Neil and I were in Fermyn Woods today, working with BBC Countryfile and living legend presenter John Craven to film The Emperor's Breakfast, for transmission on Sunday July 9th.
Despite a lot of cloud and marginal conditions the Emperor was on good form, and was highly obliging. Several males came down to our baits, both on the breakfast table and on shrimp paste puddles on the nearby rides - and it wasn't just shrimp paste and fermented sardines, for a particularly smelly runny French cheese (worse than Stinking Bishop) was favoured.
On several occasions we saw vistas of three males, patrolling the oak tops. I also witnessed a classic 'tumble-down' - mated female rejecting an amorous male.
It looks as though this will be the peak weekend for numbers and activity at Fermyn, where the butterfly commenced on Sat June 17th.
The other day a pristine female ab. lugenda was photographed in Fermyn, by Lucy Milner (the poet Edward Thomas's great-granddaughter). She's sending me the picture, which I'll post here.
Here are some memories from today -
When it comes to eccentricity Britain still has what it takes... ... ...