Thursday, 17 October 2013

Truly scrumptious

This morning's star moth comes with a moral which I've passed on before: just when things seem to be winding down...Shazaaaam! A blindingly excellent moth flies in and the show is back on the road.

That is certainly the case today, with this newcomer - a moth for which I have yearned since I first turned the light trap on eight years ago. Yes, dear reader, 'yearned' is not too strong a term. The moth may be classified as 'common' and my old Yorkshire expert Jax Westmoreland used to report them buzzing in at Scarborough while I sat sadly Marvel-less in Leeds. But this is the first I have ever seen.

It is self-evidently lovely but also has one of the most beautiful names in the rich nomenclature of UK moths: the Merveille du Jour or Marvel of the Day. Yes, we have to borrow from French to get the full effect, but that's no problem. One of the nicest names I can think of offhand, Catherine Fourmantel, belonged to the half-French actress friend in York of Lawrence Sterne, the Tristram Shandy funster.

Names are fascinating; I once did a couple of Radio 4 programmes on the subject which featured a workshop in London where people sang their names, and those of their significant others, in an astonishing variety of hums, growls and ecstatic moans.  And then there's the famous example of the narrator in Rebecca whose name is cited several times as central to her appeal to the tragic hero Max de Winter. Daphne du Maurier brilliantly makes it more beguiling by never revealing what it is.

Anyway, I'm only going on like this so that I have enough paragraphs to intersperse lots of pictures from my photo session with the Marvel this morning. Personally, I can't have too many and so yopu're going to have to put up with that too.

After the mingy population of only two moths on Tuesday night, the trap was abundant this morning. The Merveille du Jour was actually perched on the rim of the bulb-holder, rather than inside among the eggboxes, as her (or his) exalted status deserves. The greeny-grey colouring, dappled with black and white in the fashion of US Army camouflage, worked well to disguise the moth against the silvery-grey of the metal backdrop.

And what was in the eggboxes themselves?  More on that tomorrow.


rosie said...

What a marvellous beauty !

Countryside Tales said...

Oh WELL DONE! I am so excited for you (and even more so because, as we know, your moths have been coming down here a day or two later ALL SUMMER LONG, and if they break that trend now I will cry).

Countryside Tales said...

PS- You should put it on the garden moth challenge blog.

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi both!

Yes, isn't it lovely. I've been happy all day.

Good luck in the next few days, CT, and yes, I must do another entry on the moth challenge. I'll probably wait 'til I do another tally of the number of different species which have come here this year, I guess before the end of the month.

btw, I misled you and the world about the dark chestnut yesterday; it was a plain and simple Chestnut. But there's a genuine Dark one a rew posts back.

all warm wishes