Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Tuesday 30 April 2013

1 Male Brimstone at Old lodge Nature Reserve, Ashdown Forest. TQ469306. (Nick Skinner)

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU824098) during a morning walk where the temperature was 13C. Brimstone (3M 1F), Orange Tip (1M), Small White (2), Comma (3) and Peacock (3). (Richard Symonds)

1 Orange Tip and 1 Holly Blue seen today in our garden in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Cuckfield TQ304245. (Julie and Malcolm Redford)

At last a Speckled Wood and Orange-tip on Frog Firle. An Early Thorn in the garden as well. (Bob Eade)

This afternoon I spent more time in the quiet lanes and meadows around Five Oaks, where Orange Tip males have now been joined by the first females of the season. Brimstones and Green-veined Whites were also enjoying the sunshine. The recent warmth has certainly accelerated plant growth and the Lady's Smock and Bluebells have suddenly burst into life. Spring won't last long this year, so I'm trying to get out and enjoy as much of it as possible. (Neil Hulme)

Went looking for nightingales at Pulborough Brooks this morning and saw my first English butterflies of the year. A splendid Comma was the first, at grid ref. TQ055167, followed a little later by a Brimstone at TQ053171. Then drove up to North Stoke to eat my picnic, and saw another Brimstone on the road up the Downs, just past the railway bridge, at TQ027108. I feel spring has finally arrived. (Nigel Symington)

Mpnday 29 April 2013

At Mill Hill this morning I counted 4 Grizzled Skipper, 5 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Peacock and single Comma, Large White and Speckled Wood. (Neil Hulme)

Pulborough Brooks: weather very changeable but the sun did show and so did the Comma, made our day. (Pat and Peter Gardner)

Val & I went to Abbot's Wood. Although it was very sunny most of the time and warm in sheltered areas, we only saw 3 Peacocks, 1 Green-veined White, 1 male Brimstone and 1 Comma. (John Heys)

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745118) where the temperature was 13C : Peacock (6). With a little cold breeze no other species were on the wing. (Richard Symonds)

News for Sunday 28 April: On Sunday I returned to Mill Hill, where Grizzled Skipper now numbered 3. Also seen were Small Tortoiseshell (3), Peacock (4) and an egg-laying Red Admiral on the upper slope. Lagging a month behind last year's timetable are the tiny moths which typically swarm over the short turf here. Of these, I managed to photograph my first Pyrausta nigrata of the season. In the afternoon I attended the BC Sussex Spring Social on the Knepp Castle Estate. Many thanks to Charlie for being such a great host, and to Penny for organising the day. Thanks also to Dr Dan for bringing his popular Seville orange polenta cake; all 6 slices were delicious. (Neil Hulme) (lower photos: Penny Green)

More news for Sunday 28 April: Saw this very frisky & solo, Green-veined White at Knowlands Wood, Barcombe, on the (sunny!) morning of Sunday April 28th. This was my first proper sighting of a butterfly this year, as whatever flew past me on that hot day of March 5th in a Haywards Heath cemetery was simply too fast! (Kelly Westlake, Brighton)

News for Saturday 27 April: On Saturday morning I saw my first Grizzled Skipper of the season at Mill Hill, a full month later than last year. In the afternoon I led my first BC walk of 2013, in a predictably unsuccessful attempt at seeing Pearl-bordered Fritillary. One thing we did get was warm and sunny conditions, which we certainly didn't experience last year. Perhaps we can combine good weather AND butterflies this coming Sunday? Despite the fact we saw just a single (much celebrated) Peacock, it was nice to catch up with eight members on such a pleasant afternoon. (Neil Hulme)

Sunday 28 April 2013

Two seemingly freshly emerged Grizzled Skippers at Mill today on the lower Western facing slope (either end). The only other Butterfly seen was the Peacock, albeit in fairly good numbers. (Leigh Prevost)

At Mill Hill Shoreham today, a Speckled Wood, some Peacocks and Small Tortioseshells on the way down from the carpark. Then on the lower slopes probably three Grizzled Skipper. Photographed a micro moth which I think is Pancalia leuwenhoekella. Took the same route through the wood back to the car and saw a Green-veined White, Comma and Brimstone and a large Oak Eggar Caterpillar. (Mark Cadey)

Today's spring social at the Knepp Estate told a fascinating story of Sussex wildening. Our host, Sir Charlie Burrell, gave an informative talk about his efforts to ecologically manage the estate using a variety of domesticated herbivores, in the place of those who would have done a similar job in the Mesolithic. This was followed by a tractor ride for all forty of us, around the estate to see the results. These were as stunning as the scale upon which he is embarking this enterprise. Sadly the only butterfly seen was a single unidentified Pierid, which flew overhead. Thanks go to Penny Green and all others who played a hand in organising this brilliant event.
For those who enjoyed my Seville orange polenta cake (gluten free) as requested I include the recipe from Corbin, P. (2012) Cakes, River Cottage Handbook No. 8, Bloomsbury. (Dan Danahar)

Frog Firle/Cradle Hill 2 Comma, 1 Red Admiral and 1 Peacock. (A. Greenslade)

