… the Purple Emperor!
(No, not the Right Honourable
Member Prime Minister for Little Chalfont, as several people suggested when asked who or what I might have been referring to by “HIM”).
These majestic creatures showed superbly well at Lady Wood, south of Fermyn Woods near Corby on Sunday morning – I reckon I easily saw a dozen individuals (all males) late morning when the sun finally emerged. Unlike most butterflies, Emperors can be quite tricky to see, since they spend much time inactive high up in the canopy, rather than at ground level. But when the sun gets out, they come lower, gliding up and down the forest rides, before dropping down to feed on the tracks. This is in order to take onboard essential minerals from muddy puddles or (apparently even more delicious) animal droppings. This fox scat was a particularly choice morsel…
… though other observers footwear and trousers were also favoured! (“Hmmm, I really must change my socks / brand of antiperspirant / underwear…” (delete as applicable))
At times, there were up to five individuals on show along a short stretch of the track at one time, including three males around the same ‘delicacy’. These two posed rather nicely!
And despite the heat, it was a complete pleasure to spend an hour or two taking photos at point-blank range, especially since all the individuals were very freshly emerged, in pristine condition. They’re just stunning!