Friday 30 September 2011
In Goring today there were regular Red Admirals heading south probably 20 in all and 4 more when I got home to Edburton. Moths in the garden in the last few days have included Webb's Wainscot, 2 Large Wainscots, L-album Wainscot, 2 Common Wainscots, 6+ Silver Ys, Rusty Dot Pearl, Frosted Orange, Centre-barred Sallow, Beaded Chestnut, Canary Shouldered Thorn, 10+ Lunar Underwings, Vines Rustic, 3 Pretty Chalk Carpets, 3 Snouts. (Tony Wilson)
Glorious walk from Barn Hill to Cuckmere Haven via Hope Gap and back. Stunning views of the Seven Sisters. Numerous Red Admiral enjoying the warm sunshine. Also one Small Copper hanging on in there. (Caroline Clarke)
Two Clouded Yellow and a Painted Lady at Thorney Island, also lots of Red Admirals have been flying south out to sea all week. (Barry Collins)
My father, Roy Symonds reported that he visited Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve today (SU821106) where the temperature was 23°C. Several Meadow Browns were still flying and he was surprised to see a mating pair! Full sightings were: Small White (1), Brimstone (1 Female), Small Copper (5), Speckled Wood (1), Meadow Brown (16), Small Heath (2), Red Admiral (3), Comma (1) and Small Tortoiseshell (1). (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)
We ran a 15w Atinic Moth Trap in our garden (in Eastbourne) last night. Moths were very few, but managed to trap some. Square-spot Rustic, Lunar Underwing, Large Wainscott, Lesser Yellow Underwing and also a Cypress Carpet (photo above). Micro moths Light Brown Apple Moth, Plume Moth (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla). Eudonia angustea (Narrow-Winged Grey). (Ron & Brenda Elphick)
There were signs of moth immigration in my trap at Friston last night including my first Flame Brocade (above). (Michael Blencowe)
News for Thursday 29 September: It seems the butterfly season may be over in some parts of the country, but that's certainly not the case in Sussex. This morning I joined Bob Eade, our Branch Species Champion for Wall Brown, at his local venue High & Over (Frog Firle) behind Seaford (above, left). In the unseasonable heat the third brood Wall (above, right) were active shortly after 9am and we saw at least 10 around the White Horse viewing point. Other species seen included Brown Argus (some freshly emerged), Common Blue, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Large White. However, the most common species was Red Admiral, with a steady stream migrating south at a rate of approximately 12 per hour. I dropped in briefly at Hope Gap and Ouse Estuary Project, where Red Admirals were moving seaward at 6 per hour. I also added Clouded Yellow, Small Copper and Small White to my tally, making a total of 13 species. (Neil Hulme)
More news for Thursday 29 September: Red Admiral butterflies, at least a dozen within an hour, were seen fluttering purposefully across the waves and out to sea, yesterday morning (Thursday). One by one they were heading south, away from Newhaven Heights, presumably chancing a Channel crossing, in this warm, calm weather. (Chris Roach)
And more news for Thursday 29 September: Just to add to other people's records of Red Admirals. Whilst walking from Canada Barn, The Burgh south to Burpham and back we were aware on the southward walk that there were many Red Admirals about. However, whilst walking north back to Canada Barn it was very obvious that there was a strong southerly movement of Red Admirals. Our estimate for the hour was at least 20 if not more. (We were slightly distracted as we were still hoping for a second sighting of the Pallid Harrier!) (Chris & John Hamilton, Horsham)
And a little more news for Thursday 29 September: Nutbourne (SU 775 053): Along the shore line and through the orchard. Red Admiral 10, Meadow Brown 6, Speckled Wood 6 (photos above). (Pat and Peter Gardner)
News for Wednesday 28 September: My wife and I went to Cissbury Ring and saw plenty of Meadow Browns, Small Coppers and Small Heaths, a few Speckled Woods and Small Whites, 2 Common Blues [one female], 2 Red Admirals, and 2 Brown Argus - or were they all-brown female Common Blues? They were small and very brown on the wings, but there's a slight hint of blueness on the body of the one I managed to photo. Finally just as we were heading back to the car, we spotted a male Brimstone. On the Red Admiral front, over the last few weeks weve seen plenty of odd ones here and there in Sussex and made single sightings in our garden regularly. However, yesterday when we took a trip to London which included Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park, but we only saw one Red Admiral [in Hyde Park] the whole time we were up there. At one stage rats [with 2 sightings] outnumbered butterflies, but we did eventually see some Small Whites and one Speckled Wood in Holland Park and, later on, a bat chasing moths at White Hart Lane, oblivious to the crowd of 30,000 or so cheering on the football. (John Heys)
Thursday 29 September 2011
Last night I recorded a Clifden Nonpareil here to 125W mv. This is the 2nd record of the species here, the first being October 2010. (Andy Adams)
Recent news: After failing to find the migrant moths we were after this week, we have had a little more luck with butterflies.
Wednesday 28 September 2011
I haven't had much chance to get out and about this year regarding butterfly spotting but as I walked up to my house in Arundel this afternoon I was delighted to see a Clouded Yellow fly by and over the roof. Not just any Clouded Yellow but my first of the year! It was a beautiful day though. I can't blame any butterfly wishing to take to the wing. (Josse Davis)
Crawley Down - A Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on buddleia "Sungold" for 5 minutes in the afternoon sunshine. A Large White and Red Admiral also feeding on the same plant. (Jonathan Ruff)
News for Tuesday 27 September: A lunchtime sandwich in the Peace Garden off East Street in Seaford yesterday was enlivened by a Red Admiral on a late-flowering Buddleia, but then the sight of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth on Verbena. Sadly I did not have camera to record this! (Bob Brown)
Tuesday 27 September 2011
News from the weekend: With conditions looking reasonable for immigrant moths we took five traps down to Church Norton on Saturday evening, and six to Beachy Head on Sunday in the hope of snaring some interesting species. The hoped for noteworthy migrants did not materialise, however we still caught a good variety of moths. At Church Norton migrants were thin on the ground but we did record a few Rusty-dot Pearl, a Rush Veneer and a Scarce Bordered Straw alongside residents such as Red Underwing and Dusky Lemon Sallow. Holywell at Beachy Head appeared to have even less migrant moths however a Delicate (above) was a nice find and we also encountered a couple of Western Conifer Seedbugs. Resident moths included three Pretty Chalk Carpet, 12 Feathered Brindle and a Mouse. Fingers crossed the immigrants are on their way and that the weather forecast of warm southerly winds is correct! (Dave & Pen Green and Tony Davis)
Sunday 25 September 2011
My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU824098) during the course of an hour where the temperature was 18°C, Small Copper (3), Meadow Brown (11) and Red Admiral (5). All five Red Admirals we feeding on Ivy buds on one large bush.
Saturday 24 September 2011
A lovely warm afternoon and at Woodmancote today saw one Speckled Wood, two Small Coppers, a Red Admiral, a Comma and a Green-veined White. I also saw one female Meadow Brown and for the first time saw this one was egg laying where I could see what was going on. In typical fashion her abdomen was curved downwards. I sort of thought that they dropped their eggs at random in grass. Not so, this one expertly glued its egg to an extremely thin blade of grass before moving on. I must say the egg was tiny and I had difficulty seeing it through the camera. Also out of interest I took a picture of a stunning Ruby-tailed Wasp - Chrysis ignita a parasite of Mason bees (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)
Friday 23 September 2011
Hoping to see some more 3rd brood Wall Brown on Greenway Bank and High and Over I was walking along The Comp counting the Speckled Wood when I came across a pair of Wall in courtship. This was not expected at this point as I've never seen 3rd brood near this point. The male kept very close to the female and was seen to flap around her sending his scent scales over her. Very quickly they paired up and allowed several photos to be taken. Thanks to the bike rider who waited for me while I was laying across the path and who told me my phone had fallen out of my pocket!! A little further along The Comp I came across another Wall. Along the bottom of the valley several Peacock, Comma and Red Admiral were nectaring on scabious. I then came across Nigel doing his transect who had seen 3 Wall at High and Over. When we got back to High and Over we looked at a few regular areas for the 3rd brood and found several more. Between us we saw a total of 11 Wall Brown (photos above). (Bob Eade)
Today I took a very brief lunch on Pevensey Bay Beach, just down from Pevensey Bay Car Sales and there on the beach I saw a lone Painted Lady and several Large White. Alas I did not have my camera as I was working. (Nick Linazasoro)
Thursday 22 September 2011
News from Edburton - I have nurtured my nicotiana plants from seeds in the hope of getting a Convolvulus Hawkmoth and tonight it happened. The plants are under an outside light by my patio doors so I got brilliant views of it feeding several times throughout the evening. Although Ive seen them at rest on the Scilly Isles, Ive never seen one in flight and I have to say it was spectacular as big as a bat with a hugely long tongue and a curiously slow flight - the best moth Ive ever seen! (Tony Wilson)
I checked out Chantry Hill today and on one of the sunny banks there were still quite a few butterflies: Meadow Brown 50, Small White 7, Small Heath 3, Small Copper 2, Red Admiral 1, Common Blue (female) 1, Brimstone (female). The latter was nectaring on Devil's Bit Scabious as was (and pride of place) a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. At home in Storrington there was also a Large White, Red Admiral and a Small Copper. (Martin Kalaher)
Wednesday 21 September 2011
Whilst walking in Lewes this afternoon, just after 4 pm, I saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth on Houndean Rise, close to the junction with Brighton Road. Grid reference: TQ40040973. (Robin Bassett)
I was walking on Henfield Common at 7.30 a.m. in the rain when a large moth flew past, fortunately across open grass. I gave hot pursuit and after a few minutes managed to catch it in my hat. I had a suspicion what it was but not until I got home to find it was a Red Underwing (above). After one or two pics I sent it on its way. A good find on a grey morning. (Richard Roebuck)
Sunday 18 September 2011
Recent (and not so recent) news:
Saturday 17 September 2011
It may be of interest that I had a Convolvulus Hawkmoth visiting Nicotiana plants in my garden at Plumpton Green last night. (Tim Parmenter)
Friday 16 September 2011
I went for a walk around Friston Forest this afternoon mainly looking out for Clouded Yellows as I've only seen one this year. There were a few Meadow Browns still hanging on, along with a huge Large White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood and Small Heath. A splash of colour was provided by some rather tatty Red Admirals, a lone Painted Lady, Common Blues, Small Copper, Comma and a very fresh Peacock. (Michael Blencowe)
Small influx of Red Admirals at our garden in Saltdean today - five feeding and sunning themselves on sedum - one badly one worn, together with one Comma. Also one Hummingbird Hawkmoth. (David West)
A couple of Red Admirals, a pristine Comma, a Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Large White, a few Small Whites and this terribly unfortunate parasitised (possibly Arctiid) caterpillar (above) seen while surveying for water voles at Houghton Bridge, Amberley today. (Bob Foreman)
Saw a male Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and a then Sparrow Hawk swoop through the garden (TQ411101) following that I went to do what I think was probably my last transect of the year at Malling Down. Superb weather.
