Monday, April 18, 2011

State of Play

Things are getting early... at home, four out of 10 larvae are now in their 4th instar, and one of six in the wild is skin changing into that instar. This is usually the state of progress in early May. Follow me on Twitter at http:/

Monday, April 11, 2011

Larval Movement

Most larvae, both wild and domesticated, are now beginning to feed. The problem is that they align themselves to leaf buds rather randomly - some select early-opening buds, some select late buds, and some particularly dim ones select damaged or dead buds. Also, they occur on both early and late-leafing sallows. One domesticated larva is skin-changing, though three others haven't started to feed yet.

Here is a nice up-the-pettycoats view of Lot's Wife, taken in Wiltshire yesterday -

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Open letter to the Chairman of Butterfly Conservation, Sussex Branch, the Hon Neil Hulme MEP - Sir Whilst driving along the A272, ordained by our esteemed idol IRP Heslop as 'the backbone of the Purple Empire', I was outraged to see two large plastic butterflies on a house on the western outskirts of Billingshurst, West Sussex - of a type other than iris. Moreover, the offending objects were of that grossly inferior insect, the swallow-tail butterfly (which many of us consider a mere moth). This is by far the worst affront to Purple dignity I have ever experienced within the Empire, and is utterly intolerable. I, and fellow readers, demand that you instantly remedy this preposterous situation. We want the offending house raised to the ground and replaced by a stand of sallows, and the occupants responsible impaled on Nordik walking poles and used as bait during the forthcoming season. We await your account of the actions taken with interest. I remain, sir, determined to finish this excellent bottle of Medoc and start on the port. Yours etc