Sunday 31 July 2011
Today I tried exploring the streams west of Poynings for Beautiful Demoiselles. Whilst on this mission I saw Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Large White, Meadow Brown, Purple Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Small Heath and Speckled Wood. The best site for butterflies was a field of Red Clover at TQ 247125. The Purple Hairstreaks (I counted at least 3) were at TQ 249125 and there is a hedge of Blackthorn that bears watching for Brown Hairstreaks at TQ 252123. (Sherie New)
Early this morning I was walking on the Downslink near home, still pondering about my recent failed sorties to find a Brown Hairstreak. I thought for a bit and of course, if I can find lots of eggs here, then the Butterflies must also be here somewhere. Instead of looking down I started studying the trees. There were lots of butterflies on the wing and surprisingly at 9.00 a.m saw quite a few Purple Hairstreaks up in the Ash trees. Purple Hairstreaks are getting a bit long in the tooth and most are pretty tatty now. One caught my eye that didn't look right, it's flight was less erratic and it also flew in a straight line, numerous other butterflies such as Gatekeepers, Holly Blues etc. were also flying higher than normal just to complicate matters. I had my camera and spotted one butterfly in a small Ash tree. The image wasn't clear so I dashed off home to get some binoculars. On my return I saw a butterfly fly straight out of an Ash tree and land on a high Blackthorn. This was one pristine female Brown Hairstreak, result. I think I saw several Brown Hairstreaks, but they are fast and at this early period don't seem to settle for long - Blink and there gone. I checked the poor image I took in the Ash tree and I think it could be a male Brown Hairstreak. The other pic is of a Butterfly sat high up in a Maple tree - I've never seen a Purple Hairstreak in a Maple - may be a close call on this one. I have only seen Brown Hairstreak close to the ground before, so its great to see them literally in the trees for the first time and early in the morning - I think I saw 4 or more (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)
This evening I had a late venture to Horseshoe Plantation to see what delights awaited me. Being nearly butterfly bedtime, I wasn't expecting much. However, I did find numerous Chalkhill Blue and Meadow Brown (one with several red mites on it), several Gatekeeper, several Small Heath, one Small Skipper, two Small Copper, three Brown Argus, one Common Blue and one large orange flash in front of me that I took to be possibly a Dark Green Fritillary. I also spied a mating pair of Six-spot Burnet. (Nick Linazasoro)
It doesnt happen very often but I managed to get Silver-washed Fritillary and Dark Green Fritillary in my garden in Edburton yesterday as well as Brimstone, Common Blue, Peacock and a few Red Admirals. Also 3 sightings of Hummingbird Hawkmoth after a gap of about 2 weeks. Plenty of other moths in the last few days found while wandering the garden with net and torch or at the outside lights with the best being my second Hoary Footman and first Small Scallop for the garden, Rosy Footman, July Highflier, Dunbar, Yellowtail, Ruby Tiger, Copper Underwing, Old Lady, Drinker, Clay, Cabbage Moth, Early Thorn, Chinese Character, Endotricha flammealis, Ringed China Mark and Large Tabby + usual more common species. A quick look for the Quail on the hill above the house also produced a fresh Dark Green Fritillary and 12 Walls. (Tony Wilson)
Despite the terribly poor number of moths in my garden moth-trap in Lindfield last night, 27 individuals of 17 species, I was pleased to be able to record two new species for the garden list, a Long-legged Tabby, Synaphe punctalis (above, left) and a Waved Black (above, right). Butterflies seemed to be doing much better, with 14 species seen in the garden over the weekend: Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Purple Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown Gatekeeper (lots) and Ringlet. (Bob Foreman)
At least 30 Silver-washed Fritillaries (above) on rides around Venus Wood (West Dean Woods) this morning - the most I have ever seen here. Also, a few Ringlets present. (Andrew House)
At the usual peak date for Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill I went directly to the lower slopes in the late morning recording 37 (including four females) on the one acre transect before 11.20 am and an estimated 35 mostly males in the following 15 minutes. Most of these appeared fresh and could have just emerged. This was still a poor total of 72 per acre on the lower slopes and two elsewhere on the hill. Without making more than a cursory attempt to search, I discovered at least half a dozen second brood Dingy Skippers, five on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, and one on the middle slopes in the the Triangle area amongst the Wild Basil. There could have easily been more. Fourteen butterfly species were seen in the late morning including a further 20+ Chalkhill Blues on the Mill Hill Cutting (SW). (Andy Horton)
Three male Oak Eggar were on the wing this afternoon at Thorney Island and a second brood Brown Argus. (Barry and Margaret Collins)
Saturday 30 July 2011
Took a lovely walk today over Seaford Head, lots of Small Heaths, Common Blues, Red Admirals, Speckled Woods, Ringlets and the find of the day for me was a Clouded Yellow (above). (Heather Maryson)
I took a couple of Pics to day that may be of interest. Somehow I have a fascination for Meadow Browns, they are a dependable species however I felt slightly sorry for one individual (above, left) where nature had dealt a cruel blow as one of its hind wings had not fully formed, it could however still fly and was happily going from thistle to thistle. The second pic (above, right) is a close up of a female Gatekeeper who was somewhat attached to her suitor at the time. You can tell by the expression in her eye? (Richard Roebuck)
Friday 29 July 2011
Today I went for an all too brief visit to Park Corner Heath and surrounding area. I can remember spotting around 16 Silver-washed Fritillary whizzing around, 3 Large White, 1 Comma, several Speckled Wood, quite a few Gatekeeper, a few Meadow Brown including one mating pair and a handful of Ringlet. Also spotted were 4 adders and a slow worm. (Nick Linazasoro)
Today I tried my luck with suitcase square 9208: Halnaker Hill, near Eartham in West Sussex. This is largely agricultural land but with some wooded areas, a Windmill and a footpath following "Monarch's Way". The weather was forecast to be sunny spells but turned out to be mostly cloudy. The walk generated 140+ Meadow Browns and 30+ Gatekeepers. After that species were in single figures: Comma, Common Blue, Essex Skipper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Large White, Purple Hairstreak, Ringlet, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Small Skipper and Small White. The Purple Hairstreaks were at SU 923 093 and SU 932 086. One of the Holly Blues was egg-laying on the flowers of ivy. I wouldn't rate this walk as being as nice as the Amberley one but there is a spot full of wild flowers at SU 931 098 which could be good in better weather conditions. (Sherie New)
Raspberry Clearwing attracted to lure in my parent's garden in The Avenue, Bevendean, Brighton at 14.30 this afternoon - this is the first Clearwing for me in 2011 and 6th species for me in Sussex in total - Clearwings have become rather an addiction/obsession over the last 3 years! ((Darryl Perry)
News for Thursday 28 July: A targeted search of the slopes and upper glades of Mill Hill produced 12 Dingy Skipper, this being by far the strongest second brood showing I have ever seen. The knock-on effects of the unusually warm spring may yet produce more unexpected events in the late summer and autumn butterfly calendar. (Neil Hulme)
News for Wednesday 27 July: Approaching what should be the peak period for the Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill with hundreds, perhaps thousands fluttering around, it was dire that I only saw a fleeting view of one male in half an hour on the one acre transect. It was cloudy and there were very a low frequency of any butterflies about on the lower slopes around midday and these had to be disturbed. On and over the lower slopes there were frequent white butterflies probably Large Whites, 3+ Meadow Browns, 3+ Gatekeepers, 2+ Red Admirals, one Marbled White, 1+ Speckled Woods, four Common Blues (two of each gender), a probable Brimstone Butterfly, one Treble-bar Moth and frequent pyralid moths Pyrausta nigrata and at least one Pyrausta pupuralis. It was so disappointing, that I quickly left by the quickest ridge route where I encountered a definite Brimstone Butterfly, one Comma, 2+ Gatekeepers, on the vegetated path, and another male Common Blue and Meadow Brown on the meadows south of the Reservoir.
A few thoughts re. John and Val Heys report: Congratulations on your sighting. I found the Brown Hairstreak eggs last year, very close to your sighting in fact just to the West of the main car park, on young sloes on an area that had been cleared.
Thursday 28 July 2011
Went for a downland walk, followed by a trip to Ditchling Country Park. Saw fair numbers of butterflies despite the sun going in & out quite a bit, but the big thrill was a male Brown Hairstreak (above). As usual with the best sightings, Val saw it first & realised it wasnt just another Gatekeeper. The sun had just gone in & it was perching with wings closed on bracken. As the sun came out again, it opened up a bit before taking flight & disappearing westwards in a flash. I was able to take a few pictures before it went. The location [TQ335181] was the south end of the main part of Ditchling Common, by a path which heads west (parallel with the road) from the car park towards the round-about on the B2112. Having read up about brown hairstreaks & as it was a male, I see I should have been on the look-out for a potential master tree such as a large ash, but at least I can say that we saw it at one of the lowest points in the Park. Afterwards, we noticed plenty of blackthorn & saw from last years annual report that brown hairstreak eggs were seen in the area, but the nearest butterfly sighting appeared to have been a bit further south-west. Its only the third time weve ever been sure weve seen a brown hairstreak - the other 2 were both females on the Downslink footpath. Ditchling Country Parks come up trumps for us several times with hairstreaks as I saw my first White-letter Hairstreak there about 35 years ago and not long after my first Purple Hairstreak. (John and Val Heys)
Found a mating pair of Gatekeepers (above, left) on the ground on the Downslink at Henfield . First time i have ever seen this occurence.
