Sunday, 19 September 2010
Our moths had an exciting night. Neighbours had a superb firework display (I know some people dislike these, because of pet dogs, cats, lizards etc, but there can't be too many so far as I am concerned). Then it rained steadily. In the interests of science, I kept the trap on and the results were an amazing testimonial to the trap's rain shield - like the best gadgets, a very simple plastic disc whose position above the trap entrance round the bulb has been precisely calculated.
In spite of all the goings-on, there were 25 moths asleep this morning: yellow underwings, a Setaceous Hebrew Character (see earlier posts) and two Autumnal Rustics (see post directly below). And this. It looked initially like the absolutely bog standard small, brown, boring moth and I was almost hesitant to photograph it. I did, though, using a torch to try to shed some light (my failing eyesight and old specs don't help).
Then I remembered that, courtesy of the Guardian, we have a small camera with digital micro. Look at the result below. Suddenly, the 'small brown boring moth' puts on a coat of great subtlety and beauty. I'm not exactly sure what it is, because I can't do the same digital micro trick on Richard Lewington's lovely pictures in my moth Bible. Maybe, a Rustic pure and simple? Or a Clay? I'd be over the moon if it were a German Cousin (v. rare) but I'm pretty sure it isn't. I will consult Jax of Yorkshire Butterfly Conservation (or would much appreciate other expert observer's views).
Disgracefully late PS (cos have been in France): thanks to Ben, I now know that this is a variety of the Chestnut, a highly variable moth. The ones shown in Richard Lewington's illustrations in my indispensable field guide are much more orangey, From the guide's text, I note that 'less frequent forms are heavily dusted and/or streaked with brown or grey'. I think that this is one of those. Less frequent, huzza! The Chestnut is a doughty moth. It goes on the wing in September and can survive as an adult all the way through to May. Well done it.