Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Sat 30 Sep


At Beachy Head today two Clouded Yellows including one helice. Two Meadow Browns and a Vapourer Moth were the only other things flying. In Edburton moths recently at my outside wall light have included L-Album Wainscot, Delicate, Deep-brown Dart and Cypress Carpet. (Tony Wilson)



Thurs 28 Sep


Have seen Hummingbird Hawkmoth a few times in my garden in Coldwaltham, nr Pulborough in last few weeks, last sighting 26 Sep (Mark McManus)



Weds 27 Sep

On night of 27th September in my moth trap a nice selection of moths including Frosted Orange, Large Thorn, Delicate etc. Also a small moth which appears to be Eublemma purpurina  (Mike Snelling)


A semi fresh White Admiral briefly visited my Crawley garden this morning. Very unusual, particularly since there is no woodland nearby and offers further evidence of a second brood this year. (Vince Massimo and Barbara Perry)

News for 26 Sep:

Under a cirrus blue sky there were still about 68 butterflies around Shoreham and the downs of eight species. Meadow Brown (31+) led the way, followed by Red Admirals (18+). Common Blues (11), Painted Lady (2), whites (3), Small Copper (2), Small Heath (1), Speckled Wood (1). One hour. (Andy Horton www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2006.html)

News for 25 Sep:


7 o'clock this evening I saw what looked like a swarm of about 50 butterflies heading northwest over Cuckfield, 15 mins before a storm. It was getting dark so impossible to identify species. Any ideas? (Tim Newnham)



Tues 26 Sep


18 Clouded Yellows at Thorney Island today, one of which was a female helice and another 3 Clouded Yellows at Pilsey (Barry Collins)


Here is Chris Ball's photo of Clancy's Rustic taken at Hailsham on 23rd. As you can see, not a dramatic moth, but a rare one!It was only first recorded in the UK in 2002, and there are similar species on the Continent which make identification even more difficult.



News for 16 Sep

A Geranium Bronze was recorded in an Ifold garden (per Adastra egroup)


News for Sun 24 Sep

In our garden there were still two Hummingbird Hawkmoth, five Red Admiral and a Peacock! (Dave and Pen Green)


News for Sat 23 Sep:

At Friston forest there was one White Admiral, three Comma, one Brimstone, three Small Copper, two Red Admiral and a couple of Clouded Yellow. There was also one White Admiral present there two weeks ago. At Beachy Head on Sat morning there were at least ten Clouded Yellows in the area including two of the pale form helice.



Mon 25 Sep


On the subject of sightings of a second brood of White Admirals, I can report that I saw a very fresh individual on 23 Sep 2002 at Dunwich Forest in Suffolk . This may suggest that there has indeed been a partial second brood of White Admirals in previous years. (Vince Massimo and Barbara Perry)


News for Sun 24 Sep.


2 Clouded Yellow this morning near Birling Gap. (Bob and Matt Eade)


Last night what appears to be a slightly worn Clancy's Rustic in my Hailsham moth trap. Also more standard fare this autumn - Scarce Bordered Straw and L-album Wainscot. (Chris Ball)


4.20pm. Wanted to spot a second brood White Admiral, but I should be so lucky. Perfect weather but not a butterfly in site. Lots of daddy long legs and dragonflies, but no butterflies. Then on the path on the way back, a lone Speckled Wood with no friends. (Danny McEvoy)


News for Sat 23 Sep.

The caterpillar brought into the National Moth Night classroom on Saturday night (23rd) turned out to be the Dot Moth. Of the full list of the 48 moth species from the National Moth Night traps at Pulborough Brooks, species that were immigrants (or offspring of immigrants) were Small Mottled Willow, Delicate, Vestal, Four-spotted Footman and the Convolvulus Hawkmoth. Moths that were unusual in that they were flying outside their normal flight period were July Highflyer, Sharp-angled Carpet, Beautiful Hooktip, Dingy Footman, and Small Mottled Willow (Pete Hughes). If you would like the full list of moths seen, please email webmaster"AT"sussex-butterflies.org.uk.


News for Thurs 21 Sep.

An afternoon visit to Ifield in Crawley found one female Brown Hairstreak which appeared to be egg laying. Other species were 7 Small Copper, 5 Speckled Wood, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Large White and 1 Common Blue (male). (Vince Massimo and Barbara Perry)


News for Sun 17 Sep.

In my Crawley garden this afternoon I saw a female Brown Hairstreak which stayed for a few minutes and posed for photos. (Vince Massimo and Barbara Perry)



Sun 24 Sep


A few late butterflies around Edburton Hill this morning - a male Adonis Blue, Small Copper, Peacock, Speckled Wood, 2 Small Heaths, 4 Meadow Browns, Comma and a few Red Admirals + Silver Y. (Tony Wilson)


At Beachy Head today (Cow Gap), 3 Meadow Browns, 4 Small Copper, 2 Clouded Yellow, 1 Common Blue (Adrian Thomas)


A big hello to everyone who turned out the National Moth Night last night at RSPB Pulborough Brooks. Just over 100 people turned up, and although the moths were slow to get going, patience was eventually rewarded with many species coming into the traps, as well as about 30 species from the previous night's trap to look at. Scene-stealing star of the show was the Convolvulus Hawkmoth below. Click on the picture for a larger version.



Sat 23 Sep

My daddy and I saw a Peacock in Preston Park, Brighton, today. We saw a colony of Commas in the same spot last week. From Harry Pitt (aged 8)

A Vestal and a couple of Silver-Y were flying around Springhead in the afternoon sunshine (Adrian Thomas)

Sunny and warm day, two Peacocks recorded on Beacon Hill transect at Rottingdean. The sun and temperature must have brought them out of their hibernation sleep. (Alan Holden)


Fri 22 Sep


Weather forecast looking great for tomorrow evening's National Moth Night at RSPB Pulborough Brooks - the sugar is painted on the fenceposts, the mushy bananas have been drawing in Commas and Red Admirals so hopefully the moths have found them too. Hope to see many of you there. Arrive from 6.30pm onwards.

Sightings for a long walk over Black Cap (on Downs near Lewes) and through Ashcombe Bottom woods: 1 Red Admiral; 2 Small Copper; 8 Comma; 1 female Common Blue; 3 Speckled Wood; 1 female Brimstone. Also, 1 Adder basking on a tarmac path. Caroline Clarke


Thurs 21 Sep


The usual late September woodland butterflies in Laughton Common Wood this evening: Speckled Wood, Comma and......White Admiral!

News for 20 Sep

Just when one thinks that the season has come to an end....another interesting sighting (near Plaistow)!!! 2 Comma, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Speckled Wood, and... 2 White Admiral. I'm off to another neighbouring wood today to see if any are there too!!!(Margaret Hibbard)

Margaret has also dug out some text describing this White Admiral phenomenon this year: "The Millennium Butterfly Atlas only talks of ONE brood, but the later, accompanying volume, "The State of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland," page 50 mentions "The current period also included some EXTRAORDINARY RECORDS OF SECOND BROOD [SEPTEMBER /OCTOBER] individuals of this normally strictly univoltine species".


Weds 20 Sep

As well as Comma and Red Admiral, I had a White Admiral in my garden in Forestside, West Sussex (SU7512) this afternoon. (David Parker)

Tried my moth trap last night and found many insects - most very difficult to identify. However there were some that I could ID such as Angle Shades and a Convolvulus Hawkmoth. I did not realise how big they were. Mike Snelling


We all expect to see other insects in our moth traps during the course of a year; caddis flies, cockchafers, wasps and crane flies are the usual visitors but I was very pleasantly surprised to find a Great Diving Beetle amongst the Lunar Underwings this morning. I'm curious to know whether this was a lucky "one off" or whether they do turn up in traps from time to time.  (Nigel Kemp, Heathfield)


I had a one of the larger water beetle species in my trap on 23 July this year, but that is the only one in three years (Adrian Thomas)



Tues 19 Sep


Will have to start posting my sightings on the Cranefly Conservation website soon; there were loads of them in the moth trap in Ripe on Monday evening. However an L-album Wainscot (below) and my first Angle Shades made it all worthwhile (Michael Blencowe)




Mon 18 Sep

The exceptional second broods of White Admiral also seem to be accompanied by unusual second broods of some moth species, such as this Beautiful Hook-tip in the Pulborough trap yesterday, a moth usually on the wing only from late June to early August.

