First thing, I worked Brother Betulae in hedge systems near Minety in north Wilts, searching for active males around hedgerow ash trees. Males seem quite well out and in 'average' numbers, but no females today. 5 apparent males in 15 mins at one site, and 8 in an hour at the other, = normal. I saw the first male in this district on 3rd Aug.
Then over to Savernake for late season iris. Failed to find them in two parts of the forest, former strongholds, but saw pairs of battling males in two of the main territories along Three Oak Hills Drive (leading up to the Column). None at the Column itself, which has been disappointing this season and isn't a major territory anyway - but people go there to photograph males settling on the Column (a piece of 18th century bollocks). Then I found a new territory, also at the southern end of the forest, again containing a battling pair.
One of these territories is only used towards the end of the flight season. I've seen my last individual of the year there for the last few years (bar 2011). Has anyone else encountered an end of season territory?
So, I only found the butterfly where more than one male was present. In hot weather, especially late in the season, solitary males can be almost comatose, unless something flies right past their nose or lands on them - multi-occupancy is almost essential for activity this late on. All six of today's males were intact but somewhat worn. The odd male should still be present here in a week's time, but this coming weekend is really last chance saloon time for anyone who hasn't seen iris yet this year.
And as for Herself? She's tricky in very hot weather late in the season. So, not a sign of her - until I drove out on to the A4 and started towards Marlborough at 4pm. There she was, flying westwards along the A4, 4m up, above the double white lines. She then turned left into Savernake Hospital without signalling, where she undoubtedly created chaos...