Thursday, July 10, 2008

Super bug






It's a bird. It's a plane. It's SUPER BUG. I don't care what I see as long as I see something new. I'm not a bug expert, but know for sure that if a cockroach or waterbug even looks at me I'm going to do the 100 yd. dash and qualify for the Olympics. Maybe even break the world record. However, sometimes something enters my field of vision and makes my heart leap. This happened the day before yesterday. My brain screamed, "hummingbird!" It was small with wings that hummed and it was hovering at the sweet spot at the oozy tree (sap). So I did what every law abiding person would do, jump the fence for a closer look. This wasn't a hummingbird, but it looked like something I saw once in Colorado, also resembled a hummingbird and wasn't. When confused, take pictures, ID will follow, but this was a hard subject, -low light, moving subject, dark-on-bark. I got the ID that evening from expert, Marie Winn, a nessus sphinx moth. Wow! What a fascinating thing. Today I went back to the oozy tree, this time with a strobe and diffuser. If the moth was there again I might get better pictures. Lo and behold it was there, perched at the sap spot sucking up the stuff non-stop. The best plan is always to take pictures first, get a few shots, and then do adjustments, because anything in nature can fly away in a split second. I got the few shots then got out the extra gear. The moth never left...... suck, suck, suck, suck, suck.... enough time to shoot from several angles. Then all of a sudden it fell off the tree, not fly, FELL, plop, thud, as if dead. I couldn't find it. Where did it go? Is this "drink-till-you-drop"? It seemed so. And then I saw it on the grass, found it by looking for its tail bands. It was moving slightly. Drunk? And then it turned, face up. The camera got the face better than what my eyes saw, because I was trying to predict what would happen next. What a great face! It flew back to the sap spot and resumed drinking. Again, the camera captured something my eyes missed. There's larva in the crevice, little creepy-crawlies with red eyes. I don't know what they'll develop into. This is really a wonderful sap tree.
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1 comment:

SSmith said...

This species is a Hummingbird Moth. I have had the pleasure of seeing these and photographing them for the first time last year -2007. I plant Verbena flowers to specifically attract them. What an incredible species to watch. They are slower than actual Hummingbirds so they can be photographed much easier. The Clear Winged Humingbird Moth is amazing to watch as they suck the nectar from each flower.