Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Please send in your Sussex butterfly and moth sightings to sightings"AT"sussex-butterflies.org.uk. (Be aware that clicking on this email address may open a default email system on your computer that you do not usually use - if this occurs, just type the email address manually into your usual email system).  If at all possible, please include a grid reference. This page is updated as often as possible, usually daily. The sightings may not necessarily have been verified. First sightings of year for each butterfly species in red. Details of behaviour, nectar plants etc welcome.


You are welcome too to send in digital photos of butterflies and moths you have seen in Sussex - images should be jpegs, ideally 72 dpi, preferably 360x240 pixels and definitely no larger than 100kb (or, in pixels, 640x480). Find a butterfly or moth in Sussex you can't identify? Take a digital pic and send it in and we'll (try to!) identify it for you.

Click here for details of how to help look for the current Target species for which we would like all records - Pearl-bordered Fritillary


News for 30 May

Red Admiral in our East Dean garden. Report of 80 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries in Abbots Wood received via a friend from Forest Enterprise. (David Jode)

Weds 31 May

Cissbury Ring: 1 Painted Lady (very battered), 5 Holly Blues, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Small Copper. Also, had a slow worm in my garden Mon 29th May - first one I've seen in about 10 years. (Caroline, Miles and Edward Clarke)



Mon 29 May

Three pics submitted in recent days: a Cinnabar on Ditchling Beacon from Chris Green, mating Adonis Blues at Mill Hill by Andy Horton, and Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Abbots Wood from Andrew Burns





More Shoreham Butterfly Firsts: On an overcast day, I thought the rain would arrive before I saw any butterflies. As I decided to rush for cover I nearly fell over my first two Small Blues of the year on the northern bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting. Ten minutes later I saw my first Common Blue, a male on a Buttercup. (Andy Horton www.glaucus.org.uk)




Sun 28 May


Sussex Butterfly Conservation Field trip – Birling Gap

We set out in poor sunshine and a fresh cool breeze, but conditions steadily improved, especially when we got past Horseshoe Plantation. Butterflies were few in number, but we saw at least one of nearly all the species expected. The missing ones were Adonis Blue (not out yet) and surprisingly Painted Lady. Most numerous were whites, followed by Dingy Skipper of which we saw about 6, then Grizzled Skipper (3 or 4). Singles of Common BlueGreen Hairstreak, Wall, Orange-tip, Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Brimstone, and Small Heath. Also seen, larvae of both Brown-tail and Yellow-tail Moths. (Graham Parris)


Ebernoe NNR 2 Common Blue, 1 Small Heath, and not much else!! (Margaret Hibbard)


Sightings in garden in Kingston near Lewes  4 male and 1 female Adonis Blue (which is no change from yesterday - why  all five yesterday and no fresh emergers today?), 1 Small Blue  ovipositing on Kidney Vetch flower head (photographed), 1 m. Common Blue, 1 Holly Blue, 2 Painted Lady, 1 female Brimstone, 1 male Orange-tipwhites. (John Holloway)


Pollard Transect @ Malling Down, Lewes, East Sussex (TQ 428 117)
On transect, 32 sightings & 12 Species  Dingy Skipper 3, Brimstone 1, Large White 2, Small White 8, Green Hairstreak 2, Brown Argus 1  (first one I have seen this year), Common Blue 1(male) (first one I have seen this year), Adonis Blue 6 (5 male & 1 female), Painted Lady 3, Wall Brown 2, Small Heath 1 (first one I have seen this year),several Silver Y moths Mother Shipton moths. No Small Coppers today. Lots of Rose Chafer and a Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly. Horseshoe Vetch late - not in full bloom yet. Looking back at previous years data I realise we may start seeing the first Meadow Browns soon! (Crispin Holloway)



Sat 27 May

Holywell Tea Chalet down near the beach - 1 Painted Lady (David Jode)



In garden in Kingston near Lewes today 4 male and 1 female Adonis Blue, the first this year, 1 Small Blue,  Painted Lady, 1 Red Admiral, Large & Small Whites, 1 Silver Y moth (John Holloway).



Thurs 25 May

1 Painted Lady, 1 Holly Blue nectaring on holly flowers, and a couple of whites in our East Dean Garden (David Jode)

One Clouded Yellow at the southern end of Thorney Island this morning (Barry Collins). 


Between Southease and Piddinghoe: 4 Painted Ladies and 2 Small Heath (Michael Hawkins). 


