Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Moth Migration.

Crimson Speckled. Copyright John Wilson.

Following a recent spell of September warm weather, hundreds of rare moths have turned up in the UK resulting in the best migration for years, the largest influx of all has been that of the Flame Brocade which have flocked here in greater numbers than any for the past 130 years and experts believe it has now formed a colony at a site in the south of England. This moth is normally found in France and Spain, and there are usually only single figures each autumn in the UK but the discovery of the brilliant purplish-brown moth that has a distinct white wing flash has led to the suspicion that a colony is a possibility. The moth was resident in Sussex for at least 50 years from about the mid-19th century but then became a scarce migrant but has been making attempts to re-colonise probably as a result of more favourable weather conditions through climate change.

Vestal. Copyright Helen Bantock.  

Other moths drawn by the late summer weather have been the Death's-head Hawk-moth the largest moth to appear in Britain and has a wing span of 12 to 13cm, which has a skull like pattern on the thorax and has been seen in Dorset and Devon.  The beautiful Crimson Speckled pictured at the top, and the delicate Vestal moth above have also been seen in good numbers on the southwest and southeast coast and also in Gwynedd, both of these are normally found in the Mediterranean. The extremely rare tropical species Spoladea recurvalis has been recorded in the south, on the Isle of Man, in Ireland, and very close to 'home' in Cumbria.

Despite these excellent records from afar, it has been a relatively poor year for some of our rare native moth species, having struggled as a result of the record breaking dry spring.


Warren Baker said...

I wonder if all continental moths are better looking than ours pete, just like their birds :-) ( feathered ones !) said...

I am not an expert in moths but the first one is a really beautifull English moth, indeed!

Pete Woodruff said...

I'm leaving the one about 'continental birds' out if thats OK by you Warren.

Thanks for looking in and comments again 'elcamperoinquieto'. Crimson Speckled is not an English moth, but am going to say a little more on this subject again soon.

Pete Marsh said...

Looks like its time for you to start running a moth trap, Pete - part of being a 'proper' birder :-)

Quite a few of these migrants turned up in this area, notably Ni Moth(Yealand Conyers), Vestal at two sites, Gem and Scarce Bordered Straw (Sunderland Point & Heysham), [i]Palpita vitrealis[/i] (Morecambe West End).

Pete Woodruff said...

Point taken about 'being a proper birder' Pete. In my usual modest tone....will I ever be?

I'd love to be able to be everywhere and do everything in a lifetime....or would I?