Wildlife Photography | A Nat Geo Kind of Drama

Do you know what’s harder to photograph than a hummingbird?

A hummingbird moth.


Clearwing Moth | Click to enlarge images for best viewing

Clearwing Moth | click to enlarge images for best viewing

I was out watching the action on my butterfly bush in the garden a couple weeks ago and every August it seems a pair of hummingbird moths show up to the party. They move about the garden just like the hummingbirds do. But as I was sitting and watching them, a Nat Geo kind of drama began to unfold right there on my butterfly bush.

You don’t have to go to the African watering holes to watch cat and mouse games, sometimes often they are right there in your backyard.

Exhibit A.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

You might not have noticed it (so I added a yellow arrow to point it out), but I spied with my blue eyes little white legs sticking out from the flowers. They are easy to miss because they blend in with the way the light brightly reflects back off the flowers.

Tucked away inside the cover of those irresistible flowers was a crab spider. They are ambush predators (see, told you it was just like the Serengeti). There the spider waits in camouflage for the unsuspecting prey to pass by so that it can reach out and grab it.

I watched this cat and mouse game play out for maybe 15min. The spider ain’t no dummy either. On the butterfly bush there are flower spikes of varying stages of bloom, some dead, some at peak. They were all tucked away on the peak spikes that were being visited most.

Every time the moth made a pass, spidey lunged…

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

It got too hot for me and I gave up before seeing how the end played out for the hummingbird moth, but when I left, it was still alive and busily soaking up nectar.


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