Monday, September 12, 2011

When Is a Hummingbird Not a Hummingbird?

When it's a moth. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching and photographing a hummingbird moth as it sipped nectar from the garden phlox and the obedient plant. I spent nearly half an hour entranced by it and it didn't seem to know I was anywhere around.

White-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata)

The while-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) is commonly known as a hummingbird moth because of its flight habit. While not darting as quickly as a hummingbird, it hovers much like one and has the same feeding mannerisms, except that the moth uses its proboscis instead of a tongue to drink.

White-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata)

This moth is common throughout the United States and part of Canada and Mexico during the months of April through October. In their caterpillar form, they pupate underground in a chrysalis and emerge after two to three weeks.

White-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata)

Yesterday was a gorgeous day and the pollinators were busy, busy, busy! One little patch of Verbena bonariensis had 12 buckeye butterflies on it at once! The buckeyes are all over the place in the yard and garden this time of the year. It's one of my very favorite butterflies because of its eye spots.

Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia)

There were many, many monarchs flying around last evening, too. It's peak migration season here and we lie along a major corridor as they make their way to their winter home in Mexico. It wouldn't surprise me if they spent the night clustered in a nearby tree before continuing on their way this morning.

Hummingbirds are still feeding heavily, as they too prepare for their long trip south for the winter. I love this time of year as we get to see these winged wonders at their best!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Great capture of the moth Kylee. What fun to see one during the day.

Bridget said...

Beautiful little creatures, well captured.

Lona said...

What great shots. I have yet to spot a Buckeye butterfly.I think they are so pretty.

myomyohi said...

Great pics. I so love catching rare glimpses of creatures you seldom see. I enjoyed seeing it. Thanks for sharing.

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ This is the second time we've seen one of these during the day! It surprised me, since most moths are active at night.

Bridget ~ Thanks, Bridget! :-)

Lona ~ I'm so surprised that you haven't seen any, Lona! They're all over the place here! Maybe that's why you haven't. LOL. I'll tell them to travel three hours southeast because you have some great eats there, too. :-)

myomyohi ~ I love it, too! No matter how many times I see stuff like this, it still gives me a thrill.

Patrick's Garden said...

Thanks for the education about the moths. I've seen them and at first thought they were a homely hummer.

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

wish we had hummingbirds they're awesome, love the moth too. Amazing pics.

Darla said...

We have had tons of butterflies and a lot of hummers and the hummer moths, I can't recall seeing a buckeye this year though...hmmm

NHGarden said...

Great Pictures of the moths!

Lona said...

Hi Kylee. The Swan River Daisy or Brachycome seeds were purchased online from Swallowtail Garden Seeds.The flowers are tiny but some of the colors I got from a Bravo mixed packet were really pretty. I guess the blue was my favorite of course. I love blue. LOL!

Back Alley Garden said...

Thats interesting. I didn't realize there was such a thing as a hummingbird moth. I've just been noticing the bees drinking out of our hummingbird feeder lately!

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Oh wow! I've never had the privilege of seeing either a hummingbird moth or a buckeye in person. Your photos make me feel like I was there!

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Kylee Baumle said...

Patrick's Garden ~ LOL! I can see how you might think that!

Kirsty ~ Thanks, Kirsty! We only have one species of hummingbirds, but they're plentiful, so there's never a shortage of sightings. I wish you had them, too!

NHGarden ~ Thank you!

Lona ~ I love blue, too! Thanks for the information. I've purchased seeds from Swallowtail before, so will check there!

Back Alley Garden ~ Oh yes, bees and wasps love that sugar water, too!

Cindy ~ Thanks, Cindy! I wish you COULD have been here! :-) xoxo

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