Thursday, July 20, 2017


I presume most members of The Purple Empire can remember their first sighting of His Imperial Majesty.  For me this happened on June 25th this year.  With retirement looming over the horizon I realised there were many things I had not seen and decided to put this right.  I have a great love of all things nature in particular butterflies.  I am also a very keen amateur photographer and combine both interests.  At the start of this year I compiled my hit list, at the very top Purple Emperor!  Living in Norfolk does not offer many chances to see this mythical beast so I had to travel.  Plenty of internet research led me to this site and I decided my best chance, and nearest home, would be Fermyn.
By following the Empire I logged emergence dates and hoped weather and days off work would coincide, I had about 6 chances.  Set off early on the 25th, forecast not great but had to take the chance.  Arrived opposite the glider club at 8am surprised to see only 2 cars, I had expected mass crowds similar to a rare bird twitch!  Walked the northern bridleway seeing nothing so crossed into the Lady Wood complex taking the right hand path.  Within a few minutes I was transfixed by my first Emperor on the ground in front of me, a bit tatty but what a feeling of elation.
Within the next 100yds a second male, this time pristine, came down, seconds later another joined it.  This was fantastic, not a soul in sight and 3 magnificent creatures around me and then on me!  One decided to check me out, circled my face then landed on my jacket.  Gently I eased HIM on to my finger, there he sat for over 5 mins licking the sweat.  If only I had the short lens on the Nikon!  I tried to change lens one handed but he had had enough and went up onto a leaf giving me the eye.
The weather turned out o.k in the end and as I wandered around I had more and more encounters seeing at least 12 on the ground and others gliding overhead.  And they were very approachable so I obtained dozens of fantastic images.
It had been an incredible day and I must thank the Empire for putting me in the right place at the right time to fulfil a boyhood dream.  If any one wants to see my efforts in capturing other species on camera please check out my site  Butterflies to Dragsters.  Here's to next year!  Brian Hicks


Neil Hulme said...

Congratulations, Brian. You'll be back; I'm afraid you're now addicted. Don't try to fight it - it's futile. Welcome to the club.
BWs, Neil

BB said...

Oh dear that is a familiar tale - you will be back Brian guaranteed
Kind Regards

Brian Hicks said...

Indeed so folks I didn't manage a shot with purple on both wings so that's my target plus it was really enjoyable. Brian.