I was rung yesterday by Sky TV to see if I was free to talk about a big increase in moths, which normally I would have been happy to do. Specially as Butterfly Conservation issued rather gloomy news about butterflies the day before and this sounded like a chance for ray of my unquenchable (if sometimes annoying) optimism.
Luckily, I was in a meeting all morning, having lunch with a cousin and then hopping on a train from York back down South which I could not miss, so I had to say No. And I'm glad that I did because - as I should perhaps have guessed - was not really about moths, in the sense of the delightful species described and illustrated here (and I'll come to the pics above and below in a moment), but about just one moth: Tinea bisselliella, the much feared and despised 'Clothes Moth'.
I am hostile to this as anyone else' It is simply a pest and a very uninteresting moth in appearance, to boot. But it should not be treated as a type for all the wondrous other inhabitants of the mothy world. When authoritative texts such as the Bible or William Shakespeare speak of 'moth and rust' and the like, they should really have inserted the word 'clothes' before 'moth'.
"It's a bit late for that now," you may say, and I have to agree. Any attempt to bowdlerise either text in the past has ended unsatisfactorily. So I shall pass on to the other point which I would like to make today: that although it is getting late in the year, there is a great diversity of moths still around.
From the top, we have today a Straw Dot in a nice little eggbox pod with a porthole, a Green-brindled Crescent (I think) beautifully camouflaged on a table top, a Red-green Carpet doing its perky display and then seen from above, a Red Underwing goaded by myself into showing its petticoat and, below, the year's first November or Pale November Moth, right, accompanied by a Snout.
Other visitors in the past two nights have included Blair's Shoulder-knot and the three slightly different-looking Red-line Quakers below:
A couple of micros, now, which I hold to be a somewhat gloom-shrouded Carnation Tortrix, Cacoecimorpha pronubana, an austerely grey Acleris sparsana and a more cheerful-looking Light Brown Apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana, all long-standing regulars.
Finally, a very worn Shuttle-shape Dart, a Brown-spot Pinion and a Vine's Rustic. At least, those are my best guesses for these browny-greyey types.