Recent news: 1 Brimstone seen at Wych Cross Garden Centre at TQ421321 on 23rd April and another seen in a friend's garden at Twyford TQ401313 on 21st April. (Julie and Malcolm Redford)

Saturday 27 April 2013

This afternoon I visited the Angmering Estate Woods at Dover Lane and was rewarded with 5 Orange-tips, a Green-veined White, a Silver-Y moth, a Red Admiral and a Comma. I then joined Neil's Rewell Wood walk. Bob spotted a Brimstone on the way and a Peacock flew along our path. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Went for a leisurely stroll around High & Over near Seaford and saw my first Holly Blue and Peacock of the year. Also spotted was a Red Admiral and three Small Tortioseshell and some beetles. (Nick Linazasoro)

Recent news: Brimstones seen in Wisborough Green:
1. Carters Way, Wisborough Green on 21st April, Grid Reference TQ 045259
2. Boxhall Bridge, Wisborough Green on 23rd April, Grid Ref TQ 036268
(Mike King)

Thursday 25 April 2013

My father, Roy Symonds reports (25th April) the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745118) where the temperature was 15C, Brimstone (8M), Peacock (9) and Comma (2). (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)

On Thursday I did my Mill Hill transect, but still no skippers seen. The were many Peacocks, some Small Tortoiseshells, male and female Brimstones and a Comma. I then visited Ferring Rife and saw dozens of Small Tortoiseshells, including this courting pair. The male approached the female and constantly fluttered his wings. (Colin Knight, www.seapic.com)

I saw my first Orange-tip of the year while enjoying an extraordinarily pleasant lunch-time stroll around Woods Mill SWT Reserve (TQ219134) today. I also saw a Brimstone, a Peacock, two Small Tortoiseshells and watched a water shrew energetically hunting for its prey in the leat. Oh, and there were nightingales singing too... fab. (Bob Foreman)

In my garden, Eastbourne TQ635025 Small White x1. Stonegate Station TQ655270 Peacock x1 (Roy Wells)

Female Orange-tip in our East Dean garden - TV562984. Also, in Friston/Crowlink; Peacock at TV538974. Male Brimstone at - TV551982, TV538972, TV537974 and TV538977.
In our East Dean garden (TV562984) this afternoon a Red Admiral. (Carole & David Jode)

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Hoping for hot weather at Abbotts Wood and not getting it I decided that the only thing to do would be looking for Pearl-bordered Fritillary larvae. After well over an hour of searching 2 were found, both in their final instar. At High and Over all the Wall Brown larvae have gone, presumeably to pupate but despite a very long search no pupae were found. (Bob Eade)

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU743110) where the temperature was 15C Brimstone (10M 3F), Orange Tip (1M), Peacock (2), Comma (1). (Richard Symonds Pendeen, Cornwall)

News for Tuesday 23 April: Prompted by Neil's report I thought that I would relay an experience from the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven. Last Sunday, 21st April, I was walking my regular transect route at the Haven when suddenly I saw a Small Tortoiseshell on the banks. Given that this was the first butterfly sighting from the haven this year I spent some time photographing the individual concerned. I then walked to the bottom of the haven and into the last section of my transect where there resides an ever growing clump of nettles. Near to this clump I found two more Small Tortoiseshells. One was flying around the nettles and another was basking in the grass and seemed incapable of flight.
Yesterday, was an even warmer day (Tuesday, 23rd April) and so at about 17.00hrs I returned to the haven and revisited the the same sites. Yet again I found a singleton in the banks and two, both now flying, around the nettles. I suspect that all were the same individuals I had seen on Sunday. Interestingly, there are currently no nectar sources available at the haven and the only other resources available are areas for undisturbed basking and the big patch of nettles. Small Tortoiseshells are notoriously difficult to sex but I believe that in at least two cases the butterflies were males, waiting for females to be lured by the nettles, where courtship and perhaps mating might follow. I will keep a close eye on things and relay any further developments. Either way, it's great to see so many Small Tortoiseshells about, which just goes to show that it's very difficult to predict anything in these environmentally turbulent times. (Dan Danahar)

News for Sunday 21 April: It was nice to see two Brimstones and two Peacocks during a stroll in the sunshine at the Rowland Wood Reserve on the Sunday. (Clive Cottrell)

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Good aftyernoon, the warm weather has brought out the first Peacock butterfly in our garden at Torridon, Mill Drive, Crowborough, TN62RR at approx 14 20 this afternoon. (Tony Holcombe)

A day near Partridge Green produced a single Holly Blue, Large White and Green-veined White. Several Peacock, Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell also seen. (Bob Eade)

Two Small Tortoiseshell whizzed over my allotment together on this lovely sunny day on the top of Whitehawk Hill in East Brighton. TQ329046. (Tessa Pawsey)

Woodland walk early this evening at Ashington Peacocks 4, and my first Orange Tip TQ1416. (Richard Roebuck)

Three Peacocks and a Comma, Sheepcote Valley, April 23. Comma near large nettle patch - nowhere near any elms. (Jeremy Tatum)

