On Wednesday evening I went along, with a friend to a wildlife talk arranged by the Friends of Lewes at Lewes Town Hall. The talk was given by Michael Blencowe the Sussex Wildlife Trusts Community Wildlife Officer, who was recently voted celebrity of the year by readers of the great local magazine Viva Lewes. We went along to understand more about the types of birds and insect species in and around the Secret campsite and also in the rich habitats that surround Lewes, the nearest major town to the Secret Campsite. With the campsite being so close to the South Downs National Park we have great access to the beautiful chalk downland just 3 miles away, but we were particularly interested in what might be on, or around the Secret campsite itself. Michael talked about how he had tried to catch the Purple Emperor butterfly, one of the largest species in Britain, using a variety of exciting techniques including floating a balloon with a lure and net. The Purple Emperor attacks any other species that flies into it’s territory, making it particularly vulnerable to just such a trap. He also attempted the rotten ox liver trap, but to no avail.
Following his brilliant presentation, Michael informed me that there had been a recent siting of the magnificent Purple Emperor in Brickyard Woods, the woodland that surround part of the Secret Campsite. So next year we will try some of Michaels trapping techniques and see whether we can tempt down our very own Purple Emperor from the tree tops. Maybe one may even attack our tree tent if we are fortunate enough to secure our planning consent next week.