Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pink Tuesday

The day ended on a pink note. As I was cleaning up outside, I noticed two of the cats all excited about something in the grass. A mouse maybe? No, I could see and hear whatever-it-was fluttering. I walked over to them and at first I thought it was a baby bird. Not really the right time of year for that, but you never know.

It wasn't a bird; it was a moth. A BIG one and really pretty! Earlier this year, we had seen our first hummingbird moth and this reminded me of that. I grabbed it carefully, rescuing it from the kitty's clutches and took it inside. I put it in a large jar and loosely covered it so I could get a closer look and a picture for identification.

Well, I didn't get a good picture, because the poor thing was so scared from the cats and then me putting it in the jar that it was fluttering non-stop. So I took one picture and committed its characteristics to memory (such as its loooooong proboscis), then took it back outside and let it go. Releasing it was like watching a bird take flight.

What I had was a Pink Spotted Hawk Moth (Agrius cingulata) and I'm telling you, the pink was
pink. Other than the large size - wing span of four inches or more - the pink stripes on its body were the first things I noticed.

It really was a very beautiful moth and apparently not all that common in Ohio. According to the Butterflies and Moths of North America website, there are no documented reports of this particular hawkmoth for Ohio, except for the Cincinnati area. I imagine they have been spotted here, but apparently not often enough to be included on the range map.

Shortly after seeing the moth, I noticed the sky as the sun set. It was a gorgeous shade of pink. In the east.

I went outside to have a look and the entire sky was lit up as if there were fires on the horizon in all directions.

We've had fabulous sunsets here many, many times, but the beauty is usually limited to the western sky. Not tonight. It was literally everywhere. The sky in the west was a little different color, being more of a hot orange and while that was stunning, I was more fascinated by the rest of the sky and the pink clouds all over it.

My eyes set their gaze across the horizon
The sun is setting in late fall afternoon
Cold snap in the air as the leaves swirl about
A welcoming view is the painted pink sky

Streaks of pale blue dotted with white
Have been suddenly brushed with a soft pastel
The beauty is breathtaking, such natural artistry
I am in awe of the painted pink sky

-Lillian Jamison


Annie in Austin said...

Wow, Kylee - even if the photo was fuzzy you got to see something extraordinary!

Bill Oehlke has a site with many photos of the Hawkmoths. People tell him about what is seen in their area - he might like to know about your out-of-area sighting.


Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Priscilla George said...

Wow what a beautiful moth! Someone else posted about a pretty sunset sky too.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Wow Kylee how absolutely beautiful! I've never seen a pink sky like that before. You have the greatest sunsets in Ohio!

Kylee Baumle said...

Annie ~ Thanks for letting me know about the Hawk Moth website. I've sent an e-mail to Bill.

Vanilla lotus ~ Yes, I saw several blog postings about the sky from that evening! It really was a special event!

Yolanda Elizabeth ~ We DO have spectacular sunsets. When we had our exchange student here from Ecuador, she was constantly taking pictures of sunsets and sunrises. They were the prettiest she'd ever seen , she said. After visiting her in her home, I knew why she thought what she did. Being just ten miles from the equator and in the Andes Mountains, the sun rises at 6 and sets at 6, yet they never get to see the real sunset due to the mountains getting in the way. Only when they travel away from those mountains do they get to see good ones.

Kylee Baumle said...

I've received a response from Bill already! He says:

Yes, it is a pink-spottted hawkmoth. My Ohio Sphingidae page is at

You can access pictures and information there by clicking on the scientific name
Agrius cingulata. I have added your sighting to this page with credit to you. This species would not be a resident in Ohio, just a stray from further south.

The moths have strong migrating tendencies and are quite often seen in late summer or early fall at locations considerably further north than where their pupae can survive the winters. They are much more common in the southern states where they do produce numerous broods each year.

So I indeed got to see something very special! :-)

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