A couple of years ago I saw my first Hornet Moth, which had been attracted to James Lowen's garden using a pheromone lure. They are a spectacular sight, but I wanted to find one the 'traditional' way, by checking the bases of Poplar trees in the early morning. I'd not had any luck before, but having noticed some old excavation holes in some Poplar trees nearby, I thought I'd try again this year.
My first visit drew a blank, there were lots of holes, but they appeared to be old ones. On the second visit I found one chrysalis half out of a hole - a Hornet Moth had emerged recently! A few days later I tried for a third time. There were five empty chrysalises, I appeared to have missed the emergence. A final check revealed a sixth one, and looking closely I saw that it hadn't opened! I gently eased it out and put it in a pot to take home for Cathy and Rose to watch the moth emerge, but in the few minutes it took for me to get home it had emerged! I put it in a large tank to allow the wings to enlarge and harden, then later took it back to the tree I had found it one. They really are spectacular moths. There is a closely related species called Lunar Hornet Moth, which has a similar life cycle but on Willows. I've not seen one of those, so the search goes on for some trees nearby that host Lunar Hornet.