Have finished my annual searches for ova & larvae in & around Savernake Forest. Conclusion, the 2012 'egg lay' was almost exactly the same as is 2011 (i.e. lousy). Data -
This is determined by ~40 hours of systematic searching for ova & larvae in a standardised manner, in the same areas, in relatively stable habitat conditions.
Note that the Savernake data are not representative of any UK trend, as the butterfly had a patchy season in 2012 - being generally poor (as in Savernake) but faring much better in some other areas (e.g. Bucks / Oxon and Bookham Common).
About half the larvae are now in hibernation, but the odd one is still in Lincoln green and one (green) larva was actually observed feeding yesterday (3rd November) - the latest I've seen one feeding. Here's a photo of a classic (wild) autumn larva hiding in a leaf tip rain drip -
NB In Pursuit of the Ridiculous Radio 4 Fri 16th Nov 1.45pm
15 mins of Purple Affairs...