My own definition of spring was finally satisfied today, with the sighting of my first newly emerged butterflies of 2013. Having waited for so long for a single Orange Tip, 8 came together, accompanied by 4 Green-veined White, 1 Large White and 1 Holly Blue. A few ex-hibernators were also enjoying the sunny lanes around Five Oaks (TQ0727), including 5 Brimstone, 2 Peacock and 1 Comma. (Neil Hulme)

Monday 22 April 2013

The Small Tortoiseshell has already shown quite strongly in Sussex this season, so I paid a visit to one of the best local sites I know of, to see if numbers are up on recent years. After 2.5 hours of thorough searching along both banks of Ferring Rife, I had counted 194; this is the highest number of Small Tortoiseshells I've ever counted. As the tally continued to grow I rather hoped that the score card would remain clear of other species, but in the end it would include single Peacock and Comma. Given the well documented difficulties faced by this childhood favourite, the sight of so many in one place made a very welcome change. (Neil Hulme)

6 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacocks and 1 Comma seen at Wild Park , Brighton. (Jamie Burston)

News for Sunday 21 April: Today's spottings: 9 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Commas, 2 Peacocks and 1 Red Admiral all around Pagham Harbour and Honer Farm. SZ8798. (Celia Curtis)

News for Saturday 20 April: Two Brimstones, a Red Admiral, Large White and a Peacock seen in our garden next to Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield TQ304245 on Saturday 20nd April. (Julie and Malcolm Redford)

Recent news: 2 Small Tortoiseshell in East Dean at TV559981 on Friday 19th April.
1 male Brimstone in Little London at TQ570197 on Sunday 21st April. (David Jode)

Sunday 21 April 2013

If you are still to see an Orange-tip this spring, Michael Blencowe's latest blog post, is well worth reading and will certainly inspire you to go out looking for this beautiful butterfly.

After weeks of waiting, finally managed to get out to do some serious butterfly hunting. Completed a circular route for Felpham up to Yapton, then along the old canal route to Barnham and back along the cycle route to Felpham. Not huge number or species but 7 Peacocks, 1 Red Admiral and 2 very healthy looking Small Tortoiseshells. (Sally Manning & Ian Evans)

The Friends of Bevendean Down group met today to do a morning of litter picking at the bottom of the steep south facing chalk slope behind Heath Hill Avenue in north east Brighton. I always find it a bit of a dispiriting task but the plus side was seeing a Small Tortoiseshell, a Peacock and a male Brimstone, TQ336066. We also saw lots of what we think were buff tailed bumble bees and assorted solitary bees showing beautifully against the many dandelion flowers at the edge of the scrub along the bottom of the hillside. We saw some large patches of garden violets along the scrub edge path where Geoff Stevens usually sees some Dark Green Fritillaries later in the year when he is doing his transect. (Tessa Pawsey)

One Peacock and two Commas seen in Houghton Forest SU9911. There has been a lot of timber extraction letting the light in to the forest floor which should benefit butterflies no end, in years to come. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Saturday 20 April 2013:

On Saturday, I went with Martin Sims and Dave Monk to Brede High Wood (TQ7920). We saw three Brimstone Butterflies, a Comma, a Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell. Spring at last. (Jim Barrett; Rother Guardians)

Small Tortoiseshells plus 5 Peacocks. (Derek Lee)

My son Matt was birdwatching at Splash Point, Seaford on Saturday and reports several Small Tortoiseshell coming in off the sea so it sounds like a bit of a ST migration is going on. (Bob Eade)

Shoreham-by-Sea 7 or 8 Small Tortoiseshells this afternoon (about 7 or 8 times more than I saw in the whole of 2012). Also 1 Peacock. (Steve Gilbert)

Saturday 20 April 2013

Only a month late...

At last! Two male Orange Tip searching amongst the Cuckoo Flower along lanes just outside of Billingshurst earlier today. (Mark Colvin)

That's more like it!...my transect count at Frog Firle today (20/4) was into double figures (although still only waking hibernators) but bettered by my first Orange-tip of the year near Alfriston (TQ518022).
Also some Brimstone sightings for the atlas; 1 at Horam on 14/4/13 (TQ578175) and 2 in Abbot's Wood on 17/4/13 (TQ562083). (Nigel Kemp)

A Green-veined White in the garden in Coldean, Brighton today. (Dan Danahar)

At Mill Hill today there was no sign of Grizzled Skipper or Green Hairstreak but we did see two Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock. We then moved on to Five Oaks, we saw three Brimstones along the roadside near Steyning on the way and a Small White flying near the verge in Five Oaks which we stopped to watch but it didn't settle. After parking the car and walking along the road we saw two male Orange Tips, a Comma and several more Brimstones - possibly five or six different individuals. (Susie Milbank)

Saw our first pair of yellow Brimstone butterflies in our garden at 11.20 today. (Tony & Christine Holcombe, Crowborough)

A Painted Lady flew into my Seaford garden this morning nectared on Brunnera and forget-me-nots before flying swiftly on. (Stuart Ridley)

We saw a male Brimstone in east Moulsecoomb (Lucraft Road / TQ339081) on the way to the Amex for Albion's 6-1 win over Blackpool. No hint of anything else despite the sunshine. (John and Val Heys)

