Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Wednesday 27 February 2013

Plaistow, West Sussex: Season's first, a Peacock on my garden fence in the late afternoon sun. (Mark Colvin)

Today, being a Wednesday, I spent a few happy and constructive hours in the company of BC Sussex and Murray Downland Trust volunteers at Heyshott Escarpment. Inch by inch, foot by foot (we don't do metric at Heyshott) we are reclaiming more and more of the old chalk workings from the invasive scrub. As always a great team effort and much progress was made. Thanks to all that attended. (Neil Hulme)

Saturday 23 February 2013

Speckled Wood Photographed today in Salvington, Worthing. (Cedric Elliott)

News for Wednesday 20 February: A bright fresh looking Small Tortoiseshell sighted in a sheltered bramble patch during a winter farmland bird survey at about 13:00, observers myself and Nicki Hoare. ngr: SZ867995. (Trevor Gibson-Poole)

News for Sunday 17 February: Was in Eastbourne on Sunday and had a Small Tortoiseshell along the main road near the station. (Andrew Steele)

Thursday 21 February 2013

Recent news: Four Red Admirals to report from a few days back. The first was seen flying over the A27 below High Salvington on Sunday 17th February, by me. Nick Sherwin spotted another in Heyshott the following day. Best of all was a brace at Wakehurst Place on the 19th, reported by Susie Milbank. (Neil Hulme)

Tuesday 19 February 2013

A Peacock in a garden at Alciston. (Michael Hawkins)

Monday 18 February 2013

A Red Admiral sunning itself in Bexhill this morning. (Keith Alexander)

I was surprised to see my first butterfly of the year. A fine Peacock Butterfly rose from the path* amongst the scrub on Mill Hill and away over the Old Man's Beard. (*Path on the continuation north from the lower slopes.) (Andy Horton)

Sunday 17 February 2013

Spotted my first butterfly of the year today. A Peacock was basking in a sunny corner of a field near Bilsham, Bognor Regis. (Celia Curtis)

Brede High Woods TQ7820 - a Comma in a sheltered sunny spot. (Heather Martin & Rod Taylor)

A Small Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral in the garden in North Seaford today. (Bob Eade)

Friday 15 February 2013

My second butterfly of the year! A Small Tortoiseshell through our garden in East Dean (TV562984) late morning in full sunshine. (Carole Jode)

Thursday 14 February 2013

It's always great to see your first butterfly of the year. My first 2013 sighting was yesterday - a Brimstone flying around a very warm glade at Graffham Common. For some reason this Brimstone seemed to have a greater effect on me than my usual 'first of the year'. While I watched this butterfly gliding around me in the sunshine I completely forgot about the dreadful 2012 season - the 2013 season has begun and there's going to be plenty of sun and butterflies for us all over the coming months. A lady I met told me that she had seen a Brimstone in her Graffham garden 'a few weeks ago'. While in Graffham I checked a hedge for Brown Hairstreak eggs and found these three amigos. (Michael Blencowe)

A beautiful rich and velvety Peacock butterfly on a sunny south facing wall today in the garden where I work just north of Shoreham airport. TQ196063 . My first butterfly of the year, very cheering. (Tessa Pawsey)

Sunday 10 February 2013

With the forecast for heavy rain all day I was surprised that anybody attended yesterday's work party at Park Corner Heath / Rowland Wood. Even I was tempted to phone in sick. However I had misjudged the hardy Sussex BC volunteers and it seems the Met Office had misjudged the weather. A team turned up and we got to work coppicing an area of birch as part of the 12 year coppice rotation management of the reserve. The rain seemed to mainly stay away from the plateau at Park Corner Heath for the morning but - just as we stacked the last felled birch - the rain started. We retreated back to the shed where we were greeted by a home-made fruit cake. Thanks to everyone who attended today: Alan, Dave M., Dave H., Tasha, Phoebe, Teresa, Bob, Nigel K., Nigel S. and new volunteer Clive. Thanks to Mrs Nigel S. for the cake too. Please note next month we'll be having our last work party of the year on the first Sunday in March (3rd) - see above...

