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My 2nd annual pilgrimmage to Fermyn Woods in Northamptonshire to see His Imperial Majesty, The Purple Emperor, was one of the best butterfly trips ive ever had. I had an incredible 12 hour day in the scorching heat with fantastic company from His fellow subjects, including National Trust wildlife specialist and Purple Emperor expert, Matthew Oates. I actually managed to notch up 102 sightings at different locations around the woods, with 45 of those being grounded. I have 2 favourite British butterflies (even though i love them all) and the Emperor is one of them. Despite their rather questionable (and disgusting) habits, they have so much character and are absolutely fascinating to watch. Photographing this species can be a challenge and often, it involves rolling around in mud, dust, dung, poo, shrimp paste, flies, sweat, spit and wee. But thats all part of the fun of it :)

This Emperor was one of four feeding on a big pile of fresh dung in the middle of the track. They like to drink the salts and minerals from the most disgusting things, including
diluted smelly shrimp paste!

Read more about the day at my blog post here:

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