Until this year the only Clearwing moth I had seen was on a roadside in the Pirin Mountains of Bulgaria.
For some time I have wanted to see them in the UK and with some encouragement from Clare and David we put our resources together and purchased some pheromone lures for the species we were likely to encounter locally.
By the time we had done this we were slightly late to the party as it was already too late in the year for some of the ones we could come across, however, with a little bit of luck and a bit of research we did manage to see 3 different species.
This started in a private Oak woodland where I was quite confident of success for the Yellow-legged Clearwing. This species uses old Oak stumps to breed in, so having found a ride with plenty of these in we set the lure to work. Despite no recent records for the moth in this woodland we were delighted when after just 20 minutes or so we had 3 of these little moths come in.
Following this success I then tried some local downland for the Six-belted Clearwing. Once again there were no recent records for this moth in the area but bearing in mind the foodplant was Bird's-foot Trefoil, of which there was plenty in the area, I was semi confident of success.
Once again, I didn't have too long to wait for this lure to work and being local I had several sessions with this moth.
My 3rd species, the Raspberry Clearwing, was the only one that Clare and David had seen before me as they had been taken to the only known regular Sussex site for this species last year.
My first sighting however was much closer to home when I had a call from a friend in the town asking me if I knew anything about Clearwings as he had just found a Clearwing on his Raspberry bush. Fortunately I could call on him immediately to have a look. Of course, I hadn't seen this species before but we could eliminate Six-belted straight away and as it was on a Raspberry bush it seemed it had to be the Raspberry Clearwing. As it turned out it was a female of that species and was possibly looking for egg laying sites. This was one lure that I hadn't got, so I immediately ordered one and a couple of days later I tried the lure by the Raspberry bush. It was possibly too windy at the time and after around an hour we decided to give up. Wind forward 2 weeks though and the weather was much more likely to produce results. This time after around 20 minutes we had the first of 2 Raspberry Clearwing fly in to investigate the lure. Where the main colony is we do not know but with this quick success I guess there must be more in the vicinity.
My thanks to Bob for giving me the initial call. A very exciting find for him to have these in his garden!!
Female Raspberry Clearwing.
Male Raspberry Clearwing.
This is the last of the Sussex Clearwings to appear each year so I will have to wait now for 2020 to add to my Clearwing sightings. However, before that, Clare did take me to the site where she saw them last year and after a bit of a wait we did see around 10 of these fascinating insects.
We also paid a visit recently to hunt out one of my favourite creatures, and one that I have only seen twice before, the Wart-biter Cricket.
Before heading out I had listened to a stridulating Wart-biter on line so I knew the call that I had to listen for. This made life much easier as we hadn't got anywhere near the site we were heading for when I heard one. I then had a brief view of it through the binoculars. We were then treated to some great views of this fabulous male Wart-biter, one of the rarest Crickets in the UK.