Saturday, 1 December 2012

New pastures ...

Straits Inclosure, 26 July 2012

Straits Inclosure, located at the extreme southern end of Alice Holt Forest and just off the A325, is a commercially managed, lowland oak forest (Quercus robur and Q. petraea) interspersed with approximately 10% ash (Fraxinus excelsior). Its understorey is comprised of woody shrub and herbs dominated by hazel (Corylus avellana) and hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). This was my first visit to the site ...

Arriving at just before 9am I took a slow walk along the main forestry track towards the first of the two observation towers. A Red Admiral, followed shortly after by a Comma, were observed feeding on dog faeces. Silver-washed Fritillaries and small numbers of White Admiral were also observed along with a single Purple Hairstreak. At approximately 10.45am the first Emperor was seen, a male quartering the track in readiness for landing. This particular individual stayed around for some time and although possessing a damaged left forewing, it was a very welcome sight providing photographic opportunities for several observers. Despite pacing the tracks and keeping in contact with the other Emperor hunters, it wasn't until 1.15pm that I observed two battling males above the oaks between the two towers.

A flying visit to an extremely hot and humid Tugley Wood on my way home provided little in the way of butterfly action, with the exception of three male White Admiral imbibing nutrients from the forestry track ...

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