Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Sunday 30 August 2015

In a sultry and slightly sunny moment late yesterday (30/08/15) afternoon, 2 Holly Blues briefly appeared in our back garden in Hove, also a couple of whites. (John Heys)

Having been lucky to have a couple of Long-tailed Blues in our Seaford garden 2 years ago we managed another this afternoon! (Simon, Fran & Amy)


Saturday 29 August 2015

Sarah and I, blackberry picking (it's an annual event you know). In Victoria Business Park Sarah picks I search for Brown Hairstreak eggs, I found six on smallish blackthorns between 11.55 am and 1.41pm. I saw two adults, the first briefly at 12.14pm it settled a couple of times, but I couldn't get close enough to take photo and only saw underside, probably a female. the second Brown Hairstreak settled in small oak at 1.12pm showing underside, it wasnt until 1.17pm that the wings opened to reveal a male, "CRIKEY ITS A MALE" I shouted. now to get the photos, it was too far away so took a telephoto shot not good enough, it came closer settling on blackberry fruit, still not close enough. 1.20pm now closer and feeding from damaged fruit I got a nice underside shot, good, now for the upper side. It flew to another area of bramble then opened wings but to far away again, it did this a few times, then it flew over bramble and out of sight at about 1.31pm, I went around other side of bush but no sight of, drat and double drat I thought, then Sarah shouted "it's back" so I rushed back to other side of bush and there it was closer now feeding from damaged blackberry 1.34pm, got some close up photos of underside then it turned and opened wings CLICK CLICK so far so good, my camera flashed up memory card full, oh no I had to change card panic setting in, Brown Hairstreak still poseing nicely, but then it was up again over bush flying farther away again but came closer and closer and settled, fresh card in camera and poised for action. Butterfly settled right in front of me three foot off ground, I was in for open wing shot managed to get two at 1.38pm the shot I was after. The butterfly flew up and away from bush, up bank over flowers, it settled on afew and again fed from damaged blackberry fruit, another underside shot taken at 1.40pm, it flew up and away at 1.41pm over bushes and out of sight. I saw my first Brown Hairstreak in 1992 near Ebenoe Common, it's taken me twenty three years to see a male. it didn't disappoint. TQ299188. (Peter Farrant)

When Gavin and Nicky Baxter were visiting Gavin's parents home in Worthing, which combines the necessary ingredients of a coastal location and Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea in the garden, they remained alert and consequently covered themselves in glory. A female Long-tailed Blue, over here on a Bank Holiday weekender, made brief visits on both Friday and Saturday, almost certainly laying eggs. Unprecedented numbers (200+) have been seen in Belgium during August, and a similar build-up noted in Brittany during the early part of the month. I suspect we have been cheated of a mega-event by the collapse of the late summer weather. However, this species is undoubtedly out there, so its well worth having a go for them. Find the pea, find the Pea Blue. Good luck! (Neil Hulme)

Greenway Bank today produced 2 Adonis abs. Strangely both of them had damage to their left wing. One of them was extremely dark on the under-wing with the dark one missing more spotting than the first one found. (Bob Eade and James Arnott)

I found this Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar in the garden today. Thought you would be interested. (yes, of course we are! ed.) (Elaine Howard, Chowns Hill in Hastings)


Friday 28 August 2015

Several visits during the summer from Humming-Bird Hawk-moths, singles. 1st and 2nd August  one Fritillary, most likely to be Dark Green  spent two days sunning itself in my garden  not feeding, just pottering about.
28th August  right under my very nose while gardening, a female Brown Hairstreak sat on a Crocosmia plant, giving excellent views of its orange dashes, but did not stay for a photo. I wonder if it was the Ditchling one already registered on same day. (Helena Carter, Cuckfield)

Female Brown Hairstreak spotted while blackberrying in fields between Ditchling Common and Burgess Hill today. (Duncan Monro)

News for Sunday 23 August:

On a trip from Cornwall visiting family following a recent bereavement, my father and I visited Houghton Forest on 23rd August. Following a morning of heavy rain the skies began to brighten and to our surprise the sun appeared raising temperatures to 18C. As we began walking butterflies had begun to start feeding including a few Holly Blues then a female Silver-washed Fritillary of which a total of 13 were seen with the females in much better wing condition than the males. Fresh Peacocks, Commas and Red Admirals were also seen. We walked through one of the main tracks before retracing our route.
The highlight of the visit was the sighting of a rare aberration found on a Speckled Wood which I identified it as ab. saturatior.(Crombrugghe). This male had no cream colouring around the pupilled spots on the hindwing, while on the fore wing, the cream colour was reduced with again no colouring around the eye spot giving the butterfly an almost black sooty brown colour. I managed a few photos and watched it fly from the bracken onto the path (where I had hoped to photograph the underside) before it flew again onto the bracken and then up into the middle height outer branches of an Oak tree. It would be great if someone could confirm if this is for definite ab. saturatior. I have note seen an aberration in a Speckled Wood before. Totals seen were, Brimstone 1M, Large White 1, Small White 2, Holly Blue 3, Speckled Wood 6 (including ab.), Meadow Brown 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 3M 10F, Red Admiral 6, Peacock 1 and Comma 2. (Richard Symonds)


Monday 24 August 2015

A brief lull in the rain at 1245pm today produced a 20 seconds sighting of a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on my garden Buddleia davidii in Bewbush, Crawley. All too brief and then the rain started again ! (Anthony Bennett)

News for Sunday 23 August:

There were some smart people who switched their visit to Steyning Rifle Range to Saturday to avoid the antics of Michael Blencowe, either that or they were watching the weather forecast more closely than me. As leader for the walk (which was booked at least a year ahead, I imagine) I have taken full responsibility for Michael and the weather. Frankly the weather is easier to control, now I understand the Met office has lost its contract. Not surprised as, although the forecast was correct, it fell at least an hour earlier than published. Brown Hairstreak was on the agenda and as we set off for the prime time of 11 O'clock the heavens opened. Pah! - as hardened butterfliers, men and women alike, we carried on regardless and spent the next hour getting soaked. Concerned regarding damsels in distresses I was keen to swap clothes. This was declined as our women are made of sterner stuff. Anyway Michael saved the day with a vast knowledge of Brown Hairstreak biology which, although I already knew, I couldn't get a word in edge ways - however Michael proffered my expertise as a Brown Hairstreak egg spotter and this was my opportunity to show my experience. I explained how to find eggs, so we then spent at least 20 male/female man hrs of our short lives looking for eggs on succulent young growth. Did we find an egg, nein. This was actually to prove a point fundamentally, biologically and scientifically in my ongoing research into Brown Hairstreaks that firstly they do not fly in the rain (tick) - statistical analysis and pie chart to follow at a laterdate. Secondly this season is unusually running behind. I.E. They haven't really started egg-laying yet in earnest and there layeth the opportunity. Michael and I have offered our services (subject to personal - circumstances holidays and lecturing commitments abroad etc.), to re-attend on a suitable occasion between now and 2020 for those who attended to today. So please keep in contact. Together we will win. I attach a picture of hard-core enthusiasts, and to be honest it was great fun, we all knew we were doomed, but somehow it didn't really matter either way. (Zoom in on the smiles which frankly money couldn't buy under these conditions). Manythanks to Sarah Quantrill from the Steyning Downland Scheme who explained the ongoing habitat management and of course Wiston Estate for making this special site possible. As and when good weather returns there will be opportunities to see Brown Hairstreaks once again. On the way back Michael was keen to show entente cordial as he embraced visitors from Kent. If anyone can make you smile when it's raining Michael can. Great day had by all, hopefully. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Saturday 22 August:

I met quite a few other enthusiasts at the Rifle Range on Saturday, where all were hoping for a good day with the Brown Hairstreak. Having stopped at another Steyning site on the way, where Richard Roebuck was filling his boots with Brownies, I too was confident of a hairstreak bonanza. However, it proved too hot for them to handle, as the temperature quickly soared through the 80s mark. On arriving at the Rifle Range I immediately located 3 females along the southern flank hedgerow, then flushed a female from just outside the reserve area. But by 11.45 am activity slowed and soon after midday it became apparent that most butterflies had stopped flying. A group of us later located a few more female hairstreaks, all seeking shade rather than venturing out to lay eggs. Too cool and cloudy, too windy, too hot and sunny  come on, give us a break! On the way down the track back to Steyning we stumbled upon a Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar. Hardly rare, but always impressive. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the Shoreham air disaster. The ominous pall of black smoke visible from our location could not have foretold the extent of the loss being suffered so close by. (Neil Hulme)

My colleague reports a fly by Monarch in her West Sussex Garden (West Avenue) on Saturday August 22nd. (Leigh Prevost)

Visiting Brighton from Surrey I was pleased to see several Clouded Yellows at Castle Hill, TQ3706 on Saturday, plus others:
Clouded Yellow x 5
Large White x 10
Small White x 2
Brimstone x 1
Common Blue x 10
Chalkhill Blue x 20
Adonis Blue x 4
Dark Green Fritillary x 1
Red Admiral x 1
Marbled White x 1 (not seen in Surrey for about 3 weeks!)
Speckled Wood x 1
Meadow Brown x 30
Wall x 6
Small Heath x 4
(Gail Jeffcoate, Sussex Branch member, Dorking)

News for Friday 21 August:

Walked from Belle Tout to near Birling Gap, on east side of Horseshoe Plantation saw this very fresh looking female Large Skipper at 11.30am. (Peter Farrant)


Sunday 23 August 2015

Abbot's Wood: Today we decided to go for another butterfly walk and we are extremely pleased that we did. It was an amazing walk because a Silver-Washed Fritillary decided that she really liked us and laid a few eggs on me (Nick)! Surely this event is rare? We only saw four other types of butterfly, namely: Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock and Speckled Wood, but it didn't really matter as we had a great time! (Nick & James Linazasoro)

A Speckled Wood was in our garden in Hove early on. We saw several more on a morning walk tracing the line of the old Dyke Railway which eventually became a very wet walk back to Sainsbury's in Benfield Valley. In Jesmond Road, near the start of the walk, a Hawk-moth caterpillar (Lime, I think) crossed our path. Quite sunny at the County Cricket Ground in the afternoon but only a few whites flying. (John & Val Heys)


Saturday 22 August 2015

We undertook an insect survey on Graffham Down on Saturday and amidst the hoverflies, grasshoppers and shieldbugs I was overwhelmed by the number of fresh Brimstones that were flying around. It seemed every flower head had a Brimstone attached to it. Lovely to see so many fresh individuals adding some extra colour to an already bright day. Other butterflies however were on their last legs. There were still plenty of Silver-washed Fritillaries patrolling the rides but they had certainly seen better days. Meadow Browns, Small Skipper and Gatekeeper are still hanging on in small numbers. This Ringlet is undoubtably the last I'll be seeing in 2015. While inspecting the fleabane we found caterpillars of the Satyr Pug. It's a tough task identifying the less than striking adult moth but at least the larvae has the decency to be pink and patterned. (Michael Blencowe and Ryan Mitchell)

I saw two Clouded Yellows on my transect count today at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean. One very pale female was thought to be a 'helice'. Managed to get an underside photo before it zoomed off. The other was a normal male seen only on flight. In spite of warmth the count was poor, but 18 Common Blue outnumbered both 9 Gatekeeper and 8 Meadow Brown put together. (Peter Whitcomb)

Today I went to my Brown Hairstreak site in Patcham, searching between 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. revealed 2 female Brown Hairstreaks, confirmed by subtle differences in their markings. Female number 1 - she was first seen walking along the stem of a bramble, she continued to meander deeper into the bramble patch then began to walk over to the neighboring blackthorn, she then flew higher into another blackthorn further away from me, here it appeared she could have been egg laying. After a few minutes she flew up again and landed deep within a bramble thicket, I left her at this point to search for others. Just as I was planning to leave at 1:00 p.m. after a gap of seeing nothing I came across a second female Brown Hairstreak, this being in the same area as the first. Female number 2 - soon after spotting her she appeared to be looking for places to lay her eggs, based on the swollen abdomen it was obvious that she was laden with eggs - youtube.com/watch?v=jcwT3XvuneQ&feature=youtu.be (please view in HD for optimum quality). She continued to move along the blackthorn hedge, stopping to lay on at least three different Blackthorns, before loosing her as she flew to the other side of the hedge. On her way I was able to take note of the locations of two of her stops, managing to locate two eggs, beautiful under the hand lens! One of these eggs was laid on a small sapling, at the height of 18'', the other was laid on a mature blackthorn, at a height of 52''. It was fantastic to observe repeated egg laying, she laid her eggs within a 32 meter stretch of Blackthorn. I plan to return in winter to search for those eggs I missed out and hopefully follow them through to caterpillars next year. Moving onto Ladies Mile I saw 3 female and 11 male Common Blue, 14 (mostly male) Holly Blue, 3 Brown Argus, 1 Comma, 1 Small Skipper, 5 Large White, 2 Small White, 2 Gatekeeper, 3 Meadow Brown and 1 Speckled Wood. (Jamie Burston)

I recorded 15 species of butterflies in my garden yesterday. Pride of place was a female Brown Hairstreak which nectared on a patch of Hemp Agrimony for over 4 hours! The photo shows a bulging abdomen, no doubt full of eggs. In the garden Greater Knapweed, Betony and Marjoram have all gone over and there is considerably less nectar available compared to a couple of weeks ago. However, there is plenty of Purple Loosestrife surrounding the pond and at times it was awash with butterflies, including at least 4 Brimstone. I have included a photo of a Small Heath, partly because there have been so few in the garden this year (and I was pleased to see one) and partly because it was nectaring on the Hemp Agrimony, and I havent seen that before. The list together with numbers: Brimstone (6), Large White (6), Small White (8), Brown Hairstreak (1), Small Copper (2), Common Blue (20), Holly Blue (4), Red Admiral (4), Painted Lady (1), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Peacock (5), Comma (2), Gatekeeper (8), Meadow Brown (7) and Small Heath (1). (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Had at least 15 Silver-spotted Skipper at Malling Down this morning in a brief visit to the first quarry floor. Also two Brown Hairstreak, one in flight, and the other the attached egg-laying female at Steyning Rifle Range early afternoon. The egg laying female was the other side of the entrance gate as we were leaving! (Jan-Paul Charteris and Paul Loader)

Had a lovely stroll in the glorious sunshine all around Windover Hill today. The species spotter were Grayling, Wall, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, 1000's of Chalkhill Blue, 100's Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath and 1 very fast Silver-washed Fritillary?. Lovely walk with stunning views over Sussex. (Nick Linazasoro)


Friday 21 August 2015

Following on from Neil Hulme's post on Wednesday, during a transect walk on the same day I was amazed to find the first Silver-spotted Skipper ever seen (as far as we know) on an area where a lot of management has been in progress for several years, with much input from Neil. This bodes very well for the future of this lovely bit of chalk grassland. Credit must be given to the Dexter cattle munching their way through the grass and scrub. (Thanks Frances!) (Pete Varkala)

While at Park Corner Heath today, doing some work for my Fritillaries for the Future project with Michael Blencowe and Bob Foreman, I found four White Admiral larvae within a 10 cm square on the second Honeysuckle plant that I searched! After finding two more close by, I realised that it was time to put a dreadful wrong to right. Having being cruelly deprived of one of Dr Dan's lovely White Admiral badges (see youtube.com/watch?v=0XhSF1tSc_o ), I had been further thwarted when his announcement that "no further badges would be awarded for sightings in Tottington Wood" preceded my posting of an appalling image of one from that very site by just a couple of hours! However, I dropped into Brocks Wood on the way home, and casually found another eight. Time to cough up Dan. COUGH UP! (Neil Hulme)

Mill Hill was alive with blues, old Chalkhills of both sexes and pristine male Adonis predominating.
I was hoping to count Silver-spotted Skippers, but alas I only found one in 40 minutes! A very golden Clouded Yellow helped make up for the small amount of silver. (Lindsay Morris)

Bearing in mind the weather forecast for Sunday's planned Sussex Butterfly visit, we decided to go to Steyning Rifle Range today. We saw hints of Brown Hairstreaks, complicated by Speckled Woods and were just giving up when some kind people told us where a photogenic female was hanging around. In 4 visits over the last two years, its the only Brown Hairstreak weve seen properly at Steyning, so that was very nice. We also saw Common Blues, Small Whites, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small Heaths, a Brimstone, a Comma, a Holly Blue and (back in Steyning) Small Tortoiseshells & a Painted Lady. (John & Val Heys)

My second garden female Brown Hairstreak was spotted at 11.53 today. She had a slight nick out of one rear wing which allowed differentiation. At 13.33 I found another one. This one was considerably smaller, and unfortunately it didn't open its wings due to the strong sunshine. Ironically it was in exactly the same spot as the female I had reported earlier in the week. It was quite different in the fact it was considerably smaller I am not 100% sure, but maybe it's a male. The female does appear to be a richer colour, but the angle of the strong light can play tricks. But I have never seen a male low down. Anyway both of these were only 2- 3 feet off the ground and great to see at home. (Richard Roebuck)

Hope Gap - today the kids wanted to go rock pooling. So we went but on the way there had to be a bit of butterfly spotting didn't there!?
Those spotted were: Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Marbled White, Large White, Small White, Green-Veined White, Comma, Chalkhill Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Common Blue. (Nick, James & Toby Linazasoro)

News for Tuesday 18 August:

I was told this may be of interest to you and I should report it. My wife and I saw a Grayling butterfly at Plumpton Green on Tuesday 18th August. It was in a field of rough grass at TQ362171. There was no question as to its identity and its behaviour was typical. I have seen these before on the downs but never here before. (Tim Parmenter)


Wednesday 19 August 2015

A great day out on the Steyning Downland Scheme (SDS) www.steyningdownland.org today. The female Brown Hairstreaks are still reluctant to start egg laying, so this could be a long season for them. I located two females in an area where they haven't been seen before, one of which behaved impeccably for an hour, with its wings flat open for much of the time. SDS stalwart Pete Varkala passed by while doing his butterfly survey, so I was able to call him over to enjoy this beauty. I suspected that Colin Knight was on site, so a quick call enabled him to join us. Later in the day I found a third hairstreak, again doing very little other than looking pretty. However, more was to come. I flushed a newly emerged Adonis Blue male from the slopes of the Rifle Range and Colin almost certainly saw a second. These are the first seen on the Rifle Range for a couple of years, so it seems that the management is continuing to bring rewards. There was other exciting news too, but I'll wait for Pete to formally announce his find at a SDS event on Thursday evening. (Neil Hulme)

The buddleia by the Mill Hill car park was covered in Painted Ladies, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and Peacocks today. Transect results: Adonis Blue 14, Brown Argus 2, Chalkhill Blue 20, Common Blue 11, Gatekeeper 7, Large White, Meadow Brown 70, Painted Lady 3, Peacock 3, Red Admiral 4, Small Heath 4, Small Tortoiseshell 7, Small White, Speckled Wood 2, Wall Brown 5. The small meadow in front of Beeding cement plant had Common Blues and Brown Argus and I saw a pristine Brown Hairstreak at Steyning Downland Scheme. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1EEgvnr)

Richard Roebuck and I went to Stenying Rifle Range today to start our Butterflies of the Biosphere video on the Brown Hairstreak, we had limited success filming this species but I did manage to see a Humming-bird Hawk-moth go to ground and the Speckled Woods were also rather plentiful. (Dan Danahar)

Although it was a bit overcast, on the lower walk (parallel with the road) from Birling Gap to Horseshoe Plantation we saw modest numbers of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small/Essex Skippers (the only one checked was Essex) & Common Blues. Chalkhill Blues were more plentiful and there were about 5 each of Silver-spotted Skippers, Small Tortoiseshells & Small Whites, with 2 Speckled Woods by the plantation and nearby a single rather worn Large Skipper. On the way there we spotted a Clouded Yellow in the centre of Seaford and in Eastbourne (where we went to see Flare Path at the Devonshire Park Theatre  its very good) there were glimpses of Holly Blues. (John & Val Heys)


Monday 17 August 2015

I visited the Downs on Monday this week (17th) and walked anti-clockwise from Telscombe, along part of the South Downs Way, south through Castle Hill reserve and back via Harvey's Cross. Excellent range of butterflies including Silver-spotted Skippers (Southease Hill roadside), Wall Brown (Mill Hill and along much of the walk back from The Bostle), one Clouded Yellow (south of Castle Hill) and many Common and Chalk Hill Blues.
Most satisfying sighting was the Silver-washed Fritillary valezina about a mile NW of Telscombe along the field margin hedge. It was slightly orange mid-area but was grey/beige above and below and flew gently into the corn stubble where it blended-in quite well!
A very worth-while trip. (Don Gregory)

Today when strolling back from West Dean I was overjoyed to see a Wall Brown accompanying me along the path next to the Litlington Road, the first I have seen for many years. I had forgotten how they seem to enjoy your company by just fluttering along a bit and then perching on a bramble. They were so common in my youth. (Bob Brown, Seaford)

I only had my phone at the time but took these photos of an unusual coloured Small Tortoiseshell butterfly. It was taken on the Allotments near Gorse Close Portslade Saturday 15th August, and it was there again on Monday 17th as I showed my daughter. (Michelle Rauf)

Quick walk in St Leonards Forest today, highlights included a Purple Hairstreak half way up an oak tree and plenty of Common Blues and Small Copper. (Patrick Moore)

Spotted my first Brown Hairstreak in the garden this year at 11.55 a.m. In Sunny and hot conditions she immediately started egg laying deep inside a wild plum sapling I had previously cut back. She then moved to a small sloe branch, which was this year's growth, protruding from a hedge. After flying around a bit and settling on nettles she started moving up my high sloe hedge eventually appearing to egg lay on an old wild plum branch, amongst this year's fruit carrying foliage, but over 8 feet off the ground. Eventually she flew up to the top of the hedge and settled out of site. She was in fair condition apart from a slight tear in a hind wing, so suspect she has been around for a few days. Nevertheless a beauty. On a another note Hornets have retuned again to a small garden Ash tree stripping the bark and sipping sap. This also attracts numerous flies but I also noticed a Purple Hairstreak arrive and then walk vertically down a terminal stem to reach a stem wound. Bit risky I thought. Next a large Comma started circling the Ash tree gliding round and round. It too landed on a terminal stem and did the same thing. This was easier to see as it descended vertically down the stem. After a couple of minutes it flew out pursued by a large Hornet - possibly lucky to live another day. (Richard Roebuck)

On Sunday I visited Steyning Downland Trust where Mark Colvin spotted a Brown Hairstreak land high up in a tree. I also saw Dark Strawberry Tortrix, Rush Veneer, Silver Y, Speckled Wood. That night I noticed some moths near outside lights at home, including some new species: Double-striped Pug, Dingy Dowd, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer, a Missing Sector Spider and Lacewings (Micromus variegatus). On Monday at Steyning I saw two Brown Hairstreaks, a Painted Lady, Gatekeepers, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Silver-washed Fritillaries, Brown Argus, Common Blues, Walls, Dingy Footman, Common Purple and Gold, Common Darters. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1E1vugr)

I did another butterfly survey today at Roedale Allotments, Totals - 30 Small White, 3 Painted Lady, 7 fresh Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Speckled Wood, 50 Large White, 1 Comma, 11 Gatekeeper, 9 Peacock, 7 Holly Blue, 8 Cinnabar Moth (Caterpillars), 14 Meadow Brown, 5 Brown Argus, 9 Red Admiral, 6 Small Skippers, 1 Brimstone, 5 male and 1 female Common Blue. I was talking to one of the allotment holders, they told me that their friend who has a plot next door saw an Orange-tip back on the 14th August! I would believe this as of her certainty. Additionally 4 Common Darter. Sadly leaving the Allotments at the edge of Hollingbury Park I noticed a tree which has been effected by Dutch Elm Disease, an email has been sent to get it removed. At Hollingbury Park Butterfly Bank I saw 4 Small White, 1 Red Admiral and 1 Comma. At Woodbourne Meadow (South) I saw 1 Cinnabar, 1 Small Copper, 1 Brown Argus, 2 Meadow Brown, 1 Small Skipper and 3 Common Blue including a mating pair. Along Carden Hill roadside I saw 1 Holly Blue, impersonating a White-letter Hairstreak , flying around an elm at (TQ31580821). Upon reaching home my mum was keen to tell me that she had seen a single White-letter Hairstreak at (TQ31920871), this being the same location we both saw it together the day before.
16 August 2015: Today in my Hollingbury back garden I saw a single Painted Lady. Me and the family walked to the local car boot sale, on the way I saw a single female Common Blue and female Peacock. Once within Carden School's playing field I saw 2 Meadow Brown, 1 Gatekeeper, 3 male Common Blue and 2 Large White. On the way home from the car boot sale, peering back over the metal fence towards the playing field a patch of Ragwort caught my attention, thankfully I looked as I found a single butterfly nectaring. With it being at a distance (my poor distant vision) I initially asked my mum to confirm my thoughts, she gave me a confident answer "It's a White-letter Hairstreak". At the time I didn't have my camera to get proof of the sighting, staying with the family I casually walked home. On returning home I grabbed my camera, I walked back to the location 15 minutes after last seeing it, It was still there! I went around and into the field to get some decent photos, these revealing the fact that I had seen a female. It was beginning to cloud over so I began to walk to the gate to leave, but before I could something else caught my attention, a vivid colour. Moving closer at (TQ31920872) I was amazed to see an Elephant Hawk-moth! Providing memories to my childhood of finding one in my garden.
15 August 2015: Today I completed a bigger walk covering Home Farm Road/Wild Park. The following four sections refer to areas located just off to the side of Home Farm Road. Chalk Banks, scrub and grassland (Section 1 Totals) - 5m & 1f Common Blue, 4m & 1f Chalk Hill Blue, 3m & 1f Large White, 3m & 2f Meadow Brown, 1m Gatekeeper, 2m Speckled Wood, 2m Small White, 1 Peacock and 1 Dingy Skipper! Central point to sightings - (TQ32600705). Roadside verge (Section 2 Totals) - 1m Common Blue, 1m Gatekeeper, 1m Brown Argus and 1 Small Skipper. Central point to sightings - (TQ32670711). Chalk bank located next to Covers (Section 3 Totals) - 7m & 2f Chalkhill Blue, 5m & 1f Common Blue, 1 Clouded Yellow, 2m & 1f Meadow Brown, 1 Brown Argus and 1m Large White. Central point to sightings - (TQ32870733). 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1m Chalk Hill Blue nectaring on Buddleia at (TQ32910735). Roadside Verge (Section 4 Totals) - 1 Green-veined White, 3m & 1f Common Blue, 2m & 2f Meadow Brown, 1m Small White and 47m & 27f Chalk Hill Blue! Central points to sightings - (TQ32990740 & TQ33050750). Moving onto Peace Hill I saw - 1m Holly Blue, 38 Meadow Brown, 9m & 1f Chalk Hill Blue, 1m Small White, 2m Large White, 2 Brown Argus, 1m Common Blue and 1f Gatekeeper. Central point to sightings - (TQ33040765). Of note I found an Oak tree at (TQ33000765), but saw no Purple Hairstreaks. Now moving into the main part of Wild Park along a grassland bank I saw 2m Common Blue, 1m Small White, 7 Meadow Brown of which two were definitely female, 1f Gatekeeper and 1m Chalk Hill Blue. Central point to sightings - (TQ33110811). Moving further into Wild Park coomb, inside the sheep enclosed area I saw 1 Red Admiral, 11 Meadow Brown, 2 Brown Argus, 1m Chalk Hill Blue, 2m Small White, 4m Large White and 6 Silver-spotted Skippers, of which I observed 3 definite males and 2 different females, I witnessed them both egg laying, I saw them lay one each, but later found in my photos, nearby an older egg was present totaling 3 eggs. If anyone visits this site, please stick strictly to the obvious dirt paths, avoid treading on the grass and vegetation, this will insure you miss the spots where egg laying occurs, thanks. It again seems that the Silver-spotted Skippers are confined to the same small area, as of the restricted habitat which is suitable, with taller swards and vegetation surrounding the hill side. I also saw a woodpecker, possibly young as small in size with a brown base colour.
Overview of my walk - I don't know where all the female whites are, dramatic difference in ratio to males seen. For the whole walk I saw exactly 31 female and 70 male Chalk Hill Blues giving a overall total of 101, no Dalmatians were seen! The regularity of seeing these females on my walk was surprising and wonderful to see. I did keep an eye out for Long-tailed Blues in areas where everlasting pea was growing, but none were seen.
12 August 2015: 1 male and 1 female Holly Blue seen along Rustington Road, flying together around brambles at (TQ31160842).(Jamie & Gail Burston)

News for 12  16 August 2015:

The Brown Hairstreak season in Sussex has been running late this year and although the species has been out for some time now, the first females are only just starting to drop from the trees to lay eggs. Up until present they have been difficult to locate, as freshly emerged butterflies sit around doing very little. Ive managed to find a handful at Steyning (including the rare aberrant uncilinea  a first for Sussex), but not necessarily on the much-visited Rifle Range. The Brown Hairstreak is widely distributed over this area and the rewards are there for those who go searching. However, we are now at the point when good numbers of ovipositing females are likely to become active. I suspect that the next warm and sunny morning will mark the start of a period of plenty, which should extend to mid September this year. If the weather plays ball Richard Roebuck's walk this Sunday (23 August) (see our Events Page for more details) could be very well timed. While waiting for the hairstreaks there is plenty more to see at Steyning, particularly as the habitat continues to improve, through the hard work of the Steyning Downland Scheme volunteers www.steyningdownland.org. Wall Brown is doing very well, particularly up on the Round Hill. The Rifle Range has always been a good site for Holly Blue, but the numbers there at present are exceptional. There are also a few Clouded Yellows around. (Neil Hulme)

My Father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Houghton Forest (SU9911) on Sunday 16 Aug. The weather was 17 degrees with sunny spells in between overcast periods. Sightings were: Brimstone 7M 1F, Large White 1, Small White 10, Green-veined White 2, Meadow Brown 1, Gatekeeper 10, Common Blue 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 28, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 3 and Small Skipper 3. (Richard Symonds)


Sunday 16 August 2015

The early morning sunshine resulted in some good butterfly action in Hailsham Country Park with the highlights being 2 Clouded Yellows along with several Common Blues, Small Coppers and a Holly Blue. (Chris Hooker)

Good numbers of Brown Argus on the local fleabane patches this year. Normal years the proportion of Common Blue to Brown Argus is 5 or even 6 to 1. This year, it is 2 to 1, or even closer to parity on some days. I noted this spring that wild Geraniumspp. grew very well, especially G. dissectum, as did garden perennial geraniums. Could be a link ? I have always assumed that G. dissectum was the local larval foodplant for BA. Had a Wall Brown nectoring briefly on French Marigold yesterday, the first in our garden for 3 years. (Graham Parris, Isfield)

Slightly late I know but on the 10th of August I called in at Shoreham Harbour basin to see if anything unusual had turned up. Alas no, but I did find a midget Common Blue. It was about the size of a large Small Blue and its behaviour was similar, keeping low down in the grass. It did attack other Common Blue males that passed by, but quite honestly it was less than half the size and dwarfed by comparison. Although I got some nice pics it was impossible to prove the scale, c'est le vie. I also called in to the Downs Link at Shoreham where male Holly Blues were the commonest butterfly by far followed by Commas. I also spotted an extremely beautiful Red Admiral nectaring on Hemp Agrimony. Over powered by her beauty I put my finger out and she duly hopped aboard, enabling me to take a "selfie" on my finger - so to speak. Today I went to Wolstonbury Hill when it immediately clouded over. However a lot of searching produced a large number of Silver-spotted Skippers, most just sitting on the ground and a few on flowers. Loads of Common Blues, numerous Brown Argus, Chalkhill Blues, Meadow Browns, Essex Skippers, Gatekeepers. Also a nice Wall, several 2nd gen Small Blues, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Woods on the bridleway from Pyecombe. On a cautionary note, as fabulous as Wolstonbury Hill is at this time, Agrimony has gone to seed and eventually may give any springer spaniel the thought that a night out in Brighton is on the cards, I think not. (cost me several hrs sorting out four ears - yes there was another). The day more or less died with the cloud cover, although a male Brimstone was flying around the garden at home. An asleep Green-veined White was eventually photographed. Fab stuff. (Richard Roebuck)


Saturday 15 August 2015

While doing the Bevendean A transect today I saw 88 Chalkhill Blues including several females and 24 Common Blues also nice to see 2 Wall Browns and a Clouded Yellow and 4 Brown Argus and 2 Small Heath. The Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers are going down in numbers but still some very fresh ones about. (Geoff Stevens)
P.S. This is the 19th year the Bevendean transects have been going. I have all the original record sheets and all have been entered onto Transect Walker, unfortunately this will be the last year unless I can find someone else to take them over. - If you would be interested in undertaking this transect and continuing this incredibly valuable work please contact sighting@sussex-butterflies.org.uk and I will pass your details to Geoff and Peter Atkinson the Sussex Branch Transect Coordinator. ed.

During a trip to Iping Common on Saturday I found some micromoths which need identifying (Apodia bifractella and Aristotelia ericinella? ed.), plus Horse Chestnut Leaf Miners which have affected all the leaves on a tree by the car park. Also Pearl and Rush Veneers, Holly Blues, a Painted Lady and Speckled Woods. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1Lfptza)

Went for a stroll around High & Over today and as well as spotting some lovely butterflies I saw a buzzard and some exciting planes from Airbourne flying overhead.
The butterflies spotted were: several Silver-spotted Skipper, two Clouded Yellow, several Large White, a few Small White, tons of Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue, one Red Admiral, one Small Tortoiseshell, one Peacock, one Speckled Wood, several Gatekeeper, tons of Meadow Brown and Small Heath. (Nick Linazasoro)

Relaxed in my Horsham garden today and saw Large and Small White, Holly Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral and Gatekeeper. I also fed wasps honey. (Patrick Moore)


Thursday 13 August 2015

I went for a walk in St Leonards Forest today in the rain, not expecting to see much but the sun came out and the forest came alive! First Gatekeepers appeared followed by Meadow Brown and Common Blue. I then stumbled upon a colony of Brown Argus which I have not seen in the area before. Ringlet then showed themselves followed by Small, Large and Essex Skipper, as well as Small Copper, Brimstone, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Silver-washed Fritillary (still no Silver-studded Blue). (Patrick Moore)


Wednesday 12 August 2015

Wall to wall, Wall. Today I walked between Steyning and Findon on the Monarchs Way. There were plenty of Wall as well as Small Copper, Common Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. (Patrick Moore)

Today I did my Mill Hill transect on a warm but cloud covered morning, which accounted for the low numbers of everything except Walls. It was wonderful to see the brilliant colour of second brood Adonis Blues. Results: Adonis Blue 3, Chalkhill Blue 13, Common Blue, Essex Skipper, Gatekeeper 6, Meadow Brown 20, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Small White, Wall 8, moths: Yellow-spot Twist, Lesser Treble-bar, two pattern forms of Straw-barred Pearl, Common Carpet, Cinnabar larva, Common Purple and Gold, Six-spot Burnet. Afterwards I stopped at Beeding cement works where there were plenty of Common Blues, Brown Argus and a Holly Blue. Finally I visited Steyning Downland Scheme and thought I saw a Brown Hairstreak heading over the prunus towards the canopy. There were plenty of Walls and Holly Blues on the brambles at the top of the hill, Silver-washed Fritillaries, a Straw Dot, Common Blues, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Brimstone and a Fire Bug. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1f9l3vo)


Tuesday 11 August 2015

"Sitting on the fence" despite the drizzle a Gatekeeper in my Horsham garden. Also Large White and a Holly Blue later in the day. (Patrick Moore)

Above is an image of a crab spider, probably waiting to catch a butterfly or moth, although it wasn't exactly hidden in the foliage. Taken at Park Heath Corner on 9 August 2015. (Douglas Neve)

Recent news:

Having now completed my 16th episode in the "Butterflies of the Biosphere" series (the Wall Brown with Bob Eade) it has been a rare occasion when I have touched my camera to take any stills because this season has all been about taking video. However, given that my popular brand of smartphone takes 124 frames per second, I have inadvertently been taking multiple stills, a fact that came home to me on this occasion when I tried filming the Wall Brown, a notoriously difficult butterfly to photograph. However, on this occasion I managed to recover four great images of the insect during take off!
If you want to find out more about this species and the many more I have filmed, go to YouTube and type in "Dr Dan Danahar" plus return - by clicking on my icon you will see the whole range of films to date. (Dan Danahar)

On 8 Aug I saw a female Common Blue (mostly blue, not brown) in Tandridge Road, Hove at the junction with Kingsway, nowhere near any obvious source of food-plants for potential offspring. There was a Holly Blue in our garden later that day. On Sunday 9 August Val & I did a circular walk from the westernmost small car park by Devils Dyke Road, up along the wide grassy path by the road and then down round the south side of the Dyke Valley, back via the north-facing scarp slope of the Downs & up past the pub & car parks on the top. At the start of the walk there were fair numbers of second brood Small Blue, lots of very fine male Common Blues and a mix of Brown Argus and very similar brown female Common Blues. Throughout there were Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Large Whites, Small Whites, a sprinkling of Small Tortoiseshells, a few Red Admirals and 2 Marbled Whites. There was a Clouded Yellow at the bottom of the Dyke, and on the scarp slope half a dozen Dark Green Fritillaries. The skipper distribution was mostly Essex, with (on the scarp slope) one Small Skipper and one Silver-spotted Skipper. Finally we passed a Comma as we drove back via the roundabout over the A27 bypass. Sadly my camera had run out of battery by the time we reached the scarp slope, so the only picture is a Small Blue. (John & Val Heys)

At Kithurst meadow on Aug 8 I saw: Gatekeepers, Brimstone, Chalkhill Blue, Clouded Yellows (2 male, 1 female), Brown Argus, Holly Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Copper, Common Blue. At Cissbury Ring south-west slope on Aug 10 I saw many Common Blues mating plus Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Chalkhill Blue and moths: Common Grass-veneer, Cinnabar larvae, Syncopacma species micromoth, looper larva on a harebell, Pearl Veneer, Rush Veneer (Colin Knight bit.ly/1P4bnyo)


Monday 10 August 2015

A cloudy morning was not the optimum time to visit Mill Hill as the butterflies had not awoken and I even managed to disturb three resting Clouded Yellows (they are usually endlessly restless). Two were on the lower slopes and one on the middle. So I was still unpleasantly shocked how low the butterfly count in the transect acre on the lower slopes actually was. I recorded a mere 39 all male Chalkhill Blues, 36 Meadow Browns, an estimated 25 Gatekeepers, five clearly seen Wall Browns, a Peacock or two, a male Common Blue, and a few Large Whites. In the middle of Mill Hill some of the paths had been cleared and were passable whereas they weren't on my last visit. The Buddleia hosted Peacock butterflies and Red Admirals.
The middle slope meadows of Marjoram and Agrimony were habitats for one more male Chalkhill Blue, a few more Common Blues, more Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns and whites. The whites included Green-veined Whites and Small Whites. On the top meadow, it appears that the male Common Blues had hatched a new brood: the were scores seen, perhaps even hundreds hidden away. I also disturbed a mating pair of Essex Skippers. On the top short cropped slopes I spied a Small Heath butterfly, and four more Wall Browns making a total of nine, and a Six-spot Burnet moth.
Thirteen butterfly species and a macro-moth (Andy Horton)

Looking for the elusive Wall Brown butterfly with Bob Eade: youtube.com/watch?v=WYJduaSmdLw

Have today discovered a second Humming-bird Hawk-moth caterpillar amongst the lady's bedstraw in my Keymer garden. Both caterpillars are 5cm in length, and are this evening busily feeding on the foliage. (Malcolm Le Grys)

My Hollingbury back garden - Total number of Peacocks increased to three, two of which was observed to be a male and female.
9 August 2015:My Hollingbury back garden - 1 Comma, 2 Red Admirals, 1 enormous female Peacock! 3 Gatekeepers, 2 Meadow Browns, 6 Small White, including by far the smallest individual I've ever seen, this being a female. 20+ Large White, including an egg laying female using the nasturtiums. 1 Holly Blue flying over on repeated occasions, 1 Small Skipper and 1 male Speckled Wood, later seeing another individual, the difference in size and spacing of markings in the female Speckled Wood was obvious to see. I also completed another Big Butterfly Count.
8 August 2015: Hollingbury Park - 1 Holly Blue in the Tennis Glade, the mass of Hemp Agrimony looks incredible, also seen was a single Speckled Wood. Another walk through Roedale Allotments, this time a brief walk, revealed 1 Common Blue, 1 Small Skipper, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 3 Small Whites and 15 Large Whites including one mating pair.
7 August 2015: Hollingbury Park - 1 Common Blue, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Gatekeeper and 3 Small Skippers.
Roedale Allotment totals - 82 Large Whites, 44 Small Whites, 8 Commas, 7 Peacocks, 14 Red Admirals, 1 male Brimstone, 34 Gatekeepers, 25 Meadow Browns, 11 Small Skippers, 1 Essex Skipper, 10 male Common Blues, 1 Holly Blue, 1 male Brown Argus, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Clouded Yellow and 1 Cinnabar caterpillar.
My Hollingbury back garden - 1 male Brimstone. (Jamie Burston)


