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Saturday 30 April 2011

If you had told me that I would see 15 species of butterfly at Cissbury in April with a wriggling 13 month old baby in a carrier on my back then I would have questioned your sanity! However that is exactly what happened! Highlight for me was my first ever Green Hairstreak, 2 spiralling up together before a stunning individual landed on a leaf a few yards away. I was also surprised to see a pristine Adonis Blue here. Other sightings were: 7 Dingy Skipper, 5 Small Copper, 5 Small Heath, 3 Common Blue, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Comma, 1 Peacock, 1 Speckled Wood, good numbers of Small and Large White and Orange Tip and bucket loads of Brimstone and 2 Holly Blue. What an afternoon! (Matt Farmer)

Bollen's Bush in Newhaven is a Lewes District Council-owned and managed nature reserve between Newhaven and Peacehaven (TQ4201, TQ4301). The reserve can be divided into an area of broadleaved open woodland to the east (locally known as 'Bluebell Wood'), with some ancient woodland indicator species and very old Ash and Hawthorn boundary markers, and an area of heathland to the west, probably consisting of sandy Woolwich and London clays.
We checked the reserve out today as part of the ongoing atlas work and recorded an incredible fifteen species of butterfly. These were Brimstone, Large White, Small White (15), Green-veined White (6), Orange-tip (4), Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Brown Argus (2), Common Blue (2), Holly Blue (9), Red Admiral (3), Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock (4), Speckled Wood (24), and Wall (4). We were disappointed not to find any Skippers. Day-flying moths seen included many Adela reamurella dotted around the reserve, Cameraria ohridella (Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner), Cydia ulicetana (Grey Gorse-piercer), Pyrausta purpuralis, Lackey & Brown-tail Moth larval webs, and Brimstone Moth. Many beetle and wasp species were also seen - something for a more accomplished entomologist - but we did manage to identify Kidney-spot & 14-spot Ladybirds, Wasp Beetle (Clytra arietis) and Ruby-tailed Wasp. Amongst the many Whitethroats we also heard and saw a Willow Warbler. This is a super reserve well worth visiting. (David Harris & Steven Teale)

Good grief, the country is alive with all manner of things, and some may take out your eyes and eat them like Ju Ju Beans, but I digress. 29.04.11 Went up to Wolstonbury Hill from Pycombe street, along the bridle way 11 Speckled Woods the most I have ever seen here. On Wolstonbury Hill Dingy Skippers 25+ again the most I have ever seen in this location, saw one nectaring on speedwell and another on Horse dung, what ever takes your fancy. Green Hairstreak 2, Painted Lady very worn 1, Burnet Campion 5. On top of the sheer ankle breaking spoil heap came across four Wall Browns flying like supercharged fritillaries., TQ2813 Went to Broadmere common near Henfield, near a pond on rushes lots small of ghostly nymphal cases of Blue and red damsel flies but also enormous nymphal cases of I think emperor dragonflies and lastly a close encounter with a 3 foot grass snake, Orange Tips male 4, Commas 2, Peacocks 3, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Green-veined White 2 also seen here. TQ2115
Went to Park Corner Heath early in the morning, lots of Speckle Yellow moths on the wing and occasional Small Heath, met the great sage, Bob Foreman and on the bottom ride we saw a Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Intereststing walk around the wood whilst carrying out the transect count with good view of egg laying female Brimstone. However the highlight was finding a dead three Horned Dor Beetle Typhaeus typhaeus. not far from the hut, in macro this looks absolutely fantastic. Apparently from my 1963 book of insects it feeds on rabbit droppings, not children as you may suspect. Small Copper at TQ2510. On the way home stopped off at a new Brown Hairstreak site I discovered last year, a disused field / damp meadow at Woodmancote (TQ241140) which has reverted to nature and I was amazed to see 2 Grizzled Skippers (on forget me Knot) and a Dingy Skipper in completely different habitat to downland. Also Orange Tips 3, Peacocks 2. I also saw a patch of a white form of Bugle. Fantastic so would love any feedback to the relevance of this from a Botanist viewer? (photos above) (Richard Roebuck)

Seen today 30/04 around Plumpton.
2 Orange Tips & Peacock @ TQ360165.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ361165.
3 Orange Tip & 1 Holly Blue @ TQ361164.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ355163.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ354162.
2 Speckled Woods @ TQ353161.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ353160.
3 Speckled Woods @ TQ353159.
2 Orange Tips @ TQ353158.
1 Small White @ TQ355160.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ354161.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ355161.
2 male Orange Tips @ TQ356164.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ356165.
2 Orange Tips @ TQ361165.
2 Orange Tips @ TQ362165.
(Jon Wood)

Visited Park Corner Heath this afternoon. Amongst the Grizzled Skippers were some aberrations. One I photographed, think it is ab. intermedia. Also spotted a Pearl-bordered Fritillary just outside the reserve not far from entrance just a little way up the track. Not sure if it was male or female. Also 1 Small Heath, 3 Small Copper, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 1 Holly Blue, Speckled Woods, Large and Green-veined Whites, many Orange-tips and even more Brimstones. Of the moths I could identify there were Brown Silver-line, Speckled Yellow, Small Purple-bar and the only clouds of the day in the form of Green Longhorn moths (photos above). (Mark Cadey)

News for Friday 29 April: Today I visited Mill Hill to look for Green Hairstreak, I first spotted Small Heath, seeing about 15, then Dingy Skipper of which I easily saw over 20. I occasionally saw Grizzled Skipper, seeing around about 4. Also Green Hairstreak seeing 2, one on bramble leaves aside a hawthorn bush along the path, of what I believe to be on the lower slopes, and one resting on hawthorn at the very bottom of the slopes, hidden in a bay, causing me to see my only sighting of a stunning Small Copper. Furthermore seeing one Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. Also having brief encounters with 3 Wall Browns and seeing 2 Brimestones attempting to mate. At the far end of the lower slopes I also met Adonis Blues, including 3 mating pairs, totalling about 15 Adonis Blue, and In the process meeting some incredibly kind people (photos above). (Jamie Burston)

More news for Friday 29 April: This morning I did my transect at Mill Hill with Steve and all the little fellas were out and about. Transect numbers were: 2 Brimstone, 26 Dingy Skipper, 6 Green Hairstreak,1 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Holly Blue, 3 Orange Tip, 2 Red Admiral, 3 Small Heath, 2 Adonis Blue, 1 Green-veined White, 3 Wall Brown. Numbers seen after the transect were considerably higher than this. There were some pristine Walls, plenty of Adonis Blues on the Horseshoe Vetch and Green Hairstreaks constantly landed in front of us as we walked along the shrub line and pairs fought. We had a great day photographing them. A pair of Adonis Blue and a pair of Brimstones got into the spirit of the day and gave us a great display of togetherness (photos above). (Colin Knight)

And some more news for Friday 29 April: Following the excitement of todays events at the Abbey, went for a walk on Cissbury Ring. Spotted 4 Green Hairstreaks, 2 Holly Blues, 2 Brimstones, 1 Peacock, 3 Small Coppers, 1 Small Heath and a Brimstone Moth (photos above). (Nicki Kent)

Details of the transect walked on 29th at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill; species recorded.
Large White, (6)
Small White, (6)
Orange Tip, (5)
Green Hairstreak, (4)
Small Copper, (1)
Holly Blue, (2)
Speckled Wood, (3)
Total, 28 butterflies, 7 species. (David Pyle)

News for Wednesday 27 April: Small Copper - 1, TV538978, Crowlink. Speckled Wood - 1, TV537976, Crowlink. 1, TV543974, Crowlink. 1, TV542974, Crowlink. Small White - 1, TV541973, Crowlink. (David Jode)

More news for Wednesday 27 April: Seen while botanical surveying near Hadlow Down. Limited number due to cold cloudy morning.
1 male Orange Tip @ TQ526253.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ526253.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ504235.
(Jon Wood)

News for Monday 25 April: Green Hairstreak - 2, TV562984 East Dean (our garden). We have seen Green hairstreaks in our garden, on one day per season, in four of the 11 years that we have lived here. (David Jode)

Recent news: Quite an interesting selection of species Friday 29th and during the last week in my garden at Kingston Nr Lewes. Today 29th 1 Small Copper, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Small Blue and a male and female Common Blue, 1 Peacock, 1 Red Admiral, several Speckled Woods, many Orange Tips, Small, Large and Green-veined Whites.
A Dingy Skipper was first seen on the 23rd and the Green Hairstreak first seen on the 24th.
I am hoping the singletons will have company within the next day or two, after all weddings seem to be popular right now. Happy sightings. (John Holloway)

Friday 29 April 2011

A fantastic morning at Mill Hill, where twelve different species of butterfly were seen: Dingy Skipper
Grizzled Skipper
Orange Tip
Green Hairstreak
Small Copper
Adonis Blue
Red Admiral
Small Heath
Holly Blue
The butterflies were posing nicely for photographs and I was able to get pictures of mating Adonis Blues and my first Green Hairstreak (above). Many thanks to Paul Ingate for guiding me round. (Paul Cox)

I went back to Kithurst Hill today to try and re-connect with Small Blue (there were 3-4 males; I didn't see a female). I was delighted to have a Brown Argus 'pop up in front of me' and then shortly after find a mate. Also female Common Blue (3-4 males) (photos above). (Martin Kalaher)

Visited Kithurst Hill today and took photos of 8 species, including my first ever Small Blue just yards from the car park, my second Duke of Burgundy, and my first decent shots of Brown Argus and Green Hairstreak. Also took pictures of Dingy Skipper, Common Blue, Speckled Wood and Small Copper. Saw Brimstones, Orange Tips and unidentified whites flying past. Bumped into Martin Kalaher and Jim Joyce and a party of moth-ers looking for day flying moths. All in all a great afternoon's butterflying! (photos above) (John Williams)

An early start today to try to get both the Dukes and Wood Whites. Unfortunately the sun only made brief appearances and the breeze was not warm, however during a sunny period several Duke of Burgundy did appear. The woods near Plaistow then produced 3 Wood White with their distinctive feeble flight. In these woods Brimstone were everywhere (photos above). (Bob Eade)

We had an apres Royal Wedding brief stroll around Abbotts Wood revealed 2 male Orange Tip, 2 Speckled Wood, 5 Brimstone and several Small White and Large White (photos above). (Nick, James & Toby Linazasoro)

Thursday 28 April 2011

I visited the reserve today between 12.15 & 1.45 and saw Brimstone, Large and Green-veined Whites, Orange Tip, Small Copper and 2 or 3 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, mostly on the lower path beyond Peter's seat, and in very good condition. Sadly, I couldn't find the Grizzled Skippers. As I left, I saw Speckled Wood on the track. Having seen the Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at Abbot's Wood earlier, this was the first time I had seen both PBF's on the same day in Sussex since the Pearl Bordered died out on the reserve. Keep up the great work. (Andrew Carey)

Today started rather well with a Cuckoo 'singing its heart out' on one of the Scots Pines in the back garden. It got better when I discovered there were at least a dozen Brimstone caterpillars on Alder Buckthorn sprigs planted just 6 weeks ago. Then off to Chantry Hill where Mary and I had our first Small Heath of the year and then shortly after a very obliging Painted Lady. For a change we added to our walk a visit to Kithurst Hill and we were pleased that we did for there was a delightful fresh male Small Blue waiting for us. Whilst I was trying to get to grips with this 'little fella' Mary 'found' a Duke of Burgundy and watched it trying to do all sorts of vicious things to a hapless male Common Blue. It was all happening, and then the clouds came! (photos above) (Martin and Mary Kalaher)

A couple of Cinnabar moths in the large set-aside field north of Hollingdean this morning - my first this year. (Peter Whitcomb)

We were invited to run a moth trap at the Millennium Wood in Cuckfield on Tuesday evening, and three members of the Friends of group came along to join in.
Overall we caught 35 species (from dusking, and running both actinic and MV traps), and the Prominents were out in force including 7 Pebble, 5 Coxcombe, 2 Pale, 2 Swallow and 3 Great. Other highlights included Maidens Blush, Herald and Scorched Carpet, and some moths out early for their season included Clouded-bordered Brindle, Peach Blossom and a very early Coronet. Most surprisingly there was only one Hebrew Character!
(Dave and Pen Green)

erratum: your recent sighting of a hawthorn shieldbug is in fact Elasmostethus intersinctus, Birch Shieldbug. (Ashley Wood)

Wednesday 27 April 2011

I spotted 1 Marbled White and 3 Small Coppers at Ringmer today. (Bonnie McBride)

What a delightful day at Heyshott Down where we saw our first Dukes (at least 6), the Holly Blue and Orange Tip were bonuses (photos above). (Maggie and Steve East)

After a week of Pearl-bordered Fritillary watching I am still fascinated by this beautiful butterfly but now that its cousin the Marsh Fritillary is out in Somerset (http://www.flickr.com/photos/roly2008/5659188646/) perhaps its time for an expedition next week. I like the other insects seen in the early morning, especially this Hawthorn Shield Bug (photos above). BC members may appreciate these butterfly paintings by Devon BC member Eleanor Ludgate: http://butterflypaintings.net/ . (Colin Knight)

This morning we braved the wind and overcast skies and had a pleasant wander around High & Over near Seaford. The wildlife we spotted was: around 12 Green Hairstreak, 6 Dingy Skipper, 4 Small White, 3 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Red Admiral, 1 female Orange Tip, 1 Large White, 2 Green-veined White, 1 Speckled Wood, and lots of Brown-tail moth caterpillars and several amazing Adela Reaumurella moths. Also seen were the male and female Broad Bodied Chaser dragonflies as well as other dragonflies and a red damselfly as well as those naughty beetles again! (photos above) (Nick Linazasoro & Drew Easton)

A visit to the River Mole at Gatwick today was enhanced by the following:-
Small White, Peacock, Green-veined White, Comma, Brimstone, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Small Copper, Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak. The last 2 were firsts for me at this site. Not bad for the environs of an International airport. (Andrew Bashford)

Does anyone know why butterflies have hairy eyes? I only noticed this by looking at some photos I took on Monday. Is it common among butterflies and what purpose does it serve? (Sherie New)

This afternoon I had a trundle around the edge of the Seaford Head Golf Course on the Local Nature Reserve. I saw 8 Green Hairstreak (including a duelling pair that went on and on, well actually around and around to be more precise!) 3 Dingy Skipper, 2 Small White, 3 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Holly Blue, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 female Orange Tip, 1 Large White, 4 Speckled Wood and a Pyrausta purpuralis moth. Also seen was a female Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly and a fox walked across the path a few feet in front of me (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Monday 25 April: Whilst at Mill Hill on Monday I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye a butterfly that didn't quite look like anything I had seen before. It had the appearance of a Small Tortoiseshell from below but seemed quite orange. Unfortunately I could not re-locate it to make a positive id but had a feeling it could be a Wall (but having not seen one before, and only getting a fleeting glimpse, I could not say for sure). Then seeing the recent reports of a Wall at Mill Hill I am more convinced now it was. I saw it north of the turnstile (from the first carpark/lay-by just after you cross the viaduct on the left), further along the grassy track where there are some stoney ditches on the righthand side - is there where the other sightings were?
However, fortunately I did manage to see some new species - lots of Dingy Skippers, too many to count (!), and a few Grizzled Skippers. Also a good number of Small Heaths, Brimstones and numerous 'cabbage' Whites. I also noted a couple of very small moths which looked a little like Grizzled Skippers being black with white checks - any idea what these could be?
Alas no Green Hairstreaks - please could you tell me where I have a good chance of seeing this species? Do they favour any particular plant? Having never seen a Hairstreak I am keen to catch up with this species. (Leigh Prevost)

News for Saturday 23 April: Pearl-bordered fritillary - 10 Abbot's Wood. (David Jode)

Tuesday 26 April 2011

The Sussex Branch are saddened today to hear of the death of one of our most dedicated volunteers. Alan Holden died suddenly at home on Monday aged 87. Alan has been a long term member of the branch and has undertaken the Castle Hill transect for many years - producing detailed reports of his findings in a self-published report and was active in protecting the wildlife and landscape around his home in Rottingdean. Alan was a dedicated conservationist - in the last phone call I received from him he read out the strongly worded letter he had written regarding the proposed forest sell-off which would have been enough to force any government to retreat! Our thoughts are with his family (Michael Blencowe)

I visited Mill Hill this afternoon and saw scores of Dingy Skippers, on the lower slopes it seemed as if there was one every few feet! Also a fair number of Grizzled Skippers, Small Heaths (including one mating pair) (above, right) and a few Brimstones and Peacocks. The male Adonis Blues (above, left) are just starting to emerge and I got a photo of a nice pristine specimen. Also one Small Copper and one Wall Brown. But alas no Green Hairstreaks! (John Williams)

I popped up to Kithurst Hill to search for Green Hairstreaks on Monday. I'd only seen one once (on a BC walk led by Neil) and never spotted one by myself so that was the mission I'd set myself. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. It was only minutes before I saw my first one. I spotted at least six and I think you could easily double that or even treble it for a more accurate count of the GH numbers there. I saw four or five dogfights during the morning and a female ovipositing on Dogwood. It was a gorgeous day. I met several fellow enthusiasts and we oohed and ahhed over the single male Duke of Burgundy also present on the Hill. Like many others I saw lots of the Green Longhorn moth. I also saw Orange Tips (12+), Brimstones (8+), Small Copper (2), Dingy Skipper (2), Holly Blue (2) one of which was ovipositing on the popular Dogwood, and Speckled Wood (4). On the non-butterfly front there was a lizard, a male pheasant and a couple of insect species I could not recognise, one looks like a ichneumon wasp of some kind and the other possibly a hoverfly species. Towards the end of the day I espied Colin Knight headed into the meadow and he kindly allowed me to follow him in his car so that he could show me where to find the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries in Rewell Wood. So I got to see my first PBFs of the season too  thanks Colin. All in all, a fantastic day. (Sherie New)

