8 May 2012
6 May 2012 – Sitting on the Fence
|Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa)|
The swallows have returned to the barn – only two pairs at the moment but they are swooping and swirling and communicating with such an excited chatter it seems certain that they will move in soon. Presumably they are inspecting the already constructed nests (there are a couple of dozen from previous years) and will use them again or start to build new ones. There are plenty of St Mark’s flies and aphids so food is plentiful. However, the nights have been so cold – a light frost last night and little encouragement to put out the trap. Walking across the newly mown lawn this afternoon it actually felt like spring was here and there, on the ground in the middle of the lawn, was evidence that the trap should go out tonight – a Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa). Not a new species for Shandy Hall but not a moth that we have photographed. The bluebell serves purely as a colour contrast to the insect’s wings – and as a reminder as to the time of year it appears.
The moth’s abdomen is the colour of a wood fire seen through the slats of the grate. Deep burning red. The Latin name means ‘living on a fence’ phragmos – a fence; bio – living; fuliginosa – sooty: from the dusky colour of the forewing. Such an ordinary description for such a fiery moth.