Thursday, 10 April 2014

Purple prose

A succession of dull days and cold nights has left me with little to say. The moths have come, but only the everyday procession of Quakers, Drabs and the like, relieved by occasional Brindled Beauties but nothing else.

This morning that changed with the arrival of my first Purple Thorn of the year, a notable and striking moth seen above with a Hebrew Character. The latter have slowly moved towards a majority of individual species in the eggboxes, finally ousting the Common Quakers from top spot over the weekend. This morning they cemented their lead with 21 altogether, far ahead of the five Common Quakers, five Powdered Quakers, four Clouded Drabs, one Small Quaker and a March Moth.

The Purple Thorn is one of very few UK moths which holds its wings at rest in the manner of a butterfly, folded above its body as in the picture. The position gives it an air of alertness, further emphasised by that beady eye.  I also had four Brindle Beauties dozing away - or possibly five; I'm not sure whether this battered chap above is a fifth, or a Small or Pale BB which has managed to last this long. Expert views gratefully received as ever. Update - thanks for kind assistance: it's a Brindled Beauty albeit a smallish one.

Other news: the first Orange Tip butterfly of 2014 fluttered across the lawn this morning; and Penny and I had a marvellous day yesterday looking a the stunning Snakeshead Fritillaries in Magdalen College water meadows. Here are couple of pics. The gardens are open to the public 1-6pm  and this Sunday all takings go to the National Gardens Scheme.

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