From Red Admiral eggs laid in early November, after exactly nine weeks as a pupae the first adult hatched and was released today. Despite extensive searching no true overwintering caterpillars have been seen locally since early February, which tempts the question as to whether any survived in Sussex this year? (Dave Harris, Newhaven)

Friday 19 April 2013

Blackstone: TQ242161: A Holly Blue was seen flying in our garden today. It was very much in a hurry but I managed to get a record shot. (Pauline Batchelor)

A first butterfly sighting for the year of a Small Tortoiseshell and female Brimstone in my Shoreham garden this afternoon. Grid reference TQ236058. (Ann Nutley)

The biggest Wall Brown larva is now 3.5cm long and will hopefully soon be pupating. Also seen at High and Over were several Small Tortoiseshell including 3 flying together and 1 Peacock as well as a Dock Leaf Bug. (Bob Eade)

Three Small Tortoiseshells seen near Piddingworth Plantation (TQ322108) next to Ditchling Road (Jamie Burston)

Thursday 18 April 2013

A visit to Friston Forest in breezy conditions brought several Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimstone, Peacock and a single Red Admiral. It was only warm enough due to the sheltered spots in the woodland. (Bob Eade)

Spring is still on the go-slow; another search of Mill Hill failed to find Grizzled Skipper this morning. This species had been on the wing for 3.5 weeks here this time last year. I then moved on to a wood between Worthing and Arundel, but there was no sign of the Orange Tip I had hoped for. This species had been on the wing for 4 weeks in Sussex this time last year. In the end I was pleased enough to see a couple of Brimstone (TQ061064, TQ058071) and my first Comma (TQ058071) of the season. (Neil Hulme)

Despite the strong wind today there was a male Brimstone in the garden where I work near Shoreham airport TQ196063 on the pulsatilla flowers. I also saw a Small Tortoiseshell on a bare patch on ground in the sunshine. (Tessa Pawsey)

Recent news: Monday 15 April, Mill Road, Arundel grid TQ023084 6x Male Brimstone Butterflies in pristine condition. And Wednesday 17 April, in my garden TQ699079 1 X Hummingbird Hawkmoth. (Neville Richardson)

Finally: Richard Roebuck suggested that a reminder about grid references would be useful and yes Richard, you are right, it would... When you send your sightings in please, if possible include an Ordnance Survey grid reference to let us know exactly where your spot can go on the map (and it will make Michael and Clare's job so much easier when the collate the sightings data). There are a couple of excellent websites that make finding a grid reference very easy: Grab a Grid Reference and Where's The Path. A 6 figure reference is ideal but even a four figure, 1km square is better than nothing.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

News for Monday 15 April: Rewell Wood (Nr. Arundel) counted 7 Brimstones & 4 Commas along the West East Public footpath. (Bob Dick)

Baby badger update (pt. III): They're on YouTube now too. (Nick Linazasoro)

Tuesday 16 April 2013

A Pair of Commas (above) taken at Broadfield Pond, Crawley. (Damian Pinguey)

News for Sunday 14 April: Saw 4 Peacock butterflies and male Brimstone in my garden TQ174105 on Sunday (Mike Warren, Steyning)

Baby badger update (pt. II): This week's Seaford Gazette Newspaper has the baby badger story with photos as their main story on the front page! (Nick Linazasoro)

Monday 15 April 2013

Saw two Peacocks on Sunday, the first near the cricket ground in Felpham and the other in the conservation area near Bognor golf course. Today I spotted 4 Small Tortoiseshells (inc. a mating pair) and another Peacock along the banks of the Arun near Littlehampton. (Celia Curtis)

Apart from one fast flying, unidentifiable dark butterfly seen disappearing over next door's garden on a sunny day in February there were no further sightings here until Sunday 14th April, which is unusually late, when a Small White turned up. However early this afternoon two Small Tortoiseshells were chasing each other over the flowerbeds so things are beginning to look up, especially as we didn't see any Small Tortoiseshells here last year. (David West)

News for Sunday 14 April: In our East Dean garden (TV562984) enjoying the afternoon Spring sunshine:
Small Tortoiseshell - 3
Male Brimstone - 2
Female Large White - 1
(Carole & David Jode)

Baby badger update: Today we phoned the East Sussex Wildlife Resuce and they said that the two baby badgers were now feeding by bottle and so hopefully getting stronger! Good News :) (Nick Linazasoro)

Sunday 14 April 2013

With it being so warm and sunny this afternoon I decided to visit a few local haunts to see if anything was flying, and very productive it was too.
Hailsham Country Park: Small Tortoiseshell x 3, Peacock, Comma
Vert Wood bridleway: Peacock x 2, Brimstone x 2, Comma
Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath: Brimstone x 7, Peacock x 2, Comma
Golden Cross (A22): Brimstone
Abbots Wood: Brimstone x 2, Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell
(Chris Hooker)

