WEDNESDAY 29TH JULY: Back in Fermyn Woods, where the odd Emperor remains. I saw one, sex uncertain, and also found a freshly laid egg. Eggs and larvae are incredibly hard to find here. There are millions of sallows, and it may be that the females lay the odd egg hither and thither, mostly thither.
There are few true Salix caprea trees here. Most of the numerous broader leaved sallows here seem to be hybrids between caprea and cinerea, and I don't think Iris particularly favours these hybrids. The taxonomy of the narrow leaved sallows here is complicated, and I can't make any sense out of it (using the BSBI Handbook for the Identification of willows and poplars). But, I've only seen one female visit a narrow leaved sallow here, high up -which means I don't know whether she laid or not - so I don't know the extent to which they use these narrow leaved sallows either.
In effect, I'm floundering - but the ratio of iris adults to the abundance of sallows must be far lower here than in the other sites I've worked, a curious thought.
The plot thickens....