Sunday 9 August 2015

Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th: For the first time in a while I had a weekend off and it coincided with some great weather so I was able to get out and do some butterfly surveys. At the summit of Mount Caburn I was hoping for a Continental Swallowtail but drew a blank although migrants were represented by 2 Clouded Yellows and 5 Painted Ladies. I covered the transect at the nearby Beddingham Landfill site and it was good see that the site that was until recently was just bin liners and bulldozers is gradually returning to a great piece of chalk grassland. Chalkhill Blues were out in force and Small Blue, Silver-spotted Skipper and some almost transparent Dark Green Fritillaries were also seen. 5 Clouded Yellows were flying over the grassland here. At the end of the transect the car-park's buddleia was covered in Peacocks and Red Admirals. Clare yelled out as a large, dark butterfly with white-edged wings whizzed past me and I swung 'round and glimpsed it for a second as it headed up and over the trees - I almost shouted Camberwell Beauty - but I really didn't get a good enough look. On the downs near Saddlescoombe we searched for - and found - Silver-spotted Skippers at Varncombe Hill - possibly a new site for this species. In other news; over the past few days we have been sent sightings of a Swallowtail near Nymans Garden (photographed by Helen Kalkbrenner) and a Death's-head Hawk-moth caterpillar in a Iford garden (photographed by Annie Whitehouse). (Michael & Clare Blencowe)

The recently established Silver-spotted Skipper population at Cissbury Ring continues to grow, with 76 counted there today. It would be helpful if anyone has time to search for this species on other newly colonised sites, including Mill Hill, Anchor Bottom and Washington Chalk Pits. Any data collected during the early years of residency is very valuable. Several Clouded Yellows were also present at Cissbury, including a pure white (topside) helice, and a large number of other species. I also witnessed an incredible display of aerobatics, as a male Silver-spotted Skipper pursued a female Hummingbird Hawkmoth for ten minutes. I thought a Hummer would be able to outrun and outmanoeuvre anything, but it stupidly forgot to engage its hover mode and had to crash-land to escape. The skipper won. I was on Cissbury yesterday too, where I saw my first (male) Brown Hairstreak of the year. The 2015 season is still running late, so it will be another week or ten days before the females really get going, although there have been one or two isolated sightings. (Neil Hulme)

Whitebread Hole near Eastbourne. at 12.33pm saw a Small Copper, but immediately noticed something different about it. It settled and saw at once the light coloured left forewing, blue spots on hindwings and a thick border to forewings. Luckily it was a male in a territory which proved useful as many pics were taken, could have done with some cloud cover as it was a sunny blue sky sort of day. So had to cast my shadow over butterfly to get it to open its wings more, which was a bit hit and miss but got there in the end. Had two goes at it 12.33-1.12pm, we then walked to beachy head pub which was rather packed, then back down into Whitebread for another look, it was still there 2.55-3.32pm more photos taken. He was fighting with Small Skippers, Brown Argos, Chalk Hill Blues, Common Blues. In fact anything passing by. What I'd like to know is what aberration is it? Also seen was this Large White, it looks like the left hindwing has been removed from its socket, I wonder what would have done that? (Peter Farrant)

This male Brown Hairstreak visited the patch of Hemp agrimony in my garden and stayed an hour (between 3.15pm and 4.15pm). If the sun shines over the next few days I expect it will be back. The season's total stands at 27 species of butterfly, which is a record for the garden. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

On an evening walk across Pevensey Levels on Sunday 9th August, Carol and I came across this female Wall soaking up the last rays of the day; she was fanning her left forewing in order to generate every last bit of heat before going to roost. The male Brown Hawker was nearby doing the same. On the 29th July I came cross this female Gatekeeper aberrant with enlarged apical spots. I'm always on the lookout for the Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius) and the photo of the female was taken on 23rd July. (Nigel Kemp)

Good numbers of Silver-spotted Skippers on Mount Caburn near Lewis today, also 3 Clouded Yellows noted. (Dave Browne)

The fine weather produced 3 fine species.- an early morning Oak Eggar perched on the ledge of our French Windows then on a walk on to Caburn, we saw a Silver-spotted Skipper at Oxteddle Dewpond followed by a Pale/Berger's Clouded Yellow which shot past heading south. (John Luck)

An unusual sighting on the Buddleia bush in my front garden in Newick this afternoon was this Silver-washed Fritillary - a rather worn male but still very nice to see. (Andy Wilson)

Mill Hill in glorious sun amonst the Chalkhill Blues and the company of some nice butterfly people from Cambridge. They pointed out some Silver-spotted Skippers (3) I had missed, but I couldn't help them with their target species of Adonis Blue. Blow me down, a few minutes after they left I found a freshly emerged male of that species. Other highlights among 19 species of butterfly were at least 3 Clouded Yellows, quite a few Wall and a very faded Dark Green Fritillary. (Lindsay Morris)

Spotted this Clouded Yellow (female helice form) in a meadow near Mayfield on Sat 8th Aug. It gave me a bit of a runaround but I finally caught up while it was nectaring on fleabane. Also on Sat 8th Aug, two rather worn White Admirals along a shaded footpath near Mayfield (one feeding on dry mud, the other on bramble) and a female Silver-washed Fritillary along a meadow-edge nearby. Also a male Small Heath in another meadow near Mayfield on 2nd Aug, this one with very noticeable rings on the hindwing underside. Back at my Herstmonceux plot, I saw a fleeting Clouded Yellow on Wed 5th Aug and then this very freshly emerged male yesterday (9th Aug) on buddleia. There were also two Painted Ladies here on Fri 7th Aug as well as ones and twos at different locations in the High Weald near Mayfield last week. There seems to be a very good emergence of second-brood Common Blues at the various places I've visited in the past few days and also good numbers of Peacocks too, despite reports to the contrary. (Mike Mullis)

Good to see Common Blues on Bevendean Downand also in our Bevendean garden today. (Geoff Stevens)

I had a very pleasant walk around Windover Hill this morning. I found 3 Small Blue including 2 near the top of the hill and also Graylings along the path towards the top. The most numerous butterfly by far was Chalkhill Blue with Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Silver-spotted Skipper also in good numbers. First sighting for the year for me included Wall Brown, 2 Clouded Yellow and just 1 Small Copper. Other species included Small and Large White, Peacock, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Brimstone and Small/Essex Skippers. (Tom Parker)

Went for a quiet stroll around High & Over this afternoon and saw one probable Silver-washed Fritillary(?), lots of Silver-spotted Skipper, lots of Chalkhill Blue, two Small Copper, one Adonis Blue, two Wall Brown, tons of Meadow Brown, several Gatekeeper, one Marbled White, two Small White, several Large White and a few Small Heath. (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Friday 7 August:

Plenty of butterflies in St Leonard's Forest, especially Brimstone, Peacock and Common Blue. (Patrick Moore)


Saturday 8 August 2015

Thousands of Chalkhill Blues at Friston Gallops on the morning of Sat 8th August. Also saw Dark Green Fritillary, Small White, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Small Blue (4), Small Heath, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Ringlet.
Not content with this haul, we headed over to Malling Down in Lewes for the late afternoon, where we saw Clouded Yellow (2), Painted Lady (3), Humming-bird Hawk-moth (1), Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, abundant Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Wall, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Holly Blue, Comma, Ringlet, Brown Argus. (Colin & Andrea Gibbs)

Find out about Chalkhill Blue aberrations at: youtube.com/watch?v=WYJduaSmdLw

Several Silver-spotted Skippers at Chantry Hill this afternoon. Other species seen were Dark Green Fritillary (mainly very worn), Chalk Hill Blue, Common Blue, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Brown Argus. A Painted Lady was seen on the route from Chantry Hill to Kithurst Meadow. Species seen at Kithurst Meadow were Small Copper, Small Skipper, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Chalk Hill Blue, Gatekeeper, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Small White, Holly Blue, Common Blue and Brimstone. The photograph shows a female Brimstone at Kithurst Meadow. (Paul and Margaret Cox)

Further to my post earlier today (below), a further search of the lady's bedstraw beside my patio has revealed a 4cm long Humming-bird Hawk-moth caterpillar - picture above of the caterpillar feeding on the lady's bedstraw foliage. Obviously today's egg-laying Hawkmoth was not the first one to visit these plants! (Malcolm Le Grys)

Beside the patio in my Keymer garden I have a honeysuckle and shrubs below which is a patch of lady's bedstraw - this morning a Humming-bird Hawk-moth was not only at the honeysuckle flowers but was also paying much attention to the lady's bedstraw, flying and hovering at the foliage and flowers. Repeated visits were made, and at one time the hawk-moth alighted on the foliage and appeared to be egg-laying. I'll keep an eye out for caterpillars later in the summer! (Malcolm Le Grys)

Ideal weather conditions today prompted me to spend some time on Chantry Hill with two target species in mind. There were 34 Silver-spotted Skippers and 39 Dark Green Fritillaries. It isn't possible for one person to do justice to such a large site and my best guess is that the silver-spot total was closer to 50-55 and the DGFs more like 50 +. Many of the DGFs one had to more-or-less stand on before they would fly. I didn't attempt a full survey but other butterflies/numbers of note: Common Blue (150), Chalkhill Blue (60), and at the other end of the scale Marbled White (just 3), Large Skipper (1) and I wasn't able to locate any Wall.
My garden meadow measures approximately 25 metres by 12 metres and in that meadow today there was a minimum of 25 Common Blue! They have had a very good season. As some of the meadow flowers 'go to seed' the garden Buddleia comes into its own and all the 'showy' species were present with 12 Peacock dominating and at least 2 Painted Ladies. Also a Humming-bird Hawk-moth. I checked a nearby field (which is full of Common Fleabane) for Clouded Yellow but didn't see any but there were another 2 Painted Lady. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Very excited to attract a single Raspberry Clearwing to a pheromone lure in my back garden in North Portslade today. This is the first Clearwing species I have seen in the area. Likely that this individual was attracted from the nearby Foredown Allotments.
Also attracted a single Raspberry Clearwing to a lure at my parent's house in The Avenue, Lower Bevendean today. (Darryl Perry)


Friday 7 August 2015

Today I did my second Big Butterfly Count, again at Cissbury Ring, and included Silver-spotted Skipper, Clouded Yellow and Small Copper in my tally. Although it took me a lot longer than the 15 minute BBC, I eventually found a total of 33 Silver-spotted Skippers. Numbers are building rapidly and it's very clear that this species has gained a firm foothold here. I then went on to perform a survey at the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland, which included the first Dark Green Fritillary for the site. This brings the Knepp total to 33 species. I couldnt resist photographing the charismatic Longhorns, with the Knepp ruin as a backdrop. (Neil Hulme)

On our way back from Somerset, Val saw a Clouded Yellow in the central reservation as we sped along the A27, just south of the Rewell Wood turn off. (John & Val Heys)

My Mill Hill transect today showed plenty of Walls: Brimstone, Chalkhill Blue 39, Comma, Common Blue 13, Essex Skipper 4, Gatekeeper 30, Meadow Brown 32, Peacock 10, Red Admiral 6, Small Heath, Small Skipper, Small White 3, Wall 9, Humming-bird Hawk-moth, Lesser Treble-bar 2. I thought I saw a Grizzled Skipper in flight but couldnt be sure. Afterwards I called at Steyning Downland Scheme and saw a Clouded Yellow, a Painted Lady plus Holly Blues, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small Skippers, Brimstones, Wall, Small Heath, Peacocks, Marbled White. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

At long last I had my first Clouded Yellow (3), for this year, other butterflies of note included Painted Lady and a Brown Argus.There was also an Osprey off the southern end of Thorney Island during the low tide period. (Barry Collins)


Thursday 6 August 2015

The Purple Hairstreaks are still active in my Ash tree at home but a surprise this afternoon were two that were nectaring on flowers in the garden. Presumably being worn and weary they welcome a top up of nectar. I also noticed that they have a creamy yellow coloured proboscis and the hairs protecting the eyes are easily noticeable. They only visited particular plants with tightly packed flower head. Last week I saw a stunning mint female near the flowers. She was slowly flying and when she landed open winged she was jet black. Unfortunately she departed almost immediately heading for the Ash tree. (Richard Roebuck)

Took a short walk around Windover Hill this morning and, despite the patchy drizzle and strong wind, there were plenty of butterflies around. Most numerous by far were the Chalkhill Blues although there were also good numbers of Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. I also managed to find 9 Grayling, a Silver-spotted Skipper and a Small Blue (my first at this site). I then moved onto Cradle Valley where there were several more Silver-spotted Skippers amongst the numerous Chalkhill Blues. (Chris Hooker)


Wednesday 5 August 2015

Jersey Tiger moth (ab. lutescens) spotted in our Seaford garden today. (Fran, Simon & Amy)

Today during my only visit into my Hollingbury back garden I saw and photographed a male Peacock. Is this a case of an unclassified aberration? Included are two of the same photo, one as taken, in the other I've highlighted the differences. These being subtle patches of sprinkled black scales on the forewings, the other is the presence of fully formed dashes, located close to the eye spots on the hindwings. Additionally I noticed the first two batches of Large White eggs on the Nasturtiums, fantastic! Lastly I saw 1 male and 2 female Gatekeepers, they love the Ragwort. (Jamie Burston)

A walk around Cuckmere Haven this afternoon produced several butterflies despite the cloudy conditions. They were mostly Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. However I also saw Marbled White, Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Chalkhill Blue and a couple of Dark Green Fritillaries (the first time that I've seen them here). (Chris Hooker)


Tuesday 4 August 2015

I was keen to find some butterflies today, despite the very strong wind. This kept most species grounded, but the Silver-spotted Skipper is such a powerful flier, and keeps so low to the ground, that I felt I was in with a chance. Although numbers would have been suppressed by the weather, I still managed to find 4 at Cissbury Ring, 22 at Chantry Hill and 53 at Newtimber Hill. (Neil Hulme)

I pulled up at Pease Pottage services today with my window open and this little butterfly landed on it... (Lulu Gabore)

I walked today from Horsham into St Leonards Forest and back. Unfortunately the unkempt pasture at Turf Plain has been purchased and utterly destroyed. The Sallow, Gorse and other shrubs have all been ripped out along with all the wild flowers and grasses as well as several large Oaks and a mass of young Silver Birch. I have counted and photographed 19 butterfly species in this pasture as well as countless other insects and creatures. A really, really saddening sight. Anyway elsewhere there were, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Comma, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Silver-washed Fritillary, Holly Blue and Common Blue. (Patrick Moore)
(The flower, I have not identified, but was the only one I have ever seen. Turf Plain June 2015) - It looks like a species of Sisyrinchium to me and, if so, is a garden escapee as it's native to the Americas. ed.

News for Sunday 2 August:

During a few brief visits out into my Hollingbury back garden I had the following total for the day - 1 Red Admiral, 1 female Peacock, 1 Comma, 1 Holly Blue, 20+ Large White, 3 Small White, 1 Small Skipper, 3 male Meadow Brown and 1 female Gatekeeper. By far the highlights being a very interesting Small Tortoiseshell, at first I thought it was a small Gatekeeper. It appeared to be on such a smaller scale to the average individual. I measured three times and all gave a reading of a 40mm wingspan, which is just below the average size for a male, but to me it was so noticeably small. However this was surpassed by a very unexpected visitor. I noticed from the dinning room window that a small sized butterfly had landed on the Lavender, upon rushing out I saw the spotted underside and assumed it to be a Common Blue, but no, this was not the case. In a reveal like fashion it slowly rotated. As it proceeded the wings began to open. To my amazement I was greeted with orange and brown, this is the very first time I have been meet by the very striking colours of a fresh Brown Argus in the garden! In the evening I spontaneously rushed to the dew pond at Wild Park, in great weather I was met with four different Purple Hairstreaks, what a sight and the perfect way to finish the day! (Jamie Burston)

It was a fine Sunday afternoon but very windy whilst walking on Chantry Hill, Storrington (TQ08471 12386). Saw at least 15 different Dark Green Fritillaries flying but getting rather faded and weatherbeaten now. Also plenty of blues, including Chalk Hills. Then went to a meadow just south of the Whiteways Lodge Cafe (TQ0016110722) where I saw a dozen or more Silver-washed Fritillaries lots of blues, Mint Moths and Small Coppers, also 2 Clouded Yellows. A lovely way to spend a glorious afternoon - slightly marred by getting locked in the cafe car park - thought it shut at 8pm but it shuts at 6pm on Sundays. Did manage to manoeuvre a way out but a strong lesson learnt!! (David Barrett)


Monday 3 August 2015

This afternoon I joined Dan (and Indi) Danahar, to help make the latest instalment of his popular sitcom Butterflies of the Biosphere. Although we left the Biosphere to visit Butchershole Bottom (watch this episode to find out the story behind its menacing name), we felt justified in doing so by the ample fruits provided by this site. Our target species, Chalk Hill Blue, is yet to peak here, but there were clearly several thousand already flying, despite the grey skies. We were keen to find some aberrant forms and the dull conditions were ideal for this, keeping them inactive for prolonged periods. It didnt take us long to find a few examples of ab. postobsoleta (reduced spotting over the hind wings), but I was particularly pleased with a specimen that fell within spitting distance of ab. caeca (a blind form), which had just a single, central spot on the underside of its forewing, and just two, tiny spots (in addition to the central key) on the hind wing. Technically, this should probably be referred to ab. anticaeca + postobsoleta. Who cares  we had fun, and didnt tread in any dog poo. Also present were large numbers of Essex Skipper, Common Blue and a few Small Copper and Brown Argus, amongst the usual suspects. (Neil Hulme, Dan and Indi Danahar)

News for Saturday 1 August:

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Kingley Vale (SU8210) on 1st August: Brimstone 2M, Large White 2, Small White 23, Meadow Brown 16, Gatekeeper 5, Ringlet 2, Speckled Wood 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 4, Red Admiarl 2, Peacock 1 and Small Skipper 6.
Later walking along Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835088) the following were seen: Small White 12, Meadow Brown 7, Gatekeeper 4, Silver-washed Fritillary 1, Red Admiral 2, Comma 1 and Peacock 1. (Richard Symonds)


Sunday 2 August 2015

Several female Holly Blues now laying eggs on the ivy flower buds in my Worthing back garden.
Please dont cut your garden ivy back until October, to let their caterpillars reach maturity and pupate. (Neil Hulme)

Spent today in Friston Forest map surveying and was frequently distracted by the variety of butterflies on the wing. I ended up with 22 species (probably 24 but didn't check the skippers or all of the whites closely!) including both Dark Green and Silver-washed Fritillaries, several Brimstones, 2 Wall, 2 Painted Ladies and, best of all in my opinion, about 10 fresh Small Blues. (Chris Hooker)

25 butterfly species seen on the Downs over yesterday and today. My walk today, punctuated by Commas, was from Lancing to Steep Down had second broods also of 10 Wall, 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Small Blues and a Small Copper. A Humming-bird Hawk-moth too. (Lindsay Morris)

Today amongst the 11 species counted on my transect walk at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean - Clouded Yellow and Dark Green Fritillary. Numbers starting to decrease, but still 3 Marbled White noted and again Gatekeepers outnumbering Meadow Browns. (Peter Whitcomb)

With the sun shining I did my Wall Brown circuit at the back of Seaford today. With only 22 individuals seen, which was very disappointing, I hope there is still plenty of time for more to emerge. The first brood was well down on recent years so I had been expecting the 2nd brood to also be down, but not as much as this. Numbers should still be growing to reach a peak around the middle of the month. Brown Argus and Chalkhill Blue numbers did seem impressive as I walked around, as well as being well distributed throughout the walk. (Bob Eade)


Saturday 1 August 2015


Looking- for the Silver-spotted Skipper

A beautiful, fresh-looking Painted Lady at Kithurst Meadow this afternoon. Other species seen were Dark Green Fritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Chalk Hill Blue, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small White, Large White, Green Veined White, Brown Argus, Peacock, Red Admiral, Marbled White, Small Skipper and Comma. (Paul and Margaret Cox)

Brown Hairstreak at Pulborough RSPB, in canopy of ash tree by path to Nettleys hide (where the sign saying "Brown Hairstreak" is...). (Bart Ives)

2 Clouded Yellows this afternoon (my first of the year). One in Cowbeech and the other in Hailsham Country Park. (Chris Hooker)

A walk from Devil's Dyke to Pycombe gave us 16 butterfly species, the highlights being 2 Dingy Skippers and 10 or so Silver-spotted Skippers, the former in the Saddlescombe Chalk Pit, the latter beyond the top of it. (Lindsay & Paul Morris)

I have lots of wasps in my garden right now. Hardly surprising when there are three very active wasp nests within 20 metres of each other. Wasps are not butterflies and this is a butterfly website, so why I am mentioning such things? Well, wasps 'hoover' up small insects and feed them to their grubs. This means that there are an awful lot of insects in my wildlife garden (that are mostly too small to see very easily), but fortunately for me butterflies are big things (comparatively) and easy enough to see and identify. Which is nice for Mary and me. Today whilst doing a variety of garden jobs 18 species of butterfly presented themselves for inspection (a garden record for a daily count): Gatekeeper (18), Meadow Brown (10), Common Blue (9), Small White (9), Peacock (9), Large White (7), Red Admiral (4), Comma (4), Holly Blue (4), Brimstone (3), Green-veined White (2), Marbled White (1), Large Skipper (1), Small Skipper (1), Small Copper (1), Brown Argus (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Speckled Wood (1). A minimum of 86 butterflies in the garden today. Also a Humming-bird Hawk-moth nectaring on the Buddleia. (Martin and Mary Kalaher, Storrington)

