The weekend started off well as I ran my moth trap over Friday night and was pleased to get a good number of different species when I checked the following morning. One nice find for the garden was a species called waved black which has a nationally scarce B status which means that it has been recorded from between 31-100 10Km squares in Great Britain since 1 Jan 1980. It has two main centres of distribution (Surrey and Worcestershire) with the moth increasing its range in recent decades into many southern counties including Kent.
Then on Sunday, having been avidly reading Greenies blog, I set off to try and see purple emperor at Dene Park near Tonbridge. It felt good to be going to a new location and also trying to see a new species of butterfly before especially one that I had wanted to see for many years. The first thing that struck me about the Forestry Commission site was the amount of dog mess littering the paths. Whilst potentially good for attracting the butterflies you certainly had to be very careful where you stepped and knelt when taking photos. I could start a rant here about irresponsible dog owners but I won’t as it has been done many times before. Leaving the muck aside, the site is superb for butterflies and without really trying I notched up 11 species and two species of Aeshna dragonflies in southern and brown hawkers. We managed to see 4 purple emperors including 2 males, with a fifth male being photographed on the ground by some other visiting folks.