Sunday, 19 September 2010

Lively night

Our moths had an exciting night. Neighbours had a superb firework display (I know some people dislike these, because of pet dogs, cats, lizards etc, but there can't be too many so far as I am concerned). Then it rained steadily. In the interests of science, I kept the trap on and the results were an amazing testimonial to the trap's rain shield - like the best gadgets, a very simple plastic disc whose position above the trap entrance round the bulb has been precisely calculated.

In spite of all the goings-on, there were 25 moths asleep this morning: yellow underwings, a Setaceous Hebrew Character (see earlier posts) and two Autumnal Rustics (see post directly below). And this. It looked initially like the absolutely bog standard small, brown, boring moth and I was almost hesitant to photograph it. I did, though, using a torch to try to shed some light (my failing eyesight and old specs don't help).

Then I remembered that, courtesy of the Guardian, we have a small camera with digital micro. Look at the result below. Suddenly, the 'small brown boring moth' puts on a coat of great subtlety and beauty. I'm not exactly sure what it is, because I can't do the same digital micro trick on Richard Lewington's lovely pictures in my moth Bible. Maybe, a Rustic pure and simple? Or a Clay? I'd be over the moon if it were a German Cousin (v. rare) but I'm pretty sure it isn't. I will consult Jax of Yorkshire Butterfly Conservation (or would much appreciate other expert observer's views).

Disgracefully late PS (cos have been in France): thanks to Ben, I now know that this is a variety of the Chestnut, a highly variable moth. The ones shown in Richard Lewington's illustrations in my indispensable field guide are much more orangey, From the guide's text, I note that 'less frequent forms are heavily dusted and/or streaked with brown or grey'. I think that this is one of those. Less frequent, huzza! The Chestnut is a doughty moth. It goes on the wing in September and can survive as an adult all the way through to May. Well done it.


worm said...

As it's in the north of England, and flying in september, I'd hazard that it's a Plain Clay. But as you say, there's a couple of others that look almost identical! Intruiging

MartinWainwright said...

Mmmm Or the Purple Clay? You could well be right. I'll await other verdicts. Interesting that they can be so hard to distinguish (for me at least...) all v best M

Bennyboymothman said...

Hi Martin

This is a form of the Chestnut.

Hope that clears this up :)

MartinWainwright said...

Hey Ben - fantastic. You have never failed me. Much appreciated. Sorry for the delay - have been away. Jax from Yorkshire Butterflies has come to the same conclusion. Thanks as ever M