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 - unusual sightings, together with the sender's email address, will be forwarded to the County Recorder. If you do not wish to be contacted further about your records please add the words 'NO CONTACT' after your email.

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Friday 30 April 2010

We saw 7 Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries at Abbott's Wood today, in less than ideal conditions - fine but windy. Some migrants seem to have been arriving here; we saw 4 Red Admirals and 1 Painted Lady. Also 3 Orange Tips. (John Kerby)

Abbot's Wood - Pearl-bordered Fritillary (6) (above, left and centre) on main ride only, Orange Tip (2), Peacock (2).
Frog Firle area - Holly Blue (3), Red Admiral (min 14), Peacock (2), Green-veined White (2), Orange Tip (1), Speckled Wood (6) (above, right), Large White (1). (Andrew Burns)

My first sighting of a Red Admiral, this year. Despite the breezy conditions, this one managed to find a sheltered ride along a blackthorn alley at Burnt House Brooks. It alighted on a bramble bush, allowing just a single long distance shot before taking off (John Luck)

News for Thursday 29 April: During a pleasant walk in the Friston Forest area (much better than going shopping - anyway, my wife would rather I wasn't with her!) I spotted the the following:
(TQ5452003) 2 Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, and 1 Grizzled Skipper.
(TQ5403087) 2 Small Copper and 1 Brimstone. (TQ536003) 2 Peacock, 1 Large White and 2 Small White (TQ515006) 1 Red Admiral. (Stuart Ridley)

News for Wednesday 28 April: Our Wednesday morning session in the Exchange Project community garden in Seaford was enlivened by the sight of a freshly-emerged Holly Blue, which seemed to be inordinately attached to our flourishing gooseberry bush! It did not seem to seek the flowers but the new stems. (Bob Brown)

Recent News: Sightings in our East Dean garden (TV562984)....
24 April - male Orange Tip
26 April - male Brimstone
28 April - Red admiral, female Brimstone, and two female Orange Tip.
29 April - 2 Green Hairstreak, 1 Small Copper, and 2 male Orange Tip.
After moving here nine years ago our wildlife gardening efforts mean that all these species can now breed in our garden if they choose! (Carole & David Jode)

Thursday 29 April 2010

News for Wednesday 28 April: I spent a very enjoyable day at Rewell Wood in the company of Colin Knight, Tom Ottley, Bob Eade and Jack Harrison from Cambridgeshire. The highlight was 4 Pearl-bordered Fritillary (above), including one female. The degree of wear and tear (from retrospective examination of our images) suggests that they have been out for a day or two here. We also saw Grizzled Skipper (3), Holly Blue (1),Orange Tip (5), Speckled Wood (12), Green-veined White (1), Brimstone (3), Peacock (3) and Comma (1). (Neil Hulme)

For those wishing to visit Rewell Wood to see the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, PLEASE NOTE: Please keep to the bridleways and footpaths and avoid entering into the coppiced areas. There are plenty of Pearl-bordered Fritillary working along the bridleways, giving ample photo opportunities. These are easier to photograph in the late afternoon as it cools down, and the PBFs tend to emerge from the coppiced areas to get the last heat of the day along the tracksides. 'Early' morning (10-10.30am) is also good, while they are still warming up and often nectaring. Rob Thurlow (Forestry Commission) does regular PBF counts for the wood, so there is no need for others to assess the population. If entering the wood from the South (A27), walk through the gate, up the track, then turn left at the bridleway T-junction. You will see plenty of PBFs from the bridleway, a few hundred metres from the junction (SU983078). When parking, having turned off from the A27, please do not park opposite or near the house. Access to the wood is regularly required by large timber vehicles, so please ensure that they can pass freely. It is better to park on the left, up against the wire fence, as these vehicles can pass more easily on the flatter surface to the right. The butterfly can also easily be seen and photographed along the pathway coming up into the woods at Yew Tree Gate (SU994094), from the Fairmile Bottom LNR. Many thanks and happy hunting! (Neil Hulme, BC and Rob Thurlow, FC)

Just a reminder that the new version of the Thomas/Lewington 'Butterflies of Britain & Ireland' arrives in bookshops tomorrow. The original version of the book has to be up there amongst the best books written about the butterflies of our country - and has been out of print for years - so this updated version is very welcome. It's stuffed full of information and as you can see from this photo you get a free child with every copy. Only joking - Rother recorders Stuart and Louisa have had a new arrival of their own recently - William. Congratulations to them both from Sussex BC - as soon as he can crawl we'll get him out doing a transect. (Michael Blencowe)

My first Holly Blue of the year at Billinghurst in a garden TQ087259. Quick flyby to the south side of Cissbury ring, although warm it was overcast saw one very newly emerged beautiful Speckled Wood, one Green-veined White, a Peacock and some more BN Beetles having a lot of fun. TQ1308. Great news at Abbots wood. (Richard Roebuck)

Vines Cross TQ 597180 3 male Orange Tips, 3 White?, 3 Peacocks, 6 Speckled wood. (Janet Richardson)

News for Friday 23 April: On a site with restricted access, I saw my first Duke of Burgundy of the season (photos above). This is a particularly 'early' colony, and it will probably be the first warm, sunny day after a predictably poor Bank Holiday (although the weather forecast is currently good for Monday!), before the species starts to emerge on sites with good public access. I will let you know as soon as this occurs. (Neil Hulme)

Also: A lovely set of behavioural images of Orange-tips by Keith West (27th April). This shows an already-mated female rejecting the amorous advances of a male, and is typical behaviour seen in butterflies of the 'White' family. By raising her abdomen high in the air, she is making 'connection' by the male impossible - a way of saying "no thank you, I'm already spoken for". (Neil Hulme)

Wednesday 28 April 2010

A total of 9 Pearl-bordered Fritillary were seen at Abbots Wood yesterday (Tuesday 27 April) on the first regular transect - probably the first sightings there this year.
The Pearl-bordered Fritillary count was on the up again today at Abbots so a very promising start there before the weather changes later this week.
The Pearl-bordered Fritillary colony which was re-introduced in 2004, has now started to disperse to other parts of the wood. Sightings from elsewhere around Abbots would be much appreciated during the flight period. Although we are aware of most of the key dispersal locations they could still turn up in other new locations this year. Please take a notebook and note exact locations of fritillary sightings and report them to this website. You can use websites such as 'Where's the path' to get accuate grid references. Or draw a map and mark on the date and locations of your sightings and send it to the branch butterfly recording officer.
Just a reminder that Pearl-bordered Fritillary photo opportunities should be possible from certain rides (weather permitting) so please avoid any unnecessary and potentially damaging trampling of delicate off-ride habitats. (Mike Mullis and Stuart Sutton - Wildlife Ranger)

Pristine male Orange Tip in my Brighton garden today. (Caroline Clarke)

Not a bad day for me today. I woke up to find a Barred Tooth-striped resting on my kitchen window. This is the second year running I have recorded this BAP Priority species in my garden, despite searching high and low for it elsewhere - and with little reward!
Out and about I saw my first three Holly Blue butterflies of the year: one at a regular site in Lewes and two in Uckfield. I also saw 1 Green-veined White, 1 Small White and 2 Orange-tip. (Steven Teale)

Busy day today but not that good for sightings. Started out with a visit to Leonardslee gardens TQ223260 spotted 1 male Brimstone, 1 Holy Blue, 3 Speckled Woods, and a number of Orange Tips. On the way home called in to Broadmere Common south of Henfield TQ216151 Speckled Woods and a number of male and female Orange Tips. And finally a quick walk with the dog over Mill Hill Shoreham TQ212072 spotted Peacocks, Speckled Woods, and my first Small Heath of the year. (Alec Trusler)

Tuesday 27 April 2010

My first Small Heath of the year on my Anchor Bottom transect today. Also about 8 Burnet Companion moths, and a good supporting cast. (Jim Steedman)

At last the cool breeze has all but gone and with this I did my usual route from home. Along The Comp the Speckled Woods have appeared with 16 seen. On Greenway Bank a very fresh Dingy Skipper (below, left) posed very nicely as did 2 Green Hairstreaks (below, right) along Frog Firle. All in 57 butterflies were seen including a downland Orange Tip on Greenway Bank. Apart from the usual Small and Large Whites there were 3 Holly Blue, 6 Small Tortoiseshell and several Peacock. I also had my 1st Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly of the year on Frog Firle. (Bob Eade)

In response to your request for Orange Tip information here are three photos taken this morning by a side path from the Comp Track near Seaford. 'Orange tip 1' (above, left) is the sharpest, but the other two are included as they show interesting displays. The precise locality is taken from 'Where's the Path?' website: TQ 49217 02028 50.798604, 0.116048 (Keith West)

Delighted to see my first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year today on my allotment on Whitehawk Hill site at the top of Whitehawk Hill Road in Brighton. I do normally see one or two each spring so had been looking out for one and today there was the tell-tale blur of speed out of the corner of my eye. It was busy round the tops of some goosegrass plants and appeared to be laying eggs on the top whirl of new growth. Now I won't be able to weed up the goosegrass. (Tessa Pawsey)

First visit this year for a quick stroll, not really expecting any thing as it was hazy and only about 15 degrees, but in a short footpath circuit found 7 Peacocks sunbathing. However I did find a large Bloody nose beetle Timarcha tenebricosa and for the first time managed to get a decent pic (above, left), the best way I have discovered is head on as it makes it look like an alien. Shortly after I stumbled upon a very large adder. The book says up to 65cm it was easily this size, as it was quite light I think its a male. But it was beautifully marked. It was off like a rocket when it saw me and I only managed to fire off one picture (but it gives the general idea) (above, right). It was quite feisty and as it was determined to head for a gorse bush directly behind me, it reared up twice "to have a go". So I did a late Steve Irwin impression and quickly skipped aside. Exciting stuff Butterflying. TV5595.
Re. the White-shouldered House-moth - as this is a major textile pest, perhaps they should check their woollens? (Richard Roebuck)

Orange Tip - 1 male & 1 female at TQ 352153 & 1 male at TQ395098 (Tim Duffield)

What a great sunny day, Played golf at Worthing Golf club and spotted 8 Orange Tips, 5 Brimstones, 3 Peacocks. (Alec Trusler)

News for Monday 26 April: Orange tip and peacock sighted map ref TQ255199 (The Simons)

Monday 26 April 2010

We have just started using our 15 watt Actinic Moth Trap and have traped Common Quaker, Early Grey, Double-striped pug, Light-brown Apple Moth, and last night indoors had a White-shouldered house Moth (below). Quite pleased with our first results. (Ron & Brenda Elphick)

Ran the moth trap for the first time in 2010 & trapped 1 each of the following: Double-striped Pug, Clouded Drab, Muslin Moth, Common Quaker, Early Grey, Hebrew Character. (Darryl Perry)

Morning dog walk revealed one comma, 3 male Orange Tips, eggs 3, one Comma, 5 Speckled Woods a single colony web of Brown-tail moth on blackthorn and heard my first cuckoo.TQ200174 next to Betley Bridge.
Shermanbury, one Male Orange Tip TQ2018. In the afternoon went to Warren wood in the car park large patch of garlic mustard with three male Orange Tips nectaring, two Green-veined Whites and a Peacock basking in the sun. Walked around the south facing slopes and saw another 6 Peacocks, one Comma and 10 or more Speckled Woods. TQ1114 (Richard Roebuck)

Nine butterfly species were seen on Monday, the most bizarre being my first Dingy Skipper of the year, which I saw at 10pm at rest on a teasel head. Earlier in the day I saw Small White (4), Green-veined White (3), Large White, Orange-tip (2), Small Tortoiseshell (4), Peacock (4), Comma, and Speckled Wood (2). Most of these were in the Houndean Bottom area of Lewes (TQ3910). Amongst the moths seen were Brimstone (2), Red Chestnut (2), and c.2000 Brown-tail larvae in Rodmell. This latter species seems set for a good year. (Steven Teale)

Saw this (above) while trying to photograph orangetips on worth way, Crawley Down. Not one I normally see round here, and can't identify it. Closest I could guess is a Speckled Wood, but seemed bigger, more peacock size. (Jonathan Ruff) Definitely a Speckled Wood, Jonathan - ed.

