Sunday, July 29, 2012

Imperial Moth

Charlie--who is not especially bright.

Wing-span approx. 4 inches.
I came in from pegging sheets on the line to find a cluster of cats at the end of the hallway.
They were hovering with that peculiar intentness of felines closing in on prey.
J. looked up from his laptop and muttered to the effect that he'd seen--from the corner of his eye--Charlie scooting down the hall with an interested group in pursuit.
Pushing the cats aside I discovered an Imperial Moth--alive, but only just.

I carried it out into the daylight and realized from the faded colors and tatty wings that it was on its last day--no doubt had fluttered into the cat yard and become easy grabbing, even for a cat like Charlie the Buffoon, who is never quick on the mark.
I left the lethargic moth on a clump of thyme and went about dragging the hose around to water plants on the front porch.

When I returned to shut down the water spigot the moth was moving over the shady grass, wobbly, but not ready to expire in my herb garden.

I brought out my camera and snapped a sequence of photos as the moth progressed--quite steadily--up the trunk of a box elder tree.

I had the camera on macro setting hoping the moth would stand out sharply from the grey of the tree bark.
As I increased the zoom, camera shake blurred the images.

An hour later the moth was still visible, clinging to a leafy twig.

Close-up taken as the moth gripped the bark and started up the box-elder.

Charlie--taking his ease in the cat yard.


  1. Thank you for the chuckle today, Sharon! Your description of your cats made me laugh. I seem to be a refuge to cats that are not too bright also. Today Gimpy and Owly were have a fight up on the top branch of a tree.

    PS: I'm loving David Grayson. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite nature writers.

  2. Lovely photos and cat's being cats.

  3. What a beautiful creature. I've never seen one before. How big across is it?

  4. What a beautiful sequence of photos. I do hope that the poor raggedy moth survived the predators of the night and will live another day at least. I expect Charlie enjoyed his chase, even if he has forgotten all about it by now!

  5. Very painterly colours on that subdued moth, - love your description of the cats. We have only one cat, and I often wonder what it would be like to have a few more in the house.

  6. Wow. That is a BIG moth! Glad he survived a few more hours out in the sunshine. Had to smile at the thought of the Big Hunter returning home with his prey and being pursued by the others in a gang!

  7. Wonderful photos. I'm also glad the moth had a little more time to live its live in the outdoors.