Friday, 10 July 2009

Purple Emperor

Finished work rather early this morning, in order to visit Broxbourne Woods as the weather is due to go downhill over the weekend.
I met two people at the usual stake out who had not had a good morning, but decided to carry on up the ride. I met Bill, one of the Amwell regulars at the top, and after a chat we decided to visit one of the clearings I know. There were several Brown Hawker and Common Darter flying, but butterflies were scarce-the Agrimony is not yet in flower. Apart from Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Whites, the only ones of note were Comma's of the form Hutchinsoni and my first Gatekeeper of the year.
Things changed when we got back to the track when Bill saw a 'White Admiral' fly past and settle on some Holly. The wings opened and the purple iridescence flashed in the sunlight. Yesterday a male Purple Emperor had settled nearby for about twenty minutes, and this was probably the same one. Over the course of ten minutes, it kept flying around us, landing on our jeans and gave superb views on a damp section of the track.
A family joined us shortly before it flew off, and we continued around to the main ride investigating the pond and the open area of heath. Apart from Southern Hawkers, and family parties of Nuthatch, Long Tail Tits and Chaffinch it was pretty quiet.
Back on the main ride we spent a long time scanning the trees, picking up many Purple Hairstreak and a single White Admiral, being joined by several others, most of whom had managed to see an Emperor.

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