Shoreham Downs and Adur Valley Butterflies 17-18 Sep: Red Admirals (20+ per day) and an occasional Comma were now attracted to the Ivy rather than the Buddleia. But the occasional Speckled Woods (8+) were found around the Ivy on the Coastal Link cyclepath to Upper Beeding. Meadow Browns were estimated on the lower slopes of Mill Hill at 40+ (on an acre), but were virtually absent (5) everywhere else. Devil's Bit Scabious was the main attractant for male Meadow Browns, and frequent Small Heaths (11) and Common Blues (18) and one Small Copper. Adonis Blues were still around on Mill Hill, but only nine were seen and the males were old. The occasional white butterflies. One Clouded Yellow flew steadily north at 8 mph. Ten species in two hours (two different days). Less than a hundred butterflies an hour now. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2006.html)

News for Sun 17 Sep

Sunny intervals and mild - little wind. On a walk through Arundel Park, around TQ:12085, about 6 Clouded Yellows and similar numbers of Small Coppers and Small Heaths on the open downland, plus a couple of Speckled Woods on a footpath through woods. Later, on the bank of the Arun around TQ024083, another Clouded Yellow, a male Brimstone and a couple of Red Admirals. (Stephen Whittaker)

News for Sat 16 Sep


Geranium Bronze, female (?) garden near Plaistow, photographed. (per Margaret Hibbard).

Geranium Bronze is an accidental import with cultivated plants from South Africa that has established self-sustaining populations in parts of Europe where Pelargoniums are widely grown. The first British record was from Sussex in 1997.


Recent news


1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth at Bognor Regis Community College for a few days last week (Colin Piper)



Sun 17 Sep


A single moth trap overnight at RSPB Pulborough Brooks to get some idea of what is about for next Saturday's National Moth Night included some great looking moths including a Vestal, Copper Underwing/Svensson's Copper Underwing, Angle Shades, Brindled Green, Frosted Orange, Spectacle and about 30 other species. Don't know what they look like? Taster photos throughout this week, and then come and see for yourself! (Adrian Thomas)


Below, Copper Underwing sp (Edburton, 15th, Tony Wilson) and Angle Shades (Pulborough Brooks, this morning)




Laughton Common Wood, lunchtime. A second brood of White Admiral was in evidence with three sightings of healthy looking individuals. Also 15-20 Comma and 6 Speckled Wood (Michael Blencowe).


News for 1 Sep: Purple Emperor reported from Rogate near Petersfield on the Sussex/Hampshire border (James Mercer)


These, after Alexander Henderson's record of White Admiral on 7 September, are fascinating as none of the texts seem to indicate the potential for second broods for White Admiral or Purple Emperor, even on the continent. However, the UKButterflies website http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk is also reporting some records of second brood White Admiral and Peacock this year, presumably in response to the record July temperatures. (Adrian Thomas, Webmaster)

News for Fri 15th Sep

Bedelands Farm Nature Reserve, transect walk. Following torrential downpours early in the morning the day turned out to have almost wall to wall sunshine and reasonably warm. Red Admiral (4), Comma (6), Speckled Wood (21). Total 31butterflies. (David Pyle)


Sat 16 Sep


Watch out for Inside Out on Mon 18th, BBC1, 7.30pm, which will include a feature on moths including a piece filmed at our very own reserve, Park Corner Heath, with Sam Bayley being interviewed.


As I won't be in Sussex to join in the Festivities next week on National Moth Night I decided I'd fire up the ol' moth trap a week early. Here's what was in the catch (apart from loads of Daddy Long Legs!): Vestal (2) (photo below), Convolvulus Hawkmoth (a giant of a moth in very fresh condition), Common Wainscot, Riband Wave (2), Blood Vein, European Corn Borer, White-point, Frosted Orange (2), Centre Barred Sallow (2), Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (2), Garden Carpet, Willow Beauty (2), Red Underwing, Dusky Thorn (5), Light Emerald (3), Large Yellow Underwing (32), Setaceous Hebrew Character (11), Brimstone (1), Turnip Moth (3), Silver Y (2) Lunar Underwing (8)....and a few more I'm still trying to identify!

Was surprised to see a footman in the trap as I haven't caught a footman in several weeks. I've identified it as a possible Hoary Footman, (photo below), a species associated with coasts in Britain but recorded occasionally inland as a possible immigrant. It seems, however, that this species is turning up more regularly at inland sites with many records in Surrey and Sussex this year. I was advised that the best way to separate this footman from the continental species Eilema palliatella (which could be a possible immigrant) would be by dissection. I didn't think this would be in the spirit of National Moth Night so I'll keep it as possible Hoary Footman and let the little fella live to fly another day. (Michael Blencowe)




News for 15 Sep


In my garden in Edburton and the surrounding area I recorded Peacock, 2 Red Admirals, 20 Small Heaths, 15 Meadow Browns, Common Blue, 3 Speckled Woods, Large and Small White. Day flying moths were 20 Silver Ys, some of which were pale reddish colour so were probably new immigrants, Snout and Lesser Treble Bar. The best of the night time sightings recently have been a Vestal on the kitchen door and Copper Underwing or Svensson's Copper Underwing on the bananas. (Tony Wilson) Some photos to follow



Fri 15 Sep


We have had sightings every day this week in our East Dean garden

15 Sep - 3 Comma nectaring on Buddleia, 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on Valerian and Buddleia, regular Small Whites passing through.

14 Sep - 1 Small Heath plus some Large and Small White

13 Sep - in small numbers - Meadow Brown, Comma, Red Admiral, Small White, Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

12 Sep - in small numbers - Comma, Red Admiral, Small White, Large White, Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

11 Sep - 2 Small Copper mating, 10 Red Admiral, a few Meadow Brown and Small White.

10 Sep - in small numbers - Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Large White, Small White.

Around West St Leonard’s/ Filsham Valley, there are quite a lot of Small Copper, more than I’ve ever seen in one place in fact. (Danny McEvoy)


Thurs 14 Sep


Unfortunately no news yesterday or today, presumably with almost every butterfly and moth struggling to cope with the downpours in the county (28mm of rain in about 3 hours last night at Peacehaven), although I did have a Square-spot Rustic on my window at the height of the thunder. A chance then for a photo and a favour!

  • The photo: Moth-ers will instantly recognise these, photographed on 2 Sep in Peacehaven, as Large Yellow Underwings. One of our commonest moths, they are often disturbed by day, including from rough grass, and flash orange on the hindwing as they fly strongly to cover. One of our most variably marked moths, the shape is very consistent and look for the diagnostic little black 'pip' towards the outer rear edge of the upperwings.

  • The favour: If you know of anyone who might enjoy our moth night at Pulborough Brooks on 23 Sep, beginner or otherwise, it the perfect event to see lots of moths and have lots of moth activities to do, so please send them the weblink www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk and help make the event a real success.


Tues 12 Sep

This Small Copper was photographed by Sezar Hikmet at Devil's Dyke yesterday. A chance too to show this great photo from Sam Bayley of Brown Hairstreak egg laying at Warnham LNR on 6 Sep.

