Saturday, 2 September 2017

Senior citizen

Many years ago, I stayed with an uncle and aunt in Suffolk, along with a cousin who shared my enthusiasm for butterflies and moths. We boys took to 'treacling' trees in their garden - this being way before the days when a moth trap became an affordable reality. Nothing much happened until the night before we were due to go home when an enormous moth appeared and set to guzzling the sweet and sleep-inducing mixture.

Having studied our moth books, we both knew what it was and we rushed indoors shouting: "We've caught an Old Lady!"  This caused some consternation as my uncle, a rural vicar, had two ancient women members of a previous congregation staying with them, known to everyone including themselves, as Baldy and Nye.

The initial reaction to our bursting-in was that some peculiar mishap involving us had befallen either Nye or Baldy. But eventually the truth of the matter dawned and we all went to bed happy with this moderately spectacular capture.

The second Old Lady of my acquaintance after the Suffolk one; a moth which we found on our car (as blue as my specs cloth on which today's OL is perching) in Leeds in July 2012.
Since then, I had seen an Old Lady twice until this morning when the tally rose to three. Turning over the boxes, I had almost reached the end and found a fairly routine collection of visitors - albeit including the lovely Frosted Orange and September Thorn shown below; and then I found the large arrival shown in my first four pictures. He or she had tried to snuggle into an eggbox cone alongside a Large Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing and a Snout, but his or her wings were so large that the attempt to creep into the furthest recesses was doomed.

Also in the trap this morning, among scores of yellow underwings and Setaceous Hebrew Characters: a Rosy Rustic, An Orange Swift alongside a Flounced Rustic, and another Snout, this one not in bed with an Old Lady.


Ela said...

How nice to see so many moths !!
Fantastic photos !!

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi Ela - I'm so glad that you enjoy them. The UK season is getting on a bit but there are still plenty of lovely ones abaout and will be for a while yet.

All warm wishes