Friday, July 3, 2009

Iris Continues Evening Sorties

In spells of very hot weather it seems that iris may be far more active during the evening than many people realise, perhaps even more so than early in the morning. I again visited Botany Bay, confident in the knowledge that they would 'kick off' some time after 5 pm. The first sighting came at 5.15 pm, when I watched the prolonged courtship flight of the Emperor, just to the SE of the 'Triangle'. She glided around the oak tops at a quite leisurely pace with initially one, then a second admirer in pursuit. This went on for more than 5 minutes, as if she was testing their 'suitability'. Her final choice was made high in the canopy, out of sight.

At 5.30 pm the males started to descend and at one point I saw two of them sitting on the path within a few feet of each other. I was just beginning to think that they had learned to 'play nicely', when one got up to trash a female blackbird that had the temerity to come within 10 metres. Iris was still going at 7 pm when I left.

Earlier that day I visited Southwater Woods. I had scraped together a total of 13 individual males, but they were hardly busy and the intense heat was clearly suppressing their activity. Dave Sadler had watched a female egg-laying, unusually early in the day from my own experience.

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