Thursday, 20 September 2018

Greeny bug

I was doing some long-overdue weeding in the vegetable patch yesterday when part of a tatty marigold stem which I was tugging appeared to move. Then it definitely did move, and started scuttling off below the safety of a drought-impacted earth clod. It wasn't really safe because I was in hot pursuit and managed to entice it on to a leaf for this photo-opportunity.

It is, I am pretty sure, the 5th instar - or life stage - of a Green Shield Bug, a garden visitor not always popular, especially with those who grow potatoes. It is an attractive little creature, though; not yet with the more angled and genuinely shield-shaped appearance of the adult.

It is also common, like so many creatures which are unfamiliar to most of us in the UK; and it has the final attraction to people of my age of reminding me of Green Shield stamps. Do you remember collecting little books of these, each worth a fraction of a penny like a modern supermarket loyalty point, and then blueing the book, or several books, at a garage on something such as a Dinky toy?
in the moth trap meanwhile, the tone is brown and grey, an unexciting time of the year unless you are lucky enough to be visited by one of the rare exotica such as the light blue/mauve-underwinged Clifden Nonpareil. Wonderful name! They keep turning up on the Upper Thames Moths blog and Buckinghamshire is clearly a good spot to see them. Since I recently rowed past Cliveden, after which they are named, perhaps it will be my turn soon.

Above we have the delightful Frosted Orange, top left, and then proceeding clockwise, a Silver Y, a Black Rustic and a very tattered Old Lady. Below, a Willow Beauty shows off its camouflage expertise above two relatives which are not quite as well concealed.

Finally a trio of typical visitors for this time of year which always send me to the Moths Bible or Hants Moths Flying Tonight, wishing that I had better ID skills. I think that they are an Ingrailed Clay, a  Flounced Rustic and a Beaded Chestnut. Here's hoping.

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