This evening after work I had a relaxing amble along Mill Hill in Shoreham. There were not as many butterflies present as there were at the same time a few days ago at Cissbury Ring. However, I did manage to get a few good shots! Spotted were 6 Gatekeeper, 8 Common Blue, 1 Large White, 1 Dingy Skipper, 1 Wall, about 4 Meadow Brown and I think 2 Brown Argus (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)
Slopes above Butchers Hole CP: finally, enough sun for the Chalkhill Blues to be out in their thousands. Not as many as some years but an impressive and reassuring sight none-the-less! (Susan Suleski)
Brown Hairstreak on thistle in Little Meadow, Woods Mill. Also,Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Gatekeepers (mating & some newly emerged), Meadow Brown, Ringlet (v tatty). (David Plummer, www.davidplummerimages.co.uk)
Wednesday 27 July 2011
I was on standby this afternoon so a quick visit to High and Over and Cradle Hill part of Frog Firle this morning produced double figures of Wall Brown including my first female of the 2nd brood (above, left). On Cradle Hill just 2 Silver-spotted Skippers were seen, although by now the cloud had built up. However, both these were surprisingly females and were both ovipositing so presumably there is a lucky male around as well!! Just below High and Over large numbers of Chalkhill Blue are flying including some still emerging and several mating couples seen (above, right).
Saw this Peacock (above) this afternoon, on my patio at West Wittering (PO20 8EU) feeding on a Cosmos which I have grown from seed for the first time! Glad to see it's being enjoyed by this handsome butterfly. (Stella Pendleton)
We ran our MV trap at Eames Farm last night 26th July,from 10:00pm until 02:00am and caught the following moths. Dark Arches 7, Brown-tail 2, Mother of Pearl 2, Common Rustic agg 21, Ruby Tiger 21, Uncertain 12, Flame Shoulder 3, Ear Moths 22, Common Footman 2, Smoky Wainscot 21, Pale Mottled Willow, Rustic 6, Antler Moth 3, Dusky Sallow 2, Least Yellow Underwing, Large Yellow Underwing 3, Bright-line Brown-eye 2, Shuttle-shaped Dart 3, Scarce Footman 2, Common Wainscot, Rosy Minor 2, Pine Hawkmoth, Clay, Turnip Moth, Lime-speck Pug, Endotricha Flammeals, Drinker, Small Scallop, Small Rufous. (Barry and Margaret Collins)
This afternoon I visited Steyning Rifle Range. A cyclist asked me what was attracting photographers as there were several at the site earlier in the day. Although I didnt find a Brown Hairstreak, I did come across a very obliging Holly Blue nectaring on Valerian on the northwest end of the upper slope. There were many Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns plus Peacocks, Red Admirals, a Wall, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood and Common Blue. I also found a slow-worm and Pyrausta purpuralis moth (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
Another, larger image from George McCarthy of Comma ab. suffusa from 25 July (above).
Tuesday 26 July 2011
Recent news: Last Friday, the 22nd, we ran 4 MV traps over at the Rifle Range area of the Steyning Downland Scheme to catch moths for an event the next morning to show local youngsters the amazing moths in their neck of the woods. We had to pack up the traps at about 1am due to rain but otherwise it was a good night, most memorable for the 100s of moths we watched nectaring on ragwort and Pen falling down a rabbit hole up to her waist. We caught about 35 species of macro including a couple of Drinker moths which the kids really loved to hold the next day. We also recorded 4 Dark Umber, 4 Coronet, 4 Rosy Footman, Pale Prominent, Iron Prominent, 2 European Corn-borer, a very small Purple Bar (possibly 2nd generation?) and 2 Catoptria pinella, the first time we have seen this good looking grass moth.
Sunny and warm at last! Was able to finish off the rest of TQ0412, being squares A, B and C. I walked through part of D to gain access to C, so have included all D sightings as well:
Further to my e-mail with sightings from the Brinsbury Campus of Chichester College on Monday (25th July), I am pleased to report that the 'Common Blue 1 female (TQ05532315)' sighting should be amended to a 'Brown Argus', which is, I think, a first for the site. Excellent news and many thanks to Neil for confirming the identity of this one. (Robin Bassett)
More news for Monday 25 July: Park Corner Heath & Rowlands Wood TQ5114: My first visit to this reserve 4:30pm until 6pm, patchy sunshine but warm and still. 11 Silver-washed Fritillaries (of which 3 were male and 2 were females), White Admiral 1, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 2, Holly Blue 1, Brimstone 2, Meadow Brown 2, Gatekeeper 5, Red Admiral 1 & Comma 1. We also saw 2 Brown Hawkers, 1 Southern Hawker and a very fresh male Ruddy Darter on the RW pond. Must remember to visit earlier next year for the Small PBFs! (Tony Moverley)
Photos from George McCarthy of the Comma ab. suffusa reported on 25 July (above).
Monday 25 July 2011
I spent a really enjoyable few hours at the Brinsbury Campus of Chichester College today and found fourteen butterfly species. Two Brown Hairstreak females were the highlight of the day.
One Brown Hairstreak, a couple of Purple Hairstreaks, two Gatekeepers, a Large White and about a dozen Red Admirals near the village centre in Broadbridge Heath at 10am today. What will the rest of the day bring! (Susie Milbank)
A great 2 hours spent above Offham today on the way home from work. Very pleased to see that the Wall Browns are doing well here. It was in fact the most regularly seen butterfly with territorial battles going on with upto 4 battling at the same time. Not easy to get accurate figures but I would estimate well into double figures. In all 14 species seen whilst chasing the Wall up and down the bank. This species is probably the most frustrating species to try to get photos of. I aged at least 5 years today!! Many thanks for reports of Wall Brown sent to me recently by several observers. (Bob Eade)
I went for an evening's spotting at the southern slopes inside of Cissbury Ring. I was quite surprised to still find around 30 Chalkhill Blue, 2 Brown Argus, 1 Large White, 50+ Meadow Brown, around 10 Small Heath, around 20 Marbled White, around 6 Small Copper and around 20 Small Skipper. (Nick Linazasoro)
Two years ago I reported finding a Black Hairstreak in my garden in Shermanbury but with no camera to hand so no confirmation pic. I have looked extensively since but no more sightings despite masses and masses of blackthorn everywhere around me. Today I found a Comma that I believe is an aberrant form called suffusa nectaring on buddleia. How rare is that in Sussex, in the UK, can anyone tell me? (George McCarthy)
Many thanks to David Harris for a delightful "Swing round Swanborough Hill" on Sunday. This really is an event and more... greeted with tea/coffee, choccy biscuits and loos we set off armed with a detailed map and a list of likely butterflies and their foodplants. It was a lovely route along hedgerows, over downland and through woodland finding plenty of flora and fauna (see David's post). As last year we chatted in Mary's pretty cottage garden afterwards enjoying a cream tea - a big thank you to Mary and fellow butterfliers for a great day. (Anna Grist)
Sunday 24 July 2011
Due to the awful weather last weekend this year's Sussex Butterfly Square Scramble was postponed until today. There was no complaining about the weather today - the sun was (mostly) shining. The teams raced off at 10 am - The Mid-Sussex Skippers, The Speckled Wedds, The Aldwick Admirals, The Felpham Flyers and The Moth-ers of Invention. The teams visited tetrad squares around Bognor, Ditchling, Walberton, Warbleton, Burwash, Burgess Hill and Fontwell recording butterfly species in each square. The results are now in and I am particularly pleased to announce that the winners for 2011 are The Moth-ers of Invention (Michael Blencowe & Mike Mullis) who scored an incredible 159 points and have set a new scramble record score. The Moth-ers visited 21 tetrad squares across East Sussex - all of which were 'un-recorded'. Congratulations to them and a big thankyou to all the teams that took part. These records are all really useful for our atlas project. We must also spare a thought for the Aldwick Admirals. Unfortunately my message to postpone the scramble didn't get through to them and they took part last Sunday during the awful weather - they reached the top of The Trundle near Goodwood and received a real soaking!
Following refreshments a group of 15 sturdy souls threaded their way up the North - East face of Swanborough Hill stopping en route to admire the butterflies, moths, caterpillars and their foodplants. A total of 21 species of butterfly were observed including second generation Wall Brown and Dingy Skipper, numerous Small Heaths and half a dozen fleeting glimpses of tatty Dark Green Fritillaries. Eggs of Red Admiral and Green-veined White were discovered by eagle-eyed members, together with egg laying Holly Blue and Speckled Wood. A couple of Essex Skipper were spotted among the dozens of their Small Skipper cousins - difficult stuff!
