Finding Emperors in Odiham has been a tricky proposition over the past couple of seasons. We have some good habitat but it's all rather spread out and mixed within a semi-urban and agricultural landscape. When numbers are low it's hard to find a place to guarantee sightings. But it can be brilliant. Three years ago I spent a glorious afternoon at the village fete, just after visiting the WI cake stall, watching numerous males display almost constantly in the trees high above. That day it was a fabulous, well populated territory which could rival the best spots in Alice Holt. Today I visited the same place and no Emperors were visible. Odiham is a late site, so maybe things here will improve over the next few days.
On to a territory high above the Basingstake Canal which has also been very difficult over the past couple of years. At first nothing stirred but then two males appeared over the tree tops, one seeming to chase another off down the slope (have seen males disappear in that direction previously) before going back behind the trees. Eventually there was a classic spiralling chase between two males on the other side of the territory, where viewing is much harder. This area looked fairly well populated to me for so early in the season and the rather unusual wind direction may explain why the flight area is slightly different.
So we could be in for a reasonable year here but am at a loss to explain why one territory blanked while another seemed quite good. If it turns out to be a good year overall I will try to explore more of the local landscape with the aim of finding further assembly areas.