Well-marked Hebrew Character in my Lewes moth trap this morning. (Michael Hawkins)

News for Sunday 25 April: Only one Peacock sighting on Pound Common Chailey. TQ375204. (Jon Wood)

News for Saturday 24 April: OK so it's not Sussex - it's Surrey... but worth a mention because it's so bizarre... was busking in Redhill town Centre (I sing and play guitar - check out "the walruswasdanny" on you tube!!) only to see an Orange Tip fly down the high street... I have *never* seen an Orange Tip in a busy town centre before... what with the particular needs of butterflies and how subtle changes in the environment effect them... I wonder if now that Woolies has gone we might see an enormous surge in Orange tip populations within town centres across the county..it was Woolies all along that prevented the Orange Tip from flourishing!! (Danny McEvoy)

Sunday 25 April 2010

This afternoon I had Mill Hill to myself from 1:30 to 3pm, amazing on a sunny Sunday afternoon. There was an abundance of Grizzled and Dingy Skippers and I witnessed fights among two and three individuals, and across species. I estimate I saw 10 of each species plus Peacocks 4 and an Orange tip.
On Saturday as part of the excellent UK Butterflies Photography Workshop organized by Pete Eeles, Gary Richardson & Lisa Baker-Richardson we visited Danebury Hill where Neil Hulme found a Green Hairstreak, my first sighting of this wonderful creature. (Colin Knight).

News for Saturday 24 April: Spent a very enjoyable day in Northwest Sussex on Saturday. In the morning I visited Lodsworth (surely the quaintest village in the county) and joined Rich Howarth of the West Weald Landscape Project to give a talk at Lodsworth Village Hall on the butterflies of that area. In the afternoon I lead a walk around Lodsworth recording butterflies in the local tetrad. In the evening we went 'big game hunting' at the SWT's Ebernoe Common reserve looking for the Sloe Carpet moth. This moth may not be much to look at but it is a real rarity in the UK and holds UK BAP priority status. It was last recorded in Sussex in 1997. After an hour of searching we located a moth flying above a hedge, we fixed our collective torch beams on it, it slowly descended and we were able to catch it - to our amazement it was a Sloe Carpet! (above) It was great to see it and good to know it is still a Sussex resident. I went home and celebrated with a glass of gin. (Michael Blencowe)

On a circular walk from North Stoke to Burpham to The Burgh we saw 12 Orange Tips, 13 Peacocks, 2 Speckled Woods, 6 Brimstones, Green-Veined White, 1 Comma and 1 Small White. I also saw a Holly Blue + a Small White. (Ellie Corrigan)

Records for April 24th. The four year cumulative total for my Storrington garden stood at 28 species until yesterday when I was able to add Green Hairstreak. This is a species that I am not especially familiar with and initially when it fluttered up in front of me I thought it might be a Small Copper. I had disturbed it whilst walking round my flower meadow (apart from a few Cowslips and a single Pasque plant nothing else is in flower, as yet). However, it was very obliging. It flew up and alighted close by 4-5 times and at one point I was able to check it out just two feet away. It kept rubbing it swings together exposing a tiny part of the upper wing. After a few minutes it flew towards the house and probably alighted in one of the shrub beds. I didn't see it again after that.
My garden is located on the southern edge of Storrington and is approximately one mile from Kithurst Hill. With Marbled White, Grizzled Skipper and Small Blue also on the garden list I am beginning to think that any butterfly species recorded at Kithurst Hill is quite likely to pay our garden a visit. It also makes me wonder if most species of butterfly are prepared to disperse a lot more than is generally thought.
Also, Green Veined white and Holly Blue (both the first date for the garden this year), Large White, Small White, Brimstone, Peacock, Comma and Orange Tip. Nine species in the garden. Not bad for April. Have also had recently Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood. I was out all day today, so I had no opportunity to check if it came back. I have found at least a dozen eggs of Brown Hairstreak in the garden and I will be looking forward to seeing the caterpillars in the next week or so. (Dr Martin Kalaher)

Saturday 24 April 2010

TQ698077 2 male Orange Tips. (Janet Richardson)

Several sightings of Orange Tips in Graffham garden today. (Tracey Carr)

10 SmallTortoiseshells, 6 Peacocks, and 8 Small Whites all between 1:30 and 2:30pm today along the East side of the Rife in South Ferring (Colin Knaggs)

Sightings while out Badgers Set surveying in and around Plumpton Parish.
Orange Tip: TQ358164,TQ363132, TQ363131 and 10 male and females in Warningore Wood TQ382141.
Peacock: TQ370152, TQ363131, TQ358164, TQ382141, 3 together TQ367129, TQ383147.
Brimstone: TQ363131, TQ365129.
Speckled Wood: TQ379151, TQ371145.
Also spotted my first Red Kite over the Parish... (Jonathan Wood)

Witherenden Hill. Nr Burwash Tetrad TQ6226
TQ634266 Pound Bridge 1 Peacock
TQ626266 Hare Holt 4 Orange Tip
TQ622267 White's Wood 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Brimstone, 1 Green-veined White.
Witherenden Hill. Nr Burwash Tetrad TQ6424
TQ643251 Brock Wood 1 Orange Tip
(Roy Wells)

Male Orange Tip in Poynings TQ260118 and a newly emerged Streamer Moth, Anticlea derivata in the garden at home in Henfield. (Richard Roebuck)

Woods off Spithandle Lane after about 3.30 had a good long circular walk I saw 15 Male Orange Tips, may be more but I had to stop counting when I back tracked to avoid duplication. 7 Speckled Woods, 5 Small Whites one Green-veined White, one Comma and one Red Admiral (hooray) which was in good condition and very flighty especially when attacked by the Speckled Woods. Also carpets of anemones and first orchids in flower and another Streamer Moth, Anticlea derivata TQ1515. Spithandle 2, 2 male Orange Tips, and 3 eggs on cuckoo flower two bright orange and one newly laid cream egg (which then turns bright orange) (below) 4 Speckled Woods and a Peacock TQ168153. That's a total of 37 adults, after several blank visits recently the gem of Spithandle has finally come to life. (Richard Roebuck)

In the middle of the day, a female Speckled Wood (above) alighted in our kitchen garden... not a species one would expect to see as the nearest woodland is a mile away. Earlier both a Peacock and Orange-tip were seen. (John & Hilary Luck)

Recent news: Grid ref: TQ 255198 Orange Tip sightings daily 16th - 24th April, Brimstone 18th April, Comma x2 Sat 24th April (The Simons)

News for Friday 23 April: Far from a glut of butterflies, the urban areas had none seen at all, but on the outskirts of town in the early afternoon sun a steady stream appeared on the Waterworks Road: occasional Green-veined Whites and Peacocks, one Holly Blue, one Speckled Wood, one or two yellow Brimstones and a few male Orange-tips. The Pixie Path just added a few Peacocks, but the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of the bridge to Mill Hill) hosted an intact Red Admiral, a pair of Speckled Woods, and at least one female Small White and a few Large White butterflies.
I had no plans to visit Mill Hill, but I decided to venture down to the lower slopes, which were alive with scores of pyralid micro-moths of the three usual species: Pyrausta nigrata (50+), Pyrausta purpuralis (8+) and a few Pyrausta despicata. These were the ones actually seen and there were many more. The usual transect route hosted a few Peacocks and a few Brimstones but failed to reveal any skippers, but I decided up the steep slopes where one Grizzled Skipper landed on a Dandelion next to me. Ten Butterfly species (most in a day). (Andy Horton)

News for Thursday 22 April: Speckled Wood (1) Small Tortiseshell (2) - woodmancote TQ234152. (Richard Roebuck)

Friday 23 April 2010

Thanks to everyone who has been sending in Orange-tip sightings this week (either to this website or direct to me at sussexgrayling@aol.com). As this species is single-brooded we only have one chance each year to record it for our 2010-14 Atlas. It looks set to be a beautiful weekend so if you're about in Sussex and you see an Orange-tip flying by remember where you saw it and when you get home work out the grid ref and email it in to us - the website http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm is great for getting grid references. Thanks! Oh - and while I'm here, I'm doing a talk and a walk in Lodsworth tomorrow (Tetrad SU9222). See events page for details (Michael Blencowe)

Finishing work early today decided to have 1 more attempt at the Orange Tips on the Downs Link path near West Grinstead. Arriving at midday I spent another 3 hours there. With it being a bit warmer there were even more flying than on Monday. At TQ183 214 there were at least 8 flying with 3 being females, 1 of which was trying to pair up with males. At TQ184 196 there were a further 6 with 2 being females. There were almost certainly several more seen but I didn't want to risk counting individuals more than once so the minimum total was 14. There was also 3 Small White, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 7 Peacock, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Comma, 1 Brimstone and 6 Speckled Wood. A fabulous afternoon. (Bob Eade)

Transect Walk, Bedelands Farm: Details of Transect walked today. Lovely sunny conditions with little wind and 100% sunshine. Large White (2), Orange Tip (19), Peacock (4). Total 25, 3 species (David Pyle)

10 Small Tortoiseshells on nettles along Stubcroft Lane Bracklesham this afternoon at 5pm. Also in our Bracklesham garden firsts of Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Orange Tip. (Derek Lee)

A walk today along a path through Angemering Estate Woods (TQ05820705) produced a male Brimstone, Comma 3, Orange tip 6, Small White 3 (Colin Knight)

Walking through Deep Dean today I saw 6 or 7 Grizzled Skippers at the Northern end (around TQ 544/5 030/1), and then 2 (possibly 3) further down the valley plus 1 Dingy Skipper. Also 4 Peacocks, 3 Brimstones and 2 Small Coppers. On the hill above at TQ 540 029 were 2 Green Hairstreaks and 1 Small Copper. (John Kerby)

Green Hairstreak, Callophrys rubi seen on Bluebells at Stanmer Great Wood LNR on the edge of the A27 TQ336085 and another reported today by City Parks Ranger David Larkin at Wildpark LNR TQ 328080. (Dan Danahar)