I visited Windover Hill on Saturday and saw the same species that Richard reported. The Chalkhill Blues were everywhere, Dark Green Fritillaries dashed around, and a solitary Grayling revealed itself as it rose up from the grass, then was gone, game over - its camouflage is incredibly effective (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
At Woodmancote at 8.45 found a Purple Hairstreak sat on a buttercup leaf (on the ground?). A macro pic lead to the discovery this butterfly has hairs on its compound eyes, how cool is that, no doubt to protect them from sunlight in the tree tops, the first time I have ever seen this on a butterfly. At Henfield on the downs link watched a Red Admiral egg laying on small nettles these are surprisingly small but unlike a Comma these are laid on the top side of a nettle leaf close to the petiole. I then went to Wolstonbury Hill and at last the Chalkhill Blues have just emerged in good numbers. I saw groups on both Fox and dog faeces collecting minerals. In addition several Brown Argus, Dark Green Fritillaries 2, numerous Meadow Browns, Small Skippers, two male Common Blues, 15 Marbled Whites, Small Heaths, Small Copper, Gatekeepers lots, lots of Six-spot Burnet moths just emerging, Speckled Woods, 7 on the Bridle Path from Pycombe Street. Frustratingly couldn't find a Silver-spotted Skipper anywhere. (Richard Roebuck)
I saw the following butterflies yesterday (Saturday, 23rd) in rather cool and windy conditions whilst helping to carry out a hedgerow survey in Southwater with the Horsham District Archaeological Group.
Recent news: Tuesday 19 July:Butterfly Tetrad TQ 0412 after two days heavy rain. Sunny patches to start with but heavy rain later, which meant that only one of the four squares (D) in the tetrad could be completed. Will have to come back another time.
More recent news: Sightings of butterflies in East Sussex 16-20th July listed below. All sightings are on OS sheet 199. As you can see the fields on the north west of the Jevington village on the Weald Way were just packed with butterflies.
I found this Hummingbird Hawkmoth caterpillar (above) on Friday (22 July) night at the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven. The image was taken by my mobile phone so its not that good. (Dan Danahar)
Saturday 23 July 2011
While we were out spotting Purple Emperors yesterday I told Tom Simon to keep an 'eye out' around his house in Twineham for Brown Hairstreak as it was an area where we recorded eggs very easily in the winter. So, today, Tom did just that. He looked out his window and five minutes later a Brown Hairstreak flew through the garden and settled on a bramble leaf. Tom was able to watch it from his room through a telescope. (Michael Blencowe)
Early this morning whilst walking across a paddock a butterfly skipped past me about a foot off the ground, initially I thought it was a worn Meadow Brown. Curiosity took over and I checked where it had landed. Immediately I realised it was a male Wall (above), this is my first ever sighting of one in the Henfield area, perhaps they are having a good year and this one was just passing through TQ203157. (Richard Roebuck)
7 Wall Brown seen along The Comp, all males and all in good condition. Approx 6 seen yesterday around High and Over. On Greenway Bank today several Brown Argus and 1 very fresh Small Copper. Also the 1st 2nd brood Adonis Blue seen. It was a bit breezy still so not as many Wall seen as I'd hoped but numbers are slowly building. A very nice, Dusky Sallow seen nectaring on Ragwort (photos above). (Bob Eade)
A superb walk around Mill Hill in the sunshine (well intermittent!); highlight being first Chalkhill Blues of the year - at least 8 males and 3 females. Also, and a bit of a surprise 1, possibly 2 Male Adonis Blue. Saw my first Peacocks of the year as well (at least 4), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Comma (1), Red Admiral (1), numerous Small and Large Whites and many Gatekeepers, one Wall, and a handful of Meadow Browns.
News for Friday 15 July: Following a report of Chalk Carpet seen by Graeme Lyons at Ditchling Beacon this week, I hadn't realised the scarcity. I photographed this (above) at Perching Hill, on the South Downs Way on 15th July at TQ242108. (Peter Whitcomb)
Friday 22 July 2011
Hannah and I would again like to thank those who have kindly sent (more) cards and messages celebrating the birth of Mia Iris Hulme. This piece of 'Blue Peter magic' by Mavis and Alan deserves a place on our website as well as the sideboard. Many thanks! (Neil Hulme)
In the spirit of exploring new atlas squares I headed out today to new unrecorded territory on the downs behind Lewes Prison. I had always wanted to visit Ashcombe Bottom - a large block of woodland right on top of the Downs behind Black Cap. I was surprised at the size of this wood and that it contained a number of mature oaks. We soon picked up Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Hairstreak among other species but the big surprise came as we left the wood and headed back to Lewes. Tom shouted 'What's that?!' and pointed skyward as a Purple Emperor launched itself into the air and glided into view. An amazing discovery. The butterfly is extremely rare in this part of the county - it was last encountered near Plumpton in 2007 - 5km from where we recorded it today. It just goes to show what can be discovered when you search new squares. It was odd that we did not find White Admiral in Ashcombe Bottom but it was even odder that we saw one flying up Lewes High Street on the way back into town. (Michael Blencowe & Tom Simon)
At lunchtime today, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth visited our suburban gardens Buddleia bush in Gossops Green Crawley West Sussex. (Andrew Bashford)
I completed my weekly transect at Mill Hill today. The Chalkhill Blues are showing up in numbers, including some large specimens. Second brood Adonis Blue are also showing, including a specimen that was still drying . The big surprise was second brood Dingy Skippers, plus a bonus grass snake. The count was 5 Adonis Blue, 1 Brimstone, 1 Brown Argus, 9 Chalkhill Blue, 1 Comma, 1 Common Blue, 2 Dingy Skipper, 6 Gatekeeper, 1 Large White, 2 Marbled White, 7 Meadow Brown, 8 Peacock, 7 Red Admiral, 2 Small Heath, 4 Wall Brown (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
A 2nd brood male Dingy Skipper (above) on an ancient wild flower bank near Mayfield, East Sussex. (Mike Mullis)
Recent news: Tuesday 19 July, Markstakes:
Thursday 21 July 2011
Aware that today was my last chance to get my Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath transect completed for this week and encouraged by the brief glimpse of sunshine and a Red Admiral on the Buddleia in the garden I decided to grab the opportunity. As I drove east the skies got darker and by the time I arrived it Rowland Wood it had started to rain and continued to do so, more or less the whole time I was there. Unsurprisingly I didn't see too many butterflies but considering the conditions the fact that I saw any was a bonus. Species recorded: 1 White Admiral which I spotted sheltering in a hornbeam (above, left), Silver-washed Fritillaries all of which were looking pretty worn, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet and Green-veined White. I also spotted a couple of Bramble False-feather, Schreckensteinia festaliella (above, left), an unusual and attractive little moth that rests with its back legs raised above its wings. (Bob Foreman)
I was alerted to this BBC program about butterfly enthusiasts - that's us! There are 3 days left to watch on BBC iPlayer.
Wednesday 20 July 2011
Recent news: On the 14th I visited Woods Mill looking for odonata. While there I saw Silver-washed Fritillaries, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Comma, Whites and Red Admiral. On the 15th I went up The Burgh looking for Brown Hares and while there I saw Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Peacock, Green-veined White and Chalkhill Blues. There were c.20 of these on the short section of dung-splattered path I walked at TQ 043114. The track was much longer than the short section of it that I walked so Id say there were a lot more Chalkhill Blues than I managed to see on my route. On the 19th I walked a path opposite Woods Mill (looking for more odonata) and saw Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Peacock, Common Blue, Small Skipper and Small Copper. (Sherie New)
I'm afraid I have just found the following photo from Sam and report from Jacob in the spam folder on my mail server, apologies to you both - got there in the end though!
Hummingbird Hawkmoths (above) on Sam Bayley's garden fence, 6 July
News for Sunday 17 July: Sandgate Park, Sullington: A fantastic night mothing with 119 species recorded. Which included 32 Micro species and 87 Macro species with a few stand-out moths. Somewhat surprisingly the highlight was in the form of the rare migrant micro Evergestis limbata which happens to be the symbol for Sussex Moth Group, a fitting tribute the the moth group's event I was running! Several Macro moth highlights included Beautiful Snout, Kent Black Arches, Slender Brindle, Beautiful Yellow Underwing, Pine Hawkmoth and Scallop Shell. A brilliant night of mid-summer mothing. Thanks to all who attended and helped with identification. (Jacob Everitt)
Tuesday 19 July 2011
A great start to the day, whilst on a dog walk a Hobby flew past me about 30 feet away. However I was working in Eastbourne today and on the way back stopped off at Windover Hill to look for Chalkhill Blues. Saw plenty of males and females including some collecting minerals from a patch of wet mud. Also Chalk Carpet 3, male Brimstones 2, Small Coppers 6, Small Heaths several, Dark Green Fritillaries 5, and others such as Large Whites, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. But best of all found a single, presumably, newly emerged Grayling doing its best not to be spotted. A Dark Green Fritillary gave the game away as it harassed the Grayling, so the master of camouflage was temporarily unmasked (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)
At Mill Hill today I found 3 Chalkhill Blue, 5 Gatekeeper, 3 Meadow Brown, 2 Common Blue, 1 Red Admiral. At Steyning Rifle Range I found Brimstone, Small Heath, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Common Blue, Comma, Red Admiral, Peacock and one Wall by the gate at the top of the hill. I also saw 2 adders, 2 grass snakes and a lizard (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
Monday 18 July 2011
I found an obliging Essex Skipper (left) on Sunday and got a reasonable head shot, so I thought it might be useful as a reference shot, as to how to spot the difference. However in the field I can appreciate it's far more difficult unless you have the eyes of a 10 year old and then there's the problem of the angle of light. I normally take a few shots and zoom in to check. The orange blob on a Small Skipper (right) antenna tip is normally obvious from the right angle even with a poor image i.e. underneath. Unfortunately from above they look very similar. However the general shape of the antenna is also subtly different - when they are side by side of course. I have also noted that the Essex Skipper has eye lashes unless of course its a female, perhaps this is a more reliable identification feature? (Richard Roebuck)
News from the wekend: When Butterfly Conservation's regional officer Dan Hoare told me that he was taking part in a summer charity hike across the Downs I instantly thought that this would be a great chance to get plenty of records for the Sussex Atlas. I even sponsored Dan in anticipation of his pages of butterfly records. On Saturday Dan took part in a 100km 24hr 37 minute hike through some of southern England's best butterfly habitat, clutching his water bottle and a notebook....And saw one butterfly! Here's his record:
Above is a selection of photos (in chronological order) recently received from Douglas Neve, which will hopefully help to divert our attentions away from the weather.
