Monday, 8 July 2019

Shining brightly

My headline was originally inspired by the Burnished Brass moths which feature below but it will do just as well for these beautiful Silver-washed Fritillaries which I visited today at Bernwood Forest, a famous butterfly haunt by the M40 on Oxfordshire's border with Buckinghamshire. You can sere from the first two piuctures that a butterfly's life isn't easy, even for a grand and powerful species like this. The top insect has a chunk taken out of its left hindwing and the right forewing of the one below has become 'unhinged', tucked behind the hindwing rather than on top of it.

People go there to Bernwood in search of Purple Emperors and I am pretty sure that I saw one of these, swooping down from their usual perches high in the oak trees, to either flirt or do combat with one of the fritillaries. I cannot be definite, however, because it could also have been a White Admiral, another particularly lovely UK butterfly. I feasted my eyes on one of these half an hour later but it was too far away and too skittish for me to photograph.

Here's a pair of fritillaries, however, and another closer view of an underwing, below. I have to say that I am not a fan of Bernwood. Like reservoirs as opposed to natural lakes, forestry land always seems a little regimented and unnatural to me. It is also a great haunt of dog walkers but for once the resulting poo has a benign effect. It is the prime attraction for the Purple Emperors when they do deign to descend from on high. For all their aristocratic name, they like to know what.

At home, the moth trap produces Burnished Brasses every night and I can never resist photographing them. In this quartet I have tried to get the metallic reflection in different spots, with some but not spectacular success.

Next comes a streaky-stripy micro which I have yet to identify and finally a delicate little moth pretending to be a butterfly by borrowing the latter's way of holding its wings vertically above the back, rather than folded on it. I shall delve further.

Update: Paul has very kindly saved me the trouble (and the inevitable danger of possible errors on my part) by suggesting Eucosma cana for the micro and the Dingy Shell for the 'butterfly moth. I am sure that you are right, Paul - many thanks as ever.


Paul Hopkins said...

Hi Martin,

I'd put my money on Eucosma cana and Dingy Shell respectively for the last two.


Martin Wainwright said...

Many thanks as ever, Paul. I am sure that you are right and I will update accordingly. All warmest, Martin