Many thanks to (Ralph Hollins ) and (Graham Parris ) for identifying,and the information on the photo of the Spider I put on our web page. Looks like I will have to add another book to my collection. (Ron Elphick)
Thursday 15 September 2011
As you approach Kithurst Hill and prior to reaching the main parking area you pass an elevated road bank. It was approaching midday and as I was walking along the top of the bank heading down the hill a small brown butterfly in flight caught my eye, which at first I thought to be another Speckled Wood. How wrong I was as she landed on a nearby tree and opened her wings a female Brown Hairstreak! She was a little tatty but a great sighting for the time of year and venue. I managed a quick shot before she took flight and headed back towards the canopy and her hiding place amongst the trees. Not a prizewinning picture but not bad considering I was holding the camera at arms length above my head! (photo above). (Mark Colvin)
3 3rd brood Wall Brown out today at High and Over. Last year there were no 3rd brood seen here so just maybe this summer was not as bad as last year after all!!!!! Also on Greenway Bank some fresh Brown Argus and Small Copper. Near the Rathfinney pumping station 2 male and 1 female Adonis Blue. On the way up to The Comp were several wheatear migrating South. One let me get close enough to get a shot with my 70mm Macro Lens!! (above) (Bob Eade).
A nice warm sunny day to lift the spirits and a few sightings in and around Henfield, 3 Small Coppers, one Speckled Wood, one Meadow Brown, 3 Small Whites, numerous Red Admirals including 3 nectaring on next door's ivy flowers plus 4 Commas. One large Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Miscellaneous, lizards basking on a tree stump, fox cub catching insects in a pasture.
Wednesday 14 September 2011
I checked some of the more sheltered parts of Chantry Hill today to see if there were any late Silver-spotted Skippers but I didn't manage to see any. However, there was a very active Clouded Yellow. Also 60+ Meadow Brown (one mating pair), 2 Small Heath, 10 Small White, 1 Small Copper, 2 Red Admiral, 1 female Common Blue and 1 Brown Argus. (Martin Kalaher)
Hummingbird Hawkmoths active in my West Wittering garden today - one small one flitting briefly around Obelia grandiflora at 10:00am. Then at 18:30, a larger Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectared for several minutes on the Verbena which is growing just outside my Lounge window - so great views. (Anne Winter)
News for Tuesday 13 September 2011: To add to Mark Colvin's fine selection of Kithurst Hill Nymphalids here are Red Admiral and Peacock images taken that same afternoon (above). At least two dozen Admirals were putting on a spectacular show as they gorged on Hemp Agrimony. (Neil Hulme)
Tuesday 13 September 2011
A day of Nymphalids at Kithurst Hill (photos above). (Mark Colvin)
Monday 12 September 2011
I am no spider expert but Ron's excellent photo looks to me to be of a Garden Cross (Araneus diadematus) showing an interesting colour variation.
Ron Elphick's Spider - Looks like Araneus diadematus to me. (Graham Parris Isfield)
Sunday 11 September 2011
As the forthcoming weather looks a bit grim I thought I would have a last opportunity to go to Mill Hill. I followed the sheltered hedge line below the bottom path and saw the following: Small Heaths 20+, Adonis Blues five males, several females, Chalkhill Blue, one male, several females, Common Blues males and females fairly numerous, Meadow Browns numerous many in excellent condition, Large White 3, Small White 2, Brown Argus male very worn 1. In a protected glade behind some trees 3 pristine Red Admirals, two Commas and one worn Speckled Wood. Up behind the far car park one lovely Small Copper, this really caught my eye as once again it looked different to a normal copper. The banding on the rear hindwing seemed a lot broader and sort of exaggerated, than the normal pattern and once again although slightly worn the blue spots were fairly apparent (photos above from today's report, below are the photos to accompany yesterday's reports). (Richard Roebuck)
News for Friday 9 September: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU824098), where he walked most of the main paths: Small White (16), Green-veined White (1), Common Blue (1 male), Small Copper (3), Meadow Brown (34), Small Heath (22), Speckled Wood (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Red Admiral (14). In addition he heard a Tawny Owl. (Richard Symonds)
Saturday 10 September 2011
Muggy conditions today so called up to High and Over and Cradle Hill. Lots of Meadow Brown and Small Heath still flying. I was hoping for a yellow migrant but had to settle for a tatty Painted Lady. Also seen was 2 Adonis Blue, 1 male and 1 female and both were very fresh. Adonis have been pretty scarce this autumn on Frog Firle so good to see some are still emerging. A very smart Large White nectaring in the bottom corner posed well. A single Silver-spotted Skipper also seen (photos above). (Bob Eade)
At last a break in the weather and I thought I would go looking for butterflies at Woodmancote, I briefly saw Commas a Red Admiral and lots of Green-veined Whites and then as normal it started to rain which stopped everything. Switching tact I decided to look for caterpillars on goat willow saplings and found two possible Pebble Prominent caterpillars, 30 early instar Buff-tips and a very small Grey Dagger caterpillar. Plus a batch of eggs with a curious blue interloper, perhaps Buff-tip eggs TQ2414 (photos to follow). (Richard Roebuck)
Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on White Valarian in our [Eastbourne] garden at 13:00hrs. Still seeing Firethorn Leaf Miner on our Pyracantha. Plenty of Spiders, photo of one (above) anybody can help with an I.D. please. (Ron Elphick)
Single Clouded Yellow near Camber Castle this afternoon. (Peter Whitcomb)
News for Friday 9 September: Following a tip off from Neil Hulme about a sighting of a Clouded Yellow at Kithurst Hill, and with the weather forecast showing the prospect of sunny internals in late afternoon, I drove down from Wandsworth on Friday morning arriving on top of the South Downs escarpment at around 11.30am. The weather was dull and overcast at that stage so, as suggested by Neil, I explored the meadows immediately NE of the sighting location (TQ06861254). By around 1.30pm grey cloud had given way to white cloud and a few small patches of blue were starting to appear in the sky so I decided it was time to sit on the bank opposite to where the Clouded Yellow had last been seen and photographed by Mark Colvin on Wednesday, apparently sheltering from bad weather in the long grass/scrub. About an hour later the sun eventually broke through the cloud and bathed the clearing opposite to where I was sitting in bright sunlight and within a few minutes, and right on cue, the Clouded Yellow suddenly sprung up from the long grass on the steep embankment right in front of me. I scrambled across the road cutting to get a closer view of the little yellow beauty and watched it closely for many minutes fluttering amongst the Hemp Agrimony and occasionally alighting on a flower head.
