Sunday, July 28, 43 A.B.

OK, I've Heard Of The Birds & The Bees - But Bird-Bees??

This is an entry I've been trying to write for over two weeks now but have been unable to.  A strange mix of awe and fear have kept getting in the way.  Even now, I'm not quite sure I can do it.  A careful balance must be struck lest I induce mass panic on the one hand or be carted off as a ranting lunatic on the other.  Maybe I ought to try navigating between Scylla and Charybdis as a warm-up exercise?  Alas, Scylla and Charybdis are nowhere to be found - I must settle for parallel parking my car between two Dick Cheney bobble-head dolls.

Oops - looks like only one doll survives.

Better take a moment to consider what that means before proceeding to scroll down and reading another word....

Oh, my - aren't we the brave little reader?

*Downing a shot of Southern Comfort before proceeding*

*Deep breath*

Here is the unadorned truth:

On July 10th, 2002, I went out on my patio and saw either the world's biggest, most bird-like bumblebee or the world's smallest, most bee-like hummingbird.

In either case, I'm sure I've never seen anything quite like it before.

Not in real life.

Not on TV.

Not during that near-death experience I once had which hurtled me out a dark tunnel into the bright, unearthly light that surrounded a very pissed-off mongoose.  (Apparently I had interrupted his holy hibernation.  Oops.)

The bird-bee (for I know no better term for it) was calmly sucking off the small purple flowers of a hanging basket when I first saw it.  It hovered exactly like a hummingbird, used a long black proboscis to probe between the petals, then darted to the next bloom exactly like a hummingbird.  It's wings were mere blurs each side of it - exactly like the wings of the hummingbirds I've seen.  BUT - it was small for a bird, being only about 1.5-2 inches head to tail.  AND it had two black antenna atop its head which rather resembled the buffoonish cranial appendages of cartoon partridges. AND it was bumblebee yellow with black bands and markings - but much bigger than any bumblebee I'd ever seen.

All in all, the damnedest thing I'd encountered since suddenly spotting Bat Boy on the front of the National Enquirer several years ago while searching for the Tic-Tacs at the grocery store.

Was this bird-bee the result of some impossible bird-and-bee love affair?  Was it an escapee from some secret government lab charged with coming up with a new weapon to out-terrorize the terrorists?  Was it the advance scout for an invasion from Planet Whiz-n-Sting??

What do YOU think???

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee??

Give up?

Turns out it was a moth.

Or so they say.


Gigantis eatumus


A Snowberry clearwing, they call it.  And I thank my dear friend Voz from the bottom of my racing heart for alerting me to the fact.

But personally, I continue to suspect that what I saw was the advance scout for an invasion from the Planet Whiz-n-Sting.

I mean, come on.  I'm 43 years old.  I've NEVER seen a "moth" like this before.  And now I just happen to see one?  Riiight....

Might as well tell me it was a weather balloon or the planet Venus reflecting off my glasses.

The thing seemed strangely indifferent to me.  It even buzzed around me once as if checking me out secure in the knowledge that if I so much as thought to swat at it, the 60-gazillion-volt rayguns of the circling mothership (mothernest?  motherhive?) would fry my ass before the first cell of my flesh made contact with its outermost fuzz.

The above photos and Snowberry designation seem too clear, too simple, too pat.  The effect is akin to that of finding the Loch Ness monster in a standard biology textbook, innocuously wedged between the humpback whale and Puff the Magic Dragon in a chart labeled "The Branching Tree of Life."  It seems to me that the most extraordinary thing has obviously been doctored to appear to be the most common.  Others may be fooled, but to my mind it's like listening to a cop calmly, roboticly saying "Move along - nothing to see here" while Mt. Everest and Mt. Kilimanjaro are quite obviously dancing the tango behind him.

And perhaps about to trample us??

I don't know - I can't say.

But I DO know this:

I haven't seen the bird-bee since July 10th.

And if it isn't back on the mothership/nest/hive helping prepare the final invasion plans, where the hell IS it??

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(©Now by DJ Birtcher with one eye on the sky,
one ear to the ground, and one big lump in his throat)

(Or is that the bird-bee?!)

(*Racing to the bathroom with a flashlight and a dental mirror*)