Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Send Sussex butterfly & moth sightings (TEXT ONLY PLEASE - NO PICTURES) to This page is updated as often as possible, usually daily. Red sightings are first of the year; purple are moths. These sightings are largely unverified at the time of publishing - unusual sightings, together with the sender's email address, will be forwarded to the County Recorder. If you do not wish to be contacted further about your records please add the words 'NO CONTACT' after your email.

If your managed to get interesting digital PHOTOS of your sighting, please send to We try to show something from everybody who sends images in, but we can only display a limited selection so that people with slow computers can still open the page easily.

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Sunday 28 February 2010

To reassure Steve to persevere with the 'nettle munching' search there are a few (not many) overwintering Red Admiral caterpillars at various stages of development locally, including two tempted to pupate in the recent less cold spell - one of which now looks dead! There is also a report this weekend of an adult Red Admiral found by a bottle collector comfortably holed up in an old rabbit burrow (the butterfly that is, not the bottle collector!). (David Harris, Newhaven)

Saturday 27 February 2010

Crikey it's slow in Newhaven! I have covered a large area of the Downs above South Heighton and Bishopstone, and everywhere in between, hoping to catch a groggy Red Admiral or Peacock in a patch of sunlight, or perhaps some caterpillars munching on some nettles. My efforts have largely unrewarded. I did, however, see a single Angle Shades caterpillar on a nettle today. Back at home I have dusted off the light trap and run it on a couple of nights recently, but again it has been slow with only an Emmelina monodactyla and a Chestnut visiting the garden. (Steven Teale)

Friday 26 February 2010

News for Wednesday 24 February: Finally something to report!! 5 Pale Brindled Beauties, 1 Dotted Border, 1 Spring Usher,1 Agonopterix heracliana, all at the window of our conservatory attracted to an MV lamp inside. (Derek Lee)

Wednesday 24 February 2010

A Red Admiral in Phoenix Way, Southwick in the early afternoon window of sunshine between the rain. (Paul James)

An Angle Shades has been flying around our hall and living room in our East Preston home for the last three days. (David Macdonald)

Red Admiral sighted 24/2/2010, TQ 176 053. Sir Robert Woodard Academy, Boundstone Lane, Lancing. Weather: Sunny (Katherine Hamblett, 15)

News for Tuesday 23 February: Another two moth sightings. Firstly at home in my Ringmer Garden two Tortricodes alternella and at Southwater Country Park a single Dotted Border. (Jacob Everitt)

Monday 22 February 2010

Quiz Nite at the Royal Oak, Barcombe (below, left ) and the triumphant winning team, 'The Dingy Skippers' (right ).

News for Friday 19 February: On Friday night 57 people squeezed into the function room at the Royal Oak in Barcombe for Sussex Butterfly Conservation's 3rd Annual Quiz Nite. There were tense scenes as twelve teams battled it out for the coveted prize of The Red Admiral Milk Churn of Victory. The teams answered six rounds of questions cunningly devised by quizmaster Michael Blencowe who was assisted by a giant dancing Lionel Blair. The duo of 'Ire & Brimstone' took an early lead closely followed by current trophy holders 'The Cousin Germans'. Neil Hulme's 'Camberwell Beauties' were keen to get the trophy back after winning it in 2008 and put in some good answers early on in the game. New team 'Blasts from the past' (Roy and Lin Neeve, Graham Parris, David Burrows and Reg Hinks) gained some ground in the second half of the quiz and 'The Beer Moths' put in a good showing. However after the scores were added up we had a clear winner - 'The Dingy Skippers' had out-smarted everyone to claim the prize for 2010. After conferring with his team, team captain Steven Teale announced that they would be donating the prize money to Butterfly Conservation. So thanks and congratulations to The Dingy Skippers (Steven, Amanda & Barry Teale, Danny McEvoy & David Bradford) - and thanks to everyone who attended and made this an enjoyable evening. We'll do it again in 2011 - although I think we're going to need a bigger room next time! (Michael Blencowe)

