Monday, 10 July 2017
Butterflies at Oversley Wood
Just one more catch up post and then I will start posting some Isle of Wight photos.
Yesterday D and I decided to go on our annual pilgrimage in search of Purple Emperors at Oversley Wood down in South Warwickshire. To be honest due to us having failed to get a confirmed sighting there (despite one possible but not well enough to be 100% sure) several times in the past, I had planned to go to Fermyn Woods, Northamptonshire, this year where sightings even at ground level seem to be more or less guaranteed. But His Imperial Majesty emerged early this year and the two holidays rather got in the way and, as yesterday was a spur of the moment decision, I didn't have time to plan a route to Fermyn or research the best places to see Purple Emperors.
The woodland rides are full of wild flowers - Knapweed, Vetches and Trefoils, Meadowsweet, Ragged Robin etc. and it is probably the best place I personally have visited in Warwickshire for butterflies.
This is the "Triangle" where you bear left for the best places to spot the Emperor.
Butterflies seen included White Admiral (2), Purple Hairstreak and Silver-washed Fritillaries (lots of both species) all new for the year. Others spotted were Skippers, Large and Small Whites, Brimstone, Red Admiral and Ringlets.
I didn't get too many butterfly photos this year - they were far too flighty but here are a few.
Record shot of a White Admiral - heavily cropped
I didn't manage any photos of Silver-washed Fritillaries and this is a picture I took in 2014.
Did we see Purple Emperors? Well as usual not a good enough sighting to be certain. We had very fleeting glimpses of several large (black and white marked) butterflies high in the oak canopy - in exactly the same spot where we were certain we had seen one a few years back (D had spotted the purple sheen on that occasion) but again not counted due to uncertainty!! For this very important "tick" I need to be 100% sure and preferably get a photo!! However, having compared the flight patterns and "jizz" of the two White Admirals we later saw, I think this year's few sightings could be classed as "possibles"! As usual before going we had set a target of four species we hoped to see - Purple Emperor, Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary so seeing 3/4 of the targets left us feeling very pleased.
There were lots of bumble bees and hoverflies around too
You can just see my PE brooch on my hat in this picture taken by D. I do have some other lovely PE pin badges - but being rather superstitious I refuse to wear them until I manage a confirmed sighting.
Along with Swallowtail (trip to Norfolk Broads necessary) and Glanville Fritillary (one of these days I will see one on the Isle of Wight even if I have to wait until we move there!!), Purple Emperor is the one species I would love to see so next year, holiday or no holiday, a trip to Fermyn is definitely on the agenda.
*D Photos taken by D with the Canon bridge SX50. I used the 70-300mm lens on my Olympus dslr.