Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Monday 30 June 2014

We made a first visit to the Tillets Lane Fields at Warnham today. It looks a great site with lots of butterflies flying. We found the Essex Skippers and Purple Hairstreaks that we were looking for along with Silver-washed Fritillaries and a lot of the more common butterflies. Unfortunately we did not get close enough to the Purple Hairstreaks for a record shot. We did, however, find this unusual Meadow Brown. At first we thought it was just a badly faded specimen but closer inspection shows that it is in quite good condition and just appears to be missing the dark brown pigment in its wings. A quick check on the web shows that it could be ab. cinerea. but if so it looks like a bit of an extreme example. (Dave Potter and Martin Peacock)

While sat at a red light along the Lewes Road in Brighton I looked up at the nearest elms and saw some sparring White-letter Hairstreaks battling above the tree (TQ3149 0649) (Michael Blencowe)

Houghton Forest, SU997113 area where conservation work was carried out earlier this year. Ringlets 10, Meadow Brown 2, Large Skipper 3, Small Tortoiseshell 1.
On the main track SU995114, Silver-washed Fritillary 8, White Admiral 2, Speckled Wood 5, Red Admiral 3, Comma 2, Marbled White 1, Meadow Brown 7, and lots of Ringlets. (Paul Day)

A visit to Botany Bay/Chiddingfold turned up the goods this morning. After crossing the concrete bridge I was greeted by His Imperial Majesty coming to greet me. It spent quite a long time in various spots taking minerals from the ground. After locating a rather tasty meal it and the sun going in it stayed grounded for quite some time so I thought I would seek the royal seal of approval for the marvellous Purple Emperor pin badge. I wouldn't expect any less but it is good to see how accurate a reflection it is of real life :)
A second Purple Emperor was also seen by other people on site. Also on the wing Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Red Admiral, Comma, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, and Large Skipper. (Susie Milbank)

A surprise visit of a White-letter Hairstreak in my Hollingbury, Brighton garden today inspired me to take a walk over the road to the Hollingbury Hillfort. 2 Dark Green Fritillary, 10+ Ringlet, 25+ Meadow Brown, 30+ Marbled White and 12 Small Skipper present making a nice short walk! (Philip Thompson)

As I was stopped at traffic lights on the Old Shoreham Road at the junction with the Upper Drive, Hove a White-letter Hairstreak unexpectedly landed on my windscreen. Somehow it managed to cling on for dear life all the way to Downs Park, Portslade! It flew off just is I turned the engine off never to be seen again... I don't think there are any Elms in this part of Portslade so not sure where it will end up! (Darryl Perry)

News for the weekend: A walk around Crowlink and Belle Tout on Saturday 28th saw the following butterflies Small Tortoiseshell 6, Marbled White c50, Speckled Wood 1, Large Skipper 5, Small Skipper 7, Dark Green Fritillary 14, Small Copper 1, Meadow Brown 15, Small Heath 1, and Ringlet 1. There must be many more Marbled Whites out there than what I counted.
An hour in Ashcombe Bottom on Sunday 29th resulted in Ringlet 111, Meadow Brown c20, Comma 7, Silver-washed Fritillary 5, White Admiral 4, Large Skipper 1, Small Skipper 1, Speckled Wood 1, Small Tortoiseshell, Dark Green Fritillary 17, Common Blue 1, Brimstone 1, Peacock 1, Small Heath 3, Large White 1, Marbled White 3, Red Admiral 2 and 1 Forester moth. (Lee Walther)


Sunday 29 June 2014

Today I managed to squeeze in a last trip to Botany Bay, before heading to Mecca (Fermyn Woods) with Matthew Oates. It was an unprofessionally late start for me, so it came as no surprise to see a huddle of photographers as I climbed the slope above the concrete bridge. A slightly worn male Emperor was deeply engrossed in particularly large, dark scat. I have my own classification system for these; this one fell into the category 'Gorilla's Finger'. A better example (of iris) had been seen earlier in the morning by others. After laying some particularly pungent baits (the smell seems to get worse each season) there was little in the way of further action at ground level until well into the afternoon. However, up to 3 males at a time were working their way around the canopy above The Triangle around midday and sporadically throughout the afternoon. At 4 pm things started to happen and I was paid my first visit of the season, with a male landing on my boots and moleskins. Before 5.45 pm, when it clouded up, I had a further 3 grounded males. A couple of these were unblemished, and probably emerged this morning. For those restricted to weekend visits, you need to be out there next weekend. (Neil Hulme)