News from Saturday 3 September: Went to The beach at Shoreham to look for possible Clouded Yellow following recent sightings. I explored quite an area between the lagoon along the coast and there were lots of Small and Large Whites and three Silver Y moths. The nature reserve at Shoreham is a shingle beach habitat. A large fascinating place with lots of Valarian. I did actually see three Painted Ladies, two Red Admirals and quite surprisingly one Small Copper and a lovely marked female Common Blue, plus 2 Silver Y moths. There were also 4 egrets in Shoreham lagoon and a female common wheatear on the walls of Shoreham Fort, unexpected for such a public site. TQ2204. (Richard Roebuck)
And finally... a photo of a Crimson Rosella from Richard Roebuck (but not taken by him), above.
Friday 9 September 2011
Not exactly "on message" but in the absence of any other news... I was walking the dog tonight off Bramlands Lane at Woodmancote when I heard a strange noise. Thinking it was a bird of some sort I tried to repeat the noise I heard. After a minute or two a Parakeet flew straight over my head and landed above me in a tall sloe bush. It stayed there for about ten minutes de-husking sloes and cracking the stones with absolute ease.
Wednesday 7 September 2011
A single female Clouded Yellow found at Kithurst Hill today (photo above). (Mark Colvin)
Continuing my search for aberrations I came across this Small Copper (ab.schmidtii) (above) in Friston Forest today. The second picture gives an indication of the metallic orange reflected from the pale ground colour. (Nigel Kemp)
Lady Bowlers of Seaford - Thank You: Many thanks to Mrs Sylvia Kellaway and her team of Seaford Crouch Club bowlers for raising a generous £100 for BC Sussex, by holding a Ladies Invitation Charity Event recently. May all your woods run true. (BC Sussex Committee)
Monday 5 September 2011
News for Sunday 4 September: Riverside, Storrington: I saw a Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar in my garden yesterday at about 18.30. It was on the path by my pond and was a bit exposed to the birds etc. So I moved it to some shrubbery!. I did take a picture but it came out a bit fuzzy. (Audrey Kemp)
Recent news: With the butterfly season slowing down (and me too after a busy butterflying year) and with a plethora of Small Heath about at the moment, I have been wandering the East Sussex Downs and taking a closer look at some of our commoner species for aberrations. The photos above are of Small Heath (ab. bipupillata), Small Copper (transitional to ab. obsoleta) and Chalkhill Blue (ab. obsoleta). (Nigel Kemp)
Sunday 4 September 2011
On Saturday evening we headed over to Mike Mullis' Wild Flower Barn at Flowers Green for a moth trapping session, hoping that the weather fronts moving through would bring in some interesting migrants. Although migrants turned out to be very thin on the ground the weather conditions were great for mothing and we recorded more than 50 Macro species to our four 125W MV and single 60W Actinic traps. The sheer numbers of Large Yellow Underwing and Square-spot Rustic were impressive with more than 300 of each species, and other common moths were present in profusion. Amongst the more interesting species we caught was a second brood Clay Triple-lines with a first brood ground colour, a scarce form of Centre-barred Sallow and the best moth of the night, a very worn Dentated Pug which has only been recorded in East Sussex a handful of times before.
The Lewes Railway Land was illuminated with an event run by the Lewes District Council, Sussex Moth Group and The Sussex Wildlife Trust over the weekend. Traps were set up around the 'Heart of Reeds' on a warm, cloudy Saturday night and opened (in front of a keen audience of eager moth-ers) on Sunday morning. The moth list included Large Yellow Underwing, Square-spot Rustic, Common White Wave, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Feathered Gothic, Common Wainscot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Copper Underwing, Uncertain, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Green Carpet, Mother of Pearl, Flounced Rustic, Common Carpet, White Spot, Brimstone, Snout, Flame Shoulder, Rosy Rustic, Riband Wave, Garden Carpet, Angle Shades, Orange Swift, Engrailed, Yellow Shell, Heart and Dart, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Bulrush Wainscot, Silver-Y, Lesser Treble-bar, Small China-mark, Orange Sallow and Giant Water Venner (Schoenobius gigantella). For me the highlight was a moth which many BC members have found in their kitchens and garages over the past few years (and sent me their photos) - the Old Lady. This was the first time I have ever seen one!
Saturday 3 September 2011
Whilst birding at Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve this morning we saw a very fresh Painted Lady nectaring on the Fleabane. Coincidentally, last Sunday we also saw a Painted Lady at the same Reserve - this time on some mint. As remarked by an earlier reporter they seem to be few and far between this year. (Chris and John Hamilton, Horsham)
I visited Kithurst Hill this afternoon. The meadow looks great, covered in flowers with Whites everywhere. By the gate, at the side of the hollow there is a tall stand of hemp-agrimony and I immediately spotted Red Admirals nectaring on it. There were three, then the prize of the day appeared, my first Painted Lady of the year. I didn't mind that it had the tip of an antenna missing, it was a good poser. The Red Admirals and the Painted Lady stayed around nectaring the whole time I was there. A Comma also appeared on the brambles by the gate, with mating Small Whites in the meadow. The were also Speckled Woods at the side of the meadow (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
In the fields north of my house in Edburton today two Brown Hairstreaks there were probably more but there was somebody shooting Pigeons so I couldnt really go 'off-piste' to look for them. On the other side of the garden the highlights from the Hill recently have been 4 Painted Ladies, Adonis Blue, Brown Argus and plenty of Speckled Woods and Small Heaths. In the garden a Hummingbird Hawk Moth, 6 Silver Ys, a Rusty Dot Pearl, 3 White Points and a few Hedge, Vines and Flounced Rustics + Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Red Admiral on the verbena. (Tony Wilson)
2 Raspberry Clearwings attracted to lure at The Avenue, Bevendean, Brighton on Saturday.
Friday 2 September 2011
A tatty 2nd brood Wall Brown at High and Over this morning. Very large quantities of Small Heath also seen along Cradle Hill valley. (Bob Eade)
Today I completed my weekly transect at Mill Hill with the following result: 35 Adonis Blue, 2 Brimstone, 3 Brown Argus, 5 Chalkhill Blue, 5 Gatekeeper, 91 Meadow Brown, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Small Copper, 29 Small Heath, 1 Small White. I also spotted a Silver Y moth in excellent condition. The Adonis and Chalkhills are very tatty now. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
News for Wednesday 31 August: On Wednesday afternoon I visited Rewell Wood to see if there were any signs of second brood Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Instead I found plenty of other activity: Brimstone, Red Admiral, worn Common Blues and Brown Argus, Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Peacocks, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Light Emerald moth (Campaea margaritata), Common Carpet moth (Epirrhoe alternata), and various other interesting insects and spiders. A bonus was one and two year old plus adult lizards basking on tree trunks and mats with slow-worms underneath (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
News for Tuesday 30 August: Convolvulus Hawkmoth (above) found by my friend, Jo Fretten Saunders, at Goring on Tuesday. (Susie Milbank)
Thursday 1 September 2011
At about 7:30pm we watched a Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on a potted Lantana in our Lindfield garden. This is the first time I have seen one of these in the garden since 2006! (Bob Foreman)
Recent news: The season may be winding down but there are still good numbers of freshly-emerged butterflies about if you pick the right venue. A couple of days ago I counted more than 100 Speckled Wood during a two hour walk around Rewell Wood and Fairmile Bottom. Yesterday afternoon I found more than 50 shiny Small Coppers around the lower slopes and ring at Cissbury, plus a bonus Clouded Yellow (photos above). (Neil Hulme)
Wednesday 31 August 2011
Not many butterflies at Wakehurst Place this afternoon and those that we did see were all down in the Loder Valley wetlands: 5 Speckled Woods, 1 Gatekeeper, 3 Green-veined Whites and a very tatty male Silver-washed Fritillary. (Bob and Lucas Foreman and Lucas's friend John Moore)
News for Saturday, 27 August: 3 Raspberry Clearwings attracted to lure in my parent's garden at The Avenue in Bevendean, Brighton at approx 10.30am. (Darryl Perry)
Monday 29 August 2011
A lovely surprise this morning when one Painted Lady in very good condition settled on our terrace in Eastbourne for several minutes to enjoy the morning sunshine - this is only the third Painted Lady I have seen this year and the only one in our garden. (John East)
Whilst on a family walk and picnic up at Steyning, one obliging female Brown Hairstreak fluttered down around 1:30pm and laid an egg. Otherwise fairly quite on the butterfly front - just a handful of Meadow Browns, 1 Small Heath, 1 Speckled Wood and a few Whites. Pic above and on my blog: http://mud-puddling.blogspot.com/. (Leigh Prevost)
Today we thought that we would endeavour to get away from the world and his wife and so we headed to Brighton beach on this August Bank Holiday... no we didn't really... we went to Steyning Rifle Range! We were trying to spot our first Brown Hairstreak of the year, but alas this was not to be the case as I wasn't feeling to good and my son was too busy whizzing down the hill on his JD Bug (It's a scooter you know, no not as in motorbike, but the old fashioned schoolboy scooter, worry ye not!).
