Clifden Nonpareil #2 … and 3!

Having caught my first ever Clifden Nonpareil last week I had blithely assumed that it would be a once in a lifetime experience. And I’d have been happy with that, such was the excitement of finding it. It really felt like, had I never caught another great moth, I could be happy with my one ‘big’ find.

Of course, I’m aware that Clifden Nonpareil seems to be becoming more frequent, perhaps as climate changes and temperatures warm, and so there was a chance of more. What I wasn’t expecting though was what happened last night …

My son and I were in Taunton, at the artificial hockey pitch at Kings College where there are bright floodlights surrounding the site. As my son played and I watched, I noticed a large shape fluttering across the pitch. Perhaps because I’d just caught one I knew instantly what it was and, sure enough, as it came towards us and settled on the pitch its identity became apparent.

Obligingly, it settled on the plastic canopy of the dugout where I managed to scoop it up, revealing its blue stripes, albeit on tattered wings.

Not surprisingly it attracted quite a lot of attention from other watching parents – ‘wow, like a bat’ and ‘I never realised moths could be like that’. Haha, ever the educator …

But, as if that wasn’t enough, 30 mins later another one appeared, this time not settling, but clearly and obviously the same species of moth – unmistakable in terms of its size and grey colour. I’d have assumed it was the original one if it hadn’t been for the fact that he or she was still contentedly settled on my rucksack where it has sought shade after its release!

So, not one, but two Clifden Nonpareil in one place … and my third in less than 10 days. It’s been quite a time!

One more note. I commented in my previous post that the moth I had trapped at home was, bar a small section of missing hind wing, completely pristine with barely a scale missing. The one here though was, as you can see, very tatty. This adds weight to my suspicion that the trapped moth might have come from a more local brood, even from within the Southwest perhaps.

It’s exciting times, not least with more warm weather ahead blowing up from Africa. Trap set.


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Budleigh Salterton resident; keen birder; moth-er.

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