Friday, 9 September 2022


At 20:45 on Tuesday evening I caught a Convolvulus Hawk-moth nectaring on the garden Nicotianas, and five minutes later missed another. This is getting ridiculous! That's five now...

Convolvulus Hawk-moth #4

I expected great things that night, so 20 moths of 12 species was a bit of a come-down on Wednesday morning. With the weather forecast a bit dire I didn't put the trap out at all on Wednesday, but tried again last night. It was just 20:15 and I had barely fired it up when yet another Convolvulus Hawk-moth appeared at the Nicotianas! I got a short video before it flew off, and five minutes later it (or another) put in one more brief appearance. Unfortunately the video is dreadful. You can see what it is, but I'll spare you.

Once again I assumed the appearance of such a nice migrant early on was a good sign, so loitered by the trap for a while, and kept popping out to it through the evening. But it was really quiet. Before I went indoors for the final time I lifted the lid. One Square-spot Rustic was visible, plus I knew there were a couple of Large Yellow Underwings in there somewhere too. And that was about it. So I really expected very little this morning.

Shortly after 06:20 I placed the trap carefully on my work-bench and lifted the lid. And had a small heart attack...

Striped Hawk-moth. Top tray in the trap. Top moth!

Back in the late spring, this moth was on Twitter almost every day. There had clearly been an influx of Striped Hawk-moths, and many were catching them. As a non-moth-er, all I could do was gawp at the gorgeous photos. I knew that the chances of stumbling across one outside of a moth trap were slim to zero. When I finally did succumb to the Dark Path, this lovely creature was at least partially responsible for my fall. And Striped Hawk-moth has been at the top of my most-wanted list ever since. 

And now, after 80-something nights, it has happened.

Some pics...

A hint of rosy pink on the hindwings.

As the photos suggest, this moth is every bit as lovely as you can imagine. We have caught some fantastic moths this summer, but I reckon this one tops the lot for looks. Absolutely stunning.

Striped Hawk-moth

But it didn't end there. Another four new species for the garden...

Lunar Underwing. Evidently an autumn moth, so I suspect this might be the first of a few.

Cypress Pug. An easy one to ID, and very nice too.

Vestal. Another migrant moth. A pink stripe on a creamy background is more usual. I've never even seen a photo of one with so much pink on the wings!

One of those annoying moths that might be one species or the other. Acleris laterana/comariana

So there it is. On the off-chance that any readers are contemplating the plunge into Darkness, just keep returning to this post on a regular basis. Or not, if you are determined to resist.


  1. That's a brilliant one to get! #MothOfTheYear!


    1. Agreed. In the flesh it was quite staggering. 👍

  2. Brilliant - nice one Gav! That's in mint condition too. Think it's fair to say you've had an unfeasibly successful intro to your mothing 'career'. The pink Vestal is very nice too. It used to be said (and may well still be the case) that the pink ones have travelled further, from hotter, drier climes than the yellow ones. Don't know if that's true though. As for the Lunar Underwings - yes you're probably going to see a lot of those...
    Looking forward to some nice autumnal species on your blog. You're going to enjoy the Sallow species. All the best. Matt

    1. Thanks Matt. Yes, it could hardly have been in better nick. As you say, mint. Interesting about the Vestal too. 👍

      I get the impression it was a very good year to start mothing, and we have probably been very spoiled. Next year has its work cut out if it wants to compete! Funny you should mention Sallows. Our first (a Centre-barred) in last night's catch. 😊

  3. The beauty of mothing on the south coast! Im not jel at all....

    1. I have similar sentiments about the NE coast seawatching scenario! 😄