Recently I set off to look for the Ivy Bee Collettes hederae, no luck but as soon as I crossed the river I found this spectacular looking caterpillar. It’s the larva of the Vapourer Moth Orgyia antiqua which are sometimes called Rusty Tussock Moths. The males, which can sometimes be found flying during the day, are a rich chestnut brown colour and have two distinctive white spots on the wings. The female is unusual in that she is completely wingless and resembles an overweight furry grey grub. There’s more info and images here on the excellent UK Moths website.
As I ambled on up the hill towards the railway crossing I found this little fella munching on hazel. This is the caterpillar of the Grey Dagger Acronicta psi. The dagger moths get their names from the small cross or dagger-like markings on the forewings.
Then as I pushed on into the woodland that is the centre of Jones’s Mill Nature Reserve I found this little chap on a reed. This is the caterpillar of the Drinker Moth Philudoria potatoria see below. Drinker moths get their name from the caterpillars which are supposed to drink droplets of rainwater or dew. Again the adult moths are rather drab in comparison. The slightly larger yellowish female and the orangey-brown male can be identified by the two small white spots or blobs that sit side by side in the middle of each wing and by the characteristic diagonal line running from the centre out to the wing tip.