Current entries on the page are dotted with encounters with that magnificent creature the Purple Emperor, so we decided to cross Otmoor to one of its strongholds and the scene of many of these sightings: the remains of the Anglo-Saxon Royal hunting forest of Bernwood.
The first entomological specimens we met in large numbers were human - fellow enthusiasts. I've never previously encountered butterfly or moth fans en masse and it was great to share in their bonhomie and generous pooling of information. As a result we saw a couple of Purple Emperors, albeit very high up above oak trees. Back on our own, we were lucky to find a sprawling honeysuckle on a grassy side path which attracted White Admirals down to human height. Photography still wasn't easy because butterflies aren't sleepy like early morning moths, but I got one passable pic which heads this post.
In the spirit of the enthusiasts, you can find this honeysuckle by turning left at the third 'crossroads' along the main track from the car park, shortly after it goes between two meadows. Turn left again after about 300 yards and the path winds along to the wooden observation tower in the third picture, which sadly is marked 'Not for Public Use'. The honeysuckle is on the right just beyond it.
|Small Skipper - large appetite|
|Marbled White hiding from us|
There were lots of other butterflies around and I've added pictures of some of them. We were also alerted by repeated sharp tapping to the fascinating site of a 'thrush's anvil' - an almost tame bird which came very close to us with a snail in its beak, hopping from stone to stone and bashing the unfortunate mollusc on each of them until its shell cracked. Like one of those pistachio nuts which just won't open.
|Large Skipper, also having lunch|