Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Send Sussex butterfly and moth sightings to sighting 'at' sussex-butterflies.org.uk (type the email address manually into your usual email system and replace "AT" with @). This page is updated as often as possible, usually daily. Red sightings are first of the year, purple are moths.

Weblink for national 2008 Painted Lady and Hummingbird Hawkmoth survey

Send digital photos of butterflies and moths taken in Sussex to photo 'at' sussex-butterflies.org.uk. Please do not send attachments larger than 1MB.

Click here for the Sussex Moth Group webpages

Calling all 12-16 year olds - check out the Sussex Butterfly Conservation Prize Photography Competition here - closing date 30 September 2008

"Colin Pratt’s Silver Trophy Cup for Sussex Lepidopterists" - here

Next event: Loads of events for National Moth Night throughout next weekend 6-8 Jun

Can you help at BBC Springwatch Event in Stanmer Park, Falmer (nr Brighton) Sunday 8 June? Click here for more info.

Saturday 31 May 2008

Saw my first Meadow Browns this morning, but very little else at Bevendean, a few Common Blues and Speckled Woods. (Geoff Stevens).

After seeing my first ever Cream-Spot Tiger at Beachy Head yesterday, another one appeared at Rye Harbour today, flying past and landing on the assembled birders who were there to see the Terek Sandpiper. I know nothing about moths, but I'm guessing that both sightings don't relate to just one moth that's a bit of a twitcher? (Paul Marten)

Nearly time to say "goodbye" to the Duke of Burgundy for another year. Only the last 'remnants' were on the wing today and most of these were looking fit to drop - faded, torn and even missing limbs! But I was pleased to find one female (pictured) that still appeared quite fresh. On the Downs near Amberley I also saw some Small Blues and watched a very attractive Common Blue (pictured) pumping out eggs, one after another. I hope to see a good number of you at the Park Corner Heath Open Day tomorrow. Michael and the trusty volunteer force (some of which have been serving the reserve for years) have put a huge amount of work into the place and it would be nice to see a good turnout. (Neil Hulme)

Friday 30 May 2008

Whilst birdwatching a Cream-spot Tiger was spotted at Whitbread Hollow. A little overshadowed by the River Warbler and Bee Eater but still an extra bonus!! (Matt Eade).

The Rother Woods Project has now been officially launched, with a get together of volunteer recorders at the Forestry Commission’s Beckley Woods. The project has begun with an expedition into the Rother’s dark woodlands, looking for clearings and coppice coups where butterfly populations might be hanging on. Results so far have been mixed. Grizzled Skippers are hanging on at Beckley Woods and Dingy Skippers have been found at Brede High Woods and a nearby orchard, but there is no sign of Pearl-bordered Fritillary which was once widespread across Sussex. The search continues...

Thursday 29 May 2008

Small Heaths, Small Coppers, a Peacock and lots of Common Blues and Adonis Blues at Malling Down this morning, including this interesting female Adonis Blue aberration (is this ab. krodeli?). (Steve Wheatley)

When the sun came out this morning things started to heat up at Park Corner Heath BC reserve. David Dancy reports that 12 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries were on the wing - a figure that equals last years maximum daily count. In woodland near Ringmer I found another White-spotted Sable (Anania funebris) and tried to photograph my first Scarce Chaser dragonfly while a Black Kite flew overhead - I didn't know where to look! (Michael Blencowe & Dan Hoare).

Red Admiral and Holly Blue this morning as I walked to work through Brighton's Pavilion gardens - it may not be a large haul, but it is always nice to see butterflies making a home in the middle of our cities. (Adrian Thomas)

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Please be alert! An incident occurred last week when I found two (probably commercial) collectors on a site in West Sussex. A large number of specimens of one of our rarest butterflies has unfortunately been taken. With the inappropriately low level of legal protection afforded to most of our (even endangered) species, I was only able to eventually ensure their departure, on the basis that they were trespassing. Despite a firm but polite approach, the situation became quite unpleasant. There are several, justifiable reasons for carrying nets (moths, other insect groups, butterfly identification and research work etc.) and merely by collecting most butterfly species, people are not necessarily breaking the law. However, collecting (or being) on private land (without permission), collecting on Nature Reserves, SSSIs and land owned or controlled by bodies such as the National Trust and Forestry Commission (without licence or written permission), and the collecting of a number of rarer, partially protected species with a view to trading in them (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; Variation of Schedule 1989), are all illegal. If you see someone you think is breaking the law in this way, it would help us to accurately judge the threat this poses, and potentially influence future revisions of the law, by making a note of as many details (species being taken, description, vehicle plate) as you can.

Everyone has the right to make a polite and reasoned objection to acts of a technically legal nature on moral grounds, but Butterfly Conservation does not suggest that they do so. However, unless the law is being broken that is as far as they should go. If you suspect that the law is being broken, please take the details as above and contact me via this website (see 'Contact Us'). Do not 'tackle' anyone that gives you the slightest suspicion that they may become abusive or even violent. Acts such as that described above are fortunately very rare these days, but please be vigilant as these collectors may still be in our area. Unfortunately, collecting rare butterflies from isolated colonies on this scale (far beyond the level that many will have indulged in before attitudes changed), may result in lasting damage. In this case I have every hope that the colony in question will survive. (Neil Hulme)

Some beautiful new pictures: Netted Pug and Bee Moth in Mike Snelling's trap last night (Findon), today's Cream-spot Tiger from Jim Steedman in Rewell Wood, and a recent shot of the aberrant Grizzled Skipper, Latin name taras, from Mike Mullis in Abbots Wood:

Last nights moth-ing was curtailed early again by steady rain. However the moths seen in this short session in Findon, and recently, are now much more varied. They included Netted Pug which was new for me and Alder Moth and Bee Moth were new for the year. Hawkmoths (Elephant, Small Elephant and Poplar) have started to appear now and my first Cream-spot Tiger was seen on 22nd. (Mike Snelling)

News for Tues 27 May: Relatively poor weather meant that a 4-hour visit to Rewell Wood yesterday yielded only 4 butterflies (2 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Heath and a fleeting glimpse of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary). but the visit was enlivened by sightings of several (as-yet-unidentified!) moths, including a superb newly-emerged Cream-spot Tiger, as well as other interesting insects and plants. Jim Steedman

Tuesday 27 May 2008

After last Sunday's successful search for the Scarce Chaser on the Ouse with 30 emerging dragonflies, this Sunday's trip is being slightly adapted. The meeting point will now be at Barcombe Mills Car park (TQ435146) at 10.15 and after a brief foray north to Andrew's Stream, we will be heading south to establish if the Scarce Chaser is present on this stretch of river. Anyone arriving at the Anchor Inn carpark at 10am, as previously advertised, will be met by the leader.

Monday 26 May 2008

Photos: Yellow-tail larva (Edburton, 24 May, Tony Wilson), Small Heath (Highdown Hill 25 May, Colin Knaggs), Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper (Rusper parish, 21 and 25 May respectively, Robin Webster)

News for Sunday 25 May: The first Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries have emerged at Park Corner Heath this week - in time for next week's Open Day on Sunday 1 June (10am-4pm). Everyone is welcome to come and join us on the reserve next Sunday; I will be giving guided walks throughout the day, there will be an Explorers Trail for young naturalists, moths from the previous night's trap, displays and information boards about the wildlife of PCH and the work of Sussex BC. IMPORTANT: The SPBFs had a poor season in 2007 due to the awful weather. When visiting Park Corner Heath this year I'd like to ask all Butterfly Conservation members and supporters to actively help us ensure that these butterflies have a good season in 2008. Could visitors and photographers please stick to the main paths on the reserve to avoid disturbing the butterflies and destroying the habitat we have carefully managed for this species - with patience everyone will be able to get good views of the fritillaries and ensure their success at PCH for years to come. Thank you. (Michael Blencowe )

News for Sun 25 May: Up on Highdown Hill in beautiful afternoon sun there were lots of Holly Blues (10+) in the hedgerows, Common Blues (2) and Small Coppers (4) in the uncut meadow areas, a couple of Small Whites (2) flew past and a Speckled Wood perched basking in the sun in the woods. (Colin Knaggs)

News for Sat 24 May: Sightings around Edburton included Wall, 10 Dingy Skippers (including 2 in my garden), 12 Speckled Woods, Brimstone feeding on lilac, Red Admiral, 2 Peacocks and on the moth front Pretty Chalk Carpet, Shears and White and Buff Ermine. Also found the caterpillar of a Yellow-tail in the garden - photo attached (Tony Wilson)

News for Sat 24 May: Seen along the Combe Haven River between the A259 and Filsham Reedbed: Holly Blue (3), Large Skipper (1), Speckled Wood (1), Peacock (1), Red Admiral (1), Green-veined White (1), and Small White (2) (Carole & David Jode)

Recent news: 21 May: Birchfold Copse (near Plaistow) 1 Wood White; 24 May Ashpark Wood (near Plaistow) 1 Wood White (Margaret Hibbard)

Sunday 25 May 2008

Lackey larvae on a communal silk web, on a Dog Rose, Stump Bottom, Newhaven (Steven Teale)

Alder Kitten by Michael Blencowe at Catsfield on 23 May

News for Sat 24 May: On transect at Malling Down SWT reserve Lewes. 7 species, 116 sightings: 1 Dingy Skipper, 2 Large White, 1 Small White, 2 Brown Argus, 7 Common Blue (m), 76 Adonis Blue (m), 25 Adonis Blue (f), 2 Peacock. If one had not kept to the transect and spent more time looking around it is likely other species would have been seen despite the wind on Sat. (Crispin Holloway)

Saturday 24 May 2008

Mill Hill: In windy conditions we managed to see perhaps 30 Adonis Blue, including a few females, and 3 Common Blue on the lower slopes along with a couple of Brimstone and a Lesser Treble-bar. There was also a single Wall at the north west corner of the reserve on the path that leads to Old Erringham Farm. (Dave and Pen Green.)

Took a stroll around woodland near Ringmer today. The high wind kept butterfly sightings down so I tried my hand at looking for some micro-moths instead - but I'm still only doing the pretty ones. I found two nationally rare species; the White-spotted Sable Anania Funebris - a distinctive black-and-white moth which is a target for my National Moth Day event on 8 June and Arched Marble Olethreutes arcuella which is an amazing orange and silver moth and is straight in at number 1 on my 'Good Lookin' Micros' chart. (Michael Blencowe & Dave Mitchell)

Last night's trap here at Ringmer produced 50 species, including three hawkmoths - Elephant, Eyed and Poplar. Also a possible Ringed Carpet, plus Puss Moth, Miller, Sharp-angled Peacock, Brimstone Moth (4), White Ermine (6), Large Yellow Underwing, Angle Shades (3), Swallow Prominent, Pale Tussock, Buff-tip, Dark Dagger (opted for as is the more common of the two), Coxcomb Prominent (2), Heart & Dart (4), Small Waved Umber (2), Willlow Beauty (2), Flame Shoulder (5), Orange Footman (2), Shuttle-shaped Dart (3), Treble Lines (5), Muslin Moth, Small Magpie Moth, Lime-speck Pug, Light Emerald (2), Gold Spot, Green Carpet, Garden Carpet (2), Vine's Rustic (2), Shears (5), Knot Grass (3), Silver Y, Purple Bar, Purple Clay (2), Great Dart (v early), Common Carpet (4), Common Marbled Carpet (2), Mottled Pug (3), Yellow-barred Brindle, Common Pug (4), Marbled Orchard Tortrix (3), Light Brown Apple Moth (4), Common Marble (5)Small China-mark, Udea olivalis, Mottled Rustic, Evergestis forficalis (Garden Pebble), and Phtheocroa rugosana. (John Luck)

News for Fri 23 May: Joined Penny Green from the Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre to help survey an under-recorded area of Sussex around Catsfield. Over 30 people attended the event and recorded every buttercup, snipe-fly, soldier beetle and any other species we could find. In the evening some people stayed to set up five moth traps next to a picturesque electricity substation. We recorded 92 moths of 55 species including Lime Hawkmoth, May Highflier, Alder Moth, Alder Kitten, Miller and Figure of Eighty (Michael Belncowe)

News for Fri 23 May: On the evening of the 23rd we had our first moth trap of the year with more than 3-4 moths. We caught 12 species including 3 new to our garden, Purple Bar, Common Marbled Carpet, and two Campion. (Dave and Pen Green)

Friday 23 May 2008

After seeing my first (6) Small Blue of the year on the Downs near Amberley yesterday, I returned early this evening to photograph them (below). They made a beautiful sight, gently fluttering amongst the tall grasses in the last rays of sunshine. A reasonable number of Common Blue were present, proving this species has considerable 'bouncebackability' in view of its disastrous 2007 showing. (Neil Hulme)

Friston Forest, gallops area, especially NE end, above Butchershole Car Park: spent about an hour wondering around and saw innumerable Small Heaths, almost always in a 'scrap' with a relative or other flying creature, including bees, small but feisty! Also, 3 Grizzled Skippers, 2 Dingy Skippers, 3 Small Coppers (plus another in my garden in Polegate), and more than 10 beautiful blue butterflies, probably Common Blues, but one allowed me to admire it for some time and the way it glistened made me wonder if it was an Adonis. Did not see any females. (I had only seen two blues in this area the previous day.) Also several deep red moths (Burnet? Cinnabar?) but could not get a good look. (Susan Suleski)

Thursday 22 May 2008

Another new species for the moth galleries, and it was taken today by Chris Bentley at Rye Harbour - a White Colon. And if you go to the galleries, you can see it BIG!

Some interesting moths in the trap this morning: Small Waved Umber, Buff Ermine, Marbled Minor, Small Elephant Hawkmoth and Light Brocade were all first-timers for the garden. I also seem to have a half-decent population of Yellow-barred Brindle, as they have been regular visitors for the past few weeks. Also, at Abbot's Wood this afternoon: Pearl-bordered Fritillary (8), Brimstone (5), Speckled Wood (2), Speckled Yellow (many), Burnet Companion and a Raven. (Steven Teale)

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Yet another new feature on the moth galleries that I think you're going to love - Bob has started including some images where you can click on the small gallery photo and up comes a large version of it. Photos with this feature are marked with a '+' magnifying glass icon. Go to Flame Carpet or Oak Lutestring, for example, to try this out. And expect more of these in future!

A quick stroll around the field at the back of my Warnham house today happily produced 4 Grizzled Skipper (a new site for this species) whilst other butterflies were rather absent with the exception of a Holly Blue, a Large White and a number of Green-veined White. On the moth front, very similar to Bob Foreman with best finds being during the day with Common Nettle-tap (Anthrophila fabriciana) and Marbled Orchard Tortrix (Hedya nubiferana). (Sam Bayley)

Abbots Wood, Silver-ground Carpet . Also 2 Speckled Yellow, 1 Peacock, 2 Speckled Wood, numerous Large Whites, 1 Brimstone. (Janet Richardson)

Another walk around Frog Firle saw 4 Green Hairstreak, several Small White, 2 Large White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Dingy Skipper and 5 Wall as well as a Cinnabar. (Bob Eade).

Wall at Newtimber Hill near Woodingdean on an early morning bird atlas trip (Adrian Thomas)

I've had two fantastically successful nights with the moth trap so far this week, on Monday night I caught a Shuttle-shaped Dart and last night yielded a Heart and Dart - impressive eh? I've actually seen more moths when wandering around the garden in the sunshine. Yesterday I spotted a Brassy Twist (Eulia ministrana) (below - first for Gallery)and today I was busy photographing a Small Purple and Gold (Pyrausta aurata), which a quite numerous at the moment, when I was surprised by a Sharp-angled Carpet that flew out of a nearby Magnolia. Today's warm sunshine seems to have brought the butterflies back out too, in the garden this afternoon I've seen a Speckled Wood, two Holly Blues, a Peacock and numerous Small and Large Whites. (Bob Foreman)

Two Wood Whites in Ash Park Wood, near Plaistow this morning. Also Brimstone, Green-veined White and Small Heath and a singing Nightingale. (Paul James)

A walk this morning over Stump Bottom was very busy with butterly and moth sightings. Amanda and I saw the following 14 species: Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper (10), Grizzled Skipper, Large White (3), Small White (19), Green Hairstreak (4), Small Blue (2), Common Blue (12), Adonis Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock (6 - mostly tatty specimens), Speckled Wood, Wall (3), Small Heath (3). We also saw the following moths: Mother Shipton, Cinnabar (4), Green Carpet, Small Argent & Sable, Lesser Treble Bar (2) and the following Odonata: Large Red Damselfly (8), Blue-tailed Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Broad-bodied Chaser (2 - immature) and Hairy Dragonfly (2). 14 species of butterfly was my best ever return to date. (Steven Teale)

News for Tuesday 20 May 2008: Managed to get to Malling Down spurred on by Dan Calders report of 15 May. I arrived at 16:45 and stayed untill 18:00 but despite it being 18 degrees C and bright sunshine, I only manged to see 1 butterfly (a Small Copper: photos attached!). I tried to follow the transect route from the site pages, am I doing something wrong? or do the butterflies go to sleep very early on Malling Down! (Damian Pinguey)

News for Tuesday 20 May 2008: In the late afternoon went to Rewell Wood to search for the Drab Looper, and found 3 specimens on the wing around stands of Wood Spurge. (Neil Hulme)


Tuesday 20 May 2008

A walk around Southwater Country Park today, produced 19 Common Blue, 9 Burnet Companion, 1 Grizzled Skipper and an egg-laying Green Hairstreak. (Sam Bayley)

Female Muslin Moth found at Warnham LNR this lunchtime (Damian Pinguey) (and the first female for the galleries)

On a walk around the Stump Bottom and Snap Hill areas (to the north of Denton, Newhaven) this morning I saw Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper (3), Large White, Small White (3), Common Blue (6), and Wall (3). I was also surprised to see 2 Shelduck! (Steven Teale)

I have discovered an extensive area of Horseshoe Vetch on the north (south-facing) bank of Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding. In a stay of over 40 minutes I spotted 5 - 7 male Adonis Blue , one large creamy-white female Brimstone, and my first Brown Argus of the year in pristine condition. On a north bank clump of long grass, five Yellow Shell were together. A fresh batch of Small White seem to have emerged as they were both frequently seen and in good condition, especially on the Coastal Link Cyclepath by the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham. Occasional Large White put in an appearance. A few Holly Blues only were in Shoreham town. A good condition dark Speckled Wood was on the Coastal Link Cyclepath by the Cement Works land. (Andy Horton)

On a walk this afternoon around the Frog Firle area of Seaford, I saw 2 Holly Blue, 1 Red Admiral, several Small Whites, at least 9 Walls and on a steep slope halfway between Bo Peep and High and Over there was a large collection of pristine Brown Argus, probably around 20 all in a small area as well as 5 Dingy Skippers. This is the most Brown Argus that I have seen together. Several times there were 3 all sitting on the same bit of grass. (Bob Eade).



Monday 19 May 2008

John Luck from the Sussex Group of British Dragonfly Society will be leading walks on Sun 25 May and Sun 1 June in search of the Scarce Chaser dragonfly on the River Ouse, and all are invited. Meet at the Anchor Inn, Anchor Lane, Barcombe (TQ442161) at 10 am either or both days. For more details see www.sussex-ouse.org.uk

One for you caterpillar experts out there - can anybody identify these caterpillars, found by Helen Crabtree on 18 May:




Sunday 18 May 2008


As the day warmed up on the downs near Amberley, a couple of dragonflies and damselflies were about; then we saw a Red Admiral (1) taking the sun as we had our lunch. A couple of whites were around most of the time. We eventually found three Duke of Burgundies (3), one of whom was most obliging for photos (below left); then the place suddenly seemed full of both female and male Common Blues (10) who also posed for the camera (below). We were leaving at around 3pm and close to the gate I saw what I think was a Dingy Skipper (1). (Colin Knaggs)



News for Sat 17 May: Sussex Grayling Festival 2008: Night of the Living Grayling. It was dark; it was windy; it was cold but late last night you would have found 13 BC members crawling around high up on a remote downland hillside searching the grass with their fingertips for a 2cm caterpillar. After 2 long hours (during which time I could hear people cursing me under their breath - or was it just the wind?) the shout went out from Andrew Burns at 9:50 - "Got one!". There, in the grass was a sight rarely seen by many people in Sussex; a Grayling caterpillar - camouflaged and motionless - as hard to see as the adults. With renewed enthusiasm everyone raced back to their tussocks. Another was found - then another. In total 11 larvae were found before we stopped searching at 10:30. A big thankyou for all the brave folk who joined in last night - each caterpillar's habitat was carefully studied and recorded and last night's efforts will help us get a better picture of this species requirements and forward our conservation efforts (Michael Blencowe)




Saturday 17 May 2008


I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with the 4th Goring (St Laurence) Guides at their camp near Angmering. After giving the girls a talk on butterflies and moths, showing them some live specimens (kindly supplied by Mike Snelling) and describing the work of BC, they showed me around their very impressive Nature Trail. Plenty of good conservation work going on here! This beautiful campsite has real butterfly potential. White Admiral have been seen and I suspect the presence of Silver-washed Fritillary, Purple Hairstreak and possibly even Purple Emperor and White-letter Hairstreak! Thank you to Sophie, Amber, Lucy, Becs, May, Megan, Rosie, Leah, Rachel, Louise, Helen, Molly, Rima, Freya and Jack for the lovely card you gave me. Thanks also to the 'grown-ups', especially Heather (Tiger). (Neil Hulme)


On what has been a fairly drizzly, grizzly day, a couple of photos below from Polly Mair on 14th to brighten things up. Let's hope the damp conditions help the Night of the living Grayling hunters out this evening:


Dingy Skipper (Friston Forest) and Green Hairstreak (Horseshoe Plantation, Beachy Head)




Friday 16 May 2008


The dramatic display of Horseshoe Vetch at Mill Hill today, foodplant of Adonis Blue (Andy Horton)



At Abbots Wood there were approx 16 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries in the much cooler conditions. Not so active as they have been in recent days allowing easier photography. However the many Yellow Speckled were still very active with 19 flying in a group at one time. No idea of a total of these as there were so many!! Nothing to report then from Park Corner except a Grass Snake and a few more Yellow Speckled. (Bob and Matt Eade).