A male Four-spotted Footman in my moth trap this morning  in Heathfield (Nigel Kemp). (Not to be confused with Four-dotted Footman, this is an uncommon immigrant to Sussex from the continent)

News for Mon 11 Sep

In my garden, Scaynes Hill: Hummingbird Hawkmoth seen at very close quarters on my buddleia this morning. Stayed for about a minute. Yesterday (10 Sept) afternoon, a very fresh White Admiral sunbathing. Also at the moment, lots of fresh Red Admirals feeding on the Buddleia and basking elsewhere, lots of Large and Small Whites, and good numbers of Commas, mainly feeding on over-ripe plums, but also on blackberries in the hedge. For the last two years I have noticed Vapourer moth larvae in a small willow bush in front of the house. There are currently at least three or four cocoons covered with overwintering eggs in various niches and crannies around the nearby garage doors and front window and door frames. (Stephen Whittaker)

Mill Hill, Shoreham. A Small Copper that landed on a path in front of me through the long grass on the Mill Hill gentle slope west of the upper car park came as a surprise with the ordinary fare of butterflies on a sunny early afternoon. The butterflies are fading earlier this year and the upper meadows on Mill Hill had only a small population of the frequent Common Blues. The lower slopes were much reduced as well. The overall numbers of the others were Speckled Woods 10+, Large Whites 15+, a few probable Green-veined Whites, Clouded Yellows 8, Small Heaths 13, Adonis Blues 22, Chalkhill Blues 2, a few Red Admirals, possible Brown Argus(es), one bright Comma in the Hawthorn wood of the north-west, and with the most numerous Meadow Browns 40+ that was it. Treble-bar moths (25+) were frequently seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. (Andy Horton www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2006.html)

Mon 11 Sep

UK Government slashes budget for English wildlife - your help is urgently needed.  Alarmingly, Defra has asked the nation's soon-to-be new wildlife statutory agency, Natural England (NE) (what will be the amalgamation of English Nature/RDS/Countryside Agency), to cut over 13 million from its budget this year. On top of this, NE has to find another 15M from various other unbudgeted costs. This will have a very serious effect on the funds spent on biodiversity and reversing the declines of butterflies, moths and other wildlife. Butterfly Conservation is urging all supporters to write to your MP to express your concern. If you would like to know more about this worrying situation, check out this background from Butterfly Conservation's Chief Executive, Dr Martin Warren.

Due to your webmaster taking rather too many holidays, there is a backlog of images you have sent in. Hopefully all will be up on the site by the end of the week. Roy Neeve is currently scanning the Sussex Branch collection of slides for use in presentations. If anyone has any digital photos of life stages other than the adult they would be happy for the Branch to use (max size 1MB), please email them to Roy at chair"AT"sussex-butterflies.org.uk

A Convolvulus Hawkmoth amongst the masses of underwings in the moth trap in Ripe last night. And while we're counting the Camberwells the local Ripe, Laughton and Chalvington Parish Magazine has reported a Camberwell Beauty in Laughton Common Woods in the past two editions. In the September edition the enigmatic Natural History correspondent 'The Dog Walker' writes "After my initial sighting of the Camberwell Beauty butterfly I took another walk in that area; sure enough there he was again amongst the bushes"! (Michael Blencowe)

News for 8 Sep

Transect count from Bedelands Nature Reserve, 1200-1315. Weather poor, fitful sunshine and fresh south-easterly wind. Large White (2), Small Copper (1), Common Blue (1), Comma (6), Speckled Wood (1), Meadow Brown (1). Total recorded 12 butterflies, a meagre total. Probably the last Meadow Brown to be recorded this summer. Red Admirals still prolific on the Buddleia in the garden along with the occasional Comma and the usual batch of whites. (David Pyle)

Sun 10 Sep

Convolvulus Hawkmoth found resting on fence panel in my garden in Uckfield today (Dave Mitchell)

Recent news from Alexander Henderson:

7th Sep: Ash Piece, Binsted Wood (SU989064): Fresh looking White Admiral. Stayed long enough to be clearly identified but not long enough for a photograph.

4th Sep: Baycombe Wood, Slindon (SU969086): Very worn, male Silver-washed Fritillary. Rewell Wood: Buff-tip larva on Sweet Chestnut.


Sat 9 Sep

Brown Hairstreaks are being seen regularly at Southwater Country Park and Warnham Local Nature Reserve with 3 females egg-laying together in the visitor centre garden on 6th September! Recent sightings at Warnham Local Nature Reserve: The reserve's first Chalkhill Blue was seen on 6th August as well as the reserve's first Brown Argus, which was also seen again on 25th August all on the meadow (Sam Bayley).

A Camberwell Beauty was briefly in my Haywards Heath garden around 3 pm and then flew off southwards (John Hall).

Fri 8 Sep

In my mothtrap this morning in Hailsham a stunning Striped Hawkmoth (Chris Ball).

Small and Large White, Red Admiral and Small Copper in my Seaford garden (Roy Neeve)

Thurs 7 Sep

A Camberwell Beauty was in a garden in Compton, West Sussex for a couple of hours (David Parker)



Weds 6 Sep

Walking around Hampden Park (Eastbourne) today near the newly planted Buddleias I saw Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Whites, and Commas. This garden should be a good butterfly haven when it matures. (Pete Clinch)

In the moth trap overnight, this nice Large Thorn (Mike Snelling).


Large Thorn is a Nationally Scarce B species, which are those that have been found in only 31-100 10km squares since 1980. It is largely south-eastern, flies mainly in September, and feeds on broadleaved trees and shrubs.



Tues 5 Sep


News for 3 Sep


At Ashurst near Tunbridge Wells (TQ 501 381) one worn Purple Hairstreak picked up & examined. It was a male. Also in the same area a fresh Small Copper & fresh Comma, along with dozens of Migrant Hawkers. (Philip Webb)


Beautiful photo in from Peter Whitcomb of Brimstone taken at Park Wood, Piltdown, on 6 Aug



Mon 4 Sep

Baycombe Wood, Slindon (SU969086): Very worn, male Silver Washed Fritillary. Rewell Wood: Buff-tip larva on Sweet Chestnut.  Fresh looking (second brood) White Admiral. Stayed long enough to be clearly identified but not long enough for a photograph  (Alexander Henderson).

After an appalling weekend, today saw the sun return to Broad Oak Brede... along with a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, a couple of Red Admirals, a Painted Lady, a Peacock, a very new looking Small Tortoiseshell, numerous Small and Large Whites, a pair of Green-veined Whites who were all frequenting the Buddleia. A single Speckled Wood was amongst a climbing rose further down the garden, along with another pair of spiralling around each other in my neighbour's front garden. Also, still in the meadow area, were a couple of Common Blues which I still see roosting in the longer grass. So I won't be cutting that area for a few weeks yet. (Stuart Copper). Check out Stuart's Hummingbird Hawkmoth picture at his site www.altview.co.uk/gallery2/ where the larger picture shows the detail of its proboscis.

This morning in my moth trap I found this Lesser Swallow Prominent and several thorns including Dusky Thorn. (Mike Snelling)


Between 8.15 and 9.45am walking in fine sunshine but with a fairly strong SW wind from the Belle Tout car park to Birling Gap and back via Horseshoe Plantation: Painted Lady (1), Small Copper (1), Silver-spotted Skipper (1), Clouded Yellow (2), Brown Argus (2), Adonis Blue (2), Small White (10-15), Common Blue (15-20), Chalkhill Blue (15-20), Speckled Wood (15-20) some very fresh, Meadow Brown (25-30), Small Heath (50+, many mating)  (David Jode)


Recent records from East Dean garden, all seen in small numbers:

4 Sep Red Admiral - Meadow Brown - Large White - Small White - Hummingbird Hawkmoth (2)

3 Sep despite the conditions Hummingbird Hawkmoth (2) nectaring on Buddleia and Valerian.

1 Sep Red Admiral - Painted Lady - Meadow Brown - Small White - Large White - Hummingbird Hawkmoth. (David Jode)


News for 1 Sep

Transect details  at Bedelands Farm Nature Reserve: Large White (1), Common Blue (10), Speckled Wood (6), Meadow Brown (6). Total 23, 4 species. A poor day weather principally cloudy and with stiff breeze. Many Hummingbird Hawkmoths in the garden along with Red Admirals, Large and Small Whites. (David Pyle)


Sun 3 Sep


Given the windy and overcast conditions, unsurprisingly nothing reported today. However, Tony Wilson reports, "Over the last week my rotten bananas here in Edburton have attracted the same species as Ralph Hobbs a few weeks ago - a superb Red Underwing + 2 Old Ladies, plenty of Red Admirals, 3 Commas together, 2 Speckled Woods and a Hornet. Other moths have included Scorched Carpet, Feathered Gothic (below) and White-point. (Tony Wilson)



Sat 2 Sep


Privet Hawkmoth larva on Wayfaring Tree, Cissbury Ring, today, not one of the usually quoted foodplants. However, butterflies were well hunkered down in the squally conditions (Adrian Thomas)


Mike Snelling bought an Actinic moth trap at the Bird Fair, used it on Thursday night and it produced dozens of insects. His problem is that he cannot (yet) ID many of them, even ones that look obvious (that was certainly my first experience of trapping too!). Mike asks if there are any moth enthusiasts who live in/near Findon Valley, Worthing, who could give him some advice? Please email me (webmaster"AT"sussex-butterflies.org.uk) and I will put you and Mike in contact.


