Monday, 7 September 2015

Well wrapped-up

The days are suddenly nice and sunny again but the nights are - brrrrr - cold! Clear skies are the cause of both the pleasant and the chilly weather. Luckily, the most interesting new arrival in the last few days is well equipped to cope.

It's this Pale Eggar, a moth which hasn't paid me a visit before. Cosily wrapped up in fur with leggings to match, it doesn't appear to have any qualms about night-time temperatures falling below seven degrees Centigrade. Its protective clothing takes a while to mature; Pale Eggar caterpillars sometimes hibernate for their first winter before pupating for the second. As an adult, they seldom live more than a few weeks.

Another handsome arrival is the Feathered Gothic, above, a moth which called at round this time in 2013 but gave me and the trap a miss last year. Barred Sallows, below, are also plentiful among the eggboxes, bright little jewels in orange and rusty red.

As a background to these stars, the trap comes up every morning with lots of Large Yellow Underwings and plenty of grey-brown brethren like the following four:

The rakish Angle Shades is paying regular visits too; check out the beautifully subtle olive and pinky-mauve colouring on its wings below:

Ditto the Burnished Brass which I can never resist showing:

A Rosy Rustic pops in regularly too:

And there is no shortage of that moth often seen fluttering around in foliage during the day: the Silver Y.

Finally, an unusual visitor among the slumbering moths: a Large White caterpillar. By coincidence, I've just been reading an account by the Scottish writer Candia McWilliam of how Naomi Mitchison entertained African visitors to her Scottish mansion by sending the children out to collect bowls of such 'Cabbage White' catties, dousing them in flower and frying them.  I remember people in Zimbabwe eating fried caterpillars when I was on my gap year teaching there. They were like rather plump crisps.

No comments: