Well, I won't win any photography awards for these photos, but it's good enough to show how impressively long its proboscis is and for an ID. I've been casually calling these hummingbird moths. Problem is no one knows what I'm talking about. In my defense, I spotted what I believe was a Hyles lineata during a break in the rain at SFB Morse Botanical Reserve on February 28, which happened to be around the time when I also started seeing rufous hummingbirds on migration. On an overcast day, the overall coloring for both the hefty moth and the tan bird are remarkably similar, and the name stuck in my head. I have Paul to thank for correcting me when we saw another white-lined sphinx along the butterfly highway.
Thanks to the blurring of memory through time, I had forgotten all about the clearwings (hey, if you don't use it, you lose it). Back when I lived in OH, I was familiar with the hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe), which can have the more traditional green and red coloring of hummingbirds. They were popular subjects of insect question calls to the museum and were frequently described as hovering like a hummingbird with a lobster tail. Pinnacles has a different clearwing, the bumble bee moth (Hemaris thetis), formerly classified under the eastern snowberry clearwing sphinx (Hemaris diffinis). I plan on keeping my eye out for them, because day-flying sphinx moths are fun to watch.