It has been quiet in my Storrington garden recently but yesterday there were 10 species of butterfly with Speckled Wood nectaring on Viburnum, Small Tortoiseshell on Devil's-bit Scabious, Large White on Verbena bonariensis and Red Admiral on Hemp Agrimony. (photos above). (Martin Kalaher)
1 Brown Hairstreak busy laying eggs at lunchtime today, Steyning Rifle Range. (Chris Corrigan)
News for Sunday 28 August: Painted Lady in the fields behind Pagham Harbour (above). (Celia Curtis)
Sunday 28 August 2011
Went this morning to look for Small Coppers and found a small group of 5 locally at Woodmancote TQ241141 they were all newly emerged and pristine males and females. Saw three have a low level pursuit flight which was very fast. One particular individual had clear additional blue spots on the hind wings. Also saw Brown Argus all worn 3, Common Blue females 6, male 1. Gatekeeper one, Meadow Brown lots, Small Whites 5, Small Heaths numerous, Sliver Y 2, Vapourer caterpillar on Sallow 1. From here went to Wolstonbury Hill. As normal saw Speckled Woods on the Bridleway up from Pycombe Street but I had a first ever sighting 3 Speckled Woods nectaring on Marjoram flowers and one feeding on Blackberries. On the open access site in my little patch of heaven TQ278136, Chalkhill Blues four, one beautiful male Adonis, Small Heaths 6, including one that had recently died with its wings open. Common Blues 5, Brown Argus two more Speckled Woods, Small Whites 5, Large White 1, Gatekeeper 2, Silver Y 2.
Several sightings over the last few days. A Hummingbird Hawk Moth was seen in the garden on the 26th nectaring on lavender in the rain. On the 27th Matt had a Clouded Yellow near Beachy Head. On the 28th a visit to Cradle Hill produced several Silver-spotted Skippers and some smart Common Blue including this colourful female (above). Finally another Hummingbird Hawk Moth in Shooters Bottom in the evening. (Bob Eade)
Saturday 27 August 2011
A single Clouded Yellow (above) was seen today on Broadmark Beach, Rustington, nectaring on Red Valerian and resting on shingle. (Alexander Henderson)
Adonis Blue in good condition were still around at the foot of Mill Hill yesterday when I did my transect: 27 Adonis Blue, 6 Chalkhill Blue, 2 Common Blue, 3 Gatekeeper, 67 Meadow Brown, 15 Small Heath, 1 Small White. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
Friday 26 August 2011
I continued to visit Steyning Downland Scheme last week and saw more Brown Hairstreaks in good condition both at the top of the hill and at the bottom site, with a bonus of four reptile species. Today I visited Cissbury Ring and found a Wall, Chalkhill Blues, Adonis Blues and Small Coppers, all in good condition plus Roe Deer. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
News for Thursday 25 August: I am from the Yorkshire Branch, I visited Steynings Rifle range and luckily the sun came out just as I arrived. Spotted a female Brown Hairstreak after looking for a couple of minutes. (above). She fluttered around for around 20 minutes, very obligingly, before I had to leave. Also saw plenty of Gatekeepers, Small Heaths and Meadow Browns. (David Williamson)
Recent news: You may be interested to hear that a 2nd brood captive-bred Pearl-bordered Fritillary (a male) (above) emerged at my Herstmonceux base on Thursday 25 August. This came from a batch of larvae being reared for the next local re-introduction project in 2012 and is my first ever 2nd brood PBF emergence in eight years of working on these captive-bred re-inroductions. The larvae come from local Sussex stock and are kept in very natural conditions outdoors exposed to all the elements. The spring brood also tend to emerge within a day or two of those in the wild...... so it may just be worth checking one or two of the (only) local sites if the weather improves! This one's nectaring on Yarrow but it would be interesting to know what they'd feed on in the wild in the absence of Bugle at this time of year...... my money's on Fleabane, Knapweed or Devil's Bit Scabious. It's just possible that this may also suggest a 2nd brood emergence of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary locally although I don't think this is the norm here in East Sussex (and probably much less likely as weather conditions weren't so unusual during the SPBF flight period). A 2nd brood is, however, much more common in West Country SPBF populations in Devon and Cornwall.
Thursday 25 August 2011
Crawley Down - a Hummingbird Hawkmoth briefly visited my garden today to investigate the buddleia. This is the first one I have seen. Also 3 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and numerous small and Large Whites. Butterfly numbers here are well down on previous years. (Jonathan Ruff)
Notes for Wednesday 24 August: I tramped across the downs at Sullington Hill looking for Silver-spotted Skippers but found none. It's only a few hundred metres from the 'isolated' female I mentioned a few days ago, so perhaps next year? At least 20% of the Sullington Down complex would be suitable for this species. Otherwise there were 40-50 male Common Blue in pristine condition, so by my reckoning this must be a third brood. The only other butterfly of note was a Painted Lady. I have seen just 5 this year, 4 on downland (Chantry Hill/Sullington Hill) and one by a hedgerow just outside Storrngton. None in my garden, but there is still time before the season ends. (Martin Kalaher)
More from Wednesday 24 August: I would like to report a sighting of a Brown Hairstreak (female), yesterday lunchtime in Small Dole, Henfield BN5 9YB. This was the first time I had seen this beautiful butterfly and it was so unusual that I looked up the species in my Readers Digest Field Guide to Butterflies. It was happily sunning itself on a courgette plant in the garden. I feel very lucky to have seen this as I understand the species is in decline. (Rachel Warner)
Wednesday 24 August 2011
Being on standby at work today and the sun shining I decided to risk heading upto the West Grinstead area hoping for some more Brown Hairstreaks. In all 3 seen, the first was missing some of its hindwing. The second was slightly faded but the third was in pretty good condition. Despite them all being low down none of them posed very well. A very smart Small Copper (above) was then seen battling with another. A very good day at work!!! (Bob Eade)
I seized the opportunity to get over to Rowland Wood this afternoon to carry out this week's transect walk. In windy but warm and sunny conditions there were quite a few butterflies making the most of it, Speckled Woods, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Small Heaths for the most part but also a few Red Admirals, Green-veined Whites and the highlight, three glorious, freshly emerged Brimstones (above). (Bob Foreman)
Clouded Yellow in Harveys Lane TQ 470 150. Another welcome migrant, Vestal moth, Sunday 21 August, Isfield. (Graham Parris Isfield)
We ran two MV traps at Thorney Island last night (23 August) from 2100pm to 0100am. We left one running at Eames Farm and took the other one to the south-east corner of Thorney Deeps. Unknown to us there was a Hornet nest only 20 feet away from this trap and within 10 mins there were c100 Hornets going ballistic inside the trap. We then carefully approached the trap and turned the generator off and opened the trap so they could escape etc. We then moved to the gorse area on the southern end of Thorney Island and set up the trap again, where we admired the aerobatic skills of three Pipistrelle bats catching the moths as they approached the MV trap.
Monday 22 August 2011
Pictures (above) of Clouded Yellow and Adonis Blue taken at Bible Bottom, Lewes together with this Meadow Brown oddity; Frohawk describes such specimens as ab.semi-alba. They are not infrequent in their occurence and the lack of pigment can form asymmetrical patterns on all four wings, fore-wings or hindwings only or as in this case only on one side. (Nigel Kemp)
Brown Hairstreaks (above), Steyning Rifle Range, 21 August (Neil Hulme)
Attendees, Steyning Rifle Range, 21 August (John Williams) (above, left) and (Pete Varkala) (above, right)
News for Sunday 21 August: My annual guided walk at Steyning Rifle Range has always attracted good numbers, but this year we broke the BC Sussex and Blue Peter record for attendance, and about equalled the record for Brown Hairstreak sightings! Counting those that went ahead to scout for us, plus a few late-comers, a total of 64 participants enjoyed the fantastic Steyning Downland Scheme area (http://www.steyningdownland.org) and all it has to offer. I'm pleased to say that every one of the party, including a good turn-out of youngsters, got eyeball-to-eyeball with at least one of the 8 female Brown Hairstreaks that came down to meet us. The butterflies posed beautifully and everybody went home with close-up photographs. Those that lingered after the end of the walk saw another 4 hairstreaks, either egg-laying or sunbathing on low foliage. They were also fortunate enough to see a Clouded Yellow! It wasn't just the Brown Hairstreaks that were out in force and our final tally included Wall, Small Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Small Heath, plus a few moths including Hummingbird Hawk. The Steyning Downland Scheme continues to go from strength to strength and I for one will just keep coming back. As always here, a great crowd of people, great butterflies and a stunning landscape. It was a very enjoyable way to finish off my 2011 walks calendar. Thanks to all that attended. (Neil Hulme)
News for the weekend: Good start too the morning by finding two wasp spiders next to each other at Henfield. From here decided to go some where slightly different and headed for the Downs near Keymer. After locating a foot path and reaching the foot of the downs saw two Small Coppers, one pristine, a few Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small Heaths an occasional Chalkhill Blue and a faint glimpse of a Silver-spotted Skipper which vanished TQ320133. After trudging straight up the hill it was devoid of butterflies on the steep exposed slopes until I reached the top adjacent to the South Downs Way. In and around a patch of Gorse I saw 10 Small Coppers all worn. TQ320131. As I walked west across the crest I started seeing more Meadow Browns, Brown Argus and Small Heaths and one male Brimstone. Eventually I reached my target site which looked like old earth works or quarrying from the past. There were plenty of Chalkhill Blues, Meadow Browns, Brown Argus (laying eggs on rock rose), Small Heaths etc. Spent a good hour on the site watching the aerial displays of at least 14 Silver-spotted Skippers TQ315132, When I reached the bottom I found a sign indicating I had apparently been in the Offham to Clayton escarpment which is actually an SSSI site.