I have taken a fair few photos of Duke of Burgundy over the past two days but I am sending these two as they show a female Duke nectaring on Crosswort (above). Jeremy Thomas in his recent publication suggests that nectaring is not often seen but Matthew Oates mentions Buttercup and other yellow flowers. (Martin Kalaher)

We stopped off at Brandy Hole Copse (SU852066) this afternoon on the way to Chichester. Despite the farmer throwing clouds of dust in the air from ploughing, we saw the following:
Small White, 7
Orange Tip, 6
Small Copper, 1
Brimstone, 1
Large White, 4
Speckled Wood, 3
Holly Blue, 2
(Roger Pendell)

I had a peaceful morning two hour stroll around High & Over, Seaford and was pleased to see my first Green Veined White of the year (two of them). I also was excited to see quite a number of Green Hairstreak out and about today. I also saw several Small White, one Large White, one Speckled Wood, a couple of Dingy Skipper and a couple of Peacock. I saw quite a few male and female Broad Bodied Chaser dragonflies as well as fleeting glimpses of other unknown dragonfly and several beetles "enjoying themselves" (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)

Have you ever had the experience of travelling miles to see a particular species only to find it on your own doorstep just a short time later? One of the things I would have liked to see this spring was an Orange Tip laying eggs on Lady's Smock. I planted three plugs of Ladys Smock in my garden last year and today I found an Orange Tip egg on one of the plants. Ive been walking local fields full of Lady's Smock hoping to see the egg laying but managed to miss it in my own backyard! (Sherie New)

The past few days I have visited Rewell Woods many times for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. 9-10am has been the best time for open winged shots and 6-7pm for closed wing roosting shots. At the Kithurst Hill (Springhead) meadow yesterday I saw a Green Hairstreak, a Comma, an Orange Tip, Brimstones, Peacocks, and 8 Dingy Skippers. More photos on my blog www.seapic.com (photos above).
Also I listened to the Radio 4 programme Saving Species today when Matthew Oates talked about the Duke of Burgundy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b010m7kz to be rebroadcast Thursday, April 28 at 21:00. (Colin Knight)

Did a quick late afternoon stop at Mill Hill to find a single Wall in the normal spot behind the top car park. In a sheltered clearing found Dingy Skippers at eye level on top of tall brambles which I have never seen before. They were busy intercepting Green Hairstreaks, Holly Blues, pristine Red Admirals and any thing else that flew past. Also amazingly female beautiful Demoiselle and three species of large dragonflies which seem exceedingly early as a guess these were Downy Emerald, female Hairy dragonfly and the largest one may have been an Emperor but I couldn't get quite close enough. Also 4 female Broad bodied chasers on the wing. An amazing little microcosm of activity. Lastly this morning at 7.15 a.m in Henfield found my first ever Brown Hairstreak caterpillar (2) which although pretty small was surprisingly easy to spot due to its light colour. This was sat on a midrib not far from the terminal leaves (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

Although there was a fresh breeze on Cissbury today, a good selection of butterflies was on the wing. Dingy Skippers and Holly Blues seem to be doing well this year but the highlight for me was a pristine Wall Brown near the South Gate. Another probable was seen later. Yesterday a large old badger was wandering around in the 'moat' on the Ring at about 2 p.m. - an unusual sighting. (Mike Snelling)

Andy Horton reports a Wall Brown at Mill Hill, to the NW of the upper car park.

News for Monday 25 April: I spent a very pleasant couple of hours on Chantry Hill and recorded 11 species of butterfly. The most numerous was Dingy Skipper (30+) with Green Hairstreak in second place (7-8). Otherwise, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Large White, Small White, Grizzled Skipper, Peacock, Holly Blue and last but not least two Red Admiral In pristine condition. I had another on my way home. I have struggled to see Red Admiral this year and I assume these three were fresh spring arrivals. (Martin Kalaher)

More news for Monday 25 April: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings on Easter Monday from Stansted Forest (SU743110) where the temperature in the early afternoon reached 20°C: Orange Tip (7M 6F), Small White (6), Comma (1) and Holly Blue (2). Must have been too hot for Brimstones! (Richard Symonds)

And some more news for Monday 25 April: Seen Monday while spring flower surveying Markstakes Common, Chailey.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ398183.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ399183.
1 Peacock @ TQ399178. (In new glade not on maps.)
1 Red Admiral @ TQ398178 (In new glade not on maps.)
1 Green Hairstreak @ TQ397178 (not seen personally but witness very reliable.)
(Jon Wood)

News for Sunday 24 April: Seen Sunday while out botanical surveying... in Plumpton.
4 Speckled Wood @ TQ354147
2 Speckled Wood @ TQ354148
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ355148
1 Orange Tip @ TQ354148
1 Orange Tip @ TQ354147
20 Orange Tip @ TQ356148 Wet Meadow with a lot of Cardamine pratensis.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ355148. (Jon Wood)

More news for Sunday 24 April: A quick trip up Mill Hill on Sunday afternoon  in 40 minutes Ellie and I counted 41 Dingy Skippers, 11 Grizzled Skippers, 3 Small Heaths and a Green Hairstreak with the odd Brimstone etc. thrown in for good measure. Really amazing! (Chris and Ellie Corrigan)

Re: "Painted Naked Ladies" report, Michael can you supply the grid reference. Just in case i am over that way. (Richard Roebuck)

Monday 25 April 2011

Thank-you to all BC members who sent us cards, gifts and good wishes to celebrate our wedding. We're back in Sussex now after our honeymoon and both look forward to seeing you all over the coming season. (Michael and Clare Blencowe)

My wife and I decided to check out a few under-recorded tetrads in the far west of the county on a glorious sunny bank holiday. We headed to the small village of Compton - dangerously near the Hampshire border - and had a great walk over the downs and through some good quality woodland in an area where we had no butterfly records. We then headed straight outta Compton and over the Downs to Treyford where we found some fantastic downland habitat alive with Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper then headed home - clocking up a good tally of Orange-tips along the highways of Sussex as we went to add to the OT atlas. The most interesting sighting of the day occurred on the A22 as we headed past our reserve at Rowland Wood: two completely naked young ladies (and I mean totally starkers!). I was considering inviting them for a tour round our reserve to show them some of the great habitat creation we have achieved over the winter but my wife told me to keep driving and keep my eyes on the road. (Michael & Clare Blencowe)

One for Easter Sunday from an "anonymous" contributor: I had set the moth trap on Saturday night and Easter Sunday morning found this moth (above), with what a friend suggested, allegedly, a cross on its back (slightly wider than normal but its modern times). Call me old fashioned but I have seen things like this before (but not in Dorset, i.e flying or resting). Indeed I have seen in the newspaper effigies on bits of toast, omelettes and jelly beans with similar images. Is this a miracle? would the Sun be interested? or is it Allegedly just a humble Alder Moth trying to go about its business? (Anon)
(name withheld for paparazzi reasons) unless were talking dosh contact the ed. Blurred image strictly copyright RR 24.04.11

I practically fell off my chair during a family party today when a Green Hairstreak fluttered into the tangle of creepers on the side of our house in Rodmell; the first one for here.
So far in our garden this year: Comma, Small Tortoishell, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Holly Blue, Orange Tip, Small White, and today Red Admiral. Last year a total of 17 species. (Sharifin Gardiner)

I spent an hour or so this afternoon in Rewell Wood, climbing up from the A29 and walking the length of one major path in both directions. Pearl-bordered Fritillaries appeared regularly throughout the walk, but were concentrated at the southern end where often half a dozen were in sight at any one time. I would estimate conservatively a total of 20 individuals seen. Grizzled Skippers and Green Hairstreaks were also in evidence (two of each) and a single Dingy Skipper. Without knowing where to look for the Dukes, I missed them altogether! (photos above) (Dave Miller - Herts & Middx Branch)

A fabulous Easter weekend with a walk from Littlington to Alfriston on saturday to do my Small Tortoiseshell count. Although early in the season for this species 15 were recorded, so looks good for June when the main brood is at its highest. On Sunday I did my normal Comp, Greenway, Frog Firle and High and Over walk. 15 species seen with highlights being 21 Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper (6) and Small Heath (2) seen for the 1st time this year here and 28 Speckled Wood. Also my 1st Silver Y moth of the year. 6 Broad Bodied Chaser as well. Monday a visit to Abbotts Wood with plenty of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and masses of Adela Reaumurella moths. A Ruby Tiger was an unexpected surprise in the garden as well (photos above). (Bob Eade)

I Walked the Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath transect today and was particularly excited to add two new species to my list for the site, Green Hairstreak and Grizzled Skipper, I saw two of these, one of which was a first for me, ab. taras (above, left), not a great shot I'm afraid but they were buzzing around at high speed, not in the least bit interested in posing for me. The only other butterflies I recorded were Brimstone (11), Green-veined White (3) and Speckled Wood (17). I also saw a few Speckled Yellow moths and hundreds of Adela reaumurella swarming in the canopies of trees (above, right). Oh, and absolutely not a single naked lady - anywhere. (Bob Foreman)

Spent a couple of hours at Lancing Rings today. Very pleased to see 2 of your cherished Wall Browns. In addition, Holly Blue numerous, Speckled Woods x 6, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites many, Orange Tips x 6-8, Peacock and Red Admiral x 1 each. (Mark Senior)

In Rewell Wood this morning I bumped into a butterfly enthusiast and we saw three Pearl-bordered Fritillary (above), one female Brimstone, one Peacock, a few Orange Tips. On returning home to Broadbridge Heath there were Holly Blue and Orange Tips in the garden. (Susie Milbank)

Spent last week up in the Peak District had the opportunity to search heather Mooreland and came up with Marsh harrier, Red Grouse, grey partridge, female Emperor moth, Tiger beetles, Green hairstreak colonies on Bilberry, Grayling (fish), Stone loach, 4 other day flying moths Small Copper, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Peacock (loads), Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Large White.
Back to Sussex Saturday night 70+ moths in the trap and locally in the day male Broad bodied chaser, Demoiselle, Red damsel fly. But today went to Rewell wood at 7.45 a.m and saw newly emerged Speckled Yellow moths, got some lovely pics of a female Brimstone on a violet however I had almost given up on ever getting a pic of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary when Susie Milbank arrived. Within a few minutes Susie spotted a pristine Pearl-bordered Fritillary and a that time of day we had chance to get some pics. another 3 were spotted but the first one was clearly newly emerged. What a stunning butterfly. We departed and I went to Heyshott Down, it was a bit too hot by now, however there were numerous Duke of Burgundies on the wing, Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers and two Common Blues. So all in all fantastic Lepidopteral week. (Richard Roebuck)

I managed to go on a two hour nature walk mid to late Bank Holiday Monday afternoon to see what delights I could find at High & Over, Seaford. I wasn't disappointed, I saw one male Orange Tip, one Speckled Wood, one Dingy Skipper (my first of the year), three Green Hairstreak (also my first of the year), one Red Admiral, two Peacock, two Grizzled Skipper, several Small White and one Large White. I also saw several male and female Broad-Bodied Chaser dragonflies and tons of "Runny Babbits"! (Nick Linazasoro)

A visit to Wild Park LNR to do my weekly transect lead to the discovery of two Grizzled Skippers on recently managed south facing slopes and at least 3 individuals on an as unexplored (by me) west facing slope. All jolly good news since I have only ever previously recorded one Grizzled Skipper from the south facing slope (last year). (Dan Danahar)

I have yet to see a Green Veined White but Large & Small. White appear to be doing well as are Orange Tip. I have not seen many Brimstones in the last couple of weeks. Today when I visited my parents in Kingston near Lewes (TQ39152 08629) there were many Small White, at least 2 Large white, >4 Orange Tip, 1 Dingy Skipper (chasing any pyrallis that came near so the Dingy was probably a male), 4 Holly Blue, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood. Buzzard, Swallows, Chiff-chaff, Black cap. Graeme Lyons popped in to check out a few species, among which were Small Purple-barred, Green Carpet, three species of Pyrausta, Osmia bicolor and a squash bug, Coriomeris denticulatus (http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/04/godspeed-you-vagrant-emperor.html) (Crispin Holloway)

A brilliant walk in beautiful weather this morning on Levin Down (SU885133) brought me two new sightings for the year in Common Blue and Small Heath. The full list was:
Grizzled Skipper, 17
Dingy Skipper, 9
Orange Tip, 11
Brimstone, 10
Common Blue, 4
Small Heath, 3
Small White, 2
Green-veined White, 1
Red Admiral, 2
Speckled Wood, 2. (Roger Pendell)

I saw about twenty of these small moths (above) around these milkwort flowers at Seven Sisters today at TV5333797036. They made a pretty sight. Would they excite a moth-er once identified? (Roy Wells)
It's a Pyrausta purpuralis. ed.

Night of 24th April: Following trapped in Downs Park area of Portslade: Lime Hawk-moth & Angle Shades (both new for the year). Only other species were Nut-tree Tussock & Hebrew Character. (Darryl Perry)

Recent news: On Saturday Jesse (14) and Qiu Ming Lipetz-Robic (8) came with me and their mother Clare to Mill Hill and had a wonderful time looking for Skippers - their first butterfly outing - Jesse took lots of Green Hairstreak photos. Later in our garden in Steyning were Holly Blues, Orange Tip and Speckled Wood (the Speckled Wood even came into the house) - and down the road we found two Red Admirals. We only had the evening free the next day, Sunday, but we decided to see if there would be any butterflies at the top of the Firing Range Field in Steyning - by now it was 5.30pm. At the top of the hill Jesse found two Small Heath and after a lot of perseverance got quite a good photo of one of them. (Sarah Leigh)

News for Sunday 24 April 2011: The Avenue, Lewes (TQ41145 10187) 1 Grizzled Skipper (first for the garden and where did it come from!), Holly Blue, Green Hairstreak, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Large White & Small White. Wall Brown @ Lullington Heath (TQ5401) (Louise Holloway & Dr Colin Tingle)

News for Saturday 23 April 2011: Eighteen people attended the first BC Sussex walk of the year to Mill Hill. There were so many butterflies to be found on the upper slopes and in the scrubby glades to the north of the car park, including all of our target species, that we never made the descent to the lower slopes. Green Hairstreaks were found along all of the sheltered scrub-lines - in much greater numbers than I've ever seen at Mill Hill before. Dingy and Grizzled Skippers were easy to find, but difficult to photograph as they whizzed around in the sunshine. Amongst the commoner species, we watched a female Holly Blue laying eggs, and saw a male Orange Tip on its mission to spread happiness - don't take them for granted as they'll soon be gone! Thanks to Doug Neve for his lovely picture of a Green Hairstreak (above), and to all those that came along for the walk. (Neil Hulme)

Sunday 24 April 2011

Levin Down Transect Walk: Brown Argus and Common Blue - amazing! (Ann Griffiths)

Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve: Spent a couple of hours there today. As usual this site is a bit behind other areas but a good number of butterflies seen: Speckled Woods x 10, Peacock x 7 Small White and/or Green Veined White 15, Orange Tips Male x 4, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Large White and Small Tortoiseshell 1 each. I would expect other species such as Wall Brown to emege later this week. (Mark Senior)

I saw several Small Heaths at Mill Hill this morning, my first this year. The slope was covered in Dingy Skippers. I spotted Brimstones, Peacocks, Orange Tips, Large Whites, a Speckled Wood, 3 Grizzled Skippers plus 2 Holly Blues in a woodland path at the top. A buzzard patrolled overhead. (Colin Knight)

Whilst helping out with the Friends of St. Leonards Forest today there were many Brimstones (male and female) near the Alder Buckthorn, one or two Orange Tips and Speckled Woods, but, best of all, a Green Hairstreak (TQ215312), which alighted several times on the leaves of a large Beech, and also on prominent Alder Buckthorn leaves. There were also a a few Speckled Yellow and Brown Silver-line moths (above). (Robin Bassett)

Still pretty quiet in the moth trap. The following trapped in my garden in the Downs Park area of Portslade: Nut-tree Tussock, Coxcomb Prominent, Common Quaker, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Muslin Moth, 3 Hebrew Characters & 2 early Heart & Darts. (Darryl Perry)

In the last few days we have spent quite a bit of time up at Mill Hill searching for moths, and managing to see a few butterflies as well! Pristine Green Hairstreak have been particularly easy to find on the lower slopes, and Dingy Skipper are out in abundance with a few Grizzled Skipper thrown in for good measure.
Day flying moths included Pyrausta nigrata, P. despicata, P. purpuralis and P. aurata and Lesser Treble-bar (gen.det). Most interestingly one of the small micros we caught was identified by Tony Davis (thanks Tony) as Elachista biatomella which hasn't been recorded in West Sussex for more than 100 years! An evening moth trap produced 4 Barred Tooth-striped with one in surprisingly pristine condition. We recorded 37 species (including micros) with a number of them appearing early for their usual flight season such as a single Fern, Spectacle, Cinnabar and 3 Shears. We also recorded 9 Light Brocade, 2 Galium Carpet, 1 Treble Lines, 4 Least Black Arches and a Diamond-backed Moth and managed to find a couple of roosting Dingy Skipper. Whilst trapping in the evening we were serenaded by a Nightingale and a Cetti's Warbler. Mill Hill is a very special place! (Dave & Pen Green and Tony Davis)

Saturday 23 April 2011

A photo of Neil's Walk About (above)  everyone intent on a Dingy Skipper! (Colin Knaggs)

