Friday, 29 September 2017

Rush hour

Towards the end of August, the UK's summer glut of moths begins to die away and there is a pause of several weeks when numbers and variety in the trap may both be scanty. Come mid to late September, however, things look up. We are in the middle of a second rush hour.

Some of the moths are dull and brown but the seasonal colourway is always cheered up by the yellows and oranges of the Sallow family.  Perched on the stem of one of our pumpkins, above, we have three different members: from left to right, the Barred Sallow, the Pink-barred Sallow and a straightforward Sallow. Then to the left on its own, a Centre-barred Sallow. And that still leaves the Orange, Dusky-lemon and Pale-lemon still to pay me a call.
The next character, seen here looking like a High Priest at his or her devotions with an acolyte of the same species prone below, is a relative of the Sallows - a Lunar Underwing, a moth which comes like paint or fabric in three different swatches, pale brown, tawny-brown and, as in this case, grey.

Next, behold that delightful and delicate creature, the Light Emerald, followed by a typical snap of an eggbox with two Black Rustics (far and away the most common overnighter just now with 35 in the trap last night), a Setaceous Hebrew Character, a Common Wainscot and two Willow Beauties (I think; my nerve fails me with this type of moth).

A small assembly of Black Rustics comes next and then a series of grey/brown moths which are easy to dismiss but actually have very delicate and subtle patterns on their wings, if you spare them a little time:  am immigrant Dark Swordgrass, a Brown-spot Pinion below something I cannot identify, a Beaded Chestnut (I think), a Lunar Underwing of the pale brown persuasion and an Autumnal Rustic.

We need to feature a micro and here is a tiny little Light Brown Apple moth, aka Epiphyas postvittana, followed by two of the smaller macros, both common but both delightful: the copper-blotched form of the Common Marbled Carpet and the Red-green Carpet to the left.

 Nearly there: I'd just like to show the two forms of the Burnished Brass yet again, one of my favourite moths and still the subject of taxonomists' debate as to whether the juncta variety with the shining bands joined by a horizontal strip should be classified as a different species from aurea, where the areas of sheen are divided by a solid brown band. Both these specimens obligingly gave me an illuminating view from above as they warmed up to fly away

What have we left? A rather lovely example of the pinkish form of the Common Wainscot with its delicate ribbing; and a trio of that excellent, rakishly streamlined moth, the Angle Shades.

1 comment:

AlexW said...

Nature documentary narration:

"Thousands and thousands of mature adults emerge from their pupae all over the autumnal UK. As the air cools more and more every day, the short-lived reproductives of more than sixty genera must scramble to plant their fertilized eggs onto their hosts before first frost..."

The specific way such documentaries narrate and film their subjects is so wonderful, even though some of my facts are incorrect