Sunday 21 August 2011
With over 60 people in attendance, no doubt the sightings page will be flooded with reports for the Brown Hairstreaks that we all saw at Stenying Rifle Range on Sunday. Never let it be said that Neil Hulme disappoints. We all had fab close up observations and personally this finished my quest to see all 45 species in Sussex this year. Now its just the Scotch Argus in Cumbria next week, to complete my attempt to see 50 species in my 50th year (photos above). (Dan Danahar)
At Steyning yesterday am there were a good number of active Brown Hairstreaks in the treetops, including a pair dogfighting, and then later on (around 11:00) at least 3 were present low down (one egglaying on two different plants) - although one was quite battered with parts of its wing missing, the other two appeared to be in very good condition. Thanks to Neil for helping me (and many others who were part of the group walk) locate these stunning butterflies; well worth the wait I think. Although no doubt by the equipment on show there will be some far better shots, I have posted one here (above), with more on my blog for those interested: http://mud-puddling.blogspot.com/.
In 2010 I reported a single female Silver-spotted Skipper 2-300 metres to the east of Cross Dyke and this year on the same embankment I counted 19. The total for Chantry Hill was 41 but I think there are more and I intend doing another count in the next day or so, weather permitting. The other bit of good news is that today I found an isolated female a further 250 metres to the east at TQ089121. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of butterflies at Chantry Hill; Meadow Brown (500+), Small Heath (150+), good numbers of Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue (faded and on the decline), Small White, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Small Skipper and a pristine female Adonis Blue ovipositing on Horseshoe Vetch.
News for Saturday 20 August: Whitehawk Hill, Paul Gorringe led a group of 16 to look for butterflies on Whitehawk Hill, east Brighton, on 20 August. Conditions were initially overcast, though dry and warm, and looked unpromising. Chalkhill Blues (at least 50 by the end of the walk) and Meadow Brown appeared straight away. As the group picked its way down the steep slope overlooking Whitehawk, they were able to appreciate the wide range of chalk grassland flowers, some quite rare. But other butterflies seemed reluctant to show themselves. Gradually things picked up, as the group moved along the bottom of the slope and especially when the sun came out, with Common Blue, Small Blue, Gatekeeper, Large and Small White, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, and a fresh looking Brown Argus, which posed helpfully for photographs. The climax came just as the walk was beginning to wind down, however, with the appearance of two Adonis Blue, the first Second Brood Adonis seen on the site this summer. Mission accomplished, though there was more to come with a Small Copper, a Red Admiral, a Wall and a Small Tortoiseshell, making a satisfying 15 species in all. (Nigel Bowie)
Saturday 20 August 2011
c500 Small Whites nectaring on lucerne fields at the southern end of Thorney Island SU765013. (Barry Collins)
News for Friday 19 August: The bottom of Mill Hill was covered in Adonis Blues and Meadow Browns. My transect count was 74 Adonis Blue, 9 Chalkhill Blue, 1 Common Blue, 16 Gatekeeper, 68 Meadow Brown, 17 Small Heath, plus a Green Woodpecker. I then went to Steyning Rifle Range and found far more butterfly enthusiasts than Brown Hairstreaks! There were quite a few Brown Hairstreaks spotted, maybe 7, in the middle of the fenced area, all torn and worn, then later Tim spotted 2 pristine ones in the corner area. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
A selection of photos from reports earlier in the month from Nick Linazasoro (above)
Friday 19 August 2011
Whilst looking for Brown Hairstreaks today I came across a second brood Dingy Skipper at Woodmancote. On the Downslink at Henfield one of two recent Comma Caterpillars feeding on nettles and I also found 5 batches of Peacock caterpillars feeding on nettles on the edge of a maize field which I estimate was in excess of 150 caterpillars (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)
In two fields directly behind Roedean School midday:
Thursday 18 August 2011
News for Wednesday 17 August: We saw a scary caterpillar yesterday (Val spotted it first). It puffed itself up and showed us a couple of threatening "eyes". We think it was a Small Elephant Hawkmoth, putting its life at risk by crossing the Downslink Cycle-path & footway, just north of the A27 flyover. In the overcast conditions, there were few butterflies out despite it being very warm - the most interesting was a Common Blue deep in Shoreham at the very start of the Downslink path. (John A Heys)
News for Monday 8 August: I would like to report the sighting of a Brown Hairstreak female in my garden resting on flowering quince in Gossops Green near Crawley, Map reference TQ 247 359. (Barrie Puttock)
Wednesday 17 August 2011
Not a great deal flying at Rowland Wood today, the Ringlet and Silver-washed Fritillary season now seems to be over, still plenty of Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood on the wing but the most surprising thing, sticking with the satyrids, was the number of Small Heath (above, left), I counted more than 20 on two separate sections of the transect. Among the day-flying moths was this Common Carpet (above, right) feeding voraciously on ragwort blossom, I watched it for some time before it flew away. (Bob Foreman)
I've marked Sophie's homework (see her posting from yesterday) and she has achieved a very respectable 18/20. The Burnet was a 6-spot not a 5-spot (although there's no way you could tell from that pic!) and as for the final fritillary... erm, I've forgotten! I think it may have been Dark Green! (Michael Blencowe)
Tuesday 16 August 2011
News for Monday 15 August: Found a new unknown to me site adjacent to Moulescombe station. Quite an extensive meadow probably in need of some management. Seen in a quick 15 minute visit:
News for Sunday 14 August: Whilst trying to cook Sunday lunch and juggle the timing of the spuds and carrots and not burn the rice pudding my attention was continually distracted by things that moved in the garden. The usual Small Whites and Gatekeepers dancing outside the kitchen window were easy enough to ignore but a large dragonfly proved too much of a temptation and I dashed outside to see what it was. She turned out to be a stunning migrant hawker. A few moments later I was even more glad I had gone outside when a small butterfly caught my eye, high in a tree in my next-door neighbours' garden. Grabbing the binoculars and jumping up and down to see between the bushes I realised it was as I suspected - a hairstreak. With a bit of squinting and neck stretching as the butterfly pottered about on the end of a branch I identified it as a Purple Hairstreak. A fantastic surprise and a nice garden tick!
Monday 15 August 2011
Today I visited Steyning rifle range, producing six female Brown Hairstreaks, as of when I left at about 12:55, leaving them in the best of hands, Neil. All six females where seen either in or just outside the enclosed area. With most, happily opening their wings to show their rich orange markings. Including three females of which were laying eggs. Photos (above) include a side profile, open wings, female just after laying an egg, and a shot showing both sides of a females wings. Many thanks for everyone's help, and of course Neil himself. (Jamie Burston)
News from the Butterfly Haven 14 August: Whilst I was on holiday Bob Foreman very kindly visited the butterfly haven. On my return I received and e-mail from him:
The Big Five-Oh.
News for Saturday 13 August: I visited Windover Hill on Saturday. Grayling were all over the south facing slope in the constant warm wind. Sometimes I saw several in the air at the same time and estimate over 30 sightings. Most had red mites attached. I also saw several Silver-spotted Skippers and a lone Adonis Blue, plus many rather worn Chalkhill Blues and also Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Small Heaths. A pair of Kestrels hunted in the valley. A bonus was seeing a Spitfire, a Hurricane and a Lancaster from the Eastbourne Air Show. The Red Arrows also did a fly past for me! (photos above) (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
Sunday 14 August 2011
This morning I checked out the master trees on the downslink at 9.00 a.m and 11 days later activity continues with 5 Brown Hairstreaks (mainly males) flying around the tops of small ash trees. I checked a sloe sucker nearby and found 4 eggs on it three of which were side by side. I also saw a pair of Blue-bordered Carpet eggs. TQ2017. I didn't find any other eggs further away so perhaps they spread out later from the master tree to deposit eggs. Incidentally there is also a master tree in Partridge Green park. An ash and a maple next to the play area another good egg laying site.
