Thursday, 25 June 2015

Off the wall

I tend to think of my younger sister and her family when moths like the one above fly in. It is a Shoulder-striped Wainscot, one of a large tribe named after the type of wooden panelling whose neat grooves were thought by 18th century equivalents of myself to resemble the moths' simple, veined wing patterns. None of my sister's family are interior decorators but a neat combination of her maiden and married names - the latter being Scott - has been converted into their email address.

A second newcomer for the year last night appears next to part of the Wainscot family in the Moth Bible: this Small Dotted Buff, left and above, a male with the longer wings and simpler pattern which marks him out from his wife.

Good things come in threes - at least, sometimes they do - and a further family member joined the pair among the eggboxes. Shown below, it is, I think, a Common Wainscot. I speak with hesitation, as usual with somewhat variable types of moth, and hope that I will be kindly corrected if wrong.

I am also uncertain about the next character - first two photos below - whose markings don't seem to tally, quite, with the Heaert and Dart or Heart and Club which at first I assumed him or her to be. I will stick my neck out, though, and say that the moth after him, or her, is a Double Square-spot.  Here's hoping.

Elsewhere in the colour spectrum, I was pleased to see the Ribvand Wave, below, a moth which comes in two swatches: this one and a creamier variant whose ribbon is a becoming shade of beige.

Now for another bout of silvery-grey-confusion. I'm beaten by all three arrivals below although I think that the third one may be a Common Rustic. I haven't given up yet - it's early in the day - and they are pretty distinctive. But I've yet to match them with any of Mr Lewington's fine portraits.

Finally, I have often mused on here about the Peppered Moth and the effectiveness of its camouflage, but that failed to save the one whose forlorn remnants were by the trap this morning. A bat attack, I suspect, as I was up before the birds this morning, taking advantage of these lovely, long days.

And finally, finally, this picture of a female Holly Blue down at my granddaughter's house in London is doubly impressive, to my mind at least, because I took it with the said granddaughter in one arm and the camera in the other. She was very pleased with the butterfly, although her word for 'butterfly' is not yet quite the same as ours. I can say 'female' with unusual confidence because of the smoky black tip to the forewing which you can glimpse in the picture.


Anonymous said...

Hi Martin

My guesses are that you're correct with first two.That if it's not a Common Wainscot then maybe a Smoky Wainscot? I personally would be inclined to call the next one an amazingly vividly marked Heart & Dart. Again, I think you're correct with Double Square-spot and Riband Wave.

The first one of the three mystery moths I immediately thought Sycamore. However, the kidney mark didn't seem right so I considered others. I thought Daggers, but they all seem to have clear streaks this doesn't. All the other grey ones seemed to look wrong or be incorrect datewise. I then noticed what looked to be two small Vs under the collar, which is what made me think it's a worn out Tawny Shears. Looking at the other two for less time I think they may be also Tawny Shears although I could be wrong on all three and look quite mad. Fingers crossed!

Martin Wainwright said...

Hello there and once again, major thanks for your enthusiastic help. The Heart & Dart is rather extraordinary, isn't it? I know they vary a lot, but I've never seen one quite like that

Your suggestion for the grey mysteries is very ingenious. Dave Wilton wondered if one was Sycamore but the consensus on Upper Thames is that they are probably all Large Nutmeg, with various factors typical of me coming into play, such as my camerawork producing colours which may not have been there. I blame digital photography. I'm returning to the subject tomorrow cos in the process of rephotographing the Grey Three this afternoon, I came across a nice little Muslin Footman which I'd overlooked at the godforsake hour of 5.30am.

Many thanks again and all v best


Anonymous said...

Agh, Large Nutmeg defeats me again! Believe me this is not the first time. One of my favourite things about your blog (aswell as your often enlightening ramblings), is that with your genuinely knowledgeable commenters I get to find out if any of my wild stabs and poorly researched guesses turn out to be correct - unlike with the moths I see. So, many thanks to you and many thanks to them.

MartinWainwright said...

Excellent - please keep the guesses coming. Ben Sale is the prince among my commentors and his blog - - is well worth checking out

all v best, M