Monday, 30 June 2014

End of the Month (Part 1)

It's the last day of the month and I must try to remember to say 'White rabbits' before anything else tomorrow morning. But, more important, I am making an attempt to get all or as many as possible of my June arrivals identified before July brings a whole lot more.

I have been browsing the Bible, checking with the sages on the Upper Thames Moths blog and Googling away Hants Moths' Flying Tonight is particularly helpful) and here are the results. I will try to pick up on the inevitable laggards and obstinacies tomorrow and no doubt subsequently, but let's crack as many as we can.

Actually I've headed the post with a moth that anybody, even myself, can identify, the Buff Tip, just because its resting place outside the trap struck me as picturesque.  It's followed by a delicate Small Fan-footed Wave (which I suggested on the UTM blog might be a Dotted Border Wave, causing some consternation. I had not realised how rare the latter are round here (and indeed everywhere). That's followed by the eccentrically named Single-dotted Wave which seems to me to deserve the title Multi-dotted or at least -splodged.

Next comes the beautifully ribbed Smoky Wainscot - I think but am checking - Update: yes, it is -  and then those common but smart characters, the Common and Dingy Footmen.


Dingy (seems a bit mean but still)

There are lot of dingies in the moth lexicon; I think some influential 18th century entomologist must have had a liking for the word. Nearly always, it is applied unfairly in my view. I thought, for example, that the next moth was a Dingy Shears, which from the Bible picture doesn't seem at all dingy to me. I would also call it the Claw, rather than the Shears. But these thoughts are a sideline because it is actually our old friend, the Clouded Brindle.

Now for an old faithful whose sheer numbers in Leeds used to drive me bats. It's much less frequent here and so I have grown to like it again: the Large Yellow Underwing.  It's followed by the unusually larger micro Udea olivalis which is bigger than several macro moths.


At regular intervals in the Moth Bible, you come across the disconcerting information that further progress in identifying very similar species requires close inspection, or more often dissection, of the genitalia. Shying away from this, I can only say that the first moth below is either a Grey or Dark Dagger and the second a toss-up between a Marbled Minor, Tawny Marbled Minor or Rufous Marbled Minor. Sorry.

Whatever their uncertainties, those are beautifully patterned species. Alas the same cannot be said for my next moth which the UTM experts reckon to be almost certainly a Brown Scallop, although they cannot be absolutely definite just from the photograph. Poor featureless creature. But no doubt it has other virtues.

It's mean to hammer the point home by following on with a lovely moth which has the bonus of a beautiful name, but that it was I am going to do. Behold the Small Seraphim, in all its gently delicate splendour.

Right, I will stop for now but I have another 19 pictures to sort out. Back later, time permitting. Thanks for your patience with this somewhat train-spotting exercise before June calls it a day.

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