Thursday, 26 June 2014

Purple Emperor

We started the day's butterflying at Hollingbury Park in Brighton, another venue where White-letter Hairstreaks can be found. Initially I thought conditions would be too cool but sat in the Butterfly Glade at the rear of the tennis courts the temperature rose steadily as the sun broke through the thin cloud. Although eagle-eyed Martin spotted a pair high above us, nothing came earthwards. After a while our confidence waned and we made for Woods Mill in a quest for some decent dragonflies. I am not sure why, but there seemed to be very few about, Emperors patrolled the pond and we spotted several Demoiselles, otherwise it was most disappointing. A pair of Little Grebes have raised a brood of "grebelings",  three, possibly four, very young chicks out on the water waiting for the parents to bring them what appeared to be dragonfly larvae. Nice to meet up with Dorian and Dave who were sat by the pond waiting for the sun to come out and galvanise the Dragons into action.

Our final destination was a return to Southwater Woods or rather Madgeland Woods as it is on the Ordnance Survey map. Ideally we would have liked some good photographs of White Admirals and I also needed to find some obliging Silver-washed Fritillaries.

The White Admirals wouldn't settle, but at long last we were treated to some close views of our first Purple Emperor underneath the "Madgelands Master Tree".  It remained with us for some time, alighting on the grassy path under the power cables and on the muddy ride itself, sticking its proboscis into the earth in search of sustenance. Sadly it was far from perfect in that it had a damaged starboard rear wing and one or two clips elsewhere. Never mind, for us it was exactly what we needed. It just means we have to venture out again for that perfect picture.



Finally it was gone and we took a leisurely stroll along the ride in search of other butterflies. The White Admirals still refused to settle but some good looking SWFs were nectaring on brambles and I managed a couple of shots of both male and female of the species.

No comments:

Post a Comment