I walked around Blunts Wood, Paiges Wood, North Meadow and the Millennium Woodland this afternoon. The bluebells were out in all their glory and a heady scent of Hyacinthoides non-scripta permeated the air in Paiges Wood. The sun was shining and the temperature in the mid 20C, so the butterflies were active, flitting around the clearings in the woodland where the sunlight penetrated the upper storey foliage, which made for a perfect Easter Saturday stroll.
Orange Tips, Peacocks, and Speckled Wood butterflies were sighted in Paiges Wood, the rides in the Millennium Woodland, and along the east hedgerow margin adjacent to Blunts Wood in North Meadow. However, only Orange Tips and Speckled Wood butterflies were found in Blunts Wood, due to the tree canopy being denser than Paiges Wood.
The Orange tips did not stay still longer enough for me to get any shots today but here are some photos of Speckled Wood and Peacock butterflies, along with one of the bluebells in Paiges Wood. (above)
Note the grid reference for the Borde Hill Trust Millennium Woodland is TQ318253 and Blunts Wood & Paiges Meadow LNR is TQ318245. (Barbara Woods)

I saw my first Green Hairstreak of the year today in Brightling and I also saw what I thought was a Clouded Yellow! (Katie Walker)

Out with Elliot to Verdley Wood, Henley, on a glorious sunny morning. We took a picnic to the Pearl Bordered Fritillary site and within a minute, and very unexpectedly, one landed on my sons back, allbeit briefly. Two found with the help of Margaret from Graffham Downland Trust. Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (2), Red Admiral (3), Holly Blue (2), Grizzled Skipper (1), Brimstone (6), Orange Tip (9), Green-veine White (4), Large White (5), Small White (3), Speckled Wood (7). (Steven Morgan)

Hailsham: a pair of Speckled Woods have been in my garden for two days now, a first and very welcome!
A walk through Abbotts Wood brought us abundant Brimstones (male and female) and Orange Tip males. A Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White and my first ever sightings of 6+ Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. (Kerry Baldwin)

Grand Avenue Worthing and surrounds Friday/Saturday: Healthy numbers of Holly Blues, Speckled Woods and Small Whites. Also 1 x Small Tortoiseshell and 1 x Large White. Adjacent to West Worthing Station 3 x Orange Tip (never knew thet were there) and a pleasant shock. As I opened the front door a flash of green along the doorstep - a Common Lizard - never seen one here before either !!!
I plan to go to Ouse Est Nature Reserve tomorrow/Monday to see what is about. (Mark Senior)

I've done some research into Green Hairstreak to see if they are somewhere that hasn't been recorded, and so today after collecting information I went out in search for one. Walking along a path following the edge of the A27. I counted 4 Speckled Woods, 3 Green-Viened Whites, 7 Orange Tips, 8 Holly Blues and 25 unidentified Whites. I then reached the scrubby field I set out for, first seeing nothing, then seeing a dark coloured triangle which was settled on a leaf. It was my first ever and first of the year Green Hairstreak, the colour was very intense as it angled it's wings into the sun. (Jamie Burston)

News for Friday 22 April: I started off the day with a trip to the Burgh to spot Brown Hares (mammals!) but had very limited success on that front. However, I did find a male Orange Tip snoozing on Garlic Mustard early in the morning. There is a valley at the Burgh which is completely covered in cowslips atm, it is an awesome sight. Go straight up the hill from the Barn and turn left down the first bridleway/footpath you come across, go through the gate and you will see it. Butterfly counts up at the Burgh were (roughly) 30+ Orange Tips, mostly male but a few females seen, 10+ Brimstone, 2 Small White, 1 Green-veined White, 2 Small Tortoishell, 1 Peacock, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Small Copper. At around 2pm I headed off to Rewell Woods hoping to see PBFs but did not see any. I can see from this website that other people saw some there the same day so I'm wondering if I'm going to the right area of Rewell Woods. Does anyone have an OS grid reference they could give me? I'm also looking for OS grid refs for the right area of Heyshott Down to walk through. I've only been on a walk there once (a guided walk by BC) and have no memory of which way the route goes to the best spots for Duke of Burgundy etc. Is there a route map for the route we took during the guided walk; if not can someone supply me with a grid ref or two?
Although I didn't see PBFs at Rewell Woods, I did see an interesting Longhorn beetle so that made up for it a bit. I was tempted to walk from the area I'd gone to (just beyond a gate that I think is 'Yew Tree gate') to the southern edge of the woods but I could not find a public footpath that connected from Yew Tree Gate to the southern edge of the woods and I think I'm right in saying exploration of Rewell woods is strictly on a public footpath only basis? So, having an hour or more left of useful light I packed up and headed to Mill Hill. It was lovely there in the evening. I spotted double figures of both Dingy and Grizzled Skipper. I was following one GS when it landed in some short scrub at the western edge of the slope (just above the path) and discovered to my delight that it had landed in what is obviously a roosting site. From where I was kneeling at the edge of the scrub I could see six Grizzled Skippers easily, all perched on the tips of twigs. It was a nice end to the day - barring the fact that there is some insect down at Mill Hill that really seems to like me. I cannot say the feeling is reciprocated as its bite is driving me to distraction. I had been wearing insect repellent all day but it must have worn off my left hand as it got bit in several places. The poor hand now itches like the devil and is very swollen. As an alternative to trying to tear the skin off of my hand I have visited the chemist and got some cortisone cream  I am now waiting for it to do its job. Not sure I'll be visiting Mill Hill until I work out some more effective protection! (Sherie New)

More news for Friday 22 April: Good Friday was a busy schedule for us and I truly wanted to go out butterfly spotting but alas we had friends round for an all-day bbq. I need not had worried as the butterflies came to our garden instead! I saw my first Orange Tip of the year (3 males and the first I can ever remember seeing in our Seaford garden), lots of Holly Blue, Small White and the occasional Large White. Suffice to say our friends became interested in our little insect friends too! Spreading the word... love it! (Nick Linazasoro)

Field Trip to Heyshott Escarpment produced a fabulous day. 12 Duke of Burgundy. 8 Grizzled Skipper. 3 Dingy Skipper. 2 Holly Blue. 2 Red Admiral. 1 Peacock. 1 Comma. 12 plus Brimstone, Large Whie, Orange Tip, Small White. 7 Speckled Woods. 1 Small Heath! (Steve Morgan)

Results of the transect walked today in glorious weather at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill, butterflies recorded;
Large White, (3)
Small White, (9)
Orange Tip, (17)
Green Hairstreak, (3)
Holly Blue, (1)
Red Admiral, (1)
Peacock, (1)
Speckled Wood, (2)
Total, 37 butterflies, 8 species. Also seen a Red Kite. (David Pyle)

News for Thursday 21 April: Orange Tip - 3, TV508976, Hope Bottom. Small White - 2, TV508976, Hope Bottom. Small Tortoiseshell - 1, TV511981, Cuckmere Valley. (David Jode)

News for Wednesday 20 April: Walk from Grand Avenue Worthing to West Tarring allotments, Speckled Woods everywhere approx 12 seen, Holly Blues x 5, Small Whites x 8, Peacock x 1, Orange Tip Male x 1 adjacent to West Worthing station. The last was a surprise the 1st I have seen in this area (Mark Senior)

More news for Wednesday 20 April: Speckled Wood - 1, TQ608017, Eastbourne. Orange Tip - 1, TV558978, East Dean. Red Admiral - 1, TQ608017, Eastbourne. (David Jode)

Here are yesterday's (slightly belated) photographs (above):
Top row, left. Green Hairstreak and right, Duke of Burgundy, Rewell Wood,(Neil Hulme)
Second row: Wall Brown and Green-veined White, High and Over. (Bob Eade)
Third row: Grizzled Skipper, Darwell Reservoir. (Katie Walker) and right, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Abbots Wood. (Andrew Burns)
Fourth row: Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Rewell Wood. (John Williams) and right, Orange Tip egg, Rudgwick. (Robin Basset)
Fifth and sixth rows: Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, Restricted site. (Colin Knight)
Bottom: Brimstone Moth, Hove. (Ian M.)

Friday 22 April 2011

I am in Sunny Devon this weekend and do not have photo editing facilities to hand. I will post all photos received on my return. Apologies. ed.

Wall Brown are emerging at High and Over with 6 or more seen this morning. Grizzled Skippers are also now just showing on Frog Firle. Male and female Orange Tip and plenty more Green Hairstreak. Other notable appearances were from a Broad Bodied Chaser, a Hairy Dragonfly and another Large Red Damselfly. (Bob Eade and Nigel Kemp)

Congratulations to Paul Day on the discovery of a new Pearl-bordered Fritillary colony on an area of clear-fell in Houghton Forest; we watched 6 males quartering their new territory here. A female PBF must have wandered more than 2 Kms from Rewell Wood last spring. Also present at SU993114 were Small Copper (1), Grizzled Skipper (1), Orange Tip (8), Brimstone (3), Peacock (3) and Red Admiral (1). Earlier in the day I photographed Duke of Burgundy and Green Hairstreak at Rewell. (Neil Hulme) 

I saw my first Grizzled Skipper today (22 April) near the Darwell Reservoir (kindly determined by Jim Barrett who was with me), as well as my first Dingy Skipper of the year (Katie Walker)

Near Belle Tout lighthouse: Clouded Yellow rushed by  I could not believe my eyes, but others commented on it so it was not an illusion! Or is there any other bright orange-yellow butterfly around this time of year? Also 2 Painted Lady last Tuesday near Firle Trig point. Male Orange Tips everywhere! (Susan Suleski)

Castle Hill transect, Newhaven, 77 butterflies of 13 species including a mint Clouded Yellow. A Good Friday?! (Dave Harris)

I returned to the Pearl-bordered Fritillary site on Friday and found two huge hornets patrolling and PBFs mating. At one point another male decided it would like some of the action but was rebuffed. After the nuptials were over the female remained stationary in the undergrowth for the next 50 minutes (Colin Knight)

Another stroll around Frog Firle and High and Over this evening resulted in many Grizzled Skippers roosting on the steep slope of High and Over as well as a Brimstone Moth and Cinnabar Moth. Green Hairstreaks and a Green Veined White on Frog Firle allowed some photography as they slowed down for the day. It was by now a little late for the Wall Browns. (Bob Eade)

 A walk from home over the Lewes Downs produced Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper in the Caburn Bottom section (John Luck)

It's been a year since I ran a mothtrap and best part of two years since the awesome 19 Elephant Hawkmoths at the end of June 2009....would I ever get out of doors again? Anyway, there's a couple of weeks before the serious business of dragonflies really gets underway so I thought I'd give it a go. Result 18 macros including a new one - Least Black Arches... also Iron Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Scorched Carpet, Streamer and a couple of Mulleins. (John Luck)

At least two Pearl Bordered Fritillaries in Rewell Woods, lively at first (3pm) but calming down and posing nicely by 5pm. Also Orange Tips, Speckled Woods and assorted whites. (John Williams)

News for Thursday 21 April: During a walk in the Rudgwick area yesterday I found several Orange Tip eggs, some over the border in Surrey, but this one at TQ086342, definitely in Sussex. (Robin Basset)

Recent news: Pagham Harbour: The first ever Blair's Mocha for the reserve, also a Diamond Back Moth. Also on  19th April a Frosted Green. (Ivan Lang )

Thursday 21 April 2011

This evening after work we decided to go to the pub for a swift pint and then onto Mill Hill for a relaxing evening stroll to wash away the worries of the modern world. It was getting quite late for butterflies (and adders) to be out, but we were rewarded with the delights of our first Grizzled Skipper of the year who was willing to pose for a photo or two as well as spotting two Speckled Wood, one Red Admiral, one Peacock and a single moth. Whilst photographing the Grizzled Skipper two local lady nearby residents came up to see what we were doing. It appears that they had not noticed this butterfly before! They were quite interested and so we told them about this website. Two more converts possibly? Happy Easter everyone :) (Nick Linazasoro & Martin Fuller)

I visited a restricted site for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary (above) today and found them in abundance. They did not settle for photos until 4pm. (Colin Knight)

A lovely walk today from Kithurst Hill car park along towards Chantry Hill. I started off in the flower meadow on Springhead Hill and was delighted to find my first ever Green Hairstreaks. I've visited this site for several years but had never managed to spot one before - let alone the three that I found and photographed! (above) Plenty of lovely sulphur yellow male Brimstones and I watched a female egg-laying. Also saw numerous Orange Tips, 1 Dingy Skipper, 3 Grizzled Skipper, Large Whites, Green-Veined White, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral And Small Tortoiseshell. What a beautiful day! (Anna Allum)

On the Steyning Downland Scheme site, three Green Hairstreak males seen this morning, two of them spiralling in battle. Also 1 Dingy Skipper, 3 Brimstone, 1 Peacock. 1 Grizzled Skipper seen on 18th April. (Pete Varkala)

A quick lunchtime visit to Abbots Wood today produced 5+ Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 4 Brimstone 1m, 2 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Orange-tip 1m, 1 Red Admiral. (Chris Ball)

Orange Tips - males- 1X TQ433116, 2X TQ450087, 1X TQ418061, 1XTQ434030, 1X TQ406033, 1X TQ407062, 3X TQ212068, 1x TQ340085. Females - 1 xTQ444038, TQ440087. (Jan Knowlson)

Seen today while performing a BMWP on the Longford stream.
2 Orange Tips @ TQ409183.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ410185.
1 Peacock @ TQ409186.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ409187.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ409189.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ409191.
Seen yesterday.
1 Red Admiral in Burgess Hill @ TQ314189.
1 Orange Tip @ TQ372131
1 Orange Tip @ TQ372133
1 Brimstone @ TQ372134
1 Red Admiral @ TQ372134. (Jon Wood)

Wednesday 20 April 2011

I first visited Springhead (Kithurst Hill car park) where I found a Green Hairstreak (above) in the meadow plus Brimstones, Orange Tips and a Dingy Skipper I then went on to Heyshott Down and met Neil Hulme and Hannah. Neil had already seen six Duke of Burgundy (top left). I saw four, including a fresh female which we watched laying (top right) plus Brimstones, Orange Tips and a Grizzled Skipper. (Colin Knight)

A colony of Holly Blues seem to have established themselves at the west end of Crouch Gardens in Seaford around the holly tree outside the Community Garden. A pair were around it on Sunday afternoon and again this morning.
On the allotments on Sunday Whites and a Small Tortoiseshell were seen. (Bob Brown)

Speckled Wood are now appearing in good numbers with 20 seen on a walk along The Comp and Frog Firle. Green Hairstreaks also now showing well with at least 7 seen. 4 were seen several times on the same bush having territory disputes at the same time. Some of these disputes went on for several minutes. Some fresh Red Admirals also about. 10 species seen as well as 2 newly emerged large red damselflies. (Bob Eade)

1 female Orange Tip TQ354077. 1 female Orange Tip, 3 male Orange Tip, 1 Comma TQ386035. 1 male Orange Tip TQ401083. 2 male Orange Tip TQ364163. (Jan Knowlson)

Tuesday 19 April 2011

A quick dip in to Rewell Wood today produced the same species as seen yesterday, plus a woodland Grizzled Skipper and the longhorn moth Nematopogon swammerdamella. I then moved over to Heyshott Escarpment and saw my first (2) Duke of Burgundy (above) of the year, plus Dingy Skipper (4), Grizzled Skipper (2), Orange Tip (6), Brimstone (3), Holly Blue (3), Speckled Wood (2), Green-veined White (1), Peacock (1) and Red Admiral (1). (Neil Hulme)

Being on standby from 11am this morning I paid a quick visit to Frog Firle early where the Green Hairstreaks are just starting to emerge. 3 were seen, all in superb condition in the Cradle Hill area. Several times recently I have been up there to check including yesterday evening where the only butterfly of significance was a faded Painted Lady. It was warmer this morning and several species were seen including a female Orange Tip and 2 Green Veined White. A very vocal and visible Nightingale as well. The first I have seen or heard in this area (photos above). (Bob Eade)

Holly Blue - 2, TV515993, Cuckmere A259; Orange Tip - 6, TQ415232 South Park; Orange Tip - 1, TQ411238 South Park; Orange Tip - 2, TQ403230 North Chailey; Red Admiral - 1, TQ415232 South Park; Peacock - 1, TQ415236 Sheffield Park; Brimstone - 1, TQ415236 Sheffield Park; Brimstone - 1, TQ392210 North Chailey; Small White - 1, TV562986 East Dean. (David Jode)

Brimstone Moth briefly in the garden today. (Bob Eade)

Seen around Plumpton yesterday...
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ361164.
2 male Orange Tips @ TQ361164.
1 female Orange Tip @TQ358165.
1 Brimstone @ TQ355164.
1 female Orange Tip @363141.
2 male Orange Tip @ 362140.
1 female Orange Tip @ 361139.
1 male Orange Tip @362137.
2 males 1 female Orange Tips @ 364136.
(Jon Wood)

Orange Tip, 3 male and 2 female, Speckled Wood, 2 (TQ342181 east of Ditchling Common) Orange Tip, 1 female nectaring on honesty (TQ487004 my Seaford garden) (Stuart Ridley)

Coo! What amazing weather! But it is dry! Been finding Adonis larvae at Malling Down this afternoon. Looks like they are in their final instar and their quite easy to find. Other species at Malling Down today included:
Grizzled Skippers, Large Whites, Small Whites, Orange Tips, Brimstones, Green Hairstreaks, Small Coppers, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Painted Lady (2 I think), Speckled Woods, 1 Small Heath.
I think this is the earliest I have ever seen a Small Heath. I reckon they are going to have a good year, assuming the seven year cycle continues (see post on UK butterflies http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4270)
Also one possible Cinnabar! Not totally sure about that as I only got a glimpse, it just appears to be early for a Cinnabar, but I wasn't the only one to see and question it (Michael Blencowe also saw it).
I have been compiling a web album of species which I have photos of and have yet to identify. If anyone wants to take a look and identify some things your contribution would be welcome. I am totally puzzled by the photo of the bone any idea? Lots of spiders, bees etc. to identify. https://picasaweb.google.com/1134455316... nAjsf7pgE# (Crispin Holloway)

Monday, Large Red Damselfly in the garden. Today, Tuesday, a Humming Bird Hawkmoth flew in from the south, briefly took refreshement from the wallflowers, and headed on north towards Uckfield. (Graham Parris, Isfield)

Recent news: Monday/Tuesday: Grand Avenue Worthing, 3 x Speckled Wood, 1 x Holly Blue, 3 x Small White
Mill Hill Monday: 2 x Orange Tip, 6 x Peacock, 12 x Dingy Skipper, 4 x Grizzled Skipper, 5 x Brimstone, 1 x Small Copper, 4 x Small White, 1 x Large White. (Mark Senior)

News for Monday 18 April 2011: At Rewell Wood today I saw 7 Pearl-bordered Fritillary (first two of the season seen here on 17 April while with Paul Day) (above, left), 20 Speckled Wood, 15 Orange Tip, 8 Brimstone, 3 Green-veined White, 2 Peacock and single Red Admiral, Comma, Large White and Small White. Moths included my first Speckled Yellow of the year and c.250 Adela reaumurella (above, right) which formed two huge, 'dancing' swarms above adjacent trees. (Neil Hulme)

More news for Monday 18 April 2011: I have been informed by countryside ranger David Larkin that he spotted a single Grizzled Skipper at Wild Park LNR in Brighton & Hove (TQ 32748 08079) on 18 April 2011. This is good news because over the last 18 months the city has been engaged in a fantastic effort to restore this former chalk grassland habitat. Well done Brighton & Hove! (Dan Danahar)

Monday 18 April 2011

The following link is to an interesting short article on the results from a study investigating the relationship between the parasite Sturmia bella and the decline in Small Tortoiseshells...

