Thursday, March 21, 2019

Waking Up!

Purple Emperor larvae are just starting to waken from hibernation. I checked my ten surviving wild larvae in Savernake Forest yesterday. Nine were still abed, though greening up strongly. One had just woken up and had a little feed on an unfurling leaf bud (the earliest wild feed I've recorded). He was lucky to find a leaf, most sallows are still bare of leaves, though flowering nicely.

So far, the winter mortality rate is about 33%, which is in the Light to Moderate category. That's good considering that tit numbers appear high. Maybe the tits have had plenty else to eat this winter.

There's a long way to go but 2019 could be another stupendous Emperor season. And at this range an early start is likely. Watch this space...

At home, my captive five are still all conked out, though greening up nicely. None stirred during the late February heat wave, probably because we had light frosts each night. We're in a cold spot, our frogspawn's only just arrived. 

Here's two wild larvae from yesterday -

I am just finishing my labour of love, His Imperial Majesty a natural history of the Purple Emperor butterfly. I am determined to deliver it to Bloomsbury on March 29th, as nothing else is going to get delivered that day...  It's due out in May 2020.