Late afternoon on the scarp slope by my house in Edburton produced a nice male Common Blue, 2 Dingy Skippers, 2 Red Admirals, Speckled Wood and the first Cinnabar Moth of the year (Tony Wilson) 



Wed May 24

Chailey Common: 1 Brimstone butterfly despite the awful weather (Michael Hawkins).


Tues 23 May

I bet everyone is "tearing their hair" about the weather !!    However, sightings on decent day in Ashpark Wood, near Plaistow  3 Dingy Skippers, 4 Grizzled Skippers, 1 Painted Lady, 4 Small Heath and 1 male Wood White. (Margaret Hibbard)


Today in our garden at East Dean...9am - 1 Painted Lady and 1 Holly Blue

pm - 1 Painted Lady - 1 Holly Blue - 2 Red Admiral - 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth and our first dragonfly sighting of the year a female Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)

Park Corner Heath Reserve sightings between 10am and Noon...10+ Painted Lady, 5 male Brimstone, 1 female Orange-tip, 2 Red Admiral

Referring back to the Large Tortoiseshell sighting at Horseshoe Plantation on 6 April, they do of course use Elm as their foodplant (David Jode)


Butterflies on a walk from Edburton to Tottington Wood today were 7 Painted Ladies, 2 Red Admirals, Small Copper, Holly Blue, Large, Small and Green-veined White + 8 Silver Y Moths (Tony Wilson).


1 mint Small Blue, 1 Holly Blue, 2 Painted Ladies, 1 male Orange Tip, Large  & Small  Whites and 2 Silver Y Moths in a private garden at Kingston (John Holloway).



Sat 20 May

An extremely breezy afternoon walk produced only 3 species:- 3 Painted Lady, 4 Small Copper and 1 male Wall Brown (my first of the year) (Mike Snelling)


A Holly Blue bravely came into the wind-tossed garden in Peacehaven today in what so far has been a very good year here for the species. It nectared on Garlic Mustard, which is grown in hope for Orange-tip and Green-veined White caterpillars, but good to see it being used in this way too. (Adrian Thomas)


Abbots Wood, overcast, very windy with sun intermittent.  At least 20 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and minimum 15 Painted Ladies, some with very damaged wings, in the cleared area referred to in previous reports.  Most of Pearl-bordered wings were quite worn.  (Andrew Burns)



The weather forecast was scattered heavy showers, fresh westerly winds with some sunny intervals in the afternoon. When we left home the rain was torrential, the wind was strong and the temperature 8 c.What a day for a Butterfly Field Trip – we thought we would be the only ones there! 

However it was not raining as we approached Springhead and it was warmer and to our delight there were a number of members already there. We were informed that our target species, the Duke of Burgundy, had already been spotted and this was before the walk had started. 

The butterflies were not active in the cool temperature but with the number of people looking (17) a good number were found, mainly resting, giving ideal photographic opportunities. 

The Dukes were seen in several places as were 10 other species including freshly emerged Small Blues.  A Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Green Hairstreak, Orange-tip, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Large and Green-veined Whites and Speckled Wood made up the numbers. 

Reg Hinks delighted us with finding tiny caterpillars of the Chalkhill Blue and Dingy Skipper which completed a very pleasant and successful visit. (David & Molly Dancy)



Fri 19 May


In my garden at Kingston, near Lewes this afternoon (19th) one Painted Lady, rather small and pale with a bird peck on left hind wing. Orange-tips have been in quite good numbers since 22 April but they have suddenly disappeared with none since 15th.
Yesterday (18th) in a garden in The Avenue, Lewes, at a distance of about 30ft was what at first glance I took to be a Comma or Painted Lady but when it flew up over the roof tops it looked too big for a Comma and far too orange for a Painted Lady. I'd love to think it was a Large Tortoiseshell but I'll never know. (John Holloway)



Thurs 18 May


Seems like there's been a large arrival of immigrant moths and butterflies in the last few days with many Painted Ladies and Striped Hawkmoths reported.  Here in Edburton my paltry share today was 4 Painted Ladies, 4 Red Admirals and 2 Large Whites (Tony Wilson)


Immigrant butterflies appear to be coming in, mostly Red Admirals, but early in the afternoon, my first Painted Lady of the

year landed on Wallflower in a north Shoreham garden.  A Silver Y Moth was also noted. (Andy Horton)


A good day.... In our East Dean garden around midday in dull weather our first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year nectaring on Nepeta (Cat Mint). These moths are seen almost daily here during mid-late summer! Also our first Painted Lady and our first Large White plus a Red Admiral were seen an hour later when it brightened up! Between 4 and 5pm on the sheltered side of Horseshoe Plantation at Belle Tout I saw another two firsts of the year for me - 8 Dingy Skipper and 3 Grizzled Skipper (David Jode)


