Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Plip plop

There is said to be nothing new under the sun and this is certainly true of my blog post headlines. Not today's, which is original, but Sunday's, which was 'Happy days are here again'.  Checking out a tiny micro which came the following day, I went back to May last year and - lo! - my headline on May 12 was 'Happy nights are here again'. Slightly wittier; but in recording terms an interesting reminder that 2015 had its slow moments in terms of moth arrivals, something which has certainly been a feature of this year until the weekend just gone.

Searching back was also useful because a midget moth which looks very much like the minuscule micro mentioned above came here last year as well, on 12 May.  The learned Ben Sale identified it as Elachista apicipunctella, a variant on a commoner elachista which is not even illustrated in the Micro Moth Bible. I will test this ID for this year's arrival with the experts on the Upper Thames Moths blog. Here are both moths:

Last year's Elachista apicipunctella
And last Sunday's
Meanwhile a very wet night did not deter some nice new arrivals, notably the delicate Least Black Arches in my top picture, one of the frailest-looking of the UK's macro moths and actually smaller than some micros. There was also this Flame Shoulder:

Common Swifts have made their 2016 debut too, moths which share a distinctive crouch but come in an impressive variety of patterns - not unusual - and sizes - less usual. My three ranged from almost stocky to the little chap photographed by my iPad Mini's camera lens for scale. Apologies for the poor focussing; if the moths are still around after breakfast, I will have another go.

Yet again, the rainshield designed by Mr and Mrs Robinson for their trap - the one I use and the Rolls Royce of the moth trap world - proved its worth. You can see from my final picture how much water seeped into the trap bowl (fortunately not harming any of its residents). But the bulb was unharmed and burning brightly when I ventured out into the monsoon at 6am to switch it off.

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