Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author Marty Essen

A harbinger of death?

Marty’s photo of the day #3692: This is been the summer of finding unusual owls and moths. So how about an owlet moth? Since my summer office is outside, I see wildlife every day. Consequently, after living in the same forest-surrounded Montana house for 25 years, when I see something for the first time I wonder: have I just missed it all these years or is it perhaps global warming related? In this case, I spotted a black witch moth under the eaves of our garage. In the shadows it looked like the start of a mud wasp nest, but the flash from my camera brought out the colors. These moths are the largest owlets in America (see the two owl-like eyes on the wings) and they have a wingspan up to six inches. An unusual fact about black witch moths is that they live in South and Central America but often migrate north in the fall, covering great distances each night. As this moth’s beat-up wing show, it is in the midst of quite a migration.

In some cultures, black witch moths are considered a harbinger of death. So I guess if you don’t see a post from me tomorrow, you’ll know why!

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