Thursday, March 4, 2010

Theft 3

In response to Piers' comments. I am 100% certain that the larvae were removed by deliberate cutting of the individual twiglets supporting them, or in the case of one larva hibernating on a scar on a 1cm thick branch, the branch itself. This is already clear in my account, and I emphasise that I would not have written what I did had I not been absolutely sure, as my natural inclination would be towards giving the benefit of the doubt. Note my sentence expressing the hope that the perpetrator will want to rear them and release them back on site. That is my genuine hope. But yes, those larvae were important to what is not a 'survey' but a scientific study which will add to our understanding of the insect.

Incidentally, the majority of iris sites are not SSSI (Alice Holt isn't for a start) - I looked into that a while back and think I came up with a figure of less than 40% SSSI. But like Piers - and this is the really important bit - I naturally want to see the best in all people who are captivated by this most enigmatic insect and am tired of the divisions that exist within our passion, although they emanate largely from untoward incidents like this.
Meanwhile, I saw my first butterfly of the year on Mon March 1st, a small tortoiseshell trying to escape from the bowels of Swindon. In Greek mythology the soul, psyche, was often portrayed as a butterfly. Maybe it wasn't a small tortoiseshell but my soul? This is the first time that my season has been opened by a tortoiseshell since 2003, and ends a sequence of four year's launched by the red admiral.

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