Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Sunday 30 June 2013

2 Marbled Whites at High and Over as well as plenty of Small Tortoiseshell and Large Skipper. (Bob and Matt Eade)

At Sussex Prairie Garden, Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road, near Henfield, West Sussex, BN5 9AT. I saw 2 Clouded Yellows and many Painted Ladies ona beautiful sunny afternoon at this garden, which could have been made with butterflies and bees in mind.
I also saw dragonflies prompting me to look for a FSC chart to help me identify them at my next visit. (Frances Parrish)

Visited Park Corner Heath but only saw a Brimstone and a Meadow Brown. Walked back through Rowland Wood and came across my first Ringlet this year, near the large beech tree in the centre of the wood. (Tom Parker)

During a 90-minute visit to Roland Wood this afternoon, between 14.30 & 16.00 hrs., I spotted one very active White Admiral, , two Meadow Browns and three Brimstones. (Douglas Neve)

A walk in the early afternoon sunshine at Park Corner Heath and Rowlands Wood produced the following butterflies: several Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Meadow Browns along with a Small Tortoiseshell, a Large Skipper and a Ringlet. Also found a Painted Lady today in Hailsham Country Park. (Chris Hooker)

On Saturday night conditions looked promising and I put the moth trap on for the first time for a week or so. On Sunday morning there were possibly 60 plus moths and 35 plus species. However I was pleased to get 5 hawk moth spp., a first for me, so I went for a big five pic. Unfortunately the Elephant Hawk departed just before I took the pic c'est le vie. On Sunday late morning had a walk round Cissbury ring and saw the following 2 absolutely stunning newly emerged Dark Green Fritillaries, numerous Meadow Browns, Common Blues, and Small Heath, Brown Argus (5), two male and one female Brimstone, Dingy Skipper 6, Small Blue (6) Red Admiral (1), Large Skipper (15) all pristine, Speckled Wood (2), Small Tortoiseshell (6), and Moths, Six-spot Burnet caterpillars and pupa about 8, Mullein caterpillar 3, Mother Shipton 8, Burnet Companion 4, Cinnabars numerous, Speckled Yellow (1), Common Heath, 8 including two different colour forms, Silver Y. Marvellous day. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Wednesday 26 June: A very late Orange Tip on geranium on the 26th in our Bracklesham garden, the same day that we had a single Painted Lady nectaring on Valerian. (Derek Lee)

And on a slightly different subject: Please, wherever you live in Sussex take a careful look at your local church and let us know if you can see Swifts using either the tower or main building for their nest sites. Sadly this year three pairs have been prevented from breeding in an old Church due to building work just starting. We need to know which churches Swifts are using to ensure we can help prevent this happening in future. Names of churches to: swifts@sos.org.uk


Saturday 29 June 2013

I led my first BC walk yesterday at Stedham and Iping Commons. The weather was perfect, sunny with some cloud. Before the walk started I had found 20 male Silver-studded Blues and a female so I was confident of a successful day. Twelve butterfly enthusiasts enjoyed the sights and sounds of this beautiful terrain. We found several male SSBs by the path on Stedham Common and then arrived at the hot spot where about 20 males and 5 females were seen, including mating pairs. An interesting hairy caterpillar (a Yellow-tail) was found on the bracken. A huge Golden-ringed Dragonfly munched its way through a bee and an SSB was found wrapped up in a spiders web. Other species seen included Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Clouded Buff and Common Heath. Spanish photographer Bego Anton kept us busy and amused posing for her project about butterfly enthusiasts. After lunch we walked on Iping Common and found an enormous Drinker moth caterpillar walking across the path. Total SSBs seen during the walk estimated at 50. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

This morning I visited Heyshott Escarpment with my father, primarily to photograph Greater Butterfly Orchid, of which we found nearly 20. The butterflies were far from great, comprising just a few very tired looking 'June Gap' species. However, the one specimen which did catch my eye was a very smart looking Ringlet; my first of the year. In the afternoon I headed to the BC Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves with Dan Danahar. Although we failed to locate any Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, we did see our first White Admiral of the season. (Neil Hulme)

A highly successful walk on Stedham & Iping commons with almost perfect weather conditions and led very ably by Colin Knight. Butterfly highlights for me were an emerging Silver-studded Blue, several mating pairs and one that had been caught by a spider and was wrapped up in its web. This was found by Michael 'eagle-eye' Blencowe, who also spotted a Golden-ringed Dragonfly that remained perched for a considerable time as it was eating a bee. A couple of Meadow Browns were also seen and were the first of the year for me and several others in the group. Colin was encouraging me to post a few photos from the day, so here goes... they are not up to the very high standards of my revered mentor Mark Colvin but I don't think they're too bad! (Phil Everitt)

Walking through Halland farm adjacent to Park Corner 6 Meadow Brown, 2 Small Heath, 1 Red Admiral, 18 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Painted Lady, 12 Whites, mainly Small, 4 Speckled Wood. (Arthur Greenslade)

I was unable to make Colin's walk today to see the Silver-studded Blues so I decided to head over to Iping Common very early this am to see what was about - I was at Iping Common around 7:45am and soon had my first sighting; in the hour and a half I was there, I counted at least 9/10 individuals, all males. A photo of one individual on some Bell Heather above with more here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48896022@N08/. (Leigh Prevost)


Friday 28 June 2013

Today was pretty dark and dingy, and although these conditions are unhelpful when chasing most species, they are ideal for tracking down and photographing the Silver-studded Blue. This afternoon I walked over a large area of heathland at Iping and Stedham Commons, seeing about 40 in the process, including 5 females. I also spotted a fresh and very pretty Beautiful Yellow Underwing moth. (Neil Hulme)

Yesterday a Red Admiral flew around some nettles in the Dorothy Stringer woodland Reserve and a telephone conversation with Pete Varkala informed me that he had seen a Clouded Yellow at Stenning Rifle Range, also yesterday. (Dan Danahar)

Thursday was warm and sunny and visitors to the garden were a pristine Red Admiral, two Small Tortoiseshells, a Green-veined White and a Meadow Brown. One of the Small Tortoiseshells caught my eye as being lighter and more yellow than normal especially along the wing borders. The underside was also fairly light especially the cream band on the hind wing. A stunning butterfly. (Richard Roebuck)


Thursday 27 June 2013

On my Mill Hill transect today I saw my first Clouded Yellow of the year plus 38 Adonis Blue (down from over 100 the past 2 weeks), 22 Small Heath, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small White. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

News for Wednesday 26 June 2013: I spent much of the day walking on the beautiful Downs at and around Chantry Hill near Storrington. I saw quite a few butterflies, although many of these were spring species which have persisted far longer into the season than normal, with the entire butterfly calendar still running 2-3 weeks later than last year. As a consequence many of these were faded and well past their best, including Dingy (21) and Grizzled Skipper (5), Green Hairstreak (1), and even a Duke of Burgundy! Later spring species included Common Blue (22), Brown Argus; pictured (18) and Small Heath (11). My own definition of the start of summer was fulfilled with my first sightings of Meadow Brown (4). These were accompanied by equally fresh Large Skipper (14), and a range of other species including Brimstone (3), Large White (2), Speckled Wood (3), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Red Admiral (1) and Small Copper (2). Most of the 4 Painted Lady I saw were heading north in a determined manner, continuing the modest but steady migration that has been going on since mid June. Perhaps most gratifying was the discovery of Small Blue (3) in a coombe at Chantry Hill, these being new arrivals and almost certainly the result of habitat management work performed by the SDNPA as part of the Nature Improvement Area project. (Neil Hulme)

More news for Wednesday 26 June: My father, Roy Symonds reports from Iping Common (SU848219) on 26th June, the following sightings. Silver-studded Blue (13). The temperature was 19C, Silver Studded Blues are beginning to emerge, all males no females seen. (Richard Symonds)


Wednesday 26 June 2013

Tetrad TQ5602 (Wannock-Folkington): 4 Meadow Brown (my first of the year), 4 Large White, 4 Small Heath, 2 Small White, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Common Blue and 1 Clouded Yellow. Recent work by the water company has opened up access to some mature elms near Folkington and I plan to check them regularly for White-letter Hairstreak but thought it worth alerting anyone else who might walk in that area. (Susan Suleski)

Today I went for an early walk at Pulborough Brooks and saw a Red Admiral and a Large Skipper. (Katrina Watson)

A visit to Iping Common by fellow B.C. member, Trevor Rapley, and myself was made this afternoon in the hope of seeing the Silver-studded Blue. This was our first visit to Iping and we were not sure where to start looking. After about twenty minutes of random searching we saw our first Silver-studded about 400 metres west of the car-park on the lower part of the common. Further sightings were made and we saw in excess of 30 SSB's, including a single female, during the three and half hours we were on the common. All insects were in perfect condition. The air-temperature was about 20 degress C., the sky was overcast for most of the afternoon and the wind was light. No other species of butterflies were observed. (Douglas Neve)

High and Over, Frog Firle and Cradle Hill: 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Speckled Wood, 6 Small Heath, 2 Green-veined White, 1 Painted Lady, 2 Large Skipper 2 Adonis Blue. (Arthur Greenwood)

News for Tuesday 25 June: I disturbed this Large Yellow Underwing in my garden near Pulborough (TQ0618) today when I brushed against a tree while cutting grass. It landed on the ground and then climbed on to a plant enabling me to photograph its underneath wings. (Chris Page)


Tuesday 25 June 2013

We went to the Birling Gap & Belle Tout area but it wasn't quite as sunny as the weather forecast had predicted. Absolutely no sign of any Dark Green Fritillaries. Common Blues were plentiful and Small Heaths pretty common too. There were a few distant whites, three glimpses of fresh Large Skippers, one Speckled Wood, one Red Admiral, one faded Small Copper and one Wall. It was heartening to see three Small Tortoiseshells. Two were in good condition, but one was a bit strange  as thin as tissue paper with no blue colour round the edges. Maybe it was just very old, but in case it's some sort of variant, a couple of not very good pictures are attached. Nearby, we found 18 bee orchids. We went on from there to the Paradise Drive area of Eastbourne, but only saw a couple of Common Blues and had to cheer ourselves up with the orchids  hundreds of common spotted and twayblades plus 20 frog orchids and a rather attractive frog/common spotted hybrid which I can't resist attaching. (John and Val Heys)

Seen today at Lancing Rings NR:
Speckled Woods x 14
Small Tortoiseshell x 4 all very fresh
Holly Blue x 4
Common Blue x 3
Wall Brown x 2 very worn
Small White x 2
Brimstone x 1 male
Small Blue x 1 female
Meadow Brown x 1
Silver Y moth x 2
Overall numbers rather disappointing , the meadows here are in very great need of management by grazing or cutting as wildflowers are being crowded out by grasses and bramble. A nice chat with Mike Tucker a birder from Surrey helped to pass the time. (Mark Senior)

News for Monday 24 June: A solitary Large White on enjoying the brief sunshine and the flowers in the rockery of my garden near Pulborough (TQ0618). (Chris Page)

News for Wednesday 19 June: I thought that you might be interested in my sighting of a Swallowtail butterfly (presumably blown over from the continent) in my garden in the extreme west of the county (SU7976411124) about 11 am on 19th June. No photos unfortunately as it was a brief (but very definite) sighting of a fast flying individual which did not stop. (Robert Eadie)


Sunday 23 June 2013

Several Clouded Yellow butterflies seen in quick succession at RSPB Broadwater Warren, near Groombridge today. Seen by our Warden, Tom Pinches, and by Ian Beavis of Tunbridge Wells Museum. (Steve Wheatley)

Newly emerged Small Tortoiseshell seen this afternoon. Also recently several Silver Y moths seen moving north through our garden, I suspect they were part of the small Clouded Yellow/Painted Lady etc. migration. (Graham Parris, Isfield)

An orange butterfly was buffeted by the breeze, blown 20 metres one way and then the other so much I just got a single close enough glimpse and it looked as though the only species it could be was an immigrant Painted Lady. This butterfly seen over the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath (just north north of the A27 Flyover) Old Shoreham, was the first one I have seen for several years. (Andy Horton, www.glaucus.org.uk/June2013.html)

News for Saturday 22 June: Six enthusiasts joined me in a search for the Silver-studded Blue on Lynchmere, Stanley and Marley Commons, just south of Haslemere. The species has not been recorded on Lynchmere or Stanley Commons for many years, although a female butterfly was photographed at Marley in 2012 by WSCC ecologist Ben Rainbow. Both the Lynchmere Society and National Trust are doing some excellent heathland restoration work, which will hopefully encourage the spread of this species. Following habitat management work, Silver-studded Blue numbers are now very good at Chapel Common, approximately 6 Km to the southwest. Unfortunately we failed to find the butterfly, although this might be due to the fact that the season is still running several weeks late! SSB has only just started to emerge on the strong colonies at lower altitude (e.g. Iping and Stedham), so it might be another week before any appear here... assuming they are present. An ideal opportunity for someone to do a bit of reconnaissance work and cover themselves in glory. Undeterred by the now miserable weather conditions, most of us headed to Iping and Stedham Commons. A total of 6 Silver-studded Blue were located, including a nice female. Bearing in mind that this species can be found irrespective of the weather, Colin Knight's field outing here on Saturday 29th June (see our Events Page) should be well worth attending, come rain or sunshine. Thanks to all who attended, and especially to Judy Rous of the Lynchmere Society, for providing excellent sausages on an industrial scale  several of the party were guilty of over-eating. (Neil Hulme)

More news for Saturday 22 June: A Painted Lady butterfly in garden in Steyning (TQ174105). (Mike Warren)


Friday 21 June 2013

Two Painted Ladies were seen amidst the Common Blues at the Butterfly Haven, Brighton today. (Dan Danahar)

News for Wednesday 19 June: Apologies for a late report of two seperate Clouded Yellows on Wednesday 19th June. The first one was flying across a Flower's Green garden (at a rate of knots) where I was working on Wednesday morning. The second was at my Herstmonceux plot (Wild Flower Barn) just down the road that lunchtime (just before 2pm). Not impossible that they were one and the same butterfly but unlikely as they were almost half a mile apart. Also a late - yet pristine - Grizzled Skipper (male?) nectaring on bramble blossom at Abbots Wood on Wed afternoon. No sign of any (very late) Pearl-bordered Fritillary stragglers around Abbots but I did find this Longhorn moth on Ox-Eye Daisy at my plot (very faded Green Longhorn?). (Mike Mullis)


Thursday 20 June 2013

At High and Over today a very nice female Common Blue. A few Adonis, also there as well as a Thyme Plume moth. (Bob Eade)

An evening walk in a Littlehampton woodland on Tuesday disturbed a roosting Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood which both landed nearby. Yesterday evening I walked round Cissbury Ring and disturbed a pair of Skylarks which then sang beautifully above me. I found 3 Common Blues roosting and saw dozens of Burnet moth pupae on the grass stems, plus a larva about to pupate. A Red Admiral shot past me going west to east and several Speckled Yellows fluttered around. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

News for Wednesday 19 June: Two Painted Lady in my Brighton garden, both looking rather battered - but then so would I be if I'd just flown all the way from the Atlas mountains. They were nectaring on Buddleia alternifolia and one of my favourite plants, Erigeron karvinskianus. The latter looks good, flowers for ages, is football/basketball resistant, self seeds and it attracts butterflies - what more could you want from a garden plant? (Caroline Clarke)

There be elephants in my garden... Bob Foreman (who he? ed.) suggested I turn on my moth trap on the eve of the 19th. Temperatures were very high and the resultant catch the next day was also abundant, with about 50 moths in the trap, which must be some kind of a record for this year. In it were these two beauties, one of seven species of hawkmoth recorded from my garden. (Dan Danahar)


Wednesday 19 June 2013

I am currently standing on Iping common near Midhurst West Sussex. Very quiet regards Silver-studded Blues until suddenly spotted a female fly across the path. She was immediately joined by a male, both pristine, and they were soon mating. (Please see photo on twitter @sophiecowild) fantastic 21st birthday just made perfect!
Just heard first grasshopper singing too, maybe future is looking up for insects after such a slow start! (Sophie May Lewis)

Reported by Bill Taylor from Cissbury Ring Transect today (19 June) - 1 Dark Green Fritillary. (Peter Atkinson)

Mark Colvin saw Silver-studded Blues on Stedham Common yesterday afternoon and kindly notified me. Within the hour I was enjoying the fresh air of the common. Two hours later I spotted one fluttering under fading light at 6:30pm. I saw plenty of moths, including many Common Heaths, Treble-bars and several Clouded Buffs. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

At least six males and a single female Silver-studded Blue seen on West Sussex heathland earlier today. (Mark Colvin)

A Meadow Brown at Arlington Reservoir this afternoon. Meanwhile, Matt was fishing at Tanyards, Danehill where he had a Clouded Yellow fly past. (Bob Eade)

