Some things are just not meant to be and lugenda never showed himself again to me; he will probably never grace another human eye. Fortunately my second wish was granted and later on Wednesday (2nd July) it became apparent that a large emergence of fresh males had occurred. Over the years I have become firmly convinced that individuals which emerge early in the morning will not make their first descent to the forest floor until mid afternoon that day. To do so before their wings are fully dry, and they have largely mastered the basics of flight, would put them at too high a risk from predatory Jays and Song Thrushes (I have seen dismembered iris on an anvil). Between 3 pm and 4 pm the rides of Fermyn were suddenly dominated by the most perfect, unblemished specimens, all making their first sorties. I'm indebted to Phil Beard for alerting me to the presence of one such insect, shown above. I remember thinking that this must be one of the most beautiful creatures alive on the planet as I clicked away at it.
Matthew's tally for the day exceeded 90 and I saw a similar number, 35 - 40 of which were grounded. Again, it is worth pointing out that this sort of figure can only be achieved with the use of a bicycle, covering several miles of the ride system over a very full day. Several females were seen egg laying, although most of the girls were yet to emerge before I sadly had to depart.
As always it was difficult to leave Fermyn and, like others, I leave a part of me behind there each time I go, balanced out by the happy memories I take away with me. It was great to spend time with one of the local lads, Andy Wyldes (co-author of the brilliant 'Butterflies of Northamptonshire') and to catch up with some familiar faces - all smiling. The cottage I stayed in was basic, but perfect for the setting, with a posse of young Swallows perched outside my bedroom window most evenings. Most of all I appreciated the company, expertise and enthusiasm of Matthew, from whom I continue to learn so much.
Many more images at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=10000