Red Underwing No 4

A red underwing moth floated into the courtyard this afternoon. At first I thought it was a red admiral but something said that wasn’t quite right. I quickly disturbed it as it hid on the wall behind a hanging basket, from where it darted a couple of metres, then headed up into lime trees – so definately not a red admiral!

This was only the fourth one I’ve ever seen and they are unmistakeable – almost the size of a small bat and regularly known to take to the air during the day. The red and grey wings are quite striking.

The first one I ever saw was batting against the inside of an office window and I stopped the meeting to investigate! Others looked on in bemusement (one frumpish person was quite annoyed) but I’d wanted to see one since I was a young lad.

Since then I’ve seen one in someone else’s moth trap and three years ago spotted one flying on a cloudy autumn day in the old meadows beyond Radway – it was so big and its flight so unusual that I honestly thought it was a small bird.

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