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Thanks for the ident, thought it was a Peppered Moth, but not having seen it before I wanted confirmation from an expert.
Know what you mean about retirement, I dont know how I ever found time to go to work.
Peter - sorry I haven't got back to you before but this retirement malarkey is taking up a lot of time! Your caterpillar certainly appears to be a Peppered Moth. Your description fits it perfectly and it also the right time of year : Oak and Pale Oak Beauty caterpillars have usually pupated by August at the latest. The reason it appeared sickly could be that it had been nobbled by a parasitic wasp; alternatively, it could have been making its way to the ground in order to pupate. The caterpillar featured here, a Pale Tussock, is a lot easier to identify! It's colours are indicative of a foul taste - I must admit that if I was a bird I wouldn't fancy it much! It turned up during a fungi foray at Epping. Another find recently was this Minotour Beetle at The Backwarden EWT Reserve, Danbury, also during a foray. Apparently it buries rabbit droppings, on which its larvae feed.
I've just come back from the conference at the Green Centre down at Pitsea. It was great. A very big thankyou to all who took time to organise this wonderful event and to those who gave really interesting talks. Thank goodness there are those who are willing to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for their chosen subject with the rest of us. It's very inspiring. Even my husband, who didn't know what he was accompanying me to 'til the last minute, said he enjoyed it!
ID help please
This rather sickly caterpillar was found hanging on a tree trunk at Mistley Walls.
It was about 50mm in length and was an all over ashy grey colour with patches of purplish tinge. There was a line of red spot along each side.
The nearest match I can find is either Peppered Moth or Oak Beauty.
Help would be appreciated
Here's a reminder for any night owls who might have a desire to look heavenwards, despite the cool autumn night
air. On the seventh of this month, we have the Draconid shower, only predicted to be but a few meteors an hour, but
one never knows with these fiery travellers from far space, might be exceptional. View in the evening for these fire-balls
and likewise both the 6th and 8th worth a look in case these nights prove best. Also on the twenty-first, same applies
for the Orionids, but view, (er Graham), just before dawn. These meteors appear to radiate from the club of the hunter of
the great Orion constellation. Want to read more, put up EarthSky on Google.
A friend of mine, from Wivenhoe has just informed me that he and his grandchildren picked a total of 53 Rosemary Beetles from a Rosemary Shrub this weekend. The shrub is 37yrs old and about 2m high.
I would think this must be near a record count.