Thursday, 26 July 2012

His Imperial Majesty

After missing out on seeing HIM last year at Bentley Woods a return trip was in order. Although we had unbelievably good views of several female Purple Emperors last year (see here) a grounded male had eluded us. This year all that changed when we saw one within ten minutes of arriving just 100 or so yards from the car park. He was posing beautifully on a log, unfortunately it was a log of the dog variety! This was only a minor drawback though because seeing this amazing creature in all his glory took one's mind off his rather noisome choice of perch. His Imperial Majesty is well known for his penchant for substances that we humans find rather off-putting, another grounded individual that we didn't see was feasting on a putrefying rabbit, which someone had brought along with them in a bag!

A nice new information board on one of the woodland rides. We dipped the Broad-leaved Helleborine and Speckled Wood!

The light needs to be just at the right angle to see the purple colouring. Here it's hardly visible at all.

A bit more... and finally...

In all its glory! Just ignore what it's tucking into!
Or if your not of a squeamish disposition take a look at this close up.

You can actually see the droplets of mineral rich moisture or basically 'poo juice' making their way up along the proboscis. Lovely!

A more aesthetically pleasing shot.

And if seeing this beautiful male wasn't enough an Empress also put in a brief appearance at the same spot. Icing on the cake!


And here's a short video or possibly video nasty ... The saying goes " You can't polish a turd".  Well, you can stick a Purple Emperor on it! :-)

On Sunday we visited Alners Gorse in Dorset hoping to see White-letter Hairstreaks. There were plenty around but they were sticking to the treetops.

Alners Gorse isn't usually this busy. There was a Dorset Wildlife Trust field trip led by Mathew Oates.  This excitement was caused by Mathew spotting a mating pair of White-letter Hairstreaks high in the top of an elm tree. With this particular species something that is very rarely seen. I tried to get a record shot with my super-zoom..

You can see what they are, just!
One of those times I wished I'd bothered to bring my scope along.

To finish here's few more butterflies from the last few days.


 Marbled White

Small Skipper.

Not a butterfly obviously but definitely worthy of of photo Volucella zonaria.


kirstallcreatures said...

Very jealous of your Purple Emperor and White Letter Hairstreak sightings. Nice set of Emperor pics, what a treat.

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Linda, The Emperor is really worth making the effort to see. I didn't get around to it until last year and I was so impressed it's likely to be an annual pilgrimage from now on :-)