While doing some digging and weeding in my mother’s garden this week, I’ve come across a number of small, hairy black-and-yellow caterpillars. Last year when I stumbled across one for the first time, I did some sleuthing on the internet and discovered that they were likely to be from the scarlet tiger moth – a species I’d never heard of before, or so I thought. I then remembered seeing an unusual moth the previous summer which had eye-catching black, red and white patterning: you’ve guessed it, the scarlet tiger moth! Apparently they are quite common in the south west – the Severn Vale is a hotspot for them, and apparently like damp places, which my mother’s garden is definitely not! Now whenever I discover the caterpillars, I’m carefully moving them to the nearest alkanet plant, a deep-rooted semi-weed that the caterpillars seem to have a voracious appetite for.
Earlier this week I went for a 10-mile walk with a good friend of mine, Jules Magovern. We started by going up Crickley Hill, passing through its famous beech wood, and then after a quick drink in the Air Balloon went over the back towards Coberley, passing several fields bright yellow with dandelions! Returning via Leckhampton Hill we watched the local paragliding club demonstrate their skills. The weather was spectacularly good and provided some great photo opportunities.