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An interesting moth species has been seen by one lucky observer at his property, and my thanks to Michael Cain for sending me this photo of a Striped Hawk Moth (Hyles livornica), seen in the south of the island. And what an eye catcher it is too. Eugenius Johann Christophe Esper first described this species in 1780, using a specimen found in Italy at Livorno - hence the Latin name ‘livornica’.

Flying from February to October, this species is a migrant from Africa into Europe, although they are sometimes known to overwinter. The caterpillars are green, with black markings, and can reach a length of 65 - 80 millimetres. Adults are lovely looking moths with the male being slightly smaller than the female.

The forewings and body are mainly an olive-brown or even a beige colour, with the distinctive white stripes. The hindwings are pink, with black and white edges. The head and the thorax are an olive-brown again with white stripes. The abdomen, although an olive-brown, has a black and white segment (the first two segments have large black and white side spots), with dark antennae that have a white tip. So, overall, this is a lovely looking, distinctive moth, that for me, has to be up there with the Palm Moth. Keep a look out.

Now, moths are not particularly palatable to a lot of bird species, but one summer breeder we get here will certainly have a go at eating them, and that is the Mediterranean Flycatcher (Muscicapa tyrrhenica), a small passerine bird in the Old-World flycatcher family.

This is an easy bird to find on Majorca, and they can be found in good numbers, and always give themselves away as they fly out from a perch to catch their insect prey, before returning (usually) to the same perch. A few years back I enjoyed watching a pair nesting in a Eucalyptus tree in the grounds of the Fergus hotel in Puerto Pollensa. Being a migratory species from Africa, they breed in the Balearic Islands, Corsica and Sardinia.

The first formal description of this species was by Guido Schiebel in 1910, who considered it a sub-species of the Spotted Flycatcher. Their upright posture is characteristic, and whilst most passerines moult their primary feathers in sequences beginning near the body (and proceeding outwards along the wing), this species is unusual in that it replaces the outer flight feathers before those nearer the body. The call is a drawn out and often high-pitched ‘tsseeeeeppppp’, which slightly descends in pitch. This small bird has dull grey-brown upperparts and off-white underparts. The crown, throat and breast are streaked with brown, while the wings and tail feathers are edged with paler, thin margins.

Both sexes are alike with the juveniles having ochre-buff spots above, and scaly brown spots below. My photo comes from Cuber Reservoir where this species thrives, and the La Gola wetland reserve on the edge of Puerto Pollensa is an ideal place to see them feeding close up, where their character can be really appreciated.