Tuesday, 24 August 2021
Monday, 23 August 2021
Sunday, 22 August 2021
You might expect a Gypsy moth to lead the carefree, random life of a roamer on the roads, but things don't work like that. Last year on 19 August, my first examples of this rapidly spreading immigrant appeared in the trap, two of them. This year on the same date, there was one in the eggboxes and this one perching demurely on a leaf nearby. Clockwork!
As I mentioned last year, Gypsy moth caterpillars are of some concern to farmers, gardeners and foresters so we'll keep our fingers crossed on that account. It is a downside of the success of some new moth arrivals in Britain. Every time I see a beautiful box hedge, as at the lovely Waterperry Gardens near here this week, I keep my fingers crossed that the equally fast-spreading little Box Moth will keep away. An infestation can be devastating.
Meanwhile a second and even more predictable arrival: the lovely Red Underwing above. I am looking at these big visitors with more than usual care because the much rarer Dark Crimson Underwing is also on the march. Its hindwing patterns are slightly different from the Red Underwing's and both moths are famously reluctant to show these glamorous petticoats except when flying off. They normally rest as in the picture below; if you are lucky, as here, a tiny speck of red peeps through.
The other way of spotting the colour is to check out their underwings, something Penny famously did a dozen years ago when she spotted a Red Underwing snoozing on the underneath of an almost exactly colour-matching pub umbrella by the Thames. Here's what you see, below, followed by the moth on a toning tablecloth after release from initial imprisonment in my Bug Bottle.
Thursday, 19 August 2021
Sunday, 15 August 2021
I learned the proverb 'All things come to those who wait' at a tender age, fortunately with an optimistic twist rather than a sense of fatalism. Sure enough, after three visits, a Latticed Heath obliged me with a decent picture of its spread forewings, even though I had disturbed it from the trap and watched it flutter off.
(I say these words to make me glad),
But something answers soft and sad,
‘They come, but often come too late.’