Springhead: Although the weather was not ideal today, there were warmer spells and we saw several butterflies :- 4 Small Blue ( all male) very fresh, 4 Duke of Burgundy (all male) plus 6+ Dingy Skipper, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Painted Lady, 2 Orange-tip, Red Admiral and Green-veined White (Mike Snelling and Neil Hulme)


Painted Lady seen in my Brighton garden (TQ3007) despite cool wind. Also, pleased to report have seen numerous Holly

Blue in my garden since first sighting on 22nd April. (Caroline Clarke)


Between the 10-17 May our East Dean garden sightings have been:

4 Holly Blue, 6 Orange-tip (including one female), plus a few assorted Whites.

 Out and about locally: 3 Speckled Wood, 2 male Brimstone, 2 Small Tortoiseshell

1 Red Admiral, several Orange-tip and other whites (David Jode)



Weds 17 May

An understandable lull in records as the weather decides to go autumnal for a while! A chance for a little addendum to the Large Tortoiseshell story of earlier in the season - the Dorset Butterfly Conservation website reports sightings on 8 April at Worth Matravers, 4 May at Boscombe Cliffe (Bournemouth) and 5 May at Branksome Deep Chine (Poole), so perhaps it is still worth keeping an eye open once spring returns!


Mon 15 May

Yesterday's mystery moth has been identified by both Michael Blencowe and Andy Horton as Pyrausta aurata, a micro moth known colloquially as the Mint Moth on account of its larvae's taste for garden mint plants. Day-flying as well as coming to light, and with two broods, it may also be seen on wild Marjoram which if you don't have in your garden is also a must for attracting nectaring adult Gatekeepers. The UK Moths website as usual gives an excellent reference and further photos to the moth.


My first two Silver-Ys of the year flew from Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham.  My first two Wall Brown and my first Brimstone moth were seen on a brief visit to Mill Hill. (Andy Horton)


Although clearly not within the remit of Butterfly Conservation, you may wish to use the time when you are out searching for Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and other butterflies and moths to also take note of any sightings of Banded Demoiselle damselflies for this year's national survey. Check out www.brc.ac.uk/demoiselle for how to submit sightings, and for more information about this distinctive insect.



Sun 14 May

After being stuck in a hot room in Brighton all day yesterday and reading the reports on the website last night I was looking forward to a butterfly packed sunday out in the county. The lack of sunshine certainly put an end to that. Nevertheless , I visited 3 sites in East Sussex and was rewarded with one butterfly; a Small Heath at Park Corner Heath which seemed as impressed with the weather as I was. However, 12 Speckled Yellow moths there added a splash of colour (photos below). Driving home, the sun came out! (Michael Blencowe)


  Small Heath                 Speckled Yellow


Can someone put a name to, and give a little bit of info about, this micromoth, photographed today at Seaford allotments? (Bob Brown)



An attractive Eyed Hawkmoth was discovered on a Daffodil in a garden in Mill Hill Gardens (per Andy Horton - photo at www.glaucus.org.uk/moths)


The Butterfly Walk on the lower slopes of Mill Hill produced just two Small Heath and a handful of small Pyrausta nigrata moths. The Horseshoe Vetch was just beginning, only about 5% of its full splendour. The sun struggled to come out in the afternoon and I recorded my first male Adonis Blue of the year on the Shoreham Bank with 13 Dingy Skippers, five Grizzled Skippers and three Small Heath. A Red Admiral landed on the path at the top of the steps on the southern part of Mill Hill. Two Small White were seen in a north Shoreham garden and a Large White at top of Chanctonbury Drive, near (SE) of Mill Hill. (Andy Horton www.glaucus.org.uk)



Sat 13 May

Pollard Transect @ Malling Down, Lewes, East Sussex (TQ 428 117), 11.40pm - 1.00pm.  17c, 65% sun.

On transect, 45 sightings & 11 species: Dingy Skipper 6, Brimstone 11, Large White 2, Small White 5, Green Hairstreak 3, 

Small Copper 4 (appears to be starting off well),   Holly Blue 1, Red Admiral  5, Speckled Wood 4,  Wall Brown 3.

Also several Silver-Y. No Brown Argus, Common Blue, Adonis or Small Heath seen on transect, yet.

