Sunday, 11 August 2013

This side of the Blue

I have been tormented by Blues lately, an ordeal which might well be added to Thomas de Quincey's famous passage of opium-laced writing:

I was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by monkeys, by paroquets, by cockatoos. I ran into pagodas, and was fixed for centuries at the summit, or in secret rooms; I was the idol; I was the priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia; Vishnu hated me; Seeva lay in wait for me. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris; I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at. Thousands of years I lived, and was buries in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles, and was laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.

How about that for an exciting opening to this post...

Now back to earth, because my torment consisted only of wanting to photograph one of the UK's Blue butterflies but only ever seeing one when I didn't have my camera with me. Fellow enthusiasts will know, however, what agonies of frustration this involves.

Yesterday it ended. Penny and I were biking into Oxford along the canal towpath when a glimmer of blue flickered in front of my handlebars and I skidded to a stop. It was a Holly Blue and after three or four failed attempts to creep up on it, I found it creeping up on me. It settled just in front of me, between my legs. So the photographs above involved a creaky version of the school gym exercise of touching your toes.

Later on our expedition we met three boys who'd caught the fine American Crayfish shown here. Their Mum shouted across the canal from the garden of their house that supper was ready - pork chops - but they were planning to have the crayfish instead. We were also served a magic cup of coffee at the Ashmolean whose residual froth resembled the roofline of the Randolph Hotel opposite. Shades of tea-leaf soothsaying.

And to end with, some moths, which is what this blog is supposed to be about. This morning I'm off early to help identify arrivals at traps in the RSPB's Big Wild Sleepout at Wytham Woods. More on this tomorrow.

The Gothic, an excellent moth whose tracery resembles ancient church windows

Head-on, it also resembles ancient Goth invaders of the Roman Empire

The Garden Pebble, aka micro Evergestis forficalis

Lean and mean - micro Agriphila straminella Update: sorry, it's A. tristella
- many thanks to Ray in Comments

Smoky Wainscot

Shaded Broad-bar

Small Waved Umber - which is small, waved and um, Umber

Yellow underwings are notoriously reluctant to show their underpants,
so many thanks to this one (which was totally zonked-out)


Ray Walton said...

Hi Martin

Your Agriphila Straminella, you might want to nudge towards Agriphila tristella!!!!!!

Happy to be contradicted by more worthy experts

Ray (Stokelymort)

MartinWainwright said...

Thanks once again Ray - I'm very happy to be nudged! Specially as A t is new for me. Hope moths continue well for you

all warm wishes