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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Wednesday 30 September 2009

Following on from Crispin's report yesterday, paid a visit to the same field (opp. Shooters Bottom Car Park, Beachy Head), today. Saw minimum 70 Clouded Yellows (included 3 mating pairs and a perfect Helice). Also Painted Lady (3, of which 2 pristine), Small Heath (2), Meadow Brown (2) and one each Large White and Common Blue. Good haul for late late summer. (Bob Coleman)

News for Tuesday 29 September: I've been looking after Nigel Kemp's Frog Firle transect this week. I counted a total of 19 Clouded Yellows, including my first f. helice. Comparing this with sightings a few miles further west in Denton, where I have seen only one in the past week, it seems the numbers are concentrated to the east. Incidentally, I read an interesting article today about the complex functions of a butterfly antenna: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8273069.stm. (Steven Teale)

News for Tuesday 29 September: In the West Wittering garden trap: 1 Bordered Straw; 1 Mullein Wave; 2 Channel Islands Pugs and a season's first Brick. (Derek Lee)

News for Tuesday 29 September: My father and I went to look for the Clouded Yellows along Beachy Head. The best patch was in a field near Belle Tout light house (TV567 955) where there was also plenty of Red Clover. In short space of time one could easily see 50 to 60 which had emerged fairly recently. They were mostly males searching for nectar and probably females (more of which are yet to emerge?). We met someone who had seen hundreds there last Saturday, including mating pairs, individuals which were still drying wings and a helice. There were clearly not as many today as were reported at the weekend so I expect they are emerging and dispersing. One wonders what will happen to them and their off spring next. In my father's garden Kingston, near Lewes(TQ3915 0862): Large and Small Whites, Brown Argus mating, Small Copper, Red Admiral, 3 Meadow Brown & Speckled Wood. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Sunday 27 September: In 3 sheep fields behind East Guldeford church, Brian Banks and I counted 85+ Clouded Yellows on Sunday. Yesterday there seemed to be even more - 100+. One helice was seen last Friday, and a pale individual, possibly Pale or Berger's, seen briefly on Sunday. The fields have a lot of flowering autumn hawkbit, some red clover, dandelion and bird's foot trefoil. (Pat Bonham)

Tuesday 29 September 2009

Following recent Clouded Yellow reports, one point which struck me today is that in this late warm spell there has been continuing inward migration, not just by Clouded Yellows. My wife and I walked around the area between Eastbourne and Beachy Head from 11.00 to 13.00 today. Of the 20-odd Clouded Yellows we saw, several came in from the sea. There were large numbers of Large (and some Small) Whites, many of which seemed to be coming from the sea. Also 3 Red Admirals flying in fast from the sea. (If the forecast is right, they are going to get a shock later this week!) (John Kerby)

News for Monday 28 September: A Delicate recorded to 125w Mercury Vapour trap here at Wadhurst last night. (Andy Adams)

News for Monday 28 September - I re-visited Birling Gap to try to get some more photos of Clouded Yellow. Arriving at 11am, I only walked the two fields at Shooters Bottom. Conditions were overcast and a little cool, but despite this there were an estimated 200 Clouded Yellow on the wing. These were almost entirely males, which were constantly patrolling, making photography difficult. Hatchings are still taking place, with 4 individuals found in the grass drying their wings. Three were females, including one which was being mated and a beautiful helice. As happened last week, flying activity started to diminish around 2pm and by the time I left at 3pm, was very low. Also seen were 2 Painted Lady, 4 fresh-looking Common Blue males, 1 Meadow Brown and a Large White. (Vince Massimo)

Still upwards of 40 species in the West Wittering garden trap 27th September: 2 Cypress Carpet; 1 second brood Swallow-tailed Moth; 3 Clancy's Rustic; 10 Feathered Ranunculus; 22 L-Album Wainscot (Derek Lee)

Monday 28 September 2009

News for Sunday 27 September: In and around West Wittering village: 3 Clouded Yellows along the shore, 8 Red Admirals - all on ivy, 4 Painted Ladies - 3 fresh and 1 frazzled! 2 Commas - on ivy, 4 Speckled Woods, 8 Small Whites, & 10 Large Whites along the shore (Derek Lee)

News for Sunday 27 September: Recorded a Tawny Pinion and an L-album Wainscot here at Wadhurst last night. (Andy Adams)

Sunday 27 September 2009

My first Clancy's Rustic in my Peacheaven trap overnight - amazing to think they weren't recorded in Britain until 2002 (Adrian Thomas)

Today in garden in Crawley Down, 1 Peacock, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Comma, and 1 Small White all feeding on Buddleia Sungold. Also 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Brimstone also feeding trying to feed on various buddleia, behaviour I have not seen before, perhaps their natural food sources are exhausted? Also 1 pair of mating Large White. 8 species in the garden in late September? Must be an Indian Summer. (Jonathan Ruff)

Birling Gap to Horseshoe plantation...no Clouded Yellow until Horseshoe plantation.. then counted 10 plus one helice..my daughter mispronounced it "Headless" which I kinda prefer...smallest Common Blue I've ever seen - as small as a Small Blue also 1 Small Heath, plenty of Small and Large White, a Red Admiral and one Meadow Brown. Across the path walked the biggest hairy caterpillar I've seen for years, twas about 3 inches long 8-10cm and was orangey brown with a sort of dark semi stripe along it's back...any ideas?? We watched it walk to safety in the undergrowth. (Danny McEvoy)

I went to Birling Gap at 8.45 this morning and searched for roosting Clouded Yellows. Found several including helice on brambles on the small rough patch to the right of the main car park entrance. Got some cracking pictures as for once they were stationary just warming up . Also Small Coppers, Common Blues and Small Heath seen. In addtion hundreds of migrating House Martins and a big colony of ladybirds (two spots, red on black) up the lane. Got home elated and found a fantastic a fantastic brown and black rove beetle on the patio and to top it a gigantic oozing fungus on an oak tree in the afternoon. Fanatastic day (Richard Roebuck)

Saturday 26 September 2009

Took the bus to Beachy Head and walked from Whitbread Hollow through to Birling Gap. Clouded Yellows were of course top of the agenda - I saw just 10 along the long Whitbread-Beachy Head stretch, with then peak numbers between Beachy Head and Shooters Bottom (I probably saw 100 just along the 'corridor' I walked, including several helice - there were undoubtedly many more beyond my view), fewer at Hodcombe and then stragglers along The Lookout under Belle Tout. Also 10 Painted Lady, 1 Peacock, 1 Red Admiral, many Large White, several Small White, 5 Small Copper, 4 Meadow Brown including mating pair, 1 Small Heath, 3 small Common Blue, 1 tiny Brown Argus, 3 Speckled Wood (Adrian Thomas)

We have just had a wonderful afternoon with the Clouded Yellows in the field next to Hodcombe Farm, opposite Shooters Bottom, Beachy Head. Whilst some seem freshly emerged they were reports of several coming in off the sea at Birling Gap around lunchtime. We also saw Red Admiral, Painted Lady, and Silver Y in the area. (Carole & David Jode)

News for Friday 25 September: The Sussex Moth Group event at the Grange Gardens in Lewes last night produced only a short species list on what was a cool, damp evening. The twelve species recorded were: Common Marbled Carpet (1), Lesser Yellow Underwing (3), Large Yellow Underwing (8), Light Brown Apple Moth (1), Light Emerald (2), Lunar Underwing (3), Silver Y (1), Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (Beautiful Plume) (1), Barred Sallow (1), Shuttle-shaped Dart (1), Willow Beauty (1), and Setaceous Hebrew Character (3). (Steven Teale)

Friday 25 September 2009

Reading all the reports of exceptional numbers, I made my way down from Middlesex to see the Clouded Yellows near Birling Gap. I encountered Neil Hulme, who reckoned that 500-600 individuals was a reasonable estimate. It soon became clear that there were a good number of newly emerged butterflies - I encountered one such female who had succumbed to the advances of an amorous male well before her wings were dry. Altogether I saw four mating pairs, and five helice females amongst the throng. Overall, it was an unforgettable sight. There were a number of fresh Painted Ladies, several Small Coppers, a few Common Blues (one female looked new) and a handful of Small Heaths. (Dave Miller)

Below: Clouded Yellow photos at Beach Head - left Mark Bunch, 24 Sep; centre and right by Dave Miller - a rare flash of upperwing, and a helice female


Wow, what a week we are having in our Blatchington garden! I came home and had tea al fresco in our back garden and lo and behold I could not believe my eyes, there buzzing around was our first ever Hummingbird Hawkmoth. I jumped up and rushed indoors to get the camera, I was soooo excited that I managed to get two photos before it flew away, but the shots were not that good as I was shaking. Oh well never mind. (Nick Linazasoro)

Wall Brown (below right) numbers are increasing well at High and Over with at least 10 seen this morning in the area. Also there was a very impressive Painted Lady. I then crossed over the road to the Cradle Hill area of Frog Firle. I found a feeding Clouded Yellow which allowed a few photos (below left) . I followed it to the bottom of the hill, along the track made by farm vehicles where I found a mating pair of Yellows, the female of which showed signs of helice (below centre). I never got a proper view of the top wings however to be totally sure. Along the bottom of the valley there were at least 20 Clouded Yellows with 1 definite helice. If the weather holds for the weekend this area is well worth a visit with both the Wall Browns and all these Yellows. Unfortunately I'm back to work!! (Bob Eade).

Details of the last transect walk of the season at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. 4 Large White, 2 Small White, 11 Small Copper, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Comma, 5 Speckled Wood. Total 25 butterflies, 6 species. (David Pyle)

News for Thurs 24 September: Just found a full grown Painted Lady caterpillar on thistle at Henfield, quite beautiful really cf the smaller larval picture I sent recently. (Richard Roebuck)

Thursday 24 September 2009

Sorry, my train broke down outside Doncaster today (if that doesn't prompt sympathy I don't know what will) so all the fab photos received today will be dealt with tomorrow - editor

Just when you thought the butterfly season was ending-wrong! I witnessed a thrill between Beachy Head and Birling Gap on Thursday-hundreds of wonderful Clouded Yellows! I've never seen so many,a ll around me-they were everywhere! Most were in mint condition and 10-15 were helice females. I could often see 6 or 8 at a glance. Also several mint Painted Ladies and whites, Small Coppers, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and a Small Heath. Lots migrating Swallows, a Peregrine and Ravens added to the enjoyment of this lovely area. Congrats on your excellent website,and a report of yellows last week, without which i wouldn't have known to come here-t his day gave me a great deal of pleasure. (Mark Bunch,Cambs & Essex branch)

Today I visited Birling Gap to check out the earlier reports of good numbers of Clouded Yellow. Between 11am and 12.45 there were over 500 seen (yes 500), most of them in the two fields on either side of Hodcombe Farm on the northern side of the road (opposite the Shooters Bottom car park). The western field is centred on TV568956, while the eastern one is at TV573957. All of the butterflies looked surprisingly fresh and included 5 of the helice form (below right) and a mating pair (below left). There was also a runty female which looked fresh, but could not possibly have flown across the Channel. After lunch I revisited the same locations and found the numbers to have reduced dramatically to only around 100. Hopefully there will still be lots still there on Friday and the weekend, with good weather forecast. (Vince Massimo)

What a difference a day makes!! The sun shining so I did a variation on yesterdays walk going along The Comp and then carrying on for another mile towards Bo Peep, then going down Greenway Bank. I then popped up to High and Over this afternoon to try to find the Wall Browns again, however I was probably too late in the day. This morning I did find 1 Wall Brown on Greenway Bank which was I think a female that had just emerged. It was flying a bit lop sided but didn't settle. I didn't count the Whites this morning but other numbers were 3 Common Blue, 3 Red Admiral, 5 Clouded Yellow, 18 Speckled Wood, 5 Comma which was a species I didn't get yesterday, 9 Small Copper, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Meadow Brown, 3 Brown Argus and then at High and Over this afternoon I added 1 Peacock to the day's species total. (Bob Eade).

News for Wednesday 23 September: Highlights among the 44 species in our garden moth trap last night: 1 Blair's Mocha, 4 Clancy's Rustic, 1 White Point, 27 L-Album Wainscot, and 47 Black Rustic. Also first this year Pink-barred Sallow and Blair's Shoulder-knot. (Derek Lee - West Wittering)

News for Wednesday 23 September: Had a walk around Cissbury ring in the evening, very overcast although warm, saw pristine Small Copper and 3 Meadow Browns on the south west side (moat) bank . Note, On the southern side there is a very active Wasp nest in the ground on the bottom of the inner bank to the right of a flight of stone steps . The wasps were extremely aggressive, Both my dog and I got stung. This must have been amusing to two walkers who saw me jumping around trying to swat the attackers. First time I got stung this year despite doing pest control for a living. "Butterflying" can be perilous especially as I got back to the car 40 minutes later and got stung again by a stowaway under my shirt! May be it was payback. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Tuesday 22 September: There have been Peacocks feeding on Devil's Bit Scabious today at my Herstmonceux plot so presumably the 2nd brood are still flying .... although one was also flying around inside the barn (where the plant benches are) and seemed pretty intent on finding somewhere to stay hidden for the winter. For the record, I found several batches of 2nd brood Peacock larvae on nettles on the Pevensey Levels in mid-August when they were tiny. I thought at first that they were Small Tortoiseshell larvae! I found another small batch of final instar Peacock larvae on a clump of nettles on my own plot near Herstmonceux Castle (Church Road). These appeared towards the end of August and at a time when I was accidentally uncovering hibernating 1st brood butterflies inside the barn (my plant-growing area). (Mike Mullis)

Recent news: Ringmer Garden Moth Trap:

Friday 18 September - 131 moths of 22 species as follows; 3 European Corn Borer, 3 Centre-barred Sallow, 57 Lunar Underwing, 2 Pale Eggar, 1 Common Wainscot, 1 Oak Lutestring, 2 Black Rustic, 1 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 1 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 1 Small Square-spot, 1 Autumnal Rustic, 3 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 1 Codling Moth, 1 Vapourer, 2 Willow Beauty, 1 Straw Dot, 1 Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Dusky Thorn, 1 Large Fruit Tree Tortrix, 10 Large Yellow Undering, 20 Square-spot Rustic, 16 Setaceous Hebrew Character.

Saturday 19 September - 279 moths of 30 species as follows: 1 Twenty-plume Moth, 3 Oak Lutestring, 4 Dusky Thorn, 1 Light Emerald, 1 Light Brown Apple Moth, 2 Rush Veneer, 1 European Corn Borer, 1 Skin Moth, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 1 Dark Sword Grass, 1 Centre-barred Sallow, 2 Vine's Rustic, 4 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 3 Black Rustic, 1 Canary-shoulder Thorn, 1 Garden Carpet, 4 Willow Beauty, 2 Common Marbled Carpet, 1 Small Dusty Wave, 1 Feathered Ranunculus, 1 Brindled Green, 1 Gold Triangle, 1 Turnip Moth, 2 Beaded Chestnut, 1 Sallow, 2 Deep Brown Dart, 11 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 14 Square-spot Rustic, 40 Large Yellow Underwing, 169 Lunar Underwing.

(Jacob J Everitt)

Wednesday 23 September 2009

First Large Ranunculus, Blair's Shoulder Knot and Chestnut last night. (Andy Adams - Wadhurst)

Despite the overcast conditions today I wanted to get out to see if I could find some 3rd brood Wall Browns in my regular patch of Frog Firle and High and Over. Right at the end of the walk I found 3 immaculate males at the viewpoint at High and Over with all 3 having territorial battles over the right to settle there. They used up an enormous amount of energy in these disputes. In all an impressive 13 species were seen on the walk. There were once again some Clouded Yellows below Frog Firle with at least 4 males seen patrolling the area looking for females. None were settling, even flying in the rain that was falling at this point!! Other species seen were 30 Small White, 3 Red Admiral, 27 Speckled Wood, 7 Large White, 2 Small Copper, 2 Green-veined White, 1 Common Blue, 1 worn Brown Argus, 3 Painted Lady, 3 Meadow Brown and 2 Peacock. As well as this I saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth flying overhead which then came down and settled near me allowing several photos (above). I also had another Hummingbird Hawkmoth yesterday in the garden. (Bob Eade)


Tuesday 22 September 2009

Re Richard Roebuck's caterpillars yesterday: I would agree that these are second and third brood larvae of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. I've heard other reports of second brood Peacock caterpillars elsewhere in the South this year and although uncommon, this phenomenon has occasionally been observed in the past. It is unclear what triggers such 'irregular' behaviour, as the vast majority of summer brood Peacock will have no interest in mating and are focussed only on the rapid intake of food and a search for suitable nooks and crannies in which to hibernate. The unusual desire to procreate immediately is possibly triggered in 'early emergers' by nothing more complex than day length. Although this doesn't vary a great deal at this time of the year, tiny variations in summer day length certainly have a profound effect on e.g. the development of Comma caterpillars. Unfortunately work is now going to keep me 'grounded' until after the AGM (I hope to see many of you there), but for those that still have not seen sufficient butterflies to accept that the season is done, I would recommend a late afternoon visit to the SSW corner of Cissbury Ring. Here you will find some fresh and stunningly beautiful female Small Coppers, basking on the chalk scree outside rabbit warrens, enjoying the last rays of sunshine. After 5pm some fresh looking Clouded Yellows can be found here, as they gradually start to settle down for the night (photo from 21 September below). For those with a passion for photography, wait until they have found a roosting spot. It isn't long before their antennae start to droop and close together as they count sheep. Once they have dozed off, these often 'unphotographable' butterflies will happily sleep through the experience. (Neil Hulme)

Mike Mullis has some open days at his Wildflower Barn over the next two weekends. Mike sells a wide range of native plants which are the foodplants for many butterflies and moths. There's also Mike's 'meadow-pots'– several wild flower meadow species (and grasses) in one pot which, if planted in small numbers together, will produce a flowering ‘mini-meadow’ in a corner of your garden next summer. Drop by to browse, buy, get some gardening advice or just wander around this fantastic 5 acre plot on the edge of the Pevensey Levels. The Wild Flower Barn is located in Church Road , near Herstmonceux, East Sussex (Church Road is just east of the village off the A271, signposted to Herstmonceux Church ). Drive south-east down Chapel Row/Church Road for approx 1╝ miles (well past the commercial greenhouses part way down Church Road on the left). The Wild Flower Barn is on the left-hand-side of Church Road (opposite 'Milland') just after the road reaches its lowest point ╝ mile before the Church. The Wild Flower Barn will be open Sat/Sun 26th/27thSeptember, Sat/Sun 3rd/4thOctober 2009 10am-5pm. For more information call Mike on 07932 683245

In July, following the mass immigration of Painted Ladies, I thought I would try and find the caterpillar of 'Vanessa' as I hadn't seen one before. Not only were they easy to find on Thistles but they were pretty much everywhere I went. So following on from the editor's comments on Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshell larva, I went out today and promptly found an early instar caterpillar of 'Vanessa' at Henfield Common TQ21741565. Due to the density of light coloured spines it appears lighter than the full grown caterpillar. Is this late breeding as well or is this fairly normal for this species? (Richard Roebuck)

News for Monday 21 September: An apparent second brood Large Skipper was reported to the Sussex Moth Group in Sharpethorne (per Michael Blencowe)

News for Monday 21 September: From Bo-peep car park east to Winton and back to Round Hill Firle: Just above Bewick (TQ5037 0448) 1 Clouded Yellow, Small White, Large White, Peacock, Small Copper, Speckled Wood. Winton Chalk Pit area (TQ511 0391) 2 Meadow Browns, 2 Large White, 3 Small White, 2 Peacock, 1 Common Blue, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Comma, 1 very fresh Painted Lady. Round Hill Firle (TQ490 0552) Peacock, Large White, Small White, Meadow Brown. (Crispin Holloway).

News for Sat 19 September: Malling Down Transect (previous weeks sightings in brackets). Small White1 (0), Small Copper 6 (9), Brown Argus 1 (3), Common Blue 0 (7), Adonis Blue 6 (31), Peacock 1 (0), Meadow Brown 13 (51), Small Heath 4 (8). Butterflies are finishing off fast! Many flowering plants are also finishing off very early resulting in a lack of nectar. (Crispin Holloway).

