Monday, 16 July 2012

Putting things in black and white

People often criticise moths for being dull and grey, but there can be beauty in such things. So too in that simplest of combinations, black and white. Here are a couple of examples, first a moth and then a species of butterfly, the latter from my stockpile of sunny pictures from our week in Tarn, south west France, a fortnight ago.

The moth is the Clouded Border, a small and slightly smudgy character which can sometimes be disturbed by walkers brushing past the many trees which it frequents: aspen, sallow, poplar, willow and hazel. It is common and a reliable visitor to the light trap here in June and July; and always welcome, for its delicate appearance before it flutters off - unlike the larger-bodies moths, it seldom falls into a deep overnight sleep.

The butterfly is the Marbled White, or rather two of them busy creating a whole lot more. These lovely creatures, which long anticipated the Op-art movement of the 1960s (I still have my tie), are quite widespread in the UK, especially on chalk downland. I have been entranced by them flying with various types of blue at Wharram Percy, the deserted mediaeval village near Malton in North Yorkshire. A wonderful combination.

Here to end with are a couple more French Marbled Whites, showing the chessboard top and then the underwing whose patterning is beautifully subtle.

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