Saturday 2nd July 2011


Today is a momentous day: the site goes live!!! The story began in December last year, when I met Marijke de Jong (, who attended a talk about my India journey in the footsteps of my grandfather, F W Champion. She then introduced me to her partner, Marc Marsman (, and since then he and I have busy building this site. My most sincere thanks go to both of them, to Marijke for having the initial idea, and for lots of useful advice since, and to Marc for being the most incredible site designer, patient tutor of a non-natural computer person such as I – even in the dead of night, film cameraman, generous host, and a good friend.

So, welcome to the site! As you will see, it is first and foremost a homage to my naturalist forebears, but also a living opportunity for me to share my own photographs, films, diary entries and much much more. I hope you will enjoy it, and I look forward to you following me on my forthcoming journey to Central America in the footsteps of my great grandfather George Charles Champion.


Sunday 26th June 2011

Sometimes searching for butterflies, particularly spectacular species such as the two Purple Emperors, can be frustrating, but today was an exception! After dull and gloomy weather on Saturday and on Sunday morning, suddenly the sun came out…and the butterflies with it. Already managing to identify both Purple and Lesser Purple Emperors from the moving car, I stopped at my favourite place in a large forest in Northern France, and was treated to the spectacle of amazing numbers of the two Emperors, White Admiral, Silver-washed and Lesser Marbled Fritillaries, Commas and unbelievable numbers of the normally solitary Large Tortoiseshell. I also saw mating Ilex Hairstreaks, my first record for this area, but they did not pose to be filmed.

Many people believe that butterflies sip nectar, but this is not true of all species. The Emperors, Tortoiseshells, Commas, etc, moisten the gravel with their own saliva, and then suck up the minerals from the ground. They also feed on animal dung and dead animals, which is shocking to some people! I have never seen a Purple Emperor of either species feeding on a flower.


Saturday 18th June 2011


Ongoing preparations for the journey are coming on fast.  Recently I travelled to the UK to obtain more background material for the journey.  This involved a visit to the Royal Entomological Society library, where I photographed the journals of G C Champion’s brother-in-law J J Walker.

Photographing the journals of J J Walker in the Royal Entomological Society library.


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