|The moth was not alone, as you can see. Far too many to count this morning|
Its fine green, stripey and horned caterpillars like privet, hence the name, but also enjoy lilac - I'm glad to say, because we planted one this Spring. They eat voraciously - and they need to. One of the remarkable talents of this species is that the larvae can dig down up to 30cms to make a little chamber for their chrysalisation.
The moth is our largest permanent resident although smaller by some distance than those distinguished immigrants, the Convolvulus and Death's Head Hawks. Neither of the latter has come here, yet, but eagle-eye Penny spotted a Convolvulus at a cousin's wedding in Cornwall and I memorably went to inspect a Death's Head hatched from a caterpillar found on potatoes at Kirtlington, just a couple of miles from here. It made a run for it but wasn't quite quick enough, and two more pupae were found shortly afterwards in the lucky discoverer's spud patch.