Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Green Hairstreak & A Host Of Blues, And Moths Come In From The Rain

It's peeing down here today. Proper son et lumiere crashing overhead- the full works. Poppy leapt up growling when it first exploded, but it's been going on so long she's given up and both the dogs are fast asleep in their beds now. As are the hundred and sixty moths who came in this morning before the rain started. They are mostly snoozing on the windows, apparently unconcerned by the vast torrents of water that are gushing down the window panes millimeters from their noses.

I love a powerful storm, they feel cathartic to me; a washing clean of the world and everyone in it. This one feels particularly poignant, because last night we said goodbye to Cleo. Her condition deteriorated rapidly over the last few days and the vet agreed she was in a bad way and would not recover. I feel OK: I cried more over the last week watching her so helpless and today I am settled and peaceful, because I know she's not going through it anymore. We've buried her in the garden and I am going to find a white rose to plant over her, because she has always been our White Faerie Queen and it feels like the right thing to do.

The Wild Things have been especially kind to me yesterday and today. I like to think this is because they know I was feeling sad and that seeing them would cheer me, which it has. As well as being Exam Day yesterday, it was also warm and sunny enough in the afternoon to do a butterfly transect at college, which I duly did an hour before I was due to be in the exam (with the result that I got so carried away oohing and ahhing over flutters that I was very nearly late for the test).

I saw LOADS of beautiful flutters, as well as a vole, several slow worms and a crab spider. Even I, a fully paid up lifetime member of the Arachnaphobe's Club (which is nowhere near as much fun to be in as the Pigeon Watchers Club that you may remember Ted and Dougal setting up last year), am prepared to admit that Crab Spiders are Quite Clever, with their ability to flush into a different colour to match their backgrounds....


Sitting Pretty...(or not, if you're me)

Beautiful Slow Worms; a male and female. The female has the black stripe.
The Blues were out in force by the shelter belt. I got so close to this Small Blue that I was practically sitting on top of him/ her....






These flutters really are tiny wee, and as this was my first sighting of a Small Blue I was pretty made up and didn't think it could get much better. But then, rounding the corner, I saw these....



Four Common Blues (thanks Dave for the ID, much appreciated :-) )darting about and feeding on the flowers.

I was grinning from ear to ear by this point and really thought that was going to be it, considering I'd also seen Brimstones, Orange Tips, a Speckled Wood, A Peacock and several Small Whites, when this tiny person appeared and took my breath away completely...




It's a Green Hairstreak and I've never seen one of these before either. I knew there was one on the site but really hadn't expected it to appear. Again, I was able to get really close, but they are hard to photograph well because the green sheen of their underwing is so metallic it comes out looking like silver in the photos. Seen from the top they are brown in colour, so when they close their wings the effect is really dramatic.

I could have spent all day there, and will go back when the weather improves (hopefully tomorrow) when I'm not doing a transect so I can spend more time looking at and photographing the butterflies.  It was a total treat and just what I needed.

On the way back I managed to get a piccy of this little person who was also flying about...This is a day-flying moth, called a Burnett Companion, another new one for me.



 As well as this Pyrausta aurata moth fluttering about as well....


And finally, the College Herd who watched me Very Intently as I walked back up for the exam....



Which went OK I think. It's always hard to tell with these things. I am just glad it's over and I can stop  revising and get on with more interesting things like looking at wild creatures and places instead!

To that end, I am planning to get the Moth Box out as often as possibly over the next few months (without stressing the moths of course). This means we are well into Poppy's new training sessions of 'how to be a dog that doesn't eat moths, even when they are crawling on your nose.' I think she's improving- we've gone beyond the stage where she considers them all her personal breakfast, and today even reached the point where she spat one out when I told her to and walked away from it looking only slightly pissed off.....

Here are today's Interesting Flying People. I've just added twenty new species to my list after last night, and this takes the 2014 total to one hundred already. I've tried to only put new moths that you won't have seen before (unless it was last year) on today's post (apart from the marvellous Puss Moth, who is so glorious I don't suppose you'll mind seeing him twice!).

Blood Vein

Broken-Barred Carpet

Clouded Border

Iron Prominent

Lobster Moth (especially for Seagull Suzie- I know they were your favourites last year!)