Wednesday 6 February 2013

The hard work of Murray Downland Trust and BC Sussex volunteers, who have toiled hard alongside a couple of contractors this winter, is really beginning to make major inroads at Heyshott Escarpment. The removal of heavy scrub has revealed more old chalk pits and will provide a significantly enlarged area of habitat for butterflies, moths and other fauna and flora in coming years. Hats off to all involved today and previously. (Neil Hulme)

Saturday 2 February 2013

Friends of Coldean Woods first woodland working day - Sat 2 Feb 2013: Like so many woodlands within Brighton & Hove, Coldean Woods (north Brighton) has seen little active management since the great storm of 1987. Working in partnership with Brighton & Hove's Countryside Rangers and the residents of Coldean, the management of this Ash sapling dominated woodland started on Sat 2 Feb 2013. It's early days but we are hopeful that this will become a regular feature of the winter months in the years ahead. We anticipate that the work will enhance the ground flora of the site, with Fly Orchid, Twayblade Orchid and other species having been seen at low abundances. Green, Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks are residents in the woods but at what appear to be depressed numbers. However, our work may enhance the woodlands for some more common species including the: Speckled Wood; Orange Tip; Holly Blue; etc. The woods themselves are connected to Stanmer Great Wood and infrequent sightings of the Silver-washed Fritillary have been recorded there, so there is a small possibility that good management at Coldean could see SWF flitting along the rides in the future.
Coldean residents have show great enthusiasm for this project and have enjoyed a range of benefits associated with the work, including: 1) getting to know their neighbours - thus enhancing community cohesion; 2) keeping fit - in this green gym experience; 3) free environmental education - learning about woodland ecology and gaining basic forestry skills; 4) free wood fuel for their wood burning stoves - thus reducing their need to buy coal or oil and reducing their carbon footprint, helping to ameliorate their impact (in a small way) on global climate change.
This scheme was inspired by the Brighton & Hove and Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere project, whose application goes before the UN in the summer of 2013 and whose aim is to encourage and enhanced the relationships between the natural world and local people: for more information go to: http://biospherehere.org.uk.

Dorothy Stringer Woodland Working Day - 26 Jan 2013: We have been managing the Dorothy Stringer Woodland Reserve since 2000. At that point it had been neglected since the great storm of 1987. Our winter and autumn work with the pupils, parents, staff, governors and neighbours has over the years transformed this patch of 400 year old urban woodland. Pupils have gained experience developing their own woodland skills and the flora and fauna has benefited as well. The site is now the home of the Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Orange Tips and White-letter Hairstreak, all of which have benefitted from our management practices. (Dan Danahar)

Wednesday 30 January 2013

A Peacock spotted at Chalk Springs Trout Fishery in Arundel by owner Darren Smith. (Neil Hulme)

With mild temperatures and the sun shining I popped onto High and Over on the off chance of finding Wall Brown larvae. After about 20 minutes of searching I was surprised to find 2 feeding. Both were approx. 1.5cm long and were found about 2 ft from where I found them last year. (Bob Eade)

A Red Admiral was coping well in the wind in our Worthing garden today. Our first garden butterfly sighting of the year and only the fourth time we've recorded a Red Admiral in January! (John Maskell)

A Comma made a brief appearance in the garden sunshine today. (Derek Lee, Bracklesham)

Monday 28 January 2013

News for Wednesday 23 January: Peacock butterfly Seen today, 23/11/2012, at Burgess Hill - Keymer Tiles at 09.15 in the kiln shed but it flew away. Grid ref: TQ 321193. (Pearl Carter)

Friday 25 January 2013

This morning I joined South Downs National Park Authority ranger Simon Mockford, SDNPA 'Friday Club' volunteers Brian and Alan, and Mark Colvin of BC Sussex, for a wintery work party at Rewell Wood. There were only two options available given the icy conditions; work hard or freeze to death. As always it was very satisfying to leave the site in an improved condition, ready for the coming season. Thanks to all that helped out today. (Neil Hulme)

Sunday 13 January 2013

There was quite a crowd at Rowland Wood today to help out at the first work party of the new year. 25 people joined me our on rather muddy reserve and we started to gather up the pine brash to burn on two bonfires. However - try as we might - the stuff just wouldn't burn. After a bit of re-building and huffing and puffing the bonfires took off and soon turned into two infernos. Soon we were getting rid of the horrible pine brash and getting a nice bit of heat from the fires too. As a special treat today I had some locally sourced venison burgers which we fried to go with the jacket potatoes - Delicious - and they tasted even better knowing that we were reducing the local deer population with every bite. Note: I can't guarantee there will be venison at every work party!. At the end of the work party we experienced the first snow of 2013. Thanks for all those who came and helped out today - John, Dave M., Dave H., Paul, Carole, Kristoffer, Nigel K., Nigel S., Georgia, Phoebe, Eleanor, Bob, Theresa, Gary, Alan, Sherie, Lucy, Roger, Andrew, Richard, Mike, Pete, Keith, Dan and Indy. (Michael Blencowe)

Having been bitten by the bug I tied up with longstanding friend and fellow Butterfly enthusiast Peter Langton and we planned a trip to Cevennes National Park in southern France at the end of August. On a budget we flew Ryan Air to Rodez and picked up the cheapest most gutless car available, a Chevrolet Spark, ironically it was blue and actually attracted several species of blues to the paintwork, so the right choice of car perhaps. On a budget we shared a room the size of a rather small shed which was adequate but a challenge for both of us - who ever snored. But the local hostelries and restaurants in Mende were great in the evenings and good value. However the cause was chasing around the Cevennes and we recorded about 60 butterfly species over the week. We went up Mont Lozere and despite piles of large hailstones by the roadside we did find a couple of Dryads, some nice coppers with sexual dimorphism, Large Whites and a lot of worn Dark Green Fritillaries. The habitat consisted of heather and conifer plantations and reminded me of the Derbyshire Peak District. Anyway we beat to a retreat down the mountain and found a magical spot by a small valley. Great Banded Graylings abounded with coppers, Silver-washed and glorious newly emerged Queen of Spain Fritillaries, Red Admirals, coppers, dragonflies and fabulous crickets. I also caught the sight of the rear end a disappearing wild boar. Mr Langton was most excited re a particular Butterfly I spotted on a thistle, but to be honest this species deserved its own report i.e. Camberwell Beauty saga posted previously. Anyway in the lower areas of the Cevennes we explored the extremely deep limestone gorges and we drove from top to bottom in search of butterflies. The commonest butterfly ironically was the Silver-spotted Skipper, but Speckled Woods (orange brown) and indeed the Southern White Admiral showed an interesting variation on our own native species. Highlights, High Brown Fritillary egg laying, Knapweed Fritillary, Scotch Argus, Long-tailed Blue, Damon Blue, Mallow, Red Underwing and Lulworth Skippers, a Wall egg laying and many, many more. We also targeted lucerne fields where you could find Clouded Yellows, Scarce Swallowtails, Coppers, Whites, Silver-washed Fritillaries, Wood Whites well just about anything, a great magnet. On river shorelines there were Adonis, Chalkhill and Grizzled Skippers collecting minerals together and close by various grayling species feasting on fallen cherries. As we were fairly late in the season many of the butterflies seen especially the fritillaries were 2nd or even third generation individuals. In addition we marvelled at the reintroduced Gryphon and Lammergeyer vultures in the Tarn and Jonte Gorges. We had a great, fun time. A great place to visit. (Richard Roebuck)

Friday 11 January 2013

Yesterday afternoon we were amazed to see a Painted Lady butterfly flying north past Shoreham Old Fort while out birding. Our first butterfly of 2013 (Peter Gibbs)

News for Saturday 5 January 2013: An interesting observation from Graeme Lyons at Woods Mill "... a surprise was a Painted Lady behaving like it was on migration; VERY fast and VERY straight." www.analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.co.uk

News for Friday 4 January 2013: A surprising first migrant of the year with a Painted Lady on the north of the reserve. (per Ivan Lang, RSPB Pagham Harbour)

News for Wednesday 26 December 2012: A Painted Lady was found settled on laundry drying on a washing line in a garden in Goring-by-Sea. Moved to a garden shed to hopefully survive the winter. (Paul Richardson)

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Thanks to all the Murray Downland Trust and BC Sussex volunteers who worked so hard at Heyshott Escarpment today - another pit cleared of scrub! (Neil Hulme)

