Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Send Sussex butterfly and moth sightings to sighting 'at' sussex-butterflies.org.uk (type the email address manually into your usual email system and replace "AT" with @). This page is updated as often as possible, usually daily. Red sightings are first of the year, purple are moths.

Weblink for national 2008 Painted Lady and Hummingbird Hawkmoth survey

Send digital photos of butterflies and moths taken in Sussex to photo 'at' sussex-butterflies.org.uk. Please do not send attachments larger than 1MB.

Click here for the Sussex Moth Group webpages

Calling all 12-16 year olds - check out the Sussex Butterfly Conservation Prize Photography Competition here - closing date 30 September 2008

"Colin Pratt’s Silver Trophy Cup for Sussex Lepidopterists" - here

Next event: Saturday 10 May 10:30am. Identifying and Recording Butterflies, Weights Wood - Great Dixter


Monday 31 March 2008


Last night there was a reasonable mix of moths in/around my light trap.( 21 moths of 8 species.) The highlights were my first Shoulder Stripe, a Pale Pinion and an early male Muslin Moth. In the garden briefly yesterday was my first Brimstone of the year. (Mike Snelling)

News for Sat 29 Mar Our first butterfly sighting of the year - 1 Small Tortoiseshell on the path beside the Royal Military Canal at Pett. (Carole & David Jode)


Sunday 30 March 2008


News for Sat 29 Mar: A Small White was found flying in our sitting room in Mountfield during the afternoon. It possibly came into the house (as a chrysalis?) on logs brought indoors from an under-cover store where they had lain for a year or so. (Robin Harris)



Saturday 29 March 2008


If you know of any 12-16 year olds in the county who might like to take part in our new photography competition (see box above or Homepage), or whose school might like to take part, then please point them in the direction of this website. We hope it will be a great way to get young people interested and involved in wildlife - and there are prizes on offer too just for that added incentive!


Peacock at Arlington reservoir this morning (Adrian Thomas)


Wednesday 26 March


After a miserable, cold week, just a touch of sunshine and spring warmth and you get the feeling that things are just waiting to get on the move!

My first Brimstone of 2008 was seen in South Lancing garden feeding on Aubretia and a bit on Hyacinth. Four Peacocks were seen in under an hour on the downs north of Shoreham, the first faded specimen at the top of the Pixie Path to Mill Hill, the second and third left the lower slopes of Mill Hill, and the fourth one was in the extreme north-west corner of Mill Hill Nature Reserve next to the Old Erringham pasture. (Andy Horton)

An evening walk around Friston Forest in the rain turned up four moth species: Early Thorn, March Tubic (Diurnea fagella), Engrailed and a Water Carpet (Michael Blencowe & Steven Teale)

A fresh male Orange-tip and male Small White in my garden today in Broadbridge Heath. (Susie Milbank)

A Peacock seen enjoying a brief spell of spring sunshine at the far end of Swanbourne Lake in Arundel. A visit to the town is well worthwhile as numerous Water Voles can be seen, often at very close range, along the 'moat' banks in Mill Road. (Neil Hulme)

After a complete absence of moths for about a week a warmer night had an immediate effect with the following around my outside light this morning: Mottled Grey, March Moth, Small Quaker, Hebrew Character and March Tubic (Tony Wilson)

Friday 21 March

News for Weds 19 Mar: I had my first sighting of a Peacock butterfly on the 19th March here in Newhaven. when one settled on my garden frame in the sunshine. It looked in good condition. (Ronald Lee)

Thursday 20 March

News from BC headquarters: Throughout 2008, Butterfly Conservation will be running an online survey (at www.butterfly-conservation.org, or click on National website link in the Menu bar) of Hummingbird Hawkmoths and Painted Ladies in association with Radio 4’s series World on the Move and as part of the Garden Moths Count initiative. Anyone who sees either of the species can use the simple, interactive mapping on the website to zoom in on satellite images (down to the scale of gardens) and log their sightings. This will enable us to track the arrival in the UK of these creatures on their journey from North Africa and southern Europe, and then to map their spread here during the summer.


