Sunday, 16 June 2013

Father's Day in black and white

It would be handy if there was a Father's Moth and even more so if it came to the trap to mark Our Day (a step backwards in the view of cynics, who reckon we used to have 364 – ie all of them apart from Mothering Sunday – until this one was invented in 1909 by a determined American woman called Sonora Dodd).

It's well worth following this link to the Wiki history of the day, which faced additional cynicism because its keenest supporters apart from Sonora were 'the manufacturers of traditional gifts to fathers, for example ties and tobacco pipes.' There is a moth called the Smoky Wave which might therefore fit the bill; but Penny's got more chance of spotting one in Cumbria, where it is relatively common, than I have here. (She's texted me from the summit of Pike O'Blisco where it was windy but thank Goodness not wet).

So to business. I was struck by the black and white theme of several fine moths which were in the trap with yesterday's Ghost Swift, notably the Coronet pictured twice at the top which is a new moth to me and is categorised as 'local', halfway between common and rare. I call it 'black and white' and it appears so initially, but look more closely (you can enlarge the pics by clicking on them) and you will see purples, browns and greens.

Observe the  neighbour playing hide and seek

Birds see things differently from us and though I didn't mean to blur this, maybe it gives an idea of how effective camouflage may be to different types of eye

The relationship between green and black is interesting. Penny once did research for a magazine article about Sir Henry Ripley of Bradford whose fortune was made from a black dye which did not fade into very dark viridian green as its predecessors tended to do. Was that on the mind of the Peppered Moth in the second and third pictures, which uses its famous camouflage to good effect on a greenish-grey eggbox?

Also in this company were two nippers, a delicately beautiful Small Magpie and another of the 'bird dropping brethren' which I think is the micro Cochylis antricapitana. I'll leave you, though, as I head off to smoke my pipe and try to tie my tie, with this beautiful Poplar Grey, another newcomer which mixes black and white to velvety-soft effect.

More hide and seek under way


Bennyboymothman said...

Nice variety Martin.
I hope for the same variety come the morning! Just out of interest, how many moths of how many species did you manage?
Wherabouts is your new location again?
All the best Ben.
ps. never had a 'garden' coronet.
And yes atricapitana with the dark head.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Ben

Hope your hopes are realised, and many thanks for those confirmations

We're just at the northern tip of Kidlington - farms, scrubland, river Cherwell valley, woodland (but nothing like as much as Leeds); gardens are fewer too.

No trapping ere last night because of rain but I've some interesting material from neighbours to post about shortly

all warmest