Tuesday, 19 September, 2017.
Derwent May in The Times: “Hummingbird hawkmoths are now being spotted in small numbers all across the country. They hover in front of flowers, their wings moving so fast that they produce a humming sound and are seen as little more than a blur. In the case of the hindwings, this is an orange blur. Otherwise they just look brown. They dart from flower to flower, using their long proboscis to draw the nectar from them. Favoured flowers are honeysuckle, buddleia and petunias. They will also hover in front of a sunlit wall to absorb the warmth. These moths are regularly misidentified as birds, not insects, but no hummingbirds are seen in Britain. Hummingbird hawkmoths are summer migrants that come up from the south of France, but some of them breed here, laying their eggs on the yellow lady’s bedstraw. However, almost none of them survive the winter, including the new ones that have hatched here.”