Recent records: West Wittering. We've recently moved into the village and have a few sightings for you:

Sat 19 September - Channel Islands Pug, 4 Blair's Mocha and Bordered Straw in the moth trap

Sun 20 September - 6 very fresh Clouded Yellows on the beach between West & East Wittering - also good numbers of recently emerged Painted Ladies. Red Admirals, Peacocks & Commas nectaring on ivy in our garden. Scarce Bordered Straw and Hoary Footman in the moth trap

Monday 21 September - Dewick's Plusia and The Vestal at the moth trap (Derek Lee, SZ779982)



Monday 21 September 2009

Photos for the weekend added with relevant entries below

Circular walk from Bo-peep car park above Alciston (TQ 493 050) around Blackstone Bottom. Clouded Yellow (2), Brown Argus (1), Small Copper (1), Peacock (3), Comma (1), Speckled Wood (2), few Meadow Brown and various whites. Some excellent warm spots along the way with thistle, knapweed, nettle etc in abundance. A good path to check out earlier in the season next year, in particular around TQ 487 031. (Caroline Clarke)

Had a quick walk around Mill Hill at lunch time, saw two Wall Browns, Small Copper (pristine), Common Blue and a fabulous large female Wasp Spider in the grass. Colours worthy of a butterfly? (Richard Roebuck)

News for Sunday 20 September: A day trip to the South coast led to a sighting of Silver-spotted skipper (1), Wall Brown (1), Clouded Yellow (2) at Seven Sisters cliffs near Seaford, grid ref: TV5297 Time: 14.00 (Tom Oliver)

News for Saturday 19 September: TQ 3485018700 Wivelsfield. Found a large batch of about 25 Peacock caterpillars feeding on nettles (left) but also there were two Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars next to them (rigth), one last instar, second a lot smaller. I have always found peacock caterpillars to be spectacular, more so with a macro lens. (Richard Roebuck) Mid-September larvae of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell both seem unusual - does this represent a 2nd generation for Peacock and 3rd for Small Tortoiseshell? Comments welcome. - Editor

Sunday 20 September 2009

Today in our back garden in the Blatchington area of Seaford we saw our first ever Clouded Yellow (below). We also observed a few Large White, Small White and Speckled Wood. (Nick Linazasoro)

On an energy sapping humid morning, both hoverflies and butterflies were active around one large clump of Ivy on the Pixie Path (near the NW corner of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham) and it was a flash of orange I saw first which I thought was a Comma, but it turned out to be one of five pristine Painted Ladies and a Red Admiral seen immediately followed by a Comma seen in less than a minute. Twelve species of butterfly were seen in an hour of looking on Mill Hill and its approaches, including two Wall Browns, three male Adonis Blues, a Clouded Yellow and a Small Copper. (Andy Horton)

14 overwintering Peacocks and 1 Herald at Kingstanding in Ashdown Forest. (Steve Wheatley)

News for Saturday 19 September: Ardingly Reservoir. We went for a walk and family picnic, so not really a butterfly hunt, but we were lucky to see two very ragged Small Coppers, several Speckled Wood, a lovely Comma, a Painted Lady, a Red Admiral and a few Small White and Large White. (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Friday 18 and Saturday 19 September: Here at Edburton, National Moth nights produced the following at my outside light or with the torch and net: Deep-brown Dart, Centre-barred Sallow (2), Rosy Rustic, Snout (2), Vines Rustic (2), White-spotted Pug, Light Emerald, Brimstone, Common Wainscot, Rush Veneer (2), Silver Y, Straw Dot, Burnished Brass, Lunar Underwing (2), Angle Shades, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Willow Beauty (3), Vapourer, Eudonia angustea (2), Agonopterix arenalla (2). During the day the immediate area aroung the garden produced Wall Brown, 2 Painted Ladies, 3 Commas, Peacock, 2 Small Heaths, Red Admiral, 4 Common Blues and 6 Meadow Browns (Tony Wilson)

News for Saturday 19 September: Thirty two species were recorded on Tidemills beach (TQ458001) last night (19th), just above the strand line. Migrant species were few, with Diamond-back Moth, Rush Veneer, L-album Wainscot and Silver Y making up the numbers of target species for National Moth Night.

Tidemills has never previously been surveyed using light traps, so there were lots of first records for the site – an area that I’m planning to work regularly in 2010. I was pleased to record my first Channel Islands Pug, along with Yellow Belle and Pinion-streaked Snout.

The species list in full last night: Diamond-back Moth (1), Large Fruit-tree Tortrix (1), Rush Veneer (1), Channel Islands Pug (1), Lesser Treble-bar (2), Willow Beauty (5), Light Emerald (1), Yellow Belle (1), Vapourer (1), Shuttle-shaped Dart (1), Large Yellow Underwing (27), Lesser Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (11), Square-spot Rustic (24), Common Wainscot (1), L-album Wainscot (6), Beaded Chestnut (1), Lunar Underwing (7), Angle Shades (1), Flounced Rustic (7), Rosy Rustic (1), Frosted Orange (3), Large Wainscot(1), Pale Mottled Willow (1), Burnished Brass (3), Silver Y (2), Snout (1), and Pinion-streaked Snout (2).

Thanks again to everyone who attended another successful event last night - it was great to see you all! (Steven Teale)

News for Saturday 19 September: National Moth Night part 2, Pagham Harbour. Trap run at the visitor centre overnight, with much better weather resulted in a healthy catch of over 600+ moths, although once again no significant migrant. Beaded Chestnut 1, Bright-Line Brown-Eye 1, Bulrush Wainscot 1, Common/Lesser Rustic 1, Depressaria daucella 1, Epinotia nisella 1, Flounced Rustic 1, Garden Rose Tortrix 1, Gold Triangle 1, Gold-Spot 1, Large Wainscot 1, Light Emerald 1, Lime Specked Pug 1, Mallow 1, Pearly Underwing 1, Rusty Dot Pearl 1,Small Square Spot 1, Spectacle 1, Vine's Rustic 1, Webb's Wainscot 1, Centre Barred Sallow 1, Caloptilia semifuscia 1, Caloptilia falconipennella 1, Clepsis consimilana 1, Pediasia aridella 1, Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing 2, Burnished Brass 2, Canary Shouldered Thorn 2, Eudonia augustea 2, Pink Barred Sallow 2, Silky Wainscot 2, Smoky Wainscot 2, Snout 2, Turnip Moth 2, Brindled Green 3, Common Wainscot 3, Rosy Rustic 3, Diamond Back Moth 4, Frosted Orange 4, Straw Dot 4, White Point 4, Black Rustic 5, Sallow 6, Shuttle Shaped Dart 6, Willow Beauty 6, Lunar Underwing 9, Rush Veneer 9, Brimstone Moth 10, Light Brown Apple Moth 10, Lesser Yellow Underwing 11, Eudonia pallida 12, Angle Shades 13, L Album Wainscot 13, Setaceous Hebrew Character 70, Large Yellow Underwing 119 and Square Spot Rustic 267. (Ivan Lang)

News for Friday 18 and Saturday 19 September: This years National Moth Nights were targeting migrant moths so over the two evenings I set up traps at coastal locations hoping for some exciting arrivals. However the weather over the past few weeks has been exactly what we didn't want with strong winds from the north not being encouraging for moth migration. The first evening (Friday 18th) looked promising - mild, calm and cloudy and we set up the traps on farmland in the middle of Pevensey Marshes. And the first moth in the trap was......a Painted Lady (below left)! Those damn things get everywhere! Despite a nice range of autumn moths coming to the light the only hint of migration was in the form of a lone Plutella xylostella - the Diamond-back Moth (wingspan 15mm). Still, it was an enjoyable evening out on the marsh - many thanks to all those who attended and to John Luther for allowing us to trap on his land. For the second night I had gained permission to trap at Beachy Head. The night was off to a good start when I found a Hummingbird Hawkmoth (my first for 2009) nectaring alongside 20+ Silver-Y. This was soon followed by the arrival of two Convolvulus Hawkmoth (wingspan 120mm). Other signs of migration in the trap - Pearly Underwing, Dark Sword-grass, Diamond-back Moth, Rusty Dot Pearl, Rush Veneer, L-album Wainscot. The live Twitter experiment seemed to work well and it was interesting to read what Steve Teale and Steve Wheatley were catching as the night progressed. As I packed up my traps this morning thousands of House Martins passed overhead heading for Africa - no doubt helped by the brisk Northerly breeze (Michael Blencowe)

Saturday 19 September 2009

In my tiny Peacehaven garden, my rotting fruit collection (pears and mushed bananas), stuffed tastefully into flowering icy, is working a treat, with today 9 Red Admirals and 7 Commas getting merry. At Castle Hill NNR, Woodingdean, in muggy conditions, several Small Coppers, a few very faded Meadow Browns, 1 Adonis Blue, 1 Peacock, 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Large White, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Common Blue and 1 female Wall Brown egg laying. I always find an egg laying butterfly quite a privilege and learning experience - this female was choosing warm, south-facing chalk slips and laying on dry grass blades hanging over these dry, sunbaked mini-cliffs. The books I have say the eggs are spherical and white; freshly laid, these were definitely little greenish gems (below) (Adrian Thomas)


1 Small Tortoiseshell at RSPB Broadwater Warren nectaring on Common Fleabane. I think this is the first record of Small Tortoiseshell on the reserve this year. (Alan Loweth)


Crawley Down: On yellow buddleia "Sungold" in garden 2 Red Admiral, 2 Comma, 1 Peacock, 1 Painted Lady, 2 Large White. 1 Small White on Lavender and 1 Speckled Wood sunbathing. All specimens in very good condition as if recently hatched. (Jonathan Ruff)


The field immediately opposite the car park at Shooter's Bottom (Beachy Head) is full of fresh wild flowers at the moment. It was also full of lively Clouded Yellow butterflies today; as I stood on the brow of the hill and looked around I counted 30+. Also in the vicinity were Comma (2), Large White (18), Green-veined White (5), Gatekeeper (2) and Common Blue (1). We had a quick look near Birling Gap to see if there were large numbers of Clouded Yellow there also but only saw 2, presumably due to the lack of flowers there. (Polly Mair)


News for Friday 18 September: National Moth Night at Pagham Harbour LNR. Three traps were set-up around the Reserve the two at Church Norton run as an event and were turned off at midnight. The trap at the Visitor Centre was run through the night. It was hoped that there would be more migrants but the wind remained in the NE not good. However two mark moths (a Large Yellow Underwing and Angle Shades) were picked up at Church Norton 1.9km from where they were marked.

The Visitor Centre Beaded Chestnut 1, Burnished Brass 1, Catoptria falsella 1, Cochylis atricapitana 1, Diamond Back Moth, 1, Dusky Thorn 1, Heart and Dart 1, Large Fruit Tree Tortrix 1, Large Wainscot 1, Red Underwing 1, Rusty Dot Pearl 1, Shuttle Shaped Dart 1, Silver Y 1, Small Square Spot 1, Straw Dot 1, Vine's Rustic 1, White Point 1, White Shouldered House Moth 1, Brindled Green 1, Caloptilia populetarum 1, Mallow 2, Brick 2, Black Rustic 3, Brimstone Moth 3, Flounced Rustic 3, Lunar Underwing 3, Rush Veneer 3, Willow Beauty 3, Common Wainscot 4, Eudonia pallida 4, Lesser Yellow Underwing 4, Light Emerald 4, Rosy Rustic 4, Frosted Orange 5, L Album Wainscot 5, Pink Barred Sallow 5, Smoky Wainscot 5, Light Brown Apple Moth 6, Snout 6, Sallow 7, Angle Shades 9, Setaceous Hebrew Character 40, Large Yellow Underwing 71 and Square Spot Rustic 130.

Church Norton Square Spot Rustic 22, Large Yellow Underwing 18, Snout 5, Willow Beauty 11, Setaceous Hebrew Character 7, Lesser Yellow Underwing 4, Angle Shades 2, Dusky Thorn 1, Lunar Underwing 1, Lesser Broad Border Yellow Underwing 1, Brimstone 2, Straw Dot 1, Pink-Barred Sallow 1, Sallow 2, Silver Y 1, Vine's Rustic 1 and Light Emerald 1,

Church Norton Spit Silver Y 1, Rush Veneer 1 and Black Rustic 1. (Ivan Lang)

News for Friday 18 September: On a visit to Birling Gap yesterday 18th September I witnessed an influx of Clouded Yellows especially near the Horseshoe car park 20+ all in one sheltered area near the plantation. Plus 6 Meadow Browns, 4 Common Blues, 3 Small Heaths, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Small Copper, 4 Small Whites, 2 Large Whites. There were also a number of single Clouded Yellows along the bottom path to Belle Tout. (Bob Snellgrove Surrey Butterfly Conservation member)

News for Friday 18 September: National Moth Night part 1 produced a total of 13 species, 36 moths, from my Crowborough light trap. Brimstone, Light Emerald, Sallow, Pink Barred Sallow, Common Marbled Carpet 2, Angle Shades, Dusky Thorn 2, Large Yellow Underwing 8, Lunar Thorn 15, Pine Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, Feathered Thorn, Lesser Yellow Underwing. No migrants then, but I'm taking the trap down to the in-laws at Hayling Island tonight so might get lucky yet! (Pete Meiners)

News for Friday 18 September: The Newhaven branch of National Moth Night (Sussex) saw an event run at Castle Hill Local Nature Reserve next to Newhaven Fort. Four traps were operated along the cliff top (TQ447000) and fifteen enthusiastic visitors saw 40 species of moth recorded, with a total of 275 moths. Five of these were migrant species [M] and nine species were first records for the reserve. Highlights were the Nb species, Feathered Brindle and Pinion-streaked Snout. The full list: Diamond-back Moth [M] (1), Agonopterix propinquella (Black-spot Flat-body) (43), Light Brown Apple Moth (7), Rhomboid Tortrix (3), Bramble Shoot Moth (1), Rush Veneer [M] (1), Garden Carpet (1), Common Carpet (1), Common Marbled Carpet (2), Double-striped Pug (1), Lesser Treble-bar (2), Brimstone Moth (1), Dusky Thorn (1), Willow Beauty (8), Light Emerald (2), Ruby Tiger (1), Turnip Moth (3), Dark Sword-grass [M] (1), Shuttle-shaped Dart (5), Large Yellow Underwing (27), Lesser Yellow Underwing (14), Setaceous Hebrew Character (15), Square-spot Rustic (46), White-point (1), L-album Wainscot [M] (33), Feathered Brindle (2), Green-brindled Crescent (1), Beaded Chestnut (2), Lunar Underwing (1), Dark / Grey Dagger (1), Copper Underwing (1), Angle Shades (6), Flounced Rustic (23), Frosted Orange (2), Burnished Brass (1), Silver Y [M] (2), Straw Dot (1), Snout (5), and Pinion-streaked Snout (6). Many thanks to Keith Alexander for bringing his two traps and to everyone for helping make the event a success! (Steven Teale)


Friday 18 September 2009

On a rare Friday afternoon off I went for a walk at Standen National Trust. Just before leaving I walked along the flower beds in front of the house and sighted the following butterflies on the late summer-flowering plants; at least 4 Red Admiral, 2 Small Copper, 2 Comma, 2 Large White (Male & female), and in the lower garden a Painted Lady flitted around but not long enough for me to take a picture. (Kevin Sexton)

Butterflies are finishing off fast now, @1pm a buddleia at Norton near Bishopstone (TQ4700 0200) attracted the following: 1 Peacock, 4 Red Admiral, 1 Comma, 2 Painted Lady, > 6 Whites & 1 Speckled Wood. Also lots of Two-spotted Ladybird and some twenty-two spot ladybirds. Muggery Pope near Tarring Neville (TQ4416 0510) @ 2pm. 2 Clouded Yellow, >6 Large Whites, > 3 Small Whites, 3 Small Coppers, 3 Small Heath and 8 Meadow Browns. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Thursday 17 September: Details of transect walked at Bedelands Farm Burgess Hill: 3 Large White, 1 Small White, 4 Small Copper, 1 Common Blue, 7 Comma, 15 Speckled Wood, 1 Brown Hairstreak. Total recorded, 31, 7 species. (David Pyle)

News for Thursday 17 September: TQ21741565, Henfield. Short walk down the Downslink saw Red Admiral, Small White, Large White, Speckled Wood, Comma and a pristine Small Copper feeding on Common Fleabane. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Thursday 17 September: On a balmy warm afternoon, apart from the myriads of whites flying around, the allotments in Sutton Drove Seaford were graced by a Clouded Yellow, a Common Blue and some rather speedy - and therefore unidentified - Vanessids. (Bob Brown)

News for Thursday 17 September: 20 or so Clouded Yellow above/alongside Horseshoe Plantation mid-morning. Also, one Silver Y. (David Jode)

Thursday 17 September 2009

A Brown Hairstreak seen in flight near the lake on Ditchling Common. Also a Clouded Yellow seen on Fleabane in the corner near the roundabout. (Matthew Silk)

Get ready for National Moth Night in Sussex - Broadcasting Live via Twitter This year's National Moth Night will be held on Friday and Saturday night with a target this year of migrant moths. There will be a number of traps running across the county - but you wont need a woolly hat and a torch to join in on the moth action. On Friday night, through the miracle of modern technology, Michael Blencowe (in the middle of the Pevensey Marshes), Steve Teale (high on the cliffs of Newhaven) and Steve Wheatley (on the coast at Rye) will be keeping you up to date with the moth news as it happens by sending their sightings via SMS to Twitter. I've no idea what it means either - but I do know that if you go to www.twitter.com and enter #NMN09 in the search box you can access news of what's happening at each site which will be updated regularly throughout the evening. And if it all goes according to plan we'll do it again on Saturday night when Steve Teale will be on some vegetated shingle, Ralph Hobbs will be at Powdermill Woods and Michael Blencowe will be sat on his own on the edge of The English Channel. We've got the technology - all we need now are the moths!

ecent news: Following trapped in my Portslade garden over the last few days: A late Yellow Shell, Brimstone Moth, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Bulrush Wainscot, Light Emerald, Square-spot Rustic, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Lime-speck Pug, Common Wainscot, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Feathered Gothic, Vapourer, Flounced Rustic. (Darryl Perry)

Wednesday 16 September 2009

There are already several Brown Hairstreak eggs showing well in my Storrington garden. Interestingly, the egg cases from this spring can still be seen. Late August, a Wall Brown paid the garden the briefest of visits. The total species count for the year is 27, with 28 the running total for the past 3 years. (Martin Kalaher)

A very brief look around the eastern side of Horseshoe Plantation near Birling Gap produced a surprisingly good selection of late butterflies with at least 3 and possibly 4 Clouded Yellow with a superb female, the black spots on the wings showing through to the underwing (below left). There was also a very smart Comma, Brown Argus, 2 Common Blue, one of which was very fresh. Small Copper, Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns and both Large and Small Whites. The other side of the wood was very windy so they were all nectaring happily in the warmth out of the wind. There was also a fabulous, large female adder basking in the sun. Another bit of autumnal colour at Littlington with 5 Commas feeding on blackberries just by the white bridge across the Cuckmere (below right). (Bob Eade).

News for Saturday 12 September: Travelled down from Suffolk to take parents to Gatwick. With son in tow we stopped near the end of the runway to watch them take off. To my surprise a Brown Hairstreak landed next to the car and stayed for several minutes on some Blackberry bushes. Location was Ifield Road (just south of the village of Charlwood). (Kev Ling)

Tuesday 15 September 2009

We've received some excellent extra advice from Simon Curson to add to our simple online guide to moth trapping. If you haven't yet found the guide, go to Sussex Species in the main side menu and the Beginners' Guide to Mothing is linked there. If you are new to mothing, it's packed with ideas of things to put on your Xmas list! - Editor

News for Monday 14 September: recorded the first Autumnal Rustic of the season last night, autumn is now here!! (Andy Adams)

News for Monday 14 September: Went for a run today along The Comp at Seaford. Still plenty of Speckled Woods with 19 seen along with 3 Comma and 1 Red Admiral. Many Specklies also missed as I was concentrating on the run rather than counting butterflies for once. Also today 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth briefly in the garden in North Seaford. (Bob Eade).

News for Sunday 13 September: I was on Wolstonbury ( Pyecombe side) on Sunday Morning and came across this unusual parasitised caterpillar. There were two large balls of silk which were moist to the touch. On opening one of the silk balls it was crammed with fly larvae. The caterpillar was some what deflated by the experience. (Richard Roebuck)

Monday 14 September 2009

With the weather turning rather overcast today, a chance to look at the last dates that species were reported to the website last year to give you an idea of what butterflies can still be expected on the wing. Any sighting within a week or so of these last dates could well turn out to be the last of 2009 for that species. So plenty still to look for! Editor. Chalkhill Blue 18/9/9; Brown Hairstreak 19/9/8; Brown Argus 2/10/8; Adonis Blue 2/10/8; Holly Blue 9/10/8; Green-veined White 9/10/8; Clouded Yellow 11/10/8; Wall Brown 11/10/8; Small Heath 12/10/8; Small White 12/10/8; Common Blue 11/10/8; Painted Lady 22/10/8; Meadow Brown 22/10/8; Small Tortoiseshell 25/10/8; Large White 25/10/8; Small Copper 20/10/8; Brimstone 12/11/8; Speckled Wood 12/11/8; Comma 19/11/8; Peacock 5/12/8; Red Admiral 7/12/8.

