Friday, 10 September 2010

Leeds butterfly, London moth

The Red Admirals are back and that makes me very happy. I can never decide which is the most beautiful of the three 'Vanessids', the Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell, which light up gardens from late June or July. I know how Paris must have felt. But the Red Admiral was the one which my Mum and grandparents enthused about in particular and I must have inherited that. They are very late this year, especially here in Leeds, but they seem to have arrived at last, and in good numbers. Why Vanessa? I could go on for ever about butterfly nomenclature, but suffice to say that the 19th century vicars, Oxbridge dons and other superficially dry old sticks had a thing about naming pretty insects after young women. There was one extra-waggish chap who gave a string of moths names such as pollykistmi, pennikistme, aliskistmi. Say them aloud.

I've been in London, working, and as I entered my younger son's flat, a moth flew in through the window. Spooky. It was, inevitably, a yellow underwing, and we made a film of it cannoning around. I was going to post this, following the critical success of Radha's Small Tortoiseshell drama (see a couple of weeks back), but the film is so boring that I might sully my reputation. A small blurred thing makes occasional appearances, but mostly it's a wobbly study of a lampshade. However, I managed to pull off this mini-series of stills, after achieving computer miracles (for me) with a range of programmes. Enjoy.

Finally, thanks to my commentor Worm, I was asked to post a piece on the excellent Dabbler, a website of limitless subject-matter and interest. If you click on the link in the list above left, you can have a peep.  Thanks very much, Dabblers and Worm.


worm said...

It was our pleasure Martin! You've managed to ignite a fierce interest in the ongoing blue tit/caterpillar apocalypse that's happening under our very noses!

(and I like the red admiral best of all three)

Brit said...

As Worm said, our pleasure. Please post any time the mood takes.

Martin's post is located here.

Phil said...

Once the buddleias are over I've found that red admirals can be lured to rotting plums, where they become intoxicated on the fermented juice and don't fly away if you want to have a really close look at that wonderful mottled pattern on the wing underside.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi all - I'm very pleased the Dabblers are titting about, as it were. I'd love to do more - don't worry I won't bombard you but will have the occasional idea. Likewise, I'm sure the Guardian's Comment is Free would always like to hear from you.

And from you, Phil - there's a new editor on CiF and (no criticism intended of her predecessor) she seems very lively and full of plans and interest in what readers want. Thanks for that tip, v much. We happen to have some plums gently going off in our kitchen, so I'll try.

All v best to all