Off transect at Malling Down: Grizzled Skipper (Crispin Holloway)


10 Dingy Skipper, 5 Small Copper, 2 Green Hairstreak and 3 Wall Brown seen at Malling Down today.

Also 40 Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Abbots Wood with females laying

eggs on dead vegetation near to violets. (Dave Mitchell)


News for 11 May

On my allotment at Sutton Drove Seaford, an Orange-tip and freshly emerged Holly Blues. (Bob Brown)



Fri 12 May


See Events page for new butterfly walks at Mill Hill (Shoreham) led by Andy Horton on 14 and 21 May.


Garden, Kingston Nr Lewes. 1 male Common Blue, 2 Small Coppers, 1 Holly Blue, several Orange-tips,  1 Painted Lady, I Speckled Wood, Large, Small, & Green-veined Whites. (John Holloway)


Garden, Peacehaven. Ten species in the actinic moth trap overnight, including Nut-tree Tussock, new for the garden (Adrian Thomas)


News for Thurs 11 May


TARGET SPECIES: Abbot's Wood - TQ 563083 -  55 Pearl Bordered Fritillaries recorded at 1430 hrs by Stuart Sutton ( Forest Ranger), Dan Hoare and myself in 30 minutes. Ideal conditions, 25c 100% sunshine and no wind. (Alan Holden)


Chailey Common: at least 13 Brimstones, plus Large and Small Whites, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. Also a number of Common Swift moths (Michael Hawkins).


News for Weds 10 May

Beacon Hill LNR - Rottingdean TQ 364028  1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Alan Holden)



Thurs 11 May

The following pics of Green-veined White and Orange-tip are from Gary Trew, taken on 7 May:




Two Clouded Yellows seen on the cycle path south of the cement works, Upper Beeding.

Orange-tips out in force (13+) at Shoreham. Dingy Skippers mating on Mill Hill. 13 species in the day.

Numbers of butterflies about 80. (Andy Horton www.glaucus.org.uk)


News for May 10th:  Ashpark Wood, near Plaistow   3 Grizzled Skipper and 1 Small Heath.


Wed 10 May

Some 25 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries were seen  on the walk through Rewell Wood, near Arundel (Rob Thurlow).


First Speckled Wood, a Holly Blue and 4 Small Whites in a private garden in Seaford (Roy Neeve)


Painted Lady seen at University of Sussex, Falmer  (Crispin Holloway)


Tues 9 May


Sightings in our East Dean garden for the last seven days were still disappointing: 4 Orange-tip (one female), 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Green-veined White (David Jode)



Mon 8 May

Private garden in Kingston Nr Lewes, 1 Small Heath, 1 Small Copper, 1  Speckled Wood, 2 Orange-tips, 1 Large White (John Holloway)


Crispin Holloway reports the following on his Malling Down (near Lewes) transect:  4 Brimstones, Large White, Orange-tip, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma  and 2 Red Admirals, with 2 Dingy Skippers off the transect route. 


Green Hairstreak  Kingston (John Holloway)


Sun 7 May

I was in Abbot's Wood again today today and can confirm that the species I have seen over the last few days is indeed the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Today I saw at least half a dozen.

I will try to describe the area of Abbot Wood where I have seen them. If you park opposite the Old Oak pub and go into the wood in the nearby entrance, you go through a beautiful area of bluebells where the wood has been thinned out a bit recently. Carry on down the path until you reach a fairly wide ride. Turn right and walk approximately 100 yards. You
will notice quite a lot of fairly young Silver Birch trees and then you come to a fairly large cleared area. I have seen the PBFs on the left-hand side of the clearance, where some bracken has been cut down.

I almost managed to get a photograph of one specimen with my cameraphone but unfortunately I wasn't quite quick enough! (Graham Smith)

 Orange-tip  in private garden at Coldwaltham and a Green-veined White at Springhead Hill TQ 0579 1261 (Gary Trew)

A Painted Lady was seen south of Bo-Peep car park (Matt Eade)

First Holly Blue in garden at Saltdean flew quickly through a couple of times as did a Small White.  A Pyrausta purpuralis moth settled on Mallow (Lavatera) leaves (David West). 

