Sunday, 7 July 2013
Smash and grab clearwing
This weekend has been one of family commitments. On Friday, the weather forecast looked good for lepidoptera, but I knew that yesterday would be out of the question for any field work as a university visit to Southampton with my younger daughter was booked in. As for today, a late morning start was on the cards to visit relatives at Shooter's Hill in south-east London. I sat in the garden this morning looking up at the perfect weather for clearwings (sunny, warm, light breeze) and then at the freezer where the pheromone lures wait. I checked the time - realised that I had an hour and a half spare - picked out the API lure (the pheromone with Six-belted Clearwing in mind) - and headed off to Chipstead Bottom, a place with plenty of this particular clearwings food plant, Bird's-foot trefoil. And, reputedly, it flies in the morning.
On arrival I suspended the lure (itself wrapped in a piece of net curtain) from a branch that was pushed into the ground. After seven minutes a single Six-belted Clearwing arrived and spent a couple of minutes flying around and settling on the lure. My attempts at photography were poor and I only succeeded in frightening the moth away. Another six minutes passed before a further moth arrived (a bit brighter than the first) and this stayed only fleetingly. I would have loved to have stayed longer, but I needed to be elsewhere. Job done!
Now, here's an opportunity. Shooter's Hill is only a short distance from Greenwich Park, which I happen to know has a healthy population of Yellow-legged Clearwing. I wonder if I can swing it?.