I'm not sure how abundant sightings of Small Tortoiseshells are but I thought it was so gorgeous that I'd send it in so other can see it! It appeared in my garden in Hove. Enjoy! (Helen Igo)

On Friday I saw 1 Purple Emperor in Burgess Hill at the same spot I saw them last year (TQ292194).
Sunday I visited Warningore Wood (TQ382141) where me and my dad watched at least 3 Purple Emperors dog fighting around the large pines in the middle of the wood. Also saw 5 White Admirals here 30+ Ringlets and a couple of new Commas. Then at Butchershole Bottom (TV550995) there were a small amount of freshly emerged Chalkhill Blues, but large numbers of Marbled Whites and Small Skippers (100+) and 18 Dark Green Fritillary. There was also a really good number of Forester moths (30+). I could find at least one on nearly every patch of Scabious or Knapweed I came across. (Mark Cadey)

We walked right around Thorney Island today from were we recorded the following species. Gatekeeper 60, Essex Skipper 1, Small Skipper 30, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Comma 2, Peacock 4, Large White 3, Meadow Brown 200, Small Heath 12, Marbled White 50. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

Dropped into Ashdown Forest at the Smugglers car park late this afternoon and managed to find 5 Silver-studded Blues (4M, 1F) about 200m down the slope. All were in sheltered corners on heather. (Chris Hooker)

Numbers of Chalkhill Blue building on Frog Firle. Also today I found a Meadow Brown pupa. (Bob Eade)


Saturday 28 June 2014

Gatekeeper and Chalkhill Blue have just started to emerge at Frog Firle. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

A single male Purple Emperor spotted sallow-searching at the southern gate to Eartham Woods (SU940106) early this afternoon. Eartham is known to be Purple, but is seldom visited by butterfly watchers. This was my first sighting here. The wood probably warrants more attention. Also 3 White Admiral. (Neil Hulme)

This morning went to Butchershole Bottom woods (TV551991) and saw a TreeCreeper. Then went onto the downland and found many Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites. Also, 1 Forester, 4 Six-Spot Burnet, 12 Dark Green Fritillary, 3 Large Skippers and 1 Common Blue. All at TV552996. Then in Friston Forest I saw another Dark Green Fritillary as well as 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Ringlets, 1 Painted Lady, 6 Large Skipper, 14 Meadow Browns and 3 Red Admirals. Sadly, no White Admirals but a nice walk. After that I went to Lullington Heath where there were uncountable Dark Green Fritillary and Meadow Browns. Also a Stonechat and a Yellowhammer. Finally, I went back on the edge of the forest to the visitors centre. On the way I saw 4 Small Tortoiseshells and 4 Ringlets at TQ543012 and then saw 2 Small Heaths and 2 Red Admirals at TQ536001. Overall a long though successful day out! (Billy Thomas)

News for Friday 27 June: Four White-letter Hairstreaks seen battling over the elms at St Anne's in Lewes (Michael Blencowe)
and...

We decided to turn part of our garden into a wildflower meadow and on days like today we can sit back in a deckchair and reap the rewards. Aside from it looking absolutely amazing it is alive with insects including Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large Skipper, Red Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Tortoiseshell and our first ever Small Skipper. I don't get too excited about seeing Small Skippers in the countryside but when this little fellow popped up in the garden it was a real highlight. Nice to think that the work you put in can really make a difference. I just hope I can say the same about all the wild carrot and fennel we have planted in the corner to lure in Swallowtails. (Michael & Clare Blencowe)


Friday 27 June 2014

With the weather forecast predicting heavy rain for much of the day, I seized the opportunity that this morning's sunshine presented to rush over to Rowland Wood in order to do my transect. I really needn't have worried, the weather was ideal and seemed to get better as the morning went on (what do weather forecasters know...?). Butterflies (and moths) were plentiful with Ringlets and Meadow Browns forming the majority of what I recorded, I also saw good numbers of Large Skipper which are now distributed throughout the wood, occupying the open, flower-rich areas (there is an abundance of species such as Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Creeping Cinquefoil and Selfheal almost everywhere now) that were once gloomy rides through the conifers. Small Skipper numbers are building as are the "charismatic mega-fauna" - White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary. It seems that the spring Brimstones have finally passed (at Rowland Wood at least), today was the first transect walk of the year where they have been absent - won't be long I guess tell this year's brood start emerging - however I was rather struck by the large numbers of small, presumably parasitic, Hymenopterans that were swarming over every Alder Buckthorn bush that I examined. I guess the highlight was the two Gatekeepers which were my first for the year. (Bob Foreman)

