Saturday, June 24, 2023

Midsummer Day 2023...

We're on the point of being able to determine how great a Purple Emperor emergence this year is bringing. It's great rather than Great, let alone GREAT (as in 2018), at this stage... I'm going to count them (again) tomorrow. Watch this space.

At Knepp, Neil has been avidly baiting the rides with his shrimp paste solution. In late morning this happened - 

He also saw a mating pair, high up in an oak crown - spotted because another male kept trying to break them up and muscle in, as commonly happens. He also saw another courting pair, with the female leading the male up to an oak top with Great Purpose,  As I was leaving, at 5.15, I watched two males pursuing a female high up in the gap between two oaks.

I also saw my earliest ever Gatekeeper. To put that into context, I saw a Gatekeeper on 30th June 1989 (a very hot summer) and wrote in my diary: 'My first and probably only ever June Gatekeeper...'.

Elsewhere, the first Emperor was recorded in Northants today - not in Fermyn Woods, but I daresay the butterfly will start there tomorrow. 

Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire also kicked off today, which means the Emperor should now be starting in Bentley Wood and Savernake. 

None yet in the East of England region, which suffered from cool NE winds and stratocumulus cloud in early June.

But the Emperor's people are not just active by day. Purple Emperor pupae have now been found in eight counties by night, searching with powerful UV torches for the flourescing pupae -

Tomorrow is going to be MEGA...  To the woods, all of us...

1 comment:

davidj said...

Tx for all the updates. Very exciting.
Have I asked this before?
Why do the larva/pupa fluoresce?
I've seen it in many. but not all, butterflies and moths.
What on earth is the evolutionary advantage?