Sunday 13 September 2009

News for Sat 12 September: On a sunny late afternoon along the sea wall west of Bexhill we were very surprised to see at first 12 Small Whites. Then even more surprised to see 4 Clouded Yellows, 2 Adonis Blue, 1 Small Copper. All in one small area of mainly Hotton Top. (Janet Richardson)

News for Fri 11 September: 6 Clouded Yellow on Seaford Head including a very pale one, presumably just helice - i have pictures but just of the underwing is it possible to rule out the other options from these? 1 (male) in Shepecote Valley yesterday afternoon (Matthew Silk)

News for Weds 9 September: Went for a walk around Arlington reservoir saw 4 Clouded Yellows (below), 3 Red Admirals, 4 Painted Ladies, 3 Common Blues, 4 Small Coppers, Large and Small Whites, Speckled Woods and Comma all nectaring on Common Fleabane. (Mark Bloss)

Saturday 12 September 2009

I saw my first ever Brown Hairstreak today at Steyning Rifle range, and managed to get a reasonable picture too (below). It was in good condition apart from a nick in one of the hindwings. It opened its wings a little to give me a flash of orange but I didn't get a picture of that! (John Williams)

1 Clouded Yellow, Pagham Habour (J Abbott)

I was over the border in the badlands of Surrey today and I could have sworn I saw an Orange Tip near Dorking....am I going mad??? (Danny McEvoy)

News for Friday 11 September: Details of transect  at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. 5 Large White, 2 Small White, 6 Small Copper, 1 Common Blue, 9 Comma, 8 Speckled Wood, 14 Meadow Brown. Total 45 butterflies, 7 species. (David Pyle)

Friday 11 September 2009

I have just seen a Clouded Yellow in Funtington - on a footpath in the middle of a maize field leading from Funtington to West Ashling. (Paul Cooper)

Below: Female Adonis Blue, Mill Hill, 8 September (Nick Linazasoro)

Thursday 10 September 2009

Brown Argus at Greenway Bank (upper and undersides)  and Speckled Wood, The Comp, 7 Sep (Bob Eade)

Small Heath, Mill Hill (Nick Linazasoro) and Grayling on bramble, Windover Hill (Bob Coleman), both 8 Sep

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Well Bottom, south of Beddingham Hill, (TQ4530 0533). A very difficult area to access because of all the scrub and bramble but saw Large White, Small Whites, 1 Peacock, Small Coppers, >5 Adonis Blues, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Meadow Browns. The same species recorded further down Well Bottom in the clearings and down towards Cow Wish Bottom (TQ4514 0452) and South Heighton where some Autumn Ladies Tresses were also seen. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Tuesday 8 September 2009: I took a stroll up to Chanctonbury Ring and on the downs saw Small Coppers, Large and Small Whites, Painted Lady, Peacock, Meadow Brown and a male Brimstone. Walking back through the woods there were Speckled Woods in good numbers. (Susie Milbank)

News for Tuesday 8 September 2009: Beddingham Hill, Firle: 1 Small Tortoiseshell, Adonis Blues, many Small Copper, Meadow Browns. Elman's Coombe near Firle (TQ4503 0620) 1 very fresh looking Comma, Adonis Blues, Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Large and Small Whites, a few Painted Ladies some very worn and one mint condition. I also got a good view of Peregrines (Crispin Holloway).

News for Tuesday 8 September 2009: Took a circular walk with some friends from Bo-peep car park above Alciston (TQ 493 050) around Blackstone Bottom. Highlight was 2 Clouded Yellow - both a wonderful bright buttery yellow in the sunshine. Also, Meadow Brown and various whites. In the pub garden at Firle watched 4 Comma feeding on fallen plums, plus 2 Red Admiral, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Painted Lady enjoying the Verbena bonariensis; a lovely warm spot with numerous late-summer nectar sources. (Caroline Clarke)

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Had a very quick trip up to Mill Hill today. Very few butterflies here this time round despite the glorious sun. On view today was Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Large White, Small White, Adonis Blue & Common Blue. (Nick Linazasoro)

Made the trip from Folkington to Windover Hill (Deepdean), today in near perfect conditions. In the Valley, saw Silver-spotted Skipper (6), Small Copper (19 incl. mating pair), Adonis Blue (5), Common Blue (7), Chalkhill Blue (6), Brown Argus (2), Small White (5), Small Heath (9), Painted Lady (1) and Meadow Browns abounded (incl.3 mating pairs). The only unusual event was a late Grayling, not only on the valley floor, which is pretty rare, but was quite happy sitting on Bramble. (Bob Coleman)

News for Monday 7 September 2009: Mount Caburn (TQ445 0883) 6 Silver-spotted Skippers including a pair mating, >20 Small Copper, Small Heaths, Meadow Browns and many Adonis Blues (Crispin Holloway).

Monday 7 September 2009

Neither butterfly or moth but may be of interest to some - a Western Conifer Seed Bug in my offices at St Leonards this morning. (Chris Ball)

Had to go to Eastbourne on business so, as you do, had a quick look around near Birling Gap. I saw 3 Clouded Yellows but impossible to get near and also found a cocoon of what I can only think is of the Emperor Moth. However it was actually on an old piece of Rosebay Willowherb. I have only seen these on heather before. (Richard Roebuck)

My usual walk around The Comp, Greenway and Frog Firle produced 61 Speckled Wood, this was in a larger area than the 62 I had last week but today they were not warming up on the path so were not so easy to find. 50 were seen in the same area as that count. I also has a possible late Dingy Skipper but I was not able to get a 100% sighting of it. There was a fresh group of Brown Argus which kept fighting with some Small Coppers. 9 Coppers were seen and 5 Argus. 13 species in total seen. Other numbers were 4 Comma, 11 Small Heath, 5 Common Blue, 2 Red Admiral, 32 Meadow Brown, 1 Chalkhill Blue, 3 Painted Lady and 1 Clouded Yellow. There were also several Small and Large Whites. (Bob Eade).

News for Sunday 6 September 2009. Transect at Malling Down: Large White 2, Small White 3, Small Copper 15, Brown Argus 4, Common Blue 5 male & 5 female, Adonis Blue 37 male & 18 female, Red Admiral 1, Painted Lady 2 (one very new), Meadow Brown 55, Small Heath 9. Also one Peacock off transect. (Crispin Holloway)

Sussex Article in the independent yesterday: here (Danny McEvoy)

Sunday 6 September 2009

An Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar in my neighbour's garden today, and Red Underwing in my Crowborough light trap on Friday evening (4th). (Pete Meiners)

Thanks to all who helped in ID-ing the caterpillar we found below a chestnut tree a couple of weeks ago in Seaford, it was definitely a Sycamore moth. (Bob Brown)

Last night’s moth trap catch from the Adur Valley included Canary-shouldered Thorn, Square-spot Rustic, Rush Veneer, Campion, Marbled Green, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix, Common Marbled Carpet and Pale Mottled Willow. My favourite was the Canary-shouldered Thorn as I’ve never seen one before and they are beautiful. I read that they are very common but with style like that they are welcome to be as common as they like! (Sherie New)

News for Saturday 5 September: After four visits and many hours searching finally saw the elusive female Brown Hairstreak at 1.30 pm on sloe at the shooting field Steyning (below). Many thanks to Neil Hulme for his expert help and the couple who had travelled from Eastbourne . Perseverance finally paid off. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Saturday 5 September: Many thanks to Neil Hulme we had been at Steyning Rifle Range since 10-15 am. But no Brown Hairstreak, Neil came along said with confidence he would find us one. Then he said it's the top of the hill (Puff-Puff). After a while he spotted one,  then another one, but we did not manage a good photo. Also seen Speckled Wood, Peacock, Red Admiral, 5 Comma very fresh, Small HeathLarge & Small White, Meadow Brown, Common Blueand Small Copper. (Ron & Brenda Elphick )

News for Saturday 5 September: Path from Glynde to Glynde Holt (TQ455 094), 3 Small White, Common Blues, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 1 very fresh Comma, 2 Small Heath, >6 Meadow Brown, 3 Speckled Wood. Near Saxon Down (TQ4445 1016) Small Whites, 2 Large White, 6 Common Blues, 4 Adonis Blues including a mating pair, 1 Painted Lady, 4 Small Heath, >8 Meadow Brown. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Friday 4 September: Details of Transect at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. 3 Large White, 2 Small White, 3 Small Copper, 12 Common Blue, 1 Red Admiral, 4 Comma, 15 Speckled Wood, 13 Meadow Brown. Total recorded, 53 of 9 species. (David Pyle)

Saturday 5 September 2009

Read the Independent (today's issue, pages 22 and 23) to find out how a Sussex site hosted the grand finale of the newspaper's Great Butterfly Hunt! (Neil Hulme)

This evening my wife and I identified a Convolvulus Hawkmoth feeding on our Nicotiana flowers. (Tim Parmenter, Plumpton Green)

In our East Dean (TV562984) garden: Painted Lady (8), Red Admiral (2), Comma (1), Peacock (1) - plus some Meadow Brown, Large White and Small White. All except the Small Copper (see news for 4 Sept.), nectaring on our Buddleia and Valerian. Every day since 20 August (except 3 September) we have seen one or two Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on our Valerian. Also, On a walk from Holywell to Cow Gap Bottom (Eastbourne) Chalkhill Blue (2) and Silver-spotted Skipper (1) - plus some Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Large White, and Small White. (David and Carole Jode)

News for Friday 4 September: Southerham Lewes (TQ4309) 1 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 5 Clouded Yellow, Common Blues, 1 or 2 Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blues, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths, 3 Small Copper (Crispin Holloway).

News for Friday 4 September: Just reading reports of all the recent Convolvulus Hawk-moths reported on the Atropos website this evening, and wondering why my tobacco plants (grown specially for the purpose) STILL hadn't attracted any, when I was prompted to look up from the keyboard and bingo! there was my first of the autumn - hovering at flowers right outside the patio window! Nature and the internet never cease to amaze. Also one Old Lady again on the bird table, feeding from the over-ripe bananas. (Ralph Hobbs, Westfield, near Hastings)

News for Friday 4 September: In our East Dean (TV562984) garden: Painted Lady (3) - Red Admiral (2) - Small Copper (1) - plus some Meadow Brown, Large White and Small White. (David and Carole Jode)

Recent news: Eyed Hawk-moth caterpillar at Southwater Country Park (16 Aug), Grey Dagger caterpillar at Warnham NR, a Convolvulus Hawk-moth caught in my Ringmer trap on the 25th Aug, and an L-album Wainscot caught in my Ringmer trap on the 31st Aug. (Jacob J Everitt)

Friday 4 September 2009

While out for a stroll this morning on the North side of Burgess Hill, Sussex, my children found this very worn Purple Hairstreak (below, left). (Jack and Oliver Brandon)

One of my favourite autumn haunts is Cissbury Ring, which usually provides a spectacular 'grand finale' of Small Coppers (above, right), along with some interesting migratory birds. My visit this morning did not disappoint, with a thorough search of the earthworks and flanks producing at least 50 feisty coppers. At one point there was a 'string' of 6 males chasing an unreceptive female. Everything else was being attacked, including some battered old Painted Ladies. There will be plenty more emerging here later in the month. (Neil Hulme)

Having a couple of hours spare this morning I decided to go for a stroll along The Comp and Greenway Bank. I was certainly not expecting to see much as the wind was still quite high and it was also quite cool. However I was very pleasantly surprised that when I got to The Comp the wind was blowing across the bushes that meant the path was protected and many butterflies were settling on the path to get the heat from that. Although not many species were seen, this was made up by the quantities, especially with the 62 Speckled Woods seen in the area which is about a mile long. The only other species with big numbers was Small White with about 20 seen. Also seen was 2 Large White, 3 Painted Ladies of which 1 was fresh, 5 Small copper (above, left), 1 Small Heath, 5 Common Blue, 4 Comma (above, right) and 12 Meadow Brown. An extra bonus was a pair of Whinchats migrating south. (Bob Eade)

Wednesday 2 September 2009

News for Tuesday 1 September: Kingston near Lewes (TQ39150862). An old female Chalkhill Blue, 3 Small Coppers, 1 Small Heath, Common Blue, a few Meadow Browns and quite a lot of whites. (John Holloway).

News for Tuesday 1 September: Far too windy for many butterflies today. Chappel Hill near Lewes Golf Course (TQ4245 1011) Adonis Blues & Meadow Browns. Ovingdean (TQ3492 0331) just near Roedean school. 1 Adonis Blue, Meadow Browns, Speckled Wood, Small Heaths. Loose Bottom, near Falmer (TQ3615 0799) 1 Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Meadow Browns. (Crispin Holloway)

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Had a trip up to Malling Down this afternoon and observed: several Large White, Small White, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and one each of Small Heath, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Painted Lady and a blue (probably Common?). (Nick Linazasoro)

Below, Small Copper, Small Heath and Meadow Brown, Malling Down. (Nick Linazasoro)

Balsdean Bottom, Rottingdean: Large, Small and Green-veined Whites; Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small Heath; Adonis, Chalkhill and Common Blues, Brown Argus; Small Copper; Comma; Painted Lady. Figure of Eight, Large Yellow Underwing. Beacon Hill, Ovingdean: Adonis Blue - 1 male in northeast of reserve. Bulstrode Farm, Ovingdean: Red Admiral caterpillar and stripped Goat Willow complete with mature Buff-tip caterpillars. (Jeremy Tatum, Canada)

News for Saturday 29 August 2009: I returned to Steyning Rifle Range expecting to observe a downward trend in Brown Hairstreak numbers, but got a rather nice surprise! It was also a first visit for 'Purple Emperor buddy' Matthew Oates, Steve Meredith and Adrian Hoskins, who runs the fantastic website www.learnaboutbutterflies.com (see his 'Butterfly Diary' report) - all went away suitably impressed with the site. We saw a total of nine female Brown Hairstreaks, along with the 'usual suspects' including Wall Brown and Clouded Yellow. There had clearly been a 'second wave' of emergence, as all nine of the Hairstreaks were in better condition than the 5 I saw during my last visit on 21 August. Some were very fresh and probably only a day or two old. (Neil Hulme)

Over the past two weeks I have been to Disneyworld, Florida and basically spent 13 days in Theme Parks....roller coasters, white tigers, Micky Mouse etc etc..thing is I was most excited about the 180 different species of butterflies over there! Whilst I couldn't know what they were I dived to the hotel computer and attempted to ID what I'd seen after the long tiring days at each theme park. I know they aren't Sussex Butterflies and don't really count in here, I thought some of the folk might be curious about what happens over there. The equivalent of Large white/small white appear to be Cloudless Sulphurs these are like massive Brimstones and you see em everywhere. There are also the odd bizarre Swallowtail spottings which I Identified as Black Swallowtail...I was even stopped by a Disney person and asked what I was looking for..."I'm interested in Butterflies" I said, a bit embarrassed. Came upon two utterly massive swallowtails which I chased around "Animal Kingdom"(A Disney theme park). These were aptly called "Giant Swallowtail". It's like a weird alternate butterfly universe over there. Skippers as big as small whites fly (Swarthy Skipper) and what appear to be Long Tailed Blue are in fact something called "Cassius Blue". Other blues are tiny tiny tiny things (which I found are Ceranus blue). I saw Zebra longwing - apparently the National state Butterfly..though only a few from a distance and whilst witing for my partner and little girl to catch me up, I peered over a bridge, over a massive road, down into a swampy marshy area. Three "White Peacock" graced the flowers. I have only tonight managed to ID them!! On the bus to Kennedy Space Centre a Monarch flew past the bus (which of course I knew) and another bright orange creature turned out to be a "Gulf Fritillary". Thing that was also quite nice is that since birth, I've indoctrinating my daughter to be interested in Butterflies and even she, in between all the amazing theme parks and water slides noticed how weird the butterflies were. "Look Danny" (she calls me Danny, coz it's similar to Daddy) "It's a big weird Brimstone"....Ah well back to small whites and the onset of Winter... (Danny McEvoy)


What to look for in September

  • Butterflies - September - or at least the first couple of weeks - can sometimes be pretty darn good for butterflies, although after this cool and windy summer things are likely to be much quieter than normal. Nevertheless, with all sorts of species hanging on from the summer brood, 12 species still possible in a day, and there are still some second or third broods of several species emerging or yet to emerge, such as Common Blues, Wall Brown, Speckled Wood and Small Heath, and of course this year Painted Ladies, even if the broods subsequent to the spring invasion haven't been quite as large as one might have hoped. 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.

Monday 31 August 2009

Southerham & Caburn Bottom, Lewes (TQ427 096 to TQ 442 092) >3 Silver-spotted Skippers + eggs, 5 Clouded Yellows, Small Whites, 2 or 3 very fresh Brimstones, Common Blues, loads of Adonis Blues some rather tatty, several Chalkhill Blues (all a bit old), 5 or 6 very fresh Small Coppers, Brown Argus, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths. Also some Autumn Ladies Tresses. Silver-spotted Skippers have clearly peaked and are now finishing off. 2009 looks like it has been a very good year for Silver-spotted Skippers on the Malling Down transect. The grand total almost matches the record year of 2006. This is how the 2009 trend was for Malling. With the peak of their flight period being 7th August. 18/07/09 - 1, 26/07/09 - 3, 02/08/09 - 25, 07/08/09 - 80, 16/08/09 - 36, 23/08/09 - 37, 29/08/09 - 17, This is how 2009 compares with previous years totals: 2009 Total: 199 (so far), 2008 Total: 72, 2007 Total: 32, 2006 Total: 228, 2005 Total: 129, 2004 Total: 63, 2003 Total: 40, 2002 Total: 4, 2001 Total: 16, 2000 Total: 4, 1999 Total: 3, 1998 Total: 0. (Crispin Holloway)

My partner Julian found this female Brown Hairstreak egg-laying at RSPB Pulborough Brooks today. Also seen were Small Copper, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Peacock, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood. The Hairstreak was giving great views. (Clare Dell & Julian Stenning)

Took a stroll along the 'Camberwell Alley' area of Friston this afternoon. Painted Lady 25+, Clouded Yellow 3, Small Copper 4, Common Blue 10, Speckled Wood 6, Comma 4, Meadow Brown 40, Red Admiral 1 and a late Silver-washed Fritillary (Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers)

News for Sun 30 August 2009: My Adur Valley moth trap yielded Angle Shades, Rush Veneer, Lime-speck Pug, Flounced Rustic, Square-spot Rustic, Vine’s Rustic, Small Square Spot and Pale Mottled Willow (Sherie New)

News for Sun 30 August 2009: Last night to 125w Mercury Vapour trap in Wadhurst: 2nd Convolvulus Hawk of the season, Small Mottled Willow, Dark Sword Grass, European Cornborer, Rush Veneer. All nice migrants. (Andy Adams)

Small White, Angmering, Sat 29 August (Paula Marshall)

Sunday 30 August 2009

Plenty of photos added for last few days - scroll down to see everything from Brown Hairstreak eggs to a Hornet Robberfly with lunch!

News for Sat 29 August 2009: Mill Hill carpark Shoreham. 2 Painted Ladies one very old the other ok condition, also 1 Red Admiral. I have seen surprisingly few Red Admirals recently. On the lower slopes several Adonis Blue, 2 or 3 Chalkhill Blue, Common Blues, Speckled Wood, Small Heaths, Meadow Browns. At Upper Beeding (TQ212 103) 2 Clouded Yellow, Small White, Adonis Blues, 2 or 3 Chalkhill Blue, Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and 1 Wall Brown. (Crispin Holloway)

Re Bob Brown's mystery caterpillar: Hi Bob, I’m no expert on either butterflies or moths but my moth book produces a few possible matches: try looking up Vapourer moth, Brown-tail moth, White Satin moth to see if they match what you saw. Good luck. (Sherie New)

Saturday 29 August 2009

Recorded a Pearly Underwing today and a Bordered Straw yesterday at Wadhurst. Both migrants. (Andy Adams)

Today we went blackberry picking at Frog Firle and took the camera too, so it was not a real butterfly hunt. However, we did see 2 Clouded Yellows, 1 Silver-Spotted Skipper, lots of Small White (below right), several Common Blue, 4 Painted Lady (including a fresh looking one), 1 very nice Comma, several Speckled Wood, 1 Gatekeeper (below left) tons of Meadow Brown and Small Heath and one Bob Eade. (Nick Linazasoro)


A morning stroll around High and Over and Frog Firle produced a tally of 15 species. Most were rather worn but there has been fresh emergences of Speckled Woods with many seen. There was also a very fresh Small Copper and 3 Painted Ladies that had also recently emerged. I was almost at the end of the walk when I found the first of 2 Silver-spotted Skippers, last week there were plenty of these so in the week most have gone. There are still some Clouded Yellows at the bottom of Frog Firle. 5 sightings of these with at least 3 different ones seen. Small Heath are very numerous as are Meadow Browns still. Singles of Brimstone, Holly Blue and Comma and also small quantities of both Chalkhill and Common Blue just hanging on. (Bob Eade).

