Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Emperoring at Knepp 2024

Knepp Castle Estate is looking forward to welcoming Purple Emperor visitors again this season.  In addition to running its hugely successful Purple Emperor Safaris (11th glorious season, but now fully booked!), Knepp will be welcoming Purple visitors along a set route that runs through many of the best spots.  Viewing points will be clearly marked out, particularly for male territories (occupied in afternoons only).

 The starting point is the new car park (+ shop, café & restaurant) at Swallows Farm just off the A24 at Dial Post.   Pick up a Purple Emperor Trial leaflet from there, and follow the set route.  Note that it takes a little while to get into Emperoring country, involves a long walk and will take the best part of a day.  Cake awaits you at the end.

Places to linger are marked on the trial leaflet, and on site with purple ribbon and bunting, and hopefully with arrowed posts.  These highlight male territories, which males occupy during each afternoon of suitable weather, and sallow areas where females can be seen and where males search for females in mornings during the first half of the season.

Note that Emperors are distributed by wind, and gather out of the wind.  East-facing wood edges are good in westerly winds, and vice versa.  Never look for Emperors on the windward side, they will have drifted leeward, even if that’s the shady side!

The Purple Emperor season at Knepp began on June 17th, and should finish around July 23rd – depending on the weather.  The last week of June should be the best week.’

 Note also that males take the mornings off during the last third of the flight season, so don’t visit for Emperors during the mornings after July 10th.

 Volunteer helpers will be on site to facilitate visits, and there will be a Purple Emperor Information Centre trailer parked up along Green Lane, which is where most of the best male territories are.

Looking forward to meeting you. Come for the day…

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