Tuesday 18 March


Recent news: I managed four nights trapping during the past week, despite the poor weather. Although Newhaven doesn't appear to have caught up with the riches further inland, I did manage a 'season's-best' 19 on Friday night! The week's total was 22 moths of 10 species: March Tubic, Light Brown Apple Moth (3), Common Plume, Double-striped Pug (3), Oak Beauty (3), Small Quaker (3), Common Quaker (4), Hebrew Character (2), Early Grey, and one Garden Tiger larva on a nettle leaf. (Steven Teale)



Sunday 16 March


Check out the events pages for the Sussex Moth Group calendar of events for 2008 and for more events from the BC Rother Woods Project. The full calendar from Sussex BC to be appended shortly, but it looks like a bumper programme of events to get involved with this year.

I seem to have finally broken the back of the Small Quakers with only a mere 159 last night in my garden as well as: Shoulder-stripe 3, March Tubic (Diurnea fagella) 2, Twin-spotted Quaker 5, Early Grey 2, Hebrew Character 9, Clouded Drab 5, Common Quaker 15, Chestnut 1, March Moth 1, Brindled Beauty 1, Early Thorn 3, Red Chestnut 3. 209 in total (Sam Bayley)

News for Sat 15 Mar: 1 Red Admiral at Kingston village green. (Kevin Clarke)

News for Sat 15 Mar: A Brimstone was seen flying on the A24 roundabout at Findon this afternoon. A further Brimstone was then seen flying in the carpark at RSPB Pulborough Brooks (John & Shena Maskell)

News for Sat 15 Mar: In my garden in Edburton a Comma was disturbed from hibernation inside a bush and moths included Shoulder Stripe, Early Grey, Hebrew Character and March Tubic (Tony Wilson)

News for Sat 15 Mar: I saw my first Comma of the year this morning at Norton, to the north of Bishopstone. (Steven Teale)


Saturday 15 March

I saw my first Brimstone sighting of the year - a male was flying alongside the Broyle Road, Summersdale, Chichester (SU859069). (Richard Symonds Hayling Island)

News for Fri 14 March: Friston: There was a definite 'first day of spring' feel to this morning as I headed across the field to inspect my moth trap - Chiffchaffs singing, plenty of Buff-tailed Bumblebees buzzing about and (at last) more than one moth in the trap! In fact 50 moths of 15 species - Oak Beauty, Satellite, March Moth, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Pale Pinion, Dotted Border, Twin-spotted Quaker, Small Quaker, Angle Shades, Chestnut, Hebrew Character, Red-green Carpet, Tawny Pinion & Engrailed (Michael Blencowe)


Monday 10 March


Recent news: Not much to report from Newhaven during the past week - 10 moths of 6 species: Common Plume, Dotted Border, Common Quaker (4), Clouded Drab, b (2) & Chestnut. The Clouded Drab was my first recording of this species and the Chestnut was my first of 2008. I'm not planning too many trapping sessions this week! (Steven Teale)


Sunday 9 March

Park Corner Heath Day of Action:  There was a fantastic turnout to the Day Of Action on our reserve at Park Corner Heath today. Over 30 people put on their gloves and helped out with some important habitat management. The task was to clear an area adjacent to the reserve which had recently been cut down by forestry contractors which was knee-deep in pine branches and logs - not ideal butterfly habitat!. Everyone got down to work and we sawed, carried, dragged and threw the 'brash' off the site and what a difference! - we turned a disaster zone into a great woodland glade. As we finished the sun shone through the clouds and I hoped the Brimstones I had promised would honour us with a fly-past - but we had to settle for another beautiful sight instead - Caroline and Clare with a mountain of bacon sandwiches. A big thankyou for everyone who joined us today - it was great to see so many new faces joining the regulars on the reserve. Our next work party will be on 13 April.

Action Men (and Women); The Catering Department; The Work Party

Before; During; and After. The work will create an amazing corridor for Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries.


Recent news: Moths attracted to my outside light in Edburton over the last few nights have included a Brimstone Moth, Clouded Drab, 2 Hebrew Characters, 4 Small Quakers, March Moth, March Tubic and 2 Common Flat-bodies. (Tony Wilson)

Saturday 8 March

Overwintering update from Kingstanding in Ashdown Forest – 4 Peacocks still hibernating (3 left during the warm weather in Feb). The Herald found in January is still hibernating. (Steve Wheatley)

Please ignore comments of 22nd Jan ("Sadly all Red Admiral caterpillars under observation up the Ouse valley have now perished") - three Red Admiral caterpillars have made it through the winter here up the Ouse after all, so do have a look at your sheltered nettle patches - they are in proper 'tent' mode again. (Dave Harris)

Friday 7 March

First butterfly of March!

