Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Send Sussex butterfly & moth sightings (TEXT ONLY PLEASE - NO PICTURES) to This page is updated as often as possible, usually daily. Red sightings are first of the year; purple are moths. These sightings are largely unverified at the time of publishing.

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Friday 31 July 2009

 

I spent a very enjoyable day on the Steyning Downland Scheme area, looking at the Rifle Range, Lower and Upper Horseshoes and the Round Hill. A good tally of species (26) including Clouded Yellow (3), Wall Brown (23, including two mating pairs and an egg-laying female), Purple Hairstreak (1), Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Essex Skipper (1), Small Skipper (3), Large Skipper (1), Brimstone (2), Large White (9), Small White (2), Green-veined White (4), Brown Argus (3), Chalkhill Blue (5), Common Blue (16), Holly Blue (1), Painted Lady (50+), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Red Admiral (2), Peacock (13), Comma (2), Speckled Wood (6), Gatekeeper (25), Marbled White (2), Meadow Brown (50+), Ringlet (3) and Small Heath (1). No sign of the Brown Hairstreaks yet on either of the Master Trees, but I suspect they will start any day now. The Wiston Estate should be congratulated on some of the habitat management work that has recently been done here - the scrub area of the Lower Horseshoe is already looking a lot more butterfly-friendly, and there are some major, positive changes in the pipeline. The entire site looks set to improve markedly in the next couple of years. (Neil Hulme)

 

Up on the gallops above Butchershole Bottom this afternoon in near perfect weather conditions, the Chalkhill Blues continue to impress. At the top of the slope as the sun went down, thousands of these butterflies settled in the long grass creating the most astonishing sight. Good numbers of Small Skippers too. (Tim Duffield)

Transect walked today at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. Species recorded: Small Skipper 3, Clouded Yellow 1, Large White 41, Small White 12, Purple Hairstreak 6, Small Copper 30, Common Blue 143, Painted Lady183, Peacock 2, Comma 7, Speckled Wood 5, Gatekeeper 284, Meadow Brown 231. Total 948 Species, 13 (David Pyle)

The weak sun sun shone through the white cumulus clouds in a bright blue sky on what should have been a peak day for the Chalkhill Blue, but only 51 were counted in in the one acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill (Old Shoreham). There were probably only about a hundred Chalkhill Blues on Mill Hill. The Chalkhill Blue count was very poor as in a poor year 200 would be recorded in the transect acre and 750+ in a good year. This would compute to 500 and 3000+ on Mill Hill as a day count. On the plus side fresh Wall Browns put in a good show with six seen on the day and I would expect a dozen or more would have been noted if I had visited to the middle and upper parts of Mill Hill. PS: Not all the Chalkhill Blues were flying so I may have missed half of them. Many had to be disturbed. (Andy Horton)

News for Wednesday 29 July/ Friday 31 July: During last week I attended Goodwood races and for two days I managed a walk near Counter's Gate at Goodwood (SU). On 29th July the temperature was 20c. Peacocks and Painted Ladies were attracted to the many blooms of Hemp Agrimony. My count over 20 minutes was: Large White (3), Green-veined White (3), Peacock (3), Painted Lady (5), Meadow Brown (3), Gatekeeper (10), Speckled Wood (2), Common Blue (1M) and Large Skipper (1M). On 31st July the temperature was 20c. Once more many nymphalids were present including Comma and Red Admiral. A surprise was seeing a male Clouded Yellow which passed me twice before landing on clover near to six furlong race start. Despite my best efforts it took flight when I was within 20 feet away flying south over woodland. My count over 30 minutes was: Brimstone (1F), Large White (5), Green-veined White (3), Small White (2), Clouded Yellow (1M), Peacock (10), Red Admiral (2), Comma (2), Painted Lady (8), Common Blue (1M), Meadow Brown (4), Gatekeeper (15) and Speckled Wood (1). (Richard Symonds Hayling Island)


 

Thursday 30 July 2009

 

I was pleasantly surprised to find a Brown Argus (female, mint condition) in Kiln Wood, Blackboys today. It was with some Small Coppers and Common Blues and was just sunning itself in a rough meadow full of creeping thistle. It says in the textbooks that it can occur away from the downs but this is the first time I have observed that. I even checked the spots underneath to make sure! Sadly no Purple Hairstreaks. (Tom Ottley)

We visited the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve, mentioned in previous postings, today, with directions from Neil Hulme, and occasionally risking life and limb. We saw Speckled Wood (20), Common Blue (20), Meadow Brown (8), Wall Brown (6), Gatekeeper (6), Clouded Yellow (4), Red Admiral (3), Small White (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Large White (1), Small Copper (1), and GRAYLING (1). (David & Carole Jode)

News for Weds 29 July: Second brood Wall Brown included one clearly seen on the breezy lower slopes of Mill Hill (Old Shoreham) and one was a surprise sighting on the verge of the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath between Upper Beeding and Old Shoreham as the first drops of rain were felt. On Mill Hill, the Chalkhill Blues count was even more disappointing with only 30 seen when even in a poor year over a hundred would be expected. A single worn second brood Dingy Skipper was spotted at the extreme northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Fourteen butterfly species were seen on an inclement day. Six Southern Hawkers (dragonfly) flew around with stopping in a shaded part of the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath. (Andy Horton)

News for the night of Tues 28 July: Mothing at Pagham Harbour this year has been very frustrating with a strong wind hampering many attempts to get the trap out however when conditions are conducive then numbers have been reasonable. The night of the 28th was one of those nights with 103 species trapped extending the year’s list for the trap site around the visitor centre to 365. Highlights were: Beautiful Hook-tip 1, Brown-veined Wainscot 1, Cloaked Minor 1, Coronet 1, Iron Prominent 1, Nut-tree Tussock 1, Peppered Moth 1, Wormwood Pug 1, Yellow-Tail 1, Peacock 1, Svensson's Copper Underwing 1, Dichomeris marginella 1 (first for the Reserve), Bird Cherry Ermine 2, Dark Sword-grass 2, Willow Ermine 2, Bulrush Wainscot 2, Twin-spotted Wainscot 2,Bee Moth 3,Rush Veneer 10, Silver Y 21, Southern Wainscot 21, Rustic 26, Dingy Footman 36 and Common/Lesser Rustic 165 (Ivan Lang)

News for Tues 28 July: I visited the Horseshoe Plantation (Beachy Head) in the morning and saw plenty of Common Blues and Chalkhill Blues. I would say there were around equal numbers of each. I also saw Brown Argus, Painted Lady, Small White, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown. In the afternoon I visited the Ouse Estuary project hoping to see the Clouded Yellows (a species I’ve never seen before). My thanks to Neil for providing the OS reference. I did see Clouded Yellows (below left) so I was well pleased. I couldn’t write up my report on Tuesday because I was busy but jotted down a few notes for myself quickly. My notes read almost exactly like Andy King’s report which makes me smile - unless there is more than one good CY site at the Ouse Estuary project we must have been at roughly the same place at the same time (I arrived at the main CY site at around 2.30pm and stayed until 3.45pm) yet we didn’t see each other! I reckon we were both standing on opposite sides of the tall thistle clumps and were, therefore, hidden from each other. The only difference between Andy’s sightings and mine are as follows: I did not see Small Tortoiseshell or Essex Skipper. I saw an additional 6 to 8 Wall Browns(below right) (en route from Tide Mills to the main site) and I saw a Marbled White (also en route). The Clouded Yellows were great, a much stronger yellow than I expected. All the photos I’ve seen do not do them justice, in flight the strong buttery yellow of the topside of their wings is very striking. (Sherie New)

Several photos added into previous entries below - Wall Browns at Seaford, Diamond-backed Moth and Fen Wainscot at Mill Hill, and directly below a lovely Brimstone taken by Amy Fletcher at Friston Forest on 26 July, and a Silver-washed Fritillary, a surprise visitor to Jonathan Ruff's Crawley Down garden on 27 July - Editor.

 


Wednesday 29 July 2009

 

This morning the Met Office officially cancelled summer 2009 - but there was nothing but blue sky here in Friston. Sure - it was very windy but it seems like this is about as good as we're going to get this year so I packed a sandwich and took a long walk from Alfriston to Lullington Heath. Out of the wind there were plenty of butterflies about and I managed to amass quite a list; Red Admiral, Dingy Skipper, Peacock, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Clouded Yellow, Small Tortoiseshell, Grayling, Silver-spotted Skipper, Large White, Dark Green Fritillary, Essex Skipper, Brimstone, Green-veined White, Wall Brown, Comma, Small Skipper, Chalkhill Blue, Painted Lady, Small Blue, Small White, Chalkhill Blue, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Marbled White and Holly Blue. On the way home it started raining. (Michael Blencowe)

 

I accidentally attached a spring photo from Bob Eade to his last Wood White sighting (23 July) instead of the photo that Bob took on the day, which is worth putting in here. As Bob says, "The early brood has a lot more dark markings on the underside than the summer brood," so here they are together for comparison - 23 July 2009 on the left, 1 June 2008 on the right - Editor.

 

 

Visited the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve near Newhaven this morning. There were Wall Brown (2) by the Tide Mill ruins, Cinnabar caterpillars at same site. Plenty of Painted Ladies, Gatekeepers, Peacocks & Red Admirals all on thistle, blackberries and buddleias, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Small Whites, a Ringlet, Common Blues (by cycle track) and a Slow-worm. (Colin Knight)

 

Had very little chance of getting out for a few days so with a spare couple of hours today I wanted to get up to The Comp and Green Way at the back of Seaford to see how the 2nd brood of Wall Browns were doing. The Comp is about 1 mile in length and in the spring brood my highest count in this stretch was 29. It was looking a bit bleak for the 1st part but then they started showing with a total of 20 Wall Browns here (below left) with another 5 on Green Way bank. This included one pair in courtship (below centre), with the male being disappointed, and then a bit further on a mating pair was found. Large quantities of many butterflies were also seen with the highlights being a Clouded Yellow, many Painted Ladies (below right), 2 Brown Argus and the biggest surprise was 2 2nd brood Dingy Skippers on Green Way bank. Also seen were 2 Oak Eggar moths and a Brown Hawker dragonfly. (Bob Eade).

 

 

News for Tues 28 July: Last night I recorded not 1, but 2 Maple Prominents to Mercury Vapour light here in Wadhurst. This is a species I have never seen here before after 34 years of recording. A pleasant suprise. (Andy Adams)

 

News for Tues 28 July: Ouse Estuary project, between 2.00 and 4.00 pm, and saw the following: Numerous Painted Ladies and Common Blues, reasonable numbers of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Peacocks, some Red Admirals, one each of Small and Essex Skipper, Small Copper (tatty) and Small Tortoiseshell and c. eight each of Walls and Clouded Yellows, including a mating pair of Walls and a clashing pair of male Clouded Yellows. The male CYs, of course, cover the ground fast and erratically and so I may have counted some more than once. I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention to the Whites, but there were quite a few. (Also, a Cetti's Warbler 'clattered' briefly at one of the edges of the reserve.) (Andy King, Herts and Middx branch).

 


Tuesday 28 July 2009

 

St Ann's Well Gardens, Hove this afternoon a Silver-washed Fritillary, with Comma; also a number of Speckled Wood and Holly Blue (Brian Easlea)

 

Good news today. 4 Wall Brown seen at the Pevensey Levels site (TQ665065), the first this year which means the colony survives. I had seen none until now. No Small Heath however, which had been seen in small numbers in the lane previously spilling over from the hay meadows. Though they are usually frequent in the hay meadows I have not been able to check them this year. (Roy Wells)

 


Monday 27 July 2009

 

More photos added to recent sightings below

My new moth trap has yielded something a bit more colourful (and more easily identified) today. I run the trap in my Adur valley garden. Several moths escaped due to my inexperienced handling but of those remaining there were Garden Tiger, Marbled Green, Ruby Tiger, Yellow Tail and a wainscot (not sure which kind of Wainscot). A Large Yellow Underwing was one of the escapees. I am waiting, somewhat impatiently, for my first Hawkmoth so if you see any can you send them to Adur? I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the moths but it is taking me ages to ID them so it is just as well I am not getting hundreds at a time and hopefully more experience will cut down on the research time. (Sherie New) Anyone who wants to follow Sherie's example and take up mothing, there is a guide on this website in the Sussex species section co-written by lots of Sussex moth-ers

News for Sat 25 and Sun 26 July: Over the weekend we ran our MV trap in our back garden at Mill Hill and caught 46 species, which is the highest total for a few weeks. The catch included 3 Silver Y, Ruby Tiger, 2 Smoky Wainscot, Elephant Hawkmoth, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Early Thorn, Pebble Prominent and our first ever Brown-line Bright-eye and Nutmeg. The most unexpected moth was a Fen Wainscot (below right) which may have flown up from the Adur valley, we are not expecting it to populate the ‘reedbed’ in our garden containing at least 30 reeds! That’s reserved for the Booming Bitterns…. Micros included a Diamond-back Moth (below left) and 2 more Juniper Webber. We are not aware of any Juniper close to our house so is it possible that they are using some other conifers/leylandii near our house as we are catching this species in many of our traps? Finally, whilst checking through the moths a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was feeding in our garden. (Dave and Pen Green)

News for Sat 25 July: Took family on a walk from Friston Forest to Lullington Heath, a bit breezy but plenty of butterflies out, gave up counting the following as too many: Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Gatekeeper. With help from my 6 year old daughter (who also took some good photos - her photo of Brimstone below) did manage the following counts: Peacock (20+), Dark Green Fritillary (6), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Red Admiral (5), Marbled White (7), Chalkhill Blue (4), Brown Argus (2), Dingy Skipper (2), Small Copper (3), Speckled Wood (4), Large Skipper (6), Small Skipper (10+), Small White (10+), Large White (10+), Comma (10+), Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Brimstone (2m, 1f) and White Admiral (4). Highlight was when a Dark Green Fritillary took a fancy to my daughter and once settled on her didn't want to move! Also nice to see a female White Admiral egg laying on honysuckle just after we entered Lullington Heath area. (Simon, Fran & Amy).

 

 

News for Sat 25 July: The discovery of the Oak Eggars at Weavers Down yesterday reminded me of an amazing insect I found at Beachy Head on Saturday. Whilst strolling around Horseshoe Plantation a tachinid fly the size of a bumblebee landed on a branch in front of me and the branch actually bent under it's weight! Thankfully Tachina grossa is the largest of the European tachinid flys (see photo of it next to a 2p piece) but like all members of the family it is a parasite which targets butterflies and moths. T. grossa being a big hairy fly targets big hairy caterpillars - particularly those of the Oak Eggar and is found in similar habitat as this species. Like other parasitic insects their eggs can be laid directly into the larvae or on the host's foodplant and the parasitic larvae then feed internally - attacking the hosts non-essential organs at first and only actually killing the host when they are fully grown and ready to pupate themselves. It's all rather horrific but fascinating. Right, better get back and finish my breakfast. (Michael Blencowe)

 

 

Recent news: We have a large garden in Rodmell with several Buddleia and lavender bushes front of the house. Sightings during July include up to 18 Painted Ladies, regular Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, up to 4 Comma, one Common Blue, 2 Essex Skipper, many Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper, and recently again up to 6 Specked Wood and of course Large and Small White. On a walk to the Ouse last week a pair of Small Copper mating near the pump house. In the spring up to 6 Holly Blue and two Orange-tip. (Sharifin Gardiner)

 


Sunday 26 July 2009

 

Is it me or was there once a time when July and August were hot? For the past three years the butterfly species that have a 'late' flight season have had to suffer the worst of the years weather. Today's Grayling survey at Weavers Down was again held under grey skies and unsurprisingly nothing much was flying. However, Grayling do not fly at the best of times and you usually have to resort to disturbing them from the ground to observe them. Today's team spread out and covered the heathland but no Grayling were seen - which gives me concerns for the species at the site. After two poor flight seasons in 2007 and 2008 numbers must have been hit badly. Our most impressive find was a gorgeous Oak Eggar (photo below by Sherie New) who was less then impressed with being handled and squirted me! We returned to Chapel Common for a picnic. Baked goods of note included Sherie's quiche and Clare's Nutty cherry fingers - and thanks to Ken for bringing the wine!. In the afternoon the group drove out to Black Down where the habitat looks great for Grayling and - thanks to the work of The National Trust - there's plenty of it. However by now a light drizzle had set in. Let's hope the weather improves at some point in the next few weeks otherwise the county's already vulnerable population of Grayling could be in real trouble. Thanks to all who attended and helped the survey today. (Michael Blencowe)

 

 

Mill Hill, Old Shoreham, was continually found to be disappointing for butterflies with just over fifty Chalkhill Blue males being disturbed on the one acre transect, and a female spotted crawling amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves. The breezy cool conditions were far from ideal for butterflies. It seems it is going to be another poor year for the blue butterflies on Mill Hill. The reason is a mystery as in 2003 there were thousands at this time of the year. One bonus was the first Brown Argus of the year seen clearly on the upper Greater Knapweed meadow south of the copse on the top of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. Female Common Blues were also spotted, notably on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting. Over a hundred butterflies of fourteen species were seen in just over an hour. (Andy Horton)

Ouse Estuary Newhaven, very local to me. On search of Clouded Yellow, saw 5, also many Common Blue, Painted Lady, a sole Small Tortoiseshell, a sole Peacock and a Red Admiral or two. Also Wall Brown (about 8 or so). Bit windy. (Danny McEvoy and Jasmine)

News for Saturday 25 July 2009: 22 people joined me for the 'Save Our Butterflies Week' walk on the stunningly beautiful Graffham Down Reserve, including GD Trust members Biddy and Paul Dimmer, Dianne Hardcastle and Margaret Hibbard. I would like to thank them for continuing to lead the walk, after I had to descend 'on time' to re-unite some attendees with their pre-arranged 'pick-ups'. The majority, quite understandably, were not ready to leave this fabulous stretch of downland in warm sunshine! The butterflies were out in force, including a late-flying male Purple Emperor, which sadly is probably the last one I will see until next year. Other species included Essex Skipper, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, Small Copper, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Others may later have been added to this impressive list of 20 species. Many thanks to all that attended and made it such an enjoyable event. (Neil Hulme)

News for Saturday 25 July 2009: In the afternoon I joined Fiona Barclay and Max Whitby of 'BirdGuides' to film the c.20 Clouded Yellows at the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve near Newhaven. Other species on this very impressive site (which will undoubtedly develop into something rather special) included 35+ Wall (numbers still building) and, most surprisingly, a Grayling. If the latter species becomes established here, this could become one of the most important sites in the county for Grayling and Wall. (Neil Hulme)

News for Sat 25 July: I wimped out on the Friston walk due to the weather and, after reading reports of the walk, I now regret it. I went to Friston today to try to catch up with all your sightings of yesterday but did not see the more interesting species the Friston group saw. I did start by trying to count but I must admit I gave up after a while due to the sheer numbers of butterflies present. Before I gave up counting the tallies were as follows: Speckled Wood 3, Red Admiral 1, Painted Lady 5, Small White 3, Large White 1, Comma 3, Small Copper 11, Common Blue 2, Gatekeeper 10, Six Spot Burnet 10, Small Heath 7, Small Skipper 4, Meadow Brown 5, Brown Argus 2, Chalkhill Blue (male photo below)…no, I wasn’t daft enough to try counting those! AND I missed out on all those wonderful moths! I now have a moth trap of my own but it isn’t producing the interesting species you were able to see. So, lesson to be learned – don’t let the weather put you off. I popped into Mill Hill on my way back and didn’t see Chalkhill Blues there but did see a few Painted Ladies, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns plus one Wall Brown on the lower path. (Sherie New)


Saturday 25 July 2009

 

Photos for past couple of days added below next to respective entries...

News for Fri 24 July: Friston and the Gallops. OH MY GOD! I have NEVER seen so many butterflies in my whole life....what a result! Carpets and carpets of them. I honestly think that Neil Hulme's over 5000 Chalkhill Blues from yesterday, must have been a very conservative figure, 10000 more like! I think I will remember this day for years to come. Not only did we see the thousands of Chalkhill Blues, we also saw lots of other butterflies too. The was not point in counting them, it would have been impossible, but we did see several Speckled Woods, one Small Skipper, loads of Meadow Browns, one Small Blue, several Small Coppers, a handful of Red Admirals, a few Large Whites, a few Small Whites, about 30 Painted Ladies, 3 Commas (one really dark coloured one - nice), 1 Clouded Yellow, 1 Brimstone, loads of Gatekeepers and Small Heath. Loads of burnet moths a couple of Cinnabars (Nick Linazasoro)

Below: Nick's photos of Small Copper; massed Chalkhill Blues enjoying, erm, salts; and Comma

News for Fri 24 July: I started the day at Butchershole Bottom, where Michael did a great job in leading a huge party around this amazing site. Apologies for losing most of you part way through the walk, but I spent so long talking butterflies with those that were heading home after the halfway stop-off, that I ended up going both left and right when I should have gone straight ahead! Many thanks to Clare (and helper) for supplying tea, coffee and towels to the soaking masses (you won't get this outside of BC Sussex!). On the way home I visited the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve at Newhaven (thanks to Linda Bridges for directions). Having seen Mark Senior's reports about the gradual build-up of Clouded Yellow numbers since earlier in July, I wanted to get some further evidence to support his suspicions of 'local emergence', rather than recent immigration. I saw 15-20 Clouded Yellows here (TQ45340133) in a couple of hours. They are certainly behaving in a 'colonial' manner and show no signs of going anywhere. Some of the males are now pretty weather-worn, but the more recently observed females are much fresher. I watched a couple laying eggs (below left). The real 'clincher' was finding a very recently emerged ('wet') female, still far from steady on her wings. These butterflies must be the progeny of earlier arrivals. (Neil Hulme)

 

 

 

News for Fri 24 July: Just a footnote to Michael’s comments about his walk around The Gallops area of Friston. As we walked back to the car park, Carole’s prediction came to fruition, so in bright sunshine we went up on to view the Chalkhill Blue colony and to warn them that they were soon to be invaded by 40+ pairs of boots/wellies! Less than mile away as the crow flies we are lucky enough to have Chalkhill Blue in our East Dean garden, but only in tens not thousands, including the occasional female. Unfortunately we don’t have any Horseshoe Vetch but apparently they do very occasionally use Common Birds-foot trefoil which we do have. The only other species that we saw in Friston, and not mentioned by Michael or Danny, was Essex Skipper. (Carole & David Jode)

 


Friday 24 July 2009

Amazingly forty five people (who obviously had not checked the weather forecast) met me at Butchershole car park this morning for a walk around The Gallops area of Friston. With one eye on the sky we headed through the forest noting Speckled Wood, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown and Green-veined White along the way. I was delighted when Bob Eade spotted a Small Blue - I have never seen this butterfly at this site before. However, as we continued onwards the heavens opened and a torrential downpour sent us sheltering under  trees, umbrellas and whatever we could find. I thought I saw lightning at one point - but it was Linda Bridges flash going off as she captured the scene of what must be the wettest walk of the year. We made it to my house and all squeezed into the garage. Clare Jeffers brought out teas and coffees to keep our spirits up but by now the rain looked like it was here to stay and I was getting ready to 'Abandon walk'. Carole and David Jode announced that they were going to return to the car park and Carole said 'I'm sure the sun will come out the minute we leave'. The minute they left the sun came out. I quickly grabbed the previous night's moth trap and opened it up for the audience with species such as Garden Tiger (there were 10 of them!) Privet Hawkmoth, Four-spotted Footman and Least Yellow Underwing impressing the crowd. The children picked a hawkmoth each to hold while one lady overcame her fear of moths by holding the biggest Privet Hawkmoth in the trap. Then, under blue skies, we headed back onto The Gallops where we recorded Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Large White, Marbled White, Small Heath, Small Copper, Painted Lady, Comma and even more Small Blues. However I had saved the best until last. The fantastic Chalkhill Blue colony did not disappoint with the clouds of butterflies dancing over the chalk turf. Neil Hulme estimated that there must be over 5000 individuals in the area. Everyone returned to the car park happy - their recent soaking no doubt erased from their minds by this wonderful butterfly spectacle. Thanks to everyone who attended (especially those who brought their own mugs!) and to Bob Eade, Neil Hulme, Keith Alexander, Linda Bridges and Clare Jeffers for helping out (Michael Blencowe)