Recent news:
21/04/2010 South of Burwash - Tetrad TQ6822:
TQ68732236 3 Orange Tip.
TQ68302251 2 Orange Tip, 2 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell.
TQ68352298 2 Orange Tip.
TQ68422204 1 Orange Tip, 1 Peacock.
22/04/2010 Hampden Park - Tetrad TQ6002:
TQ6021302094 1 Peacock.
(Roy Wells)

More recent news: Thursday 15 April, Battle Great Wood (TQ 762159): several Peacock butterflies and Orange-underwing moth.
Thursday 22 April, Markstakes Common (TQ 402178): Orange-tip butterfly. (Joan MacGregor)

Thursday 22 April 2010

'All good things come to he who waits' - it's nice to see that the first Dingy Skipper to emerge on Mill Hill this year (13th April) has found love! This male is the butterfly to the left in Alec Trusler's lovely image of a mating pair, showing the tell-tale nick in the fringe hairs of the rear right wing. At nine days old, he's 'getting on a bit', so let's hope he can enjoy the memories for a few more days! (Neil Hulme)

A brief visit to the old chalk pits at Washington (TQ128121) produced a very fresh Grizzled Skipper, but not the Green Hairstreak I was hoping for (they are much later in emerging this year). On the way back down the hill I found 2 Orange-tips (above), a species I'll never get bored of seeing! (Neil Hulme)

A two hour walk around the recently sent local Tetrad SU8820, produced the following; Peacock x 4, Small Tortoiseshell x 1, Orange-tip x 7, Holly Blue ( F ) x 1, Speckled Wood x 2, Large White x 2, Small White x 1. (Steve Morgan)

Recent news: Sightings over weekend 18th/19th April in garden in Graffham: Peacock, Brimstone, Small white (Tracey Carr)

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Small Coppers (below), Malling Down. Photos by Tom Ottley (left) and Neil Hulme (right)

A pleasant afternoon with Neil on Malling Down. The target species (Green Hairstreak) was not found but the stars of the show were 3 pristine Small Coppers posing nicely for the cameras. Only one Grizzled Skipper seen. (Tom Ottley)

1 Grizzled Skipper spotted at lunchtime today on a field to the north of Warnham along the public footpath between Northlands Road and Mayes Lane. A Common Blue was also present and possibly Dingy Skipper but the latter was fast flying and elusive! (David Bridges)

TQ5704: Speckled Woods (at least 7) have finally returned to Wannock Coppice! Also saw 2 male Orange Tips. (Susan Suleski)

A chilly breeze is still blowing onto Frog Firle keeping the species down. However today, at last a Grizzled Skipper (above, left) did show in the Cradle Hill area. Also hiding in the underground a crab spider (above, right) was also waiting for more butterflies. In Abbots Wood earlier just 1 Orange Tip was seen flying, along with another along the roadside at Arlington Reserviour. (Bob Eade).

My first ever sighting of a Dingy Skipper (below, left) today, well actually four dingies, (and 6 Grizzled Skippers) at Mill Hill TQ210072. Another very tricky character to get a picture of. (Richard Roebuck)

Good day here in Shoreham.In my garden at Mill Hill we saw 1x Small Tortoiseshell,1x Male Orange Tip my first of the year and 1x Holly Blue did not hang around for long so no photo. Went over the bridge in the afternoon to the lower slope of Mill Hill nature reserve to find 1x Male Brimstone also 1x Female Brimstone there was lots of Peacocks flying about,1x Speckled Wood 5x Grizzled Skippers (above, center) and 4x Dingy Skippers that included a mating pair (above, right). (Alec Trusler)

Heading up the South Downs Way towards the old quarry behind Washington, I saw 2 Peacocks and 1 Green Hairstreak (TQ127120). On the way back down to Washington past the car park 1 Brimstone was flying along the trackway. (Lee Walther)

News for Monday 19 April:On Monday the 19th April I took a photo of a small moth flying around with Grizzled Skippers at Levin Down, Charlton. I have only just identified it as a Wavy Barred Sable (Pyrausta nigrata ) Moth from the Sussex Moths website. It does however show it to be on the wing in June, July. Is it just the warm weather that brought this one out so early?

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Abbots Wood: TQ5507: 2 Speckled Woods 'dancing' (my first this year); TQ5607 and TQ5608 widely scattered: 5 male Orange Tips plus 1 female on a small patch of cuckoo flower, but no tiny orange eggs as described by Professor Michael on Saturday's workshop! (Will check again next week.) Also 4 Peacocks, 3 male Brimstones, 1 female, and 1 Comma. (Susan Suleski)

News for Monday 19 April: I saw two Small Tortoiseshells in the fields behind Firle Village (TQ 46901 07078) yesterday afternoon (19th April), possibly a pair. They were flittering on the west side of that hedge, that goes off in a north-easterly direction. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me to take photographic evidence. (Anne Carey)

Monday 19 April 2010

Having just received the form for my rather urban tetrad, I took a walk yesterday (19/4/10) with my wife (who usually sees butterflies before I do) around most of the areas of possible interest, ie the large Council run cemeteries straddling Old Shoreham Road and the very south end of Benfield Valley, Hove. Most of our rather few sightings were as likely to be immigrants as Hove born butterflies - a Large White, a Small White, 2 further unclassified whites and 2 Peacocks. The only true Hove natives were 2 Holly Blues, one being the first to appear to me in my back garden this year. The cemeteries were very dead (ho ho) for butterflies and have no obvious food plants for blues or early skippers. The most interesting sighting was the tomb of Sir Jack Hobbs. The grass is kept quite short, so there may not be much chance of seeing browns and later skippers later in the year. Maybe there's potential to improve them for butterflies. (John A Heys)

Visited Wolstonbury Hill in the morning found two Pristine Speckled Woods, and a Comma on the bridle way leading up from Pycombe Street saw male Brimstone, and a couple of Peacocks on the open access land. Despite spending at least 1 1/2 hrs couldn't find anything else. There had been a ground frost early morning so perhaps I was a bit to early. TQ279138 In the afternoon went to Broadmare Common TQ216151 where i saw 3 male and one female Orange Tip again nectaring on cuckoo flowers and a Peacock on Blackthorn flowers. (Richard Roebuck)

I went today to the Downs Link Path near West Grinstead looking for Orange Tips. Concentrating on 2 areas I spent around 3 hours there. At TQ183 214 there was plenty of Ladies Smock (Cuckoo Flower) with 4 male Orange Tips flying. 1 was considerably smaller than the others and also posed a bit better for the camera as well (top, right). This species is particularly hard to get decent photos!! I then went about 1/2 mile south to TQ184 196 where there was a further 6 Orange Tips including the only female that I saw. I also found 5 Orange Tip eggs (top, left) on the flowers. Other species seen were 12 Peacock, 4 Small Tortoiseshell (bottom, right) which were also feeding on the Ladies Smocks, 3 Comma, 3 immaculate Speckled Woods (bottom, left), 1 Large White and 1 Holly Blue. I then briefly popped onto Mill Hill where 2 Small Tortoiseshell were by the carpark, 6 Peacock, 5 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Small White and 2 Dingy Skippers were seen. (Bob Eade)

Another lovely day on Levin Down. Following butterflies seen; Peacock x 1, Speckled Wood x 2, Comma x 1, Yellow Brimstone x 3, Grizzled Skipper x 5, Large White x 2, Small Purple & Gold (Pyrausta aurata) Micro moth. (Steve Morgan)

Went for a walk this afternoon at Ardingly Reservoir and noted 5 Peacocks, 4 Commas, 3 Small Tortoiseshells and 5 Orange Tips all males, really made our afternoon together with the sunny weather. (David Pyle)

News for Sunday 18 April: I was there...on the Rowland Wood walk... my first Orange-tip of the year... many Brimstones too... and Peacocks... but the main event for me was that I was bitten by a vole, just before I picked it up one of the guys next to me said "It's OK it won't bite you"...he lied, and Jazzy, (my 8 year old daughter) laughed. I experienced pain. (Danny McEvoy)

18 April, TQ3812A: Doing my rota re checking Exmoor ponies at Black Cap Reserve nr Lewes, I could hardly take my eyes off an adorable 2 week old foal! However, I did manage to also see 1 male and 1female Brimstone and a Comma. (Also saw an Orange Tip in my garden and have recorded it on my Tetrad!) (Susan Suleski)

Despite the seemingly ideal weather conditions, butterflies were hard to come by on my 4km Friston Forest Project Area transect. Totals were Brimstone (3), Green-veined White (1), Peacock (12) and Comma (1). The equivalent figures in 2009 were 6, 0, 8 and 0. Species recorded in 2009 but not 2010 were Large White, Orange-tip, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. (Paul James)

News for Saturday 17 April: A walk at Kingley Vale (SU822107) on Saturday revealed 3 male Orange-tips, four male & three female Brimstones, seven Peacocks, three Commas, five Grizzled Skippers and two Green-veined Whites.
Regarding Bee-flies (Nick's picture), we have a colony of ground-nesting bees next door to us and there are often several Bee-flies at the colony. They lay eggs near the nests & the young larvae make their way into the nest where they attack the food stores & the young bees. (Paul Ingate)

This report somehow slipped through the net - sorry Richard... I recently sent in pics of courting Small Tortoiseshells. However part of the story was missing at 5.00p.m today I came across an exceedingly worn pair settled on quite short nettles. They were in the same posture as my previous photos (06.04.10). However they took to the air on a short pursuit flight and landed fairly quickly. The female then fluttered to the base of a nettle with the male quickly scrabbling after her. Very quickly they joined and all I could see was the tip of their abdomen joined. Daring fate, I carefully lifted them out to take some photos. Once joined they were like statues and never once flinched. This was an amazing experience and one I will never forget. The female is on the right. I returned them to their original resting place wondering about the red battery light that had appeared at an unfortunate moment. (Richard Roebuck)

Also... I'm no expert on bats, but Mike Smneliing's (presumably Mike Snelling's Norwegian cousin!) creature looks like the (Brown) Long-eared variety to me. Keep those lovely Orange-tip images coming in everyone - don't they just make you smile?! (Neil Hulme)

Sunday 18 April 2010

Tried a new location this morning the fields and downs behind Washington, the surrounding footpaths TQ1212 revealed 6 small Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks 2 all over nettles and up on the downs by old quarry workings 2 courting Peacocks TQ127120. Visited Spithandle lane TQ168153 and found Male Brimstone, Green-veined White, 2 Small Whites 2, Peacock, Commas 2 and male Orange-tips 3 and a well developed grasshopper (Richard Roebuck)

At last, Orange-tips (above) have emerged in good numbers in the Framfield area. Now would be a good time to start visiting lanes in more remote parts of the county. Wherever you see its principal foodplant, Ladies Smock, in flower there's a good chance of seeing one. Please send in any records for this beautiful springtime butterfly. (Tom Ottley)

Slightly warmer again today so tried same as yesterday with very similar results. In addition to yesterday 1 Small White, 1 Large White and 1 Brimstone. Other numbers were 15 Peacock, 3 Comma, 7 Small Tortoiseshell and as I arrived back home there were 2 Holly Blue flying together. (Bob Eade),

