Tuesday, 27 June 2017

White Satin night

 Most UK moths take quite a time to warm up for flight, a drawback for them but a bonus for the amateur photographer inspecting the dozy ranks in the moth trap of a morning. Smaller and more fragile species, including many micros, can be skittery and many make their escape as soon as I lift out the bulbholder and the transparent cowl. But this morning, with lovely warm weather at the peak of the moth season, that still left hundreds of deeper sleepers.

The White Satin pictured today was one of them, except that it was dozing on a nearby wall rather than inside the trap itself. My efforts to entice it into a better place for photographs finally snapped its patience and its wings started whirring. This allowed me to time the process - one minute seven seconds from first whirr (followed rapidly afterwards by first blurr in photo terms. Luckily the iPad, which is standing in for our jammed digital camera, had time to focus.

The White Satin is only locally common but has been here before, flaunting its zebra crossing legs and reminding me of the evocative Moody Blues' single of 1967. I was 17 then and that was the last time I sculled - until Monday this week, when I had my first refresher lesson on Hinksey Park boating lake because I'm taking the highly enjoyable occupation up again - half a century later.  I'm glad to say that although sculling boats are much narrower and I am a tad wider than in 1967, I stayed dry.

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