Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dorset Remains Purple

Having spent the first half of silly season going back and forth to guaranteed sites such as Fermyn , Finemere , Bentley and Surrey , i can only agree with other enthusiasts of HIM that it has certainly been the best Emperor year that i have experienced . With this in mind for the remainder of the season i decided to concentrate my search more locally in Dorset . This has also allowed food rationing in my house to cease as i don,t need as much diesel :-) . With several surveys having been made by BC Dorset over the last few years , several areas of likely habitat were identified and HIM was indeed discovered in a wooded complex which straddles the Wiltshire/Dorset border east of Tollard Royal . I went there this weekend having been tipped off by a friend that the Emperors were there as he saw several whilst on an early evening walk mainly drinking from the ditches . The wood was alive with White Admirals and SW Frits in fantastic numbers including several valesina . Everything about the wood felt right although it was obvious that it is sparsely planted with broad leaved sallow , only finding 4 trees in the walk i did however they were all in good condition and in ideal locations for egg laying . It must be known locally as an Emperor wood as evidence of " baiting " was scattered along the rides . Finally after an hour of searching a Emperor was  spotted on the ground feeding on horse poo . It took off as i approached flying straight towards me circling twice , giving me clear flashes of purple then went up to the oaks . A minute later it was back and did exactly the same thing as if to confirm his presence in these woods . HIM is alive and well in Dorset albeit only just inside the border . I suspect the numbers have always been low here judging by the lack of sallow , but the four trees i have found so far will be worth a search in a few weeks as they may well act as magnets to the females .         

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