A Large White in a Shoreham garden and a Small Heath on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, Shoreham. (Andy Horton)


Despite the cloudy conditions,a few butterflies seen at Rewell Wood today:-

3 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, 2 Painted Ladies (incl a very small one), 2 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock, 3 Green-veined White, 3 Brimstone, 1 Speckled Wood and several Silver-Y moths (Mike Snelling)


Beachy Head (Birling Gap to Belle Tout) - numbers of butterflies still very low - just 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small Copper, 1 Peacock, 1 Comma, 5 Speckled Wood, 1 Grizzled Skipper, + 1 fab male Emperor Moth (photo taken today below, on Traveller's Joy) and two Dotted Bee-flies (Adrian Thomas)


Sat 6 May


This year it took me until May 1st to see any butterflies at all around Seaford. However Friday afternoon at the entrance of Malling Down (Lewes)  I saw a blue (I think Common rather than Adonis) and what I'm certain was a Grizzled Skipper (the first ever for me!).  Then an Orange-tip flew past. Further up the valley I saw Brimstones, another Orange-tip and a Peacock. Finally at the top on the south side there is a glade leading towards the golfcourse, here were many Speckled Woods. Many whites were also seen, but can't say if were Green-veined. Conditions were sunny and warm I would think 60F. 


In contrast in a five-mile walk this lunchtime over the Wealdway between Horsebridge and East Hoathly only one butterfly - a Speckled Wood - was seen, conditions were very dull. (Bob Brown)



Most unusual butterfly I've seen this year was a Painted Lady (99% sure, it zoomed off fast & as it was overcast it didn't keep flying) at Castle Hill, Brighton on Friday 28 April. I can't recall ever having seen one so early before. I am aware that 10 or so Painted Ladies which been reared at Goldstone School (Hove) were released before the Easter holidays (31 March) to give them a chance of survival so there may have been a few in the area by unnatural means!


Can tell it's been a bad start to the year as the first Holly Blue in our garden (New Church Road, Hove) was only seen by my wife on 4 May.


On 2 April we saw quite a lot of butterflies when we were on holiday at the Palatine Hill & the Forum in Rome including a Nettle Tree Butterfly, so I can recommend Rome at that time of year. (John Heys)



My apologies that on some nights, such as last night, I am out at various committee meetings and do not get to post the sightings onto the website until the following morning. The vast majority of days I am able to post the sightings between 9-10pm, and at weekends often twice daily.


Thanks for all the interest in the site so far and the kind words about it - there were 568 unique visitors in April alone visiting the site 1299 times, in a year when the spring weather has made butterfly and moth watching for most part 'difficult'!


Adrian Thomas, Webmaster


Fri 5 May

Today at Springhead we saw :-

1 Duke of Burgundy - male, 2 Green Hairstreaks, 4 Dingy Skippers, 5 Holly Blues, 3 Peacock, c6 Red Admirals, 2 Orange-tips plus a few Silver Y moths (Mike Snelling, Nigel Elliot and Neil Hulme)


A few more butterflies around Edburton late afternoon today - 1 Painted Lady, 2 Red Admirals, 2 Speckled Woods, Brimstone, 2 Orange-tips, Large White and 2 Green-veined Whites. (Tony Wilson)


Numerous Orange-tips and Brimstones, male and female, Peacocks and two Holly Blues, Speckled Wood, one Comma. SOUTHWATER West Sussex w/c 01.05.2006 (Sarah Knott)


In Abbot's Wood this afternoon, 3 Fritillaries, thought to be Pearl-Bordered. Two flew past me, very low to the ground, but did not settle. One settled on a path in the sun, and I also got to briefly see the underside of its wings. I also saw a very swift Painted Lady fly past, high up into the trees. (Graham Smith.)



Thurs 4 May

A pair of Grizzled Skippers were mating in a small depression on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (Shoreham Bank) (Andy Horton www.glaucus.org.uk) - click here for pic


First Small White, also first Holly Blue  in my Seaford garden (Roy Neeve)



Weds 3 May


Private garden at Plaistow  1 Holly Blue, 1 Orange Tip

Woods near Plaistow  2 Speckled Wood, 1 Green-veined White, 18 Brimstone (Margaret Hibbard)


News for 1 May


6  Brimstones, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Orange Tip, Adder and Common Lizard seen at Park Corner Heath today ( Peter and Sandra Solly)


Just one male Orange Tip, 2 Peacock and 2 Comma at Laughton Common Wood - no Pearl-bordered Fritillaries yet (Adrian Thomas)


Tues 2 May

Latest records in reveal how difficult it has been to find butterflies lately:


Our only sighting for the last seven days was a male Brimstone in our East Dean garden on 27 April (David Jode)



Not much to report locally: first local sighting of Green-veined White on Telscombe Tye at TQ 398032 on 1 May with two Small/Gv Whites flying  too fast to identify and 2 Small Tortoiseshells nearby. In the garden at Saltdean only a Small White on 30 April and Comma on 1st May (David West)


