Sunday, 13 September 2015

Hummingbird Hawkmoth, And An Unusually Competitive Game Of Ball

I've been bemoaning the lack of our Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Normally, he/ she visits about this time of the year. He/ she is Particularly Fond of our Star Jasmine and our Runner Bean Flowers. Both are very nearly over and so far, no moth. 

Hummingbird Hawks are very small and yet they fly across the land and sea from Africa every spring to reach the UK. They are what's called an Indicator Species for climate change because their range expands and contracts in line with trend changes in climate. They are becoming more common in the UK (I've seen three this summer at different sites) as the climate warms. Butterfly Conservation asks for records of the moths when and where they're seen, so if you have seen one do log the sighting here.

We were surveying for butterflies yesterday. There weren't many around as we're nearing the end of the season for them, but I was keen to reach a particular strand of buddleia because I saw Painted Ladies and a Hummingbird Hawk there a couple of weeks ago (on a rare occasion I didn't have my camera with me of course) and HBHMs in particular are site-faithful having good memories and will return to the same plants.

Guess who was there when we arrived....?

 






Fabulous. Can't tell you how chuffed I was to see him :o)

Back home there has been a Birth...


I had just transferred their house to the garage for the winter thinking there would be no emergences now, this late in the season, and look what happened... the first of the Small Whites appeared out of her pupa. She sat on my finger for a while and considered me before fluttering on to the buddleia. After a short altercation with a bee (who won), she flew off. Seems late in the day because she's now got to mate, lay eggs, the pillars feed and pupate if they have any hope of surviving the winter, but nature usually knows what it's doing.


Pop was keen as mustard to sniff her, a suggestion I declined, for obvious reasons. She hid her disappointment well by turning her attention to her favourite basketball and leaping on it, growling.
 
Poppy has a thing about Balls. Big balls, small balls, bouncy balls, squeaky balls, footballs, basketballs, tennis balls, ping pong balls. She loves them all. Her Christmas present last year was a small red rubber ball made from uber endurable rubber (for obvious reasons). She takes it everywhere with her and plays with it constantly. Her fave game is to chuck it up in the air and then run after it like a mad wee thing. I had a visitor here a while back who was startled by an enormous crash from the hall. She looked at me as if I was mad when I said it was just Poppy throwing her ball at the front door :o)

Her favourite outside ball is a basketball that belongs to F which he graciously shares with her. The two of them spend hours together in the garden using it as a football. When he isn't here she puts her paws on it and stares mournfully at whoever's in the garden begging them to please play with me?



She's Quite Hard To Resist, and yesterday it was L who succumbed to the pleading and they had ten minutes kick around together. Playing footie with Pop is Quite Hard because she does so love clinging on to the ball with her paws or teeth and you have to take Great Care not to whomp her in the chops or tummy when aiming for the ball. She is a sturdy little thing, being a JR, and very quick so you can't even whip the ball away and kick it in the opposite direction without finding you've got a Jack Russell still attached to it.



Teddy does not like balls. Not remotely interested. Never has been. Nope. Thank you, I've got better things to do. I'll lie on the grass and watch instead, thanks. Or maybe sniff the hedge where the rats are. No thanks, I don't want to play. Can't see the point of balls (except in the keeping Poppy busy and therefore out of my fur department).

So why, then, after six years, did this suddenly happen yesterday...?

What's that you've got there, Poppy?
It's my ball, Ted.


Can I play?

Ok  (even though you've never shown the remotest interest before and I've asked you HUNDREDS of times...)

It's mine now.
I don't think so, Ted.
Quite possibly the funniest part of this game was that, after fifteen minutes of them zooming about the garden together chasing the ball (during which time Ted displayed the most astonishing, and Completely Unexpected Skills, in particular dribbling the ball with incredible accuracy and finesse all round the lawn and into the hedge (which they'd decided was their goal) with a deftness I would not have credited if I hadn't seen it), he Quite Suddenly got bored and walked off, leaving the ball still wobbling slightly in the middle of the lawn and Poppy looking a little bit perplexed to say the least.


M has been pondering whether Ted (given his track record of having conference speakers look like him) could be a convincing Stand In for Jeremy Corbyn when he finds the new job of Leader of the Labour party a bit exhausting. He reasons they are both grey, hairy and a little grizzled-looking and share a penchant for wearing hats. What d' you think? 

 

Alternatively, he could stand in for Roy Strong and make Interesting Points about Art History and paintings....

 

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend? I'm off to watch my husband run a marathon. Poppy is cross because she isn't allowed to run it with him :o)

CT :o)

28 comments:

  1. I loved this post. I heard this morning that JC has an allotment. That has to be a first for a main party political leader? Good luck to M in the marathon. I hope you're ready with the peppermint foot bath and massage.

