Saturday, 10 June 2017

Home again

Back home, and familiar friends are waiting. I can never resist taking photographs of hawk moths and these two Poplars were lustrous specimens, newly-emerged by the look of it, a month after my first examples came calling this year. I am surprised not have come across Poplar Hawk caterpillars during my long years of light-trapping. Nature is very good at hiding her treasures, even the common ones.

My second, beautiful, silvery moth, was the first ever to settle on the small woven carrier handle of the light-trap bowl, which provides a change from my usual eggbox backgrounds, much as I like the differences between the shades and brands of those. I always have difficulty distinguishing between the various types of 'Beauty' species of which I am sure that this is one. I will go for Willow Beauty while checks continue over morning tea.

Above is a delightful micromoth which I met in Suffolk, but a little better-focussed this time: Pseudargyrotoza conwagana. And to the left a pretty but slightly tattered Common White Wave, I think - as with the Beauty, there are several very similar moths in this category and - as regular visitors know - I am often wrong.

Now we have a most enjoyable oddity in the UK moth world, the Barred Straw which rests in a mini-version of the stance familiar in the Poplar Haw, with the hindwings tucked under the forewings, the latter held well-forward. In the Poplar Hawk, actually, the hindwings often stick out in front of the forewings; but the Barred Straw has the edge in terms of looking like an alien. I put this photo on my Instagram feed, suggesting that it was the new leader of Mrs May's Brexit negotiating team. For all the good that they will do our lives and economy, and especially our children's and grandchildren's, it might as well be.

I shall report back on this next moth shortly; I was fairly sure that I spotted it in the Micromoth Bible last night just before I fell asleep and the book slid off the bed, but I need to double-check and don't want to disturb Penny quite yet. I did, however, prudently type in the name of the second micro below before conking out. I think that it is Eudonia lacustrata. Update: after consulting the books and my What Moth Is That? page, which was surprisingly useful, I am pretty sure that the first one is Udea lutealis, but I'm double-checking with the friendly experts on the Upper Thames Moths blog.

Finally, a sight which I did not want to see. We get a lot of birdstrike on our windows here, largely I think because we have a lot of birds. We also have a lot of windows and their glazing is such that you can watch a bird hopping about directly outside, and even move around yourself, without its being able to see. This is great but birdstrike is the downside. Poor Great-spotted Woodpecker. RIP.

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