Friday 4 January 2013

News for Tuesday 1 January: My first butterfly of the year! A Red Admiral in a neighbour's garden at East Dean (TV562985) at 2pm in full sunshine. (Carole Jode)

More news for Tuesday 1 January: Just to let you know I had a Peacock butterfly on Thorney Island on the 1st of Jan, I assume the warm sunshine on that day brought it out! (Jake Gearty)

And yet more news for Tuesday 1 January: I have received a report from a birdwatcher friend, Neil Greenaway, of a Red Admiral he saw in his Bishopstone garden at midday on New Year's Day. (Steven Teale)

When I was about 18 I travelled around southern France with friends in an Austin Allegro (the one with the square steering wheel) we borrowed off a parent? Anyway, down in Biarritz at a camp site I spotted a Camberwell Beauty feeding on sap at the base of a trunk. I hadn't seen one again until last year. 2012 In the last week of August Peter and I were half way down Mont Lozere in the Cevennes National Park and stopped by the side of road in a likely spot which had thistles the size of artichokes. Amongst the numerous Great Banded Graylings and other species I happened to spot a Camberwell Beauty under a thistle head, As it was full sunshine, I think it was sheltering from the sun whilst feeding. Frustratingly the wings were closed. But I took a picture nevertheless. My fellow enthusiast Peter was most excited - I think he thought it was the Holy Grail of butterflies being allegedly a scarce Scandinavian migrant to our shores. However over a couple of days we had the delight of seeing about 6 pristine individuals at close quarters with ample opportunities for pictures. I even tried to bait them with slices of Guadeloupe melon, But although good for Red Admirals, one of which won a walking race with one Camberwell Beauty, his eminence preferred the thistles. Some of them seemed to be able to penetrates the thistle seed case through the wall, whilst most other butterflies collected nectar from the top of the flower so to speak. Their behaviour was interesting as on occasion they did long circling flights just like a Purple Emperor sometimes alighting high up in trees. We saw one collecting minerals by the edge of a tarmac road and found one that had been hit by a car. I think most of the ones we saw were females but in another location I pursued a smaller one possibly a male ? to a fence post to get a picture. When we finally saw them with their wings open they have a beauty and subtlety of colour all of their own with deep red brown and hints of purple colour's and the characteristic creamy / yellow border. A most handsome butterfly. I later corresponded with Matt Rowlins who runs a fantastic European butterfly website. In his experience he's only occasionally come across Camberwell beauty's and rarely got any pictures. So I believe we had a unique experience on this occasion to spend so much time with several of this species. The first photo I took, for me, caught the moment of our trip with a beautiful butterfly and a long standing friend with his camera in the same shot. (this one will definitely end up on the wall at home). (Richard Roebuck)

Thursday 3 January 2013

We had two Red Admirals fluttering around and sometimes feeding on a mahonia in our garden here in Fittleworth this morning. (David Connell)

Every year I visit the Maldives for a diving holiday at Bandos Island in the North Male Atoll. I have photographed 26 species of Butterflyfish there (http://bit.ly/137Rlw6) but have seen few butterflies. The first came in November 2010 when I found a tiny blue, the Small Cupid, Chilades parrhasius, which I saw again in 2011. Last Oct/Nov I was delighted to find three more species. I am waiting confirmation of the id of a Danaid Eggfly, Hypolimnas misippusid, which I found dead, though friends saw some flying. The other two are the Lesser Grass Blue, Zizina otis and the Peacock Pansy, Precis almanac: bit.ly/10YyaGy. The nearest landmasses are south west India (370 miles) and Sri Lanka (470 miles), and these species are present there. They may have flown from these places during the north-east monsoons and/or been imported with the flora with which tourist islands are planted, and then found suitable breeding plants on the islands. I cannot find much written about the Lepidoptera of the Maldives, though in 2012 a new moth species, Hyblaea maldivesa, was described. It was found in the same atoll as my island, so who knows what I may find this Autumn. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Painted Lady (faded but not tattered) in flight and basking in sunshine on the cliff base and beach boulders at Cow Gap east of Beachy Head. Happy New Year! (Evan Jones)

A Small Tortoiseshell in flight in the afternoon sun on 1st January at the south west corner of the Adur Recreation ground, Shoreham-by-Sea. (Steve Gilbert)

Earlier Sightings

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