Thursday 15 May 2008

What a difference a week makes! On Malling Down today the Blues were out in force. From no sightings last week to 28 Common Blue, 12 Adonis Blue (M), 4 (F), 11 Brown Argus to go with the usual 6 Holly Blue. Other first sightings of the year for me at this location were 4 Small Copper and 1 Red Admiral. Also seen were 3 Small White, 3 Large White, 3 Orange Tip, 1 Brimstone, 8 Small Heath, 4 Speckled Wood, 2 Walls mating, 6 Dingy Skipper, 16 Grizzled Skipper, 4 Peacock and 5 Green Hairstreak. The other eyecatchers were the fleets of Broad-bodied Chasers roving and resting and the odd Beautiful Demoiselle. (Dan Calder)

The following moth species have been added to the galleries this week: Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet; Tree-lichen Beauty; Shore Wainscot; Pale Grass Eggar; Twin-spot Honey; White-banded Carpet; Rosy-striped Knot-horn; Starry Pearl; Marbled Yellow Pearl; Small China-mark; Horehound Plume; Long-legged China Mark.


News for 14 May: A visit to Heyshott from 4pm saw 3 Duke of Burgundy, 2 Green Hairstreak, 2 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Common Blue, 2 Orange-tip and a large quantity of Dingy Skippers. (Bob and Matt Eade).



Wednesday 14 May 2008

Flying around our garden pond, today, an early Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata (id by Sarah Patton). (John Luck)

Took a trip around 5 Downland sites today; Butchershole Bottom, Horseshoe Plantation, Windover Hill, Bo-Peep/Bostal Hill and France Bottom. Adonis Blue (21), Small Heath (8), Grizzled Skipper (5), Small Copper (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Red Admiral (1), Green Hairstreak (2), Speckled Wood (7), Large White (3), Wall (10), Peacock (2), Orange-tip (2), Holly Blue (1), Common Blue (10), Brown Argus (5). The one species present at every site was Dingy Skipper. We counted over 60 - it seemed like every bee, moth, dragonfly or butterfly we saw had one of these feisty little skippers chasing it - they were everywhere! (Michael Blencowe & Polly Mair)

Pearl-bordered Fritillaries 8, Brimstones 2, Speckled Yellow 2 in half an hour at Abbot's Wood today. (Roy Wells)


Tuesday 13 May 2008


A few more pictures added to the moth galleries -  in particular the first of a series of new species coming in from Chris Bentley at Rye Harbour LNR. For example check out the Long-legged China Mark for a weird looking beast!


Today I visited the National Nature Reserve at Kingley Vale (SU828103). I completed a walk which covered most of the downland turf areas lasting two and a half hours. Many Brimstones were flying and I saw a good range of species including my first sightings this year of Small Coppers and a single Brown Argus. Grizzled Skippers were very active but no Dingy Skippers were present. The highlight of the day was watching a female Grizzled Skipper ovipositing from which I was able to get a reasonable photo of the ova. Several reference books state that this species will lay a single egg on the upperside of a leaf, however two eggs were laid on the underside of the leaf. My count was: Green-veined White (8), Small White (3), Orange-tip (3M 1F), Brimstone (18M 8F), Speckled Wood (1), Small Heath (4), Peacock (2), Comma (2), Red Admiral (2), Common Blue (13), Holly Blue (3), Brown Argus (1), Small Copper (4) and Grizzled Skipper (13). (Richard Symonds)


Took a 4-hour walk around Friston Forest and the surrounding downland today. It would seem the Dingy Skipper is the most abundant and widespread butterfly in the area - it was encountered all across the downs and along the woodland rides along my route. Also seen today Large White, Small Heath, Small Copper, Orange-tip, Small White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Peacock, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Grizzled Skipper and the moths Cinnabar, Burnet Companion and the nationally scarce White-banded Carpet a species first recorded in the county in 1950 which is now found in scattered woodland sites in East Sussex (Michael Blencowe)


Michael's White-banded Carpet is a new species for this website:



Went for 2 hour walk from Poynings to Fulking, up over Devil's Dyke and back. Not many butterflies - few Small White, Speckled Wood and Holly Blue. In damp, boggy area came upon at least a dozen beautiful demoiselle damselflies settling on bramble. Is it me or are there a lot of Holly Blue about this year? (Caroline Clarke) From the evidence in my garden, with at least two daily, I'd agree with Caroline, but are there any scientifically collected data coming in from the Transect walkers to back this up? I remember the West Mids BC branch used to do an interesting little 'game' of getting members at the end of each year to vote for their 'Butterfly of the Year', the one that they felt had had the best or most improved year - maybe it would be fun to do the same in Sussex, with Dingy Skipper and Holly Blue perhaps taking an early lead for me so far. Adrian, Webmaster


News for 12 May: Visited Malling Down .... arrived about 16:30 but still managed to see: Comma (below right), Peacock, 1 Dingy Skipper (below left). Lots of teneral Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies. (Damian Pinguey)




Monday 12 May 2008

Walked from Folkington to Windover Hill via Hunters Burgh. Hunters Burgh (1 hr). Dingy Skipper (16), Green Hairstreak (8), Small Heath (3), Brown Argus (3), Speckled Wood (2), Wall (1 fem). Windover Hill (2 hrs). Small Heath (30+), Dingy Skipper (28), Grizzled Skipper (9), Green Hairstreak (5), Brimstone (5), Small Copper (4), Speckled Wood (2), Small White (2), Orange-tip (1), Green-Veined White (1), Peacock (1), Large White (1). On the way back, 2 male Walls at OS Triangular Station between the two sites and another male at Folkington. (Bob Coleman)

Last night's mothtrap at Ringmer produced 17 species including our 1st hawkmoth of the year: Poplar Hawkmoth, Brimstone Moth (8), Flame Shoulder (19), Shuttle-shaped Dart (3), White Ermine, Hebrew Character, Angle Shades, Buff Ermine, Small Waved Umber, Muslin Moth (2), Spectacle (2)...early, Garden Carpet, Knot Grass, Heart & Dart, Early Grey, Mottled Pug. (John Luck)

We visited Cocking Quarry today and found 4 very fresh Small Blue (2 in copulation), 6 Dingy Skipper, 2 Green Hairstreak, and one each of Large White, Green-veined White and Brimstone. (Paul and Pam Callaway)

News for Sun 11 May: I walked the footpath which circled West Heath sand pit and common near Durleighmarsh (SU787225). The footpath takes you alongside the sand quarry and onto heather-covered heathland before entering woodland. Despite the warm weather very little was flying although I saw several demoiselles in the wood. Count was: Small White (1), Speckled Wood (1), Holly Blue (1), Moths: Speckled Yellow (2) and Brown Silver-line (12, one of which below). (Richard Symonds)

News for Sat 10 May: I took a circular walk around the footpaths in the area of Horsley Farm near Forestside (SU765135). In the wooded area I saw twp Speckled Woods (female below) while along the hedgerows a single Peacock as well as a male Brimstone and 2 Small Whites were flying. (Richard Symonds)

Here is the site's first picture of Pinion-spotted Pug, taken by Ivan Lang at Pagham Harbour on 10 May

Recent news from the Rother Woods Project: The second Rother Woods Moth Trapping session took place on Friday 9th, this time at Barnes Wood, the Forestry Commission wood just east of the A21. Five traps produced over 70 moth species – a really great variety of moths in fantastic condition, with highlights including a female Lobster Moth, Oak Nycteoline, several lovely Green Carpet and lots of Small Phoenix. The second Rother Woods recorders workshop took place at the stunning 15th century timber-framed manor house Great Dixter House and then Weights Wood on Saturday. The workshop, led by Michael Blencowe, managed to enthuse, inform and recruit more volunteers to undertake butterfly surveys in Rother Woods. Thank you to Michael Blencowe and the excellent staff at Great Dixter House. Dingy Skipper rediscovered in Brede High Woods by Dr Patrick Roper and a previously unrecorded Dingy Skipper colony discovered in an old Rother Woods orchard. (Steve Wheatley)


Sunday 11 May 2008

Walked my Upper Beeding transect route again today and had my first Wall (2), Common Blue (9) and Small Blue (11) of the season, together with 8 Small Heath, 2 Large and 2 Small White, and 1 Peacock. Also 4 Mother Shipton and 4 Burnet Companion. At Rewell Wood yesterday the number of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries had risen to 26, but with a disappointingly small and limited supporting cast. (Jim and Judith Steedman)

An incredible 41 people attended the BC/Murray Downland Trust field outing to Heyshott Down today (photo below), and what a day it turned out to be! Given the stunning location, glorious weather and the wealth of experienced people on hand to help out with the fantastic array of flora and fauna (orchids, bees etc) on offer here, things looked good from the start. We soon ticked off the Duke of Burgundy, at the top of our 'wish list', and went on to see a total of at least 4. The Dukes provided many with a 'first' and others with some great photographic opportunities. Other butterflies included Green Hairstreak (8), Dingy Skipper (15+), Grizzled Skipper (4), Small Heath (1), Brown Argus (1), Holly Blue (8), Orange-tip (5), Green-veined White (5), Large White (2), Small White (6), Brimstone (6), Speckled Wood (3), Peacock (2) and Comma (1). Thanks to all that turned up today - I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! (Neil Hulme)



Beachy Head - Birling Gap to Shooters Bottom. Several Dingy Skippers and Green Hairstreaks plus a single Grizzled Skipper in the Horseshoe Plantation area, plus a couple of Small Heath and Small Copper on the clifftop and a few Speckled Yellow (Adrian Thomas)


A nice selection of spring butterflies in my Edburton garden - Green Hairstreak, Wall, Small Copper, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Orange-tips, Red Admiral, Green-veined White and Large White (Tony Wilson)


News for last week at Pagham Harbour: Finally the weather has been more suitable for moth trapping. After a quiet start to the week things picked and the total number of species recorded for the year has now reached 73, including a first for the reserve - Pinion-spotted Pug

  • 5 May: Double-Stripped Pug, Angle Shades, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Sandy Carpet, White Ermine, Lime-Speck Pug, Heart and Dart, Swallow Prominent, Rush Veneer, Dark Swordgrass, Pale Prominent, Poplar Grey, Least Black Arches, Spectacle, Common Carpet, Diamond Back Moth, Brimstone, Muslin, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, Flame Shoulder and Vine's Rustic.

  • 7 May: Common Carpet, Double-Stripped Pug, Early Grey, Lime-Speck Pug, Sandy Carpet, Small Quaker, Vine's Rustic, Common Wave, Mottled Rustic, Knotgrass, Chinese Character, Garden Carpet, Common Swift, Mottled Pug, Common Quaker, Least Black Arches, Green Carpet, Chocolate-tip, Shuttle Shaped Dart, Poplar Hawkmoth, Red Twin Spot Carpet, Hebrew Character, Muslin, Spectacle, Light Brown Apple Moth, Angle Shades, Brimstone and Flame Shoulder.

  • 8 May: Chinese Character, Double-Stripped Pug, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Lime-Speck Pug, Mottled Rustic, Poplar Hawkmoth, Red Twin Spot Carpet, Sandy Carpet, Rusty Dot Pearl, Delicate, V-pug, Bright-Line Brown-Eye, Flame, Maiden's Blush, Tawny/Marbled Minor, Clouded Border, Common Quaker, Diamond Back Moth, Knotgrass, Mottled Pug, White-spotted Pug, Waved Umber, Common Wave, Nutmeg, Least Black Arches, Shuttle Shaped Dart, Green Carpet, Light Brown Apple Moth, Muslin, Brimstone, Phtheochroa rugosana, Spectacle, Angle Shades, Hebrew Character and Flame Shoulder

  • 9 May: Bright-Line Brown-Eye, Chocolate-tip, Cinnabar, Clouded Border, Common Quaker, Delicate, Diamond Back Moth, Early Grey, Garden Carpet, Knotgrass, Lime-Speck Pug, Nut-Tree Tussock, Poplar Hawkmoth, Red Twin Spot Carpet, Rusty Dot Pearl, Swallow Prominent, V-pug, White Ermine, White-spotted Pug, Plum Tortrix, Large Yellow Underwing, Purple Bar, Chinese Character, Least Black Arches, Mottled Pug, Brindled Pug, Ruby Tiger, Dark Spectacle, Angle Shades, Shuttle Shaped Dart, Double-Stripped Pug, Light Brown Apple Moth, Nutmeg, Phtheochroa rugosana, Green Carpet, Common Wave, Muslin, Spectacle, Brimstone and Flame Shoulder.

  • 10 May: Cinnabar, Common Carpet, Common Quaker, Dark Spectacle, Diamond Back Moth, Double-Stripped Pug, Early Grey, Flame, Garden Carpet, Knotgrass, Large Yellow Underwing, Least Black Arches, Pebble Prominent, Plum Tortrix, Red Twin Spot Carpet, Ruby Tiger, Sandy Carpet, V-pug, Pebble Hook-tip, May Highflier, PINION SPOTTED PUG (first for the Reserve), Mullein Wave, Satin Wave, Aethes smeathmannianci, Common Wave, Hebrew Character, Nutmeg, White Ermine, Mottled Pug, Rusty Dot Pearl, White-spotted Pug, Angle Shades, Spectacle, Light Brown Apple Moth, Phtheochroa rugosana, Shuttle Shaped Dart, Brimstone, Green Carpet, Chinese Character, Flame Shoulder and Muslin.




Saturday 10 May 2008


My grateful thanks to Bob Foreman for babysitting the website while I have been abroad for the past month. Seems like you've been keeping him busy! Thanks in large part of Bob's excellent reworking of the moth galleries, April was a record month for the site, with over 5000 visits to the site looking at over 25,000 pages. Adrian (webmaster)


Orange-tip & Holly Blue in my Portslade garden (Darryl Perry)

Visit to Abbot's wood. 3.45pm very sunny. counted 17 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Also Green hairstreak on his own - billy no mates! (Danny Macavoy)

Seen just outside Horseshoe Plantation this afternoon: Small Copper (1), Green Hairstreak (3), Brimstone (1M), Dingy Skipper (4), Common Blue (1M). Up to half a dozen each of Speckled Wood and Small White. (Carole & David Jode)

News for 9 May: Trapped in my garden in Portslade: Nut-tree Tussock (2), Common Quaker (1), Green Carpet (1), Small Waved Umber (1), Campion(1). (Darryl Perry)


Friday 09 May 2008


Brown Argus, Levin Down and Duke of Burgundy (Neil Hulme)



Wall in our garden this morning in North Seaford.
Abbots Wood - Many very active Pearl-bordered Fritillaries including egg-laying and two pairs mating. (Bob Eade)


I spent a very pleasant couple of hours at Abbots Wood: too many Pearl-bordered Fritillaries to count accurately!! At least 2 Grizzled Skipper, 3 Brimstone, 5 Speckled Wood, 4 Large White, 2 Orange-tip, and 1 Small White. Later at Frog Firle (north of the High and Over car park) were 4 Holly Blue, 1 Red Admiral,4 Large White and 3 Wall. (Polly Mair)


My first port of call today was Levin Down, where I saw my first (3) Brown Argus of the year. Other species included Small Heath (2), Grizzled Skipper (8), Dingy Skipper (1) and Speckled Wood (1). I was primarily here to see if I could find the Duke of Burgundy, which is at an all-time low ebb here. BC Sussex and Sussex Wildlife Trust are now working together to see if we can reverse the fortunes of this species. The habitat (particularly the cowslips) is now looking much better, but it is vital that we know if the 'Duke' has managed to hold on. It would be very much appreciated if people could have a good search for this butterfly at Levin this weekend. The more eyes the better! Not just 'a nice day out', you really will be helping our conservation efforts. I later visited a site on private land, where I saw the Duke of Burgundy behaving in a seldom-seen manner. Five freshly emerged males were observed slurping mineral salts from a muddy track, while others just sat around waiting for the ladies to arrive. (Neil Hulme)


I was two days late on parade to see my first Adonis Blue of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. One of the three looked very much like a brown female with its wings closed and without the distinctive blue as it flew off. I also saw five of my first Small Heath Butterflies of the year four on the lower slopes and one on the ridge return route. There was one Wall, one male Brimstone , one Green-veined White, eleven Dingy Skippers and four Grizzled Skippers. The Pyrausta nigrata pyralid moths were occasionally seen and many were missed. There was a probable Pyrausta despicata pyralid as well, but it eluded a photograph. There was a damaged Speckled Wood in the scrub and another was seen at the top of The Drive. Frequent Small Whites, occasional Large Whites and frequent Holly Blues were seen over Shoreham town and the outskirts. Another Brimstone flew over the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. Twelve identified butterfly species (my tally only, the most in a single day this year) plus one unidentified. A very fresh Red Admiral was found in my south Lancing garden. It was in pristine condition and was very docile. Even climbing on to a finger briefly before flying off. An hour later, the same butterfly was rediscovered with half its wing missing. (Andy Horton)



Thursday 08 May 2008


Duke of Burgundy, near Arundel, and Grizzled Skipper ab. intermedia, Beckley Woods. (Neil Hulme). One of three great photos received from Andrew Burns of mating pairs of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, Abbots Wood, 06 May, they'll all be appearing in the galleries soon.



The closer link between the Sussex Moth Group and Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch has started to pay real dividends. Based on information gratefully received from an SMG member, I followed up his sightings and today confirmed the presence of a 'new' colony of Duke of Burgundy near Arundel. There are still colonies out there to be found, and anyone wishing to get involved in pioneering work for this greatly endangered species can contact me via this website (see 'Contact Us'). There are several areas with public access that need careful searching. I later visited Beckley Woods (SE Woodlands Project Area) with Michael Blencowe, Steve Wheatley and David Burrows. David's local knowledge helped me to photograph a beautifully marked, aberrant (intermedia) Grizzled Skipper. (Neil Hulme)


It's been a very busy few days of moth recording in Newhaven. Highlights from the past two nights are: Plain Gold (Micropterix calthella), Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana), Chinese Character, Frosted Green, Common Carpet, V-Pug, Pebble Prominent and Coxcomb Prominent. All of these were first sightings of the year in my garden. I've recorded 38 species so far this month; 23 in the past two nights. Strangely though, I still get the odd very quiet night, despite similar weather conditions…? (Steven Teale)



Wednesday 07 May 2008


Adonis Blue, Mill Hill, and Green Hairstreak, Devil's Dyke. (Neil Hulme). Green Hairstreak, Malling Down, (Dan Calder) and Lime Hawkmoth, Glynde Churchyard, (Michael Blencowe and Jane Stevens)



Levin Down. Two hours on the southern and eastern slopes produced 15 Grizzled Skippers, 6 Brimstone, 3 Small Heath, 2 Green Hairstreak, 2 Small White, 1 Comma, 1 Speckled Wood. Various hawks overhead including a Red Kite. (Vince Massimo)


Abbots Wood. Many very active Pearl-bordered Fritillary in the normal area. Also in the same vicinity 1 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Orange-tips, Brimstones and Peacock as well as Cardinal Beetle, Hairy Dragonfly and 2 Hornets. (Bob Eade)


Whilst doing a seawatch at Splash Point Seaford this afternoon a Clouded Yellow flew in off the sea. Also about 40 Pomarine Skuas. (Matt Eade)


Between 11.30 and 2.30 on a sunny, breezy day round Malling Down I saw 12 species. Some tatty Peacocks (3), 2 Orange-tip, 9 Speckled Wood, 4 Large White, 2 Small White, 5 Small Heath, 4 Holly Blue, 1 Wall with a buckled wing, 2 Brimstone, 5 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Dingy Skipper and 2 Green Hairstreak. (Dan Calder)


While showing Jack Harrison (on holiday down here) some of our Sussex sites, I managed to see 5 'firsts' for me this year. These were (2) Adonis Blue (including an atypically early female!), (1) Common Blue, (2) Small Heath and (3) Wall at Mill Hill, and numerous Green Hairstreak at Devil's Dyke. Dingy and Grizzled Skippers were plentiful at Mill Hill. (Neil Hulme)


Met with Plumpton College student Jane Stevens tonight for the second of two sessions looking at the moths of downland churchyards. There was a wide range of species in Glynde Churchyard which gave Jane a good introduction to mothing. Highlights were Rivulet, White-spotted Pug, Waved Umber, White Ermine, Scorched Carpet and Lime Hawkmoth. (Michael Blencowe and Jane Stevens)


News for 06 May: My first Wall of 2008 was seen over the path and cleared ground immediately to the west of the copse of Mill Hill. Ten other butterfly species included about 11 Grizzled Skippers, about 12 Dingy Skippers (one on the middle slopes) and at least five Pyrausta nigrata pyralid moths on the lower slopes. The first Brimstone was a bright yellow male seen over a clearing in the scrub, and then a bright yellow male and white female appeared to be courting under the canopy of the copse at the top of Mill Hill, until another yellow male came and competitively interrupted the proceedings. Whereupon the female disappeared and the males carried on jousting. Three Holly Blue fluttered around the low lying scrub on the middle slopes of Mill Hill. The sun was not warm enough for smallish blue butterflies to open their wings. They were also frequently seen over the gardens and twittens of urban Shoreham and the outskirts. Two Speckled Woods danced under the copse at Mill Hill, and about eight others were seen on my travels on the wasteland on the outskirts. On the verges of the footpath section of the Waterworks Road, a pair of Green-veined Whites, a male Orange-tip, and a Peacock were seen in three minutes. Small Whites were frequent in Shoreham town and Large Whites occasionally seen. (Andy Horton)


News for 06 May: During a long walk around Cissbury on 6th May, I saw 14 butterfly species. The best sightings were my first two Walls, and 11 Grizzled Skippers (including a mated pair), 3 Dingy Skippers, 6 Holly Blues and a Green Hairstreak. Also seen were 2 Lesser Treble Bar moths, Common Carpet and a Speckled Yellow. (Mike Snelling)


News for 06 May: Around 8.00 a.m. Diplocks Wood (Wannock Coppice) nr Polegate: there were at least 50 Speckled Woods in their freshest finery having a rave! They were whirling around in clusters of from two to 10+. Later at Polegate station I saw three pairs dancing - something in the Polegate air! I have spent over an hour on each of several days this past week walking amongst the bluebells in Abbots Wood and have been disappointed only to see one Orange-tip, one Peacock, one Red Admiral and one Speckled Wood. However, lots of moths, of which I can thus far only identify with any certainty several Brimstone , and a cuckoo (heard and seen) were a bonus. (Susan Suleski)



Tuesday 06 May 2008


Top Row: Holly Blue, male, and Orange-tip, West Stoke. (Richard Symonds)
Beneath: Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, the 'Acme Pearl-bordered Fritillary Lure' and distinctive feeding signs of Spotted White Plume Pterophorus galactodactyla (Neil Hulme)




Today I visited Inhams Lane at West Stoke (SU835089). Walking as far as the dissued quarry I counted the following species: Brimstone (4M), Small White (5), Green-veined White (4), Orange-tip (10M 1F) and Holly Blue (3). Orange Tips were as always very active although a male did land long enough for an underside photo. (Richard Symonds)


I walked my Upper Beeding transect again this morning, as it's now the start of UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme Week 6. Just 4 Peacocks and 2 Small Heaths (plus 4 unidentifiable Whites that rocketed past me in the easterly breeze!). But saw my first Mother Shipton moth of the year, plus 1 Yellow Belle and 1 Burnet Companion. (Jim Steedman)


Most productive moth trap so far this year at RSPB Pulborough Brooks overnight on 05 May 2008: Great Prominent, Hebrew Character, Brimstone Moth, Pebble Hook-tip, Early Grey, Pebble Prominent, Brindled Beauty, Lunar Marbled Brown, Muslin Moth, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Spectacle, Nut-tree Tussock, Green Carpet, Coxcomb Prominent, Waved Umber, Knot Grass, Common Quaker, Powdered Quaker and Narrow-winged Pug.. (Anna Allum)


It was one of those days that make a good season. I met with our SE Woodlands Project Officers Fran Thompson (Kent), Kate Dent (Hants), Steve Wheatley (Sussex), our Regional Officer Dan Hoare, my East Sussex Conservation counterpart Michael Blencowe, Jane Sears (RSPB) and Rob Thurlow (Forest Enterprise) at Rewell Wood. Many thanks to Rob for showing us around. Michael and I stayed the whole day, later meeting with Jack Harrison from Norfolk. We saw at least a dozen Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which were cunningly lured from the coppiced areas using my 'Acme PBF Lure'. Other butterflies on this gloriously sunny day included Dingy Skipper (in a grassy, peripheral area of the woods), Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Orange-tip, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small and Green-veined Whites. Moth action was equally impressive, with 2 Drab Looper, the larvae of the rare Spotted White Plume Pterophorus galactodactyla (revealed by the 'shotgun' feeding holes with characteristic white rims) on burdock, and Speckled Yellows. Were that not enough, we found the bizarre nest of the solitary Mason Bee Osmia bicolor, in the process of being built. It goes about constructing this impressive feature, by piling a 'wigwam' of coarse grasses over an empty snail shell. (Neil Hulme and party as above)


Today at Houndean Bottom, Lewes (13.15-14.00) I saw a Brimstone (1 male), Small White (2), Large White (2), Orange-tip (5), Holly Blue (3), Peacock (2) and Speckled Wood (6). Then this evening at 20.15 I saw a Painted Lady actively defending its territory - my first of the season. Pick of the moths so far tonight are an Anthophila fabriciana (Common Nettle-tap) at Poverty Bottom and a Chinese Character. (Steven Teale)


News for 05 May: Last night's moth-trap produced 18 species: Green Carpet (1), Swallow Prominent (2), Lead-coloured Drab (1), Lunar Marbled Brown (1), Nut-tree Tussock (2), Flame Shoulder (9), Early Grey (1), Coxcomb Prominent - dark form (1), Shuttle-shaped Dart (4), Pale Prominent (1), Brimstone Moth (3), Hebrew Character (4), Bright-line Brown-eye (1), Angle Shades (1), Common Quaker (2), Pebble Prominent (1), Red Twin-spot Carpet (2), Oak-tree Pug (1). (John Luck)


News for 04 May: Nut-tree Tussock (4), Common Quaker (2), Ruby Tiger (1), Double-striped Pug (4) all trapped in Garden in Portslade. (Darryl Perry)



Monday 05 May 2008


Grizzled Skipper, Malling Down, sat next to some wool from the sheep that graze there. (Dan Calder). Common Blue, Mill Hill (Tom Ottley)



Slightly better last night in my Warnham garden with 144 moths of 47 species, full catch as follows with asterisk beside new for year: Brindled Pug (36) Lobster Moth (1)* Brimstone (11) Small Hazel Purple Eriocrania chrysolepidella (11) Common Oak Purple Eriocrania subpurpurella (4)* Orange Footman (4) Coxcomb Prominent (5) Waved Umber (2) Clouded Drab (2) Chestnut (1) White-spotted Pug (1) Powdered Quaker (2) Common Quaker (5) Swallow Prominent (1)* Double-striped Pug (1)* Nut-tree Tussock (9) Ruby Tiger (3)* Flame Shoulder (5) Red Twin-spot Carpet (3) Knotgrass (2) Brindled Beauty (1) Scalloped Hazel (1)* Early Grey (1) Small White Wave (1) Frosted Green (2) Water Carpet (1) Peach Blossom (1)* Pebble Prominent (1)* Oak-tree Pug (3) Great Prominent (2) Lesser Swallow Prominent (1) Angle Shades (2)* Iron Prominent (1)* Lunar marbled Brown (6) Chinese Character (1) Hebrew Character (1) White Ermine (1)* Diamond-back Moth (1) Lichen Button Acleris literana (1) Purple Thorn (1)* Streamer (1) Grey Pine Carpet (1)* Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana (1) Azalea Leaf-miner Caloptilia azaleella (1)* Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis (1)* Brown Apple Midget Phyllonorycter blancardella (1)*. (Sam Bayley)


I've recorded 23 species of moth so far this month, the highlights being: Small Hazel Purple (Eriocrania chrysolpidella), [a suspected] Saltern Bent-wing (Bucculatrix maritima), Emperor (female - 108 eggs laid), Streamer, Green Carpet, Common Pug, Brindled Pug, Yellow-barred Brindle, Waved Umber, Muslin Moth, Least Black Arches, Shuttle-shaped Dart, and Mullein. All of these species were my firsts of the season. Butterfly species I am regularly recording at Poverty Bottom: Brimstone, Small White, Large White, Holly Blue, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood. (Steven Teale)


In my Ashurst Wood (nr East Grinstead) garden today: 2 Holly Blue, 2 Speckled Wood, 3 Large White, 4 Orange-tip and 1 Peacock (Polly Mair)


A shortened lap round Malling Down valley with a few detours provided some nice sightings today. Starting at 4pm before the sun slid behind thin cloud there was 1 Small White, 1 Brimstone, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Small Heath, the first of 3 Peacocks and 2 Walls courting. As the sun faded in and out, 2 Holly Blue, 2 Grizzled Skipper and 2 Comma. (Dan Calder)


At Devil's Dyke this morning: 25 Green Hairstreak, 6 Peacock, 6 Brimstone, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Orange-tip, 1 Small White, 1 Dingy Skipper and 3 Small Copper. Also several Common Carpet and 1 Pyrausta Purpuralis moth. (Jim and Judith Steedman)


Single male Common Blue at Mill Hill. Also 20 - 30 Dingy Skippers with smaller numbers of Grizzled. (Tom Ottley)


A brief visit to Rewell Wood produced 2 male Pearl-bordered Fritillary, along with several Peacock, Orange-tip and the odd Speckled Wood. During a late afternoon visit to a site on private land, I flushed my first Duke of Burgundy of the year from the long grass. (Neil Hulme)



Sunday 04 May 2008


Green Hairstreak, Frog Firle, 03 May, (Tom Ottley)



On my regular butterfly transect near Upper Beeding this morning there was 1 Small Heath, 1 Dingy Skipper and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Also 1 Burnet Companion and 1 Yellow Belle moth. I should have added on yesterday's Rewell Wood report that there were several Speckled Yellow moths flying there. (Jim Steedman)


Several Green Hairstreaks and a Small Copper at Frog Firle just below High and Over. Then onto Abbots Wood where there were 6 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries all in superb condition. (Bob and Matt Eade)


Caught a total of 112 moths of 40 species dominated by Brindled Pug (24 including 4 f. hirschkei) and Small Hazel Purple Eriocrania chrsolepidella (12) but with higlights of 1 Least Black Arches, 2 Orange Footman, 1 Chinese Character, 1 Yellow-barred Brindle, 1 Pine Beauty, 1 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, 1 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella and still a single Small Quaker. (Sam Bayley)


News for 03 May: Thanks to Nigel for pointing out a mated pair of Green Hairstreaks at Frog Firle. Went on to find another 4. Interesting variation in the amount of white forming the 'hairstreak' - some had just a single white dot, others up to 7 elongated dots. Also of note were 2 Wall. (Tom Ottley)



Saturday 03 May 2008


A 5-hour wander round Rewell Wood today produced: 19 Peacock, 4 Brimstone, 2 Small White, 1 each of Large White, Green-veined White and Orange-tip and (the Jewel in the Crown) 5 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Spring's really here at last!! (Jim Steedman)


Took a 3 hour walk around a large private woodland near Ringmer today. We saw Peacock (14) Orange-tip (7) Large White (5) Brimstone (4) Speckled Wood (1) and the moths Common Wave and Speckled Yellow. (Michael Blencowe & Polly Mair)


First of overwintering Ouse valley Red Admiral pupae hatched this morning - almost exactly 6 months from egg to butterfly. (Dave Harris)



Friday 02 May 2008


Female Emperor Moth this morning on Bevendean Down (Geoff Stevens)



Sightings this sunny morning at Bevendean:- 2 Large Whites paired up, 1 Holly Blue, 5 Small White, 7 Speckled Wood, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Small Copper, 1 Orange-tip, 1 Emperor Moth, 2 Burnet Companion moths. (Geoff Stevens)


On a mild sunny day, 13.2 °C, my first small Pyrausta purpuralis pyralid moth of 2008, was noted on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, Old Shoreham. One of two Dingy Skipper from the same bank was much darker than usual. Five Grizzled Skippers. 2 to 4 Peacocks. (Andy Horton)


What to look for in May

  • Butterflies: Species we can expect to see for the first time in May include Adonis Blue, Small Blue and Common Blue, and all should now head quickly towards their spring peak. Other specialist butterflies to seek in their few localities include Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Wood White. Given warm weather, it will be interesting to see if some summer species begin to emerge by the month-end - Large Skipper and Meadow Brown may be on the wing by the fourth week. We could see some species go over early too, with maybe the year's farewell to Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and Orange-tips. A Chalkhill Blue on 16 May last year was just crazily early, but anything can happen these days!
  • 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 regularly. In terms of day-flying moths to look for when 'butterflying', Speckled Yellow (woods) and Mother Shipton and Burnet Companion (downs) are three species everyone should get to know. Last year, the first Buttoned Snout for Sussex since 1965 was found in Ridgwick.


Wednesday 30 April 2008


Pupils at Darvell School in Robertsbridge caterpillar hunting (left), Puss Moth cocoon on their nature table (centre), and Feathered Bright (Incurvaria masculella) , 30 April (Michael Blencowe)



I was invited by Darvell School in Robertsbridge to lead a butterfly walk for some of it's pupils; but due to the awful weather we went looking for caterpillars instead. We did see one butterfly, a Large White that had flown into the classroom and one moth, a Feathered Bright (Incurvaria masculella) which has a feature unusual amongst micro-moths: pectinate (or feathered) antennae. The pupils also showed me a Puss Moth cocoon on their 'nature table'. (Michael Blencowe)



Tuesday 29 April 2008


Went to Mill Hill today and actually found some sun between showers (12.15-14.15) which brought out a Speckled Wood in the scrub. On the lower slopes were 2 Large Whites and a Peacock. Just about to give up and trudge back up the hill when I saw my first ever Grizzled Skipper and almost skipped back to the car instead !! (Polly Mair)



Monday 28 April 2008


Egg laying female Brimstone, Park Corner Heath, 27 April (Polly Mair) and Female Orange-tip, Ardur Valley, 26 April (Andy Horton)



News for 27 April: At Park Corner Heath in warm but dull conditions on Sunday morning: 4 Brimstone (egg laying observed), 1 Peacock and 3 Green-veined White. (Polly Mair)


News for 26 April: Ten species of butterfly in the afternoon was the most in a single day this year and did not include a trip to Mill Hill. Lower Adur Valley (excluding the downs) 3 Large White, 2 Small White, Holly Blue, 3 Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Comma, Brimstone, Speckled Wood.. (Andy Horton)



Sunday 27 April 2008


Frosted Green, Ringmer, 26 April (John Luck)



I took another stroll to the Scarlet Tiger colony in Friston Forest today and (with help from 4 year old Molly and her dad Alan who were passing by) counted 58 caterpillars. Also flying around the nettle patch - a very fresh looking Red Admiral. (Michael Blencowe)


News for 26 April: Yesterday evening's moth trap produced 7 species: Frosted Green (2), Hebrew Character (4), Early Grey (1), Shuttle-shaped Dart (2), Common Quaker (2), Light-brown Apple Moth and Clouded Drab (1). (John Luck)



Saturday 26 April 2008


Top Row (left to right): Small Tortoishells and Green-veined White, Rife (both Colin Knaggs) and Scarlet Tiger larva (Michael Blencowe)
Bottom Row: The mothing team at Park Wood, Pebble Prominent, volunteer recorders workshop at Brede High Woods and Common Heath (Steve Wheatley)

I replied to a request by Plumpton College student Jane Stevens to help her survey lepidoptera for a biodiversity project and spent this evening (25th) in Alciston churchyard at the foot of The Downs. Amongst the moths in the trap were 2 Brimstone, 1Least Black Arches and a rather early Large Yellow Underwing. (Michael Blencowe & Jane Stevens)


South Ferring: Saw a couple of Holly Blues in the garden. Along the west bank of the Rife in mid-afternoon sunshine, I counted 5 Peacocks, one having a disagreement with a Small Tortoishell, 6 other Small Tortoishells, my first Speckled Wood, and 12 Small or Green-veined Whites(Colin Knaggs)


Downs nr Alfriston: Wall (1), Brimstone (2), Peacock (2)
Frog Firle: Green Hairstreak (3), Peacock (15+), Brimstone (8), Speckled Wood (4), Large White (2). (Andrew Burns)


At Park Corner Heath between 16.30 and 17.30 today: 2 Brimstone, 3 Peacock and 2 Comma plus a tail-less lizard, a Large Red Damselfly and 2 singing Nightingales. (Polly Mair)


It wasn't just me who was out enjoying the weather today; the only colony of Scarlet Tiger larvae in Sussex was out soaking up the sun too. The last time I saw these fellas was in October and my - haven't they grown! They were 5mm - now they're 5cm! I rummaged through their nettle patch and counted 14 in all. I was so happy to see that they had survived the winter that I didn't notice I was in incredible pain from being repeatedly stung by the nettles. I left them to bask in the sun and ran off to find some dock leaves.
Also around Friston today Grizzled Skipper, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Small White, Brimstone, Comma, Holly Blue, Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood. We're in double figures! (Michael Blencowe)


A quick afternoon walk on the Downs just to the north of Denton was packed with butterfly sightings: Large White, Small White (11), Orange Tip, Small Copper, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell (2), and Peacock (8). (Steven Teale)


The Rother Woods Project first volunteer recorders workshop took place at Brede High Woods today, attended by 20 people. We saw Orange Tips, Brimstones, Peacocks, Speckled Woods, also a Holly Blue and a Comma. We also saw 3 suspected Clouded Yellows under the power line but more searching is needed to verify this exciting news. A big thank you to Dr Patrick Roper for leading the workshop.

Also: Common Heath at Kingstanding, Ashdown Forest. (Steve Wheatley)


While working in one of our paddocks on the west side of Lewes - a pristine Small Copper, 2 Orange-tips, 4 Peacocks, 1 Large White, 1 Comma and a Small Tortoiseshell, all in an hour. (Tim Duffield)


News for 25 April: 3 male Emperor Moths were attracted to a captive bred female Emperor moth at Buchan Country Park. (Robin Edwards)


The first Rother Woods Project Moth Evening was held at Park Wood on the Brede Valley on Friday night. It wasn't too strenuous as you'll see from the team photo. Thanks to David Burrow's daughter for letting us invade her kitchen while the traps did the work. 31 species arrived at the traps. The highlight was the 5 different prominents - Scarce prominent, Great prominent, Pale Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent and Pebble Prominent. A very successful and enjoyable evening. (Steve Wheatley)



Friday 25 April 2008


Shoreham-by-Sea: My first Dingy Skipper of 2008 was seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill around midday. One Grizzled Skipper was also spotted on a passage journey on a muggy day. Another first were two female Orange-tip Butterflies positively identified from over the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, chased by a single male and very flightly, stopping only very briefly on Green Alkanet flowers, a least thrice after being disturbed by Rhingia campestris hoverflies. Other butterflies seen during the day were occasional Small Tortoiseshells, occasional Peacock Butterflies, two Speckled Woods, a few Small Whites and a Large White. Eight species. (Andy Horton)



Wednesday 23 April 2008


Great Prominent (left) and Lunar Marbled Brown, RSPB Pulborough Brooks 22/04/07, (Anna Allum)

I went to Buchan Country Park yesterday to enjoy the sunshine at lunch, I can report the following sightings:Brimstone: 4 (all males), Large White: 2, Comma: 1, Peacock:4, Orange-tip: 3. (Damian Pinguey - 'web-master' for Wiltshire Dragonflies: www.wiltshiredragonflies.org.uk)


Moth-trap from last night produced 8 species... Early Thorn (3), Brindled Beauty, Nut-tree Tussock (2), Hebrew Character (8), Common Quaker (2), Early Grey (2), Light-brown Apple Mothand Shuttle-shaped Dart (1). (John Luck - Ringmer)


1 Holly Blue (first of year for me), 2 Orange-tip, 1 Small White in my Brighton garden. (Caroline Clarke)


News for 22 April: Brimstone, Large White, Peacock and Orange-tips flying around Cissbury Hill at lunchtime today. This afternoon there were Brimstones, Orange-tips and Speckled Wood at Warnham Nature Reserve. (Susie Milbank)


Our most productive moth trap of the year so far overnight on 22 April. 7 Great Prominent, 5 Brindled Beauty, 3 Hebrew Character, 3 Early Grey, 3 Pine Beauty, 3 Lunar Marbled Brown, 1 Early Thorn, 2 Powdered Quaker, 1 Small Quaker and 1 Clouded Drab. What looked on first glance to be a Grey Pine Carpet eluded capture so denied me a proper ID check! (Anna Allum - RSPB Pulborough Brooks)



Tuesday 22 April 2008


Orange-tip, in meadows near upper Arun, Horsham 22/04/07, (Neil Hulme)

Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex My first Holly Blue Butterfly of the year was seen in the twitten from Victoria Road to Ropetackle at the eastern end by the main road. Small Whites were frequent over the allotments and Large Whites were occasionally seen. A Peacock Butterfly fluttered over the eastern bank of the River Adur, at high tide, on the side opposite Shoreham Airport. Two male Orange-tip Butterflies fluttered over the verges of the Waterworks Road, settling very briefly (for between 1 and 5 seconds) on the small blue flowers of Green Alkanet. (Andy Horton)


In the early afternoon I walked up Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835089). The temperature was a humid 17 degrees. Several male Orange-tips were patrolling along the hedgerows with Peacocks gracefully gliding past. The Orange-tips were too active for me to get any photos. My full count was: Orange Tip (6M), Brimstone (3M 1F), Green Veined White (2M), Small White (1F), and Peacock (5). (Richard Symonds)


14 Brimstones. 8 definite Males, 2 definite Females, 2 Peacocks at Park Corner Heath. 1 Male Orange Tip, 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Peacocks at Milton Hide. (Roy Wells)


Went to Windover Hill/Deepdean hoping to see Grizzled Skippers. Didn't see any, but did see and photograph a Small Copper and a Dingy Skipper (the latter seen in exactly the same place as a solitary second brood specimen last August). Also 3 Brimstones and 5 Peacocks. (Bob Coleman - Eastbourne)


This afternoon I joined Paul Marten in some meadows beside the upper Arun, on the outskirts of Horsham. He had phoned me to report 'at least 8 Orange-tips', a butterfly that I'd been trying (unsuccessfully) to photograph over the weekend. In the weak sunshine they were quite co-operative, occasionally resting, rather than indulging in their usual endless wanderings. Also 1 Peacock and a male Emperor Moth. (Neil Hulme)


1 Holly Blue (first of year for me), 2 Orange-tip, 1 Small White in my Brighton garden. (Caroline Clarke)



Monday 21 April 2008


Peacock, Springfield Hill, 20/04/07, (Colin Knaggs)

I ran my trap every night last week, recording the following species: Pale Flat-body (Agonopterix pallorella), Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana), Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla), Shoulder Stripe, Double-striped Pug (2), Powdered Quaker, Hebrew Character (8), Early Grey (3), Chestnut and Nut-tree Tussock. 10 species; 20 moths. I had some interesting colour variants, including a very light (not worn!) Double-striped Pug. The Nut-tree Tussock was the 100th species I've recorded in my garden since first running the Skinner trap on 30/08/07 (138 trapping sessions). (Steven Teale)


News for 20 April: On Springfield Hill today between 1pm and 2:45, saw more than 12 Peacocks, 4 Brimstones, one white but didn't get close enough to see which one probably small. Also saw a warbler or chiffchaff, kestrel, and grass snake (don't tell my wife). There were many violets and lots of cowslips (I'm pretty sure this time) in flower and loads of common orchids poking out leaves but no stems or flowers yet. (Colin Knaggs)



Sunday 20 April 2008


Streamer, Ringmer, (John Luck)


The sunshine, today, persuaded a Streamer to fly around our garden, alighting on ivy on a post. (John Luck)


3 male Orange-tip (first of the year), 1 Peacock in my Brighton garden. (Caroline Clarke)


The warmer weather today brought out a few butterflies at Warnham Reserve: a Speckled Wood, a female Brimstone and 4-5 Orange-tips, including 2 females. (Polly Mair)


Friston Forest: They say the butterfly season doesn't start until you see your first Orange-tip and within minutes of leaving the house today mine flew past. There was no need for my wooly hat today - even the wind was warm - and the butterflies were active Orange-tip (1) Comma (6) Brimstone (14 male, 1 female) Peacock (22) Large White (2) Small White (1) (Michael Blencowe)


6 Peacock, 1 tatty Small Tortoishell and 1 resplendent Large White all in the reeds sheltering from the breeze at Pevensey Levels today. (Roy Wells)


River Mole near Gatwick today, in 2 hours saw at least 8 different male and definitely 2 different female Orange-tips. (Andrew Burns)


The first Large White Butterflies and the first Orange-tip Butterflies of the year are seen in the Shoreham area and the first Green-veined White Butterfly and Speckled Wood Butterflies were seen on Mill Hill. Frequent Peacock Butterflies were the most numerous and with Small Whites, Brimstone Butterflies, Grizzled Skippers and a Small Tortoiseshell, this makes four firsts for Shoreham and about 42 butterflies of nine species seen on a tepid (>16.9 °C) sunny day. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the first Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was seen in flower with the accompanying pollen beetles. The first Pyrausta nigrata pyralid moth of 2008 was also spotted. (Andy Horton)



Friday 18 April 2008


Green corridor (left) and Grass Cutting (right), Ferring Rife, (Tim Freed)


Following on from Colin and Neil's observations of Small Tortoiseshells along the Ferring Rife it is worth mentioning that these and other butterflies have greatly benefited from the new cutting regime carried out along the Rife's banks. Resulting from discussions we had with the Environment Agency in 2004, corridors of vegetation are left uncut each year to allow nettles to thrive and provide overwintering habitat for invertebrates. In addition marginal habitat along the water's edge has been left as a refuge for wildlife, including moths which utilise Phragmites and Typha. (Tim Freed)



Thursday 17 April 2008


Seen here in my garden at Broad Oak Brede, a single Holly Blue yesterday and the day before, plus a solitary Peacock yesterday. Looks like the next few days won't be so good. As the Rother Woods Project is now getting well and truly underway, let's see if we can all up the sightings - and the reporting - in the the Rother Woods area!
I have a moth trap here now and on the night of the 3rd April, my first ever go at moth trapping, recorded a few chaps - Oak Beauty, Early Thorn, Early Grey and Clouded Drab. (Stuart Cooper)



Wednesday 16 April 2008


Small Tortoiseshell, Ferring Rife, (Neil Hulme)


Following new member Colin Knaggs' report of numerous Small Tortoiseshells at Ferring Rife, we took a mid afternoon walk along both banks. Our total of 16 is more than I've seen in one spot for many years. The demise of this once common insect is very sad. Although scientific study is yet to prove the case, it seems that the parasitic fly Sturmia bella (of European origin) is probably to blame. I will certainly go back to see freshly emerged specimens here later in the year - these all being hibernators, they were understandably a little worn. Also 10 Peacock and our first Green-veined White of the year. (Rosemary, Eric and Neil Hulme)


The sun was still shining on Friston Forest today - but the cold wind made me wish I'd packed my wooly hat. The sheltered rides in the forest held 22 Peacock and 1 Comma but there was nothing flying on the surrounding downland. (Michael Blencowe & Steve Wheatley)


AM Abbots Wood: Peacock (5), male Orange-tip (3) PM Vert Wood: Peacock (9), Brimstome (2), Comma (1) (Bob Coleman, Eastbourne)



Tuesday 15 April 2008


Peacock feeding on blackthorn, Broadbridge Heath, (Susie Milbank)


I had my first Speckled Wood in my garden at Bevendean this morning, in the green house actually, it flew out into the bright sunshine but an air temp. of only 8° C. (Geoff Stevens)


Broadfield pond Crawley. 5 Commas, 3 Speckled Woods, 3 male Orange-tips, 2 Peacocks, 1 Brimstone and Large White. Nearby the Half Moon Public House was another Large White, this one was a female. (Vince Massimo)


There were at least 11 Small Tortoishells on the east bank of the Rife in south Ferring in warm afternoon sun between 3.30pm and 4.30pm. The area is covered with new growth stinging nettles and cow parsley (I think). (Colin Knaggs)


At last! My first (2 male) Orange-tip today. One on the outskirts of Arundel and the other at Fairmile Bottom LNR. (Neil Hulme)


1 Brimstone, 4 Peacocks, 1 Comma at Park Corner Heath. (Caroline, Miles & Ed Clarke)


Two Peacocks and an Orange-tip seen flying over the fields to the west of Broadbridge Heath today. (Susie Milbank)



Monday 14 April 2008


Grizzled Skipper (x 2 ), Mill Hill, 13 April (Neil Hulme) and Tawny Pinion, Denton, 13 April (Steven Teale)


A total of three Orange Tips seen on road side verges at Uckfield, Arlington Reservoir and Ashdown Forest. (Bob Eade)

In the garden at Kingston near Lewes at lunch time today one male Orange Tip and one Small White. (John Holloway)


A brief walk around the reedbed at Lewes Railways Lands LNR revealed 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small White and 1 Peacock. (Steve Wheatley)


It's been another steady week with the moth trap in Denton. Species recorded: several micro species including Endrosis sarcitrella (2), Double-striped Pug (3), Common Quaker (2), Hebrew Character (3), Tawny Pinion and Chestnut (2). A total of 35 moths of 15 species, so still quiet on the whole - although the Tawny Pinion was a highlight. Butterflies seen included Small White, Peacock and Comma. (Steven Teale)


News for Sun 13 April: I spent a sociable late afternoon on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, with BC stalwarts Andrew Burns, Bert Laker and venue regular Andy Horton. We saw 10 Grizzled Skipper and 5 Peacock. I finally got some good photos of the butterfly, following a frustrating session the previous day (3 Grizzled Skipper, 4 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell), when the weather got the better of me - at one point I was virtually pinned to the slopes by a particularly malevolent hail shower! Later on Sunday I was joined by Mark Monk-Terry of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and while we photographed the skippers a pair of Peregrines were performing a 'food drop' above us. Mark informed me that he had seen a Grizzled Skipper at Levin Down on Thursday 10 April, equalling the earliest 2008 record for Sussex (Mill Hill) and, as far as I know, the country. (Neil Hulme)


News for 9 & 10 April: On 9th April in the late morning with the temperature of 7 degrees I walked up Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835089). I saw a Peacock and two Red Admirals. I returned the following day (10th April) where the temperature was 12 degrees hoping to see early Orange Tips along the hedgerow but they were absent. A male Brimstone, two Peacocks and two Red Admirals were seen. (Richard Symonds - Hayling Island)



Sunday 13 April 2008

Early this afternoon on the lower slopes of Mill Hill there were at least 4 Grizzled Skippers, 3 Peacocks and 1 each of Comma, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell. (Dave and Pen Green)


Saturday 12 April 2008

Took a 4 hour walk around Friston Forest today. The sun was shining but a cold wind meant the butterflies weren't coming out to play. Only 5 Peacock and 2 Comma were seen. It says a lot when the highlight of the day was a dead Water Shrew. (Michael Blencowe)

News for Fri 11 April: First of the overwintering Red Admiral caterpillars pupated yesterday ( 10th April ), a full month later than last year. It has taken just over 5 months from egg to chrysalis stage. Unlike last year all three larvae are of the black variety. (D Harris)


Thursday 10 April 2008

3 Peacocks and 1 Brimstone at Houndean bottom, Lewes. (Michael Hawkins)

On a mild (>10.5 °C) sunny day there were frequent butterflies on Mill Hill and its approaches including my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year, my first two Grizzled Skippers on the lower slopes, ten Peacocks and two Comma Butterflies. (Andy Horton)

News for Wed 09 April: At Kingston near Lewes Brilliant sun, sharp visibility, patchy slow moving cumulus, warm sun, cool shade. In the garden today, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Peacock, 2 Small White.(John Holloway)


Wednesday 9 April 2008

There's still snow up on the Downs but in Vert Wood today the sunshine lead to plenty of butterfly activity; 29 Peacock, 8 Comma and 6 male Brimstone. (Michael Blencowe and Dan Hoare)

A beautiful sunny calm but cold day. Only two species recorded on transect at Malling Down. 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Peacock. I saw 2 or 3 other Peacocks and 1 Small Tortoiseshell near Whilley's Bridge Lewes. No whites today (Crispin Holloway)

A walk through Rewell Wood produced 6 Peacock and a Comma this morning. The Brimstones, which were plentiful here last Friday, have returned to a state of torpor, following a couple of cold, frosty nights. (Neil and Eric Hulme)

Friston Forest, warm sunshine but patches of snow still in shady corners. I am 90% certain I saw a Wall along one of the sunny forest rides, but it did not wait around to give me a careful look, and I am still learning - Michael, please keep an eye out for it! (It was NOT a comma!) Also two Peacocks. (Susan Suleski)


Monday 7 April 2008


The new moth galleries have prompted a welcome flurry of additions, in particular a bunch of new species from Simon Davey. The tally now stands at 1094 photos of 531 species!


Advance notice: Park Corner Heath Work Party Sunday 13 April Next Sunday will be the last work party of the season - we'll be finishing off a few tasks around the reserve; clearing the area to the south of the pond to allow more light into this area and constructing a few habitat piles for invertebrates and amphibians. There's always plenty of work to keep us busy and all are welcome to come and help out. We'll be there from 8:30 until 1:30 but come on join us when you want. Contact Michael for more information on 01323 423711 or sussexgrayling@aol.com



Sunday 6 April 2008


Barred Tooth-striped (x 2 ) and Pale Flat-body, Mill Hill, 5 April (Michael Blencowe)

Since Christmas, Liz Goodyear and Andrew Middleton from Herts & Middlesex Butterfly Conservation have paid three visits to Sussex to look for elm as part of their fascinating national White-letter Hairstreak project (2007-2009): (do check out their website - it makes for interesting and instructive reading about all-things 'White-letter Hairstreak')

"In TQ40 (north of the village of Firle) we found a hatched White-letter Hairstreak egg and at TQ71 (west of Battle near Powdermill Wood) we found hatched and unhatched eggs. Since this was in an area almost void of any records, we were very pleased and we would encourage anyone to go out and look for eggs or hatched eggs on any elm they can find! We have found Sussex intriguing as in some parts elm is totally absent - we spent two visits to TQ62 and struggled to find any elm in the entire 10km square. I actually asked the Sussex Biodiversity records centre for their elm data and still couldn't find anything decent! We improved TQ22 yesterday with a lovely roadside elm in Bolney. SBRC had one record - we have found two more! We hope to re visit all these targets in the summer as we found of all the areas in the country we have visited - Sussex has been the hardest!"

News for Sat 5 April. Mill Hill SMG Meeting  Despite the awful forecast and plummetting temperature the first SMG field meeting of the year at Mill Hill near Shoreham was well attended. However, we only saw three moths - but no-one was complaining; two were of our target species Barred Tooth-striped and the other was the micro Pale Flat-body Agonopterix pallorella. After intensive torchlight searches of the wild privet on the reserve it was Mike Snelling who found the first Barred Tooth-Striped in its typical posture - wrapped around a privet twig. Coincidentally at that exact moment the Mill Hill slope was illuminated by an impressive fireworks display from somewhere across the Arun. A great start to our 2008 field trip programme. (Michael Blencowe)

Saturday 5 April 2008

Eriocrania sangii Large Birch Purple, Kingstanding, 3 April (Steve Wheatley)

Abbot's Wood, sunny and beautifully bedecked in wood anemones, celandines, primroses, early bluebells - but where were the hoped for butterflies?  Only saw one male Brimstone and two Peacocks. (Susan Suleski)

Congratulations to Bob Foreman for constructing this super new moth gallery. It must have taken a lot of hard work! My trap hasn't produced anything new to go in it recently but last night it contained an early Small Waved Umber. On Cissbury yesterday there were 20+ Brimstone and 12 Peacock. It looks like this is a good year for the latter. (Mike Snelling)

News for Fri 4 April: A Peacock , my first Brimstone of the year, and a Small White were all seen in Shoreham town. (Andy Horton)

News for Thurs 3 April: On Thurs evening, I caught two Mottled Grey (1 male, 1 female) on the wing at Stump Bottom near Denton (TQ462035). Initially I misidentified them as Early Tooth-striped but realised my mistake on closer inspection. They were flying over an area of rank grassland and scrub where I was searching some stands of Wild Privet for Barred Tooth-striped, but without any luck. The Mottled Grey were nice to see though. (Steven Teale)

Friday 4 April 2008:

Below: Barred Tooth-striped (Tim Freed) x2. Comma, Fairmile Bottom, 4 April (Neil Hulme)

Visited the heathy area of Brede High Woods this afternoon, adjacent to the Chitcombe Road. Saw a couple of Peacocks floating about there as well as one when I returned home to Broad Oak. A Common Buzzard was circling overhead here later in the afternoon. (Stuart Cooper)

A very close call last night for the Small Quakers almost being overtaken by Common Quakers for the first time with a total of 195 moths of of 21 species, as follows: Small Quaker 64, Common Quaker 63, Hebrew Character 12, Brindled Pug, 8 Clouded Drab 7 (all very drab), Brindled Beauty 5*, Oak Beauty 4, Blossom Underwing 3*, Twin-spotted Quaker 3, March Moth 2, March Tubic (Diurnea fagella) 2, Double-striped Pug 1*, Early Grey 1, Chestnut 1, Yellow Horned 1, Powdered Quaker 1*, Oak-tree Pug 1*, White-marked 1 (2nd this year / 4th ever), Engrailed 1, Brindled Flat-body (Agonopterix arenella) 1 (Sam Bayley). Don't know what they look like? You guessed it - they're in the galleries!

Seen today in grounds of Emmeus, old Portslade: 2 Comma, 2 Speckled Wood, Small White and Bee Fly. More 'whites' seen from bus in same area. (Peter Whitcomb)

2 Small Whites and 2 Holly Blues in "my" East Worthing school grounds yesterday lunchtime (3rd April) and today a single Red Admiral and Brimstone. All were first records for the year at this site. (John Maskell)

At last! In my Lindfield garden I saw my first Brimstone (and only second butterfly) of the year today, a male, and it was flying like it was in a hurry to get somewhere. Then, about half an later hour later a couple of Small Whites showed up, both of which hung around a little longer than the Brimstone. (Bob Foreman)

A beautiful day at Pagham, today. We walked from Centre to Church Norton. Never seen so many Peacocks anywhere (prob 40+), 1 Small White and 1 Comma (John & Hilary Luck)

Through our East Dean garden today: 2 female Brimstone, 1 Peacock, 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth. (David Jode)

Small White in the Pavilion Gardens in Brighton city centre this lunchtime (Adrian Thomas)

Congratulations on arranging and launching the superb Gallery of Sussex Moths - I've just had a look at it. Really excellent piece of work! Here is a very relevant gap-filler for tomorrow night's Sussex Moth group event - Barred Tooth-striped Trichopteryx polycommata, Highdown Hill, March 2008. Both shots taken this year - my first effort with a digital camera! I bred this specimen from a fertile female captured on the hill last April and released it there after photographing. Have some other gap-fillers (all taken with film) which I'll send  - Orache, Blair's Mocha, Dusky Hook-tip etc (Tim Freed). It is gap fillers that we are indeed hoping for - if you've got photos taken in Sussex of missing species, or of life stages we don't yet have, or different postures and variants, ring them on!

More news from Crawley. Two Holly Blues were seen in trees just north of the Half Moon Public House. Over at nearby Broadfield Pond, were 5 Commas, 5 Peacocks, 2 Brimstones, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and my first Speckled Wood of the year. (Vince Massimo)

A walk through Fairmile Bottom LNR and Rewell Wood produced a total of 12 Brimstone (1 female laying), 6 Comma and 6 Peacock. We later saw a further 4 Peacock and 2 Brimstone on the Downs at Amberley. The absence of Red Admiral from the list is very noticeable in comparison with last spring. (Neil and Eric Hulme)

At last! In my Lindfield garden I saw my first Brimstone (and only second butterfly) of the year today, a male, and it was flying like it was in a hurry to get somewhere. Then, about half an later hour later a couple of Small Whites showed up, both of which hung around a little longer than the Brimstone. (Bob Foreman)


Thursday 3 April 2008

Hummingbird Hawkmoth through our East Dean garden mid-morning. (It has been entered on the National BC Survey). 4 Peacock outside of Horseshoe Plantation early afternoon. 1 Small Tortoiseshell over the garden of Belle Tout Lighthouse early afternoon. (David Jode)

Above - Early Thorn and Water Carpet, Friston Forest, 26 March (Michael Blencowe)

On transect at Malling Down: 2 Brimstone, 4 Peacocks, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood. Other Brimstones were seen in the distance Later in the day I saw several other Peacocks, two more Small Tortoiseshell and a White sp. There were also about 100 Harlequin Ladybirds in the conservatory. (Crispin Holloway)

Update from Crawley. At Broadfield pond and the surrounding area were 6 Commas, 4 Peacocks, 4 Brimstones (all male), 3 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Small White (male).  (Vince Massimo)

On a gloriously warm spring afternoon at Seaford allotments, Sutton Drove, several Whites, probably Small, also Peacocks. (Bob Brown)

Friston Forest: sunny morning - two female Brimstone and one male; one Red Admiral. Also Peacock flying around Wannock. (Susan Suleski)

A short walk on the Downs behind Denton this lunchtime produced 3 Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 9 Peacock and 1 Comma. Moths: nothing spectacular to report; species seen at home over the past few days include Diamond-back Moth (2), Light Brown Apple Moth (an larger, presumably first brood adult?), Twenty-plume Moth, Common Plume (3), March Moth, Double-striped Pug (2), Small Quaker, Common Quaker, and Hebrew Character. (Steven Teale)



Wednesday 2 April 2008

Spent the day exploring woodlands in the BC Rother Woods project area. We found some very interesting habitats which have a lot of potential for visits later in the year. The sun tried to shine through the clouds today and when it did the butterflies appeared; North Wood Comma (3), Peacock (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1); Rafters Wood Peacock (2); Little Park Wood Peacock (1). (Steve Wheatley & Michael Blencowe)

News for Tues 1 April: 3 male Brimstone flying round my Warnham garden on 1st Apr (Sam Bayley)

News for Mon 31 March: Numbers are finally starting to drop on the Small Quaker front with 132 moths of 12 species in my Warnham garden, as follows: Small Quaker (77) March Moth (1) Common Quaker (24) Hebrew Character (14) Early Thorn (1) Early Grey (1) Twin-spotted Quaker (2) Grey Shoulder-knot (1) Clouded Drab (3) Oak Beauty (2) Brindled Pug (5) March Tubic Diurnea fagella (1). (Sam Bayley)


Tuesday 1 April

News from David Burrows in the Rother Woods Project area - a Brimstone spotted at Sussex Wildlife Trust's Flatropers Wood. (per Steve Wheatley)

Broadfield pond Crawley. My first sightings for the year were 4 Commas, 1 Peacock and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. (Vince Massimo)

A single Peacock enjoying the sun today @ 15:35 for about 5 minutes today in our front garden in Bognor Regis. My first this year, it looked to be in fine fettle. (Trevor Gibson-Poole)

2 Commas, 2 Peacocks and 2 Brimstones at Park Corner Heath this afternoon - all but 1 of them in areas where conservation cutting was carried out over the winter. 5 months old Noah was entranced by the Brimstones. (Noah and Steve Wheatley)

A late afternoon walk around Swanbourne Lake (Arundel) produced my first Comma of the year. (Neil Hulme)


In glorious sunshine, on the hottest day of the year here in Mid-Sussex, but at times in ankle deep mud, day 1 of the 2008 transect season produced Small Tortoiseshell (2) and Brimstone (2). On the other hand, my garden moth trap remains stubbornly empty! It is still just too cold at night and too wet. (Paul Lister)


Today at Cissbury there were a few more butterflies - where they could find shelter from the fresh breeze. I saw 8 Brimstone, 1 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Comma. (Mike Snelling)


Things are finally 'hotting up' on the butterfly front and we should now see an increase in the number of awakened hibernators and early emergers. New member Dennis Bowtell rang me to report his morning's tally of 9 Brimstone and 4 Peacock from our Park Corner Heath Reserve. (Neil Hulme)


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 slowly. Perhaps the most abundant and widespread is the Hebrew Character.


Earlier Sightings

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