Along our walk, we stopped to photograph some beautiful flowers and saw this “thing” hovering in and out of the flowers, feeding on flower nectar. We had seen this flying creature before, in Riomaggiore and realized at that time, that it was not a hummingbird, but, what was it? It turns out that it was a Hummingbird Hawk Moth.
It was first described by Carl Linneaus in his 10th edition of Systema Naturae. It exists throughout the Old World from Portugal to Japan and breeds in warmer climates. It seldom survives in more Northern climates. It is a strong flier and three generations can be produced in a single year in Spain.
It has a wingspan of 40-45 mm (1.6-1.8 inches) and a proboscis of 25-28mm (1″ +).
Neither bird, nor plane,
nor super human being.
Hummingbird Hawk Moth.
On the bus ride to Menton, we got talking with a local, who looked horrified when she saw the photos. She assured us this was a very dangerous bug and that we should have run for the hills. After a bit of research on Google, we found it it was harmless, so she was either mistaken or superstitious. Nonethess, we felt privileged to have witnessed this display not once, but twice.