Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Witness to Spring's Renewal

Spring brings with it a unique energy reflecting the magnificent beauty of nature
and its vibrant release from the constraints of winter.
As nature reawakens there is an animated period of growth
and we are privileged to bear witness to this orchestra of transformation.
Where renewal is an intrinsic part of nature and hope springs forth with the anticipation of new beginnings.
And so for me, Spring is not only my favorite time of year, but also a time of personal spiritual growth
and when all five of my senses become completely intoxicated.

And so it goes, I was witness to one of Spring's renewals a weekend ago. We were
weeding and doing all of those things you do in your yard when spring arrives. I was doing a final raking
of leaves and weeds when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move (gasp).

And this is what I saw:

A pupa that had started its eclosion. Excited I was!

  This is what it looked like in it's larval stage, as a caterpillar:

In the fall, I had found these caterpillars feasting on my penta plants, until all that was left were stems! But they quickly grew back and flowered again! So now that I know what these caterpillars become, I will be buying more pentas for the garden this year!

So I took it inside and layed it on a paper towel on the bar top while I went upstairs
to research how long it may take for it to emerge. I think I had been upstairs for about
twenty minutes when my daughter said, "Mom, what happened to this thing it's in two pieces. It looks
like it was cut in half?" In a panic I ran downstairs to find this:

Oh my, an empty pupa casing! I was quite sad that I had missed the whole thing, but I would have
been even more sad if I hadn't been able to find it.

But there it was, hanging on a ribbon that layed across a stack of books only inches
away from where it had emerged. Now just look at that cute face!!!!

It was going to be cold that night, so I kept it inside and decided to let it go in the morning.
His wings were still drying.

In the morning I took it outside to my front porch and put it down on the coffee table. It sure wasn't in any hurry to get anywhere.

 It turns out that this is a Tersa Sphinx Moth also know as a hawk moth because of the slender
shape of their wings and of the wings resemblance to a hawk. Their wings span is about 3 inches.

I couldn't help myself, I just had to pick it up! 


After it had been in my hands for a little while, I started feeling a slight vibration
and quickly realized that he was vibrating his wings.


The vibrations and wing movements got progressively bigger and bigger. Ya know,  it's a bit difficult
to hold a camera in one hand and try to change your settings. So these pictures aren't ideal but I'm thrilled to have captured it. They can fly at speeds up to 25 mph and their wings beat at 25-30 beats per second!
These guys are incredible fliers and have the unique ability to hover causing them to be
mistaken for hummers. And just like hummingbirds they also drink nectar from deep-throated flowers.

Before I knew it he had taken off......

Bon voyage my little friend!!


katherine said...

truly amazing and awe inspiring ... and the fact that you were able to capture all of that in words and pictures and personal experience ... priceless!

SKC said...

Super cool.. thanks for sharing. wonderful images.

mosaicmom said...

well, that was fun! i feel like I was there! great opportunity for you and great photos!

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