Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The future is orange

I was wistfully discussing the first signs of autumn the other day in Comments with my invaluable expert Ben Sale, and he raised the consolation of the imminent coming of the Sallow moths which fly in the UK from late August.

Bingo! here is my first of the year, a Centre-barred Sallow making its debut in a blaze of orange, as sulphurous as the Canary-shouldered Thorn which featured here two days ago.

This is a notably retiring moth in youth, when its caterpillars start life hidden in the unfurled leaf buds of ash trees, moving to a crevice at the base of the trunk as toddlers and - in the words of my Moth Bible -'climbing very quickly just before dusk to feed during the night'. They then tuck themselves away in an underground cocoon before leading an equally clandestine life as an adult insect, seldom visiting flowers or moth enthusiasts' rum-and-treacle 'sugaring' and only really attracted (or maybe disorientated) by a moth trap light such as mine.

This one was co-operative in a photo session, however, before powering off into the branches of a plum tree (hence the wing blur in the second picture, for which many apologies; the moth took off seconds later). I also append a small pic of a Spectacle Moth which was sleeping on the light cable at the top of the trap, because I can't resist them.


Bennyboymothman said...

Hi Martin
Thanks very much. Most people talk about how elusive they are to light traps. I have not had many but I see them every year in one of my traps somewhere. I must just be getting lucky.
Woohoo, you beat me to it, I will be trapping tonight, although I haven't had a Sallow yet, should be Centre-barred/Barred and The Sallow around about now, but i'm expecting them to start the first week of September.
No problem, glad to help you.
All the best

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Ben and good luck with the Sallows. Coincidence time: I've just linked to your blog again on today's post (Thursday) cos guess what? TWO Old Ladies flew in last night...

all warm wishes