Saturday, April 29, 2017

Night Shift Pollinators

Yesterday evening we were out in our front courtyard, enjoying a colorful sunset and crescent moon setting in the west. In the Desert Willow tree behind us we noticed a small blur moving amongst the branches. As we watched, even more of the blurring movements became noticeable in the tree until we counted at least 7 or 8 of them. After a closer look, we saw they were White-lined Sphinx Moths. With a wing span of 4 to 5" and a thick body, it's easy to see why they are sometimes called "hummingbird moths". Their movements as they hover in front of flowers and dart amongst the branches is reminiscent of a feeding hummingbird. After watching the moths in the willow, we went out into our front yard to see if there were any others. On our big red lantana bushes we counted at least another 7 moths. They were busily flying between the flowers, pollinating as they sipped nectar from each bloom. By then it was getting darker and more challenging to take pictures of them.