Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

The Sting in the Tale


Down by the compost heap something caught my eye, a patch of nettles that from a distance  looked as though it was covered in black pea pod sort of things; further investigations revealed these beauties, as black as Whitby jet

Peacock -1

I think they are the caterpillars of peacock butterflies,  but of course what we really need is a butterfly man, remember him and his beautiful illustrations?

There are hundreds of caterpillars out there, Joe says there are so many, they may eat the house during the night (he has inherited his mothers over active imagination, poor lad, either that or he has been on strange PC games again).

Peacock 2-1

They seemed to be emerging from places like this

Peacock butterfly -1

Dressed in cropped trousers and sandals, I wasn’t for getting any further into the nettle patch, this is as close as it gets.

Peacock 4-1


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

7 thoughts on “The Sting in the Tale

  1. They are indeed Peacock larva according to my British garden wildlife book, and they live in clusters on Common Nettle.
    It’ll be wonderful if you see lots of butterflies later on. xx

  2. As long as they only eat nettles !
    You should get a cloud of beautiful butterflies soon .

  3. there is something very scary about the quantity of them!

  4. We once had a plague of caterpillars like that in a tree here. What alerted me to their presence was the noise of them munching! They were getting through the leaves of, maybe a copper beech, at a frightening rate. A guest who saw them was all for destroying right away, but I couldn’t do that. Maybe they turned into something exotic and glamorous like yours are going to do.

  5. GACK! Those look like a particularly fierce variety of tent caterpillars. At least yours turn into attractive butterflies. And anything that eats nettles before I can stumble into them can’t be all bad. But good grief, those look as if they could munch through an entire woodlot in no time at all.

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