We arrived at Park Corner at noon today hoping there might be sunshine but there was none and we saw no butterflies. Fortunately we had lunch there and by 1.30pm the sun was out and so were the butterflies - at least a dozen Brimstones with equal numbers of male and female, a couple of Commas, two (probably three) Peacocks and near the path to the hut, just in Rowland Wood two possible Small Tortoiseshells. (Comma disguised as leaf litter above.) (Val and John Heys)

A visit to Broadwater Warren, near Tunbridge Wells, resulted in the sigting of three male Brimstones. (Rob Thomas)

Well what can I say... only that we have never been on such a moving butterfly walk!
Today the family ventured arond the outskirts of Blatchington Golf Course in Seaford. We were initially very happy to spot our first butterflies of the year (no thanks to the snow etc). We saw a few at a distance and then we got confirmed sightings of 1 Brimstone, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Comma.
Then one of my sons who was ahead shouted to us that he saw some black and white faces peering out of a hole and he said they were badgers. When we got near the hole they actually came out to meet us and kept following us. They were to baby badgers! We suspected as that they were out alone that mum and dad might not now be around. We were initially overjoyed with our close encounter of the baby badger kind (possibly the only one we will ever have).
However the two ladies were walking their dogs behind us and they were walking away from the badgers but one of the dogs, a terrier, slipped its lead and bolted at the babies. It was savaging the larger of the two. The lady owner barely tried to get her dog off. I could not believe it! I literally grabbed the dog and hoisted it up in the air at face level with the badger still in its jaws. I was shouting at it to let go. The badger did get free. We could not see any blood but these babies were obviously all alone as they still kept following us as though they were imprinted. We contacted the East Sussex Wildlife Resuce and luckily enough they were able to rescue them. They said they were undernourished and so they needed rescuing.
Wow! What a quiet butterfly walk that turned out to be... NOT! (Nick, Sharon, James & Toby Linazasoro)

First warm sunshine & rewarded with first Brimstone this Spring. This afternoon saw a Peacock basking in the sunshine. Lower Farm Close meadows, East Grinstead. (Kevin Sexton)

Castle Hill Local Nature Reserve, Newhaven - 1 Peacock.
Piddinghoe Lake - 12 Small Tortoiseshells, fly - by Peacock and a '90%' Comma.
Plenty of bird immigration in the warmth and sunshine, too. Wonderful to see. (David Harris and Jeremy Tatum - visiting from Vancouver Island, Canada)

I had a pleasant sunny walk at Abbot's Wood today, I saw Commas, Peacocks and Brimstones. It was good to see spring at last. (Gary Norman)

Tetrad TQ5602 (Wannock/Folkington): I saw my first butterflies of the year, 3 Red Admirals in Friston Forest back on 18th Feb and then no more until today. An hour's amble gave me 3 Red Admirals, 3 Peacock and 3 male Brimstone, also 2 dark butterflies moving fast with the wind quite high up. Hopefully my butterfly year has finally started! (Susan Suleski)

In the warm sunshine this afternoon in our Eastbourne garden (TQ587016) we saw 3 Peacocks, 4 Brimstones and 1 Comma - all in very good condition. (John and Sue East)

Today was the first chance to do the transects at Bevendean with the temperature rising above 13C for the first time this month and sunny with it. Butterflies recorded were 2 Commas, 2 Small Tortoiseshells and 1 Peacock. (Geoff Stevens)

My first Brimstone of the year at Kithurst Hill. He fluttered around a bit but spent most of the time sitting in the undergrowth. Also a Small Tortoiseshell and a spiralling pair of Peacocks. (John Williams)

The day we have all been waiting for; with sun and high temperatures, finally arrived. The Friends of Coldean Woods, billhooks in hand, removed all the brash created in previous woodland working days and constructed a dead hedge. We found patches of Wood Anemones, which I hadn't seen before within the woods before. We finished around 14.00hrs and as we did so so we saw 3 male Brimstones following the perimeter of the woods. My fourth species this year.
In the afternoon I travelled to Mill Hill LNR and met Neil there. We were both looking for the first Grizzled Skipper of the season. The temperature in the car on the way to Mill Hill was 19C and on the bottom of the slope it felt a lot warmer. It turned out to be a really good day for the hibernators. I saw another 3 Brimstones and between 5 to 6 Peacocks, as well as 6 Small Tortoiseshells. The Peacocks were just basking but the Small Tortoiseshells were basking and nectaring from the violets. I didn't see any Grizzled Skipper but left Neil still looking. Who knows he may well have seen something. So today I made a jump from spotting just 1 species in a day to 3 species, things are getting better! (Dan Danahar)

One Small Tortoiseshell seen at 14.15 hrs, nectaring on daffodils at TQ597065 (just inside metal gates at layby on north side of B2104 - nr Marland Sewer & Bridge). Another Small Tortoiseshell seen at midday on 11 Apr 2013, sunning on shed at TQ590089 (rear of 2, Compton Terrace, Hailsham). (Teresa Fowler)

