This dumpy moth is called The Drinker – not strong cider or a craft beer, but simply the dew that gathers on long strands of grass in ditches and below hedgebanks. And it’s the caterpillar, not the moth, that sups it up – on a still night it’s gentle chomping can actually be heard. The caterpillar is large, hairy and carries some bright colours amidst its dark fur. Haven’t seen one for quite a while (the last one was near Nottingham Hill this side of Cheltenham) and this is the first moth in the trap for a two or three years. I always think it looks a bit like a hedgehog.


Patches of oak trees are good places to spot Purple Hairstreak butterflies at the moment – saw one yesterday with wings closed but perfect views of its delicate patterning. Binoculars were helpful!

Also went out looking for White-letter Hairstreaks by the scraggy elms on the Ettington by-pass. No luck though.

Purple Emperors seen at Oversley Wood today. Female in fast flight at eye level – quite a sight – followed by two or three males flitting high up in the pines. A great big tick now goes on my butterfly list!

One enterprising person had left some sardine as a lure and another person had earlier managed to attract a male down to some fish paste. Dog poo also works well!


… it’s raining! Went out to check the moth trap was watertight and well under cover for what promises to be a wet night – and almost stepped on a hedgehog. The first one in the garden for a couple of years and no doubt on the march for the slugs and snails which will now relish the damp ground. Please hang around for a few more evenings.

Interesting (but sad) roadside finds on a local bike ride – a dead bullfinch and a comma butterfly.

Better news… a comma is sunning itself on brambles at the moment, just by the spot where I’ve twice disturbed a bullfinch

in the last few weeks (nesting perhaps?).

The moth trap was running on Banbury Street for the weekly Garden Moth Survey last night (they were released again at dusk, safe from the birds).  Result – 92 moths of almost 50 different species.  Pink and khaki huge Elephant Hawkmoths are always wonderful to see.  A frog had hopped into one of the plant-pots (it’s a foot high, so a big hop) and another smaller one managed to sneak into the house while I was looking at moths in the garden.  Luckily I noticed it, and it wasn’t trapped indoors all night.

The white moth is a Clouded Silver – lovely delicate things.  There were half a dozen Garden Grass Veneers, tiny green-eyed dragon-like beasties.  The final one, a rather poor photo of a rather dull moth, was only the fourth record of this species in Warwickshire – Spindle Knot-horn (Nephopterix angustella) – I’ve had three of them now.  Must be living in the spindle in the hedges along Banbury Road.