Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Brown was on the telly last night but Blair was in my moth trap: Blair's Shoulder Knot, one of a number of moths which signal the arrival of autumn. It's also one of a trio of moths named for an assiduous doctor on the Isle of Wight (rather than the former PM). Blair's Wainscot and Blair's Mocha are the others which he discovered in the 1940s. Why so late in the history of entomology? Well, Blair's Shoulder Knot certainly wouldn't have been found in Leeds in those days, nor in many other parts of the UK. It is a modern success story (how I like such counters to the currently fashionable eco-gloom!) Arriving on Dr Blair's southerly doorstep back then, it has spread North vigorously and is now common here. Mind you, it may be because its caterpillars like that curse of the British garden landscape, the leyland cypress. Blair's Shoulder Knot is also a classic example of a 'small grey moth' which proves much more interesting, and beautifully patterned, on closer inspection. Double click twice on the picture to see if you agree. Two other autumnal visitors were in the trap too: a Rosy Rustic and (bottom picture) a silvery-grey November Moth. It has got its dates wrong but is very welcome, as a species which I haven't recorded here before in five years of trapping.