Monday, 30 July 2012

Take Cover!!!

I came in from the shed to make a cup of coffee after playing trains and fiddling with bits of wood for the kitchen, when I spied this monster - presumably out over the sea off Dover

spectacular though it was, it was only short-lived and fizzled out after about 5 minutes. If this were the mid - West of the US of A it would no doubt have been a different story

 Friday/Saturday night was the best ever for moths by number of species trapped, with a total of 117 individual moths of 34 species. This is a typical egg-boxful, with just 8 species this side  

But on the other side was this beauty - a Garden Tiger, a
fabulous moth by any standards

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mystery "Moth"

Among the 31 moth species in the trap this morning was this relatively dark Peppered Moth

followed by this Swallowtail, the fact it was resting on white plastic made my puny camera's brain hurt and it had washed out some of the colour - nevertheless a spectacular moth

and the this thing, probably a moth, maybe not - here alongside a Buff Ermine for comparison

and here in closer-up

Any ideas please?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Mostly moths, and a Wylde Swan

A picnic in Kings Wood at Challock was quiet apart from a superb White Admiral, which declined to perch long enough to be photographed, and this day flying moth which I had to wait 'til I got home to identify - an Ear Moth - presume the name relates to those lug'ole shaped markings on its wings

This Blackneck appeared in the trap here on 22 July, previously the only record is from 21 July last year, now thats what I call regular

This morning was a good moth morning, first out was this Privet Hawkmoth

There were two Elephants to admire as well

and two Dot Moths, this being the best specimen, the second was rather worn and shabby, like me

A suprise was this Copper Underwing, I dont get many of these, thought it was an Old Lady at first. Also note the essential aid to moth identification alongside!

Another unusual moth for me - this Pebble Prominent - at rest

and about to exit left, as they say, while I was closely admiring it

And last and most spectacular was this Jersey Tiger, but whether it's an immigrant or one from the alleged colony over Rye way I can't say, but what a smasher

and finally, the Wylde Swan en route via the inshore channel yesterday morning from Les Tonnerres de Brest 2012 round to the Thames for the Olympics - presumably as a hospitality venue - see

Thats it for now, more moths tomorrow morning I hope

Monday, 16 July 2012

Skies and stuff up in them

Here's a fairy tale - we were sat in the garden in the sun recently - it's ok though there was a happy ending, it soon started to rain, preceded by these spectacular clouds

Earlier this thing flew over, circled, and came back again in time for me to grab the camera

It appears to be associated with Farnborough Airshow

and it seems the wings turn so that the propellors become helicopter type rotor blades so it can land in small spaces

Imagine going from fast forward to hover too quickly - oops

On the same subject, may I inroduce "Flying Officer X" complete with goggles, alias a relatively common moth called Spectacle
In case you can't make it out, it's perched on the end of my moth log pencil!
Or it could be doing Long Eared Owl impressions

Talking of moths, this is a Lesser Common Rustic, a new one for my garden

and this is not a Lesser, but just a Common Rustic

and this thing with the yellowish forehead and stripey leggings is a complete bore when writing it up as it's a Lesser Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing - couldn't it just have been called a yellow bonce?

Monday, 2 July 2012

En France - and Belgium

It's the time of year for our annual visit to the site of the Battle of the Boar's Head and Richebourg St. Vaast - see my blog last June/July for more background
This year Colin and Richard came along, so we started by visiting the Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge, a very special place and a spectacularly beautiful monument 

It's better still if there is some weather to dramatise the pictures, and it obliged last Friday

According to the local newspaper the mining area around Lens has been made a special UNESCO heritage site - presume that includes the slag heaps in the background. I can speak for the ones near Valenciennes ( and at Fowlmead) as being good for Butterflies and Dragonflies from personal experience

It really is a special memorial, and a new visitor centre there has recently opened - we shall visit it next time around without doubt, it has very good reports.
Saturday morning we went to Wipers for a look at the recently re-opened Flanders Fields museum in the Cloth Hall, discovering it to be superb and completely unlike the prevous incarnation, which was good enough too, another highly recommended place. Me and Colin slogged up the two hundred and something steps to the belfry - wow, what a view 

An unusual view of the Menin Gate, and no, we didn't stay for last post - the ONLY time to experience that is on a cold and wet winter weekday evening when for me the ceremony is overwhelming in simplicity and sadness

Finally, and very sadly, when we got to Richebourg Saturday afternoon we learned that the driving force behind the British involvement in the commemoration, and the man who finally after 90 or so years finally got recognition for the Battle of the Boars Head, John Baines, had passed away only on Thursday after a long illness which he courageously fought while completing his book about the Battle. Even so his comrades from the Royal Sussex Living History Group bravely went ahead with their involvement, as this picture shows

Recent Moths

Recently the moths in my trap have turned up some interesting specimens, starting with this lovely Poplar Hawkmoth. A species I have been privileged to see before, I reckon it's worth 3 pictures in here

I made this one a Clouded Brindle, a new species for me

And this one has a girl's name - July Highflyer!!

Perhaps more spectacular than the Hawkmoth was this Drinker - Waring and Townsend don't say why it is so named, anyone know?

Having mis-identified a Lychnis earlier, here's another variant of this species

and finally the real puzzle - what's this thing? I have concluded it's a very dark Common Wainscot. W & T say that 2nd generation ones may be darker, but its a bit early for that. Spectacular, and sinister isn't it?