Monday, 14 September 2015


The series of three nights which this year constituted National Moth Night have come to an end, and again I am leading off with a butterfly picture. That is because this year's NMM has been slightly more profitable for me in butterfly terms than the routine moths in the trap; a welcome blaze of colour in the mid-September sun.

The Red Admiral is irresistible so far as taking photographs is concerned and yesterday it was followed closely, in terms of attractiveness, by a vivid, russet Comma. Both are spanking new specimens with their wing edges unfrayed and the Red Admiral sporting the delicate white rim which tends to disappear as an insect gets older and encounters all the hazards of a butterfly life.

While photographing the Red Admiral on a buddleia outside our local pub, I did have one excellent moth experience to carry with me from National Moth Night - or in this case, to be precise, National Moth Day. A small but urgent movement by the bonnet of a parked car alerted me to the presence of a Hummingbird Hawk moth, the first that I have seen here this year. This means that I have now recorded all the hawk moths which come here regularly except the Lime, with the added bonus of a Pine Hawk and of course the mighty Convolvulus Hawk spotted at the Cornish wedding by Penny. My attempt to photograph the HBH was less successful. Here is the only picture I managed in my excitement and confusion, but I don't think the insect is in it.

So far as the more routine guests are concerned, the trap was busy but entirely with predictable visitors, such as these Large Yellow Underwings clustered companionably in an eggbox cone, a favourite habit of the species. Although extremely familiar, these are interesting moths; among their other attributes, which include a flashy pair of bright orange lower wings, is an ability to send out sonic counter-signals which frustrate bats.

here too, finally, is yet another colour variant of the Common Wainscot, a simply but gracefully shaped and patterned moth.

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