Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Witches and dragons
Tom and Abi have sent me this megamoth sighting from Mexico: the Black Witch which comes laden with superstition - mostly lugubrious but including one belief which I like. They say that if one flies over your head, you will go bald. No sign of that in either T or A, and most of the stories about the moth are shared by our equally innocuous Death's Head Hawk moth. Interestingly, that stood in for the Black Witch in the film of Silence of the Lambs, as per its posters. I've never seen it myself as the subject doesn't appeal at all, and I haven't read the book either. But they have this obscure entomological difference. I'm also glad to say that doomy stories about the Black Witch are countered in Texas and the Caribbean, where its appearance is said to portend a Lottery win or some other unexpected coming into dosh. It's the largest moth found in the US apparently, and Tom described theirs as 'a 747'. I'm not sure about Mexico but will try to find out.
Meanwhile, look at these two dragonflies, which relate to my recent musings about the beauties of Leeds level-pegging with those of Paxos, where Penny and I have just been on holiday. The Yorkshire one (below) is quite a lot bigger and brighter, yo! although I need to get a better picture of its emerald and turquoise flashing which are a bit obscured by all the tangly leaves. I must also look back to last year, when I featured a very similar one - possibly the same - and I'll also check out the excellent British Dragonfly Society website to find out more, which I'll add when I've more time. Quite a lot of homework today, then.
Now I've done both checks and I'd say that the Leeds dragonfly is a Southern Hawker paying a visit up North, similar to the one which P and I saw at Shandy Hall and recorded on the blog on 29 June last year. Actually, it's interesting looking back. I'd already forgotten my niece Jessie's excellent pictures of Hummingbird Hawk moths in the Pyrenees. A lot better than my Paxiot ones. If anyone can identify the Greek dragonfly, btw, I'd be most grateful.
Update: the Hawker came back this afternoon and I got this slightly brighter picture. Not perfect by any means, specially so far as focus is concerned, but getting closer to the vividness of the actual beast. And we've got real Greek blue sky too!