Thursday, 26 August 2010

The great escape

For the first time ever, I saw a moth escape from the trap this morning. I sympathise now with police or prison officers who look stupid when inmates vault over walls or tie sheets together. I was so surprised and interested that I didn't reach for the camera to film the episode until it was too late. Had the moth known, it was about to be released anyway, but that shouldn't take the shine off its enterprise. It basically flew up to the collar and then scrabbled through, passed a Swallow Prominent slumbering on the lamp wire and a Canary-shouldered Thorn perched on the rim, and whirred away.

It was one of the various types of yellow underwing which have now infested the eggboxes every day for at least a month. Above is a picture of just a fraction of them, prior to gentle removal into the safety of the undergrowth (or the other thing I do is blow gently at them which stirs them into fluttering off under their own power). They are great sleepers; about a quarter rest comfortably upside down, and these two on the right look for all the world like a couple of amorous pensionerswho have fallen out of their deckchairs into one another's arms.

I sometimes wonder if moths' patterns and colouring have influenced many dress designers. They are so modest and subtle, as in the case of this Shuttle-shaped dart. I don't think ermine collars are particularly in fashion these days, but I have liked them since childhood when a purple robe with a (fake) ermine collar - white with black dashes every now and then - was the favourite thing in our dressing-up box.

The other mothy note about today was the season's first Copper Underwing, or more likely the almost imperceptibly different Svensson's Copper Underwing which is commoner in Yorkshire. I tried very hard to tempt it into showing its nicely coloured hindwings but it absolutely wouldn't. Its arrival means autumn is approaching, as if we didn't already know that. The weather is disappointingly dull and cold for August, although it was lovely (in the North only, Ha!) last week.

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