Individually we each saw a butterfly on 1 May: I saw a Speckled Wood on Lancing Ring TQ 182062, my wife Jan saw a Small Tortoiseshell near Lancing Hill at Cowbottom TQ188070, and my daughter Kath saw a Holly Blue nearby at TQ 186048 (Ray Hamblett, Lancing Nature)

What to look for in May:

  • Butterflies: After this year's very slow start to the butterfly season, we are still waiting for first records of species that in some years are seen by the end of April, namely Wood White, Common Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small Heath and Wall. By mid-month, we would expect the first Small Blues, Brown Argus and Adonis Blues, with Large Skipper, Meadow Brown and possibly Clouded Yellow to add to all of April's species which should still be on the wing.
  • Moths: The number of species attracted to light traps should increase markedly, with some of the 'glamour' species such as some of the Hawkmoths now being found.

Mon 1 May

Kingston nr Lewes (TQ391 086):  3 whites (Sm & Gv), 1 Orange Tip, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Speckled Wood (Crispin Holloway)

Grizzled Skipper, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Brimstone at Park Corner Heath today (Dave Mitchell)

May came in with a shower. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill,  a single first Grizzled Skipper was recorded, the first of the year, with frequent (10+) small moths Pyrausta nigrata, seen for the first time this year, visiting Dandelions. Pancalia micro-moths were seen and were probably frequent to common, but because these are very small and hidden, their numbers could not even be guessed at. (Andy Horton www.glaucus.org.uk)

Recent records from Burgess Hill garden: Red Admiral 28th March; Comma 1st April; Speckled Wood 27th April; Orange Tip 28th April; 2 Holly Blues 28th April; Large White  30th April; Green-veined White 1st May. (Peter and Sandra Solly)



Sun 30 April

Pollard Transect @ Malling Down, Lewes, East Sussex (TQ 428 117) 2.45pm - 3.45pm.  14oC,  50% sun.
On transect, 7 sightings & 5 Species: Green Hairstreak 2, Grizzled Skipper 1, Small Copper 1, S. Tortoiseshell 1, Peacock 3
Off transect: Pells area, Lewes, East Sussex: 1 Speckled Wood  (TQ413 109) (Crispin Holloway)


 Target Species, May 2006 : Pearl-bordered Fritillaries


We are hoping to use the website to make occasional requests annually for you all to help us with information about particular species or sites – what we are calling our Targets.


These might be species for which we could do with as up-to-date information as possible to help with our conservation work, or for which we think there may be gaps in our knowledge in the county.


Our first Target is for all records of one of our most endangered butterflies in the county, the Pearl-bordered Fritillary.


Click here for more information about how to help look for Pearl-bordered Fritillaries between now and June.



Sun 30 April

A Red Admiral nectaring on Blackthorn at RSPB Pulborough Brooks was the only butterfly seen in 5 hours in the field today (Adrian Thomas)


Sat 29 April

With temperatures still struggling to get above 13oC, it is still an effort to find any butterflies out. An afternoon walk up Cissbury Ring produced just one male Brimstone and one Holly Blue (Adrian Thomas)


Fri 28 April

Sightings this week at Sussex Police's Training Facility at Kingstanding in Ashdown Forest:
Speckled Wood in a shaded firebreak (28/04/06). Brimstones flying up over the gorse (22/04/06). (Steve Wheatley)



Weds 26 April

With the sun out so were the flying insects with twenty butterflies of seven species which included my first Green-veined White of the year chased by a Speckled Wood on the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.
The lower slopes of Mill Hill hosted the first Dingy Skipper of the year. (Andy Horton)

On a short to Uckfield and back this 26th April, male Orange Tips seen at TO 455173,  TO 449174, TO 469215, TO 445212, TO 455163 & TO 462 173 (Graham Parris)


Several Peacocks at Pagham Harbour today, some nectaring on Blackthorn, plus one male Brimstone (Adrian Thomas)


A Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) was buzzing around my garden at 13:00, presumably looking for suitable flowers upon which to feed. I've never seen this species this early before.
Location: Lindfield, West Sussex - Grid reference TQ349248 (Bob Foreman)

Below is a picture that I took on Monday (24th) in our Upper Beeding garden of my first Green-veined White of 2006. We also had a Small White in our garden on Saturday (22nd), and saw an Orange Tip flying by the side of Steyning bypass (at about TQ183110) on Friday lunchtime (21st). (Jim Steedman)




Tues 25 April

Our only garden sightings for the last seven days were:
18/04 - one Small Tortoiseshell
21/04 - one Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Brimstone (one female)
Plus same day at Wannock one male Brimstone. (David Jode)



Sun 23 April

Overnight actinic moth trap in Peacehaven produced Common Quaker, Early Grey and Hebrew Character (Adrian Thomas)


Sat 22 April


Pollard Transect @ Malling Down, Lewes, East Sussex (TQ 428 117), 12.45pm - 1.45pm.  17oC, 100% sun.

