Saturday, July 2, 2011
I spent Thursday at Bentley wood for scant return - three individuals with one on the ground. I was in a quandary as to what to do on Friday. I considered making the long journey to Fermyn Woods but decided against it. Obviously a mistake in hindsight! So I decided to return to Old Haunts at Alice Holt Forest. I arrived at 7.45am and walked the ride for an hour or so and saw nothing. It was already very warm and I returned to the car for a drink. At about 9.45am, I spotted a male quartering the ride in front of me. It settled and I gave it time to get comfortable before firing off some shots. The day was looking better! Whilst looking through the viewfinder at this first male, I sensed movement in my peripheral vision. Glancing down, I spotted another Emperor at my feet. It was huge and obviously female. Having read about the skittishness of females on the ground, and knowing it was quite a rare event, I moved gingerly to reposition my camera and quickly fired off a number of shots. At this point, the male was still only two feet away, and I was unsure whether they were aware of one another. As I watched, she walked towards a small clump of grass and appeared to be taking moisture. She was a very brash lady and paraded for 15 minutes while I watched intently.. The male flew off up the ride after about 5 minutes and unfortunately they never acknowledged each other. Her back wings were a bit worn and she’d obviously been out for a few days. By the end of the day I had seen one other pristine female and seven different males. An improvement but not quite as successful as Neil’s trip!