Clifden Nonpareil - new to Nottinghamshire in 2017
A single Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini (Linnaeus, 1758) was recorded as new to Nottinghamshire on September 6th 2017, when attracted to an MV light run at Lound GP/Idle Valley NR. The moth was trapped by Ian Hunt and Phil Cadman, who are both members of the Lound Moth Group.

Officially confirmed the next day as being new to VC56 by the county recorder Sheila Wright, this largely migratory moth was another fantastic record for the Lound Moth Group, following up from the Pinion-streaked Snout trapped at the same site at the end of August.

Waring, Townsend and Lewington in their 'Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland' describe Clifden Nonpareil as an "immigrant and transitory resident, known from woodland at Orlestone Forest near Hamstreet in Kent, for the best part of thirty years (1935-1964) and from the Norfolk Broads for a time in the early 1930's".

Migrant Clifden Nonpareil have been recorded most years, but always in small numbers and usually along south-east and eastern coasts. This perhaps suggests an arrival from across the North Sea from eastern Europe or Scandinavia, as east coast arrivals occasionally coincinded with records of other Scandinavian species. The drought year of 1976 was the best year with 20 records.

The name Clifden Nonpareil is derived from where the moth was first recorded in the UK - at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire (known as 'Clifden' in the 18th century). Roughly translated, Nonpareil ('nonparel) means peerless or without equal. No other UK moth has such blue colouration or markings.   In recent years and since the turn of the present century, there have been records from all of the vice-counties south of the Thames, as well as a handful of counties north of the Thames including neighbouring Lincolnshire and Derbyshire. It seems certain to be breeding in some southern counties of the UK, where the origin of these colonisers may well be France or the near continent.
The Nottinghamshire record

The regular occurrences of Clifden Nonpareil to a few light traps operated south of the River Thames, makes it more difficult to determine dispersal from southern UK colonies from genuine migrants, but this should not detract any importance from the Nottinghamshire record. A Clifden Nonpareil in Nottinghamshire (this one was a male) is a quite remarkable record and just reward for the continued effort by its recorders.

Datewise, the Nottinghamshire record falls in pretty well with other recent UK records and a quick internet search, produced the following number of recent records from the UK. There did not appear to have been any really notable influxes of Clifden Nonpareil in recent weeks.

04/09/17 Highworth, Wiltshire (Nash, S. per Facebook)
04/09/17 Maidenhead, Berkshire (Finch, L. per Facebook)
03/09/17 Butleigh, Somerset VC6 (per Atropos website)
30/08/17 Cranmore, Isle of Wight (Clarke, J. per Atropos website)
30/08/17 Bonchurch, Isle of Wight (per Atropos website)
29/08/17 Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex (Scanes, J. per Atropos website)
28/08/17 Crawley Down, West Sussex (Clarke, J. per Atropos website)
28/08/17 Garsington, Oxford (Griffiths, M. per Atropos website)
26/08/17 Crawley Down, West Sussex (Clarke, J. per Atropos website)
25/08/17 Crawley Down, West Sussex (Clarke, J. per Atropos website)
17/08/17 Crawley Down, West Sussex (Clarke, J. per Atropos website).