Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Doings in Fermyn

Just back from five wonderful days in Fermyn Woods, Rockingham Forest, staying at an artists' retreat cottage in the old meadows on the edge of the woods and bumbling round the ridings (Northants word for rides) on a mountain bike, with the butterfly at peak season... Linnets, both whitethroats, yellowhammers and a reeling grasshopper warbler in the cottage garden jungle. Pimms served from 5pm. No TV.

Fermyn doesn't deal in poor Emperor seasons, other woods do. Here the season is either Excellent, Superb or Utterly Brilliant. This one fits into the Excessively Good category...

Straight in on the male ab afflicta, which has already been featured on this website. That was on Fri 1st. I don't think he was subsequently seen, but please comment if otherwise. So, he was seen along a half mile stretch of riding by several observers on both Wed 29th and again on Fri 1st. I think at least half a dozen people managed to photograph him (out of the 1500-2000 that visit Fermyn for iris). It may sound boastful but I have now photographed iris aberrations three years running.

Good numbers of males visiting the rides, including four together on genetically modified horse dung this morning. I think the male emergence there is now complete, with just the odd late female to come. In Fermyn, the insect emerges over a relatively short time (ca 12 days), compared to around 20 days in other woods (e.g. Savernake).

Saw quite a lot of Herself too, not least because I was targetting the minx. Witnessed several egg-laying runs in the sallow jungles and along north and east-facing ride edges. Saw several females down on the ridings, something I personally haven't witnessed since 1976 - though they do come down in hot dry weather, usually to grassy rides. Here's a lovely lady who arrived at the genetically modified pile of horse dung this morning.

Finally, congratulations to Brother Neil who now supersedes me as Britain's Worst Father, and a warm welcome to Miss Iris Hulme, Born on Mon July 4th, in purpuratum. Here she is -

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