Pale Oak Beauty

Peacock

The Glorious Puss Moth

Puss Moth
Puss Moth

Rustic Shoulder-Knot

Scalloped Oak (rescued from drowning)

Scorched Wing outside

Small Angle Shades, with wings like a rich velvet cloak. Can you tell I've been watching Jane Eyre? I seem to be stuck in the Regency era at present. I keep expecting to see Mr Rochester galloping across the fields when I'm out walking the dogs. Although Captain Wentworth would do just as well I suppose :-)
I'll leave you with something I have been wanting to see for a very long time. Peppered moths are often used as an example of Natural Selection and Evolution In Action. This is because their basic form is a mottled white, but during Industrialisation in the UK when pollution levels were high and everything became increasingly coated in a layer of black dirt, the moths quickly evolved a melanistic form which was black, enabling them to land on the dirty trees etc and not be seen. We get plenty of the white version of Peppered Moth here- they are super things and I always enjoy seeing them (here's one who was on the wall of the house this morning):


but we have never had a Black version yet. I was only thinking about this a couple of days ago, when the first White Peppered of the year turned up, how I'd love to see a melanistic Peppered, and then guess who I found, hidden among the grasses beside the box this morning......?


Nature is indeed being kind (and if that's not a hint that things are back in balance here after a difficult week I don't know what is).

Enjoy the rest of the day,

CT :-)

32 comments:

  1. So sorry to read of your loss CT. I think all of us whom have or have had pets can fully sympathize with your emotions, and I know that the natural world certainly helped me to get over the loss of our own beloved feline friend last year.

    On a happier note it has been lovely once more to look at all your super moths and it is certainly interesting to see the dark form Peppered Moth. We too only get the white ones by and large but I think we had one dark type last year :-) Great pics of the Green Hairstreak too, they seem to have had a really good year I am pleased to say :-)

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    1. Thank you David.

      I've been very blessed with close proximity to some really beautiful flying creatures this week- isn't it a fab time of the year?

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  2. Condolences on the loss of your cat friend. I was the same with my old Lab - once we made the decision, it was like a weight had been lifted and I could stop crying every time I looked at her.

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    1. You're so right. It's much easier knowing she's not in pain.

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  3. So sorry to hear about Cleo. A lovely idea to plant a rose in memory of her.
    I have seen some small blue butterflies this week, as well a a couple of orange tips. Too quick for me to photograph, but they were lovely to watch. As for the Green Hairstreak...well I think I would have passed out with pleasure! I saw a Peacock the other day on the dunes at Lelant. She was gorgeous.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Thanks Leanne.

      Passing out was a definite option. I wonder whether it would have been a good enough excuse to miss the exam? x

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  4. I'm soooooo sorry to hear about Cleo ... :( I really didn't expect that..... I know what it's like to lose a darling pet.
    It's good that you keep blogging and I thank you for sharing these wonderful photos - the blue butterflies look so delicate, as if they were made from a silk velvet fabric.
    Marielle

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    1. Thanks Marielle.

      I wonder if the blue of the butterflies might prove to be an inspiration for one of your wonderful paintings? Or (even better) perhaps one of the moths? There are Emeralds to come which will take your breath away (they do mine) x

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  5. So sorry to hear about Cleo, it is always so hard to loose such a special member of the family. My thought are with you all. I'm glad the wild things have been kind to you and also your exams went OK. How wonderful to see the melanistic Peppered moth, Sarah x

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    1. Thank you Sarah. The dogs have been a tremendous comfort- Teddy has spent the last two nights sleeping quietly on my lap and little Pop hasn't left my side. Feeling better now, and all the wilds things have certainly helped me x

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  6. So sorry to read about Cleo, its so hard to make 'that' decision but at least now she is no longer suffering xx
    Lovely butterflies and moths, the small blue is so pretty and the puss moth is gorgeous, not so keen on the spider!!! Slow worms are fab too..
    Glad for you that the exam is over and you have time to do more 'you stuff'. Have fun, look forward to lots mote mothy piccies!!!
    Have a great weekend
    xxx

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    1. Thank you Linda. It is a horrid decision to make, but I guess the rightness of it can be judged to some extent by the sense of peace you get afterwards. I've loved that girl for 15 years and she'll always be in my heart.
      So pleased you enjoyed all the photos of wild things, definitely more to come. Hope all's well with you x

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    2. All god here thanks, had computer problems, but all fixed now. And I think I may have ID'ed my first moth!!!! A Light Brown Apple Moth, he/she was on the kitchen window last night, I took a piccie of it and looked through various wildlife books and think that's what it its, tiny little thing!! I'm so excited, what am I like lol xxxx Have a good day xx

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    3. Excellent! You'll be taking a white sheet and a torch outside before you know it and recording all the moths that flutter down! This is an excellent website for helping with IDs http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/flying_tonight.php x

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  7. Really sorry about Cleo, what a horrible blow. It's nice that you were able to bury her at home and to plant a rose there will be a lovely tribute to her.
    The butterflies are great and I'm envious of the Small Blue. I saw a Green Hairstreak a while back but only managed a blur of a photo, grrrr! The moths are amazing, especially the Puss Moth!
    By the way have finally figured out how to follow blogs using my Blogger profile and not my Google+ profile which it kept wanting me to use!

