At this time of year, the large spectacular moths have gone, but what are left still hold a magic and beauty, the magic coming from the names while the beauty from the delicate and intricate markings.
One moth this week had plenty of both, the Feathered Gothic. In Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight, there has undoubtedly been a substantial decline since the 1950s, when it was abundant on the north-east heaths and in the New Forest, but apparent increases in recent years
Flies from late August to September, and the larva feeds on various species of grass, including Mat-grass and Sheep's-fescue, over-wintering as an egg. In this photograph you can see the beautiful small hairs on the back of the thorax like a brown shawl.
This moth gave me a headache trying to identify it, but I believe it to be a Chestnut Tortrix, Cydia splendana, but I am not 100% certain. They are typically found in deciduous woodland where oak or sweet chestnut occurs, the larvae feed internally on the acorns or chestnut, and these trees are dominant around here, so this supports my identification, but with such a small moth it is difficult to be sure.
This next moth is again quite small but exquisitely marked, with a lovely rusty colour. You can understand why it is called a carpet, the Common Marbled Carpet. A common variable marked species, which is found throughout Britain in a wide range of habitats. There are two broods, flying in May and June, and again from August to October, sometimes later.
Another beautifully marked small moth is this Phoenix, it is found throughout the most part of the British Isles, having a liking for cultivated areas of fruit, but is not particularly common anywhere. The adults are on the wing in July and August, so this one is getting late in its season, hence the faded appearance of the markings.
Another moth late in its season, if in fact I have identified it properly is this Yellow Shell. They can vary in colour, and I think this one too is a little faded. There normal flying period is July to August. Open to suggestions if it is thought I have got this identification wrong.
The next two I am confident about, the first an Oak Hook Tip. The 'hook-tip' moths get their name from the shape of the tips of the forewings, and the Oak Hook Tip is one of the smaller members of the group. They can be found in oak woodland and parkland, it is reasonably common in the southern half of Britain.
Double-brooded, they can be seen flying in May and June, and again in August, and as would be expected, oak is the larval foodplant.
Last but not least is the Barred Sallow, one of several Sallow species this one is mainly distributed in the south and south-east of England, and inhabits wooded valleys, downland and southern heaths, flying in September and October.
The larvae feed on beech or maple, again trees found plentifully around here.
Something of interest today, and hopefully when I get the chance to get out and about the patch this weekend there will be other items of interest to report on.