Saturday, 21 August 2010


I put the trap under our biggest buddleia last night and maybe that, or the unusually warm evening, brought a variety of colourful arrivals. Three of them were Lesser Swallow Prominents, a really stylish moth with sharply distinct flashes and stripes. It is resourceful even as a caterpillar, burrowing underground to build an unusually strong cocoon in which it spends the winter. These are 2010's second brood, but I don't recall any arriving after the earlier April/June hatching. I also like these moths because they are heavy sleepers. They didn't conveniently choose to snore on, on the tips of these buddleia leaves; I arranged them. very carefully, I should add, and they didn't seem to mind. Then I tucked them up, deep inside the undergrowth of the bush.

Another dash of colour was provided by this Canary-shouldered Thorn; a nice name and accurate too; the colour of its body is indeed exactly like a Canary's. It is another hardy creature, over-wintering like the Lesser Swallow Prominent but as an egg. When you think of the rigours of winter for us, large and sophisticated mammals, these little insect achievements are all the more remarkable.

Finally a familiar visitor; but you can never tire of the elegant colouring of the Y moths. I notoriously muddle them (the Silver, the Beautiful Gold and the Plain Gold) but I think this is a Silver, although the Y confusingly looks gold. I was going to crop the picture to make the details clearer, but then I decided that the angular background of pastel colours rather nicely sets the moth off.


sarah meredith said...

I really like your compositions here - particularly the last one!

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there S - and Merediths all! You are wonderful Commentors on my ramblings. I'm very pleased with this one, cos I thought there was something satisfying about the shapes and colours. P and I were initially mystified as to what they all were, but checked things out (the Silver Y was still dozing away at noon) and the bottom bits are two metal plates which criss-cross the trap's very effective transparent plasticy disc rainshield. Talking of which, torrential rain is apparently going to sweep over Southern England today, but NOT the North. Ha, ha, ha, hee, hee! xM (and P)