Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fermyn Report (14 July) - by Ian Armitage

Anxious iris devotees saw a break in the ongoing gloomy forecast from the past week and arrived at the same conclusion, that Thursday was the day to see iris in action at Fermyn. On my arrival at 10:45am, the sun was out and it was no surprise to see the verges of Harley Way rammed to hilt with vehicles on both sides of the road around the gliding club – certainly the busiest I’ve seen it in the 6 years I’ve been coming.
   But with an expanse the size of Fermyn and Lady Woods groups and individuals can disperse, and the huddles around grounded individuals were no more sizeable than the norm and cordiality prevailed.  For myself the track down Cherry Lap yielded just 2 grounded male emperors and a flyover at the southern exit.  Lady Wood proved more fertile and another 7 males were added (including one shadow flyover) before the sun vacated the woods around 12:45, after which I only added 2 more males from the Lyvden Way crossing onwards and back around.
   After re-fueliing with a generous slice of strawberry sponge at the café I made a second foray in the early evening sun.  Iriswas still active in Lady Wood with a group of 4 males reported having fish paste supper a short distance down the right hand leg. I saw two more iris imbibing at the junction of the two rides before being joined by a group from Cornwall and we made our way down the other side for an enthralling close encounter with freshly minted White Letter Hairstreaks. Their synchronised ballet, twisting and twirling parrot like on top of white valerian was a pure delight and we all agreed, a very satisfying end to the day. Returning to my now seemingly abandoned car at 7:15pm, the journey back to West Yorkshire seemed less of a chore.
   I didn’t encounter, or hear of any sightings of female emperor during the day. The paths off Cherry Lap were in a glutinous or sloppy state which suggests the wood had taken a battering previously, but the grounded males all looked in very good condition and with kinder weather now forecast from Sunday through until Tuesday they should still be available to show off to their adoring public

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