Friday 26 June 2020


The Drinker moth has a special place in my heart because its caterpillars were among the first I collected and looked-after in my schoolboy days. Handsome creatures with a satiny blue coat like Little Lord Fauntleroy, they are responsible for the moth's name because they climb long stalks of grass overnight and sip the dew in the morning. Watching one spin its cocoon and later hatch into an entirely-changed creature was a memorable experience.

The adult moth is a curious sight when at rest, with its prominent hairy snout giving it the air of a very small beaver adjusting to having a large and clumsy triangle formed by the folding wings. It also looks pretty heavy-duty in flight; here's one, below, poised for take-off after I disturbed the eggboxes. In the current, wonderfully warm weather, the moths are quite lively even at 6.30am.

We also had a Drinker flapping at our kitchen window last night - and that's a tip for any reader without a moth trap. Outside lights or well-lit rooms attract moths too, especially at this time of the year. It's worth having a check before you switch everything off and go to bed.

Now here's another favourite regular, I featured the Procul Harum moth, the White Satin, a few days ago. This is its companion, usually a few days later in making it's debut, the Yellow-tail. Seen simply at rest, you could easily confuse it with the White Satin, although its legs are plain white rather than chequered. But get a chance to look underneath or from behind, and you can see the distinctive appendage which gives it its name.

I gave this one a tickle or two to persuade it to show its tail and eventually it fluttered on to my dressing gown. That was when I remembered the glories of video and decided to make a mini-epic film to show the moth in all its glory.

There we are. And here's a still from the vid for you to linger over and, I hope, enjoy.

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