Unusual sighting of two mature Large White caterpillars eating a freshly pupated Small White chrysalis. Desperate predation caused by very low food resource, or mistaken identity due to chemical composition of pupae being similar to foodplant, perhaps? (Dave Harris)

News for Thurs 27 Aug: Spotted this Swallowtail at Robertsbridge station at about 4:15 flying in a south westerly direction. (Julian Palfrey)

News for Weds 26 August: At our Exchange Project Community Garden in Seaford a strange caterpillar was found on the ground, beneath a chestnut tree if that's any help. It was about 3cm long, the body was black with bright white blobs on the top. There were very pronounced hairs which were mostly bright yellow, but with odd random groups of bright red tufts towatrds the rear. We called it the bottle-brush caterpillar for obvious reasons! Can anyone tell me what moth this is, please? (Bob Brown)

News for Fri 21 August: Hornet Robberfly at High and Over. Although not a butterfly I wonder how many butterflies this big brute would eat. Obviously very fast as well going by the fact he has a fly in his tallons!! Thanks to Michael Blencowe for identifying him. (Bob Eade)

Friday 28 August 2009

Details of the Transect walked this afternoon at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill: 3 Large White, 2 Small White, 4 Small Copper, 26 Common Blue, 10 Comma, 11 Speckled Wood, 6 Gatekeeper, 64 Meadow Brown, 1 Brown Hairstreak. Total, 127 butterflies, 9 species. (David Pyle)

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Butchershole Bottom: cloudy day but saw lots of Small Heaths (below left), Small Coppers and Speckled Woods. Clouded Buff (below right) also. (Heather Maryson)


Nick Linazasoro's caterpillar (23 August) is that of the Cinnabar. These were more correctly referred to as 'Wort Maggots in Football Jerseys' in my youth. Paula Marshall's second caterpillar (24 August) is a Buff-tip. I'm unsure as to the identity of her third caterpillar, but it isn't a butterfly. From that angle it might be either a moth (any suggestions from our moth experts?) or sawfly larva. (Neil Hulme)

Nice to see Josse Davis getting down in the grass 'Bellamy style' to spot a Brown Argus egg! Looking for the 'early stages' of our butterflies and moths can be very rewarding and adds another dimension to our interest. In the case of elusive species such as the Brown Hairstreak, it's also a very good way of finding new colonies in the winter months. This is how the populations at Steyning Rifle Range and Cissbury Ring were first discovered, on January 1st of 2008 and 2007. Something to keep you occupied on those dark days between seasons! Below is a photograph of a Brown Hairstreak egg I found at Steyning last week. (Neil Hulme)

News for Sunday 23 August 2009: I joined Sarah Hughes (Manhood Peninsula Action for Wildlife Project Officer) at the Selsey Centre on Sunday afternoon, to present the prizes for a children's art competition. Local primary schools were asked to paint butterflies either as they imagined them, demonstrating how best to conserve them in their gardens, or illustrating their life-cycle, in three different age groups. Without parental consent I won't name the winners, but I was very impressed by some of the entries, particularly a stunning painting of a Red Admiral and a life-cycle collage with a chrysalis made of wool. All of the children at the event were given a fridge-magnet butterfly to take home. (Neil Hulme)

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Well worth scanning down the page for photos added in today from over the last week...

We haven't had many butterfly egg photos sent in over the last 4 years, so this is welcome from Josse Davis of a Brown Argus egg at Levin Down on 16 Aug, and next to it the results of the Privet Hawkmoth saga that entertained us all in Josse's entry on 20 July.


Two lovely photos of Painted Ladies from Sam Barnes' garden in Bexhill on 19 August, the first nectaring on that wonderful butterfly flower Hemp Agrimony:

Great photo by Louise Holloway from Malling Down on 23 August of Adonis Blues gathered at dung for salts

Caterpillar trio from Paula Marshall at Angmering, 24 August - Vapourer, Buff-tip, and a puzzler that Paula thought might be Meadow Brown - other ideas welcome.

On a breezy day, the one acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (Old Shoreham) hosted 38 Adonis Blue with the 17 females the highest recorded count for this gender. There were at least a handful of couples courting and mating. (Andy Horton)

Colin Pratt is just completing his distribution map of the Painted Lady migration during May in Sussex and has a few tetrads that he doesn't have records for yet. If you have seen Painted Lady butterflies in any of these areas Colin would be grateful to hear from you: Duncton, Billingshurst, Crawley Down, Herstmonceux, Burwash, Battle. Please contact Colin directly by email: mailto:colin.pratt@talk21.com. If you did see Painted Ladies in any of the above locations he would like to know how many you saw in the day even if it was only one (a rough estimate would be fine e.g. 50, 100 and so on).

News for Tuesday 18 August: I have been doing the transects at Bevendean since 1997 and have seen the numbers of Adonis Blues fall and then rise again but in'07 and '08 the numbers crashed to just a few but this year the numbers are at last going up again. Still far fewer than the Chalkhill Blues that keep fairly consistent year to year. Apart from the Adonis and Chalkhills that I saw today there were Common Blues, a few Brown Argus, Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, whites and a Small Heath. (Geoff Stevens)

News for Sun 16 August: Had a great walk on the side of Levin Down. Small Whites and Large Whites, Small Heaths, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Blues (lots of them), Common Blue, Painted Lady, Peacocks, Comma, Clouded Yellow, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, and Brown Argus. Female Brown Argus laid this egg as we watched. (Josse Davis)

Monday 24 August 2009

Thank you to Steve Wheatley for admirably holding the fort on the website sightings while I was away for a few days - Adrian

Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on Honeysuckle in our garden in Frant, East Sussex this afternoon. (Alan Loweth)

I enjoyed a circular walk around Steyning today. Old rifle range: Common Blue, Small Heath, Large White, Small White, Clouded Yellow, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown. Woods on the Downs (TQ161103): Peacock and very worn Wall Brown (below left). Steyning Round Hill: Painted Lady, Common Blue, Small Heath, Wall Brown, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Small White. Coming down the Bostal I was treated to a single Brown Hairstreak in the hedgerow at TQ171103 (below right). (Alexander Henderson)

My Adur Valley moth trap is keeping me busy identifying species. New ones today included White-shouldered House moth, Codling moth, Rush Veneer, Amblyptilia acathadactyla (a Plume moth), Small Dusty Wave, Green Carpet, Common Carpet, and Lesser Yellow Underwing. Returnees included Brimstone, Large Yellow Underwing, Hebrew Character, Common Rustic, Vine’s Rustic, Light Brown Apple moth, Common Wainscot, Clay and Spectacle. (Sherie New)

News for Sunday 23 August: Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on Buddleia in our garden in Southwater. (Chris and Juliet Moore)

Recent news: I too went to the Steyning rifle range on Saturday lunchtime and met several people also looking for the Brown Hairstreak Unfortunately it wasn't to be for me that day although I did see the photos a chap had taken about an hour before. I did however see my first summer male Brimstone on the south facing hill and several Wall Browns. Prior to Steyning I was at Wolstonbury Hill a National Trust site, the Pycombe side directly behind the quarry visible form the A23 I was there at 8.30a.m for a couple of hours and then slightly later on Sunday am. This area is a superb chalk hill butterfly site with large amounts of flowers such as scabious, birds foot trefoil and large patches of Marjoram. Being slightly windswept butterflies concentrate and roost in the various hollows up the hill and against the hedgerow to the western side. Access is via Pycombe Street and follow lane up and along bridle path for half a mile. It's also worth going down the footpath opposite signed ACCESS LAND as there is another secluded patch of Marjoram again fantastic for blues. A while back there were abundant numbers of Marbled Whites, and Red Admirals. I saw the following: Large White, Small White, Green-veined White male x2 and female x3, Brimstone, Peacock, Painted Ladies brightly coloured and very dull ones, Small Heath, Adonis Blue males and females, Chalkhill Blue males and females, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Brown Argus, Small Coppers, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma. All the blues were in abundance sometimes with 4 or 5 airborne in groups at the same time. 4-12th July: Woods to the North of Spithandle Lane between Ashurst and Steyning several White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillary in woodland glades and sunny spots and also Ringlets and Large Skippers. Also Purple Hairstreaks. Purple Hairstreaks were fairly common a few weeks ago on the downlink next to the cat and canary station road Henfield but unfortunately around the tops of the oaks especially on sunny late afternoons. 16 August: Behind Woodmancote place, Woodmancote in corner of a grass field large patch of tall yellow flowers I counted 8 Small Coppers the most i have ever seen in such a small place. (Richard Roebuck)

Anyone who missed the excellent 'Living World' programme on Radio 4 early yesterday morning, in which Lionel Kellaway went to Exmoor with the two top UK experts on the species, Matthew Oates (National Trust - and star guest and speaker at our forthcoming AGM) and Martin Warren (Butterfly Conservation), to find the species and hear about its lifestyle can, at the moment, download it from the BBC website in podcast form by going to 'The Living World' webpage, where details of how to achieve the download are given. You can, of course, listen to it on the BBC i-Player (if you fancy sitting in front of your computer for 22 minutes doing nothing else) but all you people with personal music players can transfer the podcast download to that and listen to it while actually butterflying! (Jim Steedman)

Sunday 23 August 2009

Anchor Bottom (TQ210 0930) 2 Clouded Yellows, Large and Small Whites, Brown Argus, Adonis Blues, Common Blues, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths a glimpse of a possible Wall Brown . No Silver-spotted Skippers but very good views of the air show. Also Buzzards & a Peregrine Falcon. (Crispin Holloway)

After an unsuccessful search for Brown Hairstreak in countryside around Warnham today, I came home to find one in my Horsham garden! I photographed it at rest on the Lily pad of our small pond. We later re-spotted it (assuming it to be the same butterfly) high up on an apple tree where it spent some time at rest on an apple. (Simon Carter)

The late and small Marbled White reported yesterday was still present for a while this morning, difficult to photograph, very aware of my presence, reasonable condition but rather faded. More significant, late afternoon was a Silver-spotted Skipper nectaring on Hardhead and Marjoram. This site is not an ideal habitat for this species, the sward is a bit too long this year and although Sheep's fescue (Festuca ovina) is present there is not a great deal of it. Presumably it was pit-stopping on its journey westward. Earlier there was a Small Copper ovipositing on Sorrel. Also Brown Argus, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Comma, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Whites. (John Holloway)

Ventured out again today to The Gallops at Friston Forest, scene of thousands of butterflies a few weeks ago. Today, was a different story. A lot less butterflies this time round. Observered was one Common Purple and Gold Pyrausta purpuralis, one Small Copper, one Skipper, several whites, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood. There was also hundreds of Meadow Browns and Small Heath. There was also very faded and the bright new Painted Ladies. (Nick Linazasoro)

Common Blue

Cinnabar caterpillar

Small Copper
Photos by Nick Linazasoro

10am in the new Millenium Woodland, Hanlye fields, Cuckfield. Nectaring on Fleabane, with a Painted Lady and two Meadow Browns, the first Silver-washed Fritillary I have seen in this area. I spent several minutes watching it while it posed beautifully, in spite of my having no camera, showing top and underneath, wings closed and fully open. Very exciting. (H & B Carter)

I went back to the Rifle Range at Steyning today to, once again, try and get a fix on those Brown Hairstreaks. I did manage to see one but only one and it wasn’t keen on having its photo taken at all. A couple I met saw two so they did a little better. I also saw Clouded Yellow, Wall, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Speckled Wood and the usual Large and Small Whites. There was a Hornet, a Ruddy Darter dragonfly and several large Hawker dragonflies too. I was intrigued by the sight of a white and black banded moth. This was possibly a Carpet of some kind but it also did not want a photo so I cannot be sure. In fact nothing seemed to want a photo while I was there today so I eventually headed home where my resident Vapourer caterpillar proved much more accommodating. To the gentleman I met at about 2pm: I’m sorry I missed you before you left. (Sherie New)

Steyning Round Hill today proved easier to find Brown Hairstreaks than the rifle range. Two females located at 1:30 very quickly (although having eagle-eyed Paul Johnson with me certainly helped). Also we found a Small Skipper which seem to have had a poor year compared with many species and certainly scarce now. (Tom Ottley)

Hightlight of the year so far a Jersey Tiger (below) trapped at the visitor centre last night (22nd Aug) being the first for the reserve and the 400th species trapped at the visitor centre this year. (Ivan Lang)

Recorded a Convolvulus Hawk to MV last night here at Wadhurst.(Andy Adams)

News for Sat 22 Aug: V Large Unknown Butterfly, Kingley Vale.
Place: Kingley Vale Nature Reserve. Specifically the Downs Road west of the main car park.
Time: 12am noon, Sat 22nd Aug
Weather: Sunny, some cloud.
I was returning from cycling the reserve, travelling east from Bowhill Lane then along Downs Road to the car park. A very large – larger than a Red Admiral – butterfly (or day-flying moth?) flew past me at high speed. It proceeded to fly up and down the lane near the car park several times. I don’t think it was feeding. It would alight frequently on the hedges on both sides of the road. It'a flight was not “moth-like” but quite “jittery”. It never settled for more than a fraction of a second, so I could not say if it closed it’s wings up or down. I would estimate flying speeds up to 20 mph? It seemed “aware” of me, and actually landed on me several times – although I still could not get a decent look at it! I would hazard the top wings were mottled fawn, but there was a very bright flash of red or scartlet to the under-wings. I’ve certainly never seen anything like it before (I’m 48 yrs old). It was definitely not a hawk moth. I’ve had a look around on the internet but have not seen a picture that looks like it, so I’m very curious what it was. (Richard Porter)

Yesterday (August 22) a Swallowtail (presumably gorganus) flew across my partner's garden in Robertsbridge, East Sussex. (Rob Bogue)

Response from Neil Hulme (Chairman of BC Sussex Branch): [Richard Porter's sighting was almost certainly of a Red Underwing moth. Nick Linazasoro's Skipper is a very elderly and faded female Small Skipper. Bob Bogue's Swallowtail will certainly be the immigrant 'gorganus' and it will be well worth looking out for more of these.] Thanks Neil.

Saturday 22 August 2009

What a successful day for me.....my first ever Brown Hairsteak and it looked as though she was laying her eggs. Although she was damaged, she was still a beauty, well worth 3 trips and a total of 100 miles to see her. Aren't these little insects great! I also saw what I think was a very very pale Small Skipper (I have e-mailed Neil Hulme for verification), but it certainly didn't look right. Also on offer were two Red Admirals dancing and several Wall Brown, Small White, Large White, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Gatekeeperáand lots of Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Speckled Wood. (Nick Linazasoro)

Brown Hairstreak egg laying

Small Heath covered in pollen

A very pale Small Skipper?
Photos by Nick Linazasoro

Kingston near Lewes (TQ39150862). An exceptionally small Marbled White roosting on top of Field Scabious flower head. Probably no larger than a CH Blue and very late for this site. On this south facing site Marbled White always appears quite early and finishes early. First M White seen here this year on 17 June and the last on 18 July so it is 35 days since one was previously seen. The site (being my garden) is monitored every day. Also, here today Large White, Small White and Green-veined White, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper, 1 only Painted Lady, Small Heath, Meadow Brown. Already Brown Argus, Common Blue and Painted Lady are looking tatty and declining in number. (John Holloway)

News for Friday 21 August: My thanks to Neil for the U-turn at Steyning Rifle Range yesterday. I was late arriving after opening my moth trap but that didn’t stop Neil from trying to spot one of these most elusive of butterflies for the benefit of my camera. I had almost given up hope as it was getting a bit late in the day to see them and we hadn’t spotted one but, just as we were approaching 2.25pm and the last few metres of blackthorn Neil exclaimed “There’s one!” At first I couldn’t see it even with Neil pointing directly at it (this doesn’t bode well for my chances of spotting them by myself) but then it came into focus: a beautiful little female Brown Hairstreak attempting to lay eggs right in front of us. Neil spotted it and I think he likes his photographs as much as I do but he very generously urged me to get in there and get some shots. I managed to get a little series of the butterfly posing beautifully on a blackthorn leaf as it rested for a while and I am delighted with them as some of them are certainly my best shots of this species to date. We followed its progress for about 10 or 15mins after 2.30pm (the usual cut-off time for being able to see this species up and about) so it’s good to have broken that record. I’m not sure what else was flying – I had a serious case of tunnel vision! It was great and my thanks again to Neil for making it happen.
On the mothing front, my trap yielded some new kids on the block: micro moth Agriphila tristella, Clay, Least Yellow Underwing, Vines Rustic and a Plume moth. We also found a dead Willow Beauty in our house (in my partner’s office room so it’s his fault!). Old regulars included Large Yellow Underwing, Brimstone, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Wainscot, Flame Shoulder, Common Rustic, Mother of Pearl and Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing. (Sherie New)

Brown Hairstreak by Sherie New

Friday 21 August 2009

East Hill, Pyecombe (TQ2850 1136) Adonis Blue, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Painted Lady, Small Heath & 3 Silver-spotted Skippers (Crispin Holloway).

Kingston near Lewes (TQ39150862) 2 very fresh Small Coppers, Meadow Brown, Common Blues, Painted Lady (John Holloway).

A breezy day at High and Over and Frog Firle and the numbers of many species are declining in number with only 1 Wall Brown and very few Gatekeepers. Meadow Browns were still very numerous as were Small Heath. Silver Spotted Skippers were also showing well (photos below). In total only 14 species seen with Holly Blue and Clouded Yellow being the others worth a mention. (Bob Eade)

Steyning Rifle Range continues to provide Britain's Best Streaking. On Tuesday this week (18th) I had my largest daily tally for the year, seeing 6 different female Brown Hairstreaks, recognised on the basis of varying degrees of 'wear and tear'. It was quite surprising to be able to follow them for long distances over open country, as they are more normally considered to follow the hedge-lines. Today I had seen another 4 females and was just about to leave the site when Sherie New arrived. After doing a 'U turn' we eventually found a fifth, and I'm pleased to say that Sherie ended up with a very nice photo! On Wednesday (19th) a breif visit to Mill Hill produced 4 Clouded Yellows, including the pale form helice. (Neil Hulme)

Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on Buddleia outside the Liberal Constituency Office in the centre of Lewes this evening. (Steve Wheatley)

Thursday 20 August 2009

Fran Southgate and Dave Brown found a well-grown Death's Head Hawkmoth caterpillar whilst at Barcombe Mills yesterday (19/08/2009) just at the side of the footpath near Pikes Bridge. Photos by Dave Brown. (Penny Green)

Kingston near Lewes (TQ39150862). Chalkhill Blue ovipositing on HSV, 2 Small Coppers, one fresh. One Painted Lady rather worn and small, 9 Common Blues, 3 Brown Argus, Few Meadow Browns, Speckled Wood, Small Whites and Large Whites. (John & Louise Holloway)

Wednesday 19 August 2009

A nice area of access land with perfect habitat for Silver-spotted Skippers at Telscombe Tye (TQ4108 0354). Large and Small White, Painted Ladies, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Chalkhill Blues, >3 Wall Brown, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, >25 Silver-spotted Skippers. Broadgreen Bottom near Telscombe Tye (TQ4145 0385) >30 Silver-spotted Skippers, 2 Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blues, Small Heath, Painted Ladies, Wall Brown, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Small Heath. Kingston near Lewes (TQ3915 0862) Small Copper, >15 Common Blue, Brown Argus, Wall Brown, Meadow Browns, Gatekeeper, and whites. Not many Red Admirals about. (Crispin Holloway)

Thanks to BC member Leonie Mercer and Neil Hulme for helping me out on the BC stall at Michelham Priory today. The previous evening I ran a moth trap at the Priory (thanks to Keith and Wendy Alexander for their help) and I opened the trap today for a crowd of children and parents. Despite it feeling like the summer had eventually arrived there were plenty of Autumn moths in the trap. Neil lead two walks in the afternoon around the grounds and throughout the day Leonie and I answered butterfly questions and the children reported back to us with their sightings from around the grounds. Thanks again to all who helped (Michael Blencowe)

A visit to Ifield, Crawley to check on Brown Hairstreak. Last year I had no sightings in 3 visits. Today, after 1 and a half hours of diligent searching I had 3 sightings. Two were fly-bys and the other was a female which landed briefly in front of me. Also seen were Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Small Copper, Small White, Large White and Green-veined White, all in very small numbers. (Vince Massimo)

During a walk down from Beachy Head this morning to the lower levels of Cow Gap and back, sightings included 5 Clouded Yellow, several Adonis Blue, 2 Wall Brown, 6 Brown Argus, one very worn Small Skipper one Silver-spotted Skipper among the more common species.  In the last few days 14 species in our Rodmell garden: Large and Small White, Painted Lady, Comma, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Wall Brown, Gatekeeper, Specked Wood, Small Heath, Common Blue, Small Copper, Small Skipper. We keep a patch of un-mown grass into which we have introduced some food plants . I think this helps.   (Sharifin Gardiner)

2 long days spent at Steyning at last resulted in some female Brown Hairstreaks coming down from the trees. At around 12.30 a female was spotted flying low around the base of the blackthorn bushes at the top of the hill. It then took several short flights around the area before heading down the hill where it still stopped and settled several more times before we eventually lost it. On arriving back at the spot where the fun started another female was spotted immediately and this one hung around for 20 minutes giving plenty of opportunity for photos. Peter Farrant was taking video shots whilst I was on the stills. Several times it nearly landed on us. On leaving Sherie was photographing another female at the bottom of the hill, this one had its left hand tail missing. Apparently there was someone spotted earlier in the day with a butterfly net which is a bit of a worry. I then had a brief visit to Mill Hill where there was up to 3 Clouded Yellow and also the 2nd brood Dingy Skipper as well as plenty of Adonis Blue. (Bob Eade).

