Saturday, July 9, 2016

Today at Knepp

Neil and I led another Purple Emperor safari group (of 25) today. Some usually favoured areas were too windy, and it was a little too cloudy in a few key places.

The group total was 61 (including 4 females), though no one person saw that many - I managed about 50.  On the equivalent day last year the group totalled over 100 and Neil and I went to to record over 120.

The butterfly is now at peak season here. Several males are battered, but there are still some fresh males around (my guess is that this weekend will see the last of the male emergence, though there are several more females to come).  

Most males are not very aggressive here this year. Usually Knepp males are highly aggressive. This may be because many territories only hold single occupants this year, as the population is decidedly down on previous years, so males are not winding each other up. Also, apart from a good emergence of Purple Hairstreak there is precious little winged biodiversity flying around the oaks this high summer, so males are simply not getting challenged. It’s unusually quiet up there.  Also, I think that males are changing territories a lot this year, and not settling down.  There’s a surprising amount of wandering going on, though they are easing off on sallow searching now that most females are out.


No comments: