Copper Underwing Caterpillar
Sometimes you have to take a trip to see somethng new, sometimes it’s right there in your yard. I found this Copper Underwing moth caterpillar munching on my oakleaf hydrangea:
It was the afternoon of a blue sky day. I was lucky it was in a shadowy spot, there was just a bit of light on its face. That night I hit the books to find out what it was. I used a great recent caterpillar book, Caterpillars of Eastern North America (Wagner, Princeton Field Guides). Fortunately, the hump made this one fairly easy to identify. Nice caterpillar, though there are other moth caterpillars that are more exotic and colorful. The adult Copper Underwing is just another brown moth.
I kept an eye out for it, hoping to see it pupate, but it disappeared by the next day. Some moths drop to the ground to pupate, but it might have become bird food.