Amid the the rain kissed leaves and blooms the flight pattern catches and holds my eye. I’ve been watching out for a chance to photograph a ruby throated hummingbird but he’s very camera shy and vanishes into the forest when he feels my gaze. The hummingbird continues to elude me. However, the visitor who buzzed into view is just as special in its own way.
Outsiders to the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia would swear that I had been hitting the still if I told them that I was visited by a flying lobster but that’s what we call them. The articulated tail which helps it hover really resembles the tail of a lobster. I suppose that some of the old timers had a lot fun at the expense of those who braved the muddy trails into wild mountains with tales of a crustacean that swims through the air. Of course the rest of North America knows it as the Snowberry Clearwing Moth. The unusual thing is that this moth is active in the day and into the night. It’s completely enthralled with the sweet purple flowers of the tall ironweed. It circles each cluster grooming the flowers with powerful beat of it’s wings. In response the flowers sweeten their nectar to ensure that the moth continues to feed and catch more pollen in its fur. The field is covered in ironweed and it’s really easy to see why my ancestors envisioned the moth as a lobster flying through the coral. The bees and butterflies also swarm around the foliage but there’s only one flying lobster. It’s not rare, only unique.
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