Tuesday, 1 July 2014

White rabbits! And some white moths. And many other colours. Welcome July!

And so we roll on into July, and the moths have put on a vintage show to mark the transition. Morning tea deadlines approach and I have a busy day in prospect, so I will not try to identify everything now. But it is a pleasure to head the post with this striking creature - I think a form of the Mottled Beauty which also arrived in its more familiar conventional garb, as shown in the next picture.

We also have eggs! For the first time since the magnificent Emperor laid her clutch (now big, fat, thriving caterpillars in our shed), I found a little pile among the eggboxes, bright green and just like the grapes which are starting to ripen in our greenhouse. Maybe they will hatch on the Fourth of July and I can consider them to be honorary Americans.

The change in the month and the start of a new stage of summer, which is proving pretty good in the UK this year, has also been marked by a flutter of Waves, the delicate white or cream moths whose relatively large and graceful wings remind me of the designs of Laura Ashley (as worn by Penny in our courting days). Here is a sequence, ending with a Lime-speck Pug, one of the prime contenders for British moths' Who Can Look Most Like a Bird Poo? competition. A very clever form of camouflage among the real things left by the pesky birds which sit on top of the trap until I and the camera arrive.

Common White Wave
Riband Wave
And another in a slightly different colourway
And a third, a little different again

The Lime-speck was one of a number of moths which preferred to enjoy the fresh air of a crisp morning outside the trap; here are three more, ending with a Spindle Ermine micro, the tiny moth whose caterpillars can enmesh whole trees in sticky thread when they spin their cocoons.

A faded Fan-foot, I think
Willow Beauty

Nestling at the foot of the bulbholder, there was also one of the first moths I got to know as a small boy: the Silver Y, which flies by day as well as night and will be a familiar feature of our garden, and many others, until the end of the Summer.

Another very welcome familiar face from previous years, the Mother of Pearl micro which is much bigger than many macro moths, also made its first appearance of 2014. The colouring of this moth is beautifully subtle and well worthy of its name with a blurring effect shared by the little Muslin Footman which continues to be very common in the trap.

Elsewhere in the world of micros, I will have to spend a happy time ID-ing this little speck. You can see from the second picture just how little he or she is. The blue things in the background are my pyjama-covered knees.

And so the brown and grey brethren, headed by a plump male Drinker to go with the big, fat female who came a couple of nights ago.  The others, apart from the Beautiful Hook-tip which concludes the sequence, will get their names from me by and by, but I must take my leave now because the kettle sings. Update: I've added some names in captions; more later.

Large Twin-spot Carpet
Light Arches
Clouded Brindle, I think

The Clay
Common or Lesser Common Rustic, methinks


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