At South Chailey while having my lunch, watched a Clouded Yellow flying across the field towards me, straight over my head and carried on Northwards. Also here 5 Large Skippers, still a few Dingy Skippers, 10 or so Small Heath, 2 Common Blue and my first Meadow Brown of the year. (TQ385170). (Mark Cadey)
(P.S. Ian Cadey has now found his glasses inside his coat pocket)

Fascinated to see two Clouded Yellows flying north at speed through Rowland Wood today. I suspect that this brief spell of warm air coming up from the continent has triggered a small influx. (Bob Foreman)

Today I went for a local walk around the Hollingbury area, I've given accurate grid references as some of the places don't have names, the sites I do know the names of that I visited are Hollingbury Golf course and Hill fort and Hollingbury Industrial estate nature reserve.
In the back garden = 1 Red Admiral and 2 Large Whites.
TQ31680812 = 3 male Common Blues, 1 Small Copper and 1 Red Admiral.
TQ32110819 = 1 Small Heath.
TQ32330787 = 1 Red Admiral, 2 Large Whites and 1 Holly Blue.
TQ32330771 = 1 male Common Blue.
TQ325077 = 1 Large White and 1 Red Admiral.
TQ32410775 = 1 female Common Blue and 3 male Common Blues.
TQ322079 = 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Small Heaths, 1 Small White, 1 large White, and 1 Small Copper.
TQ323085 = 3 male Common Blues, 1 Small Heath, 1 Small White and 2 Large Whites.
TQ322091 = 16 Small Blues, 2 Large Whites and 1 male Common Blue.
TQ319088 = 3 Large Whites and 1 Small White.
During this walk I easily saw 30 Burnet Companions, the weather was sunny and at times partially cloudy. (Jamie Burston)

News for Tuesday 18 June: Whilst walking in the South Downs behind Saltdean I saw what I believed to be a Clouded Yellow go hurtling past me. Having not seen one at all last year, and never having managed to see one 'grounded' I decided to give chase. As there was not much wind and the temperature was dropping it was not long before it landed, presumably to top up on minerals. I managed to get a few record shots at some distance before it was up and off again heading East towards Telscombe. (Tim Wilton)


Tuesday 18 June 2013

I was delighted to see a Clouded Yellow stop twice on meadow buttercups this morning, before heading on north from the High Weald. (TQ332347) Tom Parker Turners Hill)

News for Monday 17 June: While walking through Lewes I was rather amazed to see a large pale orange butterfly whizzing around shoppers in the High Street - my first Painted Lady of the year. It feels like ages since I've seen one. Normally this would have been the highlight of my day but in the evening Bob Eade and I travelled to London to see Neil Young and Crazy Horse which trumped it. (Michael Blencowe)

Recent news: On June 8 Mark Colvin and his daughter Charlotte joined me to run a BC stand at the Adur World Oceans Festival at Shoreham. The splendid weather ensured a great turnout with a Cajun band entertaining everyone outside the marquee. We enjoyed talking to many children and their parents who showed great interest in our display. I was fortunate to find a Large White laying on cabbages outside the nearby Ropetackle Arts Centre. Inspired by Neil's posting I visited Chantry Hill on June 10 and found many Brown Argus and Common Blues. A visit to Stedham and Iping Commons on June 12 failed to find any Silver-studded Blues, but there were plenty of Common Heath. My Mill Hill transect yesterday showed Adonis Blues still prolific, a Holly Blue was ovipositing and my first Painted Lady of the year appeared: Adonis Blue 124, Brimstone 2, Dingy Skipper 2, Holly Blue 1, Green-veined White 3, Large White 5, Painted Lady 1, Red Admiral 1, Small Heath 18, Wall 2. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Monday 17 June 2013

Above is a photograph of the first 2013 Painted Lady in my garden near Pulborough, West Sussex (TQ0618). The first Painted Lady wasn't seen here in 2012 until 19 August. (Chris Page)

News for Friday 14 June: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745115) on 14th June with the temperature 16 C. Small White (4), Green-veined White (2), Large White (1). Disappointing number of sightings, however there was a strong wind which may have account for the lack of Brimstones flying too. (Richard Symonds)


Sunday 16 June 2013

As the temperature rose and the sun came out in the afternoon I headed over to Park Corner Heath and just after I arrived I was joined by Ian and Mark Cadey. We spent some time searching for SPBFs but had no luck; just a male Brimstone and a Red Admiral. Soon after moving in to RW Ian spotted a Large Skipper, a first of the year for each of us, & both Mark and I were able to get shots of it. During our wanderings Ian lost his glasses so if anyone finds them perhaps they could post a note on here which hopefully he might see. (Phil Everitt)

I was visiting Sussex on Sunday and went round the meadow at Kithurst Hill. Saw about 10 Small Blues, 2 Small Heaths and 1 Dingy Skipper. (Clive Gambrill, Norfolk)

Friday 14 June: 114 Adonis Blues (incl 17 females) on my 1.2 acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
Sunday 16 June: An estimated 100+ Small Blues in eight square metres of the A27 cutting at Shoreham.
Other species seen included Small Heath, Holly Blue, Green-veined White, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Dingy Skipper, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Wall Brown. (Andy Horton)

News for Friday 14 June: Just before heading north in search of the Mountain Ringlet, I managed to fit in an afternoon at our Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves, knowing that if I failed to see a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary in the perfect weather conditions, we might have reason to worry. As I walked to the PCH hut, expressing these sentiments to David Bradford, a male SPBF welcomed us. This will come as a great relief to us all, and particularly to those who have done such a marvellous job of managing and volunteering here over the years. We were soon joined by Reserves Manager Bob Foreman, but the butterfly remained elusive during his visit. At 6pm I found a second, freshly emerged SPBF in Rowland Wood. Also seen during my visit were Common Blue (1), Painted Lady (1), Red Admiral (1), Brimstone (2), Green-veined White (1), Small Heath (2) and Cream-spot Tiger (1). (Neil Hulme)


Friday 14 June 2013 contd.

At Friston Gallops today I saw my first Large Skipper of the year. Also I saw an aberrant female Adonis Blue mating. (Gary Norman)

Decided to take an early evening visit to Mill Hill in the hope of finding some roosting butterflies; unfortunately they were still very active at 6PM! Amazed by the number of blues on the wing, lots of Common Blues and Adonis; also good numbers of Small Heath, few Dingy Skippers and some unidentified Whites. Photos here: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/315819/21404289. (Leigh Prevost)

The sun came out on Friday afternoon so I visited Malling Down. Large numbers of Common Blue and Adonis Blue and fair numbers of Brown Argus and Small Copper. All in excellent condition. The late Spring has had no apparent effects and the variety of flowers was spectacular. (Simon Quin)


BC Sussex Branch Committee trip to the Isle of Wight to see the Glanville Fritillary, 9 June 2013

The committee members of the Sussex branch of Butterfly Conservation work quite hard on behalf of the charity and so naturally over the years we have considered giving ourselves a day off. The idea of going to the Isle of Wight, to see the Glanville Fritillary had been frequently suggested but somehow we have never got around to doing it. So this year I decided things would be different, we would go, with family and friends and we would all have a wonderful time!

Ironically, there had been some grumblings amidst the ranks about a 5.50am start, on a Sunday morning but I felt that it was essential if we were to have a full day on the island. However, my heart sank when we were confronted with cold, cloud covered, leadened skies. All the travel arrangements from Brighton to Wheeler's Bay, went as smoothly as was possible but we did not see one break in the clouds. Luckily, we had been given a clear description of where to go and so we knew exactly where to look. Despite this it was hard to feel enthusiastic because on the seafront of Wheelers Bay the wind had now got up and our only hope was to search the vegetation along the coast for any sleeping butterflies.

The habitat was interesting, the cliffs were composed of crumbling chalk but there were lots of wild flowers growing all over them, including: Red Valerian, Ox-eyed Daisies and Kidney Vetch, along with plenty of Ribwort Plantain.

To my great relief it was on a flowerhead of the Plantain that I managed to find our first Glanville Fritillary. It was great to see the awe and wonder on peoples faces, as they took it in turns to take multiple photographs of the resting insect. The camouflage of the butterfly was incredible, something that was hard to believe. I have often been impressed by the camouflage of resting Orange Tips, on Garlic Mustard but the effectiveness of it's camouflage is understandable because of the colour of the Orange Tip's underwings (seemingly green because of the mix of black and yellow scales). In contrast the colouration on the Glanville Fritillary's underwings are hard to understand, with it's salmon-orange, magnolia and black marks, until that is, you see it on a Plantain flower head. Here the magnolia becomes the stamen, the orange being the ends of withered sepals and the black marks the fresh ends of sepals. This just had to be seen to be believed and even the photos we all took did not do this illusion justice because none could recreate the context.

Then the weather broke and some blue sky began to appear. It was about this time that Andy Butler (Hampshire & IOW BC) came to meet us. Richard Roebuck spent a great deal of time talking to Andy and he told Richard that he had been monitoring this population of Glanville Fritillaries for about 20 years. Andy was initially concerned by the large numbers in our group because of the potential for damage through trampling. Andy kindly explained the vulnerability of the species at this location but once he saw that we were listening to his concerns I think he began to realise that we were nothing but entirely sympathetic. What we learn't from Andy was that there really was only limited, ideal habitat for this butterfly at Wheeler's Bay. Most of this was restricted to the low growing Plantains bordering the edges of the food path, where ironically it was trampling that restricted vegetation growth and thus I would imagine allowed temperatures to rise high enough to facilitate larval development. Whilst we spoke to Andy other members of the group located another six butterflies but few were flying and although this made them ideal photographic subjects, I think the rest of the group really wanted to see the butterflies in flight. Whilst at this site we also saw Common Blue, Brown Argus, Green-veined White, Small White, Large White, Brimstone and Dingy Skipper.

We realised that we had been at Wheelers bay for about three hours, when we decided to move on for lunch at a really wonderful pub called the Crown Inn, Walkers Lane, Shorewell, PO30 3JZ. The weather was now improving all of the time and so we ate outside whilst recording Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Holly Blues, to name but a few.

Our final port of call was Compton Bay. We had been warned that the likelihood of seeing anything here was minimal but our enthusiasm had gradually built through the morning and early afternoon and so there was no stopping the group now. Winter weather conditions had led to considerable land slippage at Compton Bay and the strata we found ourselves climbing over, composed of Pleistocene brickearths and gravels as well as Wealden clays and sands, was the consequence of this rapid erosion. We were later to discover that these large expanses were ideal habitat for the Glanville Fritillary.

At first it was hard to see anything but once we attenuated our eyes to the homogeneous terrain we started to see Common Blues, chasing each other in spiraling territorial disputes, where the brow of the cliff met the now deep blue sky. Then we saw what looked like a Glanville, but it wouldn't settle and soon disappeared. We then saw another butterfly of a similar size and similar colouration. What had we seen? The second butterfly had a different flight behaviour and I started to realise that we had previously seen a white border around the outside of the wings of the first butterfly. I was convinced we had seen a Glanville. Then the second butterfly returned and landed in front of us. It was a Wall, not an inconsiderable result. This individual was soon followed by more Walls, along with Common Blues, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Small Coppers, Small Heaths and the occasional Wood Tiger. By now the group had split up and the more able were traversing the difficult slopes. Between us, we; Leigh Prevost, Barbara Woods, Richard Roebuck, Sara Canning, Jamie Burston and myself, eventually found a remarkably good colony of Glanville's, about 20 to 25 butterflies in total. The sun was out and the air temperature was good, most of the areas that they were flying over were fragments of slipped rank grassland. Each and every insect was in pristine condition, many only having recently emerged. It was fabulous to see three Glanvilles chasing each other in a dog fight, at an incredible speed. Just about everywhere we walked we bumped into some more butterflies. Our group was spread over a wide area but each person had their own subjects to photograph in the sward. "Look at this Leigh" I shouted. "No thanks" he responded "I have something interesting here". I looked around, all of us were transfixed in our own little bit of paradise. I didn't bother shouting at Jamie, Richard, Sara or Barbara, they were in the zone.

The rest of the group arranged to meet us back at the minibus whilst the other half walked on to the next car park. This turned out to be another good plan because they discovered that the colony we had been viewing extended further along to well made series of wooden steps, close to the next car park. From here all of us could see the Glanvilles flying and nectaring on Birds-foot Trefoil. It was lovely to spend quality time with everybody and I was so pleased that Peter and Terri Atkinson, as well as Carole and Paul Mortimer, managed to get a good view of these most marvelous of insects. I would estimate that we saw about 30 insects at this location. No wonder that it forms the emblem for the Hants & IOW BC branch.

On our return, as the ferry chugged it's way across the solent, we were bathed in glorious golden, evening sunshine. Bob Foreman picked up his camera and beamed at me, as he proudly showed me his photo of a Glanville, that he had managed to take whilst with his family lower down on the beach at Compton Bay. I thought, it's funny how the little things in life can make us so happy and smiled back at Bob. (Dan Danahar)

Dan Danahar's trip to the Isle Of Wight to see the Glanville Fritillary was a huge success!
He drove 16 of us there and back and all round the island; he also found the first Glanville of the day in cool breezy conditions posing for many photos. The weather improved later and dozens of Glanvilles cavorted around Compton Bay for us, together with plenty of other species; altogether 17 species were seen on the day.
Many thanks to Dan for a memorable day. (Peter Atkinson)

A big thanks to Dan Danahar and Peter Atkinson for organising the Sussex BC outing to the Isle of Wight yesterday; good company, great butterflies and glorious sunshine - I think a good day was had by all! I've posted some pics of the stunning Glanville Fritillary here for anyone interested: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/315819/20919515. (Leigh Prevost)

One of my best butterfly trips. Here's a Habitat pic at the beginning of our Compton bay walk. (Richard Roebuck)

I would just like to add our thanks to Dan and Peter for organising what turned out to be a truly memorable day. The weather was fabulous (eventually), the butterflies were glorious and plentiful, the company was great, the food was top-notch and the transport was, well, er... like driving around in a badly made biscuit tin! (Bob, Jo and Lucas Foreman)

The Sussex Committee, family and friends, from left to right: Bob Foreman, Dan Danahar, Richard Roebuck, Sara Canning, Jamie Burston, Barbara Woods, Jo Foreman, Lucas Foreman, Shane Bakewell, Carmen Danahar, Libby Danahar, Terri Atkinson, Peter Atkinson, Indiana Danahar, Leigh Prevost, Carole Mortimer and Paul Mortimer.


Friday 14 June 2013

Spent the morning watching the sky waiting for the first hint of sunshine, as soon as things started brightening up I got in my car and headed for Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood to see what might be flying (and to walk this week's transect). As I was walking down the track to Park Corner Heath, my phone rang, it was Neil Hulme calling to tell me he had just seen a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary on The Heath (hurrah!). He was by the shed when he rang and I could actually hear his voice through the trees more clearly than I could over the terrible phone line! After I joined him we searched the area again but with no luck. We did see a few Brimstones and a very freshly emerged female Common Blue (the first I have seen at the reserve since 2011). I had errands to run so could not stay too long but I heard from Neil that he had found another SPBF later in the afternoon in Rowland Wood too. What a relief! Nearly three weeks later than last year's first sighting... (Bob Foreman)

Dingy Skipper in our garden in Frant this afternoon. Our first record of this species. It settled on a leaf in the sun and opened its wings no more than 3 feet from me. Unfortunately it flew off before I had time to get into the house to grab my camera. (Alan Loweth)

2 Small Blue butterflies spotted today in "South Heighton" village East Sussex near Newhaven. (Shannon Sait)

A handful of Painted Lady passed through our garden in East Dean (TV562984) today stopping to nectar before moving on. (Carole & David Jode)

A single Painted Lady nectaring in a garden in Midhurst (SU881214) earlier this afternoon. My first this season. (Mark Colvin)

Large Drinker caterpillar found at Castle Hill nature reserve today. Have to admit was spotted first by my friend, Jenny Stewart. Also, lots of Small Blue & Wall Brown. (Caroline Clarke)


The June Gap?


