27 Aug 2017

27 Aug 17 - A Bonus Hawk Moth

I'm still in photo catch up mode from Aug 17. A couple of weeks after I twitched my first Bedstraw Hawk Moth in at Paul Harris's garden in Weymouth, I saw a tweet from local Swanage Birder Phyl England. Phyl had found a Death's-Head Hawk Moth in her moth trap. Normally, I would be suspicious about Death's-Head Hawk Moths in the UK, given they can be easily bought on the internet by people who want to photograph a good-looking Hawk Moth. Personally, I can't see the attraction in buying Moths or Butterflies to photograph them. Even worse is to then claim they are wild. I know of one well known 1980s Bird stringer who went on to buy various Butterfly caterpillars or pupa for photography. He thought that producing photos of rare Butterflies would prove that he didn't string all his sightings. Instead, he just added to his dodgy reputation when he claimed a number of pristine rare Butterflies were wild. More amusing I did hear of one of the Hampshire Birders who caught a Death's-Head Hawk Moth back in the 80s. He took that Moth down the pub that evening to show his local Birding mates, only to find that they all had brought one to the pub as well. Only then did he realise it was a wind up & they had all been captively breed & one of his mates had secretly visited his garden trap the night before.
Death's-Head Hawk Moth: This was my first Death's-Head Hawk Moth. The Dorset Moth Group web site details a total of sixty records over forty four sites in Dorset. So, it was well worth making the effort to see this individual
Fortunately, Phyl's individual turned up with a number of other regular migrant Moths. Phyl's garden virtually backs onto the Durlston Country Park which has a great track record in migrant Moths. Phyl was very good & allowed me to pop along with my camera.
Death's-Head Hawk Moth: Apparently, they have a habit of raiding Honey Bee hives for honey
Death's-Head Hawk Moth: They look even better from the front & they have the most amazing eyes
I thought I was only going to get the chance to see the Death's-Head Hawk Moth, but Phyl said she had a number of other migrants that she had caught, but hadn't had the time to photograph them until I arrived. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity to photograph a few bonus Moth Ticks.
The Delicate: I've only seen one of this migrant Moth before at Portland
Scarce Bordered Straw: This is another migrant. I saw my first three Scarce Bordered Straws that afternoon
Scarce Bordered Straw
The Ni Moth: My third migrant Moth Tick of the afternoon