Sunday, July 15, 2012

High Altitude Emperor

A fresh looking male Emperor graced us with His presence today on the BC Sussex walk on Graffham Down, making several sorties around the assembly area pines at 728' amsl. Incredibly, this is only the second iris seen in Sussex this year. He was last seen swooping across an open downland meadow, possibly heading to Surrey in search of a female.

I later visited Alice Holt Forest where the last few butterflies were turning in for the night at Straits. With brighter weather on the horizon I set off for the Goose Green assembly area where others had seen up to 4 Emperors earlier in the day. At 5.15 pm the sun broke through and within minutes I was watching a bundle of 3 males. One particularly aggressive male launched an over-optimistic attack on a passing Swift before rudely interrupting the dance of the seven Hairstreaks. In this difficult season just a fifteen minute period of Emperor action made my short visit worthwhile.

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