The sightings submitted to Migrant Watch online during 2014 show that it was a moderate year for both these migratory insects. Many thanks to everyone who sent in a sighting! In total, we received 3,836 reports of the two species, just over twice as many as in 2013.
Once again it was a better year for the Humming-bird Hawk-moth than for the Painted Lady butterfly. Five times as many sightings of the hawk-moth were received than of the butterfly.
The Humming-bird Hawk-moth had its third best year since Migrant Watch started in 2008 and the best since 2011. In all, 3215 records of the moth were submitted by 2857 people. Spotted from the Isles of Scilly to Orkney, the Humming-bird Hawk-moth was much more widespread than in 2013, with almost blanket coverage across southern England and a good spread of records up the eastern side of Scotland. Overall the moth was recored in almost twice as many 10km x 10km grid squares in 2014 (see map right) as in 2013.
Sightings of this spectacular migrant moth were clustered into two peaks during they year; one in June (which accounted for 28% of all sightings) and the other between mid-August and mid-September, the traditional period for sightings of this species. This contrasts with 2013 when there was no peak in sightings in the early summer, and June accounted for only 5% of the year's records.
At one stage it looked like 2014 was going to be a great year for the Painted Lady butterfly. Such years are typically characterised by a mass immigration of the butterfly in late May or early June and this is exactly what was recorded in 2014. Indeed, the four highest single day's totals of Painted Lady reports in 2014 occured in this key period, prompting excitement among butterfly enthusiasts. However, for some reason the rest of the year fizzled out for the Painted Lady.
A total of 621 Painted Lady sightings were submitted to Migrant Watch during 2014 (by 501 participants), a 28% decrease on the number of records in 2013. The butterfly was seen right across the UK, up to Orkney and the Western Isles in Scotland and County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, but sightings were thinly scattered even across southern areas (see map right).
We very much hope that you will continue to submit sightings of these two amazing insects during 2015. It is about time we had a good year for the Painted Lady, but only time (and your records) will tell.