Friday, July 15, 2016
And when the sun comes out
And when the sun comes out, After this rain shall stop...WH Davies ...The crowds will gather at Fermyn Wood. Which is what occurred on Thursday July 14 - the road running alongside the glider club entrance resembling the M25 in the rush hour. A personal record was achieved at the early time of 08.10 hours when a male Emperor investigated the disturbance caused by our entering Lady Wood. This was followed by a steady stream of groundings throughout the morning, when there was almost no cloud cover to spoil the scene. Purple Pilgrims were able to obtain photographs of near-perfect specimens as well as finding others that were showing signs of wear and tear. An added bonus for the Long-lens and binocular brigade occurred around lunch time, when one male Paphia was accepted by Valezina, and some good pictures were taken as the couple performed for over an hour in a shrub close to the path and only some ten to twelve feet off the ground. The freshly-mown rides to the deer hide in Lady Wood afforded the opportunity to observe some tree-top action away from the crowds. Almost immediately on entering the right-hand ride, a four-ship - you couldn't call it a courtship - occurred. The violence was only curtailed at 13.30 hours, when the cloud rolled in to cool their ardour. In the short space of time before the next sunny spell, the Empress may have selected one of these suitors, for immediately afterwards, two of the males were seen forlornly searching the same tree for her. The cloud continued to increase and the sunny spells grew proportionately shorter. We decided to head back to the car park and departed at 16.00 hours, but there were still people taking pictures of grounded males at this hour. The irony was not lost on us when, travelling home on the Oundle road, the sun came out strongly again, and was rarely obstructed by cloud for the duration of the one hour journey. Some 31 individuals were recorded, including the one female. The Comma and Silver-washed Fritillary populations have increased significantly from last Tuesday's visit. Purple Hairstreaks were also well represented. We also recorded five White Admirals, none of which seemed inclined to pose for a picture.