Sunday, 18 April 2010
Time for tea
I've been exchanging comments with Steve Thorpe of Derbyshire about the Early Grey - he had an impressive five of them in his trap the other day. I've had one visiting regularly this week - a welcome change from the current mixture of Friends' meeting house (17 assorted Quaker moths last night) and synagogue (nine Hebrew Characters) which the trap resembles. I say 'welcome' because the Early Grey stands out, partly for its subtle colouring and partly for its posture. It settles with its front legs stretched firmly out in front of it, in their woolly fell-walking socks. When I first encountered it - last week - I thought that it was an early Tussock moth; they have exactly the same habit, like a sheepdog waiting for instructions.
Early Greys are very docile. To spice up the current grey/brown arrivals, I'm cheating a bit by carefully tempting them on to bright Spring flowers. Pugs won't do this; they zig-zag off in nervous fits. But the Early Grey came quietly, and indeed the species is known for resting openly during the day on tree bark or lichened rock, safe in its subtle camouflage. My final reason for liking it is that we mix Earl Grey with ordinary tea to make our morning brew, and very nice it is. 'Early' sounds like the sort of endearment Lady Grey might have used for her eminent husband, but I don't know whether she did. Here's a picture of our Earl Grey tea packet, along with a weird product I bought in Soho's Chinatown but have yet to try.
Jessie's contribution today (below) rather shows that, however much we hype the patterns, socks and Beatle-y haircut of the Early Grey, Borneo's moths beat us every time. I will try to identify Jess's moths soon. I've got a massive book on exotic ones somewhere, and of course there's Google.