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.