Daily Archives: July 7, 2019

The Generous Eye: Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

There are two species of Clearwing Moth commonly seen in Maine…the Hummingbird Clearwing and the Snowberry Clearwing. This one is, I think, the Hummingbird Clearwing. Both of them might be mistaken for tiny hummingbirds as they hover around flowers feeding with their long proboscis, but they do have, as the name suggests, transparent wings. Unlike most other moths, they are mostly active in daylight. Still, they are small, fast moving, and not all that common. I can count the times I have seen them in Maine on the fingers of one hand. This is only the third one I have managed to photograph. The fact that it is on the Saco Heath and feeding on a nice stand of Sheep’s Laurel, one of our more beautiful flowing bushes here in Southern Maine, only adds to the blessing.

And I am triply blessed in that I got to see and photograph the Clearwing with a friend. Though I met and know him mostly through Facebook, my friend Stef lives an hour and a half west of me. He is the kind of friend who makes an effort…several times over the past few years he has driven up to spend the day exploring my favorite local spots for photoprowls. I generally take him out to eat since he does make the effort…drives, pays for the gas, etc. He also joined my group on the Point and Shoot Nature Photographer adventure in Costa Rica last December. He is politically active on the local scene, so over lunch and in the car between walks, we generally discus the state of the nation and the future of the world. Friends like that, who make the effort, are as rare as Hummingbird Clearwing Moths, and just as special.

We have never discussed religion (or more accurately, to my mind, faith) but there is a sense in which I am certain Stef and I share the same spirit. It is, of course, part of my creed…part of what I believe, based on my experience of life and God and everything…that we all share the same spirit…that we are all equally children of the loving creator, alive with the spirit that some of us identify with Jesus. It is part of seeing with the generous eye…a gift and a responsibility of faith. I have to make the most effort to remember that when discussing politics in today’s world, (some of those people, honestly!) but I don’t have to work hard at remembering it with Stef. It is a clear as a Clearwinged Moth in the Sheep Laurel on Saco Heath.

What can I be but deeply thankful? Happy Sunday! (And this goes for my few other friends who make the effort too…you know who you are!)

Canada Tiger Swallowtail at the Sheep Laurel, Saco Heath

While visiting Saco Heath last week with my friend Stef, we were treated to this Tiger Swallowtail feeding on the Sheep Laurel next to the Atlantic Cedar grove at the end of the boardwalk. I am still not sure how to distinguish Canada from Eastern, though the Colby College butterfly list has Eastern only as a “Rare Stray” in Maine. The safe bet then is Canada Tiger Swallowtail. The real zone of overlap seems to be in Northern Massachusetts…which is not so far south of us as the crow flies. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical and 2x Clear Image Zoom for 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.