Oak Beauty (Biston strataria)
How do you tell a moth from a butterfly? Not a joke, a serious question! Answer? Moths have feathered antennae where as a butterfly has clubbed antennae.
A look at this photo will quickly tell you then that this is a moth with those lovely, long feathered antennae. In fact, that makes this a male moth. They use those antennae to pick up the scent of female pheromones up to 200 yards away.
The Oak Beauty is a resident species, single brooded, flying in March and April and it is widespread and not uncommon in woodlands and parkland in England, especially in the south.
Eggs are laid on a range of trees including Oak, Hazel and Alder. The larvae emerge in May and pupate in July and over winter in that state before being one of earliest species to emerge.