A thoroughly enjoyable day looking at plants and 'wee beasties' on the downs with Jeremy Tatum, here on a rare visit from Canada. Butterfly and moth sightings included:
On a overcast but pleasant (19.1°C SW Force 4) autumn late morning was bracing for a walk but inimical for butterflies of eleven species of which 50% were hiding. On Mill Hill, I recorded an estimated 100+ Meadow Browns, 66 Adonis Blues, 37 Chalkhill Blues, 30+ Common Blues, 35+ Small Heaths, a few of the last Gatekeepers, one Small Copper, one female Brimstone Butterfly, one Wall Brown, 15+ Speckled Woods and one Large White. (Andy Horton, Mill Hill Reports 2011)
Enormous thanks to Jim for holding the fort while I was getting sun-burnt (yes, really) in Cornwall and being able to see Graylings and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at the same time! (Bob)
Here are the photos that came into the site over the past week or so (all are clickable):
Brown Hairstreaks and Neil Hulme stalking them on the Downslink near Henfield (above), 03 August. (Richard Roebuck)
Gatekeeper (top, left), Common Blue (top, right), Brown Hairstreak (bottom, left), Small Copper(bottom, right). RSPB Pulborough Brooks, 03 August. (Pat and Peter Gardner)
Adonis Blue (above, left), Chalkhill Blue (above, right). Mill Hill, 03 August. (John Williams)
Chalkhill Blues (above, left), Butchershole Bottom, 03 August. (Andy Wilson) and Orange-tip pupae (above, right). Rowfant, 08 August. (David & Molly Dancy)
Silver-spotted Skipper (above, left), Cradle Hill, 10 August and Wall Brown (above, right). Offham, 12 August. (Bob Eade)
Please send any outstanding photos that you have from the past week and I'll post them with tomorrow's update.
13/08 Seen today on another great Sussex Dragonfly Group fieldtrip to St Leonards Forest. Yet another site where little tweaks in management/attitude would make a large difference to biodiversity. (No butterflies eaten by any dragonflies during the walk!) 4 Meadow Browns (TQ216303). 1 Small Copper, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Holly Blue all (TQ215305). 2 Gatekeepers (TQ214305). 1 Gatekeeper (TQ213305). 3 Meadow Browns (TQ213308). 1 Red Admiral (TQ213309). 1 Brimstone (TQ209308). 1 Brimstone, 2 Speckled Woods (TQ209310). 1 Brimstone (TQ211311). 2 Gatekeeper (TQ214312). 2 Meadow Browns (TQ216309). 1 Red Admiral (TQ215311). Plumpton 3 Meadow Browns (TQ356166). 2 Gatekeepers (TQ355162). 12/08 Helleborine hunting in Plumpton. 2 Speckled Woods (TQ371178). 1 Speckled Wood (TQ357198). 09/08 Plumpton 2 Gatekeeper, 2 Meadow Browns, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Comma, 2 Small Whites, 1 Large White and 1 Brimstone (TQ361164). 3 Meadow Browns (TQ359165). 5 Meadow Browns (TQ356166). 2 Gatekeeper, 2 Meadow Browns (TQ358163). 1 Gatekeeper, 2 Small Whites (TQ360163). (Jon Wood)
12/8/2011 Female Wall Brown, Offham. 10/8/2011 Silver-spotted Skipper, Cradle Hill (Bob Eade)
Saturday 13th August
Because of the weather conditions forecast for 13th August I chose to call off the event at Cow Wish Bottom, near South Heighton. Looking for butterflies in the rain wouldn't be much fun. But by late morning the rain cleared and it was lovely weather again – August weather is no-longer reliable, really frustrating! Extremely sorry to all those who were intending to come along.
News for Sunday 7th August:- One very late Large Skipper ovapositing on Cocksfoot grass in John Holoway's garden in Kingston (TQ391086). Also seen in the garden on Sunday was Large White, Small White, several Brown Argus, Small Blue, Small Copper, 1 Chalkhill Blue, several Common Blue, Red Admiral, Comma, Gatekeeper & Meadow Brown.
News for Tuesday 9th August:- Muggery Pope (TQ440050), Many Silver-spotted Skippers, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, Adonis Blue, Small Copper, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Wall Brown and many Six-spot Burnet moths. Itford Hill (TQ445060) Marbled White, Silver-spotted Skippers, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, Adonis Blue, Small Copper, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown. Mount Caburn, just above Rancombe Farm (TQ442089) : Silver-spotted Skippers, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Gate Keeper and Meadow Brown. Silver-spotted Skippers are doing well at Malling Down many freshly emerged adults recorded Friday 12th as well as courtship behaviour and ovapositing. They should be at their peak abundance now. A transect transact count on Friday 5th August recorded over 100! Not only did I see adult Silver-spotted Skippers but an egg, one very late larva and pupa (Friday 5 Aug) – all stages in just one day!! (Crispin Holloway)
Friday 12th August
A quick visit to my butterfly haven at Offham revealed several Wall Brown including a very smart female that posed well for the camera. Approx 8 Wall Brown were seen. I was very pleased to also see a single Silver-spotted Skipper. (Bob Eade)
Thursday 11th August
Numbers of Silver-spotted Skippers have now built up nicely on the Cradle Hill part of Frog Firle. Very high numbers of Small Heath too. Also one Small Blue seen. Wall Brown still along The Comp and at High and Over. (Bob Eade)
News for Aug 10th:-Yesterday we ventured into Woods Mill Nature Reserve to see what nature's delights awaited us this sunny afternoon. Woods Mill is such a nice place and the staff of this Sussex Wildlife Trust site should be commended for all of their hard work. On the butterfly front we spotted a Silver-washed Fritillary, in excellent condition, whizzing around the Hoe Wood area of the reserve. We also saw a Holly Blue, several Large White a Small White, two Red Admirals, two Commas, lots of Speckled Wood, Gatekeepers, Small Heath and Meadow Brown. Alas we did not spy any Purple Hiarstreak or Brown Hairstreak. We also saw a Kestrel hovering about 15 feet above our heads and lots of dragonflies such as Scarce Chaser, Brown Hawker and an Emperor Dragonfly. We also saw an occasional damselfly.
PS In reply to Simon Quin's question posted regarding his 9th August Windover Hill trip; Of the Grayling I saw there the day before, indeed nearly all had these red mites on them. I know that when I visited the same site two or three years ago, the Grayling had the red mites on them then. I'm not sure if the mites hinder the Grayling (or any other butterflies) in any way, but a Grayling with a red mite or two on it is easier for me to spot! (Nick, James & Toby Linazasoro)
Wednesday 10th August
Butterfly Tourism:-Visiting Sussex from Cornwall, I took a trip to Bo Peep Bostal yesterday between 3 & 4 pm, for easy access to Chalkhill Blue and was rewarded with 60+, many were quite worn but one or two very fresh males about. At the top of the hill, on the right before you turn into the car park were 4 Wall Brown all flying together, and a Dark Green Fritillary "blasted" through at breakneck speed. A very worn Marbled White was clinging on. Also seen were Large White and Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Gatekeepers and best sighting of the day, a very fresh 2nd brood Dingy Skipper some 60 yards up the hill from the gate at the bottom, on the right hand side of the road. Best wishes to all. (Andrew Carey)
News:- On Tuesday, August 9th, with a promising weather forecast for the afternoon, I visited Windover Hill to check the Grayling colony. There seemed to be larger numbers than last year and over a wider area but one or two seemed to have a red mite on their heads. Has that been noted before? There were large numbers of Wall Brown (somewhat ragged) and Chalkhill Blue and a few Silver-spotted Skippers and two Small Tortoiseshell. Also, a lone Clouded Yellow passed by (the pale variety, Helice) before shooting off over the hill. (Simon Quin)
News: Tue Aug 9th:- There was a very worn Dark Green Fritillary periodically feeding all afternoon, on the Verbena in my garden in Edburton. (Tony Wilson)
Tuesday 9th August
Reserve News:-Today I ventured into Park Corner Heath to show my comrades in arms a few butterflies and reptiles. My friend Drew had never seen a wild snake before, so we hoped things would turn out just right for him. Unfortunately we only saw a single Silver-washed Fritillary, which was quite a drop from around ten days ago, but we did see lots of Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Gatekeepers; and one Small White. So not a really brilliant day on the butterfly side of things, however we did find nine Slow Worms, which actually aren't worms at all, but are in fact legless lizards, (not totally drunk legless!) and four adders. So job done really! (Nick, James, Toby Linazasoro & Drew Easton)
More Reserve News:-I took a walk around our Reserve at Rowland Wood today. Through periods of intermittent sunshine I saw many Speckled Wood, many Gatekeepers, a few Meadow Brown, a couple of Brimstones and a couple of Silver-washed Fritillaries. I also saw a Comma and a Large White. (Jim Barrett)
Monday 8th August
Eye-in for Greyling:-Today I ventured up Windover Hill in order to shed some pounds and to see if I could spot any Graying and Silver-spotted Skipper. On the way up I encountered a large number male and female Chalkhill Blue. The nearer the top I got, the more females I would spot. Once at the top I headed to a sheltered patch to get out of the wind, and amazingly a Grayling found me by landing on my shirt. After about ten seconds it flew off in a circle then flew back onto my shirt again. Alas I didn't get a photo as I was too busy studying the little fellow. I haven't encounted one for a few years now, not since I joined an awesome Blencowe walk.