Yesterday I completed a survey of the Fairmile Bottom LNR near Arundel, just to the north of Rewell Wood. My counts over this mixed woodland and chalk grassland site (now managed by WSCC) included 720 Marbled White, 158 Ringlet, 67 Meadow Brown, 46 Large Skipper, 38 Small Skipper, 29 Small Heath, 21 Small Tortoiseshell, 19 Dark Green Fritillary, 4 Silver-washed Fritillary, 4 Brimstone, 3 Red Admiral, 3 Speckled Wood, 2 Comma, 1 Common Blue, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Large White and 11 Five-spot Burnet Moth ssp. palustrella. I suspect that between 3000 and 4000 Marbled White are flying over the slope here. My image shows a Marbled White being given the kiss of death by a Crab Spider  a dislodged red mite larva (Trombidium breei) and a disarticulated leg are visible. More at base page http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=10000. (Neil Hulme)

This morning at Botany Bay I found 3 Purple Emperors on the ground and 3 flying. (Katrina Watson)

Today, whilst waiting for Libby (my wife) to finish work, I spent some time in the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven. The succession of the site is now pushing towards mid-range, with many coarse grasses growing within the wildflowers. However, conditions are certainly good for some butterfly species. I saw a Common Blue, Large Skipper, some Essex Skippers, plenty of Small Tortoiseshells and Meadow Browns but by far and away the most abundant species was the Small Skipper. Now this is quite interesting because in the first year after the creation of the butterfly haven, it was the Essex Skipper that colonised the site and it was a couple of years before the Small Skipper was ever seen. Now it looks like the Essex Skippers are in decline and the Small Skipper is in ascendance. Perhaps the Essex Skipper is an early successional species and the Small Skipper one that is more common on the mid-range habitats?
Either way, Im very fond of the Skippers and consider them to be the teddy bears of the butterfly world because of their remarkably furry bodies. They must get so hot! (Dan Danahar)

I was pleased to see that Mr Peacock saw a grounded Purple Emperor at Southwater. Which reminds me of a former life where a Bird control seminar was attended by Mr Parrott, Mr Sparrow and the famous Mr Crowe. Ironically the local male Roe deer has not been seen in the garden recently. I digress. Anyway grabbed an hour's Purple Emperor watching late this afternoon locally and you may think PE is king of the tree tops, however I saw on several occasions supercharged Purple Hairstreaks chasing his majesty, tables turned perhaps. very long distance, high speed and panning, record only pic (yes its poor) but. Great, great fun. (Richard Roebuck)

Today on a visit to Hollingbury Park I sadly witnessed another 5 Elm trees being shredded, Dutch Elm Disease is worryingly more present in Brighton. During my time there I saw 3 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Large White, 1 Small White, 2 Large Skipper, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 11 Meadow Brown and 2 Ringlet. I also saw 2 White-letter Hairstreak, both flying across the grass at speed, luckily one of the two landed for a few seconds. This site treats me with seeing a single Silver-washed Fritillary, this one today, one in 2011 and another in 2010, from memory always being a female. Nearby in a field next to Woodbourne Garage I saw 2 Meadow Brown. (Jamie Burston)

>News for Thursday 26 June: Today I went to the meadow at Kithurst and found 3 Chalkhill Blues. (Katrina Watson)

More news for Thursday 26 June: I was waiting for Libby to finish work last night and had my camera in the car. So I decided to travel the short distance from Dorothy Stringer School to Hollingdean Park because I had been following the sightings page and I knew there was a good chance of seeing the White-letter Hairstreak.
The weather was temperamental and there were only a few bright patches between the clouds. However, this made for some excellent opportunities to take photographs of butterflies. There were plenty of Meadow Browns and some Small Tortoiseshells, I even saw a worn Red Admiral. However, I was most impressed by a couple of Commas, each perched on some bramble, within its own territory, about 50m apart. Both were the hutchinsoni, summer form and they made good subjects for photography, in between their obsessive territorial flights to see off other insects. Given that they always returned to the same location this was hardly a problem. In the middle of photographing the Commas I was patrolling the edge of the woodland trying to locate the White-ltter Hairstreaks. Whilst I did so a beautiful Ringlet landed on the edge of the scrub, a new species for me from this site.
Then the sun came out and an immaculate female White-letter Hairstreak came down from the canopy, to feed on the thistles below. As she probed every floret in the thistle inflorescence so her body turned in front of me, on this miniature stage. I snapped away quite happily and then one particular image took my eye and I present it for you here. This female was so immaculate that all of the tails on her hind wings were intact and at one particular angle, i.e. tail-on, the insect presented a very interesting illusion. Two orange patches were apparently eye lashed and were sufficiently separated apart from each other so as to look like the eyes on either side of a dark head. Beneath these patches the other smaller hindwing tails which looked like palps and the wings themselves then appeared to form a proboscis. Is it any wonder that so many birds attack the wrong end?
When the sun went in so the female returned to the canopy but another sunny spell shortly afterwards brought out a male. His hindwing tails were less elaborate and I could not decide if this was to be attributed to a sexually dimorphs trait or to wear and tear. Either way, it was great to see these little triangles of chocolate. (Dan Danahar)

