Saturday, 22 July 2017

I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

Well the BIG NEWS is that I'm pregnant. Haha, no - I jest. The real BIG NEWS is that I hired a van and took myself off to Southampton earlier this week whereupon I collected the remainder of my worldly possessions and carted them back up to Skye. So, a mere eight months after arriving, I'm now reunited with my precious natural history books, my storeboxes full of bodies, my ento equipment, my keys, my paintings and a bunch of clothes I forgot I even owned. Quite a lot of them went into the firepit, I have to say. I also had no idea how many sets of kingsize bedding I own. Bit pointless now that I'm in a single bed, but I'll keep them anyway. 

My man cave is coming along quite nicely. Here's the 'natural history corner' complete with wizards, dragons and other odds n sods. And obligatory bottle of red next to the microscope...

This makes for a Happy Seth :) 
The tall, narrow bookcase to the right comprises my Vascular Plant books. Next to that is the Bird bookcase. The corner bookcase contains my storeboxes, the Surrey Invertebrate Atlases and a few overspill Bird books. The small dark bookcase is invertebrates, seashore, freshwater, bryophytes and lichens. The big bookcase next to my desk holds my FSC/RES/other keys collection along the top row, some of the MOBGBI series and various large bird books at the bottom. I still need to source a 6ft bookcase for the other side of the room, this will house my novels which are currently languishing in assorted cardboard boxes. I used to have a fridge magnet that said, "A room without books is like a body without a soul". Not sure I have one of those, but the sentiment is apt. The small picture is a hummingbird which has been painted onto a feather. I picked this up in Nicaragua, the detail is just incredible - though you'll just have to take my word for that...

Anyway, I have my stuff back which has to be a good thing. It's been too long since I've properly unpacked, the eight months I've been here is fast approaching a recent longevity record in terms of my settling anywhere for a decent length of time. 

Last night I was hit in the face by an unknown moth. It looked pretty large and dark. Black Rustic? Too early, hell I dunno. I chased it from ceiling spotlight to ceiling spotlight with a pot before giving up and reaching for my butterfly net. It's probably bad luck to open a butterfly net indoors, but fkkit this thing wasn't settling down. One well-timed swipe and I had it. Into a pot, into the fridge and I'll check you out when you've cooled off a bit, ya bad boy ya. 

Cool off it duly did, I popped it onto a rock outside and papped a few pics. This is it...whatever it is...

That hugely jagged W-mark looked very familiar. Could this be the darkest Dark Arches I've ever seen? A quick flick through the books and various online resources confirmed that this was indeed a Dark Arches, but of the melanic form aethiops which is more frequent in the north. Hence why I've never seen one before. Smart moff! Very smart, in fact.

I've booted up quite a few Magpie Moths and Mottled Beauties recently, usually by strimming over them. Large Yellow Underwings too. A Common Shrew added itself to the "Death by Strimmer" list this afternoon, hot on the heels of last week's Field Vole. I used to think that strimming through dogshit was as bad as it could get but strimming small mammals is much, much worse.

Me ol' mate Skev has introduced me to a moff attractant that seems to work wonders (and doesn't need a fancy bulb either). Buy a banana. Cut a couple of 'windows' into the peel to expose the banana flesh. Hang it up in a tree. Leave it to rot. Easy! It seems that flies and wasps are attracted first but that moffs move in after a couple of nights. He's had instant success with species such as Copper Underwing, Dark Arches and Old Lady being lured in. And, in his own words, nothing beats having an Old Lady sucking your banana..... Stupidly I forgot to buy bananas today and the shop is shut tomorrow, so that's next week's project sorted out.


  1. Funny how some books jump out. I can see BWP and Stace. I wonder if The Nun comes to banana. that could get a lot of "likes"

  2. Surely you can't have failed to notice the BSBI 'Dandelions' by Dudman & Richards. It's the immaculate, gleaming, pristine yellow one, as yet untouched by human hand - apart from that one time when I foolishly looked at a few pages and put it straight back onto the shelf! I may have to attempt opening it again sometime this century...whole host of lifers awaiting me. Maybe.