Went for a more leisuely stroll today back to Seaford Golf Course and then onto Frog Firle and down to Rathfinney. Today's identifications were 6 Peacock, 4 Comma, 1 Speckled Wood (above, left), 1 Small White and 2 Small Tortoiseshell (above, right) and one non-flying Bob Eade :) (Nick Linazasoro)

A visit to Broadwater Warren, nr Tunbridge Wells, on 18 April resulted in the following sightings; Peacock 15, Brimstone (M) 5, Comma 1, Small White 1. (Rob Thomas)

Saw five Brimstones, one Peacock and one Small White whilst walking the cycling track in Friston Forest today. (Ronald Lee)

Spent 2 hours in a sunny active Chestnut coppice Wapsbourne Wood (TQ395238) no Butterflies... Common Lizard though... Other sightings: 1 Peacock (TQ356165) Plumpton, 1 Peacock (TQ360165) Plumpton, 1 Brimstone (TQ367186) Plumpton, 1 Peacock (TQ389239) Butterbox Lane, 1 Brimstone (TQ396238). (Jonathan Wood)

Spotted this (ovipositing Peacock, below) on my walk today in Burgess Hill's Green Crescent at Pangdean. (Nicki Kent)

Out walking in Burgess Hill today from Gatehouse Lane through to Coulstock on the Green Crescent saw 1 Holly Blue, 1 Green-Veined White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma, 1 male Brimstone, 5 Peacocks, 4 male Orange Tips and 2 female Orange Tips - my best day for butterflies so far this year. (Nicki Kent)

It's going to take more than a cloud of volcanic dust to get in the way of a busy butterflying weekend in Sussex. On Saturday I headed out to Netherfield to lead a butterfly id class at Ivyland Farm. The 16 attendees sat through a talk on how to identify the 45/46 butterflies of Sussex and then they were let out into the countryside to put their skills to use (above, left). Steve Wheatley had arranged access for the group into the local woodlands which are being managed supebly for wildlife. Many spring species were seen - the commonest species on our walk was the Small Tortoiseshell (12). I've never had the chance to say that in the past 5 years! After the walk I raced down to Pevensey Bay to give a talk to the Eastbourne RSPB group about local entomologist Robert Adkin (1849-1935) - thanks to the group for their donation to the branch. Then today I lead a special 'members only' tour around Rowland Wood (above, right - photo: Danny McEvoy). 31 members attended. The rides were alive with Peacock (15) and Brimstones (25+). The weather was perfect - warm, calm and clear blue sky for miles around - not a plane in sight! In fact the only thing we did see flying overhead was a cuckoo. Thanks to all for attending and especially to Danny McEvoy and David and Carole Jode for helping me with some rubbish disposal. It felt great to be out in the Sussex countryside again in such lovely weather. Made me almost forget that long, cold winter. Almost. (Michael Blencowe

News for Saturday 17 April:

I got a Nice backlit picture of a male orange tip feeding on Cuckoo flower in Spithandle woods on Saturday (above).(Richard Roebuck)

I have just seen a Holly Blue in my Warnham Garden (Sam Bayley)

Went for a cycle ride with one of my sons around Seaford Golf Course to nearly Bo Peep. We whizzed past several butterlies but stopped to identify 3 Peacocks, 1 Comma and 1 Small White. We kept seeing these smallish Hummingbird Hawkmoth like things, that we have today identified as Bee-Flies. We saw a mating pair and took a shot. Quite interesting. Bad news, I got a puncture. (Nick Linazasoro)

Eight species seen at Mill Hill today - Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone (female), Large White, Speckled Wood, Dingy Skipper and an amorous pair of Grizzled Skippers! I got my first ever photo of a DIngy Skipper (above) - though Neil Hulme and another chap were also there with great big cameras so they'll probably send in better pics than mine! (John Williams)

Finally, Mike Smneliing's remarkable bat photo:

Saturday 17 April 2010

A gentler breeze this morning resulted in 26 butterflies seen on my normal walk around Frog Firle. I had almost given up on seeing anything new when a Holly Blue flew past at Cradle Hill. Others seen were 11 Peacock, 7 Comma and an impressive 7 Small Tortoiseshell including 2 dogfighting at High and Over. However many species are late emerging here due to the cool wind still blowing onto the site.
My 2nd Holly Blue of the day flying around the garden in North Seaford this afternoon as well as a Large White. (Bob Eade).

My first trip to Levin Down, Charlton, this year. Best day of the year as well I reckon. Saw the following over a 90 minute period in the morning: Speckled Wood x 1; Brimstone x 2; Peacock x 4; Large White x 2; Green Veined White x 1; Orange Tip x 2; Small tortoiseshell x 2; Comma x 1; Green Carpet geometrid moth (Colostygia pectinataria) x 1
(Steve Morgan)

Responding to pleas to look at under recorded sights. I spent 2.5 hours walking around Park Wood (TQ453225) on Friday. No sightings.....Saturday 17/04 1 tattered Peacock on Memorial Common, Chailey (TQ387211).
1 Orange-tip, 1 Holly Blue, 2 Peacocks mating,1 Small White all in the garden (TQ361164).
1 Orange-tip (TQ356164). (Jonathan Wood)

Today we saw 2 Peacocks and 2 Brimstones at Devils Dyke. At Newtimber Hill we saw 1 Peacock and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Track from Pyecombe along SW side of Wolstonbury Hill we saw 1 Orange-tip and 1 Speckled Wood. Pyecombe 1 small white. (Ellie Corrigan)

Today Devils Dyke produced Peacocks 4 plus 7-spot and Harlequin ladybirds. Mill Hill provided Dingy Skippers 3, Grizzled Skippers 3, Peacocks 8 plus a juvenile adder and a lizard (Colin Knight)

Had my first Orange-tip (male) of the year at Thorney Island this afternoon, also 2 Small Whites,6 Comma and 8 Peacocks. (Barry Collins)

A rather faded Painted Lady just inside the Wheatsheaf Gardens entrance to Malling Down, Lewes (TQ42371060).
Transect Sightings at Malling Down 17/4/2010: 1 Brimstone, 1 Green Hairstreak, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Peacock. Whilst walking home through Lewes and along the river banks the following were seen: 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 7 Peacock, 1 Small White, 4 Brimstone and 2 Orange-tip (M&F) Hibernated species are very numerous, it has been some years since I have seen so many Small Tortoiseshell and Peacocks. I think 2010 is going to be a good year.

BUT, I do wonder what effect, if any, the volcanic dust cloud will have on our weather for this or the following summers? I am just thinking back to the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, which was a very bigger eruption, but I do remember the knock on effect and poor weather summers of 1992 and 1993. (Crispin Holloway)

We ran two traps up at Castle Hill LNR in Newhaven on Saturday night (TQ447002). Despite quickly falling temperatures and a fair dew, we recorded eleven species and 75 moths in two and a half hours between 20.45 and 23.15: Shoulder Stripe (2), Streamer, Early Thorn (4), Small Quaker (2), Hebrew Character (3), Powdered Quaker (2), Common Quaker (54), Clouded Drab, Early Grey (4), Angle Shades, and a Large Yellow Underwing caterpillar. Three species were first records for the reserve, raising the site species list to 230 since April 2009. (David Harris and Steven Teale)

My catches of moths recently have been in small numbers. This is probably due to the north winds and cold nights. However in my Skinner trap this morning was a roosting bat ! I presume it followed a moth in and couldn't escape. I have sent in a photo of the bat [to follow - ed.] and shall appreciate it if anyone can ID it. It is small - c 2 inches nose to tail. A first for the trap ! It was too distracted to eat the Brindled Beauties, March moth, etc which were in the trap with him (Mike Snelling)

Friday 16 April 2010

Transect Details, Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill: Transect walked today with no sightings seen, probably due to the cold wind and lack of constant sunshine. Small White, male, seen in my garden close by to Bedelands. (David Pyle)

Covered three reserves today, Rewell Woods: nothing, Brandy Hole Reserve: Peacocks 3, Kingley Vale Reserve: Comma 1, Peacocks 6. (Colin Knight)

My first Orange-tip of the year, nectaring on a dandelion (a much maligned plant!). Also a Small Tortoiseshell. Both seen on the outskirts of Storrington. (Martin Kalaher)

South of Henfield, First male Orange tip nectaring on Cuckoo Flower ( ladies smock), 9 Small Tortoiseshells plus mating pair , 3 Peacocks and two Commas seen on a short walk. TQ212152 (Richard Roebuck)

News from Tuesday 13th April: Things are finally coming to life at Wolstonbury Hill (The Pycombe street end) with 6 Peacocks, 3 Commas and a Small Tortoiseshell seen today. In addition I saw several Bloody-Nosed beetles and a range of other insect life including my first wasp of the year. TQ279138.
Also the Grab a Grid Reference website and Get a Map are excellent tools for finding maps and recording accurate grid references, At last! (Richard Roebuck)

Thursday 15 April 2010

If at first you dont succeed try, try,try, again at Mill Hill (TQ210072) today my first pic of a Grizzled skipper (above). (Richard Roebuck)

Spent an hour in deepdean Valley today looking for Skippers. Saw 5 Peacocks and a pristine Small Copper. (no skippers yet) (Bob Coleman)

A walk through Abbot's Wood, today produced several Peacocks plus an Orange Underwing (below, left) settled on the track. We continued on to Park Corner Heath to see 9+ Peacocks (below, centre), 4 Brimstones and our first Orange Tip of the year. (John & Hilary Luck)

My first Orange-tip of the year this afternoon in my garden in Lindfield (above, right), also two Small Whites and a Peacock. (Bob Foreman)

With it being a year today that the first Green Hairstreak was seen on Frog Firle in 2009 I decided to have a look today to see if I could find any. However the cold wind was not helping at all. Around my usual area I managed to see 16 Peacock, 5 Comma and a pair of Small Tortoiseshell of which the male was trying to pair up with the female. The wind needs to change direction for this area to warm up and produce a bigger variety of butterflies. Mill Hill earlier in the week was like a heatwave compared. (Bob Eade)

A strole round Cissbury Hill today yielded a male Brimstone and Peacocks 3. Then to Mill Hill where I met Neil Hulme and friends plus Alec, a BC member who lives nearby. Several Grizzled Skippers were found, together with a Pyrausta purpuralis moth and plenty of Peacocks (photos above). (Colin Knight)

Grizzled Skipper (above), Mill Hill, 13 April (Bob Eade)

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Whilst completing a transect on the West Kingston Estate close to the coast between Worthing & Littlehampton, as well as the usual Peacocks, at 1445 hrs I saw my first Speckled Wood of the year. I believe it was a female, typical first brood, nectaring on lesser celandine, a very beautiful insect. (Roger Martin)

Recent news: Hi everyone for 2010, it took me until this last Saturday to see any butterflies here, then as usual it was more than one; a Peacock followed by a Small White in the roads nearby seaford allotments on Saturday afternoon.
Reading all the early comments about Small Tortoiseshells and Michael Blencowe's comments about a potential revival, has set me wondering whether the extremely cold winter we experienced had a beneficial effect. It could be that the parastic fly which has been spreading northwards (which has allegedly been the cause of the Tortoiseshell decline) itself could not cope with the cold weather, whilst the Tortoiseshell of course could. But on the other hand, maybe the overwintering Red Admirals couldn't... very little mention of one. (Bob Brown)