I took a walk at the Steyning Rifle Range and spotted Orange Swift and the following butterflies: Small Heath, Wall Brown, Small Copper (sitting very prettily for the camera), Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Common Blue, Meadow Brown and one Brown Hairstreak. The latter was well down in amongst a very small Blackthorn and it was in rather tatty condition. I was busy trying to make the most of the tatty wings, lack of light, busy background and neck breaking angles to photograph in but congratulating myself on having found one all by myself. However, while I was doing this, Bob Eade and Pete were busy further up the hill photographing two pristine females in more open country with fantastic light, backgrounds, the whole shebang (I guess it’s only fair because they had further to travel). Anyway, that makes a total of 3 female Brown Hairstreaks at the Rifle Range seen in one morning.

Also on Saturday 15th I had my sister and brother-in-law visiting and we took a walk along Beachy Head and then the Cuckmere Estuary. At Cuckmere we were walking along and I idly commented that I wished there was a Small Copper to show my sister (I think they are really pretty) and lo and behold one appeared right in front of us – if only it were always that easy! Also at Cuckmere, we saw a single, rather battered, Clouded Yellow. On my Steyning allotment on Tues 18th a single Wall Brown on the main path. (Sherie New)

News for Monday 18 August 2009: High Hill near Balsdean cottages (TQ3780 04430), an area of really impressive grassland grazed by rabbits - scrub and bramble encroaching. It is open access land and can probably only be access by walking round the back of a water pumping station at the end of a private track. In a 30 min visit to the site I noted the following: Large and Small White, Brown Argus, Common Blues, Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blues, Painted Ladies, >2 Wall Brown, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and 6 Silver-spotted skippers. Tennant Hill Saltdean (TQ3916 0310) Small/Essex Skipper, Large Whites, Chalkhill Blues, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Painted Lady. Rodmell, Mill Hill (TQ41460 05322) Large White, Small White, Speckled Woods, Wall Brown, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown and Red Admiral. Kingston (TQ39152 08624) Large Whites, Small Whites, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Painted Lady and Red Admiral. (Crispin Holloway)

Tuesday 18 August 2009

News for Mon 17 Aug 2009: After escaping from work, I trundled up to Mill Hill above the delightful A27 for some total escapism. The delights this evening on offer were a single Clouded Yellow, a single Gatekeeper, two Wall Brown, two Painted Lady, several Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Small Heath and Meadow Brown. Far fewer than earlier on in the day, but it was near the butterflies bedtime! (Nick Linazasoro)

Monday 17 August 2009

Male Brown Hairstreak nectaring on Hemp Agrimony in my Storrington garden. (Martin Kalaher)

It has been a while since I visited any Sussex site so today I decided to go to a new one. Predictably I got a bit lost (twice) but eventually found the entrance to Steyning Rifle Range. Conditions were not ideal for my target species, but I was pleased to see 2 Brown Hairstreak females in the short periods when the sun eventually broke through. Lots of Painted Lady, Wall Brown, Common Blue, Brown Argus and Small Heath about, as well as the usual Whites, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. Also a single Small Copper and 2 Small Tortoiseshell. Notable also was a very tatty Marbled White. (Vince Massimo)

Eighteen species of butterfly seen on the day on Mill Hill and the Adur Levels including 54 Adonis Blues. (Andy Horton)

News for Sunday 16 August 2009: In my garden in Edburton a Bordered Straw was a nice catch in my net as I did my evening patrol. Still plenty of moths on the last of the rotten greengages with the best being 2 Dark Sword Grass, Red Underwing, Old Lady and up to 6 Copper Underwing sp. Other highlights at the light were Ringed China Mark and Marbled Green (Tony Wilson)

News for Sunday 16 August 2009: My butterfly transect is sandwiched around houses and main roads in north Horsham but within this urban scene is a small triangle of meadow / grassland pressed in between the B2195 and A264 that is proving to be surprisingly good. I was delighted yesterday to find a female Brown Hairstreak which fluttered down in front of me and landed on blackthorn. Whether this is a one off or there is a colony there I have not yet ascertained but I was delighted. I also saw my first Silver-washed Fritillary for this patch as well as 4 Small Copper, 12 Painted Lady and good numbers of the commoner species. It has taught me a lesson that good wildlife can almost literally be on your doorstep. (Matt Farmer)

News for Sunday 16 August 2009: May I just echo Nick's comments about the trip and thank Clare and Michael for running the event. I think it would be fair to say that I could have been wandering up and down the hillside and never have spotted one of the Grayling without the expert eyes of the leaders and the Kent branch experts as well, a most enjoyable day, thanks again. (John and Jan Baker)

News for Sunday 16 August 2009: Firstly, I would like to thank BC member Paul Day for chauffeuring me while I suffer some fairly horrendous car problems! I started the day at Steyning Rifle Range, where I met Paul, Barbara and Tom Ottley, Andrew Burns and Max and Fiona from 'BirdGuides'. Of course we were all there to see the fabulous Brown Hairstreak, the first of two females being located within minutes (below)! They are just beginning to show the first signs of a little wear and tear, although there are probably a few females still to emerge. Paul and I then went on to Chantry Hill. It was getting quite late in the day and the wind had picked up, keeping many of the butterflies grounded. However, we still managed to find a few Silver-spotted Skippers (no more than 8) and plenty of Brown Argus. (Neil Hulme)

News for Sunday 15 August 2009: Warnigore Bostal, Blackcap. Several Wall Brown, Gatekeepers, 1 Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blues, some Painted Ladies, 1 Red Admiral, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths, Small/Essex Skippers, 2 Silver-spotted Skippers and an Autumn Ladies Tresses. Mount Harry (TQ3809 1227), 1 Brimstone, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths, Common Blues, Brown Argus. The Beeches, Plumpton (TQ 368 127) > 6 Silver-spotted Skippers. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Saturday 15 August 2009: Ditchling Beacon TQ33543 13152, Painted Ladies, Brimstone, Large White, Common Blue, Small Copper, Small/Essex Skipper, Marbled White. 2 Silver spotted Skippers and one egg at TQ33933 12948. (Crispin Holloway)

Sunday 16 August 2009

The last butterfly field trip of 2009 and, like most of my other 2009 trips, there were grey clouds above and it was windy. Nevertheless it was warm and it wasn't raining. A crowd gathered at Windover to look for the elusive Grayling - amongst them members of Kent BC who make an annual pilgrimage to see our Grayling and Howard Street - the Grayling species champion from Surrey BC. We recorded plenty of Wall Brown around today - one of the most numerous butterflies seen on the track up the hill. As we reached the summit of Mount Windover there was a surprise for the attendees - I had arranged for the Red Arrows to fly past low overhead. But the Grayling in the valley were certainly not in the mood for any aerial acrobatics and were sheltering low in the grass. The first Grayling of the day was one of the most amazing examples of camouflage I have ever seen - virtually invisible against its background. For many this was their first Grayling encounter and - after I had lectured to the group on the idiosyncrasies of this amazing little insect - it did not disappoint. We went on to find more throughout the valley before the trip back down to the car park. Thanks to all who attended. Also seen today Adonis Blue, Large White, Speckled Wood, Silver-spotted Skipper, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Small Heath, Small Blue, Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow, Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue (Michael Blencowe)

Photo of the festival by Linda Bridges

Grayling Festival: I would like to start by thanking Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers for organising the great event and for their enthusiasm for everything butterflies! This was my first Grayling Festival and I was very excited as I have only been butterfly spotting for a very short time and have never knowingly seen a Grayling. The event seems to be expanding as we had members from Surrey and Kent Butterfly Conservation in attendance too. After Michael's introductory talk about the Grayling, we climbed up the hill and eventually arrived at Deep Dene. Having seen en-route numerous butterflies such as a Clouded Yellow, several Small White, Large White, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, Painted Ladies, Gatekeeper, Wall Brown, Speckled Wood and hundreds of Michael's favourites (sic) Meadow Brown and Small Heath. Once at Deep Dene we had to get our eyes adjusted in order to focus on the very well camouflaged Grayling. Once we were all in the mindset - RESULT....Grayling. I think we found around 7, but as they kept on hiding and re-appearing (some with tell-tale red mites on them), that figure could be a couple either side of 7. Not only can I tick off Grayling on my imaginary list, I can also add Silver-spotted Skippers as we saw a few of those too. All-in-all a good morning's work. It gave me inspiration to visit Frog Firle for the afternoon....(Nick Linazasoro)

Below - Nick's photos of Grayling, Silver-spotted Skipper and Wall Brown

....So, having had a successful morning on the Grayling Festival at Deep Dene, my butterfly appetite was whetted sufficiently enough to make a visit to Frog Firle in order to try and locate further Silver-spotted Skippers. Having adjusted my vision to incorporate tiny brown flashes at the side of my eyes and not ignore them as bees, my mission was suddenly much easier. I have visited this site at least a dozen times and have never seen any Silver-spotted Skippers.....until today! In fact, I saw around 12 Silver-spotted Skippers (easy when you know how isn't it). I also saw one Clouded Yellow and one Peacock plus several Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Painted Ladies, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Gatekeepers, Meadow Brown and Small Heath. So all-in-all a great day's butterflying! (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Friday 14 August: Despite cool weather we managed to record 70 moth species at the Old Radio Station in Ashdown Forest. This included Small Chocolate-tip, Antler Moth and a late Poplar Hawkmoth. We also found 6 Peacock butterflies already preparing for overwintering. Thank you to everyone who came along. (Steve Wheatley)

Anyone interested in the re-introduction of the Large Blue may like to listen or listen again to the Nature programme on BBC Radio 4 Tuesday 18 Aug @ 1100. (Roy Neeve)

Saturday 15 August 2009

News for Friday 14 August: Having won the Spring Social raffle prize of a moth trap session in my garden (expertly conducted by Michael Blencowe) the haul was as follows - Silver Y, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Orange Swift, Flame Shoulder, Dingy Footman, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Brimstone, Common Carpet, Straw Dot, Dusky Thorn, Yellow Shell, Pyrausta purpuralis, Mother of Pearl, Light Brown Apple Moth, Dun-bar, Riband Wave and Spectacle. But it was a caterpillar found by my son, Ed, on a walk to the swings with his friend, Jack, (and transported home somewhat precariously on a leaf) that caused the most excitement - The Sycamore. Big thanks to Michael, Clare, Penny, Dave and all others who gave moth knowledge. (Caroline Clarke)

Sycamore caterpillar (Ed Clarke)

News for Friday 14 August: Transect walked, Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill: 1 Clouded Yellow, 2 Large White, 2 Small White, 3 Small Copper, 74 Common Blue, 3 Painted Lady, 1 Speckled Wood, 73 Gatekeeper, 106 Meadow Brown. Total, 265 butterflies recorded, 9 species. (David Pyle)

News for Friday 14 August: Went to Bo Peep car park between Firle beacon and Alciston today. Extremely breezy so all butterflies were getting rough treatment if they ventured into the air. Great for flying a kite, which my son did, while I scrambled about trying not to fall off the hill. Saw 5-6 male Common Blues and same number of females, same number of Chalkhill Blue males, my first Wall Brown of the year - female, a single Brown Argus in immaculate condition as was a single male Silver-spotted Skipper. A great location which I haven't explored before and will be worth a return trip in more gentle weather to see how strong the SSSkipper colony is. (Andy Stokes)

Recent news: Isfield - Our local patch of Fleabane has held more butterflies over the last 3 weeks than for many a year. Peak numbers were Common Blue 15, Brown Argus 9, Small Copper 8, Painted Ladies 80, Peacock 7, Small Tortoiseshell 5, Clouded Yellow 1. (Graham Parris)

Friday 14 August 2009

Had a wander to the north of Sullington today. Got lost, then eventually found a butterfly haven on the slope of a hill that I think was Barnsfarm Hill, Sullington (just north of the South Downs Way). Saw numerous butterflies, too many to count but remember spotting an excellent example of a male Brimstone (below). Also saw one Clouded Yellow which was too quick to photograph. Saw numerous Small Whites, Large Whites, Small Copper, lots of blues. Obviously saw numerous Painted Ladies, some seem the usual size and some seem about 30% smaller. Lucky enough to see two Small Tortoiseshells. Also observed one Speckled Wood, a very sick Red Admiral. Also numerous Gatekeepers, Meadow Brown and Small Heath. (Nick Linazasoro)

Nick's Bromstone, plus also his Painted Lady and Small Tortoiseshell at Blatchington Golf Course on 12 August

News for Tues 11 August: On a walk, I saw 5 Clouded Yellows on the Sussex Border Path on the west side of Thorney Island. Two of them were helice. (Roger Pendell)

Thursday 13 August 2009

Hibernating Peacocks, Jersey Tiger and Silver-spotted Skipper photos added in to yesterday's sightings

Having been alerted by a friend, I went this morning to look at some fields of organic Lucerne where Clouded Yellows had been seen. During 40 minutes we saw fifteen or so Clouded Yellows. As noted by others, some of the individual butterflies are quite small. The fields in question are northeast of Newick Old Park wood and either side of the old carriage road (which is also a footpath) which starts at OS TQ431 179. The fields are humming with honeybees too. (Nick Lear)

News for Monday 10 August 2009: In our East Dean today (TV562984) our first garden Wall Brown of the year, also nine very fresh Small Tortoiseshell, plus Chalkhill Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Painted Lady, Large White and Small White. Mostly nectaring on Buddleia but also the small amount of valerian currently in flower. We also saw a single Hummingbird Hawkmoth, which is not unusual here, we having had about a dozen such sightings so far in July/August. They love the valerian. (David and Carole Jode)

Recent news: Interesting remarks on the subject of some butterflies emerging smaller than usual; on Saturday I walked over the Gallops above the Friston/Jevington road, there were thousands of Chalkhill Blues still flying, some now looking a bit tired, but some noticeably smaller than others. I always thought a Chalkhill was bigger than a Common Blue but some of these weren't. Again very few Small Tortoiseshells, also no Peacocks at all. (Bob Brown)

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Scroll down for recent photos, including stunning Brown Hairstreak shots

From mid-July until 6th August adult Painted Ladies were abundant in the Keymer thistle field, with 600-700 nectaring daily on thistles and, as the thistle flowers became spent, on ragwort - numbers then dispersed quite rapidly until today only a dozen or so were found on the ragwort. One individual was this afternoon egg-laying on thistles in the field, and yesterday afternoon I found another Painted Lady egg-laying on thistles beside the lane near to Lodge Farm in Keymer, half a mile south of the field. Locally we are still finding the odd Painted Lady in terrible condition with wings transparent and almost totally torn away, presumably a tiny number of the original migrants still surviving - amazingly even in this state they still manage to fly and feed quite happily! (Malcolm Le Grys).

On the Graffham walk the other week Neil Hulme told us about the Peacock hibernating as early as August. I thought that daft when there is so much warmth and flowers about but I shouldn't have doubted the expert. Photo to follow of what I just found in our bike shed. (Josse Davis)

From Lyn Lillington at Winchelsea: "Found this moth resting during the day on the ivy in my garden on Saturday 8th Aug" - a Jersey Tiger! This is a rare migrant that has established colonies in the South West and London. With a series of sightings in Rye over the last few years Country recorder, Colin Pratt, believes this beautiful moth might have established a colony in Sussex. (Steve Wheatley)

News for Tues 11 August: I went to Newtimber Hill hoping to see Silver-spotted Skippers and I was not disappointed. I counted between 20 and 30 individuals, some of them fighting, a couple of females laying eggs and another couple apparently courting but not actually ‘getting it together’ while I was there – even though I sportingly gave them plenty of time and space in which to get on with it. After a long time waiting, while the female moved two inches and the male followed and then they snuggled up together only to repeat this procedure ad infinitum I moved off a little. While I was gone, of course, the couple eloped and presumably consummated their relationship elsewhere. Fine, I can take a hint! Other species included large numbers of Silver Y, Common Blues and Meadow Browns. There were plenty of Painted Ladies in varying condition and several Gatekeepers. In addition to this there were one each of Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Small White, Large White, Brown Argus, Lime-speck Pug and two Small Heaths. A Kestrel gave good views at one point and a Wren chirruped closely. A lovely day. (Sherie New)

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Finally managed to get some butterfly spotting done with my two boys but under the guise of blackberry picking! We visited the western edge of Blatchington Golf Course north Seaford. We saw a truly amazing burnt orange Small Tortoiseshell. Its wings colour was almost heading towards deep red. I have taken photos of it but my camera hasn't really captured was my eyes saw. We saw several Meadow Browns, Small Whites and Large Whites and one Red Admiral. We also saw at least 20, the majority of which had individually set up camp in roughly equally spaced sections on the path going back down into Seaford. If any butterfly flew in a Painted Lady's own territory, it would fast and aggressively chase the offender away (usually another Painted Lady). This was interesting to observe whilst the children picked the blackberries. The outcome...two large punnets, half of which was made into a crumble and consumed at 9pm...sorry none left. (Nick Linazasoro)

A family train journey to friends in Bishopstone near Seaford gave me the opportunity to check the one of the best big moth traps in Sussex – the old ticket office of Bishopstone station. It didn’t disappoint. Very quickly we found Purple Bar, Lime-speck Pug and at least 3 other pug species, Dingy Footman, at least 4 Marbled Green, Buff Arches, Nut-tree Tussock, Mullein Wave, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Early Thorn, several Crambid micro moths. The best find was a lovely Garden Tiger. There were lots of moths too high to ID. The spiders do very well out of this arrangement and the floor was littered with wings of moths including wainscot and a burnet moth. (Steve Wheatley and family)

I met up with BC members Colin Knight and Brian Henham at Steyning Rifle Range, after Colin had phoned me to say that he had 2 female Brown Hairstreaks posing for the camera (below). Needless to say they disappeared about five minutes before Brian and I arrived. Colin's 'open-wing' shots are probably the best I've seen of this species - absolutely stunning! We spread out in the hope of intercepting others, as they wandered around the extensive stands of blackthorn and bullace, carefully placing their eggs in ones and twos. I later saw 3 more females (at least 2 different individuals), including one which I managed to photograph 'mid-lay'. The other species of note was the Wall Brown, which is having an excellent year here. (Neil Hulme)

Photos by Colin Knight:

Following on from the discussions about small individual butterflies, I was today following a superb Clouded Yellow that was settling quite frequently to feed when another Clouded Yellow came along, they spiralled up together. The 2nd Yellow was amazingly about half the size of the normal one, the fact they were flying together really showed it. It looked like 2 different species. The smaller one was a similar size to a Gatekeeper!! I did think that maybe the small one was really tatty with incomplete wings but although the small one didn't settle it flew close enough several times to show all the top wing markings were there. All this happened in the large rough area at the bottom of Frog Firle, amongst all the ragwort. 3 Clouded Yellows in total were seen. On my usual walk along The Comp, Greenway, Frog Firle and High and Over I saw a total of 20 species. Other highlights were 31 Wall Browns (below), 2 Small Tortoiseshells and a late Dark Green Fritillary. Silver-spotted Skipper numbers have also grown in the area. (Bob Eade).

New event: Wednesday 19 August. Sussex Butterfly Conservation will again be running a stall at children’s Wildlife Wednesday at Michelham Priory. There will be a moth trap opening at 11:30am and butterfly walks at 12:30 and 2:30. More details here. Priory entry fee applies.

