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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Last week I reported on the strong showing of third brood Wall at Mill Hill (visits 23  25 September), but unfortunately my report disappeared into hyperspace. A thorough count over the lower, middle and upper slopes, including the area of rough ground to the north of the car park, produced a count of 34 last Thursday (25 September). This is the second highest count of third brood Wall Ive ever made. Today I returned for a few hours later in the afternoon, and although I didnt perform a thorough search, I still saw in excess of 20 specimens, including 6 or 7 egg-laying females. The eggs are quite easy to find, once you know their preferences, particularly as they are relatively large and off-white in colour. (Neil Hulme)

(Wall) News for Thursday 25 September:

Last Thursday I did my final Mill Hill butterfly transect of the year. Numbers were low, but Walls had emerged en masse. Neil was busy making a complete count of the Walls on the hill (34) and spotted a female laying an egg on a grass stem in a hollow. Transect results: Clouded Yellow 2, Common Blue 2, Green-veined White 2, Meadow Brown 5, Small Heath 1, Small White 1, Wall Brown 5. There were hundreds of Ivy Bees buzzing around the scrapes at the top of the steep slope and many Common Carder Bees were collecting pollen. see Neil's post about the day here: bit.ly/1ytNyw9. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Sunday 28 September 2014

Third brood Wall Brown and Brown Argus at Mill Hill, Shoreham. (John Williams)

We did a seven mile circular walk around Thorney Island and recorded the following species. Clouded Yellow 4, Common Blue 2, Small White 40+, Small Skipper 6, Speckled Wood 7, Red Admiral 15 all flying south over the harbour. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

On Sunday I saw a male Brimstone while attending a meeting on Craven Vale allotments which adjoin Whitehawk Hill allotments in east Brighton. Unfortunately the meeting was called to plan our opposition to plans to build houses on part of the allotment site (Save Craven Vale Allotments). (Tessa Pawsey TQ329046)

I found it hard to believe that it was the end of the transect season as I walked around Rowland Wood this morning. The temperature was 21°C and in the sunshine it felt more like mid July than the end of September. Other than the early autumn hues showing in the leaves, the number and variety of butterflies was the real give-away as to the time of year. 3 Brimstones, 14 Speckled Woods, a solitary Red Admiral and Silver Y was all that I saw. Not that that spoiled the enjoyment of glorious morning's stroll around this beautiful woodland. (Bob Foreman)

Sunday morning around Lancing Ring and Steep Down produced a narrow victory for Speckled Wood over Wall Brown 14 to 13. Also 10 Red Admiral, 3 Clouded Yellow, 3 Common Blue, 2 Brimstone, 1 Small Heath, quite a few Large and Small Whites. This is the Summer that kept on giving. (Lindsay Morris)

A gloriously sunny Sunday morning at Ovingdean's Wick Bottom produced three Clouded Yellows, two spiralling high into the air with one another, plus a few Whites (which looked to be Large, but flew by too fast to properly ID!) plus a Speckled Wood and, on a scrubby patch on the golf course, a rather pristine-looking Wall, to our pleasant surprise! (Kelly Westlake)

Recent news:

On Wednesday 24th September, I saw a faded male Clouded Yellow on Shoreham Beach. Then as usual, for the time of year, I saw a Red Underwing on the 27th September at Drusillas Zoo. (Dan Danahar)

News for Monday 22 September:

A quick stroll along the top of Castle Hill nature reserve today, 22nd September produced my first sighting in several years of a pristine Wall. Also seen was a Small Copper, male Common Blue, at least 6 Speckled Woods and 30+ Large Whites. I really wish I could have stayed longer. (Pearl Carter)


Thursday 25 September 2014

This morning I visited Rocks Wood, which is located between Maresfield and Fairwarp, in the hope of seeing and photographing fungi. I have previously visited this location and seen many spectacular fungi there, however on this occasion very few were present. I was passing through an area of rough pasture on my return when a single Small Copper caught my eye. I then noticed a further two of this species. I also noticed several male Common Blues and a single female of this species. On my return to Eastbourne I stopped at Rowland Wood and Park Heath Corner and saw a Green-veined White and Speckled Wood. (Douglas Neve)


Wednesday 24 September 2014

Swallow-tailed Moth, indoors on yellow painted surface. Had settled here for whole of the day. Interesting as presumably a second brood in this sunny summer. (Dominic Stevens, Bosham)


Tuesday 23 September 2014

It was good to return to butterfly country after two weeks in Yorkshire where I saw Speckled Woods, a Red Admiral and Whites. (They have 35 species on the county list). On Monday I did my Mill Hill transect and found butterfly numbers have diminished: Clouded Yellow 2, Common Blue 4, Whites 2, Meadow Brown 10, Small Heath 6, Speckled Wood 4, Wall 3. I then visited Widewater Lagoon and saw 3 Clouded Yellows, many Common Blues and Large Whites. I am guessing there has been an influx of butterflies from the continent recently. I also saw Wheatears and 5 Little Egrets. Today at Pulborough Brooks we saw 2 Clouded Yellows, a Red Admiral, a Speckled Wood, a Small Copper, some Whites, Jays, a Green Woodpecker and 2 Southern Hawkers. (Colin Knight, www.seapic.com )

Eartham Woods and its latent potential: I was pleased to read that one of our more adventurous members, Richard Roebuck, has been checking out the Purple Emperor potential of Eartham Woods. As he states, there are some good sallows close to the entrance and car park (with attendant Purple Emperors in July). However, like all large woods it takes time to cover the whole area, and there are some very good sallows tucked away in less visited parts, including some large, mature trees. However, as Richard observed, much of the sallow is still quite young, as it is growing within scallops created by Rob Thurlow & Co. only about 7 years ago. The potential for Purple Emperor here is therefore set to grow. More scalloping of this magnificent beech wood is planned. The stripping of bark he noted is more likely the work of the malicious grey squirrel (I resigned from the Tufty Club many years ago), which unfortunately has a poor track record of attacking Purple Emperor breeding sallows. Fortunately this tree has remarkable powers of recovery, and I have seen apparently dead specimens spring back to life. There does appear to be a quite widespread mildew problem here (on sallows) this autumn, which doesnt help, but this is very much a wood to watch in future. Rob and his FC colleagues are doing a great job here. If visiting, do take time out to follow the magnificent Roman Road, Stane Street, out through the top of the wood and onto the open grasslands above. Here the impressive construction of the road can be very clearly seen, affording evocative views back towards the spire of Chichester Cathedral. It isnt difficult to image a cohort of Roman soldiers marching off to see the bright lights of Londinium. (Neil Hulme)


Monday 22 September 2014

On Sunday I had a walk around Eartham Wood a huge Beech Forest, on the rides there were lots of Speckled Woods in sunny patches. At the top in a clear felled area there were Red Admirals and Commas nectaring on Hemp Agrimony. I was also checking out the Sallows the best of which are actually close to the main forest entrances and car parks. In other area large Sallows were largely absent and smaller c. 5 year old Sallows showed signs of bark stripping presumably by deer to the extent that several trees had been ring barked and had died. It was a very cold night last night proving Autumn is here. This morning I saw a pale butterfly across the garden warming up in the sun I thought that's a bit pale for a Comma and then realised it was actually a Wall in very good condition. (Richard Roebuck)

A stroll round Pulborough Brooks produced a female Brown Hairstreak flying around the clearing beyond 'Hairstreak Corner' before vanishing into the top of an Ash, tree at 13:15. Lots of Speckled Woods, 4 Red Admirals feeding on Ivy plants 2 Clouded Yellows 3 Common Blues one in very good condition, several Small Whites, 2 Small Coppers and one Small Heath. Bob North)

Another lovely sunny day and still quite a lot of butterflies around, Clouded Yellow 14, Small Copper 3 (third brood), Common Blue 2, Small Heath 2, Small White 40+, Large White 5, Red Admiral 3, Speckled Wood 6. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

Trevor Rapley's Brimstone Image: Richard Roebuck is correct - the Brimstone's life-cycle is arranged in such a way that mating does not occur until the spring, following a July/August emergence and subsequent hibernation in the adult stage. The female's open wing and raised abdomen posture is not an attempt to attract a male; she is in fact rejecting his advances and will not couple at this time of year. If she did so, her offspring would perish and her life would have been wasted, all for the sake of a moment of madness'. Her response to the close proximity of a male is an innate reaction, but he is clearly just sharing the same nectar source, rather than trying it on'. This rejection posture is typical of female whites and yellows which are unreceptive. This behaviour is most commonly observed when males pursue already-mated females. Other species show a wide range of spectacular rejection behaviour, from the vertical, spiralling plummet of the Purple Empress, to the fed-up reaction of a female Speckled Wood, which will suddenly keel over and play dead. Many males will have suffered this ignominy. (Neil Hulme)

News for Sunday 17 August:

We were at Eastbourne Holywell today and saw these beautiful Painted Ladies. (Pearl Carter)


Sunday 21 September 2014

Although the butterfly season is now beginning to wane, there are still a few freshly emerged Small Coppers to enjoy. After sifting through about 20 worn and faded specimens, I found this beautiful male on the SW flank of Cissbury Ring this afternoon. (Neil Hulme)

On a somewhat windy morning at Tidemills, for the monthly litter-pick, a Clouded Yellow flew across the beach vegetation before settling very low down on a valerian plant. A Large White was also battling against the wind. (Stuart Ridley)

We had a walk around the Bishops garden at Chichester Cathedral this morning and had a Humming-bird Hawk-moth which was a nice surprise,before we caught the bus to Westdean Woods.
We then did a three hour walk around various locations in the Westdean Woods area and recorded the following species Speckled Wood 19, Comma 4, Small White 6 and one Red Admiral. (Barry and Margaret Collins)


Saturday 20 September 2014

I was working this morning in Brighton and on the way back called in at Shoreham Harbour Basin. At the end of the day this is an industrial port bordering on an urban area. Nevertheless there is excellent habitat by the Shoreham Canal, quay-side. And as suspected I wasn't disappointed as there were numerous pretty fresh Common Blues and my target species, Clouded Yellows were busy flitting about. Now I think I counted 6 individuals but this ended up with four individuals in sight and flying around me. The highlight was two Clouded Yellows and two Common Blues flying quite high in a posse. Presumably testosterone charged. The pic shows a Clouded Yellow with a slight deformation in the fore wings. The Clouded Yellows in flight were stunningly orange. A female Common Blue albeit very nice, is in contrast to the one I reported further along the coast recently. On another note Trevor Rapley's Brimstone observation is interesting this late in the season. Now this is only my personal opinion but, prior to overwintering, those butterflies which hibernate as adults, their prime incentive would be to store up energy reserves so that they can survive the winter. As we all know there is a certain amount of energy expenditure with procreation. So perhaps wait until spring if you survive and at least there may be a new energy source. I have had male and female Brimstones in the garden this autumn and they have completely ignored each other. However there is variation in everything and every males joy is a rampant female, allegedly, according to the Birds and the bees. (Richard Roebuck)

A walk from Woodingdean to Castle Hill NNR resulted in 13 species, not bad for September. The highlight was a very fresh Brown Argus. Other fresh species were Wall Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Comma and Common Blue. A flypast Clouded Yellow was also good to see. (Bob Eade)

Seen in my Crowborough garden this weekend on Sedum and Sweet Pea. Numbers of Red Admiral and Comma have been building up to a combined daily total of 15 together with the Painted Lady, Small Copper and Brimstone shown, and a few third brood Speckled Wood. (Simon Quin)


Friday 19 September 2014

The 3rd brood Wall Brown are having a good year around Seaford. Yesterday afternoon I went to The Comp to see if there were any there. Only one seen here but it was quite late in the day. Whilst there Matt saw one in the garden!! Typical, a 4 mile walk I didn't need to do. Today I saw around 12 on Seaford Head and along the Cuckmere between the sea and the Golden Galleon. (Bob Eade)

A warm and sunny afternoon in our garden in Frant resulted in a busy time for butterflies nectaring on Buddleia, Verbena bonariensis and Sedum. We recorded Brimstone (male), Comma, several Large White, Small White, Peacock, Small Copper and two Painted Ladies. (Alan Loweth)

Recent news:

We were at Worthing railway station on Tuesday & saw a Red Admiral and 2 very aggressive Speckled Woods. They were circling each other so fast and so tightly that by the time they had crossed the tracks to our platform there seemed to be 3 instead of 2. On Thursday there were several Speckled Woods and a Red Admiral in Vale Park, Portslade. Today, after the rainstorm of last night, little stirred in our back garden at new Church Road despite warm sun - only a lunch-time Small White and a tea-time Silver Y moth. (John Heys)

On Tuesday 16 Sept. Doug Neve and I went to Park Corner Heath hoping to find some butterfly activity of any kind, so we were delighted to find about six Brimstones of both sexes, nectaring on the Devil's-bit Scabious near the hut. What's more they were very placid.
As I was about to photograph a nectaring male a female tried in vein to attract his attention by opening her wings flat with her abdomen erect, to no avail and she flew off to find a more interested mate. Fortunately I was able to capture this rare moment in one of my images. We also saw a very tatty Small Copper. All Brimstones were in pristine condition. (Trevor Rapley)


Wednesday 17 September 2014

Brown Hairstreak female flying this morning at SWT Trust Centre at Woods Mill, but little else except about half-a-dozen Speckled Woods and a Small White. Numerous dragonflies enjoying the warm sunshine around the Millpond. (Jim and Judith Steedman)

Four Clouded Yellows lots of Small Heaths, Common Blues, various Whites and a Wall (spotted by a certain M. Blencowe) seen on a "works outing" to Cuckmere Haven today. (Bob Foreman)


Monday 15 September 2014

During my transect count at Beacon Hill, Rottingdean, today I noted a very dark Speckled Wood in flight. It was away from its usual habitat, actually along the side of some allotments and well away from woodland. I noted it lacked the usual number of cream spots. (Peter Whitcomb)


Sunday 14 September 2014

Although it was often cloudy today in New Church Road Hove, when the sun did come out it was warm. We were out in the back garden most of the afternoon doing a very prickly major prune of the holly tree and were rewarded with 3 Small Whites (two males trying to tempt a female), a lively Speckled Wood and on our bushy clump of bird's-foot trefoil an unexpected female Common Blue. (John & Val Heys)

Sunday circular walk from Lancing via Combes. Dozens of Large Whites, a dozen Speckled Woods and pairs of Wall Browns and Red Admirals, but only singles of Comma, Small Copper and Clouded Yellow. (Lindsay Morris)

3 Clouded Yellows this afternoon along France Bottom just to the west of Alfriston. (Chris Hooker)

News for Saturday 13 September:

On Saturday I saw several Small Coppers at Shoreham Beach. One interesting courting pair was observed where the male was following the female as they walked across the pebbles. Eventually I spotted another female at the base of a small Common Sorrel plant and realised she was egg laying. After a few minutes she departed and I had a look for the eggs. Crikey, talk about small. Like Brown Hairstreaks eggs they looked a bit like small white sea urchins. I checked some other plants nearby and found more eggs on leaf sheaths and leaf petioles. Fascinating September action. (Richard Roebuck)


Saturday 13 September 2014

Today I had arranged to meet Paul Foster John at Steyning Rifle range to collect the much coveted Brown Hairstreak and Purple Emperor badges - mind you the European and britannicus Swallowtail Badges are stunning. Whilst we were there and after much gossip and a long wait we did spot a couple of female Brown Hairstreaks but to be honest the season is nearing the end. So from here I went to Shoreham Shingle Beach reserve for my annual September visit and this turned out to be a diamond. As I walked along the beach I counted at least 13 sightings of Clouded Yellows - now to be fair I wasn't sure if they were flying up and down the beach but some of them were absolutely stunning and fresh. As expected good numbers of Large Whites and a few Small Whites who reproduce on the Sea Kale. As this is my third year visiting at this time I clocked that about 3.00p.m. they started pairing and I caught up with two mating pairs of Large Whites and a pair of Small Whites. Although this is significantly down on last year. To add to the mix there were numerous Red Admirals, Common Blues, a mint Painted Lady and numerous Silver Y moths and a rather debateable very large Brown Argus I only briefly saw. Now I have to add that for some reason the shingle beach at this time of the year produces the most beautiful female Common Blues - I only saw one but go a quick shot, (unfortunate leaf shadow?) (numerous worn males prevalent). Not sure why but these particular females have got to be one of Sussex's most stunning butterflies in my opinion. Perhaps they like the beach life. I also saw Small Coppers on the pebbles but will do a second post re this observation. (Richard Roebuck)

There only seem to be Small Whites and Red Admirals in Hove at present. On Thursday despite gloomy skies and a cool wind a Red Admiral kept up an appearance flying rapidly this way and that past the main stand at the County Cricket ground as Lancashire tried to grind out a good score. A Small White appeared briefly near the Cromwell Road sidescreen. In sunnier weather yesterday there was a Small White in our New Church Road back garden and for the last 5 days or so a Red Admiral has been around too. It made an early appearance today at about 8.45am. (John & Val Heys)


Friday 12 September 2014

I couldn't resist a couple of hours on Cissbury Ring this afternoon, as we continue to enjoy a succession of warm, sunny September days. Small Copper numbers have built since my last visit, with freshly emerged specimens now mingling with the well-worn. I saw about 25 on the middle slopes of the SW corner, along with a similar number of Small Heath and a few Common Blue and Meadow Brown, the latter including two mating pairs - they're still emerging! (Neil Hulme)

Plenty of butterflies on show at Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath today as the great and the good of Butterfly Conservation met to discuss future management of the reserves. Speckled Woods (lots), Common Blues, a Small Copper, a Small Heath, Commas, Brimstones and a beautiful Red Admiral nectaring on the Devil's-bit Scabious by the shed on Park Corner Heath. (Bob Foreman)


Wednesday 10 September 2014

Crawley Down - This Large Yellow Underwing moth was an unusual garden visitor in the evening sunshine to buddleia "Beijing". Also 4 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Large White and 1 Small White also visiting various garden buddleia. (Jonathan Ruff)


Tuesday 9 September 2014

Another successful lunchtime Brown Hairstreak mission today when a slight movement from deep within a blackthorn hedge caught my eye. On closer inspection I spotted a female Brown Hairstreak wandering around, egg-laying, deep within the blackthorn. She then flew out of the hedge briefly stopping for a photo on her way past. While I was watching, what I initially assumed to be another landed nearby but well above head height. Oddly, this turned out to be a Small Heath which as I watched, started partially opening and closing its wings, It appeared to be some sort of courtship but there were no others around, it remained for some time before flying back down into the meadow. (Bob Foreman)


Monday 8 September 2014

Just before heading to Cornwall for a family holiday (31st August) and soon after returning home (8th September) I made brief visits to my local Cissbury Ring. The hoped-for autumn extravaganza of Small Copper hasn't really materialised in Sussex. Not only was my most recent count rather modest (12), but they seemed rather understated in comparison with the numerous, gigantic, blue-spotted Cornish beasts I saw (story at base page http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4065&start=1820). That said, there's no such thing as a bad Small Copper. (Neil Hulme)

Today I caught site of my second garden Brown Hairstreak who flew down a hedge along the garden and then flew up higher and settled in a wild Plum vista, as only a Brown Hairstreak could do. On another note I recently mentioned what Hornets were up to. I recently found a wounded Hornet on the ground. I Picked it up and placed it on a Hog weed flower where it immediately started licking the flowers. To test another theory I offered a piece of squashed wild plum and placed it on the Hog weed flower. Said Hornet started lapping up the juices voraciously. It had been mortally wounded i.e. the left hand Forewing had been sheared off at the base, see knuckle at 2.00 p.m. As this the strongest part of the wing suspect a scrap with another Hornet as its been sheared off. The Pic is quite surreal as if you stare at it long enough and indeed the central simple eye i.e. Ocellus in the middle of its forehead, you may see whatever your imagination can come up with and forget your looking at a Hornet? Ooh to be different. (Richard Roebuck)


Sunday 7 September 2014

News for 30 and 31 August and 7 September: When I first found a good number of Brown Hairstreak eggs at Steyning Rifle Range in the winter of 2008 I had high hopes that this might prove to be a good site to see the elusive adults. In those days the Downs Link disused railway track was probably considered the best site for this species in Sussex. Since 2008 I've worked closely with the Wiston Estate and volunteers at the Steyning Downland Scheme (www.steyningdownland.org), to ensure that habitat management on the Rifle Range remains sympathetic to the needs of Britain's most elusive butterfly. We should never forget that Brown Hairstreak adults are very difficult to see on the vast majority of sites. However, I didn't realise then that this beautiful area at the base of the Downs could become quite as good as it has. The SDS rangers and volunteers do a fantastic job in maintaining the Blackthorn and Bullace in tip-top condition each winter and the site continues to go from strength to strength, attracting a large and increasing number of visitors each season from all over the country. The four year rotational cutting of the Prunus back to ground level may seem quite drastic immediately post-cut, but by ensuring that all plants around the dedicated reserve area and the northern flank remain firmly within the Brown Hairstreak 'system', the number of female butterflies spotted at low level now outstrips any other site I know of. Most of the visitors have had their fill by late August and the site becomes much quieter as summer gives way to autumn. However, the Brown Hairstreak is very much an autumn butterfly and even now the females are putting on a good show. My last visits before heading to Cornwall for a family holiday produced 6 different females on 30 August and 14 on the last day of summer, some of which were still in remarkably good condition. I visited the Rifle Range again today (7 September) and although it was after midday before the sun burnt through the mist, I saw another 14 different females before 2.10 pm. A total of 34 females seen in three short visits marks this out as a very special site. Today's tally took my number of Brown Hairstreak sightings here to over the 300 mark. I'm now involved in a Heritage Lottery Fund project to improve habitat for other species (including Duke of Burgundy) over the wider SDS area, which extends up and over Pepperscombe Bank to the Round Hill. Working alongside partners including the Steyning Downland Scheme, Wiston Estate and South Downs National Park Authority we hope to build on this success and improve the fortunes of a wide variety of flora and fauna. As the 'Steyning Dukes and Downland Project' gets underway I'm optimistic that there will be more good news to report over the next few years. (Neil Hulme)

Having spent 45 minutes looking for Purple Hairstreak around the dew pond and coomb of Wild Park it suggested their flight period had come to a close. Finally I saw one at the dew pond area, seen at (TQ32490772) flying around a Oak/Ash canopy, this individual unexpectedly flew across the open ground, following it at head high until it headed back up to another Oak canopy at (TQ32460774). I thought that would be it until I saw another in the canopy of an Ash tree at (TQ32540775), I was about to take some film, until it moved out of view around the back of the tree, to which it didn't reappear. These two sighting were between 5:20 and 5:40pm. Also seen were 2 Red Admirals, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 male Common Blue. (Jamie Burston)

Been out and about in my local area today enjoying the sun and the butterflies! I started off at Windover Hill and found large numbers of Meadow Brown and Small White along with a couple of Small Tortoiseshell, a Red Admiral, a stunning Small Copper and a few Common Blue and Brown Argus. A quick visit to Abbots Wood produced Red Admiral (20), Comma (20), Peacock (1), Large White (2), Small Heath (1), Speckled Wood (2) and Brimstone (3). Then onto Cradle Valley where I had a couple of unexpected surprises in the form of a pristine Wall and a handful of tatty Chalkhill Blues (4m & 2f). Also present were a Peacock, Red Admiral (2), Small Copper (3) and lots of Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and various Whites. (Chris Hooker)

Today we took advantage of the wonderful weather and a had a lovely peaceful wander along The Gallops in Friston Forest and we spotted Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Brimstone, Green-Veined White, Small White, Large White, Peacock, Adonis Blue, Brown Argus, Comma, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and possibly Chalkhill Blue. More than we thought that we were going to see. (Nick & James Linazasoro)

News for Tuesday 2 September:

Having spent almost every lunch break during the latter part of August stalking, camera in hand, the blackthorn hedges around The Sussex Wildlife Trust's Woods Mill Reserve looking for Brown Hairstreaks, it wasn't until today, the first day I didn't have my camera with me that I found one. I watched for about five minutes as this female wandered along and flitted between blackthorn branches laying eggs as she went. At least I had my phone with me and I must admit to being a little surprised at the reasonable photo I did manage. Pretty fine way to spend a lunch break... (Bob Foreman)


Friday 5 September 2014

After 33 visits in the garden this year that I have seen I have at last managed a half decent shot of the Humming-bird Hawk-moth. More work needed to improve on this one!! I have also been checking out the Small Coppers on Seaford Head with a reasonable number seen as well as one female Adonis Blue that was in very good condition. More pictures etc. on bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk. (Bob Eade)

Recent(ish) news:

Hundreds of Peacock larvae on nettles on 30 August 2014 in Plumpton at TQ360141. Many seemed ready to pupate while others were still rather small.
This dog turd (above) on the downs near Butchers Hole, Jevington (TV555995) was smothered by male Chalkhill Blue butterflies on 22 July 2104.(Jacqui Hutson)


Thursday 4 September 2014

1 Humming-bird Hawk-moth seen nectaring on Buddleia in my Brighton garden. (Caroline Clarke)

On 3rd Sept we were in Worthing to visit our granddaughter. On various walks to keep her quiet we saw Speckled Woods and Small Whites in Homefield Park and, a little further afield, more Small Whites and a Clouded Yellow by the coastal path at Lancing. The Clouded Yellow was near the yacht club where there's more beach vegetation. On 4th Sept we were in Chichester for Guys and Dolls (it's very good) and saw more Small Whites and a couple of Red Admirals near the theatre. (John & Val Heys)

News for Wednesday 3 September:

On Wednesday morning with the Crawley and Horsham RSPB group several of us saw one male Small Blue in TQ1406A just south of Cissbury Ring. I hadn't intended to record butterflies as that area has been well covered. (Andrew Guest)

I went to Malling down to look for Adonis Blue but the long grass was very wet with dew, so about to give up I then spotted a roosting Common Blue, then a nice surprise in the shape of a very docile Small Copper.
After lunch I went on to the downs above Willingdon where there is a large patch of Rampion, here I found the Adonis Blue, about ten males were present along with many Meadow Browns and Large, Small and Green-veined Whites. One I am not too sure about is the small brown butterfly in one of my images, it seemed too large for a Brown Argus and no trace of blue for a female Common Blue. (Trevor Rapley)

On the 3rd September I went for a walk, in Patcham I saw 2 Red Admirals (TQ30570889). I saw the following at Ladies Mile (TQ306092) - 2 Comma, 3 Small White, 2 Speckled Wood and 1 Holly Blue. Moving on I followed a path which runs parallel with the A27, from - (TQ30730940 heading east on path to TQ32170962), I counted the following along the route, 7 Common Blue male, 1 Common Blue female, 1 Red Admiral, 5 Brown Argus male, 1 Brown Argus female, 3 Small White and 1 Speckled Wood. Once at the Main section of Ladies Mile (top field) I saw 2 Common Blue male (TQ31930932). Additionally I saw one other Butterfly moving at high speed, the impression I got from it's shape and speed was a Silver-spotted Skipper, sadly I couldn't confirm identity, seen at (TQ31960933). (Jamie Burston)


Wednesday 3 September 2014

It warmed up nicely today touching 20 degrees. First sighting was a black wasp dragging a rather large immobilised spider - first time I had seen this behaviour. A short while later my first garden Brown Hairstreak of the year appeared. Yippee, she was in great condition with both tails and a little flighty. I lost sight of her as she sped across the garden. A mint Large White arrived and then a male Brimstone who stayed the rest of the afternoon nectaring on the Runner Bean flowers. Red Admirals and Commas continue to flit amongst the decaying wild plums and the hornets continue debarking the ash tree. (Richard Roebuck)


Tuesday 2 September 2014

Purple Hairstreaks have flown into September, again at the dew pond at Wild Park I saw two between 5:30 and 6:10pm, also present was a beautiful Small Copper and two Speckled Woods. Nearby, walking away from the site I saw another two Speckled Woods and a single Red Admiral (TQ32430782) all basking in an Ash tree. (Jamie Burston)

I visited the fields adjacent to Southwater Country Park overflow carpark today at lunchtime for a stroll with the dog. The hedges are filled with blackthorn and and I wasn't surprised to spot a Brown Hairstreak crawling around in the undergrowth in front of a few ash trees. The second and third Brown Hairstreaks I saw a minute or two after were more of a surprise. I noted quite a few eggs in the hedgerow as I wandered past. This is obviously a Brown Hairstreak hot spot and probably worth a proper investigation when I don't have my four legged companion with me. Also seen were Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. (Susie Milbank)

Recently the Butterflies visiting the Garden have diminished as the season moves on and the rather grim weather recently. However a ray of hope happened on Sunday morning albeit off patch. I spent the week end at the fabulous Weyfest festival near Farnham, in foreign territory and on Sunday morning had a walk on Farnham common (a fab Heathland site) and saw my first pristine Grayling of the year. Maybe that eclipsed 10 CC (astonishing guitar playing), Jethro Tull (most of them), Big country, The feeling, Letherat (all fantastic), Squeeze (absolutely flippin' amazing from the front row) but I did see numerous Red Admirals and the odd Small Tort flying over the main arena and I kid you not my first ever Dalek. I was completely Up the Junction. Back to Planet Earth however. Today was really warm and a few butterflies returned to the garden especially Commas and Red Admirals who were feeding on my Wild Plums i.e. Bullace, just a phenomenal fruiting year. Chutneys and Bullace Gin are on the to do list. (actually my spellchecker cannot manage this old English word or Dalek for that matter). Today was one of those fabulous British summer days and the garden was alive with dragonflies and the butterflies visiting my overripe wild Plums i.e. Commas, Red Admirals and surprisingly a mint Speckled Wood. The Commas in the heat of the day sought the shade while extracting the fruit sugars. I also noticed some Hornets flitting about. Although these are much maligned especially by moth-trappers, I think these are interesting beasts. I had guessed they were interested in the rotting fruit, no. About 12 plus Hornets were busy in a small Ash tree? Initially I blamed squirrels for stripping the bark which is why the hornet s were there after the sap. I had a second thought and did some research. I Found an American Paper which confirmed my gut feel - Hornets can cause serious damage to various shrubs including Ash by stripping the bark as they are after the sugars in the phloem (A-level stuff). Indeed my 15 foot Ash tree was populated by at least 15 Hornets accompanied by Sarcophagus and Lucilla Flies and even a Seven-spot ladybird, all after the sugars. The paper indicated that Hornets go for stems that are 1-3 cm in diameter and this was bang on the money and this dispenses the accusation of grey squirrel damage especially as the bark removed left an extremely smooth surface beneath. I am a bit miffed as this Ash tree could have been good for my local Brown Hairstreaks, and now I think it is now pretty wounded. So I watched them for ages doing what they do. Hey Ho live and let live. (Richard Roebuck)

Busy doing other things for much of August but at last we've been on a butterfly walk, up Benfield Valley (Hove) to Devil's Dyke and back via the old Dyke railway. Small Whites and Common Blue were most numerous, with many of the male blues rather decayed and faded. On the other hand, there were some much fresher females, particularly a bit higher up. Meadow Browns (old and new), Red Admirals and Small Heath were also quite common. In the Benfield nature reserve there 2 nice Brimstones, a Small Copper, a Brown Argus, a Common Crimson & Gold moth and a little, dark lizard. At other points in the walk we saw 3 Speckled Woods, a Large White and a flash of orange which was probably a Comma but might have been a Wall butterfly. Back home, I went upstairs and there was a Red Admiral the other side of the window, giving the chance of an unusual shot from underneath - a pity the outside of the window wasn't cleaner! (John & Val Heys)

News for Sunday 31 August:

On Sunday made my annual visit to Steyning Rifle Range. Arrived a little later than planned as bus was late and missed 2 x Brown Hairstreaks low down. However did see 1 Brown Hairstreak briefly at 12.45p.m at usual egg laying area. Also noted were 15 x Meadow Brown, 2 X Brown Argus, 11 X Speckled Wood, 1 X Peacock, 2 X Red Admiral, 2 X Adonis Blue (1 male & 1 female),4 X Green-veined White, 3 X Brimstone, 22 X Common Blue (7 were female), 2 X Clouded Yellow, 2 X Small Heath, 2 X Small White, 3 X Large White. Onto Mill Hill arriving at 4 p.m. but plenty of activity lower down and noted 39 X Meadow Brown, 1 X Small Tortoiseshell, 33 X Adonis Blue ( 6 females),2 X Gatekeeper, 19 X Common Blue, 5 X Chalkhill Blue, 11 X Brown Argus, 6 X Small Heath, 1 X Large White, 1 X Green-veined White & 4 X Treble-bar moths. (David Gower)


Sunday 31 August 2014

On Sunday I made a trip to Wild Park's dew pond from 5:30 to 6:00pm to try and see if the Purple Hairstreak flight period had come to an end. The result was a male flying around the crown of the main Oak, taking up the sheltered south side. I also witnessed the individual fly to both left and right Ash trees. Amazing to see it so active late in the season, as well, what came as a surprise was its great condition and the fact it turned out to be a male. He obviously kept out of the fighting, combined with a later emergence no doubt. There could have been a second, however hard to tell as this one kept moving. Also four Common Blue and two Brown Argus on site - (TQ325077). 30th August - I saw three fresh Red Admirals, 1 Green-veined White and 1 Humming-bird Hawk-moth in the garden - (TQ31640846). This individual Humming-bird Hawk-moth has also made appearances on the 26th, 25th and 22nd of August visiting Lavender and Buddleia in the garden. (Jamie Burston)

Sunday 31st August was OK for doing the weeks Bevendean transects and I was pleased to see 4 second brood Adonis on the route, previous ones seen this season have been out side the width of the transect. There are a few Chalkhills left and a good number of Brown Argus and Common Blues. Of the mating pair of Adonis the male was a bit worn round the edges but the female was immaculate. (Geoff Stevens)

Now back from my travels around the country and the butterflies seem to have disappeared around Hailsham with just a few Small Whites, Speckled Woods, Red Admirals and a Small Copper seen in the Country Park. So I decided to pay Abbots Wood a visit early this afternoon and after a quiet start I found several Speckled Wood and Small Whites along with 3 Brimstone, 4 Commas, 2 Peacock, 6 Red Admirals and a fresh Painted Lady. (Chris Hooker)


Friday 29 August 2014

On Friday, Doug Neve and I spent several hours on the downs above Willingdon. What a species rich day we had, especially as there was a very strong wind blowing,nearly every butterfly in fresh condition, the images of the day show the diversity of species so late in the season. (Trevor Rapley)

A Humming-bird Hawk-moth spotted in Ferring feeding on Buddleia 4.00pm. (Phil Stevens)


Thursday 28 August 2014

As Mary and I were finishing our morning walk and as we approached our driveway I got to thinking about Brown Hairstreak. I tend to associate them with hot sunny days but what if these are few and far between? They still have to lay their eggs. Anyway I had a little look in the back corner of the garden where I planted some Blackthorn with this species in mind. Bingo a Brown Hairstreak perched on Dogwood. I rushed over to the house to let Mary know and also to grab the camera. Unfortunately by the time I got back it had flown! With hindsight perhaps I should have just enjoyed the moment. This makes 26 species recorded in the garden this year (25 species last year). I missed out on Silver-washed Fritillary (8 seen last year). (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)


Sunday 24 August 2014 (continued)

Congratulations to Richard Roebuck for organising a great Brown Hairstreak event at Steyning Rifle Range on Sunday. Richard had arranged for some perfect weather too and under blue skies over 30 people joined him in Steyning. I must have seen 1000 Brown Hairstreak eggs while surveying for the atlas over the past 5 years but I have only ever seen 1 adult Brown Hairstreak so I was relying on Richard to deliver the goods. Once we were at the reserve we gathered along the blackthorn hedge and Richard told us all about their ecology, behaviour and what to look for. 20 minutes passed and we had seen nothing aside from a Meadow Brown, Holly Blue, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral. Then Richard spotted a low-flying Brown Hairstreak which flew around the feet of the observers and headed off over the field. Then another female flew down from the ash trees and landed right in front of us giving us all amazing views as she egg-layed on the blackthorn. A third was seen - this time flying around our heads and landing even closer to us! It was amazing to be face to face with such an elusive butterfly and, after five years of surveying for this species across Sussex, I felt that I was being rewarded. I was amazed that this butterfly - which has eluded me for so long - was now more than keen to put on a show; Richard obviously had them well trained! More Hairstreaks flew in and everyone was able to get incredible views and learn more about this beautiful butterfly. In all, eleven Brown Hairstreaks were seen on the walk as well as Clouded Yellows and Wasp Spiders.
Thanks to the management of the Steyning Downland Scheme there are good numbers of Brown Hairstreaks at the site and it is a perfect place to view them. A big thank you to Richard Roebuck for organising a great event. (Michael Blencowe)

Ten Clouded Yellow at Thorney Island.(Barry and Margaret Collins)

Excellent report from Peter Farrant,especially regarding spotting Female Hairstreaks, I have also located eggs adjacent to Park Cameras in previous years. Burgess Hill in this area is a hot spot for BH, despite the commercial development which continues and now there's now a nice B and Q to compete with three other DIY shops locally. Commercial progress will get there in the end wiping everything out, but at least you will have a choice where to buy some nails at a competitive price or a Barbecue. (Richard Roebuck)


Sunday 24 August 2014

Me and Sarah or Sarah and I, blackberry picking at Victoria Business Park, between York Road and Charles Ave in Burgess Hill, W.Sx on site with stream running through it TQ299188. Sarah picked while I searched for Brown Hairstreak eggs, I found 3x including two side by side on small sucker blackthorn. then at 1.05pm while I was standing on bridge a butterfly flitted by, I thought a worn Meadow Brown it settled, but no it was a female Brown Hairstreak, my first of the year. "DON'T PANIC AND GET YOUR CAMERA OUT" was my first thought. she settled wings half open, she then flew to a nearby blackthorn sucker where I got a shot of her underside, she started her egg-laying walk along and down the stem to lay an egg (1.08pm). She then posed on a reed leaf, where I got a nice upperside shot, because of her position when I moved the camera closer it cast a shadow over her but luckily she didn't mind so I clicked away, she flew to another small bush and after awhile she laid another egg (1.10pm). Then up and settled wings semi open on nearby bush, more photos taken, at 1.11pm she flew up and out of sight. (Peter Farrant)

A Painted Lady flew into my garden and rested in a sheltered spot on the lawn for over 20 minutes before speeding off. Not many butterflies about at ten past nine in the morning! (Stuart Ridley)


Saturday 23 August 2014

Visited Cissbury Ring around mid-day today to see if there were any Silver-spotted Skippers still around. I did not see any but the weather conditions at the time were far from ideal. However, in the same area I found a nice Brown Hairstreak which posed well. Also seen were 12 other species including Adonis Blue (fresh), a few Brown Argus (very worn), Chalkhill and Common Blues etc. (Mike Snelling)

As I was passing close to Steyning Rifle Range this morning I couldn't resist another visit, despite the fact that the cloudy spells outweighed the sunshine. There was quite a crowd already on site and a very faded male had been seen on the ground earlier. After chatting to a few regulars in the reserve area I headed up towards the northern flank with Susie Milbank, speculating that it was probably not quite sunny enough to bring many Brown Hairstreaks out to play. As I got to the top of the slope a female zipped across the open grassland in front of me and settled on an ash sapling. She stayed here long enough for other enthusiasts to see her, providing at least one person with a 'first'. Almost simultaneously another was spotted 50 metres further up the path by Simon Cross and Mick Rock. This quickly developed into two females, which at one point were egg-laying less than a metre apart. By now most of the crowd from below had joined us for another Hairstreakfest, with Paul Fosterjohn spotting yet another. This one appeared very fresh, but she refused to come within range of the cameras and remained deep within a blackthorn thicket. As 2 pm approached the sun reappeared, so I headed back to the reserve area for a last sweep. As soon as I arrived I spotted two more females. Bearing in mind that the weather conditions were far from ideal, a total of six females and a male in two hours demonstrates just how good the Rifle Range is. (Neil Hulme)

Recent news:

2 Brown Hairstreaks seen in Burgess Hill on Wednesday at TQ292194. One egg-laying and the other feeding on thistles. Then on Friday I decided to look over the other side of the hedge where I was working and found another egg laying female along with a brand new Comma. (TQ327206) (Mark Cadey)


Friday 22 August 2014

For the past seven days I have had a Humming-bird Hawk-moth visit my garden and feed from my buddleia. Yesterday I had two visit at the same time and today, a Painted Lady visited whilst the moth was feeding. I've seen Purple Emperors put up a good scrap but the aerial combat that took place between moth and butterfly was phenomenal. I couldn't get any photos of the action as it unfolded but managed a few photos of the suspects in question. (Paul Fosterjohn)


Thursday 21 August 2014

Returns at Steyning Rifle Range were rather modest today, with only 5 females seen by the numerous visitors. The first was seen at 11.35 am and another 3 descended before 12.30 pm, at which point large banks of cloud appeared and the temperature plummeted. One more dropped into the thorn very briefly before close of play was announced soon after 1.00 pm. Things look good for Richard's guided walk here this weekend (see Events Listing), assuming of course that the weather gods play fair. (Neil Hulme)

News for Wednesday 20 August:

Back to Steyning rifle range Weds 20th August for more Brown Hairstreak therapy. For team Rapley I spotted two and was shown two more, one missing her left hand tail. As usual those from near and far had a fulfilling day, Neil Hulme was on top form using his keen eye. Talking of Mr Hulme may I recommend a visit to the Purple Empire blog where Neil demonstrates his recipe for 'summer soup' definetly not Michel Roux!.
On the way back to the car I spotted this 10 cm long Elephant Hawk-moth larva on the track crawling away from a clump of rosebay willowherb, its food plant, ready to pupate? (Trevor Rapley)

Just to report at least 2 female Brown Hairstreaks along the Blackthorns at the back of Woods Mill SWT Reserve on Wednesday 20 August 2014. No males seen but assuming they are also nearby as the females were walking along the stems of the Blackthorn looking as though they were looking to lay eggs. (Dawn & Jim Langiewicz)


Wednesday 20 August 2014

Today I joined the 'End of Season Steyning Downland Scheme Brown Hairstreak Social Group' at the Rifle Range, where annual gatherings celebrate the passing of another season and members hope to photograph one of our most beautiful and charismatic butterflies. Brown Hairstreak watching here is very much a social event and the more eyes the better! Although it sometimes gets so busy that you will find yourself shoulder-to-shoulder with other participants, business is almost always conducted in a polite and cooperative manner, with most members returning home with close-up views and hopefully some good photographs. Today was no exception and the butterflies performed well, both for Team A on the northern flank, captained by Colin Knight, and for Team B in the reserve area, captained by Trevor Rapley. Together a total of 12 female Brown Hairstreaks were seen. I spent most of the 11.30 am - 2.00 pm period of activity on the northern flank, where we had at least one specimen in view almost constantly throughout the day. We are now at peak season, so a visit this weekend in warm sunny weather should give every chance of some red hot hairstreaking. (Neil Hulme)

A good start to a walk on the Downs at Lancing this Wednesday with two Humming-bird Hawk-moths on Valerian, but butterflies were in very short supply with only seven species compared to the fifteen species seen on the same walk on Monday. (Lindsay Morris)

I checked the weather in the morning and everything seemed perfect for a 11 to 1pm walk, In 2011 I found a female Brown Hairstreak in Patcham, every year since I've been going back, today I finally saw them again. It was a case of not really believing what I was seeing, it only took three years to see another, my persistence was finally rewarded! At this Patcham site I saw the individual photographed, another higher up basking on a blackthorn hedge and most likely a third, this was a brief sighting as it flew off a blackberry patch , it's flight matched Brown Hairstreak. It's great to know that there is a small but stable colony nearby. Moving onto Ladies Mile I had the following count, 3 Brown Argus, 4 Common Blue, 6 Small White, 27 Speckled Wood, 1 Holly Blue and 1 Peacock. (Jamie Burston)

The second brood Adonis did not do very well at Bevendean this year but I did see 4 in Hogtrough on Saturday 9th August including a mating pair, there were still plenty of Chalkhill Blues nectaring mainly on carline thistles. This morning 20th August there was a Humming-bird Hawk-moth feasting on the valerian in my Bevendean garden. There are a fresh brood of Speckled Woods about here today. (Geoff Stevens)


Tuesday 19 August 2014

Scores of Chalkhill Blues were flying yesterday in Caburn Bottom, most quite battered ones, plus lots of Meadow Browns, one Small Heath and an unidentified yellow moth. Any ideas anyone? ( - it's a Yellow Belle. ed.) Pic's of Autumn Lady's tresses and Autumn gentian at www.sussexrambler.blogspot.com. (Peter Lovett)

Last three days, I've been watching a male and female Brown Hairstreak at Beeding Brooks (TQ195125), flying primarily round an Ash and a Willow. Also a female put in a brief appearance on Saturday in the garden at Steyning. (David Buckingham)


Monday 18 August 2014

Back from the land of Scarce Swallowtails and Geranium Bronzes so BIG THANKS to Jim For keeping the website going in my absence. (and making it look a little prettier too...)
I'll get all the outstanding photos up on the site as soon as I can. ed.

Recent news:

On Wednesday 13th and Friday 16th august I visited Steyning Rifle Range for Brown Hairstreak and struck lucky on both occasions six on Wednesday and seven on Saturday. All were found to be in good condition and intent on egg-laying. As usual I enjoyed the great company of other enthusiasts, especially Katrina who has a talent for spotting well hidden brownies. A bonus were the two Meadow Browns on ragwort. (Trevor Rapley)


Saturday 16 August 2014

On a walk this morning from 9.45 am round Rowland Wood and starting at the Fleabane patch we saw Large Whites and Small Whites, Meadow Browns - still numerous, Gatekeepers, many Common Blues, a pair of swirling Small Heath, Small Copper, Peacock, a number of Brown Argus, several Speckled Woods and a couple of very fresh Red Admirals. Also a number of different varieties of dragonflies and damselflies, a sparrowhawk and a close-by buzzard. All made for a lovely sunny walk.(Kerry Baldwin)

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This morning I saw a Clouded Yellow beside the lake at Hailsham Country Park which represents the 27th species that I've now recorded at this site. This afternoon I went for a walk around Malling Down and came across another two Clouded Yellows flying alongside a Brimstone - what a contrast! I also found several Silver Spotted Skippers scattered around the hill, a solitary Adonis Blue, a Painted Lady and plenty of the other regulars for the site.(Chris Hooker)

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Today I did my Mill Hill transect with the following results (previous week in brackets): Adonis Blue 37(25), 2 Chalkhill Blue 2(19), Clouded Yellow 0(2), Common Blue 10(34), Gatekeeper 16(69), Green-veined White 0(1), Holly Blue 1(0), Large White 1(0), Meadow Brown 59(126), Painted Lady 1(0), Peacock 1(0), Red Admiral 3(3), Small Heath 2(1), Small Tortoiseshell 1(1), Small White 0(1), Wall Brown 0(2). Moths identified: Shaded Broad-bar & Treble-bar.
(Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

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News for Friday 15 August

Saw another Clouded Yellow this afternoon. This time it was on the Downs at Crowlink. (Chris Hooker)


Wednesday 12 August 2013

News in Brief
I saw six (yes six!!) Humming Bird Hawk Moths between Selsey East Beach and Church Norton today. Feeding around the cracks in the groynes rather than on flowers, very different behaviour! Three Clouded Yellows and one Painted Lady also seen in the area. (Jake Gearty)

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Today I saw some Red Admiral, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, some white, probably Small White and a couple of Clouded Yellow butterflies at that most excellent of Nature Reserves at Rye Harbour in East Sussex. (Jim Barrett)

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Brown Hairstreaks seen today at Steyning Rifle Range in West Sussex. Some pictures of these can be seen on our Flickr Album (James Langiewicz)


Tuesday 12 August 2013

Praise Indeed
A Butterfly editorial in the Guardian. In praise of...

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News for Monday 11 August
Came across a Clouded Yellow (helice) on a walk on the Downs near Folkington battling gamely with the wind! It was the palest one that I have seen (From a distance I initially thought it was either a Large White or a Marbled White), being snow white with black markings and the only colour being the spots. (Chris Hooker)


Monday 11th August 2014

Slow News Day
With no butterfly sightings to report today I have included a link to a little video on cloud types and formations instead. Topical, if not quite on-topic. (Jim Barrett)

{Met Office Clouds Page: Scroll down page for Cloud Spotting Video }

Sunday 10th August 2014

Silver-spotted Skipper Search
I checked two more areas for Silver-spotted Skippers with my dad last week. First Fulking at TQ242111. The grass was very long here and the habitat didn't seem quite right so we did not find any, but there were plenty of Wall Brown (30+) all over the side of the hill.
The second area at TQ256112 Poynings, Fulking, Wickhurst Barns was much better. Twenty-one Silver-spotted Skippers we counted here along with two Brown Hares. {More on Brown Hares: Brown Hare: Wildlife Trusts } It was getting quite late (Common Blue and Brown Argus were just starting to go to roost) and there could have been more Skippers here as we only looked in a small area. (Mark Caddy)


Saturday 9th August 2014

Butterflies Galore! A Rother Event Report
Twenty, or thereabout, intrepid individuals ventured into deepest, darkest East Sussex for our Butterfly Event season finale at Beckley Woods. The weather stayed good for us though there was a distinct autumnal chill to the early morning. Despite my initial misgivings we saw a good list of Butterfly species though not perhaps in the numbers that were present even as recently as last week. My thanks to Mike from Bexhill who brought his considerable dragonfly knowledge along with him and also to Doug Neve who has supported this event every year and is our official photographer. Kudos also to Stuart Cooper and his young son who led the event and whose considerable efforts managed to get some new, younger faces to attend a wildlife walk.
The species list was;
Common Blue,
Meadow Brown,
Silver-washed Fritillary,
Peacock,
Red Admiral,
Green-veined White,
Small White,
Gatekeeper,
Small Tortoiseshell,
Small Skipper,
Ringlet,
Comma,
Large White.
(Jim Barrett; Rother)


Friday 8th August 2014

Even Chalkhills get the Blues
I suspect Trevor Rapley is correct in his observation of Common Blue Females this year.The overgrown garden, next door but one, currently has a good number of them, a very high proportion of which are spectacularly blue. Also present yesterday [Friday], with three Brown Argus, was a fresh Chalkhill Blue, This site is five Kilometres from Malling Down. This species has turned up in the vicinity a few times over the last twenty years, presumably errant females laying on Birds foot Trefoil, and a few individuals making it to adulthood. (Graham Parris, Isfield).

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Other News in Brief
On our return from North Kent (lots of Clouded Yellows including a helice) we saw a female Common Blue , a Red Admiral and a Holly Blue in our back garden in Hove.(John & Val Hays)

Today I saw a male Common Blue butterfly on a circular walk from Glynde to Lewes. (Clare Stokes)


Thursday 7 August 2014

"Clouds: From both sides now."
I had not been up to Chantry Hill for quite a while. It never disappoints. There were hundreds of Common Blue and Chalkhill Blue, twenty-five to thirty Dark Green Fritillary, a dozen or so Silver-spotted Skippers and at least four Wall Brown plus all the usual species.I had intended doing a thorough survey for Silver-spotted Skippers but as soon as I arrived the clouds blocked out the sun. I suspect a thorough survey in ideal conditions would reveal more than fifty individuals.
In the fields around my garden there were at least three Clouded Yellow. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington).

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News for Tuesday 5th August: Doug Neve and I had a trip to Malling Down to look for Silver Spotted Skippers. Despite a strong breeze we found several on the lower slopes including a courting pair that landed side by side. Also a lovely female Common Blue posed perfectly for the camera. Is it just me or are there a lot of Common Blue females this year?
We then went on to Steyning Rifle Range but the only butterflies we saw were a couple of Gatekeepers. A first for me was the sighting of a Wasp Spider.{More at Wasp spiders: Wildlife Trusts } (Trevor Rapley)

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Colin's Travels
On Friday (1st Aug) I checked out local Brookfield Park, Rustington, which has wild flower meadows and a lake and found a Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow. Plenty of wild carrot here so it may be a candidate for Continental Swallowtails in the future. On Saturday (2nd Aug)I enjoyed an excellent tour with Dragonfly recorder John Luck in Ashdown Forest. Apart from the rare acid habitat target species I found a Yellow-tail moth. Our home produced some interesting moths, some of the kind we don't welcome, such as the Case-bearing Clothes Moth. On Monday (4th Aug) at Ferring Rife I saw many Small Tortoiseshells, a Clouded Yellow and many Shaded Broad-bar moths in the 'wetland' area on the west bank (it is currently baked dry). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

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Party Moths
I managed to combine moths and my daughters 6th birthday party on Wednesday. I decided to show the kids a female Oak Eggar on opening the pot the female obviously let off a burst of pheromones as within a minute four males appeared out of no-where and proceeded to land on everyone near the female. I was delighted as Iíve never seen a male Oak Eggar in the garden in ten years. I let the female go with the males in hot pursuit and the kids got back on the bouncy castle!(Tony Wilson)


Wednesday 6 August 2014

Our media correspondent writes: I caught a bit of The Archers on Radio 4 on Wednesday. They were discussing a new road plan scheme and were hoping that evidence of a rare butterfly would be found. This turned out to be Brown Hairstreak and Butterfly Conservation were on the case. So on topic so to speak. (Richard Roebuck)

We've been away hiking up mountains in Spain over the past few weeks and I've returned to an email mountain of butterfly sightings. Thank you to everyone who has been out and about helping us finish off the final squares for our butterfly atlas. I'll update our database and let you know what squares are left! Also exciting to receive the first reports of a second brood of Continental Swallowtails emerging in Sussex. Last week 4 (or possibly 5) Swallowtails were seen in a suburban garden in Rustington. This puts our Sussex 2014 total at 20 Swallowtails. There will be more in August so keep an eye out. Swallowtails could appear anywhere along the South Coast but it's also worth looking high up on the Downs too. Establishing a territory at a summit ('hill-topping') is a mate finding strategy used by many insects species - especially Swallowtails. In Spain we saw Continental Swallowtails right at the top of the mountains (often in combat with those other classic 'hill-toppers' the Red Admirals).Good luck! (Michael & Clare Blencowe)

As always the Brown Hairstreak season in Sussex has started slowly, at least in terms of close encounters. The males have been active for several weeks up in the canopy, and this is where the early season females have been lazing about, doing very little while their eggs ripen. Although it is currently only a trickle, females are now beginning to descend to lay their first eggs. It will be another week before multiples are guaranteed, assuming good weather of course. This morning I stopped off at the small chalk pit on Steyning Round Hill, before continuing on to the Rifle Range. I struck gold here and the stunning female I spotted sat motionless for more than 20 minutes under cooling cloud cover. At the Rifle Range I saw a single male flitting around a master ash, but no females in the fenced reserve area. Just before heading home I found a second female in perfect condition, up on the northern (right-hand) flank of the valley. I find this species almost as addictive as the Purple Emperor, so it won't be long before I return. (Neil Hulme)

Nine Clouded Yellows counted at Thorney Island today. I expect I'll find a few more tomorrow as the weather forecast predicts light winds. (Barry Collins)

News for Thursday 30 July: While on holiday visited Fittleworth Church (TQ009192) where the following sightings were recorded, Small White 4, Meadow Brown 3, Gatekeeper 3, Speckled Wood 1, Common Blue 3M 2F. (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)


Tuesday 5 August 2014

Ashcombe Bottom & Black Cap Adventure (joint event with the National Trust)
Twenty-two species recorded on todays walk lead by me and National Trust Ranger, Lee Walther. The weather was looking slightly uncertain mid morning - it looked as if it was going to cloud over. But the sun burnt through and it turned out to be another glorious day with 23 species recorded on the 4 mile walk in four and a half hours.
As we scaled the Warningore Bostall to the top of Blackcap we encountered many Chalkhill Blue, Small & Essex Skipper, Wall Brown, an Adonis Blue, Common Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper. Down through Ashcombe Bottom there were many Silver-washed Fritillary, a Purple Hairstreak along with other butterflies, Buzzards, a Sparrow hawk and the very very many dragonflies cruising around in the sheltered glades of the woodland. We stopped for lunch in the open grassland on the south siade of the woodland where more Silver-spotted Skippers, Brown Argus and Chalkhil Blue could be seen zooming around us.
Lee explained about the site and the special and complex balance of management to maintain and enhance woodland which has been at the site since before 1625, according to old maps. The loess soils in the valley, the veteran Oaks, Dormice... The site is well worth a visit in May when the Bluebells are out, before the bracken grows up and when there is plenty of bird song.
Full list of species seen:
Small Skipper,
Essex Skipper,
Silver-spotted Skipper,
Brimstone,
Large White,
Small White,
Green-veined White,
Small Copper,
Brown Argus,
Common Blue,
Chalkhill Blue,
Adonis Blue,
Red Admiral,
Small Tortoiseshell,
Peacock,
Silver-washed Fritillary,
Purple Hairstreak,
Wall,
Gatekeeper,
Marbled White,
Meadow Brown,
Small Heath,
Surprisingly we did not see a Speckled Wood, but on my way home I stopped at Offham and the first butterfly I saw was a Speckled Wood! Here is a link which shows on Google Maps where we went on the day: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_MGVq-NUFF5ZklTcVN1NWN2Rkk/edit. (Crispin Holloway)

I visited to Mill Hill to see some Adonis Blues on Sunday. Also managed to find 3 Silver-spotted Skippers, 6 Clouded Yellow and 3 Painted Ladies.
On Tuesday I did a circuit of Wolstonbury Hill and can confirm that there is a large colony of Silver-spotted Skippers at the location mentioned by Crispin Holloway and Dan Danahar (TQ284140). I counted 52 in overcast conditions. There was also one at TQ287137. Lots of Common Blues, Brown Argus, Small Tortoiseshell with the occasional Chalkhill Blue, Wall Brown, Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady. (Mark Cadey)

Although the season is now waning there are still a few annual highlights to come, not least the peak emergence of second brood Adonis Blue. By the end of this week Malling Down at Lewes and Anchor Bottom near Beeding should be alive with these beauties. I'm usually chasing other spring species during May, so I always look forward to their August flight. With plenty of Chalkhill and Common Blue, Silver-spotted Skipper, Wall and a few Clouded Yellow around, I regard these next few weeks as the grand finale of the butterfly year on the Downs. This morning I watched the maiden flight of several Adonis Blue males at Mill Hill. They perched on the abundant stems of Yellow-wort while drying their wings, occasionally discharging meconium fluid before heading off to patrol the slopes in search of virgin females, the first few of which are now out. Amongst the many other species present I was pleased to see a Silver-spotted Skipper, this being only the second specimen recorded on the hill. The previous evening my father found a full-grown Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar here. (Neil Hulme)

Yesterday I was chuffed to watch a female Common Blue egg laying on the birds foot trefoil I have in the garden, today I was even more pleased to have a beautiful Brown Hairstreak grace the garden with its presence :).
Also around in my Broadbridge Heath garden was plenty of Small Tortoiseshell, a couple of Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small White and a Holly Blue flew over. (Susie Milbank)

I took this [Humming-bird Hawk-moth] at 9.30am in one of my gardens I do. Eastbourne, East Sussex Marina area. My Fiancé, Shaun Gilmour photographed this [Coronet] at Hurst Green, East Sussex in someone's garden in May. (Miss Bow Larkin)

Further to Crispin Holloway and Dan Danahar's posting on 30th July regarding Silver-spotted Skippers, we were walking to the east of Ditchling Beacon today and explored some of the pathway that cuts down through the chalk at the top of Westmeston Bostal (TQ339128). Really nice chalk flora. Weather was rather a mixture of sunny intervals and then cloud but we saw one very fresh Silver-spotted Skipper, quite a few faded Small Skippers, lots of Common Blues and Chalkhill Blues, a few Meadow Browns, a Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell and a Clouded Yellow. (Colin Booty)

While picking blackberries on the Downs to the north of Seaford I found an Emperor Moth caterpillar feeding on blackberry leaves. An impressive fella! (Stuart Ridley)


Monday 4 August 2014

My long walk today totaled 18 species or 225 individual Butterflies. To shorten text, M and F stand for their sex, grid references give a central point to a general or bigger area. All areas and butterflies seen are within the boundaries of Wild Park. Home Farm Rd bank verge, next to Covers (TQ32870732) - 3M Adonis Blue, 1F and 7M Chalkhill Blue, 1 Large White, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Clouded Yellow and 2M Common Blue. Home Farm Rd verge (TQ32970738/ TQ33040750) - 32M and 2F Chalkhill Blue, 2 Large White, 4M and 1F Common Blue, 5 Meadow Brown and 1 Gatekeeper. Lewes Rd facing slope (TQ330076) - 43 Meadow Brown, 4M Common Blue, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 3M Chalkhill Blue, 1F Gatekeeper and 3 Silver-spotted Skipper. Whole left coomb side (TQ32890797) - 1F between 2 Small Skipper, 9M Common Blue, 4 Brown Argus, 3 Gatekeeper and 2 Meadow Brown. Top end of coomb (TQ32520803) - 1M Chalkhill Blue, 8M Common Blue, 1 Purple Hairstreak - (TQ32520807), 1 Small Copper, 10 Gatekeeper and 7 Meadow Brown. Coomb right side (TQ32740805) - 4 Small White, 5 Small Heath, 10 Meadow Brown, 2M Common Blue, 1 Large White, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Painted Lady, 2M Chalkhill Blue, 2 Brown Argus, 1 Marbled White, 8 Silver-spotted Skipper and 1 Silver-Y. Ski slope (TQ32620779) - 5 Meadow Brown, 1 Gatekeeper, 1M Common Blue and 1 Silver-Y. Dew Pond (TQ32540774) - 4M Common Blue and 1 Brown Argus. Hollingbury Hill Fort (TQ322079) - 1 Small Skipper, 2M and 1F Common Blue and 6 Meadow Brown. Other totals include 69 Dragonflies and 1 Damselfly across the whole coomb. (Jamie Burston)

Highlights of the twenty species of butterfly seen were 33 Wall Brown and 5 Clouded Yellow. Also about ten Dusky Sallow moths on Knapweeds. (Lindsay Morris)

I counted 6 Silver-spotted Skippers on the south facing slope of Anchor Bottom, east of the rabbit warren at TQ205094.
Not a huge number, but most encouraging was the female depositing eggs, hopefully sustaining the colony for the next year. (Dave Potter)


Sunday 3 August 2014

A Sunday afternoon stroll around Eartham Woods confirmed the improving form of this beautiful site, resulting from its more open structure. Despite the late hour we saw Peacock (12), Small Tortoiseshell (8), Red Admiral (5), Gatekeeper (6), Speckled Wood (3), Large Skipper (4), Common Blue (1), Holly Blue (1) and Silver-washed Fritillary (23). Best of all, Hannah spotted a stunning valezina (dusky green and blue) form of the Silver-washed Fritillary, this being the first I have seen in Sussex for several years. (Hannah, Mia & Neil Hulme)

A Clouded Yellow stopped briefly to nectar on Verbena bonariensis in my Seaford garden before flying swiftly away. (Stuart Ridley)

Today's garden count was 1 Common Blue, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 5 Meadow Brown and 1 Gatekeeper. Furthermore 5 Small White and 30+ Large White (yesterday having a brief visit by a single Holly Blue). Today saw lots of activity regarding the Whites, I've seen both species basking and nectaring on the buddleias, at one point I had a female Large White repeatedly rejecting a male because she was trying to lay eggs on the nasturtiums. On the nasturtiums I had a very brief count and found 1 Small White caterpillar and 5 Large White caterpillars, eggs continue to build in numbers everyday with multiple visits by adults. It's pleasing to see the numbers in the summer brood of Whites to be building and largely matching previous years, early this year it was evident that the spring brood was poor with very few seen of both species. This matches results found from last years life cycle. Back on the 23rd August 2013 I conducted a count of all Small and Large White caterpillars found on nasturtiums growing in my back garden, totals were 360 Large White caterpillars and 7 Small White caterpillars, I continued to follow their development into the chrysalis stage. On the 8th October 2013, I counted all chrysalises I could find, this totaled only 11 individuals, all Large White. These were found between the garden shed, inside our house and largely from the eves of our house. From these 11 only 1 hatched this spring, this was the only individual found inside our house found on 10th September 2013 on our upstairs landing attached to a toilet roll, this is probably the only reason it survived as from that point I transferred the individual into the shed putting it within an old butterfly mesh hatching container, as to protect it from any possible spider predation. This individual finally emerged on the 21st April this year (female) and was released into the garden that day. The horrible but realistic truth that only 1 in 367 caterpillars made it successfully through the whole life cycle, to my knowledge. (Jamie Burston)

I was so enthralled by my visit to the Ridge Road site on Saturday 2nd August, that I took my wife, Libby, to see it on the next day, Sunday 3rd August. I was keen to see the Brown Argus again, only this time the predominant species was the Common Blue, not quite clouds of abundance, more like a mist. I also saw my first Silver Y of the year. (Dan Danahar)

Female Brown Hairstreak found on bindweed in a ditch in Twineham. GR: TQ252189. (Tom Simon)

Walking through the ticket hall at Bishopstone railway station on Friday we spotted four moths, three of which were beautiful Garden Tigers, all on the floor in different parts of the hall. The fourth moth was a Wave but to high up to ID. This station has been a consistently good spot for finding Garden Tigers.
Saturday walking from Lewes to Glynde we saw 2 Clouded Yellows flying north over Sussex Wildlife Trust's superb Southerham Nature Reserve.
On Sunday, at another railway station - Polegate this time (TQ583048) - I spotted a White Admiral just over the fence amongst the Honeysuckle-rich railway edge. (Steve Wheatley)

I visited Cow Gap, Beachy Head today, making use of the Vintage Bus Rally at Eastbourne, to have an awayday from Purley, Croydon. Species seen in TV5995. Clouded Yellow 2, Wall Brown 5, Oak Eggar 10, Chalkhill Blue many, and the usual Marbled White, Gatekeeper and Meadow Browns. (Martin Wills)

It's always exciting when we receive a visit from a Humming-bird Hawk-moth and today one arrived mid-afternoon. It flew rapidly across the garden several times, considered nectaring on the Verbena bonariensis and Ceratostigma, before landing on the kitchen wall. After a couple of photos, I thought it better to leave it to rest after its doubtless long journey. (John Luck)


Saturday 2 August 2014

Between 4pm and 5pm I visited Stanmer Park, Great Wood with my dad. I did my one and only population count for Silver-washed Fritillary this year, however later in the season than planned. In total I counted 1 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 1 Small White. Searching in overcast but mild conditions I wasn't too hopeful finding Silver-washed Fritillary, we covered a large area within Great Wood, searching in the large central glade. Here we saw nothing, moving west in the woods we came to one of the created coppice areas. Almost straight away I was surprised to see a male Silver-washed Fritillary, it proceeded to bask for a minute then moved onto feeding on the multiple buddleia plants. This then interacted with another, possibly female, much paler as seen in flight. At the same time my dad called to say he had another heading the other way. Totaling three individuals, a great result and the management is clearly producing great results. Furthermore my dad also saw a single Speckled Wood elsewhere within the woods. In the latter part of July I finally managed to test out my extended tripod at Wild Park master Oak, my camera reaching 14+ feet high. Above show the best results, not achieving the results wanted, this won't be my last attempt, it may lead to a 20 foot flag pole with tripod, or the easier alternative! A remote control flying gadget with camera, who knows what the future will hold or show. (Jamie & Jeff Burston)

My good friend Mark Gapper had informed me that there was a Brown Argus colony, on some high quality grassland near to where we live, at Ridge Road, Mary's Farm, nr Falmer (TQ348102). This is a fabulous piece of west facing grassland, with a range of lovely wildflowers and lots of butterflies, including: Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, Small Tortoiseshells, Small Skippers, Chalkhill Blues, Common Blue and Brown Argus. It was quite windy and so taking photographs was difficult but there were a great number of fresh Brown Argus... perhaps the largest population I have ever seen. It was a lovely diversion for an hour. (Dan Danahar)

I just love caterpillars. I know the Environment Agency had to eventually do their job and mow the River Arun's banks around Arundel. I'm sure their were plenty of people complaining about the untidiness of all the stinging nettles, brambles, hawthorn, thistles and dog roses, but I wasn't. Seeing two complete broods of Peacock caterpillars grow and pupate and a new stretch of Drinker moth caterpillars to look out for in future years. No, it's been lovely to step onto the river bank and instantly be in a rich environment of flowers and insect food stock. Within five minutes walk of Arundel town centre and it's Skippers, Meadow Browns, Tortoiseshells, Peacocks, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Gatekeepers, Blues, Clouded Yellows, Brimstones, Whites and Marbled Whites. If austerity means that they reduce the amount of verge and bank cutting, then it's thumbs up from me! However, it didn't stop me witnessing the spectacle earlier this year, of the council strimming the bluebells on Whiteways roundabout verge in full flower because I guess the contract stated that that was the day to carry out the job. Or whoever mowed down the bee orchids at the southern entrance to Arundel park, after last year they had been so carefully protected by a neat little string boundary. Swings and roundabouts as they say. I'll stop my moaning there, as it's far too nice a summer to be complaining for long.
Anyway, back to caterpillars. As well as my daughter discovering a mass of tiny larva on her carrot crop which she is now nurturing indoors to find their eventual identity, I found an Eyed Hawk-moth caterpillar in Kirdford road, Arundel which is now munching away on apple leaves in the kitchen and today bumped into a lucky lad named Lorenzo who was cradling a fully grown Lime Hawk-moth caterpillar in a lime leaf. It was ready to pupate and so was returned to the base of a lime, to get on with the job. I was very envious, having walked that avenue of limes in Arundel, literally hundreds of times and never found one alive, only squashed remains. Note that the Eyed Hawk-moth has the wider, flatter head, whereas the lime has a tapered one.
Also, my daughter found an Old Lady in Singleton this week which we released in Arundel, where there are others I know of.
Question for anyone out there: Has anyone ever heard the sound of a Death's-head Hawk-moth? The thursday night of the big thunderstorm, I was just tidying away my moth trap before the heavens fell and I saw a glimpse of a large, something, flying horizontally out of the corner of my eye. It appeared to be brown and flew straight into an apple tree. Just a blur really but I didn't feel it was a bat and at around 11 pm too late for most small birds to be about. Half an hour later I heard a gentle, screechy-hiss sound. Not loud enough for any owl, and very close by. It only occurred later that it might have been a moth or are there any crickets that make that sound? Any ideas anyone? (Josse Davis)

News for Sunday 27 July: TETRAD TQ5602. Today I was delighted to count 13 Silver-spotted Skippers in my Tetrad. They were on Cranedown, just below Filching Reservoir. Though I have walked here very frequently over the years, I have not seen them at this site before. (Some years ago, I found a small group on the Downs above Willingdon, but have not seen them there since a fence was erected through their area - but I plan to check there tomorrow.) Today I also saw lots of Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Chalkhill Blues; a few Wall Browns, Common Blues, Marbled Whites, Large Whites, Small Whites and Small Tortoiseshells; a couple each of Small Skippers, Small Heath, Red Admiral and Peacock; one Green-veined White. (Susan Suleski)


Friday 1 August 2014

A day split between Cissbury Ring and Steyning Downland Scheme produced 15 Silver-spotted Skipper at the former, despite no-fly weather conditions, and 30 Wall at the latter, assisted by the reappearance of the sun. More at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=1760#p89143. (Neil Hulme)

This afternoon another B.C. member, Trevor Rapley, and I visited Botany Bay between about 15.00 hrs and 18.00 hrs. The sky was overcast and the air temperature was about 21 degrees C. A minute or two after entering by the Tugley Wood entrance we saw several Wood Whites and continued to see them until we departed. During the three hours at this location we saw a total of about 25 of this species, including a mating pair and three 'face to face' pairs. We also saw 15 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 8 Common Blues, one White Admiral and a green moth about the size of a Small Tortoiseshell, which we have yet to identify. - it's a Large Emerald. ed. (Douglas Neve)

An exceptional variety of 20 different species of butterflies in an hour on the lower slopes of Mill Hill made up for a rather dismal number of Chalkhill Blues for what should be their peak time. There were hundreds of the restless Chalkhill Blues but they were thinly spread and the transect acre total was only 47. (Andy Horton, Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List)


Earlier Sightings

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