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Hummingbird Moth

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watzie  11
26 Sep 2003 - 8:13 AM

Thank you for that. Certainly puts to bed my curiosity about what it was. Considering I have a mature garden, with many of the species of plants described in the articles, I surprised I have not seen one before. I'll keep my eyes pealed next year, providing we get a similarly good summer.
Thanks again.

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naturenut  111801 forum posts England
29 Sep 2003 - 10:58 PM

More info here too

Mari  111825 forum posts Wales
4 Oct 2003 - 8:13 AM

Back on the subject of humming bird moths. I too have had one in my garden here in Cowbridge South Wales for two days in a row. It flew around so quickly that I could'nt get a decent shot of it. Do you think that they are all over the south of Britain and where are they native to?

bailey73 e2 Member 11357 forum postsbailey73 vcard
5 Oct 2003 - 12:36 AM

I managed to get my first ever sighting of this moth on Thursday when one flew into our workshop in Swindon - spent ages watching the thing flying around, sods law that I didnt have my camera with me :-(

5 Oct 2003 - 8:45 AM

To be accurate it is the Hummingbird HAWKmoth (Family: Sphingidae). This is the same family of moths as the well known Lime, Poplar, Eyed and Large Elephant Hawkmoths. It is a native British species and is quite commonly found in the southern UK where it breeds (the larvae feeding on Bedstraw and Goose Grass).

The adult moths are unusual in so much that they hibernate. In years past, this usually resulted in the death of most of the adult moths and so the next years moths usually were migrants from abroad.

However, global warming or whatever has resulted in shorter, warmer winters and more of the moths survive the winter (I found one trying to get out of my shed when I lived in the New Forest one sunny day in March). I feel this is why they are now being seen in greater numbers as the winter survivors breed much earlier than the migrants and so we get a lot more moths for the second brood.


Mari  111825 forum posts Wales
6 Oct 2003 - 9:03 PM

If the HBHM is native to Britain,how come so many people are seeing it for the first time? I'm sure you're right Barrie that global warming is a factor.
Did it used to be rare. I have always had an interest in British wildlife and I have never heard of them or seen one before.

johnprior  11
6 Oct 2003 - 10:22 PM

I have seen them also in my garden this year (Bucks) for the first time ever, perhaps the long spell of hot weather has been favourable for them.
They are very good test for autofocus speed!

grahammul  11120 forum posts United Kingdom
6 Oct 2003 - 10:32 PM

Hi Barrie I used to collect Butterflies and moths in the early fifties but I never saw a HBHM. I lived in S. Wales at the time.
Saw four in the last 2 weeks but much smaller than the one seen in my garden (see my previous posts) but these were all in Portugal.

whitep  11
13 Oct 2003 - 1:45 AM

Searching vainly for what we thought MUST be called a Humming Bird Moth has led me to this forum and new membership of this excellent web site. In my Mother's garden today (Sunday 12th October 2003) in Kingsdon, Somerset (very near Yeovilton air base)we saw what could only be described as a Humming Bird Moth at very close range. It was feeding on a large red flowering shrub in bright sunlight. Sadly no stills camera to hand and forgot I had my digital video camera in the car. I will return as soon as possible this week to attempt some high -speed video and stills shots if I am lucky enough to see it again. Thank you for the most interesting information in the forum and some excellent shots.

brian1208 e2 Member 1110366 forum postsbrian1208 vcard United Kingdom12 Constructive Critique Points
13 Oct 2003 - 7:07 AM

Welcome to the site Paul, I look forward to seeing if you can get a shot. My moth has long since disappeared.

13 Oct 2003 - 8:38 AM

Hi all

The HBHM has always in the past been a localised species. When I lived in the new Forest and on the Dorset coast, a a year never went by without me seeing these creatures but then again, I also knew what I was looking at. Quite a few people mistake them for bees.

They are definitely spreading their range hence more people are seeing them and as I mentioned, they do try to hibernate (successfully abroad but usually unsuccessfully in the UK) but as our winters have become less severe and shorter, more are surviving I feel to boost the summer numbers

If this is the case, not all bad news from Global Warming


watzie  11
25 Oct 2003 - 7:51 AM

Hi All.
Barry, don't wish to doubt what you are saying, but like welsh lady and Graham, I too had never seen this amazing creature prior to this year, despite always having had a keen interest in the native wild, and been active in its protection. Living in the countryside, and having had very keen gardeners for parents, this must be one of the most illusive of our native creatures if it is native to these shores.

25 Oct 2003 - 9:15 AM

As I havbe mentioned before, many people do not realise they are seeing a Huming Bird Hawkmoth as they can easily be mistaken for a bee and in particular the larger bee species (i.e. not the Honey Bee).

In the south of England, they have always been locally common (i.e. where they are found they are numerous).

I haven't seen one myself this year but I know of people in my area who have.

How many live Badgers have you seen this year or Yellow Necked Mice or Tawny owls etc etc. Probably not many but as you know, they are all around and pretty plentiful. The 'trick' is knowing how and where to look.

Funnily enough I saw an internet based article about this moth just the other day and for the life of me I can't remember at the moment where, and it was saying much the same thing that the numbers do seem to be increasing both as a consequence of superb breeding conditions in Southern Europe (followed by a migration to the UK), a dry summer at hom enabling them to spread further north coupled with kinder, survivable winters. If I find the article I will post a link here


naturenut  111801 forum posts England
25 Oct 2003 - 1:45 PM

Hi Barrie, I put a link on my previous post
on 25th September on this forum which is still live. I only saw one this summer in Bath and have only ever seen one before which was something like 5 or 6 years ago during a hot summer as we have just had anyway. I also have a badger visiting every night at the moment for peanuts, raisins and wholemeal bread. Caught me out last night though as he ate the food within half and hour of me putting it out and I wasn't there to watch !

There is another link here
hawk moths

25 Oct 2003 - 2:54 PM

I used to go Badger wathing as often as I could when I lived in Kent. In fact, it's hard to believe I did this when I look back, but after I had gone to bed and I heard my parents go to bed, I would creep out of the house and go down to the local woods to watch them. Imagine doing that these days.. you'd get half a dozen social workers swooping on you before you knew what was happening.

Badgers are my fave animal and I belong to two local Badger Groups. I wish I could get one to come to my back door


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