Monday, 28 April 2014

And now Four-eyes

After yesterday's ruminations on the 'eye' of a Swallow Prominent, here is a moth with specs. Guess what it's called. Yep, the Spectacle Moth. This is a prime piece of human interference; even if it had heard of spectacles, I doubt the moth would use that name itself. Its pair are made of differently patterned hair and help its actual vision not a jot.

Spectacle seen from above. Note crest like a bishop's mitre

It's been a regular visitor ever since I started this blog back in June 2008. It was the very first moth I featured. This one is interestingly early. The Moth Bible suggests that its normal flight season starts in late May. That seems to be a feature of 2014 after an almost non-winter in terms of low temperatures (rain having been a different matter). Over on his excellent Essex Moths blog, my friend and expert corrector Ben Sale is recording similar phenomena, including a Lime Hawk Moth which has visited him a remarkable 34 days earlier than in any previous year.

My other new moth for this year, last night, was this Waved Umber, above, which was tricky to photograph as it had chosen the gloomy recesses of the trap's bowl. In the case of a fat-bodied Noctuid moth, this is seldom a problem as they sleep as soundly as students after a night out and can easily be moved to lighter conditions. But the slender species such as the Waved Umber wake immediately and usually fly away, as this one did.


...and Pebble

Also among the eggboxes: two fine Prominents, above: a Pebble and a Pale, and below, two Flame Shoulders, a Brindled Pug - Update: thanks to Richard in Comments, I now know this to be an Oak-tree Pug. Much appreciated - a nicely glowing Brimstone, a Shuttle-shape Dart, four Hebrew Characters, one each of Clouded Drab, Common Quaker and Early Grey, and the Muslin Moth shown in a vaguely chiaroscura photograph - light and shade - like those stylised ones Lord Snowdon used to take of pop stars.

Flame Shoulders

Oak-tree Pug (thanks again Richard)



Finally, if any expert in the natural world's poo is reading, what climbed or landed on the rainshield and left this, below. To my eye, it looks more mammalian than bird-like. I fear for my sleeping moths and must try to get up earlier on these light mornings.


David Shenton said...

Another great post, Martin.

I think the 'rule book' on flight seasons for many moths will have to be rewritten; it is the same here, with many species a good three weeks earlier than I have previously recorded in my humble back garden.



richard bartlett said...

Hi Martin,

Your Pug looks like an Oak Tree Pug to me.


Martin Wainwright said...

Thanks v much both. Dave I very much agree about the flight season amendments being needed. Mind you, my copy of the Moth Bible is the earlier one but even so, I suspect updates are needed to the newer one.

Richard thanks v much for that. I'll be very pleased if so. Will just double check with the boffins of Upper Thames Moths

Thanks again

all warmest,