Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Please send in your Sussex butterfly and moth sightings to sightings"AT"sussex-butterflies.org.uk (type the email address manually into your usual email system without the gaps - it is written with gaps above to avoid spam). This page is updated as often as possible, usually daily.


Do send in digital photos of butterflies and moths taken in Sussex (as jpegs, 72 dpi, 240x180 pixels please) - particularly welcome are species or stages of the life cycle not yet in our galleries.


If you have are not yet a member of Butterfly Conservation, please do consider joining. You will automatically become a member of the Sussex branch if you live in the county. Click here to join online and to find out how your membership will help protect our threatened butterflies, moths and their habitats.

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Sat 31 March 2007

News for Weds 28 March: Swanborough found a further five Red Admiral caterpillars, making a total of 17 now under observation at Newhaven, Iford and Swanborough. Sites all south facing, but where sun is only just beginning to get shining again caterpillars still at second instar, whereas third, fourth and one hanging in pre- pupal stage yesterday, now pupated today ( three pupae in total ). They have now come up from the ground area and are in typical Red Admiral tent mode now. This has all happened since the weekend and warmer weather. Also one perfect specimen, obviously freshly emerged, attracting the attentions of an over amorous Peacock at the foot of Swanborough Hill. Newhaven pupa still showing no signs of colour to wing casing after three weeks - very long for Red Admiral, so metabolic rate must be extremely low. Does make me wonder whether this has happened in previous years but has just gone unnoticed. If you can get to any known nettle hot-spots, it is well worth looking as they are easy to see now compared with last week. Must be South facing and sheltered, as I am not finding them elsewhere. Mainly close to big walls and tall thick hedge edges. There have been scores overwintering in Ireland this year, and egg laying seems to have been going on in Ireland and Peterborough for some weeks now. They must be dotted all around Sussex and not just up the Ouse, although you don't normally expect to be looking for them this time of year! (Dave Harris, via Graham Parris)


Thurs 29 March

In my Rusper garden last night (28th March) I caught Early Grey, Small Quaker, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, Clouded Drab, Chestnut, Twin-spot Quaker, my first Double-striped Pug and Powdered Quaker of the year and 2 Red Chestnuts (this is only the 3rd and 4th specimen I have seen of this species). (Sam Bayley)

[Note: unhighlighted moths are those in the common March moths page]


Tues 27 March

At Roosthole, near Horsham (a.m.), male Brimstone common, 1 Comma 1 Orange Underwing (we think) flying in the sunshine. Cresworth Farm, Horsham (p.m.) 1 male Brimstone, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral (Tricia and Mike Hall)

Had my first Holly Blue and Speckled Wood at Thorney today. (Barry Collins)


On a walk around Cissbury today I saw about 30 Brimstone, 3 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and a Painted Lady which looked in very good condition. Back in my garden at Findon Valley there was 1 Comma. (Mike Snelling)


One or two butterflies very fast over the garden this morning (probably Peacock or Red Admiral). Then two early afternoon sightings of male Brimstone. (David Jode)

News for Mon 26 March: One or two butterflies very fast over the garden this morning (probably Peacock or Red Admiral). Then a Peacock seen early afternoon on the middle promenade between Holywell and the Wish Tower at Eastbourne. (David Jode)



Mon 26 March

Single Red Admiral and Speckled Wood on the wing in our Worthing garden. We don't usually see our first Speckled Woods in the garden until April. (John & Shena Maskell)

In Lower Vert wood, a Pine Beauty feeding on gorse (Clare Jeffers) (photo to follow)


Two Small White in my Brighton garden (Caroline Clarke)


On a walk through Arundel and around Swanbourne Lake, a total of 20 Brimstone (only 1 female), 2 Comma and 2 Peacock. A Small White in my parent's garden in Findon Valley (Neil Hulme).



Sun 25 March


Amazingly, the last week with its raw northerly winds has been the quietest of the winter for butterflies. Even with some nice sunshine and 13degreesC, there were no butterflies taking advantage of warm pockets at Beachy Head today. But at last, a sighting! -


A Red Admiral seen basking on a wall at Crawley Down, but not observed to feed on anything. (Jonathan Ruff)



Mon 19 March


Recent news: Fri 16 March: Of the 180 moths caught at Warnham Local Nature reserve there was a single Herald and a single Pine Beauty (below) which I have only caught once before (Sam Bayley)




Sun 18 March


The following galleries have all been updated with new images from Janet Richardson, Miker Hall, Mike Snelling, Ralph Hobbs and Michael Blencowe: Butterflies: Peacock, Painted Lady. Moths: March, E, O, H, M, S, T, Y


A Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on pansies in the garden today at 1330 despite a very strong north-westerly wind blowing at the time. (David Pyle)


Sat 17 March

Mike Snelling's fantastic Herald, light-trapped on 13 March:

Recent news: Friday 16 March - Broadfield pond - 6 Commas and 1 Small Tortoiseshell.  - A first visit to Ifield in western Crawley during the early afternoon produced 5 Commas, 2 Brimstones (both male), 2 Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock. A casual search of the Blackthorn bushes revealed a Brown Hairstreak egg. Over at Broadfield pond I found 6 Commas, 2 Peacocks, 1 Red Admirals and 2 male Brimstones. While travelling on foot between home and the two sites I observed 4 Brimstones (3M, 1F) and a Comma along the eastern side of the A23. (Vince Massimo)

Fri 16 March

I was surprised to find a Scorched Carpet (below) near to my moth trap in Findon Valley last night. According to my moth books these don't normally appear until late April. (Mike Snelling)

Recent news: Weds 14 March: Comma on lawn in Wivelsfield Green garden . Flew away three times only to come back to same spot (Audrey Wende)

Fri 9 March 3 Brimstone at Chesworth Farm, Horsham; Thurs 8 March 2 Brimstone in our Mannings Heath Garden (Miker Hall)

Thurs 15 March

News for Weds 14 March: 2 sightings of male Brimstone in our East Dean garden. Also, possibly one Red Admiral but it was a bit quick for my old eyes! (David Jode)

Pagham Harbour LNR: Moth trap run on the evening of 14 March: 8 species, with Common Quaker by far the commonest (23). Extra to those species on March Moths page,  2 Angle Shades, 1 Dark Chestnut (very worn). Also on 14th, flying around the Visitor Centre, 10 Peacock and 2 Red Admiral (Ivan Lang)

RSPB Pulborough Brooks: The moth trap got its first work of 2007 on Tues-Weds night: 11 species, including large numbers of Small and Common Quakers, plus - extra to those shown on the March Moths page - Yellow-horned, Red Chestnut, and Early Thorn (Pete Hughes)

Weds 14 March

A big increase in Moths at my outside light in Edburton this week - 2 March Moths, Hebrew Character, Dotted Border, Small Quaker, Shoulder Stripe and The Engrailed. All so far have been earlier than last year although that was a cold spring. I'm in London during the day but my wife has seen Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell (Tony Wilson)

At Warnham Local Nature Reserve today, my first Holly Blue, a Peacock and a Comma. Also two Orange Underwing flying around the birch trees in Millpond Plantation. (Sam Bayley)

Many thanks to Dave Harris for his interesting reply on Red Admiral larvae, which indicates he has carried out some diligant searching as well as keeping a close eye on larvae discovered earlier. The preponderance of 'green' larvae is intriguing as are the suggested hypotheses - 'coincidence' quite possibly, 'genetics' meaning all from same egg-laying female with a trait for producing green larvae? Or could they even be cold temperature induced? The usual camouflage benefits to counteract increased exposure time to predators over an extended larval period would not seem convincing in this case given the larvae are tightly hidden away in their overwintering tents! What proportion of summer larvae are the 'green' form one wonders? More winter observations or even temperature experiments could be interesting. (Ralph Hobbs)

Tues 13 March

Amongst the moths trapped overnight were two new ones for me - a March Moth and the other a super Herald - (photos to follow) (Mike Snelling)

News for 12 Mar: Male Brimstone over Micheldene Road (behind the shops) in East Dean (David and Carole Jode)

I seem to be seeing more Peacocks this year - at Cissbury, 4 were seen and another was in my garden at Findon Valley. Also saw 1 Comma and 12 Brimstone at Cissbury yesterday. There also seem to be a lot of ladybirds around. I'm not an expert in these insects but most seem to be 6 spot - although there was a tiny 2 spot in my moth trap last night and a 10 spot on Cissbury yesterday. (Mike Snelling)

Moth trap at Pagham Harbour had 23 Common Quaker, 2 Small Quaker, 3 Clouded Drab, 1 Oak Beauty, 1 Hebrew Character, compared with just 3 Common Quaker & 1 Twin-spotted Quaker on 8 March - things starting to pick up with the warmer weather (Ivan Lang)

Peacock along the Cuckmere River TV9851, the only butterfly I saw from Seaford to the Cuckmere and back. Red Admiral in my garden TQ6907 on 9 and 10 Mar. (Janet Richardson)

Mon 12 March

Two Commas in my Brighton garden (Caroline Clarke)

At Warnham Local Nature Reserve today, 2 Brimstone, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Comma, whilst at Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods at least 8 Brimstone and 1 Comma were present. (Sam Bayley)

Peacock basking in sun in my Keymer garden. 3 Brimstones in flight along lanes between Keymer and Ditchling, one on flowers of Lesser celandines. (Malcolm Le Grys).

