Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Botany Bay Bonanza

Planning and leading field trips for Butterfly Conservation members can be fraught with difficulties, not least due to the vagaries of the British weather, and seasonal variations in the timing of emergence. However, the outing I led to Botany Bay on the Sussex/Surrey border on 28 June 2009 will forever be remembered as the 'perfect job'! I had billed the event as an opportunity to see iris up close and personal.

20 participants congregated at the meeting point; all hopeful of seeing Him, with 8 never having had the pleasure previously. I lay down a couple of 'Hau Loc' belachan baits just inside the main gate at 8.55 hrs. At 8.58 hrs a pristine male descended to sample the pungent shrimp sauce, and as the outing started, 8 people became 'Purple'. Soon a ring of bodies surrounded the Emperor, who seemed oblivious as he overloaded on salts.

From then on things just got better and better. The entire party saw 5 individual, scale-perfect males on the deck that morning, with some coming to ground on more than one occasion. One of the party walked a little further into the woods and saw another 2. Those that stayed on into the afternoon were treated to an eight different butterfly.

I will be repeating the walk next year.

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