Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Purple Jam

Further indication that the UK economy is improving -

Friday, September 9, 2016

Doings in Savernake...

My annual search for autumn larvae in and around Savernake Forest got off to a promising start today (albeit after I'd had a difficult time failing to find eggs around The Column in mid-August). I've started late as Mrs O's been ill. 

Today I found six larvae in three hours' searching, which is really quite good - and contrasts with Brother Denis's experiences. Maybe I just hit a purple patch.

I am confident that this year's egg lay was good, despite the fact that adult numbers were ~50% down. This is because the leaves were in the right growth phase for egg laying, for once, due to the latish spring. That's why the females were so (relatively) prominent this season, and so scarce in 2015.

All today's larvae were in late 2nd instar. One was skin changing, note the black horns and yellow collar -

Here's a great bit of larval feeding damage, diagnostic -

At certain angles, the egg case base (larvae eat the top and sides) stands out prominently, and can be more obvious than the larva - see top centre - 

This one's recently moved to a new leaf. That's not his feeding damage -

And here's another classic bit of feeding damage -

Conclusion: the 2017 Purple Emperor season is coming along nicely...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

another poor egg laying year?

2015 was bad enough, but, in Upper Thames so far, 2016 is even worse. Only three larvae found in several woods in eight hours of searching. I will be interested to hear from other regions on this topic.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Well Dressed Man..

A whole load of Purple Paraphernalia available from Zazzle.co.uk/purple+emperor/gifts, including this tie, a nice tote bag and a Purple Emperor phone case.  

You'll need to add in the antennae...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Royal Festival Hall Purple Surprise

Whilst in London on the South Bank near the Royal Festival Hall having a drink, I looked down to see HIM at my feet. Had I had too much to drink or had I stumbled on a Roman mosaic in honour of a Purple Emperor? Neither, but it was nice to know that central London was paying tribute to such a noble butterfly, which could be admired by numerous passers by.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Last orders please

I am currently in the throes of putting badges in envelopes so keep an eye on your letterboxes if you purchased one or two.

They have now all sold out.

Thanks to everyone who purchased them and raising £40 for Butterfly Conservation in the process.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Who says Purple Emperors don't like flowers!

I have just perused the Dorset Butterfly sightings page and have seen a record of a female on 10th August photographed on a garden buddleia. Equally as interesting was the location, at St Ives near Ringwood, not a known hotbed for iris. It is well known that females will move some distance from their usual areas in August, I have seen wandering females on two occasions at Noarhill, Hampshire well into this month. Looking back over the Hampshire Butterfly Reports, I remember a male was seen nectaring on a buddleia on 1st August 1987 at Wellow. This is unusual behaviour but it might just be worth checking those garden buddleias, just in case.