Garden Tiger 24 July, Friston (Michael Blencowe) and the opening of the moth trap and closing of the umbrellas! (Neil Hulme)

 

Details of Transect walked  at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. A lucky interlude in the weather meant the walk was conducted mainly in warm sunshine after a dreadful wet morning. Species seen: Small Skipper 4, Large White 14, Small White 1, Purple Hairstreak 4, Small Copper 1, Common Blue 6, Painted Lady 9, Comma 3, Speckled Wood 4, Gatekeeper 196, Meadow Brown 180. Total 422 butterflies,11 species (David Pyle)

Following seen on Iping Stedham and Midhurst Commons; Weather windy and changeable:16 Peacock, 20+ Large skipper, 1 sorry looking Common Blue, 3 Comma, 20 plus Large White, 20 plus Gatekeeper, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary. 1 Silver Y moth (below), 2 Six Spot Burnet. (Steve Morgan)

 

Friston Forest walk: Met in the car park at 10.30 and started walking with about 40 people or so. Very successful walk which included all the usual suspects....Painted Ladies galore...Comma...Red Admiral...one Silver-washed Fritillary and a very battered Dark Green Fritillary. Chalkhill Blues, Common Blues in abundance along with the Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. A lone Marbled White crossed our path whilst Small Skippers and Small Heath made friends with a Brown Argus or two...but what surprised me was the sighting of a good 10+ Small Blue...didn't expect to see them there. We went to Michael's house and (in the rain - which got pretty heavy at one point) the moth trap was revealed to oohs and ahs. Some 10 Garden Tigers, 6 Privet Hawkmoth, 2 Poplar Hawkmoth, a couple of Buff-tip and loads of others...er..let me try and remember....Elephant Hawk...4-Spotted Footman....chinese character....dark arches (lots of them)...Olive Crescent (which he said was a rarity)....there was another whos name I can't recall which was super scarce (only the ninth one recorded ever in Sussex)...Never seen a moth trap before...I think I'm converted. Jazzy had her picture taken with a Privet Hawk in her hand. Thanks to Michael for the walk. (Danny McEvoy and Jasmine)

News for Thursday 23 July: 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth flying around the verge in Varndean Gardens, Brighton (TQ 302 073) (Miles Clarke)

At last after six year's waiting my buddleia next to my allotment shed became a butterfly bush. Two Large Whites and up to six Painted Ladies danced around it late on Thursday afternoon, a sight to savour! (Bob Brown)


 

Thursday 23 July 2009

Back to work, so my usual Ouse Estuary NR transect. Usual suspects including Clouded Yellows, one near the reserve entrance at Denton Corner well away from the main colony. The highlight was one fine male Adonis Blue, the first of this species seen on the reserve. (Mark Senior)

Early afternoon walk from Seaford Head to Hope Gap to Cuckmere Haven and back again. Must have seen 150 or so Painted Ladies, lots very fresh. 5+ Comma. 6+ Peacock. Watched a Red Admiral laying...saw about 4 of those. Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large and Small White (but no Marbled White) a glut of Common Blue (possibly saw 100+ near Hope Gap) one or two Chalkhill Blue and we did see our target species - Clouded Yellow. Just the one, oh yes, and small skipperoonies blocking the path. (Danny McEvoy and Jasmine)

Lots of Butterflies nectaring on the Buddleia including a Silver-washed Fritillary. This is a new species for my Storrington garden, with the running total now standing at 27 species over the past 3 years. (Martin Kalaher)

 

After seeing so many Wood Whites last week at Botany Bay I went over to a wood near Plaistow which is still in Sussex to see if I could find any there. I was pleased to find at least 2 and possibly 3 Wood Whites flying (below left, not flying!). In total 15 species found with many Gatekeepers (below right) and Meadow Browns as well as 8 Silver-washed Fritillaries. I then went onto Botany Bay over the Surrey border and once again there were many Wood Whites with 20 seen at Botany and a further 3 seen at Oaken Wood. They were also spread throughout the wood much more than last week. With this delightful species being one of the most 'at risk' butterflies it is well worth the effort to visit this Oaken Wood to see this beauty with its numbers being so unusually high. (Bob Eade).

 

Clare and I have been away for a few days in West Sussex conducting a moth survey on a private estate. We managed to get out looking for butterflies when the weather allowed and found the Western Weald was alive with good numbers of many species; highlights included 4 Wood White in woods near Plaistow and a Clouded Yellow flying across Kirdford village green. We returned to Friston when the weather took a turn for the worse and I thought I'd do a 'dress rehearsal' for the walk I'm leading here tomorrow. Last night's moth trap had a few surprises - the biggest of which was an Orache (below) a rare migrant which only has a handful of records from Sussex and a possible sign that the moth migration is starting. A quick stroll around the Gallops revealed that Susan Suleski was right: Chalkhill Blues are here in their thousands - I estimated well over 2000 were flying around us on our 15 minute walk over the downs. Surprisingly there were also over 100 Small Coppers too. Hopefully we'll get some sunshine for tomorrow morning - I've stopped looking at the forecast. If you are coming tomorrow please bring you're own mug if possible as last year there weren't enough to go 'round! (Michael Blencowe)

Very large numbers of Painted Ladies nectaring on the extensive thistle areas across the Keymer conservation grassland field this afternoon - the first newly emerged individuals were found on 14 July with several on that date, and numbers in the field have steadily increased with some 700 present today, all brightly coloured and in pristine condition. As very little movement has been recorded of butterflies arriving or departing from the field we suspect that many are offspring from the large-scale breeding that we have been monitoring since 30 May, although undoubtedly some will have been attracted in to feed from surrounding areas. (Malcolm Le Grys).

News for Weds 22 July: 1 Clouded Yellow at Shooters Bottom, Beachy Head (Dennis Bowtell)

News for Weds 22 July: I walked from Newhaven to Bishopstone along the cycle path bordering the A259. Although overcast and drizzly, I was able to check out the ragwort bushes which had a good complement of Cinnabar caterpillars. The Small Tortoiseshell brood at Bishopstone station seems to have dispersed. (Bob Brown)

 


 

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Day off today so went to Mill Hill, Shoreham. Mostly cloudy rather breezy warmish. Not that much about mostly Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, circa 15 Chalkhill Blues including 1 way up right next to the car park. One Wall Brown only other butterfly of note. (Mark Senior)

Kingston near Lewes. A very fresh looking Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the greenhouse today, buzzing around, not panicking (but flapping). For two weeks we have enjoyed seeing many perfect Painted Lady in the garden, about 5 to10 at a time a week ago which gradually increased to 19 yesterday (21st), nectarring mostly on Knapweed but also on Field Scabious and Marjoram. Also present Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White. I have always found the last week in July to be the peak for number of species. (John Holloway)

Below: Yellow-legged Clearwing, just over the county border in Surrey, 19 July (Sam Bayley) and female Brown Hairstreak, Broadbridge Heath, 20 July (Susie Milbank)

 

I left it a bit late to get out today and the weather was going downhill when I got to High and Over. The first butterfly I saw was a Wall Brown. This was the only Wall I saw as by the time I got to the main Wall site the weather had really gone bad. However a walk along the bottom of Frog Firle to Green Way and then back along The Comp and then back to High and Over still produced 17 species including 2 Silver-spotted Skippers. Other numbers were 3 Brown Argus (below), 5 Red Admiral, 12 Small White, 7 Speckled Wood, 20 Meadow Brown, 20 Painted Lady, 29 Chalkhill Blue, 29 Gatekeeper, 3 Comma, 7 Green-veined White, 6 Common Blue, 6 Peacock, 2 Marbled White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Large White. There were also large quantities of Swift looking like they are already getting ready to head back south!! (Bob Eade).

 

Have just seen my first second brood Holly Blue in our back garden in New Church Road, Hove. (John A Heys)

Slopes and gallops above Butchers Hole CP, sunny but brisk wind: Chalkhill Blues are now in their thousands, at least as many as 2006. They were staying low because of the wind and carpeted the slopes and gallops. A few brighter blue butterflies, at least one of which was an Adonis. Other butterflies: lots of bright, fresh Painted Ladies, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Commas (6), Marbled Whites (2), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Red Admiral (2). (On Sunday 19th I had visited a buddleia near the gallops and it had over 20 Red Admirals, similar numbers of Painted Ladies, and at least 3 Commas, 3 Peacocks and 3 Dark Green (?) Fritillaries on and around it. Every year I wonder – how do they know it is there?) Susan Suleski

 


 

Tuesday 21 July 2009

 

20+ Painted Lady on thistle patch near Ditchling Beacon (TQ 326 116). Mostly pristine, big specimens but also few tatty, scrawny ones mixed in. Didn't hang around as bull in field. (Caroline Clarke)

Weather dull slight breeze warm and muggy . All species seen yesterday were seen today except Small Copper . Additionally seen Holly Blue x 1 and Marbled White x 2 ( one egg laying well away from normal area ) . Explored off transect in central barren area and Clouded Yellows increased from 8-10 to 18-20 . There are probably more on site and show no inclination to migrate north . Thnought I was going to see no Wall Brown today but what I thought from a distance were 2 sparring Speckled Woods were 2 sparring Wall Browns. (Mark Senior)

I saw a Small Blue on the Sussex University campus today! I've never seen one before but I'm sure that's what it was - it was tiny (3/4" wingspan, dark brown/black with a blueish sheen on the upperside and silvery grey with little dots on the underside, a bit like a Holly Blue). (John Williams)

News for Mon 20 July: Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve Monday, cloudy , breezy but warm. Painted Ladies 50-60, Common Blue 35-40 (circa 5 females), Meadow Brown circa 40 inc a mating pair, Gatekeeper circa 20, Clouded Yellow 7 in usual area, Small Skipper 6, Brown Argus 5 inc 1 female in 2 separate areas, Peacock 3, Small Copper 1, Wall Brown 1 ( the first of the autumn brood). No Marbled Whites which are probably over now for this year . Also various whites. (Mark Senior)

News for Sat 18 July 2009: On visiting Bishopstone and the Tidemills area, just outside the station I found a batch of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on nettles bordering the footpath. Can anyone keep an eye on them, they are in a bit of a vulnerable position for dogs etc. On Sunday we had the "Garden Gadabout" with four open gardens in Seaford. The one in Heathfield Road was full of fresh Painted Ladies. A Meadow Brown called in to the Exchange Project Garden. Yesterday a Speckled Wood was fluttering along the shops in Seaford High Street! (Bob Brown)


Monday 20 July 2009

 

Josse Davis' bedraggled Privet Hawkmoth female with her arranged marriage, and one of her newly hatched caterpillars (it's the tiny yellow thing, not the biro!)

 

I saw a female Brown Hairstreak today at Southwater CP. It flew past, stopped briefly in a tree and then flew on at speed. Also Painted Ladies seem to have picked up in number again with almost all specimens being very fresh. Local hatchings?? (Sam Bayley)

Led a butterfly hunt for 60 school children (2 groups of 7-year-olds!) to Green Ridge in Brighton. Species seen: Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small/Essex Skipper, Marbled White, Small White, Green-veined White, Large White, Speckled Wood. Also, Six-spot Burnet and Silver Y. (Caroline Clarke)

Details of transect walked this afternoon at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. Species recorded: Small Skipper 2, Large White 2, Small White 2, Small Copper 2, Painted Lady 3, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Peacock 2, Comma 3, Speckled Wood 2, Gatekeeper 86, Meadow Brown 97. Total 202 butterflies, 11 species. (David Pyle)

News for Saturday 18 July: Despite the horrid wind a there was a surprisingly good number of butterfly's on the transect at Malling Down, Lewes (Previous week sightings in brackets). Small/Essex Skipper 2 (3), Silver-Spotted Skipper 1 (1), Large Skipper 1 (2), Large White 3 (6), Small White 1 (2), Small Copper 5 (1), Brown Argus 2 (1), male Common Blue 1 (1), male Chalkhill Blue 10 (16), female Chalkhill Blue 1 (0), Red Admiral 2 (4), Peacock 3 (2), Comma 3 (3), Painted Lady 19 (0), Marbled White 11 (17), Gatekeeper 16 (4), Meadow Brown 51 (119), Small Heath 1 (0), Ringlet 1 (7). Large Skipper are hanging on for a long time. (Louise Holloway).

 

News for Sat 18 July: Although just over the border into Surrey, I thought it worth a mention that Alec McIntyre had a Yellow-legged Clearwing come to his house security light in Ellen's Green last night at 11.00pm. I thought that Clearwings were purely day-flying? (Sam Bayley)

 


Sunday 19 July 2009

 

It's never a good sign when, in the middle of July, you're searching in the car for your wooly hat, but today was windy and wet and, well, cold. Clare and I headed west on a Grayling hunt. At Chapel Common under leaden skies little was flying - apart from 20+ Painted Ladies. We decided to check out Weavers Down in advance of next week's Graylingfest event. The wind was now bending the birches over but, sheltering amongst the heather, we found a beautifully marked male Grayling. I instantly dropped and crawled through the heather until I was eye to eye with him. These heathland forms are much more striking than the chalk forms found at Windover. I'm sure there were others avoiding the weather and hopefully the event here next Sunday will ascertain whether the colony here is doing well. For those of you who have enjoyed scanning high in the oaks for Purple Emperors why not join us as we crawl on our bellies around East and West Sussex over the next few weeks looking for our most cryptic camouflaged butterfly (Michael Blencowe)

 

Saga of a soggy Privet Hawkmoth. Longer than our usual entries but well worth reading. Photos to follow. - Editor :-)

Arundel. My son found a Privet Hawkmoth pupa the year before last. Having failed to hatch in the summer of 2008 I was frightened it may hatch at some odd time and not being noticed, die in its container. So I took the precaution of leaving her, for it was a female pupa, in a plant pot on the kitchen window sill. The idea being that if she did hatch we would see her flapping in the window and in the mean time she would have the odd splash of water to keep her from drying out. She emerged from her casing on 9 June this year and promptly fell into the sink getting her still-forming wings soaked. I placed her in the sun to finish off her wing stretching and drying but she never manage to get over the trauma and I was left with a beautiful but semi-paraplegic moth on my hands. I felt I had to do all I could to help make her life complete and before setting off for the pub that evening put her in a container with a mesh for protection and left her on the porch, the idea being that she might attract a mate with her pheromones wafting off into the night air. On my meanderings back from the pub I saw a Large Emerald on the pavement and frightened it might get stepped on threw it into the hedge. It didn't agree to the placement and flew to the nearby lamp post where it enlightened right next to a male Privet Hawkmoth! I took him home and having introduced them, left them alone in privacy. Next day proved they had made their acquaintance more binding and over the following couple of days she laid 140 eggs. He was offered the chance to abscond and did so and she lived out a couple of nights in the flowers. The eggs duly hatched and although we lost a few in the first couple of days the remainder are some 2 inches long and growing fast. The Privet hedges in my road are shrinking fast as I drag back branches for the hungry things. (Josse Davis)

 

News for Sat 18 July: A garden first to our tiny Peacehaven garden - a Wall Brown, the first reported in the county since 11 June so presumably the start of the summer generation. (Adrian Thomas)

 


Saturday 18 July 2009

 

Southwater Woods today ( 11am-2pm ) produced Silver-washed Fritillaries (50+), Peacocks (50+), Painted Ladies (2), Speckled Woods (3), White Admirals (2), many Large Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns & Green-veined whites including a mating pair, Commas (4), Large Skippers (3), a single Common Blue on Yellow vetch. Some stands of thistle had 4/5 species that could be photographed from one spot (Colin Knight)

Buchan Country Park: In less than ideal conditions 19 species recorded, highlights included fresh Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Holly Blue, frequent Commas and the star, a female Purple Emperor. After much fruitless searching this one was seen briefly around young oaks in the car park! Also seen a Beautiful Yellow Underwing nectaring on Wood Sage. (Robin Edwards)

Lead a walk today at Park Corner Heath for members of the Seaford Natural History Society. The meeting was timed perfectly to coincide with a sunny, calmer period and upon arriving at the first patch of bramble we were treated to great views of White Admiral while Silver-washed Fritillaries fluttered amongst us. Elsewhere the reserve held Green-veined White, Comma, Purple Hairstreak, Large White, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Large Skipper, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Peacock and Speckled Wood. To finish off the group gathered 'round to look at the contents of the moth trap from the previous evening. As we were getting ready to leave the grey clouds rolled in and the wind built up. I've got a bad feeling that Summer 2009 is beginning to turn into Summer 2008/2007. Another year of this and I'm moving to Trinidad. Thanks to all the SNHS members who attended. (Michael Blencowe)

In our MV trap this morning at Mill Hill numbers of moths were low, with only 45 moths of 25 species. For the first time for a month or so there was no hawkmoth of any species but the moths included single Herald, Mullein Wave, Silver Y, Shark, Peppered Moth and Diamond-back Moth. Most interesting was another pristine Toadflax Brocade which, with the regularity that we are catching this species this year, leads us to believe that they may have bred on the purple toadflax in our garden last year. (Dave and Pen Green)

News for Friday 17 July: After a day of wind and rain I was about to call off the evening's planned moth trapping session at Park Corner Heath but as a few brave moth-ers had turned up I fired up the generator and hoped for the best. There were a nice range of moths coming to the light including some of my favourites Ghost Moth, Scallop Shell and Purple Thorn but the highlight of the night was a little (and I do mean little) moth that was dwarfed by most of the micros in the trap - a Marsh Oblique-barred. Thanks to Keith Alexander and Martin Lovell (visiting from Cambridgeshire) for help with the i.d. With a forewing length of just 6-7mm it is one of the smallest 'macro' moths and I was surprised I even saw it in the trap. I'm sure it's national rarity status must be something to do with people not noticing it. (Michael Blencowe)


Friday 17 July 2009

 

Mating Six-spot Burnets, Birling Gap, 14 July; Peacock, Southwater Woods, 13 July, and Painted Lady, Birling Gap, 14 July (all Bob Eade)

 

 

Wasp attacking Painted Lady caterpillar, Keymer, 29 June (Malcolm le Grys); Red Admiral, Vert Wood, 15 July (BOb Eade) and Queen of Spain Fritillary, Brandy Hole Copse, 14 July (Robert Beale)

 

 

News for Monday 13 to Friday 17 July 2009 (Purple Emperor Week): On Monday I visited Graffham Down with Hannah Sanders and Susie Milbank, to survey for Purple Emperors on this atypical downland peak site (SU917163). Biddy and Paul Dimmer (Graffham Down Trust) have seen Emperors up here over the last few years, including both males and females only a few days previously. We saw a total of 4 males (and identified an assembly area in pines) and one egg-laying female, at the unprecedented elevation of 728' above mean sea level! At one point a male was sitting on his perch about 40' above the very crest of the Downs. We then walked west and saw another male crossing an open meadow (SU900165, 745' amsl) near the Heyshott Down triangulation point. All new to science and very exciting! On Tuesday a few of us met on the Downs near Amberley. We didn't see any Emperors, but we did see a couple of Dark Green Fritillaries (below left) amongst the Chalkhill Blues and Marbled Whites. On Wednesday I led a total of 33 people (mainly RSPB members) on a walk through Southwater Woods. I would like to thank them for their generosity in adding another 22 to our 'fighting fund'. Despite really unsuitable weather (only about 5 minutes of sunshine in 2.5 hours!) we still managed to see some nice butterflies, including 2 Purple Emperors. Other species included Silver-washed Fritillary (pair below right), White Admiral (including ab. obliterae), Purple Hairstreak, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Holly Blue, Green-veined White and Large White. 16 species under 100% cloud cover (and spots of rain) isn't bad going! I will be doing a re-run for this group next year, as we just didn't get an opportunity to see this wonderful site at it's best. On Thursday I met up with Matthew Oates to survey land on the Knepp Castle Estate, where an extensive 're-wilding' project is underway. We saw 2 Purple Emperors, including a beautiful female on an egg-laying run. We later went on to Southwater Woods, where numbers were a quite disappointing 5 (1 female) despite a thorough search. 2 more were seen visiting a sap run along a woodland margin nearer Dragon's Green. Friday's heavy rain prevented even the most avid Emperor fan from leaving home. The Purple Emperor season (which has been a good one until now) is unfortunately winding down very rapidly. Recent high winds and heavy rain have taken their toll and only low numbers will now persist until towards the end of the month. (Neil Hulme)

 

 

 

News for Thurs 16 July: afternoon, Hollingbury Woods, Brighton, mostly on sunny western fringe: 6 White-letter Hairstreak all on or near Wych Elm, 7 Comma, 10 Large White, 5 Essex Skipper, Holly Blue, 2 Red Admiral, 4 Painted Lady, 10 Gatekeeper, 8 Speckled Wood, Hummingbird Hawkmoth. (Peter Whitcomb)

 

News for Tues 14 July: Buchan Country Park: With two sightings of Purple Emperor in 2008 I have been scanning the skies and the many sallows on the former tip site on Target Hill. No Emperors have been seen. However on 14/7 a group of children on a treasure hunt found the wing of a Purple Emperor in the same area that the butterflies were seen last summer. When the sun comes out, Purple Hairstreak have been seen on a number of oaks in the car park and meadow. Comma and Peacock more frequent than in recent years. Also occasional Small Tortoiseshell - none were reported in 2008. (Robin Edwards)

 

Recent news: We have been having a bit of a holiday in Sussex and thought we would put a report in what we saw on Sunday 12 when we walked the Seven Sisters and despite being windy we saw 30 plus Chalkhill Blues, 20 Dark Green Fritilliaries, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small and Essex Skippers and 30 Marbled Whites. Monday 13 July we went to the gallops at Friston and saw so many Chalkhill Blues it was hard to count, also lots of Marbled Whites, Essex and Small Skippers and Six-spot Burnets. We walked through part of Friston Forest and saw 20 Commas and 2 White Admirals. Wednesday 14 July we walked on the 1066 path near Battle and saw lots of Gatekeepers, they seem to be having a very good year, we also saw a White Admiral in Hoathy Bank Wood TQ730146. Thursday 15 July walked on Rye reserve hundreds of Painted Ladies, many Gatekeepers, Small and Essex Skippers, Common Blues, 15 Meadow Browns, 5 Red Admirals, 2 Peacocks. (Dave and Joan Harrop, Dorset Butterfly Conservation)

 


Thursday 16 July 2009

Ouse Estuary Nature reserve , Apart from the usual suspects, Green-veined White and 1 male Brown Argus new species for the site. No less than 7-10 Clouded Yellows in the usual area . An extremely rare sighting of lepidoptera humanis, our branch secretary and husband looking for the Clouded Yellows but in the wrong area. Had a nice chat as I led them to the spot and 1 seen immediately. Hope they saw many more as I had to get back to work. (Mark Senior)

Silver-spotted Skipper on the Frog Firle transect (Nigel Kemp)

 

High and Over (TQ 5102 0122) 1 Clouded Yellow, Large Whites, Small Whites, 4 to 5 Common Blues, >30 Chalkhill Blue, Small/Essex Skippers, Painted Ladies, Red Admirals, Comma, Peacock, Marbled Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Six Spot Burnets, Silver Ys. (Crispin Holloway).

