This isn't a moth, no. It's a flower, a milkmaid, cuckoo flower or lady's smock. But it's the reason why that beautiful Spring butterfly the Orange Tip visits us at this time of the year. The insect's caterpillars are very fond of milkmaids.
Two Orange Tips were skittering around the garden all weekend, revelling like us in sunshine and temperatures worthy of July. They seldom settled for long which accounts for my rather hopeless photos, especially of the male with his brightly eponymous orange tips. Sorry. But I should have more and better chances because the number of Orange Tips has risen during our 25 years here, along with that of most other butterfly species. The Speckled Wood is by far the most dramatic in terms of increase, followed by Commas. And I am hoping that our blackthorns, bought from Kirkstall Bridge's wildlife centre and planted five years ago, will bring back the Brimstone which made its debut two years ago but didn't come last year.
At least, I didn't see one. They are lovely harbingers of Spring, like the Orange Tip, and according to some are the 'butter-coloured fly' which gave the whole tribe its strange English name. I saw a blue too, as mentioned yesterday, but not in time to identify or photo it. Tomorrow I'll bring you that familiar but lovely trio of sun-worshippers, the Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma. There were around in good numbers too.