Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020


To my mind, we are right at the start of perhaps the most interesting seasonal period for moth recording in the UK. Yes, it is predominantly a time of more noctuids - but many of them are funky yellow ones, whilst others are just the right shade of brown. It is perhaps the time when the colours and markings of the moths most closely relate to the season.

For example, during the spring glut of brown Common Quakers, Hebrew Characters and Clouded Drabs, we are enjoying the green shoots and spring bulbs. During the early summer when brown Heart and Darts, Rustic Shoulder-knots and Dark Arches are on the cusp of pestilence levels, we are into and beyond the blossoms and flowers. But come the Sallows, Beaded Chestnuts, Bricks and Yellow-line Quakers, the main focus for natural colours is the turning leaves glowing yellows and chestnuts.

The only moth of interest last night was one of the autumnal species in question ....

Sallow - this one is ab. flavescens, more blonde than mottled

This used to be Xanthia icteritia. Xanthia derived from the Greek Xanthe - blonde/yellow. Perfect. Blonde/yellow moth, scientifically called blondie ....

Now it is called Cirrhia icteritia. I don't know what the derivation is of Cirrhia, perhaps something related to liver disease.

Of course, aside from the smart but expected autumnal moths, late August through to early October is the peak period when regular migrant moths to the UK are most likely to also occur inland. Given a fair wind and just the right conditions. And a big slice of luck. Bordered Straw, Scarce Bordered Straw, Pearly Underwing, Small Mottled Willow and - perhaps - Convolvulus Hawk-moth. But so often they don't. Will autumn 2020 be any different here in Leics. - will anything happen?

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