It leads neatly into another shameless plug for National Moth Night on Sat 23rd at Pulborough Brooks where everyone will be able to see different traps in action, see loads of moths, and get to speak to folk who are regularly trapping.


Sussex BC Chair, Roy Neeve, is currently scanning the Branch library of slide images into digital format for use in powerpoint presentations, but is very short of life cycle photos other than adults. If anyone has any such images they would be willing the Branch to use (<1MB) please email them to Roy at chair"AT"sussex-butterflies.org.uk.




Fri 1 Sep


We saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth for the first time today in our garden in Lewes, East Sussex, hovering around the Buddleia (Sara Clifford)


News for 31 Aug

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Rye town centre today. (Bob Eade)

Today received a wonderful selection of recent photos from Barrie Hanson, of which Speckled Wood and Clouded Yellow at Levin Down earlier this month will be added to the Galleries. However, with Common, Adonis and Chalkhill Blues all around in numbers on downland reserves at the moment, his photos of three males - all taken at Mill Hill on 24 Aug - are wonderfully instructive for anyone getting to grips with them. Note the clear blue wing fringes on the slightly purple-blue Common, the black lines cutting through the white margins on the more sky blue Adonis (though they can be similar in colour to Common), and the thick dark borders on the Chalkhill (although many are much paler washed-out blue than this individual):


What to look for in September

  • Butterflies - there are more butterflies around in September than one might imagine, with all sorts of species hanging on from the summer brood into the first half of the month, 20 species still possible in a day (in good weather in the first week at least!) and still some second or third broods of several species still emerging or yet to emerge, such as Common Blues, Wall, Speckled Wood and Small Heath. By the end of the month, numbers of most species should be well on the wane, however.

  • Moths -in contrast to the butterflies, there are still plenty of species to make their first appearance of the year. Common species in traps include Lunar Underwing and Beaded Chestnut, and there are several other moths in the chestnut and sallow families whose flight season starts now, as well as many late migrants still to be found


Thurs 31 Aug

News for Weds 30 Aug

A 5-hour walk around the Combe Hill area at Willingdon in far from ideal conditions still produced 16 species: 16 Silver-spotted Skippers, 1 Clouded Yellow, 5 Brimstones, Large and Small Whites, 9 Small Coppers, Brown Argus, Common, Chalkhill and Adonis Blues, 3 Red Admirals, 3 Painted Ladies, 2 Peacocks, and good numbers of Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns and Small Heaths, plus 3 Hummingbird Hawkmoths. (Jim and Judith Steedman)


Weds 30 Aug


Another record of a Camberwell Beauty, this time from a Horsham garden on Sat 26 Aug and the mornings of Mon 27th and Tues 28th, this time feeding on a large split plum that had been thrown onto the grass for the birds (per Graham Parris). Still worth checking those Buddleias and rotting fruit, it seems!


Message for all those who undertake butterfly transects from Roy Neeve: Transect Walker version 2 has been withdrawn pending error corrections see national web pages http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/index.php.



Tues 29 Aug

East Dean: Yesterday evening (28th) at about 9pm I went into the kitchen and as I turned the light on was aware of something flying over my head into the darkened inner hall. My first thought was a Wren. I followed the sound into the bathroom and became aware that something had landed on my trousers. I called Carole to take some pictures and one is below. The Convolvulus Hawkmoth reluctantly flew off after I had stood in the garden for a couple of minutes. (David Jode)

A female Brown Hairstreak seen this afternoon by my pond beside my wood at Ifold, the first seen since I came here in May 2001. Speckled Wood seen daily. (John Richardson)


Mon 28 Aug


A wonderful range of photos submitted recently, including (below) another shot of the Camberwell Beauty at RSPB Pulborough Brooks (Anna Allum), The Gem at Edburton (Tony Wilson) and Adonis Blues at Mill Hill (Andy Horton). Apologies for not putting all the new pictures onto the Sightings page, so as not to slow the speed of the page opening for you all.  Also added to the Galleries on the Sussex species page are: another Adonis Blue picture (Andy Horton); Clouded Yellow and Common Blue (Anna Allum); Speckled Wood at Pulborough brooks (Andy Hibberd); Hummingbird Hawkmoth at Crowlink (Peter Clinch); Small Heath, Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Brimstone on Ashdown Forest (Steve Wheatley); Dark Sword-grass at Edburton (Tony Wilson) and Pyrausta aurata at Hassocks (Jackie Leslie)


Clouded Yellow on Buddleia is Isfield today (Graham Parris)

News for Sun 27 Aug

Garden sightings in Edburton were a Brimstone that's been here for a week, 2 Brown Argus, 6 Small Heaths, Peacock, Comma, 10 Red Admirals, 10 Common Blues, 6 Meadow Browns and 2 Speckled Woods. Also 5 Hummingbird Hawkmoths and a Dark Sword-grass. (Tony Wilson)

Adonis Blues (128+) were on Mill Hill (Old Shoreham) with a dozen other species of butterflies on a breezy midday. The count was 110 (about 13 females seen) on the lower slopes and 18 males above the ridge. This was the most I have ever counted on Mill Hill. The Adonis Blues were evenly spread over the lower slopes and I would estimate their numbers on Mill Hill at 350+. All the females seen were actually mating. The other species were frequent Common Blue, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Speckled Woods and Chalkhill Blues and occasional Holly Blues, Brown Argus, Small Heath, a few Red Admirals, one Comma, one Small White and one Wall Brown. (Andy Horton www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2006.html)

At Copsale, 4-5 Brown Hairstreaks. (Matt and Bob Eade)

Wilimington trip with Kent Branch was attended by 20 enthusiastic members. The first treat in the car park was a family of Common Lizards basking on a mound of grass mowings – they stayed still allowing us to admire their beautiful markings – the young were much darker and greener than the single adult. Starting off up the Downs it wasn’t long before we spotted Meadow Brown, a very faded Wall and a remarkably fresh looking Gatekeeper. Sharp eyes found the first of three(?) Grayling – the target species for the walk. Blues were much in evidence – Common, Chalkhill and good numbers of Adonis in the valley bottom. A Common Blue egg was found to admire. Brown Argus and Small Heath put in an appearance and a single Small Copper. Fresh looking Silver-spotted Skipper were much in evidence and a search of the short turf soon revealed an egg. A Speckled Wood brought the tally to 12. Alas the cry of ‘Straw Belle’ turned out to be a Yellow Belle as it had two lines across the wing. It was a joy to see so many Kestrels – at one point 5 were hovering together and taking turns to stoop – probably parents teaching their young to hunt. Many thanks to Peter Riley for a most enjoyable and successful late summer walk. (Karen and Derek Pritty)

News for 25 Aug


Butterfly count for the transect at Bedelands Nature Reserve, 12.00-1315. Weather good lots of sunshine and a light wind. Nectar sources few particularly since the meadows have been cut. Large White (16), Small White (3), Purple Hairstreak (1), Small Copper (2), Common Blue (16), Red Admiral (1), Comma (1), Speckled Wood (6), Meadow Brown (21).

