I have had the moth box lit two nights running because this is Merveille Time.
For those of you who aren't moth'ers, or have been reading my little compendium of Countryside Tales for less than a year, or else have just plain forgotten, the Merveille Du Jour is considered by many people to be the pinnacle of moth trapping (I really don't like that expression because it conjours up images of Victorian hunters with nets and pins, but in the absence of a better one I'll trust you all to know what I mean).
The Merveille Du Jour is frequently referred to as the Most Beautiful of British moths. It is a well-deserved accolade (although it would be more accurate to call it the Merveille Du Nuit, but we'll skim over that).
They are moths of Oak Trees, as evidenced by their brilliant camo which contrives to be both effective and really rather beautiful. They look like intricate swirls of lichen and mosses belonging to the deepest, the most ancient of forests, and when placed on an Oak are virtually impossible to see.
I spent a lot of time last year gazing wistfully at the photograph of the Merveille on page 256 of my moth bible, wondering whether I would ever be lucky enough to see one in the flesh. When my blogging chum Martin posted pictures of his own Merveille (which arrived in his Oxfordshire garden in mid-October last year), my anticipation grew, because for most of last year the moths that Martin recorded in his garden turned up here a few days later.
I waited and waited. A week passed, and then a fortnight. Nothing. I began to give up hope. But then, on the very last day of October, I opened the moth box first thing in the morning and very nearly fell over when I saw what was waiting for me inside.
I remember being unrepentant in my joy when I posted most of the considerable number of photographs I took of the moth, and I am about to be again, because last night, despite clear skies and cooler temps which are generally less favoured by moths than slightly damp, overcast muggy nights, the Merveille once again deigned to grace us and was waiting for me on the underside of the lamp when I removed it this morning.
There were twelve species of moth in the box, totalling twenty two individuals, and the Merveille was the only new one. Long gone are the heady days of summer when I would record 450 moths in the box of a morning. To be honest, mothing in the cooler months of the year is easier and that is welcomed.
So, without further ado, sit back and enjoy one of Mother Nature's Truly Amazing Creations..... I give you The Merveille Du Jour.
Accompanying this lovely moth was a Satellite, a moth we don't see all that often and so he/ she deserves a place in this post too....
The Darkly Handsome Black Rustic....
The brown form of the Green Brindled Crescent (plenty of these about at present)
And, a rather unexpected and lovely large (25mm) Sexton Beetle called Necrodes litteralis or the Shore Beetle...
And there was me feeling sad that all the small things are preparing to hibernate and the garden is so quiet without them.
I'll leave you with a pic of Teddy snoozing (doubtless exhausted from Poppy's constant requests to play chase and bite), a rather wintry shot of the patio which is looking quite bare now that the garden furniture has been put away, and a message for friends Paul and Saz, both of whom have been very poorly indeed in hospital over the last week or two: Get Well Soon Guys xx
Wishing you all a Good Week,