4 Brimstone, Red Admiral and Comma in my garden in Forestside, West Sussex (SU7512) this morning. (David Parker)

News for Sun 11 Mar: in garden two Peacocks, a Small Tortoiseshell and two Small Whites (what is our weather doing?!). (Dave Harris)

News for Fri 9 Mar: A Hummingbird Hawkmoth in a Gundreda Road, Lewes garden and on 10 Mar one in my daughter's garden about half a mile from previous. Peacocks and Commas in the same garden quite frequently. In my own garden in Kingston a male Brimstone frequently patrolling the same route without stopping to refuel. (John Holloway)

Ralph Hobbs was curious about where Dave Harris is finding Red Admiral larvae, "since nettles usually die right back to nothing over winter. Has this die-back not happened in a sheltered spot, and the larvae remained within their own spun together leaf? Or perhaps the spun leaves are dead and dry but still hold comotose larvae. And has he kept watch on the same nettles since last autumn or are they a recent find? Or maybe are they in captivity but held outdoors?"

Dave's reply: Their success this year appears to be down to quite a bit of luck. Firstly the return migration was stronger and later in the season than normal (perhaps due to the exceptional September?). Strong south and southwest winds then caused them to 'bank up' on this side of the Channel, and perhaps unsurprisingly there was a lot of late egg-laying with females seen laying as late as 2 Dec on nettles that remained healthy due to lack of frosts. This lack of frosts meant that the usual die-back did not occur until quite a bit later than usual, mainly following the extreme southwesterly winds prior to and just after the snows. This did indeed spell the death knell for most of the caterpillars, but by then a small regrowth was beginning at the base of the old stems, and those that had clung on presumably scrambled from their shed old tent leaf onto the tiny new shoots. Of 65 caterpillars before die back only four now remain (one now a very dark black chrysalid). An interesting feature is that their tents have remained at or just above ground level even now with growth of several inches. Also, the tents appear to be much 'tighter' than is usually the case with Red Admirals. Perhaps this is helping to control temperature? It is correct that only nettles in the more sheltered areas are now harbouring caterpillars (these did not succumb so early to die back). In the case of the recently discovered duo at Swanborough, this was against a south-facing farm wall, and I do not believe these plants suffered from die - back at all, although again the tents were low down and well wrapped. Curiously five of the six larvae have been of the ` green ` form - genetics or coincidence?

Sun 11 March

New on the website is the first of a series of galleries designed to help anyone taking up mothing. The March Moths gallery does what is says - it shows species likely to be found in garden light traps in Sussex, even in built-up areas, during March.

Peacock at Telscombe village today. Also Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Kipling's gardens, Rottingdean on 10 Mar and single Comma and Brimstone by railway line, Hollingdean Road, Brighton on 7 Mar (Peter Whitcomb)

Photo below of Yellow Horned caught last night (Mike Snelling)

While strolling around Lower Vert Wood today I had about 25 sightings of Brimstone, not too sure how many individuals were involved but at one point I could see 3 at the same time. Also 2 Comma and a Peacock (Michael Blencowe)

10 Comma, 2 Peacock and 2 male Brimstone in Laughton Common Wood (AdrianThomas)

Red Admiral and Peacock nectaring together on my Daphne odora aureomarginata bush, the Red Admiral present for much of day. Red Admiral flying and basking in sun along lane beside Lodge Farm, Keymer. (Malcolm Le Grys).

A Peacock at Crawley Down today, and lots of bees (Jonathan Ruff)

5-6 Brimstone (all males) and 2 Comma seen by work party at Park Corner Heath today (Dave Mitchell)

On what must be the hottest day of the year (so far!); while travelling Eastbound on Emsworth Common Road adjacent to Southleigh Forest near Havant, a male Brimstone flew over the road near the junction with Monk's Hill near Westbourne (Richard Symonds Hayling Island)

News for Fri 9 Mar: Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my Lewes garden: earliest ever. (Michael Hawkins)

Sat 10 March

News for Thurs 8 March: Between noon and 1pm I counted 5 male Brimstones (1 in my Crawley garden, 2 along the A23, and 2 at Broadfield Pond on the southern side of the junction of the A2220 and A23 (TQ258354). ). A second walk took an identical route between 1.30 and 2.30 and produced 2 Commas at the pond and no Brimstones whatsoever. (Vince Massimo)

Amongst the moth catch on at Findon Valley were a Yellow Horned and a Twin-spot Quaker. The last two catches have increased very much but nothing very unusual - however I now know why Common Quaker is given it's name ! Also new for the galleries is Emmelina monodactyla caught 9th March. (Mike Snelling)

Oak Beauty (Ripe, 9 March, Michael Blencowe) and Twin-spotted Quaker (Findon, 8 March, Mike Snelling)

Fri 9 March

Peacock in pub garden at Alfriston (Caroline Clarke)

Comma in Peacehaven (Peter Francis)

A small and rather weak looking Comma, The Avenue, Lewes (Crispin Holloway)

Red Admiral again on Daphne odora and basking in sun. Another commonly grown winter-flowering shrub is of course Viburnum bodnantense, flowering even earlier in the winter than the daphnes - I recorded three Red Admirals nectaring on these on 4 Dec 2006 at Arundel WWT - and they follow on from the ivy flowers which are of course highly favoured by the species. So it seems that with a nectar supply available to the Red Admirals through the winter, together with our milder (and even sunnier!) winters and rotting fruit (such as Ralph Hobbs' over-ripe bananas!!) , they have indeed the stamina to sustain a full twelve-month flight period. (Malcolm Le Grys).

