Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Friday 28 February 2014

This photo of a Small Tortoiseshell was taken on Friday with my iPhone at the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven, Brighton and is my first butterfly of the year! (Dan Danahar)

This morning I joined a workforce of seven, to continue the creation of a substantial woodland glade at the intersection of several paths through Houghton Forest near Arundel. This area will hopefully become home to the Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Grizzled Skipper within a few years. I suspect that the Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral will show their appreciation this coming summer. Perhaps the most striking thing about today's gathering was the mix of attendees. We had staff and volunteers representing BC Sussex, South Downs National Park Authority, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (Arundel) and the Forestry Commission. One thing is certain, a huge amount was achieved before the clouds and rain arrived midway through the afternoon. A great team effort! Thanks to all who attended. (Neil Hulme)

News for Wednesday 26 February: Small Tortoiseshell enjoying warmth from concrete pad by playing field on 26 February, SU030983. (John Knight)

Thursday 27 February 2014

Thanks to the great organisational skills of our new and dedicated Brighton & Hove Conservation Officer, Paul Gorringe - rhymes with Orange, the sheep are back on the Liz William Butterfly Haven at Dorothy Stringer School. On this occasion we have seventy herdwicks because the grassland is particularly rank this winter and the herdwicks are the best breed for the job. Thanks go to Paul for his hard work. (Dan Danahar)

News for Wednesday 26 February: A Small Tortoiseshell was resting on my patio in the sunshine before flying away some 5 minutes later. (Stuart Ridley)

News for Sunday 23 February: My father, Roy Symonds noted his first sighting of this year in West Sussex on Sunday. A Red Admiral was flew from a log pile in Stansted Forest, Rowlands Castle (SU739109). (Richard Symonds - Pendeen, Cornwall)

Wednesday 26 February 2014

This morning we had a good turnout at the weekly Heyshott Escarpment work party, with a dozen enthusiastic volunteers turning out to bash more scrub in the sunshine. As always, we made good progress in turning the clock back and revealing more of the old chalk workings. The reserve is looking better than ever as the new season approaches. Thanks to all who attended. (Neil Hulme)

The Wednesday morning work party at Heyshott escarpment was conducted in good weather and a considerable amount of clearance was achieved with help from BC members Garry, Katrina and Neil. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Monday 24 February 2014

There was a very loud squeal of excitement (despite a sore throat!) in our house this morning as a brightest-yellow Brimstone shot past the front window in gorgeous spring sunshine. (Midhurst, West Sussex)
With butterflies now joining the bumblebees that emerged over the weekend, if that's not the perfect cold-cure, I don't know what is!
Happy spring everyone xx (Sophie May Lewis)

Went for my lunchtime walk in the sun today and saw my first butterfly of the year. It was a Small Tortoiseshell in Southover Grange Gardens in Lewes. (Chris Hooker)

A male Brimstone near Lancing College at TQ190062. (Steve Gilbert)

Two Brimstone in my garden today in Ardingly West Sussex. (Linda Bridges)

At least 3 Small Tortoiseshell around High and Over and Cradle Valley with 2 doing a bit of courtship. Also on High and Over 2 more Wall Brown larvae. These were in a warm sheltered area and were much larger than the one from last week. They were also within one inch of each other which is quite unusual. (Bob Eade)

Sunday 23 February 2014

It's still not too late, if you have any great holiday butterfly or moth photos from exotic locations, there's still time to get them on the website! ed.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Small Tortoiseshell seen flying against a bedroom window in house in Falmer, East Sussex, on the very bright Saturday 22nd February. (Mark Gapper)

We'd like to report that we saw a large good condition Brimstone at approx TQ565363 at 11.30 on 22 February. We think this is in Sussex - may be just over border into Kent! (have checked the map and it's ok, it is one of ours. ed.) (Cath and Catherine)

I saw 6 Small Tortoiseshell in Hurstpierpoint yesterday around the allotments feeding on small wild flowers (weeds!). (Rebecca Rees)

