Thursday night was the last of May, and we finally had a promising forecast. I spent the evening helping with the Stretton Community Wildlife Group Red Grouse survey (no grouse seen but a rather splendid Whinchat was by my watchpoint) and the trap was duly put on upon my return.
Opening the curtains at 6am the following morning I could immediately tell the night had been more productive. There was a Pale Tussock on the window and before I got outside I could see a Poplar Hawkmoth resting on the outside of the trap.
A further check around the trap revealed a Common Carpet on top of the trap, a Brown Silver-line in the grass nearby and one of the Treble-bar species resting on one of the logs I put by the trap to attract roosting moths. Treble-bar and Lesser Treble-bar are very difficult to tell apart from the upperside, so after a quick photograph the moth was potted and I turned it over to check its claspers at the end of the abdomen. These were long and pointed, so a Treble-bar it was.
I also spied a moth resting high up on the wall of my house. A bit of quick thinking and I got out my telescope so that I could identify it. It proved to be a new species, a Grey Birch, and I managed to 'digiscope' it by taking a picture through my telescope. If any residents of All Stretton saw a strange man stood in his dressing gown in a garden, staring at the wall of his house through a telescope, there was a reason for this madness! The resulting pictures were not the best, but good enough to identify the moth.
After all of this excitement, I was very keen to open the trap. I was sure there must be a lot of moths inside, with so many interesting species found before I even got to it. Alas, there were only four moths inside the trap. Three more Brown Silver-line and another Pale Tussock. Even so, I could not complain about a good mornings work.
By the way, if you think you have read about Pale Tussock before on this blog, you have. Graham found some larvae last year - see here.