Thursday, 29 September 2016

Holiday moths

Sorry for the silence here but I've been away on holiday - a working holiday as Penny and I were there as Useful Grandparents. We had a week on Skiathos which we last visited 33 years ago. It's changed, inevitably, but the lovely beaches round Koukounaries have not been spoiled and the interior of the island is still mysterious and very green.

Very Riband Wavy

This looks like a Portland Riband Wave; very rare in the UK but widespread on the Continent

My moth investigations, encouraged as ever by our granddaughter, were mostly focussed on a number of outside lights fixed on whitewashed walls, which produced a handful of doing overnighters every morning. None of them are exactly riveting and the last one, above, is the good old Silver Y, star of this year's European Cup football final.  The best moth was scooting around by day - the Hummingbird Hawk shown in my first picture.

This is very like our micro Endotricha flammealis


A Wainscot of some kind?

A Garden Pebble methinks, or Continental relative thereof - with an ant providing a handy scale

I have never seen one of these at rest, apart from one in our greenhouse a couple of years ago which was not merely at rest but at Eternal Rest, hence its immobility. They are desperately hard to photograph, at least for an amateur like me. I just pointed the camera at the jasmine on which the moth was nectaring and clicked and clicked.

At least one picture wasn't too bad; and while Hummingbird-hunting, I cam across the pretty moth above, resting quietly on a leaf.  It has the look of a faded Continental relative of our Bloodvein. I'm also pleased with these butterfly pics below: a Lang's Short-tailed Blue, underside and top-wings, and a Painted Lady.

Other butterflies included the Small Copper below and a Wall whose wings on a beautiful day of glaring, hot sunshine did very funny things to my digital image.

And here are some Geranium Bronzes, a species so prolific on Skiathos that they rise like little scraps of flower petal as you brush through the maquis. This butterfly is that rarity, a new British species. First arriving in a nursery's consignment of geraniums from Spain or Portugal in 1997, it is now on the UK list although its ability to survive our winters is uncertain.

Finally, a 'looper' caterpillar which was spinning its way down from the jasmine when I interrupted its progress for a photograph. I tried to snap it in dangling situ but it never stopped oscillating from side to side, either because of the sea breezes or due to its mighty hauling and spinning efforts.

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