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Posts Tagged ‘Small Magpie’

Last night was quiet again, even quieter than the previous night though with an almost completely new cast of characters.

A Dark Arches again lurked, in almost the same place. Had it not been for the moth’s absence during the day (oh, and the lack of any damage to the trailing edge) I might have thought it the same specimen. But a Small Magpie and a phylctaenia cornata were back again as well as a pair (this time) of another micro moth, agapeta hamana.

The other two moths in last night were large moths I haven’t yet ID’d, though I think these are both new ones or at least moths making their first appearance this year. And they both appear already to have been in the wars. Unfortunately neither is captured terribly well so I’ve rather handicapped myself in terms of sorting out what they are. At the moment I think the first a Wainscot and the second possibly the Dingy Shears. I have a rather hectic weekend ahead so may not get these nailed until early next week when I have a bit of what passes as ‘down time’.

Wainscot?

Wainscot?

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I’m not remembering to do my deep breathing exercises, which is naughty. Well I’m taking a deep breath right now ahead of producing an account of last night. [Those now eagerly anticipating salacious between-the-sheets revelations will be disappointed and should stop reading and turn elsewhere now.]

The early evening tour upstairs didn’t hint at what I would find when I went upstairs at 11:30 or a bit later thinking “that’s it I’m off.” The slow unfolding of the Michael Jackson death story is to blame. Following poor Richard Bacon attempt to cover the story as it developed without what the BBC would allow him to take as a reputable source was almost entertaining.

(Beyond that, for the record, I can’t get worked up about this story as others have. I almost bought the Guardian today just because they elected to splash the front cover with the Farrah story [at least for the edition on sale out here at 7am] rather than tread the Wacko Jacko path. Not sure who they were making fun of but it was a fine gesture set against a tidal wave of hyperbole.)

Well, I walked into the bathroom (low energy light on for a couple of hours, door closed) and it was rather like stepping into a butterfly house except that the butterflies were all moths. Every wall had something clinging to it, they were dotted across the ceiling and on the window frame, and a couple were still whipped into a frenzy and circling the light.

This is no exaggeration, I couldn’t keep track of the numbers and even after reviewing the photographs this morning I’m uncertain as to the species count.

To begin with there were a number of the Bright-line Brown Eye and the Heart and Dart. These are big and very distinctively marked moths and generally established as common in this part and frequent visitors. A Small Magpie came to the window and rested for quite a while but didn’t actually come in. At least I know they’re still on the wing and around and about.

Also establishing itself as a regular visitor this year is the Riband Wave which is about in both forms and was present in its paler form last night – at least two of them. The Small Dusty Wave has already been in the bathroom this year and there were a couple of them.

Then there were the pugs. At least two different species, though in the course of the hour I spent attempting to capture this chaos any number of small moths fluttered in and out:

Small Dusty Wave (Idaea seriata)

Small Dusty Wave (Idaea seriata)

Pug1

Pug1

Pug2

Pug2

There were three Garden Grass-veneer (chrysoteuchia culmella) scattered about the room. I’ve had one of these already this month and I’m spotting them outdoors during the day as well when I have the time to look carefully.

Garden Grass-veneer (chrysoteuchia culmella)

Garden Grass-veneer (chrysoteuchia culmella)

Up against the white ceiling the pair of Common Emerald (hemithea aestivaria) – making a first appearance in the bathroom this year were unmissable. Though these are not particularly large few other moths are so simply and straightforwardly contrary to the convention of dark, dull, dingy, brown and hairy.

Common Emerald (hemithea aestivaria)

Common Emerald (hemithea aestivaria)

I found one of the pair floating upside down in Morrissey’s water bowl this morning but when I carefully fished it out it sprang back to life and flew off to rest on the window-sill.

Beyond that we’re in the wonderful realm of the new and interesting.

The first new moth both for me and the bathroom is a Barred Yellow (cidaria fulvata) which was resting by the door when I went in and is now this morning on the window, having elected to hang about for a while. It was difficult to photograph using the flash because of the amount of reflection off its wings, and so this photograph is taken without flash and without tripod so not entirely steady, but representative:

Barred Yellow (cidaria fulvata)

Barred Yellow (cidaria fulvata)

High up and tucked away in a darker corner was a moth creating a rather odd shape by combination of its angle and the pose it had adopted. It turned out to be a not uncommon Meal Moth (pyralis farinalis).

Meal Moth (pyralis farinalis)

Meal Moth (pyralis farinalis)

The larvae are potentially a domestic pest as they feed on grain. I keep everything well sealed but if these are about I will keep a close watch.

