Sussex In Action Too

This afternoon (18th April) I made a speculative visit to see if the first Duke had emerged at Heyshott Escarpment, believing it to still be a few days too early. Pearls have only just emerged at Rewell Wood, this event usually preceding the appearance of His Grace by a week plus. There was little activity in the chill breeze as I ascended the steep slope and I counted only a couple of Dingy and a single Grizzled Skipper before reaching the plateau.

However, sitting waiting for me was a perfect male. His lack of agility and mint appearance suggested a very recent emergence. He was sitting within a metre of where the two or three (at best) males used to lek at Heyshott when the species was teetering on the brink of local extinction, before operations began to save the Duke in 2007. On the best days 100+ now fly here.

Bearing in mind the effort I put into conserving this species on my own patch, it is hardly surprising that this sighting meant much more to me than the half dozen Dukes I saw at Noar Hill on 15th April (pictured). With this degree of involvement it all becomes much more personal, and that's how it should be with butterflies.



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