It's that time of year again when the hawthorn bushes and trees are covered webs.
I don't know if they have became more common but it don't remember seeing so many of these communal webs on the bushes before the last few years. The caterpillars are well-known for their urticating hairs; they cause extreme irritation if in contact with human skin.
The moth that they grow into is the Brown-tail (Euproctis chrysorrhoea). It is a plain white moth, but if disturbed, like the one above, it curl it's abdomen up to show the "brown" tail. The female covers her eggs with this brown tuft of hairs when they are laid. The adults appear in July and August, the earliest date I've caught one is 29th June and the latest 11th August.
As I was cutting the lawn today there were quite a few Butterflies around, including, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Small White. When the Orange-tip above, hung around for a while I stopped mowing and got a quick picture. There caterpillars may not have allergic hairs but they couldn't live in communal webs because they are cannibalistic.
This evening then small Badger arrived as we were finishing dinner.
I recognised the tail from previous visits. I slid the door open and it took very little notice, just looking up and then continuing with feeding.
When it sat down I saw that I'd been quite wrong in calling it him. She is quite definitely female although I'm not sure that she's feeding young at the moment, she's certainly not as busty as last years "little mummy".