Thursday, July 19, 2012

A classic day in Hertfordshire

Well what a day!!!! Forecast okay, nothing special but we had no intention of staying indoors! Arrived Fir and Pond Wood near Potters Bar, at 12:37, hadn't even got my chair set up with Andrew shouts one round the tree. Where I say? in the oak says Andrew (the wood is full of oaks but I knew he meant the bonsai!) then a clash of two males and we left very satisfied almost as quickly as we arrived. Sun was shining, perfect conditions. So we hot footed to Bricket Wood and were in situ at 13:15 and watched and waited while another bank of cloud came through. Purple Hairstreak were active and there was some sun but still no activity. Back into the wood to be greeted by more mosquitoes, a bit more sun and still nothing so at 14:30 we left. We then went to our first ever area in central Hertfordshire. Splitting up I went to one wood where Purple Hairstreak and a White Admiral were active, Andrew to watch the canopy of his first ever wood but it was fairly cloudy and no activity. Unfortunately, the other wood we look at had a tractor doing a hay cut where we normally watch, so we went inside the wood, to watch our famous ' turkey oak ' the only true master tree which in recent years has been very inactive but today......We sat down to watch at 16.05 and left at 18:20. There was a bit of sun but at times it really was quite cloudy and we reckon the air temperature was between 17/18d, the tree was sheltered and at 16:18 his majesty flew up the side of the tree and until 18:18 continued to be active. There were infact two as we had a clash but we were treated to the most amazing display of activity neither of us have ever witnessed before in all the years we have been watching in Hertfordshire. Remember this is Hertfordshire not Hampshire, Sussex or Northamptonshire a county with a very low density level. The key emperor was the most aggressive emperor we have ever witnessed, anything that came near was chased or fought. He spiralled and turned with a Red Admiral, not a simple chase, he fought it, he chased crows, pigeons, goldfinches......and the arguments he had with the Purple Hairstreaks, he was clashing, turning, twisting, chasing them and in turn they were equally aggressive. He flew over the tree, round the tree, off the tree nonstop. He perched, he waited and pounced on another unsuspecting victim. Five o'clock came, would he continue, yes six o'clock and he still kept flying and finally at 18:18 it became too cloudy for him, he had flown round the back of the trees so we had lost him and .........the mosquitoes had finally won! We left the site and went home very satisfied with an extradinary day!!! Liz and Andrew

1 comment:

Matthew Oates said...

Hmmm... Wonder if someone's bred and released a male from W Sussex stock?????