Friday, 21 August 2009

French Leave

All pics for this post (c) 2009 Maurice Gordon
Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

Broad-Bordered Bee Hawk-Moth
Beautiful Demoiselle

Speckled Wood (French)
Sooty Copper
Maurice has recently returned from a short holiday in France, where he saw some species that we occasionally see locally, but others which have never been recorded here. The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth is usually recorded every summer in small numbers in Yorkshire, including my home buddleia bush, but we haven't seen one so far this year. The Beautiful Demoiselle is very scarce in East Yorkshire but can be tracked down in the very north of the county, although its flight season should be over this year. Here's a summary of Maurice's sightings in his own words: The wildlife tally was a bit disappointing, but then I didn't have my own car to go off all over the place. We had a good look round a big forest which didn't contain anything exotic, though May/June I'm sure would have been much better. Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Painted Lady everywhere. I did see a Swallowtail flying around the yard but it didn't stop for me. Also male and female Hen Harrier around the fields. Very agricultural area though rather than rural. They don't seem as big on set aside and hedgerows in France and much of the woodland is full of shooting stations! At night with the back door open a varied selection of moths. One flew in which I at first thought was a bat as it was so big and black. It flew around the house and disappeared up the chimney, so unfortunately I didn't get a good look at it! French Speckled Wood seem more orangey than ours. Some look like Walls at first glance. Claire saw Swallowtail at the roadside the week before I got there, but the farmers had considerately chopped down all the wild flowers along the field edges by the time I got there. Green and Great Spotted Peckers also around. The Map is interesting because the Spring brood is orange and the Summer brood black. One of the butterflies I was hoping to see, just in better condition. The Map and Sooty Copper aren't recorded locally to us in Yorkshire. Shame!

1 comment:

Blackbird said...

What beautiful shots of Hawk moths! The one of the Speckled Wood feeding on the blackberries is quite nice too, I have never seen it feeding before. I saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my garden a few weeks ago, they are fantastic beasts! I love your blog, Michael, keep the good work!