"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 11 October 2010

Moth Numbers are Dwindling

It didn't take long to empty the moth trap this morning - a grand total of 5 moths of 3 or possibly 4 species! Not for me a Merveille du Jour or a Burnished Brass or even a Sallow or Thorn. Oh no, it was the usual lbj's of the moth world! There were two Large Yellow Underwings and yet another Shuttle-shaped Dart plus a couple of moths that I am struggling to identify. I thought at first one was a possible Red-line Quaker or Brick but on looking through my Waring "bible" and "British Moths and Butterflies" by Chris Manley plus trawling through loads of websites, I think one may be a Pale Mottled Willow. Both of the mystery moths were worn (as usual!) and, although I thought initially the second moth was a different species I am not so sure now.

I have posted photos of the two moths in question below (heavily cropped). The photos are even worse than usual I am afraid. The moths were quite lively when I got them out of the fridge so I quickly took a few flash photos in kitchen and when I took them outside to try and get a better photo they both escaped within seconds!

Possible Pale Mottled Willow- Edit - thanks to Dean for confirming these as probable Pale Mottled Willows

Is this another Pale Mottled Willow or a completely different species?

Am beginning to wonder if my moth id skills are ever going to improve!!

Summary of Moth Trapping - Sunday, 10th October 2010

7.00 p.m. until dawn

Minimum Temperature 10.1 degrees centigrade

Actinic 15w Skinner Trap

2 x Large Yellow Underwings
1 x Shuttle-shaped Dart
Pale Mottled Willow? Edit 2 x Pale Mottled Willow

Garden Update

Bird-wise the garden is very quiet at the moment - just the usual visits from wood and feral pigeons, blackbirds, house sparrows, dunnocks, blue, great and coal tits, robins, greenfinches and goldfinchs, magpies, carrion crows and great spotted woodpeckers. I haven't seen any butterflies for a few weeks although there was a common carder bee taking nectar from the verbena bonariensis last week.

I can never decide whether autumn or spring is my favourite season but I really do love the autumn "tints" in the trees. Below are a few photos below of autumn leaves in the garden which I took at the weekend.


Anonymous said...

I can`t see the moths being anything else but PMW`s, Caroline. I have been known to be wrong before though.

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks so much Dean for coming to the rescue again. Sorry the photos weren't better to help with the id!