Recent news: 16/2/10 - Ringmer - 1 Pale Brindled Beauty, 1 Early Moth and 1 Dotted Border.
21/2/10 - Southwater Country Park - 2 Pale Brindled Beauty, 1 Early Moth.
(Jacob Everitt)

Saturday 20 February 2010

We were going for a walk round Thorney Island when we saw a Red Admiral at Little Deeps flittering around in the grass. (Ellie Corrigan) (aged 10)

News for Friday 19 February: Around noon on Friday 19th February a Speckled Wood was seen by Jenny Hawksley in a sheltered and warm spot in Highdown Gardens near Ferring. This is thought to be the earliest record for the species in Sussex. Earliest UK sightings for Speckled Wood since 2002 include: 4th February 2004, 16th January 2007, and 26th January in both 2008 and 2009. The times they are a-changin'! (Tim Freed)

Friday 19 February 2010

Egyptian caterpillar update… It appears to have pupated (I don't want to disturb the soil on top of it). I'm keeping it warm (20 degrees). By my calculations, if it's going to emerge it will do so in March. (Katie Walker)

Wednesday 17 February 2010

A Red Admiral seen flying in Abbot's Wood on Wednesday. (Nigel Kemp)

Monday 15 February 2010

A 'Special Edition' of the Sussex BC Quiz Nite was held in the Elephant & Castle in Lewes on Monday night. Eight teams battled it out for the esteemed trophy; 'The Charles Dickens Teapot of Champions' and answered questions on a variety of topics ranging from Leonard Cohen to Spitzbergen. Despite their collective illnesses The Consumptives (above) romped to victory and claimed the teapot and a variety of questionable prizes. Thanks to all who took part and helped raise £70 for the branch. The official BC Quiz Nite will be held this Friday in Barcombe. (Michael Blencowe)

Sunday 14 February 2010

Despite today's minus temperatures and snow the Park Corner Heath work party soon warmed themselves up by getting down to work and finishing off the new connecting corridor that leads from the reserve to private woodland to the south. Bracken, bramble and birch were cut and raked - the new area created over the winter looks fantastic and is all set for the 2010 butterfly season. Snow started to fall mid-morning and with it came a pink heart-shaped helium balloon which floated onto the reserve - and saved me having to fork out for a valentines card in the garage on the way home. Thanks to Clare, Dave, Chris, Nigel, John, Sherie, Keith and Roger for their help today. The next work party will be slightly later next month - on Sunday March 21st - the day after the Spring Social. (Michael Blencowe)

Monday 08 February 2010

While others are recording Pale Brindled Beauties, Spring Ushers and Chestnuts, I have been restricted to sightings of Early Moth and nothing else. On my four forays in the past week on the Downs above Denton and at Castle Hill LNR in Newhaven, I have seen 23, including four on a frosty night in sub-zero temperatures! They're a surprisingly tough species. (Steven Teale)

Sunday 07 February 2010

There were also 2 Pale-brindled Beauties this morning (7th). (Tony Wilson)

News for Saturday 06 February: One Red Admiral was on the wing at Thorney Deeps,my first butterfly of the year. (Barry Collins)

Saturday 06 February 2010

Still seeing what moths I can find in my Framfield garden. This was carefully avoiding the moth trap but came to the front door. I think it is a Pale Brindled Beauty. (Tom Ottley)

Left to right: Pale Brindled Beauty (Tom Ottley, Framfield), Spring Usher and Mottled Umber (Tony Wilson, Edburton)

My first Spring Usher of the year in Edburton and Mottled Umber. Also up to 10 Early Moths most nights. (Tony Wilson)

Friday 05 February 2010

One Red Admiral was enjoying the afternoon sunshine in our Mill Hill garden this afternoon. (Dave Green)

While bird watching at Old Lodge, Ashdown Forest had a real sighting of a male Brimstone flying and basking in the sun at approximately 1.30. (Jean Thomas and Jim Joyce)

Tuesday 02 February 2010

Egyptian caterpillar update…The caterpillar's still going strong - it seems to have gone off food a bit, but it's very lively and crawling under tissues which I put in its container (spare goldfish bowl). I sterilised some soil in the microwave this afternoon (I checked on internet) and have put about half an inch in the bottom, which it's burrowed into (I did let it cool down first!). (Katie Walker)

Monday 01 February 2010

I was given a moth trap for Christmas. Still not caught anything but a Chestnut flew in the window 2 days ago (below). If I misidentify anything please feel free to say so! In this case I thought it might have been a dark chestnut but my brother Michael who is a Norfolk moth-er was able to point me in the right direction. (Tom Ottley)

Sunday 31 January 2010

Went with Paul Johnson to Home Bottom, north of Denton looking for White-letter Hairstreak eggs. Unfortunately this colony is now threatened due to the rapid advance of Dutch elm disease. However we managed to find 10 eggs, on reasonably healthy branches, so should be OK for at least this year. The eggs, all in perfect condition, were found between 1 m and 4 m off the ground, all on the top surfaces of the branches and usually at the base of a leaf bud. (Tom Ottley)

Thursday 28 January 2010

Large Red (Admiral?) butterfly Captured on my security camera at 1320 today. Looked very healthy. (Michael Hanson, Worthing West Sussex)

Sunday 24 January 2010

Thanks to those who attended the re-scheduled Park Corner Heath work party today. We spent the morning tidying up the corridor we have created to allow butterflies to move into the area felled in 2008. The corridor itself will also provide some excellent habitat for butterflies on the reserve in the coming years. Despite shaking the undergrowth we didn't wake up any Brimstones. The next work party will be on Sunday February 14th. (Michael Blencowe)

Whilst cycling along Ranscombe Lane, below Mount Caburn (TQ445085) around mid-day today, stopped to watch a Peacock flying around and basking in the winter sunshine. (Derek Pritty)

Saturday 23 January 2010

Comment on Steve Wheatley's report for 17th Jan. Brimstones have been seen several times, disturbed from brambles, in past years at PCH, in a similar way as described by Steve. Also, Roy and I would find hibernating Peacocks when loading wood onto his truck from stacks cut the perious winter. I regretfully agree with Steve that this doesn't really count as a first sighting. (Graham Parris)

Friday 22 January 2010

News for Sunday 17 January: After all the snow and rain, Sunday brought bright sunshine all day. Our local conservation group spent the morning clearing sheep droppings from an area of Bevendean Down. Sheep grazing is fine but it does enrich areas that don't need it so we try to remove as much of the droppings as possible. We were rewarded by seeing a Red Admiral! No picture of the butterfly but did take one of the bags of poo! ("Poohenge" - below) (Geoff Stevens)

Thursday 21 January 2010

News for Sunday 17 January: Last Sunday (17th) Mel Savage was brush cutting in Robertsbridge, when he saw a yellow butterfly, actually flying about where he was working. He saw it flying around, not really settling but not going very far either. It was, of course, a Male Brimstone. The Brimstone was obviously hibernating in the brambles that Mel was clearing and made a bolt for it. I don't think this really qualifies as a 'proper sighting' but interesting all the same. Roll on Spring. (Steve Wheatley)

Monday 18 January 2010

Egyptian caterpillar update… Unfortunately the strawberries went mouldy so I've had to substitute with grapes! It seems to be growing and changing colour - any ideas yet? (Katie Walker)

A few things worth mentioning as we can't wait for spring. First snow drop seen in Henfield on Sunday afternoon, secondly one male Mottled Umber on the patio window yesterday and several unidentified totrix moths in the kitchen. Also we have a winter flowering clematis in the garden buff tailed bumble bees were on this up until Christmas eve and one was on the flowers again today definitely not an over wintering queen as quite small. Exactly the same thing happened last year so pretty resilient these bumble bees. (Richard roebuck)

The first multiple sightings of moths here in Edburton this year - 2 Mottled Umbers, 2 Early Moths and 3 Winter Moths. (Tony Wilson)

Sunday 17 January 2010

After cancelling last weeks Park Corner Heath work party due to heavy snow we will be holding another work party this Sunday (24th Jan) - see below for my website entry on Jan 4th for more details - please contact me if you would like to join us or would like more information. (Michael Blencowe)

I found my first moth of the decade on the kitchen window tonight; a Pale Brindled Beauty (below). I was able to identify it as a male - the female of this species does not have wings! (Michael Blencowe)

Thursday 14 January 2010

The first migrant species of the year! We found a green caterpillar in a tub of Egyptian strawberries bought from Sainsbury's today. Any ideas what it is? (Katie Walker)


Wednesday 13 January 2010

I saw my first moth of 2010 as I drove through Albourne this evening. What I guess was a Winter Moth (or possibly an Early Moth) was flying over the road. (Dave Green)

Sunday 10 January 2010

With all this snow around and with such a long cold spell all those eggs laid by the Queen of Spain Fritillaries, Clouded Yellows and Painted Ladies will almost certainly have perished along with most hibernating Red Admirals. However, it may well be a bumper year for many of our native species. I've had several walks over my patch and can't help wondering how the spring will pan out and looking forward to Wall Browns along the Comp (below, left). I also had a view of Deep Dene (right) and imagined Michael looking for signs of Grayling! Probably only another 2 months or so to go now before we can start to see the early species. Lets hope its a good one again for our Sussex species. (Bob Eade)

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Last of late Large White caterpillars pupated Sunday 3rd Jan. Still several Red Admiral caterpillars around and at least one 5mm Clouded Yellow caterpillar on still flowering Black Medick… but presumably not for much longer!! (David Harris, Newhaven)

Monday 4 January 2010

So with all that Christmas / New Year nonsense out of the way it's time to look ahead to a new Butterfly year. Whether we're invaded by Painted Ladies, Queen of Spain Fritillaries or Venezuelan Red Crackers or not it looks like it's going to be a busy year for Sussex BC. There's plenty of ways to get involved with the branch in 2010 and we'd certainly appreciate your help. So whether it's taking part in a butterfly survey, joining one of the conservation work parties, attending our events or just recording the Commas on your chrysanthemums why not make it your New Years resolution to get more involved with butterfly and moth conservation in Sussex.

The first task we have lined up is a work party on our Park Corner Heath reserve next Sunday (11th Jan). Throughout the winter (and up until April) we have a work party on the second Sunday of each month at our reserve at East Hoathly. There are plenty of tasks to suit everyone - so why not come and join us and burn off that second helping of turkey while learning more about the species on our reserve and their conservation. We work until 1pm so bring a flask / lunch if required and some work gloves. Tools will be provided. Contact me at sussexgrayling@aol.com or 01323 423711 for more details.

...and while I'm here I'd like to extend a huge thankyou to Adrian Thomas who retired from running this website at Christmas. As we all know sussex-butterflies.org.uk is one of the best wildlife websites in the country and Adrian has worked hard to ensure that it has been kept up to date with all the lepidopteral news from our county. It was this website that inspired me to get out and get involved in butterfly and moth conservation and I know it has been a source of inspiration for many others as well as providing invaluable information and enjoyment. The records that you send in are taken from the website and entered into our database providing Butterfly Conservation with vital information on distribution and population trends which inform our conservation work. So I'm sure you'll all join me in raising a glass of whatever is left in the drinks cabinet and wishing Adrian all the best for the future. And a big thankyou to Bob Foreman and Steve Wheatley for stepping in to take over the running of the site. There's no better way of showing your gratitude than by continuing to support this website and Sussex Butterfly Conservation. So make sure you get out and about in 2010 with notebooks in hand and keep those records coming in! (Michael Blencowe)

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