Today I was pleased to see a single Peacock join my Hollingbury garden species list for this year. Below are the remaining observations I took during July, I continued to find new elm trees being used by the White-letter Hairstreaks. I now believe that after a few days of negative sightings locally, that the adult White-letter Hairstreaks have generally finished for this season.
9th July 2015 - The one White-letter Hairstreak sighting I had on Roedale Allotments (Private Land) was seen flying at 3:30 p.m. at (TQ31630767).
10th July 2015 - 1 White-letter Hairstreak seen flying on elm at Crabtree Avenue at 11:19 a.m.
1 White-letter Hairstreak seen flying around the following elm on Carden Hill - (TQ31590825) at 1pm exactly. (new tree)
11th July 2015 - 1 White-letter Hairstreak seen flying around the following elm on Carden Hill - (TQ31570828) at 10:42 a.m., then again at 10:45 a.m.(new tree)
15th July 2015 - Approx 11:55 a.m. my mum saw 1 White-letter Hairstreak flying around the following tree - (TQ31570828). The same number I personally saw previously on this tree on the 11th July (above).
19th July 2015 - At 11:40 a.m. I saw 2 White-letter Hairstreaks dog fighting, these spiraled away from the tree until they broke off and flew back, the tree used was at (TQ31620820). Within the next few minutes I again saw 2 White-letter Hairstreak dog fighting. (new tree)
At 11:45 a.m. I saw 2 flying around the following tree at (TQ31600821 - new tree), I had a feeling there was more, so I waited. Minutes later at 11:51 a.m. I had 4 White-letter Hairstreaks flying in a group, with another 1 moving to the other side of the tree, totaling 5! Could this now be the peak of their emergence ? Because of the larger size than other Wheatley Elms and it's sheltered position, it would appear that this tree can cater for one of the largest population / peak emergence for this species of elm. During my time looking at this tree one flew out to a smaller tree of a different species at (TQ31620821).
At 11:53 a.m. I saw 1 White-letter Hairstreak flying from the following tree at (TQ31600820 - new tree) to (TQ31600821).
21st July 2015 - At 11:50 a.m. I saw 2 White-letter Hairstreaks, the following tree used was at (TQ31570812 - new tree).
At 11:52 a.m. I saw 1 White-letter Hairstreak, then again at 11:57 a.m. I had another single sighting, the following tree used was at (TQ31560813 - new tree).
At 12:01 p.m. I saw 2 White-letter Hairstreaks having a slight tussle in flight, the following tree used was at (TQ31560810 - new tree). At the same time I looked back over to tree (TQ31570812) and saw a single White-letter Hairstreak in flight.
At 12:17 p.m. I saw 1 White-letter Hairstreak flying around the following tree (TQ31570819 - new tree). (Jamie Burston)


Friday 31 July 2015

On Friday, July 31, I visited Botany Bay mainly to see the second brood of the Wood White. Two pictures enclosed. Can anyone identify the white flower in one of the pictures? Every year I go, the best pictures seem to be of the Wood White on one of these flowers. No Purple Emperors or White Admierals seen, but masses of middle aged Silver-washed Fritillaries relaxing on an abundant display of wild flowers. There were surprising few Small Skippers too. (Simon Quin)

Lancing Chalk Pit held a second generation Wall this evening. (Lindsay Morris)

Imagine my surprise and delight at this new record for Levin Down today - A White Admiral seen whilst doing my transect. (Ann Griffiths)

In the morning I went to Wild Park's dew pond to search for Purple Hairstreak, nothing seen. I did however see 2 Small Skippers, 1 Red Admiral, 19 Gatekeepers including a mating pair, 3 Meadow Browns, 1 Marbled White, 1 Ringlet and 2 Large Whites. The highlights being 15 male Small Whites during my visit, they loved the Creeping Thistle and 2 Chalk Hill Blues. Moving onto Hollingbury Hill Fort I saw 1 Red Admiral, 1 Essex Skipper, 5 Gatekeepers, 1 Marbled White and a single Painted Lady. The highlight was seeing 5 Peacocks, they really like the Hemp Agrimony growing along the sheltered east side of the fort. I additionally saw a single Dusky Sallow feeding on Greater Knapweed. In the afternoon, just after 4pm I was at Stanmer Park, Great Wood with my dad for a walk. In the first coppiced glade we came to, the same one I visited last year, I saw many butterflies. In the attached photo you will see the following, 6 Peacocks, 3 Commas & 2 Red Admirals. Also seen was a single male Silver-washed Fritillary. The butterflies continued to bask by following and shifting their position across glade, as the sun began to move. I saw many more Commas, Red Admirals and Peacocks basking which are not pictured. These were seen basking in different situations, being on coppiced trees, tree trunks and on Buddleia, I chose to enjoy my time and not count them . Elsewhere in Stanmer Park, Great Wood (it lived upto it's name!) I saw more Commas, and a few Gatekeepers. (Jamie & Jeff Burston)

I thought it would be nice to find some Chalkhill Blues today, there were plenty at Kithurst Meadow. (Patrick Moore)

Woods Mill: Having discovered this morning that where I work is actually within the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere I realised that it should be my lunchtime mission to claim a White Admiral badge for myself. I set out, camera in hand to track one down and within minutes I found what I was looking for, very tatty admittedly, but a Biosphere White Admiral nonetheless...
As I continued my wanderings I was somewhat surprised to see a Comma perched on some duckweed on the surface of the pond sunning itself. (Bob Foreman)

On Friday morning at Ferring Rife I saw several male Emperor Dragonflies patrolling and a female laying eggs on lilies. In the afternoon at Arundel WWT I observed a feisty Comma attack everything that flew near it, including a Broad-bodied Chaser. There were also Common Blues, Brown Argus, Commas, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Pearl Veneers and Mother of Pearls. Back home I found a Marbled Green moth on the outside door. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1fSr6Fk)


Thursday 30 July 2015

Mr D. Buck reports a worn Continental Swallowtail near the windmill at Rottingdean on Thursday morning. (Michael Blencowe)

A brief lunchtime visit to Cissbury Ring allowed me to do my long overdue Big Butterfly Count today. In 15 frenetic minutes I counted 14 species, including Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large White, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Dark Green Fritillary, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue and Chalk Hill Blue. I then spent a further 30 minutes photographing them. A very pleasant way to spend a lunch hour! (Neil Hulme)

Having looked at your website, I decided to go to the Downs at the top of Chantry Lane to see if I could find any DGFs. Plenty of late afternoon sunshine but quite windy.Had a look in the steep meadow immediately North West of the main car park at the top of Chantry Lane. Several Marbled Whites, 3 Peacocks, a Painted Lady, a Red Admiral, loads of Small Heaths, Gatekeepers, Large and Small Skippers but only caught sight of 3 Dark Green Fritillaries - two of which were tattered and faded. The best one was fast on the wing and only stopped once for a couple of seconds before heading West. Unfortunately it stopped amongst vegetation so only able to get a couple of record shots, which I attach. Nevertheless, very pleased to see my first this year and a very pleasant way to spend an hour! (David Barrett)

It was fabulous to watch the butterflies come and go through my Hollingbury back garden today. I saw 1 female and 1 male Speckled Wood, 7 Meadow Brown and 1 Comma. There was almost a constant presence of 2 Red Admirals and a single Painted Lady. Additionally 20+ Large Whites, at one point it was great to see three spiraling around each other, getting ever higher and higher into the air. Out of all of the Large Whites seen, I only observed one male, with females making up the larger percentage seen. With spots on the females forewings it makes it really easy to tell the sexes apart, the males lack spotting all together, maintaining the dark tips. I was overjoyed to see a single Humming-bird Hawk-moth briefly take nectar from one of the Buddleia bushes. During the day I also took part in the Big Butterfly Count, including individuals mentioned here. Locally I also saw 2 Small Whites, the first seen on Lavender at (TQ31870847), the second seen at (TQ31830851). (Jamie Burston)

After all the strong cold winds and cloud the wind dropped today, the sun came out and in our Bevendean Garden there were very many butterflies including several very fresh male Brimstones lots of Gatekeepers a few old Ringlets a few Meadow Browns 2 fresh Speckled Wood also Small and Large White, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and a Comma. (Geoff Stevens)

In the garden over the past 2-3 days there has been a build-up of numbers of Peacocks, Common Blues and Small Whites and this afternoon there were ten Peacocks on the Buddleia, ten Common Blues (7m, 3f) in the flower meadow, with 7-8 Small Whites scattered throughout the garden. Large Skippers have now gone and I could only locate one Small Skipper. There was a total of 70 butterflies, 14 butterfly species, and a Humming-bird Hawk-moth nectaring on the Buddleia. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Wonderful evening walk by the Cuckmere River in Arlington this evening (through Arlington Churchyard, turn RIGHT to walk alongside edge of field growing sweetcorn which farmer has left a strip around to naturalise). Masses of Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Large Whites and  a first for me  at least 5 very active Clouded Yellows, feeding on the burrs and oxe-eye daisy nectar. Recommended walk (and very nice pub  The Yewtree  in village!). (Simon Jeffs)


Wednesday 29 July 2015

Today I walked a circuit of Cissbury Ring then Steyning Round Hill/South Downs Way and returned via the Monarch's Way. There was sunshine at first then cloud followed by more sun at the end of the walk.
I have never seen so many butterflies, Marbled White and Gatekeeper were in abundance on the ring. There were also Dark Green Fritillary, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Large White, Peacock, Comma, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small and Large Skipper as well as Essex Skipper.
Further into the Downs there were lots of Red Admiral near New Hill Barn, then Painted Lady, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Wall and a Brimstone around No Mans Land area. (Patrick Moore)

Urban butterflies today. Portland Road Hove just west of Olive Road, a Holly Blue on lavender. St Leonards Church yard, New Church Road, Hove, one Essex Skipper, one Common Blue, two each of Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, 3 Whites (probably all Small) and four burnet moths. (John & Val Heys)

Saw my first Brown Hairstreak of the year at 8.40 am: a male seeing off a Gatekeeper by the footpath from Upper Beeding Priory to Beeding Manor Farm, TQ194113. Plenty of blackthorn scrub around here. (John Woodward)

I haven't been able to do a lot of butterflying recently. As the former species champion for the White-letter Hairstreak in Sussex, maybe my little friends decided to come looking for me rather than me go looking for them. One landed on my car windscreen at 4pm today in Montpelier Road, Brighton - TQ302044. It was maybe attracted by the blue of my National Trust member sticker. I got a quick snap on my phone before it flew off into the elm trees nearby. (Caroline Clarke)

Today in my Hollingbury back garden I saw 2 Meadow Brown, 1 Red Admiral and 1 Comma. I additionally saw 1 male Large White fly through the garden and a single female Large White which ignored the Nasturtiums on offer. She stayed around the garden for about twenty minutes nectaring on Buddleia and basking on garden shrubs. Previously on the 27th July I saw a single female Large White flying away from Ragwort after briefly taking an interest, seen locally at (TQ31530906). (Jamie Burston)


Tuesday 28 July 2015

On Monday and Tuesday I visited Kithurst meadow and found it in excellent condition with tall patches of Hemp Agrimony and Marjoram scenting the air. There were not many Chalkhill Blues, but plenty of other butterflies and moths, including a couple of Painted Ladies and Silver-washed Fritillaries nectaring on Hemp Agrimony. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1VNsBpe)


Monday 27 July 2015

A good selection of butterflies during July in Knowlands Wood, Barcombe; 22 species so far (including two - Common Blue and Small Copper  just outside but within a few yards of the woodland edge). Today came the most rewarding sighting, my first ever valesina form female Silver-washed Fritillary in the West Ride (TQ 41490 17093), photo attached. I have not heard of one here before today. (Nick Lear)

Not exactly a promising day for watching butterflies but I was lucky enough to have a brief visit to my garden by a female Dark Green Fritillary. It landed on Greater Knapweed in the flower meadow and began to nectar and then moved on to a neighbouring flower-head. I spotted it approximately 15 metres away and thought I knew what it was. Fortunately I was able to approach closely and confirm the ID. I did what I usually do in these circumstances and raced to the house to grab camera and alert Mary, but as always in this type of situation it was gone by the time we got back to the meadow. On July 8th I had a male DGF in the garden and today a female. We are one and half kilometres from Chantry Hill. Clearly some DGFs do move around a bit. Also four Holly Blue on Saturday 25th, four Common Blue (3m, 1f) and a Brown Argus. Fifteen species in total. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

News for Saturday 25 July:

Not unheard of, but nonetheless, lovely to find this Dark Green Fritillary in my mum's garden yesterday - Becket Road, Worthing. (Mike Warren)


Sunday 26 July 2015

Butterfly and Moth Walk, Swanborough Hill.
Six hardy souls turned up to be entertained lepidoptera fashion, but in the event constant rain and 11 degrees temperatures frustrated this ambition. After viewing Comma eggs on Elm, Green-veined White eggs on Garlic Mustard and a solo Red Admiral caterpillar safely tucked up in its nettle tent a decision was made to cancel the event and retire to the sanctuary of local artist Mary Smythe's living room for her now legendary tea and biscuits. The conversational topics were many and varied and more than made up for an otherwise disappointing day. Thank you so much Mary.
By way of a footnote, whilst doing a reconnaissance of the route yesterday to ensure there were no obstacles or blockages from Friday evening's high winds at least 15 species were seen without really looking. These included Ringlet, Dark Green Fritillary and Clouded Yellow. (Steve Teale and David Harris)


Saturday 25 July 2015

Plenty to see at Kithurst Meadow this afternoon. Chalkhill Blue, Small Blue, Silver-washed Fritillary, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Comma, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Small Skipper, Peacock and Marbled White were all seen. A couple of nice surprises too. A White-letter Hairstreak was seen nectaring on Hemp Agrimony. Also, a beautiful Small Copper with additional blue spots, which we believe is one of the aberrant forms, ab. caeruleopunctata. (Paul and Margaret Cox)

We ventured out today to Friston Forest for a well earned and long overdue butterfly hunt and were immediately rewarded feet from the car by seeing a Humming-bird Hawk-moth (which was my son's first ever one). We knew that wasn't going to be topped, so we relaxed and just went with the flow. Also spotted Ringlet, Large White, Small White, Marbled White, Gatekeepers, Comma, Meadow Brown and some Large(?) Skippers and Six-spot Burnett. Then after about three hours, we returned to the car and there again was the same Humming-bird Hawk-moth! Amazing. (Nick & James Linazasoro)

Small Dole's Tottington Wood was alive with Silver-washed Fritillaries and a fair few White Admirals, and that was fine. However, near the public footpath crossroads in the centre of the southern end of the wood I was blown away by a low-perching female Purple Emperor. "Herself" was a bit tatty (if one is allowed to say such of an Empress), but her regal bearing was unmistakeable and I bowed as low as I can bow these days. (Lindsay Morris)

At about 8.50 am this morning, a Painted Lady and a Small White on the wild flower mounds in Wish Park, Hove. Around 2pm to 3.30pm, in our back garden by Wish Park, after the smoke from the BBQ had dissipated, at least 2 different White-letter Hairstreaks, a Holly Blue, a Meadow Brown and a couple of wandering whites. It's virtually the first time any butterfly has shown any interest in our common scabious, but the hairstreaks seemed really keen on them. One of them got its own back by perching on my chair while I was chasing another and then flying away as I approached. (John Heys)

After a great deal of searching I eventually found a single Silver-spotted Skipper at Chantry Hill at TQ 08289 12550. Also present, 15 Dark Green Fritillary, 4 Common Blues, 4 Small Skippers and plenty of Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites. (Bart Ives)

It's possibly 2 years since I have been to Windover Hill and mid-morning walking up the chalk track, we quickly saw lots of Chalkhill Blues, many just emerging with newly unfolding or floppy wings. This didn't stop the males who were intercepting and mating with females immediately. Some of the males were just stunning with a sort of iridescent blue across their wings. Unfortunately with bright sunshine and of course windy conditions, photos were difficult to come by. Part way up and slightly off piste our first mint Grayling was seen on the chalk path. Eventually got to the main site and then we started spotting more Graylings. They were pretty approachable, so much so, that one landed on my leg (trousered so to speak), another on my boot and twice there were landings on one of my spaniels. I think I saw 10 plus during our visit. In addition there were loads of Six-spot Burnets again many just emerging and the odd Dark Green Fritillary streaking past. A few Small Coppers and Small Blues, Chalk Carpet moths and a beautiful yellow moth Mecyna flavalis which was present in large numbers, a rare and localised species in the UK. From here I went to Shoreham shingle beach reserve which was fairly quiet butterfly wise. After a couple of Small Coppers, an Essex Skipper was a first for me at this site and a last instar Tiger Moth Caterpillar was great to see. Lastly I spotted a Painted Lady sat on a wall the other side of a fence which was a challenge to photograph, however it was stunning nevertheless. When I arrived home a Silver-washed Fritillary was nectaring in the garden on the smallest of flowers - Pig nut, I think. Great day. (Richard Roebuck)

25th July 2015: In my Hollingbury back garden I saw 2 Large Whites, one being male. Also been was a single Speckled Wood.
23rd July 2015: Bexhill, Barnhorn Road, A259 at (TQ71220785) I saw a single Holly Blue flying around Ivy just to the side of the pavement. It was my mum's birthday, to celebrate we went to Hastings. Unable to recall sightings from here I kept an eye out for any butterflies. I only managed to see one, this was however in very windy conditions, so much so that at one point the butterfly was forced into the ground before being blown elsewhere. Based on the large size and colour of the butterfly and the habitat, I would assume this to be a Dark Green Fritillary. I've recently seen Painted Ladies right next to Dark Green Fritillary for comparison, Painted Lady it was not. We took the Lift upto West Hill, the area it was seen using was (TQ820095 and TQ821095). Well worth investigating in the future.
21st July 2015: 1 Red Admiral locally in Hollingbury at (TQ31510836). Along the B2237 in someone/s front garden I saw a Holly Blue from the car, seen at (TQ17233138). With the help of Google Maps I was able to relocate the garden. Me and the family went to Warnham Local Nature Reserve, the entrance to the reserve being at (TQ16803231). During the visit I counted every single butterfly I saw, not included in this count are 3 unidentified Skippers. I saw 32 Whites, included in this total I could only positively identify three Small Whites and 1 Green-veined White, the remaining 28 could have been either species. It was hard to tell as 60% of the Whites were seen from a far. Other totals included: 22 Meadow Brown, mostly male, 1 fresh male Common Blue, 1 Small Skipper, 2 Essex Skipper, 19 Silver-washed Fritillaries of which I was able to confirm 1 female and 3 male amongst them, 3 Large White, 3 Speckled Wood, 20 Comma, 4 Large Skipper including a courting pair, 7 Gatekeeper, two of which were female, 3 Ringlet, 2 Holly Blue and 2 Red Admirals. I was thrilled to see the addition of an Egret, plus I saw a single Hornet. Interestingly I was talking to one of the staff members on hand and they mentioned Purple Emperor being present, but even better was the mention of Purple Hairstreaks which would come right down onto and near the boardwalks for moisture. The location where this would happen is at (TQ17363308), situated on the sunny side next to a large Oak, here they have also been seen in great numbers flying around the canopy. Sadly it became very windy by the time I reached the area.
20th July 2015: My dad is now on holiday so we went to Eastbourne, on the way we made a stop for some shopping, I was waiting in the car when I noticed a Buddleia nearby, I waited for the fine mist to improve then I walked over to take a look. Within this square (TQ62820089) I found two Buddleias in flower, each had it's own single Red Admiral on it, both at the opposite ends of the scale of condition. Later I saw 1 fresh looking Red Admiral at Eastbourne Beach seen on the pebbles, absorbing what warmth was available in the dull weather, seen at (TV62219953). Further towards the Pier I saw a single Painted Lady on the move approximately at (TV61949918), it moved across the road, last visibly seen flying at second floor level on the corner of the Shore View hotel at (TV61899910). A good test of my distant vision and tracking skills, but with the aid of my glasses!
18th July 2015: At 39 Acre Field I saw a single Small Skipper. Nearby at (TQ32400786) I saw 1 female Large White and 1 female Small White. At Wild Park's dew pond I counted 1 female Dark Green Fritillary, 1 Peacock seen feeding on brambles, 1 male Small White briefly settled on a bramble leaf, and it was a joy to see a fresh Small Copper taking nectar from the multiple flower heads of Creeping Thistle (TQ32540772). Also on these flowers was a single Small Skipper. Away from the dew pond around (TQ327077) I saw a second female Dark Green Fritillary, this individual being both larger in size and of lighter colouration. Here I also saw a single Painted Lady repeatedly taking nectar from Wild Basil. Additionally a Comma and female Large White. Finally at Hollingbury Hill Fort I saw two different male Dark Green Fritillaries, one of these briefly landed on bare ground. Four Painted Ladies were also seen flying. These two species would be seen flying side by side during periods of strong wind. On another note it's interesting to find that right on the coast, locations like Littlehampton, Eastbourne and Hastings have good populations of Holm/Evergreen Oak growing, because of their coastal location they are exposed to the elements. Could and do Purple Hairstreak use these trees? It would definitely be interesting to see them using this species of Oak. (Jamie, Jeff, Gail, Kirsty, Mason Burston)

