Sunday, July 15, 2012
Spent the day at Alice Holt again starting at 7.45. As was to be expected there were quite a few people about but not that early! Despite searching across several of the woods in known areas I had not seen a single emperor in any of the rides by lunchtime despite good weather. Although in Straits Inclosure it was good see very good numbers of Silver Washed and White Admiral. In my travels I came across Ashley Whitlock who had yet to see any emperors this year. So in desperation I headed to Goose Green Old Car Park to eat my lunch. The sun was out and within seconds two males were clashing over the chesnut. I watched for ten minutes or so and there were clashes and sorties very twenty seconds or so and at one time there were four males in the air at once. Ashley showed up and between us we reckon were at least six on territory which was more than I had seen at any time last year. Despite looking most of the afternoon I did not see another in any part of the forest and to my knowledge there was only one other tentative sighting not at an assembly point. Very perplexing. Whilst the males were clashing I have been trying to photograph them in action and whilst I have not got any good images they do show the incredible contortions the males get into, upside down, wings almost inside out And at times looking like they are trying to lock legs - not unlike some raptors do. I will try and hone my photos and post some more if they are suitable.