An unexpected visitor last night

Our garden is full of trees, hawthorn and blackthorn and is intentionally quite wild; it backs onto woodland so we regularly get all sorts of interesting insects turning up in the house, and of course at this time of year with the windows open we get a lot of moths.

Emerald Moth

This is the first Common Emerald that we have seen here and we were taken by its distinctive wing shape and the chequered fringes. This particular individual appears quite travel worn – its verdant green colouring beginning to fade. They fly from dusk onwards, in June and July, around woodland and hedgerows, and occur in the southern half of Britain. The books say that they prefer woodland and hedgerows; particularly hawthorn and blackthorn which are food plants for the larvae. We have never seen them in the garden before, despite it being ideal habitat, so wondered if the species is moving westward or if this is just an odd occurrence. An hour or so later two more arrived, both in perfect condition, presumably this years hatch. For a closer look at the beauty of this beast, click on the image to open the full size version; as a guide the adults have a wing span of between 24 and 27mm.