Friday, 25 May 2012

Swift moths in Carwoola

As Denis has noted in his post the Swift Moths were out and about in Carwoola as well as Robertson.  In a straight line Google Earth reckons these metropoli are 145km apart (another comment about distances is at the end of this post).

We became aware of this phenomenon about 8:30 when the rustling of them crawling on the window and the tapping as they hit hard slightly disturbed our watching of a DVD movie.  The disturbance was brief as the movie (Collateral) was rather gripping at that point.  Once the film had finished I went out to take some photographs (efforts to take shots from inside failed miserably).

 The first two images show a mass of the moths on the decking at the base of the windows.  We have got a row of pelargoniums and a few other plants in pots there.

 This is not the greatest bit of photo-composition ever produced but does show the chestnut abdomen.
 A couple more close shots.

Since they all appeared reasonably consistent in wing pattern I conclude that these were Oxycanus australis, rather than the O. dirempta as Denis concluded for his specimens.

 As I had expected the pair of Tawny Frogmouths which reside in our garden were giving attention to this winged menu.  At various times one or both were perched about 5m horizontally from the deck.  Perhaps because we were watching the film we didn't notice them come to the window or possibly because of the plants they chose to dine a little more en plein air.  I haven't yet found any ghostly shapes on the windows!

My friend Kim  - photographer of the ghostly shapes, who lives about 7 km away - has commented "Yes, same here, it was Shock and Awe going out into the night. Every time I did go out there was the frogmouth sitting on its usual branch but it didn't hit our windows - perhaps transfixed by too much choice!"

On the following night - 25 May - not a moth was to be seen.  Possibly this reflected the 50kph wind that had been blowing all day.  The moths, like us, haddecided to hole up for the duration.

Total aside about distances.  As well as the straight line distances I decided to measure the road distance from Carwoola to Robertson.  The first effort by Google maps went along the western side of Lake George and amounted to 195km.   While this does use mainly 4 lane road, the local view would be to use the more rustic route though Tarago.  Forcing Google to go that way shows a saving of 10km down to 185km: given the speed limits on the Federal Highway, and the basically good condition of the alternate route, I suspect there is a saving of some 5 whole minutes and about $1 in petrol using the Eastern route!

I doubt that the moths commute between the two locations, but am quite confident that if they do they would go closer to a straight and not follow either road!

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