James Lowen 




2017 TOP TEN: #5

Getting closer. For a reminder of previous entries, click on the links. 

#10. Best plant: "Roding Orchid"

#9. Garden Hawfinch

#8. Best twitch: White-winged Scoter

#7. Best place: Picos de Europa, northern Spain

#6. Best birding experience: Firecrest Day on Portland

... and now...

#5. Top voyeuring: mating Hornet Moths

2016 was My Summer of Clearwings, when lures and luck brought me no end of encounters with a barely credible number of species. 2017 was pretty poor to be honest. I managed only one new clearwing in 2017, Large Red-belted at Holt in Norfolk, and even that didn't stick around for photos. I failed to locate Lunar Hornet Moth despite a fair bit of effort, and couldn't join friends on their quest for Fiery Clearwing. My garden was nothing like as good as 2016 (when it pulled in constant Red-belted and Yellow-legged Clearwings as well as Hornet Moth), although I did finally manage to attract my first garden Currant Clearwing. All this said, 2017 did score big in one clearwinged way: mating Hornet Moths. Andy Musgrove lured some Hornet Moths to a site by the River Thet in Thetford, and Chris Bishop encountered a mating pair there subsequently. I happened to be passing a few days later, tried my luck and discovered two pairs mating low down on Poplar trunks about 100m from the river. They didn't bat whatever passes for an eyelid in the moth world, and carried on despite having my macro lens stuck in their faces. What amazing, glorious, wondrous creatures. One of my biggest wildlife wants, all to my self, two inches from my incredulous eyes.