Tuesday 11 June 2013

Catching up... It's been a satisfyingly busy period recently with the good weather and everything emerging. Walking down the stairs at home I spotted a lovely Chocolate-tip moth. The Knepp Castle Estate recorders day gave me a Red Twin-spot Carpet moth and a micro, Crambus lathoniellus. My Mill Hill transect on June 4 gave the following results: Adonis Blue 100, Brimstone 1, Dingy Skipper 4, Green-veined White 1, Small Heath 24, Wall Brown 1, Whites 3. There were plenty of Treble-bar moths, some Burnet Companions and a Pretty Chalk Carpet. 3 Small Heaths were in aerial combat. Friends asked for advice about a mass of caterpillars that were devouring their "blossom" tree. It was a Brown-tail moth and I suggested they enjoy the beautiful white adults later. Near Arundel I found a pair of Common Blues mating. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Monday 10 June 2013

A short walk at lunchtime along Cockshut Road in Lewes produced a good conditioned Painted Lady. A pleasant surprise on a cool and cloudy day. (Chris Hooker)

News for Sunday 9 June: Sadly, I missed the group excursion to see Glanville Fritillary on the Isle of Wight (full report coming soon. ed.), as I have been on standby to head north in pursuit of Mountain Ringlet. However, there was plenty to enjoy on my home turf over the weekend, including healthy numbers of both Brown Argus and Common Blue along the Downs near Storrington. Last summer we were deprived of the opportunity to sit amongst large communal roosts of these butterflies; its great to have them back. As always, counts have been entered into a database for inclusion in our Sussex Atlas. More at base page http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=10000 (Neil Hulme)

More news for Sunday 9 June: At a very windy and cool Friston Gallops Dingy Skipper 20+ Grizzled Skipper 2 Adonis Blue 2 (Arthur Greenslade)

And a little more... I visited a few sites in West Sussex on Sunday with Neil Hulme. Despite butterflies being rather thin on the ground we did manage to spot some other lepidoptera of interest - including our first Privet Hawkmoth of the year and some Emperor Moth caterpillars just emerging from their eggs on heather (Michael Blencowe & Neil Hulme)

News for Friday 31 May: I saw this Dingy Skipper on the East Sussex National Golf Club course just south of Little Horsted, Grid Ref TQ473178 on OS Explorer 123. (Sally White)


Sunday 9 June 2013

Very few butterflies around Ferring Rife and Highdown Hill, but 6pm this afternoon my first Painted Lady of the year along the shingle at Ferring Beach. (Peter Whitcomb)

While on my allotment on Whitehawk Hill in East Brighton (TQ329046) today I got a couple of glimpses of what I thought was a Wall butterfly going over the hedge into a neighbours plot but I couldn't be certain. Later while having a cup of tea on a friend's plot and telling her about this possible sighting a Wall came and landed a few yards from where we were sitting. (Tessa Pawsey)

Graeme Lyons called yesterday with an amazing sighting of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary near Graffham in West Sussex. This sighting, along with a sighting 2.5 miles away made by Neil Hulme, is exciting evidence that this butterfly is moving through the landscape. But from where? The nearest known colonies are over 7 miles away. Could there be an undiscovered Pearl-bordered Fritillary colony established somewhere nearer to Heyshott and Graffham? The rather sad news for this wandering individual was that its travels came to a rather sticky end. Read all about Graeme's discovery on his blog The Lyons Den. (Michael Blencowe)

News for Saturday 8 June: Despite the blue skies above there was a cold wind blowing around our reserves at Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood. A crowd of 25 BC members joined me for a tour of our reserves. Starting at PCH I was able to give a history of the woodland from its days as a deer park to the purchase and ongoing management of Rowland Wood by BC. There were a lot of Kent BC members in attendance many of whom were visiting the reserve for the first time. I had planned the walk for this date as, by now, we would be expecting Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary numbers to be reaching their peak. However the slow start to summer had meant that, so far, we have had no reports of this butterfly on the reserve. The cold wind wasn't encouraging many other butterflies to fly either but those in attendance seemed to enjoy the 'behind the scenes' tour of our reserve. (Michael Blencowe)

More news for Saturday 8 June: Following a couple of successful visits last year to the hillside reserve behind Hollingbury Industrial Estate I was astonished to see the main area had been drastically strimmed and no nectar plants could be seen for emerging butterflies. I walked in a short way and saw not one butterfly. The mixed sheep flock were in the adjacent triangle field. Following from Dan Danahar's visit on 27 May I would like to point out to him that I recorded Green Hairstreak and Wall Brown on this site, as well as numerous Small Blues, in 2012. (Peter Whitcomb)


Saturday 8 June 2013

Had the pleasure of having to stop mowing the lawn this afternoon in order to watch a male Emperor Moth that suddenly appeared in my Lindfield garden. The moth was behaving as if there was a female in the vicinity but getting terribly confused by a large clump of oriental poppies, he spent at least five minutes searching the poppy flowers inside and out. I suspect there was a female somewhere nearby but his pheromone locating, guidance systems were being disrupted by the fairly strong breeze that has been blowing all day. He then dropped down into the undergrowth and disappeared, I guessed he'd found the female he was looking for but despite an extensive search I was unable to find him again. (Bob Foreman)

A walk around the northern half of Abbots Wood this afternoon produced another Pearl-bordered Fritillary in an area where I've not seen them before. This was close to Robin Post Lane about half way along it. The PBF population really seems to be spreading throughout the whole of the wood now as I've seen them in several new locations for me this year. Also saw 2 Grizzled Skippers, again in parts of the wood where I've not seen them before. These were the highlights of an otherwise very quiet walk butterfly-wise! (Chris Hooker)

News for Friday 7 June: On the way to Cuckmere Haven near Exceat, 1 Wall Brown - TV520 992. Not seen them here before. (Caroline Clarke)


Friday 7 June 2013

Late afternoon at Saddlecombe/Newtimber Hill TQ269118. Lots of butterflies on the bank by the road with most numerous being Common Blues, 4 Brown Argus, 2 Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Small Heath and a Rhinoceros Beetle perched on a dead piece of wood. Saw four Wall Brown here but by the end of the walk we had seen 12. Walking up to the chalk pit we started to come across an occasional Adonis Blue, inside the pit the butterflies were kind of in layers: Common Blues at the bottom, Adonis in the middle, Wall at the top, and Dingy and Small Heaths all the way up. Probably about 25 Adonis in total. We did walk up to the top of Newtimber, but it was fairly windy, the butterflies were a bit more scarce. There were 4 Small Copper here though. Back down the hill some Agapeta hamana moths were flying around the thistles and Common Blues were starting to roost. Found 16 on one small patch of grass, but there were quite a few more spread around. Also on Wednesday morning before work I noticed a small triangle on the wall opposite my kitchen, which turned out to be a Yellow-barred Brindle. (Mark Cadey)

News for Thursday 6 June: Scarlet Tiger larva in Friston Forest. (Bob Eade)

In 2008 my children and I found half a dozen Privet Hawk moth caterpillars. We took them home and they eventually pupated. In 2009 they hatched and flew. All but one; a female who didn't develop her wings fully. But I found her a partner, they mated and she laid eggs. These hatched, grew up and pupated and we released over 35 Privet Hawk moths in July 2010. A couple of these were kind enough to leave us a few eggs before flying. (see photo at the time) (not clickable). Although most of them hatched in 2011 and took to the wing, one did not, and remained stubbornly in its case, refusing to emerge. I asked our guru Neil Hulme if it was a non-starter and he staggered me by replying "Oh it may not hatch for another year, maybe two". I though that he was being a little flippant and that no way would that little life stay bottled up in that pupa for another 12 months, let alone 24 months... How could I ever have doubted him. Today June 7th 2013 it emerged! That's from an egg in 2010 to an adult moth in 2013. Maybe it's common in the wild but I am amazed. It appears to be a male so tonight I will release him and let's hope he will carry on the his family line. (Josse Davis)


Thursday 6 June 2013

A fresh looking female Wall seen in Rowland Wood today. (Nigel Kemp)

In response to Steven Robinson's query about the reappearance of Dingy Skipper at Loder Valley, Wakehurst: It is almost impossible to give comprehensive habitat management advice without visiting a site, but it might be worth cutting only half the meadow each year on a rotational basis. Again, without knowledge of the cutting device and how it is set up, it is difficult to comment with any authority, but this is potentially detrimental to species which over-winter in the larval stage, such as Dingy Skipper. Slightly longer, 'rougher' grass with some bushy bird's-foot trefoil in it would be ideal. Feel free to send me some photographs of the meadow taken at different times of year. (Neil Hulme)

Dan Danahar's message regarding Chalkhill Blues in Shoreham is interesting. I think they tend to fly west towards water. I have seen thousands of them doing it in the seventies. Now the land is in private ownership where they used to fly to. Mill Hill can become very parched as well and the males fly off the hill. I think a pond on the top might be beneficial. I have no scientific evidence for this. Just observations over the years. (Andy Horton)

On July 11th the Post Office are issuing a set of 10 commemorative stamps featuring British butterflies. This is the first set dedicated to butterflies since the Spring of 1981, when four stamps were issued featuring a Large Blue, a Chequered Skipper (I think) a Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell. Some other butterflies (I believe the Adonis Blue for one) have featured in sets of "Endangered species" more recently.
The Post Office (per the latest BC mag) has been coy in revealing the full list of ten (all at the 1st class rate of 6p or 6 the set) but through "sources" I can name them as the Brimstone, Chalkhill Blue, Comma, Marbled white, Marsh Fritillary, Orange-Tip, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, Small Copper, and Swallowtail.
The illustrations are not photos but paintings by Richard Lewington, on a white background, of the butterflies in flight.with wings open, other than the Brimstone which has its wings partially closed. (Bob Brown)

Colin Knight has pointed out that the stamps can be seen here: http://www.bfdc.co.uk/2013/butterflies/resources/stamps/6715.html


Wednesday 5 June 2013

Today saw the 28th Butterfly Species recorded from the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven since its construction in 2007... The Wall. (Dan Danahar)

For the 5th year I completed a Wall Brown count around The Comp, Greenway, Cradle Hill and High and Over. Despite the breezy conditions that didn't help I had a record 1st brood count of 60. This is 21 higher than my previous best for the 1st brood. On returning home a Wall was flying around the garden for the 2nd day running!! (Bob Eade)

A very good 2/3 hours spent at Castle Hill NR, Woodingdean, Brighton today. My day started at home Grand Avenue Worthing with Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and a very worn out Painted Lady struggling along the pavement. At Castle Hill itself were seen:
Small Blue circa 100 and certainly many more present
Wall Brown circa 80 seemed to be one every 10 metres or so
Small Heath circa 18
Adonis Blue circa 12
Dingy Skipper circa 12
Common Blue circa 6
Brown Argus circa 6
Grizzled Skipper 3
Speckled Wood 2
Green Hairstreak 1
Large and Small White 1 each
One Grizzled Skipper was a very interesting aberration similar to ab taras but with the white spots on the upper forewings merged into almost perfect W shapes. Disappointed to not see any Small Coppers but the numbers of Small Blues and Wall Browns surely a record for this site. (Mark Senior)

Visited Park Corner Heath in perfect weather. Butterflies seen; (Small) Pearl-bordered Fritillary (4), Grizzled Skipper (2), Brimstone (10). Photo of (Small) Pearl Bordered Fritillary above. Can someone confirm whether it is a Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary or a Pearl Bordered Fritillary? (Simon Quin) Definitely a Pearl (confirmed by Neil Hulme). ed

I saw a Dingy Skipper today whilst visiting my Moulsecoomb Wild Park transect chasing off a Common Blue and perched on a Plantain - First one I've seen! (Cassie Tong)

This afternoon SE Regional Officer Dr Dan Hoare and I headed to Heyshott Escarpment, where we counted 15 Dukes on the way to the summit. However, it was the wooded dip slope of Charlton Forest that we had really come to look at. We didn't find any of the undiscovered colonies of Pearl-bordered Fritillary or Duke of Burgundy we had hoped for, but we did chalk up an amazing tally of 31 Drab Looper moths, and as all Drab Looper fanatics will know, that's a lot! (Neil Hulme)

A male Brimstone at TQ 82805 10025 today at 16.20. (Sharon Bigg)

Finally some butterflies here at Edburton  a short walk on the hill up from my house produced 3 Green Hairstreaks, 5 Dingy Skippers, 25 Small Heaths, 3 Wall Browns, 5 Common Blues, 4 Brown Argus and 3 Speckled Woods + Cinnabar and Treble bars. Also two more Walls in my garden and the best of very few moths here was a Light Feathered Rustic. The orchids in my garden are starting to flower, the final count looks like being 17 Bees, 37 Pyramidal, 2 Common Twayblades and 3 Common Spotted. (Tony Wilson)

News for Monday 3 June: Saw the following sightings on 3rd June in company with my father. Woodend near West Stoke (SU815089) Small White (5), Large White (2), Brimstone (1M), Speckled Wood (1), Holly Blue (2).
Later walked to Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU824098) where the temperature was 16C with no wind. Small White (7), Large White (1), Green-veined White (2), Orange Tip (3M), Brimstone (5F 15M), Holly Blue (2), Common Blue (9), Small Copper (1), Green Hairstreak (1), Comma (1), Peacock (1) very worn, Speckled Wood (1), Small Heath (30), Dingy Skipper 6, Grizzled Skipper 6. Watched a female Grizzled Skipper ovapositing, while a highlight was seeing a female Broad-bodied Chaser which was newly emerged and drying its wings. I assisted it to a safe protected stem to rest. (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)


Tuesday 4 June 2013

Last recorded in 2005 in the Loder Valley, Wakehurst a small colony of Dingy Skipper has re-appeared. As this butterfly tends not to move far quite interesting for its sudden appearance. Our meadow was not cut last year due to poor weather, could this be the reason - any ideas? (Steven Robinson)

While working today at Black Cap, Lewes, I saw the most, in number and species, butterflies I have seen so far this year. It started off with 4/5 Small Heath just by the entrance gate off the B2116 in total I reckon about 25 seen. Along the bostal sides heading up there were 17 Dingy Skipper, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoishell, 4 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Brown Argus, 3 Common Blue, 5/6 Large White, 3 Brimstones while on side the western boundary of Ashcombe Bottom I counted 1 Common Blue, 1 Holly Blue and 2 Green-veined White. Alas no Adonis Blue but maybe next time. (Lee Walther)

The man on the BBC said that it has been the coldest spring since 1962 and over the months of March to May the average daily temperature has been no higher than 6C. During this time I have been monitoring the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven, on a weekly basis, for the return of the Small Blue. A couple of years ago the first Small Blues were seen on 1st May, this year none had been seen by the 1st June and I was beginning to fear that we had lost this species due to over zealous management during the winter. However, it was finally spotted on Monday 3rd June and today (4th June) I returned to the haven to find a female Small Blue laying eggs, which means that the next generation has at least a fighting chance for survival! There are Small and Large Whites flitting through the haven, occasionally settling to imbibe some nectar, before moving on. Also, I'm now seeing male Common Blues racing with all the speed they can muster, no doubt in desperate search of virgin females. I even saw a diminutive and slightly crippled Small Copper yesterday but things are undoubtedly slow off the starting blocks.
So I was relieved to read Andy Horton's report on the Sightings page on Sunday 2nd June, which described much more densely populated chalk banks than the ones I inspected on Friday 31st May. Andy's account spoke of his observations from previous years and the value in what he said was that I think it has helped me understand my own observations. I had thought these sites should be great habitats for early successional chalk grassland butterflies and so when I saw so few butterflies I came away puzzled. Now I believe that the reason why I did't see many butterflies on these sites was because chalk grassland butterflies, like so many other things, are late in emerging this year. That along with the very poor weather they experienced during the breeding season last year. So the sites in themselves should be good for butterflies but the recent weather and climatic conditions may not allow this to be reflected in the sizes of the current populations.
The last point I have to make is that these are very sparse, dry habitats and although I would expect to see the warmth loving Adonis Blues on them, I would not expect to see Chalkhill blues because I personally associate them with more rank and somewhat humid conditions.
Eitherway, thanks Andy for supplying that piece of the puzzle. (Dan Danahar)

Wolstonbury Hill: My first visit of the year to this site. As it's north facing and wind swept the seasons activity is slightly behind. Dingy Skippers dominated with 21 individuals seen this evening on the western slopes and gullies all in pristine condition. One was surprisingly tussling with a Burnet Companion moth - no doubt an amorous male Dingy. Also seen Wall Browns 3, Small Tortoiseshells worn 2, Large Whites 3. On the bridle path form Pyecombe, Speckled Woods 5, Green-veined Whites 3, Green Hairstreak 1 and a Holly Blue. TQ2813 At home a Red Admiral seemed to be egg laying on nettles in the garden. A Male Orange-tip, Green-veined White and a female Broad-bodied Chaser were joined briefly by a Cinnabar moth basking in the evening sun on my 15 foot Black Thorn hedge other notable species seen in the garden in the last couple of days Wasp beetles and Cardinal beetles. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Monday 3 June: We may be into what many call the 'June Gap', a quiet period in the butterfly calendar in most years, but many spring species are still emerging. Today I started off in woodland on the Norfolk Estate, where the Duke of Burgundy is still about in low numbers. This is an early site and all of the 4 individuals seen were old males nearing the end of their innings. However, most of the 6 Grizzled Skipper I saw were in mint condition. I was left in no doubt as to how fresh some of these were, when I noticed coffee coloured meconium fluid on the grass below a female butterfly. I also saw a newly hatched Dingy Skipper.
I then headed to the BC Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves, for an unsuccessful hunt for Small Pearls with my daughter. While wandering around the woods we came across BC Sussex member and snake-charmer David Bradford, who was snapping away at a beautiful immature adder (thanks for sharing her with us). At this point Mia insisted on being released from the backpack and became totally enthralled with her first snake. Later in the afternoon we also saw the famous PCH Black Adder, so now she's an expert. (Neil Hulme)

More news for Monday 3 June: Although not as luxuriant as the best years, the expanse of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was flowering at its peak on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, (north of Old Shoreham). The yellow patches could be seen from a distance across the the other side of the wide valley. In the intermittent sunshine under the fluffy Cumulus clouds, butterflies fluttered amongst the yellow flowers, notably the male Adonis Blues in their first of two broods. This medium-sized butterfly is only found on the chalk hills in the south-east of England. I counted 79 in the 1.2 acre transect on Mill Hill in half an hour, all the bright blue males apart from three of the brown females. One mating pair was spotted in less than ideal weather. Mill Hill Local Nature Reserve is nationally renowned for its blue butterflies which comes alive with the flutterings in the warmer months with at least 24 different species to be seen during the year. On this early June day, the Dingy Skippers were frequently seen in the short chalkhill vegetation on the infertile Rabbit cropped steeper slopes. There were also the Large Whites, the large bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly and the inconspicuous Grizzled Skipper. The tiny flash of orange was the Small Heath Butterfly. There were no Small Blues to be seen on Buckingham Cutting (verge of the A27 Cutting) but there was a Green-veined White and a Speckled Wood. (Andy Horton)

And a little more news for Monday 3 June: I had two reasons to visit Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood today, the first was to walk my weekly transect and the second was to find out whether the Pearls had been joined by Small Pearls yet. No sign of the Small Pearls but I did see a couple of Pearls though. It was quite cool breezy and I didn't see anything like as many butterflies as on other recent visits. The majority of the butterflies I did see, especially in the more exposed areas were hunkered down, either flying low or nectaring on the bluebells (it's June and the bluebells are still in full bloom...). Brimstones are still showing in good number but some are getting a bit tatty now and the Small Heath numbers are building too. I also saw a couple of very worn Peacocks lots of Speckled Yellows (I gave up counting them), a few Brown Silver-line and a rather nice Silver-ground Carpet. (Bob Foreman)

News for Sunday 2 June: Both before and after attending the Floral Fringe Fair at Knepp Castle on Sunday, I managed to fit in an hour of butterflying at Springhead Hill. During my visit I was pleased to see that Small Blue numbers are now increasing (22), the first Common Blues are emerging (3), and the Duke is still on the wing (1). Other species seen include Dingy Skipper (3), Grizzled Skipper (1), Holly Blue (1), Small Heath (3), Speckled Wood (1), Orange Tip (1), Brimstone (1), Large White (1) and Green-veined White (1). (Neil Hulme)

Usually, during the "season" out-of-Sussex reports are strictly forbidden but I am prepared to make an exception... just this once. ed.

