Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Baby boom

Background note: that little yellow triangle is a Brimstone moth.
And, of course, my pyjamas 

One thing missing from the RSPB's excellent Big Wild Sleepout in Wytham Woods, described yesterday, was a really big moth. They're useful for attracting novices to the subject whose smaller characters take a bit of getting to know and love.

Here at home we had an example overnight: this Poplar Hawk which I reckon from its excellent state of repair to be an example of what my Moth Bible calls 'sometimes a partial second generation in the south.' We have had Poplar Hawks in the eggboxes regularly ever since early June but recent ones have looked increasingly elderly, like myself.

Another handsome arrival is this Herald which has a different twist on birthdays. There is usually one generation, emerging from chrysalises at this time of year but then going into hibernation when the evenings draw in and nights get cold. They stagger back into life in March and April which earns them their status as one of the year's first big and brightly-coloured moths.

Last night wasn't exactly warm and the trap was only modestly busy with about 50 moths, among them these two from the dragster school of micros, and one of the engagingly T-shaped plume family. I promise to study my Micro-moth Bible later.

There was also a moth at the end of its tether, battered and faded almost to translucence and identifiable to the amateur only by its distinctive shape, which for me makes it a  Swallowtailed Moth. Mind you, it isn't as skeletal as the remains of a dragonfly below, a sinister discovery which I made while micro-clipping the grass round Penny's infant beech hedge. Look carefully.

Rather than end on a macabre note, I'll leave you with an image of our wonderful summer which continues, albeit at a slightly cooler rate. The buddleia is ablaze with butterflies such as this Small Tortoiseshell, drunk on honey nectar and so agreeably easy to photograph.


Countryside Tales said...

Nice JimJams ;-)

No hawks at all for us this week :-( First time all summer :-( Also the numbers are definitely dropping and I had no new ones at all in the box today :-( Again, first time all summer. I'm currently at 270 and was really hoping to get to 300 before the season ends. 22 butterflies though including a gorgeous common blue today :-)

Hope all's well. CT :-)

(Left this comment by mistake on the garden moth challenge blog!)

Martin Wainwright said...

It is getting a little autumnal, isn't it? But it's too early for that. I'm optimistic about the rest of August and September though I don't think my ID lack of skills will get my total anywhere near yours. All warm wishes, M