Sunday, 11 June 2017

Moustachio moth

If moths could comment on human beings, there would no doubt be many equivalents of myself who looked at us despairingly and threw in the towel when it came to telling people apart. I find many categories of UK moth with differences in patterning so subtle that I fail to distinguish them time and again, though I do try, honest. But, as Penny will tell you, I often have the same problem with human beings, even when I have met them previously.

Which is all a long way of celebrating and thanking distinctive moths such as the Buff Ermine shown above and especially the wonderfully strongly-marked, gloriously-moustachioed version of it shown in the first picture with a standard companion and in the second with a Beautiful Golden Y (I am fairly sure; the distinction between the Beautiful and Plain Golden Ys is a classic example of wobbly ground. Thy are seriously alike and to compound my anxiety, Dave Wilton, the retired flight traffic controller who is one of my most helpful experts on the Upper Thames Moths blog, says there that he has plenty of Plain Golden Ys in his garden in Buckinghamshire but only usually gets one visit a year from a Beautiful one. Ah me, but I think that I am right.

Elsewhere in the trap, I was very pleased to welcome my first Treble Brown Spot on home ground. You may recall that I found my first-ever only last week in Suffolk but this is the debut here in Oxfordshire. Not only that, but it perched on the trap's transparent cowl and so I was able to photograph it from below (below).

For the rest, the trap was very full of moths, mostly familiar and ranging from the little micro below, which I hope to ID over morning tea, to a slumbering Privet Hawk. 

Early dawn means that the moths are often more wakeful when I reach them and one bonus of this was the chance to get an unusual picture of a lively Flame, a species which almost always appears at rest like this:

This one's liveliness enabled me to get this bigger picture, below, which shows more of the pattern - and also, I think but I am having to rely on my iPad Mini for pictures at the moment so the quality is not the best, it looks as though the little 'eye' contains a scrap of that tiny piece of rare UK moth colour, blue. Much like the Straw Dot which I featured the other day.  Once equipped with my camera again, I will try to make this clearer, especially as blue is my favourite colour.  

Here are some of the other slumberers:

Clouded Border
A handsome Snout
Silver Y getting ready for take-off
My thumb and a Middle-barred Minor (I think)
A Marbled/Tawny/Rufous Minor, left, and (I think) a Least Minor
A Turnip Moth, I think, with its closely-wrapped wings

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