News for Wednesday 25 June: On Wednesday I did my Mill Hill transect and was amazed by the number of Marbled Whites on the wing, the largest number I have recorded since I started the survey in 2011. There were few Meadow Browns. This is the reverse of the usual ratio for these two butterflies: Comma 1, Marbled Whites 37, Meadow Brown 8, Small Heath 3, Small Tortoiseshell 3. I watched a Comma taking salts from an ancient canine dropping. I then visited Southwater Woods where I saw my first White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillaries of the year. I watched a micro moth fly up and then dive into the leaf litter beneath the plant border beside the path. I was able to watch it crawling among the leaf litter. Later I was able to identify it as a rarely recorded White-barred Twist (Olindia schumacherana). I believe it was a female egg laying. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

More news for Wednesday 25 June: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest, Rowlands Castle (SU745115). Temperature 18.5C Small White 1, Meadow Brown 20, Marbled White 24, Ringlet 17, Speckled Wood 1, Red Admiral 5 and Large Skipper 3. (Richard Symonds)


Thursday 26 June 2014

Road verges can often be productive in wild flora and fauna, and the road verge south of Buckingham Barn is conveniently located within the Shoreham town boundaries. In the overcast afternoon, the butterflies were not very lively, but two Meadow Brown Butterflies were seen immediately followed a minute or so later by a settled Large Skipper and a restless Marbled White. Then nothing for quarter of an hour until I glimpsed a bright Red Admiral over the Brambles to the south of the path. I was pleased to spot the Large Skipper as I only see a handful every year, but more surprised by my earliest ever Gatekeeper in the long grass and dense vegetation. I had to chase it around to confirm its identity as a fresh male specimen. (Andy Horton, www.glaucus.org.uk)

Our first Purple Emperor of the year found at Southwater Woods, on the ride, just in from the car park (TQ132257). Unfortunately the right rear wing had been damaged but still good to see one. (Dave Potter and Martin Peacock)

My wife and I saw 9-10 individual Purple Emperors at Knepp between 2 and 3 pm this afternoon, all high up in oak trees and all in the northern part of what is called the "Southern Block" of the estate. This is roughly along the northern edge of the TQ1420 1km square. There is clearly a good population here, and I'm sure there were more up there looking at us than we saw from the ground. For me another interesting feature of this site is how open it is compared with other sites I have visited (e.g. Southwater). It is mainly cleared ground with rough grassland and scrub, together with several sallow plantations. The mature oaks tend to be in stands of 3-4 trees at the field margins, and it was on these that we saw the Emperors. There is also a good population of Marbled White in the rough grassland, e.g. around TQ140209. (Andy Wilson)

Great observation by Vic Downer. I have only once seen a meadow Brown mating with a Ringlet. This coupling seems even more remote species-wise. But perhaps this is testament to our Small Tortoiseshells rebounding from difficult times, as this year is more reminiscent of the 1970's when Small Tortoiseshells were commonplace. (Richard Roebuck)


Wednesday 25 June 2014

Today Steve took me to Castle Hill NNR, near Woodingdean. I accidently took us on a long detour, however this just added to our totals, some of the main areas covered are Norton Drive (Track), (TQ366061, TQ370059, TQ364068, TQ369069, TQ369071) and Drove Avenue (Track). Our walk amounted to seeing 48 Small Tortoiseshell, 10 Large Skipper, 29 Meadow Brown, 2 Small White, 42 Dark Green Fritillary, 12 Ringlet, 2 Painted Lady, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Large White, 1 Common Blue, 1 Speckled Wood, 59 Marbled White and 2 Forester moth. (Jamie Burston & Steve East)
I got back home and found my family relaying what they saw on their visit to Warnham Nature Reserve, my family show a real interest in butterflies now! They saw the following, 3 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Large Skipper and plentiful numbers of Meadow Brown. (Jeff, Gail, Kirsty & Mason Burston)

