I saw a creature on the side of the warehouse today, that I have never seen in twenty years at this site – the impressively large privet hawk moth. At a generous three inches long, giving it a wingspan of over 6 inches, this has the largest wingspan of any UK insect. The stag beetle is heavier, and the death’s head hawkmoth is bulkier, but the privet hawk’s wingspan is unrivalled. In fact, as death’s heads have never been proven to successfully overwinter in the UK, the privet hawk is a contender for largest UK insect. I can only assume that it was made homeless by the clearing of the adjacent waste ground. I think it has been decades since I have seen one of these in any context.
The fact that it was 9 or 10 feet up the side of the warehouse made it difficult to get a decent shot with my little Samsung compact, but I had a go.