It's July, it's 8am and it's hot as I stand in a flowery meadow on a Devon cliff top. The sun blazes down from an intense blue sky where swifts cleave their way through the rapidly heating air, undersides of wings glinting golden as they twist and turn snapping up flies and tiny spiders wafting heavenwards on the thermals.

Meadow brown butterflies flirt among the thistles and a solitary white butterfly flutters by. Whites are scarce this summer.

I'm confronted by an astonishing scene. Virtually every grass stem is liberally festooned with elongated crinkly paper-like cocoons of day-flying six-spot burnet moths, sometimes up to six cocoons adorning a single stem. There must be many thousands here.

Some caterpillars are still spinning cocoons but hundreds of moths fly slowly around with bumbling flight searching for mates. Already there are numerous mating pairs perched on grasses and wild flowers.

Patiently waiting close alongside unhatched cocoons are male moths. They have detected pheromones of females within, still waiting to emerge. Immediately they do, and before the females have fully formed and dried wings and applied any lippy, pairing takes place (see picture)

The red spotted blackish-blue moth's wings reflect light and readily change colour from black to blue to green as the sun catches their upper surfaces. Because the caterpillars feed on toxic plants and the chemicals remain in the moths, they have no fear of predators so openly advertise their toxicity with their red and black colouration. All insects displaying a combination of red and black or yelow and black are distasteful so birds quickly recognise that and leave well alone.

The whole clifftop is alive with the beautiful moths undoubtedly making this one of the greatest wildlife spectacles that I've ever witnessed.