Monday, July 24, 2017

Norfolk Emperors

Interesting news from BC Norfolk, male & female Iris reported on consecutive days from Sheringham Park NT.  No dates or details given.  I had heard rumours of sightings last year but it's a large site and 'needle in haystack' spring to mind.  Wonder how they got there?


Liz Goodyear said...

The male was seen by us (Liz Goodyear and Andrew Middleton) on the 19th July 2017 just north of tree marker 16 on the red route. Below is a copy of the email sent to the Norfolk people. However, we have since heard that the female was worn and may not have been on the previous day but weekend. There were two reports in 2016 three weeks apart, one to the Big Butterfly Coount and one by a warden near the gazebo in the middle of August of an extremely tatty male. One was seen in a garden in 2014 in Sheringham.

"We visited Sheringham Park today as a result of the two sightings there last year and 1 a few years previous in the town. We spent the morning near the sallows and early afternoon, checking out the highpoints in the usual way, through binoculars or breaking neck muscle. After not seeing anything remotely plausible we decided to leave but I decided it would be good to make use of the toilet facilities. In doing so we went past the visitor centre and on the sightings board was Purple Emperor.

We rushed in to speak to someone who confirmed it was a female yesterday near the sallows by the lower ponds which we hadn't visited in the morning. The recorder had also seen WA and SWF and the report was reliable - he hadn't gone there we believe to specifically look for PE

As a result of this we changed our plans and went back to the high points, watched these for some more time and decided maybe the Emperor had a different stragegy and that was to use the veteran oaks near the sallows near the ponds. So we walked down the gulley and watched numerous Red Admiral pretending to be Emperors (after 4pm they are a utter nuisance) and the occasional WA also doing a good imposter job. When we stopped and Andrew saw something that looked good swoop over a tall Sweet chestnut. Only a few seconds later it reappeared up in the canopy and showed itself to be a patrolling male. About 20 minutes later it reappeared in the adjacent gap and did a circuit. The sun got weaker at this point but just as we were about to give up, things improved, Commas spiralled into the gap, a WA flew through and the PE did several circuits and then flew into the tree on we believe was to find a sap run to feed on. We watched this for several seconds before losing sight of it.

The presence of a male and female on two consecutive days in the correct habitat for both - makes us quite satisfied that there is a resident colony in the landscape although we conclude it may be at low density levels. The fact that these woods are extremely well visited explains why the sightings have been made here but the likelihood that the butterfly is present in other woodland in Norfolk is more than likely. (As everyone knows has been our belief for some years!!!)"

Brian Hicks said...

Super sighting Liz well worth the effort, must give it a go next season you never Know! Brian

Liz Goodyear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz Goodyear said...

The news has even made the BBC Norfolk news page. Unfortunately I can't seem to insert the link properly so it will have to be a copy and paste job!!%26&ns_fee=0#post_59843978e4b0c2b9f1265529