News for Thurs 8 March: A Comma was out in a woodland clearing, just north of the University of Sussex campus, Falmer (Nick Balding)

Our first identifiable garden butterflies of 2007 - one Peacock today in our East Dean garden and 2 sightings of male Brimstone (David and Carole Jode)

Dusted off the old moth trap for its first outing of 2007. Had 16 moths in the trap including the monster of the catch, an Oak Beauty (Michael Blencowe)

Thurs 8 Mar

Male Brimstone in my Brighton suburban garden (Caroline Clarke)

Red Admiral, Comma and Peacock on circular walk around Thorney Island (Steve Gilbert)

Red Admiral flying around and basking in sun at Oldlands Mill, Keymer (Malcolm Le Grys).

News for Weds 7 Mar - Faded and tatty Red Admiral nr. woods Swanborough Hill, two overwintering Red Admiral caterpillars ( second / third moults ) Swanborough Farm and fresh Red Admiral pupae Newhaven (Dave Harris)

News for Tues 5 Mar - A Hummingbird Hawkmoth in our gardenin Lower Willingdon, near Eastbourne. It was feeding on a shrub called Daphne odora 'walberton' (David Rowlinson)

Seems like Daphne odora is doing great things for our new overwinterers - Malcolm le Grys sent me the following extra information about the plant -  My D. odora aureomarginata  is now several years old, and without fail bursts into flower every year in late Jan/early Feb with several hundred clusters of pinkish-white highly fragrant blooms, obviously nectar-rich and a valuable source of sustenance. They are commonly available from garden centres. Two years ago I planted three Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill', again highly fragrant with a similar late Jan. flowering time - these grow larger that the odora, more small tree size, but are just as good - they have a lot of them at Wakehurst Place, Ardingly and they fill the winter air with a heady fragrance. It seems to me that with winter-flowering shrubs such as these, combined with climate change, this winter's records appear to indicate that we now have our first ever butterfly capable of surviving a full 12-month flight pattern - the Red Admiral!!

Weds 7 March

Over 20 more Sussex moth images courtesy of Sarah Patton added to the galleries (almost every gallery has been changed) - all sorts of fascinating stuff including wingless female Vapourer moth attracting the winged male, Ni Moth, and Garden Tiger.

I reported on 3 March that I had seen a Comma in my garden in south Crawley and was pleased to see that it was the first sighting of the year in Sussex. However, in view of the following I have to say there is now an element of doubt in my mind. This is firstly because I did not see it at rest, but mainly because at 2.15 today I saw an immaculate LARGE TORTOISESHELL in the same location. It was flying across the front gardens of my property and those of my neighbours. I had just returned from a butterfly spotting walk and still had my binoculars in hand. I got a 20 second view when it landed and basked with wings fully open high on a south facing wall, and can confirm this as a 100% sighting. In flight, it did look much like a Comma particularly because of its rusty brown colouration, and this is possibly what I saw on 3 March. It must therefore be hibernating somewhere very nearby. Over the next few days I will do my utmost to get photographic proof as I am hopeful that it will return. In the circumstances, please treat my comma sighting as unconfirmed. Also in my garden today were a Red Admiral and a female Brimstone. (Vince Massimo via Barbara Perry)

A small BC/SDJC work party on the Downs near Amberley were rewarded with their first sightings for 2007 of a male Brimstone and a female adder. (Neil and Eric Hulme, Simon Mockford)

An immaculate Red Admiral in my Keymer garden most of today, nectaring on abundant flowers of my Daphne odora aureomarginata and basking in sun (Malcolm Le Grys).

Red Admiral at Eridge (Adrian Thomas)

Male Brimstone A27 SE of Glynde, opposite Firle Park (Derek and Karen Pritty)

A pair of Small Tortoiseshells chasing over my Steyning garden, and a male Brimstone (Keith Noble)

A Comma flying through my garden in Crawley Down , but not finding anything to feed on unfortunately. Ambient temperature 12deg C, clear and sunny. (Jonathan Ruff)

Today's spring like weather produced my first Comma of the year in my Seaford garden. It spent some time nectaring on winter flowering heather. (Roy Neeve)

Sun 4 March

Pale Pinion in the overnight trap at Findon (Mike Snelling)

Sat 3 March

My first Brimstone of 2007 in my Steyning garden today (Keith Noble)

Two good sightings in the early afternoon in southern Crawley. The first was a Comma [since withdrawn] (as last year, red denotes first Sussex sighting of the year) which was fluttering around in my garden in Southgate. Shortly afterwards there was a Red Admiral (a male judging by the size), found basking on the road near the Half Moon pub. It was in very good condition and probably the same one I saw on 1st March in the same place. (Vince Massimo via Barbara Perry)

News for 2 March: Brimstone (male) Ebernoe churchyard (Margaret Hibbard)

News for 1 March: A Hummingbird Hawkmoth on Eastbourne promenade  systematically working a row of beach cabins at the Holywell end, going into each porchway and giving particular attention to each number plate and a nearby air vent. It did this to maybe ten chalets before flying up into the cliff garden.  Was it seeking salt? And another in a back garden in Seaford. (per www.sos.org.uk)

Fri 2 March

Herts & Middlesex branch of BC have initiated a White-letter Hairstreak recording project this year, supported by some excellent web pages. The survey tips pages in particular are very useful, and may help you connect with this tricky species even if you are not taking part in the formal survey. The project involves using randomly allocated squares across the country to check the known distribution, but they would also welcome information from sites you know or find this year. The White-letter Hairstreak butterfly has been identified as a Candidate UK Priority Species due to population declines picked up by the British Monitoring Scheme (BMS). However, this is a small and somewhat elusive arboreal species that can be quite difficult to monitor effectively when using the standard transect recording method. The experience of some recorders is that the White-letter Hairstreak is often more common than is generally appreciated, and it is hoped that this project will confirm whether this distribution and population strength is repeated across the species' range. (Dan Hoare, South East Regional Officer, Butterfly Conservation)

Male Brimstone over Micheldene Road (behind the shops) in East Dean on 2nd March. (David and Carole Jode)

News for 1 March: A different individual Red Admiral on the over-ripe bananas this morning in my Westfield garden. A small male today, contrasting well with the large female photographed on 17 February. (Ralph Hobbs)

Thurs 1 March

Our second but first recognisable sighting of the year a Red Admiral in a private garden in Greenwell Close Seaford (David and Carole Jode)

What to look for in March

  • Butterflies: Any burst of spring-like weather should see our five species of butterfly that overwinter as adults (Peacock, Brimstone, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral) emerging from hibernation. By the last week of the month, we can also expect to see the first Large Whites, Small Whites and Green-veined Whites on the wing, and if we have plenty of mild weather in the month, there is the chance of Holly Blue, Orange Tip and Speckled Wood emerging too.
  • Moths: Slowly, the number of moth species increases. Expect Pale Brindled Beauty, Brindled Beauty, Small Quaker, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Twin-spotted Quaker, Hebrew Character, Chestnut and Early Grey in most moth traps including those in gardens.

Weds 28 Feb

Congratulations to Karen Pritty and her team of volunteer event leaders for the great 2007 programme of Sussex Branch Butterfly Conservation field trips - get your diaries to hand and check out all the dates on the Events page of the website.

Readers  may be interested in a factual colour computer presentation I do about the "Natural History of Mill Hill", including the flora and fauna especially the nationally important population of Chalkhill Blue and thirty other species of butterflies. The talk debuted at the Southwick (Sussex) Society in February. Cheers. Andy Horton glaucus@hotmail.com

Tues 27 Feb

The photo galleries are now up to date, with now 300 photos of moths and 170 photos of butterflies, all taken in Sussex, and all accessible from the Sussex species section on the side menu. Alongside the wonderful selection submitted by Michael Blencowe, I am delighted that we also have several images from Sarah Patton, including what was a UK first when she found it in May 2005, hence known as Patton's Tiger.

The number of moths seen recently in my trap in Findon Valley have started to increase - but are still very few. The only really attractive one was this Early Grey (see Galleries) on 16 Feb, although the Oak Beauty on the 24th Feb was nice but had lost several scales. My first Hebrew Character appeared last night. (Mike Snelling)

Mon 26 Feb

The only damp note regarding the many sightings of Red Admirals comes from the spring issue of our national magazine which points out that the specimens seen flying are unlikely to survive due to an absence of nectar sources. (Bill Taylor)

News for 18 Feb: First trap of the year produced 2 Common Quaker, 2 Chestnut, 1 Grey Shoulder-knot and a Pale Brindled Beauty (Fernhurst).

Thurs 22 Feb

News for Weds 21 Feb: 1 Red Admiral in Rusper Road, Crawley, and 4 on a Daphne at Buchan Hill, Pease Pottage in the afternoon (Chris Prince)

The 2006 Warden's Report for The Horsham District Council Countryside Sites (Warnham LNR, Southwater CP, Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods, Sandgate Park and Chesworth Farm) will be on sale from 3 March for 5.00. This 119-page full-colour book has a full report of butterflies and moths as well as other wildlife, and includes a comprehensive species list for each site. For a copy contact sam.bayley"AT"horsham.gov.uk or tel 07734 231003. The Report will also be available at Southwater CP and Warnham LNR and will be on sale at The Sussex Biological Recorders' Seminar, Adastra Hall, Hassocks on 3 March. (Sam Bayley)

Weds 21 Feb

A rather tatty Red Admiral seen at Scaynes Hill 11am (Carol Smith)

Sussex branch members - remember the deadline for the next newsletter is 28 February - all contributions to Yvonne McCulloch by then please. Also those who have submitted photos recently, please bear with me as I am currently preparing and downloading over 250 new photos for the website. Dozens of new moth photos are already online so do check the galleries out.

Is it possible to ask visitors to the website to keep away from the following Sussex Toad crossing points, if an alternative route is available, during the hours of darkness for the next few weeks: Exceat/Litlington Road near Seaford; The Grove in Hailsham; Harlands Estate in Uckfield; Knowle Lane in Halland; A275 at Offham; Underhill in Maresfield (David Jode)

Pagham Harbour LNR: Moth trap run on:

20 Feb: Clouded Drab 1, Chestnut 1.

19 Feb: Pale Brindled Beauty 1, Oak Beauty 1 Common Quaker 2, Clouded Drab 1.

18 Feb: Pale Brindled Beauty 2, Oak Beauty 1, Emmelina monodactyla 1 (Ivan Lang)

An intriguing record from last summer shows the benefits of digital cameras these days: I was looking though pictures I had taken in the summer, and noticed a Purple Emperor in front of this oak. My notes for that day say that I had a brief sighting of a large butterfly being attacked by hornets (which live in this tree) at that location (edge of Binsted Wood). (Alexander Henderson)

Here is Alexander's photo, and then a close-up of the unintentional subject! The butterfly is just visible in the left-hand picture just left and down from centre.


Tues 20 Feb

News for Sat 17 Feb: 2 Red Admirals and 1 Peacock, Lewes, East Sussex (Crispin Holloway)

Sun 18 Feb

News for Sat 17 Feb:

Male Brimstone spent couple of hours in the garden, Red Admiral back on the over-ripe bananas. (Ralph Hobbs)

Brimstone butterfly passed through my Lindfield garden at about noon yesterday (Colin Brand)

At noon today one Brimstone crossed my garden in Ringmer. Didn't look too tatty either! (Anne Broadhurst)

Sat 17 Feb

While we were out for a stroll today along the beach south of the Hove Lagoon we saw a Hummingbird Hawkmoth at 2.20pm. It was hovering well and looked in good shape and was investigating the small shingle cliff by the rocky breakwater just west of the 'Private Beach' at Basin Road South, Hove. (Chrisrine Burgess)

Ashdown forest: Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone. Singing Woodlarks. (Tom Ottley)

Two Red Admirals in Fernhurst today and one at Iping Common. (Sarah Patton)

Red Admiral flying at Ashdown Forest Garden Centre, Duddleswell in the Saturday lunchtime sunshine. Another spotted at Eridge. (Pete Meiners/Haley Whittall)

News for Thurs 15 Feb: My wife & I saw two butterflies, probably both Red Admirals but they were too high up and quick for us to be completely sure. The first was in a park in Worthing (but flying near the neighbouring houses) and the second in the streets of west Hove. (John Heys)

Fri 16 Feb

Recent news:

Moths have been thin on the ground for me in Findon so far this year but my first Small Quaker caught last night (photo to come) and one or two Pale Brindled Beauties have appeared in recent days. So hopefully things are about to change. (Mike Snelling)

A Red Admiral flew into my parent's conservatory in Findon Valley yesterday, 15 Feb (Neil Hulme).

www.rxwildlife.org.uk is reporting a Red Admiral at the viewpoint which I believe is Castle Water on Thurs 15 Feb (per David Jode)

On Sat 3 Feb, I saw a Small Tortoiseshell flying and sunning itself at foot of chalk cliffs at Portobello beach by the outfall works Telscombe Cliffs. (David West)

Thurs 15 Feb

Yes, not a single butterfly record for 10 days now; has that cold spell done them in for a while? And has you webmaster been idle? Not a chance - I am grateful to have been sent a CD from Michael Blencowe stuffed with images of some 200 moth and butterfly species taken in Sussex in 2006 to add to our galleries. Moth species starting with A and B have been added today. Follow this link to check them out. More to follow...

Mon 5 Feb

CORRECTION: The CAMBERWELL BEAUTY was found at Peasmarsh

Once again a Red Admiral was teased out in the sunshine today at Seaford (Roy Neeve)

News for Sat 3 Feb: A Brimstone was fluttering around a nice warm sheltered corner of our garden in Coldwaltham, nr. Pulborough on Saturday. ((Gary Trew)

Recent news: The Adastra website reported a Red Admiral in Fernhurst and three on Ambersham Common on 3rd,  one on 27 Jan on Graffham Common, and a female Brimstone on Selham Common on 20 Jan.

Sun 4 Feb

Hibernating CAMBERWELL BEAUTY found near Beckley in East Sussex. The butterfly, almost certainly a male, is in good condition, and is in the care of a Sussex Butterfly Conservation. Branch Member; hopefully he can get it through the winter. (Graham Parris)

Sat 3 Feb

1 Red Admiral, seen by Louise Holloway. The Avenue, Lewes. Probably the same one as last week which was notably orange. (Crispin Holloway)

One Red Admiral attracted to over-ripe bananas on the bird table this afternoon at Westfield. My persistence with providing a constant source through the winter (for the first time) is paying off! This also suggests it may well be one of the same autumn individuals returning to its 'known' food source. (Ralph Hobbs)

Red Admiral in the garden here at Broad Oak at lunchtime today, fluttering around the front door and a Christmas Box before heading off over the trees. Although sunny and warm when out of the breeze, the temperature was only about 10C. (Stuart Cooper)

Red Admiral near Ebernoe, with another nearby in private garden on 31 Jan (Margaret Hibbard)

Red Admiral again in Peacehaven garden (Adrian Thomas)

A Red Admiral spent about an hour in the garden here at Crawley Down today sunning itself on a fence and nectaring on Viburnum. My books do not highlight Viburnum as a food source for butterflies; perhaps there is no other food in the area at present. Ambient temp 10 deg C, after a frosty night. Also several bees on the wing, and next door neighbour is mowing the lawn. Has spring arrived? (Jonathan Ruff)

Fri 2 Feb

Wadhurst: Saw a Peacock this morning in a neighbours garden, conditions warm and sunny. Moth trap records for January: 20/1/07 Commons Quaker; 30/1/07 Pale Brindled Beauty, Spring Usher, Chestnut, Satellite (Andy Adams)

Had my first butterfly (Red Admiral) in my Seaford garden (Roy Neeve)

Red Admiral in my Lewes garden (Michael Hawkins)

Red Admiral in my Peacehaven garden nectaring on Viburnum (Adrian Thomas)

Thurs 1 Feb

Red Admiral in the garden in North Seaford on 31 January and Peacock flying in dull but very mild conditions on 1 Feb in valley between Bo Peep and High and Over. (Bob Eade).

News for 31 Jan:  Ran a Moth Trap o at Pagham Harbour LNR. Results 1 Pearly Underwing, 1 Chestnut, 1 Spring Usher (Ivan Lang)

News for late Jan: Am being visited by a Mottled Umber quite regularly here in Crawley Down. (Jonathan Ruff)

What to look for in February:

  • Butterflies: It usually takes some mild sunny early-spring weather to tempt our five species that overwinter as adults (Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral and Comma) out of hibernation.
  • Moths: A surprising number of species are on the wing on mild February nights, albeit usually in small numbers. Garden species include the March Moth, Early Thorn, Pale-brindled Beauty, Oak Beauty, Spring Usher, Dotted Border, Red Chestnut, Satellite, Chestnut and Dark Chestnut.

In 2006, with the website still in its infancy, there were no butterfly records reported in Sussex in February. If the number of overwintering Red Admirals this year have anything to say about it, I think we could beat that total this year!

Weds 31 Jan

News for 27 Jan: Small Tortoiseshell reported from Steyning Levels (per www.sos.org.uk)

As webmaster I have been sent news from Borderline Holidays who are running a butterfly trip to the French Pyrenees. Follow the link www.borderlinehols.com/butfly.html for more details.

Tues 30 Jan

The first Pale-brindled Beauty of the year here in Edburton tonight. Also Early Moth and Mottled Umber recently (Tony Wilson)

Mon 29 Jan

News for Sat 27 Jan: I saw my first butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral (partly worn), flying alongside a bridleway bordered by woodland near the visitors entrance on the Kingley Vale Nature Reserve in West Sussex. The temperature at this time (11:45) was between 10-12 centigrade. (Richard Symonds, Hayling Island)

Sun 28 Jan

Yet another sighting of a Red Admiral today flying by my garage at Wadhurst East Sussex 1.30pm, conditions dull, slightly breezy, temp 8c. (Andy Adams)

News for Sat 27 Jan: Red Admiral flying purposefully North over garden ( Newhaven ). Still a handful of overwintering Red Admiral caterpillars despite recent storms and snow. (D Harris)

Sat 27 Jan

Two Peacocks in the Cuckmere Valley (Chyngton Farm) (Carol Kemp, Heathfield)

Red Admiral nectaring on ornamental heather, Lewes, East Sussex. It is still about, even after the storms, snow and cold weather! (also Honey Bees and bumble bees) (Crispin Holloway)

Thurs 25 Jan

A message to the Adastra egroup reported a female Brimstone in Sussex on the wing on Sat 20 Jan. No location reported.

Sun 21 Jan

Red Admiral seen flying and basking in garden. (Carol Kemp, Heathfield).

News for Sat 20 Jan: 1 Red Admiral flitting around my Brighton suburban garden. (Caroline Clarke)

My first sighting of the year was, sadly, a recently dead Peacock outside our front door in Saltdean on Sat 20 Jan. Looking forward to a live sighting soon. (David West)

I am a member of Herts & Middlesex Branch and on Friday 19 January while visiting a friend I saw a Red Admiral flying around at Wych Cross garden centre at about 11.30 a.m. An added bonus was finding an Escallonia bifida for sale which hopefully will attract more butterflies to my own garden! (Malcolm Newland) [There is a magnificent Escallonia bifida in the tropical garden at Great Dixter (East Sussex) which becomes covered in Red Admirals in autumn - Editor]

Sat 20 Jan

Red Admiral basking in sun at 11.45a.m on south-facing wall of bungalow at Oakfield Close, Lindfield, exactly the same spot as the one I reported six days ago . Unlike the tattered individual seen on 14th (photo in Galleries) however, today's butterfly was in pristine condition and, after sunning itself on the wall for a few minutes, flew strongly away across neighbouring gardens. (Malcolm Le Grys)

Thurs 18 Jan

News for 17 Jan: A Red Admiral was flitting around my study window in East Chiltington near Lewes (Mary Parker)

News for 14 Jan: 1 Red Admiral fluttering around and sunning in my garden in Sharpthorne, West Sussex (Dr Angela Glynn)

Mon 15 Jan

A Red Admiral sunning itself in our Worthing garden this morning was our first butterfly observation of the year. (John & Shena Maskell)

Sun 14 Jan

Red Admiral basking in sun on south-facing wall and windows of bungalow at Oakfield Close, Lindfield at 12.15pm. A rather faded & tattered individual but quite lively as it repeatedly fluttered around before returning to bask in sun for several minutes at a time (Malcolm Le Grys).

Kingley Vale Nature Reserve (SU 8320087), near Chichester: 3 Red Admiral enjoying the unseasonably warm sunshine. (Kevin, Caroline, Miles & Ed Clarke)

Red Admiral seen by work party at Park Corner Heath (Dave Mitchell)

Warnham Local Nature Reserve: Spring is here!! A Red Admiral seen in the car park followed by a Peacock seen sunning itself next to a Common Lizard. Some of the Daffodils have been in flower for a couple of weeks, all the birds are singing and setting up territories and even nest-building and I feel encouraged to go back to shorts and t-shirt!!! (Sam Bayley)

Weds 10 Jan

News for Sun 7 Jan: A Peacock butterfly flying around a woodpile at my home in Wadhurst. Conditions were dull, windy and cool. Rather surprising for the time of year. (Andy Adams)

News for Fri 5 Jan: There were eight Winter Moths on my back door in Edburton, and in the Galleries is a picture of one of the five December Moths seen on 13 Dec and a Sprawler from November (Tony Wilson)

Tues 9 Jan

Red Admiral on the wing in my north Peacehaven garden today (Dave Palmer)

Late news for 2006: 30 Dec, at 12.30p.m. one Red Admiral flying in my garden (Seaford)! It was very mild with sunny intervals, & surprising after the previous night's rain and gales. (Sylvia Kellaway)

Weds 3 Jan

Happy New Year to all BC members. A five minute search of blackthorns at the base of Cissbury Ring today (2nd Jan 2007) revealed 2 Brown Hairstreak eggs. A great start to 2007, with this being a new site for the species. (Neil Hulme)

News for 1 Jan: A Red Admiral seen in my Felpham garden for over half an hour. It spent most of the time sunning itself on our south facing walls. (Sally Manning)

The Sussex Ornithological Society website (www.sos.org.uk) reported "2 Red Admiral and possibly a Small Tortoiseshell at Pulborough and a Peacock near Hamsleys Farm"

Tues 2 Jan

1 Red Admiral seen by the visitor centre at Warnham Local Nature Reserve today (Sam Bayley)

News for 1 Jan: The following was also reported on the Adastra website :"Two Red Admirals in the far north-west of the county - one outside a house in Fernhurst and one in the woods on Blackdown Hill, near Haslemere".

News for 30 Dec:  Also from the Adastra website, from a Seaford garden: "About 65 Red Admiral caterpillars, at various stages of development. Assuming winds don't strip the leaves off the stalks and the frosts stay away then we may well be in for some good numbers of fresh new non- migrant butterflies in about early to mid February. No Painted Lady caterpillars, though, although I did see them laying quite late, too."

Mon 1 Jan 2007

And so it proved to be that we didn't have to wait very long for the first butterfly record of the year! But how will all these adventurous Red Admirals fare with the cold February that those studying the combined effects of El Nino and the North Atlantic Oscillation are predicting?!

Red Admiral in the sun on a pile of manure near Laughton Common Wood (Michael Blencowe)



Earlier Sightings


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