Thursday, 23 April 2015

Othello, Act 2, Scene 2

Happy Birthday Shakespeare! And in case you are wondering, my title refers to the stage direction: 'Enter a Herald with a proclamation, people following'. In my case, there was no proclamation as moths cannot speak, but appropriately for the day - which is also St George's Day - the Herald Moth above entered the trap.

I'm sorry that it isn't a brilliant picture, as I continue to get to grips with our new camera, but you can always Google for better ones of this very fine moth. It appeals to me because it is so different from the general run both in colouring and particularly in shape. It has the honour of appearing on the spine of the Moth Bible where Richard Lewington's masterly painting has it in its usual pose, much resembling a shield from the era when heralds entered with proclamations.

My specimen is a bit tatty which isn't surprising as this species spends the winter as an adult, holed up in outbuildings - or, as the Bible says romantically, caves. It's a common enough moth in the UK and I hope that you get to see one for yourself.

Elsewhere in the world of flying things, we have been adopted by a beautiful whiteish mallard duck which gets bolder by the day, as you can see in the second picture. We're devoutly hoping that she rears a brood here to add to the many which frequent the Oxford Canal, about 100 yards from our garden as the duck flies. In our two summers here, there has been a pure white mallard on the canal and the hamlet is notable for whiteish ducks and drakes, presumably her descendants.

Ducks don't seem to fly a lot, so much as waddle, and apparently they are rather careless parents. Ours has already laid one egg - second picture - which she promptly abandoned. We were hoping to eat it but magpies or jackdaws got there first. Maybe this was a practice run for the duck herself

Observe my wain;
appropriate for a Wainwright
Now that part of our time is spent on grandparental duties, we are great experts on small children's songs which are often addictive. With that warning, I much recommend the strange but compulsive Duck Song. I'd much like to meet its author one day. The YouTube version to which I've linked has had 186 million views.

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