 

Plenty of Purple Hairstreak activity at Kiln Wood, Blackboys this evening. Although it was past 7 pm when I arrived I still saw nearly 30 with males battling it out as usual in the canopy and 2 presumed females working the lower branches of one particular oak, on the south side of the tree, but keeping well out view most of the time. I'll have a go finding some eggs in the winter now I know where to look. If you go to this site the best trees are at the top of the wood and even just outside it, but choose a warm sunny evening. (Tom Ottley)

 

My first Clouded Yellow since 2007 flew over Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, and disappeared from sight amongst the Creeping Thistles. On Mill Hill in the early afternoon the count of male Chalkhill Blue was 30. As expected at this time of the year, Large Whites, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were all frequently seen. At least five Small Blues, most in good condition were seen on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting and this must be a second brood. The fifteen butterfly species was the most in a single day this year. (Andy Horton)

Uckfield: I have had several buddleias in the back garden for a number of years, attracting the usual suspects in ones and twos - today numbers were more like I remember from years back: 10 Peacocks, 4 Comma, 4 Painted Ladies and a Red Admiral. They stayed all day, joined by the occasional Small White and Gatekeepers (female below). (Andy Stokes)

Arriving early for a meeting, I was able to spend 10 minutes walking along 600m of clifftop above Brighton Marina today - 50 Painted Ladies nectaring on knapweed, each one in mint condition (Adrian Thomas)

I saw two beautiful Clouded Yellows today on a lunchtime stroll at Malling Down, also a Red Admiral, Comma, Brimstone, a few Marbled Whites and Gatekeepers, and lots of Common Blues and Meadow Browns. (John Williams)

 

5 White-letter Hairstreak at Hollingbury Park (TQ316 077) in Brighton - including 2 seen on the ground. One of these was very battered and the other 'box fresh' - a female, I think. Also seen here, Gatekeeper, Painted Lady, Comma, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown. 1 Holly Blue in Matlock Road, Brighton and 2 White-letter Hairstreak up high in the canopy of the wonderful elm trees outside the Co-op in Patcham. But the best spot, the spot I have been waiting for, came in my Brighton garden at 5pm - a single White-letter Hairstreak checking out the nectar plants in my front flowerbeds. Yippee! (Caroline Clarke)

 

Tucked away near the village of Fairwarp, lies a small meadow rich in wildlife that has been managed in the traditional way without any agricultural improvement. Brickfield Meadow (TQ472265) (below) is only 1.5 hectares in size, is managed by Sussex Wildlife Trust and, I discovered today, is a little gem of a reserve. Butterflies were everywhere and included: Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Red Admiral, Peacock, Painted Lady, Gatekeeper, Comma, Common Blue, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper and Small Skipper - an impressive 17 species seen in one hour. (Polly Mair)

 

 

An unexpected extra day off when my standby finished at 10am without being called, with the weather at last good I walked from High and Over to Alfriston and then back over the Downs to home. A 4 hour walk with 18 species seen. Just below High and Over there were over 100 Chalkhill Blues with 4 mating pairs. Some very fresh males as well. At Littlington there was a patch of thistles with 15 Painted Ladies nectaring, all but 1 very fresh. Approx 80 Painted Ladies seen on the walk with the bulk being along the river. 1 tatty White-letter Hairstreak on the elms between Littlington and Alfriston. Commas were also very evident. 3 Small Tortoiseshells also seen along the river with another 2 on the Downs behind Seaford. Other species seen were Speckled Wood, Peacock, Gatekeeper, Large White (below), Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Small White, Green-veined White and Small Skipper. It turned out to be one of the best work days I've ever had!! (Bob Eade).

 

Around the trail at RSPB Pulborough Brooks today, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Gatekeepers as you would expect, plus numerous very fresh Peacocks, Red Admirals and Painted Ladies, with a few Small Tortoiseshells and Commas mixed in. Also seen today, Large Whites, Speckled Woods, Purple Hairstreaks, a very fresh Small Copper. Most of the larger species are nectaring on the brambles around the site - a particularly good spot is the picnic area above Nettley's hide, and the buddleias in the courtyard are outstanding for Peacocks, Red Admirals and Painted Ladies. (Pete Hughes)

News for Tues 14 July: I visited Brandy Hole Copse at Chichester to try to see Purple Hairstreak. I did see it along with Painted Ladies, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, whites and a QUEEN OF SPAIN FRITILLARY. Neil Hulme has visited the site, an extensive search on 16 July suggests that the butterfly is a genuine migrant and has moved on (Robert Beale)

 


Wednesday 15 July 2009

 

Susie Milbank's back garden Brown Hairstreak, Broadbridge Heath (15 July), Painted Lady pupae at Keymer, and Chalkhill Blue, Windover Hill, 14 July (Bob Eade). More photos to come...

 

 

 

With the wind blowing and it being my last day off for a while I went to Park Corner Heath where at least there was some protection from the wind. A really good afternoon with 12 species seen. Plenty of Silver-washed Fritillaries although most past their best. 1 Purple Hairstreak seen at the top of an oak tree. Also 3 Painted Ladies all looking smart. A fine Red Admiral as well as the usual brown butterflies also present. I then drove up to the wide ride in Vert Wood where 10 species were seen. This included 5 White Admiral and an immaculate Red Admiral. Good to see that the Admirals are still doing well in this wood. (Bob Eade).

 

Silver-studded Blues still flying on Ashdown Forest. A total of 7 seen along edges of paths to the north of Friend's Clump (near the pond). (Tom Ottley)

 


Tuesday 14 July 2009

 

Wonderful series of three photos from Steven Robinson at the Loder Valley reserve (Wakehurst Place) of mating Meadow Browns and Ringlets - spot the problem!

 

 

Birling Gap to Horseshoe Plantation resulted in 15 butterfly species despite the weather not being too good. There was 1 Painted Lady that was obviously made in England!!!! There was also a massive amount of 6 Spot Burnets including many mating couples. 3 or 4 White-letter Hairstreaks battling in the elm canopy. 1 Brown Argus was also in superb condition. There was also many Cinnabar larvae. Then went onto Windover Hill where the wind was very strong which resulted in little to report except the Chalkhill Blues have grown in number and there was also 3 females seen. I did find 1 newly emerged male with the wings not properly formed. (Bob Eade).

The first Brown Hairstreak has emerged on the potted blackthorn in my garden. I am expecting plenty more to come. :) (Susie, Broadbridge Heath)

The first newly emerged Painted Ladies at Keymer this afternoon - several fluttering around the thistle areas and nectaring on the flowers, some resting low down amongst the thistles. (Malcolm Le Grys).

The promise of a fine afternoon sent me off to Botany Bay (Surrey, just over the border!) where I had recently spent such a fab day with Neil Hulme and the BC group. My aim was to see Wood White. Saw the following: 20 plus Ringlet, too many Meadow Browns to count, 4 Comma, 20+ Silver-washed Fritillaries, 20+ Gatekeepers, 5 Brimstone, 20+ Large Skipper, 2 Small Skipper, 2 Peacock, 1 White Admiral, 2 Marbled White, 20+ Large White, 2 Small White, 20+ Wood White. How wonderful to see so many of these busy little butterflies. I even managed to photograph two of them mating. Hope they didn't mind!! (Steve Morgan Midhurst)

News for Mon 13 July: Had a very good day in Brede High woods. Started out with a few sightings of Painted Ladies, Meadow Browns and Ringlets. One of the highlights of the day we saw 2 White Admirals and several Red Admirals just north of Brede High Heath. Further along on the Walk in the Sedlescome Heath area we saw hundreds of Painted Ladies. To our initial disappointment we saw a couple of fritillaries but they were chased off by the Painted Ladies before we could ID them. A little further on the Painted Ladies stopped and we started to see Silver-washed Fritillaries possibly around 20 in one area. We also saw a lot of whites but the only positive ID we got was a Small White. Also saw one Comma during the day and loads of unidentified browns. There were quite a few 6 Spot Burnets in Holman Wood Field (Mike Jackson)

News for Fri 10 July: White Admiral var. nigrina (completely black on top surface of all wings, except for usual very narrow white marks on edge) wood near Plaistow (Margaret Hibbard)


 

Monday 13 July 2009

 

Below - Small Skipper, Southwater Woods today (John Williams)

 

 

Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve Newhaven lunchtime transect , warm and sunny . The hatch of Peacocks last week have dispersed only 1 seen today, a hatch of Speckled Woods since Thursday meant numbers up from usual 2-4 to 14/15. Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper 20-30 each, Common Blues 15 mainly male but 1 mating couple. Marbled White 7, single examples of Comma , Small Heath, Small Copper and Red Admiral. 8-10 Painted Ladies all except 1 fresh. Highlight was seeing the Clouded Yellow seen last week in the same place plus 2 other Clouded Yellows close by 2 males,1 uncertain. Hove station Sunday 12th July 1 Holly Blue first seen since spring. (Mark Senior)

 

Arrived at Botany Bay, just across the Surrey border in cloud and rain. However it gradually brightened up and butterflies came out in good numbers. Over 20 Wood Whites were the biggest surprise. I haven't seen numbers this high for many years. Well worth looking in Sussex woods where these have been reported over the years. Also good numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admiral. No Purple Emperors though so then moved to Southwater Woods where there were once again good numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries (male below) and White Admirals including the one with no white markings. Also several very fresh Peacocks showing well. A total of 4 Purple Emperors were seen but all stayed well up in the canopy. (Bob Eade).

 

 

Spent my day chasing small brown butterflies - washing not done, dishes not washed and children fed late, BUT, got a great photo opportunity of White-letter Hairstreak (below). Waited an age for 3 White-letter Hairstreak to show themselves flying high over young elm and ash lining Surrenden Road in Brighton. Also, surprised to find 1 Holly Blue here - seems a bit early for 2nd brood. Then moved on to Hollingbury Park (TQ316 077) where a narrow band of mixed woodland borders open parkland. Found 2 White-letter Hairstreak obligingly feeding on creeping thistle - one even waited for me to go home and come back with my camera. Other species seen here - whites, Red Admiral, Comma, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown. (Caroline Clarke)

 

2 White-Letter Hairstreaks on the east side of Horseshoe Plantation, Beachy Head. Also between Birling Gap and the wood were 3 Small Coppers, 2 Brown Argus, 12 Chalkhill Blues, 3 Common Blues, 7 Speckled Woods, 8 Dark Green Fritillaries, 1 Small Heath, 25 Small/Essex Skippers (mainly Small), 2 Red Admiral and numerous Small Whites, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Marbled Whites.(Matt Eade)

 

News for Sun 12 July: A massive 41 people attended the BC outing to Southwater Woods today. The Purple Emperor once more proved to be a major crowd-pleaser, providing many people with their first sighting of this spectacular butterfly. He again arrived 'on cue', appearing above the assembly point at precisely 11am. By the time the 'official' walk had ended we had seen a minimum of 8 different Emperors, with many in spectacular aerial combat. However, it was one of those magical days when many did not want to go home! At 5.30pm a still sizeable group were treated to the amusing spectacle of a mass 'punch-up' between the Purple Emperors and the Purple Hairstreaks, high above the canopy. First one species would start, keeping the argument amongst themselves, then the other would charge in and cause mayhem. By this time we had seen a minimum total of 14 (probably 15) Emperors and were lucky enough to have witnessed the spectacular, tumbling, male-rejection behaviour of a female. I still wasn't finished and stopped off to watch the evening flight of another 2 Purple Emperors, along a meadow margin towards Dragons Green. Other species seen on the day included Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Large White and Green-veined White. However, the highlight of the day for me was spending some time with Reg Trench and his lovely wife Sophie (below with Neil). I sincerely hope that I am still full of the same enthusiasm that Reg shows at the remarkable age of 89 (and the mind, body and soul to indulge this passion we have). A mile or two over rough ground and stiles - no problem! Reg started watching butterflies in 1930, so he would have already been a young man by the time we experienced the greatest ever invasion of rare migrants in 1945, when Britain was blessed with good numbers of Queen of Spain Fritillary, Long-tailed Blue and Bath White! Thank you to all that came along and made it another great day in our 2009 calendar of events. (Neil Hulme)

 

 

News for Sun 12 July: Led a walk at Green Ridge on the outskirts of Brighton with a dramatic spread of ages and knowledge - quite a challenge! Ten butterfly species seen in all: Marbled White, Small White, Large White, Essex Skipper, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Comma, Red Admiral, Painted Lady & Speckled Wood. Also, Six-spot Burnet. Checked out local White-letter Hairstreak sites but no luck - weather sunny but very windy. Hope they're not over just yet. (Caroline Clarke)

 

News for Sun 12 July: Went on the Southwater walk led by Neil Hulme. I am surprised at the amount of White Admiral, they seem to be doing pretty well this year IMO. Weather held up and 30 or so folk spotted 10 or so Purple Emperor doing their thing high up in the oak trees. Rock and Roll indeed. We are talking binoculars a go go. Meanwhile Silver-washed Fritillaries were showing well and the usual glut of Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Comma, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Green-veined Whites plus Red Admiral and a few Peacock. Many thanks again to Neil who led the walk very well indeed, hats off. Apparently there was further walking in the afternoon, but I had to take Jasmine to Peacehaven Donkey Derby where we rode the big wheel. At the top of the big wheel I said to Jasmine that this is what it feels like to be a Purple Emperor....then we had an ice cream. (Danny McEvoy)

 

Recent news: from the Buddhist Centre, Lansdowne Road, Hove where in the wildflower meadow an urban record of Marbled White on 5 July; and earlier 2 White-letter Hairstreaks near the entrance on 30 June. (Brian Easley)

 


Sunday 12 July 2009

 

Two hours at Southwater Park 11:30-2:30 today produced a male Brimstone, Commas (2), Large Whites and Green-veined Whites, Red Admirals (2), Large Skippers, fritillaries - species unknown (3), Gatekeepers (2), a Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Browns, a Speckled Wood, a Painted Lady, Six-spot Burnets, and a Silver Y. (Colin Knight)

Midhurst Common:  1 White Admiral, 3 Large White,  3 Small White, 50+ Gatekeeper, 4 Comma, 3 Speckled Wood, 10 Ringlet, 100s Meadow Browns, 2 Peacock, 1 Painted Lady (Steve Morgan, Midhurst)

Work and weather have kept me indoors for a while so when the sun finally shone today we ventured out to do some work at Park Corner Heath. Many Silver-washed Fritillaries greeted us as we walked down the track to the reserve but the flashes of orange they provided were outdone by the incredible deep orange of the freshly emerged Painted Ladies which were nectaring on the Marsh Thistle by the plateau. There were 25+on the reserve. It seems this year's third generation of Painted Ladies is starting to emerge. For a complete report on the Painted Lady invasion look out for my article ('North by northwest') in the upcoming newsletter. Also a nice sight on the reserve were some Purple Hairstreak darting over the plateau - I haven't seen this species here since 2006. Back at Friston the numbers of Chalkhill Blues on The Gallops are starting to build as Susan Suleski noted in the week - they're not in their thousands yet but they are heading in the right direction - probably 750+ today at this, the best site for Chalkhill Blues in the county. Down along the forest rides the predominant colour was orange again. Oddly enough no Painted Ladies were seen in Friston but I have never seen so many Commas or Dark Green Fritillaries on our strolls through the forest. 50+ of each jostling with Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns on the Knapweed. The Dark Green Fritillaries are having a great year. Sylvia Neumann reported score of them along the Seven Sisters and I have also received reports of them flying in their hundreds in one coastal valley. (Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers).


Saturday 11 July 2009

3 freshly emerged Painted Ladies in Kingston (TQ391 086). Painted Lady larvae feeding on Echium pininana, The Avenue, Lewes (TQ411 101). (Crispin Holloway).

An impromptu field meeting for the Friends of Knowlands Wood (near Barcombe) on a cool drizzly morning nevertheless yielded 11 species including 4 White Admirals (plus a fantastic egg - prickly like a sea urchin), 8 Purple Hairstreaks - even flying in light rain, and over 60 Gatekeepers - all male. Alas, no Silver-washed Fritillaries this time. (Tom Ottley)

 

News for Friday 10 July: Transect @ Malling Down Lewes. (Previous week sightings in brackets). Small/Essex Skipper 3 (1), Large Skipper 2 (1), Large White 6 (4), Small White 2 (0), Green-veined White 1 (0), Small Copper 1 (5), Brown Argus 1 (0), male Common Blue 1 (0), male Chalkhill Blue 16 (0), Red Admiral 4 (5), Small Tortoiseshell 1 (0), Peacock 2 (5), Comma 3 (3), Painted Lady 0 (1), Marbled White 17 (16), Gatekeeper 4 (0), Meadow Brown 119 (143), Small Heath 0 (1), Ringlet 7 (14). Totals for this year look more promising than the appalling years of 2007 & 08. Large Skipper are in greater abundance than they have been since 2004, Ringlet have peaked and second generation Common Blue and Brown Argus are starting. (Crispin Holloway)

 

News for Friday 10 July: Wildpark LNR, Brighton. 5-6 pristine Painted Ladies, Small Copper and Small Tortoiseshell too, plus numerous Marbled White, plus Dusky Sallow. We have a grassy area notable for Chalkhill Blues, but none seen yet. (Peter Whitcomb)

 

News for Friday 10 July: 2 hour walk at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve numerous Butterflies in good numbers. Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Small Heath, Small Copper, Essex and Small Skippers, Peacock, Red Admiral, Painted Ladies(good condition), Marbled Whites, pair Common Blue,1 tatty Speckled Wood. Drinker Moth Caterpillar and Cinnabar Moths (Janet Richardson)

 

News for Thurs 9 July: One Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectarring on jasmine flowers. Also 3 Painted Lady, 4 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 1 Comma all on same buddleia. The Painted Ladies were in pristine condition. Several other buddleias in the garden were unattended. (John Holloway)

 


Friday 10 July 2009

A couple of hours at Kithurst Hill this morning produced a great number of Marbled Whites, Small Whites, Ringlets and Meadow Browns. I also saw a Six Spot Burnet and a couple of skippers. I’m not quite sure whether they were Small Skipper or Essex Skipper. Quite a few of the Marbled Whites had little red ticks or mites of some kind on them. Yellowhammers were calling and there was a mass invasion of Swifts: suddenly hundreds of Swifts just appeared out of nowhere and then they were everywhere, all around the car park and surrounding fields, right up to the far distance. That was an incredible sight. (Sherie New)

Clockwise - Gatekeeper male and underside, Littlington, 6 July (Bob Eade); early Grayling at Windover Hill, 9 July (Dave Plummer), White Admiral aberrant, Southwater Woods, 30 June (John Williams) and Purple Emperor, Southwater Woods, 9 July (Polly Mair)

 

Details of Transect walked today, Bedelands Farm: Small Skipper 6, Large Skipper 1, Large White 23, Small White 12, Green-veined White 4, Purple Hairstreak 4, Small Copper 1, Red Admiral 2, Painted Lady 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Peacock 4, Comma 19, Speckled Wood 4, Marbled White 2, Gatekeeper 158, Meadow Brown 425, Ringlet 103. Total 770, 17 species. Marbled White is quite an unusual visitor to this site. (David Pyle)

Checked out the elm above Little Dene, near Firle (TQ457 069) for White-letter Hairstreak. Weather breezy and sun intermittent. Possible sighting at the northern end of the copse by the gates as was leaving but couldn't be sure. But, loads of Small and Large Whites, 30+ Marbled White, 30+ Meadow Brown, 4 Comma, 3 Speckled Wood, 8 Gatekeeper, 1 Large Skipper, 2 Small Skipper, 1 Red Admiral. (Caroline Clarke)

 

A few Painted Lady pupae now on the thistles in the Conservation grassland field at Keymer, with small numbers of full-grown larvae still feeding and some about to pupate. Heavy predation of larvae has taken place during the past twelve days, most notably by wasps and Great Tits, the latter continuing to take larvae from the thistle areas this afternoon. (Malcolm Le Grys).

 

I thought that I would go on an exploratory wander around some woodland in the Ashdown Forest this morning. The area north of Church Hill car park (near Crowborough) has wide rides, bramble, thistle and honeysuckle so I wasn't surprised to see Silver-washed Fritillary (5) and White Admiral (3). Also Purple Hairstreak (3), Small Skipper (1), Large Skipper (4), Large White (6), Red Admiral (3), Comma (4), Speckled Wood (1) and lots of Ringlet and Meadow Brown. I intend returning soon, to look around the mature oaks, just in case there is a Purple Emperor lurking there! (Polly Mair)

 

News for Thurs 9 July: White Admiral nectaring on Bramble flowers at RSPB Broadwater Warren (Alan Loweth)

 

News for Sun 5 July: Just a note to say that, when my husband and I walked the Seven Sisters on 5 July, we saw scores of Dark Green Fritillaries on the cliff top, along with more predictable sightings like Marbled White and Meadow Brown. I don't know whether other people have recorded unusual numbers. (Sylvia Neumann)

 


 

Thursday 9 July 2009

 

To those kind people who send me text ready-formatted (bolds, colours etc), I have had to switch to importing your emails as plain text because of some computer bugs that were being transmitted to the pages - thanks for helping until this point. The best help all contributors can offer me is to write your email exactly as it will appear on the site (including a name in brackets) - just don't worry about the bolds and colours. I have also been asked why I write out every butterfly or moth name in full and capitalised, rather than doing GVWs and SWFs etc - that's because up to 300 people look at this page daily, many new to butterflies and moths, for whom a GVW might be a type of car, a small skipper you might think is just an undersized Skipper, and a Set Heb Char, well, it's enough to confuse me! Thanks for your help, folks, and keep the wonderful sightings coming in :-) Editor 

Lunchtime transect of Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve, more overcast and fewer sunny spells than yesterday produced the same species as yesterday mostly in fewer numbers including the same abnormally large specimen of Peacock seen in the same location as yesterday. Additional species seen were single examples of Small Heath and Red Admiral and a fresh male Clouded Yellow first seen being mobbed by 2 Meadow Browns. (Mark Senior)

1 White-letter Hairstreak flying high over Hove Park Road in Hove (TQ295 061). Was hoping to see more as road lined with elm but was coolish and breezy. Spoke to some friendly locals though, some of whom told me White-letters have been seen here in the past. Led a party of children and parents from Westdene School around Green Ridge (TQ291 085) to look for butterflies: 5 Gatekeeper, 4 Small Skipper, 30+ Marbled White, 30+ Meadow Brown, 5 Small White, 4 Six-spot Burnet (Caroline Clarke)

 

Another day's holiday from work saw me at Southwater Woods again hoping to see a Purple Emperor on the ground and I was not disappointed! A first for me!! Also Red Admiral (1), White Admiral (10), Silver-washed Fritillary (9), Purple Hairstreak (2), Comma (3), Large White (3), Small White (2), Green-veined White (1), Large Skipper (2), Speckled Wood (3) and lots of Meadow Brown and Ringlet. (Polly Mair)

Two hours spent at Cissbury Ring this morning was very productive. At times it was difficult to decide what to photograph. Many Green-veined Whites, Marbled Whites, new brood Painted Ladies, Six-spot Burnet, Gatekeepers, Large Skippers, some Dark Green Fritillaries and a Small Copper. (Colin Knight)

Windover Hill: Grayling x2, Chalkhill Blue x3, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled Whites, Small Heath, Meadow Brown (David Plummer)

Whitehawk, Brighton, Grid ref: TQ 328 046, numerous Meadow Browns, a Gatekeeper, a Painted Lady and a Red Admiral. (no name supplied)

News for Weds 8 July: Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve lunchtime transect - overcast but warm and muggy. Rather more of interest to see than expected Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Small Skippers in similar numbers to last week 1 Comma, 12 fresh Peacocks, 1 of which was abnormally large I would estimate 90mm wingspan. 3 fresh Small Copper, 4  fresh male Common Blue 2 fresh Painted Ladies (Mark Senior)


 

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Here's a good place to try for White-letter Hairstreaks: find Little Dene near Firle - it's the next turning on the left after Firle if you are heading west on the A27. There is space to park at the end of the metalled road or you can walk across the fields from Firle as I did. Then start walking up the track towards Beddingham Hill (where the aerials are), and after only a few hundred metres you can drop down the slope on your right where you will be surrounded by Marbled Whites and you can then look over the tops of the elm trees in the coppice on your right. This is at grid reference TQ457069. I saw 5 White-letter Hairstreaks on a dull breezy day but I'm sure there's more there just waiting to be seen ... (Tom Ottley)

I went to Mill Hill this morning hoping to see Chalkhill Blues but could not find a Blue of any kind at all. Am I wrong looking for them at this site? I thought I’d seen a post where someone mentioned seeing one there. I did see lots of other butterflies though: 18 Marbled Whites, 4 Peacocks, 23 Gatekeepers, 2 Red Admirals, 9 Meadow Browns, 5 Large White, 2 Small White, 1 possible Essex Skipper, 3 Ringlet, 3 burnet moths, 6 Comma, 1 Large Skipper and 1 Speckled Wood. The Marbled Whites were active on the higher meadows amongst all the Bramble, thistles and Rosemary. Lovely (Sherie New)