One male Wood White, wood near Plaistow. (Margaret Hibbard)

Following a tip from Andy Horton I visited Mill Hill this afternoon to hunt for a Green Hairstreak. I saw plenty of Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Brimstones and Peacocks. At 5pm I climbed the privet covered area above the path at the western end of the lower slope and a Green Hairstreak landed in front of me (above. After I fired off dozens of shots it headed downhill. Later I came across two grey adders involved in courtship behaviour. (Colin Knight)

Comma - 1, TV559981, East Dean. Orange Tip - 1, TV556980, Friston; 1, TV538972, Crowlink. Small white - 1, TV542973, Crowlink. (David Jode)

My father Roy Symonds reports the following sightings this morning from Stansted Forest (SU743110) where the temperature was 18°C: Orange Tip (7M 7F) and Brimstone (1M). A disappointing turnout for Brimstones! (Richard Symonds)

The first Grizzled Skippers and Speckled Woods appeared in several of their usual places at Cissbury today. Also several Orange Tips and Brimstone together with 2 Holly Blue, 2 Small Copper, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 4 Peacock. (Mike Snelling)

Every year when we here cuckoo we know its time to start looking for Drinker (above) moth caterpillars, this walk in Arundel near the river we found 4, the Drinker moth caterpillars are the main food source for the cuckoo so we know when to look. (Theo Ormrod Davis)

News for Sunday 17 April 2011: Holly Blue - 1,TV562984,East Dean (our garden). Plus first emerging damselfly (Large Red) from our garden ponds. (David Jode)

More news for Sunday 17 April 2011: A couple of hours spent on Mill Hill on Sunday afternoon in the warm sunshine turned up Peacock, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Orange-tip, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak and 2 Adonis Blue larva (one with attendant ants) (photos above). Unexpected additions were a Cettis Warbler calling from the reeds in the valley and a teneral Large Red Damselfly, my first of the year. (Tom Forward)

News for Saturday 16 April 2011: My father Roy Symonds reports to me the following sightings from the morning of 16th April where the temperature was 14°C:
Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835090) Orange Tip (4M), Brimstone (1M), Peacock (3) and Speckled Wood (1). Afterwards at Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU821106) Orange Tip (4M), Brimstone (8M 3F), Comma (1) and Peacock (1). (Richard Symonds)

Recent news: A lovely walk around Kingley Vale and Chichester Canal with my son over the weekend produced some lovely photos of Orange Tips, Grizzled Skippers and especially a Peacock on Marsh Marigold (above, left) and a Small Copper catching the sun (above, right). (Robert Hope)

Sunday 17 April 2011

Went for a walk today to High & Over and Frog Firle and was suprised by the lack of butterflies! As it was a nice sunny day I was expecting more. Anyway, spotted was two Holly Blue, one Speckled Wood, one Comma (top, left), one Small Tortoiseshell (top, right), four Brimstone, several Small White (bottom), about ten Peacocks and lots of Brown-tail moth caterpillars (the same ones seen last week). (Nick Linazasoro)

Today I headed up Cissbury Ring and sighted Brimstones, Peacocks and photographed my first Speckled Woods (above) of the year. Inevitably I also saw a grey adder. In fields near Findon I also saw Orange Tips and my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year. (Colin Knight)

Holly Blue this afternoon in my brothers garden in Billingshurst (TQ088262). (Robin Bassett)

Seen today around Plumpton.
2 female Orange Tip @TQ365187
1 male Orange Tip @ TQ366187
1 male Orange Tip @ TQ366188
1 Brimstone @ TQ368188
2 male Orange Tips @ TQ360166 (Jon Wood)

Spring arrived on a sunny day (14.5°C) visit to Mill Hill where the first flowers of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, appeared on the lower slopes with another prostrate downland herb Milkwort. Thirteen (easily the most in a day this year) species of butterfly were definitely recorded including my first Large White Butterfly, my first Holly Blue and the locally scarce Green Hairstreak. (Andy Horton)

Saturday 16 April 2011

I was out this afternoon with Phil Haskell doing a walk around Paiges Wood in Haywards Heath in preparation for our History of a Natural Wood walk tomorrow, when the sun came out and so too did the butterflies. The first to flit along the path was what looked like a fairly newly emerged Speckled Wood, my first sighting of this butterfly this year. Shortly afterwards male and female Orange-tips flew along the path, then headed for a glade that had been cleared last year as part of the annual coppice of the woodland. Several other Orange-tips were sighted in the next half hour flying and settling on the Cuckoo flower that is flowering in the glade at the moment and I was lucky to get a few photos of the first female Orange-tip spotted flying to the glade, which are attached.
Also, Phil and I checked Garlic Mustard and Cuckoo flowers for Orange-tip eggs but unfortunately on this occasion found none, but it is early days. (Grid reference TQ318245. Paiges Wood is located in the north section of Blunts Wood and Paiges Meadow LNR.) (photos above)
If any of you wish to join us tomorrow on the walk, then we are meeting at the Blunts Wood Crescent car park at 2.30pm. The event is free and all are welcome but children must be accompanied by an adult. (Barbara Woods)

Saw 6 or 7 Male Orange Tips and 4 Specled Woods during a walk along the Cuckoo Trail form Levett Road to the Polegate By-Pass (A27) about 11am this morning. As I am predominately a 'birder' I also got my first whitethroat of the year and also heard my first cuckoo all in the above location. (Peter Coyston)

A very good day at Pulborough Brooks with 5 nightingales singing all around us and cuckoo singing in the background its great to see Orange Tips flying by males 2 females and Small Whites 3 and 3 Speckled Woods a good day (photos above). (Pat and Peter Gardner)

I popped down to Mill Hill in the morning today and found a Grizzled Skipper asleep on the tip of some foliage. I spent a happy hour taking the odd photo or two (or possibly more) while waiting for it to wake up and spread its wings. Also seen were another two or three Grizzled Skippers, a couple of Dingy Skippers and Adders. I saw the black male with the brown female and also another (smaller) black adder at the same time. It makes sense that there would be more than one of the black variety. While I was traversing the slopes eyes scanning the ground for Skippers there was, apparently, a Red Kite circling over my head. I didn't see it which is a bind but nice to know it was there and thanks to the couple who told me (they tried to catch my attention while the Kite was circling but without success  guess I can be pretty focused sometimes at least!). Oh, yes, I saw a Burnet Companion too. (Sherie New)

Speckled Wood - 2,TV561958,Horseshoe Plantation. Peacock - 1 TV587978, Warren Hill, Small White - 1, TV562984, East Dean (our garden). (David Jode)

A Painted Lady in pristine condition at Sullington Hill. In 2010 I saw just four Painted Lady, and all high up on the South Downs above Storrington/Washington. Assuming this was a fresh migrant, it seems that this species may pause at the top of the scarp slope of the Downs before moving further north. (Martin Kalaher)

News for Friday 15 April 2011: Down from Essex today,for my first butterfly trip of the year. It was a pleasure to be joined at Mill Hill by Colin, and half an hour after he left, Neil arrived! I would like to echo what Colin said and add that, after he left, breifly saw an unmistakable Green Hairstreak as well. And thanks to Neil for showing me a lovely full-grown Adonis Blue caterpillar. A most enjoyable day! (Mark Bunch, Cambs-Essex (and Sussex!) branch.)

More news for Friday 15 April 2011: I spent the morning planting out Primula 'plugs' in woodland on the Norfolk Estate, in the hope of encouraging the spread of Duke of Burgundy. Martin Kalaher (who kindly supplied the plants) and Simon Mockford's South Downs National Park 'Friday Club' volunteers helped get them in the ground... and just in time, as I'm expecting the first adults to emerge in Sussex next week. We were accompanied by plenty of Orange Tips and a few freshly emerged Green-veined Whites. "Thanks" to all that helped out. I then moved on to Mill Hill where I met Mark Bunch on his annual Sussex Skipper visit from Essex. While enjoying the Grizzled and Dingy Skippers (Mark also saw a Green Hairstreak) I noticed a full-grown Adonis Blue caterpillar out for an early evening stroll. With no interest in feeding it won't be long now before it pupates (photos above). (Neil Hulme)

And some more news for Friday 15 April: 2 Holly Blue at Lime Kiln Cottage Garden, Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. 1 male Orange Tip TQ6907 (photos above). (Janet Richardson)

Friday 15 April 2011

Today I did my third transect at Mill Hill, spotting just 2 Peacocks due to the cloud cover. Later it warmed up and the Grizzled and Dingy Skippers started flying plus a Speckled Wood and male and female Orange Tips. Mark from Essex joined me and the highlight of our day was observing a black male adder joining a brown female adder. The resulting courtship behaviour lasted for over an hour. Photos and video on my website www.seapic.com (Colin Knight)

At last a bit of sun came out today. A walk around Cradle Hill part of Frog Firle produced a large group of Brown-tail larvae leaving the nest. Also quite a large larva on bramble that someone more knowledgeable may be able to id as well as another larva that I found yesterday at Abbotts Wood. This one was in the leaf litter by the violets that the Pearl Bordered larvae have been feeding on. Any ideas would be much appreciated. A few butterflies flying today inc. a Painted Lady at High and Over. (Bob Eade)

3x male Orange Tips at TQ523042 Alfriston. (Jan Knowlson)

Details of the Transect walked today at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. Species recorded;
Large White, (1)
Small White, (2)
Orange Tip, (10)
Speckled Wood, (1)
Total, 14 butterflies, 4 species. (David Pyle)

Thursday 14 April 2011

2 long walks looking for butterflies over the past 2 days have resulted in seeing nothing!! At Abbotts Wood today I did find a Pearl-bordered Fritillary larva feeding on violet. (Bob Eade)

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Overwintering Red Admiral caterpillar hatched and flew today, flushing up a well hidden (and tiny) male Small White in the process. (David Harris, Newhaven)

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Birding was again rather slow at Cissbury today but the butterflies were a little better. Saw 8 species there despite the cool breeze (it would have 9 if I had ID'd the White (probably a Small).
These included Orange-tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Green Hairstreak, Holly Blue, and a surprise fresh Small Copper (above). I remembered Neil's good article in the latest magazine about photography (being better in early mornings when species are less active) when I had to reach past the Green Hairstreak to take a photo of the Holly Blue. It did not move despite my arm being inches from it - but it reacted instantly afterwards when an insect flew above it after I had finished the photo. (Mike Snelling)

1 Female Orange Tip seen at TQ333095 1male seen at TQ213158. (Jan Knowlson)

My father Roy Symonds reports from Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU821106) the following sightings where the temperature was 12°C - Brimstone (1M) and Orange Tip (5M 2F).
Later in the morning at Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835090) Orange Tip (11M 1F), Speckled Wood (1), Small White (1), Peacock (1) and Painted Lady (1). (Richard Symonds)

A few of us had an impromptu gathering at Mill Hill nature reserve on Monday evening, unfortunately it was quite windy and clear which isnt very conducive to mothing, but we did it anyway. As part of an ongoing Barred tooth-striped survey, we had one 125W MV trap and one 60W actinic running in different areas. We placed the actinic near to some mature privet where we had counted the most Barred Tooth-striped (BTS) moths a couple of weeks ago.
Whilst we were waiting for the moth traps to warm up and the moths to come in, we did a bit of dusking and found some moths on the wing and we all learnt some new things about Beetles from Graeme Lyons  thanks Graeme! The first Barred tooth-striped was netted at 8.30pm, albeit a worn one. Several other species were netted including Brimstone moth, Streamer, Early Grey, Double-striped Pug, Powdered Quaker, Waved Umber, Early Thorn and Shoulder-stripe to name but a few. We found two Barred tooth-striped on the privet, unusually low down as usually they perch quite high up, we think that the wind hadnt helped our survey!
When checking the MV trap later on we found three Barred tooth-striped attracted to it, but not into it. Seven Barred tooth-striped were attracted to the actinic, but again not all of them were in the trap. So, we had 12 Barred tooth-striped altogether which wasnt bad going considering the weather! Other species caught in the traps included Green Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Red Chestnut, Least Black Arches, Small Waved Umber, Flame Shoulder, V-Pug and Hebrew Character. Twenty macro species in total, plus a couple of micros - Pyrausta despicata and Semioscopis steinkellneriana.
There appeared to be a good number of species, a few of which are listed as flying in May onwards. We also found one roosting
Grizzled Skipper. (Dave and Pen Green)

Since it's all happening at Mill Hill I thought I would check Chantry Hill for early Skippers. Chantry Hill is essentially north facing but there are some sheltered spots. Anyway, there was not a lot going on but I did have 3 Small Tortoiseshell at Cross Dyke where there was protection from a cool north breeze. Two of these were males on territory and a feisty, quarrelsome twosome they turned out to be. Thus far this species seems to having a good spring which more than I can say for Red Admiral (as I haven't seen one as yet). (Martin Kalaher)

I returned to Mill Hill on Tuesday specifically to see more adder activity and was rewarded with at least five individuals appearing repeatedly along the edge of the shrub line at the bottom of the hill. I managed to get video of two black adders performing a dominance 'dance' and a black and brown adder mating. Videos and photos can be seen on my website www.seapic.com I also saw plenty of Grizzled and Dingy Skippers (photos above from Monday 11 April). (Colin Knight)

News for Monday 11 April: I had to take my daughter to some kennels yesterday but due to a diversion it took me into unchartered territory and mindful of the rallying cry regarding the Orange Tip survey I did a bit of driveby spotting in the Mannings Heath/Plumbers Plain area to the east of Horsham. TQ22512 28690 - 1M 1F, TQ 23887 28591 - 1M, TQ 23655 28281 - 1M, TQ23340 28052 - 1M, TQ22717 27772 - 1M, TQ 22023 27389 - 1M, TQ 20558 28958 - 1M.
Driving my daughter to Ruckman's Farm in the afternoon I have never seen so many Orange Tips by the road verges. At least a dozen were flying in the 50 yards around TQ14384 31594 also TQ14521 35526 and also some at the farm TQ 13998 35714.
When I got home there were too females egg laying on cuckoo flower by the pond TQ14478 31121 (2F) (1M). The previous day (Sunday) there was a Brimstone laying on the alder buckthorn in the garden and more Brown Hairstreak caterpillars hatched today. One (named Thor) who hatched last Thursday is now a whole 2mm long. (Susie Milbank)

More news for Monday 11 April: Managed to get this shot of a mating pair of Orange Tips at my Herstmonceux plot yesterday - may not be crystal clear but that could just be my pc monitor... (Mike Mullis)

And some more news for Monday 11 April: Small White - 1, TV543975, Crowlink. Green-veined White - 1, TV562984, East Dean. Peacock - 1, TV544975, Crowlink; 1, TV543975, Crowlink. Small Tortoiseshell - 1, TV537975, Crowlink. (David Jode)

News for Sunday 10 April: Brimstone - 1 TV561958 Horseshoe Plantation; 1, TV562957, Horseshoe Plantation. Small Tortoiseshell - 1, TV561958 Horseshoe Plantation. Peacock - 1, TV561958, Horseshoe Plantation; 2, TV562957, Horseshoe Plantation; 3, TV563956, Belle Tout; 5, TV5596, Birling Gap. (David Jode)

Monday 11 April 2011

My father, Roy Symonds reports to me from Stansted Forest (SU743110) the following sightings: Orange Tip (2F) and Peacock (2). As a former work colleague of Clare Jeffers, I would like to add my congratulations to Clare and Michael on the occasion of their wedding - Best Wishes (Richard Symonds)

I managed to catch up with the Speckled Wood (Mary making sure I didn't get run over) and whilst beavering away in the garden I couldn't resist photographing an egg-laying Bee Fly (more of these, this year, than I have ever seen) (photos above). (Martin & Mary Kalaher)

Enjoyed a sunny but blustery walk on the downs in my tetrad TV 5898, along the South Downs Way near Paradise Plantation. Saw 8 Small Tortoiseshells patrolling up and down, 2 pristine Peacocks, a beautiful male Orange Tip and a pale, little fluttery thing which settled, closed its wings and morphed into a Green Hairstreak - stunning in the sunshine! A 1st in my tetrad. (Anna Grist)

Having read all the sightings at Mill Hill we decided to head that way. So thank you to everyone as we had a very good morning. We even saw Colin and Richards black Adder! Very pleased to see 2 Painted Ladies and a Red Admiral. 4 male 3 female Brimstone. 1 Holly Blue. 2 Dingy Skipper. 4 Grizzled Skipper. 2 male 1 female Orange Tip. 4 Peacock. The picture of the moth we think is a Pyrausta Purpuralis (above) but that may not be so. (Janet Richardson)

At Mill Hill I was rewarded by a fantastic display by at least four adders. A large brown female was mating with a grey adder. A black adder then appeared but decided not to interfere. The pair disappeared into the bushes, then two black adders twisted about each other while rearing up to determine dominance. All this occurred in the same spot. I was joined by Malcolm, Neil and Steve & Maggie who all saw adders. There were just a few Dingy Skippers and perhaps 10 Grizzled Skippers which were nectaring on dandelions and horseshoe vetch. (Colin Knight)

News for Friday 8 April: It was my husband's birthday on Friday so we decided to go out to lunch and we went to the Sloop Inn at Freshfield Lock TQ386 244. Whilst sitting in the pub garden we saw 2 male Orange Tips 1 Comma and 1 male Brimstone. Having finished lunch we then decided to go for a post lunch walk and went spotting. 2 more male Orange Tips one at TQ387 255 and the other at TQ364 256. 1 Small Tortoiseshell at TQ 362 247. 4 Peacocks in two pairs performing an airborne display at TQ363 244 together with 1 Red Admiral and 1 Comma close by. Were surprised by lack of Speckled Woods as part of our walk included Henfield Wood. Should hopefully be able to get some Orange Tip's near Hangleton as my parents live there!!! (Sally Manning)

Sunday's photos: (Below)
Top row, from Richard Roebuck, left Speckled Wood and right, a 2 foot pike (Richard has said he would send a cheque for £20 to Butterfly Conservation if I post this photo - that's what I call a no-brainer... ed)
Middle row, from Jamie Burston, left Orange Tips and right, Speckled Wood
Bottom row, from Colin Knight, left Dingy Skipper and right, Black Adder

Sunday 10 April 2011

I have to rush off very early this morning - no time to post photos, I will post them all this evening, apologies, ed.