A Comma fluttered next to the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. It was in pristine condition and was restless, rarely settling for more than 15 seconds, and after a few minutes it flew off rapidly westwards. (Andy Horton)


Monday 3 March 2008

Not a bad week with the Skinner trap in Newhaven. I have seen: 1 March Tubic (Diurnea fagella), 2 Common Flat-body (Agonopterix heracliana), 4 Common Plume (Emmelina monodactyla), 1 Oak Beauty, 9 Dotted Border, and 1 each of Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Early Grey. I also saw an Angle Shades larva on a Hawthorn twig and a Vapourer cocoon with 100+ eggs on it on a Wych Elm twig. Ten species in one week is a definite improvement in my neck of the woods, although I do feel somewhat inferior to Sam Bayley! Still no butterflies. (Steven Teale)

Sunday 2 March 2008

Still catching strong here in my Warnham garden, last night I exceeded my last trapping session by catching 796 moths of 17 species, as follows: Common Flat-body (Agonopterix heracliana) - 1; Early Flat-body (Semioscopis avellana) - 8; Winter Shade (Tortricodes alternella) - 1; March Tubic (Diurnea fagella) - 5; Oak Beauty - 2; Hebrew Character - 5 ;Twin-spotted Quaker - 3; Lead-coloured Drab - 1; Clouded Drab - 7; March Moth - 3; Small Brindled Beauty - 1; Chestnut - 2; Engrailed - 1; Common Quaker - 26; Satellite - 1; Red Chestnut - 1; and Small Quaker - 728 (Sam Bayley)

Still catching strong here in my Peacehaven garden, last night I exceeded my last trapping session by catching 2 moths of 1 species, as follows: 2 Common Quaker (Adrian Thomas)

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 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.


Friday 29 February 2008

For some reason I still seen to be catching quite a few moths up in Horsham. Last night I trapped at Warnham LNR and had a total of 159 moths of 9 species (not quite as many as my last posting!). Common Quaker 12, March Moth 5, Hebrew Character 11, Clouded Drab 6, March Tubic (Diurnea fagella) 1, Small Brindled Beauty 3, Dotted Border 1, Early Grey 1 and Small Quaker 129. (Sam Bayley)

Last night's catch of moths was again small (11 moths - 8 species) but it again contained a species new for me. This was the unusual looking Spindle Smudge (Ypsolopha mucronella) - Sam Bayley has a good photo of one in the moth gallery. (Mike Snelling)

News for Thurs 28 Feb: A Hebrew Character was attracted to my porch light of my Crawley home this evening. (Vince Massimo)


Thursday 28 February 2008


Last nights moth catch was very modest - 11 moths (6 species) - but it did include a new species for me. This was a post-hibernation Amblyptilia Acanthadactyla (Beautiful Plume). I think 'beautiful' is stretching it a bit but certainly it had interesting markings. There was also a Dotted Border at the entrance to Worthing Golf Club this morning. (Mike Snelling)



Wednesday 27 February 2008

News for Tues 26 Jan: I ran my third moth trap of the year on Tuesday night and, after seeing Sam Bayley's amazing photos, braced myself for a deluge of lepidoptera. The result was 1 Common Quaker. The only moth I have trapped so far in 2008!. A small (micro) consolation was a Diurnea fagella (March Tubic) on the kitchen window. (Michael Blencowe)

Tuesday 26th February 2008

Moths tonight in David Burrows garden near Northiam - Small Brindled Beauty, March Moth, Twin-spotted Quaker, plus Small and Common Quakers. (Steve Wheatley)

A big 'Thankyou' to the Brighton Conservation Volunteers for joining Dan Hoare and myself for some coppicing in woodland near Laughton today. Some excellent habitat was created for fritillaries; lets hope the butterflies appreciate it in the spring. (Michael Blencowe)


Monday 25 February 2008


An amazing shot from Sam Bayley's moth trap on 23rd showing moths packed in like (flat) sardines! Most of the brown moths are Sam's biblical plague of Small Quakers, together with a couple of Oak Beauties. The image on the right shows a close-up of the red square on the left.




Sunday 24 February 2008


Remember, if you're intrigued by what you're missing if you have not yet taken up back-garden mothing, and feel tempted to try, check out our online guide on how to get started. And there are all our online galleries too to help with your identification.


