Saturday 31 December 2022

Just in time

Phew!  I'm just sneaking this in on the very last afternoon of the very last day of 2022. I've been spurred out of a sluggish, long interval by the exuberant presence of my granddaughter whose irrepressible enthusiasm was rewarded this morning by three moths in the trap - three more than her aged Grandpa was expecting after mizzling drizzle and a spell of harder rain.

The arrivals all look different but are in fact the same, three Mottled Umbers obligingly in the three common forms illustrated in the Moth Bible. My granddaughter was rather disgusted at the plight of the poor female who cannot even fly. I tried to console her with the thought that the females probably live longer as they crouch in obscurity on tree trunks in the dark. But at nine years old, you would rather fly.

Although I last posted on November 6, mea maxima culpa, the moth-ing life has been reasonably busy since then, at least for this time of the year. I was turning out the bedside light to go to sleep some weeks ago when I saw this micro, above, on the ceiling above me. Sleep was banished as I took my usual epic amount of time identifying it as Agonopterix heracliana.

Winter Moths have been frequent visitors here, eg above, and one also perched on the window of the cottage in Yorkshire where we joined a womderful, vast family Christmas at my sister's in Baildon, near Bradford. The moth joined the abundant local animal life, which included sheep the size of small horses or very large pigs and rabbits playing on the lawn outside.

Both my sister's house and our own have also been well-supplied with hibernating Small Tortoiseshell butterflies though sadly some woke prematurely during a warm spell and keeled over before going back to sleep. 

Visiting the grandchildren in late November brought me a nice encounter with a Feathered Thorn which came to their lighted window one evening and stayed there for the next two days.

Back at home, there was another one slumbering in the moth trap the first morning we were back. With it were the first two of a steady stream of handsome December moths, those fur-wrapped reminders that the coldest months are not the exclusive property of Winter Moths.

Other visitors since early November include the selection below: the Rush Veneer micro Nomophila noctuella, a Silver Y, that hardy immigrant-turned-settler which flies in every month of the year, a pretty Gold Triangle, Hypsopygia costalis, a handsome Sprawler, a Turnip Moth, a fading Red-Green Carpet and the Light Brown Apple micro, Epiphyas postvittana

I've also played host to the distinctive micro below which I have yet to nail in ID terms, plus a tortrix which I need to sort out and a delicate Common Plume micro, Emmelina monodactyla.

And to round off the year, here's my best photo yet of one of the kingfishers which put on a show-stopping performance on the river Avon at Bradford-on-Avon every time we go down to see the family there.  Happy New Year! More in 2023, possibly tomorrow as the granddaughter wants to trap to shine again tonight.