Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hummingbird Moth

When you think of hummingbirds, you probably think of this, right?  This is a female ruby-throated hummingbird--no red throat like the males have, and notice the white tips of her tail feathers (that males do not have.)  I spotted this little gem as she buzzed around our new Children's Garden:
I've been trying to catch her on camera for a couple of weeks and just getting this close to her was gratifying enough, but, my heart really skipped a beat as I caught this beautiful little "hummingbird" in my lens:
Notice the size?  Sitting on a lantana leaf, you can see that it's huge--about two inches long!  What is it, you ask?  It's a clearwing hummingbird moth--I know, I know, it looks like a giant bumblebee, but it's not!  Here's a closer look at this remarkable creature:
I followed it as it zoomed around the garden and was able to get a few shots of it in mid-flight and you can also see its proboscis as it sipped nectar from verbena flowers--note that it is actually hovers over the flower:
Did you notice that even the "tail" of this moth looks like a hummingbird, with bristles on the tip of the abdomen fanning out just like a bird's tail?  I was privileged to watch this amazing animal for several minutes before it flew off.  I hope I can photograph it again's a daytime moth, so I'll keep a sharp lookout for it.  Hmmm....maybe I'll be spending more time in the Children's Garden!  More off the beaten path in two weeks....

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