Nature Notes – September 2022

by Andy Johnson

We recently had a hummingbird hawk-moth feeding on flowers in our garden. These day time feeding moths migrate from around the Mediterranean to Britain and Northern Europe. Many insects world wide migrate over huge distances and with the advent of micro transmitters the larger ones can now be tracked. Recent research on the death head hawk-moth has revealed that they are great navigators on their migration from Northern Europe to Africa. It was previously thought that their journey was largely subject to the vagaries of the wind. They actually migrate at night, very much in a straight line and can vary their trajectory & heading to take account of the wind. On approaching the Alps they either use mountain passes or skirt around them. This remarkable ability to stay on course, even in unfavourable conditions, indicates the moth has sophisticated compass mechanisms.

Recent sightings on the Swale include an osprey, a great white egret, and an otter. Also seen were hobbies, spotted flycatchers and a huge & spectacular Globemaster III !