Most unexpectedly, I saw my first caterpillar of the year when I was out walking yesterday. It’s a Scarlet tiger moth caterpillar that was sitting on the stucco wall of a house I passed. According to my Twitter pal George, who’s a senior moth ecologist with Butterfly Conservation, though Scarlet tigers over-winter as larvae, these larvae are not usually seen until the spring. But spring is only a couple of weeks away and, if local bird activity is anything to go by, the wild creatures can already feel it in the air.
George reassuringly told me that caterpillars are tough but I do hope this little one finds somewhere a bit more sheltered to weather the cold spell that’s forecast for the coming week. I’d love to see it again when it emerges as an adult as they’re so beautiful and I’ve only ever seen the adults twice. The photo below, of a Scarlet tiger moth, was taken locally in June 2019.