Finding time to keep my diary up-to-date has proven difficult of late, particularly as almost every July day has been sunny, meaning minimal time indoors. Even better, the Purple Emperor has been having an excellent season on most of the sites I've visited.
Wednesday 17th July: Back to Botany Bay where at least a dozen male and two female Purple Emperors were active. I trousered my eighth Emperor of the season. Some males were still emerging, with the very newest specimens showing that characteristic blotchiness over slightly damp wings.
I then travelled on to Straits Inclosure (Alice Holt Forest), where activity was really quite subdued. I watched 3 males 'oak-edging' and a further specimen perched on the first deer watch tower.
Thursday 18th July: I travelled up to Fermyn Woods for the day, despite knowing that the 'Big Bang' was over for another year. Although the very best period had passed, and the morning session was steady rather than spectacular, I was still treated to a very generous evening flight in a forest now empty of people. By close of play I had seen between 60 and 70 Emperors; only half of what had been on offer over the preceding days, but more than enough to please anyone. I trousered another 3 specimens, breaking double figures for the season. Many thanks to Mark Joy for taking the shot of an Emperor on my rucksack.