The hummingbird moth Hemaris diffinis or Snowberry Clearwing was enjoying our Clammy Weed a couple months ago. I previously posted about a white lined hummingbird moth on the Stachys coccinea and this is a similar but very different type. The distinctive yellow and black markings make it easy to see why it is called the Bee Hawk moth in Europe. This is the first and only time I've seen this type of hummingbird moth in my garden. They are about three inches long, so they are quite a sight to behold as they nectar on flowers.
When I first posted on the native Clammy Weed last year, I mentioned that there seemed to be very few pollinators attracted to it. Well that has changed quite a bit with its second season in the garden. According to my research these hummingbird moths prefer native grasslands. Attracting wildlife like this is just one more reason to keep on adding native plants to the garden.
While we're on the subject of insects, this past summer brought a growing family of Praying Mantis to the screened porch as we spotted several tiny ones crawling on the screens.
Feeling a bit sideways? Is this view easier to see?
Praying Mantis are beneficial and welcomed to hang out on the porch as their favorite foods are cockroaches and flies -- two things we definitely do not want to see on the porch. I was quite skeptical when I read that they capture and kill hummingbirds so I looked it up and, sure enough, there are gruesome images out there. We'll be checking to make sure the hummingbird feeder is free of these insects. By the way it is not illegal to kill a praying mantis anywhere in the U.S. as has commonly been rumored over the years. But it is not allowed in my yard. Just sayin'
We need our monthly dose of deer in the form of a charming doe peeking up over the creek bank...
....being followed by a buck ready for mating season. It's typical for the buck to stick to the brushy areas during hunting season even though hunting is not allowed in the city. It makes good camouflage.
Antlers? What antlers? Nothing but tree branches up there.
Tina has a great post on butterflies in the winter garden and you can check out other blogger's wildlife posts at My Gardener Says.....
What an interesting moth! A porch full of praying mantis sounds delightful. Do they eat each other? Love your deer pictures although I'm glad I don't have them in my garden!ReplyDelete
The female mantis will occasionally eat her mate for energy to lay the eggs.Delete
Great wildlife post! I always enjoy your Auto Awesome videos. I agree about the deer--they're beautiful animals, but we rarely have them in the garden since most of our lot is suburban. They occasionally wander in, but leave quickly. Now rabbits ... that's a different story. I believe we have some foxes and birds of prey in the neighborhood lately, which seem to be keeping the rabbit numbers down. Wonderful praying mantis photos, too!ReplyDelete
Deer destruction has reached its limit in my garden and if bunnies were also there it would make a mess of the garden.Delete
Those moths look like alien creatures to me - I understand that at least one variety of hawk moth can be found in southern California but I've never seen one. The news about praying mantis hunting hummingbirds was a disturbing surprise - it's difficult to imagine an insect I view as one of the good guys playing a bad guy. I hope the deer continue to restrict their presence in your garden to attractive photo ops and leave your plants alone.ReplyDelete
Such is the nature of wildlife that the situation can get pretty ugly. We'll just keep an eye out.Delete
Love that last photo and your commentary--funny! I love hummingbird moths and usually have them, but didn't see many this year--I'm glad you were able to attract them to your garden. I may need to find a home for clammy weed; I've never grown it. My brother witnessed a mantis capturing a hummingbird once; that's not something I ever want to see, but I do like the mantis insects. They're quite fascinating--I just wish they'd stick to roaches and flies. Thanks for participating in Wildlife Wednesday!ReplyDelete
It's my pleasure to participate in Wildlife Wednesday as often as possible. I always enjoy your posts too.Delete
Breath taking photos! Wow! Magnificent deer. sigh. Great mantis photo. And I love those moths. The first time I saw one I was totally confused: was it a bird? an insect? hahaha When it comes to wildflowers I am discovering that to every flower there is a season. Sometimes it looks like nothing much is going on and then a certain week arrives and they become the belle of the ball.ReplyDelete
They are confusing. I once overhead a spirited disagreement in which visitors at the Dallas Arboretum were arguing between hummingbird or moth.Delete
I'm thrilled to read your clammyweed is seeing more action this year. I put out seed and I have a few babies coming in - at least that is what I think they are. I am so often wrong about which seedling is what that I try to reserve comment until maturity and/or identifying characteristics appear.ReplyDelete
I've seen one of those praying mantis/hummingbird videos and gruesome is the perfect word for it. In my own backyard last year I watched in disbelief as an adorable little Carolina wren savagely attacked and ate a small lizard. After that I began to take their shrill cries warning me to move away a little more seriously!
I hope that clammyweed does well for you and I look forward to seeing some photos next year. Nature is oddly cruel in comparison to its beauty.Delete
Your efforts with the Clammy weed has certainly paid off Shirley. And one learns something new everyday too, didn't know before that praying mantis can kill hummingbirds...ReplyDelete
I always look for a new angle and I think I found it with that one.Delete
Your moving Hummingbird moth is hypnotic. They are magnificent. I thought one was a hummingbird when I was a child. Imagine my surprise when I caught it. I don't seem to have praying mantids in my yard, but I'm glad because I speculate they might eat the hummingbird moth, and also my friends the bees.ReplyDelete
The praying mantis usually attacks hummers at the feeder and the moth does not land on the flowers which makes it harder to catch. I know it's a trade off but since we have had a few problems with unwelcomed insects it's going to work out fine.Delete
That is a fabulous moth...we do not see the Bee Moth here so I really enjoyed it...I also have never seen the praying mantis in this newer garden...maybe one day. Sweet doe too!ReplyDelete
Loved your Bee Hawk moth photo, I haven’t seen one before although they do exist in UK and thanks to climate change now even overwinter. Praying Mantis however was totally new to me, never even heard of before. Your photos of the deer are lovely, but I know from gardening in Norway how much damage they do! Over here in London it’s time for the foxes to dig dens and tunnels again….every time I come out in the garden I find a new hole started. Ugh!ReplyDelete
Awe...hi little guys! Great shots of all of your garden visitors. I especially like the shots in motion that you do. :)ReplyDelete
I so adore your wildlife GIFs, Shirley. Nice shots of your non-winged visitors too.ReplyDelete