On the slopes and gallops above Butcher Hole CP: decided to check on butterflies after the heavy rains yesterday and was delighted to find ‘hundreds’ of male Chalkhill Blues (one female). They are up along the gallop area (TV553 996), including on the brambles at the edge, with only a few on the slopes today. Also uncountable numbers of Meadow Browns and Small Heaths; I stopped counting Gatekeepers and Marbled Whites at 30; several Large Whites; 8 Small Coppers (3 pairs and 2 singles); 6 Large Skippers; 3 faded Painted Ladies; 2 Dark Green (?) Fritillaries; one Comma. Also 2 Six-spot Burnets. (Susan Suleski)

News for Sun 5 June: Visited Birling Gap/Horseshoe Plantation. Counted 19 Dark Green Fritillaries - most were knackered. 'Millions' of Marbled White. Also Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small and Essex Skippers. Horseshoe Plantation revealed a couple of White-letter Hairstreaks very high in the canopy, but they took some spotting (I've got purple emperor-neck)(Danny McEvoy)


Tuesday 7 July 2009

Five minute reckie around Green Ridge (chalk grassland at TQ291 085) on the outskirts of Brighton in readiness for a Butterfly Hunt for children on Thursday - 1 Gatekeeper (a first of the year for me), 1 Marbled White, 4 Small White, 1 Small Skipper, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 10+ Meadow Brown. Also, between the showers recorded 2 White-letter Hairstreak flying around my neighbour's elm tree. (Caroline Clarke)

News for Sun 5 July: On Sunday afternoon at Seaford allotments there was evidently a freshly-emerged batch of Commas flying, together with many Ringlets and whites. No sign of any blues though. Elsewhere in Seaford what looked like second-generation Painted Ladies were also around, is it my imagination or are they darker than the original migrating ones, more brown and less salmony? Finally more evidence of the territorial instincts of Red Admirals; for the third Summer in a row, one male has "taken over" Crouch Gardens at the East Street end, and endessly patrols the area within, on top of, but not over the outside walls. It seems that this is about the standard area for a Red Admiral to claim, or has there ever been any scientific study of this? Last summer I got some photos in the gardens of the "resident" being attacked by a kitten, at one stage the kitten jumped a couple of feet in the air to try to catch it but without success! (Bob Brown)

Recent news: Following trapped in Portslade garden 2nd-5th July: Lackey has now taken over from Heart & Dart as being by far the most common species in the trap at the moment. Also Vapourer, Common Quaker, Buff Tip, Kent Black Arches, Buff Arches, Elephant Hawkmoth, Privet Hawkmoth, Brown-tail, Ghost Moth (female), Pretty Chalk Carpet, Phoenix, Large Yellow Underwing, Silver Y, Green Silver Lines, Green Pug, Heart & Dart, Heart & Club, Marbled Coronet, Riband Wave, Small Blood-vein, Swallow-tailed Moth, Common Emerald, Small Emerald, Magpie, Peppered Moth, Willow Beauty, Clouded Silver, Light Arches, Dark Arches, July Belle, Leopard Moth, Double Striped Pug, Herald, Scalloped Oak, Marbled Green, Bright-line Brown-Eye, Dusky Sallow. Micros included Evergestis Limbata, Bee Moth, Lozotaeniodes formosanus (Orange Pine Twist), Endotricha flammealis, Small Magpie, Pterophorus pentadactyla (White Plume Moth). (Darryl Perry)


Monday 6 July 2009

I'm delighted to report that we have a new species at the Dorothy Stringer Butterfly Haven. In addition to the resident populations of Meadow Browns, Small and Essex Skipper, Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Small Coppers, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Blue, Painted Ladies, we now have Gatekeepers. I counted eight in the reserve tonight. The reserve has hundreds of individual butterflies on it now and is truly a haven for butterflies. Local neighbours have been reporting to the school that they have more species of different butterflies visiting their gardens recently. We have found them spilling out into our woodland rides and onto the municipal grassland around the butterfly haven. In addition to the Burnet Companions seen earlier in the year, we also saw our first Six-spot Burnet today. Its a very exciting time at Stringer, not bad for a site that's only in the middle of its second summer! (Dan Danahar)

Waking up to rain and wind I decided to abandon a trip to either Southwater or Botany for the Purple Emperor. Later in the morning the sun broke through so I thought I would try again for the White-letter Hairstreaks at Littlington. On the way just below High and Over in the old chalk workings there were over 30 immaculate male Chalkhill Blues. Then at Littlington several Gatekeepers and Commas. I did see 5 White-letter Hairstreaks in the top of the elms but as usual they stayed up there. I'm beginning to think I have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting a photo of them, (and I don't do the lottery!!). Also seen were Speckled Wood, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, several Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Red Admiral and a Small Copper. (Bob Eade).

 

News for Sun 5 July: Botany Bay (Surrey, just over the Sussex border): Despite seeing Purple Emperor and White Admiral it was another species that really made my day. Up by The Triangle, I saw my first ever Wood White. It was a male with white tips to its antennae, and I assume one of the first of the summer brood. Malcolm Bridge from Surrey was there to confirm the ID. (Roger Martin)

 

News for Sun 5 July: First sighting of Wood White summer brood; probably a male but travelling too fast to get a good view of the antennae! Also 22 Silver-washed Fritillary, 14 White Admiral and 1 Purple Hairstreak. Wood near Plaistow. (Margaret Hibbard)

 

Painted Lady caterpillar on Berkheya purpurea, Brighton, 3 July (Caroline Clarke)

 

News for Sun 5 July: Transect at Malling Down, Lewes. (previous weeks recorded sightings on brackets). 1 Small/Essex Skipper (0), 1 Large Skipper (1), 4 Large White (2), 5 Small Copper (5), 5 Red Admiral (0), 5 Peacock (0), 3 Comma (2), 16 Marbled White (3), 143 Meadow Brown (56), 1 Small Heath (3), 14 Ringlet (1), 3 Six Spot Burnet. 1 Chalkhill Blue Sat 4th July at Malling Down, also Small whites and Green-veined White I am surprised by the lack of Gatekeepers. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Sun 5 July: Harrisons Rocks - TN3 9PL we saw one Purple Emperor in the woodland (as well as two White Admirals) but definItely there was more purple tinge to this one and it was bigger than the White Admirals. It didn't land but was flying around for a while in trees - above bramles/nettles. (Fiona Bernard)

 

News for Sun 5 July: Saw two White Admirals in our garden today . A first for our garden. Lots of other butterflies too - Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Comma, Large and Small Whites, Small Blue. The gardening for butterflies is working. Catsfield TQ 719 135 (Rob)

 

News for Weds 1 July: Visited part of Pevensey Levels where I saw Painted Lady caterpillars on every bit of the site (13ha) I visited so reckon there could have been between 75,000 and 100,000 of the critters! Maybe more. Was crawling with them!! (Sarah McIntyre)

 


Sunday 5 July 2009

 

The BBBC recording page is now live. Click on the link above.

An excellent two hours in Southwater Park this morning. In the meadow by the houses there were Six-spot Burnet Moths all over, some flying, some mating on grasses, and plenty of chrysalids attached to grass stems. Also prolific were Meadow Browns and Ringlets. Plenty of Marbled Whites in the same meadow and Green-veined Whites elsewhere. (Colin Knight) If you'd like to see Colin's blog and photo albums, they are at http://www.seapic.com

I didn’t see any Purple Emperors on the ground at Southwater today though I was told they were flying around the tops of some large Oaks at the western side of the wood. I did see my first two Gatekeepers of the year plus one Red Admiral, several Commas, lots of White Admirals (several of them rather tatty) and lots of Silver-washed Fritillaries. Many Ringlets and Meadow Browns were also present. (Sherie New)

Three of this weeks' unusual sightings: Orange-tailed Clearwings at Devil's Dyke on 29 June (Darryl Perry) and Water Ermine at Wadhurst, 3 July (Andy Adams), and David Bellamy with BC people at the BBBC launch. Also scroll down for Bob Eade's photos of Meadow Brown and Marbled White added in to his 2 July entry.

 

 

 

I lead a walk organised by Steve Wheatley today in his Rother Woods project area. Steve's "Fish, Pigs, Admirals & Dragons" walk showcased some of the great work which is being undertaken in the Rother area to improve the woodlands for butterflies. 15 people joined me as we took a circular route from Peasmarsh. On the route we met local pig farmer Tony Roberts who gave us a tour of his land showing how his coppice work - and his pigs - are helping improve the area for butterflies and wildlife. Alongside the pig field we saw our first White Admiral of the day. After lunch at Iden Moat we continued into Malthouse Wood where more woodland management work is opening up the abandoned coppice - and where the light is filtering back into the wood another White Admiral was seen. Also seen on route were Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Small White, Green-veined White, Large White, Comma, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood. Thanks to all who attended (especially the lady who brought along the Tayberries) and to Tony Roberts for showing us the pigs. I'll be seeing Tony's pigs again when I pop into Broad Oak Bangers - Tony's farm shop on Udimore Road in Broad Oak. I'll be helping to support Tony's sustainable woodland management and tasting "the best sausages ever" - according to Steve Wheatley (Michael Blencowe)

 

Whilst running a course on the identification of grasses, sedges and rushes at Woods Mill today I found two Dotted Fan-foots, a new site for this species. The dominant sedges in this area are Brown Sedge and Hairy Sedge so they must be feeding on those. This is only the fourth location for this species in West Sussex (Colin Pratt). An excellent species to have at Woods Mill. (Graeme Lyons)

 

Windover Hill as usual lived up to its name with a steady breeze blowing, however there were plenty of butterflies about with large numbers of Marbled Whites, Small Heath and Dark Green Fritillaries (below centre). Most of the Fritillaries were in the field area between the top of Windover path and Deep Dene. Some were also in very good condition, however the better ones avoided the camera!! Also seen were 2 Chalkhill Blues (below left), 1 in Deep Dene and 1 on Windover. Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, and several Small Coppers were also about as well as the usual brown species. What I believe were Forester Moths and several 6 Spot Burnet Moths (below right) and Cinnabars. (Bob Eade).

 

News for Sat 4 July: We had an excellent walk at Ashdown Forest this morning with Steve Wheatley. Many Silver-studded Blues were seen and they settled in photographer friendly poses. A couple of attractive moths were also seen - Silver Y and a large white Light Emerald. Meadow Browns were prolific. (Colin Knight)


 

Saturday 4 July 2009

Another visit down from Essex to Botany Bay Woods (just over county boundary in Surrey) resulted in a minimum of four Purple Emperors, possibly five. Two were along the main path within sight of the car park, one was tatty missing a large portion of the left rear wing whilst the other was a rather good male. The third flew along a side ride near Oaken Wood and the fourth was a fine male on the track near the triangle. Also in the wood today were around 20+ Silver-washed Fritillaries, mostly males but a few females noted, 10+ White Admirals, 1 Red Admiral, 12+ Comma, 10+ Marbled Whites, 5 Large Whites, at least 7 Small Whites, my first Gatekeeper of the year, two pristine Painted Ladies, many Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Large and Small Skippers and 8 or more Purple Hairstreaks. Also noted were a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Migrant Hawker and a Beautiful Damselfly. (Steve Arlow and Lee Ebbs)

Seen at Woods Mill near Henfield. 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries and a White Admiral. (Chris Brewer)

Shoreham moth trap: The number of moths and species caught last night was well down on recent traps however it was again a nice mix of species. A new moth for us, and one that seems quite early from looking back at previous records, was a Clancy’s Rustic. Numbers of some large moths were down with only 4 Elephant Hawkmoths and a single Small Elephant Hawkmoth, and a positively paltry 22 Dark Arches. Other moths included single Peppered Moth, Swallowtail, Scalloped Oak, Burnished Brass, Campion and L-Album Wainscot. Micros included Donacaula forficella, 6 Juniper Webber, a Trachycera suavella, 2 Bird Cherry Ermine, Endotrichia flammealis and 3 Bee Moth. (Dave and Pen Green)

News for Fri 3 July: Over 30 people attended the moth trap / barbeque members evening at Abbots Wood last night. For some people it was their first moth trap...and for two people it was their first barbeque! Steve Wheatley kindly supplied the charcoal made from wood coppiced in a Rother Woods woodland. With over 90% of our charcoal imported Butterfly Conservation are asking people to think twice before purchasing charcoal from the local garage or supermarket and seek out charcoal that comes from a sustainable UK woodland source. This will encourage coppicing that will allow our woodlands to be home to butterflies and other wildlife once more. The Rother charcoal was soon glowing and after sausages, pork chops and burgers we were taken to a nearby site by Stuart Sutton where we watched Nightjar as the sun was setting. The moth traps soon started filling and everyone marvelled at the variety of moths attracted. Of note tonight were Beautiful Hook-tip and Lunar-spotted Pinion along with Poplar Hawkmoth, Blood Vein, Seatceous Hebrew Character, Blackneck, Lackey, Kent Black Arches, Black Arches, Dun-bar, Common Footman, Drinker, Common Emerald, Swallow-tailed Moth, V-Pug, Small Fan Foot, Beautiful Carpet, Blotched Emerald, The Flame, Coronet, Orange Footman, Early Thorn, Scarce Silver-lines, Bordered White, Engrailed, Green Pug, Brimstone Moth, July Highflier, Clouded Border, Barred Red, Large Emerald, Double Square-spot, Yellow-tail, Rosy Footman, Flame Shoulder, Burnished Brass, Marbled White-spot, Sandy Carpet, Buff Footman, Dark Arches, Common White Wave, Green Silver-lines, Heart & Dart, Minor Shoulder-knot, Elephant Hawkmoth, Riband Wave, Scalloped Hook-tip, Buff Arches, Fan Foot, Small Fan-footed Wave, Common Lutestring, Dingy Footman, Broken-barred Carpet, Willow Beauty, Satin Lutestring, Lobster Moth, Scarce Footman, Oak Nicteoline, Pale Oak Beauty, Common Swift, Buff Ermine, Iron Prominent, Small Angle Shades, Scorched Wing, Buff-tip and Peppered Moth. Thank you to the trappers; Keith, Wendy, John, Dave & Derek and to Stuart Sutton for leading the walk and allowing us to hold this event at Abbot's Wood. (Michael Blencowe).

Recent news: Recorded the Obscure Wainscot for the last 2 nights here in Wadhurst a new species for me and last night I had a Water Ermine, a very good species for East Sussex, Notable B and my first record. (Andy Adams)


Friday 3 July 2009

 

The Painted Lady caterpillars on Berkheya 'silver spikes' in my Brighton garden are getting ready to pupate. Had a walk around Preston Park, Brighton for White-letters but think was a bit too cool and gloomy. Checked a row of immature roadside elm on Surrenden Road (TQ 310 076) at 3pm when sun out - although bit windy - and recorded 4 White-letter Hairstreak fluttering about the upper branches. Another previously unrecorded colony. (Caroline Clarke)

Transect walk details, Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill: Small Skipper 16, Large Skipper 7, Large White 28, Small White 1, Purple Hairstreak 2, Small Copper 1, White Admiral 1, Red Admiral 2, Painted Lady 1, Comma 3, Speckled Wood 2, Gatekeeper 36, Meadow Brown 612, Ringlet 177. Total 899, 15 species. First sightings on the transect for 2009 for White Admiral (not seen for 2 years), Purple Hairstreak, Small Skipper and Gatekeepers. (David Pyle)

White-letter Hairstreaks - Brighton, 1 June (Penny Green) and Firle, 29 June (Tom Ottley). With light winds and some sun forecast for this weekend, now is as good a weekend as any to find them - Editor

 

My usual lunchtime transect of Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve Newhaven sunny spells and muggy produced Large/Small Whites, Large/Small Skippers, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady very worn, 2 Peacock clearly freshly hatched - seems early even though it is a very good summer. (Mark Senior)

I am wondering if there is anyone who would like to check out if there are White-letter Hairsteaks in Diplocks Wood/Wannock Coppice (TQ575 041). You can park on the road. This wood has lots of elm of various ages up to about 30-40 years old. For the past two years I have looked for signs without luck. Something eats the elm leaves but I have never found a caterpillar. However, this past week, I have given myself a stiff neck after last Sunday (28 June) noticing two ‘small dark butterflies’ defending their elm canopy against an approaching Comma. (‘Small’ as in smaller than comma.) I have checked the woods twice a day since and have seen from 1 - 5 ‘small dark butterfies’ in the canopy each time. Also in these woods, Commas (6 yesterday), Large Whites, Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns, 1 Red Admiral. Having led Michael Blencowe on a futile search for Small Blues, I feel very tentative about these ‘small dark butterflies’, but think it is worth someone who knows what they are looking for checking it out. (Susan Suleski)

News for Thurs 2 July: Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve Newhaven. My daily lunchtime visits this week have produced the first Gatekeepers , several fresh Commas and a good increase in the numbers of Marbled Whites since last week alongside the main Seaford Road path. Indeed Tuesday and Wednesday recorded more Marbled Whites than Meadow Browns although the latter are more widely spread. Other species recorded Large and Small White , Large and Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and 2/3 Painted Ladies. Also very nice to see a pair of Stonechats in the central area , the male being very obliging and approachable , the female much less so. A good variety of dragonflies also seen including Emperor and Golden Ringed. (Mark Senior)

News for Tues 30 June: Managed to get round to identifying the one outstanding macro of our Ringmer trap of June 30th... a smaller orange version (9mm forewing) of Riband Wave with 5 equal intensity wavy lines and slightly upturned wings, which turned out to be a Dwarf Cream Wave (John Luck).

News for Mon 29 June: Visited Devil's Dyke & Mill Hill armed with my pheromone lures on the hunt for Clearwings (a highly interesting group of moths which I have developed a particular interest/obsession with!). At Devil's Dyke I quickly attracted approx 6-7 Orange-tailed Clearwings (pictures to follow). Unfortunately Mill Hill was nowhere near as fruitful - the trip rescued by 1 Six-belted Clearwing attracted just I was about to go home - unfortunately I did not manage to get a picture. (Darryl Perry)

Recent news: The last week has brought an exceptional number of moth species to the Pagham Harbour reserve with over 100 on three consecutive nights. Last night (2nd July) 151 species identified with in excess of 1000 moths. Highlights were: 235 Cherry-Tree Ermine, 87 Diamond Back Moth, 1 White Point, 3 European Cornborer, 2 L Album Wainscot, 1 Evergensis limbata, 3 Silver Y, 1 Pearly Underwing, 1 Rush Veneer, 1 Red-necked Footman, 1 Blackneck (first For Reserve), 5 Elephant Hawkmoth, 4 Poplar Hawkmoth, 3 Swallow-tailed Moth, 1 Oak Nycteoline (Ivan Lang)


 

Thursday 2 July 2009

Quick wander round my garden, after work, about 5.30 looking for the Comma I spotted earlier. Didn’t see the Comma but did see a Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on the buddleia. (Julie Hinman)

Our portable Mercury Vapour moth trap yielded 10 Elephant Hawkmoths (a record), and 1 each Eyed and Privet Hawkmoths (our first). More interesting was the micromoth that we immediately identified as "the new moth group logo". Unfortunately we didn't read the bit about Evergestis limbata properly, so we didn't realise that it was rare (I rather assumed that the logo would be of a Sussex speciality) so I didn't take enough care taking it out of the pot for a photo. It was gone in a flash, so no photos! It seems too much of a coincidence that it should turn up in a trap of a definite non-expert on micro moths just after the logo was announced. Is there a more common micro that fits the bill - yellowish wings, dark border with distinct loop-like markings? (Mike & Karen Galtry)

The brilliant sky blue of my first Chalkhill Blue of the year rose from the lower slopes of Mill Hill just before 11:00 am in the humid sunshine. (Andy Horton)

 

Loder Valley Reserve Wakehurst Place: Some people may moan about the hot weather but for the butterflies its a ball. While walking my transects butterflies were in every section almost fighting for space. Plenty of Silver-washed Fritillaries and good numbers of White Admirals, but also a hatrick of Purple Emperors in 3 different sections with one resting on my foot. Not sure what my feet were smelling of. The hot weather must also affect butterflies as l came across a Ringlet locked in mating with a Meadow Brown. Total of 15 species in a couple of hours. (Steven Robinson, Warden)

"Tall and lean-limbed, Crispin Holloway lopes over a hillside of sheep-cropped Downland sward above Lewes, and begins scanning the terrain with the sharp eye of a hawk….." Check out one of our own in the national press today http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/5720815/Adonis-Blue-butterfly-on-a-wing-and-a-prayer.html

A brief visit to Birling Gap this morning, there were plenty of Marbled Whites (below right) flying as well as some very fresh Gatekeepers. 5 Dark Green Fritillaries were also flying, some are now already well past their best though. Once again no sign of the White-letter Hairstreaks in Horseshoe Plantation. I then moved to Littlington to see if I could see any of the White Letters there but once again I was out of luck although plenty of Meadow Browns (below left) and Gatekeepers again. (Bob Eade).

 

Having spotted a Speckled Wood egg-laying in my garden a few weeks ago, I’ve now seen a Red Admiral doing the same. The few nettles in the garden are rather in the shade but when I followed the butterfly down the garden it settled on several of them and on the last occasion I saw it lay an egg & managed to find it. Although the books say that they lay them on the young leaves, this was actually on the tip of a flower stalk. All this egg laying at least gives me a good excuse for doing less gardening. (John A Heys)

News for Weds 1 July: The launch of the Big Biodiversity Butterfly Count in Brighton with Professor David Bellamy was a fabulous success. I would like to say what wonderful support the committee were, helping with the hundreds of children, but I can't because as soon as one of them found a white letter hairstreak at ground level, on mass they couldn't be seen for dust. No seriously, they were amazing. So especial thanks must go to Bob Foreman, Caroline Clark, Penny Green, Clare Jeffers, Neil Hulme, Crispin Holloway and Peter Atkinson. I hope I haven't left anybody out... The BBBC recording starts this Saturday 4th July and just to promote it a little more, I will in the Foyer at the Jubilee Library in Brighton from 10.00 -17.00, if anybody could spare and hour, please contact me. (Dan Danahar)


Wednesday 1 July 2009

On a very warm walk round Bevendean Down this morning there were large numbers of Marbled Whites and Ringlets out numbered Meadow Browns but I was surprised to see my first Chalkhill Blue and 3 Gatekeepers of the year. (Geoff Stevens)

I went to see what is so special about Southwater Woods today and had a great time there. I like the open rides and small tracks both though one or two of the latter are very pitted - and waterlogged in places even after all this sun (hard to believe I know). Lots of butterflies everywhere. I was lucky enough to see two Purple Emperors on the ground and a possible third in flight. Neither PE hung around so I only got snapshots but that may be because my method of ‘spotting’ them seems to consist of nearly stepping on them. I wouldn’t hang around if someone seemed intent on stepping on me, so I can’t really blame them. I also saw an amazing number of Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals plus many Ringlets, Meadow Browns, a few Commas and a few Speckled Woods. It was hot, very hot, too hot, but the butterflies were great. Buzzards were heard calling and I also saw a couple of Jays and a group of Long-tailed Tits. I’ll certainly go back there again. The sheer numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals make it worthwhile all in itself, add the possibility of PE sightings as well and you have a fantastic day out. (Sherie New)

News for Tues 30 June: Huge number of moths trapped in my Broadbridge Heath garden on Tuesday night included the UKBAP species, Heart Moth. Sam Bayley kindly verified my id of this rare moth. And today, Wednesday, Silver-washed Fritillary in the garden and flying up and down our road! (David Bridges)

News for Tues 30 June: Yesterday evening's Ringmer trap produced 60 macro species including Elephant Hawkmoth (19), Small Elephant Hawkmoth, Poplar Hawkmoth, Eyed Hawkmoth, Rosy Footman, Drinker, Barred Yellow, Yellowtail, Beautiful Golden Y, Scorched Carpet, Clouded Silver, Blue-bordered Carpet (ssp rubiginata), Lychnis, Blood-vein, Lime-speck Pug, Straw Dot, Miller, Varied Coronet, Double Square-spot, Herald, Shark, Small Dotted Buff, Sycamore and Small Angle Shades (John Luck)

News for Tues 30 June: Gallop slopes above Butchershole CP: Yesterday I spent some time following one ‘blue butterfly’ on the slopes, but it did not settle. Today, however, there were four ‘blue butterflies’ and one settled long enough for me to be 90% certain it was a Chalkhill Blue – welcome back! With any luck, these slopes will soon be covered with 100s - maybe 1000s? Before getting to the slopes, I had spent about an hour in the woods and seen 3 Red Admirals, 3 Commas, 3 large fritillaries (dark green?), lots of Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites, several faded Speckled Woods, several faded Painted Ladies. Susan Suleski

 

News for Tues 30 June: Newhaven allotments 4pm. two Small Tortoiseshells (one very fresh) and a Red Admiral. (Danny McEvoy)

 

News for Tues 30 June: Took a first ever trip to Southwater Woods today. As well as meeting many like-minded people, also saw all the well reported woodland species, including a Purple Emperor. The P.E. was, however an aberration. It's either an iole or semi-iole. As a very amateur photographer (armed only with a pocket digital), I'm hoping that the more committed among you may also see and photograph it. (Bob Coleman)

News for Tues 30 June: Several Scarlet Tigers have appeared again this year at the rear of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service HQ in Upperton Lane, Eastbourne. Two have been seen this morning basking in the sun (Rosann Miller)


What to look for in July

  • Butterflies: July gathers real momentum on the butterfly front. Heading for their peak are Small Skipper, White Admiral, second brood Small Tortoiseshell, the golden and less-raggedy hutchinsoni summer form of the Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Essex Skipper, Chalkhill Blues and Purple Hairstreak, and, by the end of the month, we can expect the first Graylings, Silver-spotted Skipper, and the next broods of whites, Small Coppers, Brown Argus, Holly Blues and more. By the last week of the month, 20 species on a sunny day should be easy, and 30 species in a day is possible with a bit of planning; in 2006, Michael Blencowe got 31 without using a car (achieved on 29th). Beat that!
  • Moths: The number of moths and the number of species recorded at traps should continue to increase. Common and widespread species include Dark Arches, Shuttle-shaped Dart and the tail end of the Heart and Dart season. Look out for Brown Silver-line anywhere where there is Bracken - it is easily disturbed by day. And Narrow-bordered Five-spot and Six-spot Burnets can be abundant on downland flowers jostling with Marbled White butterflies.

