Sunday 7 November 2021

Getting very quiet. But not over yet

I put the trap out very seldom now because the nights are colder and often wetter and, more mundanely, I don't like going out to sort things out when it isn't properly light and Penny and I haven't had our morning tea.

But that said, there are still a few moths flitting about, and the beautiful December moth with its handsome fur coat has yet to pay me a call on a trapping night. When it does, I will probably shut up shop until the New Year.

My most interesting discovery has been the little looping caterpillar in my first picture, which shows it creeping along the edge of the NHS instructions on the Covid booster vaccine. We had this last week, along with a couple our own age who boldly rolled up on a tandem, and neither of us has suffered any after-effects.

I used the leaflet to scoop up the cattie after discovering it in a corner of the bedroom we use at our grandchildren's house when it's our turn to be keeping an eye on them while their Mum and Dad work. Its circumstances qualified it for the famous category invented by our granddaughter in her home-made science book 'Moths where they shouldn't be' (eg on Grandpa's trousers, in his hair etc).

As for actual moths, my last outing for the trap produced just this solitary Red-line Quaker, above, though a little T-shaped plume micro brushed round me when I opened the front door the other night when the porch light was on.  My other recent wildlife pleasure was coming across this member of the Tiggywinkle family while riding into Oxford on the canal towpath.  

I think he or she will have been a juvenile foraging for enough food for hibernation, busily and with a sense of purpose and showing no signs of distress. There is a school of thought which holds that any hedgehog seen by daylight must be in trouble and should be taken home, made comfortable, fed and reported. I'm afraid that I do not go along with this, unless the animal is clearly distressed.  Likewise, the frequent suggestion that the country's hedgehogs are in danger seems to me to require a lot more evidence.  We do not see them very often, but they are nocturnal. Like moths, whose numbers suddenly become a lot more reassuring when you have a light trap.

Finally, we celebrated Diwali this week with the in-laws and I thought you might like to see their wondrous entomological tableware.  I particularly like the owl with the moth, above.