Tuesday 5 September 2023

Orange blaze

Oh what a lovely moth the Frosted Orange is! And its annual appearance heralds the way for the various yellow and orange Sallows which are a feature of late Summer and early Autumn. I'm glad to say that its well-camouflaged sleeping place was not spotted by my inquisitive Robin - whose famous redbreast has something in common with the colours of the moth.


Good to have a Dark Spectacle in the trap too. They seldom visit although I get so many of the ordinary Spectacle that I may have overlooked its less common cousin. I like the fact that both species have a pair of rather Italianate 'moustaches' as well as their eponymous spectacles which are best seen from head-on as in the very first picture I published on this blog, back on 11 June 2008.  As you can see, below, I was quick to acknowledge the difficulties with ID which I knew I would face.

The third source of pleasure in the trap was a trio of Old Ladies - shabby-looking creatures even when in good condition but satisfyingly BIG. To be accurate, one of them was just outside the lid on the leaf of a nearby Romneya poppy. They all woke up surprisingly quickly for large moths and high-tailed off.

Lastly for today, a modest but nicely-coloured and patterned member of the brown and grey hordes: a Square-spot Rustic.  I think.  Update: Nope. Many thanks to Stewart in Comments who expertly spies the two small black dots which make this a Small Square-spot.  I wasn't so far adrift but...

Monday 4 September 2023

Palely loitering


The Pale Eggar has been only an occasional visitor to the lamp here in Oxfordshire and never called when we lived in Leeds. My first was on 7 September 2015 and the second five years later on 28th August 2020. Now I have had a third on 31 August this year and a fourth, on the bulbholder below,  the night before last. It is classified as only locally common and indeed is infrequently recorded from the south of the county although a fellow-enthusiast on Thames Valley Moths, who has had only one in his garden this year, attracted 30 to a portable trap which he lit in nearby woodland. A creature of habitat, like so many moths.

The trap is continued to bring a reduced catch recently with faithful regulars for the time of the year, such as the Rosy Rustic and Common Wainscot - the darker form - in the next two pictures. It is also brightened by Burnished Brasses, both the forms juncta, with the central brown cross-bar undivided, and aurea where the two shiny sections are joined. Disagreement continues in the expert world about whether small DNA and genital differences warrant dividing them into two distinct species.

Brighter than these moths by some distance was the Blue Supermoon which I mentioned in my last post. I woke up at about 1am and managed to get the picture below, although it didn't look hugely different from the usual full moon, to be honest. But definitely a powerful counter-attraction to the usually dominant light trap.

Lastly for today's moths, I was struck by the fragile beauty of the Satin Wave below while having a very enjoyable time watching dragonflies hawking for prey in the sunshine. Conehead will correct me if necessary, but in the composite picture, I think I have the female and male of the Common Darter in the top row and a Migrant Hawker, including a close-up of its evilly-smiling, cartoon villain 'face'.