In Carnac, South of France I filmed Hummingbird Hawk Moths laying eggs on small plants growing on the sand along the beaches, food-plant unknown. I also noticed many Humming Bird hawk moths feeding on flowers in hanging baskets in French Villages I visited. In the garden of my first house in Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Hampshire I planted 50 Buddleia plants in my garden for filming butterflies. One year I had lots of Hummingbird Hawk Moths feeding on the buddleia flowers. When the sun went down the moths would rest on the side of the house as they are a day-flying and prefer to fly in the sunshine. They were well camouflaged on the brickwork where they stayed through the night. This went on for a few weeks, the following year I did not see any although they do breed in the UK, they migrate to southern parts of Europe to avoid our cold winters.
The photographs showing the moths feeding on flowers were taken at Stockbridge Downs, Hampshire, UK, on the 21/06/03. Sometimes groups of people were watching these lovely moths feeding on the Thistle flowers. I have taken pictures using Transparency 35mm and from a digital camera trying different exposures to freeze or blur the wing. They only stay on a flower for a few second so most times it is easier to focus on a flower and wait for the moth to return. It does not pitch but skillfully hovers in a clever rapid hovering motion in front of the flower probing the flower with its long proboscis. And when it passes you can hear an audible hum from the fast beating wings, which are beating at an incredible 70 beats per second.
The Larvae photographed feeding on Bedstraw are from eggs I found in the wild and then released as moths, before filming them drying wings. This species is usually available to buy from Butterfly farms or collectors. It is a moth that I always will photograph frequently and enjoy spending time watching, as it is such a fascinating species. .