|Chedworth ... not just birds, but butterflies, too|
We visited Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire on Wednesday 30 July. It is a beautiful site, with views of the Cotswold countryside and superb Roman remains.
Archaeological sites often offer surprisingly rich habitats for wildlife, and Chedworth proved no exception, as you will see on my lizard and Roman snail post here.
A National Trust worker pointed us in the direction of a large butterfly, initially on the wall and then on the ground, just outside the Visitors' Centre.
I believe the butterfly was a Purple Emperor on account of ...
- its large size (female 75 mm wingspan)
- the amber circles on the hind wings
- its distinctive underside markings
- the location (Cotswolds) and habitat (edge of deciduous wooded area)
I can't be sure, but I suspect the circular yellow shape in the photo above is the proboscis rolled up in a spiral. There is a good photo on this pdf if you click through to page 14.
I have recorded the sighting on the Big Butterfly Count form. From my reading, I reckon we were very privileged to have this unexpected sighting. It seems rather fitting that we were introduced to an emperor at a Roman villa! Just occasionally we find ourselves in the right place at the right time ...
In case you missed the Comments...
Matthew Oates said...
That's the first sighting of a Purple Emperor in Gloucestershire since 1990! And I've looked hard. Chedworth Woods certainly look suitable. Well done and Thank You for turning Gloucestershire Purple, and on NT land to boot!
Matthew Oates NT specialist on butterflies and devotee of the Purple Emperor
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