East Midlands distribution, correction
It was remiss of me not to mention Richard Jeffery, the recorder for Leicestershire and Rutland, who contributed the Leicestershire and Rutland sightings to the map.
Want to be a Blogger too? Email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll get you logged on.
East Midlands distribution 2021
This distribution map, generated by Ken Orpe with input from Stephen Mathers, shows that iris continues to spread northwards, with an increased number of 2km squares compared with 2020. Several observers recorded iris in Sherwood forest; on July 16th, four were seen within a small area of the forest, this being the most seen there in a day. As yet, there are no records from Derbyshire. Lincolnshire is not included here.
Rob Hill saw an egging female in good condition today at Bookham Common, whilst looking for Brown Hairstreaks. This is exceptionally late, and the female's condition prompted Rob to wonder whether she'll make it into September!
I've been through the BNM data base, which I have up to 2018 (by kind permission). There are very few C20th records from mid-August, let alone from late August. Most are from Bucks and Oxon, recorded by folk looking for Brownies. Some stand out like sore thumbs (e.g. Rogate, W Sussex, 1/9/2006 and a 'field near Newbridge SP4001 on 31/8/2014). Some may be for larvae.
Seemingly kosher records are for Northaw, Middx, on 23/8/2012, Theberton Wood, Suffolk, on 26/8/2012, and Chicksands Wood, Beds, on 29/8/2012.
The fat lady ain't singing yet...
Sherwood Forest update
Samantha and Nick Brownley continue their successful efforts in the most northerly known natural habitat [Chambers Farm Wood is on the same latitude, but iris was introduced there]. To date, they have found 7 larvae and 2 eggs, with two more, moved or predated, all within a small area of this forest, suggesting a healthy population. Several people spotted adults this July in different parts of the forest, but never more than ones or twos. There is an unconfirmed report of somebody having seen three at one spot.
Very few people look for the last Emperor of the year (I move on to Brown Hairstreaks and Emperor larvae), but Lawrence Drummond has been seeing the same territory-faithful male in Hertford Heath, for the last few days. It was there again today.
Also, a battered specimen, sex uncertain, was seen at Knepp today.
The latest sighting this century seems to be from Homefield Wood, Berks, on 21st August 2013 (a 'late' year).
Please note, this Blog continues all year round, as some of us follow the larvae. The larvae I'll be following in the wild this time around will be named after great philosphers (the first 14 will be named after those in Monty Python's Australian philosophers song...)...
Postscript: Purple Emperor seen in Hartshill Country Park, just NW of Nuneaton in the far north of Warwickshire, on 20th August. That's a good record, indicating northerly spread.
Two days at Knepp (or rather afternoons, as I was working Brown Hairstreaks during the morning, seeing an impressive 63 on Tues morning - the best showing at Knepp since 2017).
Tues Aug 10th: Managed to see four males and a huge female, but it was very hard work and I visited nearly all the best territories (only three territories were occupied, by lone males).
In addition today, Ashley Whitlock saw two males in Alice Holt Forest, Mick & Wendy Campbell saw a female in Bernwood Forest and Fiona Barclay saw a fresh-looking female in Fermyn Woods.
Wed Aug 11th: I really struggled today, seeing two, possibly three, males and a possible female at a distance.
Also, Lawrence Drummond saw two males in Hatfield Forest, Essex.
Conclusion: The 2021 Purple Emperor season is ending fast, everywhere.
ADVISE: DON'T VISIT KNEPP FOR PURPLE EMPERORS ANYMORE THIS YEAR, YOU'RE TOO LATE - they got clobbered by heavy rain on Mon 9th, which followed a wet and windy weekend.
Instead, we're starting to dream up the Great Purple Emperor Season of 2022, already...
'In my end is my beginning...'
18mm of rain at home yesterday, and Fresh to Strong westerly winds today. That may be curtains for many sites...
Even I refuse to go out Emperoring in windy conditions this late in the season. The Campbells did venture out today, and saw a male in Waterperry Wood, Bernwood.
Please note that this Blog functions all year round, as many of us work the immature stages too. I may even get round to posting some of this season's photos...