Moth trap has turned up yet another Gem!

All lined up and ready to go. The swallows outside my house at the weekend.
All lined up and ready to go. The swallows outside my house at the weekend.

It was a pity that after such a long period of little rain, we had a really wet day on Saturday, just in time for the “Yarrow Show”.

I’m afraid that it was too much for me and I didn’t venture out. Let’s hope that too many people didn’t stay away, as these small country shows need all the support they can get.

At the moment, my garden is full of sparrows and bald blackbirds, as the moult continues, but I think I may have a visiting rarity.

On about three occasions, while reading in the sun room, I have seen a small coal tit-like bird feeding on the ground just outside the patio door. Its body is a uniform beige colour and it has a black cap with no white on the nape. It also has a small black chin. I am almost sure it is a marsh tit, but each time it has come I’ve had the wrong glasses on and by the time I’ve changed from reading to bird watching glasses, it has gone. I hope to eventually get a picture, but until then, this potential rarity cannot be added to my garden list.

Another rarity turned up in my garden last Friday night, but this one was a definite.

In August of last year, I wrote about finding a rare moth called The Gem in my moth trap, which turned out to be a new record for Selkirkshire. At the time my moth “mentor” Malcolm said it was such a fresh specimen that this normally migrant species, may have bred here. Friday’s moth had me stumped, so I sent off a picture to Malcolm, who was also puzzled, so he sent it further up the line to the Scottish expert. It turned out to be another Gem but this time it was a male as opposed to last year’s, which was female. He told me “An amazing co-incidence for a location that’s not exactly a migration hot-spot. Is it possible that the fresh male is the offspring of last year’s female???? Gem is thought to be unable to overwinter in Britain.” Wouldn’t it be something if I had the only breeding colony in the UK, in my back garden!

At the front of the house at the moment, the swallows are gathering on the wires in preparation for the great southerly migration. The numbers will gradually increase – up to around 100, until one day, they will be gone.

It’s quite a depressing thought that winter looms after such a non-existent summer, but soon the winter migrants will be arriving, the autumn fungi will adorn our woodland and there will be a whole new variety of wildlife to take up my attention over the coming months.

Bring it on!