News for Sat 23 Feb: Well who said February is quiet for moths. My third moth trapping in my new garden caught 731 moths of 18 species! Catch was as follows: Lichen Button (Acleris literana) - 2 Tufted Button (Acleris cristana) - 2 Rusty Birch Button (Acleris notana) - 2 Grey Birch Button (Acleris logiana) - 1 Winter Shade (Tortricodes alternella) - 27 Brown-spot Flat-body (Agonopterix alstromeriana) - 1 March Moth - 2 Dotted Border - 6 Common Quaker - 50 Spring Usher - 1 Oak Beauty - 4 Hebrew Character - 7 Pale Brindled Beauty - 4 Small Brindled Beauty - 23 Chestnut - 4 Satellite - 2 Clouded Drab - 1 and Small Quaker - an amazing 592! It took me an hour just collecting up the moths that were around the trap. (Sam Bayley)


Recent news: What a difference a day or two makes! I've gone from nothing at all in the trap to 30 moths of 13 different species over the past two nights. Highlights being an Acleris literana (Lichen Button) which looks like a tiny Merveille du Jour, a Small Brindled Beauty and a Yellow Horned as well as Small and Common Quakers, Hebrew Character and other usual suspects I also had a Bright-line Brown-eye which according to the books is about two months early. (Bob Foreman)


Small Brindled Beauty                             Yellow Horned                                       Acleris literana


Recent news: During the last four nights I have seen 1 Dingy Flat-body (Depressinaria daucella), 1 Common Flat-body (Agonopterix heracliana), 2 March Moth, 9 Dotted Border, 2 Early Moth, 1 Common Quaker and 1 Dark Chestnut - a total of 17 moths. Sadly, no further butterfly sightings as yet. (Steven Teale)


Dotted Border (11 Feb)                          March Moth (21 Feb)             Common Quaker


News for Sat 23 Feb: In our garden at Barcombe; 1 Satellite, 6 Common Quaker, 2 Small Brindled Beauty, 1 Oak Beauty, 2 March Moth, 7 Small Quaker, 1 Hebrew Character, 2 Dotted Border and 2 Dark Chestnut. Things are obviously hotting up, after several weeks of only catching one or two moths! (Janet & Clive Dickson)


Friday 22 February 2008

Many thanks to Simon Mockford (South Downs Joint Committee) and the SDJC 'Friday Club' volunteers for all their hard work today, doing habitat management work for the benefit of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly, on the Downs near Amberley today. (Neil Hulme)


Thursday 21 February 2008




News for 20 February: Red Admiral, splendid specimen at Hurstmonceux churchyard. (Roy Wells)



Wednesday 20 February 2008


News for 19 Feb: Red Admiral in Diplock Woods (Wannock Copse) basking in the sun in a newly coppiced area - looked rather tattered. Also, I have seen a Peacock in several places over the past week in this area of Wannock (Polegate), even on a grey and blustery day. Same one? (Susan Suleski)


News for 19 Feb: My first Small Tortoiseshell of the year was at Southwater Country Park today. (Sam Bayley)


News for 9 Feb: I saw a Red Admiral flying in sunshine over the path between the Indian War Memorial and Lower Standean Farm (above Patcham) (Keith MacIntosh)



Tuesday 19 February


1 Peacock at Park Corner Heath (Caroline Clarke)



Monday 18 February

2 Red Admirals seen basking just north of Half Moon Public House in Crawley. (Vince Massimo)

A Small Tortoiseshell beside the River Adur at Bramber today. (Paul & Bridget James)

Kingston near Lewes, E.Sussex: In the garden late morning a Peacock which I accidentally disturbed so didn't get more than a quick glimpse but it appeared to be in good condition. John Holloway


Sunday 17 February


Friston Forest: 1 Comma basking in the sun (Michael Blencowe)



Saturday 16 February

News for 13 Feb: At Warnham Nature Reserve on Wednesday 13th February, Peacock and Red Admiral. Also some rather late news: A Comma, at Rackham Woods on Tue 29 January, and a male Brimstone in Dawn Crescent on Sat 9 February. (Jim Steedman)

Wednesday 13 February

1 Small White passing through my Brighton sub-urban garden in warm sunshine. (Caroline Clarke)

News for 12 Feb: A Small Tortoiseshell flying about my mother’s garden in Hawkins Close, Shoreham by Sea, early afternoon in good sunshine.  Also several bumble bees. (Christine Burgess)