More recent news: I'm a bit late with these but hopefully they are still of interest. Last week on the 7th I saw a Small Tortoishell in my Adur Valley garden and the following day 3 or more Peacocks flying over my garden and into my neighbour's. On the 9th I went for a jaunt to Lavington Common in the NORTH WEST of the county (Michael were you sending out 'Go to NW Sussex' vibes even *before* the conference?) where I saw 5 Brimstone, 5 Peacock and 10 or more Commas. The latter seemed to be feeding on sap from Silver Birch trees. On the same day I visited both Iping Common and Ambersham Common but did not see any butterflies at either location. At Park Corner Heath on Sunday I saw 5 Peacocks, 3 Commas and 1 Orange Tip and today on my allotment one Peacock. I ran my moth trap last night and recorded 3 Common Quaker, 1 Small Quaker, 3 Hebrew Character and an unknown (I always get unknowns in my trap!). (Sherie New)

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Tuesday's photos, top row: (left to right) Dingy Skipper, Mill Hill, (Tom Ottley), mating Grizzled Skippers, Mill Hill, Green-veined White, Rewell Wood (Neil Hulme)
Bottom Row: Pyrausta nigrata, Mill Hill, (Neil Hulme) and Frosted Green, Bracklesham Bay, (Derek Lee)

First Holly Blue Ive seen 2010 in BN15 area of Lancing. Seemed to be defending an Eleagnus bush. (Ray Hamblett)

Although the keen breeze is keeping numbers below the levels seen last week we did have a Frosted Green at our garden MV light last night. (Derek Lee - Bracklesham Bay)

Tuesday 13 April 2010. Walked to Hunters Burgh via Folkington today. At Folkington 4 Peacock, 3 Comma, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Brimstone. At Hunters Burgh only saw 1 butterfly. It was an early Green Hairstreak attempting to expand it's wings in a battering breeze. Couldn't stay long enough to see if it succeeded. (Bob Coleman).

After a brief visit to Rewell Wood, where I saw my first 2 Green-veined White of the year, I joined the 'Grizzled Gang' (Tom Ottley, Bob Eade, Simon Quin and Colin Knight) on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Aside from the sightings that Tom will report, I was pleased to get my first decent shot of the small but beautifully marked moth Pyrausta nigrata. (Neil Hulme)

Things are hotting up nicely now and Mill Hill must have been one of the warmest places in the country today. Sheltered from the NE wind the butterflies were very active. Estimates for Grizzled Skipper range from 10 to 15 including one mated pair and at least another courting pair. Mating lasted over an hour during which time they were watched and photographed by 5 BC Sussex members. They are certainly fascinating to watch and interesting to see how a male will chase off other species even when sighted in the distance but not (too) bothered by us humans creeping up slowly. Also a Dingy Skipper with its wings still drying, matching the first date from last year at the same spot to within 10 metres, at the same time of day and by the same observer! Looks like the cold weather didn't affect this species at least. Peacocks everywhere, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 3 Brimstones, 2 Small White, 1 Comma. All in all much better than going to work... (Tom Ottley)

A local walk around the lanes of Bracklesham & East Wittering produced 7 Small Tortoishells, 4 Peacocks, 4 Small Whites and a Comma. (Derek Lee)

Monday 12 April 2010

A quick trip to Broadfield Pond (Crawley) this lunchtime produced: Orange Tip: 3 Males Peacock: About 5 Comma: 10 - 15. (Damian Pinguey)

And an answer to one of Monday's mystery caterpillars from a not entirely local source...
I'll bet my bottom dollar that the brown mystery caterpillar is the Large Yellow Underwing, Noctua pronuba. It has recently invaded Vancouver Island, and you can compare your photo with my photo of one here on Vancouver Island, at http://facweb.furman.edu/~snyderjohn/tatum/496.1.htm You may be surprised at getting an identification from Canada, but David Harris introduced me to your website when I visited the UK, and I'm sorry to say that we have now shamelessly copied your website with our own similar one here - http://vicnhs.bc.ca/invertalert.html. (Jeremy Tatum, Victoria, British Columbia)

Sunday 11 April 2010

There was a very rare sighting at Clair Hall on Saturday April 10th - 100 butterfly recorders in the same room. The 'Butterflies of Sussex' conference had been organised by the chair of our recording committee Clare Jeffers and funded by an Opal grant. The attendance list was a who's who of Sussex butterfly recorders and we had all gathered for the launch of the Sussex Butterfly Atlas - a five year project (2010-14) to map the distribution of the butterflies in our county. After an introduction by the event's chairman, Neil Hulme, Michael Blencowe presented his talk 'Of Tortoiseshells and Tetrads' and looked at our current knowledge of our county's butterfly species. Clare Jeffers followed with a talk on our plans for the Atlas. All our members will shortly receive a recording form for the tetrad (2km square) they live in - with instructions on how to survey their square and help us with the project. After a fantastic lunch - with plenty of time for butterfly chat - Neil Hulme gave a very informative talk on how to find and survey some of our more elusive species. Crispin Holloway then talked about a butterfly that is becoming easier to find - the Silver-spotted Skipper - and gave a concise overview of its fall and rise in Sussex. Tom Ottley presented his identification talk and ensured that no-one in the room will ever have a problem with Small/Essex Skipper i.d ever again. From the 'feedback forms' we collected it seems everyone really enjoyed the day and, as one attendee put it "left fired with enthusiasm to record butterflies." A huge thankyou for all those who attended and helped and especially to Clare for organising such a successful day. It was good to see so many familiar faces but equally as good to see so many new folk getting involved. We are certainly blessed in Sussex to have so many keen supporters of our work - see you all in Northwest Sussex! (Michael Blencowe)


Two mystery caterpillars amongst today's sightings... any thoughts or suggestions on a post-card please - or better still, to sighting@sussex-butterflies.org.uk

Whilst playing football with my two boys at Chalvington Field in Seaford, we saw our first Small White of the year land near to where we were playing. After lunch we headed off to Frog Firle for some more fresh air and saw an unknown chubby yellow caterpillar (probabably going to be a moth?) (above, left), plus three Peacocks and a Comma (above, right). (Nick Linazasoro)

On a quick hop round Mill Hill saw one Grizzled Skipper (above, left) & a mystery caterpillar(above, right). (Caroline Clarke)

Near Butchershole CP (TV5599): wandered around Friston Forest for about 1.5 hours and only saw one Comma. Then as I was returning to the car park down the slope below the gallops, I first came across 5 Peacocks close together sunning and nectaring on violets by the edge of the woods, and then near the old hedge in the middle of the slope, I saw 7 Small Tortoiseshells together. They seemed to be more interested in the bugle but also settled on the violets. (Susan Suleski)

Today we saw 6-7 Peacocks, 2 Small Tortoiseshells and a Grizzled Skipper at the bottom part of Mill Hill. (Ellie Corrigan)

On Saturday night we ran a moth trap on the slopes of Mill Hill LNR. Although it was cold with clear skies we still recorded 11 species including 6 Barred Tooth-striped, one of which visited the trap and the rest which we found perched on privet about 1.5m above the ground. Other species were 22 Common Quaker, 13 Small Quaker, 4 Hebrew Character, 4 Early Thorn, 3 Red Chestnut, 1 Clouded Drab, 1 Early Grey, 2 Mottled Grey, 7 Agonopterix pallorella and 3 Diurnea flagella. (Dave and Pen Green)

Following the superb Butterfly conference I hot footed it to Mill hill where I saw My first ever pristine Grizzled Skipper. On Sunday saw two swallows at the front of Plumpton college, strange as I have yet to hear a cuckoo? and back to Mill hill where I saw my first small white of the year. As regards Grizzled Skippers I can only say butterfly photography "doesn't get tougher than this". (Richard Roebuck)

News for Saturday 10 April: A male Green-veined White fluttering against a fresh breeze on my Herstmonceux plot this afternoon. (Mike Mullis)

Saturday 10 April 2010

Two Small Tortoiseshells nectaring on lavendar in our garden in Frant today. First time in 13 years I can recall that we have had two in the garden at the same time. Also had Peacock, Large White and male Brimstone during the course of the day. (Alan Loweth)

At Cattlestone Farm (just south of West Chiltington) today we saw our first male Orange-tip, a Small White and at least 1 Peacock. There was also at least 1 male Orange-tip near the Lady's Smock on the road near the Bax Castle pub near Barns Green. (Chris & John Hamilton)

Male and female Orange Tip flew through the garden in Crawley Down today. Also 1 Brimstone, 2 Peacock and 1 female Orange Tip seen on a walk along Worth Way. (Jonathan Ruff)

Saw three Small Whites at my allotment yesterday at the top of Whitehawk Hill Road in Brighton. There are a lot of brassicas on the site! Not a sight to fill me with pleasure though, unlike the Small Tortoishell and Peacock which I also saw feeding on hyacinth, daphne and grape hyacinth. (Tessa Pawsey)

News for Friday 09 April: I visited Kingley Vale Nature Reserve (SU824106) in the late morning and covered most of the reserve during an hour and three quarters walk. Many Primroses and Wood Anemones were in flower with violets attracting many Bee Flys (Bombylius major). I also saw a Glow Worm larva (Lampyris noctiluca) on the path leading from the car park at West Stoke leading to the reserve. Several Brimstones and Peacocks were flying including five Peacocks within a small area of violets. My count was: Brimstone (6F 11M), Peacock (18) and Comma (3) (photos above). (Richard Symonds)

1 Peacock and 2 Small Tortoiseshell plus 2 Small White (my first of the year) in and around my Brighton garden (Caroline Clarke)

News for Thursday 08 April: In our Bracklesham garden yesterday - 2 Small White, 1 Large White, 2 Comma, 2 Peacock. (Derek Lee)

The first butterflies appeared in my Brighton garden - 1 Brimstone and 1 Peacock (Caroline Clarke)

First overwintering Red Admiral caterpillar hatched today after 6 or so weeks as chrysalis. Also Small White male receiving attention from a Dotted Bee Fly. (Dave Harris)

News for Wednesday 07 April: A Brimstone Moth on an outssde house wall in Brighton. (Caroline Clarke)

Friday 09 April 2010

Male Orange-tip at Eridge station this lunchtime. Small White and Comma in Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, yesterday. (Adrian Thomas) - I'm sure I've heard this name somewhere before... (ed)

With exactly 4 weeks to go before I lead my 1st butterfly walk I ventured out today on the route that will be taken that day. Although the weather was plenty warm enough for butterflies there is still only a few flying with this season having such a slow start. However, walking along The Comp, Greenway Bank and back along the bottom of Frog Firle to High and Over I did see 16 butterflies with Peacock being the most numerous with 9 seen. This included 1 very territorial specimen which chased a bumble bee well over 100 metres before flying back to its patch. Also seen were 4 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Brimstone and 1 that I was unable to id before it flew over the bushes. I am pretty sure it was a Small Tortoiseshell but am not 100% sure. Hopefully the weather will continue to encourage more species soon and we will see plenty on the 7th May. (Bob Eade).

