Thursday, 9 July 2015

A cautionary tale

The so-called micro moths are something that I keep on dabbling in. I get keen for a week or two, then phase - come back to them with great resolve and then fade away. I should really put far more effort into getting to know them better! Anyway, yesterday I went through the contents of the MV and potted up a few micros that I thought that I could 'have a go at', including a tiny moth in the rather fetching upright 'begging' pose. I took a quick couple of record shots before moving in for something a lot better when the little fellow (or madam) took flight, into the hallway and was never seen again. On looking at the images they were really, really poor, as worse a couple of images as I have taken all year:

See what I mean? I thought that I might still have a chance of getting an identification and after a little perusal of the literature on offer, felt quite confident that it was Caloptilia cucupennella. My next port of call was to the excellent Smaller Moths of Surrey, just to check on status. And now the alarm bells rang, as there were but three modern day records. Had I made a mistake?

A posting of the images on both the Surrey Moths and Pan-listing Facebook groups resulted in lively debate - some agreement, plenty of 'not proven', mainly down to the poor images. I've sent them off to the two Surrey moth Gods (Graham Collins and Jim Porter) in the hope that there may just be enough in the photographs to attain an acceptance. Lessons learnt? Don't sod about with 'record' shots, keep the moth more securely and don't let the bugger go until I have read up on its status.


Derek Faulkner said...

Perhaps you should stick to the beautiful wild flower shots that you've been posting lately - those flower meadows are something else and more your own thing. Seems like every blogger's jumped on the Odonata bandwagon this year and many are now getting involved with micro moths - seems like twitching birds is going out of fashion.

Steve Gale said...

Thanks Derek. These micros can be stunning when seen 'close up' though...