The Big Butterfly Count - Friday 15 July 2011:
The day started at the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven in the grounds of Dorothy Stringer High School, where children from the Dorothy Stringer Creche, Balfour Infants school and Dorothy Stringer secondary school, plus students from Downsview special needs college, came to see wildflowers, butterflies. They also meet Nick Baker, Mayor of Brighton & Hove and Councillor Pete West, Environment Cabinet Member. Also there was our very own Bob Foreman and Neil Hulme.
Sunday 17 July 2011
Thanks to everyone who has been sending in their Marbled White records. The map is filling up and it's showing us some interesting information on the spread of this species across Sussex over the past decade or so. There have been a few reports from the 'far east ' too - the butterfly seems to have colonies at Rye Harbour. Keep an eye out for this distinctive butterfly - if the sun ever starts shining again. (Michael Blencowe)
Thanks to Richard Roebuck for visiting one of the 'suitcase squares' and recording butterflies in a new tetrad for our atlas. Richard headed off to Stanmer Down north of Brighton (TQ3410) and recorded a surprising number of butterflies considering the poor weather. Read Richard's account of the trip and details of what he found on the 'suitcase' page. (Michael Blencowe)
Despite the heavy showers, I managed to get a few pictures of Marbled Whites and Chalkhill Blues at a brief visit to the meadow at Kithurst Hill this afternoon. I also saw a couple of Meadow Browns and Green-veined Whites (photos above). (John Williams)
News for Friday 15 July: Today I met up with Steve East and visited the Hollingbury Golf Course / Wild Park, Purple Hairstreak site. We saw five Purple Hairstreaks, including three that were at lower levels for decent photography, arriving at about 10am. Above are photos of a single Purple Hairstreak with wings shut, another of a male Purple Hairstreak basking with wings partially open and a photo showing two Purple Hairstreaks near to one another. (Jamie Burston)
More news for Friday 15 July: Further to recent notes regarding the behaviour, especially down-coming, of Purple Hairstreaks, I offer the following observations.
Saturday 16 July 2011
Recent news: Bit of a lull now I've finished meadow surveying for the season and the Tetrad count happened last week. However a few records as follows:
News for Friday 15 July: As the weather looked bad for the weekend I popped down to Hollingbury on Friday afternoon to once again look for a White-letter Hairstreak.
Friday 15 July 2011
Excellent year for Hummingbird Hawkmoths and Dark-green Fritillary, Chalkhill Blues emerging a bit late(?) at Malling Down. On transect at Malling Down I recorded my first 2011 Silver-spotted Skipper - it was a female. Other species on transect included Small Skippers, a second generation Dingy Skipper, Large White, Small White, Small Coppers (many of which are a paler orange than I would normally expect), Brown Argus, Common Blues, only a couple of Chalkhill Blue, Red Admiral, Peacock, Dark Green Fritillary (recently colonised Malling), Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Gatekeepers and Small Heaths. Several Hummingbird Hawkmoth.
Two Purple Hairstreaks today, 11:30 am on a 50/60 year oak on our property, TQ 672305, first seen here in 27 years; quite a surprise. (David Landon, Wadhurst)
My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings:
After a busy day whizzing around doing our jobs, we met up for a late afternoon jaunt up to the edge of Friston Forest around the gallops. We were rewarded with fine relaxing views and an abundance of wildlife and butterflies! The butterflies spotted were: Small Skippers (about 20), Brimstone (about 6), Large White (about 8), Small White (about 10), Small Copper (about 4), Brown Argus (1), Chalkhill Blue (about 100), Red Admiral (about 3), Comma (2), Dark Green Fritillary (about 20), Marbled White (about 25), Gatekeeper (about 35), Meadow Brown (about 50) and Small Heath (50). We also found Cinnabar larvae and a Six-spot Burnet moth. We also saw a lizard, probably a Common Lizard and I'm afraid that I yelped a bit like a girl when a large grass snake wriggled fast in front of me into the bushes. I certainly wasn't expecting that! (Nick Linazasoro (yelper) and Drew Easton)
Recent news: I have trapped the following in my north Portslade garden over the last few days:
I was pleased to find a fresh Dark Green Fritillary (female) in Friston Forest on 13th July. (Carol Kemp)
Thursday 14 July 2011
One Hummingbird Hawkmoth spotted on the buddleia outside my office window this morning at Stanmer Park TQ334095 (Jan Knowlson)
STOP PRESS: At 10.00 on 14 July, the day before the launch of the Big Butterfly Count, the nationally scarce White-letter Hairstreak (above) butterfly was seen nectaring on bramble near to the school pond, at Dorothy Stringer. This is excellent news because the school has been managing the woodland for the last 12 years with this species' welfare as one of the major priorities of the woodland management plan. This is only the second verified sighting for this species on the site in the whole 12 year period. (Dan Danahar)
...and then again, you just get lucky; after a couple of hours walking in Rowland Wood (14.7.11) it started to cloud over and I called by my favoured oak tree on my way back to the car... right on cue a female Purple Hairstreak (above) fluttered down from the canopy and settled on a sycamore leaf just in front of me. (Nigel Kemp)
Walking in this tetrad today. In 'D' found lots of small white 15+ Small White, 4 Large White, 3 Meadow Brown, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Marbled White, 1 Small Heath, in 'C' 9+ Small White, 5 Meadow Brown, 1 Peacock, in 'A' 3 Small White, 4 Meadow Brown, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Large White. I expect there were more! More interestingly, there were 20+ Chalkhill Blue (above) further south on pooey track uphill (Lorna Lindfield)
Carried out my wider countryside butterfly survey along the edge of Friston Forest to find 19 species. Nothing particularly unusual although there were upto 5 Hummingbird Hawkmoths nectaring on Vipers Bugloss in a meadow near Winchesters Pond. On walking back to the car I came across a row of elms in tetrad square TQ5201. I looked high up and saw what may have been a White-letter Hairstreak. Nearby, there was a bramble bush so I checked that out and whilst I was looking a female White-letter Hairstreak landed just by me. It was looking a little worn but great to find another site for these little gems. (Bob Eade)
Stopped off briefly today at Slaugham at The Church Covert at about 1.00 p.m. This was planted in 1997/98 with support from the Woodlands Trust etc. Groups of various species of trees with grassy areas in between and also next to a wood, so it's quite sheltered with brambles and other flowers. Saw 7 Commas, Ringlets 6, Meadow Browns numerous, Gatekeepers 8, Holly Blue 1, Red Admiral one, Large Skipper 1, Small Skippers 3, Small White 2, Green-veined White 1, Large White 4 , several Purple Hairstreaks in the oaks and one Silver-washed Fritillary, next to the wood. Surprised not to see a Marbled White but potential for other spp. as well with clumps of birds foot trefoil. At one end there is a wood with a large ride with a power line going straight through, lots of Goat willow, however despite watching for a while no sign of a PE a nice potential spot TQ259280. This evening watched a number of Purple Hairstreaks in a tall Ash tree, at Woodmancote very active, at 7.00 p.m, perfect conditions. (Richard Roebuck)
News for Wednesday 13 July: Yesterday I visited Southwater woods and whilst watching several Silver-washed Fritilaries observed a female egg laying. I have seen and photographed them egg laying before on tree trunks and one time on the root bowl of a fallen tree but this female was different. She flew low over the ground before settling on the grass and depositing an egg. She would then fly one or two metres and repeat the process. During the time I watched her she probably laid about six or seven eggs this way before flying up to rest in an ash tree. There was no sign of violet plants in the places she landed. I have never observed this before. Any thoughts? (George McCarthy)
Wednesday 13 July 2011
Brighton & Hove is doing its bit to support the Big Butterfly Count with the launch of its Butterflies of Brighton & Hove Poster that you can get from any library in the city or down load it from:
Thanks to Bill Taylor for leading today's walk. Six people followed Bill on a trip which started in dull cool conditions but gradually improved.
