Thursday, 19 May 2016

The moth's birthday

During a recent fit of digging, I noticed a little creature struggling in the soil. On closer inspection, I realised it was a new moth, battling its way out of its chrysalis. Its tiny wings didn't look properly formed, and I was worried I'd disturbed it before it was quite ready to hatch. (Is hatch the right word?) Also worried about Harvey treading on the moth, I managed to move it onto the hydrangea where it could dry out in the sun. Sure enough, its wings gradually uncrinkled, and here it is, in the centre of the picture if you can spot it.

After a while it moved itself down into the shadows of the plant, where I hope it survived birds and bats. It's not every day you witness the birth of a moth! I wonder how it feels, to go into a chrysalis as one creature and come out as another. How do you suddenly get the hang of flying?

I've been looking at my 'Complete British Wildlife', trying to identify the species of moth for you. Some of the pictures give me a funny, tickly feeling at the back of my neck, so I had to stop. However, the names of moths are very poetic. The Vapourer. The Heart and Dart. The Beautiful Golden Y. The Canary-shouldered Thorn. I could go on. There are pages!

Everything in the garden is lovely and green. We have lots of yellow poppies (Meconopsis cambrica.) The odd one comes up more orange in colour, like this. I'd like to try growing the difficult Himalayan Blue ones, but don't think I have the right soil.
Here's Harvey in the park. I had to attach him to a tree to take this photo, otherwise his retriever snout is down on the ground, snuffling out every bit of smelly goo. He's looking affronted at the interruption to his foraging.
The park is all frothy with cow parsley this time of year. Also known as Queen Anne's Lace.
Who lives in a hole like this? Elves, maybe. Or moths with magical names.
Have a magical May!