Thursday, 16 December 2010

Flakes in the dark

The weather is doing a Sword of Damocles act over the North of England at the moment, although the fact that the Daily Express today forecasts the worst blizzards for a century reassures me that it will be mild and warm after all. (My older son has experience of doing weather stories for the irrepressible DE, and what can happen to them after they leave the reporter's tender care.

These moths aren't too worried, anyway. In spite of the doom-mongering (and even my own employers have bee trying to convince me that this may be the worst winter since 1963), I counted seven moths in the car headlights along our road on Tuesday night and another two yesterday evening. A tenth fluttered down from our porchlight, so I thought: blizzards or not, I'll set the trap.

Lo! Here are two Winter Moths as a result. Conceivably, the more patterned of the pair might be a November Moth, but I don't think so. Experts, if you are still reading in these largely mothless months, please put me right if necessary. The description of the Winter Moth in my Bible is as accurate as always; it mentions the fluttering in car headlights, the habit of coming to ordinary lights and the susceptibility to light traps.
It also gives space to the unfortunate female of the species, which is virtually wingless (see pic below right, courtesy of and cannot fly. For those who like sexual excitement, this has the one compensation that males have been known to carry females in flight while copulating. I don't know, and I wonder whether scientists do, whether this involves consent.


...with apologies for the blurring, here is a sequence of one of our jays eating the kindly Wainwright peanuts on the lawn. I couldn't get closer because these striking but raucous birds are as jumpy as Mexican beans.

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