News for Tuesday 24 June: The Purple Emperor season in Sussex has got off to a 'flyer'. I met Paul Fosterjohn (inventor of the highly desirable Purple Emperor pin badge) for a tour of the Knepp Castle Estate rewilding project area (Southern Block). By close of play we had counted 45 individual male Emperors. The only species which could compete numerically was the Meadow Brown. More at base page http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=10000 (Neil Hulme)

Two days spent in the Sussex countryside on Monday and Tuesday produced these three beauties, the Ringlet and Silver-washed Fritillary at Southwater Woods and the Cinnabar moth on a footpath near Coolham. (Trevor Rapley)

News for Monday 23 June: The slow looping flight of a butterfly on the southern bank of the A27 opposite Slonk Hill was characteristic of my first Ringlet butterfly of the year. Despite its languid flight it fluttered over a lot of the verge meadow, over the last of the Spotted Orchids, and there were at least four seen in this area on a sunny mid-afternoon, with a Red Admiral. I cycled the narrow path through the linear copse up to the road embankment opposite Buckingham Barn where the verge had a more colourful flower display in whites (Ox-eye Daisies, Cleavers, Bramble), yellows (Kidney Vetch, Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil) and purples (Spotted Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid). The flowers attracted two Meadow Brown butterflies, six more Ringlet butterflies, a courting pair of Small Blues (there were probably more), two restless Marbled Whites and my first Burnet Moth of the year. (Andy Horton)

News for Sunday 22 June: On Sunday evening I enjoyed another walk in Rewell Wood, seeing a Fox and a Roe Deer along the way. I found my first Brindled Plume and much micro fauna, some still awaiting identification. At home I had mixed feelings about finding a Common Clothes Moth on a wall. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Tuesday 24 June 2014

Today with family I visited Friston Forest, we parked at the Butchershole car park. Whilst in the car park and also along a path on the outer edge of the gallops I counted totals of 3 Ringlet, 11 Meadow Brown, 3 Speckled Wood, 1 Red Admiral and one interesting Large Skipper of which had pollinia, most likely from a orchid attached to it's proboscis, he was obviously not happy with his new accessory, giving it a good kick, see photos. Back in Brighton I made a lone visit to Wild Park, down in the coomb I saw one or two Ringlet, about 5 Meadow Brown and my first local Marbled White seeing one. At the Dew Pond I saw another single Ringlet and leaving at the edge of Ditchling Road I saw a single Red Admiral nectar on Bramble at exactly 8:05pm. (Jamie Burston)

A Red-necked Footman was present in the Moth Trap this morning, a first for our East Preston garden. (George Kinnard)

Recent news: I've had several of these wee visitors to my garden in Old Town, Eastbourne since 10th June. When they spread their wings to the fullest extent there is a beautiful red colour which is not immediately visible on the photo. (Jane Hill)


Monday 23 June 2014

Thanks to everyone who came to the Tuppenny Barn in Southbourne today for my Butterfly Identification Workshop. We rattled through all the butterflies of Sussex and then headed out into the surrounding countryside to put our new skills to use. It has to be said that Small Tortoiseshells are having an amazing year - it's hard to believe we were so concerned about them not too long ago. Every nettle clump had Small Tort activity. Ironically the star of the show wasn't a butterfly but a moth - a big Privet Hawk-moth which was sat on a path-side telegraph pole. (Michael Blencowe)

At least 20 White-letter Hairstreaks around the twin elms in Preston Park (Brighton) with at least 5 seen near the cafe too. Lots of wing rubbing(?) and fortunate enough to see one on the ground! Also around was a Common Blue and the biggest surprise a Dark Green Fritillary which flew up with the hairstreaks briefly before moving on. Lastly a Painted Lady along by Millionaires Row. (Jake Gearty)


Sunday 22 June 2014

My daughter spotted a White-letter Hairstreak (and confirmed by myself) in our Seaford garden on Sunday afternoon. Not all that unusual as we have a couple of mature Elm trees and have seen at least one every year for the last few years, but this was a couple of weeks earlier than before.(Simon, Fran and Amy Fletcher)

