I spotted her , being buffeted by that strong wind , being blown all over the place , and I wondered what she was trying to do . Every time she landed on the nettles , she was blown off . It must have happened 20/30 times , but each time she came back again , not interested in any other vegetation . Eventually , she came to rest , on the windward side of the nettles , and appeared to fold one of the fresh leaves , near the top of the stem . There she remained motionless , but somehow , not blown off . I had my suspicions of what was happening , but didn't want to disturb her . After about 5 minutes , a massive gust blew her off the leaf , and my hat right across the path behind me . When I got back , she looked as if she was still recovering from the experience . Not to be defeated , she began the whole process again , searching for that same nettle leaf . It took some time , but she eventually found it , but this time , kept her wings tight shut , with less resistance to the wind . In this position , my suspicions were confirmed , she was indeed egg laying . She was hanging on to the leaf and her upturned abdomen was depositing the eggs on the underside of the leaf . I watched for a while , then left her to it while I had another look around . During that time , I recorded 12 species of butterfly , albeit in low numbers . The full list was , Green Veined White (1) , Small Skipper (4) . Large Skipper (3) , Ringlet (4) , Meadow Brown (15) , Gatekeeper (6) , Purple Hairstreak (1) , Holly Blue (1) , Small White (2) , Large White (3) , Comma (8) and of course Small Tortoiseshell (1). When I returned to the nettles after a while , she was gone , and when I carefully turned over the leaf she was on , her eggs could be seen . I marked the nettle stem with some dried grass , and hopefully will post good news on their journey to brightening the area next year .
Thank you to Dean , who has put sawfly larvae forward for the unknown caterpillar that posted the other day . That would explain why ShySongbird and myself have been unable to come up with anything in the moth world , but thank you for your efforts . I have looked at these caterpillars every year for I don't know how long , so hopefully it can be put to rest .
Since posting , I carried on looking at pictures of Sawfly larvae . Then , an inspiration , I have always seen them on Yellow Flag Iris . So I googled 'Iris Sawfly' , and there is one , apparently called Rhadinoceraea micans . I can really put it to rest now , thanks to Dean for the right shove , and not forgetting ShySongbirds help .