Wednesday, October 2, 2013

not a hummingbird

Sitting outside on the terrace one day, I was astonished to see what appeared to be a hummingbird buzzing around our flowers.  It would have been more astonishing if that's what it turned out to be since there aren't any in Europe.  So after some digging around on the internet, I finally figured out that it is actually a kind of moth (macroglossum stellatarum).  But like a hummingbird it can hover over a flower in order to get nectar out with its long proboscis (see photo below).  I don't know if the markings on his tail are supposed to be frightening to predators; I'm guessing "not" since to me it looks like a puppy dog.  Anyway, this guy was fascinating to watch but difficult to capture with the camera as he flits about very quickly.

That curled up loop is the proboscis which straightens out to get the good stuff.

And by the way, this was my runner-up in my contest to select a post for City Daily Photo theme day (yesterday).  I liked the idea of a moth proboscis illustrating the concept of "detail", but in the end, the other one was better.


  1. No hummingbirds in Europe?
    Congrats on photographing that thing - on the spot and camera ready!

    1. That's what I read online and I can confirm I've never seen one. But, yeah, I was really lucky to capture the moth as I only saw him on two different days. And the first day I was too late to get any snaps.