05/11/2003
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Migrant Butterflies and Moths

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Moths

September started off well with a Dewick's Plusia taken at light at Portsmouth, Hampshire on 1st; the tropical Pyralid moth Euchromius ocellea was taken on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly on 3rd; a Golden Twin-spot at Dunwich Heath, Suffolk on 5th; a Ni Moth at Hartland Point, Devon on 6th; and on the same night an Eastern Bordered Straw on Guernsey. Several Bedstraw Hawk-moth caterpillars were also found early in the month, including one on Guernsey on 5th, and 2 found at different sites on the Shetland Isles on 8th. The rare migrant Pyralid Diasemiopsis ramburialis came to light on St Mary's on 8th; a second Dewick's Plusia was taken at Upwey, Dorset on 9th; and the superb Clifden Nonpareil came to light on St Mary's on 11th. On 13th, the 7th British record of Porter's Rustic came to light on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly; with the 8th British record following shortly after — at Longstone, St Mary's on 17th. A probable Clancy's Rustic came to light at Greatstone, Kent on 18th. This moth closely resembles a Pale Mottled Willow, as well as other Continental species, and so requires genitalia examination for positive identification. On 19th, a total of 39 Convolvulus Hawk-moth were taken at light at Durlston, Dorset — a figure that must come close to the record for one night. On 20th, a third Porter's Rustic was taken on St Mary's; and on 21st several rare migrants were taken in the Dungeness area of Kent, including Pale Shoulder, Dewick's Plusia, and another probable Clancy's Rustic. Two more Porter's Rustic were taken on the Isles of Scilly near the end of the month; and on the 26th the rare migrant Pyralid Uresiphita polygonalis came to light at Norton Sub Hamdon, Somerset. During the month large numbers of both Convolvulus and Death's-head Hawk-moth caterpillars were reported from all over the UK, with most being found on roads and paths searching for a suitable pupation site.

October proved to be very disappointing for rarer migrant species as north-west then easterly winds prevailed for much of the month. An example of the colourful micro Ethmia bipunctella was taken at light on St Mary's on 3rd. On 8th, a probable Clancy's Rustic was taken at Lydd, Kent; and a Blair's Mocha was found by day on a rock on St Mary's. A Plumed Fanfoot came to light at Greatstone, Kent on 10th; and a second Blair's Mocha came to light on St Mary's on 13th. The only other migrant of note recorded during the month was a Clifden Nonpareil, taken at light on Guernsey on 14th. As in September, several caterpillars of both Convolvulus and Death's-head Hawk-moth were found in many parts of the UK, as were the adults of Humming-bird Hawk-moth. Good numbers of both common and regular migrant species were recorded throughout September and October.

Caterpillar of Convolvulus Hawk-moth: (Photo: © L. Kneale) Caterpillar of Death's-head Hawk-moth: (Photo: © C. Morris)

Butterflies

September proved to be a very good month for rare butterflies. On 1st, a Monarch was observed in Penzance, Cornwall; and a Swallowtail was seen well at Milford on Sea, Hampshire. On 2nd, two Long-tailed Blue of unknown origin were reported from Denbighs, Surrey; with a third butterfly being found on Guernsey on 5th. A second Swallowtail was seen flying over Poole Harbour, Dorset on 16th; and a Queen of Spain Fritillary was observed twice during the afternoon of 23rd at Southwell, Portland, Dorset. Good numbers of Clouded Yellow were also reported from many sites throughout the month.

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No rare species of butterflies were reported to me during October however good numbers of Clouded Yellow, Red Admiral and Painted Lady were recorded throughout the month.

You can send in your migrant butterfly or moth records by either completing the form on the website www.migrantmoth.com, or emailing steve@migrantmoth.com.

Written by: Steve Nash