The final two moths are the two smallest and I’ve not definitely ID’d them yet. The first I think is possibly adela croesella, the second so small I couldn’t get a good photograph but it came in and posed  dutifully so I’m posting it, just for the record.

adela croesella?

adela croesella?

mystery micro moth

mystery micro moth

This morning when I was checking to see what had stayed behind I found one final moth, mostly white and up by the white painted window frame so possibly present last night and missed. I brought this one downstairs to photograph against something other than the window. There are several possibly IDs for this moth as there are a number of very similar species, but on balance I believe this is the Apple Ermine (Yponomeuta malinellus).

Apple Ermine (yponomeuta malinellus)

Apple Ermine (yponomeuta malinellus)

Incidentally, when I brought the moth downstairs in search of a suitable backcloth for the photo – obviously something dark rather than light the first thing that came to hand happened to be the novel I’m reading at the moment. It is This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson. As it happens it is an account in novel form of the trajectory of the relationship between Robert RitzRoy, ship’s captain and a certain Charles Darwin.

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I should already be tucked up. Tomorrow I’ve to be out early as I’m heading up to London and making a day of it. The antibiotics have worked their magic very quickly so I’m actually looking forward to it again. I shall have about 8 hours to spend between arriving and when the concert starts and I am planning to spend at least part of that at the Natural History Museum in Kensington.

The ultimate purpose of the visit tomorrow is to attend the Barnardo’s Concert which is a fundraiser for that charity – more after the event, fingers crossed it goes well. As the Royal Albert Hall is just over the road from Hyde Park if the weather is good I will spend some time there feeding the squirrels and learning to love the Hitachi.

In the mean time the moth trap (otherwise known as the kitchen) has had only two visitors tonight – another Small Magpie and another Brimstone. Brimstones are commonplace but I hadn’t seen a Small Magpie in the house before last night and now two nights on the trot. No photographs. No need.

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Last night I managed to tweet about a houseful of moths – perhaps it is time though to re brand this ‘bugs in my kitchen’ . I counted 10 species in total which is the largest number on any one night anywhere in the house. Looking at them this morning the pictures are not wonderful but I felt at the time getting on a chair to photograph them in awkward corners was something of a minor triumph. As it happens most are still indoors this morning (not such a lovely day) and I’ve been able to take further and less bad pictures.

This figure includes the fairly ubiquitous Brown House moth which I’ve promised to post no more photos of, and also the Brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) which is a very regular visitor – I found a trio in the kitchen at the beginning of May. But I didn’t photograph them then so I did photograph last night’s visitor. At one point it huddled up with another of the visitors which I think maybe a Small Dusty Wave (idaea seriata), though at that distance it is difficult to be certain.

Town Hall meeting

Town Hall meeting

Another of the  moths in last night which I was unable to take a good picture of (and which is not around this morning ) resembled the plume moth Emmelina monodactyla  (which rests with its wings rolled up forming a distinctive T shape) but was much darker. Em. Mono. is a very regular sight – it is on the wing most of the year, and as the foodstuff is bindweed it is more than welcome; its colouration doesn’t vary into darker shades so my best guess is last night’s visitor was another member of the same family of pterophoridae.

Another udea olivalis came in and rested for a while on the ceiling, but was gone by morning:

udea olivalis

udea olivalis

Then there was the pug (again probably the Common Pug, eupithecia vulgata) on the door:

Common Pug?

Common Pug?

The seventh moth was a moth similar in colouration, size and shape to the Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)  which I’ve posted before. Last night’s pictures were poor and I won’t inflict them on you.

And there was a second pug, much paler in colouring; it was still around this morning so I’ve taken further photographs -

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Of the final two the pictures of the first should carry a health warning. They’re not for the faint hearted but the markings are quite clear though the colour is appallingly misleading so I’m going to post anyway against the possibility someone can tell me what it is. I’ve not noted one of these in the house previously.

The nearest I’ve been able to get in terms of size, flight time and the distinctive band (as well as colour, though the photograph is wholly misleading in this respect) is the Barred Hook-tip (Watsonalla cultraria) but the one I photographed doesn’t have the second smaller bar shown in images I’ve found and does have very clear fine dark markings along the wing edge. Further more the wings don’t seem quite to have the distinctive hook. I’m struggling as well as apologetic.

Unidentified, possibly Barred Hook-tip

Unidentified, possibly Barred Hook-tip

And finally, the only moth that rendered up quality pictures last night, and also a new one in the house. It has lovely colouration and distinctive markings  (plus added free cobwebs, oops) and I’ve had absolutely no trouble identifying it as the Small Magpie (Eurrhypara hortulata).

Small Magpie (eurrhypara hortulata)

Small Magpie (eurrhypara hortulata)

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