Although not a Sussex location, our sightings may be of interest to those considering visiting the island to seek this species. As the weather forecast on Monday was good for Tuesday another B.C. member, Trevor Rapley, and myself decided to book a crossing of the Solent at very short notice.
We landed on the island just after 7.00 am and made our way to Wheelers Bay, close to Ventnor, where Trevor's research indicated that there had been recent sightings, arriving there at about 07.45 am. Despite an air temperature of about12 degrees C. and a cool easterly wind blowing, we were surprised to have our first sightings of Glanville Fritillaries just after 8.00 am. No further sightings were made until about 10.00 am., however by 11.00 am sightings were plentiful. All specimens observed appeared to be in perfect condition. We found a concentration of the species by a recent chalk-fall adjacent to a yellow emergency telephone. We also observed a large number of recently emerged Common Blues, Dingy Skippers and a single Orange Tip.
We left Wheelers Bay at about 12.30 pm and made our way to Comptons Bay, another well known location for Glanville Fritillaries, however no further sightings were made. We returned to Wheelers Bay at about 2.45pm, however fewer of Glanville Fritillaries were observed, despite a higher air temperature and the wind speed dropping significantly. (Douglas Neve)


Monday 3 June 2013

The sun is back and we captured the mating Walls and Brown Argus at High and Over on June 2nd, followed by a trip to Kithurst on June 3rd capturing the Common Blue and Duke of Burgundy. (Maggie and Steve East)

News for Sunday 2 June: On Sunday June 2, I visited the lower slopes of Cradle Hill. Butterflies seen were: Wall Brown (2), Green Hairstreak (1), Small Blue (3), Holly Blue (3), Grizzled Skipper (3), Dingy Skipper (8), Orange Tip (3), Red Admiral (1), and Peacock (1). The photo of the Green Hairstreak (above) shows it with its proboscis embedded in some cuckoo spit. (Simon Quin)

Weekend news: I visited the lower part of Southerham on Saturday morning with my Dad where Common Blues were actually fairly common. Also saw some Dingy Skippers, a Small Copper, 2 Wall Browns and my first Rose Chafer Beetle of the year.
On Sunday morning went to see the Adonis Blues at Mill Hill, which were fairly active by the time I got there, but did find one on the slope outside the reserve which looked like it had recently emerged. It stayed still for nearly an hour occasionally being 'buzzed' by one of the patrolling males. Also found a Grass Rivulet amongst all the Treble-bars flying around. In the afternoon I went to try and find Club-tail Dragonflies. Did eventually get a glimpse of one at Waltham Brooks, but while searching found every patch of nettles by the river had a colony of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars. (Mark Cadey)

Recent news: I visited Arundel Wetland Trust with Mark Colvin on Wednesday to conduct a butterfly survey. We saw several small Green-veined Whites and Holly Blues, our first Common Blue of the season, Brimstone and Orange-tip. On Friday I walked to Lobb's Wood in Littlehampton and was pleased to see the colony of Speckled Woods was still in residence and an expected Red Admiral appeared. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Sunday 2 June 2013

At High and Over in the morning a mating pair of Common Blue where the female still had crumpled wings. 35 minutes later when they split up her wings were still crumpled. Later plenty of Wall Brown along The Comp and Greenway as well as Adonis and Brown Argus. Good to see other enthusiastic members Steve and Maggie, Janet and Neville, and James and Claire who were all seeing plenty. (Bob Eade)

I have recently been catching a few Lime Hawk-moths. Interestingly one of which is the brown form, I don't know how common this is, but a first for me. I have added a pic of normal specimen for comparison. (Richard Roebuck)

And finally... I was interested in Dan Danahar's report. I have surveyed this area as much as my sanity allows in the early 2003- 2006 (he forgot to mention the dangerous crumbling nature of the chalk). Although not rich in numbers of butterflies, I have found 23 of the 25 Shoreham butterflies in this area including hundreds of Small Blues, hundreds of Small Skippers (one year only), occasional Adonis Blues (also found on Southwick Hill 2nd brood mostly recorded), one Brown Hairstreak with notable absence of Chalkhill Blues (even when in abundance with thousands on Mill Hill). The less dangerous areas are still monitored. Vegetation includes Marsh Orchids and thousands of Spotted Orchids on the south side. The big mystery in the absence of Chalkhill Blues which have failed to colonise the area in 50 years since the road was built. One tattered male vagrant was discovered and they are only a half a mile from known breeding areas. The Kidney Vetch main patch was around the road signs and was cleared.
The records are still held in narrative form. e.g: 13 June 2004: I have underestimated the number of Small Blue Butterflies on the road embankment on Slonk Hill South as I was not looking in the prime spot where the Kidney Vetch grows mostly on the A27 By-pass roadside at the bottom of the steep crumbly slope, whereas I usually approach from the boundary copse on the south side. A further twenty of these butterflies were seen in different areas from where they were previously recorded. This brings the cumulative total actually seen in different areas to well over a hundred and with this tiny butterfly, most of them remain unseen, so the actual numbers must be much higher.
17 July 2005: Butterflies were common (about 400 in an hour*) but at least half of them were skippers which appear a bit like moths to the casual rambler. Fifteen species of butterfly and skipper were seen on the Slonk Hill Cutting (southern bank) which is the largest variety of species seen in a single day this year so far. I was pleased to note Ringlet Butterflies, Brown Argus and at least ten Small Blues. Of the numerous (40+) Six-spot Burnet Moths, a pair were observed on a Pyramidal Orchid which seem to be flowering later than usual this year. (*I spent 55 minutes on a delayed passage journey and my viewing total was estimated at 350 to 400.)
27 May 2005: A freshly killed Roe Deer (with antlers) was lying near the central reservation on the A27 as it goes through the Slonk Hill Cutting, about midway on the same longitude as Buckingham Park.
North Bank: There were seven adult and intact Adonis Blue Butterflies fluttering around the Horseshoe Vetch. The Kidney Vetch looked like flowering was imminent, but not quite yet. A Small Heath Butterfly settled on a Daisy and I spotted and confirmed close-up my first male Common Blue Butterfly of the year (I had already seen a female). (Andy Horton)


Saturday 1 June 2013

About six Wood White nr Plaistow (SU995314) this afternoon. Other species seen were Speckled Wood (3), Brimstone (4) and Orange Tip (1). (Paul and Margaret Cox)

Today we travelled to a wood near Plaistow where we saw the tiniest Orange Tip that we have ever seen, together with Brimstones, Large Whites, Dingy Skippers, Speckled Woods, Small Heaths and Wood Whites flying - both male and female We watched one Wood White darting around laying eggs on very young trefoil plants ignoring larger plants nearby. After she had moved on we had a closer look at some of these and found one egg that had been laid very close to a Dingy Skipper's egg. The wood was also home to a good number of Speckled Yellow moths which were flying around everywhere, and a Mother Shipton moth which appeared to be very much smaller than others we have seen.
On Friday, 31st May 2013: spent an hour or more on Kithurst Hill this afternoon watching the tiny, exquisite, Small Blues. They really are amazing. Also seen were Common Blues, Small Heaths, Brimstones, Dingy Skippers and Whites (but as they were in a hurry I am not sure which type!) together with a Clouded Border moth. On closer inspection the patterning on this moth shows two Fresian cows back to back, the Angel of the North and a butterfly within a butterfly. Oh yes it does... oh no it............. (Pauline Batchelor)

News for Friday 31 May: I asked Michael Blencowe if he could suggest a location that needed sightings for the Sussex Butterfly Atlas. Southwick Hill was his response (TQ 237 079) and so on Friday I made my way there on a sunny but windy day. Surprisingly this hill (above the Southwick tunnel, which forms part of the A27) had only a little exposed chalk, the majority of the hill being clay capped and thus, the butterfly species richness was fairly limited. I saw Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brimstone, Wall (only one), Small Heath, Common Blue and Small Copper. Hence, my visit to this site did not last any longer than an hour.
Given the success of my visit to the chalk cuttings on the A27 between Brighton and Lewes, I decided to walk along the same road to reach the chalk cuttings to the east of Mill Hill. I have to say that more than once did I question my sanity for doing so because the traffic was racing past, very dangerously. However, I wore my yellow high vis jacket and checked out each of the three cuttings in turn. In all cases no chalk downland butterflies were seen at any height above road level. The nearest one to the Mill Hill entrance (TQ 21309 06603) yielded a Dingy Skipper, a Common Blue and a Small Blue. All were very hard to see because of the turbulence made by the traffic and the noise was deafening to. Where possible I avoided being too close to the road's edge and at the next location (TQ 21491 06627) I watched a female Brimstone flitter around a piece of scrub, in a mess of bramble. It was only when I got up close that I realised that it was some buckthorn that was attracting her attention and I was delighted to watch her litter the shrub with eggs. I also saw a Green-veined White and two Peacocks here.
The next chalk cutting (TQ 21971 06637) gave up a couple of Small Blues, two Common Blues and a Brown Argus (hovering around the tiniest clump of Geranium). The final cutting (TQ 22438 06608) volunteered a single Common Blue. I have to say that I was very surprised that so few butterflies where seen (beyond the ubiquitous Small and Large Whites). As can be seen from the photos the banks were densely covered with Horseshoe vetch but not a single Adonis Blue was seen. Having said that no Kidney Vetch was observed but the sites still yielded Small Blues? The banks didn't have much else on them apart from the Horseshoe vetch and Cotoneaster bushes. So if you want to see what bounty chalk cuttings can give, go to the one west of the Jet garage on the A27 between Brighton & Lewes. There are some good butterflies there and more to the point the site is separated from the road by a pavement, making it infinitely more safe than the sites I described above. I would not recommend anybody else repeating the exercise I undertook.
Finally, having seen Small Blue on the A27 I returned to the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven to look for it there, but none were to be seen. I did however, get a chance to photograph the Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars, who had moved on to another instar. (Dan Danahar)


Friday 31 May 2013

At last Adonis Blues are flying on Frog Firle, 3 weeks or so later than usual. Common Blues also showing well with several seen late in the day. (Bob Eade)

The Duke of Burgundy season is now beginning to wind down, although I still managed counts of 18 and 9 at Heyshott Escarpment and Harting Down today. More at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=10000 (Neil Hulme)

Friston Forest gallops: Took an afternoon walk around the gallops in hazy sun. Orange Tip in Butchershole CP. Two Small Blues arguing with Dingy Skippers over territory in sun trap above CP  have not seen them at this site since 2009; also 2 Common Blues. Most common butterflies on walk were Dingy Skippers (stopped counting at 20) and Small Heath (stopped counting at 10). Also seen: 4 more Small Blue; 3 Small Copper; 2 Red Admiral; Male Brimstone; my second 'miniature Small Tortoiseshell' of the year. I dont remember ever seeing so many Dingy Skippers but I expect that is due to the lack of blues which would normally have captured my attention. (Susan Suleski)


Thursday 30 May 2013

News for Sunday 26 May: 2 Meadow Browns recorded by Lynne Seabrook on her Transect at Roundstone Nurseries (SU897015) on 26th May. (Peter Atkinson)


Wednesday 29 May 2013

Leaving the house in warm conditions I walked to The Comp and Greenway hoping for some Brown Argus. A very smart Drinker larva along The Comp was a nice find. On the bank around 20 Brown Argus, 1 Small Copper and a few Dingy Skipper. 13 Wall Brown also seen. The weather soon changed and I returned home cold and very wet but very satisfied. (Bob Eade)

During a brief visit to our Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves I counted 6 different Pearl-bordered Fritillary; Small Pearls are yet to emerge. Other butterflies included Grizzled Skipper (2), Small Heath (2), Green Hairstreak (1), Holly Blue (1), Large White (1) and Brimstone (1). (Neil Hulme)

Every spring for many years now we find Drinker moth caterpillars on our daily dog walk in Arundel. They are always on the North side of the path and never the South which must be something to do with the sun's light. The top of the grass appears to have the same amount of light both sides of the path but the warmth only reaches the lower part of the grass stems on the North side. Here my daughter is actually holding seven half grown larva. (Plus a frog hopper). There seems to be more Drinker moth caterpillars this year and sadly less sightings of our regular Cuckoo who usually turns up around the same time. (Josse Davis)

At work today in South Chailey I had a quick walk around a small meadow while the sun was shining and saw 12 or so Dingy Skippers, 2 Small Copper, 2 Small Heath, a Large White, Green-veined White, and Speckled Wood. Also saw a Mother Shipton, female Muslin Moth and a Small Yellow Underwing. Then during the afternoon by which time it was raining I wondered round again, found a few Dingy's hiding under seedheads and was really pleased to find 2 Grizzled Skippers as well. (TQ385170 private site) (Mark Cadey)

News for Monday 27 May: On Monday I completed my Mill Hill transect with the following results: 15 Adonis Blue, 1 Brimstone, 10 Dingy Skipper, 2 Orange-tip, 12 Small Heath, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Red Admiral, 1 White. Adonis and Small Heaths are building fast, I saw many more Dingies after the transect was completed, including aerial combats. I also saw Mother Shipton, Treble-bar and Purple Bar moths. It was good to meet former BC Sussex committee member Mrs B.R.Reeve who kindly pointed out a pair of mating Dingies and the location of a Green Hairstreak. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

And finally... Many years ago as a student I read a research article that stated that along road verges insect populations and indeed insect varieties were much reduced owing to the pollution from vehicles which seemed logical at the time. In recent times I have found Brown Hairstreak eggs adjacent to the A23 and indeed the profusion of Blackthorn possibly indicated, that similar to the Downlink, this could actually not only be a reservoir for this species but also be a conduit for its distribution. As we now have cleaner engines and unleaded petrol perhaps we also have a cleaner habitat for insects to thrive. More recently I have been checking out a local roundabout for the possibility of Green Hairstreaks as the habitat looked promising. So it's with great interest that I read Dan's report regarding the A27. Also recent press has indicated the possible policy of councils only cutting 1m of verges to allow wild plants and flowers to flourish because in this day and age they haven't been treated with herbicides and it could benefit flowers and Bees. So potentially with the loss of 98% of wild flower meadows since the war our carriageway verges with careful management could offer a haven for many threatened species and of course butterflies (perhaps it already does). Incidentally when I previously lived on a brand new estate in Bristol there was a large colony of Marbled Whites on the embankment next to the M4 near the Thornbury Interchange junction. Of course it was never mown so a perfect habitat for Marbled White to reproduce despite the thundering traffic at the bottom of the slope . I used to go up there in the evening to see them all roosting on mass, a rare spectacle these days. (Richard Roebuck)