Speckled Wood and Peacock flying in our Upper Beeding back garden today (and a group of 9 Buzzards spiralling above). (Jim Steedman)

During a lunchtime stroll to Tesco on the banks of the River Ouse at Lewes I found myself uttering a phrase that I have never had cause to say since I started looking at butterflies 5 years ago; "Blimey - Look at all those Small Tortoiseshells". 26 were counted on emerging nettles along this short stretch of the river. Looks like somebody is making a comeback. (Michael Blencowe)

Transect Details for Bedelands Farm Burgess Hill: A party of 10 people recorded 5 butterflies in total in perfect spring weather, species seen as follows; Peacock (4), Comma (1) (David Pyle)

I can join others in reporting what looks like a welcome revival in the fortunes of the Small Tortoiseshell. I found 5 today in a nettle patch (TQ 591201) near our garden. (John Kerby)

News for Thursday 08 April: Ifield, Crawley produced 4 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma and 2 Brimstone. Nearby at Broadfield Pond there were 8 Peacock, 8 Comma, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Brimstone and the first Small White of the year. (Vince Massimo)

Thursday 08 April 2010

News for Thursday 08 and Tuesday 06 April 2010: On Tuesday I was passing Mill Hill, so made a quick sprint to the lower slopes (not recommended) 'just in case' and was rewarded with an early Grizzled Skipper. Also present were Peacock (6), Brimstone (1) and the diminutive moths Pyrausta aurata (1), P. purpuralis (4), and P. despicata (3). Returning today with my father and Brian Henham, we saw Grizzled Skipper (3, possibly 4), Peacock (7), Brimstone (4), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Comma (1), together with Pyrausta aurata (1), P. purpuralis (6), P. despicata (3) and P. nigrata (2). Grid Ref: TQ210073. (Neil Hulme)

Thorney Island: 1 Small White, 2 male Brimstone and 1 Comma.(Barry Collins)

Finally some records, on eve 7th April 2010 A single Red Sword-grass (below) trapped at the visitor centre, also a Blossom Underwing. the first signs of some immigration. Resident species numbers increasing with Common, Small, Powdered and Twin-spot Quaker all trapped. Also the years first Common Wave and Brindled Pug. (Ivan Lang)

A quick lunchtime stroll around The Pells area of Lewes today (TQ414107) resulted in my first Small Whites of the year (2) as well as Peacock (2), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Comma (1) and Brimstone (1) (Michael Blencowe)

I spotted my first Small White of the year, also a Peacock in my Lindfield garden this afternoon. (Bob Foreman)

At least 2 Small Whites and 2 Peacock flying around the garden in Seaford today. (Bob Eade).

A Small White seen on the Cuckoo Trail in Heathfield on Today. (Carol Kemp)

This morning, along the path at the back of the beach between George V Avenue (at the west end of Worthing) and Ferring Rife, we saw 2 Small Whites, plus at least 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacocks and a Comma. Also other Vanessids that we could not get close enough to ID. A White also flew across our back garden in Upper Beeding before we set out at 9.45, which was either a Small or Green-veined (general coloration and flight behaviour favoured the latter, but it didn't stop and I couldn't be quite sure!) (Jim Steedman)

Thursday was another good day here in Shoreham, in our garden in Mill Hill, the cherry blossom is in full bloom and the bees are very active, we spotted 1X Comma and 7 Peacocks in the garden today, then when we did our afternoon walk with the dogs across Mill Hill nature reserve we recorded 19 Peacocks and 5 male Brimstones flying about on the lower slopes, may the sunshine last... (Alec Trusler)

At least 8 Peacock on the Ouse Estuary Project this afternoon. (Bob Eade)

Two Orange-tips and one Brimstone in my garden in Ardingly today! (Linda Bridges)

A walk from Burpham to the Angmering Park Estate yielded Peacock (2) and male Brimstone (above) (4), Terrestrial critters included a herd of deer, rabbits, two grouse and pheasants. (Colin Knight)

Friston Forest, Thursday, 8 April, warm: Brimstone: 3 male, 2 female, male and female together; 3 Commas; two 'black butterflies' skimming the canopy (probably Red Admiral and/or Peacock). I thought the butterflies were late in Friston this year, but looking at my records, they are right on time! Also, Small Tortoiseshell nectaring grape hyacinth in my garden (Polegate). (Susan Suleski)

David Burrows reported 2 Orange-tips amongst the Peacocks, Commas, Small Tortoiseshells and 1 Brimstone on a private estate in the Rother Woods Project area. (Steve Wheatley)

Moths over the last few days at Edburton have included Mottled Grey, Grey Shoulder Knot, Early Grey, Double-striped Pug, 2 Shoulder Stripes, 5 March Moths + several Clouded Drabs, Hebrew Characters and Small Quakers. Also 5 Peacocks and 4 Small Tortoiseshells. (Tony Wilson)

Around Horsham today a good number of butterflies were on the wing with 9 Peacocks and a pair of Brimstone at Warnham LNR, a Small Tortoiseshell at Leechpool Wood, a Comma and the first male Orange-tip at Chesworth Farm, followed by a pair of Brimstone as well as a few Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock and another male Orange-tip at Southwater CP and to finish off when I got home in Warnham just before 7pm a female Orange-tip flew through the garden. (Sam Bayley)

On my travels in and around Lewes today I saw a total of 19 butterflies. These included my first Small White of the year (at Houndean Bottom), 6 Brimstone (inc. 1 female), 8 Peacock and 4 Small Tortoiseshell. I also saw a Drinker larva basking in the sun. (Steven Teale)

I went for an evening walk on Frog Firle and spotted my first Comma and my first Small Tortoiseshell (above) of the year as well as a Peacock. Also earlier in the day whilst driving around the A27 Findon roundabout (outside the cemetary) I had the pleasure of seeing a male Brimstone flying past the car. (Nick Linazasoro)

Wednesday 07 April 2010

Bedelands Farm Transect: I completed my first Transect walk of the year yesterday in brilliant sunshine but also a stiff wind. Recorded 3 species and 4 butterflies in total as the following; Comma (2), Peacock (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1). Long may the weather continue for the rest of the season. (David Pyle)

A further increase in numbers of both individuals and species last night here in our Bracklesham garden with 140 moths of 19 species. Highlights were Dotted Chestnut plus firsts for the year of Early Thorn, Brindled Pug, Red Chestnut and D. fagella. (Derek Lee - Bracklesham Bay)

Tuesday 06 April 2010

Tuesday's photos: (top row, left to right) Small Tortoiseshells, Henfield (Richard Roebuck) and Peacock, Arlington Reservoir (Nick Linazasoro)
(bottom row, left to right) Pine Beauty, Bracklesham Bay (Derek Lee) and Clouded Drab and Common Quaker, Ringmer (John Luck)

Last night's Ringmer trap produced 4 species: Hebrew Character, Clouded Drab (2), Small Quaker (2) and Common Quaker (2). (John Luck).

In the garden today 1 Peacock. Moth numbers in the garden are beginning to climb now with a total catch of 83 moths of 10 species last night, including a very fresh Pine Beauty. (Derek Lee - Bracklesham Bay)

Went for a walk today around Arlington Reservior and saw my first Peacocks of the year - three in total. (Nick Linazasoro)

I did my first transect of the year at Malling Down, Lewes today. Although it was rather cool and windy for doing a transect I did see 4 Peacocks and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Off transect at Malling Down there were an additional 3 Peacocks, 2 Small Tortoiseshell chasing and 1 Brimstone near the Wheatsheaf Gardens entrance. When walking back from Malling Down a further 8 Peacocks and 3 Small Tortoiseshell were seen along the river banks of the Ouse from Tesco to the Pells area of Lewes. I don't remember seeing as many Small Tortoiseshell in one day during April for several years. (Crispin Holloway)

1 Speckled Wood & 1 Peacock, The Avenue, Lewes (Louise Holloway)

Sighted one yellow Brimstone half a mile from my home this morning, followed by another in my garden. Also a dark butterfly, which was too quick to identify. Weather has definitely warmed up. (Helena Carter, Cuckfield. TQ 307255)

Whilst on my delivery in domewood estate copthorne I saw two Brimstones, a Comma and a Peacock. (Chris Prince)

A short walk in Henfield today resulted in a male Brimstone, three Peacocks but more interestingly on a south facing slope a large rabbit warren covered in bracken, bramble and nettles was a perfect place to find in excess of 15 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, one batch of five in a flying cluster. I saw 3 pairs courting as per the photo and very close by to two of the pairs another male. Of each pair the male's antennae were flicking every few seconds and in addition he appeared to be head butting the rear of the abdomen of the female presumably testing for receptiveness. On the whole each pair stayed in this postion for a good five minutes or more, with an occasional short pursuit flight. (Richard Roebuck)

My first 2010 visit to the Friston Forest Project Area transect today produced 7 Brimstones, 5 Peacocks and a Comma. In 2009 the corresponding figures were 3, 5 and 1 plus a Red Admiral. The rides in the forest are currently badly cut up by horses so by the end of the transect I was worn out through ploughing through the mud. I'm hoping for some good drying weather in the next few days. (Paul James)

A delightful walk with Peter Atkinson along my Moulescombe Wildpark LNR butterfly transect revealed extensive management, in the form of scrub and woodland removal from former chalk grassland, by Brighton & Hove City Council - well done guys! We also spotted 3 Small Tortoiseshells (Aglais urticae) flying between the Hawthorn and Oak stumps (TQ 327 081). A return to my own back garden (TQ 333 085) saw a Peacock (Inachis io) and a Small Tortoiseshell, the latter showing considerable interest in the clumps of nettles I had been intending to remove. (Dan Danahar)

First sighting of the year for me - Brimstone - driving to Eastbourne (me not the Brimstone) through Cuckmere Haven. Do I win a prize?? Meanwhile just to entertain here is me and my daughter Jazzy singing Octopus's Garden... look out for us butterflying through the season..she's usually with me on Sundays! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auPEOqQPOho (Danny McEvoy)

News for Monday 05 April:Monday was a good day spotted 1 x Male Brimstone plus 2 Peacocks flying in my garden at Mill Hill Shoreham, then later in the afternoon sunshine, spotted 6 x Peacocks on the lower slopes of Mill Hill Nuture Reserve. (Alec Trusler)

Monday 05 April 2010

There was a Speckled Wood trapped in my greenhouse at Bevendean this afternoon, the door and ventilators were open in the bright sunshine. After taking a picture I guided it back outside. (Geoff Stevens)

Dave Harris and I visited Castle Hill LNR in search of flowers and insects today. The colony of Brown-tail moths (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) is in good shape with c.1500 larvae seen on around 20 communal webs. This is an improvement in numbers on last year. Other sightings included a nectaring and quite active Small Tortoiseshell and larvae of Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) and Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis) (photos above, left and centre). (Steven Teale & David Harris)

We saw our first Brimstone of the year, a male, today at Warnham Nature Reserve. It gave us a lovely dance around the pond by the entrance at 1:20pm. We also observed many common newts moving lazily around the pond. (Colin Knight, Littlehampton)

