This morning at the start of a hot day I headed off to Botany Bay (Oaken Wood, on the Sussex-Surrey border). The target of Neil Hulme’s Butterfly Conservation walk was the Purple Emperor Butterfly. I walked from the car to the meeting point and found people photographing a White Admiral on the road, a good start. A few minutes later Neil called us over to his PE bait (smelly Shrimp Paste) to see the first of five Purple Emperors before noon. The most prolific species today was the Ringlet, follwed by Large Skippers, Meadow Browns, Commas, Marbled whites, a female Brimstone, Common blue, Silver Washed fritillary, Small tortoiseshell, Speckled Woods & Meadow Browns. A large slow worm was a welcome change on the path. The highlight was a Purple Hairstreak, freshly hatched this morning. Neil declared the day his best walk this year.
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