Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum)

During the dog walk this morning, I was standing waiting for a Buzzard to come in low enough for a shot when I heard this Hummingbird Hawkmoth buzzing between the nettle flowers to my right. I gave up on the raptor (the sun was really warm and the bird's distinctive shape was getting smaller and smaller as it rose in circles on a thermal current) and concentrated instead on this summer migrant from continental Europe. I'm glad I did. It's such a beautiful insect and – though tricky to capture – when I did I was rewarded with some worthwhile shots, managing to get that long 'tongue' in sharp detail and the moth's wings frozen in motion. I particularly like the composition of the first shot and the clarity of the feeding action shown in the second.
All shots Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens, 1/3,200 sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 800


  1. Fantastic shots Tim! Haven`t seen one yet this year, hopefully one will appear on my hardy geraniums like last year!
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  2. How marvellous! Those shots are superb, you must feel very happy.

  3. Hi John. If they've been around before, I'm sure they'll return although my guide book tells me they occur in variable numbers and are by no means common every year. Fingers crossed.

  4. Hi Toffeeapple. Thanks, as always, for your kind comments. Yes, I am thrilled with these shots. Some, I think, do come close to doing this wonderful creature justice.