A day searching for iris larvae in the N Wilts woods whilst listening to Test Match Special was rather downheartening: larvae were horribly scarce, until I struck a mild Purple Patch late on, finding 3 larvae and 2 about-to-hatch ova. Test Match Special, I hasten to add, was far from downheartening - especially as the results of recent matches must have upset the Australians considerably... . One larvae was in the early second instar (+ horns), and 2 were skin changing from the 1st instar. It's too early to tell yet but my fear is that this year's egg lay is even poorer than last year's, at least in this district.
Today, Brother Dennis and I met to discuss the more obtuse passages of the Book of Ezekiel whilst searching in a superb privately owned wood in NW Bucks. This wood is managed by an enlightened owner who bears His Imperial Majesty firmly in mind (ever since he was attacked by a posse of 4 males whilst mowing the rides a number of years back). We struggled to find three second instar larvae, and three leaves bearing seat pads + feeding damage +/- egg case bases but no signs of larvae. It looks as those those three had already succumbed. Although this is needle-in-haystack country, as all the rides are gloriously lined with sallows, we should have done better than that.
Watch this space... And enjoy the 4th test.