Today was too windy for successful Emperoring. On windy days they gather out of the wind, to the leeward of shelter. Old, densely foliaged oak trees are particularly good at providing this essential shelter.
Rather foolishly, I attempted to count males in the nine territories I monitor annually along Three Oak Hill Drive in Savernake Forest. I counted five males in these, which is well below par, but I undoubtedly under-recorded as males must have been deterred from using these ridge top territories by the wind. So the job needs doing again. Nonetheless, I suspect that the butterfly is out in below average numbers in Savernake this season. It is probably at peak season there now.
Tomorrow I'm back in Fermyn, helping BBC Countryfile with a piece about 'BB' (Denys Watkins-Pitchford), his work to conserve the Purple Emperor there by breeding & releasing adults during the 1980s (and fighting the Forestry Commission over the felling of sallows), and the 70th anniversary of his children's classic nature adventure story Brendon Chase. The weather forecast is, shall we say, adverse... .