Tuesday 12 February

Single Peacock seen in flight on Truleigh Hill in the afternoon. (John Maskell)

In my 40w Actinic trap at home in Findon Valley I only caught 1 March Moth. The previous night catch was just 1 Red Chestnut. I wondered whether woodland trapping was any better at the moment - so last night I took my 15w trap to a wood near Storrington and ran it for about 90 minutes from 7.00 p.m. There were plenty of moths - about 30 in all. No surprises but Small Brindled Beauty, Dotted Border and lots of Tortricodes Alternella (Winter Shade) were new for me. (Mike Snelling)

Things are livening up! After the Brimstone (butterfly) and Red-letter Flat Body at Park Corner Heath on Sunday, I am very happy to report an end to my seven day moth drought, during which nothing visited my trap at home in Newhaven. On Sunday night I had an Early Moth and, on Monday night, a Dotted Border and Pale Brindled Beauty. A moderate return, but better than nothing and certainly a move in the right direction! (Steven Teale)

News for 11 Feb: Male Brimstone on ivy on wall outsiide house in Mill Hill Drive, Shoreham midday 11 Feb. (Stanley Allen)

Monday 11 February

The days have been bright and sunny for nearly a week here (in Eastbourne) with frosts at night and we have many flowers blooming early in the garden. When I stepped out of my door today at 1330hrs a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was hovering around Daphne odora aureo-marginata, a shrub with creamy-pink, sweetly smelling, tubular flowers. Presumably the flowers have nectar but I did not see the moth feeding and it soon flew off. The shade temperature in the garden was 9.5° C. (Roy Wells)

News for 9 Feb: 2 Peacocks fluttering around my neighbours’ gardens in Brighton. (Caroline Clarke)

News for 9 Feb: Two Brimstones and one Small Tortoiseshell seen in Stansted Forest (far west of county). (Martin Hampton)

News for 9 Feb: In the space of 5 minutes at about 1.15pm I saw male Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and a Comma in Small Dole near Henfield. (Mike Russell)

News for 9 Feb: 1 Comma and 2 Red Admirals spotted in David Burrows’ garden near Northiam. (in the Rother Woods Project area) (per Steve Wheatley)

Sunday 10 February

At Ditchling Common my wife Val & I saw lots of noisy robins, great tits, blue tits and a huge rather distant bird of prey flying low over the trees being chased by a crow. Val was first to spot a Red Admiral, in the wooded area to the north east of the country park (just south of St Mary's House). This was at about 12.30pm, when it was pretty warm, but it was the only butterfly that we saw. It flew around a bit and spent time catching the sun at the top of a bush in between the much larger trees. We also saw a couple of quite small pale-coloured moths but they didn't stay around long enough for us to see them properly. (John Heys)

It was a glorious day at Park Corner Heath today; woodpeckers were drumming, lizards were basking in the sun and the PCH Work Party were busy cutting, strimming, raking and burning. Whilst cutting back an old willow Dave disturbed a female Brimstone which fluttered around in the sunshine for a few minutes before deciding it was a bit too early for her and returned to her slumbers. No doubt she'll be out again for the 'Day of Action: Brimstones, Bacon and Bowsaws' event at Park Corner Heath on Sun 9 March; our first Sussex event of the year to commemorate the formation of BC back in 1968. Come and see the work we have undertaken on the reserve and learn more about its management and the species that live there. (Michael Blencowe)

Small Tortoiseshell in my Keymer garden this afternoon, flying around and basking in sun on ivy. (Malcolm Le Grys)

Around midday a vanessid butterfly rose from the lower slopes of Mill Hill and fluttered further up the slope so I had to chase it to identify the good condition Peacock when it basked briefly in the weak sunshine with its wings open. (Andy Horton - www.glaucus.org.uk)

A Peacock was seen in a sunny Lancing garden in the morning. Report by Ray Hamblett on the UK-Leps (Yahoo Group) (via Andy Horton)

Of the 7 Peacocks found hibernating this winter at Kingstanding in Ashdown Forest, 3 have now moved off - 4 are still hibernating - photo below. (Steve Wheatley)

Hummingbird Hawkmoth seen today by Chris and Mary Barnett nectaring in their Seaford garden. (David Jode - East Dean)

News for 8 Feb: Four butterfly sightings with a Brimstone and Red Admiral at Warnham LNR and another Brimstone and a Peacock at Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods. (Sam Bayley)

