Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Wednesday 29 February 2012

Flushed up a Comma whilst releasing a fresh Red Admiral butterfly. This was taken in just before the cold spell and took 7 weeks exactly from pupation to emergence. Most of the other pupae are either deformed or have died, and suspect this stage is their Achilles heel in the overwintering cycle, as in previous years pupation has occurred much later (March to April) when conditions are warmer. (Dave Harris)

1 Brimstone, Eastbourme Seafront, Holywell TV604973. (Roy Wells)

Saw a Small Tortoiseshell basking in the sunshine outside my office on the Riverside industrial Estate in Littlehampton. (Celia Curtis)

News from the weekend: Members of the public and Brighton & Hove's Countryside rangers worked with myself and Peter Atkinson, to look for Brown Hairstreak Eggs. Over this weekend we visited Benfield Hill/ Benfield Golf Course, Hollingbury Woods, Bevendean, Beacon Hill nr Rottingdean, Whitehawk Hill and Waterhall. Of all these sites it was only at Benfield where Brown Hairstreak eggs were found, five in total. At least this confirms their presence in the city of Brighton & Hove. Work is now being considered to enhance the management of the Benfield site for this species (photo above). (Dan Danahar)

Learning from the experiences of the work we have done at the Butterfly haven a second butterfly haven has been constructed on the Surrenden campus, in Brighton. Our original butterfly haven had linear south and west facing banks. The new haven has a curvi-linear structure. I instructed the bulldozer operator to exercise his artistic flair and to produce banks that show multiple aspect, forming starfish and crescent moon shapes. The site also had all soil removed to expose the bare chalk. This will reduce nutrient content of the substrate to a bare minimum. I am very excited by the results and look forward to the sites continued development (photos above). (Dan Danahar)

I always keep an eye out for frog spawn as this to me heralds spring. This morning saw my first newly laid batch on Henfield Common in a ditch, i.e. 29.02.12 (last year, 14.03.11). No doubt there are earlier records in other locations. (Richard Roebuck)

Sunday 26 February 2012

I saw a Small Tortoiseshell - my first butterfly of 2012 - flying across Norton Hill (TQ465017) near Bishopstone on Sunday. (Steven Teale)

My first butterflies of the year today - six Red Admirals around Graffham and a Brimstone on the Graffham Common reserve. (Michael Blencowe)

Seen today while out with the Ouse and Adur volunteers my first Red Admiral of the year on a bridge over the River Uck, TQ48832258. (Jon Wood)

Saturday 25 February 2012

We received this photo (above) of a Red Admiral taken today in Valewood today by Bill Bacon.

Friday 24 February 2012

A lovely warm 16 degrees in Henfield today and right on cue my first butterfly of the year a Small Tortoiseshell briefly landed on a Purple Pansy. (Richard Roebuck)

Thursday 23 February 2012

A Red Admiral briefly inspected the snowdrops in our garden today, at 12 15 pm. A Comma was seen sunbathing on the conifer hedge at 2 13 pm. (Graham Parris, Isfield)

My father, Roy Symonds phoned me this afternoon to report that he had seen his first butterfly of 2012 - a Comma in Stansted Forest, Rowlands Castle (SU739109) at approximately 13:30. The butterfly landed on the path briefly then flew off before he could take a photograph. The weather was sunny with a temperature of 15C. (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)

In the spring like weather today there was a Red Admiral in my garden in Edburton and a Comma in the nearby fields. Down the road at Fulking a friend of mine (Leone Gordon) saw a Brimstone. There were plenty of Honey Bees at the local hives and in the evening a Bat was flying around the garden. (Tony Wilson)

I was out today stream surveying with Mark Davis today at Barcombe Cross (TQ 41550 16397) and we saw a Brimstone, also some moths I couldn't get a good look at (not helpful I know...) flitting about around the lower branches of a mature oak. (Simon Rayburn)

These Red Admirals are evidently tougher than we used to think, since they have survived the recent very cold weather. One was on the wing in my garden today. (John Kerby)

Saw my first Brimstone and Red Admiral of the season in Oaken Wood, Peasmarsh, East Sussex this afternoon. It was 18 deg. C today with glorious sunshine. Happy days. (Tim Saunders)

A lovely Brimstone making the best of the unseasonably warm weather on the footpath through Tottington Wood near Small Dole. (Pete Varkala)

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Neil Hulme, Colin Knight and four members of the Murray Downland Trust joined me today at Heyshott Escarpment for another session of bramble and hazel removal, made somewhat more difficult by previous scrub 'clearance' found rotting on the hill. It was a positive sight to see evidence of early primrose growth. After another slow start we made good progress (photos above). (Mark Colvin)

