Monday, 5 August 2019
Bedstraw Hawkmoth at Dingestow
In late July 2019 the largest influx of Bedstraw Hawkmoths since 1973 reached Britain. These spectacular moths appear to have originated from Germany/Denmark on strong SE winds, and many of the first arrivals were along the east coast of Britain between Northumberland and Shetland. It is unclear whether 10s of subsequent sightings further south and west in Britain represent moths drifting southwards, reorientating individuals that arrived more widely during the original influx, or further migrants from continental Europe, but the scale of the immigration made this the "chance of a lifetime" (I wasn't born in 1973) to find a Bedstraw Hawkmoth at Dingestow. Regular checking of our Nicotiana and nightly trapping with MV and Actinic failed until the night of 4th August - at 05:30 on the morning of the 5th there was a Bedstraw Hawkmoth waiting for me in my MV trap.
Following Gwent records in the influx years of 1870 (Chepstow) and 1973 (Usk), Kevin Hewitt caught the county's third Bedstraw Hawkmoth at Blackwood on the night of 31st July. The male at the Dingestow Court MV on the night of 4th August is therefore the fourth Gwent record.
Aside from this star moth, highlights among 80+ species included a wandering Evergestis pallidata, an unusually pale/plain Dioryctria abietella, single Maiden's Blush and Small Waved Umber, and a remarkable 5 Least Yellow Underwing.