My beloved late stepfather found an elephant hawk moth caterpillar pupating on a tree trunk, carefully lifted the back of was on and put it in a large jar (with air holes) so that DS2 could see it when it eventually emerged, lovely memories!
The hummingbird hawk moths sometimes feed on my Buddleia. I once found an elephant hawk moth on a Willow Herb poking through my patio, which I transferred to a larger clump in the field. It was impressive. Does anyone living or holidaying in the West Country ever see the 2-3 inch giant grasshoppers? As a child, staying in Cornwall, I found them fascinating as well as scary. My brother kept them in jars for a while then tried to let them loose down my neck!