Sunday, August 3, 2014
Managed to see five males in three of the main territories along Three Oak Hills Drive during a two hour visit to Savernake Forest this afternoon. This included a vista of three (two were busy clashing and chasing, whilst another sneaked in from the back to occupy the favoured bough). Also, lone and very inactive males in two other favoured territories.
Spotting iris males this late in the season is very difficult. They only visit the primary territories, from about 1pm, and can be extremely inactive there if no other males are around (or if there's little other aerial biodiversity to stimulate them into action). They only utilise very small areas.
In Savernake, there are one or two territories which are utilised only late on in the season. One of these was occupied today. Conversely, they stop using The Column glade towards the season's end (none seen there today).
I've no idea what's happened to the Savernake females this year. I've scarcely seen any, and none for three weeks. It's a bit like the ent wives in the Lord of the Rings - they seem to have gone missing. I'm anticipating a very low egg lay here... .
There should be one or two males around in Savernake next weekend, though the weather is set to turn bad which could end the season quickly (gales and cold nights knock them out).
For the record, I have now seen iris (in one or more of its life stages) in the wild for 63 consecutive months. That's obsessive...