Wednesday, June 21, 2023


This Purple Emperor season caught us with our trousers down, and is erupting...

Today, the butterfly was seen again at Knepp in W Sussex (at least 6-7 males) and also at Ebernoe in NW Sussex, at Bookham Commons in Surrey (2 males, sparring), Alice Holt Forest (males down on rides) and Longstock Water Garden in Hampshire (settling on visitors!), and in Bernwood Forest, Bucks / Oxon.  

Not bad for what we assume to be Day 2 of the UK flight season, not bad at all...

This is welcome news as there were very real fears of major population collapse at sites in the Southeast and East where sallow leaves droughted off in heatwaves last mid-July and early August. Populations seem to have benefited from fine weather in late May and throughout June (a critical period, as losses are high during pupation and the pupal stage). Also, and critically, losses of hibernating larvae were unusually low this last winter.

This has the makings of a very good Emperor season, something that seemed utterly impossible late last summer...  Believe in miracles, they happen.

The butterfly will kick off in Gloucestershire on Friday, as wild pupae I've been following there are showing through - 

Today's photo

Meanwhile, I'm heading to Sussex...


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