Total seen 68 of 9 species. Painted Ladies and Red Admirals plentiful in the garden, no Small Tortoiseshells or Peacocks. (David Pyle)



Sun 27 Aug


Garden sightings this weekend at East Dean (TV562984)

26 Aug between the rain - Small Heath (1 our first this year) - Red Admiral (1) - Meadow Brown (1) - Small White (10-15) - Small Tortoiseshell (1) - Hummingbird Hawkmoth (4 or 5)

27 Aug - Red Admiral (2, one fresh) - Small Tortoiseshell (1) - Meadow Brown (5-10) - Painted Lady (5-10) - Small White (20+) - Large White (1) - Speckled Wood (1 our first this year) - Comma (1 fresh) - Hummingbird Hawkmoth (6 including three together)

27 Aug between 4 and 5pm at Horseshoe Plantation and Belle Tout...sunny but extremely windy Common Blue (20+) - Chalkhill Blue (10+) - Small Heath (2) - Meadow Brown (20+) - plus a few Small White & Large White. (David Jode)

Striped Hawkmoth and another Scarce Bordered Straw in my Seaford garden last night. (Photos to follow). (Greg Brinkley)

Numbers of butterflies somewhat depressed by stiff westerly at Beachy Head today (Birling Gap area), and Common Blues numbers well down, matched now by Chalkhills, and with a smattering of Adonis. Just one Silver-spotted Skipper and one Brown Argus, and the only Painted Lady was on its 'last wings'. (Adrian Thomas)



Sat 26 Aug


Amongst the usual suspects - Chalkhill, Common, Adonis Blues and Silver-spotted Skippers -  there was a second brood Dingy Skipper on the Wild Marjoram at Malling Down reserve in Lewes today. I've only ever seen them during spring before (Andy Stokes)


News for Fri 25

Rewell Wood: Large White, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Comma and a male (very worn) Silver-washed Fritillary! Also spotted a Treble Bar moth. (Alexander Henderson)

Hummingbird Hawkmoth in our garden in Pound Hill Crawley (Tom Howard-Jones)



Fri 25 Aug


First notice for your diaries: National Moth Night this year is on Sat 23 September. Butterfly Conservation is teaming up with RSPB to put on a headline event that evening at RSPB Pulborough Brooks with moth activities suitable for all (including beginners and families). There will be three traps running with expert helpers, plus other techniques used to attract moths, introduction to moth talks, butterfly and moth books etc etc. Full details to follow on the Events page on this website. If anyone would like to help out, please drop me a line at webmaster"AT"sussex-butterflies.org.uk and I can tell you more about the kind of tasks we could with help with on the night. Thanks.  Adrian Thomas.


Camberwell Beauty back again on the Buddleia and sunning itself on a fencepost outside the visitor centre at RSPB Pulborough Brooks today between at least 12.30-1.30pm, much to the delight of a bit of a crowd. Also Brown Hairstreak female within 5 metres of it, and another Brown Hairstreak on the nature trail, with Hummingbird Hawkmoths getting almost ignored! (Adrian Thomas)


Thurs 24 Aug

Five Hummingbird Hawkmoths on the buddleia in my garden in Edburton late afternoon with a Peacock and a few Red Admirals and Meadow Browns. The best of the moths at my outside lights recently have been 2 Fen Wainscots, 3 Pretty Chalk Carpets and The Gem. (Tony Wilson)

With regards to the latest dates for White Admiral and Large Skipper, I saw a single individual of both on August 2nd in Angmering Park Estate. (Alexander Henderson). Any advance on these?!

Since coming back from holiday to Seaford on the 12th August we have had 2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths feeding on lavender virtually continuously in the garden. Nearly every time we look out there is at least one of them feeding. They start flying at about 7.30am until it’s nearly dark. (Bob and Matt Eade).


Seems like I've been on another planet to not know about the 'banana technique'. Phillippa Morrison-Price tells me that it was the way of monitoring moths in Tanzania, where a net cage was suspended over the banana table, and alighting moths attempting to take off vertically after eating banana mush we then trapped in the net. Webmaster


Weds 23 Aug


In the garden (at Broad Oak Brede) this morning - a single Hummingbird Hawkmoth on Buddleia, as well as a couple of Red Admirals, a Painted Lady and a handful of Large Whites. The weather at the time was sporadically overcast and never sunny - the Hummingbird Hawkmoth was flying whilst the sky was cloudy and dull. And then the rains came... (Stu Cooper)


Peter Clinch sent this photo of a Jersey Tiger through from a Brittany trip recently, not really intending it for the website as we normally only publish records taken in the county. However, as there is some evidence that this species may have got a toehold in the Rye area in the county - and as it looks so good! - it is worth printing in case anyone sees one in the county.



I sought some more tips from Ralph about exactly how he puts out his bananas to attract moths. I wasn't expecting such a detailed technique! 'Soften the insides by pressing well, then put slits in the skin with a knife - so they don't dry out rapidly in the sun. Then add more slits as the old slits dry out.'


News for 22 Aug


Birchfold Copse, Plaistow SU 985 306 Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Margaret Hibbard)


I have now for two weeks had two Hummingbird Hawkmoths on our Lavender bush in our garden in north east Seaford. Also at Chat Vale, Beachy Head on Sun 20 Aug there was one sitting on a bush.

(Matt Eade)


News for 17 Aug


Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Horsham garden (Linda Cleland)


Some sightings from Margaret Hibbard that extend the latest date seen for two species. Can you now beat these?!

Ringlet [1] Ashpark Wood, Plaistow SU995 317 Aug 11th; Silver-washed Fritillary [4] Birchfold Copse, Plaistow SU985 306 Aug 22nd



Tues 22 Aug


Camberwell Beauty at RSPB Pulborough Brooks again this afternoon from around 2.30. It was still on the buddleia when I left at 3.30. (Peter Atkinson)


Camberwell Beauty at Buchan Hill, Pease Pottage, in garden on driveway before flying off towards Cottesmore golf club (Chris Prince)


News for Mon 21 Aug.


This evening  I had the first Red Underwing (photo) and Old Lady (below) of the year arrive at my rotten banana feeding station here in the garden at Westfield. So far this summer other visitor highlights have been 4 Commas together, 2 Speckled Woods, and numerous Red Admirals. 2-3 Hornets and numerous Dolichovespula media wasps have added substantially to the interest! The trick is to maintain a continuity of over-ripe bananas on the bird table. One year by late summer I had around 80 Red Admirals accumulate in the garden, over 40 of which could be shoulder to shoulder on the bananas at one time - quite a sight, which has since proven exceptional! (Ralph Hobbs).


This technique is a new one on me - I don't seem to recall it in Roy Leverton's excellent book, 'Enjoying Moths'. If anyone else uses this technique - or does so having being inspired by Ralph's suggestion - let us know the results. Any other tips that people can offer, or recommendations of the nectar sources that are proving popular in gardens or elsewhere in Sussex, let us know. (Webmaster).


News for Sat 19 Aug


Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Friston Forest along one of the rides (Chris Hooker)


News for Thurs 17 Aug


Striped Hawkmoth found in my kitchen in Ringmer (photo) (Sam Dawes)



Mon 21 Aug


Dear All,

Apologies that there has been a 'break in transmission' for four days. I have been away and there seems to have been a problem with emails reaching my back-up editor. Full service now resumed, below are the records that have been sent in over the last few days, and keep those emails coming in.


I believe the weather has been none too kind for butterflies in my absence! With the end of August zooming up, it is quite likely that we have already seen the last sightings of Ringlet (3 Aug), Dark Green Fritillary (15 Aug), Silver-washed Fritillary (16 Aug), White Admiral (29 Jul), Large Skipper (30 Jul) and Purple Hairstreak (11 Aug) already. Does anyone have any later sightings than these? (Adrian Thomas, Webmaster)


Sat 19 Aug

The Camberwell Beauty was still a star attraction at RSPB Pulborough Brooks (photo to come) making regular appearances on the buddleia and nearby plants, and on one occasion alongside a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Around the nature trail we saw a Clouded Yellow and several Common Blues (Anna Allum)

Fri 18 Aug

Transect results at Bedelands Farm Nature Reserve, 1145-1315. Weather, mixed with occasional showers and a stiff south-westerly breeze, species seen: Clouded Yellow (1), Large White (1), Small Copper (3), Common Blue (72), Gatekeeper (5), Meadow Brown (24). Total butterflies seen 106, species 6. A poor turnout, weather may have contributed. (David Pyle)

Hummingbird Hawkmoth at Buddleia in Crowborough (Ros & Glyn Evans)

Thurs 17 Aug

Common Blues were still common on Mill Hill, and both the second brood male Adonis Blue (66+) and the worn Chalkhill Blues were frequently seen on the downs and surrounding areas. The Adonis Blues were in a bright pristine condition but many of them already showed nicks out of their hind wings. As expected the number of species of butterflies fell to just twelve. (Andy Horton, www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2006.html)