I set off early this morning along the Downs Link in the blind belief I would see a Small Copper, on the way I checked out some Brown Hairstreak eggs and swear blind they have all hatched. Anyway later on at Betley Bridge I saw my first cuckoo flying and then calling which distracted me, Still looking for Small Coppers along a river bank spotted a 2 foot pike in a ditch in about a foot of water. Next area was at Woodmancote where my prime Small Copper site has been destroyed by an idiot landowner who has fenced and installed a herd of red deer which have eaten everything. Very disheartened I happened to chase an Orange Underwing moth which settled on a muddy patch. First one I have ever seen. Then to Woodmancote Church to watch a splendid Speckled Wood. Then to Wolstonbury where all I saw was a vSmall White and at Pycombe two male Orange Tips. It was hot now so sort refuge in the Malaysian grand prix on TV. Later on went to Mill Hill and got a lovely pic of a Grizzled Skipper and saw a Dingy Skipper and Latticed Heath Moth. However it was nice to see and talk to Dan, Neil Sherie and Colin. Colin and I had a chance to take Pictures of a Black Adder but that's another story. A great balmy summers day, I know that because the lawn is going brown. (Richard Roebuck)

Today I called in at Mill Hill again. There was a 'flutter' of butterfly enthusiasts: John, Chris, Neil, Richard, Dan and Cherie plus a gentleman from Scotland. The Grizzled Skippers were joined by an equal number of Dingy Skippers. Peak flight time was 2 to 3pm. The Dingy Skippers were involved in aerial combats with themselves and Peacocks. A black adder with a light coloured companion also put in an appearance. (Colin Knight)

Today I went to Abbots Wood to see what I could find. It started off very slow but later Orange Tips were everywhere. I counted twenty then lost count, the photo of the single Orange Tip is of a Female and the paired photo is of a female and male next to each other. They sat there for over half an hour, not moving at all. Later I spotted a butterfly, which was sat around a mud pool on the ground, it looked like a Black Hairstreak, but with the pattern on the inner side of it's wings, even the same size as one, a weird mystery I will probably never find out. When leaving Abbots Wood a large male Brimstone flew past the car. The Speckled Wood I saw later at the top glade of Hollingbury Park in Brighton. (Jamie Burston)

One Green-veined white seen resting on wild flowers on Worth Way, Crawley Down, seemed to be struggling to fly. 4 male Orange Tips and 3 Peacocks also seen on the Way between Crawley Down and East Grinstead.

Seen around Plumpton today.
1 Male Orange Tip @ TQ363161
1 Male Orange Tip @TQ363168
1 Male Orange Tip @ TQ361165
2 Female Orange Tips on honesty plants @ TQ362164
1 Male Orange Tip @ TQ359165
1 Female Orange Tip @TQ356165
1 Small White on rape plants @TQ355161
2 Male Orange Tip @ TQ356165 (Jon Wood)

Nine species have graced my Storrington garden this weekend. Yesterday, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Orange Tip, Brimstone, Green-veined white (my first this year), and finally 2 Speckled Wood (actually they were 80 yards down the lane). Today, a Small White (my first this year). Female Orange Tip laying eggs on lady's smock and hedge mustard. (Martin Kalaher)

Thu 7th Apr: One female and several male Orange Tips at my Herstmonceux plot; a female Brimstone egg-laying on one of my potted Alder Buckthorn plants on the benching outside the barn - possibly the earliest I can remember as this is more often noted here in late April-early May.
Fri 8th Apr: A Holly Blue at lunchtime (which I missed!) well spotted by Keith Alexander on a fleeting visit looking for Orange Tips for the Atlas. The usual collection of Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells around the plot and another male Green-veined White on the edge of the nearby Pevensey Levels.
Sat 9th Apr: Numerous Orange Tips around the plot plus a Comma on the plant benches in front of the barn.
Sun 10th Apr: Out of my comfort zone close to busy traffic by East Grinstead High Street (running my wild flower plant stall outside Sackville College for their 'Spring Sunday' event). Nevertheless, a first Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Orange Tip sauntering through... which were probably more at ease there than I was!
NOTE: Captive-bred Pearl-bordered Fritillary larvae (for the next re-introduction projects) started pupating in the last week of March here so I'm expecting a possible mid-April emergence at Abbots Wood given the current weather conditions (our captive-bred butterflies have consistently emerged within a day or two of the wild populations in the past few years). (Mike Mullis)

Orange tip, 2 - TV562984, East Dean, 2 - TQ460008, 1 - TQ459009, Small White 1 - TQ461007, 1 - TQ459009, 1 - TQ454008, Brimstone 1 - TQ461007, Small Tortoiseshell 2 - TQ460008, 1 - TQ457009, 1 - TQ452009, Peacock 1 - TQ460008, 1 - TQ457009, 2 - TQ455009 Newhaven. (David Jode)

Saturday 9 April 2011

From all at Butterfly Conservation Sussex Branch "congratulations and best wishes for the future" to Clare Jeffers and Michael Blencowe on their wedding day. A fly-past by Orange Tips has been arranged. A number of members have been in contact to specifically ask me to onpass their messages. (Neil, committee and members)

Spent Saturday in Northwest Sussex. The weather was just incredible. The warblers were singing, the blackthorn was blooming and every lane had a patrolling Orange-tip. It seemed like the perfect day to get married. So we did. (Michael & Clare Blencowe)

3 Grizzled Skippers Mill Hill, TQ2106. On Downslink at Henfield next to Cat and Canary p.m. TQ205162, Holly Blue 2, Orange Tip male 5, Orange Tip female 1 Green-veined White 1, Large White 1, Small White 2, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 1, male Brimstone 2 and 3 Speckled woods. Re. Speckled Woods, spotted a spiralling courting pair and took a chance at capturing them in flight. Amazingly the male below has actually only half of its forewings left but was extremely persistent as they carried on spiralling for about 7 minutes (above, left). In the hot weather the pace of life is greatly accelerated. (Richard Roebuck)
Richard's Green-veined White photo (above, right) was taken recently in Woods near Spithandle Lane.

I counted 27 butterflies as I did my rounds at work today - unprecedented for me personally in April. I saw my first Orange-tips of the year and saw 16 in total at Offham - TQ391129; East Chiltington - TQ390142, TQ391147 (4), TQ376162 (5); Ditchling Common - TQ351179, TQ333186, TQ340169; and Lewes - TQ416099, and TQ422097. According to my atlas, at least three tetrads were 'new' for the atlas project. Also seen were Red Admirals at East Chiltington - TQ391147 and Ditchling Common - TQ339198 (a new tetrad?); Small Tortoiseshells at Newhaven - TQ462021 and Lewes - TQ422097; a Peacock at Lewes - TQ420099 and, finally, a Comma at Lewes - TQ422097. Five species and 27 butterflies in all makes this my best April day ever - and I wasn't even trying that hard! (Steven Teale)

On Cissbury Ring today saw double figures of both Brimtones and Peacocks, 2 Red Admirals and a Comma. Also, following tip off from someone who might have been Mike Snelling (big thanks) managed to spot a Green Hairstreak (above). (Nicki Kent)

Two spiralling Speckled Woods and a single Holly Blue were our first sightings of these species this year in our Worthing garden today. Also present was a Comma. (John & Shena Maskell)

Two Orange Tip (male) in my Brighton garden (Caroline Clarke)

Nice to see a Painted Lady as I left my allotment on Whitehawk Hill in Brighton (TQ 329046) this afternoon, an antidote to the cabbage whites which are all too common around there! Sorry, I know they can't help it but it's hard to feel positive about them. (Tessa Pawsey)

When visiting Seaford Head Nature Reserve today I was able to follow, for about 100 yards, a splendid Peacock butterfly as it continually settled, presumably to dry its wings, on one of the footpaths. It really made my day! (Ronald Lee, Newhaven)

Seen today around Plumpton. 1 Peacock & 1 Orange Tip @ TQ360165 3 Orange Tips @ TQ362164. (Jon Wood)

Today I went up to the Burgh to look for Brown Hares. After having admitted to Neil that I hadn't seen a single Orange Tip yet this year I proceeded to see 20 or 30 up at the Burgh, but the prize for most numerous butterfly of the day goes to the Brimstone. They were everywhere. I must have seen 40 or 50 I should think. I watched some of them feeding from Field Pansy. What a beautiful sight that was. I also saw two Small Tortoiseshells, two Peacocks and one Comma. After getting back home, I spent an hour or so crisscrossing a local field that is spotted all over with Ladies' Smock in the hope of finding more Orange Tips but did not find a single one. (Sherie New)

My first butterfly walk of the year yielded quite good results at High & Over. One Holly Blue, one Small White, 2 Comma, 5 Brimstone, lots of Peacock (above, left), two catterpillar mass emergings (Brown-tail) (above, right) and one Bob Eade freshly flown in from the Czech Republic (now that's dedication!). (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Friday 8 April: I spotted an Orange Tip tip in Barns Green on Friday afternoon on the way to Itchingfield, where a ten minute walk produced several more. (John Coxon)

News for Friday 8 April (2): Four Small White, 1 Orange Tip (male) and a Peacock in my Brighton garden. Four Small White in gardens in Ladies Mile Road, Patcham TQ303 087. (Caroline Clarke)

News for Friday 8 April (3): We walked round part of the Knepp Estate in Shipley yesterday morning and saw at least 30 male Orange-tip Butterflies and 1 female and 3 very fresh Speckled Wood Butterflies. A profusion of "milkmaids" no doubt helped. Also 2 singing Nightingales and 2 calling male Cuckoos. (Chris and John Hamilton Horsham)

News for Friday 8 April (4): On Friday evening I popped down to Mill Hill where I spotted two Painted Ladies, three Small Tortoiseshells and one Peacock. I ambled down the hillside and came across Neil who invited me to admire the beautiful Grizzled Skipper he had right in front of him. Thanks for the invite to photograph the butterfly Neil, that was my first GS caught on camera. I nearly stepped on an Adder on my way back up the hill, I don't know who was more surprised by the encounter, the Adder or me. I'm lucky it didn't bite I think, it was that close. I like Adders but that one made me jump. (Sherie New)

News for Friday 8 April (5): Yesterday in my Storrington garden I recorded male and female Orange Tip, male and female Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Holly Blue (above). (Martin Kalaher)

News for Friday 8 April (6): On a sunny Friday morning, in my Eastbourne Garden (BN20 9DL) my first sightings this year of Orange Tip and Small White. (Sue East)

News for Friday 8 April (7): Our first Speckled Wood in the garden this year, nectaring on Viburnum tinus. Speckled Wood is the only butterfly species I have seen using this shrub as a nectar source, they seem to be much attracted to it, and are seen on it every spring. (Graham Parris Isfield)

News for Friday 8 April (8): Thanks to Colin Knight for informing me of his early Dingy Skipper sighting at Mill Hill (his new Transect). It took a while to re-locate but there were plenty of other butterflies to keep me occupied while I searched. Half a dozen Grizzled Skippers eventually slowed down sufficiently to smile for the camera, before finally going to roost on privet and hawthorn. I also saw my first Burnet Companion of the year. Earlier in the day I had stopped in some woods near Steyning to enjoy a spectacular vocal battle between two nightingales. More at the base of page http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=1000 (photos above) (Neil Hulme)

News for Thursday 7 April: 2 sightings, both on 7 April, both of 1 male Orange Tip. The first was in Harvey's Lane, Ringmer, Grid Ref. TQ470150. The second in Piltdown, Grif Red TQ444220. (Nigel Symington)

Friday 8 April 2011

While birding on Cissbury at lunchtime I saw a fairly early Green Hairsteak in one of it's usual haunts. The only other butterflies seen there were c.30 Brimstone and 2 Peacock. Also had Orange Tip, Small White and Peacock in my Findon Valley garden. (Mike Snelling)

I found a Dingy Skipper (above, left) at 1:54pm at the bottom of Mill Hill, in addition to half a dozen sightings of Grizzled Skippers (above, right), dozens of Peacocks, plenty of Brimstones and a Comma at the top of the hill. Lots of lizards darting away to add to the fun. Should be a good weekend ahead (Colin Knight)

Enjoyed a particularly fine transect walk around Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath today. Butterflies were fairly thin on the ground - only three species were recorded: Brimstone 13 (9 male and 4 female), Peacock 3, and my first (transect) Orange Tip. Also found a slightly tatty Birch Mocha (above) on the plateau at Park Corner Heath. (Bob Foreman)

In the roadside (A27) spinney at the top of The Drive, north Shoreham, the first few Speckled Wood Butterflies of the year emerged and tried out their wings amongst the remaining leaf litter. On Mill Hill, I almost fell over my first Grizzled Skipper of the year visiting a small Dandelion. There were frequent Peacocks and occasional Brimstones. Over the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, my first three Green-veined White Butterflies of the year flew steadily south, stopping briefly on Dandelions. (Andy Horton, Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List)

My father Roy Symonds, reports from Stansted Forest (SU743110) this morning the following sightings where the temperature was 18°C: Brimstone (4M 1F), Orange Tip (10M 1F) and Peacock (3). (Richard Symonds)

Saw a pair of Speckled Woods spiralling around each other in woodland on Whitehawk Hill, east Brighton (TQ328045) and a Holly Blue (TQ332046). (Nigel Bowie)

2 male Orange Tips whilst fishing @ Belfrey Lake (TQ568122) (Roy Neeve & Reg Hinks)

Details of the transect walked today in wonderful warm sunshine at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill. Species recorded as follows:
Small White, (2)
Orange Tip, (4)
Holly Blue, (1)
Peacock, (1)
Total, 8 butterflies, 4 species. Also recorded a Light Orange Underwing flying and resting on a footpath. (David Pyle)

Peacock (above), Mill Hill, 07 April. (Colin Knight)

News for Thursday 7 April: My father Roy Symonds, reports from Stansted Forest (SU743110) the following: Brimstone (11M 2F), Orange Tip (6M 2F) and Peacock (5). (Richard Symonds)

More news for Thursday 7 April: Male Brimstone: TV558980, TV556980,TV544975,TV537974.
Small Tortoiseshell: TV544975, TV538976,TV538974 x 2,TV543975 x 2.
Peacock: TV539978, TV537976, TV538974. (Cas & David Jode)

A little more news for Thursday 7 April: Seen Thursday while botantical surveying. 1 Brimstone @TQ321251, 1 Orange Tip @TQ320253. (Jon Wood)

News for Wednesday 6 April: Seen while doing a BMWP survey on Wednesday. 1 Brimstone @ TQ426164, 1 Brimstone @ TQ361164, 1 Brimstone @ TQ353180, 1 Brimstone @ TQ360165. (Jon Wood)

Thursday 7 April 2011

First things first... We received the following in regard to yesterday's caterpillar photo from Dave Green:
Chalkhill Blue larvae, unlike Adonis Blue larvae, are nocturnal. Also, Chalkhill Blue larvae will only have recently emerged from the egg. So - all in all - definitely an Adonis Blue larva! (Pete Eeles)

I saw two Small Coppers this afternoon near the Darwell Reservoir, my first for this year! (Katie Walker)

Two male Orange Tip on the wing today at Thorney Island church yard.(Barry Collins)

Transect Week 1 at Cissbury Ring this morning produced Brimstones, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells. On the way home I saw a male Orange Tip on Bost Hill. The afternoon at Mill Hill added a Grizzled Skipper. Later in my garden a Holly Blue appeared. Welcome 2011! (Peter Atkinson)

