I made the trip up to Alice Holt on 23rd July in the hope of some purple entertainment. This was my first visit to a Hampshire Emperor site this year, having been lucky in Northamptonshire, Wiltshire and Dorset. I saw no Purple Emperors at Straits which had been a good site for me in previous years. I moved on to Abbotts Wood down the road, pacing up the track, nothing! Then on the way back a large female graced my horizon. She made her appearance at 12.50 from a large sallow and drifted off into the wood flying under the canopy, then lost to view.
I moved on to Goose Green, in the hope of an afternoon display, I was not to be disappointed. As I arrived a male flew past me and away, then the main performance began. Between 13.50 and 14.31 Males began soaring back and forth around the oak and Sweet Chestnut. One chased another away, then an unsuspecting finch and 2 Woodpigeons which flew over. It was an awesome experience watching them gliding in effortless slow motion, then powering up to speed off. There were certainly 3 but I suspect there could have been up to 5 from the directions of arrival. After hearing the news that Alice Holt was not doing well, it was good to see more than I expected. I hope the current warm weather will bring a new wave of activity as all the Purple Emperors seen looked undamaged and flew with vigour. Top entertainment!