Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Catching up

The birthday moratorium on moth-trapping gives me time for a bit of a catch-up on moths which I've recently had too little room or time to feature; but no day in moth-infested Oxfordshire passes without a sighting of some sort. The Brimstone Moth above was sleeping inconspicuously on the mellow stone walls of the excellent Falkland Arms at Great Tew where Penny and I plus 94-year-old mum-in-law Dilys had lunch - puddings below.  Be jealous.

The Brimstone looks more obvious on camera than it was to the eye - the brown patch on its right wingtip is almost exactly the same colour, size and shape as a fleck of stone just below. I often wonder how far such things affect a moth's choice of resting place, as per the habit of black-and-white ones in the eggboxes of settling on the barcodes.

Here's another Brimstone back at home, left, under exmination by a Swallowtailed Moth; they often rest with their wings folded over their back -  the 'butterfly position' or half-open like this one. The underwing is more butter than brimstone.

We also saw plenty of moths from a distance in the evening, round the stage lights at the Oxford Shakespeare Company's outdoor production of The Merry Wives of Windsor in Wadham College garden. This runs until 16 August and I really recommend it, specially in the current weather. There is a character in the play called Fenton and one of the many jokes in Gemma Fairlie's imaginative production improves on the Bard by adding the immortal lines from the viral YouTube video of Fenton the dog: 'Fenton! Fenton! Jesus Christ! Fenton..!'

I've had the Bright-line Brown-eye coming to the trap almost every night for weeks. Here is the first of its buddy, the Brown-line Bright Eye. There is a tongue twister to be done here.

And so to the moth backlog which includes some of the Very Annoying Grey Kind with which I'd much appreciate identification help. Update: that help has come - and how! See Comments. I'll just update the captions too. Thanks so much to my expert friends.

Any thoughts? A micro maybe? Update: No, it's a Short-cloaked Moth - many thanks to all in Comments btw WT&L call this 'the easiest of the family to recognise, to which I respond with a hollow laugh.

This seems distinctive but I despair of matching it up with pics in Waring, Townsend & Lewington. Is it that dully-named moth, The Grey? Too rare and northern, I fear. Answers much appreciated. Update: Hooray, it's a Common Lutestring - thanks v much to Dave in Comments, as ever.

I think this is a Common or Lesser Common Rustic, though its prominent collar or hood does not appear in WT&L  Update: and that's probably because it's actually a rather dark Coronet - many thanks to Toni in Comments

Meanwhile the sun shines on and can do for ever so far as I am concerned. Tonight, the lamp will shine again too.

A quartet of pretty ones: first a Broken-barred Carpet Update: No, it's a Rivulet - lovely name. Many thanks again to Dave.

Second, the opalesque Mother of Pearl micro

Two Barred Straws obligingly perch on either side of the trap's canopy, giving a view of both top and undersides together

And a female ghost moth.  The male is larger and spectrally all-white

Finally, a couple of moths showing their slips; a Coronet (Update: nope; it's a Poplar Grey, a species which has caught me out before. Many thanks yet again to Dave in Comments) and a Large Yellow Underwing. No sign still of the mass invasion of the latter and related yellow underwings which used to try my patience in Leeds. But at least I can identify them.


Toni Slaven said...

I was wondering if your Common or Lesser Common Rustic was actually a colour variant of the Coronet - the pattern seems right for it... Hopefully one of your more expert mothy chums will be able to solve this for us both!
Keep on posting!
Best Wishes

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi Toni and thanks very much - I think you may well be right. I wish I was more skilful. Hope Ben or Dave will chance along and give their view - and maybe sort out those infuriating grey ones...

Ah me But isn't the weather AMAZING?

all warm wishes


staff said...

The first of the greys is a short cloaked carpet 2077.

David Shenton said...

Hi Martin,

More nice moths.

Agree with Toni regards Coronet.

As for some of the others...the small grey one is a macro, Short-cloaked Moth, the second is Common Lutestring.

The one you have as Broken-barred Carpet is Small Rivulet for me and the bottom 'Coronet' looks like one that does actually have Grey in its name, Poplar Grey.

Just catching my breath here from best night ever at the garden trap with already 130 species with a few awaiting closer inspection...

I love this weather.

Kindest regards


staff said...

Sorry . . short cloaked moth 2077 . .not a carpet . . brainslipped.

Countryside Tales said...

Hi Martin,

I agree- short cloaked moth and a Poplar Grey, but can't help with the others. Love the Swallowtail too :-)

MartinWainwright said...

Hey thanks SO much everyone. This has cheered me up greatly. I'll update now.

Actually, I'm slightly reassured after checking WT&L cos the Common Lutestring is shown side-on there and the Short-cloaked pic doesn't show those very pronounced spots my moth has (not that I would ever criticise the immortal Lewington and variation in patterns is huge). But these are excuses really.

Thanks ever so. The two grey ones especially were getting to me. Or is it the heat?

all warmest