Firstly, apologies again for the blog silence. A number of things have been holding me back recently, not least a bad shoulder injury. (Think: a dog, on lead, and a rabbit, with ‘Carry on dog walking’ style falling over due to the lead wrapped round my legs, all followed by a three hour visit to A & E, and you’ll get the idea.)

Much better now though, and as I was visiting the compost bin in the garden the other day, I realised there was something watching me… I did a double take in fact, as the creature perched on the plant next to the compost seemed to be watching me intently with large dark eyes. Only it wasn’t, it was quite happily munching away on the Great Willowherb, safe in the knowledge it’s olive green colouring and extraordinary markings would frighten me off. It did, but only for a few minutes as I went to grab the camera.

 

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This is an Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar, a rather spectacularly large (about 8cm long) animal that will, next spring, turn into a beautiful bright pink hawkmoth that will sip nectar from the honeysuckle flowers in the hedge.

There were 5 caterpillars in all, and they have now gradually started to move away to find a safe place on or under the soil to wrap themselves in a cocoon to overwinter, before emerging as moths when the weather warms up next year.

(Click images to view larger…)

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