I then spotted a Silver-spotted Skipper in the same area. I turned the corner and flying up the avenue was a tattered and curiously yellowy (I presume) Large White. Unlike most whites, it was quite easy to very gently pick it up. I then braced myself for the steep hill on the other side of the bushes and lo-and-behold I managed to get my eye in and found at least a dozen Grayling. I also saw numerous Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Small Heath. I also found one tattered and faded Small Copper and one Wall Brown. There were also quite a few Six-Spot Burnett and literally tons of little yellow moths around too. (Nick Linazasoro)
Home & Away:- Many thanks to Richard Roebuck for his comments about Brown Hairstreaks
on Ditchling Country Park.
By the way, anyone with children (who may not be totally enthralled by spending a long day butterfly spotting) could try a holiday in Northamptonshire & include a visit Fermyn Country Park + the nearby woods, south of Corby. Not only can all sorts of exciting butterflies be seen, on 3rd June this year there were reported to be Black Hairstreaks, but also there are a couple of children’s play areas, a cafe and plenty of parking. On a not very sunny day last week we saw at least 17 different species. (John.A.Hays)
Unorthodox recording technique:- As there were few butterflies today at Rowfant we stopped to look for Orange-tip pupae on dead Garlic Mustard plants. We quickly found two "usual" light brown coloured ones but then we also found a brilliant green one. Not having seen a green one before, we looked in the Millennium Atlas which states that there are variations that match their surroundings. However, not an easy way to find new locations for Orange-tips! (David & Molly Dancy)
Sunday 7th August
Event News:-Sixteen enthusiatic folk joined Michael Blencowe on his Sussex Butterfly Conservation Grayling Fest event at Windover today. In breezy conditions we were delighted to find many Grayling and Siver- spotted Skipper - both firsts for some of those present. Some very happy photographers headed off to sweet dreams afterwards. The list of species seen were Chalkhill Blue, Wall Brown, Small White, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Grayling, Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Copper, plus three species of moth - Chalk Carpet, Ochreous Pearl (Mecyna flavalis), and Six Spot Burnet. Many thanks to Michael for another successful event. (Peter Atkinson)
Saturday 6th August
Event News:-Though partially overcast and the breeze kept the numbers to a minimum a good selection of butterflies were seen on the Sussex Butterfly Conservation event at Malling Down today. Including the target species, Silver Spotted Skipper, we saw numerous Meadow Brown, a good number of Small Heath and Gatekeepers, 1 Chalkhill Blue and 1 Wall Brown.(Leigh Prevost) Some photographs of the event can be seen on Leigh's blog; Click Here
County Sightings Summary 2nd August Red House Common, Chailey 1 Speckled Wood (TQ388219). 1 Gatekeeper (TQ391222). 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Heath, all (TQ390224). 1 Speckled Wood (TQ389220). 1 Small Copper (TQ390219). 1 Small Heath (TQ391218). 3rd August Plumpton Wood, Plumpton 2 Speckled Wood (TQ365186). 1 Speckled Wood, 3 Gatekeepers, all (TQ368188). 5th August 2 Gatekeepers (TQ397178). 3 Speckled Wood (TQ397182). Plumpton 1 Gatekeeper, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small White, 1 Large white, all (TQ361164). 6th August Old Lodge (poor weather) and private garden 1 Speckled Wood (TQ463310). 1 GateKeeper (TQ498329). 1 Meadow Brown (TQ498327). (Jon Wood)
Friday 5th August
News from the Reserve: After work today I had a wander around
Park Corner Heath
and immediately came across several
Silver-washed Fritillary and lots of Gatekeeper and Small Heath.
News from Wed 3rd August: Under the midday sun, thirteen butterfly species were seen on and around Mill Hill including 46 Chalkhill Blues, an estimated 70+ Common Blues, five Dingy Skippers, two male Adonis Blues, a few Wall Brown and a late Marbled White. In years past the Chalkhill Blues began to roost (look in the Cocksfoot) about 2:30pm, depending on the weather. If it is cloudy they may not come out at all, unless you disturb them. (Andy Horton)
Butterfly Expectations: I have been keeping an eye on Chantry Hill waiting for the Silver-spotted Skippers to emerge. Today I saw about 4-5 of them and 3-4 Wall Browns. I also saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, the first time I have seen one up on 'the hill'. (Martin Kalaher)
Thursday 4th August
Moths and Butterflies: We gambled and put the moth trap out last night at Woods Mill in the hope of catching something interesting,
but worried about the heavy rain coming our way!
News:Pulborough Brooks; Over the last few days, Brown hairstreaks have been seen in ‘the usual places’ – that is, on the ash trees on the edge of the woodland above Nettley’s hide and Jupp’s view. (Pete Hughes)
A butterfly encounter? Whilst on an after work cycle up to Steyning and back, I took a wrong turn and ended up a farm at the end of Sopers Lane (TQ 17403 09874). It was nearly 8pm and whilst trying to work out where I was and how to get back home before dark, I saw a small brownish-orange coloured butterfly flying quite rapidly high up (at barn height). I cannot be certain but I believe it was a Brown Hairstreak. Having never seen this species I'm hedging my bets a bit (maybe it was just a moth :-)!!) but I am fairly familiar with other Hairstreaks sp. now and this certainly looked similar to those in terms of its size and nature. There was a large clump of bramble close by and some tall trees (I'm afraid I couldn't tell you what they were) but if anyone else is up at this location and can confirm they are present here I would be pleased to hear from you! (Leigh Prevost)
Wednesday 3rd August
On Sunday 31st July at least 4 Wall Browns and a male Chalkhill Blue near the trig point at the top of Steep Down (TQ168077). Another male Chalkhill Blue closer to North Lancing at (TQ177068). (Paul & Bridget James)
This morning I had a walk on the Downs above Butchershole Bottom. There were Chalkhill Blues everywhere. Males were dashing about looking for females and sparring not only with rival males, but any other butterfly that got in their way. Females were fluttering about waiting to attract the attention of a male – although this usually meant more than one suitor at a time. There were literally hundreds of them – probably thousands. At three locations, I also saw a large number of males gathering to take up liquid – in one case from a discarded plastic bottle, but at the other two places they were on something rather more unpleasant. I've seen other references to this behaviour of Blues, but I've never seen it myself. Clearly, it's not just Purple Emperors who have dirty habits! Other species seen: Common Blue (20+), Adonis Blue (3), Small Copper (1), Small Heath (100+), Meadow Brown (100+), Gatekeeper (50+) and some very faded Dark Green Fritillaries (3). I don't think I've seen so many butterflies on a hour-long walk for many years. (Andy Wilson)
I joined Neil this afternoon on the Downslink at Henfield to search for the fabled Brown Hairstreak master tree. It wasn't long before we found a small group of smallish Ash trees and spotted our first female Brown Hairstreak. She was a bit tatty, however the fact that she was still perching in a tree suggested she had not started egg laying. As we studied the tree we also spotted four other male Brown Hairstreak that were inhabiting the leeward side of the tree. Neil's binoculars were certainly a must as he could identify the males and females. Although for the large part they remained stationary, there were occasional flights around the tree or occasionally to a nearby sloe. Also interestingly, the female had a preference for landing on a terminal Ash Bud. On looking at the photo, the attraction is not the next year dark bud but the axil of the terminal leaf.Perhaps there's a sugary secretion here or a trap for moisture,as its quite fresh or exposed, or possibly a species of aphid inhabits this niche, an interesting subject open to debate. She did return, on several occasions,to exactly the same position. The males didn't appear to exhibit this behaviour.We got are eye in to such a good extent we could even spot a Brown Hairstreak from its silhouette especially the antennae ? Not bad for something the size of a two pence piece 10 feet above us.We saw four males and one female in one Ash tree. Apart from the throng of usual butterflies,we did see a couple of Wall Brown, several Holly Blue and one unusual Gatekeeper which was very small about the same size as a "Small Heath !" Overall a fascinating experience - it pays to stand and watch. (Richard Roebuck)
A rather disappointing trip to Mill Hill after work on Wednesday revealed only 2 or 3 each of Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue, and Common Blue. There were a few more Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, and Small Heath plus the ubiquitous Neil Hulme! (John Williams)
Lancing Rings today 14.15 to 15.45
Tuesday 2 August 2011
I saw a lovely fresh Speckled Wood basking in some dappled sunlight in a shaddy section of Mill Wood in Peasmarsh. (Jim Barrett)
A surprise visit from a Silver-washed Fritillary this morning at Stanmer Park TQ334095 (Jan Knowlson)
A quick look on the Downslink at Henfield next to the car park revealed one female Brown Hairstreak flying amongst a couple of Gatekeepers, it was only revealed when it landed on a Bramble leaf. It then set off in a flash across a wheat field, followed not far behind by a Purple Hairstreak. I had a quick look at some isolated sloes along the side of the field and something moved and caught my eye. It was a caterpillar of an Emperor Moth (above), munching away on sloe leaves, which must have been over 3 inches long perhaps a fifth instar, fabulous. It's an unexpected first sighting for me in Henfield. On the sloe stem the white object looks like an egg, but having re-checked, it isn't. I did however find a Brown Hairstreak egg slightly higher up the plant. The hot weather is sure speeding things up. (Richard Roebuck)
