Clifden nonpareil spotted at Wappenbury Wood

Credit Paula Irish 

Holy grail of moth watching recorded for the first time at Wappenbury Wood.

This is the first recording of a Clifden nonpareil for this nature reserve and a fabulous moth to see. It was believed to have become extinct in the 1960s so moth enthusiasts were excited to see one at our Dunsmore moth watching evening.

The Clifden nonpareil has a large wingspan, reaching almost 12cm across, and a vivid blue stripe on its hindwings. Also known as Blue Underwing, the name Clifden nonpareil means “beyond compare". There have now been a number of sightings in counties from Cornwall and Devon to Norfolk and Northamptonshire so those attending our moth night were optimistic of seeing one. Conservationists now believe there are established resident populations and that it is breeding across southern Britain. 

Our event on 27th September celebrated the 20th year of national moth night, with expert David Brown running moth trapping at Wappenbury Wood. Whilst butterflies are widely loved and appreciated, moths unfortunately don’t receive the same limelight as a result of their largely nocturnal life, making people unaware of their impressive beauty. National Moth Night is held a couple of nights in the year to introduce moths to new audiences, share knowledge on their ecology/conservation and to encourage their study.