Monday 27 May 2013

By and large it has been a pretty disappointing season so far but today I had a very enjoyable hike around Chantry Hill and recorded 16 species. Also a Holly Blue in my Storrington garden, making 17 species altogether. Species recorded with approximate numbers as follows: Dingy Skipper (40), Small Heath (7), Green Hairstreak (6), Brimstone (5), Large White (5), Peacock (5), Small White (4), Orange Tip (4), Grizzled Skipper (3), Brown Argus (3), Small Copper (3), Common Blue (2 m), Green-veined White (2), Speckled Wood (1), Comma (1), Duke of Burgundy (1f) and Holly Blue (1). I presume the DoB was a wandering female from the Kithurst Hill colony? Brown Argus, Common Blue and Small Copper were all very pristine and very fresh. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

2 seperate visits along The Comp to see how the Wall Brown numbers were building up. In the morning I had Matt with me who was after getting Green Hairstreak photos. On Greenway Bank several Hairstreaks were seen including one that I suspected was egg laying. After it moved on I checked the area and very soon found the egg neatly tucked into a tiny plant. Brown Argus were also evident here as well as lots of Dingy Skipper. 10 Wall were seen along The Comp and the Bank. Late afternoon I revisited The Comp to try to get Wall Brown basking in the remaining sunlight. Only one seen but it performed well before roosting on the trunk of an Ash. (Bob Eade)

Sheffield Park: We were here predominantly to see the Rhododendrons and Azaleas - still a week or two behind I'm afraid. However the NT are engaged in a lot of clearance of old dense wood and regeneration. A fabulous sunny day and we were rewarded by sightings of Large Whites, Small Whites, a Speckled Wood, and to top it all off a Wood White! (Clive and Sue Cottrell)

We had our first Common Blue and Small Heath of the spring at Thorney Island today, also on the wing were Azure, Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

My father Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU824098). Brimstone (7M), Small White (8), Green-veined White (2), Large White (3), Orange Tip (1M 1F), Small Heath (3), Comma (1), Painted Lady (1) and Dingy Skipper (3). The temperature increased from 15C to 17C during the time I walked most of the main tracks within the reserve. Saw my first Painted Lady of the year. (Richard Symonds)

With the sun came the butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, covered in a 50% flowering of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. After a couple of minutes my first male Adonis Blue of the year fluttered energetically around the yellow flowers without settling. It was one of 14 counted. (Andy Horton, Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List)

After a few years in the planning I finally drove the 2 hours from Kent where I made a visit to Abbots Wood where I was able to see 10+ Pearl-bordered Fritillary in a clearing, the first time I have seen this species. Rather than wander on and get lost I spent the next 3 hours watching these stunning butterflies and taking a few shots. Other butterflies noted were 2 Brimstone, 1 Large White, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Orange Tip and 1 Peacock. More shots of the Fritillaries can be seen on my Blog: www.marcheath.blogspot.com. Keep up the excellent site. (Marc Heath)

Having missed the Duke of Burgundy last year I was hoping to catch up with some this year, so following recent reports, I headed up to Kithurst Hill in expectation. I was not disappointed; although I only saw one individual, a female, I was privileged to watch her lay 4 eggs. Other species recorded included a handful of Small Blue, as well as my first Small Heath and Orange Tips of the year, at least 3 Dingy Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, White sp. and a Brimstone. Yesterday I saw a Holly Blue in Worthing (near Waitrose). Some pics here and on my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/48896022@N08/ (Leigh Prevost)

Holly Blue in garden in Crawley TQ255383. (Chris Prince)

We were here predominantly to see the Rhododendrons and Azaleas - still a week or two behind I'm afraid. However the NT are engaged in a lot of clearance of old dense wood and regeneration. A fabulous sunny day and we were rewarded by sightings of Large Whites, Small Whites, a Speckled Wood, and to top it all off a Wood White! (Clive and Sue Cottrell)

Although Speckled Yellow moths were everywhere and Green-veined Whites quite common, third best were Pearl-bordered Fritillaries  we saw at least 10 in various locations in Abbots Wood yesterday. We also saw Orange Tips, Brimstones (male and female), Dingy Skippers, Small Heaths, a Grizzled Skipper (hooray!), a Speckled Wood, a Peacock, a Green Hairstreak and loads and loads of families, mostly picnicking near the car park. Early we climbed the north face of Ditchling Beacon in search of Green Hairstreaks, but saw only whites and quite a lot of Dingy Skippers. (John and Val Heys)

26 and 27 May 2013. On the 26th, sunny but chilly, I spent 2 hours wondering around Abbots Wood and saw only one butterfly, a Speckled Wood. (Also met a man who had come all the way from Faversham to see our PBF  hope he got lucky after the day warmed up.) 27th, warm but windy, I took a 3 hour walk from Jevington (J), through Friston Forest (FF) and Lullington Heath (LH) visiting areas which have been good for seeing butterflies in past years. I saw 4 Dingy Skippers in one area above J and another on a ride in FF. Also saw my first Small Heath of the year on LH, and later another above J, also a Small White. Saw a male and female Brimstone and Speckled Wood in FF. Disappointing count but hopeful of better to come. (Susan Suleski)

Peacock with white spots on forewings, near Park Corner Heath and on Saturday (25 May) At Hope Bottom, Seaford Head. 1X very obliging Grizzled Skipper on Teasel, and 1X Dingy Skipper. (Peter Farrant)

Given that we had another glorious day to look forward to on Monday, my son Indi and I were determined to make the most of it. First we went to the south facing chalk cuttings either side of the Jet garage between Brighton & Lewes on the A27, to look for Adonis Blues. Here we found about four individuals on the site West of the Jet garage but was completely unprepared for the high density of Dingy Skippers, we estimated between 25 to 30 individuals dancing along the end closest to Brighton. We also saw a Common Blue and a couple of Small Coppers, one of which was yet again a miniature specimen, not much larger than my small finger nail. Given that this was the second encounter I had had in two days of a miniature butterfly, I considered the likely culprit may be the poor weather conditions experienced by these individuals whilst in the larval form. I wonder if others may see similar things this spring? We also visited the Chalk cutting on the East side of the Jet garage, the one with Scots Pines on and no butterflies were seen at all. This could in part be due to the fact that unlike the Western site, which has an abundance of Bird's-foot-trefoil and Horseshoe Vetch, the Eastern site has very little of either plant.
Next we moved on to the Hollingbury reserve, near ASDA to look for Small Blue. This site is currently being grazed and we saw no trace of the Small Blue but we did record both the Green Hairsteak and Dingy Skipper, which I believe are new species to be seen at this recently created site. We then moved on to the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven, again to look for Small Blue there. Unfortunately, we were encountered with a negative result but on April 23rd I had reported on Small Tortoiseshells showing interest in a clump of Stinging Nettles in the middle of the reserve and Indi and I were delighted to find two large tented communities of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on the South East facing side of the clump.
Next on our list was a trip to central Brighton. A social visit the night before had people asking me what all the blue butterflies were that had suddenly populated the gardens of Brighton. Indeed I myself saw at least twenty Holly Blues on that evening and so it was that we had returned to visited a large Ivy hedge, which hugged the wall of a garden, at the end of Cobden Road, Hanover. I removed a short step ladder from the boot of my car (which had been puzzling Indi) and immediately a coupling took place and I was able to photograph them at ease. Indeed I would recommend any self respecting enthusiast to carry similar equipment when in pursuit of this species, whilst in its urban environs.
Next we picked up my wife Libby and headed to Abbotts Wood to see the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. I had not seen this species at Abbotts Wood before and it was a new species for Indi and Libby. I was delighted when Mike Mullis turned up to give us personal directions, a real gentleman! It was getting a little late at around 16.30 but once we got to the correct clearing we soon found some singletons flitting about. I followed a female, which encountered a resting male. The two then entered into a short courtship, with the male longitudinally circling over the head and abdomen of the female and thus depositing his pheromones over her antenna. They then settled and the male wasted no time in manoeuvring his abdomen around to couple with the female.
We then moved on to our final destination of the day which was Rowland wood, to see the effects of the winter's management. It was far too late for butterflies but the Speckled Yellows were still on the wing. I went to the hut at Park Corner Heath to record my sightings and then read the comments by Chris Hooker and Charles Waters. Their sighting must be reward enough for all those who had worked so hard in the woodland during the winter.
Indi and I had a great day together and I now know what it feels like to be Neil Hulme for a day. (Dan Danahar)

Rewell Wood has provided me with some interesting critters the past few days, including many Pearls, a Duke, Grizzlies, Orange-tips, Drab Looper, female Muslin Moth, Treble Bar and a micro moth, Cydia ulicetana. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

News for Sunday 26 May: Sunday being a sunny day after another sunny day was full of promise and so my wife, Libby (now a BC member) and son, Indiana, as well as Nigel Symington travelled to a woodland near Plaistow, West Sussex, in search of the Wood White. It was an unexpected pleasure to bump into Ken Willmott (Surrey BC) because I had corresponded with him back in the 1980's about the White-letter Hairstreak but had failed to ever meet him. We spent a few minutes chewing the cud and talking of the weather that Ken said reminded him of similar conditions back in the 1970's, which I thought was interesting, before moving on. At this site we saw: Peacock, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Green-veined White, Small White, Large White, Brimstone, Orange-tip, Wood White, Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper. Nigel was particularly pleased to see the Wood Whites because it was a species he had not seen before. We managed to see about 10 to 15 individuals and I was astounded to see one Wood White being chased by a miniature Orange-tip. This Orange-tip landed on a Greater Stitchwort flower and its wings only just spread beyond the diameter of the petals. I was unable to get a photograph but estimate it's wingspan to be 2 cm approx.
Whilst at this location I watched a female Dingy Skipper lay eggs on Bird's-foot-trefoil which is interesting because we then moved on to Botany Bay, where we watched about 30 Wood Whites and one of these females also laid some eggs on Bird's-foot-trefoil. Given that plants belonging to the Pea family fix atmospheric nitrogen, it's no surprise that the caterpillars of so many butterfly species feed on them, as it must accelerate the rate at which the caterpillars grow. A little later I was also able to watch a Wood White puddle on an area of damp soil. There were many Nightingales to be heard and we saw a Drinker moth caterpillar on some Pendulous Sedge. (Dan Danahar)

News for Saturday 25 May: At Mill Hill, Shoreham, around midday, 2 Adonis Blues (one rather tattered), 2 or 3 Common Blues, 2 Grizzled Skippers, and several Dingy Skippers and Small Heaths. Brimstones and Green-veined Whites. Several individuals of the pyralid moth Pyrausta nigrata. Early afternoon at Kithurst Meadow, couldnt find any Duke of Burgundy, but at least 6 Small Blues, including a mating pair, and several Dingy Skippers. Brimstones, and a male Orange Tip. Burnet Companion moth and the pyralid Pyrausta aurata. Just east of the car park, a Small Tortoiseshell. (Steve Gilbert)


Sunday 26 May 2013

An early morning visit to Kithurst Meadow produced only a Speckled Wood despite seemingly ideal conditions - I suspect I was a tad early. However things got better once I got home with Common Blue 1M, Comma 1, Peacock 2, Holly Blue 1, Small White 6, Small Copper 1, Small Tortoiseshell 2 - all around the garden & paddocks. (Tim Duffield)

Enjoyed an afternoon stroll around Park Corner Heath and Rowlands Wood in the sun. Highlights were 4 Grizzled Skippers and 4+ Small or possibly, Pearl Bordered Fritillaries in a wide ride in Rowlands Wood and another 2 (S)PBF in Park Corner Heath. There were also a large number of Brimstones, easily 50. (Chris Hooker) editor's (and reserve manager's) note: As I reported below I saw two certain PBF in the same location on Saturday and visited again on Monday (today) when I saw three more definite PBF and one possible I am still to be sure of seeing any Smalls at the reserve this year and I think it is likely that all Chris's sightings were PBF, that's why I haven't marked the sightings as (red) season's firsts - if you do visit the reserve in the next few days please take your binoculars and pay particular attention to any Fritillaries you see to be sure of their identity, thanks.

The last two days have been pretty typical for me at this time of the year, involving a mad dash to try and survey all of the Sussex Duke of Burgundy sites as thoroughly as possible (my thanks go to Paul Day for assistance). Although numbers will take another season to recover, there does at least seem to be a viable population remaining in the areas I've visited so far; sometimes only just. That's quite a relief after last year's weather, but I do have doubts that the national tally will remain unaffected by the 2012 washout. I recorded 55 Dukes over 6 different sites and on some of these the butterfly is still emerging. Along the way I'm seeing reasonable numbers of Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak, although the Grizzled Skipper isn't faring quite so well. While searching an area of Rewell Wood today I saw 7 or 8 Drab Looper moths, so they seem to have weathered the storm quite well. These frail looking insects are a lot tougher than we give them credit for. (Neil Hulme)

A great day out in the woods a Botany Bay yesterday with Dan Danahar, we saw some 20 - 30 Wood Whites including this one just taking off from a bugle flower. (Nigel Symington)

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745115) where the temperature was 15.5C. Small White (7), Green-veined White (4), Large White (2M 1F), Orange Tip (1M 2F), Comma (1). (Richard Symonds)

Hi everyone, I photograph all kinds of things besides butterflies and my trip to Rewell Wood this afternoon was aimed more at flowers than butterflies. The reason I chose Rewell Wood for my outing is that I'm still poorly (turns out it is Bronchitis) and so I wanted to go somewhere where I wouldn't meet lots of people, possibly annoying them with my sniffling and coughing etc. or even infecting them with my bug. Well I got that wrong - I'd thought the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries would be past their best and so there wouldn't be many people there but the PBFs looked great and there were several people around admiring them. I did photograph lots of flowers but everyone I met was intent on the PBFs and I couldn't resist some shots of a mating pair found on one of the rides. I also saw a Brimstone and later on a Speckled Wood. It was a lovely day and there is no way I'm going to let this bug spoil my holiday altogether. I'd had plans to go county-hopping in search of orchid species this week but really don't feel up to that atm. The PBFs and flowers were a lovely silver lining for me. (Sherie New)

My first Small Blues this year, 5 of them at Bevendean TQ335066, I usually see them at this spot in spite of never finding any kidney vetch nearby. Also seen in this sheltered area were Grizzled and Dingy Skippers a Small Heath and a few Speckled Woods. (Geoff Stevens)

News for Saturday 25 May: At Saddlescombe at the chalk pit (TQ269117) on Saturday morning 20+ Dingy Skipper, 1 Common Blue, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Brimstone, Small Heath and Green-veined White. Then at Butchershole Bottom in the afternoon Small Blues, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Heath, Brimstone, and Orange Tip. (Mark Cadey)


Saturday 25 May 2013

Many months a go Alan Loweth from the RSPB's Broadwater Wareen and Tudely Woods reserves asked if it would be possible for me to lead a guided walk of our Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood reserves for their volunteers. Not only was the aim for a hopefully pleasurable day out but also to give them the opportunity to see how another woodland reserve is managed and in this case particularly for butterflies. I was delighted to assist and we planned the outing for today in the hope we might see some early Small Pearls out on the heath...
As the day approached the weather forcast seemed to suggest that in all likelyhood we would be lucky to see any butterfly let alone a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. By some miracle the day dawned sunny and reasonably warm and for the most part stayed that way. Better still, the butterflies responded too. Our fisrt was a Large White and then as we arrived at Park Corner Heath, with a Buzzard wheeling low overhead Brimstones (male and female) started to show in good number as well as a few Speckled Yellow moths (we saw lots of these as the day went on). There wasn't much flying over the heath as there was still a bit of a breeze blowing but as we were about to head over the "border" into Rowland Wood we were intercepted by a low-flying Pearl-bordered Fritillary. As it flew around us, occasionally settling to sun itself on a bracken frond, another appeared and we were given quite a show. A little while later Steve Wheatley spotted something unusual and beckoned me over, he was pointing to a patch of sunlight on the ground with a butterfly sat in the middle. It promptly flapped its wings and my immediate and slightly confused thought was that it was a very pale Wall, but as we watched, it flew up, landing on a nearby hornbeam bush and presented itself for closer examination. It was now obviously a Speckled Wood but not one like I have ever seen before. I consulted the oracle (Neil Hulme) later and he has identified it as ab. conjuncta Schnaider, 1950. I'm not sure of it's rarity but I really wasn't expecting the PBF display we had earlier to come close to being upstaged!
Elswhere on our wanderindgs we saw Peacocks, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, another Speckled Wood, Small Heaths a female Brimstone egg-laying on an alder buckthorn bush and a number of moths including Flame and Silver-ground Carpets, a Drinker caterpillar and dancing swarms of Adela reaumurella, longhorn moths. All in all, our reserves had put a pretty good show and I think everyone left happy! (Bob Foreman)

Grid reference: TQ346296: Orange-tip male Seen in our garden at 12.15. Sunny conditions slightly cloudy. (Steve Alton)

I spent the afternoon searching the clear fell area in Houghton Forest SU994114, and saw 4 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, 4 Dingy Skippers, 3 Peacocks, 3 Orange Tips, and 2 Brimstones. Good to see the PBFs are still there. (Paul Day)

News for Friday 24 May: I thought twice about heading over to Abbot's Wood given the overcast day. However, an afternoon visit proved well worth while with the appearance of 2 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries on the original ride, although barely fluttering and then 5 on the triangular patch including a mating pair. Also my 1st Broad-bodied Chaser of the year... an adult male. (John Luck)

News for Thursday 23 May: Whilst checking Garlic Mustard plants at Offham quite an unusual sighting of 2 Orange-tip ova on the same plant. Whichever one hatches first will have a big early meal!!!!! Apologies for the poor quality due to the wind, poor light and my age! (Bob Eade)


Thursday 23 May 2013

This morning I returned to Heyshott Escarpment, to lead a small gathering around the reserve. We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours on the slopes, until the sky turned angry and we were forced into retreat after a thorough soaking. Unfortunately, this meant that much of the reserve went unsurveyed. However, we still saw Duke of Burgundy (13), Pearl-bordered Fritillary (2), Dingy Skipper (15), Grizzled Skipper (3) and Small Heath (3).
As I neared home the sky started to show blue patches over the Downs behind Worthing, so I headed to Springhead Hill in the hope of some Small Blues. I wasn't disappointed, and was soon watching 8 of these delicate little beauties as they enjoyed the afternoon sun. (Neil Hulme)

Today I did my transect at Mill Hill on a windy, cool morning. Fortunately I had just finished when black clouds started dumping their load. I found a Large White and a Small Heath on the upper slopes and a brown adder by the steps on the path to the lower slope. The bottom of the hill gave me an Adonis Blue, 3 Dingy Skipper and 2 Small Heath. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Male Orange-tip seen at Buchan Hill Pease Pottage today. (Chris Prince)

News for Wednesday 22 May Part 1: I picked up some great records from Mavis and Alan Hards during an evening walk to look at Field Crickets (thanks to Mike Edwards and Bruce Middleton). I was particularly interested in the female Wall Mavis spotted at Swanbourne Lake, Arundel on 22/05/13 at TQ017080 (see below); this is a long way west for the species in Sussex and an important tetrad record for the Atlas. Within Arundel Park, at TQ016081, they recorded 6 Grizzled Skipper and 3 Dingy Skipper on 16/05/13.

