While sitting out in our garden, my wife heard some sort of strange high speed beating noise and directed my attention toward what we both thought was a humming bird feeding on the flower’s nectar. Of course I didn’t have my camera handy, but I decided to run into the house to see if the critter would wait for me (nothing ventured, nothing gained). Sure enough, when I returned, not only was he waiting for me, he even posed!. All was well with the world as I was able to get my shot!. It wasn’t until I was downloading the image that I realized that this wasn’t like any bird I had ever seen. Shortly thereafter, I was at a conference and I showed the image to a colleague. When I asked him if he had ever seen anything like this, his response was: “Sure, it’s a hummingmoth”, and walked away. This guy was known for his practical jokes and somewhat strange sense of humor, so, of course I didn’t take him seriously. But the more I thought about it, the more curious I became. So when I returned to my hotel room, I consulted with one of my best friends, Mr. Google. When I looked up “hummingmoth”, sure enough, there it was! The following description is from Wikipedia:
Macroglossum stellatarum, known as the Hummingbird Hawk-moth, is a species of Sphingidae. Its long proboscis and its hovering behaviour, accompanied by an audible humming noise, make it look remarkably like a hummingbird while feeding on flowers. It is theorised that this resemblance is a result of convergent evolution. It flies during the day, especially in bright sunshine, but also at dusk, dawn, and even in the rain, which is unusual for even diurnal hawkmoths. Its visual abilities have been much studied, and it has been shown to have a relatively good ability to learn colours.