Wednesday, July 8, 2015

National Festival of Sallow Searching...

This afternoon I decided to search hard for Herself around the extensive sallow thickets at Knepp Wildlands.  Due to the wind I concentrated on sheltered thickets leaward of tall oaks, like this - 

This field was growing cereals ten years ago, but was then allowed to revert under the rewilding programme.  Sallow colonised the bare clay spectacularly.  At one point this afternoon I was watching six males sallow searching along this stretch, six (the most I've ever seen in a vista is seven, which I've managed seven times...).

All told I saw 36-40 iris this afternoon, all of them male!  Most were frenetically searching the sallow thickets, presumably for females, pausing every now and then to draw breath, like this -

My conclusion is that there can't be many females around yet, though some of today's males were worn.  Also, Herself is clearly intent on giving me a hard time this year, again.

Incidentally, the Tamworth pigs that roam free on Knepp Wildlands are servants of the Emperor: they create a lot of bare ground, which then gets colonised by sallows.  Here are a couple of the Knepp pigs -

Only like Herself, they were taking the afternoon off...

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