Part 2:The number of Wood Whites at Botany Bay is now beginning to increase, with 6 or 7 seen in brief spells of brighter weather. This area of Chiddingfold Forest was claimed for Sussex in 2009 - it is no longer part of Surrey. In the evening I attended a walk at Lord's Piece to see the fabulous Field Cricket. Many thanks to Mike Edwards and Bruce Middleton for leading this annual event. (Neil Hulme)

After a couple of hours in Arundel Park without seeing a single butterfly, I headed back and just before the ice cream kiosk, sadly not open due to the lack of sunshine, a beautiful Wall butterfly plonked itself down on the path right in front of me. She was in no hurry to leave but after a while she decided she would look even better on a nearby Wood Spurge. I sank, unwislely, on to an ant hill, while she showed off for some time before cllosing her wings to reveal her lovely crypic underside, eventually she sailed away, our quality time over. What a Star. (Mavis Hards)

More news for Wednesday 22 May: On Wednesday the cloudy conditions were perfect at the Kithurst Hill (Springhead) meadow. I found my first Small Blue early on in the bowl. An Orange-tip flew along the bank by the road and obligingly stopped for a rest. When the sun appeared briefly I happened to be in the right place for a Duke of Burgundy to land in front of me. He fluttered around his territory at the north end of the meadow. Another Small Blue flew around the meadow then a Dingy Skipper presented himself to complete an excellent day out. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Wednesday 22 May 2013

Visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill today. Although the weather was overcast with a cold wind, there were occasional sunny intervals .Saw my first Adonis Blue of the season, but only one around. Others seen were Grizzled Skipper (1), Dingy Skipper (3), Small Heath (5), Green-veined White (3). (Simon Quin)

Due to a major problem at home I've had to miss my trip to Scotland to see the Chequered Skipper. Nigel Kemp however did still go (and saw a mating pair on Monday)!! so today I did his transect on Frog Firle. The weather was very poor but there was a few sunny bits so I did at least get some sightings. Grizzled and Dingy Skippers were the most numerous but it was good to see my first Common Blue and Wall Brown. The Wall was interestingly a female. The best thing I saw however was a female Golden Oriole that flew across in front of me at the furthest end of the transect and landed in a bush about 100yds away and sat for several seconds giving me great views. A very rare sight for Sussex. I would prefer to have seen the Chequered though!! My bird mad son managed to see the bird some 3 hrs later near where I saw it. (Bob Eade)


Tuesday 21 May 2013

I had a look at the sightings page last night and saw the first Wall Brown notification from Sunday so I had my hopes up when I went up to my allotment on Whitehawk Hill in east Brighton today. And along came a Wall Brown, just where I normally see one. Great joy. And a little later a Speckled Wood along the hedged path through the allotments that often yields a Speckled Wood sighting And a few whites too of course, though don't know if they were Large or Small, not so joyful to allotment holders. (Tessa Pawsey)

This afternoon conditions in my part of Sussex were rather cool and gloomy, but that didn't stop me from heading to Springhead Hill in hope. This is a late site in a normal year, so it has barely started to produce this season. In terms of its condition, it's never looked better. The sunny spells forecast never materialised, and nor did the butterflies, but I did disturb a few moths while chasing my daughter around the meadow. These included Burnet Companion, the longhorn Nematopogon swammerdamella and 3 beautiful, fresh Green Carpet. (Neil Hulme)

The weather was overcast and decidedly warm in excess of 15 degrees Cso I decided to put the moth trap on from 22.00. I wasn't disappointed as the following were attracted to the MV light. Great (4), Coxcomb, Pebble and Swallow Prominents, Poplar Kitten, Lobster Moth (2), Peppered Moth, Poplar Hawk-moth, Brimstone Moth, Red Twin-spot Carpet and a couple of Pugs. Interestingly none of the common Noctuids this time but about a hundred crane flies (spp.) and five of the large black burying beetles Nicrophorus humator to add to the ambiance. (Richard Roebuck)

Rewell Wood has a very good population of micro moths and while searching for Pearls, I have taken the opportunity to photograph them whenever one lands near me. I find it difficult to identify most of them, probably because of the variation of colour and pattern within a species. The Speckled Yellow moth has been a target for the past few days. This moth detects me from five metres away and flies up into the canopy, offering few photo opportunities. Yesterday I found one that actually settled in a good position and allowed me a few shots before reverting to normal behaviour. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Monday 20 May 2013

Last year my mother found a mass of young Emperor Moth caterpillars still in their early black stage. I returned later that day with my daughter and we collected ten of the lava to bring up at home. On the May 3rd, this year, the first hatched, a female which we kept indoors for two days, as the weather was wet and also in the hope that a male might hatch. The weather improved and on the third night she was released into the garden. Of course the very next morning a male hatched and I started what I thought would be a futile search in the garden for the female. She was still there! Having been introduced, they mated and a number of eggs were laid. Next day I released them together in the Heather at Fittleworth. As the female settled on the plant she deposited a fresh clutch of eggs. Since then three more moths have hatched and been released. Note: we found that the easiest plant to feed the caterpillars on was Meadowsweet. (Josse Davis)

News for Sunday 19 May:

Yesterday afternoon I visited a Pearl-bordered Fritillary glade and had 27 sightings between 5 and 6:40pm, including many brief mid-air fights. After 6:40 I found 2 roosting specimens. I also saw 2 Speckled Yellow and a Brown Silver-line. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

On Sunday afternoon me and dad headed for The Gallops, Friston and walking around the edge saw 15 Grizzled Skipper, 8 Dingy Skipper, an Orange Tip and Brimstone in mainly cloudy conditions. There were plenty of Pyrausta moths at the top the most numerous being Pyrausta nigrata, a few P.aurata and P.despicata were the others I definitely identified, a Drinker caterpillar and a nice fresh Cinnabar. On Saturday after a great day at Heyshott we popped into Rewell Wood and found smart looking Eucosmomorpha albersana. (Mark Cadey)

2 female Brimstones seen on bridleway near to the top of Rackham hill grid ref. TQ0520812729. (Arthur Greenslade)

News for Thursday 16 May:

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745115) on 16th May. Brimstone (1M), Large White (1), Small White (3), Green-veined White (3), Orange Tip (3M) and Speckled Wood (2). Temperature was 14C. Pleased to finally see my first Speckled Wood this year. (Richard Symonds)

Grizzled Skipper sighting at TQ001177: This location is on Coates Common/Lords Piece and may be new for this species. It is certainly the first time I have seen the species in the 20 years dog-walking there. The reason is that the area was a conifer wood until about 4 years ago when it was clear-felled by Barlavington Estate and has since been subjected to ground-clearance and cattle- grazing.
Such regeneration of vegetation as has so far occurred is probably sufficient to support Grizzled Skippers but by and large butterflies on Coates Common are restricted to wanderers and the occasional Small Copper. (David Connell)

It was a slow start with low numbers of all common species throughout Thursday morning 16th May at Rewell Wood in company with Alan Wingrove. However persistence paid off by mid-afternoon with 20 sightings of Pearl-bordered Fritillary. This included one aberration, perhaps Bolaria euphrosyne Melanic.ab ? (South's British Butterflies). Unfortunately it didn't settle long enough for me to capture a good enough image for a positive id. (Tom Dunbar)


Sunday 19 May 2013

13 heroes and heroines joined Ellie and I for a search for the blues (not out yet...) and skippers (fat chance) of Mill Hill. As last year a huddled group in warm coats and an abundance of woolly hats gathered in the top car park. Leaden skies and a cold breeze did not look ideal (realists would say hopeless). Luckily on the equivalent weekend last year the similar early cloud broke and the sun shone. Unluckily this year the cloud stuck tight and it got worse as spits and spots of drizzle appeared.
However, the group did see why the slope of Mill Hill is so good for butterflies. The temperature is so much higher along the lower slope. Things were so bad I resorted to bird-watching (a lovely yellowhammer) and bumble bee spotting (red tailed bumblebee) which may be sufficient to get me excommunicated from BC (we did attempt some moth spotting too though and identified Pyrausta nigrata (I think).
But then just as all looked lost and my credibility was in shreds, a miracle happened and one of the group conjured up a newly emerged Wall Brown which even landed on one of the teams trousers! Perfect...
It was the only butterfly we saw in the two hours, but it was good one!
Unsurprisingly, the slope which should be bright yellow with horseshoe vetch is still only speckled with yellow - like everything else it must be weeks late. (Chris and Ellie Corrigan)

I don't believe it! (say it in your best Victor Meldew voice...)
After this mornings damp squib of a BC walk the sun came out (of course) in the late afternoon so I nipped back to Mill Hill and in 20 mins or so at the bottom of the slope saw an Orange Tip, 2 Brimstones, at least 8 Dingy Skippers, 3 Grizzled Skippers and a Green Hairstreak!
Massive apologies to all walk attendees from earlier in the day... if only you could have been there!!
There was a Holly Blue in my garden in North Shoreham and a Speckled Wood was in the house. It's a sad state of affairs when you see as many butterflies in your house as you see when you lead a two hour BC walk.
Grrrr! (Chris Corrigan)

The Corrigans ably and enthusiastically led our small, stoic gathering around the Mill Hill site in Shoreham this morning (Sun May 19th) and weren't in the least bit deterred by the very overcast & intermittently drizzly weather! We need help with identifying the two small moths that were spotted (the darker-coloured of the two, very small indeed - see photos) (- the first is a Common Heath and the smaller one is Pyrausta nigrata) and a there was a big whoop of delight when someone in the group uncovered a Wall Brown (apologies for the terrible, out of focus photo of the Wall, but the combination of an active butterfly & poor camera (+ technique) made for the atrocious blurred shot, but a Wall it clearly is!) Thanks to all for a thoroughly enjoyable morning! (Kelly Westlake)


Saturday 18 May 2013

Thank you to everybody who came along to The Gribble Inn in Oving yesterday for my Butterfly Identification course. 40 people joined me in the skittle alley to learn more about butterfly recording and identification. Everyone certainly seemed keen to get out there and help record butterflies for the atlas - which is great as we don't have too many recorders in that part of Sussex. A big thank you to Sarah Hughes and Penny Green who organised this event. After the morning indoor session and walk were finished Penny, Fay and I went off in search of some Orange-tip eggs in the area and Penny photographed this mating pair atop some garlic mustard (Michael Blencowe)

The local launch of Save Our Butterflies Week was a great success in Sussex. The event at Heyshott Escarpment, which I co-led with Mike Edwards of the Murray Downland Trust, was blessed with sunshine, which was certainly preferable to the complete cloud cover forecast up until that morning. It seems we are always lucky here! I would like to think that the 37 people who attended went away with some happy memories of the day; Heyshott certainly performed well and there were a few surprises in store for us, including hotdogs (thanks MDT). During the walk itself we saw between 20 and 30 Duke of Burgundy without trying too hard. I later returned to scour the entire reserve and came up with a total of 42 (including 3 females) after a couple of hours. With the season still running late the supporting cast was quite limited, but included Dingy Skipper (21), Grizzled Skipper (2), Brimstone (3), Green-veined White (2) and Orange Tip (1). However, the biggest surprise of the day left me speechless - some would say a rare condition for me. As we entered one of the lower pits a pristine Pearl-bordered Fritillary flopped down in front of me. I could barely believe my eyes, later confirming it as a male. After the walk I was in the same pit with Susie Milbank, when we saw a female PBF emerge from the scrub on damp wings. This was her first, rather wobbly flight. This species was undoubtedly emerging on site. And to think I had experienced all those problems finding PBF on the Rewell walks! Colin Pratt, the County Recorder, informs me that they were last recorded in this area back in the 1990s, and that they used to occur along the Downs here. So where did they come from? It is 11.5 Km to Rewell Wood, so if they did originate from here I would expect to find other satellite colonies somewhere between. I think it is more likely that an as yet undiscovered population exists just over the brow in Charlton Forest - there is certainly some good habitat there. (Neil Hulme)

As Nigel Symington, Susan Foden and I drove towards Heyshott Escarpment, we could not believe how wonderful the Sussex scenery was. The rolling downland on the horizon, the multiple shades of subtle green leaves on each tree and bush, as well as the delicious blue skies vailed with low misty cloud; made for a spectacular journey. Gone today was the surly winter weather of what has commonly become known as Mayvember. On arrival and after a short meet, all 35+ of us walked to the the quarry pits, being lead by Neil Hulme and Mike Edwards. Here, both guides eloquently described the habitat ecology of the site and the historic events that had led to its formation. Then, no doubt as many will report, came the real surprise of the day, a male Pear-bordered Fritillary turned up. Many witnessed this event and many were able to photograph the individual. Neil was speechless but immediately attempted to estimate the distance to the nearest known colony, at Rewell wood. He calculated between 6 to 7 kilometres but of course it's highly likely that there are unknown colonies even nearer. Either-way, if ever there was a need to justify the management efforts that have taken place at Heyshott, this was one sure way of confirming their value. It also draws into question the validity of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary sighting from Rowland Wood, that some have considered illegitimate. Surely, we must now view these in a different light.
Whilst on the slopes we also saw Brimstones, Dingy Skippers and of course the Duke of Burgundy, perhaps twenty in all. Most were freshly emerged and the weather conditions were almost perfect for photography. A young Adder even turned up. The two hours seemed to fly past and as usual I felt that I had as much fun meeting all of my butterflying chums as I had the pleasure of seeing the insects themselves.
Well done to all those who organised the day and to all who have contributed to making Heyshott such a fabulous site for wildlife. (Dan Danahar)

Despite being almost an hour late and missing the actual walk I really enjoyed this day out. I only caught up with the group when they were on their way back from the walk but that was partly my own fault as I kept stopping to take photos on my way up the hill even though I knew I was already late. It's a steep climb up to the top of the Heyshott escarpment so who can blame me for stopping now and then for photos of Adder's Tongue (thank you to the Murray Downland Trust volunteer who showed me where to find these) and Yellow Archangel? Once at the Duke's hotspot (thanks to the gentleman who showed me the route up) I promptly sat down for a good breather and lunch. It was lovely to meet Sussex BC people again and just to enjoy being in such a beautiful spot. Given that I'm a photo-maniac you might think it a bit odd but I was having severe problems motivating myself to move at all... I'm going to put this down to the cold I've been battling for the last week, obviously I'm just not quite my normal self! I know other people attending have some wonderful shots of the Dukes and mine were not all that brilliant so I've just included one but thought you might like to see photos of people photographing the butterflies and also of the escarpment itself. It has always been beautiful up there but the last time I visited was 2009. What a difference the volunteers have made to the site in that time. It's really opened up and you can see Cowslips everywhere. Well done folks, you deserve a reward of some kind just for getting up that steep slope every week - putting in hours of work on top of that is pretty amazing. (Sherie New)

