Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Nottinghamshire Emperors!!

Thank you for your interesting and informative blog.

I am in my second year as Nottinghamshire recorder and still have a lot to learn.

I wonder if news of a PE colony in Nottinghamshire is of interest but  I feel a little out of my depth considering the experience and expertise of your contributors.

The colony resides in an area of mixed woodland called Cotgrave Woods locally but is marked as Cotgrave Forest on maps.

The habitat seems perfect with oak amongst other deciduous trees and a nearby tract of Salix in a damper area of the wood.

There are only anecdotal records of Purple Emperor in Nottinghamshire so three definite records last year came as a great surprise. All were  males.

 Understandably there was much skepticism about their provenance amongst the longstanding Notts butterfly community and after taking advice I decided not to include them in the annual submission to BC.

Even so, with great expectancy there have been many visitors to the area  this year.

There have been over twenty different sightings with a definite minimum of six individuals including at least one female perching high in what we believe is the master tree / king oak.  The sighting stretch over an area of nearly 1km square.

We are about a week behind all the exciting records from the south of England.

The woodland is managed for game shooting and one of the gamekeepers, noting all the interest, has said that these 'large dark butterflies' have been landing on the track in summer for at least the last five years and probably well before.

I would be interested to hear comments and thoughts from those really knowledgeable about the Purple Emperor.

Richard Rogers
Nottinghamshire Butterfly Recorder
East Midlands Butterfly Conservation http://www.eastmidlands-butterflies.org.uk

4 comments:

dennis said...

sensational.....so far north!
Matthew Oates will certainly contact you
dennis dell
upper thames branch bc

dennis said...

we can never rule out releases of course, but, who cares? As long as it is done responsibly by people who know what they are doing, it is fine by me, if, as in this case, it leads to a viable and long lived colony in the right sort of habitat

Matthew Oates said...

Yes, I heard of this colony last year, and am delighted that yet another county has declared itself Purple. There is, of course, a well known breeder associated with Notts, so we will probably never know whether this population results from introduction, natural spread or rediscovery of a resurgent residual population - whatever, it's great news...

Richard Rogers said...

Many thanks for the comments.

I realise there is a well known breeder associated with Notts. I spoke to him last year and he admits to releasing other species in Notts and adjacent counties. During what I hope was a candid conversation, he denied releasing at Cotgrave and knowledge of others doing so.

On the other hand, my understanding is that PE do not disperse very far, perhaps no more than 20 miles? Fermyn is about 50-60miles as the crow files (further, I suspect, as the butterfly flies!) though a male was seen an photographed at Rutland Water (approx half way) last year.

The views of previous Notts recorders and others with years of experience is that Cotgrave is an introduced colony.

I share Dennis' comment and quoting Matthew, whatever, it's great news!