News for Thursday 23 July:

7 Wood White summer broodwood near Plaistow. (Margaret Hibbard)

On Thursday my Mill Hill transect gave me a second brood Brown Argus. The Marjoram and Hemp Agrimony at the top of the hill were covered in Peacocks, Red Admirals, a Painted Lady and a male and female Dark Green Fritillary. I have only recorded one DGF in the previous 4 years and wonder where they have come from. Moths: Lime-speck Pug larva on Knapweed (Eupithecia centaureata), many Silver Ys and Six-spot Burnets, Small Purple and Gold, Straw-barred Pearl. My count: Brown Argus, Chalkhill Blue 31, Comma 1, Dark Green Fritillary 2, Essex Skipper, Gatekeeper 73, Green-veined White 3, Large Skipper, Large White, Marbled White 11, Meadow Brown 40, Painted Lady, Peacock 6, Red Admiral 8, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White 4. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745115) where he observed 4 Red Admirals feeding on oozing sap from damaged bark on an Oak tree. The Red Admirals were continuously being harassed by Hornets who also wanted to feed at the same time. Totals observed were: Large White 3, Small White 11, Green-veined White 1, Ringlet 7, Gatekeeper 6, Meadow Brown 4, Silver-washed Fritillary 16, Peacock 3, Red Admiral 4, Comma 1 and Small Skipper 2. (Richard Symonds)

On Thursday 23 July at 10:30 a female Purple Emperor seen flying around the top branches of an oak overhanging Fittleworth Road near Wisborough Green at TQ035235. A lovely sight and the first time I've knowingly seen one. (Lusie Ambler)

News for Friday 17 July:

Just returned home in Cornwall after a week visiting family in Hampshire during which time myself along with my wife and father Roy Symonds visited Houghton Forest (SU9911) on 17th July. My last visit here was back in 2006 where I had only walked down the length of one track. In total we walked almost continuously for three and a half hours, covering many tracks and paths which gave a good covering of bramble, thistles and other wild flowers. We recorded 19 different species of butterfly, the most numerous was the Ringlet, which I steadfastly continued to record every sighting, long after my father had given up once he had reached 80 individuals!
The total count was: Brimstone 2M, Large White 14, Small White 18, Green-veined White 2, Small Copper 1, Ringlet 191, Meadow Brown 32, Gatekeeper 21, Speckled Wood 8, Marbled White 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 21M 7F, Peacock 19, Red Admiral 10, Comma 10, White Admiral 4, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Large Skipper 14, Small Skipper 17 and Essex Skipper 2. (Richard Symonds)


Thursday 23 July 2015

Silver-Washed Fritillary anybody? youtu.be/YjhMrh9FErs

While performing a butterfly survey on the Knepp Castle Estate today I found this stunning Silver-washed Fritillary f. valesina, the first I've seen in Sussex since 2013. My tour of the Middle Block suggested that this species is having a good year on the estate, with a further 57 in standard colours recorded. In the evening I attended a meeting of the Sussex Moth Group, where I picked up a copy of A Complete History of the Butterflies and Moths of Sussex Volume 4 by Colin R. Pratt. Produced in glorious technicolour, this supplement to Vols 1  3 is a magnificent piece of work, and essential for the really serious enthusiast. (Neil Hulme)

....and then two turn up at the same time...
St Leonard's Forest was busy with butterflies today, highlights for me were White Admiral, Peacocks, Purple Hairstreak, Common Blue and Silver-washed Fritillary. (Patrick Moore)

A lovely sunny afternoon at Rowland Wood today, and I was able to watch a Painted Lady ignoring all the thistles and working its way along the bank of Common Fleabane along the North side of the clearfell area. (Nigel Symington)


Wednesday 22 July 2015

Windover Hill: Nice to record a Silver-spotted Skipper on the footpath up the hill. In the gorse screened clearing on the right hand side, about TQ541032. Plenty of fresh Chalkhill Blues on the wing, unfortunately no sign of a Grayling. (Dave Potter)

Today I visited Warnham Reserve and found Silver-washed Fritillaries nectaring on brambles with Green-veined Whites and Gatekeepers, plus an Alder Moth larva on a bramble leaf. I then attended an Invasive Species workshop at Chesworth Farm, another Horsham Reserve. There I found Essex Skippers, Pearl Veneers and a Shaded Broad-bar. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com )

News for Saturday 18 July:

My favourite Purple Emperor was back on his perch this morning at Woods Mill and periodically doing a few laps of his oak tree to keep those pesky Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals at bay. (Michael Blencowe)

I saw several Silver-washed Fritillary butterflies in the garden at High Beeches on Saturday. (Sarah Bray)

On Saturday morning I joined Neil Hulme at Knepp Castle Estate and saw my first Purple Emperors of the year including males fighting in the tree canopy. A Hobby flew overhead at one point. On Sunday I did my Mill Hill transect: Chalkhill Blue 6, Essex Skipper 5, Gatekeeper 91, Green-veined White 5, Large Skipper 2, Large White 4, Marbled White 14, Meadow Brown 20, Peacock 7, Red Admiral 5, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Small White 4. These were the first Essex Skippers I have identified on this transect. I then visited Kithurst Meadow, which was heaving with butterflies, including some Chalkhill Blues, a pristine male second brood Common Blue and a Painted Lady. Finally I checked out Houghton Forest and saw a Silver-washed Fritillary and a White Admiral. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1gJZRO1 )


Tuesday 21 July 2015

I paid a quick visit to Lower Beeding churchyard today, there are lovely areas of unmown meadow, and saw several species including; Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper, Large Skipper and Speckled Wood. (Patrick Moore)

My first White Admiral of the year at RSPB Broadwater Warren this afternoon. Other butterflies seen during the day were Large Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, Common Blue, Peacock, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath. (Alan Loweth)

There has been a large emergence of Gatekeepers in the past couple of days with more than 40 in my garden today (which is a record daily total for this species). Otherwise a total of 18 species in the past three days with pride of place, today, a freshly-emerged second-brood Brown Argus. At Kithurst Hill this afternoon there was a good variety including 7-8 Chalkhill Blues and lots of Whites. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Re. Lorna Windfield's posting of the Empress of 19th July, I was also on hand to witness this, albeit worn, huge butterfly. Unfortunately she had clearly been attacked by a bird with the "V" visible in the rear hind wings. Nevertheless she still had the power of flight and all being well she has done her bit for next season at Knepp. Also worth a note was a newly emerged male Brimstone and a fab hutchinsoni Comma. On another note my preoccupancy with PE recently has neglected my attendance with all are other fab species. Late this afternoon I went to a favourite spot at Wiston to catch up with Silver-washed Fritillaries. As soon as I got there I realised I had forgotten my camera, which was annoying, as I immediately spotted two mating pairs. Went home, came back and clocked up 5 mating pairs, a record for me. In addition there were numerous mint females and most of the males were either mint or only showing slight ware. It was such a pleasure to spend time in in a tranquil environment full of butterflies. In addition there were mint Red Admirals, mint Gatekeepers, Commas, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Large Skippers, Green-veined Whites and disappointingly only one White Admiral. Any way the Silver-washed Frits were just great and so biddable at this time of day. The Red Admirals present were absolutely stunning as were the Gatekeepers. Intriguingly I spotted a female Gatekeeper with distinctly Blue/purple colour on the forewing margin again something I have never notice before and absolutely stunning. (Richard Roebuck)

One, possibly two, White-letter Hairstreak nectaring on bramble blossom not far from the allotment car park and only about 70m from the service road. One was nectaring on bramble blossom approximately 130cms off the ground, on the edge of an elm "strip" that separated the allotment car park from the grassland. It flew up and over the top of the elms. The other sighting was approximately 15 minutes later, of an individual basking on a bramble leaf, with its folded wings angled over to make the most of the sunlight. This was close to the first sighting and so may well have been the same individual. This was from 16:30 - 16:45. No others seen, although we did not have enough time to do the site justice. Lots of commas basking too. (Chris Skinner)


Sunday 19 July 2015

Ten of us enjoyed a morning of chalk downland flowers and butterflies on Saturday on the north east edge of Brighton. We saw large numbers of Marbled Whites, Ringlets, Gate Keepers, Small Skippers and Meadow Browns. The male Chalkhill Blues which had only started to emerge on the site on Thursday were already in good numbers. We also saw Essex Skippers, Burnet, Cinnabar and Silver Y moths. Towards the end of the walk a male and a female Dark Green Fritillary appeared which was very pleasing as it was a first sighting of this species by one of the party. On Sunday the Friends of Bevendean Down had our own butterfly walk on the site and in addition to the above we saw a Small Copper and a beautiful female Common Blue. The flower display was also beautiful with especially large numbers of round headed rampion and pink centuary this year. The quieter presence of squinancywort and bastard toadflax added to the tapestry below the rich colours of knapweeds, scabious and yellow rattle. (Geoff Stevens and Tessa Pawsey)

A beautiful morning on the Friends of Bevendean Down Butterfly Walk on Sunday. Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Marbled White, Dark Green Fritillary, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Silver Y moth, Forester moth, Six-Spot Burnett moth and Essex Skipper. (Sarah Stevens)

I had a lovely walk to see the butterflies on Sunday with the Friends of Bevendean Down. We saw lots of Marbeled Whites, this one in the photograph has a distinct brown edge to the top of the wings. There were also lots of Chalkhill Blues, a Common Blue (female), Essex and Small Skippers, Dark Green Fritillaries, a Small Copper, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns. (Patrick Bonfield)

I very rarely take photographs when I am out in the field but today this Silver-washed Fritillary was very obliging and even I managed to take lots of pictures using my iphone. Even better, the butterfly settled to feed on a flower where there was already an amazing longhorn beetle! This was on the edge of woodland at TQ282244. (Helen Crabtree)

I took a walk on the Downs from Folkington to Lullington Heath and back this afternoon and, despite the strong wind, there was plenty of butterfly activity. Highlights were my first 2 Grayling of the year, several Dark Green Fritillaries, a Silver-washed Fritillary and a White Admiral in the Charlston Bottom section of Lullington Heath, and several fresh Chalkhill Blues. (Chris Hooker)

There have been very few Whites in the garden this year but over the past 2-3 days rather more and today, Large White (3), Small White (2), Marbled White (1), and Green-veined White (1). Also plenty of Meadow Brown and Gatekeepers (about 15 of each). Fifteen species in total but pride of place a female Holly Blue nectaring on Purple Loosestrife. It started on Field Scabious, then moved on to Betony but seemed to prefer the Loosestrife. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

The 2nd brood Wall Brown have now started to emerge near High and Over. One was very fresh but the other one did look as though it had been around a few days. A few Silver-spotted Skippers including one mating pair and another already egg laying also seen!! (Bob Eade)

This afternoon I made three stops, all within the Hollingbury Wildpark LNR, to count for the Big Butterfly Count. First stop was the new cycle/jogging path at TQ324093 - 6 Gatekeeper, 3 Small White, 1 Painted Lady. Second stop was in the top field at Woodbourne Meadow at TQ322086 - 10 Marbled White, 2 Large Skipper, 5 Small/Essex Skipper, 5 Ringlet, 9 Meadow Brown, 10 Gatekeeper, 4 Six-spot Burnet. Lastly on the north edge of Hollingbury Hillfort TQ322107977 - 2 Dark Green Fritillary, 13 Marbled White, 6 Meadow Brown, 3 Painted Lady, 8 Gatekeeper, 17 Small/Essex Skipper. (Peter Whitcomb)

Just seen lots of Purple Emperors at Knepp. This one was about 4ft up on hedge. Looking rather worse for wear! (Lorna Lindfield)

Mill Hill got me up to 20 butterfly species for the weekend, for which I will accept all badges, medals, postal orders etc, thanks to 10 male Chalkhill Blues and a Small Copper. Also, a fortuitous meeting with Andy Horton. We were swapping notes when a fresh Dark Green Fritillary blew down next to us and gave stunning close views. It was on the very top of the ridge in a sea of knapweed. All this and a family of Peregrines putting on their own Shoreham Airshow. (Lindsay Morris)

I had a superb butterfly walk today, the minute I set out I was joined by several Gatekeepers dancing around the undergrowth, followed by Meadow Browns in the long grass. Further on a Comma rested on a bush before charging off and disturbing a Peacock.
Heading back a Large White appeared and rested right next to me, then a Holly Blue caught my eye resting momentarily on a Privet. Later a Red Admiral appeared followed by a Ringlet sunning itself. All this in my Horsham garden near the station! (Patrick Moore)


Saturday 18 July 2015

Neil Hulme gets an abrupt reminder... youtube.com/watch?v=0XhSF1tSc_o&feature=youtu.be

Friston Blues BC walk  Sixteen people joined me on a sunny Saturday at FC's Butchershole car-park, Friston Forest for a very productive amble around Friston Gallops near Jevington, East Sussex. We started off along the shady wooded path up the southern approach to the Gallops (named rather alarmingly on the OS map as Butchershole Bottom) where we quickly found Red Admiral (the first of many), Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood, as well as both Small and Essex Skipper. We soon added Comma, Marbled White and Large White before we'd even reached the more open stretch of chalk grassland which we crossed before dropping down again into Friston Forest proper. Here we saw the first of many Ringlets, several Painted Ladies, Silver-washed Fritillaries and yet more Commas plus a couple each of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock, as well as both Small and Green-veined Whites. Back up at the top end of the forest on the edge of open downland, we had a leisurely picnic stop where we added Brown Argus, Small Copper and Small Heath. The penultimate leg took us along a rather overgrown, nettle and bramble-strewn footpath (my fault  there was a more open one nearby!) past the forest-edge where there were many Skippers, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, yet more Red Admirals, a couple of Brimstones and the first Large Skipper of the day. The last leg down across flowery, rabbit-grazed slopes back to the car-park finally produced a decent emergence of Chalkhill Blues and half a dozen Dark Green Fritillaries including two pristine females. Butterfly-wise, we totted up twenty-three species while day-flying moths were well-represented with good numbers of Forester, Six-Spot Burnet, Silver-Y and singles of Silver-ground Carpet, Small Magpie and Dusky Sallow, plus one of the day's highlights  two Humming-bird Hawk-moths on Viper's Bugloss up the main ride through the forest. We also saw (thanks to Julie R.) at least three species of dragonfly: several Brown Hawkers (including a mating pair), several Emperors and a couple of Common Darters. Other highlights included two Great Green Bush-crickets, at least two Roesel's Bush-crickets, a rather striking hoverfly Chrysotoxum festivum on hogweed along with Cheilosia illustrata, a couple of pyramid orchids and a white/pale form of scarlet pimpernel. Thanks to one and all for taking part on Saturday and especially to all those who spotted the wildlife for me (I'll take all the credit for the hoverfly)... (Mike Mullis)

At Windover Hill today we were pleased to see 4 Grayling. It was also good to see high numbers of Chalkhill Blues, Dark Green Fritillaries, Marbled Whites, Small Heaths, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, and Large, Small and Essex Skippers, 4 Small Coppers and a pristine Red Admiral. (Pauline Batchelor)

Another great day on the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland, this time in the company of BBC journalist Emma Ailes and her parents, all of whom were keen to experience the Purple Emperor for the first time. At various points we were joined by Charlie and Issy, several Knepp regulars, and a large number of visitors from as far afield as Devon. Charlie had kindly installed a ladder up to one of the many sap runs which are currently drawing in large numbers of Emperors - particularly the females. Of the 30 or 31 individuals seen today almost half were Empresses, some still being in fine condition, but many now showing the signs of middle age. The vim and vigour of the males has been largely lost and at times they were notably quiet, despite the favourable weather. This is far from the end of the Emperor season, but it is the beginning of the end. Elsewhere in Sussex, and perhaps nationally, the season has been rather modest. The daily maxima at Knepp, including counts of 126, 77, 62, 54 and 51, are therefore all the more remarkable. Who knows where this incredible story will end. If you have not visited Knepp yet this season - go soon. Today we were privileged to watch no less than three tumbling rejection drops, in which already-mated females attempt to shrug off their suitors. Twice, this allowed us very close views of a disgruntled Empress, as she waited for the departure of the unwanted male. We watched three different sap bleeds attracting single or multiple visitors. This behaviour is often observed during the later part of the season. On several occasions I was close enough to see the curious rocking motion of the butterfly, as it appears to be forcing its proboscis deep into a fissure in the bark. At one point we watched as a female's rejection drop was immediately followed by a swoop upwards, to hunt down sap directly below the amorous male's perch. It would appear that the draw of sap outweighs even the desire to shake off these pests. Once again, many will have left Knepp with the sort of memories which only high summer and the Purple Emperor can provide. I'll be back soon, to store up more, before another season starts to fade. (Neil Hulme)

A short walk at Cissbury Ring produced half a dozen Chalkhill Blues at TQ137076, many Small Skippers also in this area too. Towards the top of the Ring were ten Dark Green Fritillaries. (Bart Ives)

Despite seeing my first Chalkhill Blue at High and Over on July 2nd numbers are still very low there with a top count so far of only 7. With the first sunny still morning for some time I called up there to see if I could find any roosting. Only 3 seen but that did include this smart chap. Later I did my Wider Butterfly Survey on the edges of Friston Forest where I was pleased to find several strong colonies of Essex Skipper. (Bob Eade)

18 species of butterfly seen in the Lancing Ring area today, but no Chalkhill Blues. Though I did get a surprise Dark Green Fritillary in the chalkpit (Steep Down is the nearest place I have seen them before). (Lindsay Morris)

Two hundred Small Whites flying around a barley field on the south-west corner of Thorney Island this morning, but no sign of any Painted Lady or Clouded Yellows in this influx. Good numbers of Gatekeepers around the Island and a few Marbled Whites still on the wing, plus several Ruddy Darters. (Barry Collins)

I had a quick look around Hailsham Country Park this afternoon and found the following: Meadow Brown (3), Large White (1), Gatekeeper (5), Speckled Wood (1), Small Skipper (5), Marbled White (3), Purple Hairstreak (1), and Essex Skipper (2).
I then had a late afternoon walk in the sunshine around Abbots Wood and had the following counts: Meadow Brown (50), Comma (13), Gatekeeper (18), Ringlet (25), Small White (10), Silver-washed Fritillary (5), Red Admiral (5), Large White(7), Large Skipper (1), White Admiral (3), Green-veined White (1). (Chris Hooker)

An enjoyable few hours this morning exploring the Birling Gap - Belle Tout area produced frequent sightings of both Marbled Whites and Dark Green Fritillaries which unfortunately rarely settled to afford decent photographs.
I was a little surprised in not locating any Blues although good numbers of Gatekeepers, Large Whites, Skippers and one or two Peacocks were seen.
However highlight for me were the two Humming-bird Hawk-moths that moved with great speed and agility obviously enjoying the sunshine and downland flowers. Having then moved on I finally saw my first Chalkhill Blue of the day while searching for Orchids on the road towards Alciston. (Robert Horne)

An interesting butterfly day in Hove. At 8.20am a White-letter Hairstreak in Wish Park, west side by Saxon Road on the tall privet hedge where I saw a comma a few days ago. Usually I see nothing here at all despite the overpowering scent from the flowers. It flew off into one of the small, relatively newly-planted elms nearby. At 10.00am a Meadow Brown in our back garden. At 2.00pm, also in our back garden, our first Holly Blue of the second brood, which disturbed a White-letter Hairstreak. At about 3.30pm near George Street, a White-letter Hairstreak on buddleia in the grounds of St Andrew's Church by the pavement of Church Road. No elms very nearby. At 4.20pm, back home, a Common Purple and Gold moth on the back lawn and a White-letter Hairstreak on the brambles (the picture is this one). (John & Val Heys)

News for Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 July:

In my role as Fritillaries for the Future Project Officer, I led a total of 38 children and teachers from Park Mead and East Hoathly Primary Schools around our reserves, with the latter faring particularly well with the weather. However, the grey skies and wet undergrowth did little to dampen the enthusiasm of Park Mead, or the Ringlets and Large Yellow Underwings. The East Hoathly visit was bathed in warm sunshine and we saw 15 species including Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral. After the initial disappointment of lifting the last reptile cover, without any sign of an eagerly anticipated Adder, I was delighted when a large female pushed her way under the back of the lifted sheet and curled up in front of us, completely oblivious to our presence. After that it was difficult to persuade some of the children that they had to go home. Both schools took away Pocket ID Guides, butterfly posters, BC Munching Caterpillars educational materials, and violet seeds to germinate and grow for our fritillaries captive breeding programme. I was very impressed with the enthusiasm, questions and level of knowledge shown by both groups. (Neil Hulme)


Friday 17 July 2015

My dad (Ian Cadey) visited Windover Hill on Friday and saw 5 Grayling. (Mark Cadey)

On Friday I found a Rosy Taby on a window. In the afternoon I walked along the path by Littlehampton Golf Course and found my first local White-letter Hairstreak. The bramble flowers attracted a Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Whites, Gatekeepers, Large Skipper and they fought continuously. A Humming-bird Hawk-moths nectared briefly and a Small Fan-footed Wave showed itself along the path. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

We had a day out at Battle Abbey & walked from there to Crowhurst, including a path through RSPB's Fore Wood. As we were leaving Battle Abbey we saw (flying in the rain) 3 or 4 large moths, which wouldn't settle. We think must be Oak Eggars as they came out better in the photo than I'd expected. It cleared up and we saw masses of Meadow Browns, at least 15 Commas, lesser numbers of Gatekeepers, Ringlets and Small Whites, 2 each of Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, White Admiral (in Fore Wood) and just one each of Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Painted Lady, Large White & Small Copper. (John & Val Heys)

Enjoying a semi-succesful lunchtime purple butterfly hunt around Woods Mill this afternoon (Hairstreaks - yes, Emperors - no), I encountered this strikingly beautiful Peacock. What particularly pleased me (over and above the obvious beauty of the creature) was that I took the photo on my phone! (Bob Foreman)


Thursday 16 July 2015

On the Beddingham transect this afternoon the first Chalkhill Blues were beginning to emerge and a Silver-spotted Skipper was nectaring too. (Michael Blencowe & Helen Sida)

I was relieved to see my first Chalkhill Blues of the season at Bevendean Down today as they have reportedly been about elsewhere for a couple of weeks. (Geoff Stevens)

Our youngest scattered some candytuft seeds getting on for 20 years ago and they've kept re-seeding themselves. At 6.15pm I thought I saw something butterfly-like in the distance as I was tidying up the sunlounge. Even though the sun had gone behind clouds, it was very humid so I went to investigate and had to rush back for the camera when I found a White-letter Hairstreak on this year's showing of candytuft. It was having a great time, really shoving its head in with its proboscis deep into the centre of the flowers. It flew off about 10 minutes later. (John Heys)

The sun broke through briefly yesterday afternoon so I decided to check out the Chantry Hill Dark Green Fritillaries. I was on site 10 minutes later but by then the sun had disappeared! Six days ago I counted 40-45 DGFS in the first 20 minutes. This week it took me 20 minutes to locate my first! I ended up with 8 DGFs, rather fewer than the 140 on July 10th. The weather conditions were reasonable, warm, humid with just a light breeze. The three species that dominated the slopes at Chantry were Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Skippers. I counted approximately 250 for each species. I lumped the Skippers together but 80-90% were Small Skippers, a fair few Large Skippers and there was certainly one Essex Skipper and doubtless more (but unless one nets them they are not easy to ID and therefore count). It is not really possible for one person to cover all of Chantry Hill in one excursion but my guess for the whole site was 500+ Small Skippers; they have had a very good year. On the other hand Small Heath have had a very poor year at Chantry Hill. The flora in the eastern third of Chantry Hill has dramatically improved over the past 3-4 years. Well done the management team (not forgetting the cattle!).
So where were all the DGFs? Either hiding, deceased, or dispersed. I note that plenty have been seen in the Storrington pony paddocks, which I presume are the paddocks between Greyfriars lane and Chantry lane? This is a species which may disperse rather more readily than is generally thought? My eighth DGF was close to the road which leads up to the Chantry Post car park. Maybe some are on downland to the east of Chantry Hill?
At home there was a freshly-emerged second-brood female Common Blue in the flower meadow nectaring on Cornflower. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Today I saw the attached butterfly in our one acre wild-flower meadow near Pulborough (TQ078198).
When I first saw it flying I thought it was a Meadow Brown but the orange in it gave me some doubts. When it landed I was able to see the two white dots on the underside forewing indicating it was a Gatekeeper. However, it was too big to be a Gatekeeper (being the size of a Meadow Brown) and the visible dot on the underside hindwing is black (as on the Meadow Brown) instead of white as on the Gatekeeper.
The colouring and layout of the underside hindwing is more consistent with a Meadow Brown than a Gatekeeper.
Looking closely at the two white dots on the underside forewing shows each dot appears to be within its own black dot which are partly overlapping each other, whereas the Gatekeeper's two white dots are clearly within one black dot.
Are there variants of the Meadow Brown or could this be the result of a Meadow Brown mating with a Gatekeeper, if such a thing could happen? I did see (and photograph) a Meadow Brown mating with a Ringlet here a couple of years ago. (Chris Page)
Comments on this are very welcome - I would point out however, that there are images of Meadow Brown abberations very similar to the one photographed on the UK Butterflies website. ed.


Wednesday 15 July 2015

Three men in a bramble patch. After Wednesday's BC walk (15th July) the weather took a turn for the better. I was dropping Jamie Burston back in to Brighton so I suggested to Jmaie and Mark Cadey that we could check out some of the woodlands around Ditchling for Purple Emperors. Amazingly the sun really started to shine as we arrived but I was saddened to see that since I last surveyed these wood for the Atlas a few years ago the brambles, hazel and willowherb were now head height. We pushed through the overgrown path and soon found ourselves with our heads poking out in the middle of a bramble patch. From here we were nose to proboscis with the butterflies nectaring on the bramble flowers; Large Skipper, Small White, Green-veined White, Peacock, Comma, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Ringlet and Meadow Brown. From our view in the bramble patch we could also see Large White, Marbled White and Purple Hairstreak as they flew above. It wasn't long before a White Admiral swooped down to join the party. Two Silver-washed Fritillaries glided over the brambles but also didn't hang around for the camera. Then Jamie spotted a Purple Emperor which sailed above us and patrolled the woodland edge giving some great views. Just as I was thinking that this must be the best bramble patch in Sussex I saw a familiar dark shape jittering around an ash above us - it landed revealing itself to be a White-letter Hairstreak. 16 species in a 2m x 2m bramble patch in about 10 minutes is not bad, not bad at all. (Michael Blencowe, Jamie Burston, Mark Cadey)

I saw this Silver-washed Fritillary at Scaynes Hill today was advised to submit the sighting to you guys -and excellent advice that was too! ed.. (Paul Evans)

Unfortunately the weather on today's walk around Rowland Wood was actually worse than the forecast. The group set off on to our reserve under a rather thick, damp cloud. Despite this the butterflies seemed more optimistic than us and there were an amazing amount of Gatekeepers and Ringlet on the wing or awaiting the sunshine on the brambles at the edge of the tracks. Silver-washed Fritillary and a Painted Lady (my first of the year) were also seen but most butterflies were not convinced by the weather and were keeping a low profile. Passing the pond we had have an encounter with our 'Fritillaries for the Future' officer Neil Hulme leading a school group around the reserve. At the end of the walk, the sun came out! (Michael Blencowe)

After an incredible morning meeting new people on the guided walk at Rowland Wood and the afternoon spent with Michael Blencowe, thank you! I couldn't resist the chance to see Purple Hairstreak at the dew pond area of Wild Park. I saw my first at 6:45 p.m . flying around the master Oak tree, between the time I left at 7:50 p.m. I had at least seen two within the same field of view. I had a fantastic time watching them fly from Oak to Ash. It seems like only males have emerged yet. You can only hope on reviewing your photos that you have captured them within frame. It's brilliant to see males basking like this. I also came across this attractive moth with a yellow base colour and rustic red markings, what would this be? it's a Common Yellow Conch, Agapeta hamana. ed. Thanks in advance. (Jamie Burston)

Here's some exciting news and a bit of fun at the same time! While looking at the UK Butterflies website my attention was drawn to an image taken by our very own Trevor Rapley, during a trip to look for White-letter Hairstreaks at Litlington. Hiding amongst his pictures of Small Tortoiseshell was this image. At the time I started writing this, Trevor was still unaware of the glory he has heaped upon himself. Not only is this a Large Tortoiseshell, but I believe it to probably be a female of very little age! Trevor found out just before I posted, so unfortunately we can no longer surprise him with the news via the BC Sussex Sightings page. Which just goes to prove how thoroughly excellent our Branch website is. If you want to find out about the latest rarities seen in the county, log on, even if you saw it yourself! Congratulations Trevor! The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed an interesting pattern emerging in this area. It's too early to draw any conclusions, but it's well worth looking closely at all tortoiseshells in the Friston Forest area, both over the next few weeks and particularly from mid March to end April. Lottery numbers please, Trevor. (Neil Hulme)


Tuesday 14 July 2015

This overcast weather was a blessing for slowing down the activity. I spent 15 minutes in my Hollingbury front garden today just watching butterflies bask with wings wide open. I saw 7 Meadow Browns, 1 Gatekeeper and a single Comma. Nearby I also saw 1 Large White and 1 Small White. Taking the risk I then went upto the dew pond at Wild Park in unsettled weather. It was very windy, but when it died down a bit and the sun slightly showed through the layer of cloud, I saw something move, my first Purple Hairstreak!! It flew from the master oak tree at (TQ32540774) to a neighboring Ash (TQ32540775). So pleased!
White-letter Hairstreaks: This species is really having a fantastic year. From observations and looking at their current numbers, I would now say that it's at their peak emergence. With fresh females now showing, as well as males still in good condition, with a few tatty individuals. I would suggest to anyone wanting to see them to get to your local sites as soon as the weather improves. For the chance to see them low down a safe site to visit would be Hollingbury Park, look at previous posts this year for more information as to the best areas. The Royal Pavilion Gardens is another site to see them low down, you may expect individuals here to show some wear due to their earlier emergence. This species loves to feed on Creeping Thistle and Brambles, additionally they will visit Burdock and Umbellifers. To see them flying in greater numbers visit the 'Preston Twins' near the Manor at Preston Park, in the morning 17+ may be seen. I sadly have less knowledge of their other Sussex sites. On another note I was talking to Bob Eade, he was describing the terrible effect Dutch Elm Disease is having around the Cuckmere. (Jamie Burston)

On Saturday 11 July as early as 7.15am there was a Comma in Wish Park, Hove nectaring on the privet at the Saxon Road side. This afternoon we were in our garden in Hove removing pigeon remains (mostly plucked feathers  looked like the local sparrow hawk's work) when the sun came out. It was soon very warm and around 3.15pm a couple White-letter Hairstreaks were roving around the brambles. I couldn't quite get them both to pose in the same photo, so this is the same one twice. The third picture is actually from my brother's house in Surrey. He'd never seen a White-letter Hairstreak before until one turned up in his house and here it is on his hand. How lucky is that! I have reported it to the Surrey branch for him. (John & Val Heys)

I visited Southwater woods this afternoon and saw quite a few butterflies including; Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large and Small Skipper, Large White, Red Admiral, Peacock, White Admiral, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Hairstreak. (Patrick Moore)

I recorded a male Essex Skipper in my flower meadow today and also two newly-emerged second-brood Holly Blue in the shrub border (which is probably the hottest part of the garden). (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Following a northern trip in search of Large Heath at Crowle Moor and Northern Brown Argus at St Abbs, I returned to earth and conducted my Mill Hill transect today: Gatekeeper 38, Large White, Marbled White 16, Meadow Brown 17, Painted Lady, Small Heath 4, Six-spot Burnet, Yellow Shell, Garden Grass-veneer, Cinnabar larvae, Straw-barred Pearl. I then visited Woods Mill where I found Gatekeepers, Silver-washed Fritillaries a (male plus a female laying on a birch trunk), a micro moth - Blastobasis adustella, Comma, Essex Skippers mating in a meadow, Small Skippers, a Large Skipper, Common Nettle-tap, two White Admirals fighting , Meadow Browns and Beautiful Demoiselles. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Found this Dark Green Fritillary in my pony's paddock in Storrington, West Sussex. Quite a few of these in the fields here, as well as white butterflies and black/red moths. Please excuse the dirty fork, kind of ruins the picture a bit! (Kat Giammatteo)

Assistant Warden Nick Feledziak spotted a male Purple Emperor on one of the tracks on the west side of RSPB Broadwater Warren this morning. First confirmed sighting of the species on the reserve since 2010. (Alan Loweth)

On Monday late afternoon it was overcast, a bit gloomy but warm. On a Bridle Path off spithandle lane I couldn't help noticing a lot of Purple Hairstreak activity. Suffice to say in one vista between a circle of tall oaks in the middle of a wood I counted about 30 individuals. As I walked back I must have seen over a 100 Purple Hairstreaks on the wing, in groups around the tops of Oaks, Ash trees and even a Birch tree, so its appears to be a bumper year for them. Today weather brightened up late afternoon and I went for a walk at Knepp. I saw some interesting Sallow searching by males about 6 foot off the ground and then slightly later at 5.45 I spotted a large female Purple Emperor flying around and then investigating an old cracked, rather dead looking oak branch about 13 feet off the ground. She was walking around a lot and virtually disappeared into a deep crack at one point. Eventually in the gloom I managed to get a pic of her sap sipping. I had to use flash at quite a range which luckily brought out her lovely underwing colour. After less than 10 mins she was off and appeared to fly straight into an overhanging tall sloe, not to be seen again. This is the first time I have seen this interesting behaviour. (Richard Roebuck)

My first Chalkhill Blue (male) of the year was spotted on the lower slopes of Mill Hill at 1:43 pm. It flew off after 20 seconds and visited Self-heal, followed by Eyebright, and after four minutes flew strongly over the bottom hedge and disappeared from view entirely.
This was a late first sighting. Since I have been keeping a log since 2003, it was latest date of the first record (usually occurs in the first week of July) except for 2012 when poor weather prevented visits. (Andy Horton)

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There don't seem to be any reports from Chiddingfold this year so here goes. The first one down was seen on Saturday 4th. Monday 6 July 2015. 3x Purple Emperors on track, first at triangle at 10am for 40 minutes, this was seen and photographed by Trevor and Doug. the second at 11.31am by me and a couple, at high point with turning bay. It didn't settle long but as it flew near could see purple flashing. The third was seen by John at T-Junction that leads to Oaken Wood. later 3.58-4.38pm 1x PE seen and photographed in oak at triangle, it would fly a few sorties around area then settle.
Thurs 9 July 2015. Trevor found a Purple Emperor on track at about 8am, could have been knocked out of tree. he took photos and also picked it up. I had a few sightings around trees. Trevor had one down, but not for long at Triangle. I saw 1x PE in Triangle territory at 1.57 until 2.12pm. also 1x PE flying in Four Oaks Territory 2.32-3.06pm. then at 3.47pm as I was walking to triangle from Four Oaks 1x PE flew up and settled on a Black Briony leaf, I got some nice video of it as it fed on honeydew, it flew up at 3.50pm towards me and my arm, but it never settled instead flew around my head, wings rustling. then it was gone. Fri 10th July. 1x Purple Emperor 8.51am settled on track to feed on doggy doo doo, near high point. I videoed it, it then flew up into hazel and fed from honeydew. I think all of this shrimp paste baiting is giving the PE a taste for Chinese cuisine, one minute on sour then sweet, I've noticed this a few times this year. PE number two, from 9.38 to 10.34am, I think this PE should have been re-named People Emperor, I've been going to these woods for twenty one years and never seen anything like it, it wouldn't leave us alone, first around Glen's hair, then a chap's hat, they picked it up to place on bracken, then it settled on the seat of chap's trousers, it flew around us several times, settled on a lady's foot, they lifted it again onto bracken, it settled on chap's sock, fed in a ditch then up and settled on chap's back, I was videoing this when it flew up and settled on my finger for three mins. Then it was lifted again onto leaf, wereupon it flew up track but soon came back flying low over surface, then it was up and gone high into trees. this all happened at S-bend between high point and meadow area. four of us got anointed that day. phew that was good. then at 10.58am at high point PE had been settling on people, probably same butterfly, what a performer. later 11.40am 3x PE over sweet chestnut flying. saw some sallow searching as well. (Peter Farrant)


Monday 12 July 2015

Ringlet in the rain. Also a Large White and a Gatekeeper in my Horsham garden this afternoon. (Patrick Moore)


Sunday 12 July 2015

After the excesses of yesterday, things moved at a more modest pace on the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland today, with grey skies and almost constant rain. However, we still managed to see 11 Purple Emperor (including 4 simultaneously) and other species including Purple Hairstreak, Marbled White, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. Yesterday's tally also included White-letter Hairstreak, Painted Lady, Comma, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood. A return to the meadows in the vain hope of better conditions was rewarded with a beautiful Painted Lady-in-waiting. This was a joint effort - Matthew spotted the poo, I spotted the caterpillar. (Neil Hulme)

This morning I went out in the intermittent rain to Chantry Hill. I had seen the report of large numbers of Dark Green Fritillaries there but wondered if it was possible to find any butterflies in the weather conditions. When I arrived there were a lot of Meadow Browns flying. I then found about 20 roosting Marbled Whites. Later in the morning there were large numbers of Marbled Whites flying. I wasn't counting but estimate about 100. I also saw plenty of skippers and a few Ringlets and Small Heaths. I finally found one Dark Green Fritillary in the grass so was very pleased. (Katrina Watson)


Saturday 11 July 2015

It looked good from the off. We spotted our first Purple Emperor 24 metres from the start point of today's Knepp Safari, and they just kept coming. Despite taking a leisurely lunch we had clocked up 104 Purple Emperors before the official end of the tour at 4.30 pm. Heading back out to survey some virgin territory, I ended up with a personal score of 126 not out, before the bails were lifted and celebrations commenced. Making adjustments via the Duckworth-Lewis method, this now puts Knepp at the top of the pile. Nobody could have predicted this as an outcome of the innovative rewilding project on the Knepp Castle Estate, where the only rule is "there are no rules". We suspect that things are going to get even better, as larger areas develop sufficiently mature sallow scrub to support this elusive species. (Neil Hulme)

Steve and I joined a group of around 20 Purple Emperor spotters on the Knepp P.E. Safari in real safari African type weather today.
This was a real fun day led by Matthew Oates and Neil Hulme through the fields, woods and green lanes of the estate. Over recent years The Knepp Estate have been innovative in introducing large herbivores to the land to create habitat changes across the estate. This re-wilding project includes Longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs, Exmoor ponies and deer who all graze and forage freely over the estate. As a result, a variety of habitats have been created and the emerging sallow scrub has provided a new habitat for the P.E.
As we walked, Neil and Matthew entertained the group with all kinds of information on the P.E. and with so many pairs of eyes adjusting to the task in hand we soon started to spot the butterflies soaring over their arboreal territories. In fact the first Purple Emperor spotted was within 25 paces of the start of the walk! We didn't expect to have any close photographic poses from the Emperors but an emerging female was spotted at head height in the sallows. It was amazing to see so many P.E.s, mainly males swooping over the sallows and fighting each other high in the oaks. By lunchtime Neil and Matthew had counted with the help of the team about 75 different individuals. The lunch stop was a real delight, as we rounded a corner we came upon a full picnic table complete with vases of flowers, set under a majestic oak tree. We spent a happy lunch time enjoying a splendid picnic in the shade, sharing butterfly stories and keeping up with the cricket score!
The P.E. activity after lunch had definitely abated but we were all eager to maintain our momentum and when our team tally reached 100 there was much excitement in the whole group. We have witnessed the aerial flights of so many individual butterflies, some have flown down low and given us ample time to clearly observe their true colours, while others entertained us soaring and spiralling above the canopy, but they have all given us great pleasure. The whole day was a unique experience and a great success The leaders were informative, entertaining, energetic whilst the rest of us were enthusiastic, eager and nearly as energetic! A perfect summer's butterflying day. (Steve East)

In the morning I went into my back garden, Hollingbury. I saw a Marbled White feeding on Spear Thistle which is now in flower. Their abundance and distribution locally is the best I've seen. They can be seen flying anywhere, I've had them resting on the hedge in the front garden and along my road. Additionally in the garden I counted 3 Large Whites and a single female Small White taking an interest in the nasturtiums. I've tried to captured some of the behaviour on film, note the word tried! Here is the link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfhWTHys5D8 Later in the Afternoon I went with my dad for a walk to the dew pond at Wild Park to search for Purple Hairstreak, on the way I saw 1 Large Skipper at Woodbourne Meadow - (TQ32170830), 1 Essex Skipper in the 39 Acres field - (TQ32300832) and a few Marbled Whites. Once at the dew pond I again saw another Large Skipper at (TQ32540772). As for the Purple Hairstreaks, their name this year is associated with dread and worry! This colony at the dew pond still hasn't shown or produced any sightings, this far into the season! With them reported in abundance elsewhere it's beginning to scare me, my worst nightmare. If any don't show or emerge soon, the only reasons I can think of are - The cooling wind, as of the sites altitude, putting them behind. That my searching for pupae in the undergrowth has caused losses. This could be a contributing factor, however I've been extremely careful of where I tread. Lastly, that the population of this colony has been badly hit by predation. I saw one caterpillar being taken away in a Blue-tit's beak, also an egg failed to emerge, likely to be through natural causes. The one additional thing I can think of is that the colony may have failed due to a poor gene pool, through inbreeding. Only time will tell, I just need the weather to pick up again. At night looking out of the lounge window I happened upon a Swallow-tailed Moth. (Jamie Burston)

I spent a fair few hours in the garden yesterday and in between the strimming and hedge cutting I periodically checked the flower meadow and British Native flower beds for butterflies. I recorded 13 species as follows: Meadow Brown (10), Small Skipper (10), Gatekeeper (8), Large Skipper (5), Marbled White (3), Small White (2), Large White (2), Green-veined White (1), Comma (1), Red Admiral (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Ringlet (1) and Brimstone (1f).
I also checked a field which is 5-600 metres to the south of my house. It is an interesting field for it has been left fallow for a dozen years or more and one can observe the succession of plant species over the years. The main nectar-bearing flower is Common Fleabane and a couple of years ago the field held 5-6 Clouded Yellows. As I had one of these in my garden two days ago I thought it might have moved to this near-by field. Not so, but there were approximately 100 Meadow Brown, 100 Marbled White and 50 Small Skippers. Not much else but a lot of these three species. Clearly Marbled White is having a spectacular year. There is also a lot of young Goat Willow in the field, so you never know - but I didn't spot a PE. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

It was a breezy morning when we visited Kithurst Hill today. There were numerous Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Skippers. But we were excited to see several Dark Green Fritillaries buzzing around. They were difficult to track down as they didn't stop in one place long enough to get a good photo. When we reached a patch of thistles in a sheltered spot we saw a pair of DGFs land and feed. We managed to get several photos with our compact cameras from about 10 feet away. We also saw another one between the OS point and the car park. It stopped on the edge of the path only 3 feet away, but unfortunately flew off before we managed to get a photo.
On our way back to the Kithurst Hill car park we saw many other species: Small Tortoiseshells, many Ringlets, a Red Admiral, Small & Large Whites, Small Heath and Gatekeeper, with one Common Blue only in Kithurst Meadow. There were also some lovely pyramidal orchids both in the meadow and on the hillside. (Anne & Arthur Norton)

I counted at least 170 Small Whites at Thorney Island this afternoon. (Barry Collins)

I am pleased to report the following after no sightings in 2014:
Date: Saturday 11th July 2015 3.30pm
Species: White-letter Hairstreak - 3
Location: Torfield area, Hastings Old Town grid ref: TQ82805
Seen by: Mike Grace. (Sharon Bigg)

Crawley Down - A Humming-bird Hawk-moth feeding on jasmine flowers in evening sunshine. (Jonathan Ruff)


Friday 10 July 2015

Monarch Update: Confirmation of several different specimens of Monarch over the last week (including two individuals in Pavilion Gardens in the last two days), within a small area of Brighton, now makes this look increasingly like an inappropriate and irresponsible release. Multiple sightings alone do not preclude a natural origin, but unless they are observed along a wider stretch of coastline, the weight of evidence now counts against them. They may make an impressive sight, but this sort of behaviour cannot be condoned. However, the White-letter Hairstreaks continue to put on a good show in Pavilion Gardens, and there are stacks of Purple Emperor out across most of West Sussex and the northern part of East Sussex at the moment. (Neil Hulme)
In light of this and unless convincing evidence to the contrary is presented, it has been decided that no further Monarch images or reports will be posted on the website. I intend to leave those already posted in place but for anyone who has sent a report that hasn't appeared I am sure you will understand why. ed.

Huge surprise in Horsham Park today, there was a Purple Hairstreak in an Oak tree right next to the skittle ally and foot tunnel to the town center. Also quite a few Silver-washed Fritillary on Denne Hill as well as, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Copper, Marbled White, Red Admiral and Gatekeeper. Also a Common Purple and Gold moth in Lower Beeding. (Patrick Moore)

Before settling down to The Ashes and Wimbledon (in that order) I thought I would tramp the slopes of Chantry Hill and check out the Dark Green Fritillary colony. I don't use the word astonishing lightly but there is no other word for it as I counted 140 Dark Green Fritillaries. I didn't attempt a sexing exercise but I should have thought it was something like 75% female and 25% male (or thereabouts). All bar two of the 140 were to be found in the western third. The middle Combe at Chantry Hill is generally very good for butterflies but there was a surprisingly cool breeze coming from the east and there were very few butterflies to be found there and only two DGFs on the east-facing bank. I didn't check the eastern third of Chantry Hill. Just to re-cap, 2-3 DGFs on June 29th, Neil had 56 on the 30th, I had 30 on July 4th and now today 140 on July 10th. A remarkably quick build-up in numbers...

It must be a first for me to send in two postings in one day! I was having a wander round my flower meadow this afternoon and became very interested in what I assumed, initially, was a Small Skipper (I have about 10 in the garden at present) but this one had very rounded and very black antennae. I haven't seen an Essex Skipper in the garden for 5-6 years but hopefully if there are Essex Skippers in the meadow then I should have further opportunities to ID. Pondering on this I realised I had a Clouded Yellow just 2-3 feet away nectaring on Greater Knapweed. This is an early date for me. I didn't see any on Chantry Hill earlier on today. Incidentally, I forgot to mention that I had a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on Chantry Hill this morning. It was at my feet messing around on Hedge Bedstraw. I used to think that they prefer big, blousy flowers but I am revising my opinion on that. A total of 25 species of butterfly recorded in my garden this year so far (not including the possible Essex Skipper). (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

During a walk through Tottington Wood today we came upon too many Silver-washed Frittillaries to count, likewise Ringlets and Meadow Browns, a good number of Gatekeepers, a couple of Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Red Admirals but best of all 12 White Admirals. Unfortunately, many parts of this woodland are becoming very unmanaged and overgrown. It was notable that most of the butterflies were seen where coppice and rides had been cleaned allowing sunlight to penetrate the canopy. (Sally Johnstone and Pete Varkala)


Thursday 9 July 2015

Today in Brighton Pavilion Gardens, the Monarch showed extremely well between more flighty episodes. We also obtained incredible views of at least 5 White-letter Hairstreaks. Large Skipper, Small White and Gatekeeper were also noted. (Jan-Paul Charteris)

A wonderful visit to Southwater woods today. I'd gone to take some landscape shots for the Atlas, and was surrounded by butterflies. Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Large White, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet, and the occasional orange stab of a Silver-washed Fritillary going about it's business.
Just as I thought the light was getting too harsh for good landscapes, a fine male Purple Emperor landed on the path in front of me, and spent several minutes exploring with its long yellow proboscis a deposit which had not been collected by the Dog Poo Fairy. (Nigel Symington)

This morning an apparently recently emerged male Purple Emperor visited the cats' litter tray outside my kitchen door for about 10 mins. It allowed me to get within a foot of it as it sunbathed and appeared to feed on the litter (cats' urine?) and cats poo. When it left it flew round me very close and briefly visited nearby honeysuckle and roses. I have two very large oaks near the house and lots of sallow and willow but I have never recorded the species here before although I have seen Purple Hairstreaks over the larger of the two oaks. (Bill Harvey, Pound Farm, Blackham - TQ4939)

I made a very quick stop at Smugglers on Ashdown Forest this afternoon, and saw 3 Silver-studded Blues, all male. (Andy Wilson)

Today I had one Marbled White in my Hollingbury garden for the first time. More White-letter Hairstreak searching today on Carden Hill, this was on the way to Hollingbury Park, I located new elm trees being used. At 11:03 and 11:10 I saw one on (TQ31580835). At 11:09, one on (TQ31610837). At 11:15 I saw two on (TQ31580832) - recorded last year aswell. At 11:22 I saw one on (TQ31590821). At 11:23 I saw one on (TQ31570821). At 11:27 I saw one on (TQ31540810), I also saw a single Large White at (TQ31540809). Once at Hollingbury Park I counted 5 Large Whites and 1 Small White. Additionally counting 4 Marbled Whites, 1 Comma, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral and a stunning second brood Holly Blue, which was a considerable size. Again I counted 2 White-letter Hairstreaks in the canopy of the elms along the edge of Ditchling Road. At the low down hotspot during the course of my visit I had a total of 5 different male White-letter Hairstreaks, confirmed by closely analysing photos. Additionally I saw a single female, this being the first individual I saw down low, on Creeping Thistle. The following area being the only place with a good number of it growing! - (TQ31430731). She was in this area well away from the lads, so to be left in peace, I don't blame her! As for the males, it was remarkable for the small area they would all continuously come back to, nectaring on brambles, this being a patch just left of the walnut tree at - (TQ31430735). I wish the online websites I use would allow me to be even more exact! The Main event however was when two of the males (included in the total males seen) started to dog fight at head height, right it front of us - (Douglas Neve and John was with me at the time). Suddenly one of the males broke off and landed on a bramble, the other male was hovering in flight, facing directly towards it and away from me. This meant for around 5 long seconds I could get a good look at it's deep, rich coloured upperside, stunning! The other male then took place on the same flower, they then walked over the flower head together, always walking in parallel, with one just behind. The whole event was over in a minute, however looking at the photos I took, there was some pushing going on. The male being behind was also pushing and curving it's abdomen around and towards the back of the individual in front, to me it looked like courtship and aggression! Looking at that photo, no wonder the females are elusive, it's a harpoon! Heading home I cut through Roedale Allotments for a brief count of species. I saw 22 Large Whites, including a mating pair, 2 Commas, 1 Speckled Wood, 3 Gatekeepers, 2 Ringlets, 2 Meadow Browns, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Small White, 1 Marbled White, 1 Cinnabar and finally 1 White-letter Hairstreak. (Jamie Burston)

This afternoon we walked from Small Dole through Tottington & Longlands Woods and up on to the Downs at Tottington Mount, seeing at least 16 and possibly 18 different butterfly types. In the woods and on the Downs we saw Whites (mostly Small, possibly one Large on the downs), Large Skippers, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Speckled Woods, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns & Ringlets. White Admirals, Commas, Silver-washed Fritillaries (plenty of these in tip top condition) & Gatekeepers were in the woods only. The smaller Skippers (at least one was Essex), a Small Heath & a Painted Lady were on the Downs only. The main change since we last walked in the woods there, about a week ago, is the emergence of the Commas and Peacocks. (John & Val Heys)

At 2.30 this afternoon whilst stuck In traffic, I saw two White-letter Hairstreaks on the leeward side of a small elm opposite the Quebec TA centre on Ditchling Rd. Back home I took the dogs for a walk from home about 6.30 and noticed every Oak I looked at, had a compliment of Purple Hairstreaks. Some males were even alighting relatively low down and basking in the sun. Back at home I have a large Ash tree in the corner of the garden and even this had its compliment of Purple Hairstreaks dashing about - so clearly I thought a new garden species, but I had recorded them last year and so stuck at 27 spp to date which is actually quite good. I also noticed an extremely fast bird flying over me which looked like a miniature Peregrine so I presume it was a Hobby, a first for me on home turf. Sometimes you get a bit nonchalant with your own environment with what's familiar. As normal the Commas are in a sunny spot in the garden and now duelling with the odd Large Skipper but ignore the two male demoiselles, who are also in residence. Hang on a minute, realistically this is a fab species, so I took a pic on max zoom of one of them perching high up, and although the depth of field is poor, I caught those splendid wings which are a work of art. I also had a mole in the garden recently which, although a first here, and wasn't really causing a problem as it was surface burrowing in the edges and around the veg patch, I found it dead, in perfect condition a few days later. As I live in a clay soil environment, which sets like concrete in dry weather, I reckon it actually starved as it was unable to burrow and find food. Shame I quite like moles. (Richard Roebuck)

Yesterday at 5.15pm (8/7/15) and today (9/7/15) 2.15pm there was a White-letter Hairstreak on the bramble flowers in our back garden in Hove. They may be harder to see from now on as most of the flowers have set fruit. (John Heys)

Recent news:

Last week (Wed 1st July) Jo Poland, one of the committee of the Cornwall branch of BC, contacted Jamie Burston and myself to say that her family farm had Purple Emperors, in woodland west of Lewes. She said that she would contact her brother so that we could get access to this private land. When we turned up on Friday 3rd July, we were taken directly to the spot where the Emperor was to be seen. It was magnificent to see this insect so far east. However, our only difficulty was that the butterfly was flying about 10 metres up and this made photography difficult. I mentioned that when we had a similar problem in the past, getting David Bellamy to see white-letter hairstreaks in the Elms of Preston Park, Brighton, we had enlisted the help of the fire brigade. A cherry picker was what was needed. "A cherry picker" said the farmer "I have one of those". And so it was that within 15 mins Jamie and I were a good 8 metres higher, having a much better view of this spectacular insect. Thanks go to Jo and her farmer brother.
Interestingly, this is not only a very easterly sighting for Sussex, but it was also a very early sighting. When we first got the records we were told that there were three Emperors flying. I spoke with Neil Hulme about this and his response was ...impossible... and you know he was right, of course. When we got there, we saw a single Emperor chasing, constantly a pair of Red Admirals. Finally, this site was in the UNESCO designated Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere and so Jamie and I were delighted not only to photograph this species but also the White Admiral, for which we were both duly awarded a White Admiral badges...by myself. To date the following badges have been awarded for this species, seen within the Biosphere: 1) Dan Danahar, 2) Jamie Burston, 3) Peter Farrant, 4) Patrick Bonfield, 5) Mark Cadey, 6) Sarah Stevens. I have had some records from outside the Biosphere and/or without photographs. Just to reiterate, I will not be awarding badges in such cases, but would still be pleased of any records. (Dan Danahar)

Not so recent news:

Just got round to post this sighting of a Dark Green Fritillary that I spotted along the river Arun an Arundel, on the footpath from the town to the Black Rabbit pub! Grid Ref TQ025075. Date 19th June 2015. I only had a mobile phone with me & I didn't get very close to it, hence poor quality photo Im afraid! (Tony Letchford)


MONARCH NEWS

I think these might be the first photos of a Sussex Monarch we've had on this website! ed

An interesting report from Dylan Walker, courtesy of the Sussex Ornithological Society website. "Superb Monarch butterfly flew SE over Brighton Pier at 12.15 on a brisk southwest breeze. Unmistakable and wondering if likely migrant from Spain (now breeding) or an escape? Thoughts welcomed!" Not much doubt that this is a genuine voyager. Congratulations Dylan! (Neil Hulme)
Read on... ed.

An out of the blue text message from Leigh Prevost alerted me of this remarkable sighting, a Monarch, today (Tues 7th July) in the Brighton Pavillion Gardens. It was delightful for once to be able to respond so quickly.

I hope you enjoy this short "Butterflies of the Biosphere" video as well... youtu.be/NudUzDjVHMY
(Dan Danahar)

Monarch discovered in Brighton Pavilion Gardens at lunch time today. (Chris Corrigan)

A Monarch today in the Brighton Pavilion Gardens. Reports of it coming in off the sea near the pier yesterday. More pictures on my blog Bobs Butterfly Blog. (Bob Eade)

Thanks to Chris Corrigan for the heads up, fantastic views of a Monarch in Brighton Pavilion gardens this afternoon, also a Purple Emperor at Weir Wood reservoir yesterday. (Jake Gearty)

It's not every day you're sat at your work desk, taking a quick look at sightings online, only to find that a rarity like this Monarch was literally right behind your office building at exactly the time you're looking at your computer screen! A quick dash into Brighton Pavilion Gardens 'round the corner produced several familiar wildlife-fan faces stalking the flower borders, and an obliging, if very mobile, Monarch! Top Tuesday! (Kelly Westlake)

Per SOS website Monarch seen Brighton Pier on 6th (Dylan Walker). Also one seen Elm Grove Primary School playground 3rd (Rachel Sorensen). Royal summit meeting at Knepp expected any day now? (Lindsay Morris)


Wednesday 8 July 2015

A Red-letter day for me when a Dark Green Fritillary flew across my wild-flower meadow. It perched briefly and then flew on. With so many DGFs on Chantry Hill it is not too surprising that one has paid our garden a visit. That increases the total for our garden to 32 species over the past 7-8 years. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Recent news:

More news from Knepp: Another great day out on Sunday (5 July) with Knepp Safaris, following an initial delay for rain. Matthew Oates and I led another enthusiastic group around the Southern Block of the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland, some of whom had never seen a Purple Emperor before. They have now! Females are yet to emerge and we are still in the male build phase, so it's difficult to predict just how large the numbers are going to get. The tally for today's tour was 72 Purple Emperors, with a further 5 seen during an evening sortie to watch the Purple Hairstreaks swarming. We later heard that Mark Tutton from Portsmouth had photographed a male Emperor on the ground (congratulations!) (below), proving that they do occasionally come down here. On Monday (6 July) Matthew and I both started late at Knepp, pursuing other quarry during the morning. After the excesses of the previous few days it was surprisingly quiet. Although Matthew did better, I struggled to see 11 males, so left in a huff, to search out White-letter Hairstreaks. Amongst Matthew's larger tally was the first female of the year, being escorted to bed. There was nothing wrong with the weather, so I suspect Matthew's theory is correct; that females emerged in good numbers this morning and that sallow-searching males active earlier in the day were by now filling their boots, in an orgy in the thickets. The Knepp Safaris (www.kneppsafaris.co.uk) next weekend will be very different, providing plenty of opportunities to watch egg-laying females, assuming the weather is OK. (Neil Hulme)

Friday 3 july 2015 1x White Admiral seen and photographed at TQ382141, time 3.03pm. My first White Admiral was seen on Tuesday 30th June at same location, but alas no photo. (Peter Farrant)


Tuesday 7 July 2015

Plenty of butterflies to see this afternoon including Silver-washed Fritillary, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Large and Small Skippers, Marbled White, Painted Lady, Comma and a Bordered White moth. (Patrick Moore)


Monday 6 July 2015

Hollingbury Park, trying to keep things brief! In the top grassland area near the wildflower banks around (TQ315077) I counted 5 Marbled Whites, 8 Meadow Browns and a few Skippers. At (TQ31400760) I found a discrete number of Essex Skippers, seeing 6 individuals, two were mating, fantastic! At (TQ31370731 & TQ31370732) - I saw 3 White-letter Hairstreaks, two of which were dog fighting at 9:37 a.m. This activity was shared between the two elm canopies which overlap due to their close proximity. Then from the same trees I witnessed a single White-letter Hairstreak take to the wing, following it until it was just two meters from the ground, at which point it was at (TQ31400731). It then suddenly changed its mind and turned straight back to the elm canopy. Over the same trees at 9:58 a.m. I witnessed two dog fighting again. Back at 9:44 a.m. I witnessed a single White-letter Hairstreak flying from one tree (TQ31380738) to a neighboring elm at (TQ31380737). Moving to the normal low down hotspot at (TQ31440737) I just missed a White-letter Hairstreak down on brambles, catching it on the way back upto the canopy at 10:21 a.m. Looking a few minutes later I located one flying over the canopy, likely to be the same one at (TQ31460735). Leaving I saw my first Gatekeeper in the Forget-me-not Glade. Walking home I continued my White-letter Hairstreak Search, it was only until I reached Crabtree Avenue that I again saw two at 11:12 a.m. In the evening I went for another walk, this time to the dew pond at Wild Park. Surprisingly in perfect conditions, just before 7 p.m. the oak canopy was completely still with not a single Purple Hairstreak in sight or flight, personally worrying! With the last heatwave, I'm surprised how effective the wind is at delaying their emergence, Hollingbury seems to be a really exposed place. With nothing seen in 20 minutes I walked to Hollingbury Hillfort, soon seeing 10 Meadow Browns, 7 Marbled Whites and a single Small Skipper. I then saw an odd looking butterfly, on close inspection I found it to bee a very old and tatty Painted Lady, defending a section of gorse (TQ32160796) at the time from a Red Admiral, these started to dog fight when a Small Tortoiseshell decided to join in the tussle, almost as if it was bored and had nothing better to do. Then leaving at 39 Acres, within a part of - (TQ323082) I saw Marbled Whites, all attempting to roost around 7:30 p.m. It was amazing to see, some in groups and some in very odd positions. In this small area I counted 20 before focusing on taking some photos. In this field overall I can imagine there being 1,000 or more spread out at peak. While I was there I also saw Meadow Browns and Skippers but didn't count them. I left at about 8:30 p.m. in a extremely cheerful mood! (Jamie Burston)

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from 6th July.
Iping Common (SW8422) Small White 2, Meadow Brown 11, Silver-studded Blue 15M 2F, Large Skipper 1, Small Skipper 1.
Stedham Common (SW857219) Small White 1, Meadow Brown 12, Silver-studded Blue 1M, Small Skipper 1. (Richard Symonds)

Managed to visit Knepp for the first time today and nearly stepped on pristine Emperor! Managed to get good views and photos for 15mins with blinding double purple. (Mark Tutton)

Marbled White butterflies were common with over a hundred seen but patchily distributed over Mill Hill. Meadow Browns 30+, Gatekeepers 25+, Small Heaths (8+) with a few Small Whites, a few Large Whites, two Brimstones over the lower slopes, at least three Small Skippers on the middle slopes, and one Painted Lady in the upper meadow brought the tally to nine species on a pleasant day. The tenth species was my first ever confirmed Ringlet from Mill Hill Nature Reserve. (Andy Horton)

Bad news and good today. Sadly, the large elm tree in Saxon Road, Hove was cut down. It was a popular perching point for birds of all sizes - maybe that's why I never actually saw any hairstreaks near it. However in our back garden, to the discord of the chainsaw and shredder, we saw 3 White-letter Hairstreaks at the same time on our brambles. We also got a couple of glimpses of them higher up in the nearby elm. Between 3.55pm and 4.45pm, there were usually two of them ambling around the bramble flower-heads, unripe fruit and leaves, only occasionally taking short flights. I popped out again at 5.15pm and there were still two there. One of them had some wing damage which we hadn't seen before so we probably had at least 4 different White-letter Hairstreaks in the garden today. I visited the brambles again at 5.30pm and by there appeared to be none around, even though some of the brambles were still in good sunlight. (John & Val Heys)

I took these shots of White Admirals in Knowlands Wood near Barcombe this afternoon. I also saw many Silver-Washed Fritillaries, Marbled Whites, Skippers (Large and Small), Gatekeepers, Commas, Ringlets and countless Meadow Browns. It's a lovely place and although it's a private woodland, the owners are happy for considerate walkers to enjoy it. (Andy Wilson)

Denne Hill and Denne Meadow area, Horsham. Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Painted Lady, Large White, Marbled White, Comma, Speckled Wood, Common Blue and Silver-washed Fritillary.
My photo of a SW Fritillary is perhaps not the greatest but it was laying an egg at the base of a Silver Birch at the time and we were both caught by surprise. She then flew to a Beech branch and allowed photographs! (Patrick Moore)

Walked Eartham Wood today lots of butterflies now and several hornets. (Barry and Maureen Sketchley)


Sunday 5 July 2015

While we were gardening this afternoon in Hove, we saw a couple of Whites and then a smaller darker butterfly moving round our apple tree. The afternoon sun was shining on the bramble flowers at the back of our garden and it settled on the brambles just low enough down for me to be able to confirm it was a White-letter Hairstreak. Over the next hour it alternated between the regenerated elm in the park behind our garden (we were told that the original tree came down in the 1987 hurricane) and our brambles. I took lots of really bad pictures until I brought out a stepladder. The first picture shows the regenerated elm, in the centre - there's a couple of recently lopped cypresses this side of it. The second, one of my bad butterfly shots, is included because it also shows in the distance, behind the brambles, the big elm by Saxon Road which is now nearly leafless from Dutch elm disease. This is the third year running we've had White-letter Hairstreaks in our garden. (John Heys)

I spend about an hour today walking around in the field next to the Devil's Dyke pub. I saw a couple of Dark Green Fritillaries, a few Marbled Whites, Cinnabar moths and caterpillars, this Skipper (Small I guess?) Large actually. ed. was everywhere, Ringlets and a couple of Small Tortoiseshells. (Rachel Ramaker)

I walked with family to do some needed shopping, on the way back I looked out for any White-letter Hairstreak activity in the canopy of elms. Doing this I discovered a further four trees being used, fantastic! Looking at the photo attached, I've highlighted the elm trees where they were seen around the Carden Park area of Hollingbury. Tree number 2 was actually where I saw my first White-letter Hairstreak, observed from Brantano car park, just seeing the one individual at 2:45 p.m., with the tree located at (TQ31840908), between the tree and the car park I also saw a male Large White. I then moved onto Carden Park itself, at tree number 1 at 3:22 p.m. I saw 4 individuals, a great total. This tree being at (TQ31770898). On tree number 3 at 3:20 p.m. I saw 3 flying around the elm at (TQ31810898). Highly concerning, the bottom half of the tree shows yellow foliage and a few bare branches, Dutch Elm Disease? (see other photo) At least that's what I thought until I heard back from Arboriculturist Operations (Neil Brothers) I received this great news "The tree in question is a golden elm which overtime has reverted back leaving a small area of the original colour. The bare branches are a result of fire damage and I will arrange for their removal in the winter." Tree number 4 produced a single White-letter Hairstreak at 3:30 p.m. this elm being at (TQ31860889). Of note, all sightings regarding White-letter Hairstreaks activity was seen in the NE of their trees, in relation to the Sun approximately being around the SWbS mark. (Jamie Burston)

Re the above request for White Admiral sightings. I'd like to report the definite sighting of at least 2 today along the NW/SE public footpath on the perimeter of Salterns Copse, just north of Chichester Marina at SU829017 at 13.30pm today (A snatched mobile phone picture sadly wasn't successful!) (Paul Stent)

Remember on Saturday 27 June, deep in the dark of Coldean Woods, Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere I found a full grown Comma caterpillar on an Elm sapling, well now its a chrysalis. (Dan Danahar)


Saturday 4 July 2015

Matthew Oates and I led a group of a dozen visitors around the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland today, all keen to see the Purple Emperor. The slow start turned into a very good morning session, before we broke for a leisurely lunch provided by our hosts Charlie and Issy. However, the real fireworks were reserved for the afternoon. We watched in awe as 4 Purple Emperors (2 being particularly nasty) indulged in the most prolonged and vicious combat that I have ever witnessed. They just wouldn't let it lie. A pattern soon developed, with a regular cycle of high level chases being punctuated by tumbling, tight turns just above our heads. These butterflies had clearly adopted a Motorhead mentality. By the time we had finished the official tour we had clocked up more than 40 individuals. On the way back to Knepp Safaris HQ we stopped to watch at least 4 White-letter Hairstreaks cavorting around the top of some Elms. Enough is never enough, so Matthew, Paul Fosterjohn and I headed out again, surveying some new areas and bringing the day's tally to 54 Purple Emperor. As the sun started to dip towards the horizon the Purple Hairstreaks became more active, and we watched some impressive dogfights between Emperors and up to 7 hairstreaks at a time. The Purple Hairstreak is clearly making a comeback after several poor seasons and we saw 100+. There are many ways by which to measure the benefits being brought, sometimes unforeseen, by the innovative rewilding scheme at Knepp, including the unprecedented increases in numbers of Turtle Dove, Cuckoo and Nightingale. But there can be no better measure than the rise and rise of the Purple Emperor. This was meant to be a species of extensive, Oak-rich woodlands, rather than open Sallow scrubland. Lessons such as this confirm the minimal-intervention philosophy at Knepp as one of the most important and exciting developments in conservation in recent years. Perhaps not the golden bullet, but certainly a critically important addition to the armoury. Aside from viewing these particular species, the clear winners, it is worth visiting Knepp just to view the landscape being created, which increasingly provides a portal back to a time when the British countryside was a much healthier and vibrant place. (Neil Hulme)

Further to a walk at Ashcombe Bottom today caught a White Admiral in flight. The GPS location was 50 89 46, 04 99 68. There were also plenty of Silver-washed Fritillaries. Which were a delight to see. (Patrick Bonfield)

I have been patiently waiting to address Dr Dan's DGF challenge. Wolstonbury Hill (a favourite site of mine) is North facing and more often than not wind swept which is a pain. This means that it always lags behind lots of other sites regarding species activity. So if you turn up here you may think it's a bit sparse based on recent reports. Leave it a couple of weeks and it's magic, However patience pays off and today, I saw. late Small Blues, first gen Common Blues literally on their last legs, Small Heath, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small Torts, Red Admirals, Speckled Woods, Large Whites, Small Whites, loads of newly emerged Marbled Whites, newly emerged Large Skippers and a few Small Skippers that are only just starting to emerge and of course the target species, Dark Green Fritillary. I am not sure whether they are transient individuals, as they exist in such low numbers. I saw three, but hey they were mint and boy did they travel long distances at speed. I was lucky to get one Pic for the record (Badge tick?). Strangely high up for Ringlets, but here you go, saw a mating pair. Also had a rare treat with four Peregrines on the wing at the same time, clearly two adults and two fledglings, but they were really close. The pic I have sent suggests, air breaking adult with possible juvenile expecting prey transfer. (Assumption based on limited knowledge) . Peregrine king of the skies and Purple Emperor king in the air butterfly wise with more seen at West Grinstead station car park today together. Two days of fantastic aerial activity. (Richard Roebuck)
Post Script to Richard's report... I have checked out the photo with a Falconer friend of mine who informs me that the behaviour is "two Juveniles playing tag".

I visited Southwater Woods today and found 4 White Admirals and increasing numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries including 1 valezina form. (Tom Parker)

Again locally around Hollingbury I looked for White-letter Hairstreak, I had a fantastic view at 10:16 a.m. of two males dog fighting next to a Wheatley Elm on Crabtree Avenue, this behaviour was again observed at 10:20 a.m. At the time it seemed they were using the NE facing section of tree in regards to the sun being in the SEbE. Just like my last sighting, the photo shows the tree used with the addition of white circles added, these areas are where I saw them. My plan is to survey every single Wheatley Elm that borders Carden Hill, with the addition of the few at Carden Park and the surrounding area. I want Hollingbury and the White-letter Hairstreaks to be correctly represented. Then eventually continue my search to neighboring Patcham, Coldean, Bevendean, Hollingdean, Moulsecoomb and those places I can't think off. This should keep me busy for a very long time! While I go I can also search for Purple Hairstreak in any Oaks, still nothing seen today at the dew pond of Wild Park. (Jamie Burston)

Had a great walk up to Blackcap and then down into Ashcombe Bottom. At least 12 Silver-washed Fritillaries and 10 White Admirals seen. Halfway down into Ashcombe Bottom we started seeing Dark Green Fritillaries (6) mixed in with the Silver-washed. Plenty of Commas too and one female Dark Green Fritillary which really stood out from the others. (Mark Cadey)

Lovely walk in the sunshine around Black Cap to Ashcombe Bottom today. Lots of Silver-washed Fritillaries and 5 White Admirals in Ashcombe Bottom and then a Dark Green Fritillary on the path coming down towards the NT Black Cap reserve entrance off the B2116, with numerous Marbled Whites and two Small Skippers. (Sarah Stevens)

This afternoon, east of Belle Tout & west of the parking place by the road from Beachy Head (TV566955), we looked for Dark Green Fritillaries as we've seen them there before. We saw Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, Small Heaths, Large Skippers, Small Skippers, an Essex Skipper, a few Whites, a Red Admiral, a Gatekeeper and a Small Copper. On our way back to the car, our daughter Ele was first to spot a Dark Green Fritillary. Soon there were several, then there were 5 or 6. We chased them unsuccessfully hither and thither until all of a sudden several began to nectar on a patch of knapweed and we got a few pictures. There had been absolutely none there when we went up the slope. Maybe the wind had dropped a little, but they'd appeared as if by magic. I don't know if it's an area which still qualifies for a DGF pin - if so we'll pass it on to Ele. (John, Val & Ele Heys)

There was a minimum of 30 Dark Green Fritillaries at Chantry Hill this afternoon. If one divides Chantry Hill into three parts then most of the DGFs could be found in the western third, a few in the middle third and none in the eastern third. One or two were nectaring on thistle heads but also on Self-heal. The eastern third of Chantry Hill has come on magnificently over the past 3-4 years courtesy of some sound management, including light grazing with cattle. It still has a way to go but it is so much better than just a few years ago. A lovely patch of Dropwort was found on the eastern side. Also a Humming-bird Hawk-moth.
At home in my Storrington garden there was another Humming-bird Hawk-moth. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Took a short walk in Abbots Wood this afternoon and found a good variety of butterflies with the following counts: Meadow Brown (100+), White Admiral (11), Comma (8), Ringlet (6), Silver-washed Fritillary (4), Large Skipper (3), Marbled White (1), Small White (1), Large White (1), Speckled Wood (1). (Chris Hooker)


Friday 3 July 2015

An enjoyable stroll around Eartham Woods with Brian Henham produced 5 White Admiral and 8 Silver-washed Fritillary, amongst other species including Red Admiral (10+) and Gatekeeper. An email from Matthew Oates confirmed that the Purple Emperor season is now fully underway, with 27 individuals seen in the Southern Block of the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland www.knepp.co.uk this afternoon. This and the following weekend are likely to produce fireworks, as Knepp attempts to steal the crown from Fermyn Woods, as the UK's largest population. Any Sussex venue known to support the Purple Emperor is now likely to produce the goods. (Neil Hulme)

1x Purple Emperor seen over territory at 1.55pm. my first one this year. this was my fifth day in a row looking for it, then there it was, he flew three sorties over territory, but never settled, then it was gone as quick as it came. (Peter Farrant, East Sussex)

A Silver-Washed Fritillary at Graffham Down today. (Bart Ives)

At last, butterflies in our garden in Hove:- 2 Whites (probably Small) and a Small Tortoiseshell. Also I caught a brief, tantalising glimpse of what could have been a White-letter Hairstreak crossing Franklin Road at Station Road, Portslade. Later we wandered round the lower reaches of the track up to Perching Hill, Fulking (TQ243112) and then through Tottington & Longlands Woods at Small Dole. Common to both sites were Large Skippers, Small/Essex Skippers (not sure which), Whites (probably Small), Small Tortoiseshells, Speckled Woods, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, & Ringlets. At Perching Hill only, there were 4 or 5 Dark Green Fritillaries (patrolling just below the path, but they wouldn't pose for pictures), Small Heaths, a pair of Commas, half a dozen battered Common Blues, a Chalk Carpet moth, a Burnet Companion moth and a probable female Chalkhill Blue. At Tottington & Longlands Woods only, there were 9 or 10 White Admirals, 9 or 10 Silver-washed Fritillaries and a Red Admiral. The Fritillaries in the woods kept on the move, although I did get a rather distant shot which shows the silver-washing. Our little camera hates White Admirals - their whiteness seems to cause glare which makes the pictures look a bit fuzzy. (John & Val Heys)

After dog walking at 4.00 am and then working in London, I had the afternoon free and decided to check out Knepp Estate again after drawing a blank on the 30th of June. How things can change so rapidly with over 25 Purple Emperors seen. Lots of scrapping between males and on several occasions I saw triples pursuing each other, that's a first. Jackdaws and other small birds triggered a chase response and a good emergence of, and very active Purple Hairstreaks added to the battles. Also one grounded male for the first time seen at knepp, mid-afternoon, but unfortunately evaded a decent photo opportunity, c'est la vie. By coincidence met up with Matthew Oates where we shared more re excellent PE viewing. So should be great for Knepp forthcoming PE safaris. On another note also spotted several Small Skippers mud puddling next to a pond, first time I have seen this behaviour with these little characters. Anyway, a few photos attached of a great experience. (Richard Roebuck)

Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals seen flying at Eartham Wood (SU938107) this afternoon. (Paul Cox)

I saw a single White-letter Hairstreak today on a Wheatley elm (see photos), Hollingbury,Carden Hill roadside, at (TQ3160908341). The general side of the tree it was flying around was SW, give or take. The sun in relation to the tree was in the SSE during the hour of 12 p.m. I took five short visits throughout the day to the tree at 12:15,12:30,1:00, 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., I was luckily enough to see the same individual in flight during all my brief visits, flying only when the wind dropped.
The individual always took short flights, but why? Probably because the size of the territory it guards, is governed by the size of the canopy, the diameter of the canopy is vastly smaller in Wheatley elms, than those of species like English and Wych elm. This doesn't mean they don't fly further distances, one White-letter Hairstreak back in 2013 had to have traveled between 88 and 92 meters to reach my garden! Also today on Carden Hill I saw 1 Large White and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Additionally I had 2 Meadow Browns, 1 Small White and a single Red Admiral in my Hollingbury front garden, in the back garden I saw a single Comma flying around some nettles. (Jamie Burston)


Thursday 2 July 2015

What has happened to the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven? Watch out for the supplemental episode of "Butterflies of the Biosphere" that will reveal all, coming soon. (Dan Danahar)

I visited Fairmile Bottom at 6:15am today and found a few Marbled Whites flying. Fortunately most were roosting. There were also Ringlets, Meadow Browns, a few Dark Green Fritillaries plus Satin Grass-veneer and Cinerous Pearl moths. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1C3AjEU)

2nd July - 1 Large White along my road and 1 Meadow Brown in the front garden, Hollingbury.
30th June - At the Preston Twins in Preston Park I met Adrian, an ecology student from Sussex University. We familiarised ourselves with White-letter Hairstreaks in flight, counting their current population we reached 14 on our best attempt, as the butterfly can be elusive in flight, especially the females! No doubt there are many more then those we saw. Please enjoy the video I took, best viewed in HD and a speed of 0.5, change the settings by clicking on the cog icon at the bottom of the video, this gives you quality in-flight action! See video here - youtube.com/watch?v=k4bXXQ9iR5o
29th June - At Hollingbury Park I met my friend Peter Whitcomb, in addition to his sightings I had a stunningly fresh female Large White fly past me in the Forget-me-not Glade, great to see numbers starting to build.
27th June - Roedale Allotments, located behind Hollingbury Park - 12 Small Tortoiseshells, including two sets of pairs in courtship, seen flying together and a single female laying her eggs on nettles. 2 Holly Blues, 2 Meadow Browns, 2 Speckled Woods, 1 Comma and 1 Red Admiral. Small Whites were also present, one of these was taking nectar from Red Valerian, a total count of 5 were seen. Onto moths, I saw a single Cinnabar flying. Additionally two Mullein caterpillars, on the plant of the same name, they seem very common this year. (Jamie Burston)

My local Humming-bird Hawk-moth here in North Lancing certainly puts in a shift. It was feeding on Lavender at 7.30 this morning as I left for work. It was there again when I returned home at 7.30 in the evening. High on nectar and sunshine. (Lindsay Morris)


Wednesday 1 July 2015

Evening Skipper, in St Leonards Forest, Horsham. (Patrick Moore)

At lunchtime on 1 July, as I was walking along Gardner Street in Brighton, a White-letter Hairstreak landed on my shirt. It remained for a few moments before flying off along the road and landing on the pavement. Fearing it would be trampled underfoot I went to its rescue but it flew off at some height and disappeared over the buildings. (Steve Gilbert)

Knowlands Wood and adjoining fields and old railway track, Barcombe: I have been checking every day for White Admiral and saw our first in the Clearing at Knowlands Wood today at 4.30pm. No photo opportunity. Grid reference TQ4203217053.
Also first Purple Hairstreak. Silver-washed Fritillaries first appeared a week ago and now quite numerous - four flying together on Tuesday in a ride in the wood. Numerous Meadow Browns but Ringlets scarce as yet, first ones seen on Tuesday. No Gatekeeper yet! Large Skippers are more numerous than I have ever known them. Marbled Whites flying well in places. Small Skippers seem scarce. What few Common Blues we had here seem to have disappeared. (Nick Lear)

At Eartham Woods today we saw 3 White Admirals, at least 8 Silver-washed Fritillaries, several Red Admirals, a Brimstone, Comma and a Marbled White, good numbers of Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods, Large and Small Skippers and masses of Ringlets. (Pauline Batchelor)

Great day out on the downs despite the warmth! Between Saltdean - Balsdean I recorded large numbers of Marbled White & Dark Green Fritillary as well as; Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large White, Peacock, Red Admiral, Chalkhill Blue x2 (freshly emerged probably today), Speckled Wood, Small Tort & Holly Blue. With all this talk about this being a terrible year for butterflies, today proved that wrong! (Jake Gearty)

A White-letter Hairstreak spotted on the 'Cuckoo Trail' in Hailsham town centre this morning, a very rare sighting. (Trevor Rapley)

White-letter Hairstreaks near Littlehampton golf course today. (Barry Sketchly)

My Mill Hill transect this morning was bursting with Marbled Whites and the first Gatekeepers: Adonis Blue, Brimstone, Gatekeeper 6, Marbled White 74, Meadow Brown 10, Red Admiral 2, Small Heath 19, Whites 2, Cinnabar, Common Purple and Gold 4, Marbled Orchard Tortrix, Satin Grass-veneer, Straw-barred Pearl, Yellow Shell 4. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com/)

As expected a much improved total in the sunshine and my first Gatekeepers of the year. Totals were: 18 Small/Essex Skipper, 2 Large Skipper, Red Admiral, 58 Marbled White, 3 Gatekeeper, 51 Meadow Brown, 17 Small Heath, 5 Ringlet - but still well under last year's equivalent week. (Peter Whitcomb)

Saw my first Gatekeeper of the year in Hailsham Country Park this afternoon. It was in fantastic condition - why didn't I have my camera with me?! (Chris Hooker)

Two Gatekeepers (our first for this year) at Thorney Island,and nearby at Pilsey Island we had a Humming-bird Hawk-moth nectaring on sea bindweed. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

The Silver-studded Blues on Ashdown Forest seem to be doing quite well this year. Today I found them at 4 sites - Smugglers (six), Hollies (4 or 5), Ellison's Pond (2), and the site near Old Lodge Stream (2). (John Kerby)

Recent news:

A great walk with Michael Blencowe on Graffham Down on Sunday. Star of the show was this handsome Privet Hawk-moth that posed with Michael. (Nigel Symington)

My transect count at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean on 27 June included my first Dark Green Fritillary of the year. They have regularly been seen at this location in small numbers. Other counts included 34 Meadow Brown, 3 Large Skipper, 7 Small Heath, 13 Common Blue, and just 3 Marbled White. Of interest at about this time last year the corresponding counts were 100 Meadow Brown, 33 Marbled White and no Common Blues! (Peter Whitcomb)


Earlier Sightings

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