Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lunchtime in the sun

Comma. Note how the underwing's white comma mark is so bright that it even reflects onto the shadow on the left of the insect...

Brian The Natural Stone and I took a trip out to the airforce base at Wittering this lunchtime (13.3.07). Actually we were next door at Easton Hornstocks, a wood I'd never visited before. Like Old Sulehay, it is a sandy, limey place that looks superb for insects. Brian was after Light Orange Underwing, I was along for the ride. It was fantastic to be out in the sun and I learnt how to identify Aspen, I think (the host of the moth). We found a glade with a few of these trees in plus a bunch of poplars that were beautifully riddled with the exit holes of Hornet Clearwing Moths – something for June, methinks.
And when we looked up, there was one of the moths! Only it wasn't; it was a Comma butterfly, the first of about six we saw, plus three Brimstones.

Green Tiger Beetle (by Jasmine Weedon), just to illustrate these superb insects (see below)

But the charm of such outings is not necessarily seeing the target, but all the rest, which amounted to the butterflies, two scarpering Muntjacs, the brightest Red Fox I've ever seen, three Common Lizards, a few Green Tiger Beetles, one or two hoverflies and solitary bees, and the combined sounds of several Coal Tits, Goldcrests and the paradoxically pleasing scold of a Jay. Aha, a taste of spring to come.

Brian gets down and dirty for a shot of the Comma. (Note essential tripod!)

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