I rose in a bit of a rush as my son had arranged a tour of Chelsea’s football Ground, Stamford Bridge, for my 70thbirthday and was due at 0900hrs. I had set my Robinson moth trap in the garden as usual and was on my way to check it when I spied a large grey moth on the side of the garden shed. I hurried to the garage to collect a Johnson’s Cotton Bud container as I reckoned it would be large enough to house the moth and the back to the shed only to find that the moth was not there. Disappointed, I looked down to the ground and there it was. It had dropped off the shed and on the ground where it was showing not only the upper wings but also the under wings and there was the blue.
It was a Clifden Nonpareil. There have been sightings south and west of here recently and this is believed to be the first for the north of the County. The moth was first described in this country by Benjamin Wilkes as the Cleifden Nonpareil in his book “British Butterflies and Moths” (1749). It states that the moth was found on an Ash tree, near Cleifden in Buckinghamshire in the month of July. Sadly, the year is not given. Cleifden or Clifden is the modern Cliveden, an estate on the edge of the Thames near Maidenhead and now owned by the National Trust.
A great start to the day in which blue was certainly the colour as it is Chelsea’s colour too.
Text and photo kindly supplied by Gordon Redford