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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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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