Inspired by Richard Roebuck's sighting yesterday, (No not the leather)!!! I called into the woods off Spithandle Lane. Not sure if I got the right part but several Orange Tip and Brimstone seen as well as several birds. I had already called in on Mill Hill where 3 or 4 Grizzled Skippers were seen. Then went to the Downslink path near Partridge Green looking for more Orange Tip. Several seen but I also found my 1st Speckled Wood in the same spot that I saw my 1st Speckled for the last 2 years. (Bob Eade)

Saw my first Speckled Wood today on the bridle path leading up to Wolstonbury Hill from Pycombe street. In addition 5 male Orange Tips, two male Brimstones. TQ2813 Also at Henfield 4 Peacocks, 5 male Orange Tips, two male Brimstones one Comma TQ207152. Alfriston one Orange Tip whilst driving, TQ5203. (Richard Roebuck)

I completed my first transect at Mill Hill yesterday, thanks to Peter Atkinson for walking me through. I was surprised by the number of Peacocks we saw all over the hill, a total of 22.There was plenty of aerial fisticuffs, including one bunch of five flying together in a ball. We had a male and female Brimstone, 2 Small Tortoiseshells and one Grizzled Skipper at the bottom of the hill at 1:45pm. Later I saw an Orange Tip flying west to east at the bottom of the hill following the shrub line, with two brief stops. A buzzard soared overhead and blackcaps were heard singing. (Colin Knight)

A rather ragged-looking Painted Lady was in Church Norton churchyard this evening (above). (Andrew House)

One Green-veined White wood near Plaistow (plus 22 Brimstone, 4 Orange-tip and 1 Holly Blue). (Margaret Hibbard)

On 3 hour walk around Abbots Wood today we saw 9 Peacock. 7 male Brimstones. 1 female Brimstone. 6 male and 1 female Orange Tip. 1 Small Tortoiseshell. 1 Large White. 4 Orange Underwing moth (photos above). (Janet Richardson)

Not having seen a single Orange Tip yet, I was beginning to suspect that Neil had kidnapped them all, and moved them to West Sussex. All is well, I saw 4 males in a 500 metre stretch of Harveys Lane this morning, Sussex being a long county from west to east, there is often a lag of 4/5 days in butterfly emergence. (Graham Parris, Isfield)

In the garden here at Kingston, Nr Lewes, E Sussex at 4.30 this afternoon 2 Painted Lady chasing then flew off in westerly direction, wind light west, temp 20.1°. Also today 4-5 male Orange Tip and 1 female, 1+ Small White, 1 m Brimstone, 1 Holly Blue,1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock. The earlier southerly wind has become westerly. Looking forward to hearing of more PL. (John Holloway)

Orange Tip 1, Small White 1, Comma 1. Seen in my garden grid ref: TQ633048 (Colin Brinkhurst)

Walking from Charleston Manor to Lullington Heath and back on a sunny windless morning I saw 14 Brimstones (11 male and 3 female), 2 Orange Tips, 9 Peacocks, 1 Comma, 1 Small White, and 1 very tatty Red Admiral. (Stuart Ridley)

News for Wednesday 6 April: Shermanbury one male Orange Tip TQ2018, Partridge green one male Orange Tip TQ1919. The Holly Blue at Ashington was in grid reference TQ1317. Will send in grid reference for all previous records shortly. (Richard Roebuck)

More news for Wednesday 6 April: Thorney Island: Two Speckled Wood, 6 Peacock, 3 Small White and a male Brimstone.(Barry Collins)

Recent news:
Orange Tips
Southwater - 2/4/2011 - One male - TQ156269
Shipley Road - 6/4/2011 - Two males - TQ153235
Brinsbury Campus - 6/4/2011 - One male - TQ067223
Brinsbury Campus, Bramley Copse - 6/4/2011 - One male - TQ062229
Nr. Clemsfold - 7/4/2011 - One male - TQ134334
Rudgwick - 7/4/2011 - Two males - TQ088343, Two males - TQ086341, Two males, One female - TQ082343
Nr. Itchingfield - 7/4/2011 - One male - TQ135298
Small Tortoiseshell
Brinsbury Campus, Farm Track - 25/3/2011 - Two - TQ064226
Brinsbury Campus, Nr. Ash Copse - 25/3/2011 - One male - TQ 065225
Rudgwick - 07/04/2011 - One male & one female - TQ082346, One male - TQ088343, Three males TQ082343
Brinsbury Campus, North West Park - 25/3/2011 - One - TQ062228
(Robin Bassett)

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Two sightings of Male Orange Tip: Ditchling TQ336147 and Brighton TQ334096 (Jan Knowlson, Ranger, South Downs National Park)

I took a quick trip up to Mill Hill today to try and catch up with some of the day flying moths that Pen and Graeme found last week. In warm sunshine I managed to see single Pyrausta purpuralis, P. despicata and P. nigrata, and found one Pancalia schwarzella type moth, and three P. leuwenhoekella type (above, left). Butterflies were thin on the ground, with single Grizzled Skipper, Red Admiral and Orange Tip and two Peacock. I also spotted one blue butterfly caterpillar (OK, it was green and yellow actually), which is either Adonis or Chalkhill Blue (above, right). It was fairly large, so I would assume it is Adonis Blue, but any thoughts are gratefully received! (Dave Green)

In beautiful, warm spring sunshine the lanes, banks and copses around Five Oaks and Billingshurst were awash with butterflies this afternoon. I counted a total of 32 Orange Tip (including 5, egg-laying females) (above, left), 20 Brimstone, 6 Peacock, 5 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Comma, 3 Small White and 2 Holly Blue (above, right). The individual grid references have been entered into the 'Butterfly Recorder' database, for use in our Atlas. (Neil Hulme)

On a lovely warm afternoon walk through my wood near Small Dole I saw 5 male Brimstone & 1 female, 3 Commas, 2 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Holly Blue, and 5 male & 1 female Orange Tips, including a pair involved in a long mating ritual (above). (Pete Varkala)

While wandering around the fields behind pound cottages in Ifield Crawley saw my first Painted Lady of the year. (Chris Prince)

My father, Roy Symonds reports (to me in Cornwall), the following sightings:
Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835089): Brimstone (4M 2F), Orange Tip (2M 2F), Red Admiral (1), Peacock (3) and Painted Lady (1) - his first sighting of the year.
Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU821106): Brimstone (13M 5F), Orange Tip (3M), Comma (1) and Peacock (1). (Richard Symonds)

My thanks to Nigel Kemp who today showed me how to track down Pearl Bordered Fritillary larvae (above). We managed to find 4 between us at Abbotts Wood. Several Brimstone and Peacock also seen as well as 1 Orange Tip. We then moved onto Park Corner Heath where several more Brimstones and Peacock were seen. 1 Orange Tip by Michelham Priory on route. (Bob Eade)

A Painted Lady was in Edburton today and in Sompting my mother found an early Mullein in her garden. (Tony Wilson)

It's my wedding anniversary today and three years ago we literally had a white wedding as it started snowing first thing in the morning. Apparently the third anniversary is Leather so may be interesting later, hopefully not the steak we have. I digress, packed the wife off to work this morning and headed out looking for butterflies as the the weather looked promising. In woods off Spithandle lane, Lots of male and also female Brimstones, Peacocks 8 (a bit worn now), Orange Tips 15 males (above), Green-veined Whites 4, Small White 2, Large White 1. On a slight diversion I was in Ashington stopped the car to make a phone call and noticed a male Holly Blue nectaring on Laurel flowers. Dived out with camera in hand and whilst sizing up the opposition out of the corner of my eye noticed the landrover setting off down the road. Fortunately it was a gentle hill and I managed to catch up dive in and stop it. I've always said butterflying can be risky. (Richard Roebuck)

To get the ball rolling as far as orange tip records for the atlas go for this year here's today's sightings including drive by spotting:-
Five Oaks area: TQ07892 28471 : One female Orange Tip, 3 male Orange Tip, 4 Brimstone. (possible Speckled Wood but not a confirmed sighting) TQ 07635 28255, TQ07850 27832, TQ 08438 27780 : at least a dozen male Orange Tip, two Peacocks, two Commas and a Red Admiral.
Driving home via Bashurst Hill: TQ 10282 26860: 1 Brimstone, TQ 10923 26656: 1 Orange Tip, TQ 11818 27987: 1 Orange Tip. Also: TQ 14470 31138: Orange Tip.
Driving to work: TQ 13599 32750: 1 Orange Tip, TQ 13053 33467: 1 Orange Tip, TQ 12231 35368: 1 Orange Tip. (Susie Milbank)

A walk around the downs above Washington Chalk quarry (TQ1212) and the old pits at 12:00 - 13:30 saw at least 7 Brimstone including 2 females with one of the males seen nectaring on Primrose. 2 Peacock, 1 worn and 1 fresh spotted on the South Downs Way. On Hawthorn 2 Red Admiral nectaring on blossom while 1 male Orange Tip was seen patroling near the disused Lime Kiln at 200m from Garlic Mustard and many more from the nearest Cuckoo Flower. Highlight of the walk was at least 10 Small Tortoiseshell seen in total. (anon.)

News for Sunday 3 April: Walking from Prinsted, we came across 2 Red Admirals and a Small White at Nutbourne (SU778054), followed, much to our surprise by 2 Painted Ladies along the field edges on our return (SU771055). (Roger Pendell)

And finally... Colin Knight sent this: "BC members should enjoy this Natural History Museum event from 12 April - 11 September 2011 (this article says from April 6, but the museum website says April 12)."
Patrick Barkham's article in The Guardian:
NHM website:

Tuesday 5 April 2011

News for Monday 4 April: I was lucky enough to see my first (and early) Speckled Wood of the year whilst out walking with family near Arlington Reservoir. Good views obtained (but no camera with me) as it made its way along the byway north of Endlewick Farm (TQ542065), a fresh Peacock was an added bonus. (Tony Moverley)

And some more news for Monday 4 April: A Painted Lady, Red Admiral and 2 Small Whites seen on the Centurion Way just South of Lavant. (Alan Wingrove)

Monday 4 April 2011

A single Peacock was the only butterfly I saw on an early afternoon walk around Roland Wood today. (Bob Foreman)

News for Sunday 3 April: A new brood of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies appeared with three seen on Mill Hill. The small Pyrausta nigrata pyralid micro-moths were frequently seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and one very faded Pyrausta purpuralis. This was the earliest in the year that these pyralid moths have been recorded. (Andy Horton)

News for Saturday 2 April: A solitary Small White on a two-hour walk from Plumpton Agricultural College, up to Black Cap and back through the Novington Estate. Grid ref TQ 372 144. (Caroline Clarke)

Sunday 3 April 2011

After a Mother's Day picnic my parents and I took a stroll around the country lanes near Five Oaks. Despite overcast conditions we still managed to see half a dozen lovely male Orange Tips (above). (Rosemary, Eric & Neil Hulme)

Walking along the promenade at Eastbourne this afternoon, I was surprised to see a Humming-bird Hawk-moth flitting around and feeding from some wallflowers. There was a rather chilly wind blowing, and it was a most unexpected sighting so early in the year. (Andy Wilson, Newick)

News for Saturday 2 April: My Father Roy Symonds reports seeing a single Orange Tip, his first sighting of the year near to the entrance to Stansted Forest (SU736107). (Richard Symonds)

More news for Saturday 2 April: On Saturday we joined four Midland moth-ers, Graeme Lyons and Jo, at the Old Lodge SWT reserve to see what was out and about. The Midlanders were a formidable moth catching machine, assembling ten 125W MV traps at 100m spaces in incredibly quick time. Pen and I felt like the poor relations heading up the Sussex contingency, as we lugged our 60W actinic and 125W MV trap as far as possible away from their Jean-michelle Jarre-esque light show.
It was fairly cool and damp, but in our two traps we managed to catch 18 species of macro including many Early Tooth-striped, 15 Pine Beauty, Lunar Marbled Brown and Mottled Grey along with a few micros. Back at the wall of light we also recorded Early and Purple Thorns, Lead-coloured Drab and probably best of the night, three Dotted Chestnut. We left around 1:30am, but the 10 other MV traps were still running and there is a good chance they may have added a few more species. Between all the traps we caught at least 80 Pine Beauty; we had a really great evening, and thanks to the Midland mother-ers for a fun night and showing us how mothing is really done!
(Dave and Pen Green)

Saturday 2 April 2011

Driving around the quiet country lanes near Five Oaks this afternoon, I saw a total of 11 freshly-emerged male Orange Tip, 5 Brimstone, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Peacock and a Red Admiral. I then moved on to Mill Hill where I found my first Grizzled Skipper of the year, plus a couple of Peacock. (Neil Hulme)

2 hour wildflower walk around Plumpton included a stretch of ancient woodland and some unimproved grassland with good hedges yielded 1 butterfly sighting!!! A Small Tortoiseshell @ TQ360183. (Jonathan Wood)

Spent four hours in Woods off Spithandle lane today where temperatures reached 17 degrees. Saw 14 male Brimstones, one female Brimstone, 8 Peacocks, one Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Commas, 4 male Orange Tips and one Large White. That's a pretty impressive count for this time of year. In addition one male grass snake out hunting and a peregrine high over head, lizards and hundreds of bee flies. Incidentally I recently bought a converter lens which gives the equivalent of 714mm. I took both pictures hand held from the closest I could focus, 18 feet away!! It's even picked up the ants the lizard was watching which I couldn't see. Clever people at Panasonic, at a bargain price. I think I'll put my overpriced Canon stuff on eBay and by a spare Lumix and still have money to put in the bank. The days of crawling on hands and knees may be behind me or may be its my age (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

Two Commas and perhaps surprisingly a Painted Lady in hazy sunshine at Abbots Wood this afternoon. Unfortunately no sign of an Orange Tip! (John Williams)

Saw my first Green-veined White, Small White and Orange-tips of the year in my Lindfield garden today, male and female Brimstones and a Peacock were also a very welcome sight. (Bob Foreman)

There was only one moth in our Worthing light trap when I attended it at 1:20 this morning, a male Muslin Moth. This seems to be an early record for this species but it paled into insignificance compared to hearing a Stone Curlew calling as it flew overhead! (John Maskell)

News for Tuesday 29 March 2010: It might not be much to look at, and certainly less glamorous than an Orange Tip, but the first appearance of the tiny pyralid moth Pyrausta despicata (above) (or one of its more colourful relatives) at Mill Hill (Shoreham) has always provided a good guide to the timing of subsequent springtime emergences. I saw a couple of these on Tuesday, together with a very early Small Purple-barred (Phytometra viridaria). Things appear to be running more than 2 weeks ahead of the 2010 calendar. (Neil Hulme)

Friday 1 April 2011

News for Monday 28 March: On Monday, Penny Green and I went to Mill Hill (actually on the off chance of spotting Dotted Bee-fly) but found lots of Pancalia sp.. When we later looked at the photos we began to think there were both species present but as one is Nb and the other is pRDB2 I had to go back and get a specimen. On the 29th March a hole in the cloud appeared and I went back to get a specimen. I recorded 17 of what I thought were Pancalia shwarzella (pRDB2) and only two definite Pancalia leuwenhoekella (Nb). Tony Davis confirmed the identification (thanks Tony).
These are the first records in Sussex since 1931 for schwarzella so we are pretty pleased to see it. Photos of each species are on my blog: The Lyons Den. (Graeme Lyons)

Thursday 31 March 2011

Went for a walk to the top of Wolstonbury hill on Wednesday and with the current weather conditions didn't expect to see anything, however mid afternoon spotted a transient Small Tortoiseshell. Today with continued poor weather saw a Swallow in Henfield, eleven days earlier than last year. Saturdays weather looks promising so may be Orange Tips to look forward too. (Richard Roebuck)

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Finally after some chilly evenings the moth trap is filling up at the visitor centre, pagham. Last night saw our first ever record of Barred Tooth-striped, sat on the fence near the trap, all ready a second first for the reserve this year, the other being Small Brindled Beauty in February. Also 13 Hebrew Character, 8 Clouded Drab, 1 March Moth, 1 Grey Shoulder-knot, 7 Small Quaker, 36 Common Quaker, 2 Early Grey, 1 Early Thorn, 2 Red Chestnut, 1 Powdered Quaker and 1 Twin-spotted Quaker. (Ivan Lang)

I've been running my 40w Actinic Heath-type trap several nights recently. I've caught samall numbers of the usual suspects - Quakers and Drabs, Early Grey, Hebrew Character. On 24th March I had single Water Carpet and Oak Beauty. Next night I caught 23 moths of 8 spp, including an Early tooth-striped and an Early Thorn. Last night (29th March) I had 31 moths of 9 spp, including my first Sreamer and first Brindled Beauty of the year. (Robin Harris)

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Getting back into the swing of things with a new moth trap after a couple of months of enforced absence (defunct electrics on the old one) and things are going pretty well. Last night produced 64 moths of 11 species, mostly Common (19) and Small Quakers (22) but there was also a lovely fresh Streamer (above, left) and Blossom Underwing (above, right). Other species in the trap were: Common Plume (4), Double-striped Pug (1), Powdered Quaker (1), Clouded Drab (6), Twin-spotted Quaker (1), Hebrew Character (7) and Early Grey (1). (Bob Foreman)

News for Friday 25 March: In my Mum's garden at Highsalvington, TQ1107 D Tetrad, on Friday 25th March in the afternoon we saw a Red Admiral, Brimstone and a Speckled Wood. 3 firsts for this year. (Trevor Gibson-Poole)

Recent news: Penny Green from the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre sent us this: David Webb sent in a sighting of a Humming-bird Hawk-moth which he saw in his garden in Partridge Green on Wednesday 23rd March. This is an early record, suggesting that it is an over-wintering individual that has just come out of hibernation. At the Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre we have quite a few records of this species in January, February and March, from recent years. Don't forget that if you do see a Humming-bird Hawk-moth you should add your sighting to the Butterfly Conservation website, there are already three other records of this species in Sussex so far this year: http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/sightings/1096/hummingbird_hawk_moth.html

