Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Off to a Flyer!

2013 got off to a flying start with butterflies seen on the wing and a small moth migration experienced during the first weeks of the New Year.

The unseasonably mild weather tempted a number of butterfly species out of dormancy with sightings of Brimstone, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Speckled Wood and, most surprisingly, Painted Lady all reported. At Perivale NR (London), David Howdon (one of our mothing buddies) found an overwintering Comma. Can you spot it below?

Red Admirals in particular seemed particularly drawn by the glorious New Year’s Day sunshine experienced in some parts of the UK with individuals seen in Surrey, Hampshire and Gloucestershire.

But it wasn’t just butterflies that were tempted out by the warmth. Early January is usually a barren moth for moth-ers with Winter Moths and the occasional Dark Chestnut the usual suspects.  But mild southerly winds from the Continent prompted a minor moth migrationwith reports of Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella), Silver Y (Autographa gamma), Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella), Rusty-dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis), Small Mottled Willow (Spodoptera exigua) and Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon) recorded along the south coast of England during the mild spells.

Thanks to Liam Creedon at Butterfly Conservation. To keep up to date on the latest butterfly sightings visit First Sightings 2013.