A few days ago I was in my backyard waiting in vain for a hummingbird to visit when I noticed something hovering around one of our butterfly bushes. I grabbed my camera and went to investigate. Rather than photographing a hummingbird at 60 fps as I had planned, Mother Nature sent a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth instead.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
The Hummingbird Clearwing Moth moth is supposed to be quite common throughout the eastern half of the United States and much of Canada, but I had never seen one before.
I was fortunate to be able to capture a couple of image runs at 60 frames per second using my Nikon 1 V2. The next three images are the initial consecutive images in one of the bursts.
The scientific name for this moth is Hemaris thysbe. It is a fairly large moth with a wingspan of 4 cm to 5.5 cm.
These moths drink nectar from a wide variety of plants such as beebalm, red clover, lilac, cranberry, blueberry, and thistles to name a few.
They feed and fly during the daytime, hovering in front of a flower when feeding the way that hummingbirds do.
There are four species of hummingbird moths in North America with the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth and the Snowberry Clearwing being the most common.
There are various species of hummingbird moths in Europe, North Africa and across Asia. In Britain they are commonly called Hummingbird Hawk-moths.
The next time you have a small, thick bodied critter hovering around your flowers check it out. It may not be a hummingbird at all, but rather a hummingbird moth.
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