Friday, September 23, 2005

Evening Hummingbird?

Several years ago as we were approaching the house coming back from dinner, there was something hovering around the flowers in the front of the house. It was late dusk. We thought at first that it was a hummingbird because it was the same size, moved just like one, and was feeding on the flowers. But it was practically night. If the porch light had not been on, we probably would have never seen it. But we still would have heard it because it sounded just like a hummingbird too.

I tried to get a closer look. It did not seem to be too concerned with me as I got closer. It continued to rapidly flutter around feeding on the impatiens that I had planted in the front flower beds.
It wasn't a hummingbird after all. It was a moth! I had never seen anything like it. SSB and JD had crept up behind me to get a look at this strange creature. It didn't seem too concerned about them either.

I was listening to public radio this morning and learned the name of this particular wonder: the white lined sphinx moth. It is common in my area.

These are pictures I pulled off the internet. They show the hovering manuevers. In the second you can even see the rotating wings that help the moth maintain it's position in front of the flower.
I was amazed at the mobility this moth had. It flew FAST!! And these pictures show how really beautiful this moth is too. The insect expert that was talking about them said that they are most active in late summer to early fall. They are found in Central America and the West Indies into most of the US and southern Canada. They are also found in Eurasia and Africa. So the next time you are out at dusk and you see something flitting around your garden, you just might have a white lined sphinx moth visitor.


Blogger jac said...

That is lovely. How did you manage ? Waited for it ?

9/24/2005 12:05 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

I didn't take these pictures. I got them from the internet. The only time that I have ever seen one of these it was far too dark to take pictures.

9/24/2005 10:03 AM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

This is really cool. Thanks for sharing. I love finding new wildlife in my yard.

9/25/2005 10:06 PM  
Blogger Zoey said...

That is a beautiful moth. I have never seen one like that in Michigan. I do get the sphnix moth (commonly called the hummingbird moth here), but it is not nearly so colorful.

9/29/2005 6:18 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

OldRoses, I do too! I wish I could see this one more often, but it comes out to late.

Zoey, we have some here that are just varying shades of brown. But the one that we saw that night almost looked lavender as it flew because of this flash of color.

9/30/2005 10:17 AM  
Blogger jac said...

Lovely, Syl !

10/03/2005 6:37 PM  
Blogger Walter Jeffries said...

That's beautiful. It is an interesting example of convergant evolution...

12/25/2005 6:52 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Jac, I didn't take these pictures but the moth is very lovely indeed.

Walter Jeffries, you're speaking my language!

12/26/2005 5:35 PM  
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5/23/2006 12:05 PM  

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