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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 19:15   #1
MTem
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Male Purple Emperor in my garden - uncommon?

Not a Fluttery expert by any means. I can ID the more common/obvious ones, and am trying to get on better terms with them to add them to my BTO Garden Birdwatch listings - so with that intro....

I have a large (2 acre) garden/wood that is adjacent to Surrey Weald clay farmland near the Surrey/Sussex border, and my garden list to date is composed to date of the common/expected species given the Collins Butterfly Guidebook I have.

So was a little surprised to see a male Purple Emperor flitting about in the garden - just time to get the one underwing photo below before it took off over the roof. I did see the blue upper wing to confirm a male. Is this unusual - the small distribution map in Collins does seem to show an area north from Southampton, and perhaps something along the south coast, but nothing that near where I am.

Did have a Camberwell beauty in the early 90's just after we moved in!

Any thoughts?

Mick
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 19:21   #2
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there is another post with sightings in northampton so could be more widespread...
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 20:06   #3
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Yes I saw that. I have done a bit more research online and the link below shows the UK distribution in more detail.

http://butterfly-conservation.org/18...e-emperor.html

I surmise from this that it is uncommon, scattered, elusive and a lover of large tracts of woodland. There are a few reasonable size (10Ha) woods nearby (within a mile or more) but not adjacent. From the map on the link I'm in the 2-9 sightings 2010-2014 at the eastern edge of it's UK range, so I guess I have to regard myself as lucky have seen one in my garden.

Mick.
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 20:11   #4
rosbifs
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wow - also its early or a hibernator?
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 20:18   #5
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Originally Posted by rosbifs View Post
wow - also its early or a hibernator?
The Fermyn Emperor's have been out since Saturday apparently so about right time
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 04:16   #6
aeshna5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTem View Post
Yes I saw that. I have done a bit more research online and the link below shows the UK distribution in more detail.

http://butterfly-conservation.org/18...e-emperor.html

I surmise from this that it is uncommon, scattered, elusive and a lover of large tracts of woodland. There are a few reasonable size (10Ha) woods nearby (within a mile or more) but not adjacent. From the map on the link I'm in the 2-9 sightings 2010-2014 at the eastern edge of it's UK range, so I guess I have to regard myself as lucky have seen one in my garden.

Mick.
You're far from the eastern edge of the range as it's found at sites in Norfolk! I see it at sites around the London area. By its nature it can be an elusive butterfly so probably under recorded away from well known localities. An excellent find for your garden.
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 04:43   #7
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You're far from the eastern edge of the range as it's found at sites in Norfolk! I see it at sites around the London area. By its nature it can be an elusive butterfly so probably under recorded away from well known localities. An excellent find for your garden.
Sorry, I wasn't clear - I meant the eastern edge in the Surrey/Sussex/Kent region looking at that distribution map. Anyway as you say I do now feel it was a good find!

Mick
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 07:38   #8
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Great shot Mick, was it imaged on the ground? FWIW I had a call from a friend on Saturday to report two "clashing" males! and a Goshawk (much higher up than the former), in Epping Forest, NE London. I've had just the two separate sightings locally of Pemps, and yes they are a bit special, as was your sighting.

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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 10:30   #9
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Yes it's on a railway sleeper that makes up one of our raised beds, Ken.
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