Thurs 17 Aug


Camberwell Beauty still at RSPB Pulborough Brooks today

I have found 3 Hummingbird Hawkmoth caterpillars on the small patch of Lady’s Bedstraw in my front lawn, where I noted egg-laying on 4 & 5 August. There could well be more - although they are at the top of the plants, they are hard to find as they are still tiny, c7mm, identifiable only by the black tail-spike. The moths visit the garden every summer, but this year is a good one with daily presence since mid-June, and currently three together. One has a regular spot on the East-facing front wall of the house where it warms up each morning. (Keith Noble)

Seen at mid-day Weds 16 Aug - TQ986272, Piper's Lane, Balls Cross, nr Ebernoe Common, West Sussex: about 16 Speckled Woods, dancing in a patch of sunlight in groups of threes and fours - the surroundings were a narrow shaw of mature oak and ash, with a rich ground flora on both sides of a country lane. A little later, I watched a male (presumably) Speckled Wood courting a female (presumably) - she fluttered to the ground, and modestly closed her wings, while he stood on the ground before her, opened his wings flat, and vibrated them rapidly. His markings were bright and clear, as if newly hatched. She wasn't impressed, in spite of him repeating the performance. (Helena Carter, Cuckfield, W. Sussex).


Weds 16 Aug

Here are my sightings today from the Binsted Wood area (SU996072) before the rain comes in! Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Common Blue, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, 1 Brown Argus and a single male Chalkhill Blue. Can anybody say where the nearest breeding colony of this species is? The nearest that I know of is Arundel Park. (Alexander Henderson)

BBC South East Today tonight featured the conservation success of the Adonis Blue, back from a low-point of about 70 colonies and now up to 250. The demise was described as being due to myxomatosis and a decline in livestock grazing, and the recovery due to rabbit numbers increasing and the reinstatement of careful grazing regimes, in large part through conservation effort. The piece featured Butterfly Conservation Regional Officer Dan Hoare.


Amazingly two CAMBERWELL BEAUTY sightings:

One today on Buddleia near the visitor centre at RSPB Pulborough Brooks (photo). Great Brocade, Bordered Straw and numerous White-points in moth trap last night, so migrants certainly abound. (Pete Hughes)

I thought you might like to know that we saw a Camberwell Beauty yesterday (15th) in our village (in East Sussex). It was a clear sighting lasting about 5 minutes as the butterfly visited various apples on one of our trees, presumably looking for a rotten one. (John & Madeleine Harvey)

Apparently individuals have been seen outside the county in both Norfolk and Suffolk on 8th, one in Peterborough at the weekend, one in Bishops Stortford yesterday. and one at Tonbridge yesterday and today, with dozens of sightings in Holland recently (from UK Butterflies website and email). Apparently they are especially attracted to Buddleia. There was an exceptional influx in 1995 with about 350 individuals seen.

Stuart Cooper emailed to explain how the area of very old grass he has let go to meadow since he got to Brede last July has allowed a fair few plants to sprung up, attracting Common Blues and Small Skippers as well as Six-spot Burnet. There seem to be loads of Gatekeepers all over the garden this year too.



Tues 15 Aug

In the garden today at Brede - a Small Tortoiseshell, only the second individual I've seen here this year! Also, in the warm spells, a couple of Painted Ladies, Red Admirals, numerous Large and Small Whites, a handful of Common Blues and still plenty of Gatekeepers. I've uploaded a bunch of my butterfly photos, including some taken today, to my website gallery at: http://www.altview.co.uk/gallery2/main.php (Stuart Cooper)

The Transect Count at Cissbury on 15 August included 2 second brood Adonis Blue, 1 worn Dark Green Fritillary, 4 Clouded Yellow, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Wall, 68 Chalkhill Blue, 63 Common Blue, 15 Brown Argus, 100+ Meadow Brown, 6 Small Copper, 6 Small Heath, 3 Painted Lady, and a sprinkling of the whites, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper. (Peter Atkinson)


A shot of Hummingbird Hawkmoth taken by David Dawson today in Lancing



Mon 14 Aug


Janet Richardson has done some detective work for us, pulling on the experience of Sam Smith and Chris Bentley from Rye Harbour Nature Reserve to suggest that the larva from Arundel on 7 Aug (left) could be a Buff Ermine, and the Southwater larva with the White Admiral a Yellow-tail. If you are unfamiliar with the Rye area wildlife website, it has an excellent insect section and wonderful pictures, principally by the wardening staff there, including butterflies and records from the moth trap.




Sun 13 Aug


The autumnal weather seems to have put the kibosh on recording today, but we have two new pictures from Paul Lister, the first of a Double-striped Pug taken indoors in Haywards Heath last night . Although tiny, it is a macromoth, feeding on many garden plants so likely to turn up at many a lit window during August. The second is a mystery micro moth taken at Bedelands in Burgess Hill about a couple of weeks ago - ok micro experts, put a name to that please!




In another image of seasons on the move, we have a very faded Six-spot Burnet Moth taken by Janet Richardson at Beachy Head on 9 Aug. The key to telling Six-spot from the two species of five-spot apart is whether of not it has two or one spots at the tip of the wing - here the sixth spot is almost washed out completely.

The results on the transect walk at Bedelands Farm Nature Reserve on Friday 11th August, starting at 1200 ending at 1330: Large White (7), Small White (2), Green Veined White (1), Purple Hairstreak (6), Small Copper (17), Common Blue (127), Red Admiral (2), Comma (1), Speckled Wood (13), Gatekeeper (98), Meadow Brown (121). Total butterflies seen 395, weather sunny intervals with a fresh northerly wind. Also seen on the site on Tuesday 8th August 2 Clouded Yellows amongst other species. Hummingbird Hawkmoth seen nectaring in the rain in my garden today. (David Pyle)



Sat 12 Aug


With it cool and windy last night, I wasn't expecting much from the trap in my little Peacehaven garden, so 28 species was a surprise. Almost all the species I trap are widespread and common, so four White-points (photo) were new and exciting.  An immigrant and recent colonist, until very recently a hundred in the UK in a year was a good year.


Also at Beachy Head today, 18oC was obviously too autumnal for most butterflies, with torpid Common Blues on seemingly every flowerhead, plus a smattering of Silver-spotted Skippers and Chalkhill Blues. This female Common Blue (photo) had one of those red parasitic mites that so often seem to afflict Marbled Whites. (Adrian Thomas)


In view of the discussion about current butterfly numbers, my wife and I made the following counts on a circular walk of just over 6 miles from Birling Gap west to Haven Brow and returning inland via Crowlink and East Dean last Tuesday (8 August). For comparison, I have added in brackets the numbers we recorded on the identical walk on 11 August last year.

Small/Essex Skipper 2 (8); Silver-spotted Skipper 180 (142); Large White 4 (2); Small White 53 (12); Brown Argus 68 (1); Common Blue 834 (194); Chalkhill Blue 621 (478); Holly Blue 1 (0); Red Admiral 24 (2); Painted Lady 27 (0); Small Tortoiseshell 1 (0); Comma 1 (0); Dark Green Fritillary 4 (3); Speckled Wood 1 (0); Wall Brown 2 (2); Gatekeeper 6 (14); Meadow Brown 334 (213); Small Heath 7 (5). Totals 2170 (1076)

The weather on that day in 2005 was not quite as warm as this year, but otherwise similar. The numbers illustrate how good a year for Blues (especially Common B. and Brown Argus) this year in this sort of habitat is proving, and how exceptionally Red Admirals and Painted Ladies are faring compared to Small Tortoiseshells. My Meadow Brown values have been pretty reasonable, though the maximum number we have recorded on this particular walk was on 11 August 2000, when we counted 753. Interesting that we saw precisely no Clouded Yellows in an area where we would certainly expect to see them. (Jim & Judith Steedman)


Click to see photo that Jim Steedman took of Brown Hairstreak in a woodland clearing on downland near Devil's Dyke last Friday (4th August). Interesting to see it nectaring on Hemp Agrimony.


