Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Eyeing the Whites

Our biggest moth here in Leeds, the Poplar Hawk, is still around, I'm glad to say, and in good condition considering the various types of downpour we've been enjoying. I don't know how many there are; maybe I should tag them in some minute and uninvasive fashion; but I always take great pains to hide them in the morning from the birds, for whom they would be a Michelin-starred feast. This one's refuge deep in the eggboxes suggests that they are good at hiding themselves, doubtless through long years of Darwinian natural selection.

Back in my French Collection of butterflies, meanwhile, here are two more sunny memories of our week in Tarn: a Small White, common as much but very interesting to watch. Both here and in France, they are extremely skittish and come to rest much more seldom than most other species.

The other 'white' which frequented the garden was this Pale Clouded Yellow. Its cousin the Clouded Yellow occasionally skimmed through but always too quickly for me to galumph after it with the camera. Both butterflies have been involved in sensational mass immigrations to the UK from France in past years, with eye-witness accounts of fields in Dorset and Hampshire turning creamy-coloured when they finally sank to rest after their long flight.

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