Posted by: Ross Gardner | June 22, 2013

Small things with big ideas

My efforts to start posting more frequently again have been stuttering somewhat – apologies to those good people who have expressed an interest in the stuff of these pages.

Stuttering also has been the good old British summer; it has been as changeable a June as befits the reputation, fair or unfair, of our iffy weather.  This is something that will obviously have implications for those things that keep the naturalist’s eyes alert.  But June is an irrepressible month.  One whose life bubbles to the surface, even beneath a sky swaddled with stratus clouds and in the face of the occasional brisk winds that don’t so much stir the green spaces as shake them.  Even the small things though, are more hardy than we might give them credit for.

Cauchas rufimitrella.  Ross Gardner 2013.

Cauchas rufimitrella. Ross Gardner 2013.

Of those small things, it is the moths that have particularly been drawing my attentions of late.  Everything from the tiny to the larger side of the ‘small’ spectrum, if that makes any sense.  Of the former it was a presence of some little longhorn moths, by the name of Cauchas rufimitrella (I have also seen it given as Adela rufimitrella – which one to use?), whose gleaming, golden-green wings I noticed flickered within a shetlered corner beside a wind-swept Essex reed-bed.

Of the latter it was a fresh face of a familar name.  I have seen the caterpillars of the Cream-spot Tiger many times over the years.  They seem decidedly coastal around these parts and I have often seen them crawling across seawalls, often with such frequency as to count a number of individuals at a locations, at intervals along the path.  Never before however, had I seen an adult until this one at Wat Tyler Country Park, beside the Thameside marshes…

Cream-spot Tiger (Arctia villicia).  Ross Gardner 2013

Cream-spot Tiger (Arctia villica). Ross Gardner 2013

… a beauty even without the bright colours of its hindwings and abdomen on show.

Small things with big ideas for the burgeoning weeks of June.

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