Thanks to all those that turned out for yet another work party at Heyshott Escarpment on Wednesday. The amount of new habitat created over the winter period is really quite amazing, particularly when the terrain and difficult vegetation are considered. There is literally 'light at the end of the tunnel' now and it looks like the very ambitious targets we set ourselves back in October will be met before we hang up our saws and rakes in March. A magnificent effort which I'm sure the butterflies will appreciate! (Neil Hulme)

Tuesday 21 February 2012

At midday a Red Admiral flying low beside the car park at Clayton village green. (Malcolm Le Grys)

I would like to record the sighting in north east Brighton of a newly emerged bright and colourful... leaflet, produced by Friends of Bevendean Down. The aim of the leaflet is to inform local people about this lovely bit of butterfly rich chalk grassland and to encourage them to explore and value the area. We also hope that it will encourage more people to join our small regular band of volenteers on the third sunday of every month for winter scrub cutting and summer path clearing etc. If you would like to be sent a leaflet please leave a request along with your postal address on the comments part of our website http://bevendeandown.wordpress.com. (Tessa Pawsey)

Sunday 19 February 2012

Red Admiral enjoying the sun and heather in the garden in Lewes (TQ4114 1018). (Louise Holloway)

One Red Admiral seen in Abbot's Wood on Sunday 19/2/12... (Nigel Kemp)

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Brimstone Butterfly seen at Weavers Down at approx 11.30. The first of the year? Let's hope we have a good year for Butterflies and Moths. (Michael Bridger)

Yesterday I joined BC members Carol Mortimer, Tom Parker, Mark & James Colvin and three members of the Murray Downland Trust at Heyshott Escarpment for a serious session of bramble clearance. It was a beautiful day of blue sky and golden winter sunshine. A herd of five fallow deer, two buzzards and two gliders entertained us during breaks. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Monday 13 February 2012

On Monday I returned to Wisley RHS for another slice of butterfly paradise and met up with BC stalwarts Mark and James. I was pleased to see an Autumn Leafwing and some African Mocker Swallowtails. The African Swallowtail, Papilio dardanus, is interesting because the females exhibit polymorphic mimicry and as a result have been the object of much study by biologists. At Wisley I found two forms of the female: Hippocoon and a yellow form of Hippocoonides. The yellow form of Papilio dardanus hippocoonides mimics the yellow form of the poisonous monarch Amauris niavius which is found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Africa. I have further info about this mimic on www.seapic.com. (Colin Knight)

Sunday 12 February 2012

We were working in a winter wonderland today in Rowland Wood. It was snowing pretty heavily this morning but a good crowd of hardy BC volunteers came along to our reserve and helped with opening up a new ride. The sawing soon warmed us up and, with an extra boost of energy provided by Wendy's cakes, we were able to open us a nice new area within the wood. Next month we shall hopefully be joined by Brimstones and Chiff-chaffs - but that all seems a long way off at the moment. A big thankyou to all who braved the snow and joined me today; Colin, Peter, Chris, Natalie, Tessa, Gary, Jenny, Nigel, Paul, Carole, Keith, Roger, Alan and Dave. Thanks to Wendy for providing the cakes. (Michael Blencowe)

Wednesday 8 February 2012

On Tuesday I returned to Wisley for another butterfly fix and was rewarded with 3 new species: the King Swallowtail, the Zebra Longwing and the Diadem. At least 4 Golden Birdwings were flying, male and female among them. The Zebra Longwings flutter along a metre above the ground and were nectaring a lot so were easy to follow. The Golden Birdwings glide and when flying look a lot like birds. They roosted in accessible places for photography.
I found this interesting link about last years Wood White reclassification: http://bit.ly/z3KWro.
A book about Ireland's butterflies will be published shortly: http://www.butterflyireland.com/book_orders.htm
If you missed last night's BBC2 program "Bees, Butterflies and Blooms", you can catch it on BBC iPlayer for the next 6 days: http://bbc.in/zjxeTF
(Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Monday 6 February 2012

A year after Sussex BC blazed the Brown Hairstreak trail across Sussex and undertook some pioneering survey work in the county it seems that the rest of the UK has finally caught up with us. The BBC featured Brown Hairstreak egg hunting on this week's countryfile programme. You can watch the clip over the next few days on the iPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006t0bv It's on at the 44:30 mark.
...and while you're on the iPlayer check out this clip of the Sky at Night http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00f54hx A golden-nosed Patrick Moore explains light echoes in a seriously surreal piece of television (Michael Blencowe)

