Monday, May 11, 2015


Most of the cats I'm following are at head height or below - for obvious reasons. But one day recently I gazed into the higher branches of a sallow and spotted a cluster of nibbled leaves bearing the unmistakeable signature of iris. I then spent ten minutes craning my neck until eventually I spotted Nakula. Since then I have seen him most often by his shadow:

That picture is a heavy crop, taken with a super-zoom camera (x 42) at full extension.

Today he was again playing shadow games with me ... 

... but at one point we had an intimate encounter, when I think he suddenly became aware of my presence:

He didn't like it much and imediately turned around:

Elsewhere, and to follow up on a previous post, my smallest cat (Yudhiṣṭhira) moulted into 3rd instar yesterday. After his moult he was still under 1 cm long, as is obvious in this picture of him next to my baby finger:

Although perspective can distort size pictures, this one is not far off. My finger is touching the leaf and displacing it slightly to one side. This is a tiny cat and certainly not 4th instar. I think overwintering in 2nd instar is not uncommon in Switzerland. We have more protracted autumns than in the UK and recently I have been seeing purple emperors well into September - this male was photographed on 13th September last year (though not in my local woods):

Eggs laid late, or in the shadow of mountains (which can dramatically shorten the Swiss day) might not be able to reach 3rd instar by the time they are preparing for winter.


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