Thursday, July 9, 2009

Broxbourne Woods, Herts - 9th July 2009

Butterfly twitching on your hands and knees... an expedition just north of Das Capital in pursuit of a relative lep Holy Grail - to Broxbourne Woods reserve in Hertfordshire, with Paul C in the chariot of fire (a.k.a his whale-like Volvo which runs on chip oil after a deft DIY conversion), on the trail of a midsummer wonder.

Conditions looked good, with lots of common spp. were on the wing, and within minutes we'd crippling views of eye-level Purple Hairstreaks. But then, word came through of our quarry, seen a few minutes earlier on a favoured food source.... a short speed walk later and there it was - a stunning Purple Emperor, at point blank range, yellow proboscis plunging deeply into and feasting alluringly on a, well, a dog turd. Check your shoes, its not always bad news.

A beautifully serendipitous visit, especially considering the fact that several enthusiasts we spoke to had been trying for years to connect with these local specialities without success. We bade our farewells to the good people (and lovely dog, who almost ate the Emperor) around us, before heading north-east for a look at Amwell gravel pits (see above).