Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Sallow Tree

Many thanks to Bill Seager of the Fermyn Light Horse for sending me a copy of the essay 'The Sallow Tree' by Nigel Wykes, from 'The pursuit of Moths and Butterflies' (1957, Ed. Patrick Matthews).

A great read and well worth tracking down.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Iris through the year, 2019

For those with less money and more taste, I've made a 2019 purple emperor hanging wall calendar with photographs taken in the wild in each month. This is April, for example:

All the other months and links to get your own copy can be found here:


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Ideal Christmas Present

Purple Butterfly Charm

This 18ct white gold, enamel & diamond pendant is A) foul and B) ridiculously expensive at £2150...  Get her oven gloves instead.

Here's the link 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Nearly all Emperor larvae have now left the sallow foliage and have wandered off into hibernation. They didn't have much choice as the leaves yellowed and started to fall fast.

Most larvae went into hibernation during the second week of November, which is usually peak week. Many have travelled fair distances in this (ridiculously) mild November. I've recorded one travel 2.5m before conking out, and watched another crawl 1m up stem, turn around and go back to within 1cm of where he started, and spin a hibernation foot pad there!

Here's No 73 wandering around looking for somewhere to conk out for five long months -

Here's No 62 conked out on the 3rd bud down, known as Suicide Ally (the position with highest tit predation) -

Here's No 20, conked out near a spray tip. Half of his body is on the leaf petiole which will become detached. When that happens he will simply realign himself to the main stem, as larvae hold on primarily by the rear claspers, but it is a daft thing to do -

What we need now is The Beast from the East to return, and drive the tit flocks out of the woods on to bird feeders in the towns. Larvae survival is much higher in cold, frosty, snowy weather. Bring it on!