Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The eyes have it

A flash of colour arrived this morning amid the muted tones which have dominated the trap for the past week: a male Orange Swift which looks freshly-hatched and handsome, albeit somewhat like a tarantula from the front. It is yet another novelty which is nice, as today is the birthday of my younger son.

The Orange Swift caterpillar eats dandelion roots which is a laudable practice in the eyes of anyone who has tried to dig out these sturdy weeds - from places where they're not wanted; I'm a big fan of dandelions when they stick to road verges or the wild and nettley end of the garden. On the whole, they don't.

The other thing which struck me about the eggboxes today, apart from two Elephant Hawks and one Poplar Hawk roosting together like a trio of pensioners (they've been coming to the trap for weeks), was the number of little eyes peeping up at me from moths' wings.  Here are a few, with a final bit of colour to end up with thanks to a Pale Pinion's choice of resting place on Penny's bright red garden kneeler.  Update: sorry, it's a Light Arches - many thanks once again to Richard in Comments.

A Common or Lesser Common Rustic with blotchy eye makeup

Copper (or Svensson's Copper) Underwing - moths which are exceptionally reluctant to flash their bright underwear, raising doubts about its purpose as an additional deterrent

Poplar Grey. There's a lot going on in the wing pattern but I hope you agree that the eyes peep out

Dun-bar. A worthy but boring moth saved from terminal dullness by its varied colouring. This version has the most distinct eyes

The Nut-tree Tussock's eyes strike me as slightly oriental, at least when seen from the side like this

And the Pale Pinion (nope, Light Arches, sorry, see above) on its  bright red couch - flagrant defiance of the rules of camouflage

Away from the world of moths, the white mallard which is a feature of our stretch of canal has hatched her brood, with three of the chicks as golden as those Easter ones made in China. I have always wondered what the people in the toy factories think of these, and of many of their other products which our offspring (or those who skilfully market to them) demand.


Countryside Tales said...

The Dun-Bar range is extraordinarily diverse isn't it? I have been trap-free here since Thurs last week but think I will have to brave the rain and put it out tonight because I am missing our little fluttery friends (although they seem to enjoy coming into the house regardless)....

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin,
I think you'll find that the pale pinion is a light arches.

MartinWainwright said...

Thanks once more Richard - that's changed. Good luck with the weather CT! all v best M