Is it a bird? Is it a moth? Well, yes sort of both… It’s a Hummingbird Moth
I recently started working at a location that is much less urban than I have previously been used to. More on my new job soon, I promise, but just to let you know it’s an exciting blend of what I did previously, and what I like doing in my spare time. Anyway, I’ve got to say it’s quite refreshing to see grass, plants, trees, and water while walking around the work campus and it’s possibly just the fresh air I needed. That said, I’m not used to stumbling upon new creepy-crawlies and such-like that are natural to this habitat. Not to say I’m shocked, it’s more of a surprised, “Oh. Oh! Cool!” That’s the recent reaction I had to what I had originally, at first glance, assumed to be a bumblebee languorously flying between flowers the other day. As I looked closer though it seemed too big to be a bee. The wings were bigger but still beating as fast, and the body was bigger. As I watched it dip a long protuberance into a flower I thought “Wait, is it a hummingbird…a baby hummingbird?” But still something wasn’t quite right: it had a proboscis, not a beak. Looking even closer, I realized it had antennae. “It’s not a butterfly, is it a moth?” I wondered out loud. Someone else close by who had seen me looking on with interest and heard my last comment asked, “Is there such a thing as a hummingbird moth?” It did not take long for a tandem mobile phone internet search to come up with an answer. Yes, indeed there is such a thing. Little Mr Hemaris thysbe, otherwise known as the Common clearwing, Sphinx moth, or Hummingbird moth.
These images are 1:1 crops of a [near] central portion of each image and thus represent 1/9th of the overall image–I don’t have that great a close-focusing range 50mm lens for this stuff. However, considering I had my camera on me, even with my manual focus, non-macro, 50mm lens, I thought I did quite well to get the images you see here. I guess that’s one way to confirm that “chance favors the prepared mind.” Never mind the technical details, it was just one of those little things that was so cool to come across and reminds you of the variety of nature. In fact they have a counterpart in Europe, an example of convergent-evolution–that is, the evolution of a similarly adapted species in separated environments. Cool!