News for Sunday 9 August 2009: 46 people attended the BC walk on the Rifle Range - part of the Steyning Downland Scheme Area. Most were keen to see the Brown Hairstreak, one of our two target species and Britain's most elusive butterfly. Guardian journalist Patrick Barkham joined us, in the hope of seeing the last of the 59 species he needed to complete a 'full house' in the course of his 2009 UK tour. After just over an hour, and with the pressure to deliver building, I was delighted to hear Roger Martin shout that he had a Brown Hairstreak in front of him. There was no panic and no need for crowd-control, as a long string of people patiently queued to see this pristine female through a telescope - a quite unusual scene! For much of the time she sat 'flat open', showing off the beautiful, fiery orange patches on her forewings. As is often the case, quite a number of people stayed on after the official end to the walk, adding a few more species to the already impressive tally we had accumulated. The list included Wall Brown, Clouded Yellow, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Holly Blue, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Small Heath. While waiting for the Hairstreaks to show we were treated to the sight of a Hobby and Sparrowhawk thermalling above us. Thanks to all that came along and made it such an enjoyable event. (Neil Hulme)

Queue to see Brown Hairstreak, and the sought after beauty herself (Neil Hulme)

News for Sunday 9 August 2009: A brief stop and search of the earthworks at Chantry Hill was all that was necessary in providing the good news I was hoping for. The Silver-spotted Skippers that arrived here in August 2007 have managed to hold on through the diabolical late summer weather of 2008. I am now confident that the species has really got a foothold here, seeing 9 males quite quickly. The slopes here are alive with butterflies and there are very high numbers of Brown Argus to be seen. Wall Brown have also colonised the site and a previous visit on 3 August (prior to the Silver-spotted Skipper emergence) produced my first ever sighting of Small Blue here. Those visiting to see the Silver-spotteds need to sift through quite high numbers of Small and Essex Skippers, which are persisting much later than on most sites in Sussex. (Neil Hulme)

News for Saturday 8 August 2009: I visited Steyning Rifle Range in warm sunshine, almost immediately seeing 4 male Brown Hairstreaks flitting around the Master Trees above the spring-fed ponds. After getting no more than a brief glimpse of a female Brown Hairstreak heading across the open fields, I was about to change venue when a second one appeared, giving a small group of us superb views as she sat in the hedge-line for a while, before heading off on an egg-laying run. I then moved on to Steyning Round Hill, where the very steep slope allowed head-height viewing of two male Brown Hairstreaks in the Master Tree above the quarry. My ninth of the day was a female, again on a mission to lay eggs along the blackthorn scrub-line. The Wall Brown is certainly having its best year in Sussex for a very long time and I counted 22 here without searching exhaustively. A female Clouded Yellow provided a nice bonus. (Neil Hulme)

Following last weeks comments about certain smaller than usual butterflies, certainly there have been quite a few smaller painted ladies about with some being only about 70% the size of others. Last week I took this photo of a Comma and Painted Lady. The lady does appear to be smaller than the comma which is not what one would expect!! I must admit it's only ladies that I have noticed size differences. (Bob Eade)



Clouded Yellow at Ouse Estuary Project, 7 August (Colin Knight)




Monday 10 August 2009

I ran my moth trap in my Adur Valley garden last night and had over 20 species. Dingy Footman, Brimstone (x3), Shuttle-shaped Dart, Spectacle and Cypress Pug were all new visitors. Also of note were Lesser Broad-bodied Yellow Underwing, Ruby Tiger, Riband Wave and Buff Ermine. Micro moths included Trachycera advenella and Crambus perlella plus a rather attractive mystery micro that I have a terrible photo of - trust the most attractive one to be the one that won’t sit still to have its photo taken! (Sherie New)

A very brief appearance of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on Bizzie Lizzies in the garden today. Just gave me enough time to run upstairs to get the camera and get a couple of grab shots which I was more than pleased with. (Bob Eade).

Painted Lady were everywhere in town and country with over fifty an hour seen. Just a little too overcast and breezy for other butterflies to be out, but there were just 13 Chalkhill Blues on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and 41 Adonis Blues. Meadow Browns were frequently seen including mating pairs. There must have in excess of 200 Common Blues of both sexes in the long herb meadows at the top of Mill Hill, but even this is a fraction of what can be seen of this butterfly in peak years when the numbers runs into thousands. There were a few Brown Argus as well but it is difficult to be sure how many when there were scores of female Common Blues. Seventeen species of butterfly were seen in an hour. (Andy Horton)

News for Sunday 9 August: Sightings around Edburton included 5 Clouded Yellows, 25 Wall Browns and 30 Painted Ladies in fields near the house. About 200 moths are feeding on the rotten greengages on my tree every night - nothing unusual yet but plenty of Large Yellow Underwings, Dark Arches, Common Rustics, Flame Shoulders, wainscots, Setaceous Hebrew Charatcers, White Points + a few Heralds, Angle Shades, Peach Blossom. Other moths at the outside light over the last couple of nights have included Lilac Beauty, Phoenix, Nut Tree Tussock, Ruby Tigers. However, my best moth recently was not in Sussex - I found a pristine Jersey Tiger on the window of the Nigerian High Commission in Westminster near my office! (Tony Wilson)

News for Sunday 9 August – Crowlink Transect. Silver-spotted Skipper 9, Large White 7, Small White 13, Small Blue 1, Brown Argus 1, Common Blue 89, Chalkhill Blue 20, Red Admiral 4, Painted Lady 24, Peacock 2, Comma 1, Speckled Wood 2, Wall Brown 1, Gatekeeper 2, Meadow Brown 149, Small Heath 3. (David Jode)

News for Sun 9 August: A walk along the river between Littlington and Alfriston looking mainly for Small Tortoiseshells was to say the least a bit disappointing with only 3 Small Tortoiseshells seen, 1 of which was so worn it almost had see through wings!! No species were particularly numerous despite the sun shining. Painted Ladies were probably the most numerous of the 14 species seen. A single Wall Brown in an area where I haven't seen this species before was a good find. (Bob Eade)


News for Sunday 9 August: We were privileged to record nine different butterflies in our garden in Crowborough: Painted Ladies (8), Brimstones (2 - male and female), Comma (1), Red Admiral (1), Gatekeepers (4), Small White (numerous), Large White (4), Meadow Brown (1) and a female Common Blue, a first for our garden. (Ruth Lawrence)


News for Sunday 9 August: The lower slopes of Mill Hill were more crowded with butterflies than the previous week but the one acre transect still only recorded a meagre total of 35 Chalkhill Blues (including two females) with 30 Adonis Blues (including one female) and slightly less in number of Common Blues of both sexes. Meadow Browns were about the same in numbers with a handful of huge females. Wall Brown and Small Heath were included in a total of seventeen species of butterfly in under an hour including a Dingy Skipper on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and a Small Skipper south of the Reservoir the only part of the Nature Reserve visited in the morning. (Andy Horton)


News for Sunday 9 August:  Pevensey Levels nr Herstmonceux Church (TQ6357010046) 1 Wall Brown (Roy Wells)

News for Weds 5 August: Pippingford Park (TQ445308) Numerous Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood, 1 Brimstone, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary (Roy Wells)


Sunday 9 August 2009

I strayed into Sussex today from my Herts/Middx base, and strolled across the slope of Mill Hill and back at around 1030 this morning. What struck me was that there were definitely more Adonis Blues than Chalkhill Blues - about two to one it seemed at least. At least 25-30 of the former seen, all except two male. There were also a similar number of Common Blues, with a similar lack of females. Others seen: Brown Argus - 3; Small Heath - 3; Gatekeeper - 10+; Meadow Brown - 20+; Speckled Wood - 3; Wall - 1; Painted Lady - 10+; Large White - 15+; Green-veined White - 2; Clouded Yellow - 1. The last on this list was a pristine male, which refused to pause for a photo, sadly. Also ticking the "no publicity" box was a second brood Dingy Skipper at the bottom of the slope. (Dave Miller)

Over the weekend we ran an MV trap at West Burton which is a hamlet to the north of Arundel at the foot of the of the Downs. Of 23 species caught during the evening the most interesting were 8 Black Arches, 2 August Thorn, Purple Bar, Pretty Chalk Carpet, 2 Iron Prominent, Barred Rivulet and a very worn Coronet. (Matthew Hares and Dave and Pen Green)


Elephant Hawkmoth in my Peacehaven trap last night was my latest, as were two Buff Ermines, and a Garden Tiger was the first since 2005 (Adrian Thomas)

Details of Transect walked today at Bedelands Farm Burgess Hill: Clouded Yellow 1, Large White 16, Small White 4, Small Copper 2, Common Blue 17, Speckled Wood 3, Gatekeeper 88, Meadow Brown 73. Total 206 butterflies, 8 species (David Pyle)

News for Sat 8 August: Grayling Festival East - After leading my last few walks in poor weather I was due some sun - and you couldn't complain about today's weather. Windover Hill was bathed in sunshine and - amazingly - there was no wind!. The Grayling Festival (East) walk started with a lecture in Graylingology and, armed with the knowledge of how to find Grayling we started the long ascent - long because we had to stop every few steps to add a new species to our list! Green-veined White, Large White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Wall Brown, Small White, Chalkhill Blue, Painted Lady, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Clouded Yellow and Small Blue were all added within a few metres of the car park. We also located another of the day's target species - the rare Chalk Carpet. It wasn't long before we saw (or didn't see - we almost stood on it!) our first Grayling - which sat there pretending to be invisible and we gathered 'round and got 'up close and personal' with this unusual butterfly. At the top of the hill the attractive micro-moth Mecyna flavalis was seen in such high numbers it is hard to believe that this moth is so scarce elsewhere in the county. The valley itself looked beautiful in the sun and it was a real novelty not to be battling against the wind. By the valley bottom we had added Small Copper, Silver-spotted Skipper, Brimstone, Marbled White, Dark Green Fritillary and Small Heath to our growing list. In the section of the valley we covered we recorded over 20 Grayling. James Stewart - who had flown in from Hong Kong this morning - soon 'got his eye in' and added to our total whilst others spread out and reported from their 'patch'. From the valley floor we split and said goodbye to some of the team as we climbed the steep valley side (adding Speckled Wood, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper) and hiked to Friston. At Lullington Heath NNR we scoured the area for Grayling - they have been reported from here this year - but none were found. However what happened next made up for it - a Six-belted Clearwing landed in front of me! I have never found a clearwing before and was starting to believe these mythical moths did not exist outside the field guides. I couldn't contain my excitement! We headed into the forest and Silver-washed Fritillary, Holly Blue, Ringlet, Red Admiral and Comma were recorded - as was another rare moth - the White-banded Carpet. After a meeting with an Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar - who withdrew it's 'trunk' and puffed-up his 'eyes' on cue - we were out onto The Gallops where the incredible sight of many thousands of Chalkhill Blues still continues to impress. As we neared the end of the journey Andy Galligan - visiting from north London - redeemed an earlier Grayling/Meadow Brown mix-up by finding our first Adonis Blue. "You'll know it when you see it" I had told him earlier. In the last few metres of the walk Andrew Reynolds made another exciting discovery. Unfortunately it wasn't to be our 30th species of the day but something I was personally much more interested in - Asilus crabroniformis - the Hornet Robberfly. I last saw one of these incredible insects on Dartmoor when I was about 8 years old and have been looking for another ever since! We finished the 6 hour walk with a well deserved cold beer after a fantastic day 'out in the field'. 29 species were recorded - is this a record for a BC walk?! Thanks to all who attended. (Michael Blencowe)

Below: Grayling afflicted with the parasitic red mites Trombidium breei (Colin Knight), and Graylingology starts the event off (Steve Turner)


Saturday 8 August 2009


Took my son, Miles (age 12), to take a look at the Painted Ladies (100's) close to Ditchling Road at TQ323111. Whilst doing my preachy mum speech "blah, blah, blah, once-in-a-lifetime, blah, blah, never seen so many, blah, blah, etc" he finally got me to turn round and pointed out that the creeping thistle patch currently teaming with butterflies is bordered by mixed woodland that includes elm - caterpillar foodplant of my favourite butterfly, the White-letter Hairstreak. The season is over for this quirky little species - I haven't seen them since 16th July although I would expect them to have carried on for another week or so after this date - but I will definitely be checking out this site for them fom mid-June next year, especially as White-letters are partial to creeping thistle nectar. Also seen here today 20 Common Blue and the usual Meadow Brown and assorted whites. (Caroline & Miles Clarke)


Male Brimstone in Ashdown Forest today - the first Brimstone I've seen since May. Also saw lots of Silver-Y moths and Common Blues. (Steve Wheatley)


Friday 7 August 2009


News for Weds 5 August: I spent a very enjoyable day with Guardian journalist Patrick Barkham, who is touring the UK in an effort to see every species of British butterfly, and whose experiences along the way will provide the material for a book. With only three species to go we had high hopes of bagging Brown Hairstreak, Adonis Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper to complete the set. The sun refused to show over Steyning, denying us the opportunity of seeing the first on our list, but by heading a few miles east we managed the others without difficulty, getting a few bonus species along the way. The highlights of our tally of 26 species were 25+ pristine Adonis Blue (including a mating pair) and a second brood Dingy Skipper at Mill Hill, Shoreham (also Wall Brown, Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue, Small Heath), and 73 Silver-spotted Skipper and 2 Clouded Yellow at Newtimber Hill (also Wall Brown, Chalkhill Blue, Essex Skipper, Brown Argus). We then moved on for an early evening visit to the meadow above Ditchling, where Penny and Dave Green had reported an estimated 120,000 Painted Ladies the day before. We bumped into BC Sussex officers Clare Jeffers and Michael Blencowe, who were also there to view this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. The sea of thistles here has been stripped to a degree that one associates with a biblical plague of locusts. Eggs and caterpillars would have undoubtedly been here in their millions. This is nature in an unusual state of complete imbalance and there is a hopelessly insufficient supply of food for the next generation - many will have to move on. How many Painted Ladies are here? Penny and Dave are both very experienced recorders and their figures should be taken seriously. Their estimation of the area (200m x 300m) appears quite conservative. It is difficult to gauge an average figure for butterflies per square meter over the entire site (some areas held fewer than their estimated average of 2, others held 10). Whatever the number, I doubt that this quantity of butterflies in a relatively small area of the British countryside has been exceeded on many occasions. We retired to the bar at Devil's Dyke to watch the last rays of sunshine illuminating the gentle folds of the Downs, and absorb some of what we had seen and would probably never see again. (Neil Hulme)


Recent news: On Tuesday afternoon (4 August) the usual fare at Seaford allotments was augmented by a Clouded Yellow. On Wednesday (5 August) the chance was taken to christen my new bus-pass with a ride to the Cuckmere Valley, with a wander around West Dean and later down to the Haven and back. What struck me in an area I know very well, was the almost complete absence, on a sweltering summer day, of Small Tortoiseshells, and comparative abundance now of Commas which seem to have taken their niche as the wayside Vanessid. After a number of Commas, and Painted Ladies were seen on the roads and paths around West Dean one solitary Small Tortoiseshell was seen adjacent to a fresh clump of nettles just near the Exceat bus-stop. The paths down to the Haven featured Common Blues, and the usual browns , but I did spot a Magpie Moth on some sloe bushes. (Bob Brown)

My sighting of a Brown Argus aberrant pallidior was not in Sussex but on Portsdown (on Aug 3) but it was thanks to Tom Ottley on your website that I learnt of the Cockayne database online at the Natural History Museum and through it was able to name a Brown Argus which had white in place of orange in the wing edge crescents. In case anyone else is not familiar with the Cockayne database I have written up my discovery of it in my web blog (see the diary entries for Aug 5 and Aug 3 at http://ralph-hollins.net/Diary.htm ) My thanks to Tom Ottley and for all the interesting information I get from your website. (Ralph Hollins)

Thursday 6 August 2009


Check out recent photos added into sightings for past 3 days...


On a humid sunny morning the Chalkhill Blue count in a 15 minute transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was a paltry 37 with just one female seen. There were frequent Common Blues including males courting with very small females. The first male second brood Adonis Blues were recognised when they settled. There could have been up to a dozen of them. Four Clouded Yellows were notable, with one on the lower slopes and at least three on the upper slopes with two either sparring or courting. Small Heaths are back and at least two were seen one on the lower slopes and another in the upper meadows. Seventeen butterfly species were noted including four not seen the previous day and two of these not seen before this month. This total was missing some common species which could reasonably be expected if I had spent more time looking. (Andy Horton)


Counted 60 Painted Lady nectaring on a large border of mostly Verbena bonariensis to the east of the tennis courts in Preston Park, Brighton. Great to see planting that doesn't conform to the usual for a city municipal park . (Caroline Clarke)

The butterfly transect at Woods Mill got off to a slow start today, but was spiced up when a pristine female Brown Hairstreak gave excellent views on some Blackthorn at the eastern end of the lake. A moth trap at Woods Mill on Tuesday evening produced a fairly low number of species, but included Black Arches, Rosy Footman, Drinker, Blood-vein, Shaded Broad-bar, Clouded Border, Magpie, Small Magpie, Small Phoenix, Pale Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Gold Spot, Dark Spectacle, Straw Dot. (Mike Russell & Pen Green)

Recent news: Kingston Nr Lewes. Just a few of the more interesting sightings in the garden here recently:

Painted Ladies have been present every day since 7 July and from 18 to 27 July there were usually 15 to 20 each day then a fairly sudden decrease down to just 3 today. One of those present today was pristine, large and richly coloured. The most favoured nectar sources have been Knapweed (now finished), Field Scabious and Marjoram but, as they decline, Ragwort and Small Scabious remain but do not have the same pulling power. Others of interest, 29 July 1 Clouded Yellow helice, 2 August 1 Wall, 4 August 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth, 5 August 1 Wall.  Also Small Blue on occasions. Looking forward to seeing if the current Painted Ladies will give rise to plenty of offspring at the end of Sept or early October. (John Holloway)


Recent news: In reply to the Editor, saw a Peacock , no larger than a Small White, at Hunters Burgh, Folkington on Monday. Also, interestingly, saw both a Purple Hairstreak and White-letter Hairstreak at close quarters, below the copse at above. The nearest Oaks appear to be at Folkington Wood across a field. So, with the Green Hairstreaks fairly numerous earlier in the season, that's three out of four of our Hairstreaks in one location. (Bob Coleman)



Wednesday 5 August 2009


Not able to get out until after 3pm the sun had moved away from some of the path along The Comp, however I wanted to try for a record count of Wall Browns on a walk from home to The Comp, Green Way Bank, Frog Firle and High and Over. During the spring brood I had a count of 39. By the time I got to the end of The Comp today I had 22 as against 29 in the spring. However there were also good numbers on Greenway and along the bottom path of Frog Firle which gave me a grand total count of Wall Browns of 42. Some of them were in excellent condition as well. 20 species in total were seen with a good number of Brown Argus on Greenway, about 25 Silver-spotted Skippers (below left) along the bottom part of Frog Firle, some of which had only just hatched. Also another 2 Clouded Yellows (below right). A Dark Green Fritillary was an unexpected bonus near Greenway. (Bob Eade).



Looking round Uckfield Millennium Green today I came across a female Gatekeeper that was an unusual colour. It was white where it should have been yellow so the wings were white with brown borders, and no it wasn't just faded! It had the usual spots. Looking at the Cockayne collection website it looked exactly like the subalbida aberrant. I've no idea if these are rare but it certainly looked quite striking (Tom Ottley)


Recent news: Quite a variety of butterflies over the last few days in our garden in North Seaford. These are Painted Lady, Wall Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White, Holly Blue, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White and Comma. Also today our first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year. (Bob Eade).

Has anyone seen smaller versions of vanessid butterflies this month? From RSPB Pulborough Brooks, I've received word of a very small Peacock, Red Admiral and Painted Lady (half to two thirds normal size) - Editor


Tuesday 4 August 2009


On the Downs above Ditchling tonight there was an amazing sight as clouds of Painted Lady swarmed above a large area of thistle. Walking alongside the thistle led to an explosion of colour as the butterflies flew up and although they were mostly very fresh individuals, there were some incredibly damaged ones, with virtually no hind wings left and damaged front wings but still being as feisty as the newly emerged ones. The thistles covered an area of around 200m by 300m, and with at least a couple of Painted Lady per square meter this gives a total present of at least 120,000, and probably many more were actually there. Also in this area were a few Brown Argus, Common Blue, Large White and Meadow Brown, but the Painted Lady stole the show, it was a sight we will never forget. As the sun went behind some clouds the butterflies settled on the thistles and some thistle heads had four or five butterflies each. The site is to the east of the Ditchling Road by a dew pond at TQ323111. There is room for a couple of cars to park there and a footpath runs alongside the thistles. Many of the joggers and cyclists up there tonight were stopping to see the spectacle! (Dave and Pen Green)


Silver-spotted Skipper, Newtimber Hill. 2 August (Neil Hulme)



This Chalkhill Blue on Mill Hill appeared to be ill or poisoned and it could be handled. This has been seen before in previous years. (Andy Horton)



News for Mon 3 July: The sun was out, but alas not the Chalkhill Blues (below) in their expected numbers on Mill Hill with just 47 noted which means that the number of the Chalkhill Blues in flight on Mill Hill were probably around 150 which is a disastrously low total. There were well over a hundred Common Blues on the meadows to the north of the northern car park on Mill Hill with frequent Painted Ladies all over the hill, about ten Peacock, a surprise Brimstone, and just two fresh Essex or Small Skippers. The variety of butterfly species was fine with twenty species recorded which was the second best day total ever. The list included my first Small Copper of the year on Anchor Bottom. (Andy Horton)


News for Mon 3 July: 1 Silver-spotted Skipper at 7pm on south slopes of Caburn. Celebrated with pint in Trevor Arms. OK I'll own up we were going there, anyway (John Luck).


