THURSDAY 9TH JULY:Much Purple magic between the clouds here in Northants. Great to see up to 6 together on a sap bleed high on an oak in late morning, including a female. They kept getting booted out by hornets. Also, a lovely show around a master oak near Corby this afternoon, with 6 together at one point and several vistas of 5 and 4, and 2 females egg laying high in tall old broad-leaved sallows nearby. Gatekeeper still not out here. We only had a few sunny spells after 10.30 though.
WEDNESDAY 8TH JULY:This magnificent Iris season seems to be falling to pieces. Has the wretched jet stream suddenly jumped south again? Much gloom and doom today, with precious little brightness and associated activity. The highlight, whilst Brother Neil and I were filming with BBC NHU in Fermyn, was a female attracting no less than 3 males, before deciding she didn't require any of them and hiding in a high oak spray, the minx. Test Match Special reigned supreme; it is of course the perfect companion to a day's Emperoring. Turn it up Loud.
Matthew (+ Neil, who remained clad all day).
TUESDAY 7TH JULY:The weather has collapsed, presumably a foul Aussie scheme - cloud seeding - to prevent England reclaiming The Ashes with ease.... How else can they hope to retain the urn? Either that, or it's another manifestation of the ECB's incompetence... .
Today, in Fermyn Woods, Iris bounced into action the moment the sun appeared after a deluge. There will not, though, be any good male specimens left after these rains.