Wednesday, July 10, 2013

All Go At Oversley Wood, Warwickshire

After reports of His Majesty making a couple of appearances over the last 2 days at Oversley Wood, i decided to take a look myself today along with fellow loyal subject, Simon Primrose. We didn't arrive until around 3pm and typically, it was completely overcast yet still warm with a few bright patches here and there. I figured we might get lucky and catch a glimpse of 1 at the congregation area so up the hill we went. We arrived at the top at 3:15pm and within 5 minutes, the first Emperor appeared, gliding between 3 different pines before perching at the top of one. 10 minutes later, we spotted another Emperor patrolling nearby, clearly looking for a comfy perch with the best view. He obviously couldn't make up his mind as he kept swapping trees to test out the best spots! After a quick walk along the path to the other end of the congregation area without any further sightings, i thought our luck had ended. Then, a shout of "theres two up here!!" had me sprinting at top speed to see 2 combating males chasing each other with vigour. Always an incredible sight to see! As both veered off in different directions, yet another was disturbed from a neighbouring pine and off they went again - and with more ferocity this time! The chasing went on for about a minute before they finally left each other alone and then proceeded to take a whole minute to decide where they should take a break. Having observed the Purple Emperor at the Oversley Wood congregation area for about 4 years now, i can confirm that the exact same individual pine trees are favoured every year by the males, sometimes even the same perches!

Spot the Emperor!

Everything went quiet after all that excitement so, chuffed to bits with our success, we decided to finish our walk around the wood in the hopes of seeing a few White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary. At around 04:45pm, we approached an area where i'd seen a male and female Emperor about 4 years ago sharing a delicious meal of horse dung and dog poo. Not 2 seconds later, a male Emperor almost took our heads off, swooping down low and landing on the path in front of us. I think i squealed some profanities at this point and almost dropped my camera in haste. However, he clearly wasn't very settled on the ground as the minute i got close, he zoomed off and carried on gliding up and down a few times before landing again in the most inconvenient of positions. No sooner had i got into postition to take a photo, he would turn away in a rather pompous manner. Think he was just camera shy! He kept us entertained for a while longer before ascending to the top of a nearby Oak to no doubt observe us from on high.

6 definite individuals today (all males) which is a really excellent start to the Emperor season in Warwickshire. Think i may have to visit again tomorrow too...


Pete Smith said...

I live local to Oversley Wood and know it quite well but have never managed to see an Emporer.

I have heard talk of the congregation area and this would seem a good place to start looking but I have no idea where it is apart from somewhere "up the hill". Can you give a more detailed location as I would really like to see one.

I will take a look there any way but any help would be welcome


Gillian Thompson said...

Hi Pete,

Glad to have met you on Thursday :) Im really pleased that you were able to see the Emperor's at both the congregation area and on the ground. It was a good day had by all, i think!