Decided at the last minute today to try and see a Purple Emperor so shot over to Botany Bay as the weather was meant to be better the further West one went!! Maybe it was but it was still not good. However, there were plenty of butterflies flying, most of them were Ringlets. Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Small Skipper, Large Skipper and Wood White were also well represented along with small numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries. Walking toward Oaken Wood I found a mating pair of Ringlets. On the way back, 90 minutes on, they were still at it. I shouldn't have told Pen about their exploits!! Marbled Whites were also seen mating in Oaken Wood. On the way home I called into Southwater Woods where a Purple Emperor was seen flying high. (Bob Eade)
We visited Kithurst Hill late afternoon and as Neil and Sherie indicated the meadow looks wonderful. At 5:15 today it was heaving with Marbled Whites and a few obliging Chalkhill Blues roosted. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
Had my first Painted Lady of the year at the southern end of Thorney Island (SU765011),this morning.(Barry Collins)
May I offer the benefit of my experiences in getting close to the Purple Hairstreak, in response to Jamie Burstons plea; although they can be found during the mornings on low vegetation after emerging you are still reliant on a chance encounter if you do not know of a tree that had a good colony the year before. I generally seek ph's out between 6 and 8pm on sunny evenings when they are most active and I have rarely seen then come down from the canopy unless the sun is shining. I have always spent time looking for the best trees on which to concentrate my efforts. I look for small oaks (no taller than 20 feet and surrounded and sheltered by taller oaks) and with lower branches that hang close to the ground and on a west facing slope that catches the late evening sun. When you find such trees check that there is an attendant colony with at least half a dozen individuals flying around and then just wait and watch. You need lots of patience and do not expect success straight away but both males and females will come down to lower branches to bask. Males tend to battle each other in the canopy but do come lower down in their search for females. Females will also lay their eggs at all levels on the tree on the sheltered sunny side. I also often take a step ladder with me to gain an extra few feet! Happy hunting. (Nigel Kemp)
In reply to Jamie Burston, you can see occasional Purple Hairstreaks at various times of day. However their activity generally picks up after 5.00 o'clock or even later ideally on a warm, sunny, still evening and will carry on till quite late in good conditions In my experience, when they are active, they stubbornly rarely descend below a height of about 7 to 8 feet such as on young oaks or ash trees next to large oak trees such as in a plantation. I have only ever seen one on the ground and that was following a storm where it was amongst leaves, twigs etc. see previous sighting July 16th 2010. However there are exceptions and every so often someone gets a good picture like Nigel Kemp's excellent pictures. The only way round this is to have a good telephoto lens and then you will metaphorically speaking "bring them down". Hope this helps. (Richard Roebuck)
Tuesday 12 July 2011
Having missed the early emergence of Silver-washed Frits due to a two week holiday, I took a luch break at Park Corner/Rowland Wood. Pleased to see at least a dozen Silver-washed Fritillary but alas no White Admirals. However, just up the road at the Sandpit Wood ride crossing the numbers & variety of butterflies was much better especially the buddleia bush 50 mtrs north of the road. Totals - 4 White Admiral, 3 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Comma, 4 Peacock, 5 Red Admiral, 4 Small Skipper, 2 Brimstone, 1 Large White - all within 50 yards of the car! (Tim Duffield)
News for Monday 11 July 2011: A thorough search of the entire Southwater Woods complex in ideal weather conditions produced just 5 Purple Emperors. These are the worst results for the species for many seasons - 2011 will be a year to forget both for the Emperor and White Admiral in Sussex. An unexpected bonus was 4 White-letter Hairstreaks at TQ147251 and a singleton at TQ140256. (Matthew Oates & Neil Hulme)
More news for Monday 11 July 2011: Hannah's parents, Ann and Kevin Sanders, took a stroll round Highdown Hill (TQ0904) seeing Chalkhill Blue, Marbled White, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Comma, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Small White. (Neil Hulme)
Yet more news for Monday 11 July: Kithurst Hill Roadbank and meadow 11:00 12:00 Sunny and warm.
Recent news: I have been visiting the same site on a number of diffrent days and conditions, it's between Hollingbury golf course and Wild Park (Brighton), in the area with the man made pond. There is a large central english oak which contain a colony of Purple Hairstreak. Additionally with bramble, hemp agrimony, and hogweed which helps to tempt them down, not yet though.
Hats off to Mr and Mrs Pat Pending for their inspirational effort at luring out a Purple Emperor. However, I know someone with a Harris Hawk, slightly bigger than a Great Spotted Woodpecker - I give you that, Just may be that would be fair game for a rampant, fearless, male PE? and I wouldn't need the string . May be one day. (Richard Roebuck)
Monday 11 July 2011
I completed my weekly transect at Mill Hill this morning and was delighted to see my first Chalkhill Blue of the season. There was only one but he was in superb condition. Other sightings were Brimstone 2, Gatekeeper 4, Marbled White 3, Meadow Brown 8, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 4, and assorted Whites. I then visited Hollingbury Park hoping for my first close-up views of the elusive White-letter Hairstreak now that I knew exactly where to go following Caroline Clarke's excellent report this morning. There I met Doug from Eastbourne who had been on Sunday's trip. He reported a sighting a few minutes before I arrived so I was hyped up. We waited for the sun to appear and hey presto, there they were, fluttering around and nectaring on ragwort and bramble. We had about 20 sightings, with at least 2 individuals and we suspected more. They were not in the least bothered by the cameras and stayed on an individual flower for long periods and proved to be one of the easiest butterflies I have photographed. Well worth the effort and delighted to tick off this lovely butterfly! (photos above) (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
While surveying east of Mayfield (TQ6026) today, I was surprised to come across a female Dark Green Fritillary nectaring on Lesser Knapweed on the edge of a wild flower meadow. This site produced Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral last year (and another flowery meadow in this area produced two Marbled Whites last July) but DGF in the High Weald is a new one on me. Any other similar records in the past few years? (Mike Mullis)
News from the weekend: Clare and I spent Saturday exploring some great woodlands in West Sussex and recording all our sightings for the atlas project. We found plenty of woodland rides and glades which would be potentially suitable for Purple Emperor and it was frustrating to think that His Majesty may well be up there on the oaks but refusing to show himself so that he can be included in our 2010-14 atlas. After my failed attempt last week to lure him down with Ox liver I embarked upon a second plan. Purple Emperors can't resist a fight - so by floating a decoy Purple Emperor in the canopy we would tempt out the Emperors with the promise of a scrap. I purchased a purple helium balloon and raided my mother-in law's cupboards and soon (after a few false starts and alterations) my decoy Purple Emperor was aloft. On Sunday we took the contraption back to the woods of West Sussex and released it into the canopy. Trying to control a helium balloon in woodland required quite a bit of skill but soon the decoy was cruising along the canopy looking for a punch-up. Needless to say it didn't work - the Purple Emperors weren't biting. However - staring up into the canopy gave us a few extra Purple Hairstreak records. And I've got a few other ideas up my sleeve... (Michael & Clare Blencowe)
News for Sunday 10 July: I'd meant to visit Kithurst Hill Saturday evening after spending the morning doing voluntary work with the Steyning Downland Scheme but called it off only to go Sunday evening instead. Looks like I narrowly missed seeing you up there Neil. I think your advice to go in the evening is spot on. It was magical. First off I caught a Yellowhammer singing its heart out in the warm evening light. I followed this up with good numbers of Marbled Whites, mostly still in great condition. There were Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Chalkhill Blues in abundance, other Whites, Large Skippers, Small Skippers and a beautiful Small Copper. I havent seen my very own Essex Skipper yet but it will come in time Im sure. Still, I was pretty happy with what I did see. I found a caterpillar of the Small Blue resting in typical position in amongst the flower of a Kidney Vetch, there were Chalkhill Blues feasting on dog poo ("one man's food....") and the Marbled Whites were a delight to behold flittering along the tops of the flowers. The meadow is absolutely beautiful by the way, a must see. I plan to go back... soon.
