While ringing birds on the BTO reserve, we occasionally get bird parasites "abandoning ship", and jumping on to us instead. Sat back at my desk after a morning's ringing, I was concerned to find one of these crawling out of my clothes....
It's a flat-fly, or louse-fly, and I came across the perfect quote to describe these beasts in the New Naturalist 'Fleas, Flukes and Cuckoos; a Study of Bird Parasites":
"They never fly forward but sidelong, as it were, hopping and skipping as they go. For reasons which defy analysis, louse-flies are particularly repellent insects, and most people experience a shudder of disgust at the sight of them, and are filled with a quite unreasonable feeling of horror if they happen to dart up their sleeves or into their hair while handling the host"
I fully agree with this assessment, and so I consider it a rather heroic act on my part that instead of squealing like a little girl and flicking it away, I not only caught the creepy scuttling thing in a pot, but then spent time studying it closely in order to identify it as Ornithomyia avicularia - new to the list. Do I get some kind of TEAL medal for bravery?