Saturday 9 February

A Brimstone and a Red Admiral were flying around my garden in Edburton today. (Tony Wilson)

Male Brimstone seen in Friston Forest this morning. (Carol and Nigel Kemp)

Saw a Red Admiral today flying in the sunshine at here at Punnetts Town, near Heathfield in East Sussex. (Mike Christieson)

A perfect Brimstone, flying today around ivy in the sunshine at GR: TQ 070130 bottom of Kithurst Hill, Storrington where the track starts up thorough the wooded area on the north slope. (Christine Burgess)

1 Peacock flying through Lower Vert Wood. (Michael Blencowe & Dave Mitchell)

Saw my first butterfly of 2008 today - a Peacock in Kingston, Lewes, East Sussex. Also, 50 to 60 harlequin ladybirds crawling around on the inside of the south facing windows of the house. (Crispin Holloway)

News for 7 Feb: My first butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral in garden, Heathfield on 7th February (Nigel Kemp)

News for night of 7/8 Feb: David Burrows reports continued good results with his Moth Trap - 41 moths of 10 species, including Hebrew Character, Satellite, Oak Beauty, and 23 Pale Brindled Beauty. (Graham Parris)

Friday 8 February

It was quite a good last night (7 Feb) for early February at Warnham LNR, especially with the heavy frost this morning. Catch was as follows: 3 Winter Shade (Tortricodes alternella), 11 Pale Brindled Beauty, 2 Satellite, 1 Small Brindled Beauty, 3 Spring Usher, 1 March Moth, 1 Rusty Birch Button (Acleris notana), 1 Variable Smudge (Ypsolopha ustella), 1 Common Flat-body (Agonopterix heracliana) (Sam Bayley)


Thursday 7 February


A very early Hebrew Character in the trap last night (Clive Dickson)



Wednesday 6 February

1 Spring Usher (male) 1 Pale Brindled Beauty (male) found next to the entrance door light at Woods Mill today (Pen Green)

News for Mon 4 Feb: Monday 4th - Peacock flying high in bright midday sunshine Snednore, Kingston. (Dave Harris)


Monday 4 February


News for 2 Feb: I saw my first butterfly of the year in my Seaford garden, a Red Admiral. (Roy Neeve)



Sunday 3 February


Park Corner Heath Work Party Sunday 10 February: We'll be back at PCH next Sunday from 8:30 onwards for our February Work Party. We need to finish off the widening of the NW ride as well as cutting back some hawthorn and scrub from around the pond and getting the reserve ready for our first 2008 open day on March 9th. There's plenty of other jobs too to suit everyone. All are welcome to come and join in the management of PCH. Contact Michael for more information on 01323 423711 or sussexgrayling@aol.com



Saturday 2 February


A Red Admiral basked in the sunshine on my conservatory roof today in Peacehaven (Adrian Thomas)

With few opportunities to run the moth trap during the last week thanks to the weather, the only thing to report was an unexpected Spring Usher on Sunday night (27th Jan). This species is associated with Oak - a tree not found on my bit of the Downs at Newhaven - so my adult must have flown at least a couple of miles. An unexpected and pleasant surprise, and the 100th species I've seen since I started trapping on August 30th last year - but only the 77th species that has visited the Skinner trap at home in Denton to date. (Steven Teale)


Friday 1 February


Recent news: David Burrows reports excellent numbers of moths for January trapping in his garden, culminating on the 29th, when he got 15 Pale Brindled Beauty, 6 Spring Usher, 4 March Moth, 1 Angle Shades, 1 Common Quaker, 1 Small Quaker. (Graham Parris)


News for Sun 6 Jan: A Small Tortoiseshell was flying in the sun around my garden at Small Dole near Henfield around midday. (Mike Russell)



What to look for in February:

  • Butterflies: It only takes a bit of sunshine to tempt the odd Red Admiral out of their semi-hibernation, and with a good mild and sunny day the occasional Brimstone and Peacock emerge too, but any other species would be exceptional. Some early records often relate to individuals disturbed from their roosts, for example by gardening activity. In 2007, Red Admirals were seen on 9 days, Peacock on 3, Brimstone on 3 and Small Tortoiseshell on 1.

  • 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.


