Saturday, 3 September 2011

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

By some distance, one of the most exhilarating and exotic sights in the garden this year has been the delightful Hummingbird hawk-moth! Hailing from warm places such as North Africa, they are a surprisingly hardy bunch and will be active on cool mornings when others (my blasted honeybees for example!) are still on their backs snoring loudly! Some weeks ago we had several of these beautiful blighters mooching about, feeding mostly on V. bon, the hardy Salvia microphylla and the splendid thistle Berkheya purpurea. That was in July, but then things took a turn for the un-exotic as the hummers disappeared! Where to, who knows, but I’m cheered to report that as of this week they’re back on the scene and now feeding mostly on Ceratostigma willmottianum, a bona fide border classic for late-summer colour. Unfortunately, my camera is really not up to scratch when it comes to capturing this humming beauty, as you see these things move at such incredible speeds! Thankfully a camera with assorted ‘bells & whistles’ is available for garden staff to use on the property, so after loaning this I now at least have some suitable images to justify this wittering on. Behold; the Hummingbird hawk-moth!

Our exotic friend in action

Here you can clearly see why the amateur photographer is so up against it. Slow down a moment please old boy!

You really must click on this one to enlarge it (eye eye captain)!


9 comments:

Rosemary said...

Great photos Bertie. We have spotted them for the last three years, but not this year.

DD said...

Fantastic shots Bertie. I love these little beauties. On our third date together several years ago now, my husband and I spottted one of these on the top of Old Winchester Hill. I couldn't believe my eyes as it looked so much like a hummingbird. I haven't seen one since but I have hope!

Gardener in the Distance said...

Hello Bertie,
I can see why you're so besotted...the moth in question really is more like a little fat bird...wonderful to have such a visitor!

Janet said...

Fascinating moth, Bertie. I have never seen one. Tell me about the camera with "bells and whistles"/ We're thinking of updating ...

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

Tricky little fellows. You did a commendable job, especially with a borrowed camera!

Pauline said...

Absolutely fantastic photos! Have tried for years to photograph them but never succeeded. The only plant we ever see them on is Valerian, but not this year, wondered where they had got to, they were at Hidcote!!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

Well it’s jolly disappointing to hear about the lack of sightings this year!
Janet the camera is a ‘Canon’ and has trickery such as reducing the shutter speed, an attachable lens for zooming in (handy for macro) and some complex arrangements for altering the amount of light. Unfortunately it is large enough to require carrying in its own case and too expensive to be chucked in the barrow with the rest of the tools, I’ll only be using it for special occasions such as this!

Share my Garden said...

Nothing 'amateur' about your photos, Bertie, they are beautiful.

Prue said...

You captured this little blighter beautifully - as well as the stunning blue of the Ceratostigma.

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