A trip over to the Knepp Estate on Sunday, looking for Purple Emperors, was successful in that I saw plenty of them but also disappointing, in that I did not see any on the ground. As usual they were patrolling territories at the tops of the trees, with just the one, pictured below, venturing about half way down and giving a few record shot opportunities.
I would think that this is a freshly emerged individual that is just hardening off before he enters the skirmishes above him.
|Freshly emerged male Purple Emperor|
|nearly an upper wing view|
White Admirals were also on the wing and like the Emperors they were squabbling over territory. There are a huge number of trees around Knepp but the two I saw both appear to want the same space. Strange enough I saw a couple disputing the same spot last year. There must be something there that they want.
Lots more purple around the trees in the form of Purple Hairstreaks. Again a butterfly of the tree tops where they feed on honeydew secreted by aphids. They do occasionally come down to nectar on flowers but not today. An open wing shot of one of these down low is second only to a pristine Chequered Skipper on my butterfly hit list.
|Purple Hairstreak - just a bit too high in the tree|
|and showing me what an open wing shot looks like if only I could get a bit closer|
Lots of other butterflies around including a Small Tortoiseshell. Worth recording as I haven't seen many of these about this year.
Plenty of Large Skippers and Marbled Whites
And my first Small Skippers of the year. I had forgotten how small they are and initially took them to be a cloud of flies buzzing round a muddy puddle.
The butterfly year list is looking a bit healthier after the past weeks focus and I also added my first Broad-bodied Chaser of the year.