Most people go to the same old sites year on year to see the same old butterflies. If you want to see Purple Emperor you go and join the crowds in some woods near Horsham or if you want springtime species you can queue up (avoiding the dog's mess) on Mill Hill. But where's the fun in that?!
If you're into predictability then that's fine – but surely the excitement for every butterfly enthusiast is to discover their own rarity at a new site.
Since the start of our butterfly atlas project (2010-2014) we have encouraged people to get out and explore different areas of Sussex.
In 2010 and 2011 our recorders have found new sites for our rarer species (such as Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Wood White, Silver-studded Blue, Duke of Burgundy). We're also finding that there are many great 'unknown' sites for butterflies such as the Purple Emperor and Brown Hairstreak – sites to rival the areas that everyone goes to year on year.
Below I've posted some tetrads in Sussex which we have no records for at all. Nothing. In most cases not even a Meadow Brown! Looking at them on GoogleEarth they all have potential – but have never been surveyed. They could be full of Bath Whites for all we know!
If it's a warm day why not find a square near you, print out the map and go on a journey of discovery? If you do, please email me shortly after to let me know that you have visited it, let me know what have seen and give me some comments about the site (maybe take a picture of the habitat). We'll post your reports on the website.
So grab your camera, notebook and sense of adventure and get out there and see what you can find. Instructions below:
- See a square that takes your fancy? If you want to find out where it is in Sussex go to http://www.bnhs.co.uk/focuson/grabagridref/html/index.htm and enter the grid ref in the bottom right 'go to' box. You can then see the map on the right – and a GoogleEarth image on the left.
- Click on the map to download a pdf with the map and recording form. You can then print the form and take with you in the field.
- We'll accept your records in any format: emails, handwritten notes, hey, you can even phone in your records like they do on the Eurovision song contest!
- Please record all species seen in the tetrad and mark down which quarter of the map you saw it in (area A, B, C or D). Typically these squares are in under-recorded areas so if you fancy having a longer walk make sure to records butterflies in adjacent squares too.
- Email / phone / post your records/ comments / photos to firstname.lastname@example.org (tel: 01323 423711) (3 Friston Place Cottages, Friston, East Sussex, BN20 0AJ) shortly after your visit so I can remove the square and add another.
As squares get covered I'll be removing them and adding new ones to this page. If none of these squares are near to you email me with your postcode and I'll find you an nice area near you that needs a recorder.