Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Nearly home

The trap and I will be reunited this evening when P and I, and a very large bag of laundry, finally make landfall back in Oxfordshire after a wonderful foray to bonny Scotland.

Our furthest north was Overscaig on Loch Shinn where I had the pleasure of encountering what I think is one of the 105 recorded aberrations of the familiar Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, sipping nectar from a buddleia in the sunshine which - amazingly - accompanied us almost throughout our ten day trip.

I think that this is a variant of aberration Lutea, one of the best-known, with some of the usual vivid orange, as shown on the standard butterfly in my palm, replaced by a less showy buff. This is thought to occur genetically unlike the more striking aberrations of the ST, involving larger black areas and very rarely an entirely melanic butterfly, which are reckoned to follow the experience of extreme heat or cold - a very late heavy frost for example - when the insect is just at the stage of pupation.

More moths tomorrow - and then a bumper supplement of better quality pictures than the iPad snaps of the camera screen which have been all that I could offer on safari.

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