First one of the year today! Always an amazing sight and they are becoming a bit more frequent. This one was on valerian and returned two or three times in the space of five minutes.
Their wings beat at an incredible 70 – 80 beats per second, which allows them to ‘hover’ in the same way real hummingbirds do. Their wing beats also produce a loud humming sound! Although the French word for moth is the beautifully descriptive ‘papillon de nuit’ or ‘butterfly of the night’, the Hummingbird Hawk Moth is unusual in that it flies at all times of the day and night – it will even fly in the rain. It also possesses a clever ability to remember its favourite flower, and will return to the same one, at the same time each day – hence the valerian in the garden.
So if you do spot one in your garden in Kineton, the chances are that you may well see it again.
This year Butterfly Conservation are tracking the movement of Hummingbird Hawk Moths as they migrate and move north (although a few do now hibernate in the south of England – climate change…). I’ve logged my sighting on their excellent website and the map shows one was seen in Oxhill as early as 23 March!!