Great day yesterday in Savernake with Gillian Thompson and Phil Corley. I expected to see wild iris larvae in various colours, and perhaps find one hibernating, but five of the eight seen were still in full Lincoln green and the other three were only just starting to colour up. Odd.
Conversely, on 24/10/10 three out of 13 were fully coloured up and one was in hibernation, and on 23/10/09 five out of 14 were fully coloured, six were >50% coloured and one was in hibernation.
Maybe they are later this year because of the mild autumn? However, the seven captive larvae I have are far more advanced: one went into hibernation a week ago, five more are fully coloured up and the other is about 50% coloured up. This is the first time my captive larvae have not been fully synchronised with their wild Wiltshire cousins, and my breeding tree stays green till late.
Meanwhile, on Sat 22nd I saw my latest ever Green-veined White, at Magdalen Hill Down, Winchester. My previous record was one in Jane Austen's cottage garden at Chawton, Hants, during the incredibly mild and dry autumn of 1975, when Small and Large White, Small Copper and Wall Brown lingered into early November. Sorry Jane....