Set off this morning to explore Shoreham beach but is was cool and wet from the night before, but I did see a lovely Ringed Plover tearing up and down the beach. And then Mill Hill, no butterflies again as a bit too cool but had an excellent sighting of a male black adder sunbathing. Its clouded eye an indication of skin sloughing in the not too distant future.
Driving between Small Dole and just north of Henfield saw a total of 8 male Brimstones on the wing. (TQ2117 x2, TQ2115 x1, TQ2112 x2, TQ2113 x2, TQ2111), and a Small Tortoiseshell, Partridge Green high street. I returned to Henfield to my rabbit warren site and despite strong winds saw 5 Small Tortoiseshells (plus one Peacock) in close proximity obviously newly emerged from hibernation as they were all in very good condition. This main emergence from hibernation at this site is 3-4 weeks later than last year. TQ211155. At Woodmancote Peacocks x 2, Small Tortoiseshells x 2, TQ2413 Then to Spithandle Lane near Wiston TQ168153 as temperatures rose and on a bridle path saw two male Brimstones and 5 Commas. Some of the Commas were in courting mood making high aerial sorties Everyone was so pleased with the sunshine that one comma obliged in sitting on my head and my hand. In addition whilst watching a pair on the ground I kept seeing shadows darting across the ground, was it other butterflies or birds I wasn't sure. Eventually I solved the problem, - a Bat in full sunshine flying back and forth - there you go, perhaps hungry or glad of the warmth. At home two more male Brimstones nectaring on Pulmonaria officinalis in the garden, one Comma setting up a territory and nectaring on Blackthorn, 3 Peacocks sunning on the fence and one Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell doing a fly by. TQ138171. Today 38+ Butterflies and 5 species seen. Definitely the highest number of male Brimstones I have seen on a spring day. (Richard Roebuck)

Today, after a very long wait, hibernating butterflies finally woke up in large numbers. A late afternoon visit to Mill Hill produced 8 Peacock, 5 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Brimstone. That feels better! (Neil Hulme)

I was about to write a message just to say that it is pretty amazing that by mid-April I have only seen one species of butterfly in my garden (2012 six speces and 2011 nine species - by mid-April). However, there was a little flurry of activity in the afternoon of the 14th when there were a couple of sightings of both male and female Brimstone, followed by Peacock and then what at the time I thought were two Small Tortoiseshell. There was such a whirr of wings that it wasn't easy to ID and they might have been Peacock? Whichever species (and I still think they were Small Tortoiseshell) I have never seen that behaviour before, in the garden itself (for either species). (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

Saturday 13 April 2013

Today an exhibition of butterflies and moths opened at Storrington Museum (RH20 4LL Grid Ref: TQ085140) with contributions from local micro-moth aficionado Bob Palmer (main exhibitor), Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch and Sussex Moth Group. 'Flutter-Bys and Fly-By-Nights' runs until 30th June. (Neil Hulme)

Friday 12 April 2013

For most of his life, my son Indiana, has watched my facination with the natural world and has learnt enough to know that if he should see a butterfly he should tell me. "Dad look a butterfly" is a common statement designed to please his father. However today was different, "Dad" he shouted "I can see a Comma". He named the species! This may be because there are masses of Sussex butterfly posters hanging around the house or it may be that he has encountered the species before and remembered it. Either way I was astounded and delighted.
The insect in question was sunning itself on the wall of my house, in the back garden, during a short sunny spell. After the Small Tortoiseshell reported from WildPark with Peter Atkinson and Cassie Tong (7th April) and the Peacock reported by Neil Hulme at Mill Hill (10th April), this now makes my third species in this very slow year. (Dan Danahar)

Thursday 11 April 2013

Blackstone : TQ242161: Last year I purposely grew nasturtiums in the garden for the whites. The plants were very popular with these butterflies and were decimated by the resultant caterpillars who eventually found their way into various nooks and crannies in and around the house and sheds to see out the winter months. The first Large White emerged in the potting shed today from these caterpillars; I just hope that the gardening neighbours are not looking! (Pauline Batchelor)

I have seen a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly in our garden today in Storrington. (Audrey Kemp)

The first butterflies I've seen here this year. Three Small Tortoiseshell making the best of the slightly warmer weather and intermittent sunshine. (Pete Varkala)

News for Wednesday 10 April 2013: Many thanks to Phillippa, Colin, Steve, Maggie, Malcolm, Julie, John, Indy, Nigel and Dan for helping clear the privet brash from the lower slopes of Mill Hill. The runway is now clear for Grizzled Skippers. A black Adder and a fine Peacock were seen by some members of the party. (Neil Hulme)

Recent news: Small Tortoiseshell seen on Saturday 6th April and Red Admiral on Sunday 7th in the cottage gardens next to Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield. A Small Tortoiseshell was also seen on the track by Canada Barn at The Burgh on Sunday 7th. It was sunbathing and in pristine condition. (Malcolm and Julie Redford)

Wednesday 10 April 2013

News for Tuesday 2 April: The photo above, of a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, was taken in an Upper Bevendean front garden in Brighton by a professional gardner friend. (Kelly Westlake)

Monday 8 April 2013

Just before the UK season kicks off properly, here's an image of something from further afield, sent to me by our Cayman correspondent Peter Davey. The Malachite is a firm favourite in the butterfly houses that many visit in the winter months, but here's one in its natural habitat. (Neil Hulme)

