Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Eye, eye. What an eyeful

The lamp shone out last night for the first time in three days, and my virtuous decision to give the local moths a break was lavishly rewarded.

This beautiful creature is classified as 'common' but is seldom seen by the average Brit, other than in newspaper articles about Natural Wonders where it understandably makes regular appearances as an example of deterrent camouflage, as below - an imaginative comparison with a fox from the Sunday Telegraph which I posted about two years ago.

The visitor is an Eyed Hawkmoth, whose eyes - as blue as any film star could wish, or indeed as my own - have been shown to give insectivorous birds second thoughts. They don't always show, mind you. When I first upturned the eggbox under which it was sleeping, I thought that the Poplar Hawk which visited me last month had come back for a second stay.

Mmm... Could be a Poplar Hawk?

Indeed, I had to encourage it to give me a wink, as shown below. It was so sound asleep that my nudges had no other effect. It was only later, when I tried to shake it off the box into the safety of a thick nettlebed, that I was treated to the the full Princess Diana look. I hastily brought back the box, to which it was still clinging, for a second photo sesh.

Winking one way...

...then the other

And now we're waking up; albeit not quite ready to move the forewings fully forward for the full pink glow

Another feature of this handsome insect is a modern, Mohican-style haircut, almost exactly the same as that sported by a man in Oxford Marks & Sparks who sold me a new pair of trousers yesterday.

I am, however, starting to stray from the subject of moths, so will leave you with a final picture of my handsome guest. This is the second hawkmoth to visit us in our new surroundings. To equal Leeds, however, Oxfordshire still has to come up with Lime and Elephant Hawks.


David Shenton said...

Always a treat when you get these moths, I never tire of them.

And the Elephants, large and Small, will be just around the corner I'm sure...

MartinWainwright said...

I greatly hope so Dave. I also love these big moths because even I can identify them...

All v best as ever


Anonymous said...

Hi I have two of these moths in my garden at the moment should I do any thing or just leave them alone.
Thanks from Bev, in Torbay, Devon