News for Mon 3 July: Walk from High and Over/Cradle Hill/Frog Firle. Wall Brown 3 plus mating pair. Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Brown Argus. Back along the lower escarpment of Cradle Hill at least 6 Silver-spotted Skippers. Went on to Windover Hill and Deep Dean. Most of above plus Clouded Yellow flying by and Small Copper, but very pleased to find mating pair of Grayling plus 1 other. Great Day. (Janet Richardson)


News for Sun 2 August: We headed to a wood in north west Sussex to attempt to finally see Wood White, a species that has repeatedly alluded us. The great news is the weather was good and we found some, and they appeared to be doing quite well! There were a minimum of five present with four in the air at once at one point and every time the sun reappeared after a cloudy spell they showed well. There were lots of plants in flower and a good variety of butterflies in a very small area. Rough numbers were 2 Small Skipper, 5 Wood White (below left), 6 Brimstone, 2 Large White (below right) , 4 Small White, 1 Small Copper, 3 Common Blue, 4 Painted Lady, 6 Peacock, 2 Silver-washed Fritillary, 4 Speckled Wood, 40 Gatekeeper and 4 Meadow Brown. It was great to finally see Wood White in Sussex; however their weak and ponderous flight amazed us, more like a day-flying moth than a butterfly! (Dave and Pen Green)




Monday 3 August 2009


Today at sunny Mill Hill, I saw Painted Ladies, Peacock, Small Heath, Large Whites, 2 Brimstones (below left), 1 Dingy Skipper, and lots of Common Blues on the top level by the car park (including the mating pair below). (Alec Trusler)



Clouded Yellow flying strongly inland at Pagham Harbour today (Adrian Thomas)


When I was just a lad I used to watch wildlife on the Downs above Offham. One of the species I used to see was Grayling in smallish numbers. On the way home from work today I thought I would have a quick look at the area to see if there was still any signs, some 30 years on!! I certainly wasn't expecting to see Grayling and I didn't!! However I was very surprised to find that, although the area has become overgrown in parts there was still a great butterfly bank with some unexpected species. Species seen with numbers were 8 Wall Brown, 2 Brown Argus, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Peacock, 30 Chalkhill Blues, 20 Common Blues, 3 Small Skippers, of which 1 I believe was an Essex, 15 Large White, 1 very good condition Marbled White, 1 Small Copper, 2 Speckled Wood, 15 Meadow Brown and 8 Gatekeeper and the biggest surprises were 2 Silver-spotted Skippers and 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, of which neither would have been found here those 30 years ago!! I was at the site for less than an hour to see all these. Map ref. for this area is 397 117. Park by the Church and cross the main road. Follow path up from Toll Cottage and then take the right hand path. Walk through some trees and this brings you out on a chalky track. There is a grassy track which runs parallel with this track, The Wall Browns are seen as soon as the wooded area clears. On the side of the grassy track is a steep bank where the majority of species are found on the many nectaring plants. Good footware is a must due to the steepness of the bank. There was also a good number of micro moths. (Bob Eade, a lot older than the last time I was here!!!!!!)

News for Sun 2 August: Went to find those Elm trees that the chap down there told us all about. Near Firle - little dean I think it was called....anyway I found them and they are seriously the bizz for White-letter Hairstreak...however not today. Spent a while looking up but no joy. There is a ride of Elms basically (although I suspect I shouldn't have scaled the gate to get there). If you go along the footpath you can (as the man said) climb up a bank and look over the top of the elms. There were the usual crop of species but no WLH. Headed back to the car and saw a Holly Blue (the only one I've seen this year in fact). (Danny McEvoy)

News for Sun 2 August: Yesterday I returned to the Steyning Downland Scheme area and saw the same 26 species that I recorded on 31 July. In addition, one of the two Brown Hairstreak Master Trees was now occupied, with the first two males up high in the ash - doing very little! I'm leading a walk here on 9th August, by which time I'm confident that a few females will be showing. Wall Brown numbers had increased to 26. Later I visited Newtimber Hill a few miles east, and despite quite cool and hazy conditions still managed to see 21 Silver-spotted Skippers after 5pm. Some of these were pristine, but others looked quite worn after being hammered by recent heavy rains. (Neil Hulme)



Sunday 2 August 2009


Court Lodge Farm, Wartling (TQ6608) Small Heath 1; Meadow Brown 8; Speckled Wood 3; Peacock 2; Red Admiral 3; Comma 7; Painted Lady 5; Small Tortoiseshell 7; Gatekeeper 27; Large White 8; Green-veined White 3; unidentified small white 3; Clouded Yellow 2. (Roy Wells)


We had a good range of butterflies in our Ashurst Wood garden today (north of the county), including: Painted Lady (8), Red Admiral (1), Small Tortoiseshell (5), Peacock (3), Green-veined White (1), Large White (7), Small White (3), Gatekeeper (4), Meadow Brown (1), Common Blue (1, a first for the garden - we back on to fields) and, most notably, a Clouded Yellow that was very pale in colour. At first I thought that I was looking at a female Brimstone but then I saw the white spot on the closed wings and noticed the black markings of the upperwings showing through. (Polly Mair)


Wall Browns seem to have become established in mine and my neighbour's garden in Edburton with 4 or 5 seen today. Also Small Tortoiseshell and plenty of other common butterflies on the buddleias. The best moths in the last few days have been Hoary Footman, Rosy Footman, Dark bordered Pearl (Evergestis limbata) and Hummingbird Hawkmoth. On Edburton Hill my tiny colony of Chalkhill Blues numbered 18 and there were 3 more Wall Browns, Dark Green Fritillary, 2 Brown Argus, 8 Marbled Whites and 20 Painted Ladies + very impressive Hornet Robber Fly. (Tony Wilson)


Common Blues, Mill Hill, 31 July (Alec Trussler)




This morning I went to my allotment in Bexhill to pick the runner beans for Sunday Lunch. As I approached the runner beans I noticed a Clearwing on one of the leaves. I quickly put it in a pot and later at home I identified it as a RASPBERRY CLEARWING. I emailed Colin Pratt a photo and he quickly confirmed the identity and that it was a first for Sussex. The moral of the tale is never venture out with out a pot because you never know what might be lurking on your runner beans. PS The runner beans tasted great (Keith Alexander)


With my son in the middle of potty training and the sun shining I did the honourable and decent thing. I left my wife in charge and went off to Graffham Down, butterfly watching! The shame of being a weak male! Conditions were not the best but saw the following; Speckled Wood (5), Silver-washed Fritillary(6), Gatekeeper(20+), Large White(20+), Small White(20+), Green-veined White(3), Brimstone(4), Large Skipper(2), Meadow Brown(20+), Peacock(20+), Small Tortioseshell(3), Red Admiral(2), Comma(4), Common Blue(5), Small Skipper(1), Ringlet(1). The day finished off perfectly with two Red Kite flying low overhead. (Steve Morgan Midhurst)

A visit to Windover Hill had mixed success this morning with worryingly no Grayling on the main path up the hill, most years I see 4-5 in the area just above the reservoir to the top of the path, also in Deep Dene, not one Silver-spotted Skipper. Several years ago this was about the only area in Sussex where they could be seen! Fortunately Silver-spotted Skippers are now well established in many other areas of the Downs. In Deep Dene itself I did locate 16 Grayling (below right) mainly in the top north area. I also found a mating pair of Chalkhill Blues with a male with unusual underside markings (below left). Also only 2 Small Blue on the main path on Windover. 14 Species in total were seen. The other highlight being another Clouded Yellow on Windover near the reservoir. (Bob Eade).


News for Sat 1 Aug: I ran my moth trap last night and had quite a few more moths than previously, though most of them seemed to be Common Rustics. A few returnees from previous trapping were: Dark Arches, Large Yellow Underwing, Marbled Green, Ruby Tiger and a wainscot species. New (to my garden trap) were: Flame Shoulder, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Magpie, Small Magpie, Riband Wave, Small Waved Umber and a few micromoths (most of which escaped). (Sherie New)


Saturday 1 August 2009


Visited the Steyning Downland Scheme this morning. There were Wall Brown (6) at the top of the slope by the woods. Loads of Painted Ladies & Gatekeepers, including a mating pair. Also Peacocks, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, a Common Blue, a Small Tortoiseshell. (Colin Knight)


In warm humid conditions I visited part of Frog Firle. Highlights were 8 Wall Brown despite not being near their main stronghold area. 7 Silver-spotted Skippers, 2 Small Blue (below left) of which 1 was superb condition and 1 was not!!! A few Small Heath (below centre) have emerged and there were also 2 Clouded Yellows (below right) of which again 1 was superb and 1 was not. With the weather starting to go downhill the Yellow settled briefly several times. In total 18 species were seen. (Bob Eade)



Friday 31 July 2009


I spent a very enjoyable day on the Steyning Downland Scheme area, looking at the Rifle Range, Lower and Upper Horseshoes and the Round Hill. A good tally of species (26) including Clouded Yellow (3), Wall Brown (23, including two mating pairs and an egg-laying female), Purple Hairstreak (1), Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Essex Skipper (1), Small Skipper (3), Large Skipper (1), Brimstone (2), Large White (9), Small White (2), Green-veined White (4), Brown Argus (3), Chalkhill Blue (5), Common Blue (16), Holly Blue (1), Painted Lady (50+), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Red Admiral (2), Peacock (13), Comma (2), Speckled Wood (6), Gatekeeper (25), Marbled White (2), Meadow Brown (50+), Ringlet (3) and Small Heath (1). No sign of the Brown Hairstreaks yet on either of the Master Trees, but I suspect they will start any day now. The Wiston Estate should be congratulated on some of the habitat management work that has recently been done here - the scrub area of the Lower Horseshoe is already looking a lot more butterfly-friendly, and there are some major, positive changes in the pipeline. The entire site looks set to improve markedly in the next couple of years. (Neil Hulme)


Up on the gallops above Butchershole Bottom this afternoon in near perfect weather conditions, the Chalkhill Blues continue to impress. At the top of the slope as the sun went down, thousands of these butterflies settled in the long grass creating the most astonishing sight. Good numbers of Small Skippers too. (Tim Duffield)

Transect walked today at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. Species recorded: Small Skipper 3, Clouded Yellow 1, Large White 41, Small White 12, Purple Hairstreak 6, Small Copper 30, Common Blue 143, Painted Lady183, Peacock 2, Comma 7, Speckled Wood 5, Gatekeeper 284, Meadow Brown 231. Total 948 Species, 13 (David Pyle)

The weak sun sun shone through the white cumulus clouds in a bright blue sky on what should have been a peak day for the Chalkhill Blue, but only 51 were counted in in the one acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (Old Shoreham). There were probably only about a hundred Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill. The Chalkhill Blue count was very poor as in a poor year 200 would be recorded in the transect acre and 750+ in a good year. This would compute to 500 and 3000+ on Mill Hill as a day count. On the plus side fresh Wall Browns put in a good show with six seen on the day and I would expect a dozen or more would have been noted if I had visited to the middle and upper parts of Mill Hill. PS: Not all the Chalkhill Blues were flying so I may have missed half of them. Many had to be disturbed. (Andy Horton)


Thursday 30 July 2009


I was pleasantly surprised to find a Brown Argus (female, mint condition) in Kiln Wood, Blackboys today. It was with some Small Coppers and Common Blues and was just sunning itself in a rough meadow full of creeping thistle. It says in the textbooks that it can occur away from the downs but this is the first time I have observed that. I even checked the spots underneath to make sure! Sadly no Purple Hairstreaks. (Tom Ottley)

We visited the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve, mentioned in previous postings, today, with directions from Neil Hulme, and occasionally risking life and limb. We saw Speckled Wood (20), Common Blue (20), Meadow Brown (8), Wall Brown (6), Gatekeeper (6), Clouded Yellow (4), Red Admiral (3), Small White (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Large White (1), Small Copper (1), and GRAYLING (1). (David & Carole Jode)

News for Weds 29 July: Second brood Wall Brown included one clearly seen on the breezy lower slopes of Mill Hill (Old Shoreham) and one was a surprise sighting on the verge of the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath between Upper Beeding and Old Shoreham as the first drops of rain were felt. On Mill Hill, the Chalkhill Blues count was even more disappointing with only 30 seen when even in a poor year over a hundred would be expected. A single worn second brood Dingy Skipper was spotted at the extreme northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Fourteen butterfly species were seen on an inclement day. Six Southern Hawkers (dragonfly) flew around with stopping in a shaded part of the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath. (Andy Horton)

News for the night of Tues 28 July: Mothing at Pagham Harbour this year has been very frustrating with a strong wind hampering many attempts to get the trap out however when conditions are conducive then numbers have been reasonable. The night of the 28th was one of those nights with 103 species trapped extending the year’s list for the trap site around the visitor centre to 365. Highlights were: Beautiful Hook-tip 1, Brown-veined Wainscot 1, Cloaked Minor 1, Coronet 1, Iron Prominent 1, Nut-tree Tussock 1, Peppered Moth 1, Wormwood Pug 1, Yellow-Tail 1, Peacock 1, Svensson's Copper Underwing 1, Dichomeris marginella 1 (first for the Reserve), Bird Cherry Ermine 2, Dark Sword-grass 2, Willow Ermine 2, Bulrush Wainscot 2, Twin-spotted Wainscot 2,Bee Moth 3,Rush Veneer 10, Silver Y 21, Southern Wainscot 21, Rustic 26, Dingy Footman 36 and Common/Lesser Rustic 165 (Ivan Lang)

News for Tues 28 July: I visited the Horseshoe Plantation (Beachy Head) in the morning and saw plenty of Common Blues and Chalkhill Blues. I would say there were around equal numbers of each. I also saw Brown Argus, Painted Lady, Small White, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown. In the afternoon I visited the Ouse Estuary project hoping to see the Clouded Yellows (a species I’ve never seen before). My thanks to Neil for providing the OS reference. I did see Clouded Yellows (below left) so I was well pleased. I couldn’t write up my report on Tuesday because I was busy but jotted down a few notes for myself quickly. My notes read almost exactly like Andy King’s report which makes me smile - unless there is more than one good CY site at the Ouse Estuary project we must have been at roughly the same place at the same time (I arrived at the main CY site at around 2.30pm and stayed until 3.45pm) yet we didn’t see each other! I reckon we were both standing on opposite sides of the tall thistle clumps and were, therefore, hidden from each other. The only difference between Andy’s sightings and mine are as follows: I did not see Small Tortoiseshell or Essex Skipper. I saw an additional 6 to 8 Wall Browns(below right) (en route from Tide Mills to the main site) and I saw a Marbled White (also en route). The Clouded Yellows were great, a much stronger yellow than I expected. All the photos I’ve seen do not do them justice, in flight the strong buttery yellow of the topside of their wings is very striking. (Sherie New)

Several photos added into previous entries below - Wall Browns at Seaford, Diamond-backed Moth and Fen Wainscot at Mill Hill, and directly below a lovely Brimstone taken by Amy Fletcher at Friston Forest on 26 July, and a Silver-washed Fritillary, a surprise visitor to Jonathan Ruff's Crawley Down garden on 27 July - Editor.


Wednesday 29 July 2009


This morning the Met Office officially cancelled summer 2009 - but there was nothing but blue sky here in Friston. Sure - it was very windy but it seems like this is about as good as we're going to get this year so I packed a sandwich and took a long walk from Alfriston to Lullington Heath. Out of the wind there were plenty of butterflies about and I managed to amass quite a list; Red Admiral, Dingy Skipper, Peacock, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Clouded Yellow, Small Tortoiseshell, Grayling, Silver-spotted Skipper, Large White, Dark Green Fritillary, Essex Skipper, Brimstone, Green-veined White, Wall Brown, Comma, Small Skipper, Chalkhill Blue, Painted Lady, Small Blue, Small White, Chalkhill Blue, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Marbled White and Holly Blue. On the way home it started raining. (Michael Blencowe)


I accidentally attached a spring photo from Bob Eade to his last Wood White sighting (23 July) instead of the photo that Bob took on the day, which is worth putting in here. As Bob says, "The early brood has a lot more dark markings on the underside than the summer brood," so here they are together for comparison - 23 July 2009 on the left, 1 June 2008 on the right - Editor.



Visited the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve near Newhaven this morning. There were Wall Brown (2) by the Tide Mill ruins, Cinnabar caterpillars at same site. Plenty of Painted Ladies, Gatekeepers, Peacocks & Red Admirals all on thistle, blackberries and buddleias, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Small Whites, a Ringlet, Common Blues (by cycle track) and a Slow-worm. (Colin Knight)


Had very little chance of getting out for a few days so with a spare couple of hours today I wanted to get up to The Comp and Green Way at the back of Seaford to see how the 2nd brood of Wall Browns were doing. The Comp is about 1 mile in length and in the spring brood my highest count in this stretch was 29. It was looking a bit bleak for the 1st part but then they started showing with a total of 20 Wall Browns here (below left) with another 5 on Green Way bank. This included one pair in courtship (below centre), with the male being disappointed, and then a bit further on a mating pair was found. Large quantities of many butterflies were also seen with the highlights being a Clouded Yellow, many Painted Ladies (below right), 2 Brown Argus and the biggest surprise was 2 2nd brood Dingy Skippers on Green Way bank. Also seen were 2 Oak Eggar moths and a Brown Hawker dragonfly. (Bob Eade).



News for Tues 28 July: Last night I recorded not 1, but 2 Maple Prominents to Mercury Vapour light here in Wadhurst. This is a species I have never seen here before after 34 years of recording. A pleasant suprise. (Andy Adams)


News for Tues 28 July: Ouse Estuary project, between 2.00 and 4.00 pm, and saw the following: Numerous Painted Ladies and Common Blues, reasonable numbers of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Peacocks, some Red Admirals, one each of Small and Essex Skipper, Small Copper (tatty) and Small Tortoiseshell and c. eight each of Walls and Clouded Yellows, including a mating pair of Walls and a clashing pair of male Clouded Yellows. The male CYs, of course, cover the ground fast and erratically and so I may have counted some more than once. I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention to the Whites, but there were quite a few. (Also, a Cetti's Warbler 'clattered' briefly at one of the edges of the reserve.) (Andy King, Herts and Middx branch).


Tuesday 28 July 2009


St Ann's Well Gardens, Hove this afternoon a Silver-washed Fritillary, with Comma; also a number of Speckled Wood and Holly Blue (Brian Easlea)


Good news today. 4 Wall Brown seen at the Pevensey Levels site (TQ665065), the first this year which means the colony survives. I had seen none until now. No Small Heath however, which had been seen in small numbers in the lane previously spilling over from the hay meadows. Though they are usually frequent in the hay meadows I have not been able to check them this year. (Roy Wells)


Monday 27 July 2009


More photos added to recent sightings below

My new moth trap has yielded something a bit more colourful (and more easily identified) today. I run the trap in my Adur valley garden. Several moths escaped due to my inexperienced handling but of those remaining there were Garden Tiger, Marbled Green, Ruby Tiger, Yellow Tail and a wainscot (not sure which kind of Wainscot). A Large Yellow Underwing was one of the escapees. I am waiting, somewhat impatiently, for my first Hawkmoth so if you see any can you send them to Adur? I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the moths but it is taking me ages to ID them so it is just as well I am not getting hundreds at a time and hopefully more experience will cut down on the research time. (Sherie New) Anyone who wants to follow Sherie's example and take up mothing, there is a guide on this website in the Sussex species section co-written by lots of Sussex moth-ers

News for Sat 25 and Sun 26 July: Over the weekend we ran our MV trap in our back garden at Mill Hill and caught 46 species, which is the highest total for a few weeks. The catch included 3 Silver Y, Ruby Tiger, 2 Smoky Wainscot, Elephant Hawkmoth, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Early Thorn, Pebble Prominent and our first ever Brown-line Bright-eye and Nutmeg. The most unexpected moth was a Fen Wainscot (below right) which may have flown up from the Adur valley, we are not expecting it to populate the ‘reedbed’ in our garden containing at least 30 reeds! That’s reserved for the Booming Bitterns…. Micros included a Diamond-back Moth (below left) and 2 more Juniper Webber. We are not aware of any Juniper close to our house so is it possible that they are using some other conifers/leylandii near our house as we are catching this species in many of our traps? Finally, whilst checking through the moths a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was feeding in our garden. (Dave and Pen Green)

News for Sat 25 July: Took family on a walk from Friston Forest to Lullington Heath, a bit breezy but plenty of butterflies out, gave up counting the following as too many: Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Gatekeeper. With help from my 6 year old daughter (who also took some good photos - her photo of Brimstone below) did manage the following counts: Peacock (20+), Dark Green Fritillary (6), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Red Admiral (5), Marbled White (7), Chalkhill Blue (4), Brown Argus (2), Dingy Skipper (2), Small Copper (3), Speckled Wood (4), Large Skipper (6), Small Skipper (10+), Small White (10+), Large White (10+), Comma (10+), Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Brimstone (2m, 1f) and White Admiral (4). Highlight was when a Dark Green Fritillary took a fancy to my daughter and once settled on her didn't want to move! Also nice to see a female White Admiral egg laying on honysuckle just after we entered Lullington Heath area. (Simon, Fran & Amy).