On transect, 8 sightings & 7 species:  Brimstone 2, Orange Tip 1, Small Copper 1 , Holly Blue 1, S. Tortoiseshell 1, Peacock 1, Comma 1

No Grizzled Skippers or Dingy Skippers yet.

Off transect: 1 Holly Blue  (TQ413 114),  1 Green Hairstreak,  1 Green-veined White,  1 Small White, several Brimstones.

Total of 10 species today! (Crispin Holloway)


Sightings around Edburton today on a much better day were 10 Brimstones, 7 Peacocks, 4 Green-veined Whites, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell (Tony Wilson)


After being stuck in Brighton all day on what felt like the warmest day so far this year, a 5pm trip to Park Corner Heath was the perfect remedy. A fine Speckled Wood was soaking up the sun next to the path by the hut, but flew up and away when I reached for my camera. Also 5 Comma and 1 Peacock on the reserve. (Michael Blencowe)


2 Holly Blue and Large White in Peacehaven garden (Adrian Thomas)


Fri 21 April


It was only today I recorded two firsts. I spotted my first Small White and my first Speckled Wood of the year in a garden in north Shoreham and on the Slonk Hill Cutting (south bank) path respectively. The Small White is a month late and the Speckled Wood a week later than usual. (Andy Horton)

My first Orange Tip of the year in my garden in Edburton + plenty of sightings of Brimstone and a Peacock.  A drive to Henfield produced 3 Small Whites from the car + another white which was presumably a Green-veined White as it was in a wood. (Tony Wilson)


Mon 17 April


The Dorset branch of Butterfly Conservation reports a Large Tortoiseshell on 8 April at Worth Matravers, the same date as one of the Sussex individuals.

Two Brimstones and a Peacock in Edburton + moths over the last few nights included a Mottled Grey and a Clouded Drab (Tony Wilson)

Ebernoe Common: 5 Brimstone (all male), 5 Comma (Michael Blencowe)

My only sighting of the Easter weekend was a male Brimstone in our East Dean garden on Monday morning 17th April (David Jode)

Today I saw my first (and the first record received for Sussex this year) Orange Tip (male) of the year at Iping Crossroads, Iping Common alongside the A272 SU8538622232.  I pulled over in the car and watched it land a few times on the grass verge before flying into a wooded area. It was just too quick for me to obtain a photo unfortunately. (Richard Symonds)


2 Commas and 1 Peacock at Peacehaven today but things remain very slow on the butterfly and moth front - despite the sunshine, the temperature only just reached 13oC with a chill wind (Adrian Thomas)


Sun 16 April

Sightings today from my garden in Edburton - 2 Brimstones in a bright spell and last night at my outside light Small Quaker, Twin-spotted Quaker, Shoulder Stripe and Hebrew Character (Tony Wilson)


Sat 15 April

Some recently received records from earlier in the year have been inserted chronologically so as to lay out a clear picture of the year so far.


Also received is a photo forwarded by David Jode of the Beachy Head Large Tortoiseshell (see 6th April below). David has commented about the white marks along the leading edge of the forewing, which are not usually a feature of Large Tortoiseshells and which also were shown on the Ashcombe Bottom individual. My theory is that these are worn patches of scales where the wing is lighter in fresh condition, and that book illustrations don't reflect the changes that can occur to more vulnerable parts of the wing with wear. Can anyone confirm this?


2 male Brimstone, Heyshott Common near Midhurst (SU908191 and SU911192) (Adrian Thomas)


Thurs 13 April

Skinner trap/actinic light in Peacehaven garden produced just one Early Grey (Adrian Thomas)


Weds 12 April

A walk along The Cuckoo Trail from Polegate towards Hailsham on Wednesday morning 12 April produced one Comma at 10.15am (TQ585060) (David Jode)


We still await the first Sussex records this year of Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Holly Blue, and Green-veined White.