Early yesterday afternoon (11th) in my front garden at Kingston near Lewes there was a pale primrose Clouded Yellow species which did not have the heavy markings of a normal CY. Its appearance was lighter in colour and weight. It danced around over some gazanias, but unfortunately did not settle, before flying off to the east. Frustratingly I cannot say with any certainty what it was but surely it could only be a Berger's Clouded Yellow or a Pale CY. We will never know!

An hour or so later at the top in the 'wild' part of the garden there was a Clouded Yellow which did pause a few times, obligingly with the sun behind, it which showed it to be a male, rather worn.

Just after this in the front garden where there are a few buddleias I counted six Hummingbird Hawkmoths.

On 10th, we had a Convolvulus Hawkmoth in the porch. The door had been open all night and nearby are four strongly scented Nicotiana sylvestris tobacco plants which had been grown in the hope of attracting such a moth. (John Holloway)




Fri 11 Aug


Several Small Tortoiseshell butterflies at Rye Harbour LNR today (photo). Also on same Buddleia bush Red Admiral, Painted Lady and 2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths


What I had blithely assumed was one Hummingbird Hawkmoth religiously coming back to my Buddleia every evening this week turned into two tonight! (Adrian Thomas)


A cooler, breezy walk at Cissbury today produced a lot less insects than usual. However 5 Wall seen (photo) and 3 Dark Green Fritillaries. Common and Chalkhill Blues are still quite numerous but no sign of any second brood Adonis yet. 12 second brood Small Heaths seen - they are widespread there but not yet numerous. 20+ Brown Argus and Small Coppers also seen. In the breeze I did not pick up any Skippers but Essex and Small Skippers were quite numerous for most of July. Also saw 1 Holly Blue (photo). (Mike Snelling)


Two Hummingbird Hawkmoths in my garden on 9 August here in Lindfield, West Sussex. (Robin Russell)



Thurs 10 Aug


You know summer is moving on quickly when Silver-washed Fritillaries are starting to look as battered as this one, photographed by Janet Richardson in Brede High Woods today:


Many thanks to Sam Bayley at Warnham LNR for the latest Sussex Site guide. Plenty more still to be written if anyone would like to offer! If not, I'll come chasing this winter....


Another thread on the Adastra Sussex recorders egroup posed the question of whether there have been very few Small or Essex Skippers, Purple Hairstreaks or new generation Brimstones this year, and noted the scarcity of Small Tortoiseshells mentioned several times on this site. However, it was suggested that part of the reason may be that the small species of skipper had a shorter flight period than normal caused by the hot spell, and that Brimstones may have gone into earlier than normal hibernation for the same reason. and there was one report of a Peacock spending the hottest part of the day (maybe several days) in a traditional Sussex hibernation spot for this species, perhaps a kind of aestivation to aid longevity. Also down, in some people's view, are Small Heath. Some opposing views came from Hastings Country Park where Small Skippers were fairly common in early July, and around the Glyne Gap area where Small Tortoiseshells have been very numerous. However, even Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were thought to be down this year in the Peasmarsh area. Doing well this year in some people's experience are Purple Emperor, White Admiral and Common Blue.



Weds 9 Aug


Butterflies around Edburton yesterday (8th) included 3 Clouded Yellows, a nice Purple Hairstreak in an Ash tree, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Copper and a Painted Lady. In the garden 3 Hummingbird Hawkmoths (see Moth Gallery H-K for new photos from Tony) and a very nice Mocha came into the kitchen in the evening (photo) (Tony Wilson)


Two new photos for today: a Magpie Moth photographed by David Dawson in Lancing yesterday (8th), and Clouded Yellow at Goodwood by Mike Collins, one of several there this week




Tues 8 Aug


One Brown Hairstreak seen today (photo) whilst walking the trail at RSPB Pulborough Brooks. Plenty of other species as well, including Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady and Common Blue. (Anna Allum)


Recent news


Saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth yesterday (7 Aug) in Westfield, happily supping on Lavender and Honeysuckle with bees. Never seen anything like it in my life! (Hardy Hemmingway)

I live in Five Ashes, Mayfield and have seen an amazing amount of different verities this year as follows as follows in order of most seen: Red Admiral (lots), Painted Lady, Large White, Small White, Comma, Peacock, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Brown Argus. What has happened to the Small Tortoiseshell - have not even seen one??? (Jenny Simms)


Mon 7 Aug

Arundel, 9am near light: Straw Underwing and Agapeta zoegana. Then between Amberley Mount and Chantry Hill 4pm: Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Large White, Small White, 2 Clouded Yellow, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small Copper, Common Blue, many Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, a very worn Six-spot Burnet, many Chalk Carpet and many worn Pyrausta aurata (I think) too. Cinnabar moth larva, and another larva (see photograph) also found, this time on top of a fence post! (Alexander Henderson)

Can anyone identify Alexander's larva?

Off the Adastra egroup from Victor Downer:

Good numbers of Marbled White on Lullington Heath this year, or perhaps that is just in comparison to the previous few years? Also a good year for Dark Green Fritillary on the reserve, plus Chalkhill Blues were present in good numbers on 23rd July, whilst none were seen on 16th & 17th! However, I'm a little concerned about Small Tortoiseshells? It has been a very good year for Cinnabar Moths on Lullington - to the extent that on some parts of the reserve, with all Ragwort gone, the caterpillars were forced to eat other plants! Also good numbers of Six-spot Burnet and Silver Y moths on the reserve, with the latter also along rides in Friston Forest. Quite a few Forester moths. Several White Admirals in Friston Forest with a couple venturing onto Lullington. I personally haven't seen any Silver-washed Fritillary in Friston or on the reserve, but have seen some at Eridge Park - I think the first year I've noted them there


News for 6 Aug


A walk around Thorney Island today produced 17 species of butterfly. The highlights were 120 Painted Ladies, 98% of these nectaring on Fleabane around Thorney and another 77 nectaring on Sea Lavender at Pilsey Island, 12 Clouded Yellow one of which was a female helice, 11 Red Admiral, 1 Brown Argus, 32 Common Blue, 2 Holly Blue, 1 Small Tortoiseshell but no sign of any second brood Wall Brown. Other goodies included 30+ Wasp Spiders, 4 male Oak Eggars, 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth (2 on 4 Aug) and 7 Common Seals hauled up on the mudflats near Marker Point. Then when we arrived home we found another 2 Painted Ladies and one Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on our Buddleia. (Barry and Margaret Collins)


It is strange how the Common Blues of two days ago quickly diminished or dispersed and the estimate was now only 150. Chalkhill Blues were counted at 176 and the first second brood male Adonis Blue was seen on Mill Hill. The species count reached the equal highest day total of 17. Painted Ladies (50+) were almost all on Buddleia. Brown Argus (40+) flitted with the silvery underwings, mostly on Mill Hill. (Andy Horton)

Two Hummingbird Hawkmoths on the lavender in front of my house in Rottingdean on 5 and 6 Aug (Joe Sheerin)


Sun 6 Aug


Great photo of mating pair of Common Blues taken in Brede High Woods by Janet Richardson today.


Stop Press: Forthcoming Field Trip -  Saturday 12 Aug. 11.00am Ashpark Wood, near Plaistow.

The trip will go ahead as published, but today only 3 Wood White were seen (the numbers have crashed this year) and because of the prolonged hot weather the Silver-washed Fritillaries are very worn. White Admirals and Ringlets have finished. Phone Margaret Hibbard on 01403 871222 on Friday, Aug 11th for latest update.


