Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Stately home moths (Part 2)

Continuing my account of a weekend's trapping at Cavendish Hall in Suffolk, here is the familiar bowl and lamp in its unfamiliar setting. What a cosy place to check out local moths! Very many thanks to our friends who invited Penny and myself to the Big Birthday, and to the Landmark Trust which saves such historic properties by running them as holiday lets.

I wasn't sure whether it would be practicable to operate the trap, with possible problems over running a wire outside without leaving a window or door open, or keeping fellow guests awake with my wondrously bright mercury vapour light. But all went well, thanks to a small, limited-opening loo window and plenty of shrubby cover. And the moths played along excellently too.

Update: In view of my faltering ID reputation, I took the precaution of sending a list and link to this blog to Tony Prichard, county moth recorder for Suffolk, who has very kindly and quickly replied with some corrections. I will insert these within the posts but essentially they are that the 'Rustic Shoulder-knots' in the next post - Stately Moths 3 - are in fact Nutmegs; the two Dingy Footmans (Footmen?) below are actually Orange Footmans/men and the micro which I ID-ed in the next post as Agriphila straminella is in fact Chrysoteuchia culmella. Very many thanks to Tony.

The most numerous were old familiars which have also been thronging to the trap at home in recent weeks: Treble Lines, Heart and Darts, Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Marbled  Minors, White and Buff Ermines, Common Swifts, Pale Tussocks and a pleasantly large population of Figure of Eighty moths, one shown here:

This is an excellent moth to show intrigued friends new to the game, with the strange little marking which looks so much like an 80 (on the other side, an 08). How has natural selection arrived at this? Discuss.

Here are some of the other moths which had us all chattering around the breakfast table as our friends inspected the eggboxes and were intrigued by the number, beauty and interest of their small fellow-guests:

Light Emerald

A couple of Poplar Greys. On all three mornings, there were two of these on the bulbholder.

Dingy Footman; rather a mean name, but still. Update: and not one applicable to this moth which is actually an Orange Footman - as per Update higher in the post. It is a bit early for Dingy which has more of a melon-pip shape. 
Here's another one, even less deserving of the title. Update: it is another one - ie Orange, not Dingy. Thanks again to Tony 
Pale Tussock, snuggled in the hedge by the light.
Common White Wave; a delicate bride of a moth.
Swallow Prominent; you can imagine this influencing aerodynamic racing car design.
Scorched Wing, a moth whose de-focussing 'dazzle' camouflage has always intrigued me.
Poplar Hawk, a general favourite, here somewhat overflowing from its egg-cone berth.
Drabber than the male: a female Common Swift

And here's a male, in shadow but still showing more glam.

The Small Magpie, one of the larger of the UK's micro-moths. Plus my attractive new nightie, a birthday present from P's 98-year-old Mum who lives with us and also takes an interest in entomology.
Another trap refusenick - a Buff Ermine which preferred to doze on the lawn.
Plus a second one, which did venture into Eggboxland.
And finally their relative the lovely White Ermine, which you feel would be at home in the House of Lords.  (A hard-working peer was of the human company, so this was appropriate)

Final episode tomorrow. You are missing nothing from here back in Oxfordshire where the weather has turned foul.

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