It looks very much as though today was Day One of the flight season in Savernake Forest, Wilts. I struggled to see 2 males, neither of which were on territory but were having a great time exploring.
Peccavi! My three captive pupae emerged yesterday and today, in synchrony with the first of their wild cousins - 2 sizeable males and a huge female. These were released where they were found as ova, and expressed their gratitude by immediately shooting off... . Rearing the butterfly is not a good way of obtaining great photos of the uppersides, especially of the males which are highly uncooperative. One of the criticisms of captive breeding is that it produces small imagines. This can be avoided by sleeving final instar larvae out on a new, well leaved bush - give them plenty of large leaves. Another criticism is that captive stock emerges too early, but they don't if you rear them through outdoors.
Meanwhile, I can reveal that the Earl of Cardigan (whose ancestors variously lead the Charge of the Light Brigade and discovered Tutankamen) spent this afternoon driving at impressive speed through Savernake erecting notices warning dog owners of the dangers of their pets getting entangled in the gamekeeper's snares.
NB Tomorrow I'm going away for a few days - to Fermyn Woods - and wont be able to post anything (NT BlackBerries are programmed not to blog). Brother Dennis has kindly offered to post summaries I send him via BlackBerry email.