Saturday, July 4, 2009

The return of the Emperor!

With a combination of factors; cold winter, warm progressive spring, the recent warm/hot weather, there has been an explosion of woodland butterflies; white admirals, silver-washed fritillaries, purple hairstreaks and of course most spectacular, or at least the most elusive, the noble and royal purple emperor!
I have now, amazingly and beyond my expectations, identified at least 3 master tree areas resulting in some incredible aerial and ground level views. This butterfly does not nectar and normally just stays high in the canopy which is why they are so elusive. Yesterday at Scrag I counted at least 6 adults including violent aerial clashes between territorial males. This is indicating that there is a good population in the wood complex overall as I am only able to see the insects from ground level vantage points where there is a clearing that allows me a view; there are probably many more areas that I cannot see.
I am not ignoring the other butterflies though; I have a female white admiral that has laid eggs on some honeysuckle in a breeding cage in my living room. I'm hoping to watch the life-cycle right through to emergence next year; its a good way to learn more, get some photographs of various stages and release a good number back into the wood.
Anyway, I'm back up there now to chase the emperor!

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