Butterfly Atlas Project: Year Three

Well, what can we say about 2012! It seemed like 2012 was a 'year off' for butterflies and butterfly recorders! As rain, winds and grey clouds dominated the forecast the numbers of sighting sent in to the website was at an all time low. Data received from our transect walkers was low too but this is still valuable data.

Despite the poor weather the Sussex recorders were still out there surveying new squares for the atlas. A lot of people went out to targetted 'suitcase squares' and helped us fill in a lot of gaps in the atlas.

Let's not forget that spring 2012 was very good. Records of spring butterflies such as the Orange-tip flooded in and helped fill in empty squares on the maps. The Wall continued to show up away from its downland stronghold. This is now a butterfly that can be regularly be encountered in the wider countryside.

Despite the high winds and rain we had a lot of records of Purple Emperor sent in. These included interesting records from areas around Lewes and as far east as Wadhurst. In the past people would travel to the far west of Sussex to see this species. It can now be encountered in a much wider range across the county - so keep your eyes on the dog poo in 2013 - wherever you are.

The amazing numbers of Chalkhill Blues recorded on the Downs in 2012 (over 800,000 were estimated at Friston) gave rise to a number of records of this butterfly off the Downs. Usually it is the female butterflies who leave the colony when the population rises but in 2012 we received reports of males turning up as far north in the county as Ashdown Forest.