News for Sat 25 July: The discovery of the Oak Eggars at Weavers Down yesterday reminded me of an amazing insect I found at Beachy Head on Saturday. Whilst strolling around Horseshoe Plantation a tachinid fly the size of a bumblebee landed on a branch in front of me and the branch actually bent under it's weight! Thankfully Tachina grossa is the largest of the European tachinid flys (see photo of it next to a 2p piece) but like all members of the family it is a parasite which targets butterflies and moths. T. grossa being a big hairy fly targets big hairy caterpillars - particularly those of the Oak Eggar and is found in similar habitat as this species. Like other parasitic insects their eggs can be laid directly into the larvae or on the host's foodplant and the parasitic larvae then feed internally - attacking the hosts non-essential organs at first and only actually killing the host when they are fully grown and ready to pupate themselves. It's all rather horrific but fascinating. Right, better get back and finish my breakfast. (Michael Blencowe)



Recent news: We have a large garden in Rodmell with several Buddleia and lavender bushes front of the house. Sightings during July include up to 18 Painted Ladies, regular Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, up to 4 Comma, one Common Blue, 2 Essex Skipper, many Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper, and recently again up to 6 Specked Wood and of course Large and Small White. On a walk to the Ouse last week a pair of Small Copper mating near the pump house. In the spring up to 6 Holly Blue and two Orange-tip. (Sharifin Gardiner)


Sunday 26 July 2009


Is it me or was there once a time when July and August were hot? For the past three years the butterfly species that have a 'late' flight season have had to suffer the worst of the years weather. Today's Grayling survey at Weavers Down was again held under grey skies and unsurprisingly nothing much was flying. However, Grayling do not fly at the best of times and you usually have to resort to disturbing them from the ground to observe them. Today's team spread out and covered the heathland but no Grayling were seen - which gives me concerns for the species at the site. After two poor flight seasons in 2007 and 2008 numbers must have been hit badly. Our most impressive find was a gorgeous Oak Eggar (photo below by Sherie New) who was less then impressed with being handled and squirted me! We returned to Chapel Common for a picnic. Baked goods of note included Sherie's quiche and Clare's Nutty cherry fingers - and thanks to Ken for bringing the wine!. In the afternoon the group drove out to Black Down where the habitat looks great for Grayling and - thanks to the work of The National Trust - there's plenty of it. However by now a light drizzle had set in. Let's hope the weather improves at some point in the next few weeks otherwise the county's already vulnerable population of Grayling could be in real trouble. Thanks to all who attended and helped the survey today. (Michael Blencowe)



Mill Hill, Old Shoreham, was continually found to be disappointing for butterflies with just over fifty Chalkhill Blue males being disturbed on the one acre transect, and a female spotted crawling amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves. The breezy cool conditions were far from ideal for butterflies. It seems it is going to be another poor year for the blue butterflies on Mill Hill. The reason is a mystery as in 2003 there were thousands at this time of the year. One bonus was the first Brown Argus of the year seen clearly on the upper Greater Knapweed meadow south of the copse on the top of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. Female Common Blues were also spotted, notably on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting. Over a hundred butterflies of fourteen species were seen in just over an hour. (Andy Horton)

Ouse Estuary Newhaven, very local to me. On search of Clouded Yellow, saw 5, also many Common Blue, Painted Lady, a sole Small Tortoiseshell, a sole Peacock and a Red Admiral or two. Also Wall Brown (about 8 or so). Bit windy. (Danny McEvoy and Jasmine)

News for Saturday 25 July 2009: 22 people joined me for the 'Save Our Butterflies Week' walk on the stunningly beautiful Graffham Down Reserve, including GD Trust members Biddy and Paul Dimmer, Dianne Hardcastle and Margaret Hibbard. I would like to thank them for continuing to lead the walk, after I had to descend 'on time' to re-unite some attendees with their pre-arranged 'pick-ups'. The majority, quite understandably, were not ready to leave this fabulous stretch of downland in warm sunshine! The butterflies were out in force, including a late-flying male Purple Emperor, which sadly is probably the last one I will see until next year. Other species included Essex Skipper, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, Small Copper, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Others may later have been added to this impressive list of 20 species. Many thanks to all that attended and made it such an enjoyable event. (Neil Hulme)

News for Saturday 25 July 2009: In the afternoon I joined Fiona Barclay and Max Whitby of 'BirdGuides' to film the c.20 Clouded Yellows at the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve near Newhaven. Other species on this very impressive site (which will undoubtedly develop into something rather special) included 35+ Wall (numbers still building) and, most surprisingly, a Grayling. If the latter species becomes established here, this could become one of the most important sites in the county for Grayling and Wall. (Neil Hulme)

News for Sat 25 July: I wimped out on the Friston walk due to the weather and, after reading reports of the walk, I now regret it. I went to Friston today to try to catch up with all your sightings of yesterday but did not see the more interesting species the Friston group saw. I did start by trying to count but I must admit I gave up after a while due to the sheer numbers of butterflies present. Before I gave up counting the tallies were as follows: Speckled Wood 3, Red Admiral 1, Painted Lady 5, Small White 3, Large White 1, Comma 3, Small Copper 11, Common Blue 2, Gatekeeper 10, Six Spot Burnet 10, Small Heath 7, Small Skipper 4, Meadow Brown 5, Brown Argus 2, Chalkhill Blue (male photo below)…no, I wasn’t daft enough to try counting those! AND I missed out on all those wonderful moths! I now have a moth trap of my own but it isn’t producing the interesting species you were able to see. So, lesson to be learned – don’t let the weather put you off. I popped into Mill Hill on my way back and didn’t see Chalkhill Blues there but did see a few Painted Ladies, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns plus one Wall Brown on the lower path. (Sherie New)

Saturday 25 July 2009


Photos for past couple of days added below next to respective entries...

News for Fri 24 July: Friston and the Gallops. OH MY GOD! I have NEVER seen so many butterflies in my whole life....what a result! Carpets and carpets of them. I honestly think that Neil Hulme's over 5000 Chalkhill Blues from yesterday, must have been a very conservative figure, 10000 more like! I think I will remember this day for years to come. Not only did we see the thousands of Chalkhill Blues, we also saw lots of other butterflies too. The was not point in counting them, it would have been impossible, but we did see several Speckled Woods, one Small Skipper, loads of Meadow Browns, one Small Blue, several Small Coppers, a handful of Red Admirals, a few Large Whites, a few Small Whites, about 30 Painted Ladies, 3 Commas (one really dark coloured one - nice), 1 Clouded Yellow, 1 Brimstone, loads of Gatekeepers and Small Heath. Loads of burnet moths a couple of Cinnabars (Nick Linazasoro)

Below: Nick's photos of Small Copper; massed Chalkhill Blues enjoying, erm, salts; and Comma

News for Fri 24 July: I started the day at Butchershole Bottom, where Michael did a great job in leading a huge party around this amazing site. Apologies for losing most of you part way through the walk, but I spent so long talking butterflies with those that were heading home after the halfway stop-off, that I ended up going both left and right when I should have gone straight ahead! Many thanks to Clare (and helper) for supplying tea, coffee and towels to the soaking masses (you won't get this outside of BC Sussex!). On the way home I visited the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve at Newhaven (thanks to Linda Bridges for directions). Having seen Mark Senior's reports about the gradual build-up of Clouded Yellow numbers since earlier in July, I wanted to get some further evidence to support his suspicions of 'local emergence', rather than recent immigration. I saw 15-20 Clouded Yellows here (TQ45340133) in a couple of hours. They are certainly behaving in a 'colonial' manner and show no signs of going anywhere. Some of the males are now pretty weather-worn, but the more recently observed females are much fresher. I watched a couple laying eggs (below left). The real 'clincher' was finding a very recently emerged ('wet') female, still far from steady on her wings. These butterflies must be the progeny of earlier arrivals. (Neil Hulme)




News for Fri 24 July: Just a footnote to Michael’s comments about his walk around The Gallops area of Friston. As we walked back to the car park, Carole’s prediction came to fruition, so in bright sunshine we went up on to view the Chalkhill Blue colony and to warn them that they were soon to be invaded by 40+ pairs of boots/wellies! Less than mile away as the crow flies we are lucky enough to have Chalkhill Blue in our East Dean garden, but only in tens not thousands, including the occasional female. Unfortunately we don’t have any Horseshoe Vetch but apparently they do very occasionally use Common Birds-foot trefoil which we do have. The only other species that we saw in Friston, and not mentioned by Michael or Danny, was Essex Skipper. (Carole & David Jode)


Friday 24 July 2009

Amazingly forty five people (who obviously had not checked the weather forecast) met me at Butchershole car park this morning for a walk around The Gallops area of Friston. With one eye on the sky we headed through the forest noting Speckled Wood, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown and Green-veined White along the way. I was delighted when Bob Eade spotted a Small Blue - I have never seen this butterfly at this site before. However, as we continued onwards the heavens opened and a torrential downpour sent us sheltering under  trees, umbrellas and whatever we could find. I thought I saw lightning at one point - but it was Linda Bridges flash going off as she captured the scene of what must be the wettest walk of the year. We made it to my house and all squeezed into the garage. Clare Jeffers brought out teas and coffees to keep our spirits up but by now the rain looked like it was here to stay and I was getting ready to 'Abandon walk'. Carole and David Jode announced that they were going to return to the car park and Carole said 'I'm sure the sun will come out the minute we leave'. The minute they left the sun came out. I quickly grabbed the previous night's moth trap and opened it up for the audience with species such as Garden Tiger (there were 10 of them!) Privet Hawkmoth, Four-spotted Footman and Least Yellow Underwing impressing the crowd. The children picked a hawkmoth each to hold while one lady overcame her fear of moths by holding the biggest Privet Hawkmoth in the trap. Then, under blue skies, we headed back onto The Gallops where we recorded Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Large White, Marbled White, Small Heath, Small Copper, Painted Lady, Comma and even more Small Blues. However I had saved the best until last. The fantastic Chalkhill Blue colony did not disappoint with the clouds of butterflies dancing over the chalk turf. Neil Hulme estimated that there must be over 5000 individuals in the area. Everyone returned to the car park happy - their recent soaking no doubt erased from their minds by this wonderful butterfly spectacle. Thanks to everyone who attended (especially those who brought their own mugs!) and to Bob Eade, Neil Hulme, Keith Alexander, Linda Bridges and Clare Jeffers for helping out (Michael Blencowe)

Garden Tiger 24 July, Friston (Michael Blencowe) and the opening of the moth trap and closing of the umbrellas! (Neil Hulme)


Details of Transect walked  at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. A lucky interlude in the weather meant the walk was conducted mainly in warm sunshine after a dreadful wet morning. Species seen: Small Skipper 4, Large White 14, Small White 1, Purple Hairstreak 4, Small Copper 1, Common Blue 6, Painted Lady 9, Comma 3, Speckled Wood 4, Gatekeeper 196, Meadow Brown 180. Total 422 butterflies,11 species (David Pyle)

Following seen on Iping Stedham and Midhurst Commons; Weather windy and changeable:16 Peacock, 20+ Large skipper, 1 sorry looking Common Blue, 3 Comma, 20 plus Large White, 20 plus Gatekeeper, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary. 1 Silver Y moth (below), 2 Six Spot Burnet. (Steve Morgan)


Friston Forest walk: Met in the car park at 10.30 and started walking with about 40 people or so. Very successful walk which included all the usual suspects....Painted Ladies galore...Comma...Red Admiral...one Silver-washed Fritillary and a very battered Dark Green Fritillary. Chalkhill Blues, Common Blues in abundance along with the Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. A lone Marbled White crossed our path whilst Small Skippers and Small Heath made friends with a Brown Argus or two...but what surprised me was the sighting of a good 10+ Small Blue...didn't expect to see them there. We went to Michael's house and (in the rain - which got pretty heavy at one point) the moth trap was revealed to oohs and ahs. Some 10 Garden Tigers, 6 Privet Hawkmoth, 2 Poplar Hawkmoth, a couple of Buff-tip and loads of others...er..let me try and remember....Elephant Hawk...4-Spotted Footman....chinese character....dark arches (lots of them)...Olive Crescent (which he said was a rarity)....there was another whos name I can't recall which was super scarce (only the ninth one recorded ever in Sussex)...Never seen a moth trap before...I think I'm converted. Jazzy had her picture taken with a Privet Hawk in her hand. Thanks to Michael for the walk. (Danny McEvoy and Jasmine)

News for Thursday 23 July: 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth flying around the verge in Varndean Gardens, Brighton (TQ 302 073) (Miles Clarke)

At last after six year's waiting my buddleia next to my allotment shed became a butterfly bush. Two Large Whites and up to six Painted Ladies danced around it late on Thursday afternoon, a sight to savour! (Bob Brown)


Thursday 23 July 2009

Back to work, so my usual Ouse Estuary NR transect. Usual suspects including Clouded Yellows, one near the reserve entrance at Denton Corner well away from the main colony. The highlight was one fine male Adonis Blue, the first of this species seen on the reserve. (Mark Senior)

Early afternoon walk from Seaford Head to Hope Gap to Cuckmere Haven and back again. Must have seen 150 or so Painted Ladies, lots very fresh. 5+ Comma. 6+ Peacock. Watched a Red Admiral laying...saw about 4 of those. Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large and Small White (but no Marbled White) a glut of Common Blue (possibly saw 100+ near Hope Gap) one or two Chalkhill Blue and we did see our target species - Clouded Yellow. Just the one, oh yes, and small skipperoonies blocking the path. (Danny McEvoy and Jasmine)

Lots of Butterflies nectaring on the Buddleia including a Silver-washed Fritillary. This is a new species for my Storrington garden, with the running total now standing at 27 species over the past 3 years. (Martin Kalaher)


After seeing so many Wood Whites last week at Botany Bay I went over to a wood near Plaistow which is still in Sussex to see if I could find any there. I was pleased to find at least 2 and possibly 3 Wood Whites flying (below left, not flying!). In total 15 species found with many Gatekeepers (below right) and Meadow Browns as well as 8 Silver-washed Fritillaries. I then went onto Botany Bay over the Surrey border and once again there were many Wood Whites with 20 seen at Botany and a further 3 seen at Oaken Wood. They were also spread throughout the wood much more than last week. With this delightful species being one of the most 'at risk' butterflies it is well worth the effort to visit this Oaken Wood to see this beauty with its numbers being so unusually high. (Bob Eade).


Clare and I have been away for a few days in West Sussex conducting a moth survey on a private estate. We managed to get out looking for butterflies when the weather allowed and found the Western Weald was alive with good numbers of many species; highlights included 4 Wood White in woods near Plaistow and a Clouded Yellow flying across Kirdford village green. We returned to Friston when the weather took a turn for the worse and I thought I'd do a 'dress rehearsal' for the walk I'm leading here tomorrow. Last night's moth trap had a few surprises - the biggest of which was an Orache (below) a rare migrant which only has a handful of records from Sussex and a possible sign that the moth migration is starting. A quick stroll around the Gallops revealed that Susan Suleski was right: Chalkhill Blues are here in their thousands - I estimated well over 2000 were flying around us on our 15 minute walk over the downs. Surprisingly there were also over 100 Small Coppers too. Hopefully we'll get some sunshine for tomorrow morning - I've stopped looking at the forecast. If you are coming tomorrow please bring you're own mug if possible as last year there weren't enough to go 'round! (Michael Blencowe)

Very large numbers of Painted Ladies nectaring on the extensive thistle areas across the Keymer conservation grassland field this afternoon - the first newly emerged individuals were found on 14 July with several on that date, and numbers in the field have steadily increased with some 700 present today, all brightly coloured and in pristine condition. As very little movement has been recorded of butterflies arriving or departing from the field we suspect that many are offspring from the large-scale breeding that we have been monitoring since 30 May, although undoubtedly some will have been attracted in to feed from surrounding areas. (Malcolm Le Grys).

News for Weds 22 July: 1 Clouded Yellow at Shooters Bottom, Beachy Head (Dennis Bowtell)

News for Weds 22 July: I walked from Newhaven to Bishopstone along the cycle path bordering the A259. Although overcast and drizzly, I was able to check out the ragwort bushes which had a good complement of Cinnabar caterpillars. The Small Tortoiseshell brood at Bishopstone station seems to have dispersed. (Bob Brown)



Wednesday 22 July 2009

Day off today so went to Mill Hill, Shoreham. Mostly cloudy rather breezy warmish. Not that much about mostly Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, circa 15 Chalkhill Blues including 1 way up right next to the car park. One Wall Brown only other butterfly of note. (Mark Senior)

Kingston near Lewes. A very fresh looking Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the greenhouse today, buzzing around, not panicking (but flapping). For two weeks we have enjoyed seeing many perfect Painted Lady in the garden, about 5 to10 at a time a week ago which gradually increased to 19 yesterday (21st), nectarring mostly on Knapweed but also on Field Scabious and Marjoram. Also present Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White. I have always found the last week in July to be the peak for number of species. (John Holloway)

Below: Yellow-legged Clearwing, just over the county border in Surrey, 19 July (Sam Bayley) and female Brown Hairstreak, Broadbridge Heath, 20 July (Susie Milbank)


I left it a bit late to get out today and the weather was going downhill when I got to High and Over. The first butterfly I saw was a Wall Brown. This was the only Wall I saw as by the time I got to the main Wall site the weather had really gone bad. However a walk along the bottom of Frog Firle to Green Way and then back along The Comp and then back to High and Over still produced 17 species including 2 Silver-spotted Skippers. Other numbers were 3 Brown Argus (below), 5 Red Admiral, 12 Small White, 7 Speckled Wood, 20 Meadow Brown, 20 Painted Lady, 29 Chalkhill Blue, 29 Gatekeeper, 3 Comma, 7 Green-veined White, 6 Common Blue, 6 Peacock, 2 Marbled White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Large White. There were also large quantities of Swift looking like they are already getting ready to head back south!! (Bob Eade).


Have just seen my first second brood Holly Blue in our back garden in New Church Road, Hove. (John A Heys)

Slopes and gallops above Butchers Hole CP, sunny but brisk wind: Chalkhill Blues are now in their thousands, at least as many as 2006. They were staying low because of the wind and carpeted the slopes and gallops. A few brighter blue butterflies, at least one of which was an Adonis. Other butterflies: lots of bright, fresh Painted Ladies, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Commas (6), Marbled Whites (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Red Admiral (2). (On Sunday 19th I had visited a buddleia near the gallops and it had over 20 Red Admirals, similar numbers of Painted Ladies, and at least 3 Commas, 3 Peacocks and 3 Dark Green (?) Fritillaries on and around it. Every year I wonder – how do they know it is there?) Susan Suleski



Tuesday 21 July 2009


20+ Painted Lady on thistle patch near Ditchling Beacon (TQ 326 116). Mostly pristine, big specimens but also few tatty, scrawny ones mixed in. Didn't hang around as bull in field. (Caroline Clarke)

Weather dull slight breeze warm and muggy . All species seen yesterday were seen today except Small Copper . Additionally seen Holly Blue x 1 and Marbled White x 2 ( one egg laying well away from normal area ) . Explored off transect in central barren area and Clouded Yellows increased from 8-10 to 18-20 . There are probably more on site and show no inclination to migrate north . Thnought I was going to see no Wall Brown today but what I thought from a distance were 2 sparring Speckled Woods were 2 sparring Wall Browns. (Mark Senior)

I saw a Small Blue on the Sussex University campus today! I've never seen one before but I'm sure that's what it was - it was tiny (3/4" wingspan, dark brown/black with a blueish sheen on the upperside and silvery grey with little dots on the underside, a bit like a Holly Blue). (John Williams)

News for Mon 20 July: Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve Monday, cloudy , breezy but warm. Painted Ladies 50-60, Common Blue 35-40 (circa 5 females), Meadow Brown circa 40 inc a mating pair, Gatekeeper circa 20, Clouded Yellow 7 in usual area, Small Skipper 6, Brown Argus 5 inc 1 female in 2 separate areas, Peacock 3, Small Copper 1, Wall Brown 1 ( the first of the autumn brood). No Marbled Whites which are probably over now for this year . Also various whites. (Mark Senior)

News for Sat 18 July 2009: On visiting Bishopstone and the Tidemills area, just outside the station I found a batch of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on nettles bordering the footpath. Can anyone keep an eye on them, they are in a bit of a vulnerable position for dogs etc. On Sunday we had the "Garden Gadabout" with four open gardens in Seaford. The one in Heathfield Road was full of fresh Painted Ladies. A Meadow Brown called in to the Exchange Project Garden. Yesterday a Speckled Wood was fluttering along the shops in Seaford High Street! (Bob Brown)

Earlier Sightings

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