A family walk on a sunny and mild spring day, gentle breeze and blue sky. Three pairs of courting Peacocks (Inachis io) seen flying at below canopy level, on the boarders of Stanmer Park, Brighton, TQ 333 087, TQ 332 090, TQ 336 085. (Bob Foreman & Dan Danahar)

Saw my first butterflies of 2010 today - a couple of Peacocks, in Friston Forest above Friston Gallops, one of which obligingly posed for a photo (above, right). At last! (John Williams)

Sunday 04 April 2010

Today, I saw my first Brimstones of the year. The first sighting was of a male in a garden of a cottage to the South of South Harting on the B2146 (SU783189). Later in the afternoon during a walk in Stansted Forest (SU748106) another single male was busily flying along the woodland rides. (Richard Symonds, Hayling Island)

News for Saturday 03 April: A collecting trip to the Lewes Brookes, East Sussex to capture Whirligig beetles - family (Gyrinidae) for the school pond (I have a responsibility to teach teachers about how to identify pond invertebrates) reveled a battered and worn Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) patrolling the beds of stinging nettles along the banks of the brooks (TQ 405089). It was mild and sunny with a slight wind. (Dan Danahar)

Friday 02 April 2010

When the sun finally came out late this afternoon it was good to see that Friston's Scarlet Tigers were making the most of it. A quick survey found three of the little fellas basking on dead leaves (below left). Great to see they made it through the winter. If you have bramble, nettle or comfrey in your back garden have a look for these distinctive caterpillars over the coming weeks - and send any sightings in to the website. (Michael Blencowe)

At the beginning of September last year I was surprised to find an Emperor Moth Cocoon at Birling gap as the last one I saw was on heather in Derbyshire as a boy. It has sat for six months on our bedroom window sill and today a beautiful male moth emerged(above, centre). I have also enclosed a pic of the fantastic plumose antenna for interest (above, right). It was very active and when released flew off straight up with an extremely powerful flight, hopefully to find a mate. Perhaps its worth looking at Birling Gap and Beachy head for a glimpse of this day flying moth on the wing in April and May? (Richard Roebuck)

Dave Harris e-mailed the other day to pass on details of the following website: http://vicnhs.bc.ca/invertalert.html, the sightings page of the (Canadian) "Victoria Natural History Society", inspired by this very website no less… (ed.)

Wednesday 31 March 2010

News for Saturday 27 March: I had begun to fear not seeing a 2010 butterfly until April the way things had been going, but at last a sunny day, and chance to get out in one of my local woodland sites, Wish Wood near Peasmarsh, resulting in 5 male Brimstones, 4 Commas and 2 Peacocks. (John Bogle)

Monday 29 March 2010

News for Sunday 28 March: I recorded a Lead-coloured Drab last night [28th March] here at Wadhurst. Not as common as it used to be but nice to still be able to know its still around. (Andy Adams)

Sunday 28 March 2010

News for Saturday 27 March: I found a full grown Ruby Tiger Moth (above right)caterpillar on the south facing bank of Devils Dyke at 10.00a.m this morning. The last time i saw one was 16th October 2009 Apparently they over winter as full grown caterpillars and do not feed after hibernation but pupate in closely spun-silk cocoons amongst debris. Therefore perhaps the chance of finding one at this time of year, may be pure luck?
I had a short walk around Henfield and was amazed to count 7 Small Tortoiseshells all over Nettle patches at the edges of arable fields . Also 2 Peacocks (above left) and one Male Brimstone. All pristine. Perhaps the Small Tortoiseshells have recovered from their recent decline. (Richard Roebuck)

Friday 26 March 2010

I was fascinated to read the account by James Giles, relayed by Michael, concerning the emergence of a dozen Red Admirals from a rabbit warren at Thursley Common. Of the species that have historically hibernated as adults in the UK, the Peacock in particular is known to use animal burrows as a winter refuge. I have little doubt that these Red Admirals were simply emerging from hibernation. Many observers have noted that, despite a relatively modest autumn showing, a quite high number of Red Admirals have appeared in early 2010, suggesting a higher-than-expected survival rate, particularly in view of the bitter winter conditions we have suffered. Only a few decades back it would have been inconceivable for significant numbers to survive any but our mildest winters. Successful over-wintering of the species is a relatively recent phenomenon, almost certainly reflecting the trend towards warmer conditions. Until now, 'over-wintering' (rather than 'hibernating') was considered a more appropriate term, as Red Admirals did not seem to 'shut down' in the same way as our true hibernators - Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma. Usually they will rest-up in cold snaps, often sitting below tree boughs close to the main trunk, or in vegetation - and then become active during warmer spells. Failure to find a nectar source, while expending valuable energy reserves, probably results in the demise of many of these individuals. The winter we have just experienced would undoubtedly have kept them 'safely inactive' - but would also have been responsible for a high mortality rate in the past. So it seems that more than one factor may be at work here, including a possible behavioural change, with the butterfly perhaps now seeking out more permanent and effective winter refuges - such as these rabbit burrows. It will be interesting to see if they start turning up in people's outhouses and homes in the future. (Neil Hulme)

I recorded my first ever Bloxworth Snout (Hypena obsitalis) (above) on Wednesday 24th March in Lewes (TW415099). This is a significant record - only the ninth in Sussex - for this RDB3 species. Sightings of this species are usually of immigrants in this part of the world, but the species is extending its range (possibly in response to climate change) and it could be part of a nearby colony. Further records may shed more light on this.
The first generation of this species is on the wing in September and October. They overwinter in unheated outbuildings and re-emerge in Spring in search of a mate. The species has a fairly weak flight, so keep your eyes open for further records!
(Steven Teale)

Wednesday 24 March 2010

From Michael Blencowe: I recently received this email from James Giles; a colleague who manages Thursley Common National Nature Reserve over the border in Surrey; and thought it was worth sharing. James said;
"Whilst out on Thursley National Nature Reserve on Thursday 18th March around mid morning about 12 Red Admirals were seen emerging from a rabbit warren, whether they were responding to a nearby fire, either smoke or heat or just coincidence we shall never know, but thought you would like to know as no one I know has heard of this before."

I saw two Small Tortoiseshells today undergoing a "courtship" flight in the middle of a road. They flew about thirty feet vertically a couple of inches apart before diving back down to ground level where they separated and landed. Perhaps they were two males? (Richard Roebuck)

Monday 22 March 2010

News for Sunday 21 March:In the area around Chesworth Farm on Sunday afternoon we saw single Brimstone, Peacock and Comma butterflies along with at least 15 Toad.
On the moth front it has been rather quiet in our garden at Mill Hill so far this year (even though we have run about 15 traps) with a total of only 12 moths of four species; last night's trap only caught 2 Common Quaker and 1 Small Quaker. These figures compare to 2009 when by 23rd March we had caught 34 moths of 10 species, even though we ran less traps. Whether this is a result of the cold winter delaying the main flight of moths, less favourable flight conditions in the first part of this year, or something entirely different is anyone's guess, but perhaps it is an early indication that 2010 may be a particularly interesting time for recording moths in Sussex. (Dave Green)

Sunday 21 March 2010

Thanks to everyone who helped out at Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood today. Despite a damp, grey start the team go stuck in and dragged and stacked conifer brash to clear the ground and open up new areas to the sunshine. After a round of bacon sandwiches the team returned and finished clearing the ride as the sun appeared and shone onto this new habitat - which probably hasn't seen this much sun since the 1970s. As we admired our work a Brimstone flew in and inspected the new ride. Elsewhere Chiffchaff were singing, the first Tiger Beetle was seen and toads were mating in the pond. The next work party will be on Sunday April 11th. (Michael Blencowe)

Today I saw my very first butterfly of the year. One of my sons was playing football at The Hollow in South Heighton (Newhaven) and this mustard yellow butterfly bombed past in an easterly direction. At the time I believed it was a Clouded Yellow but I don't think they emerge until April, so it might have been a glorious male Brimstone. I don't know if anyone can shed any light on this for me? (Nick Linazasoro)

After a flat battery curtailed my outings today I had no choice but to decorate instead Aaaah! Thankfully my spirits were lifted when I spotted my first Male Brimstone this year, flying across the garden at midday in Henfield. (Richard Roebuck)

Wannock/Polegate: Finally, my butterfly year starts with a pristine Red Admiral! (Actually, I saw an unidentifiable 'black butterfly' high over Hailsham on the 15th, which seems to have been the first really good day for butterflies this year.) Happiness! (Susan Suleski)

Our first Small Tortoiseshell of the year here today. (Derek Lee)

Saturday 20 March 2010

At todays annual Spring Social at Westmeston it was good to see that our members had survived the winter and were getting ready for the 2010 Butterfly Season ahead. Todays event started with Sussex BC's Biodiversity Officer Dr Dan Danahar who presented a thought provoking talk about biodiversity, extinction and how to inspire people to get involved with nature conservation and inject the 'Wow factor' back into peoples lives. Michael Blencowe followed Dan with a history of Rowland Wood - which has seen its fair share of extinctions in the past decades. After the raffle - assisted by Joe Morley - (good to have you back Joe!) - David Bradford presented his photos of Park Corner Heath. The intimacy and atmosphere David captures in his photos - whether of butterflies, adders or Rhyssa persuasori - caused more than a few audible 'Wows' from the audience. Thankyou to Dan and David and to everyone who attended and assisted at today's event (Michael Blencowe)

Thursday 18 March 2010

Today I visited my old site at Broadfield Pond, Crawley and found 3 Comma and a Peacock in the hazy sunshine. (Vince Massimo)

2 Small Tortoiseshells basking in The Pells area of Lewes. (Michael Blencowe & Roger Matthews)

Recent News: (left to right) Comma, Buchan Country Park, 16 March (Damian Pinguey) Small Tortoiseshell and Comma, Stanstead Forest, grid ref SU750110, 17 March (Peter Gardner)

Wednesday 17 March: Red Admiral flew past our house in Frant just before midday. (Alan Loweth)

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Tuesday's Cream Spot Tiger caterpillar (below) at Park Corner Heath. (Bob Eade)

1 Small Tortoiseshell at Birling Gap this afternoon. (Bob Eade)

At last! My first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell in the garden in Lindfield today. (Bob Foreman)

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Had a very enjoyable day at Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood and was joined by the Brighton Conservation Volunteers. The team worked hard to help clear brash from some recently felled rides - and I even roped in a passing Bob Eade to help for a few hours. After the task was completed we took an enjoyable stroll around the reserves. There was a feeling that the woodland was just starting to wake up. Butterflies (Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimstone and Peacock) were flying - as were the first Buff-tailed Bumblebees. Adders and Common Lizards were also emerging from their hibernation and we also found a Cream Spot Tiger caterpillar. Thanks to all the BCV folk who helped out today (photo below) - and thanks to Bob too. (Michael Blencowe)

A quiet stroll around Park Corner Heath changed into hard work today when I found a Blencowe work party going on. So after a look around the site where I saw 2 Brimstone, 1 Comma (above) and 1 Peacock I mucked in as well. Also seen were 1 Adder, a hairy catapillar that Michael will hopefully id and also a Woodcock was disturbed as we were moving fallen trees about. (Bob Eade)

Monday 15 March 2010

Whilst sitting in the garden having breakfast a Red Admiral was seen, so with the sun still shining I decided to do my usual Frog Firle walk. Along 'The Comp' there was nothing flying, however on Greenway Bank there was a Peacock basking in the middle of the path. Slightly further down the path a male Brimstone (below) was flying around. I managed a quick grab shot whilst it settled in the undergrowth. Then following the path down to Rathfinny pumping station there was another Peacock and further on a Comma. A fabulous morning.
Following on from Alan Loweth's report from March 1st with a possible Painted Lady, I looked last night at the Hampshire sightings site and there has been a sighting of Painted Lady in the New Forest from mid February, so Alan's sighting is a possibility. A few years ago I saw a Painted Lady in early March, also in the New Forest. Possibly the soil there is a bit warmer allowing the butterflies there to overwinter. However, for all observers in Sussex it is certainly a possibilty and also a probability that some did survive in Sussex. (Bob Eade).

