Thursday, 30 September 2010

Labour's very own moth

A couple of weeks ago, on 14th September, Black Rustics came to the trap for the third year running on that precise date. Here's a couple of other punctual returnees: Blair's Shoulder Knots, which I also recorded on 30th September last year. That time around, I noted that Brown was on the TV news, rather than Blair. Now it's Ed Milliband, who is already making veterans such as Jack Straw and Margaret Beckett - both on the 9pm BBC news - seem ancient. They resembled the life-battered yellow underwing and Shuttle-shaped Dart which I feature a few posts below.

Blair's Shoulder Knot is a fine success story and counter to species-related gloom. It was first recorded in the UK only in 1951, by a Dr Blair whose home on the Isle of Wight was one of the first light traps encountered by migrants after flying over from the European mainland. That's why he has no fewer than three moths named after him, the others being Blair's Mocha and Blair's Wainscot. Since then, the moth has adapted so well to our island shores that it is common everywhere. Hooray! You can also enjoy a picture of its underside here, as one of the pair ended tummy-up when I gently decanted them from the eggboxes, and lay there like a cat waiting to be tickled. Not that I did.

A final connection with the Labour party is also evident in its 'eyebrow' markings, visible in this head-on view. Denis Healey or what? There were other good things in the trap after a dry night, albeit cold and with prolonged mist after all the earlier rain, but I will save them for tomorrow in case it's wet again this evening.


Norman said...

I always thought this moth's name was apposite. I first recorded it in Thackley in 1997, the year of Tony's assent to power.


MartinWainwright said...

Excellent. It's a fine looking moth, isn't it (if a bit on the hairy side for those who think moths will make a beeline for their underwear or ears. Hope you've had a good season across the valley! Warm wishes M