Friday, 18 June 2010


The Peach Blossom has made its first appearance (left above), a lovely moth with a pattern whose distinction is balm to inadequates like me who find moth identification a constant trial. Below at the left and bottom are two examples. They look distinctive enough, especially the orange one. But it does not tally exactly with anything I've examined so far in Richard Lewington's marvellous illustrations in my Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland (British Wildlife Publishing), my moth Bible. No doubt it is a Common Quaker or some such, because variation in the patterns is very common. I will persist. Last night seemed set for a good catch, so warm that we had supper outside, but in the event there was a fairly modest tally: about 40 moths, including a fine Peppered, the Herald which accompanies the Peach Blossom in a blurry way above, several Shoulder Flames, Hebrew Characters, Carpets and a Pebble Hook-tip. I think we are in one of those lulls between major hatching. Please may it stay warm.
PS My entomological niece Jessie, she of the Borneo moth pics, has sent me a great link to a short BBC film about the extraordinary silk-production powers of Bird Cherry Ermine moth caterpillars in an Essex cemetery. It's well worth watching on
Later: Hooray for Dean, whose excellent blog you must visit on I will add it to my list when I remember how. He describes himself online as 'a man of few words', but his vital words in this instance are that the delicate creamy moth is a Riband Wave and the orange one an Ingrailed Clay (see Comments). Thanks very much indeed.


Anonymous said...

Martin, your 2 unidentified moths are Riband Wave & Ingrailed Clay.

MartinWainwright said...

Thanks so much. I'm transparent, I know, and I was hoping that a helpful friend such as yourself would put me out of my misery. I'd have got the wave, I think, but I find the whole great army of Noctuidae (am I right?0 with their endless variations on the kidney mark, a right pain. Thanks again, Martin

Anonymous said...

"am I right?"
You`re not wrong Martin. There are several individual Noctuid species that are difficult. Ingrailed Clay being one of the most notorious, in having at least a dozen variants.
Even after many years of mothing. There are still 1 or 2 species that can cause id problems.

PS : Thanks for the praising write up at the end of your post. Very much appreciated.