Natural talent

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the UK’s largest resident Hawk-moth spotted in Blandford!

Captured on camera: the UK’s largest resident Hawk-moth spotted in Blandford!
Rachael and Charles Holland spotted this beauty among their newly planted runner beans in early June. “It was quivering slightly then became stock still,” says Rachael. “An internet search helped us quickly identify it as a Privet Hawk-moth (Sphinx ligustri), but sadly we didn’t see it fly off.”
The UK’s largest hawk-moth, the Privet Hawk-moth has a distinctive pink and black striped abdomen.
“We have quite a large, rural garden on Queen’s Road in Blandford, but none of the named food sources this particular moth, Britain’s largest, requires,” said Rachael and Charles. “We don’t know if this was an exceptionally rare sighting for our area (a first for us); if there have been other sightings this year in particular; or if we will ever see the like again?!
“Certainly our ‘monster’ was considerably brighter than the photos we found online, and it seemed so solid that I felt as if I might have been able to stroke it. I’ve never felt that before about a butterfly or moth because they appear so delicate, but the wings on this moth looked furry and thick. Of course, we didn’t touch it!
“We love our rural plot at the back of our home, which has some mature trees and can be such a surprise to many when they first visit. Gradually we are reclaiming the wilderness, but we will never manage to keep it all under control so there will always be a wild element. We believe in preserving some wilderness, because it’s so good for the bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Plus we are currently enjoying the wild strawberries on our morning cereal!
“We hear owls at night and have goldcrests that live in our (overgrown) evergreens. We regularly see slow worms on our patch too (shown), and we get very excited every time we do.”
If you would like to learn more about Butterfly Conservation, visit butterfly-conservation.org.

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