Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Signs of the Times

I haven't seen a single Lime Hawk Moth this year, but earlier today, as I was sitting in the gardens that were once the old Kensington churchyard, I had the pleasure of watching a big plump Lime Hawk caterpillar making its way across the path in front of me. It wasn't a young one in its bright green skin (with yellow go-faster stripes) but an ageing specimen, nearly ready to pupate, the skin mottled and indigo-tinged, like the one in the picture.
 Caterpillar motion is a wondrous thing - a muscular contraction that passes from the hind end to the front, propelling the larva forward at a surprisingly smart pace. It's restful and faintly comic to watch. The one that crossed my path was heading determinedly away from the trees and towards open lawn, which seemed odd, but I left it to its own devices and soon it had disappeared into the grass...
 When I got back to the office, I found a single poplar leaf had fallen into my bag. It's in front of me now - dry, russet-gold, curling at the edges and the tip. Autumn is coming.


  1. well spotted Nige! Never seen a purpley one like that. Whenever I see a big fat hawk moth caterpillar I imagine that a sparrow finding one must think that it's birthday, christmas and new year all rolled into one!