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A Case of Mistaken Identity

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Hummingbird Hawkmoth

It seems summer has finally arrived.  The sun is shining and the rain has finally let up (subject to terms and conditions).  Expect a hosepipe ban any day now.  Anyway it must be summer because the hummingbirds have started to arrive...

At least that's what you'd think from the number of hummingbird sightings we've been receiving by email recently.

In truth you can only find hummingbirds in the Americas.  There's never been any real hummingbirds found in the wild in the UK.  But that doesn't stop people from thinking they've seen one.

So what do these hummingbirds look like?  Well take a look at this selection of descriptions sent in recently...

"The feathers on the wings were bright orange"

"It was drinking nectar from my Geraniums with a long beak."

"It was about 6cm long with black and white tail feathers"

"It had a hummingbird body but with two antennae"

"It looked like a tiny bird with the head of a fish"

See what I mean.  They all think they've seen a hummingbird.  Except for that last guy, who should probably cut down on the recreational drugs.

You've probably guessed by now that what they actually saw wasn't a bird, but a type of moth called a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. In recent years, with our hotter climate there have been many more of these moths arriving here from North Africa and Southern France each summer.  Some years they arrive in their thousands, with people spotting them as far north as the Orkneys.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

In recent years some sightings have been as early as March, which suggests they may be over-wintering as adult moths here in the UK.  Moths and butterflies react very quickly to changes in the environment, so as the UK becomes warmer, as a result of climate change, we can expect to see more and more of this species.

If you see one this summer drop us a line

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

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