WILDMONTH
BBC Wildlife|May 2021
With birdsong in full force and summer knocking on the door, there’s plenty to discover this month.
Laurie Jackson

1 | LIME HAWK-MOTH

Along the avenue

A real dandy, one of our best-looking moths, the lime hawk-moth launches on warm May evenings. Its distinctive scalloped wings and bold pattern that ranges from green to chestnut are quite a statement, but also make it harder to spot when resting among dappled leaves or against tree trunks during the day.

Our love of avenues of limes and other trees along our streets brings the lime hawk-moth to the heart of urban areas, and it is common in parks and gardens. It is not the lime’s fragrant flowers that attract it – this moth doesn’t feed at all as an adult – but its heart-shaped leaves, on which the females lay their eggs. In the absence of lime, the moths will also use elm or London plane – an ornamental tree, particularly widespread in the capital.

After some weeks feasting in the canopy, their large, stripy, yellow-and-green offspring, which are topped off with a blue ‘tail horn’, descend to the ground. The caterpillars can often be spotted on pavements or among vegetation in late summer, as they seek a safe place to pupate. Once they have found a suitable spot in soil or leaf litter they will remain there until May, when they are ready to rise again.

FIND OUT MORE Find out how moths are faring: https://butterfly-conservation. org/moths/the-state-of britains-moths Discover the UK’s moths: www. ukmoths.org.uk

2 | WOODCOCK

Songs of love

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