Sunday 7 April 2013

Small White, Kingston near Lewes (TQ3915 0862) (Crispin Holloway)

6 butterflies today with 3 Small Tortoiseshell on High and Over scarp, 1 Peacock nearby. 2 more Small Tortoiseshells seen, 1 at home and 1 at Newhaven. On the scarp at High and Over the Wall Brown larva now almost fully grown with 2 found today. (Bob Eade)

Peter Atkinson and I toured the Mouslescombe Wildpark LNR transect with Cassie Tong who will be taking it over from me after my 5 year stint. We walked the entire circuit, in lovely weather and it was only at the very last minute that Peter and Cassie had a Small Tortoiseshell barge between them both. I saw only a busy black dot fly into the blue yonder, although it was clearly a Small Tortoiseshell - busy black dot. Later Cassie emailed me this photo of a Comma seen this afternoon, at her parent's house in Newick, like she said, no doubt a good omen! (Dan Danahar)

Comma in my Brighton garden - sunning itself on a fence. My first butterfly of the year. (Caroline Clarke)

Small Tortoiseshell Grange Gardens, Lewes (TQ413 098) (Louise Holloway)

A male Brimstone flew through my Storrington garden today. (Martin Kalaher)

Finally a butterfly this year, a Red Admiral flying in fields of Halland Park Farm, East Sussex. (A. Greenslade)

Crawley-Down - a Comma briefly basking in sunshine in the garden as temperatures soared to 11°C. (Jonathan Ruff)

News for Saturday 6 April: Small White found in glazed porch, Kingston near Lewes (TQ3915 0862) (John Holloway)

News for Tuesday 2 April: Male Brimstone, Kingston near Lewes (TQ3915 0862) (John Holloway)

Saturday 6 April 2013

Finally saw a couple of butterflies this afternoon whilst out enjoying the sun. The first was a Red Admiral amongst the rides of Rowland Wood and the second was a Small Tortoiseshell in Hailsham Country Park. (Chris Hooker)

Sunday 31 March 2013

Despite a temperature of just 5 a Small Tortoiseshell was nectaring on daffodils in the garden this morning. (Derek Lee)

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Thanks to everyone who came along to the Drab Looper work party on the Downs near Petworth on Wednesday. We all got to work widening rideside habitat and creating a glade at the Drab Looper site to encourage more sunlight into the woods and hopefully encourage more Wood Spurge - the foodplant of the Drab Looper -in the area. There were some rare glimpses of sunshine too - but it was still rather cold. Thankfully the frantic sawing and dragging warmed us all up. Thanks to Neil, Clive, Audrey, Rob, Dan, Tony and Graham for their help (Michael Blencowe)

Monday 25 March 2013

After being beaten into submission by the dreadful weather, I headed off to Rome for part of The Grand Tour. Of course sites such as the Vatican city, Pantheon, Coliseum etc. were breath-taking beyond belief and thoroughly recommended. However as temperatures soared to 16 degrees C I couldn't help hunting out some butterflies and headed to the Roman Forum where at least there was some greenery which offered a chance. It wasn't long before I spotted numerous Small Whites a Small Copper and numerous Hummingbird Hawk-moths. In addition Red Admirals and a few Commas collecting minerals on the ground. Eventually on a high flowering Viburnum bush I found something slightly more interesting which may have been a very worn Large Tortoiseshell, unfortunately I had to rely on a rather long range shot as it was pretty high up. Hooded crows and Ring-neck parakeets were everywhere and a rather nice Black Redstart in the ruins. I also found large bore holes in a tree that you could easily put your finger in perhaps being made by Goat Moth caterpillars, there certainly was an awful lot of frass which came out when disturbed. A local poster at the Rome Bio Parco (Zoo) unusually also showed a Goat Moth. (Richard Roebuck)

Saturday 23 March 2013

Usually by now we would have seen some butterflies, but so far we've not even seen anything disappearing into the distance - in the UK that is. We've been in Italy (Florence) for a few days and at least it's a bit warmer there. Thursday 21st March was really sunny and at last we made a few sightings. The two Cleopatras mating were the highlight, but maybe a sign of more promise for back here was the behaviour of the Red Admirals - we saw four or five and all were on the wing resolutely heading from south to north. (John and Val Heys)

Wednesday 20 March 2013

On Wednesday morning I joined BC Sussex and Murray Downland Trust volunteers on the slopes of Heyshott Escarpment. We split into two groups, one helping the fencing contractors and the other felling some hefty Yew trees; removal of the Yew is essential when grazing is planned (poisonous to livestock). Although the 'regulars' all worked as hard as they do every week, special thanks must go to Mark Bunch, who travelled all the way from Essex to join us, and shifted a huge quantity of timber. (Neil Hulme)

Tuesday 19 March 2013

One Small Tortoiseshell seen today at Lewes brooks Grid reference: TQ 41053 09281 very fresh looking individual. The worst picture in the world. But a picture none the less! -Jake's words, not mine! ed. (Jake Gearty)

