Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Grey twins

My umming and erring about whether we have a second brood of Poplar Hawkmoths has been resolved. The solitary one which came last week could just conceivably have been a Rip van Winkle or a super-shy moth which had led a very quiet life. But today the eggboxes were home to two of the big grey moths in immaculate condition; so the whole complex process of egg-laying, caterpillar and pupa development must have taken place since this year's first generation appeared in late May.

The second of them, shown in my first picture, was completely out-of-it, like a student on the morning after a good night out. It's unusual in my experience for a big moth like this one to be so thoroughly zonked. When I carefully examined the boxes, it gradually came to and finally staggered into position for the second picture.

The third moth is one of the bright orange male Gold Swifts I mentioned yesterday and the fourth is the more quietly-dressed female of the species. There were ten of these nestling alongside the Poplar Hawks, along with more than a score of Silver Ys and even more Flame Shoulders.

My final moth is a Lead Belle, I think, and one that has seen better days. Update: the last part of the preceding sentence is true but the moth is actually a Shaded Broad-bar, new to me though not uncommon - many thanks to Expert Dave in Comments. But if you click on the pic, you can admire its delicate antennae whose direction-finding abilities have probably helped it to lead a long life. Back on the first picture, of the comatose Poplar Hawk, the russet antennae are worth a close look too.


David Shenton said...


Nice load of Poplar Hawks again.

Re your last moth - Lead Belle flies in May/June and your moth looks more like a worn Shaded Broad-bar to me.



Martin Wainwright said...

Ah - many thanks. I was in a major quandary over it this morning, even considering a variety of the Red carpet which is only found in the Shetland Islands...

I will amend

all warmest


JRandSue said...

Great set Martin,must set our trap.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there! I will pop over and see what you are up to. It's been a terrific year so far. All v best, M