Monday, 16 June 2014

Thermidor comes early

A distinguished gentleman caller visited the trap last night - this Lobster Moth with its fine fur coat and bristling moustache of antennae. Most interesting to me, though, is how early it has arrived compared to last year, when my first (and only) Lobster arrived on 1 July - the post is here if you'd like to read it. It includes a pic of the extraordinarily lobster-like caterpillar which gives the moth its otherwise puzzling name; and even a small poem I wrote on the subject.

This is in keeping with the general trend this year, with almost everything arriving at least a fortnight earlier than in 2013. Why should this be so? I guess we need to look at the weather over the last six months; an exceptionally warm winter and a lovely sunny start to summer.

The word 'lobster' associates in my mind with 'Thermidor', the most famous of the shellfish's recipes and also the name of the French Revolutionaries' eleventh month. This didn't begin until 19/20 July and my moth is a Lobster Prairial, the month spanning May 20/21 - June 18/19, with Messidor coming in between. Complicated lot, those French Revolutionaries.

This is a male lobster. They are the only sex with the TV aerial antennae (metaphor morning eh?) and females seldom come to light. The trap was overflowing with other moths including a Pebble Prominent in fine condition, a species which has been coming for over two months now, lots and lots of Hearts and Darts and Buff Ermines, and the delicate Ribvand Wave and Common White Wave and  below. Seen beside the Lobster, they inevitably prompt thoughts of Beauty and the Beast. But a lovable old beast, for all that.

Oh and finally, a beautifully understated visitor, below, of the kind which I can never ID. But I'm going to guess a Pale Mottled Willow. Update: wrongly. It's a Mottled Rustic. At least I got Mottled right...

No comments: