Tuesday 31 August 2010
Over the bank holiday weekend butterfly recorders in Rother took part in a Bank Holiday Butterfly Race. The aim was to collect data for the Sussex Butterfly Atlas by visiting tetrads (2km x 2km squares) where no butterflies had been recorded last year. Despite the weather, 6 Teams took part, and managed to visited 20 different tetrads. 14 butterfly species were recorded: Brimstone, Clouded Yellow, Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Large White, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Small Heath, Small White, Speckled Wood. Runaway winners were the Oakland Hairstreaks who recorded butterflies in 6 different tetrads, and had maximum counts of 7 species in 2 different tetrads. Thank you to everyone who took part. All of the data collected will be sent to Clare Jeffers to contribute directly to the Sussex Butterfly Atlas, and we look forward to joining a Sussex Butterfly Scramble in 2011. (Steve Wheatley)
On this brilliant day, having spent some time in company with Neil, looking for possible new sites, I just could not believe it when, sitting in my kitchen in Steyning, I expected to see a Holly Blue on the Golden Rod growing in the garden, but noticed a rather interesting butterfly silhouette, and there, unbelievably, was a beautiful female Brown Hairstreak. I rapidly set up my tripod and camcorder, and filmed it from every angle and perspective - for at least 20 minutes. In the 22 years that I have lived here, never before....??? (David Geoghegan)
Butterflies were still in flight and the count of Adonis Blues on the 1.2 acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was 122. Other species seen during the morning were frequent Holly Blues and Speckled Woods in the hedgerows, frequent Common Blues and Small Heath Butterflies plus one Brown Argus on Mill Hill, occasional Chalkhill Blues on the Mill Hill Cutting (SW) and frequent Large Whites everywhere. (Andy Horton)
Having been inspired by discovering butterflies on Pevensey Bay beach yesterday, I thought I would go "hard-core" and try and find my second ever Brown Hairstreak! So I ventured to Steyning Rifle Range in search of this little beauty. I met some very nice people who had travelled from Surrey and some others from even further away, so my 60 mile round trip seemed a little whimpy. We were all trying our best to find them in the bottom right hand corner but to no avail, so I walked all around the edges of the site. This was a great idea as I saw two seperate Brown Hairstreak! (above) The first was a brief encounter but the second was observed for about 20 minutes. She was slowly walking up and down the blackthorns very near the ground. It's as though she can't fly and can only walk and hide in the middle of the bushes. I managed to get just two shots of her as in my excitement to get to the area, I had left the spare batteries back in the car in Steyning. So I was simply content on watching here. Ahhh, pure joy! There were obviously other butterflies present such as a Brimstone, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Small White, Speckled Wood and blues but I wasn't really bothered today. (Nick Linazasoro)
Probably my last trip to West Grinstead to see Brown Hairstreaks (above, left) turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax with a sighting within a minute of getting out the car but then only 1 more brief sighting of a flying female after that. Then went over to Southwater Woods where there were good numbers of Speckled Woods as well as Meadow Browns including a mating pair (above, right) that looked as though they had read the butterfly version of the Karma Sutra!! There was also a late male Silver Washed Fritillary that was surprisingly in pretty good condition. I then went to Steyning where I was a bit late to get the Brown Hairstreaks there. I only saw half a hairstreak just as I was leaving at 3pm. This was sitting in a Sycamore, but the back part of both wings were missing. (Bob Eade)
I went to Windover Hill today to try and see some Graylings. I wasnt feeling too optimistic as it seems so late in the season. However it was my lucky day and with good weather conditions I managed to spot a Grayling on 3 separate occasions. (not sure if same butterfly, but times were 12.20, 13.40, and 14.50 so possible they were different.) I met another chap who said he has seen 2. My sightings were all on the SE facing slope of the hill, near the path. This was my first ever sighting of this butterfly and it was so nice to see at first hand its fabulous camouflage! (photo above) (David Taylor)
Chantry Hill gave plenty of Brown Argus and Small Heaths. a Red Admiral, a Brimstone, a Striped Wainscot moth and Small Whites. Springhead gave Speckled Woods, Adonis Blues, Brown Argus, Common Blues, Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Small Whites and Brimstones (photo above). (Colin Knight)
News for Monday 30 August: We went for a relaxing family walk across Pevensey Bay beach to Sovereign Harbour and back. I was suprised to find butterflies on the actual beach. There were loads of Small White, two Small Blue, two Small Tortoiseshell and one Painted Lady, as well as a caterpillar walking across the path (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)
More news for Monday 30 August: What's this - sunshine on a bank holiday! Went to Windover Hill,where we found 2 Grayling, 20+ Silver Spotted Skippers - most still in good condition, 2 Adonis Blue, a few Common + Chalkhill Blues, a Brown Argus, 1 Small Copper and plenty of Meadow Brown + Small Heath. Another couple saw a Painted Lady. Then on to Mill Hill, Shoreham, where lots of Adonis Blues, some still fresh, mating, egg-laying etc, 6 or 7 faded Chalkhills, 2 Brown Argus, a few faded Common Blue and, again, Small Heaths + Meadow Browns. Both sites would be worth a visit this week - if the good weather continues! (Mark Bunch)
Many thanks to Bob Foreman for correct i.d of my large stick caterpillar as a Peppered Moth larvae. In addition I also found a Vapourer caterpillar (which is quite frankly stunning enlarged) and I believe a Dark Dagger caterpillar (similar to Grey Dagger) and the last one is either an early instar Peppered or unfortunately a winter i,d pursuit. (Richard Roebuck)
Monday 30 August 2010
Today went for a walk along the downs link and saw 3 Speckled Wood, 1 Comma, 1 Meadow Brown, 3 Small White, 1 Red Admiral, 7 Holly Blues, just south of the cement works 1 female Brown Hairstreak (above). (Mark Bloss)
We had a visit this afternoon in our garden in Fittleworth (TQ013187) from a female Brown Hairstreak. Although we are only about 3 miles due west of Wiggonholt this is the first time in the 18 years we have lived here that we have seen this species hereabouts. (David Connell)
Butchershole gallops and slopes. I was worried about not having seen Adonis Blue second brood on the slopes, but today there were at least 12 iridescent males on the lower slopes, and then a further 7 as I walked around the gallops area. Also lots of Meadow Brown and Small Heath, some Chalkhill Blue, still mating, a few very battered Common Blue, several Large White and Speckled Wood, and two Brimstone, 1 male/1 female. I continue to scan all patches of blackthorn I come across for Brown Hairstreak - unsuccessfully. I guess I will have to venture into the wilds of W Sussex to see them! (Susan Suleski)
Details of the transect walked today at Bedelands Farm, species and numbers recorded;
Today I went to Hollingbury park, I found a least two dozen Holly Blues flying around Hemp Agrimony at the glade below the tennis courts, on Ditchling road. I then moved onto the top glade next to Hollingbury golf course car park, finding two Speckled Woods fighting to defend a corridor of light at an opening in the path. However the best thing happened later in my back garden, I saw three Red Admirals all on the same Buddleia, amazingly getting on well together, and staying still enough to get a few photos, but sadly due to my laptop memory being full, I can't upload them. (Jamie Burston)
News for Saturday 28 August (and today): On Saturday morning I went exploring another potential Brown Hairstreak habitat south of Henfield. A small unused field which about a year ago was completely cleared of undergrowth. It now has several hundred sloe shoots. On Saturday morning I found two Brown Hairstreaks one battered probably due to bird attack and the second pristine newly emerged female (top, left). Incidentally appropriately sat on Neil's most favourite coloured flower. In addition also found four different species of moth caterpillar feeding on the sloe shoots one spectacularly camouflaged, very large Geometrid caterpillar about 3 inches long to be i.d (bottom, centre) TQ211152
Sunday 29 August 2010
News for Saturday 28 August 2010: The BC Sussex field trip calendar reached a spectacular grand finale at Steyning Rifle Range on Saturday, blessed by initially clear blue skies and warm sunshine. It was difficult to assess the number of attendees as a sizeable group forged ahead for an early start, and helped out by spotting Brown Hairstreaks for us (thanks Colin, Tom, Roger et al.); and quite a few left before midday after seeing the main party amassing on the slopes in a scene straight out of 'Braveheart'! Earlier I had counted 49, but at one point there must have been 55 enthusiasts simultaneously looking at these beautiful butterflies! There was no effort required in spotting this usually elusive species, as there were regular shouts of "two together here", "one here", "another one here". Despite an over-sized group everyone managed to get up close and personal with a Brown Hairstreak, many for the first time. Without trying too hard we notched up 7 during the course of the walk. I stayed on with a few others until mid afternoon, finding more hairstreaks on the northern flank of the Rifle Range. We were down to a group of three (and up to a total of 12 BHs) when a chap wandered up the field and joined us, having made the long journey from Dartford in the hope of seeing his first. The afternoon was now cooling down and we were coming to the end of the main, daily flight 'window', but I was determined to find one for him. After travelling such a distance no one wants to hear "you should have been here earlier - they were everywhere!" By 3.30pm I was cutting it fine to meet up with Hannah, so reluctantly said "goodbye" to this chap. As I turned away and walked up the slope I almost tripped over another female hairstreak, nectaring on one of the last thistles in flower. Big smiles all round! The species list (including those seen after the official walk) comprised Brown Hairstreak, Wall, Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White and Brimstone. The Adonis Blue was particularly significant, as this is the first sighting here for many years, and probably reflects the early signs of habitat improvement after just one winter's grazing. I suspect a female Adonis reached the Rifle Range during the spring brood, probably from Mill Hill. All-in-all it was a great way to finish my walks for the year - and great to see so many friendly faces. I would like to say "thank you" to all those that have attended our walks throughout 2010, and to all those that have generously given their time to lead them. I hope to see many of you at the AGM. (photos above) (Neil Hulme)
Thanks again Neil and Sussex group, a very good day and exciting too. Here is our count of the day (pat doing the numbers as usual):
Speckled Wood 3, Holly Blue 3 Small Heath 2, Meadow Brown 6, Common Blue 5, Brown Hairstreak 7, Small Copper 1, Wall 2, Comma 1, Gatekeeper 2, Brown Argus 1, Brimstone 1, Green-veined White 2, Peacock 1, Adonis Blue 1. We went on to Pulborough after...
Saturday 28 August 2010
While sat in my partners back garden this morning chatting about the days events a Brown Hairstreak landed just briefly on the strawberry patch behind us. After a few minutes it flew away but know sooner had I flown out of the garden another one, much smaller flew in, landed almost on the same spot then flew up & landed upon my partner's shoulder much to our amazement. Instead of the normal insect panic of landing on something it doesn't like & flying off, it sat there for just over an hour quite happy & content (photos above). (Bob Davies)
On Saturday August 28th I went on the walk organised by Neil Hulme at Steyning Rifle Range. Attendance was good (I would say 30 - 40 people), the weather was mostly sunny, and best of all, the Brown Hairstreaks (above) were obliging, posing for long periods while crowds gathered around them. I like the way they crawl about the Blackthorn bushes looking for the ideal spot to lay an egg. Another highlight was a male Adonis - and I don't mean Neil! (John Williams)
Neil chose the best day since Brown Hairstreaks started emerging for his Steyning walk. How does he do it? I arrived on site with Roger at 10:30am and enthusiasts were already watching a Brown Hairstreak. Pretty soon the gathering crowd were reporting Hairstreaks from several locations and the Fest had begun. When Neil arrived with his followers we had one ready for inspection. And it just got better. By the end of the day 12 had been reported. Among the butterflies I managed to photograph were: Wall, Brown Argus, male and female Brown Hairstreak, Common Blue, Comma, Speckled Wood, a mating pair of Small Heaths, Small Copper. Also seen were Small and Large Whites, Meadow Browns, Peacock and male Brimstone (photos above). (Colin Knight)
Thursday 26 August 2010
In spite of the drizzle there were plenty of butterflies on Cissbury Ring. I did a circuit of the ditch and saw hundreds of Meadow Browns, some Chalkhill Blues, Adonis Blues and Small Heaths and a White (photos above). (Colin Knight)
Wednesday 25 August 2010
Tetrad TQ7230 Flimwell TQ720310 6 Small White, 3 Common Blue>. (Roy Wells)
News for Tuesday 24 August: Buffeted about in a Force 6 Strong Breeze gusting to Gale Force 8, the conditions were far from ideal for butterflies after the recent rain. Adonis Blues (80) and Meadow Browns (est 75) were very frequently seen on Mill Hill, but Holly Blues (est 35+) were also frequent on the outskirts of north Shoreham. On the Mill Hill Cutting there were at least eight pristine male Chalkhill Blues and seven worn females. Twelve butterfly species were seen in two hours. (Andy Horton)
Tuesday 24 August 2010
I recorded a Tamarisk Peacock (above) in my garden last night (23rd). This has been confirmed, and is believed to be the first record outside of east Kent and only the fifth UK record! The moth is about 25mm and is usually encountered in southern and eastern Europe, usually south of the Loire Valley. The strong southerly winds of the past few days must have carried it to our shores. (Steven Teale)
Having recently found eggs and a distant view of a female Brown Hairstreak on the downs link at Henfield I returned today when the sun was out and I found her sitting in the sun braving the strong winds where she stayed for at least half an hr enabling me to take some pics (at 1.00 p.m). I thought I would re-visit another new site I found south of Henfield nr Windmill lane where on Monday I found three eggs grouped together on a sloe growing through some stock netting. Luckily I found a female in very good condition today which flew past me and settled on a buttercup leaf (above, left), just before it clouded over at about 1.30 p.m. TQ208154, I thought I would also show a habitat pic (above, right). It's a sloe hedgerow growing alongside a field and a foot path on the opposite side, this one faces west so presumably it gets a fair amount of sunshine. (Richard Roebuck)
Malling Down Transect 24/8/201 (previous weeks total in brackets 13/8/2010)
News from the "Butterfly Haven": The butterfly haven (TQ 308071) sightings are becoming unbelievable. I keep thinking that I am misidentifying the species. If there are people out there in cyberspace who don't believe it, then you are in good company because I don't believe it myself.
The male Adonis Blue recorded from the site on 13 August, the same day as the second Chalkhill Blue sighting, had some interesting damage to the wings. It was a cool day and the insect moved slowly, so I was able to pick it up on the tip of my finger. I could not initially decide weather it was freshly emerged or if it had acquired this damage through exposure to the elements. The veins on the right hind wing looked as if they were scarred (above, left) and perhaps this was caused by the leaking of plasma onto the surface of the wing, where it had dried.
The second picture (above, centre) also shows a small area of damage to the left hind wing which looks like a part of the wing that has not fully inflated. Although I did not get a photograph of the inside of the specimen, the upper-wings looked very fresh. Hence, I have concluded that this damage may have occurred during emergence and thus the specimen may have emerged on the site, indicating that it could have been deposited as an egg either earlier this year or even during last year.
If this was the first Adonis Blue to be recorded from the butterfly haven that had developed on the site, these tentative clues were the only evidence I had for it so far.
Until today 24th August, when I recorded three Adonis Blues, two males and one female. I am entirely confident about the female identification because she was firmly attached to one of the males, in the process of copulation (above, right). Furthermore, neither male had any signs of damage to their wings and so this clearly demonstrates that four specimens have now been recorded from the site.
The Small Blue colony at the site is now firmly established and with Green Hairstreak having been seen ovipositing earlier this year, a colony of Adonis Blue seems entirely possible. When Dan Hoare visited the site during its creation in 2007, he said that we could expect a new species every year for the next ten years. This year with a sighting of the Marbled White by Martin Warren and David Bellamy (independently but on the same day) the list is four new species. One can only wonder about what to expect in the years to come but clearly the Butterfly Haven is really beginning to live up to its name. I believe that on the chalk at least, there is great potential for similar sites to be created and thus extent the range of some of our most threatened species. (Dan Danahar)
News for Friday 20 August: I thought this butterflying was all about being in the right place at the right time. It seems being in the wrong place at the wrong time works too. Gordon Jarvis emailed me to report a White-letter Hairstreak (above) which he found on August 20th over in the Beckley Woods area near Rye - an area where we have had no White-letter Hairstreak records for a long time. Our records of White-letter Hairstreaks in 2010 have come from both ends of the county and all along the coastal strip - it seems that this species can still be found anywhere that you find elm trees. (Michael Blencowe)
Monday 23 August 2010
Like most people, I was getting depressed with the terrible weather and wondering what to do, so a walk over the back was the only thing I could think of. Walking along The Comp I was amazed to find 11 Wall Brown, some worn, but some very fresh still. Then onto Greenway Bank where another Wall Brown was seen. The best sighting however was 4 very fresh Adonis Blue (above). The clouds had by now increased so not much else seen until High and Over. Here at least 9 Adonis Blue seen as well as 3 Holly Blue and 1 more Wall Brown. A Brown Argus on Greenway Bank was another good sighting. (Bob Eade)
I was heartily glad to see Neil and family approaching on Tuesday as I'd been on the lookout for Brown Hairstreaks for a few days and not seen any. Moreover, I had my sister and brother-in-law with me as they were visiting for a few days and I was hoping to put on an impressive display for them. Neil's brother promptly spotted the first Brown Hairstreak of the day and very generously allowed me and my party members to have first dibs at viewing and photographing it. I believe my family were duly impressed and my brother-in-law (Steve) responded well by spotting a male Brown Hairstreak while my sister and I responded poorly by letting the Brown Hairstreak individual we were gawking at escape without spotting where it had gone off to. My apologies for that one (but, as I said at the time, it was clearly my sister's fault). Seriously, my thanks to Neil and family yet again for coming up trumps. While impressed by the Brown Hairstreaks I fear it may take longer than the 24 hours promised by Neil to convert my birdyphile (I'm quite sure that isn't a proper word!) brother-in-law to butterflies but I believe we have made a start (photos above). (Sherie New)
This morning the skies turned blue in Littlehampton after the overnight storm and so I decided to visit Steyning Rifle Range. Within a few minutes of arriving I was watching a female Brown Hairstreak working her way round shoots of blackthorn. Neil Hulme joined me shortly afterwards and we followed this female around various plants. Another female then appeared and laid eggs, four being laid on one shoot within a few minutes, indicating, as Neil explained, that she was full of eggs and needed to lay them as fast as possible after being confined by bad weather for many days. The middle photo (above) shows one egg by its middle leg (Colin Knight)
Sunday 22 August 2010
I was asked by two very young entomologists to run a moth trap in their back garden near me in Friston on Saturday night. The children were keen to see what moths and other bugs lived in their garden. There were plenty of high-pitched, excited screams as we opened the traps today. And the children seemed mildly interested too. In the trap: Olive Cresent, Tree-lichen Beauty, Four Spotted Footman, Dark Sword Grass, Latticed Heath, Diamond-backed Moth, Magpie, Clouded Magpie, Webbs Wainscot, Single Dotted Wave, Dotted Clay, Mullein Wave, Yellow Barred Brindle, Clouded Buff, Scalloped Hazel, Copper Underwing, Blood Vein, Garden Pebble, Sharp-angled Peacock, Single Dotted Wave, Garden Tiger, Rosy Rustic, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Lesser Sawllow Prominent, Shuttle Shaped Dart, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Pine Hawk-moth, Waved Umber, Snout, Coronet, Engrailed, Spectacle, Diamond-backed Moth, Fern, Knot Grass, Turnip Moth, Buff Footman, Vines Rustic, White Point, Rosy Footman, Nut Tree Tussock, Grass Emerald, Coxcomb Prominent, Scalloped Hazel, Tawny Speckled Pug, Purple Bar, Small Phoenix, Gold Triangle, Antler Moth, Early Thorn, Red Twin-Spot Carpet, Common Swift, Mother of Pearl, Common Wainscot, Small Wainscot, Mottled Beauty, Straw Underwing, Brimstone, Black Arches, Riband Wave, Straw Dot, Clay Triple Lines, Scarce Footman, Flounced Rustic. The highlight of the trap was the incredible Gypsy Moth (above) - the fifth record for Sussex this century. The caterpillars of this moth are a serious pest in Europe and North America. DEFRA ask that all records of this moth be reported to them - but look at that cute face! - and those antennae! - do they seriously expect me to turn it in? More details of this moth can be found at http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/publications/documents/factsheets/gypsymoth.pdf and a lovely song by the late, great Hoyt Axton about it can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCF8EuPBGQs. (Michael Blencowe)
Following Bob Eade's report of Brown Hairstreaks at West Grinstead I went on Saturday to look for Brown Hairstreak eggs in the afternoon. This is a different habitat to the Rifle range at Steyning. I located a likely spot and within a few minutes found one egg on a small sloe plant. Despite my efforts I couldn't find any more and due to the weather conditions didn't expect to see Brown Hairstreak on the wing. The downs link runs next to Henfield a few miles south. So I hatched a plan for Sunday. At 8.00 I went looking for Brown Hairstreak eggs on the downs link as there are loads of Sloe bushes. In a promising spot I found two eggs next to each other (top). Fantastic my first for Henfield. At about 11.00 a.m. I went back to the same spot. It was very warm but overcast, I was praying for some sun at 11.40 with a mere hint of sunshine, I spotted one female Brown Hairstreak flitting around about 6 foot off the ground on a big sloe bush. An excellent result, a bit of field craft paid off. I have lived here for over 3yrs years not realising Brown Hairstreak were literally a few hundred yards from my back door. Also wet weather is great for Caterpillar hunting as the frass sticks to the leaves giving away the caterpillars presence. So also got a pic of a stunning Comma Butterfly caterpillar (bottom, left) on nettle and a large Herald moth caterpillar (bottom, right) on Goat willow (lots of these at the moment). Also on the wing Large and Small Whites, Common Blue, Holly Blue. Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and Peacock. TQ204165 . A Great butterfly weekend despite the weather. (Richard Roebuck)
News for Saturday 21 August: Tetrad TQ9024 Weatherwise a very dull day along the banks of the River Rother near Iden where it forms the county boundary. TQ910250 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Meadow Brown. (Roy Wells)
Saturday 21 August 2010
Having been alerted to these moths current presence in the UK by Derwent May (Nature column) in The Times, 20th Aug., wish to advise that my wife and I saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth this evening, 19:10hrs feeding on verbena in our garden in Mill Corner, Northiam, East Sussex.
Wall (below) Burgess Hill, Friday 20 August, (Sandra Solly)
Friday 20 August 2010
Details of the number of butterflies and species recorded today at Bedelands Farm, weather conditions poor.
Thursday 19 August 2010
Here is a photo (above) of a female Purple Hairstreak that I found in the woods of Hollingbury Golf course, Brighton. It was on a bunch of flowers opposite a possible master Oak tree, looking quite battered and torn, with pale markings, amazingly willing to walk onto my hand. (Jamie Burston)
News for Monday 16 August 2010: Off for a romantic break to celebrate her indoors birthday. Not allowed to say how old, but its halfway to getting a telegram!! Anyway, the weather was not too bad and it was the first chance I have had to see Brown Hairstreaks (above and right, egg laying) this year, so stopped at a site near West Grinstead. In next to no time had seen 1 male and 3 females. Pen also spotted a Purple Hairstreak which was low down and feeding on the mud on the path. Pen saw 2 of the Brownies and I told her she should be really pleased as very few people can say they saw 2 Brown Hairstreaks on their 50th birthday. Oh damn, forget I said how old she is!! (Bob Eade)
Wednesday 18 August 2010
'Iffy' weather conditions prevented the Brown Hairstreaks from descending from the trees at Steyning Rifle Range today, although a good number of both males and females would flutter around the canopy of ash and field maple every time the sun briefly broke through. My brother Mark did find us a nice Hummingbird Hawkmoth (above) hiding in a blackthorn sucker. Unfortunately the weather forecasters seem to be having even more than their usual problems in getting it right at the moment, so if the sun does ever appear again - get out there quick! (Neil Hulme)
Tetrad TQ5501 above Jevington: at least 2 very fresh looking Painted Ladies, a Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper (4), many Small Heath, uncountable Meadow Browns, even more Common Blues - but where have all the Gatekeepers suddenly disappeared?? On the Atlas day, Neil urged us to look for Brown Hairstreaks in E Sussex. I have been searching blackthorn whenever I am out with my dog. Thus far no luck! But Monday 16th did see two Wall Browns in the hedge around the Butchershole Gallops (TV5599) and have not seen them there before. (Susan Suleski)
I had a 'pristine' Silver-washed Fritillary in my Storrington garden this afternoon. Briefly nectared on the Buddleia before heading east. (Martin Kalaher)
Out on a hedgerow foraging trip I spotted my first confirmed Brown Hairstreak the southern bank of the Buckingham Cutting, north Shoreham, which has made me more confident about my two previous sightings on Mill Hill. It was a male in an area where Blackthorn bushes were not known but it is so overgrown that they may occur.
Tetrad TQ8420 Beckley Woods TQ850210 3 Silver Washed Fritillary, 1 Green Veined White, 1 Common Blue.
Tuesday 17 August 2010
News for Sunday 15 and Monday 16 August 2010: Thanks to Barbara Woods for her as-always great write-up of the last BC walk to Chantry Hill. As you will see from recent postings by Barbara, Richard Roebuck and others, the Brown Hairstreak season is now running at full steam, with good numbers being seen at Steyning Rifle Range. I stayed on much longer on Sunday, and spent yesterday there along with my brother Mark and nephew Tom (visiting from Antwerp) and various others throughout the day. Brown Hairstreak numbers for the two days amounted to an impressive 7 and 21/22, including both female and male butterflies. More details can be read towards the base of page http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4065&start=120 including information on accessing the fenced-off area. (photos above) (Neil Hulme)
News for Monday 16 August: Tetrad TQ6202 Langney Pond, Eastbourne. TQ6200020 1 Large White. 3 Small White. 3 Speckled Wood, 4 Common Blue.(Roy Wells)
Monday 16 August 2010
It was pleasantly warm and sunny for my transect walk in Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath today. I recorded thirteen species of butterfly which included the first Brown Argus I have seen here. Most of the butterflies, especially along the rides in Rowland Wood, were nectaring on the abundant Common Fleabane. Species recorded:
News for Sunday 15 August: Chantry Hill and Pulborough Brooks: Great day but tiring day was had by both but also a rewarding day. The moral is always take your digi with you what ever you go or what ever you may be doing (thanks to the call of nature) I managed to get this Painted Lady before leaving. Counted Silver-spotted Skippers 5, Wall 3, Common Blue 7, Small Heath 4, Chalkhill Blue 10, Meadow Browns 7, Brimstone 1, Brown Argus 6. At Pulborough we saw 3 females in prime condition. (Peter and Pat Gardner)
Brown Hairstreak (female), sighted in garden on Sunday 15th August. Settled on hedge for 1-2 seconds, allowing me to note shape, colour and orange kidney marks. Flew like a Gatekeeper. There are several very tall ash trees on the railway embankment at the bottom of the garden and good mature hedgerows.
My seemingly unpromising tetrad in North Horsham is mainly houses with a recreation ground but best of all a small, untidy area, sandwiched between the A264 and B2195. On this tetrad last year I was amazed to find a female Brown Hairstreak. Well yesterday I was surprised again as I found a male Brown Hairstreak out in full view in the muggy but overcast conditions. The fact that it is a five minute walk from my house makes it even better! (Matthew Farmer)On the subject of Brown Hairstreaks here's another photo from Richard Roebuck taken at Steyning Rifle Range on Sunday...
On 15th August we walked along the Sussex Border Path at Thorney Deeps (SU754049). Our target species was Clouded Yellow which we failed to see. However, we did see the following:
News for Friday 13 August: Malling Down Transect 13/8/2010 (previous weeks total in brackets 7/8/2010)
Sunday 15 August 2010
A big thank you to Steven Teale for aranging the moth night at Southover Grange, Lewes on Saturday Aug 14th. (Part of the nights Trapping Listed), Shuttle-shaped Dart, Dark Sword-grass, Heart and Club, Common Rustic, Heart and Dart, Straw Dot, Flame Shoulder, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Vines Rustic, Spectacle, Grey Dagger, Rustic, Willow Beauty, White-point, Square-spot Rustic, Small Square Spot, Garden Grass Veneer, Brown-line Bright-eye, Garden Pebble (micro). Very enjoyable. (Ron & Brenda Elphick)
I saw my first ever Brown Hairstreak at Steyning last September a fleeting glimpse and a poor photo of one . So this year it though I would have another bash. I arrived at the reserve area at 11.00 a.m and at 11.10 saw my first female Brown Hairstreak. After a while I saw 3 others and spent several hrs watching them sun bathe between bouts of egg laying on the re-grown Sloe shoots. It was amazing to see them spiralling up and down the re-grown shoots and indeed watching egg deposition and even got a pic of a fresh blue green egg in the classic postion at a shoot internode (above). I also got a pic of two BHS sat about a foot apart (possibly a rare sight). I was joined by Peter and Sally who witnessed a stunning fresh female which was unmarked and complete with both tails. I text Neil who duly arrived with the extremely nice Cissbury Ring curator and within two minutes spotted another female (how does he do that?). This gave the opportunity for more pics and a viewing for the coach party that had just arrived. I am still buzzing from what I witnessed and yet another truly beautiful butterfly I feel privileged to have spent precious time with. (Richard Roebuck)
After my excitement with the Brown Hairstreaks I departed the Rifle Range Steyning. However on the way back to the car I saw lots of Holly Blues on a mature Hawthorn hedge infested with Ivy on the track oppsoite the bowling green. They were extremely active with males chasing and courting females and attempting to mate but unusually I had my first glimpse of them sitting with opened wings. The male anyway (above, left), I could not encourage the female to open her wings fully no matter what tricks I tried (above, right). (Richard Roebuck)
Another brilliant day's butterfly spotting, this time on Chantry Hill near Storrington and then onto Steyning Rifle Range on the Wiston Estate. Thanks again to Neil Hulme, who had sufficiently recovered from his injuries incurred on last Sunday's BC Square Scramble. Before searching for butterflies began in earnest, Neil told us all about how the Silver-spotted Skipper has expanded its territory in the last few years, appearing to benefit from climate change. Also he commented on the increase in Wall Browns this year, probably due to a return to the traditional cold winter weather we experienced at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 reducing parasites and diseases of these butterflies, as well as the decline in Meadow Browns that has been observed in 2010.
Saturday 14 August 2010
Unfortunately Graham Parris was unable to lead his walk today so I replaced him and met with a group at the Seven Sisters Visitors Centre. The walk was to Scabs Island - which sounded to me like something out of Pirates of the Carribean. Armed with a crumpled map that Graham had sent me (with 'All the best for the weather' scrawled on the back) we set sail for Scabs Island under threatening skies. Not too far into the journey Anna Grist spotted a fresh Adonis Blue - which seemed to shine brighter under the dull conditions. The rain held off and soon we discovered Scabs Island which is in fact a fantastic piece of chalk grassland alongside the Cuckmere which was alive with butterflies. I've driven past here on the A259 many times - unaware that I have been passing such a great piece of flower-rich habitat. Butterflies seen here were Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Silver-spotted Skipper, Marbled White, Red Admiral, Large Skipper and Dark Green Fritillary. We also searched for the impressive Hornet Robber-fly (Asilus crabroniformis) but did not find any and spent a while stroking some sheep. It was a very pleasant walk and introduced us to an area which I will be returning to in the future. Back at the car-park some sun broke through the clouds and illuminated a buddleia which held Peacock, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary, Green-veined White, Small White and Large White. As we drove off the heavens opened! Thanks to all who attended and for Graham for directions (Michael Blencowe).
Early morning dog walk in warm sunshine produced in a small corner of a wheat field off the downs link at Henfield in an area of more than 20 feet square, a colony of Common Blues 10+, Brown Argus 4 and Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and two pristine Speckled Woods. TQ203170. The heavens opened and I thought the day was a write off. Later on still raining I thought who dares wins so set off for Wolstonbury Hill (Pycombe street end). TQ2813 As expected loads of roosting blues in the rain, but then the sun finally appeared. Spent 2 ½ hrs all over the hill saw hundreds of Chalkhill Blues and hundreds of Common Blues plus Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers but best of all my first sighting of 3 Silver-studded Skippers at this site on the north facing slopes. All were pristine. Very difficult to spot especially with the explosion of grasshoppers at every step. I reckon there could be more here as the ones I saw were spread out. will have to revisit. Also one Holly Blue on the bridle path leading up to this site. (Richard Roebuck)
The rotting fruit on my plum and cherry trees have been attracting large numbers of moths recently and along with the buddleias, rotting bananas and outside lights I have notched up quite a good list on my evening wanders around the garden. The highlights have been Dark Sword Grass (top, left) and European Corn Borer (top, right) + Red Underwing, up to 12 Copper Underwings, 10 White Points, Herald, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Peach Blossom, Magpie Moth (bottom, right), Mocha (bottom, left), Rosy Tabby and Evergestis Limbata. During the day regular Hummingbird Hawk Moth + the resident Walls and Brown Argus and a Chalkhill Blue. (Tony Wilson)
News for Friday 13 August: Transect details walked on Friday 13th August at Bedelands Farm, numbers and species recorded.
News for Monday 8 August: I visit a small reserve at West Kingston (between Worthing & Littlehampton) on a weekly basis to record butterflies. The site is less than a couple of hundred metres from the sea, and on Monday 9/8/2010 I saw my first Clouded Yellow of the year. I assume this was an immigrant freshly arrived. Let's hope there are many more on the way! (Roger Martin)
News (from elsewhere) for Wednesday 4 August: On 26.08.09 last year I visited Honor Oak Park station (Forest Hill) Greater London and was surprised to find a Jersey Tiger moth which landed next to me. I happened to be there again today and in exactly the same spot on the same platform another Jersey Tiger moth flew down near to me (photo above). Although normally coastal, it is reported in Waring and Townsend as nationally scarce but there is a colony on a railway embankment in Forest Hill so there you go. May I thank everyone who helped identify some of my unknown moths at the meeting at Woods Mill. On recommendation I bought "British Moths" by Chris Manley, the photos are excellent and the books a great help with identification especially the micros. Many thanks (Richard Roebuck)
Friday 13 August 2010
1 Chalkhill Blue and 1 Adonis Blue (a first) seen in the Butterfly Haven at Dorothy Stringer School, Brighton. (Dan Danahar)
Details of the transect walked today in far from ideal conditions at Bedelands Farm, number and species recorded;
I think the following sightings are all that remain of my backlog. If your sighting has not appeared please resend it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
News for Wednesday 12 August: Today in my garden I saw many Holly Blues visiting, for the first time I saw a male sadly not getting a photo, so far Holly Blues have been visiting my garden since late July and are still visiting to this very day, at Hollingbury in Brighton (photo above). (Jamie Burston)
News for Sunday 9 August: Cissbury Ring never disappoints and on Saturday apart from the glorious view there were plenty of butterflies. Chalkhill Blues, Common Blues and Meadow Browns were the most plentiful. There were also Walls, Small Coppers and some old Dark-green Fritillaries (photos above). (Colin Knight)
Sometimes a cloudy overcast day is good for photographing butterflies as they may remain still for just that fraction longer. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, north of Shoreham, 68 male Chalkhill Blues and 53 male Adonis Blues were recorded in the 1.2 acre transect in 25 minutes. There were twelve Wall Browns seen on Mill Hill, over 200 Common Blues and frequent Brown Argus. A Hornet Robber Fly landed on Mill Hill.
A walk around Chantry Hill yesterday (Sunday) was brilliant for the variety and numbers of species. Chalkhill and Common Blues all over the place, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brown Argus, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Large and Small Whites, plus 1 fresh Painted Lady, 1 nearly transparent Dark Green Fritillary, and a few Small Coppers. The highlights however were at least 11 and possibly up 14 Silver-spotted Skippers, mostly in fresh-out-of-the-box condition. (Alice Parfitt and Pete Hughes)
Many thanks to David for a most enjoyable and infomative event on Sunday at Swanborough Hill. A small group met ~12 and were greeted with a cuppa and loos! David gave us each a map , a list of target species and where we should see them, and a list of their foodplants - I was alreay impressed! We followed a lovely route through the hamlet, up the hill for some amazing views and back down into Kingston. We stopped at key places to observe various species: Red Admiral caterpillars in their nettle leaf wraps, Small Blue eggs/cocoon on kidney vetch (tho' this was in a pot!), Green-veined White eggs on garlic mustard leaves (sounds familiar!) and a Holly Blue egg on the ivy in Mary's garden. He identified numerous grasses and plants, approx. 16 butterflies and several moths - possibly a Chalk Carpet (to be confirmed). We lost track of the time somewhat , so much to see and observe , but fortunately the final path bordered a hedgerow full of wild plums and cherries! Several of the group joined Mary in her delightful garden for a late lunch, cake, scones and a cup of tea - thank you all so much - it was a great day. (Anna Grist)
News for Saturday 8 August: 2-3 Silver-spotted Skippers in Roedean Bottom, on the bank behind Roedean School. A good assortment of species along the hedge/footpath leading from this field into Greenways, Ovingdean including a Wall Brown. The attraction here are numerous Burdock plants. Another Wall Brown seen whilst doing my count at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean. (Peter Whitcomb)
21 species were seen in a pleasant afternoon walk at Cissbury Ring Sun 8th Aug. Rough totals were: Adonis Blue x 2, Wall Brown x 35+, Painted Lady x 1, Dark Green Fritillary x 4, Chalkhill Blue x 40+, Common Blue x 200+, Gatekeeper x 100s, Meadow Brown x 70+, Brimstone x 25+, Small Copper x 4, Peacock x 4, Red Admiral x 10, Green-veined White x 1, Small White x 25+, Large White x 50+, Brown Argus x 20+, Comma x 2, Speckled Wood x 5, Small Tortoiseshell x 1, Holly Blue x 2, Small Heath x 20+ and 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Thursday 12 August 2010
A chance meeting with Mary and Martin Kalaher on Chantry Hill, while out walking with Hannah Sanders, led to an impromptu survey of Silver-spotted Skippers. In cloudy and quite cool conditions the four of us managed to flush 38 from the grass. This species, which only arrived at Chantry Hill a few years back (first observed late August 2007 by Alice Parfitt and Pete Hughes), is now clearly doing well here, and the expanding population is occupying ever-wider territory. Today we found Skippers around the earthworks, pits and across the adjacent slopes and gullies. The females are only just emerging here and numbers are yet to peak. (Neil Hulme)
News for Sunday 8 August: Seen this afternoon at top of Barnett Road, Hollingdean, Brighton, a Ruby Tiger moth. I looked in nearby gardens but couldn't find it again. (Peter Whitcomb)
News for Sunday 25 July: At Bevendean Down this year I have had several sightings of Small Blues in an area far away from any kidney vetch including this one today nectaring on White Bryony (above) in the the hedgerow. Is this unusual or have I been missing them before? (Geoff Stevens)
Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 August 2010My apologies for all the recent interruption to the service - I'm getting things back to normal as quickly as I can. There are more reports to be posted and they will be appearing here soon. In the mean time this is part of the backlog, thanks for your patience, Bob Foreman
Maggie and I were excited to see this fellow (Brown Hairstreak) on a Devil's Dyke circular close to Edburton (above). (Steve East
Mike Edwards caught and myself and Colin Pratt indetified Raspberry Clearwing from within the Friston Forest project area today. This was during an invertebrate survey and we were not using pheremones, it was fluttering over brambles. This is only the second site where they have been recorded in Sussex.
Had a look on the northern slopes of Blackcap (TQ374127) after work on Monday, which is covered in marjoram at the moment.Saw 10+ Silver-spotted Skippers before the clouds came over, as well as 1 Adonis Blue and 1 Wall Brown. Others seen were Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Heath, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large White, Small White, Brown Argus, Peacock, Red Admiral and 1 smart looking Marbled White. Also saw lots of the little purple and yellow moths which I think are Pyrausta aurata. (Mark Cadey)
Malling Down Monday 9th August: A very tatty Painted Lady, lots of fresh Adonis Blues, Common Blues, Chalkhill Blue, 100s of Silver-spotted Skippers, Large White, Small White, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, very good numbers of Wall Brown, Gate Keeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath. No Marbled White since Friday 6th August. (Crispin Holloway)
Tetrad TQ6808 Hooe Church TQ680090 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Common Blue, 2 Small Heath (Roy Wells)
At Chantry Hill yesterday (Monday), Mary and I counted five Walls and sixteen Silver-spotted Skippers. I was not involved last year but my understanding is that both species were only found in a very small area at Chantry Hill. From this focal point, Wall Brown has spread 150 metres to the west and 350 metres to the east. The same is true for Silver-spotted Skipper but the axis of the spread is more NW/E.
Recent News: Afternoon of 8th and morning of 9th August 2010, Warninglid. A good number of male and female Common Blue (roosting on grass, late afternoon), some Gatekeepers, a Green-veined White, a Silver-washed Fritillary. (Peter Cockerill)
News for Sunday 8 August: A total of 23 ( possibly 24 ) butterfly species and several moth species seen today at Swanborough Hill walk. Highlights were Silver Spotted Skipper, the extremely rare Painted Lady ( ! ) and a solo Small Blue. The others were :- Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Common
Blue, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Wall Brown, Large White, Marbled White, Purple Hairstreak, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Comma, Chalkhill Blue, Red Admiral, Small White, Small Skipper, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Green Veined White, Chalk Carpet, Grass Veneer and Six Spot Burnet Moths.
More news for Sunday 8 August: Tetrad TQ5602. I have looked for Chalkhill Blues on the slope near the Cranedown reservoir for several years without success, so I was delighted to count more than 30 there on Sunday. It is a north facing slope which probably explains why they have emerged about a month after the Butchershole Chalkhill Blues. This seems to be an excellent year for Common Blues, but I am still trying to find even just one Silver-Studded Blue. (Susan Suleski)
More news for Sunday 8 August: Unlike the previous week the sun finally shone for the butterfly walk at Malling Down last Sunday, as advertised in Viva-Lewes. At-least seventeen species of butterfly were seen, including a Silver-washed Fritillary which is probably the second known record for the site. Silver-spotted Skippers are having an amazing year and are found in almost every part of the reserve where un-improved grassland exists. The pictured female Silver-Spotted Skipper (above) was unable to fly and had one leg missing. Hopefully it will mate and lay eggs close to where it had recently emerged from. In the sheltered but sunny chalk pits it was possible to compare Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue (typically found in the south facing Combe) and Common Blue basking and nectaring together on the Marjoram. Also seen on the walk: Small Whites, Large Whites, Small Coppers, Holly Blues, Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Woods, Wall Brown, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Small Heath. There was probably Brown Argus as well. Six-spot Burnet, Silver Y moth as well as other moths I couldn't identify! There were also the Buzzards and Kestrels, loads of crickets and grass hoppers. Then after walk had finished and on my way back to my car I saw Brimstone and Southern Hawker dragonfly. (Crispin Holloway)
News for Saturday 7 August: Tetrad TQ8022 South West of Northiam TQ800220 2 Small White, 7 Meadow Brown, 2 Gatekeeper, 1 Common Blue.
News for Thursday 5 August: Old Lodge Reserve, Ashdown Forest: Anna Grist joined me on my Exmoor pony rota day. Besides the ponies, we were especially looking out for Silver-studded Blues, but only found lots of Common Blues. Anna called out “Small Copper” (above - photo, Anna Grist), but it was not acting like any small copper either of us had seen before: could it be a Brown Hairstreak?? Romantic illusions are fun while they last, and this one lasted until we checked a book! Ah well! (Susan Suleski)
News for Saturday 31 July: Malling Down walk was done in mist and drizzle but that was not too much of a problem as we had the expert Ecologist for Sussex Wildlife Trust, Graeme Lyons who was able to inform the 15 or so who came about the management and ecology of the reserve from plants, snails, birds and insects. We also got an idea as to where some species go and how they cope with such wet weather conditions. It it also took 2 days to dry my shoes out!
Here's an idea as to how wet it was, see this poor Six-spot Burnet covered in rain drops (above)
Apologies for break in service: As many of you will be aware, our website has been 'down' for a while, due to technical problems. Unfortunately these occurred while Bob Foreman, our Webmaster, has been on holiday. Our thanks go to Stuart Cooper for 'standing in' for Bob, and for getting us back online. Until some issues are addressed, it might be that we have to reduce the number of images displayed. Thank you for your patience. (Neil Hulme)
Sunday 8 August 2010
Today’s Butterfly Conservation Scramble from Cuckfield: Although the weather was not brilliant in the morning, the sun eventually came out just before midday and the butterflies decided to emerge and flit about once the sunrays were on them. Sadly we did not live up to our team name of the Mid Sussex Skippers, as we only sighted one Small Skipper all day. However, a delightful time was spent walking around west and south of Cuckfield and discovering what butterflies were to be found in the area. Favourites of the day were the two Brimstones seen nectaring on burdock, masses of Common Blues on our way through the meadows to New England Wood and Silver-washed Fritillaries in the woodland south of Copyhold Lane near Cuckfield. In keeping with the farm animal motif, this walk’s farm moment came when we saw a duck taking a bath in a paddling pool at Laines organic Farm at Cuckfield. (Barbara Woods)
On a short walk this morning from Mount Harry over the hill back to Lewes - 50 Chalkhill Blues [all male], 5 Common Blue [all male], 10 Adonis [again all male & a bit disappointed with numbers as the Adonis first brood numbered in the hundreds so was expecting more this time], 1 Wall, 50+ Meadow Brown, 8 S-S-Skippers, 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth plus the odd small skipper. Later this evening I went back up to the hill behind our house [private land] to watch & count the common blues settling down for the night. The count was over a thousand with a ratio of roughly 2 males to 1 female & although some were pristine, many were looking very tatty, the numbers now are falling quite rapidly. (Tim Duffield)
Many thanks to David for a most enjoyable and infomative event on Sunday at Swanborough Hill. A small group met ~12 and were greeted with a cuppa and loos! David gave us each a map , a list of target species and where we should see them , and a list of their foodplants - I was alreay impressed! We followed a lovely route through the hamlet , up the hill for some amazing views and back down into Kingston. We stopped at key places to observe various species : Red Admiral caterpillars in their nettle leaf wraps , Small Blue eggs/cocoon on kidney vetch ( tho' this was in a pot! ) , Green Veined White eggs on garlic mustard leaves ( sounds familiar! ) and a Holly Blue egg on the ivy in Mary's garden. He identified numerous grasses and plants , approx. 16 butterflies and several moths - possibly a Chalk Carpet ( to be confirmed ). We lost track of the time somewhat , so much to see and observe , but fortunately the final path bordered a hedgerow full of wild plums and cherries! Several of the group joined Mary in her delightful garden for a late lunch, cake, scones and a cup of tea - thank you all so much - it was a great day. ( Anna Grist )
21 species were seen in a pleasant afternoon walk at Cissbury Ring. Rough totals were: Adonis Blue x 2, Wall Brown x 35+, Painted Lady x 1, Dark Green Fritillary x 4, Chalkhill Blue x 40+, Common Blue x 200+, Gatekeeper x 100s, Meadow Brown x 70+, Brimstone x 25+, Small Copper x 4, Peacock x 4, Red Admiral x 10, Green Veined White x 1, Small White x 25+, Large White x 50+, Brown Argus x 20+, Comma x 2, Speckled Wood x 5, Small Tortoiseshell x 1, Holly Blue x 2, Small Heath x 20+ and 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth. I also had the esteemed honour of being collared by Neil Hulme on the way back to the car to take a of photo of the butterfly race winners! (Matt Farmer).
A walk around Chantry Hill yesterday (Sunday) was brilliant for the variety and numbers of species. Chalkhill and Common Blues all over the place, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brown Argus, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Large and Small Whites, plus 1 fresh Painted Lady, 1 nearly transparent Dark Green Fritillary and a few Small Coppers. The highlights however were at least 11 and possibly up 14 Silver-spotted Skippers, mostly in fresh-out-of-the-box condition. (Alice Parfitt and Pete Hughes)
2-3 Silver-spotted Skippers in Roedean Bottom, on the bank behind Roedean School. A good assortment of species along the hedge/footpath leading from this field into Greenways, Ovingdean including a Wall Brown. The attraction here are numerous Burdock plants. Another Wall Brown seen whilst doing my count at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean. (Peter Whitcomb)
Saturday 7 August 2010
Tetrad TQ8022 South West of Northiam TQ800220 2 Small White, 7 Meadow Brown, 2 Gatekeeper,1 Common Blue. TQ800230 3 Meadow Brown, 3 Gatekeeper. TQ810230 1 Small White, 1 Meadow Brown, 5 Gatekeeper. Tetrad TQ8024 West of Northiam TQ800240 1 Gatekeeper, 1 Comma, 1 Peacock, 1 Common Blue. TQ810240 6 Large White, 3 Small White, 3 Green Veined White, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Gatekeeper, 2 Speckled Wood, 9 Common Blue.(Roy Wells)
Friday 6 August 2010
Details of transect walked today at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. Numbers and species recorded; Large White, (2) Small white, (1) Small Copper, (7) Common Blue, (170) Gatekeeper, (408) Meadow Brown, (145) - Total recorded 733 butterflies, 6 species. (David Pyle)
A short trip to Cissbury Ring in overcast conditions yielded a Wall which posed for some time. Also seen were Large Whites, Ringlets, Speckled Woods and Gatekeepers (Colin Knight)
Thursday 5 August 2010
Mary and I walked from our house in Storrington to Chantry Hill and then on to Kithurst Hill and recorded 25 species of Butterflies as follows with approximate numbers in brackets: Small Skipper (3), Essex Skipper (1), Silver-spotted Skipper (5), Brimstone (1), Large White (30+), Small White (30+), Green-veined White (3), Small Copper (2), Small Blue (1), Brown Argus (20+), Common Blue (100+), Chalkhill Blue (100+), Adonis Blue (1), Holly Blue (3), Red Admiral (5), Painted Lady (1), Peacock (2), Comma (2), Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Speckled Wood (5), Wall (2), Marbled White (2), Gatekeeper (100s), Meadow Brown (100s) and Small Heath (100s). The second brood Adonis Blue was a male and the Essex Skipper a female. Both observed at leisure from a foot away! (Martin and Mary Kalaher).
I thought you might be interested in this photo of an emerging Adonis Blue on Mill Hill yesterday. Also saw a Common Blue roosting on some wild parsnip. (Phillippa Morrison-Price)
Another day and another Wall Brown count along The Comp, Greenway Bank, Frog Firle and High and Over. 44 seen today including 3 mating pairs despite, once again the weather not being perfect with a strong breeze blowing. This beats my previous record by 2 which was recorded exactly a year ago. Once again 20 species seen with the other highlights being 2nd brood Adonis Blues on Greenway Bank and several Holly Blue. I also found a Silver Spotted Skipper on Greenway, a bit further along the hill than they are usually seen. (Bob Eade).
I decided to go to Botany Bay as the weather looked fairly decent and I still have a hankering for more Wood White sightings/photos. They are such beautifully delicate little butterflies. Close up their faces look fierce but gently fluttering around or hanging, wing-heavy, off the end of some tiny flower, they look like little garden fairie folk. Anyway, I had my wishes fulfilled with plenty of Wood Whites in evidence. I parked at the Botany Bay car park and walked through to Oaken Wood as I understand that Oaken Wood is their main base. To be honest, however, I cannot say that they were more numerous at Oaken Wood than in other parts of the Botany Bay area. At a rough estimate I’d say I counted around 30 to 40 in the woods before Oaken Wood and only 11 or 12 in the Oaken Wood area itself. It was a day with plenty of cloud but also sunny spells and this encouraged the butterflies to settle, so I was able to get quite a few shots. I also saw Peacock (1), Large White (2 or 3), Silver-washed Fritillaries (5 worn-looking females and one male), Large Skipper (4) , Common Blue, Small Copper (1), Brimstone (1), Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood and Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers were the most numerous species by far. It was interesting to see the poor Wood Whites comfortably settled on some flower only to be constantly hassled by hoverflies that would not settle down for a decent kip when the sun went in like all genteel butterflies do. What with the hoverflies and this nuisance of a photographer going click, click in their faces the poor butterflies could not get a moments peace. One poor WW individual was even subjected to a huge ichneumon wasp paying a visit to the flower it was settled on. That was a very unwelcome visitor indeed and the butterfly left quickly, surrendering the favoured perch without a qualm (you can just about see the wasp arriving in the darkest of the attached photos – it is a dark shadow top right of the flower head). I didn’t see any adult moths but I did see the caterpillar of the Satyr Pug. A lovely day and well worth the long drive. (Sherie New)
Tuesday 3 August 2010
With it being only 2 days time until I had my highest Wall Brown count of 42 last year on my usual walk along The Comp, Greenway Bank, Frog Firle and High and Over and the weather for the rest of the week sounding not too good I had a go this morning. After a sunny start, cloud cover soon built up but then cleared again, however, the wind was not ideal with a brisk breeze blowing. Fortunately The Comp was mainly protected from the wind and I had 18 Wall Brown counted along here. I then picked up more throughout the walk and ended up with a count of 40, just 2 down on last years record. If the weather had been better I'm sure I would have got far past this quantity. If the weather improves another go will be in order!! At one point I found a female egg laying amongst grass tussocks. Another good find was a 2nd brood Dingy Skipper. There are now very large quantities of Silver Spotted Skippers. I found a pair with the male trying desperately trying to pair up with a newly emerged female. I watched them for some time with them flying together and landing on the same vegetation with the male trying to clamp on. In total 20 species were seen with other highlights being 5 fresh Small Tortoiseshell and a couple of Small Blue.(Bob Eade)
Among the buzz of grasshoppers and crickets at Malling Down there are
loads of Silver-spotted Skippers, I think it is going
to be the best year I have known. There is also a family of six Kestrel
one of which is leucistic/partly-albino (see Graeme Lyons blog at: http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2010/07/is-it-harrier.html)
Along with the migrant Hoverflies there lots of Silver
Y, a few Hummingbird Hawk-moth & Painted
Lady. Chalkhill Blue appear to be in lower
abundance than I had expected. See the picture of the pair mating, the
female is hanging from him and he is taking all her weight - it was
also windy! Essex Skipper - just a few, Silver-spotted - lots,
Large White, Small White, Small Copper - quite a few, Brown Argus,
Anyone recorded Silver-spotted Skippers around Ditchling, Plumpton
& Offham? They should be there - they were last year.
Steyning Rifle Range gave me some interesting sights today. There were Holly Blues both on the ivy by path near the road and at the west side of the south facing slope on Wild Marjoram flowers. I also saw my first Wall of the year, plus many Common Blues, Red Admirals, a Comma, a Small Skipper, Large Whites, female Brimstones, Ringlets, Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns, a Small Copper and Small Heaths. An 18 inch Adder was the prize at the end of the walk, plus a Green Woodpecker flew across the slope. I found part of someone’s tripod/monopod (see photo) in a place where only butterfly enthusiasts would go, contact me via my website www.seapic.com if you lost this. (Colin Knight)
On Monday I saw my first female Brown Hairstreaks of the year - one on a private site that I'm surveying and the other at Steyning Rifle Range. On Tuesday I followed in David Dancy's footsteps and visited Povey Cross, meeting up with Jack Harrison from Cambridgeshire. Jack needed Brown Hairstreak to make 51 species for the year, thereby comfortably beating his half-century target. We didn't see any female 'streaks', but I was very pleased to find a 'master tree'. I used Jack's stick to gently pull down a branch of this Field Maple, and managed a reasonable shot of a male on his 'throne'. While snapping away one-handed, another male came and sat close-by! We saw a minimum of 4 males (seen simultaneously), but there were probably a dozen flitting around the adjacent bushes and crown of the tree. (Neil Hulme)
Monday 2 August 2010
It's time for the customers of Waitrose in Eastbourne to vote with their green tokens and help to raise money for Sussex Butterfly Conservation. If you do your shopping in Waitrose in Eastbourne in August you'll be given a green token to put into one of three boxes. Put your token in the Sussex BC box and we'll receive a donation from Waitrose at the end of the month. Thanks to Waitrose for supporting Sussex BC and thanks to Anna Grist for arranging this. (Michael Blencowe)
News from Monday 2nd August; a Brown Hairstreak at RSPB Wiggonholt about 200 yards along the main track from the Centre. From size I would think female but as underside only was visible I cant be sure. I was told that another visitor that morning had also seen one sufficiently far from mine to suggest that it was a different insect. (David Connell)
Recommend Harveys Lane near Ringmer for anyone to see super butterflies without having to walk too far, or indeed to leave the car at all. In 20 minutes yesterday I saw 70+ Common Blue, numerous Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, both Whites, a good sprinkling of Small Copper, Brown Argus, Peacock, a brace of Silver Washed Frits, and a Purple Hairstreak, all nectoring on Fleabane and Hemp Agrimony. (Graham Parris)
Having visited Park Corner Heath last Monday to look for Clearwing moths (I managed Yellow-legged Clearwing that day), I thought I would visit there agian today to see if I could add any other Clearwings species to the list - unfortunately after spending most the day there I was out of luck. However I did attract Yellow-legged again.....I'll try there again next year! Continuing on the theme of Clearwings, I managed to attract a single Six-belted Clearwing last Friday at Mill Hill, Shoreham (30th July). (Darryl Perry)
I noticed today that for some reason the chalk track leading up to Wendover Hill had far deeper ruts than the last time i visited . No matter, the myriads of Common Blues and Chalk Hill Blues were far easier to see at the sides of the track indeed I also found a mating pair . In addition on my journey saw mating pair of Meadow Browns , Graylings, Small Coppers, Male Brimstones ,Silver Spotted Skippers , Wall ,Large white , Dark Green fritillaries , Small Heaths and Gatekeepers. However the interesting thing was one particular male Meadow Brown which was perhaps showing an aberration of the left forewing .This was distinctly lighter in colour (long shot , a 25% ab. radiata ) unless that moggy has struck again (Richard Roebuck)
Today I managed to sneek two hours of pleasure wandering around High & Over before our good friends came for a BBQ. I'm glad I went because there were lots of butterflies around today, including: Silver-Spotted Skipper, Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Small White, Small Blue, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood, Wall (Brown), Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Small Heath, as well as Six-Spot Burnett Moths. (Nick Linazosoro)
I took a walk around Steyning Rifle Range today partly in hope of seeing early Brown Hairstreaks and partly for the Steyning Downland Scheme. I didn’t see any BHs but it is early days yet and it was only 1.30pm when I left. I did see a Silver-washed Fritillary. It was in such tatty condition I was surprised it could still fly. I also saw a Hornet munching on an unfortunate Gatekeeper. Other species seen were: Small White, Large White, Peacock, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Common Blue, Wall Brown, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Comma and a beautiful Small Tortoishell. There was also a moth which I think was either a Treble-bar or a Lesser Treble-bar. (Sherie New)
Even when the sun found a gap in the clouds not many more than a hundred Chalkhill Blues were disturbed on the one acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. As there was not even spread over the steeper slopes this extrapolated to mere 350 on Mill Hill. This is a very low figure for the peak period. In excess of 700 Common Blue Butterflies fluttered around and mated in the one half acre meadow (north of the upper car park) on Mill Hill. This extrapolated to over 1500 on Mill Hill, possibly many more. Other noteworthy observations were eight Wall Browns on Mill Hill and the mating of many Brown Argus Butterflies. Fourteen species of butterfly were noted. Full reports on Mill Hill Reports 2010 http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2010.html Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2010.html (Andy Horton)
Today's transect walk at Cissbury Ring produced 425 butterflies in
1 White-letter Hairstreak in my Brighton garden today (I love it when they come in the garden) checking out the erigeron karvinskianus that has self-seeded all over my flower beds. This fab, low-growing plant has delicate daisy-like flowers that go on for ages. It is also more-or-less football proof - an essential in my garden. Shows it's still worth looking out for the White-letters. Looks like they are going to finish late after a delayed first appearance. Also, lots of Gatekeepers about. (Caroline Clarke)
Sunday 1 August 2010
A walk in Rowland Wood today to check out a ride near the main road, which has a good stand of fleabane. Apart from numerous Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Ringlets, I saw 5 Silver Washed Fritillaries, 3 Common Blues and 4 Brown Argus, these in pristine condition. (Graham Parris).
My wife (usually first to see what’s happening) saw our first Silver Spotted Skipper of the year at Hope Bottom just west of Cuckmere Haven. Most of the other usual butterflies were around on our walk – and very many Common Blues. (John Heys)
Along a footpath leading NW off A26 near Shortgate this afternoon good numbers of Common Blue and Small Copper, well in excess of 50 of each, just seen in proximity of the path without venturing out into the field, plus the usual Gatekeeper, Skippers, etc. Of interest was a single Chalkhill Blue amongst the throng. (Peter Whitcomb)
Today's Grayling Festival event was a real marathon! A 6 mile, 7 hour hike along the Cuckmere Valley. Starting with the compulsory lecture in Graylingology the group of 20+ started the ascent of Mount Windover. Near the summit it was Chris Corrigan who spotted the first Grayling of the day - and won himself a bag of licorice allsorts.This Grayling was for many attendees their first meeting with this idiosyncratic species and it wasn't their last.
We soon found the valley was alive with Grayling (image by Andrew Burns showing camouflage)- they were everywhere and we counted at least 30. The highlight was a courting pair - the male was trying his luck with a female and faced her head-on whilst gradually raising his wings. To show her disinterest the female actually opened and flapped her wings revealing the rarely seen orange uppersides, which drew an audible gasp from the crowd. From here we hiked across Lullington Heath and down to West Dean with plenty of butterfly stops along the way.
Thanks for all who attended today's event - I'll sleep well tonight! Species seen at today's event; Grayling, Silver-spotted Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Common Blue, Small Heath, Chalkhill Blue, Small Copper, Small Blue, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Dark Green Fritillary, Peacock, Wall, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Silver-washed Fritillary, Brown Argus, White Admiral, Large Skipper, Essex Skipper, Small Skipper, Comma, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and the moths Hummingbird Hawk-moth, White Banded Carpet, Chalk Carpet, Mecyna flavalis and Pyrausta purpuralis (Michael Blencowe)
My thanks to Michael for such a fantastic Grayling day after the disappointment of the previous week at Chapel Common and Weavers Down. The day started cloudy and windy and I wasn't sure I had picked the best day but Michael soon had us all in fits with his preamble on the Grayling. He must have got a joke book for his birthday as there were gags galore to lift everyones spirits. As soon as the walk began we were in to Chalkhill and Small Blues and Meadow Browns. Gatekeeper soon followed on the ascent and thanks to Andrews eagle eye he found our first Silver Spotted Skipper. Almost at the top and one of the gang found our first Grayling and boy what camouflage. At the top we began to search for more Grayling and I personally saw over twenty,... plus a beautifull Dark Green Fritillary. Copper, Wall Brown, Silver Spotted Skipper, Marbled White, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Red Admiral, Common Blue. It was a fabulous day in wonderful company. Thanks again Michael and Andrew for helping me out. (Steve Morgan)
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