Almost Lunch

On a sunny morning last week I was in the garden catching shots of pollinators doing their pollination thing. I spied a Sphinx moth (maybe the Banded, Eumorpha fasciatus) working the rich pink, tubular flowers of my Hill Country Penstemons. Sphinx moths are extremely quick flyers and before I could take a photo of the moth at the penstemons, it zoomed, blurred wings in action, to a red blooming Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii. I snapped a couple of shots and then heard a flump.

I peeked around my camera and at my feet a Blue Jay had landed, wings akimbo, flopping on the ground. At that point, the moth flew off with lightening speed, the jay following in blue-streaked pursuit. Clearly, the jay thought it had a chance at a meal and winged in for the snatch. This all took place in a matter of seconds.

I don’t know if the jay actually had claw or beak on the moth at any point, but the moth escaped, bolted upwards and outwards, zig-zagging, first left, then right, and then headed off over the street and away from danger. The Blue Jay veered left to the neighbor’s tree and squawked its disappointment (and maybe embarrassment?) at missing a meal.

There’s never a dull moment in the garden!

20 thoughts on “Almost Lunch

  1. Just seeing the sphinx moth would have been treat enough for me, but being witness to a pursuit like that’s even better. It seems like you gardeners have much better chances of seeing the moths; I’ve read that they often feed early and late, when ‘garden checks’ are happening (otherwise known as wandering around with a cup of coffee and just looking).


  2. That was quite the experience to see, Tina. Nature should run its course but in this case I am glad the course had a gap and the moth escaped. I had a similar experience years ago while tending the greenhouse I had at the time. I looked through the glass and saw a hawk latch onto a blue jay. Not sure why I interfered but I ran out and the hawk took off and left the Jay behind.


    • Yeah, me too! Everybody’s got to eat, but I admit to having a soft spot for butterflies/moths. I’ve interfered on a couple of occasions, but I try not to. Still, it tugs at your heart a bit, I think.


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