I visited Straits Enclosure at Alice Holt, Hants today without success, one chap I had spoken to had already given up, thinking it was too early. I decided to give nearby Abbotts Wood a go. With cyclists zooming up the track I didn't hold out much hope. After searching along the track I decided to walk back to the car. Then suddenly I put a large butterfly up. Looked like a White Admiral, but then the shimmer of Purple. Wow yes, it was my earliest ever grounded Purple Emperor.
It was behaving in a rather strange manner, possibly due to just emerging. It kept drifting into the vegetation and landing on either side of the path before eventually landing to imbibe on the track for no more than 30 seconds or less. It stayed low flying and landing along the track. As it was very hot, it did not stay in one place for long. Eventually it doubled back towards where I first found it and effortlessly drifted up and away. This was the only iris I saw all day, but I did see it rather well so I am pleased my visit proved fruitful.