Hummingbird Hawkmoths

There is something magical about Hummingbird Hawkmoths. I’m not sure if it’s their size, amazing speed or elegant agility but I am fascinated by them but, oh my, they’re tricky little buggers to photograph.

My French neighbours must think I’m an eccentric old biddy. When I’m ‘on the hunt’ I can sit in my deckchair for hours, watching and waiting patiently for my chosen little creature to come by again. Over the years I’ve learnt that the only way to get a good photo is to have my camera (a Nikon D800/28-70mm lens) on a tripod and to use a remote camera shutter.

I first noticed the little Hummingbird Hawkmoth darting around my Jasmine flowers. This shrub weaves its way along my fence and becomes smothered in heavily scented flowers in April. In summer, the little guy is drawn to to my Duranta erecta, (Golden Dewdrop), a pretty flowering, rather sprawling, shrub in the verbena family with small mauve and white coloured flowers and an absolute magnet for bees, hoverflies and butterflies.

He whizzes through my garden once in the bright morning light and again late in the evening, just as dusk falls. He’s mega quick and, as he darts from flower to flower searching for nectar, it’s been difficult to get a good photograph of him. But my patience was rewarded as he seemed quite insistent on returning to my garden to sup from the Jasmine flowers returning in early summer when the Golden Dewdrop was in flower.

After reading up about these little fellows, I find they’re abundant and resident all around the Mediterranean. Eager to entice him back I went off and bought some of his favourite flowers (buddleia, honeysuckle, petunia and phlox) but it’s my Duranta that he loves.