Thursday 31 January

News for Tues 29 Jan: My first butterfly of the year was a Peacock on Denne Park , Horsham. (Sam Bayley)


Wednesday 30 January


Moths at my outside light in Edburton over the last couple of nights were 2 each of Pale-brindled Beauty, Dotted Border and Early Moth. (Tony Wilson)


News for Mon 28 Jan ~10:50. One Red Admiral flying around winter colour bed just west of the house at Wakehurst Place (TQ339314) then landed on south side of a silver birch in this bed. (Andrew Guest)


New for the galleries: Brown Hairstreak egg (Cissbury, 22 Nov 2007, John Baker); hibernating Peacock (Kingstanding, 27 Jan 2008. Michael Blencowe); Marbled White caught by Crab Spider (Graffham Down, 14 July 2007, John Baker), and Early Moth (Denton, 28 Jan 2008, Steven Teale)




Tuesday 29 January


An Early Moth was sitting on the wall above the entrance to Worthing Golf Club this morning. It was my first and this seems to be a good place to check for moths - especially against a nice whitewashed surface! (Mike Snelling)


Seven Peacocks and one Herald were found hibernating in the dark, sheltered areas around Kingstanding. (Steven Wheatley & Michael Blencowe)



Monday 28 January


A Peacock seen flying on the west side of Pagham Harbour early this afternoon on a very still and dull day - flew into thick ivy (Polly Mair)


The last few nights in Newhaven have been quiet, as expected, but I did see 2 Early Moth (1 in the Skinner trap; 1 on a Hawthorn twig) and a further Angle Shades larva (feeding on an Ivy flowerhead) on Sat 26th. I don't think things will pick up over this way until the night temperatures stay in double figures, although the occasional moth is always a possibility! (Steven Teale)



Sunday 27 January


A Red Admiral basking on the Rockery in our Isfield Garden this afternoon. Hope it got some nectar from the winter heathers before retreating back into the Leylandii hedge. (Graham Parris)



Saturday 26 January


News for Friday 25 January: My second Peacock of the year (possibly the same insect I saw on the 16th) in my Arundel garden. (Neil Hulme)


Butterfly Conservation 40th Anniversary Quiz: "Well, looking at the scoreboard I can announce the winners of the BC Quiz Nite 2008 are the The Camberwell Beauties (photo below: Neil Hulme, Clare Jeffers,  Steven and Amanda Teale, and Adrian Thomas). The Beauties fought off tough competition from The Hagisses, Super Pupa, The Eastbourne Birders and other teams to take home the trophy: The Red Admiral Ceramic Milk Churn of Victory. They kindly donated their winning money to Sussex BC. Thanks to all who attended for a very enjoyable evening; we'll certainly be planning another one in the future. (Michael 'Magnus' Blencowe)


A huge thank you to Michael for organising, quizmastering and entertaining with such, erm, 'creativity' last night, although I would say he was less 'Magnus Magnussen', more 'I'll have a P please Bob'.  The function room at the Royal Oak in Barcombe was packed out for the event, and we look forward to hearing how the Haggises fare with their 2nd place prize, a trip to the St Austell brewery which makes Clouded Yellow ale. This was a wonderful taster for our programme of events for 2008 which will be advertised shortly, and where we hope to see even more Sussex butterfliers.




Thursday 24 January


The Skinner trap in Newhaven on Wednesday night had one Pale Brindled Beauty. Also, 2 Angle Shades larvae were found feeding on an Ivy on Thursday evening just after 7pm. (Steven Teale)


The first butterfly sighting reported at RSPB Pulborough Brooks was 2 Red Admirals spotted by our work party on 22 January on the triangle area of Wiggonholt Heath. Our first moth trap of the year last night (23 January) yielded 5 moths - 1 Oak Beauty, 2 Pale Brindled Beauty and 2 Small Quaker. (Pete Hughes, Paul Spiers and Anna Allum)



Wednesday 23 January


News for Tues 22 Jan: I saw my first butterfly of the year in Findon Valley - a Red Admiral. Despite a calm, mild evening the moth trap on Tuesday attracted only 2 Spring Ushers and a Eudonia Angustea (Narrow-winged Grey). The Spring Usher's were new for me. (Mike Snelling)


News for Tues 22 Jan: Some participants at a site meeting on Levin Down saw a Red Admiral enjoying the brief spell of fine weather. (Neil Hulme)



Tuesday 22 January

Single Red Admiral enjoying the rare sunshine in our Worthing garden at midday today. (John & Shena Maskell)

