Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Prospects for the 2017 Purple Emperor Season - early start likely...

Purple Emperor larvae are starting to pupate (certainly in the South East). They are way ahead of the norm.

As things stand, the first iris of the year is likely to take to the air around June 15th at 'early' sites such as Bookham, Chattenden and Knepp. In which case the season will have finished by July 20th.

However, the insect can get trapped in the pupal stage by cool or wet weather.

At this stage, though, I am advising fellow Emperorphiles to bring their plans for the season forward...     

I am not expecting numbers to be huge, but much depends on flight season weather, and also on how long the pupal stage lasts.

Watch this space for further news...  We are going to have a fantastic time... We shall all fly soon... 

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Purple Manifesto

The People of Purple Persuasion have launched their manifesto for the General Erection on June 8th.  

Some of it's key points are:-

*  All low grade agricultural land to be rewilded (Agricultural land is graded 1-5: Grades1 and 2 are good food production land, 3 is dodgy, 4 and 5 shouldn't be farmed at all - but are, ruthlessly).

*  Sallow thickets to be established throughout lowland Britain, in town and country.

* Flail cutters abolished.

*  Purple Emperor populations to be established in every English county by 2020 (this is a key part of our 2020 Vision).

*  CRoW Act to be revised to include access to all woods and forests.

*  Forestry Commission to be replaced by Sallow & Wood Fuel UK.

*  Removal of all non-native conifers from the UK by 2020 (c/f our 2020 Vision).

*  White Stork nests on every chimney.

*  Month long national holiday during the Purple Emperor season (which this year may well kick off on June 8th).

*  Four day working week for all.  Middle day of the three day weekend to be quiet - no noisy machines, and blue light traffic only.

*  Abolition of all forms of corporate bollocks.  

*  Chelsea & Arsenal abolished.

* Education: academic year to be reset, to begin in January with exams in November - this frees up the summer term.  Resetting is to be achieved by a one-off sabbatical term for all, during which people can read Heslop.   

Feel free to add more...

Monday, May 8, 2017

Larvae Entering Final Instar

Despite the cool end to April and start to May iris larvae continue to race ahead. They are now changing skin for the last time, into the 5th and final instar.

UNLESS THE WEATHER DETERIORATES BADLY THE BUTTERFLY IS GOING TO BE ON THE WING BY MID-JUNE...

Now is the time to warn your boss, spouse, or whoever, that you may have to bring your annual Emperoring holiday forward.

Watch this space, closely...

Here's a larva photographed this morning, skin changing to L5 -


PS  It changed into the 5th instar on May 11th...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

From Trevor Rapley

Early last July I popped into Tesco for some supplies to take on my first
visit to Chiddingfold forest. Whilst in the shop it occurred to me that it was
possible that the site may not have been baited, better take something fishy.

To cut a long story short, I purchased a tin of their own brand ' Tuna in brine '.
Over three days of that week the liquid from this product tempted 5 out of 7
Emperors seen that week, to sample it's delights.
The other two preferred horse dung.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Early spring in CH too

Like their cousins in the UK, the Swiss emperors started feeding early this year. March was the second warmest on record and some sallows were in leaf almost a month before the usual date.

I've just spent a couple of weeks in the UK, so can't say exactly when Mr Mackey moved up to 4th grade but he was looking smug and well-fed today:


Here is Timmy:



The weather is much cooler now, which will probably hold up their development a little. But in principle, it could be an early season this year.

Guy


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Proscribed Badge

The Committee of the People of Purple Persuasion has unanimously decided to ban the lousy lapel badge the RSPB has recently brought out, supposedly of a Purple Emperor.  

Anyone found wearing this badge within the Purple Empire will be staked out as bait at Poplar Corner, Lady Wood Head, Fermyn Woods, for the duration of the season. 

We have to maintain standards: only Fosterjohn's badges are permitted within the Empire. There's a good supply of them in the Knepp Wildland's shop - or leave a message here and Fosterjohn or I will help you...  

You have been warned...



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Skin Changing

iris larvae are very advanced.  They are now changing into the 4th instar, in the wild - and camilla larvae are already in the 4th instar. Here's Savernake No 9 skin changing - 



If this mild, dry spring continues iris will be on the wing in early June. However, we've had panics like this before, notably in 2011 - only for the jet stream to jump south in late April / early May, ushering in six to eight weeks of cool wet weather and slowing progress right down.

Watch this space, but you may need to bring your annual Emperoring holiday forward...