Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Saturday 16 September 2023

Moth trapping roller coaster

Every day is different and this certainly applies to the running of a garden moth trap. Each morning, you have absolutely no idea what might have been drawn to the light whilst you've been tucked up in bed. Here, in Dumpton, I have been getting a decent number of moth species which to moth-ers, situated in other parts of the UK, are considered rarities. The Box Tree Moth is one example, and I read that Dungeness Obs had trapped one! My best count, this year, is four hundred and three!! Likewise, The Delicate, Clancy's Rustic and Convolvulus Hawk-moths have been regular visitors which are now almost expected, if that makes any sense? Well last night it all changed. Sure I still had the mass numbers of Box Tree Moths and their associates yet two moths were trapped which stand head and shoulders above the other species. Dewick's Plusia is always a nice moth to discover and today's specimen, number three for 2023, was a very pleasant surprise.

A Dewick's Plusia in all its' glory

As nice as this discovery was, nothing could have prepared me for what I found on the very next egg tray. It was one of those "can someone pinch me, I must be dreaming" moments as I set eyes upon my very first Clifden Nonpareil. I've never seen one in the flesh previously, although have jealously drawled over images posted by fellow bloggers who've enjoyed the experience in the past. Now it was my turn and I don't think that anything I write will ever come close to describing how I felt at that moment. 

As I saw it when first turning that particular egg tray - WTF?

I quickly grabbed a couple of egg tray shots before grabbing a pot and securing my prize. In the fridge it went, for a few minutes, whilst I finished checking the rest of the egg trays. Having no desire to mess it up, into the conservatory I went, camera and moth in attendance. After a couple of escape attempts, I managed to convince the moth to stay put on my cardboard sheet in order to get that image which everyone wants. The one where that magnificent blue-banded underwing is displayed.

It is now back in the fridge, awaiting release later this evening. No doubt I will be showing it to a few of my neighbours, because that's what I do whenever I get something unusual. Garden mothing, can you beat it?


  1. Dyl, In Victorian terms, would the The Clifden Nonpareil (Having no match or equal) Be the moth equivalent of the Purple Emperor?

    1. Ric, Once again I am in no position to give a definitive answer to the question. That the moth's scientific name translates to "beyond compare" is certainly why the Victorian collectors placed such prominence on obtaining specimens of this magnificent insect. Knowing that these same collectors also pinned butterflies I wonder if Camberwell Beauty was their equivalent during that same era?
      All the best - Dyl

  2. Really chuffed to read of your success, Dyl. I didn't realise you'd not trapped one before. Aren't they fantastic?! 😄 👍

    1. I've been running a MV moth trap since summer of 1994 - still not got a garden record of Striped Hawk-moth? This particular avenue of interest into our natural world is a wonderful journey of discovery. I am so enthused by your own "moth trance" that I find myself getting quite excited by the early morning ritual of examining the egg trays. It is a superb opportunity to explore the unknown, without any requirement to expend effort, or money, to pursue the quest. It's certainly not a level playing field. I lent my mate, Gadget, a trap way back in 2003/4 and he caught a Striped Hawk-moth within a couple of nights (his house being around 800m to the south) and topped it off with a first for the UK with an Asiatic Nycteoline a few nights later.
      As I stated in the post, I don't have the ability to convey into words what that moment felt like. I've caught big fish, found some amazing birds, yet nothing compares with that crazy first sight of a moth which only existed in my dreams!
      Cheers for the comment, take care and keep blogging (there aren't many of us left) - Dyl