My wife was drawing the curtains this evening and noticed this Small Tortoiseshell (above) in the kids bedroom. This is north facing and the window was shut today but I cant believe it's been here all winter. Is it technically a sighting or not? Seemed quite happy so will release it tomorrow. I was instructed not to bother chasing round the countryside as the butterflies are in the house any way, fair point? (Richard Roebuck)

Our first Comma for the year today together with a Peacock. Also a number of A. heracliana disturbed from Leylandia conifers that we have felled.In the moth trap last night: Small Brindled Beauty, Dotted Border and Dotted Chestnut. (Derek Lee)

In our Eastbourne garden this morning at about 11.45am when it was warm and sunny we delighted to see our first butterflies this year - one Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell (2). (John & Sue East)

It seems the season is now finally getting getting started. Over the weekend I recorded A. heracliana, E. monodactyla, March Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty, Oak Beauty, Dotted Border and Chestnut. Further afield I have seen a Satellite and, today in Lewes, my first two butterfly species of the year: a Comma near Lewes Cemetary and a Peacock on the wing in the Southover Grange Gardens. (Steven Teale)

Saw a female Brimstone in the garden where I work near Shoreham today. I had to run round after it until it settled briefly on an Iris reticulata long enough for me to be sure it wasn't an early cabbage white. I hope my employer wasn't watching! (Tessa Pawsey)

Lewes: A Comma & Brimstone flying around me while I was fencing a paddock. (Tim Duffield)

Playing golf at Worthing GC today enjoying the walk and sun shine when a single Red Admiral flew past us, not spotted anything on my daily walks with the dogs on Mill Hill Shoreham yet but will keep a look out. (Alec Trusler)

News for Sunday 14 March: A male Brimstone was flying around my Warnham garden today, the first butterfly of the year. Unfortunately, I was working and my wife phoned me to gloat! (Sam Bayley)

Sunday 14 March 2010

Put the trap out last night and recorded the following: Hebrew Character 1, Common Quaker 1, Small Quaker 1, Oak Beauty 2, Small Brindled Beauty 2, Chestnut 2, Satellite 4, Grey Shoulder Knot 1. At last some moths, I'm sure it will get better from now on. (Andy Adams)
PS mum also heard a cuckoo yesterday, a very early record.

Our first sighting of the year! A Small Tortoiseshell flying around our East Dean garden (TV562984) this morning at 1030am in bright sunshine with a temperature of 8°C. It was manically looking for nectar with very little success. (Cassie & David Jode)

I have never had to wait until the 14th March before to see my first butterfly of the year but with the sun shining today I thought it was at last my chance to get the year going. Walking along the path towards the main part of the reserve at Park Corner Heath a male Brimstone was flying. Unfortunately after this, despite lots of blue sky about, there was often cloud covering the sun so no more were seen. (Bob Eade)

Surprised to see a Small Tortoiseshell on Sunday 14th March. Very few records here, of this species in 2009. (Robin Edwards)

A beautiful warm day today , I thought ideal conditions to find a Brimstone? After much searching around the woods and rides off Spithandle lane my efforts bore no reward except for two small unidentified day flying moths I couldn't catch. However on the upside I found nine clumps of fresh frogspawn (i.e. before it swells) and lots of Early Purple Orchids just pushing there leaves out, spring is upon us and the hunt goes on. (Richard roebuck)

Our back garden trap at Mill Hill had it's first moth for a long time on Saturday with a single Tortricodes alternella. (Dave and Pen Green)

Went to Steyning to visit a friend today watching the robins and blue tits etc. feeding in his garden, when much to my surprise I saw a Brimstone flying around the garden, my first butterfly of the year... (Alec Trusler)

2 male Brimstone seen flying around Millwood, Peasmarsh! Spring seems later this year... but very excited to see the BEST butterfly out and about ;- ) (Tracy and Mike Pepler)

News for Wednesday 10 March: My first butterfly sighting of the year - a Small Tortoiseshell flitting between gardens on Southdown Avenue, Brighton (TQ 313 059). Sunny but windy & pretty cold at 6°C. (Caroline Clarke)

Saturday 13 March 2010

Finally managed to start catching the first moths of the year at pagham with Common Quaker 1, Satellite 1, Dotted Border 2, Chestnut 1 and Tortricodes alternella 1 caught on the night of 12th March 10. (Ivan Lang)

After trapping our first Early Moth of the year last week (my latest ever record for this species) we finally had a first taste of Spring with a single Clouded Drab in the trap last night! (Derek Lee)

Moth totals from two different locations in Edburton today were a Small Brindled Beauty, Dotted Border, 2 March Moths and an Early Moth - all by outside lights. (Tony Wilson)

News for Saturday 06 March: (I don't think this is report is quite "firm" enough to be marked as a first sighting, but it's undoubtedly interesting nevertheless - ed.)
Second-hand info I'm afraid, but a friend reckons she saw a Holly Blue fluttering round an ivy-covered wall near Lewes Station on Saturday 6th March in rather chilly sunshine. Too small to be anything emerging from hibernation, apparently. (Dave Millar)

Glad you don't teach Geography, Danny, the rest of the Dingy Skippers were at BARCOMBE. (Graham Parris)

Monday 08 March 2010

Having completely failed to catch any moths in the trap in our garden for the last three months we decided a change of tack was required. We had noticed a few moths in the car headlights as we drove around the Sussex countryside in the last few weeks, so over the weekend we decided to pioneer a new form of moth recording. The idea was to drive slowly down some country roads until a moth was seen, and at which point one of us (Dave) would leap out of the car and try and net it! What could be simpler? In the end we left our friends a bit late so the evening was really getting on by the time we got to Spithandle Lane and the temperature was plummeting: we were not too hopeful of seeing any moths at all. Of the three that we did see we managed to net two, 1 Shoulder Stripe and 1 Early Moth. Perhaps on a warmer evening it would be more successful, although definitely not something to try on the A27. (Dave and Pen Green)

Sunday 07 March 2010

I have recently spotted the caterpillars of the Scarlet Tiger Moth feeding on the Borage in my garden, they were extremely small. They seem to have disappeared in the last two days, I assume this is due to the heavy frost we have experienced. Last year we had an abundance of these beautiful moths, as we did in 2008, I just hope to see them again this year. It does seem a little early for these caterpillars. (M. Whiting)

Friday 05 March 2010

I haven't seen an insect of any description at all save for the fact that my daughter has just got Nits... never seen a Nit before until today... not a very beautiful animal... As some of you know I am a teacher and have been testing my tutor group (12 year olds) on identifying butterflies from the Independent poster on the wall of my art room... and they are embracing the concept!!! Have covered up the names with small pieces of paper... and am encouraging them to spot Brimstones... and Orange Tips... the hunt is on!

We won the BC quiz in Balcolme for Butterfly Conservation last month (we were the Dingy Skippers) and we donated our money to BC conservation..a Big Thank you to Michael Blencowe for running this... we (and it) was glorious. I got a bit drunk actually... (Danny McEvoy)

News for Wednesday 03 March: No need to run a trap, yesterday evening as a Dotted Border perched on our french window shortly after 8pm. (John Luck)

Wednesday 03 March 2010

A single Oak Beauty (above) in the moth trap last night. (Derek Lee, Bracklesham).

Tuesday 02 March 2010

After a rather frosty and disappointing start to the day I spent the morning at Park Corner Heath which was bathed in warm sunshine. Just as I was thinking 'It wouldn't surprise me if a Brimstone flies past' a male Brimstone flew past. My first butterfly of the year - it seems like a lifetime since I last saw one! Back at my desk in my office in Lewes something circling outside the window caught my eye - a Small Tortoiseshell. Two butterflies in one day! The Summer starts here folks! (Michael Blencowe)

There was one and possibly more Red Admirals (below - first butterfly photos of the year!) basking in the sunshine and feeding from Cornelian Cherry at Wakehurst Place this morning. (Susie Milbank)

After a day of warm sunshine I decided to dust off the moth trap for the first time this year. Despite a mild and cloudy start to the evening the moon came shining through, the temperature dropped and there was a light frost by morning. The result was an empty trap; not one moth - and my hands were freezing after rolling up the frosty cable early in the morning. I have recorded Winter Moth in the garden flying in a temperature of -5. Ralph Hobbs sent me this link to a TV clip about a moth larvae that can withstand -60. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p006csh6) (Michael Blencowe)

A male Brimstone in excellent condition in my garden in Peasmarsh. (John Roberts)

Small Tortoiseshell seen in warm still weather on the eastern bank of Rother just south of harbour master's cottage. (Laurie Bowman)

Our 1st Ringmer mothtrap in quite some while produced 3 species - March Moth (2), Satellite (above, left) and Early Moth(above, right). (John Luck).

News for Monday 01 March: I saw a Small Tortoishell on a Daphne shrub on Monday 1st March in a garden just off the south end of Coombe Rd near Shoreham by Sea. I told my friend Geoff Stevens from Bevendean in Brighton about it and he suggested I report it to you. (Tessa Pawsey)

Monday 01 March 2010

Male Brimstone and Red Admiral at RSPB Broadwater Warren this afternoon. Shortly after seeing the Red Admiral another butterfly flew up very quickly and disappeared over the tops of some young pines. My initial reaction was that I had seen a Painted Lady, but I'm just not sure. Is there evidence of any Painted Ladies surviving the winter? If not, I guess it was another Red Admiral. Really annoying that it all happened so fast. (Alan Loweth)

After a rather pleasant warm day a very active Red Admiral was flying around outside the house in Henfield this afternoon. On a slightly fifferent note I saw my first wild male Atlas Moth in Thailand two weeks ago. This is the biggest moth in the world (by wing surface area) It was rescued from a swimming pool. Despite missing a hind wing aswell it recovered and flew very strongly vertically to freedom after a few photos of course. (Richard Roebuck)

A first Peacock in our garden today. (Derek Lee)

Very very pleased to see a Peacock butterfly at Seaford Head in pristine condition. My first of the year. A beautiful day for a change such a contrast from Sunday. Also there was a Peacock sighting at Winchelsea village hall car park on the 20th February. (Janet Richardson)

A Peacock near office windows at the police HQ in Lewes today. (Sarah Akehurst)

Earlier Sightings

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