and in milder winters until December. Found in various habitats, including gardens, and inside houses. It is often seen perched on fences or vegetation in early spring, catching some warming sunshine. Common and widespread throughout Britain.
March 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.