2014 - June

Chilbolton & Wherwell Wildlife - June 2014

Bedstraw Hawkmoth small











As I’ve mentioned before, many species of moths are much more mobile than you might think. In late summer, we often see species that only breed in France, and occasionally there are rarities that have come all the way from the Mediterranean. Recently though, at the very end of May, I was taken aback to see the very rare Bedstraw Hawkmoth in my garden light-trap in Chilbolton. The species is a similar size and shape to our common resident Elephant Hawkmoth, though doesn’t have the spectacular pink and green colours of the Elephant Hawk. It’s rather sombre in fact, mainly olive-brown, with a straw-yellow stripe running done the forewing. For the enthusiast though, it’s quite unusual and exciting to see a Bedstraw Hawkmoth; only 16 have been recorded in Hampshire during the last 25 years. So how did it get here? Well, we can’t be sure; but the theory is that most Bedstraw Hawks arrive in the UK from the Low Countries or Scandinavia, rather than from the south. So it could well be that it arrived during a pattern of predominantly easterly and south-easterly weather during the previous week. This weather also brought us a number of the more common day-flying Humming-bird Hawkmoth. Look out for these in your garden on any sunny day through the summer; they look just like tiny humming birds hovering in from of flowers as they take the nectar. I’ve seen several in my garden recently. They particularly like flowers such as Valerian and Petunia, but by the time you read this article, they could well be visiting Buddleja flowers.

Next West Down events: Next is National Moth Night combined with our Annual Glow-worm hunt, on Friday 4th July - meet at top car-park at 21:30. We’ll have an evening walk around the Down and if it’s warm, we should see moths such as the Scarlet Tiger. And once it gets dark, we’ll look for the tiny lights of the female glow-worms, and see what other moths might be attracted to our moth-lamps. If it’s a warm night, we’ll stay till midnight. Oh, and it’s a good time of year for mosquitoes to be emerging, so don’t forget the insect repellent!

Then on Sunday 13th July, we have our next working party when Andover Conservation Volunteers will be joining us to help remove the overhanging branches and foliage from the permissive bridleway. I thought I’d done a very thorough job on this last winter, but all I seem to have succeeded in doing, is allow yet more foliage to collapse into the airspace needed by horse-riders. Please join us if you can, especially if you’re a horse-rider – meet at the top car-park at 10:00.


Glynne Evans (hantsbto@hotmail.com

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