Showing posts from July, 2023

From the deep, dark forest

When I first started to take an interest in moths over 40 years ago, there were certain species that appeared to me wrapped in myth and awe - I would stare at the colour plates in my two volumes of 'South' and wonder if I would ever be fortunate enough to see them - the pairing of Dark Crimson and Light Crimson Underwings were amongst them. Both of these species were large beasts, whose hidden underwings displayed shocks of red. Part of their allure rested in the fact that they were rare residents, the only chance of discovery being if you visited the New Forest after dark, and even then only if you were privy to local knowledge. They seemed to come more readily to tree trunks that had been 'sugared', a dark art that involved the lepidopterist painting a strip of liquid concocted with all sorts of wondrous provisions - black treacle, beer, brown sugar - with such recipes being closely guarded secrets. I had visions of being lead blindfold down a forest clearing at midni