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Friday, July 11, 2008

Macro or Micro;The Magic of Moths

Yesterday morning, again, I found 2 Moths in my kitchen and livingroom.
A Small Magpie Moth on the windowsill in the living room, and one on the outside of the kitchen window.
The Magpie had given up and had uttered its last breath during the night most likely. Touching and feeling these micro thin wings is incredible, a texture so unlike anything man made. As I had it in my fingers, I got a kind of shock to my nerve system in my fingers; in its attempt to locate this sensation in the bulging database of textures which it has stored away for further reference.

The other Moth, a Grey Pine Carpet, { Thera obeliscata }which was sitting safely outside, was still able to inhale fresh air as to the air around the Small Magpie must have tried to breathe in. The Grey Pine Carpet sat with its wings spread out, and I kept wondering how it was able to sit still with the fresh Atlantic wind which curls around the house and lifting everything in its path. The male Chaffinches and House Sparrows gorging on the peanut cake and seeds in the planter, where hit regularly, as soon as a gust swept up their bodies from their dinner table. So how did the Moth stay on the window?

With the window opening inwards, I was able to get a decent picture, needed with searching for the ID.

It seems that in the UK and Ireland a lot more Moth recording is done than in any European country. {so wait for my Mothing in The Netherlands Blog ! With the Dutch birders only doing {garden}bird counts on the one weekend annually, it looks I’m in for some busy times once we return there.*

And yet, why do I love Moths? After all, you hardly ever see them fly, unless you are out at night in a good illuminated area. Butterflies on the other wing, show of their brilliant colours during daylight when we can enjoy them in our gardens, parks and just almost everywhere around you.
If you can find a Moth during the day, it will be asleep most likely and this can give us the chance to study it, to stand back in wonder at its colours, which can be just as brilliant as those of Butterflies.
And if it is one of the plainer coloured ones, , you can still take time out and look at the delicate pattern on their wings. These might be perceived as ‘dull’ by a lot of people, but the structure of the Moth is no less delicate, and somehow, once I spotted a Small Tortoise Shell Butterfly early this month, it did a lot less to me than all these Moths. I’m still asking myself why, but I’m afraid I have no answer, and no it was not that I had to actively follow this Butterfly with my camera, as it was flying from Nettle leaf to the next, just outside my kitchen window, or that the Moths seem to be coming to me, with me not out searching for them.
Perhaps it is the Mystery of the Moth? Which I doubt, and all I can say to that is, let’s agree on the Magic of Moths.

My first Moth was a Small Magpie, on the 30th of January. Actually, it was odd, because it was between 6am and 8am that I was disturbed in my work by this little beauty. {I work best early mornings} It landed above my table, on the round edge of a little shelf I’ve got there with the smaller of my bird books, some natural history CD/DVD’s under the eye of Buddha. It must have come in while the door was open as I was putting out food for my birds.
The light must have attracted it, and yet I assume it had finished feeding too. And I’ve just checked my bird diary, in which I keep records of temperature, weather and wind [strength/direction] and the two days before it had not only been Sunny, but warm too, at 12Celsius. So no doubt it had come out of hibernation, having been misguided by the warmth of its surroundings. The poor thing was being hit hard though, the next day it was between 6 and 8Celsius over the next week with Gales, snow and sleet! Not that we do get any snow, yet it would have been a shock to its system.

Having had eleven Moths inside my kitchen or in the direct vicinity of my kitchen, since late January this year, has convinced me indeed that they are just beautiful creatures in my view.

* Because my health is going downhill, and with F. is hitting the 60 mark in 5 months, he is not able to take care of me long term any more. The health service over there is much easier accessible, without having to travel for 90 minutes to the nearest hospital if we fracture anything like when I fractured my ankle in April. Public transport is excellent over there too, making many of the Nature Reserves easy to visit too.

My Moth List for this year, so far:

30/01/08 Kitchen Small Magpie Moth

31/01/08 Kitchen Angel Shades Moth

05/02/08 Kitchen Angel Shades Moth
05/02/08 Kitchen Angel Shades Moth

23/05/08 Window {outside} Small Magpie Moth

30/05/08 Window {outside} Dark barred Twin Spot Moth

13/06/08 Window {inside} Small Cinnabar Moth

17/06/08 Window {inside} White Ermine Moth

20/06/08 Nettle {garden} Small Magpie Moth

01/07/08 Nettle {garden} Small Tortoise Shell Butterfly

03/07/08 Window {inside} Small Magpie Moth

10/07/08 Window {outside} Grey Pine Carpet Moth

10/07/08 Window {inside} Small Magpie Moth

And some Moth Shots too, of course:
Small Magpie Moth, A Dark Barred Twin Spot MothA White Ermine Moth3 different kind of Angel Shades' Moth,

And in Comparison, a Small Tortoise Shell Butterfly,


  1. Beautiful Moths. Some of them have such wonderfully "furry" bodies. I do believe we have the third picture of the Angel Shade Moth here. I took a picture last year but didn't know what kind it was. Now you have me interested in looking for Moths, lol.

  2. Hi Crow,

    What do you mean with The Third picture of Angel Shades?

    Yes, Mothing is a lovely hobby and your garden should harbour some of them too!
    And otherwise any wild area in your neighbourhood.



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