A pristine Small Blue was seen in the meadow at Springhead Hill this morning. Other species seen were Small Heath (2), Green-veined White (2), Speckled Wood (1) and Orange Tip (1). (Paul and Margaret Cox)

Despite the cloudy conditions we saw 3 Duke of Burgundies at Kithurst Hill. However little else was noted except a Small Blue (my first this year) and a Green-veined White and the odd moth (including a Falseuncaria ruficiliana). (Mike Snelling)

On Friday I visited Heyshott escarpment and the weather was perfect for photography. I quickly found two Dukes which both posed well for the cameras. I also saw 4 Dingy Skipper, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Brimstone, 1 unidentified White, 1 Green-veined White, an unidentified micro-moth and a Scorpion Fly. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

News for Friday 17 May: On an overcast afternoon I visited Mill Hill but virtually all the butterflies on the lower slopes were hiding. I did manage to see my first Small Heath Butterfly of 2013, a damaged pale Grizzled Skipper, and I disturbed my first Dingy Skipper (this skipper was in turn dislodged when a Crane Fly landed on top of it) and Cinnabar Moth of the year. The yellow flowers of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on Mill Hill were very common but nowhere near their peak. The pyralid moths were frequently seen especially Pyrausta nigrata but only one definite of the colourful Pyrausta pupuralis. I also spotted an occasional even tinier Pancalia leuwenhoekella. A Nomada fucata kleptoparastic (cuckoo) bee was seen at the top of the steps leading down to the lower slopes (southern end). (Andy Horton)


Friday 17 May 2013

A Common Blue found roosting in long grass on our front lawn was the first I've seen this year. (Tim Duffield)

The sunshine has brought out another flush of Holly Blues in my Ferring garden (Tim Freed)

In cool cloudy conditions a short visit to Abbotts Wood produced a single Pearl-bordered Fritillary as well as a pair of mating Muslin Moths. (Bob Eade)

My day started well when a beautiful female Holly Blue posed on the Fatsia japonica in my back garden. On a private site in the far west of West Sussex I counted 6 Duke of Burgundy, 4 Dingy Skipper, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 4 Orange Tip, 2 Brimstone, 1 Peacock and an obliging Green-veined White, which passed the time on a dandelion clock. Moth interest was provided by a Drab Looper (1) and the elegant Plume Adaina microdactyla (2). (Neil Hulme)

Recent news: On Storrington downs yesterday saw a Brimstone at TQ087122. It flew straight at me and would have hit me if a Peacock hadn't jumped up and chased it away.
Also a good showing of Dingy and Grizzled Skippers. And a wainscot moth caterpilar, possibly White-point or Brown-line Bright-eye, together with an adult Flame Shoulder.
And for good measure here's a picture of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary taken on Neil's 'third time lucky' walk at Rewell Wood last Sunday. (Nigel Symington)


Thursday 16 May 2013

Pearl-bordered Fritillary numbers are now starting to build well, with 45 seen over three areas at Rewell Wood. They can be seen from the right of way reached by walking past the sawmill and turning left at the T-junction, about 200 metres along this track. The first Duke of Burgundy (4) are on the wing at Springhead Hill - please try to keep to the established paths through the meadow. Plenty of Grizzled and Dingy Skipper can now be found on the Downs at Storrington. More at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4065&start=1080 (Neil Hulme)

For the first time at Cissbury this year the butterflies showed slight signs of spring. The first Dingy Skippers (2) and Small Coppers (2) were flying. Also seen were Grizzled Skippers (4), Holly Blue (1), Green-veined White (2), Orange-tip (4) plus several Brimstones, and 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacock, and a Comma and Speckled Wood. (Mike Snelling)

Found this bright little Small Copper along the banks of the River Arun in Littlehampton. My first this year. (Celia Curtis)

Mill Hill: 2 Grizzled Skipper, 5 Dingy Skipper, 1 Small Heath. (Arthur Greenslade)

Heyshott: Very pleasant walk around a new site for me, somewhere I'll be visiting in the future for sure! During the first part of my walk I located a single Dingy Skipper which would not sit still for a picture was 1 of 2 brand new butterflies for me. The second was the rather brilliant Duke Of Burgundy which thanks to some expert eyes (and a stick)! helped me see 2 of these wonderful little butterflies. I also saw my first Speckled Wood of the year 2 Brimstones and 1 Orange Tip. (Jake Gearty)

Somebody turned on the spring today, with flying insects galore and the scent of coconut coming from the Gorse blossom. The golden globe shone brightly in the sky and the temperature reached 16 degrees in my car, as I headed towards Rewel wood. I had a very narrow window of opportunity but with a little guidance from Neil, I located this year's population hotspot and at around 16.00hrs was having a delightful time watching the Pearl-bordered Fritillaries pumping their wings, as they supped on the Bugle nectar. I guess I saw between 20 to 30 butterflies but it was really hard to estimate numbers. The majority were male but one or two females were to be seen. All in all a wonderful experience. (Dan Danahar)

Mill Hill is finally producing good numbers of skippers at the bottom of the hill. Yesterday my transect recorded 1 Brimstone, 11 Dingy Skipper, 5 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Large White, 1 Orange-tip, 2 Small Heath and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. I saw my first Speckled Yellows at Rewell Wood on Wednesday, plus a new Longhorn moth for me, Nematopogon swammerdamella and an unidentified moth of the Olethreutinae sub-family. Small Purple and Gold have appeared at a number of sites. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

My Orange-tip pupa that was saved last year from the council mowers last year when I brought it home as an egg hatched today. It turned into a pupa 26th June 2012 (see Sightings - 25 and 26 June 2012) so was a pupa for very nearly a year. Unfortunately I missed the actual arrival of the little girl as was at the doctors but it was still by the pupal case when we returned home. (Bob Eade)


Wednesday 15 May 2013

An amazing day in cool breezy conditions on Greenway Bank. 9 species of butterfly as well as Common Heath moths. The highlight was mating Grizzled Skipper, paired up for 27 minutes until the girl pushed the bloke away with her hindlegs. A smart Dingy Skipper roosted on an old flower head and I also had my first Small Copper of the year and 2 Green Hairstreak. Fab day!! (Bob Eade)

On Monday 13th of May, there was a patch of sunshine around 11.00, when a male Orange-tip flew into range on the Dorothy Stringer Woodland Reserve. Here it settled on a bramble leaf and basked in the sunlight just long enough for me to take a photo. Then it took to the wing and landed on some Cow Parsley just as the clouds obscured the sun. It then remained in position until 11.30 today, 48.5 hours later when I saw it fly again, just as a speck of sunlight returned. The intervening period was grey, cold and mostly wet. No wonder things are so slow this spring. (Dan Danahar)


Tuesday 14 May 2013

Rewell Wood has been very fruitful the past few days. Sunday's walk gave me this Pearl-bordered Fritillary. On Monday morning I had a chance meeting with Paul Day who found this mating pair of Orange-tips. On Tuesday I found this Grizzled Skipper and managed to track him for 30 minutes as he fluttered around Sunday's Pearl beds. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

News for Thursday 9 May: A beautiful Speckled Wood perched outstretched in a bush in a private garden on Winton Street in Alfriston during the early afternoon on Thursday. If it hadn't been private property, I'd have nipped through the gate & taken a photo! Lovely to see though, especially on such a blustery day. (Kelly Westlake, Brighton)

And finally... I have managed to squeeze most forms of life in to a report so here's a recipe for something slightly different. I was discussing with a friend recently the merits of eating nettles, stings and all, so tonight blessed with a garden full of these delights, I bit the bullet. I am keen on first time for everything. I collected a number of cuttings from the tops of young nettles wearing a glove and put these in a pan and boiled them down for a few minutes, partway through I sampled said vegetable and it was bland to say the least. Now with spicy sausages and a few roots in tandem cooking away I decided to chuck in some double cream to my nettle stew. Hey Ho a short while later a scrumptious meal, I even went for seconds from my Nettle a la crme.
So they you have it, Commas, Red Admirals, Small Torts etc. are actually on to a good thing. (Richard Roebuck)


Monday 13 May 2013

News for Sunday 12 May: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings on 12th May from Stansted Forest (SU745115). Orange Tip (5M 1F) and Green-veined White (1). Temperature was a cool 13C and for the last two vists here no sign of Brimstones. (Richard Symonds)

News for Saturday 11 May: Some 20+ optimistic Amblers assembled at FC's Abbots Wood car-park at 10am on Saturday - I counted them all out... but somehow forgot to count them all back again. I don't think we lost anyone but if you are still out there, perhaps let me know if you saw any more butterflies!
I craftily planned this year's Amble a week later than last year's cold and grey, butterfly-less squelch around the wood. I gambled that by the 11th May, the local Pearl-bordered Fritillaries would be out in droves under a blue sky and hot sun, following us around the wood by the dozen, with Hairstreaks, Skippers, Orange Tips and an assortment of other species distracting us at every turn along the rides and glades. And of course there'd be dragonflies darting here and there and that fantastic chorus of Abbots Wood nightingales ringing out everywhere.
Well, it didn't QUITE turn out like that but given the very dodgy forecast a couple of days previously, we were pretty lucky with the weather, most of the above turned up in some shape or form and it DIDN'T rain! As the morning progressed, we even enjoyed some bright and breezy sunshine too, albeit with borderline temperatures for seeing butterflies on the wing (only 12-13C)... but that was at least 6C WARMER than last year! For our three mile amble, we circled the wood via the bugle-strewn forest road and various green rides, took a few footpath-only short-cuts, and visited most of the main Pearl-bordered Fritillary clearings - five in all - although only the now famous 'mulched triangle' (Site 2) held any of the target butterfly species.
The traditional PBF ride and clearings (Site 1) were devoid of almost anything although Gary (our solo advanced search party) found a Green-veined White at the end of the ride and we did at least see some first Speckled Yellow moths of the season in the open areas. Further compensation came in the form of various nightingales, warblers (chiffchaffs, blackcaps and willow warblers) and many other woodland birds singing away in the blustery conditions en route and a calling green woodpecker (and at least one nightingale) following us around the wood. By the time we reached Site 2 (the sloping, wind-swept 'mulched triangle'), patches of blue sky and sunshine were also evident and better still, several Pearl-bordered Fritillaries were on the wing. Initially, two or three were seen in the sheltered near corner, then one or two more around the 'triangle' and two dog-fighting in the opposite lower corner - all males early in the flight period. The butterflies posed obligingly for photos, relieved to be basking down at ground level out of the wind, as was a slow worm which slithered off into the undergrowth. These were also my first PBF's of the year and the likely count for this whole clearing was just into double figures. So better late than never - in fact about 2-3 weeks later than last year! We also found a couple of Grizzled Skippers including one that looked like a partial taras aberration but Green Hairstreaks remained elusive.
Elsewhere around the wood, butterflies were in short supply in the cool, breezy conditions, particularly along exposed rides and around the other main clearings. But we did at least see a grey wagtail along the stream below the lake, then a Large Red Damselfly and a fleeting Large White at one of the crossroad junctions of tracks and rides. On the final leg back to the car-park, another White whizzed past (which could have been Green-veined or Small... I rashly, possibly incorrectly, suggested the former), a Comma was basking on bramble just off the footpath and then - the final, unexpected coup de grace: a tiny, sheltered bit of bluebell-strewn, grassy ride-edge held a Small and Large White, a Peacock, a Speckled Wood and a female Orange Tip all within a couple of metres of each other. And these were only 100m from the car-park! So nine butterfly species on the day... unless anyone saw a Brimstone too? (Mike Mullis)

News for Friday 10 May: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings on 10th May from Stansted Forest (SU745115). Small White (3), Orange Tip (8M 2F). Temperature was 14C. (Richard Symonds)


Sunday 12 May 2013

Today I spent more than 6 hours in Rewell Wood, and only left as it started to rain. I spent the morning with a dozen South Downs National Park volunteers, showing them the end result of their winter labours. These folk make a vital contribution to the habitat management work done for our butterflies and moths in Sussex and Hampshire, so it was nice to put some of this into context. The sun shone and the Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (PBF) performed well. The efforts of the SDNPA volunteers are most appreciated, both by Butterfly Conservation and the butterflies themselves. In the afternoon I met up with 24 faithful butterfly-watchers who had not given up hope of seeing PBF in Rewell Wood this year! After two premature visits I was getting a little worried about the weather forecast (torrential rain), having hastily added a third walk to the calendar. In the end the weather was just good enough for us to see a couple, both in flight and at roost, both open and closed. The tally for the entire day was Pearl-bordered Fritillary (12), Grizzled Skipper (1), Orange Tip (4) including a mating pair, Green-veined White (1), Speckled Wood (1), Brimstone (1) and Peacock (1). Colin Knight also managed to tame a Green Tiger Beetle for us to observe up close. Thanks to all that came and to the Norfolk Estate, both for their help in conserving butterflies and moths, and for allowing us access. (Neil Hulme)

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend Part 1 and 2 so was glad to be able to attend the 3rd walk organised by Neil. Whilst the weather wasn't looking great, any doubts that we would see any butterflies were soon allayed as Neil soon found 1 freshly emerged male Pearl-bordered Fritillary; a second was seen shortly after. No more were seen on the day but both obliged well and everyone went home pleased I think. Photo above and a few more on my Flickr site here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/48896022@N08/) I suspect there are a lot of very similar looking photos! (Leigh Prevost)

Went for a brief walk around High & Over and saw three Peacocks, some Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell. (Nick Linazasoro)

Cradle Hill is very slow at the moment with very little showing. My first Dingy Skipper for the year was seen this afternoon but it needs the cool wind to ease off and a bit of warmth. (Bob Eade)

1 Angle Shades in the Moth Trap this morning. Also 1 Peacock butterfly and a Speckled Wood flew in and over are East Preston garden. (George Kinnard)


Saturday 11 May 2013

The first Duke of Burgundy females are now flying at Heyshott Escarpment, with numbers building nicely ready for our guided walk next Saturday. More on the Burgundy Blog at http://hamearislucina.blogspot.co.uk/ (Neil Hulme)

2 Grizzled Skippers along the Northern edge of Friston forest TQ 52574 00226 with 1 Red Admiral. Butterfly lifer for me! (Jake Gearty)

News for Thursday 9 May: Air temperature rose just enough to see this Small White take to the wing and eventually land in my back garden. I include it as a record on the sightings page because: a) I was delighted to see a butterfly flying and b) there have been many times recently where the presence of a Small White has been conspicuous by its absence, for example the Big Sussex Butterfly Race last year (13 July). Which I think goes to show that we must value all our fauna and flora equally, as it is all vulnerable! (Dan Danahar)


Friday 10 May 2013

News for Tuesday 7 May 2013: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745115). Brimstone (2M 1F), Small White (2), Orange Tip (6M 2F), Peacock (2). The morning temperature was around 16C and just before my walk in the mid afternoon the temperature had reached 19C. Please to see my first female Orange Tip. (Richard Symonds)


Thursday 9 May 2013

I started the day at Rewell Wood, where I was very relieved to see a male Pearl-bordered Fritillary - at last! All we need now is a few sunny spells on Sunday afternoon (see Events Listing for 'The Pearls of Rewell Wood, Part 3'). I then joined Mark Colvin to photograph a Duke of Burgundy in woodland nearby, before heading to Heyshott Escarpment. By now it was blowing a gale; conditions which the Duke hates. However, I still managed to find 4 freshly emerged specimens hunkered down in the scrub. These were the only butterflies I saw, with the exception of an Orange Tip in the lane leading to the reserve. (Neil Hulme)

Green Hairstreak have at last started to appear at Frog Firle this week. Numbers are still very low with only 2 seen along with just 2 Grizzled Skipper. It may still be some time before this site really comes alive. A Large Red Damselfly and a Hairy Dragonfly were also seen. (Bob Eade)


Wednesday 8 May 2013

The first Duke of Burgundy observed in Sussex during 2013, was recorded on Monday, 6th May at Heyshott Escarpment. After my early start yesterday morning, followed by a run down to Blandford Forum in Dorset for an 11am meeting, I headed back to West Sussex and more specifically Heyshott Escarpment. I didn't have a great deal of time on my hands but managed to record seven Dukes along with my first Dingy and Grizzled Skippers of the year. A problem with my camera frustratingly resulted in shots I wasn't happy with. Problem rectified, I popped back today. Fingers crossed for a really great season. (Mark Colvin)

The last couple of days has seen a good emergence of Holly Blues, with half a dozen now flying in my Worthing back garden (TQ1402). (Neil Hulme)

News for Monday 6 May 2013: Signalling a spectacular reversal of fortunes compared to last year, I counted a whopping 63 male Green Hairstreak at Chantry Hill on Monday. Grizzled Skipper (9) and Dingy Skipper (2) were amongst the other butterflies seen over habitat created by the South Downs National Park Nature Improvement Area project. More at ukbutterflies.co.uk. (Neil Hulme)


