Wednesday was an odd day in one respect.

Dead moths.

Walking to the train station I saw a dead moth on the pavement. It was huge, but that didn’t surprise me particularly, I knew it was some kind of Hawk moth and we see a fair few hereabouts. Hummingbird Hawk Moths are regular sightings in the garden (except when the summer is rotten like last year) and I have seen the impressive caterpillars of the Elephant Hawk Moth a couple of times. The best occasion was when a pet cat had found one and was completely freaked out by the thing waving its “trunk” at him. The dusky pink body on the pavement was, I later looked up, an adult Elephant Hawk Moth and I was still marvelling at its size when I reached the station.

As I walked down the platform rooting around in my rucksack for my book I noticed what I took to be a sweet wrapper on the tarmac ahead of me. Growing nearer I realised that it was not litter. It was another moth (again dead I’m afraid) and it was stunning. Immediately I put my bag and book down to take a photo.

tiger 2

Squatting on my haunches I marvelled for several minutes at this beauty. Stone dead, but somehow still full of life. Later I used my photo to look it up and discovered that it was a Scarlet Tiger Moth.

tiger 1

A wild, beautiful name befitting such a shamelessly exuberant looking creature. But how I had never seen one before? It’s not the sort of thing you could fail to notice. Putting aside short-sightedness and stupidity on my part (both possible) there was only one answer I could find, which was that because it was one of the moths that fly in the daytime any I’d seen before had seemed like butterflies (Red Admirals?).

I will pay closer attention in future – I wouldn’t want to miss a live one.

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