Vic Downer sent in this amazing photo. OK - Vic admits himself that the photo isn't the greatest - but he's captured a strange piece of butterfly behaviour. Vic explains "Walking up a track on Lullington Heath on Sunday afternoon (22nd), I disturbed a mating pair of butterflies, but as they took off, I realised that all was not as it should be! They settled about a metre away, unfortunately, just inside the wire fence of the paddock, so this is the only shot I got"
The photo shows a Small Tortoiseshell mating with a Meadow Brown! We've seen photos of inter-species pairings before on this website - but I can't recall seeing this particular mix mating before. Of course, this mating wont produce any offspring but Vic asks what we would call them if they were successful "Small Brown or Meadow Tortoiseshell?" (Michael Blencowe)

In warm sunshine today three downland sites were visited - Halcombe Farm, Piddinghoe; Itford Hill, Beddingham and Balsdean Bottom, Rottingdean. 13 species of butterfly and several day - flying moths were seen. Most notable were Dark Green Fritillaries, seen at all sites, Small Blue and Forester at Beddingham, and a very tatty end of season Green Hairstreak at Piddinghoe. The display of flowers on show was quite astonishing. Alas no Swallowtails... (Jeremy Tatum - visiting from Canada)

Two more White Admirals and a female Purple Hairstreak yesterday by another High Weald meadow edge near Mayfield (yet another 'late' bird survey over that way). (Mike Mullis)

Carole and I met up to take a look around Hollingbury Park (TQ314 073). We spotted 3 White-letter Hairstreak, including one nectaring on creeping thistle. (Caroline Clarke and Carole Mortimer)

Last year Matthew Oates and I discovered that the Knepp Castle Estate Rewilding Project (www.knepp.co.uk) had brought unforeseen benefits in terms of a Purple Emperor population explosion. During the later part of the 2013 flight season we counted 155 individuals over two consecutive mornings, while constantly on the move and covering new ground. Any thoughts that this might have been a 'flash in the pan', or even a bizarre dream, were quickly dispelled during my recent visit. Following the equal first Sussex sighting on the Estate by Charlie Burrell and Amy Nightingale (one of the co-ordinators of Knepp Safaris www.kneppsafaris.co.uk) during a brief visit on 21st June, it soon became obvious that the species had been on the wing here for a day or two previously. After covering quite a wide area I ended up with a tally of 18 male Purple Emperor - quite impressive bearing in mind that the butterfly hasn't even got going yet! More can be found about attending the guided events (including Purple Emperor walks) or visiting alone, at http://www.kneppsafaris.co.uk/index.php/safaris. Other highlights of my day included my first Purple Hairstreak (11) and Small Skipper (6) of the year. Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral were both seen in good numbers and hutchinsoni Comma (pale coloured summer brood) are now hatching. As always I had a great day out on the Estate, this time accompanied by the wonderful soundtrack of purring Turtle Doves (minimum 3). (Neil Hulme)

Whilst out doing some square bashing for the atlas this morning, we were surprised when a Clouded Yellow flew past at TQ663130. (Wendy & Keith Alexander)

White Admiral, Buchan Country Park seen all last week including today. (Tom Burns)

A pleasant walk, albeit on a rather hot day, along footpaths around Arlington area. Enjoyed seeing the stunning Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies on the Cuckmere River. Butterflies were numerous, but many flew past so quickly they couldn't be identified. However, managed to positively ID at least 3 Red Admiral, one Small Skipper, 3 Speckled Wood, 11 Meadow Brown, one Large White, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, and our first Painted Lady of the year. (Sightings will be entered on iRecord). (Linda & David Rowlinson)

Unfortunately I didn't find a freshly emerged Silver-studded Blue with ants, but an early morning trip to Iping Common in West Sussex still did not disappoint. Even at such an early hour it wasn't long before they started to open their wings and become active. Before then, I had managed to find a few individuals roosting amongst the dew covered grasses and wildflowers. Photo on my Flickr pages: www.flickr.com/photos/48896022@N08/> (Leigh Prevost)

