Sunday, July 11, 2010

Emperors At Peak

Last Friday (9th July) I started the day with a visit to Botany Bay, which I suspected would be the last chance to see Emperors in good condition 'on the deck'. Although it will still be possible to see males descending to the rides for some time, the number of close encounters is definitely beginning to tail off now. I met Bob Eade, Peter Farrant and Keith Capon - and four male Emperors. All came down, some perched 'just too high up' in oaks, and another visited a sap run. One specimen was still in pristine livery, but the 'all Purple' shot I was just about to get was scuppered by a pesky cleg, which bit me at the critical moment.

Then it was off to Southwater Woods to meet up with Matthew Oates. Unfortunately time is just too tight this Emperor season (precluding even my pilgrimage to Fermyn), and I was sad to have missed Derek Longhurst (webmaster of the Purple Empire), who had just headed off to the New Forest.

Having had the benefit of the morning session here, Matthew's count of male PEs went well past 20 for the day, and in the late afternoon sunshine we watched Emperors in some far-flung and seldom visited parts of the wood. At 6.30 pm they were still doing battle with bundles of Purple Hairstreaks, with frenetic action above the Marlpost car park assembly area.

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