Friday, 10 July 2015

Hot moth. cool butterfly

My, isn't the weather fantastic? And here's a moth appropriate to furnace heat: the Phoenix. I've no reason to believe, however, that my visitor has been through the fiery experiences of the legendary bird. Its life cycle involves blameless browsing on blackcurrant and gooseberry (leaves only; they leave the fruit for us), followed by pupation in a neatly spun leaf web.

It does have a saucy way of resting, found only in the male, whose purpose I will leave to your imagination. Meanwhile, it has been an excellent day for butterflies: Comma, Painted Lady, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and this nice little Hedge Brown which I kept disturbing as I hacked away at our over-ebullient hawthorn hedge.

While doing this, I was pondering another butterfly which emerges around now in Oxfordshire and which we never got in our garden in Leeds. Lo and behold, as I put the tools away for the day, one of the very species fluttered prettily on to our flowerbed and I managed to get a pic, albeit from a distance away.

It is a Marbled White, a flying chequers board whose name and colouring evokes cool, shaded halls in a Roman villa, a retreat for the toga-ed, verse-composing occupants from the Mediterranean sun.

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