Orchids and Moths

It's been a great time here in our part of France for flora and fauna although everything including the cuckoo was so late and it seemed Spring would never arrive. But now Nature is  trying to make up for lost time  and we have been treated to magnificent wild flowers


The birdsong has been spectacular with the nightingale singing for hours into the night.  But how exciting and what a treat to see a  creature we had never seen before......

Saturnia Pyri


Thanks for the photo Ellie!  What a great idea to include the tape measure!

Saturnia Pyri,  Giant Peacock Moth or Grand Paon de Nuit  is the largest moth in Europe  and ours had a  wingspan of 5 1/2". We were lucky to see two of these one night at about midnight  flying round the light in the barn and at first thought they were a pair of bats then the next day this one was spread out on the ground  looking dead it was so still but from time to time it moved a little and by nightfall had flown away.
Neither male nor female moths feed at all during their brief lives, the males  only living for a few days - sometimes only a few hours and the female until she has laid her eggs.  Apparently the male moths are attracted by a scent given off by the female which they can detect  from  a kilometre away. The caterpillars are equally  fascinating  and there are  lots of pics on Google.  I would love to see one of them - they can be 4 1/2 " long and are bright yellowy green with blue blobs!!   I know... it sounds unlikely....

I've got some orchid photos, lizard orchids that are very prolific and also some of the much rarer  bee orchids  but they will have to wait until the next time.  The latest  diabolical Flickr update,  some quirk with iPhoto on my macbook and general ineptitude on my part are conspiring against me...

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