Monday 18 March 2013

With it being really warm in the garden this morning I decided to pop up to High and Over to see how the Wall Brown larva were getting on. As soon as I arrived on the scarp it started to rain! There was also a very chilly breeze blowing! However, I was pleased to find a couple of larvae and got a few shots of them. A bit of munching must have happened despite the weather as there was a little bit of growth from the last sighting. (Bob Eade)

Sunday 17 March 2013

I spotted a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, in January feeding on the Hyacinths for sale inside a Ferring nursery, so I guess that is one way they over winter here. (Paul Day)

Saturday 16 March 2013

Recent news: Some time since I had something worthwhile to report on here! However last Friday (8th) in the rain around 5 p.m. a friend of mine who lives on Blatchigton Hill in Seaford saw a Hummingbird Hawk-moth sipping nectar from the flowers on her daphne bush in the garden.
I take it this must have over-wintered as I cannot imagine it flying across the Channel in the present Winter climate. Is this a common event? How does this species usually survive the Winter months? (Bob Brown)

More recent news: A late report of Male Brimstone sightings in East Dean on Tuesday 5th March...
TV563985 by Barbara Burwell.
TV559981 by Cyril Burwell.
(David Jode)

Thursday 14 March 2013

I saw no butterflies during my walk around Rewell Wood today, but I did notice a little brown job fluttering amongst the branches of a silver birch. It was my first Orange Underwing moth of the year; a female out laying eggs. Spring is fast approaching. (Neil Hulme)

I was working all day today on the roof of Brighton Train Care Depot and about 10.30 in warm sunshine was surprised to see a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly gliding by at roof top height TQ308053. Pretty urban or what? (Richard Roebuck)

Wednesday 13 March 2013

While we wait for the current wintery interlude to pass, here are a couple to photos I took last week to remind us that Spring is underway; the Herald appeared in my moth trap at Heathfield and an early male Adder at Park Corner Heath, both on 6th March. (Nigel Kemp)

This year the conservation grazing on the Liz William's Butterfly Haven has taken a new turn with the weather adding a new dimension to the welfare of the sheep. Thankfully my wife (Libby Danahar) has been as enthusiastic about looking after the sheep as are the rest of us. Roll on spring! (Dan Danahar)

Thursday 7 March 2013

News for Tuesday 5 March: While working at Kithurst Hill car park, a lone Brimstone butterfly enjoyed the morning sunshine. First butterfly for the year! (John Knight)

On March 5th there were at least 3 male Brimstones patrolling the hedgerows bordering my garden (and adjacent meadows). (Martin Kalaher)

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Today, while at the Wednesday Heyshott Escarpment work party, I got the distinct feeling that winter is finally on the way out. Not only was it a good deal warmer than of late, but the bird song has taken on a more optimistic pitch, as territories are set up. Today I joined Mark Colvin and Colin Knight, in addition to Murray Downland Trust regulars Mike E, Mike H, Roger, Andy and Greg, to complete the clearance of yet another old chalk pit. There are only a couple more weeks to go now before we hang up our tools for another season, as scrub clearance stops so as not to risk disturbing any nesting activity. It's then just a case of waiting for Mother Nature to do her work. Thanks to all that attended. Image courtesy of Mike Hadley. (Neil Hulme)

News for Tuesday 5 March: A Brimstone, reported to me by Kate Frankland, seen in her East Dean garden (TV560984) at 1.30pm. (David Jode)

More news for Tuesday 5 March: A lovely warm sunny day on Tuesday and saw my first butterfly of the year a Small Tortoiseshell this was followed by finding four Brown Hairstreak eggs in my new garden at Ashington, just outside the back door next to my sprouting rhubarb. I couldn't resist putting on the moth trap early evening and before 8.30 there was excellent activity with about 10 moths caught and others bombing around the light. These included lovely Oak Beauties, March Moth and Pale-brindled Beauty and several other species to be identified. There is no light pollution here so really looking forward to this seasons moth trapping. (Richard Roebuck)

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Today we walked from 'The Triangle' at Burpham up to the South Downs Way mainly birding and enjoying the beautiful springlike day. Whilst eating our sandwiches a Male Brimstone butterfly flew past. (John and Chris Hamilton)

At least four Brimstone accompanying me doing end of season clearing up in woodland near Small Dole. (Pete Varkala)

Further to my previous post today, later on, a Comma also joined me in the wood. (Pete Varkala)

12.30pm Brimstone butterfly in my garden in Small Dole. (David Plummer)

With warmer weather at last it was time to check on the Wall Brown larvae at High and Over. Hunting them with Nigel Kemp we found 2 larvae with one of them being much duller in colour than I have found before, possibly due to moult!! A little growth from when I first found them at the end of January they are approx 2cm in length. A Small Tortoiseshell flew around us whilst we were looking. (Bob Eade)

and finally...

Friday 1 March 2013

A continuation of my Brown Hairstreak egg surveys over the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland project area got off to a slow start, but after 3 hours searching and only a single find to show for my efforts, I eventually hit a rich seam of 23 along a 30 metre stretch of blackthorn suckers. My image shows just how close a nice pair of ova came to a premature end through browsing, probably by deer. A hibernating Drinker moth caterpillar was an added bonus. Grid references already in our database. (Neil Hulme)

Earlier Sightings

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