Tuesday 7 May 2013

One male Wood White seen in a wood near Plaistow. (Margaret Hibbard)

I saw my first Grizzled Skipper of the year in Barnes Wood today. You would think it was laughing at me! (Jim Barrett)

I cannot remember the last year that I saw blue butterflies in our small central Brighton terrace garden but in this first week in May we have seen 8-10 Holly Blues, fluttering in pairs in both the front and back gardens (mostly male as I have not spotted any dark tips on the wings). There is nothing much in flower in the garden at the minute but lots of greenery and plenty of sunshine. (Laura Valentine, Brighton)

Diplock's Wood (Tetrad TQ5602): saw two Speckled Woods, my first of the year. During my walks these past few days, the most abundant butterfly has been Brimstones, and occasional Orange Tips (3 in Park Corner). Today I saw what I can only describe as a miniature Small Tortoiseshell, about half normal size, I thought it was a moth at first. (Susan Suleski)

4 Brimstones at Ambersham Common SU913195 on 6 May 2013. 3 Speckled Wood at Mewsbrook Park, Rustington on 7 May 2013. (Ken Hearne)

The day started well with the emergence of two Speckled Wood in the garden. I decided to do the same walk as a few days ago with a hike around Chantry Hill. Nine species of butterflies (including the garden species) with approximate numbers as follows: Brimstone (13), Green Hairstreak (7), Grizzled Skipper (6), Orange-tip (5), Holly Blue (3), Small White (3), Speckled Wood (3), Green-veined White (2) and Large White (2). (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

On Mount Caburn today, first saw one Peacock in very fine condition at TQ439097. Then at 438093 I saw a Brimstone caught in a spider's web. At first I thought it was flapping in the breeze, but a closer look showed that it was still alive and that the spider had just moved in for its lunch (well it was 1 o'clock). After about 5 minutes the Brimstone managed to get free and flew off very strongly.
Later on in Barnes wood I saw a Red Admiral at TQ762206, then a Brimstone and a Comma. (Nigel Symington)

Saw Orange Tip and Holly Blue whilst busking in George Street Hove today... in the the town Centre no less. (Danny McEvoy)

News for Monday 6 May: My Mill Hill transect on Monday yielded Small Tortoiseshell, a Green Hairstreak, 4 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Dingy Skipper, 3 male Brimstone, a Large White, a male Orange-tip, a Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood and 6 Peacock. I also spotted a few moths: Pyrausta nigrata, a Small Purple-barred and a Pancalia schwarzella. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

More news for Monday 6 May: We took a drive to the north of the county today and recorded butterflies in the area north of Horsham for the ongoing atlas project. Good to see Orange-tips were in abundance and we were able to add 18 new tetrad squares to the map for this species. We did some searching for Orange-tip eggs and they were few and far between. Of the three eggs we found two of them were white and freshly laid. The females must have only just started laying in the last week. Let's hope that they have plenty more days like today to give them the opportunity to lay plenty more. (Michael Blencowe)

News for Sunday 5 May: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745115) where the temperature was 15.5C. Brimstone (1M), Green-veined White (1), Small White (1), Orange Tip (1M), Peacock (5) and Comma (1). (Richard Symonds)


Monday 6 May 2013

After a number of negative visits to Heyshott I was today rewarded with four lovely Duke of Burgundy. I took some fab photos but alas my computer has given up the ghost so unable to send them till later. They were all found on the original eastern escarpment. Also seen were numerous Brimstone and Orange Tip and a solitary Grizzled Skipper. A visit to Verdley Wood at Henley again proved negative for the Pearl Bordered Fritillary just loads of Brimstone. Steven Morgan)

I saw my first Pearl-Bordered Fritillary of the year at Abbot's wood today. (Gary Norman)

At Mill Hill between 10:30-12:00, highlights included a stunning Green Hairstreak in the North-western corner of the lower slope (and a second close to the footpath that dissects the two slopes) plus my first Dingy Skipper of the year. The Green Hairstreak was my first for a couple of years and amazingly seen in the same place as one individual 2 years previous. It was quite flighty but interesting to watch as it would often return to the same leaf or 'perching post' after being disturbed by the many flies. It also seemed to position its wings so as to take maximum advantage of the sun's rays - leaning sideways into the sun. As I understand the first Dingy Skipper of the season was seen yesterday by Paul Cox (from Surrey?) (...and others - see below), who was down visiting for a few days. Also seen this am, Brimstone, Peacock, White sp., Grizzled Skipper, and my first Speckled Woods (3) of the year. (Leigh Prevost)

I spent most of the day gardening and recorded seven butterfly species in the garden, as follows with approximate numbers: Orange Tip (4-6), Holly Blue (3-4), Brimstone (1m, 1f), Small White (2), Comma (1), Peacock (1) and Green-veined White (1).
A couple of days ago I saw an aberrant Small White in the garden. It had two well demarcated broad green bands across the the underside of the forewing. Does that ring any bells with anyone? (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)

A pair of Green-veined White mating on Cradle Hill. Very little else butterflywise but a very smart Red Kite flew close. (Bob Eade)

I took a friend on a butterfly outing to today for their very first time. We started off emptying the moth trap but I was annoyed that sparrows had deconstructed a rather nice Swallow Prominent. At Mill Hill we clocked up, Speckled Wood, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak in about 20 mins. What a start! and continued with male and female Brimstone, Orange Tip and Peacock and a couple of Pyrausta aurata. My friend then found yet another Green Hairstreak at the top of Mill Hill near the car park (that's double my count for last year) and a Holly Blue. The day continued with Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, female Orange Tip, Green-veined white, Large White and Small White on our travels. So that's 13 species bagged excellent and if I ad in a newly hatched Brown Hairstreak egg a debatable 14, but obviously no one at home. But may be an unconfirmed Red Admiral hurtling by makes up for that. Perhaps a new camera lens is on the shopping list as my friend thought the whole experience was just great especially on such a beautiful day. The stunning Bluebell woods and early spotted orchids earlier on added to the mix as well as rampaging Brown-tail moth caterpillars and a few large Wall Lizards at Shoreham beech. (Richard Roebuck)

A stunning day weather-wise but difficult as far as butterflies were concerned. The late spring has really messed up the phenology of so many species. I spent about an hour and a half at Mill Hill looking for Grizzled Skipper and I'm convinced I only saw one individual multiple times. However, there was a very obliging Green Hairstreak on site and I also saw Brimstone, Orange Tip, Peacock and Speckled Wood. At the top I also bumped into a fourth instar Drinker moth caterpillar. A journey to Rewel Wood revealed no Pearls but there were plenty of Common lizards and Orange Tip, Green-veined White and Peacocks. (Dan Danahar)

Male Brimstone at Kithurst Hill and Red Admiral near Kithurst Hill. (Chris Prince)

In East Dean (TV562984) today three sightings of Holly Blue and one Small White. (Carole & David Jode)

It's been quite cold in Hove despite a lot of sunshine over the last 2 weeks, but at last it's warm enough for the Holly Blues:- one at Princes Crescent on 1st May and one at the same site on 2nd May, one at Tesco's car park Church Road on 3rd May, one at Hove railway station car park on 4th May, two at the same time at the Princes Crescent site on 6th May, and best of all three at the same time in our back garden in New Church Road on also 6th May. One of them landed on a patch of thin rather dead grass which was well sheltered and in the full sunshine - not their usual behaviour in our garden, as normally if they land at all it's on bushes or ivy covered wall. So maybe it's still a bit on the cool side higher up in the breeze. (John & Val Heys)


Sunday 5 May 2013

While stuck in a traffic jam on the A23 we recorded Orange-tips and Brimstones in the Pangdean Farm area - putting new dots on the map for both species. If you're travelling around Sussex in the sunshine please note down any orange-tips and brimstones you see and email them to sussexgrayling@aol.com for inclusion in the atlas (Michael Blencowe)

This afternoon at Mill Hill: 2 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Speckled Wood and 1 Dingy Skipper. (Arthur Greenslade)

The 43 of us who attended the BC Sussex walk around Rewell Wood today can empathise with Jim Barrett. The very late spring continues to wreak havoc with the early season events calendar and the Pearl-bordered Fritillary is still refusing to emerge here. Please watch this website for details of a probable re-run next Sunday 12th May at 2 pm. 3 Speckled Wood, a Peacock and a Small White did not do justice to such an enjoyable walk around a lovely wood! Thanks to Nigel Symington for the image of a Slow Worm, charmed from its lair by Colin Knight. Also appended is an image of a Green-veined White I found before the walk commenced. (Neil Hulme)

Female Holly Blue in the garden today. One of several sightings of this species today here. (Bob Eade)

Saw two Brimstones today, my first English sightings of the year. The first was in my garden at TQ 432233. The second was about a mile away, at TQ432241. (Nigel Symington)


Saturday 4 May 2013

Springtime Skippers Event Report
There is a mathematical construct known as the 'empty set'. It is exemplified by the set of 'no apples', which unsurprisingly, is equal to the set of 'no oranges'. For completeness, the empty set is a subset of every other set. So today at my Springtime Skippers Event at Barnes Wood in East Sussex we experienced the set of 'no butterflies'; yet another fine example of the empty set.
Fortunately our group contained people who are top notch on birdsong. So my heartfelt thanks to Linda, Lyn and Anna who saved the day with instructive identifications of Chiffchaff, Wren, Nightingale, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Black Cap, Willow Warbler, Greater Spotted Woodpecker (observed) and Robin. My contribution was Herring Gull.
Sadly no slugs this year (beautiful or otherwise), so the invertebrate interest was confined to a Tiger Beetle, a White-tailed Bumblebee, a Common Carder bee and a Glow Worm larva kindly photographed for me by Nigel Symington.
The (non empty) set of patient and good humoured event attendees was {Dave, Martyn, Nigel, Anna, Peter, Don, Clare, Linda, Lyn, Heather, Rodney and other members of Heather's family}. (Jim Barrett)
You can read Jim's report from the similarly successful walk he led this time last year here (you'll need to scroll to the bottom of the page). I get the impression that the chances of actually seeing a butterfly on one of Jim's walks are similar to those of fully understanding the more esoteric subtleties of set theory. ed.

News for Thursday 2 May: My father reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU745115) where the temperature was 17C. Saw his first sighting this year of the Holly Blue. Brimstone (4M 1F), Small White (1), Orange Tip (1M), Holly Blue (1), Peacock (5), Comma (2). (Richard Symonds)


Friday 3 May 2013

I spent a very pleasant few hours yesterday walking around Rewell Wood with Neil looking for the elusive PBF. We saw Peacocks, Green-veined Whites, Speckled Woods, a Red Admiral and plenty of Large Whites nectaring. Afterwards I visited Arundel WWT and listened to the lovely burbling of a Whitethroat, A male Brimstone fluttered for several minutes around a lemon coloured pole nearby and I wondered if it considered it a rival. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

I decided to check out Chantry Hill for the first time this year. The highlights were Green Hairstreak (2) and Grizzled Skipper (1). I have never seen so many violets at Chantry Hill (I presume courtesy of the winter grazing cattle). At some point Dark Green Fritillary should do well at this location. I watched a female DGF laying eggs last year, at Chantry Hill. It will be interesting to see what develops.
Otherwise, on the walk from Storrington to Chantry Hill and back: Brimstone (13 total, 11m and 2f), Peacock (10), Green Hairstreak (2), Orange Tip (2), Holly Blue (2), Small White (1) and Red Admiral (1). There seem to be plenty of Brimstone and Peacock this year. (Martin Kalaher)

Brimstone has been found on 3rd May 2013 15:48 at the coordinates: longitude: -0.333867, latitude: 51.078580. (Chris Prince) (That'll be Warnham LNR TQ168323, I'm guessing - ed.)

Orange-tip has been found on 3rd May 2013 16:43 at the coordinates: longitude: -0.327213, latitude: 51.083260. (Chris Prince) (and that'll be Warnham LNR too - TQ171327)

Tetrad TQ5602: A Holly Blue and Comma in my garden encouraged me to wander around my Tetrad and, finally, see my first Orange Tip of the year (in Folkington). Also saw 3 male and 2 female Brimstone, 3 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Large White and 2 Small White. (Susan Suleski)

A Small Tortoiseshell at Crowlink TV544974. (David Jode)

At Park Corner Heath: 1 Peacock, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Large White and 4 Brimstone. (Arthur Greenslade)


Thursday 2 May 2013

This is more like it! 15 butterfly species recorded in Sussex today...

During a visit to Abbots Wood this morning between about 10.00 and 11.30 hrs., I was fortunate enough to spot a single Pearl-bordered Fritillary in the large open area to the north of the wood. I also saw two Orange Tips, a single Red Admiral and several Small Whites. It was sunny at the time and the air temperature was about 14 degrees C. (Douglas Neve)

While working at Ashcombe Bottom, near Lewes I saw 2 Brimstone, 1 male, 1 female, 1 Orange Tip, 1 Peacock and 1 Large White, while down at the bottom of the scarp slope at Black Cap a sheltered glade had 2 Small Heath freshly emerged drying their wings and 1 Small Tortoiseshell flying about. (Lee Walther)

Today I managed to see ten species of butterfly together on one site, with the tenth being my first Green Hairstreak of the season. The final count at Mill Hill (Shoreham) was 13 Peacock, 6 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Brimstone, 5 Grizzled Skipper, and single Green Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood, Large White and Small White. I also saw the small day-flying moths Pyrausta purpuralis, P. despicata and P. nigrata in low numbers. (Neil Hulme)

Orange Tip, Brimstone, Large White, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock seen in a brief lunchtime stroll in Stanmer Park, Brighton. (John Williams)

After a busy day at work, nothing better than coming home and spending time with a lovely male Holly Blue in the garden. Not to be uspstaged by other recent visitors such as Green-veined Whites and Small Whites nectaring on sloe blossom and ground ivy Flowers. And of course the occasional moth such as the beautiful V-pug moth on my window. Not to mention the resident garden Nightingale who fills my days and nights with a beautiful song. TQ138171 (Richard Roebuck)

A walk home in delightful weather this afternoon took me through Hollingbury and Burstead Woods (TQ316077). Here I was delighted to encounter my first Speckled Wood of the season puddling in the slightly damp turf. The insect was then disturbed by another male and they danced a battle at eye level, seemingly for my benefit. I then walked into the entrance to the Hollingbury Golf Course (TQ317077) and saw a Brimstone, followed by my first Small Whites of the year (2) and then a most delightful Orange Tip (again the first of the year for me). This what I love about butterflying, deep winter dreams turned suddenly into reality within unexpected seconds. I then walked to Coldean Woods (TQ333085) where I saw another male Brimstone sailing against the woodland fringe. (Dan Danahar)

There were 5 species of butterfly in my Storrington garden today: Holly Blue, Orange Tip, Peacock, Small White and Large White. Only the Holly Blue stayed around, the rest more-or-less flying through. (Martin Kalaher)

Cox's Mill, Dallington Forest TQ650200 Brimstone x 1 Roy Wells)

News for Wednesday 1 May 2013: The Brimstone seems to be having a good spring this year, and Peacock numbers aren't bad either. Rewell Wood: 16 Brimstone and 4 Peacock in TQ0010; 4 Brimstone and 6 Peacock in SU9808; 3 Brimstone and 3 Peacock in SU9807. Before heading to Rewell I dropped in briefly at Mill Hill, to get a topside shot of a Grizzled Skipper. On the way home I stopped at a wood on the Angmering Park Estate (TQ0507), where I saw 3 Orange Tip, 2 Green-veined White, 1 Brimstone, 2 Peacock, 1 Comma and 1 Red Admiral. (Neil Hulme)


Wednesday 1 May 2013

Today we decided to go to a different hunting ground and went east to Abbotts Wood (TV565078). What an absolute picture. All the Spring flowers seem to be putting on a good show this year and this was no exception. The Wood Anemones are amazing - the whole wood is white with them. What a shame that the butterflies don't seem to appreciate them. However we did see a male and a female Orange Tip (at last - our first this year), numerous Peacocks and Brimstones, a Large White, a Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral. We also saw three other species which were in much too much of a hurry for formal identification and heard two Nightingales. (Pauline Batchelor)

Three Speckled Wood on the wing this afternoon at Thorney Island and a male Brimstone. (Barry Collins)

While moving plant pots in my Brighton centre garden I found a Scarlet Tiger caterpillar so it's nice to know that my garden suits them TQ321051. Later I went up to my allotment on Whitehawk Hill in east Brighton and saw a Ruby Tiger moth flying about clumsily in foliage TQ329046. Also saw Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral while on the allotment. (Tessa Pawsey)

News for Thursday 25 April: At least one Brimstone (a male) flying at about 16.10hrs on a Sunny afternoon at Eatenden Wood, Mountfield (TQ734189). (Robin Harris)


Earlier Sightings

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