At last I managed a walk around the patch with the weather remaining pretty constant so I could do a more accurate Wall Brown count. I would have liked to have been able to do this last week as this was probably their peak emergence in this area. However, with 18 seen along The Comp and several at High and Over I managed a count of 37. This is 7 down on last year and 5 down on 2009. All seen were males so I'm sure there were many females hiding in the undergrowth. Interestingly there was only one seen on Greenway Bank which is poor compared with previous years. Also none were seen along the bottom path near the Rathfinney water pumping building where once again previous years has been productive. 5 second brood Dingy Skippers, 4 Adonis Blue and only 4 Silver-spotted Skippers seen. (Bob Eade)
We ran a MV trap at Longmere Point, Thorney Island last night from 1000pm to 0100am. We caught 36 species of macro moths and several Pyralid moths. Some of the highlights included 1 male and 4 female Oak Eggar, 1 Drinker, 27 Scarce Footman, 4 Dingy Footman, 1 Rosy Rustic, 2 White Point, The Crescent, 1 Saltern Ear, 7 White-line Dart, 4 Fen Wainscot, 4 Southern Wainscot and 15 Synaphe punctalis. (Barry and Margaret Collins)
A while ago I went to Amberley Wildbrooks to do a suitcase square (tetrad 0212) but saw very little as the weather was awful. I have been back a couple of times since in an effort to cover more ground and investigate butterflies in better weather. The walk, as I said before, is delightful. You can follow the Wildbrooks path north from the village, go west towards Bury or head up into the Downs and it is beautiful whichever direction you go in. The butterflies were the more common species along the wildbrooks and heading West (Michael you already have the exact figures as I emailed them to you) but today I headed up onto the Downs and found some Chalkhill Blues and Small Heath. Once you get onto the Downs proper there is a field full of wild flowers to your right. It is fenced off and not accessible to the public but it is a sight for sore eyes. If you look at the photos attached you could be forgiven for thinking they were taken at Kithurst Hill but they were taken above Amberley at roughly TQ 039124. It is not a terribly steep ascent so well worth doing. My only surprise was not to find any evidence of Small Blues there given all that Kidney Vetch youd think there would be some. Even the Chalkhill Blues and Small Heath were only single figures. I cannot understand it, the field should be covered in butterflies. There were butterflies for sure but not in the numbers you find at Kithurst. Still, a lovely walk to take and the area is worth further investigation. (Sherie New)
Recent news: Have spent a busy few days visiting 'blank' tetrad squares across Sussex and recording butterflies for the atlas project. We've ended up with a suntan and a load of records which will be entered into our database. Near Harting Down we encountered a pair of Dark Green Fritillaries - a species which I have never seen this far west in Sussex. Similarly a Chalkhill Blue near Singleton was my most westerly Sussex encounter with this butterfly. A woodland ride near Graffham was full with over a hundred Red Admirals. Large Skippers - which I thought were 'over' in East Sussex were numerous in the West of the county. Despite still seeing many Silver-washed Fritillaries along the sunny woodland rides we did not see one White Admiral - they've had a particularly bad year. Purple Hairstreaks are still up in most oaks and we found second brood Dingy Skippers all across the Downs. We targetted the north escarpment of the Downs in East Sussex today and walked between Southease and Alfriston on my annual Grayling hunt. Dark Green Fritillaries were still on the (rather tatty) wing as were good numbers of Marbled Whites. We found a colony of Silver-spotted Skippers next to Bedingham Landfill. I was most impressed with the numbers of Wall we encountered on our walk - we saw over 75. (Michael & Clare Blencowe)
News for Sunday 31 July: On Sunday 31st July at least 4 Wall Browns and a male Chalkhill Blue near the trig point at the top of Steep Down (TQ168077). Another male Chalkhill Blue closer to North Lancing at TQ177068. (Paul & Bridget James)
News for Wednesday 27 July: At Fittleworth Church (TQ009193) on 27th July the following were recorded where the temperature was 19°C. Large White (2), Green-veined White (2), Meadow Brown (11) and Gatekeeper (18).
Monday 1 August 2011
Since becoming interested in butterflies 2 years ago we have found the sightings page an excellent source of where and when to see certain species. Our count til today for butterflies photographed was 42, and we were eager to add the Brown Hairstreak. We had noted from recent sightings that Ditchling Common and Woods Mill might give us that opportunity and they were both sites we had not visited. We found the path described at Ditchling, but no Hairstreaks (but enjoyed a pleasant walk) On to Woods Mill, An excellent reserve with a mix of wooded areas, meadows and ponds. 16 butterfly species were seen in our 2 hour stroll, plus other insects and bugs. Large, Small and Green-veined White - Meadow Brown - Gatekeeper - Red Admiral - Small Copper - Brown Argus - Peacock - Small Skipper - Silver-washed Fritillary - Comma - Brimstone - Small Heath - Speckled Wood and of course our target species a Brown Hairstreak.
Just wanted to share some butterfly sightings today from a walk up the north east side of Hillbarn Golf Course through long grass, woodland, closely-grazed grass slopes, paths bordered by brambles, hawthorn etc and the east side ditch of Cissbury Ring. I am hoping to improve my skill in identification by joining Sussex Butterflies!
In Deep Dene good numbers of Grayling. Only 2 Silver-spotted Skippers seen and large numbers of Chalkhill Blue. On the way up over Windover Hill several Wall Brown flying.
We visited Swanborough and the Kingston Escarpment (TQ3807) near Lewes at lunchtime today to find some Chalk Carpet and any newly-emerged Silver-spotted Skippers. We were rewarded with a single Chalk Carpet and nine very fresh Silver-spotted Skippers. There were masses on the wing (19 butterfly species) in hot and sometimes breezy conditions. The full list: Dingy Skipper (1), Essex Skipper (3), Silver-spotted Skipper (9), Large White (6), Small White (33), Green-veined White (1), Small Copper (8), Brown Argus (4), Common Blue (13), Holly Blue (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Peacock (2), Red Admiral (5), Meadow Brown (75), Gatekeeper (83), Marbled White (16), Speckled Wood (1), Wall (6), Small Heath (36). Moths seen included Six-spot Burnet (20), Crambus perlella, Agriphila straminella, Agriphila tristella, Pyrausta despicata, Chalk Carpet and Uncertain. (Dave Harris & Steven Teale)
As I was not happy with my one acre transect count on Mill Hill the previous day, I went to the lower slopes and made a fresh count in very good conditions (humid, weak sunshine, 20.2°C, ESE Force 4) and in the 20 minutes (timed) it took me to amble along the transect, I counted 58 Chalkhill Blues (including six females). The count included one mating pair. Although this has been typical of the last couple of years, it was only a tenth the total of a good year and below par even for poor years. The first of three second brood male Adonis Blues showed, and without trying half a dozen second brood Dingy Skippers, including courting pairs, fluttered into view. This was more that usual years when only a few are seen. There were the expected frequent Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Common Blues and Small Heaths, a few Large Whites and one yellow Brimstone Butterfly. I sat down above the winding path (the transect are is south of the path) and watched a further 20 Chalkhill Blues including a mating pair that flew close enough to be photographed. I returned by the quickest ridge route and noted on the top part of the hill two male Chalkhill Blues, enough Common Blues to indicate they must be common in the top meadows. A Wall Brown fluttered over me. A Brown Argus on the southern part of the Mill Hill was unusual. (Andy Horton)
News for Saturday 30 July: Pheromones were clearly in the air over the Wilmington Grayling colony last Thursday afternoon. Small clusters of Graylings were seen tumbling up and down the slopes before landing in an agitated state, hopping about and rapidly flicking their forewings. One pair raced up the slope rising above the gorse at the top before turning round and landing near the valley bottom. The male facing the female twitched about with his antenna pointing down and forward and placed them either side of the females head just below the eyes. He then raised himself up on his legs arching forward and flicked his forewing towards the female rubbing one of her antenna between his wings. The female responded by flicking her forewings forward and occasionally flicked her wings open. The male appeared to be tickling the female under her chin with his antenna but he may just be placing them there to help maintain the correct distance to rub her antenna.This behaviour continued for a couple of minutes with the pair shuffling about flicking their forewings until some passing clouds cooled the passion. The pair split up with the male following the female and both hid together motionless in the grass until the sun came out again. The courtship continued for another couple of minutes with more antenna rubbing and wing flicking before the female lost interest and flew off leaving the male rapidly opening his wings.
Seen recently: 24 July; Woodsmill:
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