Mon 10 April: More on the Large Tortoiseshells

Seeing the recently hibernated (presumably) Large Tortoiseshell picture reminded me of the one found and photographed (click here) by Philip Newton at Three Oaks, nr Hastings.  It was found on 16 July (when I was fortunate to be called over too confirm the ID), and again the next morning only.  This is the same pic as published in Atropos recently. 

Reminds me of the great Camberwell Beauty year when the opposite happened - I missed the summer arrivals, then was lucky enough to find a post-hibernation example in Sussex the following spring - on blackthorn blossom!

Well worth everyone looking out specially for more Large Torts anywhere over the next few weeks!

(Ralph Hobbs)


The grid references on the two sightings this year are Horseshoe Plantation TV562957, and Ashcombe Bottom TQ373120 (accessed most 'easily' (it's a bit of a slog up) from the B2116 at TQ378130). Note another Large Tort was seen on 3 July in Shoreham last year. (Adrian Thomas)


Sun 9 April

Butterflies seen today by work party at Park Corner Heath: Brimstone, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Painted Lady.

(Dave Mitchell)


Sat 8 April

Lancing Ring LNR
Near Cemetery: 1 Brimstone.
Near the Brian Old Seat: 2 Small Tortoiseshells
Near Main Car Park: 1 Red Admiral (Ray Hamblett)


Small White in Saltdean garden (David West)


Peacock in Edburton and Shoulder Stripe and The Engrailed (Tony Wilson)


Large Tortoiseshell (photo below) and 3 Comma at Ashcombe Bottom. The Large Tortoiseshell was in a sunny glade on the public footpath through this south-facing downland wood, basking on the ground and regularly jostling with a markedly smaller Comma. It was quite wary, and getting photographs took a considerable amount of belly crawling! (Adrian Thomas)



Thurs 6 April

2 Peacock and 1 Comma at Mill Hill, Shoreham nectaring on Sweet Violets (Andy Horton, per www.glaucus.org.uk)


Red Admiral at Hampden Park Eastbourne (Peter Clinch)



Large Tortoiseshell at Horseshoe Plantation (per David Jode) - photo below.


2 Brimstone and 3 Comma, Ebernoe Reserve [SWT]  SU 978 276 (Margaret Hibbard)  

Comma and Small Tortoiseshell - Seaford garden (Roy Neeve)


Weds 5 April

Male Brimstone in East Dean village (David Jode) 


2 Peacock - Seaford garden (Roy Neeve)


Comma - Isfield garden (Graham Parris)


Tues 4 April

1 Peacock - private garden, Seaford  (Roy Neeve)


Mon 3 April

A Brimstone butterfly flew past me as I worked in St Bernards Court, central Lancing (Ray Hamblett)


Male Brimstone see in East Dean Village late morning (David Jode)


Peacock and Red Admiral in Pett garden (per www.rxwildlife.org.uk)


Sun 2 April

2 Commas and Peacock in Saltdean garden  (David West)


Sat 1 April

Lancing Ring LNR:
McIntyres Field - 1 Comma, 1 Peacock (Ray Hamblett)


Report of 10-20 Brimstone, mostly male, at Burton Mill Ponds in West Sussex (per David Jode).


First sightings, this year, in my garden in central Eastbourne - a Small Tortoiseshell and a Comma. (Bob Coleman)


Male Brimstone, High and Over Car Park, near Seaford. (Graham Parris)


1 female Brimstone, private garden Plaistow  

1 male Brimstone, roadside neat Kirdford, TQ 020 283   

Red Admiral, Kirdford Churchyard, TQ 018 265    (Margaret Hibbard)


1 Comma, Peacehaven garden

12 Commas, 10 Brimstone (all male), 2 Peacock, Laughton Common Wood TQ 50 13 (Adrian Thomas)


My first Sussex butterfly sightings of the year today: Peacock in our back garden at Upper Beeding; Small Tortoiseshell elsewhere in the village; and male Brimstone on Downslink path near South Downs Way footbridge north of Beeding Cement Works. (Jim Steedman)


Male Brimstone today in Edburton and a March Moth last night (Tony Wilson)


Comma in Saltdean garden (David West)


What to look for in April

  • Butterflies: Warmer weather should see all five species that overwinter as adults (Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral and Comma) joined as the month progresses by widespread species Speckled Wood, Small White, Green-veined White, Large White, Holly Blue and Orange Tip. Late in the month there is the chance for  Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak in their more restricted habitats.

  • Moths: The numbers of moths attracted to light traps increases substantially. Perhaps the most abundant and widespread is the Hebrew Character.


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