The warm, still conditions and overcast skies looked ideal for moth-trapping last night so the trap went out as dusk fell only to come in again at 2am as rain threatened. It wasn't until this evening that we were able to investigate its contents and it was immediately obvious that we had a good catch with 2 Lime Hawk-moths and 2 Elephant Hawk-moths sitting in full view on top of the egg boxes. Delving deeper into the trap revealed more and more moths of a large variety of species including Alder Moth and Alder Kitten, Oblique Carpet, Ghost Moth and Scorched Wing, in total about 100 moths of nearly 50 species. However it was the Hawk-moths that stole the show with no fewer than 15 of 5 different species. One, a Pine Hawk-moth, was new for the garden.
From left to right we have Poplar, Eyed, Elephant, Pine and Lime Hawk-moths
Hawk-moths are spectacular creatures, big, bold and in some cases as brightly coloured as any butterfly. They also seem very placid and will happily perch on your finger rather than flit away like many other moths. My youngest daughter is fascinated by them, unlike birds in which she has little interest.
This is Eyed Hawk-moth just showing the "eyes" which it flashes to scare off potential predators.
Pine Hawk-moth, the local rarity
And finally, a close-up of an Elephant Hawk-moth showing off the vivid pink of its underside.