Monday, September 17, 2018

People's Walk for Wildlife Sat 22nd Sept London

We, The People of Purple Persuasion, are gathering for the People's Walk for Wildlife at the WH Hudson Memorial (Rima carving) in Hyde Park (due west of the main event gathering point at Reformer's Tree) between10.15-10.45 next Saturday morning.  Nearest tube station is Lancaster Gate.  

Dress Code: Purple.

Condition: Sober (optional)

Contact Number: Matthew on 07771 971488.

Hudson was Purple. He saw iris in Newbuildings Woods, W Sussex, just north of Knepp, where I saw my first...

Sunday, September 2, 2018

News from Savernake

I am a little over half way through my annual standardised search for larvae in Savernake Forest, and have found 61. I should end up with a little over 100. This is the tenth (and perhaps final) year that I've done this. Most years I struggle to find around 25 but I've recorded three years of plenty: 2009, 2013 and, almost certainly, 2018.

However, I don't think 2018 will better 2009's or 2013's tally, for several reasons. 

First, and oddly, the sallows along Grand Avenue are unsuitable this year. This is because the FC resurfaced the Avenue in late winter, using limestone chippings which produce a whirlwind of white dust every time a vehicle speeds by (vehicles have the right to drive along Grand Avenue, and do so at great speed since the speed bumps were removed a few years ago. The dust storms must be visible from space.)  All foliage within at least 50m of the Avenue was covered in white dust during the dry July.  

Secondly, there's a lot of sallow mildew around this autumn. Larvae fail on it, like this (the remains of an L2 larva at the leaf tip) - 

Here's a close up of sallow mildew, which develops on overhung sallows. It comes off easily if you run your thumb over it - 

Larvae are bang on time, changing from L2 to L3 (an instar which lasts for 8 long months). Here's one from today, it's about to skin change -

Finally, I saw this in Savernake today - a fresh 2nd brood camilla

There could be a sizeable second brood of White Admirals this Sept in southern England... But rest assured, iris is not going to double brood.