My greatest source of pleasure and wonder in 16 years of recording moths has been the recent , storming advance of the Clifden Nonpareil, once an extreme rarity which I dreamed of seeing without any realistic hope of doing so.
In the last three years I have been visited by more than a score of these huge and beautiful creatures and on Saturday night they lived up to their reputation again. Reports of local sightings have featured on the Upper Thames Moths blog for some weeks and I was beginning to wonder if the moths had tired of Thrupp and, like an army invading much faster than it expected to, moved on. Not so. There were three in the trap, another record.
I was alerted to the year's first Nonpareil Night when I went out earlier than usual, at about 6.15am when it is only just getting life. Something was very restless beneath the trap's transparent cowl and I soon saw the unmistakable stripes of the underwing. I popped a towel over the top of the cowl and went back inside to await better light and make our morning tea.
When I returned an hour later, the moth was happier but still not at ease, so I gently manoeuvred my Bug Bottle under the towel and popped it inside - first pic below. It settled down and I started to look at the eggboxes and immediately came across a second one.