Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Kitchen moths - and a political starlet

Prime Minister right, butterfly left
This has been a good year for 'celebrity moths' which take it upon themselves to intervene in major human events. We had another example yesterday when an insect took an interest in Theresa May's speech to the Confederation of British Industry. "A moth!" I cried to Penny as we dozed in front of the evening TV news. Actually, although it jinked about in the fierce lighting like a moth, I am sure that it was a butterfly, either a Small Tortoiseshell or a Peacock.

As I've mentioned here in the past, these butterflies enjoy a superstitious value in the theatre world, where their appearance at a premiere is supposed to portend good luck. I hope that this is the case but the explanation is more prosaic. These two species are great hibernators in the UK and the cracks and crannies of old theatres, and especially those vast and usually folded stage curtains, make a perfect place for a winter sleep.

In the kitchen, meanwhile, Penny had earlier let out her own cry of "Moths!" when no fewer than six Autumnal or November moths (Update: or were they? See end of post) settled on the outside of the windows to watch her making spaghetti. Her are some reflective shots of my attempt to record them all:

I hadn't been going to light the trap because of heavy rain forecast overnight, but this little invasion prompted me to do so. I prudently switched it off at 11pm when it was still dry and - relatively - warm. I was wise to do as the rain duly came in the wee, small hours.

The only other thing that came, in trapping terms, was a nice December moth, shown at the foot of the post. Interestingly, although the trap was within 50 yards of the kitchen window, none of the Autumn/November moths flew over to investigate. Mind you, no one was making spaghetti in the trap, so there was less for them to see.

Update:  many thanks to Richard in Comments for pointing out that the visitors were not Autumnal/November Moths but Winter Moths, my first this year. More on this in the next post, but many thanks, Richard.


richard bartlett said...

Hi Martin,

All of the geometers are Winter Moths.



Martin Wainwright said...

Thanks very much Richard. They're my first this year, I am very hopeless in this department - keep struggling to improve but to little avail. I'll update the post when I get hoem. All v best, M