Tuesday, 18 October 2011

News from elsewhere

Dark mornings and the colder weather discourage me from trapping, even though reports continue of unusual migrant moths coming to the UK. Quite why they choose the fag-end of October baffles me, but at least two have had the sense to come north, to Yorkshire.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that these new species had just been added to the county list, and here they are: small but prettily patterned and certainly a good excuse to raise the Yorkshire flag - above, borrowed from the website of Simon Cooke, a Conservative councillor from Cullingworth in the Pennines. The first was caught by my endlessly patient moth-identifier Charlie Fletcher, a GP near Ripon and our West Yorkshire county moth recorder; the second by the light trap at Spurn Point, that curious, crooked finger of land at the mouth of the Humber.

Neither has an English name, unfortunately, so Charlie's (above) is known as Etiella zinckenella, named as long ago as 1832 but first recorded in the UK only in 1989. Its normal habitat stretches from southern Europe to the tropics, so the climate change people may be twitching their antennae.

The arrival at Spurn, which joins a long list of interesting migrants making landfall in the area (where the future King Henry IV also launched his successful invasion of Richard II's kingdom in 1399), is Spoladea recurvalis, named by Fabricius in 1775 but reluctant to visit the UK. The first came in 1951 and about a dozen have been recorded since (one in Scotland, so although the moth is also a mainly tropical one, it has an adventurous streak). Many thanks for both species' pix to the ever-excellent website UK Moths.

I will probably have a final go at the weekend, and study the eggboxes carefully for tiddlers such as these. Who knows? If rarities have arrived at the traps of knowledgable monitors such as Charlie and the Spurn recorders, there must be more around.

No comments: