Saturday, 31 July 2021
Friday, 30 July 2021
Wednesday, 28 July 2021
This little splinter of a micro-moth, above, caught my eye because of its prominent grey smudges which seemed to make it as different from the various common Ermines, as this black-dotted white family is known. Incidentally, they are famous for including species which create enormous webs of silk round whole trees and sometimes parked cars.
I thought at first that they might be scale damage to the wings but a check in the micro-moth Bible turned up an identical-looking moth, Yponomeuta irrorella. However, it is rare and usually found along the UK's Southern coastline. I naturally consulted the unfailingly excellent Upper Thames Moths blog and Dave Wilton, its maestro, replied:
"That is indeed Yponomeuta irrorella, quite a rare moth and some way away from its usual south coast haunts - a very nice catch indeed and might even be a first for the county."
Well hooray for that, especially as the same night - Monday 26th July - brought another newcomer for me, this brightly metallic gree macro moth below. It's a Tree-lichen beauty, well-named both because it is really lovely and also because tree-lichen is its caterpillar's favourite food.
It had only been recorded in the UK three times until 1991; two from Cheshire in 1859 and one in Hastings in 1873. Then the invasion began. My first edition of the Moth Bible notes its spread from the first few sightings in Hampshire, West Sussex and Kent as far as Dorset and Hertfordshire, as well as the Channel Islands. The third edition has it reaching as far north as Northumberland, West to Devon, East to Norfolk and finally, in 2015, to Oxfordshire. Six years later, to me! The picture below appropriately shows it with a much-longer-standing, successful immigrant, a Silver Y.
The more green moths the better, so far as I am concerned. The colour ranks second only to blue with me, and moths of both shades are not many, blue in particular. Not that other colours are lacking; I can never post enough pictures of Elephant Hawks, especially when accompanied by a Ruby Tiger's caterpillar as below.
|A worn Udea lutealis micro, I think|
|Copper or Svennson's Copper Underwing|
|Bordered Beauty, yum|
|And again, from above|
|A very green Marbled Coronet|
|Green Pug - a good day for greens, this|
|Hedya salicella micro, I think|
Tuesday, 27 July 2021
We were lucky indeed in our choice of holiday week and the coast of Wales near Cardigan/Aberteifi was a wonderful place to spend it. The meadows on top of the spectacular sea cliffs were bright with wildflowers and butterflies - and moths. There were scores of Six-spot Burnets flying about, including the potentially amorous pair above. We emailed the pic to a friend with added speech bubbles for a caption competition. Her daughter's reply: 'Shall we get married?' 'Yes, and then we can have babies' was probably near the mark. Here are some more, busying about:
The meadows were also home to lots of Dark Green fritillaries, a butterfly for which I've had a special place ever since catching the rare Charlotta aberration on similar cliffs at Goonhilly Downs in Cornwall when I was twelve. There is no doubt at all about the family hopes of the pair below which were later joined by a third lusty companion.
Fritillaries are lovely to watch, powerful flyers which seldom stop and are soon off again as you creep clumsily up on them with the iPhone. The mating pair were a fortuitous discovery as their activities slowed them down, but I managed to steal up on the single butterfly below as well. Its underwing is a beautiful sight.
Here is a picture of another efforts which wasn't as successful but happily shows me, if only in shadow form, engaging in one of the things which I most like doing:
We saw Silver-washed Fritillaries too, on a walk inland, but they were always flying or out of photographic reach. But there were plenty of other butterflies around in the non-stop sunshine including those in the composite below.
But it was back to moths in the hottest place we visited, the vast glass dome of the excellent National Botanic Garden of Wales near Carmarthen. Their Californian section - Califfornian in Welsh to avoid a 'v' sound - featured the curious Yucca Moth in giant form with a helpful bilingual placard explaining its fascinating life and pollination role. New fact for me: the Welsh for moth is gwyfyn and moths plural is gwyfynod. I will research the word's origins further in due course.