The season appears to be winding down rapidly, especially in the south east which experienced a sequence of Vile days this week (until yesterday). I failed to see any males in the main territories in Southwater Woods, W Sussex, yesterday afternoon, and felt that they were all but over. Ageing females will certainly make the most of the good weather that has rather belatedly arrived.
Looking at the info that's come in from last year and this, and at my own diaries, it seems that one of the reasons why last year's egg lay was so poor was that the females appeared unusually late then (e.g. 8th July in W Sussex), only to suffer at the hands of the mid July gale - the St Swithun's Day Massacre. Yet, this year it seems that the females appeared much earlier, in numbers, and that the entire emergence was far more concertinaed (which is the correct spelling). Last year in Savernake, the species emerged over a 3 week period. This year, perhaps over some 10-12 days. Presumably this is because of the difference in time spent in the pupal stage between the two years.
Other snippets: it seems that the Emperor has had a good year at / around the introduced site in Suffolk. I'll post a fuller account later. He has also been recorded again in Dorset, at the site just inside the county border discovered last year. Still no news from Kent (which doesn't seem to have heard of thepurpleempire... ).
Meanwhile, here's a male high on territory in Alice Holt last weekend...