Monday 28 March 2011

2 Small Tortoiseshell on the river banks near Tesco Lewes at TQ417106 (Crispin Holloway)

Saw a Green-veined White in scrub on Whitehawk Hill, east Brighton, (TQ328044). (Nigel Bowie)

Went to Abbotts Wood today in the hope of seeing an Orange Tip with a few reports of sightings coming in. After some time the first butterfly of the day appeared and it was my target, an excellent Orange Tip (above) in superb condition. Although it was quite flighty it was stopping at regular intervals to nectar very briefly. Great to see this species again. Other species seen in the wood was 1 Brimstone, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Peacock and 1 Comma. After getting home I was having a late lunch in the garden and another Orange Tip flew around the garden briefly. At Abbotts I spent some time looking for Pearl Bordered Fritillary larvae with no success. (Bob Eade)

Red Admiral (above) seen in orchard in Nutbourne whilst on an enjoyable walk to the sea front. (Pat and Peter Gardner)

Small Tortoiseshell has been found on 28th March 2011 12:55 at the coordinates: longitude: -0.141487 latitude: 50.849830. Only semi sunshine, seen basking itself at the butterfly haven. (Dan Danahar)

News for Sunday 27 March: My father Roy Symonds reports seeing Comma (2) and Peacock (2) during a short walk around Stansted Forest (SU736107). (Richard Symonds)

More news for Sunday 27 March: Holly Blue The Avenue Lewes at TQ41145 10187 (Louise Holloway)

And a little more: Peacock, Comma & Small White Kingston near Lewes at TQ3915 0862 (Crispin Holloway)

News for Saturday 26 March: Humming-bird Hawk-moth, feeding on fragrant winter Daphne blooms, The Avenue Lewes at TQ41145 10187 (Louise Holloway)

Sunday 27 March 2011

On Friday evening we lugged a generator and MV trap down to the bottom of Mill Hill to survey for Barred Tooth-stripe (BTS) and see what else was around. Although one Barred Tooth-stripe flew to the light at 7:30, this was the only one that the MV attracted this time, whereas on previous visits good number have come to the trap. Between the trap and wandering around with nets we managed to record 14 species including 1 Oak Beauty, 8 Clouded Drab, 1 Red Chestnut and a few micros including a very pretty one with raised scales on its wings that we have tentatively ID'd as Acleris cristana. In addition to the BTS that visited our trap we found 21 resting on privet, 1 resting on a grass stem and a final moth that landed on Pen as we were walking back up to the car with the trap. If anyone else goes to hunt for them, they were very obvious on the privet about 20 meters above the northern end of the lower path, a couple of hours after sunset. (Dave and Pen Green and Judith and Jim Steedman)

Following Graeme Lyons' tip off about the Light Orange Underwing we visited Badlands late on Saturday afternoon. Unlike Graeme, it took at least an hour of running around like a madman for us to net one of the moths, although that probably counts as our exercise for the week. There were at least 12 Orange Underwing Sp. flying around the top of the Aspen and making only occasional forays towards the ground. Like Graeme, the one we caught proved to be a Light Orange Underwing, so it seems safe to assume that most/all of the moths were this species. (Dave and Pen Green)

On the wing today, male Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks, Commas and saw two Small Whites. Also first Ladies Smock in flower and on the 24th my first Pine Beauty moth in my MV Skinner trap. (Richard Roebuck)

First Spring walk with family & spotted Peacock enjoying the sun & several Small Tortoiseshell in several locations but mainly in field with following co-ordinates: Lat 51.122286, Long 0.009677. (Kevin Sexton)

Burnt House Brooks Alfriston: Comma x 1,
Litlington: Comma x 1, Small Tortoiseshell x 3
And on Sunday 20 March 2011, Telscombe Tye: Small Tortoiseshell x 1, Red Admiral x 1 (Sheila Ball)

Amidst all the talk of Light Orange Underwings, here's a photo (above) of one that I took at Darwell on 22.3.11. You can just make out the feathered antennae. I am sure that this is a much under-recorded species. (Nigel Kemp)

Saturday 26 March 2011

A male Green-veined White fluttering around the lower meadow of my Herstmonceux plot yesterday pm (TQ643106)... the earliest date here for several years. Also two Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock. With the dry Spring and recent warm days, expect to see a number of early emergences next month including Grizzled Skipper and Pearl-bordered Fritillary. (Mike Mullis)

3 Commas at Park Corner Heath and also an Early Grey (above) found in the middle of the heath. (Bob Eade)

Following on from Dave Monk's message on the sussexmoths Yahoo group about Light Orange Underwing, I thought I would call in at the meadows known as Badlands (part of the Mens Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve). I knew that many of the meadows had large Aspens around them. I saw at least six moths in about half an hour and caught one for a photo. Male Orange-tip there too. From entering the meadow to catching the moth, no more than 30 seconds passed. Details at my blog: The Lyons Den (Graeme Lyons)

After some other recent reports, it's almost embarrassing to get excited about the 26 moths in my 2x30W Skinner trap this morning. It is, however, my best return for any date in March and I have been consistently getting better than average numbers since the current warm weather began. Last night's haul consisted of nine species: Diurnea fagella (3), Agonopterix heracliana, Emmelina monodactyla (5), Shoulder Stripe, Small Quaker (3), Common Quaker (6), Twin-spotted Quaker, Hebrew Character (2) and Early Grey (4). March Moth and Clouded Drab have also been recorded in the garden in the past two nights.
Further afield, this March has been better for me than any previous March for butterflies, with over fifty individuals recorded to date. Sixteen were seen at lunchtime today on the Downs between Newhaven and Bishopstone: Small Tortoiseshell (11), Peacock (4), and a single Comma. Other records of interest included a migratory Redstart showing well above Poverty Bottom, my first Bee-fly and Lesser Bloody-nosed Beetle of the year and many 7-spot and 24-spot Ladybirds. (Steven Teale)

Peacock has been found on 26th March 2011 15:08 at the coordinates: longitude: -0.008394 latitude: 50.871840. In somebody's front garden Lewes, East Sussex. (Dan Danahar)

Had a Brindled Beauty on the 22nd March and a Powdered Quaker on the 25th, both early records and last night, the 26th, a Dotted Chestnut. (Andy Adams)

Friday 25 March 2011

Two firsts-of-the-year for me today: my first Orange-tip and my first sunburn of 2011. Spent all day working in Rowland Wood with Jim Barrett and Nigel Kemp. Brimstones, Commas, Peacocks and Orange Underwing were also seen in the wood. Thanks to Jim and Nigel for their help. (Michael Blencowe)

As the weather was so fine I thought I would take the opportunity to walk an "early" transect at Rowland Wood. Strolling through the wood in the warm spring sunshine was extremely pleasant, made all the more so knowing that Michael, Jim and Nigel were all hard at work elsewhere on the reserve, carrying on the fantastic management work of the winter. I was rewarded for my lack of effort with 16 butterflies; 6 Brimstones (including my first female of the year), 1 Red Admiral, 6 Peacocks and 3 Commas. I also had fleeting glimpses of two Orange Underwing moths. (photos above) (Bob Foreman)

Jim Barrett sends news of a Light Orange Underwing found by Dave Monk in Brede High Woods. More information on the find and pictures can be seen on the Rother Guardians blog at: http://rotherguardians.blogspot.com/.

Quick walk over Mill Hill with the dogs this afternoon after meeting Neil on his way off the hill, we spotted 5 x Peacocks and our first Small Tortoiseshell. (Alec Trusler)

Peacock has been found on 25th March 2011 10:13 at the coordinates: longitude: -0.141942 latitude: 50.850132. Butterfly haven. (Dan Danahar)

I saw my first newly emerged Orange-tip butterfly today near the Darwell Reservoir! (Katie Walker)

I remembered my camera today. Not only are the Small Tortoiseshell and Comma in evidence on Hastings East Hill/Barley lane (3 Commas and 13 Small Tortoiseshell), but the magpie bushes are also budding well. (Peter George)

Thursday 24 March 2011

Small Tortoiseshell has been found on 24th March 2011 14:47 at the coordinates: longitude: -0.141219 latitude: 50.849981. The butterfly haven. The anguish is over. (Dan Danahar)

Today brought my first sightings for the year with an impromptu walk (i.e. no camera!) around Hastings on the western edge of Hastings Nature Reserve (parallel to Barley Lane) and included: 5 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacocks, 1 Comma. (Peter George, Hastings)

We've been putting the Woods Mill moth trap out every Wednesday evening since February, but this week it went out on both Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Here is what we caught:
Tuesday - Twin-spotted Quaker x 1, Common Quaker x 25, Small Quaker x 60, Hebrew Character x 15, Lead-coloured Drab x 1, Oak Beauty x 2, March Moth x 1.
Wednesday - Twin-spotted Quaker x 2, Common Quaker x 31, Small Quaker x 93, Hebrew Character x 12, March Moth x 4, Twenty-plume Moth x 1, Satellite x1, Small Brindled Beauty x 1 and Clouded Drab x 3... and a Smooth Newt (he was near the trap but not in it!)

(Graeme Lyons, Alice Parfitt and Penny Green)

4 Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock seen along a sunny field margin on the southern edge of Brocks Wood near Plumpton College, TQ348142. (Paul Fleming, Simon Rayburn & Bob Foreman)

Stanstead Forest: beautiful day hardly any wind (but watch out for dogs if you know what I mean) we saw Brimstones 9 Comma 6 Peacocks 5 (photos above). (Pat and Peter Gardner)

More moths at my outside lights in Edburton over the last two nights including Mottled Grey, Early Thorn, 2 Engraileds, 2 March Moths, 2 Shoulder Stripes and a Hebrew Character. Today on Edburton Hill, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma. (Tony Wilson)

At Sussex Wildlife Trust HQ at Woods Mills this afternoon, we saw at least 4 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies in the warm spring sunshine. 2 of them were flying up together sparring and, at one stage, there were 3 perched together in the grass before flying up sparring again.
On Saturday 19th March there was at least 1 male Brimstone at RSPB Pulborough Brooks. (Chris & John Hamilton, Horsham)

I spotted a Brimstone at Broadbridge Heath today from my car - easy isn't it. This is after spending Saturday searching the banks of the Arun at Hardham, Pulborough, and my butterfly heaven at Itchingfield and drawing a blank on both! (John Coxon)

Another glorious day, saw may first 2011 Orange Tip along with 1 Small White, 1 Comma, 1 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell in Kingston near Lewes (TQ3915 0862) also a Comma near Houndean Bottom (TQ397097). (Crispin Holloway)

And now for something completely different...

Don't want to frighten the viewers but this was amazing. Earlier in the week I spotted a grass snake and today in the sunshine returned to see if I could get a pic. To my amazement saw 12 plus Grass snakes in a writhing mass on a steep bank of a drainage ditch. (not all are in shot) I watched them for some 20 mins. Now apparently the males emerge before the females, however this recent warm weather seems to have accelerated things. So I can only assume that these are males competing for females all on mass. I have looked on the web and there is no mention of this behaviour. In addition one of the males who was about to swim across to me was actually blue in colour. Unfortunately one of them spotted me and a lot of them disappeared into the grass. This was extraordinary behaviour to witness. Incidentally also saw about 10 Small Tortoiseshells, 4 Peacocks and 3 Commas, but for me the snakes have it today. (Richard Roebuck)

Richerd added a brief postscript...I think its a bit to early for mating? I have just had a thought, It's possible they could be emerging from a group hibernation as I saw one or two go back into a hole in the bank. Garter snakes in America hibernate together in large numbers. This still could be a unique event to witness.

News for Wednesday 23 March: My father Roy Symonds reports to me that today at Stansted Forest (SU736107) the temperature was 17°C where he saw the following sightings, having walked most of the main paths: Brimstone (15), Comma (8), Peacock (4) and Red Admiral (1). (Richard Symonds)

More news for Wednesday 23 March: On Wednesday we started a circular walk at the more westerly part of Pyecombe and immediately saw our first Orange Tip of the year fluttering through the gardens. Sadly it was the only butterfly we saw on the whole walk! (John Heys)

Wednesday 23 March 2011

I have still not seen a single butterfly this year and I'm getting mightily frustrated but when I do what will it be? (Dan Danahar)

Dan, I suggest you avert your eyes from what follows, it's only going to upset you... (ed)

Three days hunting finally paid off when I found my first Orange Tip of the year in Broadbridge Heath this morning. Also two Small Tortoiseshell, three Brimstone, two Peacocks and a Comma. In Warnham by Tillets Field there was a Comma and a Brimstone. (Susie Milbank)

1 x Red Admiral on Grand Avenue Worthing 2.15 pm today. (Mark Senior)

Brimstone seen from car while following Steyning bypass. Two Small Tortoiseshells at Pulborough Brooks nature reserve. (Sherie New)

Sightings at West Dean Woods - SU843153. A walk in the beautiful weather today produced the following sightings: Brimstone (above), 21 all males, Peacock, 3, Comma, 1 (Roger Pendell)

A fabulous spring afternoon brought out lots of butterflies on the outskirts of Storrington. By the edge of my local copse there were 8+ Peacock, 6+ Comma, 3 Small Tortoiseshell and 3 Brimstone (photos above). (Martin Kalaher)

A 15 minute walk in the warm sunshine produced 1 Holly Blue, 1 Peacock, 2 Comma, several male Brimstones along with an Orange Underwing moth. (Robin Edwards)

The warmest day in Lewes since 11th October (18.8°C). Along the river banks of the Ouse 5 Small Tortoiseshell (TQ414107, TQ417106 & TQ420100), Peacock (TQ420100), >6 Chiff-chaff, Blackcaps, Buzzard soaring, Cormorant... Then at home the first Small White I have seen this season (TQ411101). (Crispin Holloway)

I've just finished counting... Having been abandoned by my usual 'mothing partner' Pete, I unpacked last night's moth trap to a soundtrack of skylarks singing. Plenty of moths - although only 11 species: Twin-spotted Quaker, Early Grey, Clouded Drab, Oak Beauty, Hebrew Character, Blossom Underwing, Satellite, Dotted Chestnut, Pine Beauty, Common Quaker and Small Quaker. I was most upset to receive a text message from Pete saying he was watching lesser spotted woodpecker on our heathland trail whilst I was on number 150 of 173 Small Quakers! Only our 3rd record of Dotted Chestnut on the reserve. (Anna Allum, RSPB Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve)

A walk along The Comp, Greenway, Frog Firle and High and Over this morning resulted in 17 butterflies being seen with 2 Brimstone, 6 Peacock, 5 Comma and 4 Small Tortoiseshell. In the afternoon Matt and I went and hit a few white balls up Seaford Head Golf Course where at least 3 of each Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell were seen. I was going to look for the Tortoiseshells between Littlington and Alfriston but the wind was blowing straight along the river so changed plans, however the Tortoiseshell seem to have had a very good start to the year (photos above). (Bob Eade)

Two Peacocks were seen today at Mountfield Road, Lewes (TQ416097) and in South Heighton, Newhaven (TQ448024). Further to this, I ran a 125W MV Skinner trap in the garden at home last night and had Agonopterix heracliana, Emmelina monodactyla, Small Quaker (2), Common Quaker (6), Twin-spotted Quaker, and Early Grey (7). The total of 16 moths of six species is my second best return for any date in March (19 moths of nine species on 14/03/2008 being the best). These are modest totals, so nothing to get too excited about, but I am hopeful that it's a positive indication for the coming season. Butterfly-wise, this March (four species, 18 individuals) is already better than two of the previous three years, with only 2009 bettering it (five species, 50 individuals). So who knows, we might be in for a good season! (Steven Teale)

A Red Admiral passed through our East Dean garden (TV562984) this morning. Also, regular male Brimstone sightings in the village for the past couple of days. (Cas & David Jode)

On a 10 minute stroll from the Natural England office to Tesco in Lewes today we saw 7 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Peacock (Michael Blencowe, Paul Vincent, Neil Irvine & Roger Matthews)

News for Monday 21: Two Brimstones seen from car while following the Steyning bypass. First butterflies of this year for me.
...and Tuesday 22 March: Two Brimstones seen from car while following Steyning bypass, possible Small White near Chichester, Comma and Peacock at North Wall (Pagham) 2 Peacocks near Marsh Farm (Pagham). A possible Comma near Bramber farm (Pagham) - conclusive identification interrupted by flight from angry Pitbull Terriers (flight = mine, not that of the butterfly!). (Sherie New)

Tuesday 22 March 2011

A Small White was seen in Durrington today along with a Peacock. At home in Edburton there were 3 Shoulder Stripes after a rather lean spell on the moth front (Tony Wilson)

12 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Peacock at various points around the 6 miles of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Also I was told by Sam Smith the assistant warden of the reserve that he had seen a Speckled Wood in Rye Harbour Village. (Janet Richardson)

Single Brimstones seen in gardens on Eldred Avenue & Redhill Drive in Brighton. TQ 297 079 TQ 291 080 (Caroline Clarke)

A Peacock passed through our East Dean garden (TV562984) around Noon today. (Cas & David Jode)

For some months now I have been carefully stepping around a Peacock that had decided to hibernate on the stairs up to my attic bedroom (third step from the top). This afternoon I went up there to find the Peacock fluttering against the window, so I opened the window and the peacock decided to just sun itself on the windowledge. This evening it has gone. Good luck to it! (Helen Crabtree)

My first sighting of a butterfly this year, a Small Tortoiseshell hovering around Seaford allotments. Looked in egg-laying mode. (Bob Brown)

Another sunny day here in Shoreham, in our garden in Mill Hill we saw 1x Brimstone 1x Comma 1x Red Admiral and lot of ladybirds, then we did an afternoon walk with the dogs across Mill Hill nature reserve and spotted 2x Comma 1 x Brimstone and my first Peacock butterfly of the year. (Alec Trusler)

