Friday, 27 September 2013

I'm called Little Buttercup

You may realise from the title of this post that I am a Gilbert & Sullivan fan, which Penny considers rather debased in musical terms. If you are one too, you'll know that the ditty from HMS PInafore, usually sung by quite an ample matron, begins:

Sing along!
I'm called Little Buttercup - dear Little Buttercup
Though I could never tell why...

This conundrum also applies to an extremely welcome star among Autumn moths in the UK which arrived in the trap this morning: the Large Ranunculus. I've been on about wanting one of these in my exchanges in Comments. I have been rewarded with two.

It is a beautiful moth, dappled grey and flecked with orange in a pattern which must surely appeal to fashion designers, who have been inspired by moth wings for evening gowns. But why 'Large Ranunculus' - which means 'Large Buttercup' - when its caterpillars' foodplants consist of daisy, red valerian, delphinium, dandelion, michaelmas daisies (out now and lovely they are too) and even currant and plum? But not, apparently, buttercups.

Who needs Bicester Village?
Maybe it's the golden-orange flecks. Meanwhile, here's another excellent Autumn newcomer: Blair's Shoulder-knot, which is almost as dashing and rakish as the Angle Shades. It's one of no fewer than three moths named after an enthusiast called Dr Blair who had the good fortune to live on the Isle of Wight. This is where most moths new to the UK make landfall after crossing the Channel and he was the first to find settled colonies of the Shoulder-knot, Blair's Wainscot and Blair's Mocha.  Needless to say, during the reign of that other, human, Blair, these moths were mentioned in the House of Commons by Marilyn Moon, the Labour 'MP for moths' who runs a moth and bat night in the palace of Westminster every year.

And finally, I love the Sallows so much, and their delicate variations, that here's a trio from this morning.  The last picture is, perhaps, a nice summary of My Trap in Autumn.

Barred Sallow - variation

Sallow. Update: no it's a Pink-barred Sallow - many thanks as usual to Ben in Comments

And again - the paler form Update: this is a straightforward Sallow.

The conventional Barred Sallow. Nice warm place to perch


Countryside Tales said...

Very informative (although I'm with Penny on the G&S theme) :-)

Bennyboymothman said...

Good stuff, you get Vestal, then Large Ranuculus, now all you need is a Large Thorn :)
Your Sallow by the way is a Pink-barred Sallow, very nice and a common one in damp habitats around here but I doubt I will see it in the garden.
Trapping again on Sunday night and hoping for something different.
Have yet to have a Sallow in the garden! Still getting very late summer moths.
At least the weather is holding up hopefully for next week.
All the best

MartinWainwright said...

Thanks both - sorry to have muddled my Sallows, Ben. I'll put that right in a mo

Here's hoping for a Large Thorn; and that these various beauties head forHants and Essex

All warmest