Large and Small White caterpillars rescued from wind ravaged garden nasturtiums pupated this weekend (20th Jan!). Sadly, though, all Red Admiral caterpillars under observation up the Ouse valley have now perished so there will be no repeat of last year's extraordinary events. Has anyone still got some clinging on anywhere in Sussex? (Dave Harris)


News for Sunday 20 Jan: Sunday night's trap in Denton attracted a single moth: a Double-striped Pug, which I understand has been making an early appearance elsewhere as well. We're obviously not the only ones who can't wait until the end of February! (Steven Teale)



Thursday 17 January


Two Pale-brindled Beauties and an Early Moth in Edburton over the last couple of nights (Tony Wilson)



Wednesday 16 January

My first butterfly of the year - a Peacock fluttering around the eaves of my house in Arundel at midday. (Neil Hulme)


Monday 7 January


For your diaries: The first Sussex Moth Group meeting of the year will be on Wednesday 13th February 2008 from 7.30pm at Woods Mill Nature Reserve, Henfield We will set up the field meetings for this year and see the results of the Top 20 Sussex Moths Survey. Also, there will be a presentation by Charles Roper of the new Lepidoptera Recorder program that we have been working on in conjunction with SxBRC. This FREE program is being developed to help make recording easier for both moth and butterfly recorders. All welcome. (Sam Bayley)


Here are Michael Blencowe's Herald (6 Jan), Garden Cosmet Mompha subbistrigella (2 Jan) and Small Purple Flat-body Agonopterix purpurea (2 Jan) - see the latter two are actually quite nice in close-up! This use of new vernacular names is apparently thanks to a new booklet from Jim Porter (he who wrote the definitive if none-too-cheap photo guide to caterpillars), which we will start to use on the website but in conjunction with the established Latin names. Bob Foreman has also been working hard on the galleries - plenty more photos in there, many courtesy of Ivan Lang from a year of trapping at Pagham Harbour, but more exciting developments on the Gallery front due in the next couple of months thanks to Bob.




Sunday 6 January


First butterfly sightings of the year!

A single Peacock flying in the winter sunshine on the south facing slope in front of Wiggonholt Church, nr Pulborough at about 1.00pm today (Chris Burgess)

A single Peacock basking in the late morning sun this morning on the south-facing slope of Norton Hill between Foxhole Farm and Mount Pleasant in Newhaven (TQ463021). (Steven Teale)


A Red Admiral reported from Bignor (per Adastra egroup)


A search of two sheltered areas at Kingstanding in Ashdown Forest revealed 7 overwintering Peacocks and 1 Herald. Finlay and Steve Wheatley.


Park Corner Heath Work Party - Sunday 13th January

Right: time to pick up a bowsaw and work off all that Christmas turkey and chocolate. The first work party of the year will be held next sunday from 8:30am onwards. We'll be cutting back birch to widen a path which the trees have turned into a dark tunnel and which presents a barrier to butterfly movement on the reserve. There's plenty of other jobs too to suit everyone. All are welcome to come and join in the management of PCH. Contact Michael for more information on 01323 423711 or sussexgrayling@aol.com




Saturday 5 January

Looking for a hairstreak in a haystack: I spent a few hours today searching the hedges around Ebernoe Common where an adult Brown Hairstreak had been seen a few years ago but could find no eggs amid the blackthorn. I did however find a fine looking Herald over-wintering on the roof beams in the Moulding Shed deep in the woods. (Michael Blencowe)


Thursday 3 January

Desperate times: The temperature is dropping and the moth trap is packed away in the shed so I decided to go moth hunting indoors. I soon found two species of micro-moth on the walls of the cottage; Small Purple Flat-body Agonopterix purpurea and Garden Cosmet Mompha subbistrigella. Both of them only a few millimetres long. It's times like this when you realise how much you miss Meadow Browns and Large Yellow Underwings. Things can only get bigger and brighter in 2008! (Michael Blencowe) Photos of Michael's moths on their way, if you can contain your excitement.


New Year's Day 2008


Happy New Year everyone! Here's to a butterfly- and moth-filled 2008.


A two hour search of the 'Rifle Range', part of the Steyning Downland Scheme area, produced 22 Brown Hairstreak eggs. This was despite poor light conditions - it is best to look for them in sunny weather, when they shine quite brightly due to the surface crenulations. They have been recorded in the past about 1km away (Steyning Round Hill), but I believe these are the first records from this particular area. A good start to 2008. (Neil Hulme)



Earlier Sightings

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