Very rare visitor flies into Bempton nature reserve

The (Picture by Dave Aitken)
The (Picture by Dave Aitken)

Experts have confirmed just how rare a moth spotted at the Bempton Cliffs nature reserve last month is.

It is only the ninth time the striking pink-winged tissue moth has been seen in East Yorkshire in more than 200 years.

The team at the RSPB centre set a moth trap every Friday night at this time of year and July is generally accepted as the best month to see moths.

Sarah Aitken, visitor experience manager, said: “It was a perfect night for moth trapping, warm but cloudy, so we attracted a large number of moths, 28 species in all.

“But the tissue stood out from the rest – apart from the fact that it shouldn’t have been there, it is really beautiful.”

The unusual visitor was around 2cm but had a pink tinge to its wings and distinctive scalloping along the bottom edge of its underwings.

Its appearance was even more of a surprise because the species is known to fly either earlier or later in the year.

Over the same weekend, other moths trapped and released included poplar hawkmoth, eyed hawkmoth, drinker moth, spectacle, large yellow underwing, brimstone, common footman, plain golden Y and green carpet.

Staff have also been thrilled that the exotically named mother of pearl and the burnished brass have also been found at Bempton in recent weeks.

In the past, interesting migrants like the convolvulus hawkmoth along with large native moths like the elephant hawkmoth and privet hawkmoth have also turned up.

The moths trapped each week can be seen by visitors to the reserve on Saturday morning before the insects are released and data sent to the Moth Recording Scheme by the site’s warden.