Sunday, July 12, 2009

BBC to breakfast

Frenetic day trying to finish 2 different TV pieces, with 2 film crews, mercifully both Beeb. We managed it, thanks to some decent weather and some cooperative but ageing males. All the males seen close up today were faded, even battered - apart from one which looked pristine and may have emerged this morning. Good to see them savouring the delights of Vietnamese shrimp paste and pickled mud fish. My car attracted one old male - and rightly so as it stinks, having had its bodily functions modified for the season, to attract iris. My first male was seen at 7.40, when the temp was only 13C, and my last at 6pm.

Females are now relatively prominent in Northants, though there might be one or two still to hatch. We saw one huge recently emerged female. Another was seen rejecting a male in the classic tumbling down flight. Neil Hulme saw one down on the ride - something I virtually never see.

The oak sap run was favoured again, on and off from 9am to 5pm, with a max of 3 at a time. They keep getting booted off by hornets - something which their more aggressive counterparts in W Sussex would not tolerate.

Tithonus at last appears in Northants, 2 fresh males; and a black admiral, a full nigrina. There are virtually no Purple Hairstreak here this year; I stayed on for the evening flight and struggled to see 2. Yet there has been no outbreak of Tortrix viridana, which has defoliated oaks massively in the western Weald.

The forecast for the weekend is Vile: be warned, Iris and other canopy butterflies can be decimated by strong winds, which are forecast. Last year's good emergence was severely depleted by a gale on the weekend of the 5th-6th. It looks as tho something similar is about to happen - tho it may save an insipid England from defeat in the 1st test...


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