Saw my first 2011 butterfly this morning, a Peacock in Lewes TQ41145 10187. This was then followed by at least one Comma and a Peacock in Kingston TQ39152 08629. The first Cowslips are in bloom along with the Violets and Primroses and basking Lizards (http://twitpic.com/4c8pvh). (Crispin Holloway)

News for Monday 21 March: My father Roy Symonds reports rom Stansted Forest (SU736107) the following sightings from walking several trails within the forest: Brimstone (17 males), Peacock (3), Comma (3) and Red Admiral (1). The temperature was 12°C. (Richard Symonds)

More news for Monday 21 March: Small Tortoiseshell in my Brighton garden. (Caroline Clarke)

And a little more... 1 Male Brimstone at Frog Firle. (Janet Richardson)

Monday 21 March 2011

A male Brimstone in East Dean this morning. (TV559981). (Cas & David Jode)

My first report of the year, spring like weather at last, today I played golf at Worthing golf club lower course, on the way around we spotted eleven Brimstone butterflies flying around and enjoying the sunshine. (Alec Trusler)

Saw a Comma, and a Small Tortoiseshell chasing a Peacock, on Whitehawk Hill, east Brighton. (TQ328044) - off the mark at last. (Nigel Bowie)

This is a bit of a Déjà vu from last year when I became aware that Small Tortoiseshells had declined due to a parasitic fly. however in Henfield we are made of tougher stuff and my local colony are getting on with things and already a bit of courting is going on. Males are cruising over the bracken looking for females. Other than that they are soaking up the rays and why not? But I spotted the first amorous couple with a lot of quivering and antennae tapping coming from the attendant male (above). Great stuff. (Richard Roebuck)

What a delight today was, beautiful weather and my first Brimstone sighting of the year. The male Brimstone floated by my sitting room window and lifted my spirits with its graceful flight. Spring has definitely sprung. (Grid reference TQ32639 24809 for the records) (Barbara Woods)

Seen today from the car 1 Brimstone @ TQ292157, Hurstpierpoint... (I didn't hit it!) (Jon Wood)

News for Sunday 20 March: My daughter Anya spotted a Holly Blue fluttering around the Ivy by our local recreation ground in Arundel yesterday morning. Anyone else spied one yet we would like to know? (Josse Davis)

Sunday 20 March 2011

Despite the sunshine and the rugby over 50 BC Sussex members gathered in Goring for our annual Spring Social. The first talk of the afternoon was by Sussex Wildlife Trust ecologist and Moth Group chairman Graeme Lyons - who gave us an entertaining history of the moths in his life, from childhood moth-trapping to hawkmoth tattoos and culminating in his more recent work with the SWT. During the tea break the sale of Steve Berry's marmalade raised money for the Branch and the raffle netted a fantastic £113. And with prizes such as an Alan Titchmarsh bookmark and a massive sack of peanuts (carrying the warning 'may contain nuts'!) on offer, who could resist? After a break for teas and chat Neil Hulme presented Robin Crane with the 2010 'Colin Pratt Silver Trophy' (and Colin's generous award of a cheque for £100). Many of you will know Robin from his work chairing the successful South Downs Campaign (leading to National Park status). However, Colin's award was in recognition of Robin's 20 year study of the Silver-studded Blue populations on Iping and Stedham Commons. The results of this study will be published in our upcoming 2010 Sussex Butterfly Report. Robin explained how he had been instrumental in BC's acquisition of Park Corner Heath, so we have much to thank him for! Neil Hulme then took the stage for an informative talk on 'The Secret Life of the Purple Emperor'. With some great photographs and Neil's in-depth knowledge of this species, the talk gave us all an intimate insight into the life of 'His Imperial Majesty'. Michael Blencowe then updated us on the progress of the Sussex Butterfly Atlas. Richard Roebuck was awarded a Brown Hairstreak Easter Egg for his contribution to the Brown Hairstreak atlas survey (eggs will also be awarded to Martin Kalaher and Vince Massimo for their long hours at the Blackthorn-face). Then Michael announced the winner of the 2010 'Meadow Brown Battleships' competition - a contest which he devised, promoted and also, rather suspiciously, won. Thanks to all who attended and contributed to such an enjoyable afternoon.

It's been a long, cold, lonely winter but the sun was shining on Friston Forest today - it seems like years since it's been here. Took a stroll along Camberwell Alley in Friston forest - it wasn't as warm as it looked! Nevertheless I was rewarded with my first butterfly of the year - a Red Admiral. Later on, while rummaging through the leaf litter, I was re-acquainted with some old friends. The Scarlet Tigers have made it through another Sussex winter and were basking on the dead leaves. (above) (Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers)

Sunday was hazy sunshine with temperatures just creeping above 10 degrees C with a definite chilly wind. Undeterred I did a local walk around Henfield and found nothing on the wing, However I was surprised to see a grass snake by a drainage ditch which was fairly active, it spotted me and headed into some reeds. But no butterflies to be seen. After a lot of searching eventually spotted two Small Tortoiseshells by a south facing hedge. I then headed straight back to an area opposite I had visited all week. To my suprise found another five Small Tortoiseshells which must have emerged from hibernation either today or maybe during the BC meeting. They briefly flew, but they also made a deliberate attempt to get tucked in deep into dead bracken, which had been flattened by the winters snow, possibly avoiding the chill of the wind. Not sure if this desciption is true, but I found this "Colony" last year so as temperatures warm up it will be interesting to see how high the numbers will reach compared with last year. And lastly an early Bee fly doing a fairly good impression of a Toilet brush (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

News for Saturday 19 March: My father, Roy Symonds reports seeing two Commas at Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU823100) where the temperature was 11°C. (Richard Symonds)

Some more news for Saturday 19 March: I saw Small Tortoiseshell (4) and Peacock (2) on the Downs between Mount Pleasant (Newhaven) and Rookery Hill (Bishopstone). A further 2 Small Tortoiseshell and a single Peacock on Sunday made it a good weekend for butterfly numbers. The sunshine also brought out the Ladybirds: I counted 88 during the past two days which consisted of four species: 2-spot, 7-spot (67), 24-spot (19) and a single Harlequin (form spectabilis). A single Green Shieldbug (Palomina prasina) made it a satisfying weekend overall. (Steven Teale)

News for Tuesday 15 March: Brimstone and a pristine Comma in the woods surrounding the Woodland Enterprise Centre at Flimwell, where I work. (Kerry Baldwin)

Saturday 19 March 2011

Along The Comp a very smart Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock. By the time I was nearly home the sun had warmed up and 2 Commas and a Brimstone were seen. (Bob Eade)

Late morning in Inholmes Wood (SU8012) in the west of the county I saw 8 Brimstone (all male), 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Peacock and 1 Comma. Bizarrely, I saw not one more butterfly notwithstanding I spent the rest of the daylight hours walking some distance in sometimes-similar habitat. (Martin Hampton)

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Michael Blencowe spotted trying to raise funds for BC by selling the duckhouse to an MP!! (Bob Eade)

News for Tuesday 15 March: At last my first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoishell which went whizzing briefly over my allotment on Whitehawk Hill Road in Brighton, TQ329046 (Tessa Pawsey)

More news for Tuesday 15 March: One pristine Male Brimstone and a Comma seen at Broadfield Pond, Crawley over lunchtime on 15th March.

Seen Tuesday three Brimstones. 1 @ TQ41741588 Barcombe. 1 @ TQ40471498. Barcombe. 1 @ TQ36181649. Plumpton. (Jon Wood)

Tuesday 15 March 2011

This year the Silver Trophy Cup, together with a cheque for £100, has been awarded to Robin Crane for his field research into the Silver-studded Blue on Iping Common.

The results of an intimate 21 year-long survey of the Silver-studded Blue and its ideal habitat requirements on the Iping Common complex now constitute a peerlessly well-informed basis for the future habitat management of this species in Sussex.

At last the first butterflies of the year at Steyning Rifle Range, three lovely male Brimstone (above left) & a lone Peacock on a beautiful warm morning. (Pete Varkala)

This Comma (above right) was seen on the border path between Sussex and Hampshire at Emsworth. (Peter Gardner)

3 male Brimstone, one Comma Butcherland fields at Ebernoe. (Margaret Hibbard)

In my garden at Kingston near Lewes this afternoon a male Brimstone. My first butterfly sighting this year. Warm and mainly sunny. (John Holloway)

Brimstone at Houndean Bottom, Lewes. and... At the same location on 22 October a Speckled Wood (Michael's original e-mail got somewhat sidetracked along the way, ed) (Michael Hawkins)

On lovely warm day where temperatures exceeded 15 degrees Celsius I saw 8 Male Brimstones whilst driving, 4 at Upper Beeding, one at Shermanbury one at Woodmancote, two at Henfield. On another note found a colony of Early Mining bees in Henfield burrowing in a sandy bank which was quite fascinating as they dug their burrows. There were twp completely different bees so not sure on the i.d. (above) Also saw my first garden ants of the year near Mill Hill, it was like a July swarm with loads of workers close to an entrance hole, perhaps they were just please to be out. This incidentally is about 3 weeks earlier than last year. Fantastic. (Richard Roebuck)

Sunday 13 March 2011

At a BC Branch Liaison Meeting in London yesterday, our Chief Executive Dr Martin Warren asked me to convey his thanks to all our members (including those from outside Sussex) who have done so much good work in getting our new Rowland Wood reserve in shape over the winter. (Neil Hulme)

The wet weather that for forecast for Sunday had me worrying that no-one would turn up for the last Rowland Wood work party of the year - but I shouldn't have doubted the dedicated Sussex BC volunteers. The rainclouds seemed to avoid our reserve today and over 20 volunteers turned up to help us clear brash from the ride that I like to call 'Deadwood Gulch'. Alan Dengate soon had a great fire going and using my tried and tested 'human chain' method we soon were making fast progress. In fact before I knew it the piles of brash which I thought would take all day to burn were gone. Nigel Kemp got to work starting another bonfire on the south side of the pond to burn some more piles of conifer brash. Meanwhile Jim Barrett constructed a rather fine woven fence alongside the boggy area. Dave Mitchell had bought some straps - and we harnessed the power of some strapping BC members to move some logs. Alan's fire had now reached a temperature akin to the core of the Fukushima nuclear plant and I lowered my patented potato-cage into the ashes. An hour later I rewarded the team with what were widely acknowledged as my 'best baked potatoes yet'. It's taken me all season to perfect them! Sadly it was the last work party of the year today - we have achieved an amazing amount of work over the past few months. If you visit our reserve in the spring / summer I think you'll be blown away by how it looks. A big thankyou to all who attended today; Andrew Burns, John Luck, Carol Kemp, Roger Carter, Geoff Stevens, Tessa Pawsey, Dave Harris, Peter Atkinson, Peter Coyston, Colin Brinkhurst, Colin Knight, Mike Mullis, Marie Buss, Sherie New, Dave Mitchell, Alan Dengate, Jim Barrett, Clare Jeffers, Nigel Kemp, Keith Alexander, Roy Wells, Steve Wheatley (with Noah and Finn) - and thankyou again to everyone who has joined us on the reserve over the winter. (Michael Blencowe)

Saturday 12 March 2011

At last! My first butterfly of the year, a male Brimstone passing through our garden in Lindfield this morning. (Bob Foreman)

Male & female Brimstone this morning just east of The Burgh on the Downs (Andrew House)

Friday 11 March 2011

With an unexpected extra day off today I once again headed for Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood hoping for a Brimstone. However no butterflies were seen, but in Rowland Wood 2 Orange Underwing (above, left) were seen. One Adder was basking again on PCH. With some cloud build up I moved onto Abbotts Wood where the sun came out again. Once again no Brimstones seen but a nice Comma put in an appearance (above, right). (Bob Eade)

I saw a Peacock in the sunshine today while riding my horse along Swanborough Drove near Lewes (TQ398075). (Amanda Teale)

In the sunshine in my Eastbourne garden this morning my first butterfly of the year - a beautiful male Brimstone. (Sue East)

My father, Roy Symonds reports observing 4 male Brimstones flying at Stansted Forest (SU736107) this morning, where the temperature was 11°C. (Richard Symonds)

A male Brimstone passed quickly through our East Dean garden (TV562984) around Noon today. (Cas & David Jode)

Thursday 10 March 2011

News for Thursday 3 March 2011: Last Thursday I joined another group of Murray Downland Trust and BC Sussex volunteers at Heyshott Escarpment, to continue improving the habitat for Duke of Burgundy. John & Trisha Murray, Naomi Barnett, Mike Snelling, Roger Martin, Mike Hadley, Martin Kalaher and Colin Knight (who took the left hand photograph, above) set to work with saws, loppers, brush-cutters and rakes to prepare two areas, including the pit shown below. Leaving just a thin shelter-belt of trees around the crest, the steep bank was cleared of vegetation to further increase the number of suitable egg-laying sites for 'the Duke'. Thanks to all that worked so hard on this increasingly exciting project. (Neil Hulme)

Wednesday 9 March 2011

On Greenway Bank, which was protected from the cold breeze a Small Tortoiseshell (above) and a Peacock was seen. (Bob Eade).

Although today was not as bright as Monday and Tuesday it was good to see a Red Admiral fluttering around a rhododendron bush at Wakehurst Place. (Stuart Ridley)

News for Tuesday 8 March: A pair of courting Small Tortoiseshells in the garden, Newhaven, at 3.00pm. Quite active despite the distinct nip in the air. (David Harris)

Tuesday 8 March 2011

My first butterfly of the year - a Red Admiral in my Brighton garden. (Caroline Clarke)

Have been chuffed to see my first butterfly of the year: a Brimstone in Broadoak Park, Bexhill, at TQ720084. First one for the spreadsheet! (Anne Carey)

My father, Roy Symonds reports observing a single Red Admiral flying near the entrance to Stansted Forest (SU736107). (Richard Symonds)

With the sun actually shining on a day off I spent a few enjoyable hours at Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood. Several Siskin seen in Rowland Wood. 2 Adders on the Heath. Had just about given up on seeing any butterflies when a Comma was suddenly flying in front of me just outside the hut on PCH. Then another Comma was seen in Rowland Wood. I then went back to look for the original Comma when a Peacock appeared very briefly. (Bob Eade)

Our first sighting of the year was in our East Dean garden (TV562984) A very brief appearance by a Small Tortoiseshell in the early afternoon sunshine. (Cas & David Jode)

Monday 7 March 2011

Today, at last, some warm sunshine. Saw one Peacock zooming through the garden and later found three Commas (below, left) in a warm sheltered area. They were very active and not in too bad condition. Two of which entered into a courtship flight flying straight up and out of sight.
On Saturday found a bucket load of freshly laid frogspawn in woods off Spithandle Lane. This is ten days earlier than last year, also lots of early spotted orchids in leaf. Incidentally despite the relatively cold weather my previous Bumble Bee sighting was a month earlier and first hawthorn leaves were a week earlier than last year. On the way home found a very large Hob Polecat Ferret that had been run over at Ashurst. I wonder whether it was wild or more likely an escapee, one things for sure it didn't half stink. (Richard Roebuck)

I had a day out to Wakehurst Place and, as well as lots of bees on the Heather beds, I saw two Red Admirals (above, right). One was flying and the other basking and taking nectar from Daphne. (Vince Massimo)

A Comma was seen flying and basking in the glorious sunshine at Tidemills today (TQ458004). (Steven Teale)

My father, Roy Symonds reported today seeing a male Brimstone flying at the North side of Stansted Forest (SU744113). (Richard Symonds)

Just after lunch today 2 Red Admirals, just outside Stone Cross Nurseries, TQ605046 (Michelle Brinkhurst)

Sunday 6 March 2011

Thanks to everyone who helped out at Rowland Wood today. We lit another bonfire to burn all the brash which had resulted from the felling a few weeks ago. The sun was shining but the Brimstones I had promised were still laying low - however I remained true to my word regarding the baked potatoes and everyone was awarded a spud for their efforts. My latest potato baking invention was a metal cage which could be lowered into the fire. It seemed to cook the potatoes well - especially if you want a bit of extra carbon in your diet. Another successful idea was my brash-burning production line which helped us clear some areas of the ride very efficiently (I must admit I stole this idea off of Henry Ford). At the end of the work party the ride looked great - just one more work party to go! - if you have a few hours you can spare next Sunday we'd appreciate your help. Thanks to today's attendees: Hannah Rosalie, Jim Barrett, Susan Suleski, Neil Irvine, Marie Buss, Dave Mitchell, Andrew Burns, Peter Atkinson, Peter Coyston, Roger Carter, Graham Parris, Carole Mortimer, Bob Foreman, Vince Massimo, Keith Alexander and Nigel Kemp. (Michael Blencowe)

Thursday 3 March 2011

At 3.00pm this afternoon when it was quite sunny, I had just finished the first mowing of my lawn this year when I saw a Small Tortoiseshell flying near the hedge in my front garden in Eastbourne - a lovely sight and hopefully just the first of many butterfly sightings to come. (John East)

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Thanks to Colin Brinkhurst for joining me in Rowland Wood today for a hastily arranged work party. Between us we cleared the brash that was left over from the work party at the weekend. Colin was rewarded for his efforts with my most successful baked potato so far (served with mackerel and Mexican bean salad). The sun was shining today but that cold wind kept the Brimstones undercovers. The first Adder of the season has emerged though (Michael Blencowe)

Tuesday 1 March 2011

News for Sunday 27 February: We went for a walk in the Ditchling area on Sunday. At a sunny sheltered spot on a footpath in the village my wife Val spotted our first butterfly of the year - slightly to our surprise it was a Comma in pretty good condition. (John Heys)

Earlier Sightings

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