Tuesday, 18 August 2009


My excellent nieces have been on holiday in France, and hunting with a camera. Look what they found. Jessie is the photographer, and she lay in wait for this lovely Hummingbird Hawk Moth while Annie and Rosie stalked it through the garden, announcing its progress towards the lens. That's a very good way of recording moths. If you try to chase them, they will always win. I first saw a Hummingbird Hawk Moth at Manorbier in Pembrokeshire, where it made up for the fact that the landlady of our B&B had just dumped my collection of caterpillars in the bin.
Probably some obscure revenge for whatever it was we English did to Owain Glyndowr. They are extraordinary insects, actually bigger than the very smallest hummingbirds, and with the same ability to hover while they sip nectar from the flowers. We do get them in Yorkshire but not that I've seen, yet. They are also day flyers and therefore good ambassadors for moths. They should encourage the others to do the same. btw Lord Rothschild used to shoot humming birds with a special ammunition called 'dust shot' so as not to damage their vivid plumage. His vast collection of stuffed birds is a melancholy sight but has contributed a lot to our knowledge. So far as I know, he did not shoot moths, although hundreds of thousands of them were caught by collectors on his behalf.


John said...


Don't you just adore Hummingbird Hawkmoths.

Your Nieces clearly have got the Moth bug, hope they capture many more on camera.


MartinWainwright said...

Thanks John - my mothism is rather notorious in my family but they all tolerate it and the nieces show encouraging signs of being converted

I agree very much about the Hummingbird Hawk Moth. It's fascinating to watch

All v best


Jessie said...

Hi Marty,

hummingbird hawkmoth pics look super..big thanks for putting them up!

It was quite a challenge as you said to capture the things in full splendour..involved lots of chasing up pine clad hills and almost teetering into swimming pools or off the edge of cathare castles!

The trick i think is to predict which flower they will fly to next and lay in wait!

much love! jessie xx

MartinWainwright said...

you are a star jessie bean. Keep taking those pictures...xx