Recent photos: A male White-letter Hairstreak in the Cuckmere Valley and Purple Hairstreaks in Rowland Wood (above). (Nigel Kemp)
Sunday 10 July 2011
Sixteen people (and a dog) joined me at Hollingbury Park in Brighton to look for the White-letter Hairstreak. We started at the northern end of the park in a small woodland glade where White-letters can often be seen flitting around the tree canopy and 'spiralling' together. Here we had at least one positive but fleeting sighting. Moving on to the strip of woodland that runs parallel with Ditchling Road between the children's play area and the underground reservoir, we were fortunate to see and photograph at least 3 individuals on a patch of bramble, thistle and burdock. The first to appear settled on a young walnut tree. This particular spot (TQ314 073) is flanked by elm, ash & sycamore and is generally sheltered from winds coming off the sea or from the north and when in full sun is a favourite site for this pretty little butterfly. The individuals we saw had been around the block a little and were a rather battered but it was great to get up close to this often hard-to-spot arborial species. Other species seen on the trip were: Marbled White, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Small White, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Comma and Holly Blue (Caroline Clarke)
Joined the Sussex Butterfly Group 'White-letter Hairstreak' walk up at Hollingbury this afternoon - having 'dipped' on this species a few times on previous occasions I wasn't too hopeful, but if I was ever going to see one I thought this would be my best chance. After 45 minutes or so I was starting to think the former might run true again but then, there she (or he?) was, a 'little dark triangle' silouetted against the sky - on, surprisingly not an elm but a walnut tree! Then lower down another - this time we were afforded much closer views of this enigmatic little butterfly. A second was seen soon after - so at least 2, maybe 3 in total and even a few photos to boot (above) - though the stiff breeze didn't help. A good hour and half 'butterflying'. Other species seen today, included Small White, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Comma, Red Admiral and Marbled White. Thanks to Caroline for leading the walk and helping spot this ever so hard to see species! Few more photos on blog: http://mud-puddling.blogspot.com/. (Leigh Prevost)
2nd brood Wall Brown (above) along The Comp this afternoon. This is 11 days earlier than last year. Only managed a poor record shot as usual with Wall Browns. (Bob Eade)
On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the first male Chalkhill Blue Butterfly of the year flew about quickly, noted only landing briefly on the yellow flowers of Bird's Foot Trefoil and hiding amongst the leaves of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. Eleven species of butterfly were seen in the late morning. (Andy Horton, http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2011.html)
News from the Butterfly Haven: On Saturday 9th July the Butterfly haven was renamed as the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven, Liz Williams how was our volunteer botanist who passed away after a short illness in 2011. A number of speeches where made and everybody enjoyed cream teas before a tour of the haven.
Saturday 9 July 2011
Firstly, thank you to all those BC Sussex folk for the kind messages and cards sent to Hannah, Mia and me. As the Sussex woodlands continue to perform poorly for Emperors, Admirals and Fritillaries I thought it wiser to spend a few hours on the Downs at Kithurst where Chalkhill Blue numbers are starting to build, including the first few females. A warm sunny evening after 6pm is the time to catch them at their best. (Neil Hulme)
This morning was near Goodwood Racecourse and saw Silver-washed Fritillaries nectaring on brambles, 1 female and 6 males (SU90171081) plus a Red Admiral and a few Green-veined Whites (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
Be patient it gets better. At Woodmancote early morning, 3 pristine newly emerged Peacocks and the usual fare of Marbled Whites 30+, Essex Skipper 1, Small Skippers 5, Large Skipper 8, Ringlets several, Meadow Browns numerous, Red Admiral 2. TQ2414, For a change from the woodlands of late, set off on a cloudy morning to Wolstonbury Hill it was really beautiful with all the downland flowers on song, saw the following, Ringlets 4, Meadow Browns numerous, Red Admirals 3, Speckled Woods 2. Small Heaths, Comma 2, Large White 2, Green-veined White 3 Dark Green Fritillary pristine 1, Marbled White 15, all Blues 0, Small Skippers 12, including for the first time one mating pair. I had watched a couple of pursuing groups for a while presumably two males and one female and suddenly one pair landed on a flower. I swear blind that these two joined in flight before landing. Something I hadn't seen before. TQ2813. Took a completely out of character detour to Brighton on a Saturday? to Patcham Park, surprisingly one Meadow Brown, one Gatekeeper and one Hornet Hover Fly TQ301084. Then Withdean Park, off Peacock Lane, 5 Commas, 4 Meadow Browns, one Small Copper, one female Common Blue, 4 Large Whites, Small White 2, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Red Admiral 1, Speckled Wood 2 all on an un-mown bit of grass next to an enclosed de - turfed annual wild flower bed, (that's another story) and 3 Hornet Hover Flies on Bramble Flowers. Also one White-letter Hairstreak high in an Elm nearby TQ302076. Back to Henfield, Gatekeeper 1, Peacock 1, Gatekeeper 1 and 12 Common Lizards on one piece of wood (pic for the winter) Hummingbird Hawkmoth 2 in Neptown Rd. TQ2115. Quick cup of Tea. Then off to Woods off Spithandle Lane, Small Skippers 10, Large Skippers 6, Ringlets 10 including mating pair, Meadow Browns numerous, White Admirals 4, Large Whites 4, Green-veined Whites 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries 8 or more plus mating pair. I will stop a minute. I Always wondered why its called a Silver-washed Fritillary - Its actually the female who's underside is absolutely beautiful, possibly the best pic I have ever taken, Magic. I had actually gone to Spithandle to look for Purple Emperor and at 5.05 His majesty duly appeared 40 feet up on an Oak. The wind had died down and I had 30 mins to watch him soaring and chasing Purple Hairstreaks. Marvellous. For the photographers, I will explain the settings I used, regarding the photos - Small skippers, prone lying on an ants nest, Silver-washed Fritillaries - on my side in 2 feet of Brambles crawling for 3 mins. Purple Emperor - on my back in long grass looking heavenward aghast. A great adventure, love was certainly in the air today and apparently the weather is better for Sunday, apart from the fact my Springer Spaniel went in to labour this evening? Thanks for listening (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)
Slopes above Butcher's Hole CP (TV553996): strong wind so poor butterfly weather, several Chalkhill Blues and a few Marbled Whites. Earlier in the week I had estimated over 200 Chalkhill Blues on the slopes and around the gallops. Numbers of Dark Green Fritillaries dropping rapidly. Diplock's Wood (TQ575042): Have been checking on White Letter and Purple Hairstreaks daily. Some WLH (able to positively id one) high in the elms, which is reassuring as the elms they were most numerous in last summer had to be removed this winter. Some of the elms they are in now have early signs of disease, so hope they spread their eggs around! Lots of 'little grey butterflies' above the oaks, couldn't id for sure but must be PH. (Susan Suleski)
News for Friday 8 July: I went for a walk at Shinewater Park TQ6002, from Michael's new list of unexlored tetrads. which proved rather disappointing, altho' it was a rather windy but sunny afternoon - not the best for butteflies. Saw 2 Commas, 1 Gatekeeper, 1 Marbled White, 4 Red Admirals, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Small Whites at rest and 8 more flying, some of which may have been Green-veined (not very good at telling the difference!) I also checked out the elms at Eastbourne Sports Park for WLHs but no joy there. (Anna Grist)
News for Tuesday 5 July: This obliging second generation female Holly Blue (above) was in my Westfield garden on 5th July. It stayed long enough on this Cotoneaster leaf for me to rush indoors and get the camera, but I was still not quick enough to capture the fully open upper wings that I had been admiring when it first settled. Next she then flew up into the Alder Buckthorn and promptly laid an egg below a flower bud. At this time of year second generation Holly Blues are too late for the holly buds and too early for ivy buds, so this is when a whole range of other shrubs have to be selected as the foodplant - the buds and berries of dogwood, bramble, and alder buckthorn being amongst those most used in my experience. Once I even saw an egg laid within an unfurled bracken frond, which I immediately realised had all the appearance of a tight cluster of flower buds. The female Holly Blue was fooled anyway! Out of idle curiosity (well you never know!) I kept the egg on its frond and tried to feed the baby larva fresh young bracken when it hatched, but not surprisingly it refused to eat and died! It would be interesting to know what other foodplants people have seen ovipositing female Holly Blues using in Sussex. (Ralph Hobbs)
One of the Chalkhill Blues pumping up its wings before its maiden flight (above). Seeing the report from Richard Roebuck I do hope I don't appear in too many of his dreams!!!!! Pen may start worrying. (Bob Eade)
Friday 8 July 2011
Life is full of coincidences, recently I went to Collard Hill and found out Neil had also been. On Thursday night having had too much wine fell asleep on the sofa and woke up about 1.30am disturbed by the t.v with a re-run of country file with Patrick Barkham and Blow me down a nice contribution by Bob Eade. Hmm must be dreaming. Last night I was in the garage and spotted a huge brown moth which scuttled under the chest freezer. With the freezer balanced on my knee and in pain I made a last grab for it, to no avail and I lost it. It was actually an Old Lady the first one I saw two years ago was in the kitchen. Coincidence? Lastly having blown up my last 80W MV bulb as it made a lovely mould in the Perspex of my skinner trap. Anglian lepidopterists came to the rescue. "We only sold one of those last year, no demand " - yes I bought it. Anyway I cleared out their entire stock of two and up and running again. This morning, despite last night's rain, a good selection of moths but in particular the first Burnished Brass I have seen since about 1975 despite being common. I was chuffed to bits as this moth is absolutely fabulous, as from certain angles it looks like someone has dabbed it with gold leaf. Perhaps getting a new bulb was a Coincidence (photos above, coincidentally). (Richard Roebuck)
Needed some fresh air today to clear the bronchials so with the sun suddenly making a welcome appearance I called into High and Over where the Chalkhill Blues are starting to emerge. Most of them were still pumping out their wings. Brown Argus were also very much in evidence. (Bob Eade)
News for Tuesday 7 July: Just one Wood White (first of summer brood) wood near Plaistow. (Margaret Hibbard)
Recent news:Last week Mary and I were in County Wicklow, Ireland where we only had Ringlet (not that it was by any means a butterfly trip) and then back on Sunday pm, July 3rd, and recorded 11 species in our Storrington wildlife garden. Meadow Brown (6), Ringlet (3), Small Heath (1), Small White (2), Large White (1), Small Copper (3), Large Skipper (5), Small Skipper (7), Brown Argus (1), Common Blue, male and female (2), Peacock (1). On the 5th there was also Marbled White (1), increasing to (3) on the 7th, when there was also a Red Admiral (1). (Martin and Mary Kalaher)
Thursday 7 July 2011
News for Wednesday 6 July: Maggie and I spotted this Dark Green Fritillary (above) amongst many others on a sunny walk in Friston Forest on Wednesday. Is it an aberation, or a female who has faded in the sun? Many congratulations to Neil and Hannah on the birth of Mia. (Steve and Maggie East)
News for Tuesday 5 July: Chantry Hill Kithurst Sunny morning, high cloud, breezy. 10:00 1:00.
Wednesday 6 July 2011
News for Monday 4 July 2011: At 5.35 am on Monday 4th July, despite my lengthy insistence that Mia Iris Hulme would NOT be born on American Independence Day... she was, at 8lbs 6 ozs. I look forward to spending many happy years dragging her around damp woods and Harvey Nicks. In my eyes Hannah has now achieved goddess status, for producing such a beautiful daughter for us. Emperor hat by 'House of Mrs Hulme'. (Neil Hulme)
Pagham Harbour: A small amount of migration last night, finally becoming part of the Small Marbled (above) influx with a single in the trap this morning also Small Mottled Willow, White Point, Pebble Hook-tip, Peach Blossom and Silver Y but generally a quiet evening. (Ivan Lang)
On an early evening dog walk saw two Red Admirals, 4 Large Skippers, Small Tortoiseshell, three Commas, Large White, Green-veined White, numerous Meadow Browns and in a meadow three Marbled Whites, TQ2015. (Richard Roebuck)
I co-lead a walk for pupils of Plaistow & Kirdford school today at the Sussex Wildlife Trust's Ebernoe Common reserve. It was a butterfly hunt and the pupils were lead around the reserve recording the butterflies as they went. I made the mistake of telling them at the start of the walk that if we were lucky we would see a Purple Emperor. During the hour-long walk the pupils kept a look out for this mythical beast and as we returned to the car-park they were obviously disappointed that we had not seen one. Right on cue a Purple Emperor swooped down over the car-park just over the heads of the pupils. It made a few energetic loops of the church roof as the children chased it around the churchyard, rested briefly on the church cross and then was gone. The pupils were thrilled - but I still reckon I was the most excited one there. (Michael Blencowe)
Got home this evening and was greeted by a pair of Hummingbird Hawk-moths mating on the fence beside the car! I have seen plenty flying around at full speed, but very few stationary like this. (Sam Bayley)
Just had a late evening walk out over Pevensey Marshes, TQ6407 (very windy):
News for Tuesday 5 July 2011: Went for a walk in Michelgrove Park near Patching before the wet and windy weather arrived and saw 18 butterfly species in an hour or so including this beautiful Dark Green Fritillary (above). (Tim Freed)
Tuesday 5 July 2011
It was my fourth visit to Hollingbury Park in an attempt to see a White-letter Hairstreak. Having never actually seen one close up before, you really do not know what to expect, no matter how many pictures you may have seen. At about 2.45 spotted one and after a short while two more, nectaring on bramble and thistle flowers. One also flew out from the bushes and settled on the grass. All of them were showing various degrees of wear and tear and only one had both tails. However I got my first ever picture of this pretty butterfly (above) which was difficult as they seemed to love hiding right in the middle of Bramble flowers. In typical hairstreak fashion they are pretty quick in flight and difficult to track. Hopefully one day I will see a pristine individual, tails and all. Greetings to Maggie who also arrived, hopefully the onset of cloud did not end the search. (Richard Roebuck)
Stansted Park, a beautiful walk on a hot clear day, the White Admirals enjoyed the dried mud, we waited for the joining but no joy (for us or the butterflies0. Meadow Browns 50+, Marbled White 50+, Speckled Wood 2, Ringlet 10, Green-veined White 10, Silver-washed Fritillary 8, Large Skippper 17 Small Skippper 2, Small White 1, White Admiral 6, Purple Emperor 1, Large White 1 (photos above). (Pat and Peter Gardner)
News for Monday 4 July: I visited Cissbury Ring yesterday and had some interesting encounters. A crab spider tickled a Small Skipper and Dark Green Fritillaries were everywhere. There were plenty of Cinnabar larvae and a Forester moth glistened (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)
More news for Monday 4 July: I found a Lime Hawkmoth in my garden yesterday. It looked rather battered and I presume it had been disturbed from an oak tree as I was pruning the cotinus beside it. It had the same shape of wings with a red flush on the underside and the blue eye markings on the underwing.. The only significant difference to the illustration in my field guide by Ivo Novak was that the back of the thorax was darker. It almost looked like a mohican hair cut as the dark part was in a rectangular section along its thorax. Whilst I have seen Hummingbird Hawkmoths in my garden, only one so far this year, I have never seen a Lime Hawkmoth before.
Recent news: We spent a few days in West Sussex recording in new tetrads for the atlas. Our first stop on Sunday was in private woodland near Billingshurst where I was hoping to see Purple Emperor on the ground. I was using a bait which was recommended in a book I read from 1890 - a huge ox liver. After fermenting in my shed for 10 days I thought this vile smelling cattle organ would pull in Purple Emperors from across the south-east. I prepared myself for the worst when I opened the final container which held the fetid slice of ox. However I think the smell was so bad that it scared off most insects for miles around. The Emperors we did see here were wisely staying high in the tree tops. From here we took an afternoon hike around the upper Arun to get the ox out of our lungs - some lovely butterfly filled water meadows here with a Purple Hairstreak in every oak. On Monday the sun kept on a-shinin'. We decided to tick off two more 'suitcase' squares (see above). The first square SU9020 was just incredible, beautiful butterfly rich meadows and glades and a flower-rich disused railway line. There were some big oaks and sallows here - which made me wish I had saved a bit of rotting liver from yesterday. Clare didn't agree. Worth looking here again for Purple Emperor. Square two was SU9010 near Goodwood. The ride to the north of the road was fantastic - alive with Ringlets and Fritillaries. Over the weekend we recorded Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, Holly Blue, White Admiral, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet (Michael & Clare Blencowe)
Thanks to Keith and Wendy Alexander for taking on one of the last 'suitcase' squares. They've almost all been taken - so I'll line up a few more soon. Keith reports "Wendy and I packed our suitcases and headed off for that well know holiday destination TQ 86 14. It was nothing like the brochure; the sea views were distant, it was between two blocks of flats and of course they were building a hotel next door. We set off undaunted and saw the following on Monday 4 July: 4 White Admirals, Red Admiral, Comma, Purple Hairstreak, Large Skipper, Large White, Meadow Brown.
More recent news: At long last the summer holidays have arrived and so Ive been able to escape to the countryside to look for butterflies and other wildlife. My recent forays (Saturday and Monday) have been to Southwater Woods. As expected, there were White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillaries all along the rides. Thanks to the BC walk the previous weekend I now knew the location of that fabulous meadow and revisited it, finding it full of Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites with the occasional Comma and White Admiral thrown in for good measure (and also, Im told, Purple Hairstreaks though I did not see any on my visits). In my mind this is now Flutterby Meadow. What a great place to visit for butterfly enthusiasts, it is quite an experience to be completely surrounded by so many butterflies on the wing. Not particularly remarkable but also present were Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Ringlet and Red Admiral. There were also Roe Deer, immature Southern Hawker dragonflies and a caterpillar of the Yellow-tail moth. What I was really after, of course, was a sighting of Purple Emperor. It seemed like they were sparse this year and I dont think Im the greatest spotter in the Sussex BC group by a long way so I didnt have great hopes of seeing one. Nevertheless, my persistence paid off in the end as I managed to see a female Purple Emperor on the ground on Monday. I was hugely excited of course so didnt get the best photos but thought you might like to see one of the better ones of those I did get. This female Purple Emperor was constantly on the move probing the ground with her proboscis. I thought this was what males did not females so I am confused can anyone explain this behaviour? (photos above)
White-letter report: For the last couple of weeks I've been spending several hours observing the White-Letter Hairstreaks around the Cuckmere valley. As I've reported several times these colonies could have a dodgy future with dutch elm disease now affecting many of the elm trees in the area. The butterflies are seen anywhere between Seaford to beyond Drusillas where the elms are. Most often they are seen flying around the canopy but occasionally they will come down to nectar on bramble or creeping thistle. For the first few days I saw some nectaring on creeping thistle which is the 1st time I've seen them nectaring on this, unlike Hollingbury Park where thistle seems to be the main source of nectaring. With the weather being coolish there was probably less honeydew in the treetops so nectaring was the alternative. Having said that this year was not so reliable in seeing them down as last year when several could be seen at the same time. The females are generally more attractive with a more defined W and a longer tail (photos above).
Monday 4 July 2011
Highdown Hill - TQ098041 - I saw one Marbled White on the south side of the hill today. I also spotted some Large Skippers, Small Skippers and a Painted Lady. (Peter Ashley)
On Friday night/Saturday morning we ran three 125W MV traps at Views Wood, on the edge of Uckfield. We caught 58 species in total including micros, and the most knackered moth of the night award went to an incredibly worn Pine Hawkmoth which had no grey left on it at all having lost all of its hair and scales. Other moths included Satin Lutestring, Pebble Prominent, Gold Swift, Grass Rivulet and Suspected. Top moth of the night though was a species we had hoped for for a long time, a pristine Clay Fan-foot (above).
Recent news: First Gatekeeper 06.30 a.m 02.07.11 at Woodmancote,TQ241140. Two Purple Emperors flying high at 4.45 p.m in Spithandle Woods, TQ1515 and slightly in the wrong place a single Marbled White sat on a Straw bale crash barrier on the Goodwood hill climb 03.07.11, 08.15 a.m, SU887086. (Richard Roebuck)
News for Friday 1 July: Southwater Country Park and Quarry BC Walk: A small group met at the Visitors Centre in balmy conditions. Skirting the edge of Ben's Field we saw several Small Tortoiseshell, numerous Meadow Brown, two Red Admiral, two Comma and a single female Green-veined White. Also noted were several moths which included Chrysoteuchia culmella, Celypha lacunana, Crambus perlella as well as White-legged Damselfly and Emperor Dragonfly. Approaching the Quarry Meadows, there was a glimpse of a Small Skipper and good views of Ringlet and Large Skipper. Small White, Large White and Comma were seen around the Bramble clumps on the edge of the meadow, together with a large number of Silver Y, and some Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnet nectaring on Knapweed and Red Clover. A single Purple Hairstreak was glimpsed dashing around the top of a mature oak. A single Essex Skipper sat still enough for us to talk through the identification points. Marbled Whites then appeared with a total of nine. On approaching the small copse of Ash and Oak, we managed briefly to find a single bathing Purple Hairstreak. A stunning fresh Small Copper was seen low down on Bramble flowers. On the country park side of the reserve we noted more of the same with several Marbled White, lots of Meadow Brown, a smattering of Large Skipper, Small Skipper and Ringlet, and the impressive sight of a fresh Silver-washed Fritillary, but no sign of the Purple Emperor which had been seen at a sap run over the previous two days. All in all, a very enjoyable walk with plenty of butterflies. Thanks to all who attended. (Jacob Everitt)
Sunday 3 July 2011
10 Silver-studded Blues at Iping Common in c30mins of searching. Then went on to Botany Bay - we were a bit late (c1pm) and it clouded over so missed Purple Emperors (we met people who had seen them earlier). Silver-washed Fritillaries, White Admirals (but not many - in fact only a couple of White Admirals) and 2 nice fresh Small Skippers amongst the more common Ringlets, Large Skippers and Meadow Browns. (Chris and Ellie Corrigan)
Today Shirley and I saw a Purple Emperor at Harrison's Rocks/Birchden Wood, TQ 533 362. I had previously been frankly sceptical about this butterfly occurring here, but this was a prolonged sighting at close range.
Walked off a very pleasant pub lunch along the banks of the River Ouse at Isfield (TQ544117) this afternoon. The grassy meadows were full of butterflies, admittedly the vast majority of them were Meadow Browns but we also saw 2 Marbled Whites, 6 or 7 Small Coppers at least 10 Large and 5 Small Skippers, plenty of Small and Green-veined Whites, 2 Commas, 3 Red Admirals and one each of Purple Hairstreak, Ringlet and Gatekeeper. We also saw a couple of Silver Y and a Rush Veneer. (Bob, Jo and Lucas Foreman)
Nice hour up at Cissbury Ring this morning. Highlights were: 1 Painted Lady, 40+ Dark Green Fritillary, 20+ Marbled White, 4 Small Copper, 2 Green-veined White, 2 Large Skipper, 4 Small Skipper, 4 Red Admiral and many of Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath. (Matt and Laura Farmer)
Today's count was my highest of the year. The site is to the north of Hollingdean Estate, Brighton and is part of the wider Wildpark LNR. The Totals were as follows:
Recent news: 7 White-letter Hairstreak nectaring on Bramble and Privet around 2pm on Wednesday 29th June 2011 at the edge of Horseshoe Plantation - TV562957.
Not a sighting but was fascinated by the news of the re-introduction of the Large Blue in the Cotswolds, and did anyone else notice they showcased one of Bob Eade's photos! (Leigh Prevost)
Saturday 2 July 2011
Pagham Harbour: The warmer evenings have arrived and after seeing two Painted Lady earlier in the day there was an indication of some migration. Although not huge numbers of migrants there was a single Evergestis limbata (above) also 2 White Satin Moths, 2 White Point, a single Small Mottled Willow and a Diamond Back Moth. Also other sightings included Cream Bordered Green Pea 1, Southern Wainscot 5, Kent Black Arches 1, L-album Wainscot 1, Silky Wainscot 1, Coronet 1 and Bordered Beauty. (Ivan Lang)
Worms Wood (SU969010) was a wonderful place for an hour's walk this morning : Marbled White - lots, Meadow Brown - lots, Large Skipper - lots, Small Skipper - 1, Gatekeeper - 16 (all males I think), Large White 5, Small White 6, Green-veined White - 1, Comma - 3, Red Admiral - 3, Cinnabar moth - 2.
I have e-mailed Penny Green about the TQ5301 Litlington route. So today myself and my two boys started at the Litlington road TQ52294 and walked up the hill and through the farm and along to the gate before the last field before the forest at TQ53445 (and back).
Two White-letter Hairstreaks found at Hollingbury this afternoon in c20mins of searching. Nectaring on bramble flowers along the line of scrub and trees opp Surrenden Road. (Chris and Ellie Corrigan)
In our garden at Rodmell July 1-2: 3 Marbled Whites, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Comma, 1 worn Large Skipper, 3 Red Admiral, 1 Small Copper and of course Large and Small Whites, Meadow Brown.
I would like to report sightings of White-letter Hairstreaks (above) in the grid ref TQ 80J, Hastings Old Town, Torfield area. 1st July, one seen 9.30am resting on ground near the Elm and a further two that day circling around bramble flowers underneath Elms. Three seen 2nd July in Elm canopy in same place. (Sharon Bigg)
News for Friday 1 July: After a busy day at our relevant work places, a spot of total relaxation was called for, so we met at Friston Forest for a late afternoon/early evening jaunt. What a fine day it was, no sooner had we got out of our cars that we immediately starting spotting our prey! Lots of them! We spied masses of Dark Green Fritilliary, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, several Marbled White and Ringlet, one Comma, one Gatekeeper and we were most surprised to discover three White Admirals. Also spotted was one Hummingbird Hawkmoth. A very enjoyable time was had (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro & Drew Easton)
Wednesday 29 June: Meadow surveying near Hadlow Down:
Friday 1 July 2011
As I sat at the computer this afternoon a second brood female Holly Blue (above) was a welcome distraction as it sniffed around some nearby Ivy looking for suitable egg-laying sites. Yesterday I was similarly distracted by my first Gatekeeper of the year. (Bob Foreman, Lindfield)
I returned home from a countryside walk and was sitting in the back garden enjoying a cuppa and fruit cake, when suddenly a Clouded Yellow floated in at 5.05 pm. It nectared on one of our Erysimum plants... I headed upstairs for my camera and of course it disappeared off over our hedgerow. At 5.20 pm a Silver Y Moth appeared and nectared on the same plant... not bad that 2 migrants within a quarter of an hour (John Luck)
I took a walk around Withdean Park in Brighton (TQ305 078) and spotted 6 White-letter Hairstreak on elm (also nectaring at head height) in the north-east corner of the park where it was most sheltered. Also seen: Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Comma & Small White. Then moved on to Hollingbury Park (TQ317 077), to meet one of the park rangers. 2 White-letter Hairstreak spotted flying high in the tree canopy and then, after what seemed like an interminable wait, a single White-letter Hairstreak nectaring on bramble flowers within touching distance. Also seen: Comma, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper, Red Admiral, Green-veined White. Total White-letter count for the day = 9 (Caroline Clarke)
My thanks to Nigel for putting my photo on the site. If I had known he was going to do this I would have worn a suit and tie!!! I will put in a report on the White Letter Hairstreaks next week.
My father Roy Symonds reports the following sightings this morning from Wayfarer's Walk coastal path near Warblington (SU7305): Small White (17), Meadow Brown (5) and Red Admiral (1). (Richard Symonds)
Thanks to Jacob Everitt for a successful guided tour at Southwater Country Park today.
Seems that just about every tall standard in Tottington/Longlands woods had 3 or 4 Purple Hairstreaks chasing each other; there must be a good population across the overall woodland block. Also Ringlets, White Admiral, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Silver-washed Fritillary along the rides. (David Plummer)
|Copyright Butterfly Conservation © 2006 Sussex Branch|
|Privacy and Copyright Statement|
Butterfly Conservation Company limited by guarantee, registered in England (2206468) Registered Office: Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QP
Charity registered in England & Wales (254937) and in Scotland (SCO39268)