Sunday, 3 June 2018

They that are last

It oftens happens that the very last moth that I find in the trap is the best of the day. Arthur Koestler and the like would no doubt debate interestingly on whether this coincidence is real or imagined; is it just that the last has a status, like the first, which the 27th, 43rd or 76th etc all lack?

I do not know. But it was the case this morning after a night spent by the trap balanced on a wall, a little precariously but snugly held by a many-branched hawthorn alongside. I chose this elevated spot in the hope that the light would act as a beacon to moths which may not always frequent my garden. I can't say that this policy was specially successful but it was lovely to find the glowing presence of an Oak Hook-tip right at the bottom of the bowl, hidden under the final eggbox to be removed. Unfortunately it wouldn't move from this spot, where the black plastic background plays pop with my iPad Mini's camera. I tried to entice it on to a scrap of eggbox but that was enough to make it flutter away. I've had one in the trap a few times, both here in Oxfordshire and in Leeds, but they are rare enough visitors to make my day.

Next up: the velvety creature above, the first Beauty of the year, large-winged moths with delicate variations on the sort of clothing worn by wealthy old women in Victorian times. This is a Mottled Beauty and a very lovely one; freshly-emerged, because they start flying at the beginning of June.

Now an interesting and distinctly-shaped visitor, above: a Dark Sword-grass, recorded in the UK in every month of the year, usually when mild Southerly winds are blowing, and an annual caller here albeit usually in the autumn. It is classified in the moth world's Home Office-y terms as 'immigrant, possibly transitory resident'. Maybe that distinctive little mark at the end of its wing is its visa.

The many other moths in the trap included masses of Straw Dots, Ermines of both colours and Green Carpets, most now faded to the pallid, almost-white of their mature age. Also, above clockwise from top left: the micro Anania perlucidalis which is classified as only locally common but expanding its range; Marbled Minor, Dingy Footman, Small Magpie micro and Middle-barred Minor.

Finally a first in my experience: a moth, a Flame Shoulder by the look of it, which snuggled too far into an eggbox cone and got stuck.

No comments: