Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Send Sussex butterfly & moth sightings (TEXT ONLY PLEASE - NO PICTURES) to This page is updated as often as possible, usually daily. Red sightings are first of the year; purple are moths. These sightings are largely unverified at the time of publishing.

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Small BlueThe South Downs Small Blue Survey: The Small Blue season will be upon us shortly, so don’t forget to visit our page dedicated to the The South Downs Small Blue Survey here.

Gardening for Butterflies & Moths

"Colin Pratt’s Silver Trophy Cup for Sussex Lepidopterists"
Click here for the Sussex Moth Group

Next Event
22 May Moth Night, Kirdford

23 May Wolstonbury Hill

25 May BBQ Brede High Wood



Help Needed! Any members who would like to join a

 small team manning the Sussex BC stall at the Springwatch Event in Stanmer Park, near Brighton on Sunday 7th June 2009, 10am to 5pm - please contact Caroline Clarke at communications@sussex-butterflies.org.uk. Offers of an hour or two, half-day or the full works all gratefully received! Butterfly knowledge useful but not essential.


Sunday 31 May 2009


In a brief visit to Caburn Bottom this afternoon we saw 15 Small Blue, 20 plus Common Blue, 1 Small Heath, 1 Small Copper and about 18 Painted Ladies alone with 4 Burnet Companion. (Dave and Pen Green)

A wonderful few hours spent at Kithurst Hill this morning produced an estimated 6 Small Blues, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Painted Ladies, 1 Cinnabar, 8 Burnet Companion, 1 Brimstone and 3 Common Blue. There was also a small pale brown moth which didn’t allow a close approach and kept hiding underneath foliage when disturbed. I don’t know what it was but there were a lot of them (any ideas, folks? - Ed). The orchids there are putting on a beautiful show. (Sherie New)

Had my first Meadow Brown of the summer this morning at Beeding Hill. Also saw a number of Six-spot Burnets flying, having seen the first last Wednesday. Yesterday, we called into woods in the north of the county and found 4 Wood Whites flying, but not much else except the occasional Painted Lady. (Jim Steedman)

Further to my report yesterday of egg-laying Painted Ladies in the DEFRA Conservation field at Keymer, I made a more lengthy visit this morning, closely examining all of the many expanses of thistle across this field - a total of 1300 Painted Ladies present, egg-laying on the thistles. The thistles are all young plants with lots of tender growth (still painful though!) and most of the eggs are being laid on the upper surfaces of the leaves at the tops of the plants. An unforgettable experience watching this spectacle, surrounded at times by billowing clouds of Painted Ladies! (Malcolm Le Grys)


A couple of the amazing shots by Malcolm today which signal what might happen later this summer!



Both people and butterflies came out in force for the Park Corner Heath Open Day on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year. At 10am the contents of three moth traps were opened in front of crowd of both eager moth-ers and those who have yet to get the moth-habit. The over-ambitious theme of the previous evening was 'The Search for the Striped Hawkmoth'. Sadly this rare moth must have just missed Park Corner Heath on its migration - but no-one was disappointed as the traps contained over 100 moth species - and for those who asked here's the macro list; Puss Moth, Light Brocade, Angle Shades, Elephant Hawkmoth, Clouded Silver, Iron Prominent, Mottled Pug, Eyed Hawknoth, Swallow Prominent, Burnished Brass, Little Emerald, Common Wave, Smoky Wainscot, Satin Lutestring, Pale-shouldered Brocade, Grey Birch, Scalloped Hook-tip, Poplar Grey, Barred Red, Silver-Y, Rosy Marbled, Alder Moth, Buff Ermine, Green Carpet, Alder Kitten, Pebble Prominent, White Ermine, Buff-tip, Plae Oak Beauty, Poplar Hawkmoth, Birch Mocca, White-Pinion Spotted, Speckled Yellow, Maiden's Blush, Knot Grass, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Peppered Moth. Bright-line Brown-eye, Small Square Spot, Small White Wave, Common Swift, Cinnabar, Clouded Border Brindle, Grey Pine Carpet, Tawny Barred Angle, Purple Bar, Orange Footman, Green Silver-lines, Common White Wave. After the moth trap opening I lead walks around out reserve while the temperature continue to rise; and that wasn't the only thing that was hotting up. The female Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary are beginning to emerge and a pair were observed mating. Also on the reserve Green Hairstreak, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Peacock, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper. The Painted Lady migration has now slowed down to a trickle. Thanks to everyone who attended and made this a very enjoyable day; especially the moth trappers Keith, Wendy, Steve, Dave & Dave. (Michael Blencowe) Photos of display by Michael, gathered crowd by Clare Jeffers and Puss Moth by Michael




News for Sat 30 May: I have been asked to let you know that yesterday (30th May) there were between 50 to 100 Painted Ladies on the valerian in a front garden in Claremont Road, Seaford, East Sussex. I know that this year they are numerous even here in Cornwall but in nothing like the numbers reported further east. We have had a lot in past years but so far in North Petherwin have seen only three or four together and these were rather pale weathered specimens. (per Robert Bovill)


News for Sat 30 May: A pretty good moth session last night in Horsham, although we didn't find either Alder Kitten or Rosy Marbled, the five of us did clock up over 100 species including Satin Lutestring, Peach Blossom, at least 5 Lime Hawk-moth and a Poplar Hawk-moth, a Sharp-angled Carpet and lots of May Highflyers. But the absolute star of the night was a pristine female SMALL MARBLED, a very rare immigrant of which there have only been 12 other records for the county. Thanks to Colin, Malcolm, Ros and Jacob for helping to create such a good evening. (Sam Bayley)

News for Sat 30 May: Best trapping in terms of numbers so far this year in North Portslade although number of species is still very low compared to previous years: Small Elephant Hawkmoth (only the second Hawkmoth in total this year - Eyed Hawkmoth being the other), White Ermine (2), Buff Tip, Heart & Dart (approx. 20) , Treble Lines (2), Large Yellow Underwing (2), Minor sp. (Probably Marbled). (Darryl Perry)

News for Fri 29 and Sat 30 May: Friston Forest, slopes above Butchershole CP: there are lots of Common Blues on the yellow vetch covered slopes going up to the gallops. Also, at least one male Adonis Blue, but they were all very busy and disinclined to let me study them. It helps to have a dog to flush them, though it would be even more helpful to have a dog which would ‘point and freeze’! Saw at least 4 Small Blues on Friday. Lots of Small Heaths. Also 2 Large Skippers, 2 Dingy Skippers and 1 Grizzled Skipper. 1 Brimstone. Just a scattering of Painted Ladies, with two deep amongst the beeches. (Susan Suleski)

Small Blues at Cocking Quarry, 28 May (Mark Bunch)


Saturday 30 May 2009



Common Blue and Yellow Shell, Mill Hill, 29 May (Nick Linazasoro)


Painted Lady egg laying (High and Over) and Small Copper (Frog Firle), 30 May (Bob Eade)


Event tomorrow: Park Corner Heath Open Day (Sunday 31 May, 10am-4pm) : It's our annual event where we invite everyone to come and join us out at PCH. We've done a lot of work on our reserve over the winter in order to get the habitat in good condition for the Small Pearl-bordered Fritilllaries and other species. Come and learn more about the management of the reserve and the butterflies, birds, dragonflies, snakes and plants that live here. There will be information stalls and guided walks throughout the day; opening of the moth traps (10am), Children's Explorer Trail and members of the committee will be on hand to answer your questions. We'll even throw in a few Painted Ladies. Parking has kindly been made available to the right of the main entrance in our neighbour's woodland. Everyone welcome. (Michael Blencowe)

I headed out for an evening stroll in the lane just outside the east side of Blatchington Golf Course that leades to Frog Firle. I saw 3 Wall Browns, 1 Dingy Skipper and between 30 to 35 Painted Ladies. (Nick Linazasoro)

Thirty people attended the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey Training Day held at Woods Mill today, to go through the survey method and pick up some identification tips for when they go out and survey their 1km squares, as allotted by BC and BTO. Helen Crabtree started the day off by talking through the survey method, and was followed by Michael Blencowe who went through all of the Sussex species in his own entertaining, and comprehensive, way. Neil Hulme joined us in the afternoon, and we went out in to the field to test our newly honed skills. Although beautifully sunny, it was quite windy. Despite this, during the afternoon the three different groups came up with this total species list: most excitingly as it was a first for the year at Woods Mill was Large Skipper. We also saw Red Admiral, Small White, Green-veined White, Large White, Common Blue, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Peacock and, what was the other one? Oh yeah, Painted Lady. Day-flying or disturbed moths included Silver-ground Carpet, Mother Shipton, Straw Dot and Small Magpie, and what we think was a Mocha high up in a hedge. Thanks to the leaders and helpers who helped to make this day a success. Happy surveying everyone! (Pen Green)

Large Skipper, and the Butterfly Training Day attendees, Woods Mill, 30 May (Neil Hulme)



Vast numbers of Painted Ladies egg-laying on thistles at Keymer at 6.30 this evening - the butterflies were in a DEFRA Conservation field at TQ308148 consisting of rough grassland with many extensive areas of thistle. Numbers difficult to count accurately but examination of each thistle patch gave an estimate of 800-1000 in total present on thistles right across the field, with many small groups chasing and fluttering around, also 100 or so flying low around neighbouring grass fields. Passage has been continuing across my Keymer garden today but on a greatly reduced scale, just occasional individuals flying northwards from time to time. (Malcolm Le Grys).

At Room Bottom, on the NW side of Truleigh Hill today there were 9 Small Blues, 6 Adonis Blues, 2 Dingy Skippers, 6 Wall Browns, 2 Green Hairstreaks, 2 Small Heaths, 2 Large Skippers, 30 Painted Ladies, Red Admiral + a few Common Blues and Brown Argus. Also 2+ Common Heaths and a few Silver Ys and a Quail flushed from the grass. Around my garden in Edburton there were 87 Painted Ladies, 4 Brown Argus, Wall Brown, 6 Common Blues + a 'Woolly Bear' or Garden Tiger caterpillar, a first for my garden and 3 Beautiful Demoiselles (Tony Wilson)

Petworth House today produced Small Coppers, Large Whites, Painted Ladies and a Peacock. (Colin Knight)

My regular walk along the path at the back of Blatchington Golf Course to Green Way Bank and then along the bottom of Frog Firle resulted in 16 species seen. Due to the wind direction some numbers were well down especially with Wall Brown with only 5 seen compared with 39 just 8 days ago!! Meanwhile the 2nd brood of Speckled Woods is with us and there were 31 of these seen with some very fresh individuals. Other numbers were Common Blue 38, Peacock 3, Small White 14, Red Admiral 2, Small Heath 3, Large Skipper 2, Brown Argus 7, Dingy Skipper 6, Small Copper 2, Green Hairstreak 8, Large White 2, Green-veined White 3 including a mating pair, Small Blue 6 and at least 36 Painted Ladies including 1 egg laying on thistles at High and Over. (Bob Eade).

Whilst helping with our voluntary clean-up of the Seaford promenade beween 10 and midday, I noticed a few solitary Painted Ladies still coming in, no more than a dozen. One seemed to be heading in the opposite direction! A Clouded Yellow was off Ringmer Road a few yards from the promenade. The Painted Ladies seem to have captured the public's attention for butterflies like never before! (Bob Brown)

My brother has just phoned from Kinsale on the southern coast of Eire to say his garden is full of Painted Ladies!!! (David Williams)


News for Fri 29 May: In a private wood near Uckfield a Clouded Yellow flew past amongst the Painted Ladies. There did seem to be a lot less Ladies flying through yesterday in this area. In a Small Blue count in the afternoon the following were observed: 6 at Bo Peep Bostal. 20 on the Eastern Gully leading up to Windover Hill and 11 on Windover Hill itself including 2 mating pairs. Matt Eade in the morning had a count of 22 on Windover Hill with the majority of these being on the main path leading up to the main bend which was an area I didn't spend much time on so few butterflies would have been double counted by us. (Bob Eade).


News for Fri 29 May: 3 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at Park Corner Heath (Dave Mitchell)


News for Fri 29 May: Briefly nipped up to Cissbury Ring today and saw 1 Cinnabar, around 10 Brimstones and quite a number of Painted Ladies. Also visited Mill Hill for an hour and a half. There were notably less butterflies this time than my last visit about two weeks ago. I didn't see any Dingy Skippers or Grizzled Skippers. However, I obviously saw possibly around 50 Painted Ladies, about 10 Brimstones, two Small Whites, quite a few Adonis Blues including 2 females, a few Common Blues including a female. (Nick Linazasoro)


News for Fri 29 May: On my Denton transect walk this afternoon I saw 134 Painted Lady zipping past in the strong breeze. I also counted Large Skipper (1 - & first of the year), Dingy Skipper (2), Grizzled Skipper (1), Large White (5), Small White (10), Green-veined White (2), Small Blue (8 - five separate 'micro-colonies' recorded), Brown Argus (1), Common Blue (18), Red Admiral (1), Speckled Wood (6), Wall Brown (2), Small Heath (6). Moths seen included Burnet Companion (2), Alabonia geoffrella (1), Pyrausta nigrata (1), P. despicata (1), Clouded Silver (1), Spindle Ermine (1 - usually a July flier), and my first two Broad-bodied Chasers of the year. (Steven Teale)


News for Fri 29 May: I visited Anchor Bottom looking for orchids and caught sight of one Small Blue plus 6 or so Common Blues while there. A quick ramble over Mill Hill looking for Wall Browns found a great many Painted Ladies that my wishful thinking kept trying to make them into Wall Browns but no actual Wall Browns. Many Blues also in evidence but I’m not sure if they were Adonis or not as, being in a bit of a hurry, I didn’t get a good look at their wing fringes for the tell-tale black stripes. I also saw one Cinnabar. Also of note – I saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my Adur Valley garden this week, first one in a few years. (Sherie New)


News for Fri 29 May: Bedelands Farm transect: Lovely sunny day, quite humid with a gentle breeze, total of 226 butterflies recorded. The number of Painted Ladies seen was amazing the largest number ever recorded in over 10 years of transect walks. Clouded Yellow 1, Large White 2, Small White 1, Green-veined White 10, Small Copper 2, Common Blue 33, Painted Lady 176, Speckled Wood 1 (David Pyle)


News for Fri 29 May: I spent a very pleasant four hours on Malling Down today. I just sat on a bench for an hour at the top watching hundreds of Painted Ladies fly past; between midday and 1pm I counted between 3 and 10 butterflies every minute! It was truly astounding to watch and felt like a real privilege to witness. Other species fell into slight insignificance: Red Admiral (1), Adonis Blue (1), Brown Argus (2), Common Blue (15), Speckled Wood (2), Brimstone (2), Small Heath (5), Large White (1), Large Skipper (1) and Grizzled Skipper (1) (Polly Mair)

News for Fri 29 May: A Clouded Yellow amongst the numerous Painted Ladies at Waterhall near Brighton this afternoon. Also here 1 Grizzled Skipper and 1 Brown Argus, numerous Common Blues and 2 Peacocks. (Jeremy Burgess)

News for Thurs 28 May: Went to Cocking Quarry in cloudy,warm weather, a little sun. 21C. A great total of 128 Small Blue, mostly male in good condition, was the highlight. Plus several Dingy Skipper, mostly worn, and Common Blue 10-15. Abundant Painted Lady passing through. (Mark Bunch,Cambs and Essex branch)

Recent news from Newhaven: Last weekend (May 23rd) David Harris and I walked from HMP Lewes to Blackcap and Mount Harry. We recorded 40 species of moth and butterfly, with notable moth species being Cocksfoot Moth (several moths on most buttercup flowers - must have been tens of thousands seen), Pyrausta aurata (5), P. despicata (1), P. nigrata (1) and P. purpuralis (2), Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (2), Small Purple-barred (3 - a small colony at TQ376128), and hundreds of Six-spot Burnet caterpillars along the verge of Nevill Road in Lewes. Butterfly species included Small Blue (6), Green Hairstreak (6), Grizzled Skipper (1), and Painted Lady (19). Firsts for the year in the garden at home during recent days include Small Square-spot, Small Waved Umber, Yellow-barred Brindle, Buff Ermine, Oligia sp (most likely Marbled Minor), and a tiny Argyresthia cupressella (Cypress-tip Moth). (Steven Teale)

Friday 29 May 2009


No mistaking these fine Ladies these days! Photo left by Susie Milbank, right by Paula Marshall. Now a photo this weekend with 20 in would be good... ;-) Ed




Butterfly Conservation’s UK-wide count of Painted Lady’s - 30th May 2009 ie TOMORROW!

There is a unique opportunity to get better information on the nature and scale of this spectacular and unprecedented migration by taking part in a UK-wide count. Butterfly Conservation are inviting interested recorders to carry out a two hour sample count from 11:00 -13:00 (UK time) on Saturday 30th May. This will enable objective comparison with all other sites recorded in the same way. The data can be entered online at Butterfly Conservation’s website.

Simply record the total number that you see flying through your set search area over the full two hours of observation (including the 10% or more that are likely to stop briefly to feed before carrying on migrating). Your search area will either be your garden or over a 20 wide strip of countryside (10m either side of where you stand stationary for the two hours). Pick somewhere with a good view and do not record beyond 20m. If you do not see any add a zero count - negative records are equally important. In the notes box of the sightings form – add in this information, with a new line for each (1) confirm that you carried out a full sample count by adding in the time “11:00-13:00”. (2) add ‘OK’ to confirm that the weather was suitable for butterfly flight (3) add your count area – either as ‘My garden” or “20m wide strip” for all other counts in suitable open terrain and (4) add the direction of migration eg “NW” for flying north-west. Please continue to enter all other counts separately on the same website, including any counts made from 11:00-13:00 if the weather was not suitable for butterfly migration (cold, very windy) and counts made over different time periods and recording bands.


Over 30 Painted Ladies in Pavilion Garden, Brighton at 9am, but difficult to find any at 1pm. Favourite flower by far was Red (and White) Valerian, with Iberis and Dame's Violet coming a distant second, but even a pink Cistus getting a look-in. Plus Holly Blue (Adrian Thomas)


And still they keep coming! Spent the day grass-cutting in Keymer churchyard from 9am to 3pm, the Painted Ladies giving me a welcome excuse for frequent rest-breaks - large numbers continuing to pass northwards through the area all day, with individuals occasionally pausing briefly to nectar on red valerian and hawkbit. Passage seemed to quicken in the early afternoon, with a steady movement of 4-5 per minute coming from the south-east and flying low NW across the churchyard with that rapid and purposeful flight that we've come to know so well since last Sunday. (Malcolm Le Grys).

A single male Silver-studded Blue flew up from the Heather today at 10.50 am at Stedham Common Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve. I've never seen them this early before! (Graeme Lyons)

News for Thurs 28 May: Pagham Harbour: The southerly air stream has help maintain the Painted Lady invasion with over 50 seen just near the Visitor Centre in an Hour. Also with favourable conditions the number of migrant moths are starting to arrive. The highlight of the evenings trapping was a Striped Hawkmoth trapped at Mill Pond Marsh also caught at this location was European Cornborer and Rush Veneer. The main reason to trap here was for the resident reedbed specialist and this produced record catch of 9 Flame Wainscot and also 6 Silky Wainscot, and a first for the Reserve a Scallop Shell. A second Trap near the Visitor Centre produced 1 Rush Veneer, 2 Pearly Underwing, 2 White Point, 1 L Album Wainscot and 3 Rusty Dot Pearl. Other Notable Species were a Pine Hawk-moth, Cream Spot Tiger, Sandy Carpet and a Chocolate-Tip (Ivan Lang)

Thursday 28 May 2009


A special page about the 2009 and historical Painted Lady invasions in Sussex here.


Two Elephant Hawkmoths - Ringmer, 27 May (John Luck) and Hollingdean, 23 May, Peter Whitcomb, and Striped Hawkmoth, Wadhurst, 26 May (Andy Adams)



Shoreham Beach today still around 100 Painted Ladies for half a mile west from the old Fort. Plenty of nectar plants on the shingle here, but they favoured Erigeron (Seaside Daisy). I also noted a few Silver Y but no more than a dozen, and just a single Red Admiral. (Peter Whitcomb)

Me and my daddy saw 65 Painted Ladies on some red valerian, south coast road Peacehaven.12.30 today (Jasmine Thorpe aged 8)

Brown Argus in my garden near Broadwater today about 6pm - resting on a smoke bush. First time ever one of these seen in my garden, so sorry it didn’t stay long. Lovely to see two Painted Ladies at same time as well. (Julie Hinman)

Today I made a standardised count of Painted Ladies flying through a 20 metre wide 'recording corridor' at Butterfly Conservation's Park Corner Heath Reserve in East Sussex, between 13.30 hrs and 14.30 hrs. Minimum count was 12 per minute. Maximum count was 42 per minute. Mean count was 26.5 per minute. Hourly rate of passage was 1590 Painted Ladies. They were being channelled along a recently cut woodland ride adjacent to PCH, and then coming onto the reserve itself through the narrow gap in the trees opened up last winter, before heading off in a NNW direction. Brian Henham was simultaneously seeing similar numbers passing him on 'the plateau', many of which were coming over the canopy in this area. I also saw a Cream-spot Tiger. (Neil Hulme)

I forced myself out of work at lunch today to go and sit in a pub garden in Burgess Hill watching the Painted Ladies invasion, it’s a tough life! In the course of one hour I counted just over 200 butterfly all heading strongly north and all but 7 of these appeared very fresh. The invasion proceeded at a stop start pace, with none for a few minutes followed by 15 in the next minute and most of the butterflies were flying very low to the ground and were not stopping to nectar on the profusion of flowers available. Extrapolating from the 20m wide garden where I was watching and working on the basis that Sussex is roughly 125km wide and the same number of butterflies were moving north across every 20m width of the county, you end up with a figure of perhaps 1.25 million Painted Ladies moving into Sussex in just that one hour! I don’t see any reason why one inland site such as Burgess Hill would be any more likely to receive high numbers than any other site and I can’t think of any geographical features that would be likely to funnel the butterflies through here. Finally, one of my friends is staying on the Belgian coast at the moment and reports that numbers of Painted Ladies were as high last night as they had been at any time in the last 5 days so we can expect a lot more! (Dave Green)

News for Weds 27 May: Our 2nd Elephant Hawkmoth of the year plus Small Square-spot(3), Burnished Brass, Snout, Peppered Moth and Garden Pebble were the main species of interest this morning in our Ringmer trap (John Luck).

News for Tues 26 May: Small pickings yesterday evening at our moth trap in Ringmer with 9 species of moths, but including our first Elephant Hawkmoth of the year. Other species of note...White Point and Pale Tussock (John Luck).


Wednesday 27 May 2009




We have to start with a couple of photos of Painted Ladies, here on Erysimum Bowles Mauve, Brighton, 25 May (Caroline Clarke) and on Dame's Violet, Broadbridge Heath, 25 May (Susie Milbank)



Then our first photo of Large Skipper of the year and a Wall Brown from Blatchington Golf Course, 25 May (Nick Linazasoro), a Spectacle pretending to be a fuchsia twig in Peter Cockerill's greenhouse (this is it face-on), Striped Hawkmoth at Lindfield, 26 May (Bob Foreman)



News for Tues 26 May: A walk after lunch though Hollingbury Wildpark and Ditchling Road area of Brighton produced 200+ Painted Ladies seen (with aid of binoculars) and probably double that over the whole LNR. (Peter Whitcomb)


News for Tues 26 May: Another corker of a day with numerous Painted Ladies and three fresh Red Admirals. here in Broadbridge Heath. Painted ladies were again feeding on Wallflower bowles mauve in numbers and then basking on the warm gravel when the sun went in. (Susie Milbank)


News for Tues 26 May: Park Heath Corner 4pm. Counted 26 Painted Ladies on the way to the reserve, counted another 19 on the reserve itself. Also Argent and Sable (impersonating a Grizzled Skipper), and a Brimstone. Meanwhile back at Newhaven allotments six more Painted Ladies. What's the collective noun for Painted Ladies? A Salaciousness? A harem? (Danny McEvoy)


News for Tues 26 May: Having been out for most of the morning I returned home to find 12 Painted Ladies on one Valerian plant in the front garden. Up at the back 'wild' part there were over thirty nectaring on any available flower and basking on bare ground and short grass areas. A few were a little faded but most were in good condition and I didn't see any with damaged edges, some were large and some were quite small. They were extremely active engaging in much chasing. Even after a long journey they had bags of energy. Around mid-day there was a fairly constant stream of new arrivals coming up from the SE. Rain is forecast for much of tomorrow so it will be interesting to see what happens. My feeling today was that those here were less intent on their northerly flight. Lets hope some will stay to lay eggs. All very interesting to observe and to look forward in anticipation. (John Holloway)

News for Tues 26 May: Painted Ladies throughout the day in Brighton and Lewes seen nectaring on erysimum 'Bowles Mauve', allium, valerian and cirsium rivulare 'atropureum'. Also, 2 Red Admiral and 2 Speckled Wood on walk over Black Cap. (Caroline Clarke)

News for Tues 26 May: I was fascinated and heartened to see the reports about the Painted Ladies. We too had at least 20 Painted Ladies of various sizes feasting on the valerian, sweet rocket and everlasting wallflowers. They were also sunning themselves on the brick paths. (Nicolas Chisholm, Iford)

News for Tues 26 May: I heard from a friend who visited Prinsted in West Sussex ( on the edge of Chichester Harbour ) - there were hundreds of Painted Ladies there & they were still flying in off the sea. Hampshire has been invaded by Painted Ladies too - I observed flying over downland well inland at the rate of 840 an hour over a 50 metre width of hillside. What a magical spectacle! (Lynn Fomison, Hants & IoW Branch)

News for Tues 26 May:  The mass immigration of Painted Ladies was astonishing, throughout the morning over east Shoreham, Southwick and Portslade the Painted Ladies exceeded two a minute for an hour and were over one a minute the rest of the time, with large numbers (100+) in Portslade Cemetery and on the main road that traversed Hove Cemetery, the butterflies flew across the road at over 30 every minute for five minutes in passing. The conservative estimate was at least 500 seen as I cycled along the urban roads. Occasionally a Large White was spotted. Their estimated speed was 8 mph although some seemed to have lost their sense of steady northerly migration. (Andy Horton)

News for Mon 25 May: Just like to report the capture in my MV trap on the night of 24/25 May of 2 Large Nutmeg, a species which according to the County moth Recorder, Colin Pratt, is on the verge of extinction in Sussex. Alive and well here Colin! (Andy Adams)

News for Sun 24 May: In around my garden in Washington i saw the following species, Painted Ladies 100+ between 15:10-18:30, Peacock 1, Brimstone 2, Red Admiral 2 and Large White 3. Meanwhile on Tuesday 26th from my office window in Worthing between 09:00 and 15:00 there must have been over 1000+ Painted Ladies streaming through in 1 and 2's sometimes up to 15 in view at once. They were still flying even through the rain. (Lee Walther)


Tuesday 26 May 2009


Just to add my bit - many Painted Ladies passed through my garden at Arundel today - coming from the Littlehampton direction and going East with the wind - dallied on Pansies and Lilac. (Brian Bloomfield)


It's not just Painted Ladies that have been arriving from the continent in the past few days, this morning I had the thrill of finding a Striped Hawkmoth in my moth trap, by far the star of what was a pretty varied catch. Interestingly, I also had a Grass Rivulet, a species normally to be found on the downs, not up here in Lindfield. Other migrant species included the more mundane Silver Y, Rush Veneer and Diamond-back Moth. (Bob Foreman)

I can confirm the mass sighting of Painted Ladies at Newhaven, this afternoon in the streets around the Hillcrest Centre I must have seen upwards of thirty in one street, which was mostly in shadow and with terraced houses with virtually no front gardens. Several seem to have already established "patrol" areas, which is their normal pattern of behaviour. Yesterday on a brief visit to the New Forest around Brockenhurst, several examples were seen there, well inland. This must be a whole South Coast phenomenon. On a more routine level, a Green-veined White fluttered about the Exchange Project communal garden in Crouch Gardens Seaford last Wednesday. Has any article yet appeared in the popular Press about our Painted Lady invasion? When did this last happen so early in the year? (Bob Brown)

David Burrows reports seeing 680 Painted Ladies over the space of an hour on Eastbourne seafront. (Michael Blencowe)

I did a half hour count at Broadfield Pond, Crawley, between 2.40pm and 3.10pm and saw 11 Painted Lady passing through. The breezy conditions may have had a bearing on the reduction in numbers because the number of other species seen was also reduced. I did however, find 2 newly hatched Red Admiral. (Vince Massimo)

Painted Ladies continue to pass through my Keymer garden early this afternoon - from 2 to 2.45pm a total of 50 flew low and fast all heading NNE. Single individuals would occasionally divert down to the perennial border for a quick sip of nectar but only for a few seconds before moving on. (Malcolm Le Grys).


A hour and half spent on the Church Norton Spit revealed the extent of the Painted Lady influx with 408 counted, also seen two Clouded Yellow, a Silver Y and a dark medium sized dragonfly which was possible Lesser Emperor. (Ivan Lang)

A Striped Hawkmoth here at Wadhurst last night in the Mercury Vapour trap, a great migrant. (Andy Adams)

News for Mon 25th May. I visited Broadfield Pond, Crawley and found that it was being used as a migration corridor for Painted Lady. The peek time was between 2pm and 3pm when I counted 40 passing through, all heading relentlessly north. Also seen were 5 Common Blue (male), 1 Small Copper, 1 Large White, 3 Green-veined White, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Large Skipper and a very tatty Comma. There were also 3 Silver Y and 3 Burnet Companion. Damselflies were - 1 Blue-tailed, 4 Large Red and 1 Beautiful Demoiselle (male). An Emperor Dragonfly was also patrolling. (Vince Massimo)


News for Mon 25 May: We very briefly visited Park Corner Heath and saw 1 Speckled Yellow , about 8 Brimstones, a couple of Painted Ladies as well as 2 slow worms and a grass snake and a bright red cardinal beetle (Nick Linazasoro)


News for Mon 25 May: I spent all of afternoon at Goodwood racecourse, where I was observing around 3-4 Painted Ladies a minute heading North from the South. (Richard Symonds)


News for Mon 25 May: Today we ventured out into the hot sunshine in between the rain and thunderstorms to Blatchington Golf Course in Seaford. During our long walk we continually spotted Painted Ladies at least 50. Most of them were heading in land in the direction of Bo-Peep. We also saw our first 2 Small Coppers of the year, who once they met each other started to mate! We saw at least a dozen Speckled Woods, 3 Wall Browns (Nick Linazasoro)


News for Mon 25 May We have a son living in a coastguard cottage at Cuckmere Haven in East Sussex and his garden goes to the cliff edge just to the west of the river mouth. We were there today from 11.30 to 7.00. Painted Ladies were coming in from the SE throughout this time in a steady stream, more than one a minute, but a little less dense by mid afternoon. It was sunny and hot but during the afternoon a thunderstorm slowly approached from the south, with only a little rain on it, and some PL's continued but rather less obviously. Even when driving home through Seaford at about 7.30 a PL hit the windscreen. There is quite a lot of red valerian in my son's garden and this allowed for a close look, a few were faded but most in quite good condition. There was also a Red Admiral in good nick but it was not certain that it came in with the PL's because there was also a Wall Brown and a Cinnabar and they certainly didn't. (John Holloway)


News for Mon 25 May At 7pm this evening we noted 3 Red Admirals in our Worthing garden, our first since a single in January. They rather stole the show as they chased off at least 6 Painted Ladies and even tackled a Blue Tit. (John & Shena Maskell)


News for Mon 25 May At least 50 Painted Lady nectaring in our East Dean garden (TV561985) for most of the day. Also, seen Red Admiral (1), Speckled Wood (1), Silver Y (1) plus a few Small White and a handful of Common Blue. This is our first Red Admiral since late March so presumably it and the Silver Y came over with the Ladies! This month is easily the best for Common Blue in our garden since we moved here in 2001. (David Jode)


News for Mon 25 May After the rain this morning the numbers of butterflies at Park Corner Heath steadily rose with at least 20 Painted Ladies either rocketing straight through, nectaring or squabbling with each other. 2 Peacocks, several 'whites' at least 5 or more Brimstones, a Large Skipper, 1 Grizzled Skipper and 1+ Holly Blue. Speckled Yellows were abundant and two Cream-spotted Tigers were noted. Windover Hill I had many Painted Ladies, a Red Admiral, a Common Blue and 10-12 Small Blues before I had to seak shelter from the afternoon rain. (Steve Arlow)


News for Mon 25 May Just to join in the Painted Lady bonanza....... even at this end of the county (in the west)...lots, with 6 in my garden today busily nectaring on Perennial Wallflower and Sweet Rocket/ Dame's Violet (/Hesperis matronalis/). (Margaret Hibbard)


News for Mon 25 May: Newhaven Cliffs - 200 Painted Ladies heading NNW against the wind in a two hour period 4.00 to 6.00 p.m. (Steven Teale and David Harris)


News for Sun 24 May: Beckley Wood: 114 Painted Ladies passing in one hour (late am). All heading from South East to North West . Most were low down but very few settled for more than a minute. Groups of 3 & 2 Grizzled Skippers at two locations within the wood. 3 Common Blue . 1 Mother Shipton & 3 Silver Y (Dave Brown)


News for Sun 24 May: I do 3 transects at Bevendean and don't often have time to just wander round the site, on Sunday I did have a look round the section north of The Avenue where I had seen 2 Small Blues on the transect and within 15 minutes counted 30 including 2 mating pairs. There is some kidney vetch in the area but it is not very abundant. (Geoff Stevens)


News for Sun 24 May: Crowlink Transect: Large Skipper (1), Dingy Skipper (2), Grizzled Skipper (1), Small White (3), Common Blue (66), Painted Lady (12), Peacock (1), Speckled Wood (1), Small Heath (8), and Silver Y (2). I have been doing this transect since 2003 and this is the first time that I have recorded Dingy and Grizzled Skipper on this site. (David Jode)


News for Sat 23 May: Seen (mainly on my early morning walk between 7.30 and 8.30 am) around the periphery of Seaford Golf Course: at least 14 Wall Brown, 3 Common Blue, 2 Peacock and only a single Painted Lady - although on 25th even when the weather was poor there were many. (Chris Brewer)


News for Fri 22 May/Sat 23 May: 2 Painted Ladies on an evening walk on Seaford Head and saw and 2 Painted Ladies on the beach at Pagham Harbour the next day (Nick Linazasoro).



Monday 25 May 2009


In twenty minutes this afternoon on Mount Pleasant, Newhaven (TQ462024), I saw 74 Painted Lady and 13 Silver Y. (Steven Teale)

Congratulations to Steve Wheatley for organising a vary enjoyable Butterfly BBQ at Brede High Woods today - and for scheduling the all-day event to fit in between two thunderstorms. Well over 100 people attended on a hot, sunny day and joined walks lead by Steve, Dr Patrick Roper, Neil Hulme and myself. There were stalls, willow weaving, moth trap opening, a fantastic folk band and an environmentally sustainable barbeque with some locally sourced hot dogs and burgers. Steve continues to do a lot of good work promoting BC and butterfly friendly woodland management in the east of Sussex (Michael Blencowe)


From my seat behind the BC stall in Brede High Woods I could see the Painted Ladies continuing to pass through the wood - hundreds were moving through the wood today. The image that will stay with me of this incredible migration spectacle was witnessed on the drive home through a humid storm. As we crossed Pevensey Levels the rain was pounding down, the windscreen wipers were on double-speed and lightning flashed across the sky - yet there were still Painted Ladies battling their way through; swirling and twisting in the high winds (Michael Blencowe)

The invasion continues! This afternoon we watched a constant stream of Painted Ladies flying rapidly and purposefully northwards low above our Keymer garden - from 1pm to 3pm in hot sun the movement averaged 6 passing through per minute. Two or three would occasionally pause very briefly to quarrel in flight, or to snatch nectar from my perennial border, before resuming their unerring journey north. Passage had almost come to an end at 3.30pm with the arrival of cloud and cooler temperatures. (Malcolm Le Grys).


Whilst sitting in a friends' garden at Barns Green yesterday afternoon from approx 3 until 3.45 p.m. we counted at least 30+ Painted Ladies moving NNW. Also whilst driving from there through Christs Hospital towards Horsham, there was a constant procession of Painted Ladies crossing the road going in the same direction (Chris and John Hamilton).

Painted Ladies have been moving north through our garden in Frant throughout the Bank Holiday. This afternoon I did a one of the weekly transects at the RSPB Broadwater Warren reserve near Groombridge and counted 26 Painted Ladies, many of which were nectaring on sunlit patches of Bluebells. (Alan Loweth)

News for Sun 24 May: An influx of Painted Lady occurred with three seen by the early afternoon and three later one in Shoreham. The small verge area at Buckingham Cutting on the southern side produced a dozen or so Small Blues scattered over a larger area than the three days ago plus a male Common Blue, a few Treble-bar and a Silver Y . The lower slopes of Mill Hill hosted 41 Adonis Blues (including two females) in a 20 minute saunter over the one acre transect, one Brimstone , one male Common Blue (and another two on the return by the ridge route), and what at first glance appeared to be Grizzled Skippers, but close inspection revealed these to be three of the attractive Mother Shipton. There was at least one Silver Y over the fading Horseshoe Vetch on the lower slopes. Ten butterfly species and three day-flying moths. (Andy Horton)

News for today and Sun 24 May: Saw a few Painted Ladies while on holiday in Suffolk last week, then yesterday, 24th May, had several in the garden in Cuckfield on the Sweet Rocket, all day, and counted 83 in a half-hour walk in the Millenium Wood and fields just nearby. All coming from same direction - SE-ish. Also counted 13 on my transect in the morning, also in Cuckfield, Whiteman's Green. Hurray for Painted Ladies - so long since I've seen any. Also a Silver-Y in the garden. (Helena Carter, Cuckfield).

News for Sun 24 May: Hey guys, I saw some Painted Ladies today. You can keep your monarchs, salmon and wildebeest - Neil Hulme and myself witnessed the greatest migration spectacle on the planet from a car park on the edge of woods near Ringmer today. Admittedly, due to previous engagements, we started late - but at 15:10 we arrived and noticed 2 Painted Ladies flying from the woodland over a gate and heading north into the English countryside with a determined flight, 2 more Painted Ladies followed and in the next hour 130 Painted Ladies flew over the gate; more Painted Ladies than I have ever seen in my entire life! Neil and I sat recording the migration as if we were undertaking a traffic survey. We eventually entered the wood and in the next 50 minutes recorded a further 120 Painted Ladies busily nectaring along the rides before heading north - a truly amazing spectacle. I would estimate over 1000 butterflies migrated through this single woodland ride today (Michael Blencowe and Neil Hulme)

News for Sun 24 May: What a day! Like everyone else I saw the influx of Painted Ladies. I have had a few in the garden over the past week but yesterday there were dozens. At one point there were 12 Painted Ladies simultaneously feeding on one plant of perennial wallflower while others were nectaring on sweet rocket, basking in the sunshine and just racing around and having fun. It was something I have never seen before. There were also Brimstone, Small White and Large White. (Susie Milbank)

News for Fri 22 May: Re My claim that oysters have not appeared on a butterfly website before. Sorry to advise you, this is not correct, as Hilary and I set the trend on 13th October 2008 (see earlier) with the arrival of Merv. I know you will consider us somewhat unpatriotic for drinking the French fizzy stuff, but if you look closely at my T-shirt proudly you will see that it proudly displays our local Sussex bitter. Well done Clare, Michael and Neil. It's good to have a bit of fun (John Luck).

Photos for yesterday inserted next to relevant sightings - Ed



Sunday 24 May 2009


Hope you're all getting out to enjoy the Painted Lady migration - it's a one-in-a-decade (or more) spectacle! Ed. Photos to come on what's been a busy day.

We visited a section of scarp slope near Truleigh Hill today searching for butterflies and day-flying moths and, in the bright sunshine this afternoon, we encountered the following: 14 Painted Lady, 6 Small Tortoiseshell, 22 Common Blue, 4 Adonis Blue, 5 Small Blue, 1 Large White, 1 Small White, 3 Small Heath, 12 Dingy Skipper, 5 Wall Brown, 1 Brimstone and 2 Green Hairstreak one of which was nectaring on the ground. Moths consisted of 4 Burnet Companion, 3 Mother Shipton, 3 Cinnabar, 6 Silver-Y, 2 Grass Rivulet, 1 Twin-spot Carpet and 1 Common Carpet. We were particularly pleased to find the Small Blue there as we have never encountered them in this area before. (Dave and Pen Green)

About 2.15pm, Graffham Down Trust. A visit to the reserves today revealed Painted Ladies too numerous to count, crossing from the south-east in a northerly direction. Their flight was endless. Some briefly touched down to nectar or rest but then they continued on their way at high speed. On returning to Graffham village, we discovered at least 5 Painted Ladies in our small garden enjoying the nectar from our Perennial Wallflower. We have never seen so many, ever. (Paul and Biddy Dimmer)

Some 30+ Painted Lady passing through my friends' Cuckfield garden this afternoon - like other observations for today, mostly heading north. Also, whites and 2 Peacock. A further 8 Painted Lady on a walk from the Patcham roundabout to The Chattry war memorial near Brighton. We've been invaded! (Caroline Clarke)

There have been 5 Painted Ladies in my garden (Bexhill TN39 4QX) most of the afternoon all feeding on a shrub which has pink flowers and berries. I have never seen as many together before in the garden. At the same time 2 Peacocks and 2 Large Whites. (Janet Richardson)

I assume other Sussex folk enjoyed the influx of Painted Ladies today. I have never seen one in my small Horsham garden before but had 12 separate sightings today. At Hilliers Garden Centre there were at least 15 individuals and on the drive back from there to home, about 3 miles, I counted 12 more! (Matt Farmer)

Meeching Quarry, Newhaven. Counted 47 Small Blues but there were many more. Beautiful sunny day. Also two Green Hairstreak and 4 Painted Ladies. One very tatty Small Tortoiseshell and a good 15 plus Common Blue. One was very fresh, it was as blue as they come! There was a Brimstone on the site, which is essentially a large ride which slopes down from top to bottom. Difficult to climb into though, possibility of dying which wouldn't help with the good karma of butterflying generally. The Small Blues were everywhere though. (Danny McEvoy)

Lots of Painted Ladies seen. Apart from 6 in my garden in Framfield, also saw 10 or more in nearby Blackboys and 20 or so at the reserve near East Hoathly. They don't seem to be stopping for long either - just moving inexorably north west as an average heading. (Tom Ottley)

I'm sure you are being inundated with Painted Lady records today. But I think I must record the incredible procession which has come through our garden on the Southern edge of Heathfield. The Painted Ladies started arriving around 11.00. By 13.00 they were coming through thick and fast, often several per minute. They came rushing in on an almost uniform flight path from the South South East, crossed the garden with a few pausing to nectar briefly, and then flew over the house and rushed on to the NNW. This continued until about 18.00, when they started nectaring more and sitting in the evening sun. A few were still on the wing at 18.45. I cannot give an accurate estimate of numbers, but there must have been several hundred. (John Kerby)

Painted Ladies abundant at Cowdray Park Gardens this afternoon, confirming the Spring invasion of this species. At least 30 individual butterflies observed from 2.30 to 4.30, flying around the Cowdray estate and nectaring on many different flowers in the gardens around the house. (Malcolm Le Grys).


An influx of migrating Painted Lady at Park Corner Heath with probably a 100 passing in a four hour period. All flying purposefully north with a few stopping off to take a quick snack on Bluebells. (Dave Mitchell)


Scores and scores of Painted Lady passed through my Storrington garden this afternoon, all heading more or less due north. (Dr Martin Kalaher)


At least 10 Painted Ladies nectaring on Red and White Valerian in my south-facing garden this afternoon in Ashurst Wood (TQ410380) (Polly Mair)

Between 1430 and 1530 today at Ifield Crawley TQ245375 approximately 40 Painted Ladies passed over the fields all heading North. Also seen Speckled Wood, Orange-tip, Large White, Small Copper, Peacock and Small White. (Andrew Bashford)

Enjoyed a two and half hour walk in the warm sunshine this morning in the north of the county: Farm Close Meadows, East Grinstead (TQ413382). Painted Lady (15) all flying strongly in a northerly-westerly direction, Grizzled Skipper (1), Peacock (4), Small Copper (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Green-veined White (1), Large White (4) and Small White (2). (Polly Mair and Sue Robinson)


With just a couple of hours spare I had another go at Small Blue hunting along the bottom of Frog Firle valley. I was rewarded with 8 Small Blue spread along the line of bushes. As I was specifically after this species I didn't count other species except Painted Lady where 10 were seen. There were however still large quantities of Green Hairstreak although they are now well past their best. A single Grizzled Skipper is also worth a mention. (Bob Eade).


Our visit to Cocking Quarry today in very warm sunshine produced 91 Small Blue, 15 Dingy Skipper, 2 Green Hairstreak, 23 Common Blue and 2 very faded Painted Lady. The Small Blue count trounced our previous best from this site of 34, and proved that the colony is doing well here. We did not visit last year, and noted today that the kidney vetch has spread quite rapidly across the quarry, which may explain the success of the Small Blue colony, despite the weather of the last two years. This is an unprotected site, and could do with it, not just for its lepidopteran interest. (Paul and Pam Callaway)

Silver Y and a Pearly Underwing, both migrants, in Wadhurst trap last night 23/24 May. (Andy Adams)

News for Sat 23 May: Afternoon walk around Newmarket Bottom there were 5 Wall Browns and 25 Painted Ladies (Mark Bloss)

News for Sat 23 May: A Holly Blue in my Brighton garden nectaring on thyme. Thyme looks lovely, smells gorgeous, will suit even the smallest garden (or windowbox), goes great in lamb dishes AND the butterflies like it - what more could you want from a plant? (Caroline Clarke)

News for Sat 23 May: I enjoyed a superb morning yesterday with the Friends of Wolstonbury Hill. Here are photos of two Adonis Blue fighting and a Small Blue at rest. (Peter Cockerill)

News for Sat 23 May: 38 people attended the walk for BC members and the 'Friends of Wolstonbury Hill' today. I would like to start by mentioning the generosity of those who made donations to BC - an impressive 81 will be going towards our conservation 'fighting fund'. Thanks also to Hilary Pulham (FOWH) for the bottle of wine, which won't be going to the Branch! The sunshine soon gave way to haze, but conditions were good enough to see most of our target species. Butterflies included Small Blue (7) (photo below Peter Cockerill), Adonis Blue (1) (photo below Colin Knight), Common Blue (8), Dingy Skipper (10), Painted Lady (2), Large White (2), Speckled Wood (4) and Small Heath (2) (below right). The most notable moths were Burnet Companion (8), Mother Shipton (2), Silver-ground Carpet (2) and Cinnabar (1) (below centre). Our timing for the rare Man Orchid was spot on this year, with most of the spikes being just a shade before 'peak'. This is the second year I've led a walk here (TQ 281138) and I like the area so much that I will certainly be returning. (Neil Hulme)


News for Sat 23 May: A welcome visitor to our Worthing garden this afternoon was our first Painted Lady for nearly 3 years. New moth garden "ticks" in our light trap last night were a Muslin Moth and 2 micro Epiblema cynosbatella. First for the year were a couple of Willow Beauties and a single Bright-line Brown-eye. Until a week ago this year's Spring light trap sessions have been very disappointing with several empty nights! (John & Shena Maskell)

News for Sat 23 May: We’ve lived in New Church Road, Hove for 20 years and about 5 years ago we began to see occasional Speckled Woods in our garden. On 21 May I disturbed one Speckled Wood basking on a leaf at the back of the garden. When it landed again, this was just a brief visit to a blade of grass, before it moved on and settled on the lawn. I meant to look and see if had laid an egg, but got distracted. Fortunately I remembered again today  and found an egg just under the place where the butterfly had settled. I hope it shows up well enough on the picture attached. I am being less ruthless when I mow the lawns these days, leaving longer grass round some of the fringes, so maybe it’s paying off and we’ll have a crop of Speckled Woods later in the year. It’ll go some way to making up for the Small Tortoiseshells which we never have now. As for butterflies in the garden today, no Speckled Woods, but I noticed two Holly Blues and a few whites passing through. (John A Heys)

News for Fri 22 May: At Heighton on chalk track at TQ4643703161 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Wall Brown and 2 Small Blues feeding, presumably sipping mucus, from a snail at the neck of the shell. There was no sign of Kidney Vetch, the food plant, in the vicinity. (Matthew Berry)


News for Fri 22 May: I teamed up with Clare Jeffers and Michael Blencowe to survey (primarily for Duke of Burgundy) the Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve at West Dean Woods, which is only accessible via permission /permit from the Trust. We didn't find 'the Duke', but we did see Grizzled Skipper (1), Painted Lady (4), Peacock (1), Green-veined White (5), Small White (1), Orange-tip (3), Brimstone (1) and Speckled Wood (4). The moths were considerably more notable, with the highlight being an impressive tally of the rare Drab Looper (23). These are thriving on the well-managed coppiced areas, which are in places carpeted with the moth's food plant, wood spurge (photo centre). We also found the characteristic larval feeding pattern caused by the caterpillar of the Spotted White Plume (Pterophorus galactodactyla) on burdock (photo below left). This species is also a rarity. Moving on to a Duke of Burgundy site, we saw at least a dozen fast-fading specimens. A quick search for ova soon produced a batch of 3 on the underside of a cowslip leaf (photo bottom). Satisfied with our day's work, we retired to a local hostelry to celebrate with oysters (6), washed down with a good pint of Harvey's Sussex (photo right, and probably the first time that people eating oysters has appeared on a butterfly website). (Clare Jeffers, Michael Blencowe & Neil Hulme)



News for Thurs and Fri 21 & 22 May: Still pretty quiet in North Portslade on the trapping front - the only species trapped Thursday & Friday night were Heart & Dart (4), Large Yellow Underwing (2) , Light Brown Apple Moth (2), Pale Tussock, Muslin Moth......surely things will pick up soon.......wont they?? (Darryl Perry)



Saturday 23 May 2009

Not in Sussex but perhaps of interest in view of the comments on the website re Painted Ladies - whilst visiting Minsmere RSPB Reserve in Suffolk on Friday 15th May, we counted at least 5 Painted Ladies and one of the Wardens on a circuit of the Reserve counted 100!! So perhaps it will be a "Ladies Year" in 2009. Let's hope so. (Chris and John Hamilton)

3 Painted Ladies on a Telscombe Tye during an early morning bird survey, and pleasing to see a Wall Brown in Peacehaven, in a ploughed field (TQ411031)!  (Adrian Thomas)

Painted Lady nectaring on choisya flowers in our garden in Frant, East Sussex at 0830 this morning. (Alan Loweth)

My first ever Small Blue in my Storrington garden (on Kidney Vetch). Also male Common Blue. 26 species of Butterfly in my wildlife garden over the past 3 years. (Dr Martin Kalaher)


Friday 22 May 2009

An evening walk along Mill Hill produced plenty of Adonis Blues, many of them in pristine condition. At a rough guess I reckon I saw between 15 and 20 males (5 or 6 of them high up on the brow of the hill) and 2 or 3 females, the latter hugging the ground lower on the hill. One small patch of low bramble and tussocky grass held at least 6 males all clustered together, it was quite a sight as they all suddenly flew up in the air only to settle back down again almost immediately. Other species included one Small Heath, two Dingy Skippers and one Cinnabar moth. I looked for Wall Browns on the brow of the hill but did not see any. It was very windy up there which may be a factor but, on the other hand, I could have been looking in the wrong place! (Sherie New)

50 Small Blues in a quarry at Newhaven (Neil Greenaway)


Back to my usual patch today walking from home along the path along the back of Blatchington Golf Course to Green Way and then along the bottom of Frog Firle. Numbers of Wall Brown have been steadily increasing, however I had 30 before I even got to Green Way. There were less than usual on the bank itself though but I still had 39 in total for the walk which is a record for me. 20 species were seen with other numbers being Holly Blue 1, Green-veined White 1, Small Heath 5, Common Blue 42, Speckled Wood 30, Brown Argus 20 with 17 being on Green Way bank, Green Hairstreak 12, Large White 8, Dingy Skipper 15, Small Copper 1, Red Admiral 1, Grizzled Skipper 3, Small White 8, Peacock 2, Painted Lady 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1 and on Frog Firle there were 2 Small Blue. I was hoping for Small Blue on Green Way bank but despite searching for some time I had no luck there. Several Silver Y were also seen and 1 Cinnabar Moth. (Bob Eade).

Recordings for the transect walk today starting at 1200. For once we had decent weather, sunshine which has been in short supply over the previous transect walks. 40 butterflies recorded by our team of 9 observers. Brimstone (2), Large White (2), Small White (1), Green-veined White (14), Orange-tip (6), Small Copper (2), Common Blue (8), Painted Lady (1), Peacock(2), Speckled Wood (2). Also numerous Burnet Companions, 2 Mother Shipton and Silver Y day flying moths. (David Pyle)

2 Wall Browns at Blatchington reservoir and a green hairstreak at the top of Seaford (Blatchington) golf course (Chris Brewer)

News for Thurs 21 May: Three Wall Browns seen at Blatchington reservoir (Seaford) in the morning. (Chris Brewer)


News for Thurs 21 May: Botanising near Iden today I saw 2 Painted Ladies (at TQ9200423543). 1 Painted Lady, 1 Common Blue and 1 Speckled Wood (at TQ9255424673). 1 Green-veined White, 1 Painted Lady and 1 Common Blue (at TQ9229623691) (Roy Wells)


News for Thurs 21 May: In the late afternoon there were about twenty Small Blue in a three square metre patch of Buckingham Cutting south, north Shoreham, all fluttering about before they settled down to roost. Thirteen butterfly species were seen on a sunny breezy day when I cycled to Anchor Bottom (Upper Beeding) and back to Shoreham. (Andy Horton)



Thursday 21 May 2009

A quick lunchtime walk around Ouse Valley Nature reserve Newhaven/Denton produced around 15 Common Blues mostly males but 2/3 females , 5/6 Wall Browns, 2 Small Heath, 1 Small Copper, 2 Painted Ladies. Plenty of Bird's Foot Trefoil for the Common Blues, pity there seems to be no Horseshoe Vetch . A visit to Wild Park Moulescoombe on Saturday in poor weather conditions only produced 1 Small Copper and 1 Speckled Wood and 1 unidentified Vanessid . It did strike me that the far westerly end is an ideal site for the Duke Of Burgundy , lots of cowslips ( and some early purple orchids ) and on the horseshoe bend south, east and north facing slopes . It is some 15 years since I have been here and hope the Adonis Blue is still clinging on here. (Mark Senior)

7:30am Painted Lady nectaring at Seaford Train station, this afternoon Painted Lady at Gatwick Airport, this evening 4 Painted Ladies at Friston - including one egg-laying on thistles (Michael Blencowe)


Windover Hill lived upto its name today, however I was determined to survey the Small Blues there. On the way up the path there were 2 getting blown around with another on the main bend. I decided to go over the brow to above Wilmington Hill where it was a bit more sheltered. Here I found another 4. Then on the way back down about 20 metres below the main bend of Windover I found a mating pair. Altogether 9 Small Blues seen. Also seen were 6 Painted Lady, at least 8 Wall Brown, 10 Dingy Skipper, 4 Small Heath and 5 Common Blue. (Bob Eade).


News for Weds 20 May: After a long day at work, I needed to escape from modern day society and so I went to Cradle Valley, down from High & Over, near Seaford. There I spotted 9 Green Hairstreaks including two mating pairs, 1 Cinnabar, 2 Peacocks, 2 Wall Brown, 1 Green-Veined White, 1 Small Heath, 2 Speckled Woods, 2 Large Whites, about 8 Small Whites including a mating pair and I think 1 Small Blue. Oh and two foxes, one kestrel and one dog and just two people! Ahhh heaven. (Nick Linazasoro)


News for Weds 20 May: My Ringmer trap had five 1st macro moths of the year - Buff Ermine, Marbled Minor, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Common Wainscot and Cabbage Moth - plus one 1st ever micro - Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana) this morning out of 22 species. Others of note were 4 hawkmoths - 3 Poplar and 1 Eyed - Pale Tussock, Pebble Prominent, Knot Grass, Waved Umber and Shears (John Luck).


News for Weds 20 May: The highlight of an early afternoon were two pairs of copulating Wall Browns (which I had never seen before mating) in the clearing to the west of the copse and another pair in the meadow to the north of the upper car park on Mill Hill. The Horseshoe Vetch was more spectacular than three days earlier on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The count of Adonis Blue was 52 males and 8 females. Thirteen species of butterfly were recorded in the mild sunshine including my first male Common Blue and first Small Blues of the year. (Andy Horton)


News for Weds 20 May: My frequent hike to Windover Hill (Deep Dean), via Hunters Burgh, Folkington produced pretty reasonable results. Hunters Burgh (25 minute sweep) - Dingy Skipper (9), Green Hairstreak (8), Common Blue (8), Brown Argus (6), Small Heath (5) and 1 each of Painted Lady, Small Copper and Wall Brown. Windover Hill - A walk along the ridge of the valley produced 3 Small Blues and a single Small Heath and Common Blue. A slow walk through the valley produced Common Blue (20), Dingy Skipper (17), Small Heath (13), Small Blue (9), Small Copper (8), Adonis Blue (8 males), Brimstone (3), Grizzled Skipper - disappointing (2), and 1 each Speckled Wood, Painted Lady, Peacock and Small White. Also 2 Wall Browns on the walk between the 2 sites. (Bob Coleman)


News for Tues 19 May: Despite a brisk wind and intermittent sunshine, a single Painted Lady - first of the year for me - flew through my Brighton garden today. Last year I don't recall seeing any in Sussex. Will 2009 be a bumper year for this handsome migrant? (Caroline Clarke)


News for Mon 18 May: Castle Hill LNR next to Newhaven Fort, I saw a single Small Yellow Underwing. This is a day-flying moth with a localised distribution. It feeds on Mouse-ear, which is interesting because there is some nationally scarce Sea Mouse-ear growing on the reserve, so I imagine botanists will not be as enthusiastic about the moth as I am! (Steven Teale)


News for Sat 16 May: While doing my transect walk on the Downs behind Denton, I counted my first two Small Blue of the year, eleven Painted Lady and eighteen Wall Brown - more than I've ever counted in one go before. These Wall were the most active species, regardless of whether it was sunny or not. (Steven Teale)


Recent news: The following trapped in my north Portslade garden over last two or three nights: Burnished Brass, Eyed Hawkmoth, Bright-line Brown-eye, Silver Y, Heart & Dart, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Treble Lines, Hebrew Character, Flame Shoulder, Light Brocade, Chocolate Tip, Muslin Moth, Waved Umber, Brimstone Moth, Light Brown Apple Moth. (Darryl Perry)


Wednesday 20 May 2009

A grand day out! Today I was one of a group of about 20 Countryside Management Students who were blessed with glorious sunshine on our field trip to Cissbury Ring. In between studying the archaeology, plant life, birds and management techniques we spotted several species of butterfly. These were many Brimstone, both male and female, Small Whites, Peacock, Small Heath, Small Copper, one Painted Lady, one Wall Brown, several Grizzled Skipper, and a few Dingy Skipper. At about midday (ooh goody - lunchtime!) I spotted a single Brown Argus on the southern escarpment. Some of our group found a Green Hairstreak on a Gorse bush. We also saw a beautiful Cinnabar and various unidentified day flying moth species. All in all a wonderful day - nice to be out in the sunshine. (Sophie May Lewis)

4 Painted Ladies in my Ashurst Wood garden this afternoon (TQ410380). A late afternoon walk at Park Corner Heath produced Grizzled Skipper (1), Brimstone (2) plus one Brimstone caterpillar feeding on Alder Buckthorn leaves, and Peacock (1) (Polly Mair)

There was only a slight breeze at Cissbury today and many more butterflies were on the wing. The first Small Blue appeared and there were about 50 Common Blues. Dingy Skippers (16), Wall Brown (12) and Brown Argus (6) were the most notable of the other butterflies. 3 Painted Ladies and 4 Silver Y were also seen. (Mike Snelling)

Following in Bob Eade's footsteps along the Comp and then back round to High and Over I counted no less than 22 Wall Browns. At one point there were 6 cavorting together. Also good numbers of Dingy Skippers, Common Blues and Peacocks. One possible Small Blue sighting there. At Windover Hill however the Small Blues were out in force - at least 10 counted at various places along the main track with most seen near the first bend. Also a single Wall Brown in Abbots Wood, looks like they're having a good year for a change. (Tom Ottley)

It's not exactly Sussex news but it might be soon! Had an email from a friend in Brussels to say that he went out on his local patch today and saw 300 Painted Ladies, all heading west. With good numbers already in Sussex for this time of year, could we be on for one of those Lady years? (Adrian Thomas)

2 Small Blues sparring at Cissbury Ring today at 1.p.m. (TQ142080) (Peter Atkinson)

News for Tues 19 May: Butterfly numbers have been most disappointing this month in my part of Pevensey Levels with strong winds and the subsequent cool temperatures every day affecting even normally sheltered spots. Today was no exception and despite bright sunshine at midday I only managed to record 3 Green-veined Whites, 1 unidentified small White and 3 Wall Brown. Let's hope it calms down and warms up soon. (Roy Wells)



Tuesday 19 May 2009


Clockwise: Painted Lady, Friston, 17 May (Michael Blencowe), Adonis Blue female, Mill Hill, 19 May (Nick Linazasoro), Silver-ground Carpet, Nymans Garden, 18 May (Peter Whitcomb), Small Copper, Friston, 17 May (Michale Blencowe



As Victoria Hume (no relation!) of the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre was planning to perform a survey for ancient woodland indices, on private land where Duke of Burgundy occur, we decided a joint visit was in order. Having never seen the species before, Victoria has now seen things that most Duke workers will never be fortunate enough to witness. Thanks for bringing a large slice of luck our way! Amongst the 22 specimens we saw, a mating pair languishing in the rain gave us a good start. Later we watched a male nectaring on Common Spotted Orchid - not sure if that's ever been recorded before! Victoria watched a dragonfly take one of the little chaps (not happy about that at all), but the best was still to come. At first sight I thought I was looking at a very old, very faded Duke, but it just didn't look quite right. On closer examination it turned out to be a rare and extreme example of the aberrant form leucodes. It was still quite fresh and had a full thatch of thorax hair. The underside was of a similar, strange pale coffee colour. For comparison I've posted a shot of a 'normal' one sitting nearby, and probably about the same age. (Victoria Hume and Neil Hulme)


I visited Mill Hill, Shoreham after work and spotted 1 Wall Brown, about 12 Dingy Skippers and around 30 Adonis Blue including quite a few females. (Nick Linazasoro)

Brown Argus and Small Blue,  Amberley, 17 May, (Neil Hulme and Sherie New), and we normally print no photos of butterflies taken outside Sussex, but just this once as it is a species easier to see just over the Surrey border, a Wood White from Botany Bay 15 May (John Williams)



On returning home from work today I was greeted by 2 Painted Ladies nectaring on Red Valerian in my front garden in Ashurst Wood. (TQ410380) (Polly Mair)



Monday 18 May 2009

1 Painted Lady in our small back garden in (Hampden Park ), feeding on Red & White Valerian. (Ron & Brenda Elphick)

While we've all been sitting around complaining about the high winds and showers I would estimate that hundreds, if not thousands of Painted Ladies have invaded Sussex. I've seen them everywhere in the past week. I saw six along one short woodland ride today - more than I saw in 2007 and 2008 combined. If you see this amazing migrant don't forget to enter it on Butterfly Conservation's survey site at http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/sightings_home/1095/migrant_watch.html (Michael Blencowe)

I had a bit of a late start today - but even though I didn't get out until 16:30 there were still plenty of butterflies to see. The Gallops at Friston were alive with lots of butterflies of many species - I didn't know where to look. All of them were busy chasing females or holding territory. At one point a Small Copper who was guarding his domain from the top of an old snail shell flew up to challenge a Dingy Skipper who was chasing a Painted Lady over the carpet of yellow vetch. All three of them crashed into group of male Adonis Blues brawling over a female perched on the trefoil nearby. It was the lepidopteral equivalent of a Saturday night in Crawley town centre. (Michael Blencowe)

Dorothy Stringer Butterfly Haven, Painted Lady 4, Common Blues 7, Small Copper 1, Small White 1, Green-veined White 1, Silver Y 1 (TQ 30923 07213). This place is beginning to look like a Butterfly Haven. (Dan Danahar)


News for Sat 16 May: at the Dorothy Stringer Butterfly Haven Silver Y 1, Painted Lady 3, Common Blue 3 and Small Copper 1(TQ 30906 07215). Last year both species were only seen late in the year, this sighting indicates that the initial colonisation was successful. My first Painted Lady of the season at Wildpark LNR (TQ332080).

News for Thurs 14 May: a single male Holly Blue was seen at Dorothy Stringer Educational Pond (TQ 30903 07175). It was flitting about the water mint for 5mins before it eventually rested to take moisture from the surface of the Mentha via capillary action from the pond.


Sunday 17 May 2009

What a shame, although I would really rather say something less polite! The New Member's Day walk on the Downs at Amberley appeared doomed as the rain lashed down and local roads became flooded. A number of potential attendees rang or Emailed me shortly before, to ask if it would go ahead (for future reference, your leader will always turn up 'just in case'). Apologies if some of you didn't get through, but at one point I was getting enquires via Email, landline and mobile. Incredibly the dark clouds and rain disappeared at precisely 10.30am and six of us went ahead with the planned walk. Although conditions were generally 'marginal', we really didn't do too badly! Those butterflies that we did see sat nicely for the cameras and we ended up with the following tally. Small Blue (3), Brown Argus (1), Common Blue (2), Small Copper (2), Green Hairstreak (1), Dingy Skipper (6), Painted Lady (1), Small Heath (2), Red Admiral (1), Green-veined White (1) and Cinnabar Moth (4). For those that didn't make it today, you will of course be welcome to attend 'New Member's Day' next year, and hopefully we will see you on many of the other outings we have planned for this summer. Thanks to all that braved the elements and made it an enjoyable walk. (Neil Hulme)

We went for a walk from the Golden Galleon to the sea at Chyngton Farm today and despite the rain saw just one very docile  Common Blue (Nick Linazasoro)

Horseshoe Vetch (the foodplant of Adonis  ad Chalkhill Blues) in flower on Mill Hill: On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch was at its peak on a blustery (Force 5 gusting to Force 6) late morning but the Privet could be seen to be making serious inroads compared to previous years. Because of the breezy conditions on an cloudy day, the butterflies were not as many as would be expected on a sunny day. On the one acre transect the count of Adonis Blues was 26 males and three females. Some of the males were ragged around the edges. Dingy Skippers were recorded at five, with one Small Heath and my first Painted Lady of the year. The Painted Lady was far from pristine. Horseshoe Vetch starts flowering in middle to late April, peaks in mid-May, continues in abundance for about a week and is prevalent for a few days each side of a week and is usually all over by the first week in June. (Andy Horton)

Kingston near Lewes: Painted Lady in greenhouse at noon. A little faded but not greatly so. Rear wing edges a bit tatty but the very strong gusty winds of the last few days could have caused that. Wind strong SW. Temp 13.4. (John Holloway)

News for Sat 16 May: One Wall Brown seen on the path to my Steyning allotment on the 16th May. It flew off down the hill, stopping briefly at a neighbouring allotment on the way. Probable Common Blue in my garden on the same day. (Sherie)

News for Sat 16 May: Two hawkmoths this morning with Eyed being 1st of the year and Poplar for the 3rd time. Little else of note apart from White Ermine which was originally seen on May 10th. Yellow-barred Brindle found indoors on May 14th (John Luck).


News for Sat 16 May: A quick look on the Hill by my house in Edburton, in rather windy conditions, produced 14 Dingy Skippers, 3 Green Hairstreaks, 9 Wall Browns, Brown Argus, Common Blue, 2 Painted Ladies, Small Heath, Speckled Wood + 6 Cinnabars and 2 Silver Ys. Plenty of White Ermines at my outside light + Cream Wave, Flame Shoulder, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Dark barred Twin-spot Carpet, Green Carpet, Pretty Chalk Carpet and Coxcomb Prominent (Tony Wilson)


Saturday 16 May 2009

Today at Mill Hill we saw 1 Cinnabar, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Brimstone, 2 Peacocks, at least 10 Dingy Skippers, 1 Green Hairstreak and around 70 Adonis Blue. Oon our riverside walk opposite the old cement works in Upper Beeding we saw 1 Wall Brown. (Nick Linazasoro)

Park Corner Heath. Despite the high winds there was plenty of butterflies and moths flying around the reserve today; Painted Lady, Grizzled Skipper, Green-veined White, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Cinnabar, Speckled Yellow, Brown Silver-lines, Silver-Y. (Michael Blencowe, Dave Mitchell, Dave Harris)


First Painted Lady in my Keymer garden this afternoon, flying around the herb garden and nectaring on thyme then flowers of nearby ceanothus. (Malcolm Le Grys)


Although it was very breezy this morning on Cissbury Ring, I did manage to see my first Wall Brown there. The numbers of Common Blue were better - c15 seen. 4 Painted Ladies and 1 Silver Y were also seen. It was too cool and breezy last night for the moths in Findon Valley - only 6 caught (in contrast to recent nights) but one was new for the garden - Large Long-horn (Nematopogon Swammerdamella) and one migrant - a Diamond-Back moth. (Mike Snelling)


Friday 15 May 2009


In the briefest sunny spell on a showery day 2 Small Coppers at Clover Farm, Upper Dicker. (TQ547108) (Roy Wells)

Visited Rye Harbour reserve today and had 2 Painted Lady and a Small Copper in very blustery, wet conditions. (Jacob J Everitt)

Painted Lady (1) and Hummingbird Hawkmoth (1) seen nectaring in our East Dean garden (TV561985) at 10am this morning in overcast conditions. (David Jode)

News for Thursday 14 May: First sighting of a Painted Lady in my Crawley garden at 4pm. It stayed for about half an hour feeding on Ceanothus. (Vince Massimo)


Thursday 14 May 2009



This afternoon the sun tried to come through so I set out to do the Bevendean B transect, but the sun didn't shine. Very few butterflies about but did see 1 Small Blue (above) and my first Adonis Blue this year. (Geoff Stevens)

News for Tuesday 12 May: The cloudy and wet wether attracted the highest number of species for the year with 28 macros - 16 of which were first of the year plus 2 totally new ones in Small Seraphim and Foxglove Pug. The firsts included White-point, Silver Y, Pale Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, Peppered Moth, Common Marbled Carpet (3), Light Emerald, Treble Lines, Clouded Border, Vine's Rustic, Shears (2), Bright-line Brown-eye, Mottled Pug (4), Garden Carpet (2), Uncertain and Common Pug. Repeats included our 2nd ever Chocolate-tip (with correct spelling this time), Poplar Hawkmoth, Mullein, Red Twin-spot Carpet (5), Pebble Prominent (2), Angle Shades, Brimstone (3), Shuttle-shaped Dart (6), Heart & Dart and with far the largest count, Flame Shoulder. (39) (John Luck).

News for Tues 12 May: Heyshott DownBrimstone, Speckled Wood, Dingy Skipper, Small Heath. (Colin Knight)


Tuesday 12 May 2009

The Silver Cup being presented to Neil Hulme by Colin Pratt at the Sussex Moth Group meeting last night for his work helping Duke of Burgundy butterflies. (Photo: Chris Glanfield)



…another thing that may be of interest is the biggest web of caterpillars I have ever seen. It is on the hawthorn hedge on the A272 (South side) almost at the A23 when driving from Cowfold. You can't miss it. The whole hedge is completely cloaked with web. It looks like a lorry has shed it's load of white stuff all over the hedge. Me and my daughter decided to stop and turn back to have a look at it. It was covered with many many thousands of caterpillars. Sorry I didn't have my camera (forgot it) despite having gone to Heyshott for the Dukes. If anybody could have a look maybe they could ID the species and take a picture, it really is a sight to behold! (Danny McEvoy)

7 Painted Ladies seen, 6 in woodland near Uckfield and 1 at Park Corner Heath. All were a bit tatty, possibly a new influx coming over with the fresh winds. (Bob Eade)

News for Sunday 10 May: Spent an hour in the sun at Hunters Burgh, Folkington 10th May. On view, Dingy Skipper (13), Green Hairstreak (11), Brown Argus (9), Small Copper (2), Speckled Wood (1), Orange-tip (1M), Common Blue (1M), Grizzled Skipper (1). (Bob Coleman)

News for 02 May: Buchan Park, Crawley: 4 male Emperor moths attracted to a captive bred female. (Robin Edwards)


Monday 11 May 2009

Several very fresh and very beautiful Wall Browns on the path on the east side of Steep Down (beyond Lancing Ring). Also a worn looking Painted Lady. (John Williams)

There are a couple of places available on a free MapMate training session to be held this Sunday (17th May) from 10am to 3.30pm at Woods Mill, near Henfield. The session will be geared towards learning how to use the MapMate biological recording software for recording, mapping and sharing butterfly sightings. If you are interested in attending please contact Clare Jeffers - clarejeffers AT aol.com. Booking is essential. Priority will be given to people who record butterflies in Sussex.



In my Ringmer moth trap: One new one - Choclate-tip (above) - and several firsts of year - Poplar Hawkmoth, Pale Tussock, Knot Grass, Red Twin-spot Carpet and Dark Dagger(2) in catch of 16 macros plus 2 micros. (John Luck)

Just like to report a Clouded Brindle, found on the kitchen floor tonight, usually on the wing in June and July. (Andy Adams)

News for Sunday 10 May: One Wall Brown seen sun bathing on the wall at the front of a house, near Wild Park LNR (TQ 336085). One Green Hairstreak seen on the A27 cutting through Stanmer Great wood (TQ 331080).
Congratulations to Neil Hulme on his Silver Trophy award, well deserved. (Dan Danahar)


Sunday 10 May 2009


Figure of Eight caterpillar The Mens, (Michael Blencowe) Dukes 'showing well' and Dingy Skipper at Heyshott, (Neil Hulme)



33 people attended the BC walk on the stunningly beautiful Heyshott Escarpment this morning, and despite more 'porky pies' from the weatherman, the overcast conditions did not defeat us. Co-led by Mike Edwards, who is doing a fantastic job for the Murray Downland Trust in managing areas of habitat for the Duke of Burgundy, the group soon encountered our target species. By the end of the circuit we had seen 8, this being the highest count for many years here. Other species were few and far between, but several pristine Dingy Skippers gave ample opportunities for the photographers amongst us. Many thanks to all that attended and made it such an enjoyable walk. (Neil Hulme)

A conversation with Alan Wingrove during the BC walk on Heyshott Down this morning, had me 'all ears'. He reported seeing a Duke of Burgundy at Harting Down, in an area that I had earmarked as having potential, while surveying with National Trust staff. However, I had as yet drawn a blank at this location, which is some distance from where Jim, Judith (Steedman) and I had found a colony in 2008. Needless to say I left Heyshott and 'burned rubber', keeping only just below the speed limit. I was delighted to find 7 males here, all doing what they enjoy best - fighting! Congratulations to Alan on putting another important pin in the map. (Neil Hulme)

Just when the Western Weald has been given the added protection of National Park status it is once again under attack - this time by caterpillars. I have just spent 3 days surveying woodlands across the Western Weald and there are caterpillars everywhere. There is the constant pittar-patter of frass raining from above and caterpillars are hanging everywhere on threads. We were having to stop every few minutes to pull them from our hair and clothing. One big oak in Pheasant Copse looked almost completetly defoliated. No doubt the cold winter has been very beneficial for them. While moth-trapping in The Mens on Saturday evening we were able to increase the survey list by reaching up and grabbing a branch and finding caterpillars such as Merveille du Jour, Svensson's Copper Underwing, Figure of Eight, The Sprawler, Scarce Silver-lines. It's quite a spectacle and worth popping over to see - although I'd advise you take an umbrella. (Michael Blencowe, Clare Jeffers, Lou Parkinson and Tony Davis)

Over the weekend the catch in our moth trap has been very low with only 9 moths caught over two nights, the most interesting being a Pebble Prominent and a male Poplar Hawk-moth, our first Hawk-moth of the year. (Dave and Pen Green)

Butterflies seen at Bevendean this morning. Brown Argus 2, Common Blue 5, Dingy Skipper 6, Grizzled Slipper 3, Speckled Wood 20, Large White 2, Small White 28, Green-veined White 1, Small Copper 1, Peacock 1, Orange Tip 1, Small Blue 2, Small Heath 1. (Geoff Stevens)

Heyshott Down - me and my daughter went on the walk today at Heyshott Down. Thanks to Neil for leading the walk. Fairly dull weather at the time - 8 Duke of Burgundy. A brace of Grizzled Skippers and quite a few Dingys. Visited Mill Hill afterwards where Adonis Blues outnumbered the Common Blue by some distance. Also there were about 5 Walls kicking around at the top of the hill. Brimstones ruled at the bottom and again we saw Dingys and Grizzled skipperoonies. (Danny McEvoy)

Saturday 9 May: Duke of Burgundy, Harting Down and Male Adonis Blue, Mill Hill (Neil Hulme) and Mating Adonis Blues, Mill Hill (Brian Henham).



News for Saturday 9 May: After an unforgettable day 'in the field', I came home to find an Email from Colin Pratt, advising me that I had won his 2008 Silver Trophy Cup. I was absolutely delighted and am honoured to take over the baton from our own Michael Blencowe. Thank you Colin. Bearing in mind that this was awarded for 'services to the Duke', it was perhaps fate that I had counted no less than 87 Duke of Burgundy in Sussex that day. Unsurprisingly the majority were on 'sensitive', private sites, although 6 were seen on open access land at Harting Down. It really does appear that the work performed over the last few years, which every one of our members has supported, is beginning to pay dividends. Lessons we have learned in Sussex, in getting the management right for this notoriously 'tricky' species, are now being transferred to other counties, with several recent visits to assist 'the Duke' in Kent. Later in the day I moved on to Mill Hill, where the Adonis Blues are currently in magnificent condition. I bumped into good 'butterfly friend' Brian Henham en route, who had just returned from the venue. He later sent me the best photograph I have ever seen of mating Adonis. (Neil Hulme)



Saturday 9 May 2009


We have received the following important announcement from Colin Pratt:
"Neil Hulme has won the silver trophy this year for his work on the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary in Sussex. There is no doubt that the field-work associated with Neil’s efforts has resulted in more lucina flying in the county than would otherwise be the case - and that is the ultimate test."
(Congratulations Neil, ed.)



Today we visited Park Corner Heath and wrote our findings in the reserves book, but by memory we saw 2 Brimstones, 2 male Orange-Tips, 1 Large White, 1 Peacock, 1 very dosile Green-Veined White (photo above), about 6 Speckled Yellow moths, 2 Speckled Woods, 1 grass snake, 3 slow worms and the 4 kids swore blind they saw 4 adders. We heard several Nightingales but never saw them. All-in-all a successful trip. (Nick Linazasoro)

Following on from yesterday success I decided to do the same walk again from High and Over along Frog Firle to Green Way. Today was less windy which suited some species, however some were not quite so evident. 19 species were seen today with once again the Dingy Skipper being the most numorous with 27. Green Hairstreak were not far behind with 20, my highest ever count of these. The Adonis Blue male showed again on Green Way bank, 2 sightings but was possibly the same one. Other sightings were Small Copper 1 (above), Speckled Wood 25, Holly Blue 5, Grizzled Skipper 5, Brimstone 1, Wall Brown 15, Orange Tip 5, Large White 11, Green Veined White 2, Small White 8, Peacock 13, Brown Argus 6, Small Heath 1, Common Blue 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1 and Comma 1. (Bob Eade)

A visit to Hargate Forest, nr Tunbridge Wells (TQ 574370), at 14.00 today, resulted in the following sightings: Speckled Wood (8), Large White (5), Green Veined White (2), Peacock (1), Comma (1) and Dingy Skipper (1). (Rob Thomas)

Seen on my walk around the periphery of Seaford (Blatchington) Golf Course and Cradle Valley: Peacocks, Speckled Woods, Large White, Orange-tip and a number of Wall Browns, one of which was seen off by a Small Copper. (Chris Brewer)


Friday 8 May 2009

You are invited to join me at Beckley Woods on Saturday (9th May) to undertake a habitat assessment for butterflies. No previous experience is necessary and it should bea relaxed and enjoyable event. There is also a chance of seeing some nice butterflies including the taras form of Grizzled Skipper. Meet at Beckley Woods (TQ854214) at 11am. Stay as long as you like. This event replaces the postponed Tillingham Valley Butterfly Survey. (Steve Wheatley)

We disturbed a lone Wall Brown (TQ448084) just north of the railway bridge during our walk along Glynde Reach in the strong winds (Hilary & John Luck)

Starting at High and Over I walked along the bottom of Frog Firle towards Green Way at the Western end. Despite the windy conditions the butterfly variety were excellent with 17 species seen. The most exciting of which were 2 Adonis Blues 1M and 1 F on Green Way bank. This is the 1st sighting I've had or heard of for a couple of years of this species in this area. The most numorous butterfly was Dingy Skipper with over 40 seen!! Other species were Wall Brown 14+, Grizzled Skipper 8, Green Hairstreak 8, Painted Lady 2, Holly Blue 3, a new emergence of Brown Argus 8+, Red Admiral 4, Peacock 8, Common Blue 1, Orange Tip 3, Small Copper 3 as well as Speckled Woods, Small Whites, Large Whites and Green Veined Whites. (Bob Eade)

Top Row: Adonis Blue and Brown Argus, on Green Way Bank, Frog Firle. Bottom Row: Holly Blue and Drinker caterpillar, both Vert Wood, 07 May. (Bob Eade)




Thursday 7 May 2009


Eleven species of butterfly seen on a breezy mostly overcast day with patches of sunshine included eight male Adonis Blues and five Wall Browns on just part of Mill Hill. (Andy Horton)

Despite the breezy night Pagham First Hawkmoth was attracted to light last night (6th May). A single Eyed Hawk. (Ivan Lang)

Adonis Blue, Mill Hill, 03 May. (Andy Horton)




Wednesday 6 May 2009


Large White, Malling Down, (Nick Linazasoro)


I started at Malling Down and saw several Large Whites, Small Whites, a couple of Peacocks, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Orange-Tip, 2 Brimstones, and a few Speckled Woods. I went onto Park Corner Heath a saw at least 6 Brimstones, several Green-Veined Whites, a Peacock and 4 Speckled Yellows. I finished at Combe Hill in Willingdon and saw a Dingy Skipper. (Nick Linazasoro)

A warm day - but rather breezy - so headed into the woods. In the sheltered rides of the woodland around Park Corner Heath there was plenty of butterfly activity. Brimstone (38 male 2 female), Speckled Wood (15), Green-veined White (11), Orange-tip (1), Peacock (21), Large White (8), Comma (3), Holly Blue (2), Grizzled Skipper (5), and the moths Mother Shipton, Speckled Yellow, Brown Silver-lines and the rare micromoth White-spotted Sable (Anania funebris) (Michael Blencowe & Bob Eade)

Seen in my Seaford garden Green-veined White resting on native bluebells early morning. Small Heath, Small White, Large White, Small Copper, Speckled Wood seen on the banks of the Cuckmere below High & Over. (Chris Brewer)

News for Tues 5 May: One early male Common Blue seen in the Dorothy Stringer Butterfly Haven TQ309072. (Dan Danahar)

News for Tues 5 May: I visited Frog Firle and saw around 10 Green-Veined Whites, numerous Speckled Woods and an Orange-Tip. Then I ventured onto Park Corner Heath, where I saw about 5 Speckled Yellows, about 6 Brimstones, around 10 Green-Veined Whites and Peacock. (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Tues 5 May: Wilmington Wood, Hailsham. 6 Speckled Wood (TQ567086), 4 Small White (TQ5709308404), 4 Speckled Yellow (TQ5692808315) (Roy Wells)



Tuesday 5 May 2009


Brown Argus, Malling Down, 3 May (Tom Ottley); Dungy Skipper, Springhead, 2 May (Polly Mair); Pebble Prominent, Ringmer, 3 May, (John Luck)


Just to add to recent sightings of Wall Brown in the High & Over area. Walking westwards, exposed areas of Frog Firle were very windy, but along the Comp and the first part of Green Way it was sheltered and warm. Approx 10-12 Wall Brown along the Comp (E of golf course). 8-10 Dingy Skipper on slope down from Green Way. Also seen along the way Large & Small White, Orange-tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Peacock, numerous Speckled Wood, 1 Small Heath. (John Kerby)

Last nights catch in my Findon Valley Actinic moth trap was quite varied - 18 species. I was very pleased to find Chamomile Shark, Oak-tree Pug and Least Black Arches in amongst the other moths. (Mike Snelling)


News for Mon 4 May: Common Blue (male) seen in our East Dean garden (TV561985) at 10am this morning on Vinca. (Carole Jode)


News for Sat 2 May: Rewell Wood , 10:30-12 Green-veined White, a Peacock, Pearl Bordered Fritillaries (including mating pair on bracken) and a Speckled Yellow. (Colin Knight)


Monday 4 May 2009


Just 9 species in our Ringmer trap this morning including 1st Pebble Prominent of the year (John Luck).


Walking the 1066 Path along the Pevensey Haven this morning whilst the sunshine lasted we saw 4 Speckled Woods and 1 Small Copper (TQ60I) and 1 Green-veined White (TQ60H) (Roy Wells)


News for Sat 2 May: Transect at Malling Down, Lewes (previous weeks recorded sightings on brackets) 2 Brimstone (0), 1 Large White (0), 4 Small White (0), 1 Orange-tip (0), 3 Green Hairstreak (1), 4 Small Copper (5), 2 Brown Argus (0), 1 Common Blue female (0), 1 Holly Blue (0), 1 Red Admiral (4), 1 Small Tortoiseshell (1), 1 Peacock (0), 2 Speckled Wood (1), 1 Wall Brown (0). 27 sightings 14 species. The female Common Blue was laying eggs. (Crispin Holloway)



Sunday 3 May 2009

Mill Hill - with my daughter Jasmine. Many many Dingy Skippers (50 plus) more than I've ever seen before, so they've done well this year. 3 Grizzled Skippers (very small ones) smaller than I've ever seen before. Plus 3 Brimstones, a Large White and a Red Admiral. There was another butterflyer armed with a camera who also saw the first Adonis Blue of the year. He was armed with a camera and provided evidence by way of a photograph. His name was Andy. Then my 8 year old complained a lot and pestered me to take her to McDonald's for a Happy Meal. She told me she preferred McDonald's to butterflying because of the "Monsters versus Aliens" plastic toys that come with the happy meals. I told her she had her priorities all mixed up. Oh well at least she can now identify the two spring skippers with confidence. (Danny McEvoy)

I saw two species of butterfly  for the first time this year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Just before midday the first male Adonis Blue was spotted settled with its wings folded and 25 minutes later my first definite Small Heath was identified as it settled with its wings closed. At least five Brimstone were very active over the lower slopes with frequent Dingy Skippers, probably in excess of thirty over the one acre transect but only a handful of Grizzled Skippers were seen on a day when the sun only shined through the haze for a few minutes. (Andy Horton)

Malling Down: A quick visit to an area a bit off the transect route produced the following: 1 Adonis Blue male, 2 Common Blue males, 4 Brown Argus - all of these easily approachable and in pristine condition because I had left my camera at home. Also Grizzled and Dingy Skippers, Orange-tip and 2 Painted Lady - the latter definitely much the worse for wear. (Tom Ottley)

It was still a bit breezy at Cissbury this morning. A good number of butterfly species seen but only a few of each - except Brimstone (c.15). However I was pleased to see 2 Painted Ladies, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Comma, 1 Peacock, 1 Holly Blue and my first Common Blue of the year. Also saw 5 Dingy Skipper, 9 Grizzled Skipper, and 2 Green Hairstreak and 10 Small Copper. (Mike Snelling)

Today we visited Frog Firle and saw 2 Dingy Skippers, 1 Large White who was patrollling up and down along with a single Orange-Tip. Whilst walking along a tiny caterpillar was danging on a single thread in front of our faces, obviously we photographed it! We also saw 2 Holly Blues and our first Small Heath of the year. (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Sat 2 May: A very productive 2 hours on the lower slopes of Mill Hill lunchtime today. Only 1 Grizzled Skipper but 30-40 Dingy Skippers, 3/4 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Wall Brown, 2 Holly Blues, 6-8 Brimstone inc 2 female 1 Fresh Male, Common Blue at North End, 1 absolutely pristine Male Adonis Blue at the extreme South Corner - a stunning sight . (Mark Senior)

News for Sat 2 May: A fresh emergence of Wall Browns this morning with 6-8 flying just below High and Over, 1 was worn but the others were in superb condition. Also seen around the Frog Firle area were 7 Green Hairstreak including a mating pair, 3 Grizzled Skippers, 4 Orange-tip 3M 1F, 1 Small Heath, 3 Holly Blue, 4 Dingy Skipper as well as the usual whites and Speckled Woods. (Bob Eade).

News for Sat 2 May: Small pickings today at our trap in Ringmer of a mere 10 species with Iron Prominent, Small Waved Umber and Light Brocade being new for the year plus another early Spectacle (John Luck).

News for Sat 2 May: Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 3 males, 1 female nr Fernhurst. Also 3 Peacock, 1 Orange-tip, 1 Green-veined White. (Margaret Hibbard)


News for Sat 2 May: Seen while walking around the periphery of Seaford (Blatchington) golf course this afternoon - Peacocks, Holly Blue, Speckled Woods, Orange-tip and Wall Brown. (Chris Brewer)


News for Weds 29 April: Went to Rewell Wood, A27 end, where several Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, including 3 together (2M,1F). Plus several Green-veined White, Orange-tips, a Peacock and an egg-laying Speckled Wood. Plenty of Buzzards in the area - it's great that this splendid species is doing so well. Then on to Mill Hill, arriving 3pm,where good numbers of Grizzled and Dingy Skippers still present, many in excellent condition. Plus Brimstone, Large Whites, Green Hairstreak single on Horseshoe Vetch, and my first Common Blue of the year, a male, seen twice. Peacocks and Speckled Wood were also present and, after 6pm, Dingy Skippers were roosting, half way up the slope, in their peculiar,moth-like position. A great day, in glorious sunshine, let's hope it continues. (Mark Bunch, Cambridge & Essex branch.)


Saturday 2 May 2009

Mating Green Hairstreaks, Frog Firle, today (Bob Eade), Dingy Skipper and Treble-bar, Mill Hill, 1 May (Nick Linazasoro) and Orange-tip eggs, Crawley, 30 April (Paul Marten)

At Mill Hill this afternoon there were at least two Wall Brown alongside 4 Grizzled Skipper, 20 plus Dingy Skipper, 3 Brimstone, 3 Peacock and single Small Tortoiseshell, Large White and Small White. In our moth trap near Mill Hill we have had our first Chocolate-tip and Chinese Character in the last few days and Shuttle-shaped Dart are now making an appearance. (Dave and Pen Green)

I ran the third of my Rother Woods butterfly i.d workshops at Beckley Woods today. 17 people attended to hear me talk about where to look for butterflies - and what to look out for. I was less than impressed with a big grey cloud that sat over the sun for most of the walk - but despite this Large White, Orange-tip, Comma, Speckled Wood, Peacock and Grizzled Skipper were seen but the most abundant lepidoptera were Speckled Yellows. However I was very impressed with the work Steve Wheatley has been doing in the woods - rides have been widened, woodland has been coppiced, glades have been created. It's all looking very impressive - well done to Steve and his team (Michael Blencowe)

A fresh breeze kept down many of the butterflies at Cissbury today. However in the sunny spells I saw my first Holly Blue, 9 Grizzled Skippers, and 3 Dingy Skippers plus 7 Green Hairstreaks. 5 of the Hairstreaks were engaged in a prolonged aerial dispute - which was interesting to watch. Also saw there my first Silver Y of the year and a Lesser Treble Bar. In my moth trap this morning in Findon Valley I was pleased to find my first Pinion-Spotted Pug and a Sallow Kitten. (Mike Snelling)

News for Fri 1 May: After work today I took an hour out to miss the Bank Holiday traffic rush and headed up to Mill Hill where I saw at least 20 Dingy Skippers and at least 20 Grizzled Skippers and my first Lesser Treble-bar/Treble-bar ((Nick Linazasoro)


Friday 1 May 2009


Despite there being a cold sea fret, I saw 3 Green Hairstreaks and a Small Copper on Seaford Head (TV497985) (also Speckled Woods) after seeing 1 Green Hairstreak there on 23 April (Marion Trew)

There's (some) sunshine forecast for the bank holiday weekend and we're right in the middle of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary flight period. This rare butterfly is known from only three sites in Sussex (see details in our annual report) but it could still be hanging on in some remote woodlands.... somewhere. If you fancy doing some pioneering butterfly recording why not find a wood on the map and visit it (sticking to public footpaths of course) to see if it still holds this species. It would be fantastic news if we found another PBF site in Sussex. The woodlands in the northwest of the county are especially under-recorded. Good luck! (Michael Blencowe)

Recorded my first hawkmoth of the season, this being a Lime Hawk to Mercury Vapour last night. here in Wadhurst Also recorded a Frosted Green, only the 2nd in 23 years so well pleased with it. Used to get it every year. (Andy Adams)

News for Thurs 30 April: Bourne Farm, Salehurst TQ759256. A disappointingly small number of butterflies today given that it was fine and sunny. Only 2 Speckled Woods, 2 Orange-tips and 1 Small Copper. (Roy Wells)

News for Weds 29 April: Mike Parsons and his two colleagues from Butterfly Conservation in Dorset were bashing the Privet on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in an unsuccessful attempt to find the caterpillars of the Barred Tooth-striped Moth,. Mike identified for me a Green Carpet. I had always realised that some of the Carpet Moths seen on Mill Hill were different in colour from the ones seen in Shoreham town and I have probably misidentified them before as the Common Carpet. The micro-moth Pyrausta nigrata was very common on the lower slopes as in the previous week. Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers were frequently seen with about 25 of each in the one acre transect, with four Brimstone in the sunshine, two Peacocks, and two Speckled Woods over the lower slopes. The Hawthorn scrub area added a further Speckled Wood, a Green-veined White and a Large White. There were a further two Speckled Woods, one in the copse at the top and one on the windswept upper part of Mill Hill.(Andy Horton)

News for Sun 26 April: In hot sunny weather I saw numerous Peacocks along the Ouse River from Lewes to Southease, also a Small Copper and a few Green-veined Whites (Marion Trew)

News for Sun 26 April: 2 Wood White,  4 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Dingy Skipper wood near Plaistow (Margaret Hibbard)

News for Weds 20 April: Boreham Street 1 Painted Lady TQ6742110775 (Roy Wells)

Thursday 30 April 2009


News for Weds 29 April: A first for these woods in Rother. Myself, Steve Wheatley and Alan Martin all out in the woods today... found Grizzled Skipper at both woods and Dingy Skipper at Barnes Wood. One of the Grizzled Skippers appears to be an unusual aberration (ab. taras).

News for Weds 29 April: This morning I had the pleasure of showing Hugo Brooke (BC National Council) around one of the sites on private land, where conservation work for the Duke of Burgundy has been ongoing for a few years now. Hugo had limited time, but was there long enough to get his first photo of the species, and appreciate the progress that has been made here. As the day continued to warm up I eventually had a total of seven Dukes (one of which below), but more important than this modest total (still very early in the season) was the fact that three of them were in a new area, nearly 1 Km from the site. Still no sign of this species emerging on public access land yet, but if the weather is good this weekend they'll be out and about! (Neil Hulme)


Wednesday 29 April 2009


News for Sunday 26 April: A friend of mine, John Cole, who lives close by here in Aldwick, West Sussex, brought a picture which he had taken in his garden on Sunday afternoon . To my surprise the picture was of a Hornet Moth. Apparently, he was working in his garden and this moth simply settled on a plastic box right beside him. (Lawrence G. Holloway)


2 hour walk in glorious sunshine starting at TQ 371 175 (to the west of South Chailey) through bluebell woods and across fields - 5 Orange-tip, 4 Small White, 4 Speckled Wood, 8 Peacock, 1 Large White, 2 Comma. Observed Orange-tip feeding on bugle (Ajuga reptans). (Caroline Clarke & Jenny Stewart)

At Rewell Wood there were at least 4 (and probably many more) Pearl-bordered Fritillaries flying whenever the sun came out in the morning. One female was being bombarded by two males but she was having none of it. In addition I saw Speckled Wood (3) Orange-tip (2) Green-veined White (1). (Susie Milbank)

News for Tues 28 April:  Beckley Woods, in the ride cleared by volunteers over the winter, a Painted Lady. Only other butterflies seen flying were a couple of Peacocks - still no sign of Grizzled Skippers. (Stuart Cooper)

Tuesday 28 April 2009


Holly Blue, Frog Firle, 26 April (Nick Linazasoro); Brown Hairstreak caterpillar, Broadbridge Heath, 27 April (Susie Milbank)



Green Hairstreak and Orange-tip mating pair, Edburton, 26 April (Tony Wilson)



Monday 27 April 2009

The Brown Hairstreak larvae in my Broadbridge Heath garden are now between 2mm and 4mm and doing well. I was pleased to see that there are also Orange-tip eggs on both Garlic Mustard and Honesty in the garden too. (Susie Milbank)

News for Sun 26 April: I saw 14 species on my transect walk on the downs behind Denton yesterday (26th). These were Dingy Skipper (4), Grizzled Skipper (4), Large White (27), Small White (1), Green-veined White (5), Orange-tip (2), Green Hairstreak (2), Small Copper (3), Brown Argus (1), Painted Lady (1), Small Tortoiseshell, (3), Peacock (9), Speckled Wood (13), and Wall (1). I also saw 2 Orange-tip at TQ462028. Moth-wise, firsts for the season in recent days have included Mompha epilobiella (aka Common Cosmet), Brimstone Moth, Green Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Frosted Green, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Nettle-tap and, perhaps most interestingly, a sizeable colony of Pyrausta nigrata (Wavy-barred Sable) at Stump Bottom (TQ463033). (Steven Teale)

News for Sun 26 April: 2 Wood White, 4 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Dingy Skipper. wood near Plaistow (Margaret Hibbard)


News for Sun 26 April: A superb day for butterflies, and a few firsts of the year for me during a walk at Malling Down (TQ426107): 1 Brown Argus, lots of Small Heath, several Small Copper, several Grizzled Skipper, 1 Pyrausta aurata (Small Purple & Gold), 1 Burnet Companion, 1 Yellow Belle. There were also Brimstones, Peacocks and Orange-tips. (Steve Wheatley)


News for Sun 26 April: Frog Firle - 10 species in total, including Wall Brown (3), Holly Blue (3), Green Hairstreak (8), Painted Lady (1). (Andrew Burns)



Sunday 26 April 2009

Visited the outer edges of Frog Firle, Seaford that we missed yesterday and saw 6 Holly Blues, several Large Whites, a Small White and a Peacock. (Nick Linazasoro)

Recent photos:

Common Heath, High & Over, 24 April (Bob Eade); Dingy Skipper, Seaford, 25 April (Nick Linazasoro), Green-veined White, Amberley, 26 April (Paula Marshall)



Purple Emperor caterpillar, Neil Hulme; Painted Lady, Seaford, 25 April (Nick Linazasoro), Speckled Wood eggs, Crawley, 25 April (Vince Massimo)



and Wall Brown, High & Over, 24 April (Bob Eade)



On the hill behind my house in Edburton today there were 3 Green Hairstreaks, Dingy Skipper, 6 Speckled Woods, 6 Orange-tips, 6 Large Whites and 10 Peacocks (Tony Wilson)

At least 1 and possibly 2 Painted Lady on the edge of Frog Firle this afternoon. Not much else to report on a shortened walk apart from a freshly emerged dragonfly, probably a Hairy Dragonfly. Also the normal Speckled Woods and 1 Orange-tip. (Bob Eade).

I recorded a migrant Dark Sword Grass in the Mercury Vapour trap last night here in Wadhurst. (Andy Adams)

A walk around part of Friston Forest & The Gallops. 5 Brimstone, 3 Speckled Wood, 4 Small Heath,1  Small Copper, 1 male Orange-tip, 1 Small White, 1 Cinnabar Moth. ( Ron & Brenda Elphick )

News for Sat 25 April: Me and my 2 sons went for a 3.5 hour walk all around the golf course nr Frog Firle, Seaford. We saw at least 50 Speckled Woods, 3 Orange-tips, our first ever Dingy Skipper, 3 Red Admirals, 1 Holly Blue, 2 Painted Ladies, numerous whites - Green-veined, Small and Large. We also rescued a rather fat ewe who couldn't get up by rolling her over onto her feet again! Good deed done! (Nick Linazasoro)


Saturday 25 April 2009


My first Speckled Yellow of the year seen at Fishers Farm, Wisborough Green. (Edward Clarke)


Rewell Wood: In somewhat windy conditions I managed to see 3 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries this morning, all basking along some of the more sheltered rides. I also saw a rather tatty looking Painted Lady at the Southern end of the wood, 3 Speckled Yellow, 1 Mottled Beauty, 1 Large White and a couple of Speckled Wood. (Alice Parfitt)


Spotted on regular walk around farmland near Angmering (TQ054046) Small Whites (14), Peacock (4), Painted Lady (1). (Paula Marshall)


I lead another Butterfly identification event today at Brede High Woods. Fourteen people joined me to learn about the butterflies of the Rother Woods - however the weather was rather cloudy and cold so there were not many butterflies to be seen. This didn't matter as the Blencowe fully-laminated patented butterfly identification system came into play and I was able to re-create a wide range of butterflies in a variety of habitats and give out some handy indentification information. So everyone saw 24 (virtual) butterfly species. Thanks to all the future butterfly recorders who attended. As I pulled out of the car park the sun came out....(Michael Blencowe)


8 Speckled Woods along hedgerows on the edge of Pevensey Levels at Langney. TQ636032 (Roy Wells)

A couple of Peppered Moths and a Small White Wave to Mercury Vapour moth trap last night in Wadhurst. Both species very early, I've never seen either species in April. (Andy Adams)

News for Friday 24 April: Broadfield Pond, Crawley. Nine species seen today. 4 Orange-tip (M), 2 Green-veined White, 2 Small White, 2 Large White plus a number of other whites. Also 1 Brimstone (M), 2 Holly Blue, 1 Peacock and 3 Comma. One of the 10 Speckled Woods was seen to be egglaying in the grass. All of the eggs checked were found in pairs. This interestingly (?) differs from the information given in all of my books which suggest that they are laid singularly. There was also a brief view of a Ruby Tiger. (Vince Massimo)

News for Friday 24 April: Transect Bedelands Farm: 12 Large Whites 2 Small Whites 29 Orange-tips 2 Peacocks 5 Speckled Woods. Our best total since the start of the recording period. (David Pyle)

News for Friday 24 April : A visit to Rewell Wood in less-than-ideal conditions produced 2 Pearl-bordered Fritillary at the southern end of the wood (SU983078) and a further 2 at Yew Tree Gate (SU994094). The main emergence is yet to come - the next warm spell will do the trick! I then went on to a local site to check on the progress of a Purple Emperor caterpillar. He or she is now a little larger, much greener and the 'horns' have grown significantly since my last visit. (Neil Hulme)

For those wishing to visit Rewell Wood to see the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, PLEASE NOTE: Please keep to the bridleways and footpaths and avoid entering into the coppiced areas. There are plenty of Pearl-bordered Fritillary working along the bridleways, giving ample photo opportunities. These are easier to photograph in the late afternoon as it cools down, and the PBFs tend to emerge from the coppiced areas to get the last heat of the day along the tracksides. 'Early' morning (10-10.30am) is also good, while they are still warming up and often nectaring. Rob Thurlow (Forestry Commission) does regular PBF counts for the wood, so there is no need for others to assess the population. If entering the wood from the South (A27), walk through the gate, up the track, then turn left at the bridleway T-junction. You will see plenty of PBFs from the bridleway, a few hundred metres from the junction (SU983078). When parking, having turned off from the A27, please do not park opposite or near the house. Access to the wood is regularly required by large timber vehicles, so please ensure that they can pass freely. It is better to park on the left, up against the wire fence, as these vehicles can pass more easily on the flatter surface to the right. The butterfly can also easily be seen and photographed along the pathway coming up into the woods at Yew Tree Gate (SU994094), from the Fairmile Bottom LNR. Many thanks and happy hunting! (Neil Hulme, BC and Rob Thurlow, FC)


Friday 24 April 2009

Chased one of 3 Holly Blue in my Brighton garden today trying to take a photo as it flitted from plant to plant. Seemed to like the ceanothus (not quite in flower) and choisya in particular. Never got my pic! Also, numerous whites and 2 male Orange-tip. 1 further Orange Tip and my first Speckled Wood of the year in my friend's Brighton garden. 1 Hebrew Character enjoying the sunshine on my front door. For more info on gardening for butterflies see the Gardening pages at the link above or drop me a line at garden@sussex-butterflies.org.uk with your own observations and/or photos. (Caroline Clarke)

Walking round tetrad TQ51Z today at Maynard's Green, including Sapperton and Barrettspark Woods. Estimated numbers 1 male Brimstone, 2 Small Whites, 15 Peacocks, 20 Speckled Woods, 25 Orange-tips including laying females. (Roy Wells)


Congratulations What a wonderful edition of the Sussex BC butterfly Report. It is great. On starting to read through it was hard to put down. Many thanks to all who have made this so outstanding. (Ron & Brenda Elphick )

My regular walk around Frog Firle today resulted in 31 Speckled Woods, 5 Peacock, 5 Large White, 4 Small White, 1 Red Admiral, 7 Holly Blue which included a bit of courtship, 1 Green-veined White, 1 Green Hairstreak, 3 Dingy Skipper, 2 Comma, 1 Brimstone and finally on High and Over a Wall Brown. A cold wind kept numbers of some species down, the Green Hairstreaks for instance, there were none today on the bushes where I had 7 three days ago. There was also a very smart Common Heath and 2 Large Red Damselflies. Yesterday I went over to Noar Hill just north of Petersfield in Hampshire where there were at least 20 Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries flying. (Bob Eade)

Despite a very cold night at the Orchidwood Mushroom Factory site (near Beckley in Rother) we had a very good selection of moths - 30 species including Maidens Blush and 6 different Prominents (Pebble, Lesser Swallow, Swallow, Coxcomb, Scarce and Great). (Steve Wheatley)


News for Tues 21 April: 2 freshly emerged Cinnabar Moths flying at lunchtime and Thursday 23 April an almost fully grown Drinker moth caterpillar, both sightings at the rear of my factory in Newhaven (Mark Senior)


Recent photos (clockwise):

Scarlet Tiger caterpillar, Brighton, April 2009, Calum Lyle; Hebrew Character aberrant circumsignata extreme, Pagham Harbour 16 April (Ivan Lang); Peacock and Speckled Wood, Hargate Forest, 19 April (Paula Marshall), and Speckled Wood, High& Over, 22 April (Nick Linazasoro)





Thursday 23 April 2009

First butterfly recorded on the new transect at the Dorothy Stringer Butterfly Haven (TQ 30899 07217) turned out to be a Small Copper. This was exceptionally good news because it is one of the species that colonised the site shortly after it's creation last year. (Dan Danahar and Callum Lyle)

I visited RSPB Broadwater Warren near Tunbridge Wells this afternoon and sighted 12 Brimstone (10 Male, 2 Female), 5 Speckled Wood, 9 Peacock (Rob Thomas)

My first ever Green Hairstreak was on Mill Hill, Old Shoreham, in the central area of the lower slopes by the path. I had suspected sightings in the same area before and this butterfly had been reported by other visitors. My first Wall Brown of 2009 was seen over the path approach to the copse from the north-west in an area this butterfly had been seen regularly in previous years. Eleven species of butterfly were seen on the day (the most species in a day this year). My first Small Purple-barred Moth Phytometra viridaria of the year was on Mill Hill. (Andy Horton)

A Painted Lady at Warnham LNR today along with Orange-tips, Speckled Wood, Brimstones, Large White, Commas, Peacocks and Small Whites. (Sam Bayley)

News for Weds 22 April: At Rewell Wood between 3-5pm this afternoon: 2 Pearl-bordered Fritillary (I thought that we only saw one until I looked at the photographs and realised there were two individuals), 8 Orange-tip, 3 Peacock, 1 Large White, 1 Green-veined White and 1 Comma. (Also a female Broad-bodied Chaser). (Polly Mair)

News for Weds 22 April: Rewell Wood: 8 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, plus supporting cast of 16 Peacock, 5 Brimstone, 4 Speckled Wood, 3 Orange-tip, 3 Small White, 2 Large White and 1 Green-veined White. Also 5 Speckled Yellow, plus a variety of other very-mobile small moths that I was unable to get close enough to identify, and the small rare bee (Osmia Bicolor) that flies carrying lengths of stick and grass much larger than itself to camouflage its nest in a empty snail shell: (there are some excellent pictures of the species at http://www2.pms-lj.si/andrej/osmbic.htm.) Not much to report at Devil's Dyke on Monday afternoon (20th), but we did manage to find 5 Green Hairstreaks and saw several Lattice Heaths flying. Jim

News for Mon 20 April: Big Scarlet Tiger news has arrived from young entomologist Calum Lyle. I met Calum at a BC event last year and he told me he was sure he had seen Scarlet Tigers in his garden last year. This year Calum has been out monitoring his back garden and has indeed found those distinctive black and yellow, prickly caterpillars. The big news though is that Calum and his Scarlet Tigers live in Brighton! - almost 20 miles from the colonies in Eastbourne and Friston. No doubt there are others in between - so if you're out in your garden or local park check on the nettles and brambles and see if you've been invaded too. (Michael Blencowe)


Wednesday 22 April 2009


Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, Rewell Wood, 20 April (Neil Hulme)

Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper and Orange-tip, Frog Firle, 21 April (Bob Eade)

I went for a run this morning along the path along the top of Frog Firle, in the part that runs along adjacent to the Golf Course I counted 17 Speckled Wood. This path is roughly 1 mile long and I would also have missed several so the numbers of these this year are looking very good. (Bob Eade).

On a brief walk around High & Over/Frog Firle I saw one Painted Lady that was quickly on her way towards Cuckmere Haven,  and 5 Speckled Woods. (Nick Linazasoro)

Small Copper, Lavington Plantation nr Petworth, West Sussex (Margaret Hibbard)

News for Tues 21 April: Holly Blue and Speckled Wood Butterfly at Dorothy Stringer School Nature Reserve, Brighton (TQ309 071). 3 Speckled Woods, Peacock and Orange-tip at Valey Halls of residence grounds, Brighton (TQ332 089). (Dan Danahar)


News for Mon 20 April: The wife & I thoroughly enjoyed Neil's exhibition on Saturday morning at Arundel. Every hair was visible in the photographs, we loved the drawings, pity there weren't any for sale! It was very busy whilst we were there, even a press photographer arrived. We spent Monday morning at Levin Down in glorious sunshine and saw numerous Brimstones, courting, mating, and egg-laying on the numerous buckthorn bushes. We only saw 1 Small Tortoiseshell, but many Grizzled Skippers, Small Whites, Peacock, Speckled Wood and a single Comma. (Roger & Stasha Martin)


Tuesday 21 April 2009


My usual walk around Frog Firle today was very impressive with the following seen. 30+ Speckled Woods, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma, 6 Orange-tip 1F 5M inc 1 male that was a bit of a poser for the camera!! at least 8 Green Hairstreak, 1 Dingy Skipper, 1 very smart Small Copper, 1 Brimstone, several Peacock, Small White, Large White. Altogether a fabulous morning. (Bob Eade).

This morning between 8 and 8.30 am. 3 Speckled Woods on the edge of Seaford Golf Course - two together in what I presume was a courtship flight. (Chris Brewer)

At least 20 whites in my Brighton garden today, together with 2 male Orange-tip and my first Holly Blue of the year nectaring on Mexican Orange Blossom (Choisya ternata). (Caroline Clarke)

Deep Dean (or Dene) this morning. In one small area at the NE end of the valley, approx TQ 545 031, I found Small Coppers and at least one each of Green Hairstreak, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers. In the valley generally and on the ridge above (to the NW) I saw approx 5 Small Coppers, 3 Green Hairstreaks, 4 Dingy and 2 Grizzled Skippers. Plus numerous Brimstones, 2 Large Whites, numerous Peacocks, 2 Red Admirals and 3 Speckled Woods. (John Kerby)

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, a small and colourful pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta purpuralis was a first of the year amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves. All the smaller white butterflies that settled proved to be Small Whites rather than Green-veined Whites. The most prevalent butterflies on a trip to Mill Hill and Adur Levels were Brimstones with nine on the downs and Speckled Woods with a total of 17 mostly seen on the Coastal Link Cyclepath. 63 butterflies of eleven species, the most species in a single day this year (Andy Horton)

News for Mon 20 April: At an undisclosed site I was delighted at the appearance of the first Duke of Burgundy of the year - I will let you know as soon as this species appears at a location with public access. The area I visited is consistently 'early' for the Duke, so it might be a week before they get going elsewhere. I then travelled to the southern end of Rewell Wood (SU983078) and saw my first Pearl-bordered Fritillary of 2009. It was a joy to see so many Orange-tip (10) on the wing - it does seem to be a good year for this species. (Neil Hulme)


News for Mon 20 April: A Holly Blue was flying in the School Nature Reserve at Dorothy Stringer High School (TQ 30950 07181) (Dan Danahar)


News for Sun 19 April: 1 male Orange-tip (in my Seaford garden). 2 Peacock between Seaford Golf Course and Blatchington Reservoir. (Chris Brewer)


News for Sunday 19 April: Many thanks to Linda Bridges, Clare Jeffers and Michael Blencowe for their assistance at my Arundel exhibition on Sunday, and to the Sussex Wildlife Trust for the loan of their exhibition stands. It was great to see some more familiar faces on this second day and it proved to be a good opportunity to do one of the things I most enjoy - talk about butterflies! The positive feedback I received was much appreciated - thank you. The exhibition raised 183 for the Sussex Branch and a cheque is winging its way to our Treasurer Andrew Burns. (Neil Hulme)


News for Sunday 19 April: A morning visit to Mill Hill on a dull day produced just a smattering of butterflies: a handful (about five) of Grizzled Skippers, my first Dingy Skipper of the year, two whites probably Green-veined Whites, two good condition Peacock and a Treble-bar (that landed on me) on the lower slopes. The scrub produced two more whites including a Large White and three Speckled Woods. The most representative feature of the lower slopes were the frequency (15+) of the small pyralid moth Pyrausta nigrata plus at least one Pyrausta despicata. (Andy Horton)


Monday 20 April 2009


The year's first Pearl-bordered Fritillary yesterday at Rewell Wood (Dave Green)


Recorded another Dotted Chestnut along with a Tissue last night in my Cold Cathode light trap. The Tissue is a geometrid hibernator, a new species for me. (Andy Adams)

A trip round Hargate Forest, Tunbridge Wells (just over the E Sussex border - TQ574370) @ 3.00  provided the following sightings: 5 Speckled Wood, 1 Peacock, 1 Orange-tip (male) (Rob Thomas) PS. The noticeboard at entrance to the forest advises that both Dingy and Grizzled Skippers have been seen at this site - although none were in evidence today. There are plans to remove a large number of old conifers later this year - which will open up the rides and forested areas in a number of places. There are also longer term plans to restore the heathland on the site. Once these works are complete this will, I believe, provide some significant habitat improvement for butterflies.

During a two hour walk over farmland between Angmering and Poling (TQ054046) spotted numerous Peacocks (10+), Small Whites (10+), 3 Large Whites, 4 Orange-tips, 2 Brimstones and 2 Speckled Woods. (Paula Marshall)

News for Sun 19 April: During a 3-hour wander around Warnham Nature Reserve at Horsham today I saw 16 Orange-tip (including 7 females), 9 Speckled Wood, 5 Brimstone (3 of which were female), 3 Peacock and 1 Comma. Plus several teneral Large Red Damselflies. (Polly Mair)

News for Sun 19 April: Visted Abbot's wood. No Pearl-bordered Fritillaries yet. 4 Peacock and one Comma. 3 Large White and an Orange-tip from the car on the way from Seaford to Alfriston. (Danny McEvoy)

News for Weds 15 April: Finally the Moths have started to emerge at Pagham with only a few species dominating the traps over the last few days, last night (15 Apr) was much more impressive: Agonopterix alstromeriana 2, Muslin 1, Iron Prominent 1, Diamond Back Moth 1, Chocolate Tip 1, Swallow Prominent 1, Spectacle 1, Ruby Tiger 1, Pine Beauty 1, Brindled Beauty1, Dark Barred Twin Spot Carpet 1, Red Twin Spot Carpet 1, Clouded Drab 2, Early Grey 2, Early Thorn 2, Small Quaker 2, Double Stripped Pug 3, Powdered Quaker 5, Hebrew Character 17 and Common Quaker 30. (Ivan Lang)


Sunday 19 April 2009


After a visit to Neil’s excellent photo exhibition, we went up to Springhead for a picnic lunch. There we saw 3 Brimstones, 1 male Orange-tip, 3 Peacocks, 2 Green-veined Whites, and 2 Speckled Woods. We then went to Pulborough Brooks where we saw 2 ragged Peacocks, 1 Comma, and a couple of whites. (Colin & Lucia Knaggs)


Helped Neil Hulme this morning at his exhibition in Arundel where visitors were wowed with Neil's collection of fantastic Sussex butterfly photographs and artwork. In the afternoon I joined others for a picnic in nearby Rewell Wood. The rides were filled with Peacocks - with many rival males defending their territories in dramatic aerial battles. Orange-tips were also numerous throughout the wood. Our picnic was disrupted when a Pearl-bordered Fritillary flew past. While the others ran to get a look at this butterfly I was able to finish off the cheese straws. There has been a lot of clearance within the wood opening up a lot of new areas which will hopefully be colonised by this rare butterfly in the future. (Michael Blencowe, Clare Jeffers, Graeme Lyons, Katharine Fletcher, Dave Green, Penny Green)


One new species - Powdered Quaker, a decidedly early Spectacle and a superb Mullein were the stars of last night's trap in Ringmer, a total of 13 macro species. Also present were Swallow Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Pebble Hook-tip, Early Thorn, Brimstone, Hebrew Character (10), Muslin Moth, Early Grey, Common Quaker (2) and Clouded Drab (John Luck).


News for Sat 18 April: 1 Peacock at East Hoathly TQ5199615693. 1 male Orange-tip at Whitesmith TQ5314114825 (Roy Wells)


News for Sat 18 April: Went up to Arundel to Neil Hulme's excellent exhibition today followed by a walk around Arundel Park. Six species spotted including Grizzled Skippers (TQ107081) and a colony which I have not observed before (TQ008109). Total: Orange-tip (all male) (5), Brimstone (male) (1), Green-veined White (5), Speckled Wood (2), Peacock (6) and Grizzled Skipper (8) including one egg laying.


Saturday 18 April 2009


The first field trip of 2009 took place at Netherfield today. The event was part of the Rother Woods project and aimed at recruiting new butterfly recorders in the east of the county. 10 new recorders were given an introduction to butterfly recording and identification in a rather posh classroom at Ivyland Farm and then we headed out into the surrounding farmland to put our skills into practice. Amongst other species we were able to watch male and female Orange-tips and found their larvae on the heads of Cuckooflowers. The cabbage-filled polytunnels on the farm were searched and we found the common (but not often photographed) Small White - which helped illustrate Lesson #6 'How to identify the Cabbage Whites'. All the attendees were keen on getting out and putting their new skills to use on their local 'patches'. Good luck! and thanks to all who attended. (Michael Blencowe)



Last August, I reported both male and female Brown Hairstreaks nectaring on Hemp Agrimony in my garden. In January I found four single eggs. Three of the eggs were within 10 metres of the Hemp Agrimony and the other isolated egg was in another part of the perimeter hedge some 40 metres away. All were approx 4 feet up and all were facing east. In the past 3-5 days three out of the four Brown Hairstreak eggs have hatched. Hopefully, further reports to follow! (Martin Kalaher)


Many thanks to Polly Mair and Peter Atkinson for helping out at my exhibition 'The Beautiful Butterflies of Sussex' in Arundel today. I was very pleased that Nick Herbert (MP for Arundel and South Downs) paid us a visit, and we spent quite some time discussing the problems that butterflies are facing today. It was nice to see some familiar faces and we raised about 80. Tomorrow is going to be sunny (so the weatherman says!), so why not pop along and combine the trip with a butterfly outing, to one of the many good sites in the close vicinity. It would be nice to at least double the takings - with every penny going towards the conservation of butterflies in the county. After locking up Peter and I moved on to a local site, where we located a fat little Purple Emperor caterpillar. Hope to see some more of you tomorrow. (Neil Hulme)



Following up on Neil Hulme's advise I visited the disused railway near West Grinstead after work today. I should have read his instructions better as I was about a mile south of the best place, however I did find several Orange-tips both male and female as well as plenty of Speckled Woods. At one time there were 4 Orange-tip males and 1 female in the same area. (Bob Eade).


I visited Mill Hill today and had 25+ Grizzled Skipper, 15+ Dingy Skipper, 6 Brimstone, 1 Speckled Wood, 4 Large Whites, 3 Orange-tips, 2 Red Admirals, a Small Tortoiseshell and numerous Peacocks, plus a Treble-bar. (Jacob J Everitt)

News for Weds 15 April: Firstly let me say how impressed I was to when I received the Sussex Butterfly Report. It is a credit to all that were involved. Not only do we have the best website, we now also have the best magazine. Ten species seen today at Broadfield Pond, Crawley (TQ258354), all concentrated on the nettle beds in an area of 10m x 10m. 8 Orange-tip (5M+3F) with 3 eggs seen being laid, 3 Brimstone (all Male), 2 Large White, 2 Small White, 4 Green-veined White, 7 Peacock, 4 Comma, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Speckled Wood and 2 Holly Blue. (Vince Massimo)

News for Weds 15 April: Great weather at Levin Down. Seven species included 22 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Small Tortoiseshell (failed to positively id 2 others), 1 Red Admiral. (Tom Dunbar, Alan Wingrove).

News for Weds 15 April: Here are Michael Blencowe's photos of White Ermine and Mullein, as reported previously

News for Tues 14 April: Ashdown forest: Brindled Beauty, Brindled pug, Early Thorn, Lunar Marbled Brown, Purple Thorn & Streamer (Damian Pinguey)

Friday 17 April 2009


Grizzled Skippers (wings open and wings closed), Mill Hill, 15 April (Bob Eade) and 13 April (Nick Linazasoro)



Purple Thorn, Mottled Grey, and Streamer, Edburton (Tony Wilson)



Green Hairstreak, Devil's Dyke, 15 April (Neil Hulme), Dingy Skipper, Mill Hill 15 April (Brian Henham) and Pebble Prominent, Mill Hill, 15 April (Dave and Penny Green)




Very quiet last night at Pagham with few moths in the trap when checked however this was offset by a first for the reserve a Dotted Chestnut. (Ivan Lang)


News for Weds 15 April: You know the weather is improving when your mum phones to tell you that 'Dad has got his shorts on' - and it seems the moths responded well to the warm temperatures on Wednesday - my trap was packed with 41 species, many of which - like my Dad's legs - were putting in their first appearance of 2009. Highlights included Emperor, Diamond-back Moth, Purple Thorn, Tawny Pinion, Twenty-plume Moth, Streamer, Angle Shades, Clay Triple Lines, Pale Pinion, Water Carpet, Waved Umber and the Cruella de Vil of the moth world - an early White Ermine. The best moth of the night was a moth whose distinctive larvae I was familiar with but I had never seen the adult. The Mullein was just as impressive as it's caterpillar - it looked like it was built to go into battle. A good night for mid-April - and a 30 species improvement on my trap the previous evening in the exact same spot. (Michael Blencowe).


News for Weds 15 April: Finally the Moths have started to emerge at Pagham with only a few species dominating the traps over the last few days last night was much more impressive. Agonopterix alstromeriana 2, Muslin 1, Iron Prominent 1, Diamond Back Moth 1, Chocolate Tip 1, Swallow Prominent 1, Spectacle 1, Ruby Tiger 1, Pine Beauty 1, Brindled Beauty1, Dark Barred Twin Spot Carpet 1, Red Twin Spot Carpet 1, Clouded Drab 2, Early Grey 2, Early Thorn 2, Small Quaker 2, Double Stripped Pug 3, Powdered Quaker 5, Hebrew Character 17 and Common Quaker 30. (Ivan Lang)


News for Weds 15 April: A Green Hairstreak on Frog Firle transect (Nigel Kemp)


News for Weds 15 April: Went up to Malling Down and saw around 20 Peacocks, 1 Red Admiral, several Large Whites. (Nick Linazasoro)


News for Mon 13 April:  6 Peacock, 3 Small Tortoisehell, 1 Brimstone, at Ringmer/Glyndebourne TQ450100 (Roy Wells)


Quick clarification: please don't send images to the 'sighting' address. All photos sent via the 'photo' address go direct to Bob who resizes them for web use (ensuring that this page is openable by slow computers), and the inbox that receives sightings can only take small amounts of data and closes if too much comes through! I realise that for those people with a sighting and an accompanying picture this means an extra email on your part, but if you could that would be much appreciated.


I think we have now stopped emails getting lost in the system but a few emails still get quarantined 'in transit' for a couple of days before they reach me - apologies to those people whose sightings appear a little late, it's nothing personal, and I'm trying to sort it!


Here's Dave and Pen's probably Silver Y for the moth experts to give us their opinion on, if you would please.



News for Thurs 16 April: 2 Speckled Woods on Manxey Levels, Pevensey TQ6433907330. There is just a short section of green lane with hedges and a few small trees on this part of the open levels but presumably enough to support a colony. Also 2 Peacocks and 2 Small Whites at Chilley Green TQ639062 (Roy Wells)

News for Weds 15 and Thurs 16 April: 15th - Bluebell Railway. Watched many Orange-tips from the train as well as a Brimstone and a Peacock. My first Orange-tips of the year. 16th - Cuckmere Haven - a Comma on the nettles near the car park. (Danny McEvoy)

News for Tues 14 April: My usual walk along Frog Firle was generally poor today despite it being quite warm with just a Red Admiral, my first Speckled Wood of the year and 3 Peacock. However things did pick up a little when I was in the garden in North East Seaford when there was a very brief appearance of a Painted Lady. (Bob Eade).


Thursday 16 April 2009


In our Mill Hill moth trap last night we had a good mix of moths as follows; A very battered Iron Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Powdered Quaker, 2 Common Quaker, 2 Early Grey, 2 Hebrew Character, Nut-tree Tussock, Waved Umber, Double-striped Pug, Brown Apple Moth and a single Flame Shoulder. We also caught what is quite possible an aberrant Silver Y but we would be interested for anyone’s thoughts or suggestions (photo to follow)!The Y is not fully formed and does not split into two at the bottom or loop over and thicken at the top. There is also a fairly prominent circle beneath the Y style mark and both sides of the moth are identical. During the day our garden was visited by one Holly Blue and one Small White. (Dave and Penny Green)


News for Weds 15 April: A brief visit to Devils Dyke (TQ261111) produced only a single butterfly - but when it's a pristine, emerald Green Hairstreak and a first for the year - who cares! I then went on to meet a group of 'regulars' at Mill Hill (TQ210073) where the Grizzled Skipper numbers have reached about 25, and the first 8 Dingy Skippers were zipping over the short turf and around the scrub at the base of the slope (thanks to Paul Marten for the 'phone tip-off). (Neil Hulme)


News for Weds 15 April: Had a lovely time walking through Ford and Binsted Wood today, at one point there were five species around one blackthorn bush! (SU992057). The meadow at SU987065 was also particularly good. 7 species spotted in total: Orange-tip (inc 2 females) (15), Green-veined White (5), Brimstone (all male) (6), Speckled Wood (4), Peacock (15), Red Admiral (2), Comma (1). Lots of good flowers about too, particularly in Ash Piece, including Moschatel, Golden Saxifrage and Early Purple Orchids. (Alexander Henderson)

News for Weds 15 April: One Red Admiral in my Seaford garden (TQ484010) at breakfast time. 2 Brimstone Friston Forest close to Lullington Heath (TQ546012). 3 Peacock and 2 Small Tortoiseshell late afternoon between Blatchington reservoir and Seaford Golf Course (TQ484014) (Chris Brewer)

News for Weds 15 April: Friston Forest, warm but windy: I wander around Friston Forest for 1—2 hours at least 3 times/week. Thus far this spring my sightings of butterflies have been disappointing, but today I saw 8 each of male Brimstone and peacocks, 5 small (I think) whites, 1 Comma and 1 Holly Blue. On my return home, there was the Butterfly Report 2008 – very impressive – attractive, informative, interesting and useful! Thank you to everyone who put in the hard work involved in producing it! (Susan Sulseki)

Non-news for Tues 14 April: After two years of poor moth migration moth-ers across Sussex raced for their moth traps on Tuesday night when an email arrived warning of 'a warm, thundery front coming in from Europe on southerly winds'. These weather conditions could carry with them a host of migrant species. Was the Great Migration of 2009 about to start? Moth traps were fired up from Rye and Rother in the far east to Bexhill, Friston, Newhaven through to Findon Valley. However no migrants were reported this morning - I guess we're going to have to wait a little bit longer for the excitement to start! (Michael Blencowe)

News for Sat 11 April: Diplock’s Wood/Wannock Coppice, Polegate: saw my first Speckled Woods (4) this year. (Susan Suleski)


Wednesday 15 April 2009


Sussex Butterfly Conservation branch members should this week receive our brand new, glossy, full-colour, 32-page annual report for 2008. Edited by Caroline Clarke and designed by Bob Foreman, it's got loads of articles about the key butterfly species in Sussex, the 2008 butterfly and moth year, and the surprise story of the Scarlet Tiger colonisation. Non-members can pick it up for 3 from events, but we don't want you to do that...! Go on, join, you know you HAVE to now :-) And if you've received the Report, let us know what you think. (Adrian Thomas, Webmaster)




Both Pulborough Brooks and Waltham Brooks were very good today for Orange-tips as well as Peacocks and Commas. Also at Waltham was a Small Tortoiseshell. We then went onto Mill Hill where we met Neil Hulme as well as between 20 and 30 Grizzled Skippers and newly emerged Dingy Skippers. (Bob and Matt Eade).

During a 2 hour walk around Cissbury, the only numerous butterflies were Brimstones (30+) and Peacocks (12).Two male Brimstones were in hot pursuit of a Small White! Other species seen were 2 separate Grizzled Skippers, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Small Copper, 7 Speckled Wood, 3 Large White, 2 Green-veined White and my first Red Admiral of the year. Brown-tail larvae were devouring a Hawthorn bush. By the way the recently received Sussex Butterfly Report is excellent - well presented and with super photos. Well done to everyone who produced it. (Mike Snelling)

A selection of photos from the weekend: Barred Tooth-striped, V-Pug and Shoulder Stripe, Mill Hill, 12 April, and the group in action (Dave and Pen Green)






and Engrailed, Ringmer, 11 April (John Luck) and two Orange-tips, West Grinstead, 13 April (Neil Hulme)


News for Tues 14 April: One Brimstone nectaring on Common Dog Violets and one Peacock on a short lunchtime visit to Park Corner Heath. One Peacock and one Speckled Wood in the afternoon at West Park Nature Reserve/Lake Wood Uckfield. (Chris Brewer)


News for Tues 14 April: Two small day-flying in moths put in their first appearance of the year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (Old Shoreham): these were the pyralids, three Pyrausta despicata and two Pyrausta nigrata. (Andy Horton)


Tuesday 14 April 2009


News for Mon 13 April: As the Bank Holiday sunshine finally broke through I paid a brief visit to the Downslink at West Grinstead (TQ183214), seeing 10 Orange-tip including 2 females, one of which repeatedly rejected the advances of males, by raising her abdomen into a vertical position - a sure sign that she had already been mated. Other butterflies included 1 Brimstone, 3 Green-veined White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Peacock and a Comma. I then headed to Bury village on the banks of the River Arun for a BBQ, seeing numerous Orange-tip on the road verges as I drove there. At Bury (TQ017130) I saw a further 4 Orange-tip, 15 Green-veined White, 1 Brimstone, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Peacock and 2 Comma. (Neil Hulme)


News for Mon 13 April: In the late afternoon, my first Holly Blue of the year was fluttering over a garden overlooking the Waterworks Road., Old Shoreham. There were a few Orange-tips, Speckled Woods, Red Admirals, Small and Large Whites and one Brimstone in Shoreham and the outskirts. (Andy Horton)


News for Mon 13 April: 6 Peacock, 3 Small Tortoisehell, 1 Brimstone, at Ringmer/Glyndebourne TQ450100 (Roy Wells)


News for Mon 13 April: A walk in Beckley Woods this afternoon where lots of habitat improvement has taken place over the winter. 9 Peacock, Brimstone (2 male, 1 female), 3 Comma, 3 Orange-tip and under the power lines, a lone Small Tortoiseshell. Later, between Beckley and Peasmarsh near Swallowtail Farm - 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Orange-tip and a male Green-veined White. (Stuart Cooper).


News for Mon 13 April: Lots of moths at my outside lights in Edburton over the last few nights including Purple Thorn, 3 Early Thorns, Pale Pinion, 3 Mottled Greys, 3 Streamers, 2 Shoulder Stripes, Brimstone, Clouded Drab, 4 Engraileds, March Moth, Hebrew Character and Twenty-plume Moth. Several male and female Brimstones in the garden today (Tony Wilson)


News for Mon 13 April: I visited Mill Hill, Shoreham and went onto Cissbury Ring. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill I saw about a dozen Grizzled Skippers. This was my very first time of knowingly spotting these illusive little fellows. I saw an awesome male Orange-tip flying by. I was so impressed watching it that I forgot to try and take a picture of it. This was my first this year. I saw two really yellow Brimstones but they didn't stop for the camera, around ten Peacocks and a few Large Whites. At Cissbury ring I only saw Small Tortoiseshell and Peacocks. (Nick Linazasoro)


News for Mon 13 April: In our Worthing garden this afternoon we noted a Small White, 4 Speckled Woods (with a pair neatly spiralling) and our first Holly Blue. (John & Shena Maskell)

News for Mon 13 April: On the Friston gallops (TV545990) this afternoon a lone Grizzled Skipper and a Large White. Meanwhile in the woods nearby the Scarlet Tiger caterpillars are happily munching on nettles in the forest ride. In Eastbourne Mike Whiting who has a colony of Scarlet Tigers in his garden, reports the number of caterpillars there have swelled to almost 100 - all of them greedily making light work of a variety of Mike's garden plants. At Beachy Head later in the afternoon I took part in my first butterfly chase of the season when I caught sight of a large butterfly with a powerful flight. Despite running around the clifftops for 20 minutes it eluded me but I'm pretty sure it was a Painted Lady. I guess I'm out of practice! (Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers)

News for Sun 12 April: On the night of the 12th we ran an impromptu moth trap on the lower slopes of Mill Hill LNR. Alongside seven of us searching with torches and nets from dusk we also lugged a generator down and ran an MV trap until about 11:30pm. (In case anyone is wondering generators are much much heavier than they look, especially on the way back up!) The total that made it onto our list was 79 moths of 31 species as follows (in no particular order); 17 Barred Tooth-striped (including at least three that were attracted by the MV light), 3 Small Waved Umber, 3 Hebrew Character, 3 Flame Shoulder, 2 Chinese Character, Double-stripe Pug, 3 Early Thorn, 2 Early Grey, Nut-tree Tussock, Green Carpet, 3 Red Twin-spot Carpet, 3 V-Pug, 2 Shoulder Stripe, Least Black Arches, March Moth, Scorched Carpet, 3 Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Brimstone, 2 Engrailed, 2 Red Chestnut, Brindled Pug, 2 Diurnea flagella, Pyrausta despicata, 5 Semi-skimmed Moth (Semioscopis steinkellneriana), 9 Agonopterix pallorella, Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella), Emmelina monodactyla, Agonopterix heracliana, Cochylis atricapitana and finally one very worn Tissue (the moth that is, not an old man-size Kleenex).

