Every Day is a Chance to Learn Something New

This weekend at the farm, we saw something that none of us had ever encountered before. Even my mom and her two brothers (my uncles) who were raised on the farm said this was their first sighting of it as well. At first we didn’t know what it was. I was taking pictures of my grandma’s Tiger Lilies when this creature buzzed by and started hovering over the flowers. Initially we thought it a hummingbird until we noticed its six legs.

I snapped as many pictures as I could. Since it moves quite fast,it was hard to get a decent shot. Uncle Tom went into the house to grab the Peterson Field Guide. Fortunately, next to the picture of the hummingbirds, there was a diagram of the Sphinx Moth because it is sometimes mistaken for a hummingbird. That was our first clue as to what the creature might be.

When I got home, I looked it up online and found out it must be the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.

From what I could find out, the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth can fly forwards and backwards, like the Hummingbird. It has a proboscis that it uses to suck the nectar from flowers. It can flap its wings 25-30 beats per second and can fly up to speeds of 35 miles per hour. Apparently in this particular genus there are 17 species in the world. Four of which are in the Americas.

I absolutely love it when I learn and discover something new. The chance to picture and identify something like the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth is exhilarating and inspiring on so many levels. As writers, this sort of thing also lends itself to the treasure trove of information we use to build the worlds we create in our stories. I’m already thinking of ways I can perhaps use this newfound knowledge in one of my stories. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. Who knows? But there’s always that delicious sense of possibility. I love that.

What have you discovered lately and how has it affected your own writing or projects?

Happy Monday, everyone! Enjoy the pictures of the beautiful Hummingbird Clearwing Moth!

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth




0 thoughts on “Every Day is a Chance to Learn Something New

  1. Tracy, I am blown away. What a gorgeous find! I am thrilled that you were able to capture this for us. So many of my favorite bloggers are providing pictures lately that are easing my suburb-scarred eyes.

    To answer your question, those suburb-scarred eyes aren’t helping my writing lately at all. I’ve been pretty far from discovering anything new lately, which has got me craving new surroundings and new things to do. Fortunately, there’s still enough good weather left, and we have a few fun plans to squeeze in before the fall really hits. That’s the kind of stuff that feeds my writing.

  2. Kudos to you for grabbing your camera and snapping these shots, Tracy! They’re quite stunning. Me? I’d be bolting in the opposite direction; I cannot abide moths and moths of that size and speed? I’d probably have a nervous breakdown.

    I love that I’m getting glimpses into the lives of all my favourite people. No wonder Kim encouraged me to get involved with this project; it’s really a fantastic thing! Oh, and you have been missed 🙂

    • It’s pretty harmless actually although at the time I was wary – didn’t know what it would do. But I so wanted those pictures I got as close as I could. 🙂

  3. What gorgeous pictures! I’ve never seen anything like that, but I like the idea of a hummingbird moth. We have loads of hummingbirds here, but our moths are just dusty brown ones.

    It seems like there is always something to discover on the farm. How interesting a place to visit. Thank you for sharing such beautiful treasures with us.

  4. Tracy, I am so glad you discovered this moth and brought it to all of us. That third photo is really exquisite! And the colors in all of them cannot help but make my day. Thank you (and welcome back — I so, so miss your words and photos!)

    • The colors are quite vibrant! That is what I love most about these pictures, I think. I’m grateful they “turned out” as well as they did.

  5. Oh my goodness! That is truly incredible. There is so much magic left in the world, sometimes it just takes a tiny little moth to remind us. 🙂

      • I had to come back to tell you!!!! Two days ago my (young adult) son called me outside to tell me he saw this freaky bug/bird on one of our phlox…. “I thought it was an alien, Mom!” He asked me what it was and thanks to YOUR BLOG I was able to identify it!! It was so funny because I’d never heard of it until I saw your post. Thank you so much!

      • Julia – to your comment below – that is so awesome! It always seems that is how things work, doesn’t it? I’m so happy that I posted this and saw the moth myself. I too had no idea they existed and now I am finding out a lot about these creatures. You made my day!

  6. These photos are FABULOUS. And I promise… I wasn’t copying your idea. I didn’t have a chance to come visit you last week! These worms at my place have been around for a few weeks and it took me awhile to photograph them. But BOY – what a find, Tracy. Your moth is WAAAAYYY more beautiful than mine. Funny thing is that what I THOUGHT I was seeing here in the desert was your hummingbird moth. Now I know it’s not the same and is the Sphinx Moth you noted.

    I totally agree with you that these new encounters in nature provide fodder for our novels. Even if we CAN’T work them into our fiction, they do serve as absolutely wonderful inspiration, don’t they?

    • Oh Melissa! I never meant to imply you were copying! I found it fascinating and awesome that we both posted about moths because I had never heard of the Sphinx Moth before. I loved that we posted similar things. I so enjoyed seeing another version of that moth. Your photos inspire me. I thought of you actually when I was writing this post last week because it seemed like something you would post. LOL. I was worried you might think I was copying YOU! But it is all flattery my dear. You inspire.

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