The whole 'event' at East Leake GPs was very well managed by the RSPB and we spent an enjoyable couple of hours there eventually seeing 5 individuals but most of the time it was 2 or 3 on view around a single tree between 2 gravel pits. There were plenty of Sand Martins breeding in the quarry too plus 3 Yellow Wagtail fly-overs, Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard.
You know it's an important event when you get an AA sign!
Leaving the site we had planned to visit 'His Royal Highness' at Fermyn Woods in Northants next. Initially we went to the wrong entrance but at least that allowed us to take advantage of the cafe and the Red Kites circling low over the area. Re-locating we then walked into the wood along a ride and within a few minutes encountered a small group of people surrounding our 1st of several male Purple Emperors on the track! We went on to see 5 of these beauties including one flying round and then on the hubcap of a car back by the entrance! This ancient woodland is supurb for butterflies and we also saw numerous Silver-washed Fritillaries (including 1 valezina specimen), c15 White Admirals, 3+ Purple Hairstreaks plus the first Gatekeepers of the year, Red Admiral, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods, Commas, Large Skipper, Small Skipper and Small White. Despite our best efforts though we couldn't find any White-letter Hairsreaks.
Silver-washed Fritillary, valezina variant
We ummed and arhed about our final location of the day but settled on Salcey Forest just to the SE of Northampton. Here we had direction of the best spot to check for the scarce and declining Wood White at it's closest site to home. The weather was very warm by now and along the track to the spot we located 5 individuals and eventually got 2 to settle long enough for some photos. Add Green-veined White, Large White and more Silver-washed Fritillaries and we were up to 17 butterfly species for the day. A calling Nuthatch was the only bird of note.