Tuesday, July 11, 2023

News from the North

Whereas the Purple Emperor has emerged in surprisingly good numbers down south, it seems to be having rather a shocker in the northern parts of its realm, and also in much of East of England region. It's hard to tell as smaller populations are difficult to monitor - away from central southern England, many populations are close to or below what IRP Heslop usefully termed our 'observation threshold'.

Confession: this is almost the opposite of what I thought would happen! I predicted, on this Blog, reduced numbers in the Southeast region, due to the impact of last summer's drought on sallows, eggs and young larvae, but a good year in the western and northern reaches of the Empire where there was a bit more rain last summer.

The Empire's western fringes seem fine; e.g. good numbers in Savernake Forest, despite the loss of rideside sallows. 

There also seems to be considerable disparity in the timing of the flight season. The season may only just be getting going in Notts - although the populations there may also have crashed. The first male was seen in Sherwood Forest only on Sunday July 9th, a pristine male.

Nationally, we are having a long spell of poor weather right now - cloud and wind associated with a slow-moving area of low pressure, making this an old-fashioned July. Canopy-dwelling butterflies are very hard to work in windy conditions, even when the sun appears. 

By the time the weather improves, it may be too late for many smaller populations...  Hang on in there and use whatever sunshine we get well...

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