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    1. Thank you Milly. I feel so much better knowing that she's not suffering any more. By my way of thinking she'll be around us again once she's had a good long rest and some time to recover, which is a comforting thought.

      I was SO chuffed to get the flutter shots- really couldn't believe how close they let me get. I had a smile a mile wide afterwards. I LOVE the puss moth too- one of the most spectacular moths (although we are coming into Hawk Moth season now, and they are amazing too).

      You've popped up as an 'official' follower - huge thanks x

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  8. That Puss Moth is fab and as for your small blue experience....I think you must have some kind of mesmeric power over them - I can never get anywhere near!

    So sorry about Cleo but you made the right decision. I hate it when people keep their animals hanging on in pain for their own ends. Sad but the best thing in the end. xxx

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    1. I think they took pity on me Em- either that or it was recompense for the number of Orange Tips I've chased around after this Spring with virtually no success!

      A tough decision re Clee, but it was the right one. She lay on my lap and we had a huge cuddle and time to say goodbye and explain things, so I felt peaceful about it. I'll always carry her in my heart.

      Have a FAB time in Scotland - looking forward to hearing all about it on your return. I'd really like you to do a drawing of Pops for me, now she's more or less full grown. Will discuss on your return xx

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    2. Would love to draw her CT. have a look through your pics of her and pick some favourites while I'm away. Xx

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  9. So very sorry about Cleo. You gave her a chance. It`s still s hard, even when you know the decision was the right one.

    Such a lot of beautiful Flying Things in this post! Really exciting to see a melanistic pepper moth and that green hairstreak is amazing.
    I hope the exams went well.

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    1. Thanks DW.

      I thought of you when the black peppered showed up as you'd mentioned it before (I think?). I was sooo pleased to see it. And as for the green hairstreak...the only thing that could possibly come close to that is a Duke of Burgundy, which I have also never seen before. I'm helping the NT out with some transects in June on a site that has them, so maybe I'll be posting a Duke pic before long (but I think that would be asking too much!) :-)

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  10. Amazing set of photos, Butterflies and Moths are wonderful, rain stopped play to day hasn't stopped.

    Sorry to hear about Cleo....

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    1. Thanks Amanda.

      Yes, poured here all afternoon too, then, when it was school pick up time and so too late to go out looking for Interesting Creatures, it stopped and the sun came out :-) Tomorrow is meant to be better....

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  11. I am so very sorry to hear about Cleo, I know that you were so worried about her from what you had said before, but it doesn't make it any better. I wish that I had some words of wisdom, but I am sadly lacking in that area, but I am really sorry for her and you and I hope that you can work it through. Take care, thinking of you.

    Now, I need to have a word. These moths. I am scared of them too, really scared. However, I am starting to recognise them as I scroll down your posts before I get to the names! Today I recognised the Blood Vein and the Scorched ones. This is quite scary for someone so scared of moths!

    I hope that the rest of the exams go well and that you get to enjoy some dry soon! xx

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    1. Bless you Amy, thanks for your lovely words.

      Re the moths, maybe seeing them on the blog will desensitise you? Or it could be that you can do what I do with spiders- once I've given them a name I'm generally less likely to run about screaming like a woman possessed! xx

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  12. I'm sorry to hear about Cleo, so very sad for you. On a happier note if I can add that, you some fabulous photos of moths. Take care. xx

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    1. Thanks Joanne. She was not going to get any better and I could not bear seeing her in that condition.

      Glad you enjoyed the moths x

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  13. I'm so sorry to hear about Cleo - always so sad to lose a much loved family pet.

    Wednesday seems to have been a good day for butterflies :) Love the Green Hairstreak. A wonderful selection of moths too - I've never seen the dark form of Peppered Moth here so great to see your photo.

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    1. Thanks Caroline.

      Yes, definitely a Good Flutter Day :-) I really hope you get to see the Green Hairstreak- spectacular, I am still smiling about it. Also the dark peppered- lovely to have the two together x

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  14. I am terribly late to this post CT, but so sorry to hear about Cleo. I've been through this before as you know and it's makes you so sad.
    Great moths and what a variety too, the furry ones are so cute and I do look forward to seeing more this year. Fab for you with the Green Hairstreak-well done.

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    1. Thanks Suzie.

      Glad you enjoyed all the flutters. Hope the house search is going OK? x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x