Sunday, 10 July 2011

Nature wild in tooth and claw (and wing).


6.30am on a cool July Sunday morning. Watery blue sky with quite a lot of cloud. Promise of heavy showers. The farmer is out in the fields, walking the dogs on his early morning route.

As he comes back under the Scots pines he notices what he thinks is a butterfly(!!), he nips into the house and picks up my camera (I am still in bed, drinking my morning cup of coffee) and takes this photograph.

I am certain it is a moth. In fact, on closer inspection it is two moths, one on top of the other and - I presume - probably mating. Aren't they beautiful and aren't they also very well camouflaged on the trunk of the pine? At present our garden is full of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers (as I write this there are three at the bird feeding station) and I wonder whether or not they would eat moths or whether they stick to grubs. They spend a lot of their time flinging bits of bark off our trees to get at eatables underneath.

My friend G has eyes like a peregrine falcon - I mean this in the nicest possible way - she never misses a single thing on our walks. Every bird, every owl pellet, nothing escapes her notice. I'm afraid I walk with my head on other things usually and this means that I miss a lot of what is going on around me.

So here is a photograph to start your day - two beautifully marked moths. They will probably be gone by now as the sun is out on the trunk of that tree. Enjoy!

# Must just mention in passing the death of one of my favourite artists, Cy Twombly.
I have always loved his work and if I was nearer to London I would be going to see the exhibition on at the moment where his work is interspersed with that of Nicholas Poussin (Dulwich Picture Gallery) and which sounds fascinating.

##Robert (Solitary Walker) tells me that these are Magpie Moths and that they fly in the day time throughout July and August. Thank you for the info Robert.

14 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

Those mating moths are magpie moths, Pat. This is the perfect time of year to spot them - they fly in the daytime during July and August. Beautiful markings.

Heather said...

Those moths are beautiful. We had a minute one on the bedroom wall the other day - so tiny and delicate. I used to be scared by moths as a child - on summer nights they are drawn in by lights and tend to flap round one's head. Some of them are as beautiful as butterflies and are obliging enough to remain still long enough for us to really observe them.

Dave King said...

Superb. Thanks for the sight of the photograph.
And I agree with you absolutely re Cy Twombly.

Tom Stephenson said...

Nice to have a friend called Hawk-Eye!

steven said...

when i see moths and their muted colours i am drawn to remember the white moths that during the industrial revolution changed their colouring to black, the better to blend in with the sooty walls. steven

Pomona said...

What an amazing photo - beautiful. I also love your post below - my house is similar - stuffed with things, all full of memory, and many of them precious because they belonged to relatives now dead, and carry all sorts of sentimental significance.

Pomona x

Crafty Green Poet said...

such beautiful moths. I'm trying to learn more about moths (including identifying more species) but i find them generally very difficult indeed... (those this species is more distinctive than many of them!)

missing moments said...

Haven't seen anything like these guys. Don't you just love it when you happen on something wonderful!

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

This is a great capture by the farmer. How attractive, I don't think I've ever seen this one. We are very lucky haveing so much beautiful wildlife in our land. More reason for us to make sure it is preserved for our descendents and for our survival too!
XX

Eryl said...

You have greater spotted woodpeckers? Goodness, the most exciting birds I get are blue tits, which are lovely and slightly bonkers, always trying to get in through the kitchen window, but don't have the same mythical quality as woodpeckers.

Titus said...

Stunning moths, and a wonderful photograph of them too. I don't think I've seen one (or even two) up here.

ChrisJ said...

Lovely photo of the moths but especially nice that you found out what they are.

angryparsnip said...

How lucky to have any Woodpeckers, I think they are great birds.
We have Gila Woodpeckers here in Tucson names for the Gils River and only found around here.
I once posted a photo of one with it's black and white feathers and red dot on the top of his head. So fabulously graphic in their design.
Is nature wonderful !

cheers, parsip

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you to Robert for the identification and to everyone else who contributed a comment.