Whilst searching for moths by torchlight we also found 4 Grizzled Skipper roosting at the tip of 30cm high privet plants and we also heard a Tawny Owl and saw a couple of Roe Deer. Most of the Barred Tooth-striped were very worn but we did manage to find a small number of fresh specimens. Undoubtedly the total of moths caught would have been much higher if we had not spent so much time surrounding the moth trap as at some points we were casting so much shadow it appeared no light was escaping! We all had a great time and perhaps the most embarrassing incident of the night was my (Dave’s) discovery that a very close V-Pug on the outside of the traps transparent cover can easily be mistaken for a Green Carpet that you assume is at the BOTTOM of the trap. It’s all a matter of perspective apparently! Some photos will follow. (Graeme Lyons, Katharine Fletcher, Clare Jeffers, Michael Blencowe, Tony Davis, Dave and Pen Green)


News for Sat 11 April: Spent a rather damp evening walking around Ebernoe Common (SU978275) searching for the blackthorn loving Sloe Carpet. We weren't in luck - but did find other moths including Purple Thorn, Powdered Quaker, Streamer, Water Carpet, Early Thorn, Common Quaker, Diamond-backed Moth and Engrailed. (Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers)


Monday 13 April 2009


Small Tortoiseshell at Ferring Rife today (Colin Knaggs)




Today on a sunlit walk of around 10km around Midhurst and Cowdray Park we encountered 8 species of butterfly; 11 Peacock, 10 male Orange-tip, 4 Brimstone, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Large White, 2 Small White, 1 Green-veined White and a single Comma. (Dave and Pen Green)

I have taken the plunge this year and started a butterfly transect walk on the Downs behind Denton. On the walk this afternoon in glorious sunshine I recorded 34 butterflies of 6 species (Large, Small & Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Speckled Wood). In recent days I've also seen the odd Orange-tip and Comma around town. I've seen too many moth species in recent days to list here, but some 'firsts' of the season include Dawn Flat-body (Semioscopis steinkellneraria), Brindled Flat-body (A. aranella), Pale Flat-body (A. pallorella), Twenty-plume Moth, Yarrow Conch (Aethes smeathmanniana), Streamer, Flame Shoulder, Cabbage Moth, Brown-tail (7 larval webs in various locations), and what I believe is a Small Purple Flat-body (Agonopterix purpurea) - a species I hadn't even heard of! (Steve Teale)

A sunny afternoon stroll along the East side of Ferring Rife revealed 7 Peacocks, 6 Small Tortoiseshells, and 2 Small Whites. Around the copse on the West side of the Rife there were 2 Speckled Woods, 1 Peacock, and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Lucia spotted a Speckled Wood in our garden a little earlier. (Colin Knaggs)

Last autumn we watched a very fat Large White caterpillar devouring our nasturtiums after which its made its chrysalis inconveniently right on the edge of the glass on the patio doors. A few weeks later the window cleaner was due and reluctant to interfere we carefully removed it to another safe dry, sheltered place for fear that the window cleaner might squish it! Then we promptly forgot about it! Remembering it on Tuesday and having a look we noted that he had changed somewhat, the outline of its wings being visible. On checking again this morning we were greeted by an empty chrysalis and no butterfly. A Large White was seen flying past the house but we cant guarantee whether it was the same one. Also in our garden today were Brimstone and our first Speckled Wood along with some very cute ginger bees. On a sadder note, we saw our first Large Red Damselfly (female) this morning but unfortunately it was entangled in a cobweb. (Sophie May Lewis)

Looks like its all happening early this year with the first Lesser Swallow Prominent, Iron Prominent and Pebble Prominent last night in Wadhurst. Also Purple Thorn and Water Carpet and an early migrant, the Diamond-backed moth. (Andy Adams)

News for Sunday 12 April: 4 Peacock seen on a seven mile walk from Exceat, down to Cuckmere Haven, over the tops to Crowlink (3 around TV 537 970) and back to Exceat through Friston Forest (1 at TV 525 994). The sun just about managed to break through misty clouds a couple of times and it was glorious on the cliff tops, briefly! Is it me or are there a lot of Peacock around this year? (Clarke and Colmer families)

News for Sun 12 April: Just saw a Brimstone moth at a window in Wadhurst, quite an early record (Andy Adams)

News for Sat 11 April: The evening's trap in Ringmer produced 6 out of the 7 species found in the previous one 4 weeks ago with a further 8 species being present: Hebrew Character (17), Common Quaker (15), Early Grey (14), Small Quaker (4), Clouded Drab (2) and March Moth (3) again appeared plus Early Thorn (3), Nut-tree Tussock (2), Brimstone, Engrailed, Flame Shoulder, Angle Shades, Waved Umber and Brindled Pug (2) (John Luck)


Sunday 12 April 2009


In a garden on Chitcombe Road (Broad Oak) in the brief spell of morning sunshine, a single Orange-tip and my first Speckled Wood of the year. This afternoon, on a much more gloomy walk around Brede High Woods, just one Peacock and a male Brimstone.  (Stuart Cooper)


Today in garden at Kingston near Lewes (TQ3917 0859). After two grey, sunless days it brightened up in afternoon and the following were soon on the wing, 1 Brimstone, 1 Peacock, 1 Speckled Wood, a few each of Large White, Small White, Orange-tip. (John Holloway)

Trapping last night in light rain produced three new species for our garden this year being Nut-tree Tussock, Herald and Brimstone, all settled around the trap rather than in it! We also caught 3 Early Grey and 2 Hebrew Character and on the 9th we had a single Mullein. (Dave and Pen Green)

First of the prominents for this year last night in Wadhurst. Coxcomb Prominent and a Great Prominent to Mercury Vapour light. 152 moths of 21 species. Getting better. (Andy Adams)

News for Sat 11 April: A walk along the south facing slopes of the Tillingham Valley (near Beckley Woods) yielded 1 Peacock and a cluster of 4 Orange-tips. Also saw my first Swallow of the year! (Stuart Cooper)


Saturday 11 April 2009

Recorded a Lead-coloured Drab to mercury vapour light trap last night in Wadhurst. Haven't seen this species for at least 5 years now. Used to get it in small numbers every year from the 1970s to the mid 1990s. (Andy Adams)

Friday 10 April 2009

Just seen a V-pug in the garden at Wadhurst, quite an early date for this species, usually on the wing in May and June. (Andy Adams)

Grizzled Skippers, Mill Hill, 8 April (Neil Hulme)

Thursday 9 April 2009


News for Wed 8 April: Plenty of Grizzled Skipper action on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (Shoreham) today (TQ210073) . At least 12 were actively 'turf-hopping' as they constantly sought out nectar from the violet flowers. After about an hour I saw my first female of the year, probably on her maiden flight. As soon as she appeared she was accosted by an amorous male, and after a brief courtship (he crash-landing beside her and 'trying it on' several times) they copulated. I was soon joined by our former Branch Accountant and Membership Officer David Dancy, who was first to spot a Small Copper at the northern end of the site. Other butterflies included 6 Peacock, 2 Comma, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Brimstone and a Small White. (Neil and Eric Hulme)

Wednesday 8 April 2009


Scarlet Tiger caterpillar, Eastbourne, April 2009 (Mike and Jan Whiting)


Would anyone like to become volunteer butterfly transect recorders at two of the sites that I look after, Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods which is heathland and ancient woodland and Southwater Country Park which is mainly species rich grassland? It requires a weekly visit for about an hour between April and October when the weather is nice! If so please email me  sam.bayley@horsham.gov.uk

The Avenue, Lewes (TQ 4114 1020) 2 Peacock, 1 Comma. Willey’s bridge, Lewes (TQ 4147 1081) 1 Orange-tip (male). Cufail Lewes (TQ4220 1047) 1 Brimstone (male). Malling Down, Wheatsheaf Gardens entrance to reserve. (TQ 4246 1064) 2 Peacock and 2 Small Coppers - the first I have seen this year. On the butterfly transect at Malling Down, 100% sun and I saw no butterflies! I guess it was too cool and breezy up there. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Tues 7 April: Newhaven. First (and so far only) overwintering Red Admiral caterpillar emerged from its chrysalis and flew today. Over a month as pupa and over four months as (green form) larva. There are also successful reports from other parts of the South coast, so it would seem that even a hard winter is not stopping it happening now. That said, alas none of the November eggs appear to have survived the storms and frosts (Dave Harris)

News for Mon 6 April: Having had a long series of catches of common species (that even I could identify!) I was rather shocked (to say the least) to find a female Emperor (below) in the bottom of our 15W Actinic trap yesterday morning. As our garden is not exactly anywhere near (what I was consider to be) suitable habitat. I kept it in the fridge all day and put it out under a bush late afternoon, to make sure it was not spotted by our busily feeding birds. This afternoon we noticed a dark Vanessid-sized 'butterfly' flying round and round the bush which proved to be a male Emperor.  It could still scent the pheromone and carried on flying round and round for some time. Maybe the female is still around and unmated? (Jim Steedman)

News for Sun 5 April: Mike and Jan Whiting have been checking their Eastbourne garden and found a Scarlet Tiger caterpillar. It doesn't look like there are going to be many butterflies flying over the next few days so why not look around your nearby brambles and nettles for this distinctive spiky, black and yellow caterpillar. Let us know if you find anything (Michael Blencowe)


Tuesday 7 April


Clockwise: Green-veined Whites mating, Stanmer Park, 5 April (Dan Danahar); Grizzled Skipper, 5 April, Cissbury Ring (Susie Milbank); Common Heath, High and Over, Bob Eade (7 April) and Downs Link, 5 April (Neil Hulme)



1 Peacock and 1 Comma in the garden both on the blossom of damson, at the same time, Coldean lane, Brighton (TQ334085) (Dan Danahar)

A walk along the length of Frog Firle today produced a mating pair of Common Heaths with another male also trying to join in the fun!! A 4th Common Heath was also seen further up the hill. Also seen along Frog Firle were 9 Peacock, 1 Small White, 1 Brimstone and a Small Tortoiseshell at High and Over. However the highlight was a superb Grizzled Skipper on the steep bank north of High and Over, a spot I cannot remember seeing Grizzled on before. (Bob Eade)

News for Mon 6 April: 1 Peacock on Coldean lane, Brighton (TQ334085) .

News for Mon 6 April: 'The Brighton Brimstones' enjoyed a field trip over Malling Down, near Lewes. Butterflies were a bit thin on the ground despite the warm sunshine - Peacock 9 and Comma 1. (Caroline Clarke, Davina Colmer and Jocelyn Owen) Male Orange-tip at Westdene swings (Edward Clarke)

News for 4, 5 and 6 April: Having suffered five months of relentless DIY house renovations, my self-discipline and good intentions finally gave way with the recent spell of fine weather - the draw of butterflies is just too strong! On Saturday we visited Mill Hill (TQ210073) rather late in the afternoon, but still managed to locate 3 Grizzled Skipper, 3 Peacock and a Comma. On Sunday we walked along the disused Downs Link railway, heading south from West Grinstead station. This beautiful area is well worth a visit and some stretches of the old embankments were solid with primrose. The footpath leading west off the course of the old line at TQ183214 runs alongside a ditch, which is packed full of flowering Lady's Smock. We found a newly emerged male Orange-tip here, crawling up through some blackthorn - I'm sure that this will be a very good spot to watch this species going about its business in the next week or two. Tally for the day was 4 Orange-tip, 2 Speckled Wood, 7 Comma, 5 Peacock, 3 Large White, 2 Green-veined White, a Small White and 3 Brimstone. I'm sure many of you will have noticed that the numbers of Brimstone are quite disappointing this spring. Today I saw my second butterfly in the garden of my new, central Worthing home. My first Holly Blue of the year alighted, wings wide open (how often do you see that?), but only long enough for me to rush inside and undo the camera case. (Neil Hulme and Hannah Sanders)


Monday 6 April


Please remember, send photos to for Bob to deal with them quickly. If they come to the sighting address, they have to be forwarded. Thanks.


PLEA FOR HELP: Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey

We've had a fantastic response from Sussex Butterfly Conservation members volunteering to help with the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey, managing to fill all but four of the twenty squares that Sussex has been allocated.

The remaining four squares that we need help with are: - Petworth: SU9620 - Billingshurst: TQ1025 - Shipley: TQ1223 - Crowhurst: TQ7611. You only have to do two visits in the year, and a training day will be held to explain the methodology and to help with butterfly ID for those who want it. If you would like to see the maps for any of the sites please drop me a line: pennygreen@sussexwt.org.uk.


Kingston near Lewes TQ3917 0859. 1 Large White, Small Whites, 1 Green-veined White, 1 Brimstone (M), 2 Orange-tip (M&F) , 2 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood (Crispin & John Holloway)

10 Peacocks and at least 3 (probably more) Small Tortoiseshell - one looking extremely faded and battered - between Blatchington reservoir and Seaford Golf course. (Chris Brewer)

Two further butterflies put in their first appearances of the year for me: a single Speckled Wood in the copse on top of Mill Hill, and a male Orange-tip over the verges of Waterworks Road. My first trek was to the lower slopes of Mill Hill where five Peacock were seen, and one, possibly two Grizzled Skippers at the northern end. A Large White flew over the Dovecote Estate, north Shoreham, and a few Small Whites were seen in town. In the early afternoon, I made a passage visit to the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, where a handful of Green-veined White were seen immediately together with a Brimstone and a Comma as well as the already mentioned Orange-tip. Further Peacock were seen during the day on the outskirts of Shoreham. (Andy Horton)


News for Sun 5 April: Two Grizzled Skippers at Cissbury Ring on Sunday afternoon. (Susie Milbank)


News for Sun 5 April: We seem to be having a good early season for Peacocks. Four in my garden and another 6-8 on a short walk around the outskirts of Storrington. Also male Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and a male Orange-tip. (Martin Kalaher)

News for Sun 5 April: Pleasant walk in Brede High Woods this afternoon yielded 20 Peacocks, 4 Commas, one Brimstone and my first Orange-tip of the year. I'm experimenting with BB Tracker for Blackberry which allows you to record your track using the inbuilt GPS and add notes as you go along. See attached KMZ file for viewing in Google Earth. (Stuart Cooper)

News for Sun 5 April: At Round Down in West Sussex this afternoon (SU79641798) 2 male Orange-tip, 3 Brimstone and 3 Peacock (Michael Blencowe and Clare Jeffers). Then, at Kingley Vale (SU821105) Peacock (5), Comma (4) (Michael Blencowe, Clare Jeffers and Tony Davis)

News for Sun 5 April: My first four confirmed Green-veined White of the year were seen on the verges of Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham with a Brimstone , and a Peacock sparring with a Comma . Other butterflies seen in town were a few Small Whites and a few Peacocks, and on a round trip to Botolphs and back there a few Comma, occasional Peacocks, and a few indeterminate Whites. (Andy Horton)

News for Sun 5th April: Only 4 Small Whites in my garden today but pleased to see one nectaring on Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata'. This is a largish early-flowering shrub (skin irritant, apparently, but I've never noticed) with pale pink flowers and a fantastic scent. It is in my front garden and passers-by are always commenting on it at this time of year. Great to see the butterflies enjoying it too! (Caroline Clarke)

News for Sun 5 April: Following species seen on Chalk grassland, Stanmer Park, Brighton: 2 Peacocks courting (TQ332089);  two pairing Green-veined Whites TQ331 090, 1 male Brimstone (TQ331090). At Wildpark LNR, Brighton: 7 Peacocks: 2 (TQ332 081), 1 (TQ328080), 3 (TQ326081), 1 (TQ324079). 1 male Brimstone and 1 Speckled Wood (TQ331081). 1 Small Tortoiseshell,  and 1 Comma (TQ332081). (Dan Danahar)

Sunday 5 April 2009


Brimstone, Park Corner Heath, today (Bob Eade)



In glorious sunshine at Castle Hill LNR in Newhaven today we saw a couple of Small White (TV446999, TQ448001), 1 Peacock (TQ445002), and our first Speckled Wood of the season (TQ445002). (David Harris & Steven Teale)


Plenty of Brimstone on Park Corner Heath today including a pair doing some courtship. Unfortunately the female escaped the attention of the male. However shortly after she did settle and allow 1 photo while she rested on the leaves. Also there were 5 Peacock and 2 Comma. On way home an Orange-tip was seen near Chalvington flying along the roadside. (Bob Eade).

5 Peacock and 1 Small Tortoiseshell between Blatchington Reservoir and Seaford (Blatchington) Golf Club (TQ485015). Also 1 Small White in my Seaford garden. (Chris Brewer)

News for Sat 4 April: Kingston near Lewes TQ3917 0859. Large White, Orange-tip, 2 Peacock (Crispin & John Holloway).

News for Thurs 2 April: There was a female Orange-tip having a tussle with a Peacock in a sunny glade in the West Dean Woods area. (Martin Kalaher)


News for Weds 1 April: Punnet's Town, Nr Binglett's Wood 2 Peacock, 1 Brimstone TQ622212. Brede Woods, Pond Wood 1 Peacock TQ806196( Roy Wells)


Saturday 4 April 2009


Kingston near Lewes TQ3917 0859. Large White, Orange-tip, 2 Peacock (Crispin & John Holloway).

At a sunny but breezy Park Corner Heath this afternoon (TQ511147) I saw 4 Peacock, 3 Comma and 3 male Brimstone. By the roadside, nearby, was a male Orange-tip (TQ505164). (Polly Mair)

At a sunny but breezy Seaford Head, 1 Small Tortoiseshell (Adrian Thomas)

A search of the privet bushes on Mill Hill tonight did not produce the desired Barred Tooth-striped but we did find three Agonopterix pallorella on the lower slopes. (Dave and Pen Green)


News for Weds 1 April: Broadfield Pond, Crawley (TQ25846 35482). A 1 hour visit produced 5 Peacock, 5 Comma, 1 Brimstone (M), 2 Small White and my first Speckled Wood of the year. The walk to the site along the A23 also revealed a Comma and 2 Small White. (Vince Massimo)


Thursday 2 April 2009


Female Orange-tip seen at Southwater CP today. (Sam Bayley)


Among the wild Daffodils at West Dean Woods were 12 male Brimstone, 1 male Orange-tip, 4 Peacock, 2 Comma and my first for the year Green-veined White (Philip Thompson).


A long walk around Abbotts Wood was generally disappointing with only 1 Comma, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 3 Peacock. I then stopped off at Arlington Reservoir where there were 7 Peacock, 3 Comma and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. I was hoping for an Orange Tip as a few had been reported on the web site but I had no luck there. (Bob Eade).


News for Weds 1 April: Following my report of the non-emergence of chrysalises on Seaford allotments, yesterday morning (1st) I saw my first "white" (I think a Large but it might have been a Green-veined), in of all places Seaford High Street just near the butcher's. Strangely it seemed fascinated by the white frontage of an adjoining shop and kept trying to fly up and settle on the surface of the window and signage. Did it think it was a flower or another white butterfly I wonder? (Bob Brown)


News for Weds 1 April: The Avenue, Lewes, TQ 4114 1020 Large White, Small White, Peacock. Kingston Near Lewes, TQ3917 0859 Large White, 2 Peacock, Comma. (Crispin Holloway)


News for Weds 1 April: Punnet's Town, Nr Binglett's Wood 2 Peacock, 1 Brimstone TQ622212.  Brede Woods, Pond Wood 1 Peacock TQ806196 ( Roy Wells )


Below, Peacocks, Arlington Reservoir, 31 March (Jacob Everitt)



News for Mon 30 Mar: Another Dotted Chestnut came to light trap in Wadhurst. This one brings the total Dotted Chestnuts up to 11 since i started recording them 4 years ago. Also recorded first Powdered Quaker.  235 moths of 16 species. (Andy Adams)



Wednesday 1 April 2009


Park Corner Heath A morning visit resulted in up to 8 Brimstones (male) maybe some twice. 2 Peacocks and 3 Comma all giving us time to take photos. (Ron & Brenda Elphick)


[All emails sent to the 'sighting' email address are being forwarded to me at several email addresses so that I can hopefully limit those that have been getting lost somewhere in cyberspace. This will hopefully explain why some of you have been getting bounceback messages or non-delivery' messages in return, but hopefully it means that your email is getting through at least once channel! Please bear with :-) Adrian]


An afternoon visit to Park Corner Heath resulted in 7 Comma and 6 Peacock. Also 1 Grass Snake. (Bob Eade).

1 male Brimstone, passing through the Dorothy Stringer School Nature Reserve (Urban Woodland), Brighton, TQ 30913 07176 (Dan Danahar)

News for Tues 31 Mar: Lots of butterflies using the newly opened up rides at Flatropers Wood, Beckley. At least 6 Brimstone, 5 Peacock, 1 Comma and 1 Red Admiral. There were also 2 Orange Underwing basking on the ground. (Alice Parfitt)

What to look for in April

  • Butterflies: The warm weather at the end of March brought out all five species that overwinter as adults (Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral and Comma) plus some emerging Small Whites, some very early Large Whites, early Holly Blues, Orange-tips and Speckled Woods and a ridiculously early Grizzled Skipper. Now in April watch for the main spring emergence of this latter group of species plus our first sightings of (with last year's first date in brackets) Green-veined White (16 April), Dingy Skipper (22 April), Small Copper (26 April) and Green Hairstreak (26 April).
  • Moths: The numbers of moths attracted to light traps increases slowly. Perhaps the most abundant and widespread should be the Hebrew Character.

Earlier Sightings

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