I guess that by now we are all familiar with the early butterflies of the year, Brimstones and Commas.
However there is also a very early (March-April) day flying moth, the Orange Underwing.
Photograph ©Paul Harris (UK Moths Website)
This reddish-brown coloured moth is relatively large and I almost mistook it for a small comma butterfly. However it does have the more typical moth flight which will distinguish it from a butterfly.
How do I know the difference? Well I cannot explain quite how I know, but I can usually tell them apart when I see them. It’s almost instinctive!
The Orange Underwing tends to fly high among the tree tops, flying over birch or silver birch trees before they come into leaf. The larva first feed on the birch catkins before moving onto the young leaves as they break out in April.
These moths prefer sunny days and are usually seen in the afternoon, often coming down to drink and bask by puddles by the late afternoon.