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  2. Wow just wow, now I fully remain scared of moths and would run a freakin marathon myself if I encountered one, but that
    Hummingbird Moth is scarily beautiful!!
    My best friend in the work lives in a little town about 100 miles North of Seattle USA. She has a HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER outside her house. Imagine that?!!!! I get excited if I see my goldfinch!!
    I write this, sat on my butt, watching the Great North Run!

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    1. Impressive for such a small insect, eh? I love 'em. So exotic. I've seen pics on American blogs of hummingbirds- exquisite things xx

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  3. What an incredible moth!! You say it's small, but it looks quite large ... so interesting seeing it feeding on the flowers.

    I loved hearing about the pups playing ball together. My dog loves the tennis balls, and will collect them from the oddest places on our walks. Sometimes dashing into the woods, and coming back with yet another tennis ball ... there's quite a collection now.
    Wendy

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    1. Yup, quite small, only 2-2.5 cm. What is it with doggies and balls? :o)

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  4. Poppy & Ted have fun personalities and are real characters. I love the photos of them with the ball and adored the previously posted video of them playing chase in the greenhouse.

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    1. They are Great Friends and lovely company :o)

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  5. I'm laughing and laughing about JC and RS. The likenesses are uncanny. There is a small boy here who would happy spend eight hours a day playing ball with Poppy, I shall send him round directly. The hummingbird hawkmoth is incredible. I've never seen one, but I do have late bean flowers, so I live in hope. Had no idea that JC has an allotment, although I did hear that he's a teetotal vegetarian which made me happy. But when will he have time to dig his allotment? CJ xx

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    1. Ted has an uncanny ability when it comes to looking like old chaps :o) Poppy says YES PLEASE do send your littlest one round, she would LOVE to have a friend to play with all day. Ted gets bored and we're no fun at all, apparently. And as for JC and his allotment, I wonder whether he'll get someone to do it for him now? xx

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  6. Not a great weekend CT, but a lovely post to lift my spirits. Great hummingbird hawk moth images and how exciting to see one. Love the look alike images, wow the resemblance to Roy Strong is uncanny!

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  7. that hummingbird hawkmoth is quite absolutely the most brilliant creature i've seen for quite some time! WOW.

    i think perhaps that playing with a ball is Quite Beneath your Ted...probably because he's already acquired the Mad Skillz and sees no point in continuing.

    clearly, he has more pressing business being a celebrity look-alike...something far more worthy of his time. :)

    xo

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    1. Isn't it? My hearts jumps for joy whenever I see one. I can sit and watch and watch and watch them :o)

      Ted says yes, ball playing is beneath him. He only did it just this once to prove that he can. And as for the celebrity looky-likey thing, he is a tad concerned about being recognised now while out scampering about the woods xx

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  8. Hoho, I love the looky-likeys. Those humming moths look so exotic, you are so lucky to have them in your garden. We are having ball-wars here as each dog competes to show off their paw-dexterity, Unfortunately this all leads to snappy wrestling. I'm so pleased that JC has an allotment and in awe of M and his marathon! Fair play to him! x

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    1. Yes it does sound like your life just got busier! So chuffed to see the moth :o) xx

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  9. Love the shots of Ted & Poppy they look like such a fun pair. I've been sat outside dust before dusk trying to spot an elephant hawk moth after Mike found the caterpillar the other day. I really don' think I would spot a hummingbird hawk moth here but am glad to know I have the correct pollen source if they ever decided to visit x

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    1. The caterpillar won't become a moth until next year now Jo. It'll pupate in or near the ground and emerge next summer xx

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  10. Hey CT,
    I saw a Monarch butterfly in Central Park this morning. Get me :)
    Leanne xx

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    1. Ohhh. Jealous! Hope you're having a fab time with lots of photos xx

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  11. Poppy must have been so excited with Ted taking an interest in the ball, you captured such lovely images of them! Sarah x

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    1. She couldn't quite believe it, Sarah. It hasn't happened again since! xx

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  12. Hoorah - so pleased you saw a Hummingbird HM when you had your camera with you! They are great photos! I think Ted is a lot more handsome than Jeremy Corbyn. May make more sense too, and definitely more trustworthy as all politians spout lies and nonsense, don't they? :-) xx

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    1. Such lovely moths aren't they? Ted looks like a lot of people...grey-haired blokes mostly :o) xx

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  13. Hahaha, as a dog owner myself I found this post hilarious! Very funny! My oldest furbaby loves his tennisballs, but at the impressive age of ten years old he prefers to just guard them these days:) But when he was young he used to throw the balls to himself, just like Poppy :) Soo funny to watch!!!

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    1. Hi Annie, thanks for the comment. Aren't they funny about collecting things?

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  14. Hi CT.. playing catch up as haven't been on lately, explained in my latest post. Also in that post I have photos of the hummingbird hawk moth too.. aren't they amazing :o) Loving the photos of Poppy and Ted :o) xx

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    1. Hi Julie. Will pop over and catch up with you now...this week has flown by so fast I haven't read everyone's blogs yet :o) xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x