Thursday, July 22, 2010


We have a couple hummers in our yard. Animals not cars that is. A female ruby-throated hummingbird visits the red beebalm daily. She zooms in, hovers nearby, and if I am too close she zooms off. Another, smaller creature hums and hovers and flies fast among the beebalm. It is not a bee or a hummingbird, but a moth, a hawkmoth. A hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) to be precise.

This moth is active in bright sunlight, unlike most other moths which are active at night. The mostly clear wings give the moth its name, along with its hummingbird-like behavior.

This hawkmoth is a beautiful olive and burgundy color. Its legs, antennae, and proboscis (for sipping nectar) are long.  The hummingbird clearwing is a welcome sight among the beebalm, phlox, and other perennials.


  1. Seems like ages since I've commented Ellen so it's hard to know where to start. But a common theme is the quality of the photos so I might as well start with this new post and the accompanying photos. It seems like you must have gotten a new camera a few months ago, or maybe it's my new glasses?! In any case you're really getting great photos to accompany your posts.

    We have two fighting hummers in our backyard but haven't see a hawk moth in years. It's a pleasure to see such good photos of them.

    And also of the spring peeper. I had no idea that they were so small. Fortunately they didn't end up in the soap jar with the Japanese Beetles. My wife Jerene is a great animal lover. Until she goes after Japanese or potato beetles. Then you see another side of her, sort of like a quiet acquaintance who turns into a raving maniac in front of a televised sporting event! She also uses your method but with a surprising cry of triumph with each one caught.

    As usual it's a pleasure to read about your encounters with nature, and also with your encounters with produce. I'm going to have to investigate the dish you mentioned that included the best greens from the garden. We also get food from a CSA and sometimes could use a few new ideas for what to do with it.

  2. Ken - Thanks for the note. I did get a new camera a few months ago -- a Canon EOS Rebel XTi -- off of craigslist. I am not a camera buff nor really a photography, so I am not even sure of all what I can do with this camera yet. My favorite use is to take close-ups of the plants and animals in our yard.

    I think Jerene and I would get along well. I do take some glee in shoving the beetles into the soapy water. Of course, it is best when I walk around the yard and find only a few. But I do get a little giddy when I find 6 or more on one leaf and the whole lot goes into the jar.

    I take less pleasure in squeezing the life out of the tomato hornworms, but alas that goes on as well, although not so bad this year. And now the tomatoes are yielding so fresh cucumber-tomato salads are on the menu.