Much better weather here in the Purple Empire at Knepp, W Sussex, though the start was slow (after a cool night) and there was a dull hour from 10am.
During the morning I visited one of my old haunts up the road - Madgeland Wood, part of Southwater Woods. Managed to see 5 iris there including a female feeding on a diseased spot on an oak branch, and a male behaving similarly on another tree nearby. Also, this male fed on the ride surface - a middle aged chap -
The Knepp wildlands (fields taken out of arable from 2000 - 2006 and now infested with sallow thickets) produced 25 males and a lone female during the afternoon. The males seem to set up territory over a prominent hedgerow oak for a while, then drop down over the sallow jungles and shoot off elsewhere. Richard Roebuck and I saw several males departing in this manner, and others arriving. Interesting. Here's a male on station on a hedgerow oak -
Herself was again painfully absent. Can it be that the females are not properly out here yet, even though the males were nicely out on June 22nd? Surely not.
Here's the shepherd's hut I'm staying in in the Knepp Wildlands Safari camp site. Purple Hairstreaks hang out on the oaks behind, but their numbers seem low this year. Turtle Doves purr endlessly. -
And here's another, available for hire... -
And the camp site kitchen tent -