 

Tuesday 30 June 2009

Loads of photos coming in - do scan down to see them inserted next to the sightings they accompany - Editor

On my Steyning allotment I saw two Cinnabar moths and what I think were a couple of Meadow Browns (very fleeting glimpses of these). Also, one Comma showing interest in my Golden Hop, one Large White and one Meadow Brown in my garden. (Sherie New)

We have had a stunningly beautiful Elephant Hawkmoth sitting in our front garden in Brighton enjoying the Sussex sunshine today 30th June 2009. (John & Georgina Bedford)

 

 

A total of 12 White-letter Hairstreak seen flying around elm close to my Brighton home. Of these, very pleased to record 9 individuals on a bank of immature elm to the east of Surrenden Field - a small patch of green running alongside the main London Road (A23) into Brighton. Have scanned these trees in the past but never seen White-letters here before. Seems to be a pattern emerging this year of White-letters favouring younger trees with good leaf coverage. The larger trees still look a bit thin on leaves to me (late flushing!). Also recorded - 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Large White and 1 Large Skipper - the latter tripping gaily down the main road without a nectar source in sight. (Caroline Clarke)

 

Found a Small Magpie in my garden this afternoon at around 5pm in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Had to look it up as I do not study moths and butterflies and it was so pretty. (Beverley Davis) See, even micro moths can be inspiring! Editor

One of the Purple Emperors at Southwater Woods today was so friendly he was "eating" out of my hand. (Susie Milbank)

I went with Andy Stokes to Knowlands Wood about 4 miles N of Lewes. This is a private wood of mainly oak and hornbeam, owned by Nick and Harriet Lear and managed as a nature reserve. It seemed very well managed too with wide rides, clearings and many flowers. The adjoining meadows are part of the reserve as well. Of particular note were 29 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 13 White Admirals, 100 + Marbled Whites and 4 Purple Hairstreaks. Large numbers of damselflies too (Agrion virgo). At least two of the White Admirals were observed egg laying, frequently right near the end of a drooping stem at the edge of a ride. (Tom Ottley)

News for Mon 29 June: Botanising on the roadside bank to the west of Golden Jubilee Way, Eastbourne (between TQ607036 and TQ6615025) today I saw 9 Small Skippers, 14 Marbled Whites, 11 Meadow Browns and 1 Large White. (Roy Wells)

 

News for Mon 29 June: On a perfect summer's evening at about 7:30 we went to Kiln Wood, Blackboys (TQ527203). With a light breeze and the oak trees still in full sun the Purple Hairstreaks were dashing round the tree tops quarelling as usual, sometimes looking pale grey, other times dark against the blue sky. Then later still, at Framfield Rec, with the sun now catching just the tops of the trees there were yet more, dancing in twos and threes and often spiralling upwards in a world of their own. Magical. (Tom Ottley)

News for Mon 29 June: I visited Beachy Head during the evening to look for orchids. I didn’t find the particular orchid I was looking for but it was a beautiful evening and, while there, I saw 5 or 6 Marbled Whites and a dozen or more Small Heaths. (Sherie New)

News for Sun 28 June: I can’t resist adding my tuppence worth about the trip to Botany Bay. I haven’t been on many butterfly conservation walks (this is only my third) so everything that happened seemed normal to me! Five Purple Emperors on the deck within a few hours is normal, right? This was followed by numerous Silver-washed Fritillaries, one of them dancing rings around another in what Neil told me was a courtship dance. I saw quite a few White Admirals, several of them on the ground after minerals. I’ve only seen a White Admiral once before in my entire life and that was a distant and fleeting view. I know that Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals don’t rate alongside Purple Emperors for wow factor to many people but it was special for me. So was the Purple Hairstreak that was found later in the day - as much for the camaraderie of the group helping each other to get great photos as for anything else (though I have to say I’ve never seen a Purple Hairstreak before either). What a great trip for new species this was for me. The Slow-worm was also a real treat and I later saw a fox running for cover after it spotted me on the track. I think, all in all, the beauty of the surroundings, the great company of like-minded people, seeing Neil work his bag of tricks on the Purple Emperors and the wonder of butterflies flitting around everywhere is what made this day special. Whenever I meet people now I tell them they should join Butterfly Conservation and come along on its walks, not just because of the butterflies but because of the people that make up its membership – thanks everyone, you make it all such great fun. (Sherie New)

Beautiful Purple Emperor shot , one of Neil presumably working his bag of tricks!, and the gathered group - all photos Sherie New.

 

News for Sun 28 June: The 'Members Only' BC walk to Botany Bay will remain a happy memory for the rest of my life! 8 of the 20 participants had never seen a Purple Emperor before, but they were about to witness the sort of thing that even the most seasoned butterfly-watchers can usually only dream about. At 8.55am I lay down a couple of my (VERY) smelly 'Hau Loc' belachan baits, right by the car park. At 8.58am a pristine male Purple Emperor descended to feast on the rancid shrimps. The group slowly approached the butterfly, until it was surrounded by a ring of very happy snappers. From then on things just got better and better! Between 9am and 12pm (the end of the 'official' walk) the group witnessed a total of 5 scale-perfect male Emperors on the ground. Some of them visited us more than once. Nick Linazasoro walked a little further along the path, seeing an additional 2. Those that stayed for much longer (it was difficult to leave!) saw another, different individual in another part of the wood, making an incredible total of 8 perfect PEs on the deck! Later in the afternoon several of us got up close and personal with a male Purple Hairstreak, giving a rare photo opportunity. The woods were alive with White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Large Skipper and Ringlet. Other butterflies included Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Comma, Red Admiral, Painted Lady and Large White. It was very rewarding to see so many huge smiles and I would like to thank all those that have sent me such kind Emails since. I don't think I'm the only one that left with such happy memories of a wonderful day. (Neil Hulme)

 

Neil's photos of Purple Emperor and two of Purple Hairstreak male, and below Purple Emperor by Nick Linazasoro

    

   

 

News for Sun 28 June: Crowlink Transect: Marbled White (47), Meadow Brown (67), Dark Green Fritillary (5), Common Blue (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Painted Lady (1), Red Admiral (1), Speckled Wood (1), Small Heath (12), and Silver Y (1).(David Jode)

 


Monday 29 June 2009

 

I suspected that the small brown butterflies blown about in the breeze of the last few days were Gatekeepers, but a female settled for confirmation for my first definite of the year. On the Adur Levels, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moths visited Tufted Vetch, for my first record in 2009. Eight butterfly species were recorded near Shoreham in the late afternoon, including a Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell over Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham. (Andy Horton)

 

Abbots Woods – hot! In one area which was cleared about 5 years ago there were lots (over 30) of what I think were small skippers but could be Essex skippers. They were very busy and only a couple settled, long enough for me to know they were not the same as the large skippers I had admired yesterday. Later, at the ‘fritillary clearing’ there were hundreds of ‘black butterflies’. Some were male Meadow Browns (and there were a very few females, too), but I had seen 3 Ringlets earlier so watched this bunch until a couple landed long enough for me to identify for sure that they were Ringlets. I have no idea what proportion of the rest were Ringlets or male Meadow Browns. Also several Large Skippers; three ‘large fritillaries’, occasional whites (small, I think). Elsewhere, a scattering of faded Painted Ladies. All the butterflies were very active. (Susan Suleski)

On a very hot morning on the downs south of Firle the White-letter Hairstreaks were very active indeed. I counted 21, all males I believe, mostly way out of range of the camera but just one came down a bit closer. (Tom Ottley)

We are continuing to monitor the conservation grassland field at Keymer, site of the extensive Painted Lady egg-laying at the end of May, and further surveys have been carried out yesterday and today. The field is 68250 sq. metres of which 4750 sq. metres is thistle cover. Painted Lady larvae (below) are now abundant and highly visible, varying in size from the smallest found at 11mm to the largest now fully grown at 32mm - the majority of larvae are around 20-25mm at present. Counting of larvae isn't easy due to uneven distribution of larvae across the thistle areas, and some areas are now looking brown and decimated with considerable numbers of larvae on the ground moving to fresh feeding areas. The heaviest density of larvae is across 625 sq. metres of thistles averaging 35 larvae per sq. metre (c.22000 larvae), medium density across 300 sq. metres averaging 20 larvae per sq. metre (c.6000 larvae), and a further c.10500 larvae across 1500 sq. metres of thistles. The remaining 2325 sq. metres of thistle cover in the field hold no larvae at present. (Malcolm Le Grys).

 

My first Marbled White this afternoon in my Storrington garden. (Martin Kalaher)

News for Sat 27 and Sun 28 June: I ran my 15W actinic Skinner trap at Home Bottom (TQ463040), a plantation of English Elm on the Downs between South Heighton & Firle. My target species was Clouded Magpie, but none turned up. I recorded a modest 23 species: Barred Straw (1), Garden Grass-veneer (7), Clay (1), Fern (1), Buff Ermine (1), Brown-line Bright-eye (2), Light Brocade (1), Large Yellow Underwing (12), Heart & Dart (3), Rustic (5), Dark Arches (13), Mottled Rustic (2), Smoky Wainscot (5), Yellow-tail (1), Crambus perlella (2), Scalloped Oak (1), Lackey (4), Buff Arches (1), Uncertain (3), Peach Blossom (1), V-pug (2), Common Wainscot (1), and Dusky Brocade (1). When collecting the trap from amongst the Elms the following morning (28th) I was very pleased to count 12 White-letter Hairstreak. In what was a busy day, I then did my transect walk on the Downs behind Denton and saw: Large Skipper (28), Large White (3), Small White (12), Common Blue (1), Red Admiral (3), Painted Lady (4), Small Tortoiseshell (4), Dark Green Fritillary (2), Marbled White (91), Gatekeeper (5), Meadow Brown (49), Small Heath (9), Cinnabar (1), Six-spot Burnet (1), and Silver Y (1). (a tired Steven Teale)

 

News for Sun 28 June: This morning at the start of a hot day I headed off to Botany Bay (Oaken Wood, in Surrey near the Sussex border). The target of Neil Hulme’s Butterfly Conservation walk was the Purple Emperor. I walked from the car to the meeting point and found people photographing a White Admiral on the road, a good start. A few minutes later Neil called us over to his PE bait (smelly Shrimp Paste) to see the first of five Purple Emperors before noon. The most prolific species today was the Ringlet, followed by Large Skippers, Meadow Browns, Commas, Marbled whites, a female Brimstone, Common Blue, Silver-washed fritillary, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns. A large Slow-worm was a welcome change on the path. The highlight was a Purple Hairstreak, freshly hatched this morning. Neil declared the day his best walk this year. (Colin Knight)

 

News for Sat 27 June: On Saturday we ran a couple of MV traps on the edge of Amberley Wildbrooks, one out in the open next to a water- filled ditch and another in a section of mature woodland. The night started well when the enthusiastic land owners provided Pimms and Danish shortbread and it got even better as night fell and the moths started flying. Amongst the 400 plus moths of 74 species the most interesting was the micro moth Nascia cilialis which is a Nationally Scarce A moth of fenland which feeds on sedges. Nationally Scarce B moths included 30 Dotted Fan-foot, 2 Great Oak Beauty and a female Festoon. Other moths included 15 Elephant Hawkmoth and 1 Small Elephant Hawkmoth, 1 Silver Hook, 2 Blotched Emerald, a pristine Large Emerald, 20 Smokey Wainscot, 40 plus Striped Wainscot, 1 Swallow-tailed Moth, 2 Buff Arches, 5 Rosy Footman, 3 Red-necked Footman, 1 Four-dotted Footman, 2 Dingy Footman, 1 Buff Footman, 1 Common Footman, 3 Beautiful Hook-tip, 1 Coronet, 5 Lobster Moth, 2 Small Angle Shades, 1 Pale Prominent, 2 Burnished Brass, 3 Scorched Wing, 19 Peppered Moth, 1 Peacock Moth, 1 Herald, 7 Buff Tip, 3 Green Silver-lines, 2 Miller, 1 Dot Moth, 2 Engrailed, 1 Swallow Prominent, 8 Clouded Border, 1 Pine Carpet, 1 July Highflyer, 1 May Highflyer, 2 Purple Clay, and 3 Lozotaeniodes formosanus. Although the traps were fairly close to one another each trap attracted the moths typical of the habitat with very few overlapping species and early in the evening we observed a couple of bats hawking midges just above the woodland trap. The traps also attracted 4 male Glow-worm and one inquisitive deer before we packed the traps up at 3:30am! (Dave and Pen Green)

 

Photos from the night: Clockwise: Nascia cilialis, Red-necked Footman, Silver Hook and Rosy Footman

 

 

 

News for Sat 27 June: After many years searching for the 'holy grail' of butterflies, my wife and I were very fortunate to bump into Neil Hulme at Southwater woods yesterday. Due to his expertise and local knowledge Neil pointed out 2 Purple Emperors in a very short time in the tree tops, that were flying around chasing any bird that dared to venture near them. We also saw a rather unusual Silver-washed Fritillary (an ocellata aberrant, below) which again was pointed out by Neil. Our thanks go to Neil for making a summer afternoon that extra bit special. (Chris and Juliet Moore)

 

 

News for Fri 26 June: We ran a Robinson trap at the foot of the Newhaven cliffs (TQ448000) on Friday night as part of a wider survey of Castle Hill LNR in Newhaven that is being undertaken this year. The target species was Dolicarthria punctalis (Long-legged China-mark). In four hours thirty minutes we recorded 67 species, the most interesting being Dolicarthria punctalis (4 - the first arriving less than ten minutes after lighting up!), L-album Wainscot (7), White Satin Moth (1), Brussels Lace (1), Kent Black Arches (3), and Phylctaenia perlucidalis (Fenland Pearl). This latter species was most unexpected and eclipsed the excitement of recording punctalis. The Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre had a single moth record for this site prior to this year, but the species list has now grown to around 150. (David Harris & Steven Teale)

 

 

Sunday 28 June 2009

 

Below: Privet Hawkmoth, Shoreham Beach, 26 June (John Maskell); 2 Silver-studded Blues, Iping Common, 27 June (Polly Mair)

 

 

Purple Emperors (Andrew Burns and Neil Hulme) and White Admiral ab. obliterae, all Southwater Woods, 27 June

 

 

Visited from Essex today. Wandered Southwater Woods this morning and found two Purple Emperors in the same tree. These two seemed to be feeding on sap on the trunk on a large isolated tree in what I believe is Middle Wood, unsure as not familiar with the site. Both of what appeared to be males were often side by side and did not move away from the tree the whole time I was there, at least two hours. They never had any come down to the ground which is why I stayed with them so long which was frustrating. Also seen around the wood, 8 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 9+ White Admirals, 2 Comma, many Ringlets and Meadow Browns, a female Purple Hairstreak in the sallow beneath the Emperor tree, and several Small and Large Skippers.

Cissbury Ring early during the afternoon had 10+ Dark-green Fritillaries, most highly mobile, 5 Painted Ladies including one in good nick, 20+ Marbled Whites, 3 Large Whites, a worn Common Blue, 8 Small Heath, 2 Small White, 12+ Small Skippers, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Small Copper, several Large Skippers, 2 Red Admirals, many Meadow Browns, numerous Cinnabars and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

As a question is there any particular place within Southwater Woods that is favoured by the Emperors, where they come down. There were few places that I could fine that seemed damp enough. Today was a recky for three of us visiting here next weekend for the Emperors so any suggestions would be welcomed. (Steve Arlow)

Southwater woods - Many White Admiral 20+, some mating (as they do). Also Purple Emperor (all dog fighting high in canopy). Six or so at Magelands, Two at the car park and one at Dogbarking. Also Silver-washed Fritillary (didn't see any of the aberrant forms) and a glut of Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, and Ringlet. A sole Red Admiral was drinking the sweaty stuff that seeped out of a fresh fox poo. Nice. (Danny McEvoy)

Cissbury Ring 2pm - 4pm. 10 species seen, highlights of which were 10 Dark Green Fritillary, 8 Marbled White, 1 Small Copper, 3 Painted Lady and numerous Small Heath. (Matt Farmer)

Gallops area above Butchers Hole CP, hot and sunny. My car had been indisposed so I had been unable to visit Friston Forest for almost two weeks. Key butterfly changes in that time: lots of female as well as male Meadow Browns, lots of Small Heaths, lots of Marbled Whites, no ‘blues’ anymore. Every patch of flowering bramble along the gallops had at least one large skipper defending it, and on some patches there were several, including pairs. Also saw 6 Gatekeepers (my first) on the brambles; several faded Painted Ladies and one very fresh looking; a Clouded Yellow (I assume) speeding down the gallops; 1 Red Admiral. As I was about to leave the area, a flock of at least 10 butterflies came swirling by: Meadow Browns? Marbled Whites? (they were simply black against the bright sky and moving fast). (Susan Suleski)

 

News for Sat 27 June: Southwater Woods 1.30pm - 3.30pm. 14 species seen, highlights were 5 Purple Emperor on or around a master tree, 8 White Admiral, 2 Purple Hairstreak, 20+ Silver Washed Fritillary, 2 Small Skipper, 1 Painted Lady. (Matt Farmer)

 

News for Sat 27 June: Southwater Woods continued to produce the goods today and I'm pleased to say that at least 5 people were lucky enough to see their first Purple Emperor - of which I counted a total of 10 individuals in various parts of the complex. I bumped into quite a few fellow enthusiasts today, but the highlight for me came soon after meeting up with our Branch Accountant Andrew Burns. I had already seen one male briefly on the ground, when a different individual came down to entertain us for a full 40 minutes. At one point it decided to check out the quality of my moleskin trousers, providing a nice backdrop for Andrew to photograph it. These woods are throwing up a quite unprecedented number of aberrant forms this year - I've never seen anything quite like it! Today I saw my fifth (different) obliterae White Admiral and a much more extreme ocellata Silver-washed Fritillary (well spotted Ian Barnard) than the one I've seen previously. (Neil Hulme)

 

News for Sat 27 June: Marbled Whites on roadside bank, Pevensey By Pass (TQ604048) (Roy Wells)

 

News for Sat 27 June: Can anyone explain why this year's Small Tortoiseshells are using much older, taller nettles to oviposit on or is this just a local phenomenon? Watched four engaged in active egg laying today and all were shunning quite suitable short young nettles nearby. Curious. (Dave Harris)

 

News for Fri 26 June: Four of us took an MV trap down to the vegetated shingle to the west of Shoreham Fort. It was an interesting mix of species that we encountered, the best being the Nationally Scarce B micro moth Dolicharthria punctalis which feeds on dead or decaying leaves. We recorded 26 species and there were also a few micros we could not identify. From the varied list of moths that we encountered, and considering that Shoreham Beach does not have a wide range of habitats available, it seems fair to assume that some of the below species were immigrants. All moths were caught between roughly 11pm and 1am. Species found included 7 Dark Arches, 9 Heart and Dart, 2 Large Yellow Underwing, 5 Elephant Hawkmoth, 1 Privet Hawkmoth, 1 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Brown Tail, Peppered Moth, L-Album Wainscot, Peach Blossom, 2 Green Oak Tortrix, 4 Diamond Back Moth, a pristine July High Flyer, 3 Clay, 2 Lunar Underwing and the Scots Pine feeding micro Lozataeniodes formosanus. (Dave & Pen Green and John & Shena Maskell)

News for Thurs 25 June: Dark Green Fritillaries at Foxhole, Exceat (TV522984) and Friston Forest (TV53669907) (Roy Wells)


Saturday 27 June 2009

 

Today I went to Iping Common for the first time. What a fabulous place! I am used to seeing about 4-6 Silver-studded Blues at my local patch of Ashdown Forest. I must have seen 500+ Silver-studded Blues at Iping (I actually lost count at 200); once the sun became hot they seemed to be all over the short, younger heather plants. Other butterflies included: Silver-washed Fritillary (1) by the car park, Marbled White (1), Red Admiral (2), Ringlet (4), Painted Lady (3), Large White (9), Large Skipper (12) and Meadow Brown (26). (Polly Mair)

My first Small Copper this year in my Storrington Garden (settled on Sorrel, so probably laying eggs). Iping Comon; somewhere in the region of 200 Silver-studded Blues. It would take a concerted effort to produce an accurate number but it would not surprise me if there were 300+. The epi-centre was the tumulus at Trotton/Iping Common. Some on Stedham Common. My congratulations to the conservation team that 'makes this happen'. Also Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown. West Dean Woods: Comma (1) (Dr Martin Kalaher)

News for Thurs 25 June: Afternoon - a brief visit to Splash Point Seaford produced a considerable quantity of Large Skippers, two Painted Ladies - one almost transparent with wear, a Red Admiral and my first Marbled White of the year. (Bob Brown)

 

Recent news: A quiet week for butterflies in our East Dean garden (TV561985). A few each of Small Tortoiseshell, faded Painted Lady, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Large and Small White. The highlight therefore must be a single Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on purple sage on Monday 22nd June. (David Jode)

 


Friday 26 June 2009

 

Had a brief stroll around the shores of Ardingly Reservoir this afternoon with my son Lucas (he had an "Inset" day from school). It was cloudy at first and very little was flying, it was ten minutes before we even saw a Large White. Later the sun came out and the clover was suddenly alive with Meadow Browns (we lost count of their numbers) but amongst them we also saw 5 Ringlets at least 20 Large Skipper and about 5 Small Skipper. I was expecting to see Burnet moths but none seemed to be around, the only moths we did see were countless Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana), Common Marble (Celypha lacunana) and Lucas's razor sharp eyesight spotted a Triple-stripe Piercer (Grapholita Compositella) which is the first time I've seen this species. (Bob Foreman)

