Thursday, 22 October 2015

Trouser leg

Small is beautiful, I know, but it can also be good to go large. I have to admit that I always get a kick out of anything hefty-looking in the trap and this morning my adrenalin rush was nicely satisfied by this Red Underwing.

They're common, I know, and it would have been something really special if the dappled grey V-bomber lookalike had turned out to be its much rarer relative, the Clifden Nonpareil, which has been more frequent than usual in Oxfordshire and particularly Buckinghamshire this year. You also have to carry out a certain amount of harassment to get the moth to show off its principal feature, lovely scarlet petticoats worthy of Maxim's or the Folies Bergeres.

I thought that this one had done a runner before I managed to get an underwear, sorry underwing, shot as it responded to my gentle shaking of its eggbox by taking flight. But I didn't see it go far and it was also extremely groggy, much as I am when only just woken. I looked down and, behold, there it was on my trouser leg ( I was late up today, hence the absence of my world-famous pyjamas).

Here the snap I wanted, below. I took a couple more and then hid the moth safely away from our highly inquisitive and greedy neighbourhood wren. It looks a bit of a survivor: balding on the back of its head and with part of its eft antenna gone. I guess it's been on the wing for a month or maybe more.

I was interested in yesterday's suggestion that what I thought was a Red-line Quaker is more likely a Yellow-line one. It has thrown me into confusion (what's new?) about the next two moths. I think that the second is a Red-line, but anyone any ideas about the first?

Finally, the variations of November, Pale November or Autumnal moths continue apace. Here are four different ones which shared the trap this morning, the first making advances at a Red-green Carpet which also stayed the night.


Anonymous said...

Hi Martin.

Looks like a Red-line Quaker today, I'd noticed the prominent black spots at the base of the wings of the Yellow-line in the photos I'd looked at and wondered if they were diagnostic, but the book doesn't seem to mention them, so thanks to Trent for confirming it in the previous post. I think i'm going to place my tuppence on Pale Mottled Willow for the mystery moth.

Trent Duval said...

I agree whole heartedly ... P.M.Willow and a Red-line Quaker.
The books make no mention of the black spots on Yellow-line but I have found them to be a consistent field mark. The Brick is probably more likely to be confused with Yellow-line Quaker than a Red-line, but your ID skills are ever improving Martin.
At the moment I'm making a hash out of identifying leaf mines, luckily I know a couple of experts who correct about 75% of my identifications, but on a positive note it used to be 95%

Martin Wainwright said...

Thanks so much both - Trent you've made my day with your kind comment on my iD 'skills'. As for leaf mines; I don't think I'll risk my luck in that expert field. All warm wishes as ever Martin