Thursday, February 4, 2021

Fingers Crossed!

There are grounds for cautious optimism!

Losses of hibernating larvae at my monitored sites in N Wilts during January were unusually low. I lost only one, out of a sample of 20 (and that one may have moved - it's high up, and visible only through binoculars), and I lost none during December. That's as good as it gets...

Also, in W Sussex, Ben Greenaway lost three out of 18 (after losing two during December). This time last year he was down to 12 (from 20). 

However, February is the big crunch month (often overspilling into March), so we're just entering the main danger period now. The forecast cold weather will help (if it shows up, and persists), as losses are neglible during frost, snow and ice.

To date, my study woods have been remarkably devoid of tits (and other small birds) this winter. I don't know why.   

Here's 'Boris', from Feb 1st, a mottled grey-brown on a twig scar:

And here's 'Margaret Hilda', in Suicide Ally - the third bud down:

And here's the lovely 'Priti', hibernating in an unusual position a main branch:

Finally, the paperback edition of His Imperial Majesty, a natural history of the Purple Emperor is coming out in early June. It includes numerous corrections (typos mainly) and amendments, some updates, and an account of the nightmare season of 2020.