Sunday 5 February 2012

After the much anticipated snowfall I headed up Wolstonbury Hill early this morning, a place I have spent many hours looking for Butterflies. Anyway for interest, I took this picture looking due West with New Timber Hill on the left. (Richard Roebuck)

Friday 3 February 2012

Just returned from trip to NZ and Thailand. In NZ we saw their version of the Red Admiral, Vanessa gonerilla, same genus but different species to our own butterfly. It initially alighted on the track and then on to my sandal. Interesting to note the similarities of the black tip with white spots and red flash on the fore wing and the differences on the hind wing. The NZ version even displaying a Peacock like eye on the underside.
On the way home we spent a couple of weeks in Thailand with birding trips to Kao Yai and Kaeng Krachan. Both parks were alive with some stunning butterflies. I had little opportunity to study them other than pass the occasional admiring glance. However, I did take time out to take a few photos of the Paris Peacock, none of which did justice to the brilliant flash of blue on the hind wing (photos above). (John Luck)

John also passed this information to us... Re. Celia Curtis's photos, we had a trip to Panama/Costa Rica a few years ago... it rained for a week in Costa Rica which rather reduced the wildlife seen. The Swallowtail appears to be Thoas Swallowtail Papilio thoas; Red and black one is Banded Peacock Anartia fatima. Unable to assist with moth.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

This morning at Heyshott Escarpment I joined six Murray Downland Trust members. We had good dry conditions for clearing more scrub from the hillside. The Dukes should be pleased with our efforts as we continued creating more territory for the lady Dukes to find during their search for new pastures. The cold biting wind demanded hats and scarves, but the work kept us warm and we were rewarded with the sight of five fallow deer bounding away in an adjacent field when we returned to the village. (Colin Knight)

Tuesday 31 January 2012

Now that winter's finally upon us, some cheer from warmer climes...

Here are some lovely pictures taken by my daughter Hannah who has been living in Costa Rica for the last three years. I think the big blue one is a Morpho and the brown furry one is a moth (no idea what sort) can anyone ID them? Hope they bring some sunshine to the last freezing day of January. (Celia Curtis)

Sunday 29 January 2012

Opened the back door here in Hove to clean the windows so we could take part in the bird count and disturbed a battered Red Admiral. It might even be the last one I saw in 2011 (15 November) as it seemed to be damaged in similar places. (John A Heys)

Friday 27 January 2012

I have spotted one Red Admiral on the 27th January in my Garden in Steyning. (Mrs Denice Clitheroe)

Red Admiral (above) seen in Rowland Wood today. Two Spring Ushers were also seen. (Nigel Kemp)

There was a Red Admiral at the Burgh this morning. I assume it had hibernated locally, but what an exposed location to choose? (Martin Kalaher)

News for Wednesday 25 January: On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of joining Neil Hulme, and several volunteers from Murray Downland Trust and BC Sussex branch for our Burns Day work party at Heyshott Down. The weather was cloudy but mild and dry and we continued to make good progress at this splendid site. With Buzzards and briefly a Kite overhead, we continued until early afternoon and thanks go to everyone for their help - an enjoyable day spent in very good company.
This site is already excellent and has even better potential, so come along and help if you can! (photos above) (Mark Bunch)

I joined Mark Colvin on Wednesday at the RHS Wisley butterfly exhibit. There were plenty of fresh butterflies on the wing and I thorouoghly enjoyed my 5 hour visit. The Indian Leaf butterfly has the best camouflage I have ever seen on a land animal. The exhibit closes on 26 February and is open daily 10am to 4pm. There is a butterfly photography class on 8 February: http://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/what-s-on/butterflies I recommend being there for 10am so you get time before the daily crowds gather. (Colin Knight - more photos at www.seapic.com)

Tuesday 24 January 2012

I discovered a Peacock butterfly fluttering against the strip light in my garage in Coldwaltham today at 2:00pm. On switching off the light and opening the door, it flew out into the garden and away. Presumably it is too mild for this beast to hibernate properly. (Chris Skinner)

Monday 23 January 2012

News for Saturday 21 January: Red Admiral seen flying around the garden near the heather which is in bloom. The Avenue, Lewes TQ4114 1018. (Colin Tingle)

Sunday 22 January 2012

My moth sightings normally come from RSPB Pulborough Brooks when we've set a moth trap, but this one comes from the hallway of my flat close to Hove seafront. Having not done any trapping for a few months over the winter period a brownish moth in my hallway presented a challenge; having found a pot I had a closer examination...
The most likely candidate seems to be a Bloxworth Snout (photo above), but a second opinion would be greatly appreciated given the scant records for this species. (Anna Allum)

As I'm writing this at 1130 a Red Admiral is basking in the sun about 2 feet away on the other side of the window. (Alan Loweth)

Recent news: Some welcome news from our far-eastern friends, The Rother Guardians...
A Red Admiral flew into our sunroom this lunchtime. The first of the year! (Alan Dengate)
Click on the RG link to see photos from Keith and Wendy Alexander of foraging bumblebees in their garden too.

And finally... I came across this wonderful experiment by a young scientist on the Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui which I'd like to share as it is so interesting. She shows how the butterfly shows a preference for nectaring on purple and clustered flowers. http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/youngnaturalistawards/2011/katelyn.html. (Colin Knight)

Friday 20 January 2012

No Red Admirals for a few days now, so here's something to help banish the winter blues...

I decided to visit RHS Wisley midweek making the assumption that a weekday would be much quieter, particularly as I was hoping to get some pictures... WRONG... it was very busy right from doors opening at 10am which made camera work a little difficult at times. For those that haven't visited I highly recommend a trip, though do allow time for your camera equipment to acclimatize. As you would expect, it is very hot and humid in the glasshouse so do take a cold drink with you and dress sensibly if you are planning to stay for any length of time (photos above). (Mark Colvin)

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Recent news: 2nd January 2012 - We saw a Red Admiral flying in Truslers Lane, Albourne - outside of No.4 Wick Farm;
11th January 2012 - On a circular walk around Woodmancote/Blackstone we counted 24 Brown Hairstreak eggs on Blackthorn. (David & Pauline Batchelor)

Sunday 15 January 2012

Today seven of us from Friends of Bevendean Down took part in our annual January ritual of raking up sheep poo from the south facing chalk slope overlooking the houses of Bevendean in north Brighton. Our woolly friends had done a lovely job of shortening the grass at the end of last year but always leave some big patches of poo behind. So for the sake of the Adonis, Chalkhill Blues, Small Blues and Grizzled Skippers we like to get on our hands and knees and scrape off the worst of it using a variety of home implements. I favour an onion hoe and plastic dustpan though one member of the group finds that a grill pan is an ideal receptical (I always refuse the offer of toast when I go to visit him). It is then transported enthusiastically in big bags to various allotments! It may not be the easiest way to get manure to one's vegetable plot but this urban fringe site is very lovely and Geoff Stevens' transects over the last fifteen years show that it is an important butterfly site. We are also learning some new technology and have started a blog for the site http://bevendeandown.wordpress.com though it is in its early days yet (photo above by Geoff Stevens). (Tessa Pawsey)

A Red Admiral, fluttering against the windows, interrupted Sunday lunch in Battle today. (Bob Foreman)

News for Friday 13 January: Our first butterfly of 2012. A Red Admiral (possibly two) seen in bright sunshine at Wakehurst Place, TQ339310 around mid-day on Friday. (Cassie and David Jode)

Saturday 14 January 2012

A Red Admiral was on the wing in my garden today. Perhaps not surprising, in view of other reports - but, although it was sunny, this was the coldest day of the year so far. The shade temperature at the time was just over 5°C, and there had been frost overnight. Another demonstration that Red Admirals don't hibernate properly? (John Kerby)

Thursday 12 January 2012

A Red Admiral, seen along the banks of the River Arun in Littlehampton, today. (Celia Curtis)

News for Wednesday 11 January: Today, along with Colin Knight and Neil Hulme and seven members of the Murray Downland Trust, we recommenced our weekly work party activities at Heyshott Escarpment. After a cold start, we continued to make great progress from where we left off before the seasonal break and were blessed with a beautiful day of pastel blue sky and golden winter sunshine (it's great to be back!). I appreciate that Wednesdays do not suit everyone but if you are able to find time, even for just a couple of hours, the rewards of helping out on a work party at Heyshott far outweigh the effort. Give it a go, you wont be disappointed (photos above). (Mark Colvin)

Wednesday 11 January 2012

While walking on the Steyning Coombe, (TQ164110), I saw two pristine Red Admirals (above) basking in the unseasonably warm sunshine. (Pete Varkala)

One lone Red Admiral today while working on Graffham Down at 11.45am, bright sunshine. Landed on Biddy's coat and the tractor for warmth! (Paul & Biddy Dimmer)

A Red Admiral was fluttering around the entrance gate to Rushfields Garden Centre at Poynings early this afternoon. (Stuart Ridley)

One Red Admiral today flying round Manor Royal Industrial Estate, Crawley enjoying the lunchtime Sun! (Damian Pinguey)

News for Tuesday 10 January: I saw a single Red Admiral flying in a garden in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, on Tuesday, January 10th. (Rob Bogue)

News for Saturday 7 January: Last Saturday morning, I had just returned home from shopping (!!!) when I saw a lovely Red Admiral fly into our Eastbourne garden settle briefly and then fly off. It was a lovely warm, sunny, still morning at the time. This was the earliest in any year that I have ever seen a butterfly (John East)

Monday 9 January 2012

A pristine Red Admiral on the wing during one of the brief sunny periods this morning - the butterfly was flying around a front garden in Dale Avenue, Hassocks and nectaring for a considerable time on flowers of Viburnum tinus. (Malcolm Le Grys)

News for Saturday 7 January: A Red Admiral seen flying along boardwalk at Brighton Marina. (Happy New Year. (David West)

Sunday 8 January 2012

With 19 people and 3 horses in attendance at today's Park Corner Heath work party it felt like I was in charge of a small army! The troops certainly put in a lot of effort and with rakes, bowsaws, loppers, shovels and harnesses as we continued our ongoing battles against pine, birch and bramble. We managed a victory at Park Corner Heath and went on to start widening a ride in Rowland Wood. A big thankyou for all who came to help us in the wood today (all humans unless otherwise noted); Dave, Nigel, Chris, Natalie, Dave, Sherie, Lucy, Roger, Keith, Dale (Horse), Colin, Gary, Teresa, Ben (Horse), Ree, Carole, Jack (Horse), Carlton, Jenny, Carole, Paul, Pencil (Dog) and Graham. I had accidentally left my camera at home today - so apologies for the lack of photos. The next work party will be on February 12th. (Michael Blencowe)

News for Saturday 7 January: Whilst sitting at home in Southwater yesterday I was delighted to see a lovely Red Admiral taking advantage of the midday sunshine in the garden. Here's to many more butterfly sightings for everyone in the coming twelve months! (Robin Bassett)

Saturday 7 January 2012

A Red Admiral flew around in my garden in Coldwaltham on Saturday 7 January at 2:00pm, much to our surprise. (Chris Skinner)

A Peacock flew past our conservation work party group at RSPB Broadwater Warren today and settled in a sunny spot with its wings open. It looked in very good condition but unfortunately folded it wings before I could get a decent photo. (Alan Loweth)

News for Friday 6 January: Red Admiral butterfly seen flying in Cuckfield Holy Trinity Churchyard (near Haywards Heath). (Malcolm Redford)

Friday 6 January 2012

Dave Sadler reports an early Small Tortoiseshell near the dew pond on the Downs north of Burpham. Another birder I spoke to had also seen a Red Admiral near The Burgh. (Neil Hulme)

Wednesday 4 January 2012

I met Mark Colvin at Heyshott Down yesterday to hunt for Brown Hairstreak eggs. We hunted on a patch of Blackthorn that John Murray had indicated as a possible target. Mark found the first egg of the day, a pin-head sized, oval shaped egg of the Blue-bordered Carpet moth, Plemyria rubiginata. This discovery spurred us to greater efforts and Mark soon found our target - the sea urchin shaped, pin-head sized egg of a Brown Hairstreak. A Bramble Stem Gall, Diastrophus rubi, was found in the hedgerow. Mark also pointed out the tracks of Roe and Fallow Deer in the mud. We then called at Harting Down and found an excellent stand of Blackthorn, but failed to find BH eggs. Instead Mark spotted the larva of The Drinker moth, Euthrix potatoria. It was 4 feet up a stem of Blackthorn and was stationary so I assume it was hibernating. We also saw quite a few ladybirds, including a cluster of four. We enjoyed the hunt and I have an incentive to find something next time as I am well behind (not that I'm competitive!). More photos at www.seapic.com and Mark Colvin's Personal Diary at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB. (Colin Knight)

News for Monday 2 January 2012: During my annual new year bird count here at Knowlands Farm (42 species recorded, plus two possibles), my brother and I found a Peacock butterfly basking in the sun on the base of an oak at Church Farm (OS 417175). The date was 2nd January and the time 12.10pm. I've never had a red entry in your records before - perhaps this will be my first? (indeed it will! ed.) No photo, I'm afraid, but one other witness. Perhaps we should not be surprised - a primrose was in flower on the nearby old railway track. (Nick Lear)


What better way to start the year...? - Happy New Year to all our readers! ed.

What a start to 2012. Rain tipping down in my Eastbourne garden and a Red Admiral seems oblivious to it as it flutters around the Laurel hedge. Happy New Year to all. (Bob Coleman)

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