Wednesday 19 February 2014

This morning the weather finally allowed us to work at Heyshott Escarpment again after being rained off the past two weeks. I joined BC members Nigel Symington and Garry Philpott and Murray Downland Trust members to clear more trees high on the escarpment. The view above did not exist until recent clearance work was carried out. A Red Kite gave us a wonderful display as we walked down. We welcome new volunteers for our Wednesday morning work parties to benefit the Duke of Burgundies. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Tuesday 18 February 2014

First butterfly sighting of the year-a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on Beacon Hill Nature Reserve, Rottingdean. (Sheila Ball)

Monday 17 February 2014

My first Wall larva of the year during a search in a cold breeze at High and Over. Several moth larvae spotted which were possibly types of Wainscot. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

More from Sunday 16 February

We saw our first butterfly of the year with a Red Admiral basking in the the warm sunshine at midday in the churchyard of St Mary, Burpham. (Colin Booty)

Sunday 16th, noon. Garden Small Tortoiseshell sunning on ivy bank. (David Harris, Newhaven)

What a difference a day makes ! - Up on Lullington Heath 2 brillant male Brimstones & at least 4 Peacocks seemed to survive the Friday/Saturday gales - hope their appearance means they know something we don't? (Vic Downer)

Saw my first butterfly of 2014 - a Small Tortoiseshell in my garden at Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne. (Jamie May)

We had a perfect day yesterday in Houghton Forest near Arundel where I joined BC members Neil Hulme and Dan Hoare and volunteers from SDNPA and Arundel WWT (Paul Stevens). We cleared a considerable amount of wood to prepare a clearing which we hope will attract Pearl-bordered Fritillaries from a nearby colony. Further work parties will complete the work and any help will be gratefully received. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Sunday 16 February 2014

Today I joined an enthusiastic group of eleven volunteers and staff, representing the South Downs National Park Authority, Butterfly Conservation and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. Together we made great progress in opening up the woodland around a junction between several paths through Houghton Forest near Arundel. Following the creation of a large clearfell in 2009, at least one adventurous female Pearl-bordered Fritillary travelled the 2Kms from Rewell Wood the following spring. Since then the butterfly has reappeared annually, although numbers are still very modest. Suitable habitat is currently quite limited, but we are hoping that an ongoing programme of work parties (next on Friday 28th February) will assist the Forestry Commission in establishing a stronger colony here. Thanks to the efforts of Simon, Helena, Karen, Leonie, Ayla, Mike, Tim, Paul, Colin and Dan (BC SE Regional Officer), we left at least one area of the forest looking much more attractive to PBFs and other butterflies. As a bonus, most participants managed to see their first butterfly of the year, when a Red Admiral paid us a visit on this pleasantly warm and sunny morning. (Neil Hulme)

Male Brimstone at Park Corner Heath, Peter's Seat. TQ510148 today at midday. Seen fluttering around and sitting on brambles in the sun for a good 15 minutes. (Kerry Baldwin)

Saw a Brimstone in fine condition flying down the main street in Fletching today at around 11.30. (Nigel Symington)

We saw our first butterflies of the year today - three in all. A Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell were seen at the Norton Hill escarpment between Denton and Bishopstone. There is a fairly extensive rabbit warren on the escarpment and both butterflies were basking by the holes. On our return home we saw an additional Peacock in our front garden. (Steven and Amanda Teale)

Small Tortoiseshell landed briefly on Hove Lawns this morning at 09.45 in warm sunshine. (TQ29250430) Then it flew fast in an easterly direction. (Polly Mair)

Peacock seen flying energetically in the warm sunshine at about 1.30pm in Kingston near Lewes. First I have seen this year. (Crispin Holloway)

Crawley Down - A single Small Tortoiseshell in the garden briefly today, resting on Crocus flower. I went round other favoured haunts for the species along Worth Way but nothing found. (Jonathan Ruff)

Sunday 9 February 2014

The rain and wind continue and, in the lead up to this week's work party, I was wondering if we'd have to cancel the event. Fortunately our Sunday work party coincided with a rare few hours of blue sky. And it seemed like our volunteers were keen to get out of the house and help out because a crowd turned up - too many to fit in one photo so we had to take two. Thanks to Ash, Becky, Roger, Chris, Nat, Hannah, Gav, Keith, Malcolm, Rosy, James, Andrea, Colin, Gary, Dave, Mark, Nigel, Theresa, John, Julie, Stuart, Ian, Lego and Mark (who came down for the day from Essex). The task today was to clear the pines from a south facing woodland edge in Rowland Wood. After sawing, lopping and dragging the result was a more open woodland edge exposed to more sunlight - perfect for woodland flowers, butterflies and other wildlife. It was amazing to see how many more trees have been toppled by the recent weather. Within the plantations a number of pine have fallen - the victims of high winds and wet soil. Thanks again to all those who attended (and to Carola for supplying the cake). (Michael Blencowe)

Friday 7 February 2014

Today I joined contractors Mark and Chris at Kithurst Hill (aka Springhead), to finish off this winter's work on the chalk grassland restoration we started a few years back. Removal of secondary woodland and heavy scrub in several stages has revealed some lovely hummocky terrain near the car park bend. The area cleared is now approximately 100 m x 30 m and the hollows cleared out by the first stage of work have already proven a big hit with the butterflies. There are early signs that the green hay strewing performed last year has also been successful. This process involves spreading the arisings from the autumn cut & collect of the adjacent meadow over the exposed chalk scree. The 'green hay' contains plenty of seed and this technique is a good way of accelerating the establishment of desirable chalk-loving plants. The clearance of this area has brought added benefits with it, not least by opening up fabulous views across the Weald. This is one of the sites where work is funded by BC Sussex, so all of our members play an important role in conserving and improving this valuable habitat. (Neil Hulme)

News for Thursday 23 January 2014

We received the above photo from Michael Blencowe the other day. It was taken by Brianne Reeve at Coombes.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

A Red Admiral briefly today at 13:35 in my mum's very windswept High Salvington front garden. Grid ref: TQ121068. (Trevor Gibson-Poole)

Monday 3 February 2014

I have been experimenting with mid-winter flowering buddleia in an attempt to attract butterflies for some time without success. Now caterpillars are eating them instead. My Observer's Book of caterpillars suggest this example might be an Angle Shades moth caterpillar based on the night feeding habit and the time of year but I am not sure. (Jonathan Ruff)

Sunday 2 February 2014

A Small Tortoiseshell spent some time sunning itself on a south-facing wall of my house in Lindfield today. (Bob Foreman)

Friday 31 January 2014

This morning I joined Ian and Steve from the South Downs National Park Authority (staff and volunteer) to continue work on one of the Graffham Down Trust's reserves. This area is already looking much improved after recent work parties by GDT and SDNPA volunteers, and today we made preparations to extend the clearing further, by removing an old deer fence. Over the next few weeks there will be a lot of activity on the GDT reserves, as a major new project gets underway. Details of this work, and how it came to be funded, will be announced in the spring. If everything goes to plan, we hope to build upon the successes achieved at Heyshott Escarpment, a short distance to the west. (Neil Hulme)

Monday 27 January 2014

On a much cooler day I had an unexpected sighting of a Red Admiral at High and Over this morning, my 3rd butterfly and Red Admiral sighting of the year. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

Saturday 25 January 2014

At a regular overwintering spot close to Ashdown Forest we counted 15 Peacock butterflies and 11 Herald moths. We've been counting the Peacocks and Heralds here for 7 years. There is usually only one Herald Moth each year (the most we ever found was 3), so this year's 11 was a fascinating surprise, and maybe something to do with the long, late summer weather.?. Some of the Herald moths seem to have snuggled up close to the Peacocks. (Noah, Fin and Steve Wheatley)

Wednesday 22 January 2014

On Wednesday I attended the weekly work party at Heyshott Escarpment. Thanks go to the usual suspects for giving up their time, including BC Sussex member Katrina Watson who has now joined the regulars here. This week we started to cut a 'window' through the trees along the edge of the reserve, to provide both a wildlife corridor connecting adjacent habitat, and a panoramic view over the Weald. (Neil Hulme)

Monday 20 January 2014

My 2nd butterfly of the year has just landed in the garden. Another Red Admiral again. Managed a really bad photo as it sat on the patio doors trying to warm up!! (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

Yesterday afternoon saw a rather fetching newly-hatched Red Admiral (not an overwintering geriatric). It was seen fluttering on and near the wall on the West side of the large pond to the NE of Millmead, Coombelands Lane, Pulborough, West Sussex. (Andy & Jane Tilbrook)

Sunday 19 January 2014

While out on a work day with Friends of Bevendean Down on the chalk grassland site on the north east fringe of Brighton I managed to flood the engine of the brushcutter while trying to start it. This meant that the wonderful Geoff Stevens had to take out the spark plug to dry it before successfully getting it to start. This pause gave us the opportunity to notice a Small Tortoiseshell whizz by and land on a patch of bare soil slightly up the slope. Unfortunately it flew off as Geoff approached it to take a photograph. If we had been noisily bashing away with the machinery trying to make sure we didn't trip up in the tangle of brambles we would have missed it so maybe it's lucky that I'm not very good with machinery. As well as the lovely sunshine we heard skylarks too. (Tessa Pawsey)

Crawley Down - A single Small Tortoiseshell basking in the sun on the lawn this morning. It looked quite worn but flew away strongly. I have finally managed to record a sighting for every month of the year in this small garden. (Jonathan Ruff)

News for Saturday 18 January: A Peacock paid a brief but welcome visit to our garden in Lindfield today. (Bob Foreman)

Wednesday 15 January 2014

With apologies to Hugh, this arrived in my inbox a couple of days ago but I have only just remembered to post it. I should also point out that the report is not at all boring (as is suggested in the text), all reports are of interest and especially at this time of year. ed
News for Saturday 11 January: No photograph possible as the Small Tortoiseshell was flying non-stop, but there was no doubting the identity. Location: Ashdown Forest (specifically at the 7th tee of the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club). Time: 10.30am. Seeing the beautiful Red Admiral photographs on your website, my Small Tortoiseshell spot seems rather boring, but I have not seen a butterfly in January for many years, if ever. (Hugh Colville)

Today I joined Nigel Symington and Murray Downland Trust volunteers at Heyshott Escarpment for my first conservation work party of 2014. On-off drizzle made fire-lighting challenging but a good blaze soon consumed the trees we cleared to make way for the primulas which we hope will prove attractive to future generations of Duke of Burgundies. We left damp but satisfied with our mornings work (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Sunday 12 January 2014

It was our first Rowland Wood work party of 2014 and for many of the volunteers it was our first chance to witness some of the destruction caused by the recent storms. The saddest loss was of the Big Beech. As we inspected the fallen tree it became obvious that the decay inside the tree was much worse than we had thought - it was almost hollow. There was plenty of evidence that lots of dead wood invertebrates had moved in to start burrowing away at the dying tree over the past few years. We're planning to keep the tree in situ as a landmark. Also on display today was our new BC mower paid for with help from an anonymous donation to BC. This monster did a great job in breaking down the thick thatch of bracken that had built up on the woodland floor over many years. Elsewhere we set to work taking down some neat rows of planted pines to creating a new sunny glade in the wood. We were assisted today by Stuart Sutton who also provided some locally sourced venison for the Blencowe Burger Barbeque. Nigel's wife, Carola, provided some of her fantastic home made ginger cake too. We soon had a roaring bonfire going to to burn up the pine brash and the team had soon restored another area of dark plantation back to a butterfly friendly glade. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped; Nigel, Julie, Nigel, Gary, Malcolm, Theresa, John, Richard, Chris, Natalie, Stuart, Paul, Bob, Leggo, Carole, Ian, Mark, Dave, Jim, Colin, Andrea, Rosy and Keith (Michael Blencowe)

News from er... Thursday 18 July: There may be no such thing as the dog poo fairy but Purple Emperors certainly do exist as the photo above shows... Having spent 20 minutes watching a male high in the trees at Target Hill local nature reserve in Crawley, I though that was it for the day as it was almost 6.30pm. On leaving Buchan Country Park I glanced at a dog bin at the entrance to see this male emperor feeding on the surface of a dog bin! (Robin Edwards)

Saturday 11 January 2014

A trip to Friston Gallops today and I saw my first friend of the year a Red Admiral. (Gary Norman)

At Itford Farm today a very good condition Red Admiral flying in the sheltered sunny corner. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

Wednesday 8 January 2014

News for Thursday 2 January: Sorry for the delay in reporting, but thought I'd send in an unexpected butterfly sighting on 2nd January 2014. Whilst out on the reserve I was surprised to see a large dark butterfly shoot past from over my shoulder, speeding off along a hedgerow, probably a Red Admiral as another visitor to the reserve reported one at the Hanger View Point. Happy New year everyone (Is it too late to say that?!) definitely not... ed. (Sophie-May Lewis)

Friday 3 January 2014

A Passion for Pashas
Last year a fellow butterfly enthusiast mentioned, whilst on holiday, that he had a fleeting glimpse of a butterfly called the Two-tailed Pasha, this was unknown to me but I had the impression it was small fast flying butterfly that lived in mountains and was rarely seen close. A bit of a Holy Grail so to speak... Anyway this year a friend invited me to Corsica for a holiday in mid-September. We arrived at our villa in the south of the island. The following morning we were walking down the road and I suddenly said good gracious me (or similar shorter slang), that's a Two-tailed Pasha (TTP) - feeding on dog pooh buy the side of the road. (I must stress that neither the language or the butterfly were familiar to me, a wild guess seemed to fit). It was truly exotic looking, something that you would imagine had escaped from a glasshouse or you stumble across in a rain forest and this one was mint. So said butterfly was photographed, chased back on forth and despite its distasteful behaviour spent a good few minutes sat on my hand much to my excitement. I realised this first TTP was not a fluke as I discovered many others visiting fruiting fig trees. In due course I spent many hrs. watching large numbers of TTP feeding on ripe figs accompanied by Purple Hairstreaks, Great Banded Graylings, Speckled Woods and Red Admirals. The closest I got to courting behaviour was a trio, presumably one female and two males in hot pursuit flying at exceptional speed about 3 feet off the ground. I found a large fig tree at the edge of a dried up stream in a small valley bottom, I probably counted up to ten TTP arriving for breakfast and flying around one tree, it reminded me of PE flying around at home and indeed catching them in flight became a photo challenge. There was a daily rhythm of activity and sometimes I would find several resting together in bushes and trees in the heat of the afternoon. In the afternoons I saw several females flying in around Strawberry trees (the food plant) but unfortunately I didn't spot one egg laying as they disappeared easily in the shadows. On several occasions I saw them beating off large hornets by momentarily flapping there wings. It didn't always work as one morning a hornet had grabbed one and literally cut its head off as the wrestling pair reached the ground. My experience with this 2nd generation TTP was fascinating and great fun. They were actually large butterflies and very purposeful and predictable in their behaviour. I resorted to squashing figs in trees which was a perfect attractant. Catching them with their wings open was a challenge as I presume being a gorgeous chocolate brown on the upper side they readily heated up in the sunlight. Indeed they only very briefly opened their wings when they initially settled. The fruiting fig also attracted children, European Tortoises and Wild Boars. I spotted about another 20+ species of butterflies during my visit including Long-tailed Blues and Mallow Skippers in the villa garden. But TTP was by far the commonest butterfly and I reckon I must have seen 50+ individuals even some flying along beaches and high in the mountains. I also found an interesting Wall which Matt Rowlings from European Butterflies confirms that it is recognised as a new species, fairly recently split off from the wall found in the rest of Europe. It is Lasiommata paramegera and can be called the Corsican Wall. It is also found on Sardinia, but nowhere else. But my chance encounter with the Two Tailed Pasha stole the show and a wonderful Butterfly to watch. (Richard Roebuck)

Thursday 2 January 2014

The photo (above) of a female Brimstone was taken today around 12.15pm on the old railway line near Church Farm, Spithurst. During our annual bird species count here at Knowlands Farm, Barcombe, my brother Dick also saw a Red Admiral about 11.00 am and my daughter Millie saw another Brimstone, a male, in Knowlands Wood. (Nick Lear)

Two sightings of Red Admirals today, both energetically flying around in the sunshine. One in John Holloway's garden in Kingston around 11.30am and the other above the Littlington White Horse at High and Over at 1pm. (Louise Holloway)

Our first butterfly of the year, a Comma enjoying the afternoon sunshine, (as were we) 1/2mile south of Kithurst Hill, TQ0611. (Penny Darmody and Helen Corrigan)

Earlier Sightings

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