Friday, August 26, 2016

The Well Dressed Man..

A whole load of Purple Paraphernalia available from, including this tie, a nice tote bag and a Purple Emperor phone case.  

You'll need to add in the antennae...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Royal Festival Hall Purple Surprise

Whilst in London on the South Bank near the Royal Festival Hall having a drink, I looked down to see HIM at my feet. Had I had too much to drink or had I stumbled on a Roman mosaic in honour of a Purple Emperor? Neither, but it was nice to know that central London was paying tribute to such a noble butterfly, which could be admired by numerous passers by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Last orders please

I am currently in the throes of putting badges in envelopes so keep an eye on your letterboxes if you purchased one or two.

They have now all sold out.

Thanks to everyone who purchased them and raising £40 for Butterfly Conservation in the process.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Who says Purple Emperors don't like flowers!

I have just perused the Dorset Butterfly sightings page and have seen a record of a female on 10th August photographed on a garden buddleia. Equally as interesting was the location, at St Ives near Ringwood, not a known hotbed for iris. It is well known that females will move some distance from their usual areas in August, I have seen wandering females on two occasions at Noarhill, Hampshire well into this month. Looking back over the Hampshire Butterfly Reports, I remember a male was seen nectaring on a buddleia on 1st August 1987 at Wellow. This is unusual behaviour but it might just be worth checking those garden buddleias, just in case.

Close of Play in Savernake

Despite windy conditions (this has been such a windswept season!) I managed to see a lone male in the Dead Beech Glade territory in Savernake Forest today.

He was decidedly inactive, such that he failed to launch at a Honey Buzzard which drifted past (don't worry, Honey Buzzard is already on the 21st century hit list). Emperors become less and less active with age. This old boy, who looked brown in flight, had a little spin at 1.10 and another, proper tour round at 2.54, only. This inactivity is one of the main reasons we struggle to see iris late in the season.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

last sightings continued

Clearly, the woods with the highest populations present the best chance of registering the last sightings; these are Knepp Farm Estate and Fermyn Woods. However, I get the impression that nobody is looking there now, which is a pity. The best wood by far in Upper Thames region [37 in 105 mins on July 20th] was visited this afternoon. I really went  to look for eggs/larvae, but in a 90 minute search I was unsuccessful. As I left, I looked up at the big Oaks at the highest point and noticed what must have been a male gliding close to the foliage near the crowns, landing frequently. I waited there for 10 minutes watching this behaviour: I wanted to be sure of this sighting.
I hope some of you can get to Knepp, Fermyn, or Alice Holt during the next few days: it would be interesting to record when the season is over.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

last sightings and length of flight season

It is always interesting to know how long the flight season lasts, but it is impossible to know exactly.
As the numbers dwindle, our chance of sightings  diminishes; just because we may not see any, it does not mean there are none; it is the same with trying to ascertain the beginning of the season when the numbers are also low. This season in Upper Thames, the first sightings were on July 3rd, and today, 9th August, one was seen in Little Wood, Oxon; yesterday, two were seen here. The blogs from other sites indicate we are not finished yet. July 3rd till August 9th is over 5 weeks. Will we get to 6 weeks?