I went early this morning to Cissbury Ring and caught up with about 12 pretty freshly emerged Dark Green Fritillaries. They were just great tosee zooming about all over the place. I then went to a favourite bridleway at Wiston which is finally coming in to its own after restoration couple of years ago. Great to see 10 fresh male Silver-washed Fritillaries and a few Commas. I returned to Wiston Woods in the afternoon and it wasreally busy with butterflies, more Silver Washed Fritillaries and a good emergence of White Admirals, Large Skipper were everywhere as were Meadow Browns and a few Ringlets and Marbled Whites. Also a lot of Red Admirals throughout the woods where I walked And a few Small Tortoiseshells and more Commas. I watched an interesting scrap between two large Golden-ringed Dragonflies where I could hear their wings hitting together. However the main objective fell short at a favourite site so I returned to a master tree I have visited for the last four years and right on cue Purple Emperors were chasing each other 50 foot up in the tree line. Clearly there were several males up in the canopy and one male casually flying along suddenly put on a spurt of acceleration that an Olympian would be proud of. Hey Ho PE season is off the blocks. (Richard Roebuck)

Vapourer moth caterpillar Seen in Bognor Regis on Sunday. (Robert Ruskin)

Today (22nd) and on the 21st of June I visited Hollingbury Hill Fort and Dew Pond area, The following was seen on both visits at Hollingbury Hill Fort, 1 Red Admiral and 6 Meadow Brown, with the addition of 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Large Skipper today (22nd June). On both of these days I've seen 3 Red Admiral together acting like Purple Emperor, gliding and battling in a clearing, away from the dew pond in a Oak canopy, the exact location to see this is at (TQ32790772), ironically I found two sallow trees nearby. In a field (TQ323082), I've seen a total of 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Large Skipper and 4 Meadow Brown, these being the combined totals for both dates. Just on the 21st June, On a walk upto Steyning Rifle Range, in the playing field after the Bowling Club I saw 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 4 Meadow Brown. Back on the main path up I saw a single Speckled Wood. Once within the Rifle Range I saw 1 Small Heath, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 7 Marbled White, 5 Ringlet, 14 Meadow Brown and 4 Large Skipper, of which most of these were seen on the top of the south facing side of the combe. (Jamie Burston)

Yesterday (21 June), coming back from the theatre, we counted 3 Red Admirals at Chichester railway station and several more at other stations on the way back to Portslade. This morning in Small Dole at Tottington Wood and Longlands Wood we saw about a dozen Large Skippers, a definite Small Skipper and several others presumably the same, 2 Small Whites, 3 Common Blues, 8 White Admirals, 2 Red Admirals, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Comma, 4 or 5 Silver-washed Fritillaries, a similar number of Speckled Woods, 15 to 20 Meadow Browns, 9 or 10 Ringlets and a Burnet Companion moth. The best area is by the mound where the vegetation is kept under better control (near the pond and way in to the woods). There are a quite a lot of orchids here too. Unfortunately the public paths in the woods are becoming more overgrown and much less people/butterfly friendly. Three or four years ago when we first started going there, the main north/south path through Longlands Woods produced plenty of Ringlets and Meadow Browns. There are far fewer butterflies there now, although this is still the best place to see the fritillaries. When we arrived the males were restlessly prowling around looking for mates, but just before we left a female turned up and settled briefly on bramble blossom so we were able to have a proper look before a male came down and disturbed her. (John & Val Heys)


Saturday 21 June 2014

A Purple Emperor on the ground at Southwater Woods today. (TQ132256) Took me by surprise. Wasn't settled for long, probing around in some damp mud, bit of wing missing already. About 15 Silver-washed Fritillary and 10 White Admirals also seen. Back at home in the evening me and Dad watched a line of oaks until we saw 2 maybe 3 Purple Hairstreaks move. Got a brief glimpse with binoculars to confirm. (TQ293195) (Mark Cadey)

Had an interesting walk around Chantry Hill in the morning with numerous highlights including 4 perfect Dark Green Fritillaries and 2 Marbled Whites being our first for the year. Also saw 2 Common Blues, numerous Large Skippers and Small Heaths and Meadow Browns. One of the Small Heaths was totally white in appearance in flight and similar to the one reported yesterday but unfortunately we didn't get a picture. I think we saw our first ever Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth but it would not settle for a positive identification. A Gold ringed Dragonfly finished off a lovely morning. Went Worthlodge Forest in the afternoon a spotted a single Silver-washed Fritillary. (Tom and Isy Parker)

Today I took advantage of the lovely sun and went for a stroll around Castle Hill Local Nature Reserve in Newhaven and along the cliff westwards towards Peacehaven. I managed to spot three Marbled White, Large Skipper (around 100!), one Large White, several Small Tortoiseshell, several Speckled Wood, a few Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Common Blue, Six-spot Burnet and a couple of nice caterpillars, a Lackey and a Yellow-tail. (Nick Linazasoro)

