Thursday, 26 May 2011

One to go

The third of the four big hawk moths which come to the garden here arrived last night, though judging by its tatteredemalion state, it has been around for a while. This is the Poplar Hawk which holds its wings in the curious way shown above and below, the fore ones angled back so that the hind ones form part of the leading edge. It could be Barbara Hepworth working one one of her 'hole' sculptures in a old dressing gown, couldn't it? On which score, do visit the fab new Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield some time.

It isn't as universally grey as it looks. When disturbed, as happened when I hid it away from a predatory magpie, it shows the reddish patch on its hindwings. This helped it to blend with the Actinidia on which I perched it (pic below) - a climber which has a wonderful range of colours itself. The antennae are that nice foxy russet too (small pic; sorry blurred. The colour gets lost in sunlight as in the pic below).

The last of the hawk quartet, the Eyed Hawk Moth, is the most infrequent visitor. Fingers crossed that it pays us a call this year.


worm said...

great stuff Martin - especially 'tatteredemalion', which I've certainly never heard before! I've also never seen an eyed hawk in the wild either, but I'd love to see one. Do you ever get hummingbird hawks in your garden? I had been trying to leave comments the past days but blogger wasn't letting me for some reason.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there W

Sorry about the comments problem. It happened the other day with Sarah my US friend, then suddenly they appeared after all. So maybe yours will. I hope so.

It is a good word, isn't, and with an interesting etymology (all on Google, like everything...)

No, I've not see a Hummingbird Hawk here, but there are quite a few records from Yorkshire in recent years so maybe I will. I'll never forget seeing my first, at Tenby when I was 13, and I've had a lot of pleasure from them down south and overseas since then. Also the rather similar Bee Hawks with their transparent wings and finely-liveried fat bodies.

Thanks as always for your comments which I much appreciate

All warm wishes


Banished To A Pompous Land said...

We get the Hummingbird Clearwing here in the Virginia garden. I'd seen Hummingbird hawks, fleetingly, in Gloustershire but never managed to get a shot.

The Clearwings are much easier, being primarily day fliers. The colours are rich and gorgeous,an almost sage green, pink and burgundy

I'm working on decent shots of the Hummingbird HUMMINGBIRDS now. Those things are quick. I suppose I ought to put up a feeder but I'd rather catch on sipping from my Honeysuckle.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi B

Sorry for delay - missed your last post as the days, and moths, moved on. I had a great time photographing moths on my son and daughter-in-law's balcony in Mexico City earlier this year. I used flash in bright sunlight to try to bring out their jewelled tummies, but the biggest problem was that the hideous, bright red strawberry-shaped feeder dominated all the pics.

warm wishes as ever