 

Large Skipper and Ringlet, Ardingly Reservoir,26 June (Bob Foreman); Small Skipper, Southwater Woods, 25 June (Neil Hulme)

 

 

Dogbarking Mastertrees, where the Purple Emperors dogfight, Southwater Woods, 25 June (Neil Hulme), and Grapholita compositella, Ardingly Res, 26 June (Bob Foreman)

 

 

I took a day's annual leave from work today so wasn't going to let the forecast of rain and thunder get in the way of trying to see and photograph the butterflies of Southwater Woods! Luckily the cloud gave way to some warm sunshine and the Purple Emperors (2) appeared (thank you Neil) though they were flying too high to photograph. Also White Admiral (18), Silver-washed Fritillary (6), Marbled White (1), Purple Hairstreak (2), Comma (3), Painted Lady (1), Red Admiral (1), Large Skipper (7), Large White (9), Green-veined White (5), Speckled Wood (3), Ringlet (25+) and Meadow Brown (30+). An unexpected 14 species, despite the weather! (Polly Mair)

 

Very muggy conditions with occasional bursts of sunshine on our transect walk today at Bedelands Farm , Burgess Hill, species seen; Large Skipper 8, Large White 1, Small White 1, Common Blue 5, Red Admiral 1, Painted Lady 4, Comma 6, Speckled Wood, 4 Meadow Brown 466, Ringlet 132. Total 628 butterflies, 10 species. (David Pyle)

I just returned from two hours at Mill Hill. At the bottom I saw one Comma, many Small Heaths and a Gatekeeper. At the top another Gatekeeper, Speckled Woods and a Small Tortoiseshell. (Colin Knight)

A 150 metre stretch of thistle strewn pathway (outskirts of Storrington) had a minimum of 9 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Painted Lady, several Meadow Brown and a Small White. My garden today, Large White, Small White, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper and a minimum of 70 Six spot Burnet. (Dr Martin Kalaher)

Some nights you put the trap out and in the morning all you find are a couple of species and a demonstration of the multitude of different colours and stages of wear that Heart and Dart can be found in. Last night was not like that! We had the most moths in our trap ever, around 310 Macros, and the most species we have ever had, around 55, and nearly all of these appeared between about 12:30 am and 3:30am, when we brought the trap in due to the threat of a thunderstorm. Pride of place went to the squadron of 5 Privet Hawkmoth and 5 Elephant Hawkmoth that managed to make it into the trap, we have never had more than a single Privet Hawkmoth before. Heart and Dart and Dark Arches dominated but some of the other moths included single Peppered Moth, Scarce Footman, Blackneck, Clouded Silver, Angle Shades, Peach Blossom, Fan-foot, Light Arches, Silver Y, L-Album Wainscot, Drinker, Buff Tip, Broad-barred White, Mullein Wave and Scorched Wing. (Dave and Pen Green)

News for Thurs 25 June: I had a real thriller of a night in Friston last night – and I have declared it my best night since I started mothing in late 2006. On the drive into Friston the air was filled with moths – they were everywhere. Elephant Hawkmoths were flying into the windscreen (but bouncing off unharmed!). I stopped the car a few times and found that many of the moths in my headlights were the rare Olive Crescent. I started the traps at 11pm and headed home on a calm, muggy evening. I returned at 4:00 the next morning in the middle of a thunderstorm. The traps were full with moths, the sides of the traps were covered and moths were everywhere on the grass and bushes – I have never seen so many – several hundred I would estimate. It was impossible to count them so I just recorded the species. There was something in there for everyone; Rarities (38 Olive Crescent!), Big colourful moths (25+ Elephant Hawkmoth), Rare Migrants (Rannoch Looper) and many moths which were new to me (Lilac Beauty, Brindled White-spot, Plain Golden-Y) and to top it all off sat on top of the trap was my favourite moth - The Lappet. Here’s the full list (although I’m sure there were many more that I missed): Dot Moth, Brindled White-spot, Rannoch Looper, Lilac Beauty, Common Footman, Double Square-spot, Common Rustic, Scalloped Oak, Brown Rustic, Fan-foot, Small Fan-foot, Lackey, Marbled White-spot, Broom Moth, Ingrailed Clay, Pale Oak Beauty, Plain Golden-Y, Vines Rustic, Uncertain, Pine Carpet, Sycamore, The Flame, Flame Shoulder, Olive Crescent, Lappet, Light Emerald, Buff-tip, Pale Tussock, Mottled Beauty, Snout, Elephant Hawkmoth, Buff Arches, Riband Wave, Lobster Moth, Clouded Silver, Small Phoenix, Brimstone, Green Pug, Red-necked Footman, Lesser Swallow Prominent, White Ermine, Clay Triple Lines, Coxcomb Prominent, Peacock, Privet Hawkmoth, Willow Beauty, Common Marbled Carpet, Heart & Dart, Large Yellow Underwing, Shears, Heart & Club, Grey Arches, Minor sp., Green Silver Lines, Clouded Border, Treble Lines, Dark Arches, Barred Red, True Lovers Knot, Poplar Hawkmoth, Silver Ground Carpet, Pine Carpet, Peach Blossom, Burnished Brass, Cinnabar, Angle Shades, Scorched Wing, Small Angle Shades, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Brown Silver-lines, Straw Dot, Small Square Spot, Small Elephant Hawkmoth. Quite a spectacular night - I wonder if I’ll ever beat it? (Michael Blencowe)

News for Thurs 25 June: The moth trap was very good last night at Woods Mill, unsurprisingly as it was so muggy. We had around 300+ moths of some 95 species, several micros yet to be identified but highlights were: Calamotropha paludella (Nb), Kent Black Arches (Nb), Red-necked Footman (Local). Lots of nice Local species like Blotched Emerald, Beautiful Hook-tip, Blue-bordered Carpet, Lobster, Pinion-streaked Snout, Round-winged Muslin. Strangely a very early Vapourer too. (Graeme Lyons, Alice Parfitt and Victoria Hume). Also saw my first Marbled White of the year yesterday at Furnace Meadow, Ebernoe Common. (Graeme Lyons).  'Nb' means Nationally Scarce B, recorded from 31-100 10km squares in Great Britain since 1960. 'Local' speciesa re those recorded from 101-300 10km squares. It's a nice indication of how significant a record is. Editor


Thursday 25 June 2009

 

Six-belted Clearwing at Southwater Country Park today (Jacob Everett) Anyone new to moths, yes, this is a moth! Editor

 

 

White Admiral (semi-nigrina, with some of the white areas cloudy) and Purple Emperor, Southwater Woods, 24 June (David Dancy

 

 

Today I met up with Matthew Oates to watch Purple Emperors on his 'old stomping ground' at Southwater Woods. We saw a total of 8 males, with the best action being at the Dogbarking Master Trees, where 3 of them indulged in spectacular dogfights at about 2pm. White Admiral (including ab. obliterae) and Silver-washed Fritillary (including ab. ocellata) numbers exceeded 20. The first female Silver-washed Fritillary I've seen this year had already found herself a mate. We also saw numerous Comma (including ab. suffusa), a few Purple Hairstreak and my first Small Skipper of the year. (Neil Hulme)

Darwell Wood, East Sussex: This is an interesting site with the best habitat for butterflies probably along the line of the conveyor belt for the gypsum mines. It's the only place I know where Ringlets outnumber Meadow Browns and otherwise has typical woodland species. Small Skipper (2), Large Skipper (8), Purple Hairstreak (2), White Admiral (2), Comma (1), Painted Lady (1), Silver-washed Fritillary (3), Speckled Wood (9), Meadow Brown (25), Ringlet (49). (Tom Ottley)

Not Sussex, but thought you'd like to know that a butterfly not now found in the county, the Heath Fritillary, is having an unprecedented population boom at RSPB Blean Woods in Kent, near Canterbury. One glade alone this week held 1300 of them! Although some of the populations are away from public areas, it sounds like a good chance to go and check them out. Go to www.rspb.org.uk/bleanwoods for access. *Adrian Thomas)

To answer Bob Brown's query about a relatively large iridescent green beetle: It sounds like a Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata) to me. It's Sussex history and current status, including a series of distribution maps, was published in the Hastings & East Sussex Naturalist in 2007. (Colin Pratt)

News for Tues 23 June: Pulborough Brooks RSPB nature reserve: About 50 species in the moth trap including Large Emerald, Bordered Beauty, Peach Blossom, Pebble Prominent, Swallow-tailed Moth, Broom Moth, Dusky Brocade, Barred Straw, Sharp-Angled Carpet and as normal, Numerous Flame, Heart And Dart, Uncertain and Mottled Rustic. Meadows Browns are abundant around the trail now, small/essex skippers are starting to appear, lots of tatty Painted Ladies are still around, and there seems to be a decent scattering of Small Tortoiseshells. (Pete Hughes)

 


Wednesday 24 June 2009

An Essex Skipper was seen at Southwater Country Park today and a few Marbled White have been seen here over the last few days. Also, as I arrived at work (Warnham LNR) yesterday (23rd), I noticed a moth flying around the lower limbs of a Cherry tree. I chased it for a while until it eventually landed and to my surprise found it to be a Red-necked Footman, a new species for the site! (Sam Bayley)

At least two White-letter Hairstreaks at ground level in Pavilion Gardens, Brighton (below), today at 2.30pm on exactly the same patch of Goldenrod as in previous years (must be the same butterflies!). They also nectared, although less avidly, on white Astrantia. Fascinating to see them flying about at ground level, all dark chocolate on the upperwing it appears. One determinedly set off back for the Elm tree directly north of the Pavilion, and I saw another flying across the path outside the museum, heading for the grand old Elm by the Indian gate. I love the whole 'false-head with false-antennae' anti-bird strategy hairstreaks have going on at the rear of their wings (Adrian Thomas)

I visited Southwater Woods between 10.45am and 2.15pm and was delighted to find a Purple Emperor on the path of the "Sallow Ride" at 11.30. Unfortunately it took off as I approached, so no photo. (Vince Massimo)

Today our Garden Project in Seaford was visited by a Meadow Brown and a Red Admiral. (Bob Brown)

This afternoon the white Jasmine flowering in our garden was visited briefly by our first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year. Sorry, no photo, have you seen how fast these guys move!? In previous years we have been interested by the way they always seemed to arrive in the garden from one side of the house and leave out the other side; same route every visit. Happy butterfly and mothing! (Sophie May Lewis)

Had an excellent morning at Southwater Woods and saw many butterflies including high numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals. Highlights were a male Purple Emperor on the ground and a White Admiral aberrant semi-nigrina. (David & Molly Dancy)

Firle: On the downs south of Firle, a total of 15 White-letter Hairstreaks in two separate colonies. Males seem to be establishing territories deliberately near to others just so they can have a fight! Also seen driving off Speckled Woods and bees. Not many photo opportunities here I'm afraid but good for observing typical hairstreak feisty behaviour. Also looked at the many elms around Firle village but no luck possibly due to the windy conditions, also none seen at Glynde today. (Tom Ottley)

News for Tues 23 June: I'm enjoying my first full summer of trapping this year in Denton, and am adding lots of 'first records' to my garden list. Those from the previous two nights include Crambus perlella, Stenoptilia bipunctidactyla, Barred Straw, Haworth's Pug, Magpie, Grass Rivulet, Pale Oak Beauty, Coronet, Smoky Wainscot and Brown Rustic. I believe the Haworth's Pug and Coronet are first records for Newhaven. (Steven Teale)

News for Tues 23 June: The 'Silly Season', the 'Purple Patch' - call it what you will - the Purple Emperor is once again the master of the Sussex skies! A privileged group consisting of Hannah Sandars, Andy Stokes, Tom Ottley and I saw two Emperors in Southwater Woods today. The first was 'on the deck' in the eastern part of Marlpost Woods (11.55), followed by a second male at the Dogbarking Master Trees. Other highlights included an aberrant Silver-washed Fritillary (ab. ocellata) and a pristine, aberrant White Admiral (ab. obliterae, close to nigrina). The latter was first spotted by my father (Eric), who we met unexpectedly later in the day. Despite the untimely cutting of many ride verges, the woods are alive with beautiful butterflies. After such a cold, hard winter we may see a good number of aberrations this summer - look closely at everything! (Neil Hulme)

News for Sun 21 June: Having done the monthly clean-up stint at Tidemills, a number of us checked out some luxurious thistles growing by the Tidemills car-park alongside the A259. One solitary Painted Lady caterpillar was found, otherwise it was all aphids, and ladybirds. A week ago on my alotments I saw an iridescent green beetle fly vertically up from my cultivated raspberries, on inspection it was the size of an old threepenny bit! It absolutely shone in the sunlight. A number of other people have told me they've seen these, what are they? (Bob Brown)


Tuesday 23 June 2009

 

I saw remarkable numbers of Large Skipper during my transect walk today on the Downs above Denton 71! The full list was: Large Skipper (71), Large White (4), Small White (17), Small Copper (1), Common Blue (4), Red Admiral (3), Painted Lady (7), Comma f. Hutchinsoni (2), Dark Green Fritillary (4), Speckled Wood (9), Marbled White (31), Meadow Brown (29), Small Heath (12). Amongst the moths seen on the walk was my first Six-spot Burnet of the year. (Steven Teale)

Visited Birling Gap and walked to the visitors centre at Beachy Head. Conditions were sunny with a light breeze. Along the way counted 17 Dark Green Fritillary (16M + 1F). Also seen were 25 Meadow Brown, 7 Speckled Wood, 10 Small Heath, 2 Marbled White, 1 Small White, 4 Common Blue, 7 Large Skipper, 3 Painted Lady, 3 Red Admiral and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. There were also 3 Cinnabar Moth and many of its caterpillars. (Vince Massimo)

Southwater Woods. Good numbers of summer butterflies in the woods now and numbers should continue to build for a week or two. Halfway round my nearly 6 hour walk I met up with Neil and friends. Highlight for me were the frequent White Admirals whereas for Neil and Andy it will surely be the first Purple Emperor seen in the country this year - which Neil almost trod on! Butterflies seen were: Small Skipper (2), Large Skipper (35), Small White (2), Large White (2), Green-veined White (8), Purple Hairstreak (3), White Admiral (17), Purple Emperor (2), Painted Lady (6), Comma (16) - mostly second brood but a few older specimens hanging on, Silver-washed Fritillary (16), Speckled Wood (20), Meadow Brown (250 +), Ringlet (16). A fine place to spend the day. (Tom Ottley)

'The Brighton Brimstones' had a quick walk around Mill Hill, nr Shoreham (TQ 210 073) - 1 pristine Comma, 3 Meadow Brown, 1 Painted Lady, 5 Marbled White (my first of the year) and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Later, I remembered to look up outside the Co-op in Patcham (TQ 302 086) and spotted a lone White-letter Hairstreak flying around the upper canopy of one of two magnificent English elm I have occasionally scanned in the past but never recorded White-letters. Unfortunately trees right in the middle of the village so difficult to look inconspicuous whilst hanging around looking shifty. Am thinking of making and wearing a sign saying 'am looking for unusual butterfly - not casing the joint'. (Caroline Clarke)

 

Just returned to Sussex last night to see Steven Teale's kind comments re the new Sussex Moth Group logo. As chance would have it, 'the real thing' obliged by turning up in my Ferring trap this morning! (Tim Freed)

 

News for Mon 22 June: Had my first Gatekeeper on the wing at Thorney. (Barry Collins)

 

News for Sun 21 June: I spent the morning at Arlington Reservoir and the rest of the day at Park Corner Heath. At Arlington I saw a dozen or more 5 Spot Burnets, a few tattered Painted Ladies, several Meadow Browns and 6 or more Large Skippers. The site also featured several species of solitary wasps, a Wasp Beetle, Banded Demoiselles and Turtle Doves (heard but not seen). There was also a small moth with a pale patch in the middle of its wings which I haven’t had time to identify yet. At Park Corner Heath I saw two Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. One of these had apparently lost its head somehow. It was sitting with pristine wings folded and able to move about but it had no face at all – a very sad sight indeed. I’ve never seen anything like it before and it was distressing to see. Other sights were better: a deer popping out of the woodland for a nanosecond, several Meadow Browns and Ringlets, a few Slow Worms, Painted Ladies, Large Skippers and 1 Brown Silver-Line. (Sherie New)

 

News for Sun 21 June: On Sunday night we ran a couple of MV traps at Ambersham Common until just after midnight. The evening was exceptionally cold for this time of year and the entire heathland was covered in mist, very beautiful, but not necessarily great for moths! Whilst dusking before setting the traps up we encountered 8 Four-dotted Footman, 4 Common Heath and 3 Brown Silver-line, a species that proved to be relatively abundant later in the evening. Totals from the trap were at least 30 Brown Silver-line, 1 Flame, 3 Large Yellow Underwing, 1 Light Emerald, 1 Satin Wave, 2 Four-dotted Footman, 1 Green Oak Tortrix, 2 Brown Rustic, 1 Striped Wainscot, 2 Dark Arches, 1 Peppered Moth, 4 True Lovers Knot and a fantastic Clouded Buff. Only one micro moth was caught but it was a good looking one, Lozotaeniodes formosanus. (John & Shena Maskell and Dave & Pen Green.)

 


 

Monday 22 June 2009

 

Below: Tom Ottley's cracking shots of a female Purple Hairstreak yesterday, tiny tails intact and wing panels aglow

 

Glynde. Following a tip-off from Paul Johnson I visited the meadow opposite the shop in Glynde village. There are many small and medium sized elms there. After a lot of searching I eventually located a single White-letter Hairstreak. It was completely motionless for at least half an hour but did eventually fly a short distance. Definitely worth a visit on a sunny morning. (Tom Ottley)

Spotted Small Blues (2), Speckled Woods (6) Painted Ladies (5) and numerous whites on a walk on Springfield Hill (TQ065124) (Paula Marshall)

 

Was very excited today to find 9 White-letter Hairstreaks on Brighton elm trees that I have checked in previous years but never recorded any signs of life. All the trees were fairly young elm with good leaf coverage. One tree is within a few feet of my own garden. It is about 30 years old as it grew from suckers from an elm in my neighbour's garden that blow down during the 1987 storm. Interestingly, none were seen on the two mature trees that have had colonies on in previous years. These two trees have poor leaf coverage due to a bumper year for seeds which results in 'late flushing' - something I hope never to suffer from myself - which just means the leaves take longer to come in. Hope I'm not tempting fate to say that it looks like 2009 is going to be a good year for White-letters. See the 'Galleries' page to find out more about tracking them down or email me at communications 'AT' sussex-butterflies.org.uk for info. (Caroline Clarke)

 

A cycle ride from Old Shoreham to Annington Sewer along the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath produced frequent butterflies including at least two of my first Ringlet of the year and six other butterfly species. (Andy Horton)

 


Sunday 21 June 2009

 

On behalf of all Sussex Moth Group members, I would like to thank our member Tim Freed for designing an exciting new logo for the group. The species we chose is the rare migrant Pyralid moth, Evergestis limbata (aka Dark-bordered Pearl), and Tim's excellent artwork has portrayed the moth in fantastic detail. I am very proud to 'launch' our new logo and look forward to seeing it in many situations in the future as it promotes the Sussex Moth Group. Well done and thank you, Tim! (Steven Teale, SMG Chairman)

 

Southwater Woods - Silver-washed Fritillary (about 5), 3 White Admiral, though we weren't there very long. Couldn't go through a field due to a herd of young male Friesians (can farmers do this in a field which has a footpath through it???). Also 4 Comma, loads of Meadow Brown and 15 or so Speckled Wood. (Danny McEvoy and Jasmine)

There were some grey clouds hanging around this afternoon but, whilst surveying private woodlands near Ringmer, there was a definite 'summer flavour' to the butterflies seen. Many were my first sightings for 2009 whilst other were very fresh 'new brood' individuals. White Admiral (5), Ringlet (5), Silver-washed Fritillary (13), Comma (4), Red Admiral (10), Small White (1), Green-veined White (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Marbled White (3), Speckled Wood (2), Large Skipper (8), Common Blue (1), Meadow Brown (many!). The highlight of the day was a freshly emerged female Purple Hairstreak which, instead of taking it's place high in the oak canopy, sat on low vegetation and slowly opened it's wings to reveal the purple upperwing colour - a sight I've never seen before. Painted Lady numbers are starting to build again - with some bright, fresh individuals amongst them. 35 were seen. Is this the start of the second wave of the invasion? (Michael Blencowe & Tom Ottley)

 

A further search this morning through some of the thistles in the DEFRA Conservation grassland field at Keymer revealed several very small Painted Lady larvae, each around 7mm long with a covering layer of silk. As the mass egg-laying took place 21 days ago I had been looking for larvae of larger size, but Colin Pratt advised me that they would probably still be very small so I scaled my sights down - and he was correct! The first thistles are beginning to flower and it was especially pleasing to find 7 Small Tortoiseshells nectaring - perhaps they are indeed having a better time this year - also 5 Painted Ladies and 100 or so Meadow Browns. (Malcolm Le Grys).

 

News for Sat 20 June: afternoon: On a walk over the Downs to the north of South Heighton and Denton, Newhaven, in generally cloudy weather with sunny intervals, the following species were seen: Small Skipper (3), Large Skipper (22), Large White (1), Small White (8), Small Copper (3), Small Blue (1 plus a few eggs), Common Blue (3), Adonis Blue (1), Painted Lady (30), Small Tortoiseshell (5 plus 2 caterpillars), Peacock caterpillars (c.150), Speckled Wood (10), Marbled White (37), Meadow Brown (22), Small Heath (7), Six-spot Burnet (2 caterpillars), Pseudargyrotoza conwagana (Yellow-spot Twist) (1), Celypha lacunana (Common Marble) (2), Plum Tortrix (1), Bramble-shoot Moth (1), Garden Grass-veneer (1), Thistle Ermine (2), Stenoptilia bipunctidactyla (Twin-spot Plume) (1), Common Carpet (1), Yellow Shell (1), Lesser Treble-bar (3), Cinnabar (3), Burnet Companion (3). Our target species (White-letter Hairstreak) was not seen. (David Harris and Steven Teale)

 

News for Thurs 18 & Sat 20 June: The Friston moth trap has been taking me a long time to empty over the past few days - with a dramatic increase in numbers and species. Moths recorded on Thursday 18th and Saturday 20th. Heart & Dart (410 on Thursday night!), Brimstone, Olive Cresent, Scorched Wing, Snout, Pale Tussock, Light Emerald, Orange Footman, Green Pug, Buff Arches, Brussels Lace, Peach Blossum, Angle Shades, Burnished Brass, Red-necked Footman, Small Angle Shades, Scorched Carpet, Clouded Silver, Buff-tip, Peppered Moth, Reddish Light Arches, Flame Shoulder, Smoky Wainscot, White Ermine, Straw Dot, Dark Arches, Treble Lines, The Flame, Green Silver-lines, Clouded Border, Common Marbled carpet, Puss Moth, Small Square-spot, Minor sp., Blotched Emerald, Heart & Club, Large Yellow Underwing, Clay Triple Lines, Light Brocade, Ghost Moth, Coxcomb Prominent, Buff Ermine, Small Fan Foot, Riband Wave, Bright-line Brown-eye, Shears, Grey Arches, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Double Square-spot, Privet Hawkmoth, Lobster Moth, Willow Beauty, Mottled Beauty, Common Wainscot, Iron Prominent, Cinnabar, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Galium Carpet, Common White Wave, Shoulder-striped Wainscot, Barred Red, Elephant Hawkmoth, Vines Rustic, Rustic, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Small White Wave, Common Swift, Coronet, Alder Moth, Ingrailed Clay, Swallow Prominent, Four-dotted Footman, Specatcle, Birds Wing, Small Elephant Hawkmoth, Sharp-angled Peacock. I'm going to need to get some more egg boxes. (Michael Blencowe)


Saturday 20 June 2009

 

News for Fri 19 June: Thirteen species of butterfly were seen on a visit to Lancing Clump where I discovered my first Small Skipper of the year as well as occasional Large Skippers. (Andy Horton)

 

News for Fri 19 June: Bedelands Farm Transect: Large Skipper 12, Common Blue 10, Painted Lady 18, Small Tortoiseshell 3, Comma 12, Speckled Wood 2, Meadow Brown 339, Ringlet 6. Total 402, butterflies, 8 species. (David Pyle)

 

News for Fri 19 June: Pevensey Levels. The numbers this year of species seen at this site compared to previous years are very low and not one definite sighting of the Wall brown this year so far. Most of the Painted Ladies I saw today (14) were small and very pale coloured, not like those seen during the influx a few weeks ago. (Roy Wells)

 

News for Weds 17 June: Elephant Hawkmoth found in stupor on shop front at High Salvington at 07:30 (TQ 120 066) (Peter Atkinson)

 

Recent news: Is the much reported decline of the Small Tortoiseshell being reversed? Many recent reports on the website include it, and I have seen Small Tortoiseshells regularly over the past fortnight in my garden and particularly an adjoining field (just South of Heathfield) - maximum number 11 on Tuesday 16th. I have also seen it at Lullington/Friston, Abbott's Wood and Arlington Reservoir, also in April at Harrison's Rocks. (John Kerby)


 

Friday 19 June 2009

 

I had a four-hour wander around the south side of Friston Forest today; despite a cloudy and blustery day, the sun came out for lots of short spells: Dark Green Fritillary (8, below left), Red Admiral (2), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Painted Lady (9), Speckled Wood (28), Meadow Brown (13), Large Skipper (16), Small Skipper (1), Marbled White (9, below right), Small Heath (11) and Common Blue (1). (Polly Mair)

 

 

Looking for Small Tortoiseshells again between Littlington and Alfriston as well as my annual hunt and waste of time looking for the elusive White-letter Hairstreak this morning I was rewarded with 21 Small Tortoiseshells (below left) and then all those wasted hours over the last 2 years was even more rewarding with at last up to 4 White-letter Hairstreaks on the elms at map ref. 520 020 along the river bank on the Seaford side. With many elms in the vicinity I was always confident of eventually finding some and I'm sure there are quite a few along the tree tops. In amongst all the nettles along the bank there were also many Peacock larvae of various sizes (below right). Also there were good numbers again of Painted Ladies including 1 that looked as though it had recently emerged. (Bob Eade).

 

I spent an hour in the Keyner field this morning examining some of the thistle areas - despite 800-1000 Painted Ladies on and around the thistles on 30 May, and 1300 on 31 May, I was amazed that I couldn't find any larvae this morning. I would have thought it's a little too early for pupation to have begun but maybe it's possible? I suppose there will have been some predation but it was certainly disappointing not to find any larvae. Plenty of Meadow Browns flying around though, 100 or so, and 3 Painted Ladies in flight - rather different to 30/31 May! (Malcolm Le Grys)

News for Thurs 18 June: As the weather was reasonable again this morning, we decided to visit Southwater Woods "just in case" (to anyone new to butterflies, the 'just in case' is how eagerly many people wait for the Purple Emperors to emerge - Editor). There were many Meadow Browns in flight, some Speckled Woods, Red Admiral (1), Painted Lady (3), Large Skippers (6+), Small Tortoiseshell (2+), a very fresh White Admiral nectaring on bramble flowers and at least 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries (2 having a dogfight in one of the rides). There were also many Azure Damselflies (some busy egg laying) on one of the small ponds. A quick visit to Marlpost Woods on the way home yielded 3 Painted Ladies and hordes of Meadow Browns. The owners of the overhead power lines have been in this winter and cleared the trees back - whether this will have any effect on the other butterfly species there remains to be seen. (Chris and John Hamilton)


Thursday 18 June 2009

 

RSPB Pulborough Brooks: Around 60 species came to the mothtrap last night, including at least 8 Blotched Emeralds, Obscure Wainscot, Bird's Wing, Large Emerald, Beautiful Hooktip, Clouded Silver, Swallow-tailed Moth, Marbled White Spot, Lobster Moth, Green Pug, Light Arches, Elephant Hawkmoth, Barred Red, Sharp-Angled Carpet and numerous Heart And Dart, The Flame and Mottled Beauty. (Anna Allum, Alice Parfitt, Pete Hughes and Paul Spiers)

 

A view you don't normally get of Cream-spot Tiger, Thorney Island, 23 May, and Lime Hawkmoth, Meon, 29 May (Chris Watts)

 

News for Sun 14 June: On Sunday during late morning I visited Iping Common (SU847220) to look for Silver-studded Blues. I covered a lot of the paths on the common during my two and a half hour walk and was not to be disappointed! Silver-studded Blues seem to be found almost everywhere where the heather was in flower. I also saw my first Large Skippers of the year feeding on bramble blossom. In the damp areas dragonflies and damselflies were flying including Broad-bodied Chasers, Four-spotted Chasers and Large Red Damselflies. A most interesting find was the Field Cricket - Gryllus campestris. My count was: Large White (1F), Brimstone (1M), Meadow Brown (3), Painted Lady (3), Silver-studded Blue (9F 99M) and Large Skipper (3). (Richard Symonds, Hayling Island)


 

Wednesday 17 June 2009

 

Last year we were proud to announce that the Scarlet Tiger was again resident in our county. The last Sussex colonies were recorded in the 1920s and since then we had been tiger-less while neighbouring Hampshire and Kent both hosted the species. The discovery of the moth in Friston and Eastbourne in 2008 has been documented and I'm pleased to report that the Tigers have returned again in 2009. The gardens of Eastbourne are again home to colonies of this moth and now Brighton has joined in the fun with reports of Scarlet Tigers from gardens in the Lewes Road area. This week Jane Davey found a pair in her garden and emailed me to say "We're very excited about it and have got my son's friends to keep a look out in their gardens!". make sure you look out for this attractive day-flying moth in your gardens too - wherever you are! (Thanks to Calum Lyle, Jane Davey, Michael Whiting, Robin & Jane and Michael & Angie)

 

Photos Angie Roche (June, Broghton); Andrew Whitcomb (17 June, Brighton); pair Jane Davey (June, Brighton)

 

 

 

Doing a butterfly survey in a private wood near Ringmer resulted in a great day with my 1st White Admirals this year (centre below), 2 seen, also large quantities of Silver-washed Fritillaries inc. newly hatched with wings not properly formed yet. Also a Comma just emerged with the pupae case on the same nettle (you can see the pupal case in the left of the photo below). Its maiden flight was an impressive 50 metres!! Numbers of all butterflies seen were 110 Meadow Brown, 24 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 4 Comma, 3 Marbled White, 9 Painted Ladies, 2 Large Skipper, 4 Ringlet, 2 White Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Large White, 4 Green-veined White, 2 Brimstone and 5 Speckled Wood. (Bob Eade).

 

Pulborough Brooks RSPB nature reserve Large Skippers and Meadow Browns now appearing all around the trail and saw my first Ringlet of the year yesterday. I also saw today several splendid Mullein Moth caterpillars - check the rather battered looking mullein plants on the bank opposite the overspill car park (minding the traffic coming into the car park!). (Pete Hughes)

Recent news: Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve Newhaven during lunchtime visits 16/17 June: 2 Speckled Woods , a few scattered Small Heaths , Large Skippers in small numbers widely scattered , 8-10 freshly emerged Small Tortoiseshells , a few widely scattered Common Blues mostly very tatty, zero Painted Ladies but they have certainly bred on the plentiful thistles here, a disappointingly low number circa 5/6 Meadow Browns and 3 Marbled Whites all close to the entrance at Denton Corner . Seven Sisters Country Park on Sunday 14th produced nothing special except for a caterpillar which would appear to be that of a Bergers Clouded Yellow . I have been trying to find an alternative similar moth caterpillar but without success. (Mark Senior)

News for Tues 16 June: 1 Silver-washed Fritillary in a wood near Plaistow (Margaret Hibbard)

News for Tues 16 June: A quick one hour trap at Mill Hill LNR, to test a newly serviced generator, elicited single Small Elephant Hawkmoth, Elephant Hawkmoth, Barred Yellow, Drinker, Light Arches and Marbled Coronet and five Flame amongst 19 species. (Dave and Pen Green)

News for Weds 10 June: Silver-washed Fritillary at the outdoor classroom/event area in Brede, a good advert for Brede High Wood, especially as SWFs preferred habitat is wide rides and sunny glades (per Steve Wheatley)

News for Thurs 4 June: 1 female Wood White in at Ebernoe. (Margaret Hibbard)


Tuesday 16 June 2009

 

Walked a chunk of the South Downs Way from Southease up to Beddingham Hill and back. Butterflies on the tops between Itford Hill and Beddingham Hill (around TQ 447 056): 3 Painted Lady, 5 Common Blue, 13 Meadow Brown, 2 Small Heath, 1 Large White and 1 Small Blue. At least 6 Small Tortoiseshell on huge patch of thistles near Southease Station (TQ 434 054). (Caroline Clarke & Davina Colmer)

 

Birling Gap TV5595. Dark Green Fritillary 6. Horseshoe Plantation TV5695 Small Heath 5. Speckled Wood 4. Meadow Brown 1. Large Skippers 7 (Janet Richardson)

 

Birling Gap to Shooters Bottom. Only 4 Dark Green Fritillaries were seen and even more surprisingly only 1 Marbled White were seen. Other notable butterflies were 17 Common Blue, 9 Small Heath, 8 Meadow Brown, 4 Large Skipper, 5 Speckled Wood, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Small White and singles of Painted Lady, Small Copper and a very tatty and late Dingy Skipper. I then popped into Butchershole Bottom in Friston Forest and walked up into the Forest from the gallops. Along the forest edge there were very large numbers of Large Skipper, approx 30 along this area, also 1 more Dark Green Fritillary and another Small Tortoiseshell. Also several Common Blues and Small Heaths. (Bob Eade).

A single Purple Hairstreak seen briefly at Woods Mill today at 14.15. (Graeme Lyons)

News for Mon 15 June: A Scarlet Tiger was in Brighton (Andrew Whitcomb)

 

News for Sun 14 June: Visited Ashdown Forest - Old Lodge for Silver-studded Blue..but no such luck..just a couple of Meadow Brown and I managed to id 3 moths (Common Heath, Plain Wave and Clouded Buff). Very few butterflies about, strange. Went on from Old Lodge to Pooh Sticks bridge (with my 8 year old) which was host to 3 Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies. (Danny McEvoy)

 


Monday 15 June 2009

 

Recent photos added in their relevant positions (sorry for the delay due to 'complications'!). Do scroll down to see the past week in technicolor - Adrian

 

News for Sun 14 Jun: A brief, late afternoon walk through Southwater Woods produced my first Silver-washed Fritillary of the year at TQ13942549 (below right). Also seen were 30 Meadow Brown (below left), 8 Speckled Wood, 6 Large Skipper, 2 Comma (summer, hutchinsoni form), 1 Red Admiral, 1 Green-veined White and 1 Painted Lady. (Neil Hulme)

 

News for Sun 14 June: A Hummingbird Hawkmoth in a neighbour's garden in Storrington yesterday. Approx 8 Large Skipper in my meadow and a very large number of 6-spot Burnet (they also appeared yesterday). Otherwise, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood in the garden. (Dr Martin Kalaher)

News for Sun 14 June: There was an emergence of Silver-washed Fritillary today in private woods near Ringmer. Six were seen. Some were taking their first, short tentative flights after emergence whilst others had obviously got the hang of flying and were gliding powerfully around the rides adding a beautiful flash of bright orange to the woodland. Also seen Meadow Brown (68), Painted Lady (10), Speckled Wood (4), Large Skipper (5), Small Tortoiseshell (1) Brimstone (2). Although we didn't make it to the dragonfly event we were treated to a beautiful Golden-ringed Dragonfly. (Michael Blencowe and Dave Mitchell)

 

 

News for Sun 14 June: In field at Wellbrook, Mayfield, SW of the village, saw Grizzled Skipper, first ever for me in the village. Also, several of the day-flying Chimney Sweepers. (Richard Penticost)

 

Recent news from Mill Hill:

Sunday 14 June: Privet was flowering in profusion. Another noteworthy observation was a nest of the Common Wasp, Vespula vulgaris, in a small hole and scores of wasps were seen entering and leaving in a few minutes, until I felt it was too dangerous to stay around. I debated about the significance of such a large congregation of predators on the caterpillars of the butterflies? Ten butterfly species were seen on a sunny day including a Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell on Mill Hill.

Saturday 13 June: On a humid warm Saturday, I detoured a route that took me from the Buckingham Cutting along the linear path on the southern side of the Slonk Hill Cutting I spotted my first three Large Skippers of the year, 100+ Small Blue, at least two tatty male Common Blues and a few male Meadow Browns. There were nine butterfly species seen.

Friday 12 June: On the Coastal Link Cyclepath just south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham, the flying insect fluttering and being blown about in the breeze was not a butterfly but a Banded Demoiselle damselfly. I recorded my first Meadow Brown of 2009 over the Coastal Link Cyclepath on a cycle ride to Botolphs. It was a male with its all brown markings. My first of the year Six-spot Burnet Moth was one of two on Creeping Thistle at the back of Dacre Gardens next to Anchor Bottom, Upper Beeding. Wild Mignonette hosted a dozen Small Blue and one male Common Blue in the same area. (Andy Horton)

 


Sunday 14 June 2009

 

Afternoon walk at Amberley Wildbrooks looking for dragonflies and butterflies and saw 2 Large Skippers, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Painted Ladies, 3 Meadow Browns, and 12 Small Tortoiseshell amongst the brambles (Mark Bloss)

 

My first Marbled White of the year in Poverty Bottom (near Denton, Newhaven). Also 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Painted Lady, Common Blue and Red Admiral. (Peter Whitcomb)

2 male Adonis Blues sighted in a small hollow on north facing but sunny slope at Ditchling Beacon. First time ever sighted so very pleased. Also 2 small hairstreaks in same area. Couldn't tell if male or females Unfortunately didn't have camera with me. (Vince Webb)

On my Denton transect today (12.00-13.30) I saw Large Skipper (31), Large White (1), Small White (9), Green-veined White (1), Small Copper (1), Small Blue (4), Adonis Blue (2), Common Blue (10), Red Admiral (1), Painted Lady (8), Small Tortoiseshell (6), Speckled Wood (4), Marbled White (1), Meadow Brown (13), and Small Heath (15). Amongst the moths were Yellow Shell, Alabonia goeffrella (Common Tubic), Galium Carpet, Silver Y, Burnet Companion, Lesser Treble-bar, Agapeta hamana (Common Yellow Conch) and Cinnabar, including some first instar larvae munching on Ragwort. (Steven Teale)

A British Dragonfly Society Sussex Group event at Warnham LNR and Southwater CP today recorded 17 species of dragonfly, particularly of note Brilliant Emerald, White-legged Damselflies and Scarce Chaser. Butterflies and day-flying or disturbed moths were also recorded on our walk around, these included 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Meadow Brown, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Common Blue and 1 Large Skipper at Warnham LNR. At Southwater Quarry and environs we recorded 1 Peacock, 1  Large Skipper, 1 Comma, 4 Painted Lady, 3 Meadow Brown, 4 Common Blue, 4 Small Blue and 1 Small Heath, 5 Silver Y, 10 Burnet Companion, 1 Garden Grass Veneer, 1 Rush Veneer, 1 Heart and Dart, 1 Straw Dot and 2 Six-spot Burnet caterpillars. The Small Blue and Small Heath were both new species for Southwater Quarry West Meadow, much to Sam Bayley’s delight! Thanks to Sam for being a great host and for showing us the ‘hot-spots!’ (Pen Green)

9 Silver-studded Blues (7 male, 2 female) seen today at Kingstanding in Ashdown Forest. (Steve Wheatley)

 

3 White-letter Hairstreak on the 'Preston Twins' (English elm) in Preston Park, Brighton today - my first of the year. Also 1 Red Admiral and several whites. (Caroline and Edward Clarke)

In a meadow Glynde was the unusual sight of a Small Blue laying eggs on Birds-foot Trefoil. Presumably she knew what she was doing but the recognised foodplant is of course Kidney Vetch! On the downs near Firle Beacon were Marbled White (1), Dark Green Fritillary (1), Small Skipper (6), Large Skipper (4), Small Copper (6) and Red Admiral (2) being the best of the bunch. Nice to see good numbers of Meadow Browns again too. (Tom Ottley)

I spent the afternoon and evening at Park Corner Heath yesterday. While I was there I saw the following species… four or more Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (below), 1 Brimstone caterpillar, 2 or 3 Large Skipper, at least 3 Silver Brown-line and 2 young adders. There were several species of dragonfly too, including Emperor, Broad-bodied Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer and Ravens could be heard calling in the evening. My thanks to Dave and Michael Blencowe for showing me around, I wouldn’t have seen half the things I did see if it wasn’t for their kindness in doing so. For most of the day the fritillaries were in flight and would not settle but I met up with a few more interested people in the evening and they spotted one settled so I even managed to get a photograph or three. What a beautiful and quiet site Park Corner Heath is, long may it continue so. I admire your work up there folks and your enthusiasm is infectious J; it was great to meet you. I’m buying a moth trap today – Actinic Robinson probably - (yippee!). (Sherie New)

Walked from Birling Gap to Shooters Bottom this morning and saw 1 Small Blue, 3 Dark Green Fritillaries, 6 Common Blue, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and numerous Painted Ladies, though very tatty. Also a Red Kite flew east and 3 species of Orchid were seen. (Matt Eade)

 

News for Sat 13 June: For quite sometime Alice Cragg of WoWo campsite has been asking me to come and run a moth/butterfly event so yesterday, when I spotted a waether forecast for a potentially good mothing night, Clare and I rollled up our sleeping bags and headed out for some in-tents mothing action. WoWo is a friendly family campsite very close to Sheffield Park and this morning I opened the moth trap in front of a group of eager campers and children (including one lad who was a little too keen and ended up in the trap itself). Buff-tips, hawkmoths, ermines and prominents kept the crowd entertained. My favourite was the fantastic Great Oak Beauty. Thanks to Alice and WoWo campsite for their hospitality and for making a generous donation to Sussex BC (Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers)

 

 

Recent news: Over the last few nights our Mill Hill MV moth trap has turned up some interesting, for us, species. These have included Toadflax Brocade, Yellow Belle, Purple Bar, Treble Brown Spot, Marbled Carpet and a very worn and small Netted Pug. We also caught a micro moth that after quite a bit of searching through literature and websites turned out to be a Juniper Webber, Dichomeris marginella, which feeds unsurprisingly on Juniper but is usually not flying until July. Additional species have included Elephant and Small Elephant Hawkmoth, Privet Hawkmoth, Shark, Mullein Wave, Small Dusty Wave and Marbled Coronet. During the first 5 months of 2009 we caught a surprisingly small variety of moths so it is good to see the number of different species picking up. A number of the Treble Lines we have been catching have been very dark coloured indeed without any obvious lines, and Green Oak Tortrix have been the most prevalent species with a maximum of 36 in our trap on the 10th, but none on the 13th. (Dave and Pen Green.)

 


Saturday 13 June 2009

Storrington: My first Small Heath this year (2 Parham Glider field and one in my garden). Small Tortoiseshell (1), Common Blue (3) (I haven't seen a female, as yet, in 2009), Peacock (3), Meadow Brown (10), Speckled Wood (2). At least 5 Large Skipper in my garden (looking good for this species this year). Incidentally, I didn't see a single Small Heath last year and the Painted Ladies seem to have vanished (for now). Slightly surprisingly, not a single 'white' butterfly. (Dr Martin Kalaher)

I spent three hours at Woods Mill (SWT Reserve) this morning: Large Skipper (12), Common Blue (2), Brown Argus (1), Meadow Brown (5), Speckled Wood (7) and Large White (1). Two hours of the walk was spent watching 30+ Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moths emerging (below), and immediately mating, in the top meadow. (Polly Mair)

 

 

Along the Cuckmere River south of Arlington 6 Small Tortoiseshells seen. Also 4 Painted Ladies , Small Copper, Small Heath, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood, Common Blue and a large nest with 100s of Peacock larvae (below) (Matt and Bob Eade).

 

 

Every year we leave a square metre or so of nettles in one corner of the garden (in Lindfield) in the hope that it might attract something more than the usual aphids, preyed upon by hungry Ladybird larvae and Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) moths (below left) without much luck. This year however the patch has come up trumps with a whole load of Peacock caterpillars in residence (more than 100 in three separate groups), not only a wonderful sight but valuable proof of how worthwhile it is leaving a small patch of the garden to go a little wild (below right). (Bob Foreman)

 

Downs Link Dismantled Railway (TQ3918 19467) near Partridge Green. A perfect condition Huchinsoni Comma seen by Neil Hulme, Plenty of Large Skippers, whites, lots of Speckled Woods, a Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and an old Peacock. It is probably the latest I have seen a hibernated peacock and earliest I have seen a Huchinsoni Comma. (Crispin Holloway & Neil Hulme)

News for Friday 12 June: Kingston near Lewes (TQ391086). 1 Large Skipper, 2 Common Blue (M&F), 2 Small Blue, 2 Painted Ladies, 1 Speckled Wood, >4 Meadow Brown. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Friday 12 June. I have now moved over the border to Surrey (sorry) and am busy exploring the nearby North Downs, so my Sussex reports will not be as frequent. However I managed to get to Park Corner Heath between midday and 3.45 and counted approximately 8 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (below). There were also 6-8 Painted Lady, 5 Large Skipper, 3 Meadow Brown, 1 Speckled Wood and a Brimstone caterpillar together with an adult male. Also flying were 5 Broad-bodied Chaser, 2 Black-tailed Skimmer, 2 Emperor Dragonfly and a Blue-tailed Damselfly. (Vince Massimo)


Friday 12 June 2009

 

Walking along the Cuckmere, looking for dragonflies would you believe, I saw more Small Tortoiseshells (double figures) than I've seen in the whole of the last 2 or 3 years. So looks like they will be having a good season (John Luck)

A beautiful walk upon Harting Down, West Sussex today. The down today was awash with Common Spotted Orchids and Narrow-bordered Five-Spot Burnet moths (below far right). Other species we found amongst the long grass, Birds-foot Trefoil, Clover, and Buttercups included: one Dingy Skipper (photo below centre left), a few Common Blues, a single Green Hairstreak (photo below centre right), a Burnet Companion (below left), only a couple of Painted Ladies, a Meadow Brown, a Speckled Wood, and several groups of Small Heath. Also a female Nemophera degeerella Long Horned moth to match the male seen at Stanmer Park on Sunday! Yesterday, our neighbours pond was the stage for a host of both Large Red and Common Blue damselflies, mostly in linked pairs, a Broad-bodied Chaser and a Four Spot Chaser. Our bee nest box now has approx 30 holes filled by several very busy bees, and our foxgloves are still full of various bumblebees. (Sophie May Lewis)

On a lovely sunny day it really felt like summer at last with my first Marbled Whites 6 (below), and Ringlet 1. Also Large Skippers 6, Common Blues 9, Small Blue 1, Adonis Blue 1, Meadow Browns 7 ,Painted Ladies 3, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Small Heath 8 on my walk at Bevendean midday. (Geoff Stevens)

Paragon Field, Wannock: at least 6 Common Blues; one Painted Lady. (Susan Suleski)

Transect Details, Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. Large Skipper 2, Green-veined White 1, Common Blue 49, Painted Lady 7, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Speckled Wood 1, Meadow Brown 95. Total 156, 7 species. (David Pyle)

News for Thursday 11 June: While at a habitat management meeting on private land, with Estate representatives and Simon Mockford of the South Downs Joint Committee, we were amazed to see 5 Duke of Burgundy butterflies. This is very late in the year for the species; I finished my annual Sussex survey before the end of May! Although they were very faded, torn and barely recognisable, they were still picking fights with anything else with wings. Its gutsy character is one of the many endearing things about 'the Duke' - a species that we must save from extinction at all cost. Also seen was my first Meadow Brown of the year. Later in the day I started seeing them everywhere I went in ones and twos. In the same way that the Orange-tip marks the beginning of spring for me, the Meadow Brown marks the start of summer. Expect the Meadow Brown 'avalanche' over the weekend! (Neil Hulme)

 

News for Thurs 11 June: Abbots Wood: over 30 male Meadow Browns dashing around over a small patch of bramble on the edge of a clearing; 6 Painted Ladies together in another clearing; several scattered Speckled Woods; one Small Tortoiseshell. (Susan Suleski)

 

News for Mon 8 June: After the excitement of the last weekend, it was interesting to see in the morning of the 8th July (Monday) a freshly emerged male Brown Argus in the butterfly haven at Dorothy Stringer school (TQ 30920 07226). We have no Rock-rose and the only geranium so far recorded is Geranium pusillum??? It certainly looked very fresh and suggests that they have started to breed at the site. (Dan Danahar)

 


 

Thursday 11 June 2009

Today, although overcast and very windy, walked to Deepdean (Windover Hill). Pleased to record, Large Skipper (17), Small Blue (15), Small Heath (15), Common Blue (11), and 1 each of Wall Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Green Hairstreak and my first Dark Green Fritillary of the season. (Bob Coleman)

Walked up my road in Brighton delivering flyers for the Big Biodiversity Butterfly Count (Brighton and Hove butterfly survey 4th to 12th July - more details on the website shortly) and saw 4 Painted Lady and 2 Large White. Sparrowhawk lurking overhead. Also, 2 Speckled Wood, 3 further Painted Lady and numerous whites in my friend's garden nearby. (Caroline Clarke)

News for 31 May 2009: Reading some early June sightings, I just want to add another sighting of a Rannoch Looper. One was caught in a moth trap at Icklesham, East Sussex on 31 May 09. (Phil Jones)

Recent news: The first Small Tortoiseshell in our East Dean garden (TV561985) this year on Friday 4 June followed by other singletons on 6 and 7 June. (David Jode)


 

Wednesday 10 June 2009

 

We have many enquiries from members asking where they can buy plants to attract butterflies into their garden. This weekend Mike Mullis is having a plant sale at his flower barn near Herstmonceux church. Mike says "I have plenty of butterfly and moth-friendly native plants and shrubs for sale this coming week-end ... both nectar sources and food-plants such as Bird's Foot Trefoil, Devil's Bit Scabious, Lady's Bedstraw, Rock-Rose, Ox-Eye Daisy and Ragged Robin to name but a few. I also have a few potted Buckthorn and Blackthorn shrubs remaining, some Wild Hop plants and even a couple of Small-leaved Lime. There are lots and lots of 'meadow pots' available ....... mixed wild flowers with occasional grasses - a wild flower meadow in a pot. My common spotted orchid glade is also in full flower now so if anyone wants to try and count them all ........ good luck !" Directions: The Wild Flower Barn is located in Church Road, near Herstmonceux, East Sussex (Church Road is just east of the village off the A271, sign-posted to Herstmonceux Church). Drive south-east down Chapel Row/Church Road for approx 1 miles. The Wild Flower Barn is on the left-hand-side of Church Road (opposite 'Milland') just after the road reaches its lowest point mile before the Church. Look out for a tarmac track by an aluminium farm gate which opens outwards towards the road and is propped open with a post ! The track rises 50 metres steeply uphill to the barn where there is limited parking and turning space in front of the wild flower banks and plant-benches. Or contact Mike on 07932 683245

 

Despite overcast conditions I saw my first Ringlet of the year while at a habitat management meeting in Rewell Wood this morning. Overcast conditions never did bother the Ringlet! (Neil Hulme)

 

 

Pyrausta aurata (Small Purple & Gold) in my bathroom in Lewes this morning. Also saw a Buff Ermine on a wall as I walked to my car. (Steve Wheatley)

News for Tues 9 June: Transect walk at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill , weather cloudy and cool. Common Blue 5, Meadow Brown 1, Painted Lady 1. Continues the disappointing counts so far recorded this year. (David Pyle)


Tuesday 9 June 2009

 

Since the emergence of Small Tortoiseshells I have been trying to get to the most reliable area on my patch for these between Alfriston and Littlington on the Seaford side of the river bank. I made it today, however the weather was very much against butterfly watching. However at the Alfriston end I did see 3 immaculate Small Tortoiseshells flying amongst the enormous amounts of nettles. The weather was so against me these are the only butterflies I saw all afternoon except for 1 Common Blue that was roosting in the field behind the house!! I am sure that with better weather many more Small Tortoiseshells would have been seen. (Bob Eade).

 

Our outside lights in Ringmer attracted Yellow Shell and 2 Udea olivalis (John Luck).

News for Mon 8 June: An afternoon outing on an overcast day on the southern side of Buckingham Cutting, the small blue butterflies amongst the Brambles were all Small Blues and the estimate was 75+ in this small area. My first Marbled White Butterfly of the year made a sudden appearance. There were eight species of butterfly seen in an hour on a cloudy afternoon including frequent Speckled Woods in Buckingham Park, Shoreham, and a Wall Brown on Mill Hill. (Andy Horton)


 

Monday 8 June 2009

 

Below: 6 June: Dan Danahar and the Dorothy Stringer Butterfly Haven and recording group (left), and (right) the expression you make when you find out that the haven you created has been colonised by Small Blues, beyond your wildest expectations (photos by Pen Green)

 

   

 

Dave Harris addressing the SDJC volunteers at Castle Hill NNR, 6 June; and Neomorpha degeerella with its inconceivably long antennae at Stanmer Park, 7 June (Sophie May Lewis)

 

A brief visit to Park Corner Heath today produced the following. Up to 10 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, 2 Large Skipper (below), 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Brimstone and 3 Painted Ladies. (Bob Eade).

 

 

Above Sompting at Steep Down I found 4 Small Blues at TQ 168,077. Also 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Large Skipper, 2 Common Blue and numerous Painted Ladies. (Matt Eade)

 

News for Sat 6 June: A beautiful male Purple Hairstreak was a very welcome visitor to our centre at RSPB Pulborough Brooks on during our Springwatch event. The butterfly flew through our open doors and settled on our picture window, before we gently escorted it off the premises and onto a nearby oak tree. Lots of people managed to get great close up views of a butterfly which I've only seen fluttering around high up in the tree canopy before. Fantastic! (Anna Allum)

 


 

Sunday 7 June 2009

 

Kingston near Lewes (TQ391086). 1 Large Skipper, 2 Common Blue (M&F), 1 Brown Argus, 1 Small Blue, 2 Painted Ladies, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Meadow Brown. (Crispin Holloway)

A superb male Silver-studded Blue seen at Kingstanding in Ashdown Forest today. (Steve Wheatley)

Springwatch: BC attended the popular Springwatch event in Stanmer Park, Brighton today and set up our stall in the Downland section of the festival. From 9am onwards we were visted by a constant stream of keen naturalists of all ages. Some marvelled at the selection of moths displayed by the Sussex Moth Group (while we marvelled at the patience of Sam Bayley and Alice Parfitt from the SMG who took time to explain in depth all about the moths to the hundreds of children who came to the moth table). Meanwhile BC committee and volunteers were at hand to answer any questions at our stall; the main topic of conversation with those visiting the tent was of course the recent Painted Lady invasion which has really captured everyone's attention. What captured my attention was two more Scarlet Tiger sightings from Brighton reported by people visiting the stall. Neil Hulme lead two walks into the surrounding Parkland where Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and, inevitably, Painted Lady were seen. After a busy day of venison burgers, sheep shearing and samba drumming we packed up and headed home as the heavens opened. Thanks to all who helped on the stall today; Neil Hulme, Clare Jeffers, Dan Danahar, Colin Knight, Bob Brown, Crispin Holloway and especially Caroline Clarke who sorted everything out. (Michael Blencowe)

In our back garden today, with varying temperatures and rain. Red Admiral 1,  Hummingbird Hawkmoth 1, both feeding on Red Valerian. (Ron & Brenda Elphick)

 

News for Sat 6 June: Castle Hill National Nature Reserve: Later in the year, as part of this years South Downs Small Blue Survey, the South Downs Joint Committee volunteers will be helping create the chalk downland habitat vital to this delicate butterfly. So it's only fair that we should take the SDJC up on the Downs to show them this species and learn more about its conservation. Despite the dreary weather a good crowd gathered at Woodingdean and strolled into the valley. Natural England's Louise Parkinson who works on the reserve was at hand to talk about its management and point out some botanical features - the site is marvellous for downland plants. I was worried that we wouldn't see any butterflies but as we reached Castle Hill the sun broke through and we were treated to Painted Lady, Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper, Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Small White, Large Skipper and Small Blue. Dave Harris then gave a fascinating account of the species life cycle and requirements and found their tiny eggs buried in the Kidney Vetch. Thanks to all the SDJC volunteers who attended and to the SDJC's Jan Knowlson for supporting this project (Michael Blencowe & Dave Harris)

 


 

Saturday 6 June 2009

 

Ten of us returned to Dorothy Stringer School Butterfly Haven today (see 5 June news below) and spent the morning recording on the site. Butterflies recorded there during this time included 2 Painted Ladies, 6 Common Blue, 1 Large White, 2 Small White, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Red Admiral. Then much to Dan Danahar’s delight Jim Steedman discovered a Small Blue amongst the flowers, which we later observed egg-laying. This is fantastic news as elements of the butterfly haven have been designed to be attractive to Small Blue and to have them arriving here naturally in the middle of an urban area only a year after its establishment is a real success story. A second egg-laying female was found by Graeme Lyons later in the day. Day-flying moths seen here were Burnet Companion, Pyrausta aurata and Small China Mark, which was next to the pond.

In the afternoon we ventured in to Brighton Wild Park, where we recorded 3 Common Blue, 2 Painted Lady and single Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Brown Argus and Speckled Wood. Day-flying and disturbed moths included 3 Burnet Companion, 1 Crambus perlella, 1 Crambus lathoniellus, 1 Heart and Dart, 2 Mother Shipton, 1 Common Carpet, 1 Straw Dot, 1 Nemophora degeerella, 1 Stenoptilla pterodactyla, 1 Yellow Shell and finally just as we got back to Dan’s house for a nourishing cup of tea, we found a Lozotaenia forsterana in his garden.

Thanks to all who attended the moth evening and SxBRC Recording Day, it was great to see you all. (Pen Green)

 

I have two pots of blackthorn here in Broadbridge Heath on which Brown Hairstreak caterpillars are feeding, as some of you may know. I was pleased to see that today they are starting to head down to the soil to pupate. (Susie Milbank)

 

News for Fri 5 June: The SMG mothing event at Dorothy Stringer School Butterfly Haven last night (5 June) got off to an interesting start with a police ‘drive-by’, enquiring what on earth we were doing, but they were soon distracted by a local incident. The butterfly haven was only created 18 months ago in the middle of the school’s playing field, and is designed to support a chalk grassland community; it has even grazed by sheep! We put one trap in the middle of the grassland area, one by a pond which was created around five years ago, and one in a little copse area. Whilst being shown around the butterfly haven by our host and instigator of the butterfly haven, Dan Danahar, we discovered Toadflax Brocade caterpillars on Common Toadflax and a single Mullein caterpillar on Great Mullein. This was a good start, to see moths on the plants they’re named after!

Twelve people, three traps and twenty species later….

Despite the drizzle we had good numbers of moths coming to the traps, although not a great number of species. Some of the more interesting moths recorded in the evening included single Elephant Hawkmoth, Small Elephant Hawkmoth and Common Swift, 5 Flame Shoulder, 1 Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Small Magpie, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Character, 1 Snout, 1 Shuttle-shaped Dart and 5 Small China Mark. We also ran a couple of bat detectors and picked up a single 45khz Pipistrelle feeding around the buildings. (Pen Green)

 

News for Fri 5 June: Following trapped in North Portslade Garden: Evergestis limbata (Dark Bordered Pearl), Netted Pug, Privet Hawkmoth, Common Wainscot, Heart & Dart, Heart & Club, Buff Ermine, Treble Lines, Knot Grass. (Darryl Perry)

News for Fri 5 June: Several years ago Graham Paris kindly gave me some small Purging Buckthorn plants, I planted some on Bevendean Down and some in my garden at Bevendean. This year the leaves on one of the pants in my garden have been well nibbled and there are at least 6 Brimstone caterpillars feeding (one below). (Geoff Stevens)

Recent news: Earlier this week, as I walked past a clump of erigeron in full flower, at the front of our house situated on the Downs in Lewes, a cloud of Painted Ladies, too numerous to count, flew out. The next morning the same, but since then, nothing. The site is south facing and on each occasion the weather was warm and sunnny. (Doris Richmond)

Recent news: My first Large Skipper (at least two) in my Storrington garden on June 2nd and my first Meadow Brown on June 5th. Just one male Common Blue (present all week), no sightings of any females as yet. (Martin Kalaher)

 

I am editor of the Guardian's environment website. We are running an online call for photographs of butterflies from readers on our website. We are collecting the photos on a flicker group and will ask readers to vote on the best from a short-list of 10 or so. There is no prize as such other than kudos, but I'm hoping it will be a fun way to promote interest in and understanding of butterflies. If you were interested in submitting a photo please follow the link. The deadline for submitting photos is 16th June. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/may/26/wildlife-conservation Many thanks. James Randerson.

 


 

Friday 5 June 2009

 

Here's what's getting the Sussex moth-trapping world excited: Ranooch Looper, 2 June (Caroline Moore)

 

 

Adonis Blues mating and Tortoiseshell, Mill Hill, 4 June (Bob Eade); Speckled Wood, Friston, 4 June (Matt Eade)

 

 

Painted Lady, Arundel, 23 May (Brian Bloomfield); Mullein larva, Keymer, 3 June (Malcolm le Grys) and Cream-spot Tiger, Park Corner Heath, 31 May (Nick Linazasoro)

 

Recent news: Our Mill Hill moth trap has had a good variety of species over the last week or so with between 15 and 25 species a night. On the night of 3 June, we caught our first 2 Small Elephant Hawkmoth of the year and 1 Elephant Hawkmoth, a species that has been present in our garden for a few days now. Only 1 Treble Lines turned up last night, well down on the 5 or 6 a night we were catching last week. We are still finding 2 or 3 Diamond-back Moth in our trap each morning as there have been for at least 10 days now and we caught a very worn L-album Wainscot as well last night which seems very early. Other moths recently have been 4 Grass Rivulet, our first few Large Yellow Underwing of the year on the 2nd, Common Wainscot, a few Common Swift, 2 Poplar Hawkmoth, Peach Blossom, Angle Shades and our first ever Pearly Underwing. Micros we could identify have included Green Oak Tortrix, Bramble Shoot Moth, Udea olivalis, Emmelina monodactyla, Pseudargyrotoza conwagana and Epinotia bilunana. Most frustratingly we caught what looked very much like a male Rannoch Looper a few days ago but dismissed it as not being of that species as it seemed so unlikely! A salient lesson to always take a photo of an unidentified species… (Dave and Pen Green)


 

Thursday 4 June 2009

Having finished work early I called into Mill Hill. There were still plenty of Adonis Blues flying with most males past their best, however the females were still looking good as were a few males. Several were courting and one pair were found mating. Also there were 2 fresh Small Tortoiseshells. Other butterflies seen were Small Heath, 5 Wall Browns, Common Blues, my first Meadow Brown of the year, 1 Large Skipper and 10 Painted Ladies. (Bob Eade).

Quick scout around Green Ridge - TQ 291 086 - in Brighton (lovely strip of chalk grassland to the north of Brighton - a great place to hunt for butterflies with children) produced 2 Painted Lady, a couple of whites and 2 Small Tortoiseshell. The latter were dancing together in a particularly warm and sheltered spot - great to see this once-common butterfly. Numerous Burnet Companion. Also, 2 Holly Blue in my garden. Last week recorded Painted Lady feeding on Astrantia. (Caroline Clarke, Ed Clarke, Alex Colmer)

Along the track above Charleston Bottom next to Friston Forest were 48 fresh Speckled Woods. Also present were 2 Painted Ladies and singles of Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral. (Matt Eade)

News for Weds 3 June: This week walking in the hills of Piemonte, near Alba in Northern Italy. Many Painted ladies about. Yesterday in the small village of Cortemilia in a 50 metre corridor across the village square about a hundred Painted Ladies passed through in 45 minutes in a north-north easterly direction heading for the Alps in the distance. So they are still coming ! (Roy Wells)

News for Tues 2 June: During a dusk walk on the Downs we were lucky to see a Ghost Moth ‘lek’ with 6 males gliding about doing an unusual swaying motion as they went. We managed to catch a male to identify it, and then we caught the female which at first we thought was a different species of moth as it looked so different to the male. They were concentrated above a gorse bush but a couple came down low whilst displaying. Dave and Pen Green.

Recent news: It isn't just Painted Ladies that are invading Sussex in 2009 - over the past few days we've had an invasion of the Rannoch Looper. Admittedly it's not on the same scale as the Painted Lady migration but in the past three days 5 of these orange-brown moths have turned up in recorders' light traps. And considering that it had never been recorded in Sussex before last Sunday - that's a veritable deluge. The first Sussex record goes to Caroline Moore who found one in her trap on Tuesday morning, she found another on Wednesday closely followed by records by Steve Wheatley and John Radford. This morning I found one in my Friston trap - but by then had to settle for a lowly fifth county record. As the name suggests the Rannoch Looper is found in central Scotland but also has populations on the continent and occasionally turns up in Britain as a rare immigrant. (Michael Blencowe)

Thanks for the recent comments about the movement of thse butterflies on from Newhaven (see editorial, 2 June). A large residual population seems to have remained in Seaford, I'm keeping my eyes on any clumps of thistles now springing up. Has anyone found exactly where these giant migrations start from. Someone mentioned the Atlas mountains, why so high up? The butterfly doesn't seem to seek high sites here, quite the reverse. The Monarch swarms have been well-documented and filmed, but I cannot recall seeing anything about our own version of it. Strangely enough our town is filled at present with blooming cordyline palms, which smell wonderful in the evening. The blossom is covered with bumble-bees, in particular the white-tailed bumblebee, but NO butterflies. Is there a reason for this? (Bob Brown)


 

Wednesday 3 June 2009

News for Tues 2 June: On a walk today with the Sussex Wildlife Trust (Eastbourne Group) in the Barcombe Mills area we were pleased to see at least 10 very fresh Small Tortoiseshell on the vast nettle beds. Also, seen Painted Lady, Peacock (1), Large Skipper ( 2), Common Blue, Brimstone (2), Large White and Small White. Good numbers of Banded demoiselle plus Blue-tailed Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, and Large Red Damselfly. (David Jode)

News for Mon 1 June: I have at least a dozen Painted Ladies in my garden at West Meads, Bognor Regis; also an Orange-tip and yesterday a Holly Blue. (Julie Insull)

News for Mon 1 June: Crowlink Transect: Common Blue (23), Painted Lady (2), Red Admiral (1), Speckled Wood (1), Small Heath (4), and Silver Y (3). (David Jode)

News for Mon 1 June: Michael Whiting from Eastbourne reports that the first Scarlet Tiger has emerged in his garden. I'm hoping to get a few more reports of this beautiful moth from new locations in Sussex this year - so keep an eye out in your gardens wherever you are. (Michael Blencowe)


 

Tuesday 2 June 2009

On the Knepp Estate today (2nd June) my first Large Skippers (5) and Meadow Brown of the year. Out of interest on the Painted Lady story, I was in Snowdonia at the end of last week and saw a number of Painted Ladies on the summits of Snowdon (3560 ft) and Tryfan (3002 ft). (Paul James)

In my neighbours garden in Hampden Park this afternoon Painted Lady 1 and Small Tortoiseshell 1 nectaring on Ceanothus. (Ron Elphick)

 

Movement of Painted Ladies continuing this afternoon across my garden at Keymer - from 4.20 to 5.00 I counted 23 Painted Ladies flying due north within a garden width of 25 metres. By way of a change, a Small Tortoiseshell was a welcome visitor this morning, flying around and basking in the sun. (Malcolm Le Grys).

Seen on a brief walk around Blatchington Reservoir and environs this afternoon. 3 Common Blue, 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Small White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Wall Brown (Chris Brewer)

One week on and what a transformation! A visit to the Hillcrest Centre in Newhaven in brilliant sunny weather with little or no wind, and absolutely NO Painted Ladies! So where have they all gone, died, killed by predators or moved further north? (Bob Brown) It seems that most have moved on north. That's not to say that those that have stayed won't breed up to give us a bumper summer brood, nor that we won't get more invasions later in the summer from the continent - Ed


 

Monday 1 June 2009

 

News for Sun 31 May: Around midday in a temperature of 23C, I spent a half hour walk to Park Hill within Charlton Park Woods near Goodwood (SU896118). Many Speckled Woods were flying. My count was: Brimstone (2M), Green-veined White (1F), Speckled Wood (28), Peacock (1), Painted Lady (only 1!), Cinnabar (4), Small Cream Wave and Speckled Yellow. (Richard Symonds, Hayling Island)

 

News for Sat 30 May: The joint was jumping here in Ringmer on Saturday evening with 35 macro and a dozen micro species in the moth trap. Of particular note were an immigrant Bordered Straw, Scorched Wing (3), our first trapped Cinnabar, Pine Carpet, Elephant Hawkmoth (2) and Eyed Hawkmoth (2). Also of interest were Gold Spot, Heart & Club, Mottled Rustic and the micros Scoparia pyralella, Diamond-back Moth, Green Oak Tortrix (2) and Small Magpie (3) (John Luck).

 

News for Sun 24 May: 2 Cream-spot Tigers in Upper Beeding, West Sussex (Matt Musgrove)

 

Recent news

Sunday 31 May - Newpound Common/Lording's Lock area (near Billingshurst following Wey/Arun canal walk) Again at least 6 Painted Lady, 1 Brimstone (male), 1 Small Copper, 1 Comma, 2 Peacock, 1 Orange-tip (male), 1 Small White

Saturday 30 May - Wolstonbury Hill Numerous Painted Ladies feeding on Sainfoin (on the bank to the right) as you go up the hill. Also about six blue butterflies - I think they were Common Blues. The occasional white butterfly.

Saturday 23 May - Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve Probably about 6 or so Painted Lady.

Tuesday 19 May - Rye Harbour Nature Reserve Numerous Painted Ladies - noticed that the reserve has a large valerian plant population so perhaps this is the attraction for them! Fox Moth caterpillars - saw two sitting on ivy (tree stump not far from visitor centre). One was about 6cm in length, very torpid - maybe ready to pupate? I had heard they can be large caterpillars but this was the largest I had ever seen.

Garden - Steyning Just to add we have seen Painted Ladies in the Garden - I don't think we have seen them here before. Since the beginning of the season we have seen: Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone, Small White, Orange-tip, Comma, Common Blue (we always have quite a few each year). In a reasonably good year we get 11-12 species and for moths used to be regularly visited by Humming Bird Hawkmoths (feeds on the Soapwort which we grew specifically to attract it and Nepeta in the garden). Sadly not seen for the last two years but gather few have been seen during this period. (Marie Chesham)

 


What to look for in June:

  • Butterflies: As summer progresses you expect butterfly numbers to grow and grow, but June is in some ways a bit of a lull before the fireworks. It is the tail-end for many spring-flying broods, but at least we have the fun of hunting down the first sightings of many summer species. 2008 first records to this website in brackets. Watch for the first
  • Marbled White (8 Jun)
  • Ringlet (11 Jun)
  • White Admiral (11 Jun)
  • Silver-washed Fritllary (14 Jun)
  • White-letter Hairstreak (16 Jun)
  • Dark Green Fritillary (17 Jun)
  • Purple Hairstreak (23 Jun)
  • Purple Emperor (24 Jun)
  • Gatekeeper (27 Jun)
  • In June Large Skippers and Silver-studded Blues will reach their peak. 
  • Moths: With many more moth species on the wing, it becomes more likely that you will find interesting species attracted to house lights and so resting on the outside of windows or around porches. Probably the most abundant species coming to garden traps will be the Heart and Dart, where even traps in small gardens can expect to turn up dozens. Day-flying moths to watch for include Speckled Yellows in woodland, and Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton and the common burnet moths in good numbers.

Earlier Sightings

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