Anyway, it worked. A new hawk moth paid me a visit which was very satisfactory when I ventured out into the morning drizzle at milk delivery time. Its size and distinctive, narrowly-angled wing shape immediately alerted me to the presence of something novel among the eggboxes. Its condition, alas, was another matter.
This moth has led a busy life, rubbing off most of its wingscales in the process and fraying the edges of its wings like a wartime Lancaster bomber returning from a night of heavy flak. Please forgive my ancient metaphors; I may be inspired by the Spitfire I saw at the 'Blenheim Proms' concert which we went to at the weekend: a rather anachronistic but enjoyable version of Glastonbury for those who enjoy music such as Beethoven's 'Battle' symphony based on Wellington's Peninsular campaign, which requires the use of 193 cannons.
Maybe my moth overflew Blenheim at the time, when cordite and fireworks were also whizzing rhough the air. If so, I hope it is now enjoying a break, safely hidden under one of its favourite honeysuckle bushes.
Note my newly well-organised measuring picture and also a rather less helpful comparison with an Elephant Hawk moth below. The Pine Hawk is considerably bigger but I have contrived to make things look the other way round.
The moth had no problem flying and I enjoyed the gradually increasing vibration on my shapely fingers as it warmed up, below. Then followed a brief chase round the greenhouse until I nabbed it in an old ice cream carton for subsequent, more orderly release.