Saturday, June 25, 2022


A windy spell is upon us. EMPERORS HATE WIND, not least because it's windier and cooler up there in their world than down here in ours... In windy weather, only look for them on sheltered, leeward edges - even if that's the shady side.

Today was rather a struggle at Knepp, as the site is particularly exposed to southerly winds. Normally-favoured edges were vacant, and the cloud cover meant that the butterflies were only active during the brighter breaks. There was a reasonably bright couple of hours from 2-4pm, when males were searching the sallows for females and trying to establish territories on the leeward side of oaks. 

Just before that bright spell ended, I saw my first FEMALE of the year - being hotly pursued by a posse of no less than three males. This was over low and open hawthorn scrub some way from the nearest sallow thicket or oak clump, suggesting that this courtship flight might have been going on for some time. 

Elsewhere, the first Purple Emperors have now been seen in Warwickshire. It seems that the butterfly is as yet only out in low numbers in most sites and districts.  

Batten down the hatches!  

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