The Knepp Wildlands larva (known as 'Raymond') whose antics have been chronicled on this blog since last September spent the weekend pupating, and revealed itself to be Raymonda...
She'd travelled 4.5m up tree to pupate towards the end of a branch. Here she is on Sat 18th, spinning a silk pad -
She didn't mind being manipulated for photography, and carried on slowly spinning silk. (She's must be the most photographed Purple Emperor caterpillar of all time, and a true media tart).
Today, Sunday, she had turned around, attached her back end to the pad she'd spun, and was ready to swing free and transform -
Here she is photographed from below, when the branch (which comes down easily) had been gently released -
Given that the insect spends on average 18 days in the pupal state, she's likely to emerge circa July 8th. But note that she's probably a late-emerger as she fed throughout on the shady side of a tree - most larvae move to the sunny side in spring, and progress quicker.
My guess is that the first males will start to emerge in Sussex and Surrey on July 1st (given that the forecast for the next five days is poor).
Watch this space, something Big will happen...