As regular readers of my Marsh Diaries posts will know, I’ve been having a very moth-y summer. I’ve not had much luck taking pictures of my visitors, as they all show up at night. Or most of them, at any rate.
The last visit to the lake, I awoke to a warm, sunny morning. I zipped open the window for some air, and as I folded back the flap, look who I found.
It generally takes a lot to make me chuckle first thing in the morning, but that did it. The word plague drifted through my mind as well. I left him there until I had some coffee, then put him out, and watched until he flew into a nearby poplar tree.
Just before we rolled up the outdoor carpet prior to leaving, I happened to look down, and found this beautiful little fellow.
He was a very complacent moth. I picked him up with my right hand, then started for my camera. Realizing at that point I needed my right hand to take a picture, I transferred him over to my left hand and still he didn’t fly. I put him back on the ground out of harms way, and he very obligingly opened his wings so I could get a shot of the bright orange underneath.
I was so enamored with this beautiful bug I had to do some moth research when I got home. He was a Virgin Tiger Moth, a widespread species which occurs from Newfoundland to Alberta. I’d never seen one of these before, but truthfully, I’ve never spent as much time looking at moths as I have this summer.
During my research, I discovered an excellent website on Insects of Alberta, which is where the following five pictures come from. There was no way I could match the moths we’ve been releasing all summer to any of the species on the website, but perhaps they are a different color when young, or something. I am most decidedly not a moth expert!
These first three are the closest I can come to the ones we’re encountering most often.
We also see the following, but not in such large numbers.
Outside of the trailer, we also have a lot of these flittering around.
I must admit I’m not quite as fond of moths as I was at the beginning of the summer, but it could be worse. As I was taking pictures of the Virgin Tiger Moth, a Horse Fly took a chomp out of the back of my hand. A trailer full of those guys would really cut short my camping season, and there would definitely be more smacking than releasing going on.