I live in East Grinstead and had today an amazing amount of butterflies in my garden, including many Large Whites, 2 Red Admirals, and a beautiful Holly Blue butterfly. (Tanya Burnett)


Seaford Head/Hope Gap: I hadn't realised how good the downland is just west of the coastguard cottages that overlook Cuckmere Haven - it was busy today with hundreds of Common Blues and dozens of Painted Ladies, although conspicuous by their absence (almost) were only one Chalkhill Blue, one Clouded Yellow and one Silver-spotted Skipper. Black Knapweed was very much the nectar plant of choice today, although it has gone over in my garden where Hemp Agrimony and Field Scabious have been invaluable lately, although Buddleia is now taking over, hosting Hummingbird Hawkmoth yesterday and today. In the moth trap overnight in suburban Peacehaven, new garden ticks continue to appear in what is a third season of recording. Perhaps most unexpected today was a Peacock Moth, although a Canary-shouldered Thorn was a welcome splash of ridiculously artificial hue. (Adrian Thomas)


A visit to Iping Common today (near Midhurst) to look for dragonflies also produced a Silver-washed Fritillary, 6 Silver-studded Blues, 2 Purple Hairstreaks, Small Copper, 20 Painted Ladies and plenty of Silver Ys. (Tony Wilson)


Recent News

Sat 5 Aug An unprecedented 23 Painted Ladies and one Clouded Yellow were seen on and around of the Buddleia on the Coastal Link Cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham in the space of five minutes in the hot and humid mid-afternoon (4:00 pm onwards). Also Red Admirals, Common Blues, Holly Blues, Small Whites, Meadow Browns and a Gatekeeper. (Andy Horton, www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2006.html)

Fri 4 Aug Ifield, Crawley. A walk between 3pm and 4.30pm produced 2 male and 2 female Brown Hairstreaks, all at low level. Two were nectaring on thistle and were easily approached for photographs. There are also quite a lot of Purple Hairstreaks to be seen at this time, but they are mainly at high level.

Sat 5 Aug Another visit to Ifield today, this time between 10am and 12.30pm, which produced just 1 male Brown Hairstreak (at 11.45), nectaring on thistle. It was extremely docile and easily photographed. Some Purple Hairstreaks were also seen, but these were in the trees. (Vince Massimo and Barbara Perry)


Fri 4 Aug

Results from my transect walk on Friday 4th August at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill: Small Skipper (1) Large White (4) Small White (2) Purple Hairstreak (7) Small Copper (19) Common Blue (8) Red Admiral (2) Painted Lady (2) Speckled Wood (1) Gatekeeper (307) Meadow Brown (82). Total butterflies seen 435 of 11 species. (David Pyle)




Sat 5 Aug


Checked my outside wall light about 10.00pm last night (4th) and amongst plenty of Dingy Footman and Ruby Tigers there were two other moths. The first was a Silver Y and the second a Scarce Silver Y - a rare immigrant to Sussex. See photos for comparison. During the day yesterday on Truleigh Hill the highlights were Dark Green Fritillary, 4 Walls, 2 Painted Ladies, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Chalkhill Blues, 150 Common Blues, 30 Brown Argus, Small Copper. Also a Chalk Carpet and 2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths. As I write this on 5th a Clouded Yellow has just flown past my window. (Tony Wilson)



Fri 4 Aug


Male Brown Hairstreak on Potentilla by my back door this morning in Steyning (photo), female at Upper Beeding this afternoon (in same area as Wednesday, photo), and one of 5 Clouded Yellows along 100 metre bank edge of Steyning (photo). This evening a Hummingbird Hawkmoth (they have been in my garden every day for several weeks) was laying eggs on Lady’s Bedstraw in my front lawn. (Keith Noble)


Common Blues (400+ in two hours) had now become the dominant butterfly on the downs and the levels around Shoreham, followed by Chalkhill Blues (129) on Mill Hill only. This puts the Chalkhill Blues past their peak early this year. (Mill Hill estimates at 450 on the hill). Brown Argus (20+) seen frequently on Mill Hill and seen in the field near the River Adur as well, and at least two Walls seen on Mill Hill. Other butterflies seen on a cloudy day were Small Whites (12+), Speckled Woods (16+), Meadow Browns (80+), Small Copper (2+), Holly Blues (12+), Large White (3+), Red Admiral (25+), Gatekeepers (40+), Painted Ladies (2), Brimstone (3+) and Comma (2). Two Cinnabar Moth caterpillars were in the upper meadows of Mill Hill. Silver Y moths were frequently seen in anything with long grass or shrub shelter. (Andy Horton, www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2006.html)


Thurs 3 Aug

The night before last (1 Aug) I counted 46 blues roosting in my 'garden'. This evening at 7.30 I did another count and found 61 on an assortment of grasses, knapweed flower heads (gone to seed) and dried up old oxe eye daisy stems. There was a mixture of Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue and Brown Argus and one late Marbled White. At 9.00 a.m. yesterday I attempted to count the number of flying male Chalkhills but this was very difficult because they just didn't stop weaving about, changing places and going round behind me. I didn't reach an exact figure but estimated there were over 40. The Common Blues have increased in the last few days. Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers have declined and with, the exception of the one today, the Marbled Whites have finished here. Still several pristine Painted Lady and Red Admirals and about ten Peacock plus the odd Comma. Silver Y seem to have declined considerably in the last two or three days but today at 6.30 pm there were three Hummingbird Hawkmoths at the buddleia, two smallish and one large, two males and a female no doubt. I have only seen one Small Tortoiseshell this year. Are others finding them scarce too? (John Holloway)

Its a shame we're heading for 'last for the year' records already but anyway possibly my last Silver-washed Fritillary and Ringlet records in Edburton today while in the garden the highlights were a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Brown Argus and about 20 Common Blues. (Tony Wilson)


Recent news from Margaret Hibbard:

2 Aug In a Butcherland field, near Ebernoe, SU 982 268 1 male Chalkhill Blue rather off- course!!!

30 July  Heyshott Down Reserve SU 895 168 20+ Chalkhill Blue, 1 Dark Green Fritillary




Weds 2 Aug


I never thought I'd raise any passion for micromoths, but a number of apparently distinctive species keep turning up either in the trap, against the window or in the bathroom, some of which are either quite beautiful or at least characterful, so I thought I'd see how 'impossible' they are to ID. I started with this little curious thing (photo) which comes into the house and stands as if upright, his wings held out like an extended bat-cape. He turns out to be called Endotrichus flammealis, with the larvae feeding on Bird'sfoot Trefoil and probably many other plants in a chamber on the underside of leaves. However, the Latin name just isn't sticking in my brain, so for me he is known as the Batman Moth. (Adrian Thomas)


On the coastal Link cyclepath from Old Shoreham to near Botolphs I spotted my first Small Copper this year and the first I've seen in August, possibly as many as eight  The butterfly species count was 15. Small Whites and Common Blues were common on the Adur levels on a day too breezy for the downs, and cloudy. Red Admirals were very frequently seen and Gatekeepers were only occasional and may be almost over. Three Clouded Yellows. (Andy Horton)


Tues 1 Aug


Ok, thinking caps on! Can you identify this mystery creature, which has the look of a Lepidoptera larvae, photographed by Steve Wheatley on a shady leaf while undertaking a butterfly survey on Ashdown Forest


Also received this photo taken by Tony Bartlett in his garden on Pyrausta aurata, now in their second brood. They are very similar to Pyrausta purpuralis, but on the latter, the gold marks on the purple forewing extend from front edge to back edge of the wing instead of just one obvious blob. P.aurata is more likely to be seen in gardens, given its love of mint as a larva. Does anyone know of a common English name for these pretty, conspicuous garden moths?


Re sightings of Marbled White and their seemingly wider distribution around the county this year, a friend of Margaret Hibbard in West Sussex reported two in July in a private garden in SU9330.


What to look for in August

  • Butterflies: By the time July is over, that's it, every resident species has emerged at some stage already this year. However, what we have to look forward to is the second or third brood of many species. Reaching their peak in August will be Adonis Blue second brood, Brown Hairstreak, Brown Argus second brood, burgeoning populations of whites. We may also begin to see whether this is going to be a Painted Lady year.  However, it is worth looking for the last sighting of the year of Ringlet, Dark Green and Silver-washed Fritillaries, White-letter and Purple Hairstreaks, Silver-studded Blue and Marbled White.

  • Moths: unlike the butterflies, there are many moth species still to emerge for the first time. Common garden species making their first appearance of the year include Lunar Underwing and Red Underwing, while Orange Swift, Shuttle-shaped Dart and Setaceous Hebrew Character begin to pick up in numbers and, by the end of the month, traps are beginning to be dominated by Large Yellow Underwings.


Earlier Sightings

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