Commas are regular visitors to the garden and today I saw a fresh Comma hutchinsoni in exactly the same location in the garden as last year, but 2 weeks earlier than my posting last year. This seems a pretty accurate record of the variation in this year's season. Small Tortoiseshell activity has continued pretty much uninterrupted since spring with both caterpillars and fresh individuals currently in the garden and by far the commonest butterfly to date. Adult Commas and Peacocks on the other hand have shown a rather more normal noticeable cessation in activity since the spring emergence . But no doubt will become more obvious again in due course. (Richard Roebuck)

On Saturday, visited Ashcombe Bottom woods on a hot and sunny day. Butterflies seen were; Dark Green Fritillary (4), White Admiral (4), Red Admiral (3), Comma (huthinsoni) (2), Small Tortoiseshell (15). There was no sign of any Dark Green Fritillaries on Ashcombe Down itself but there were a few worn survivors of the Spring brood of Small Blues and Green Hairstreaks. (Simon Quin)

A walk in the meadows by the Cuckmere produced many Meadow Browns (20ish), 1 Small Skipper, 7 Large Skippers, 1 Speckled Wood and 3 Common Blues. Then I went to the Horseshoe plantation at beachy head after the first White-letter Hairstreak was sighted I searched although none were found. I did get my first 3 Marbled Whites of the year, 12 Large Skippers, 10 Meadow Browns, 11 Small Heaths, 4 Speckled Woods and 3 Common Blues.
Can anyone tell me the best place to see White-letter Hairstreaks in East Sussex and how to spot them. (Billy Thomas)


Friday 20 June 2014

I saw this male Small Heath (albino?) aberration on Friday morning in a flowery meadow near Mayfield, East Sussex, ironically while doing a bird survey there. It threw me totally when flying and the only butterfly I could think of initially was a very faded (almost white) Common Blue.... or failing that, a moth of some type... until it settled on a grass stem. The upperside wings are the same colour as per the off-white patches visible on the underside of the fore and hindwing (as seen at rest). By contrast, the inner part of the hindwing underside is much darker than the normal form. Have attached a couple of pics for comparison... incl. the more normal form which I also photo'd yesterday - in fact they were having a bit of a scrap together at the time! Also attached is a female Ringlet and a slightly tatty Peacock from the same site yesterday. Any idea what the latest dates are for post-hibernation Peacock and Brimstone? (the latter still going strong at Rowland Wood)...
Colin Pratt, County Recorder responds: "It's a rare aberration called alba Pruf.. This is only the third time in 170 odd years of butterfly recording in Sussex that it's been reported."
Other sightings recently:
Rowland Wood Tues 17/6: White Admiral (2), Silver-washed Fritillary (2), Ringlet (1), Brimstone (still lots about - both males and egg-laying females), Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper... but sadly no Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary despite extensive searches on and off the reserve.
Batt's Wood (nr Mayfield) Thu 19/6: White Admiral (several), Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Silver-washed Fritillary (2), Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Ringlet, Large Skipper. (Mike Mullis)

While walking round Bevendean Down this morning with Graham Champion doing a bird count we saw 6 Dark Green Fritillaries, plenty of Marbled Whites and Ringlets but few Meadow Browns. Day flying moths included Cinnabars, Six-spot Burnets and a Forester. We had no idea what the big hairy caterpillar was. ( - looks like a Garden Tiger to me. ed.)(Geoff Stevens)

News for Tuesday 17 June: A Garden Tiger seen in Motcombe park, Eastbourne. (Billy Thomas)


Thursday 19 June 2014

A look in the few healthy Elms along the Cuckmere produced a high up White-letter Hairstreak this morning. It is going to be very difficult to see any low down ones this year with few hot spots left with the demise of the Elms in the area. (Bob Eade)

In woodland near Small Dole, 4 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 2 White Admirals, one Ringlet, one Large Skipper and numerous Meadow Browns. (Pete Varkala)


Wednesday 18 June 2014

Today thanks to Steve and Maggie we went to Iping Common. The following were seen, 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Small Heath, 3 Large Skipper and 10 male and 2 female Silver-studded Blues. We then moved onto Botany Bay and saw 5 Ringlet, 5 Large Skippers and 10 Meadow Brown. Also seeing Speckled Woods and a nice surprise in the form of a single Wood White, being in great condition. We finally moved onto Southwater Woods and saw 10 Ringlet, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 12 Large Skipper, 50+ Meadow Brown and fair numbers of Speckled Wood. We also saw singles of White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary, both being our first of the year. (Steve & Maggie East & Jamie Burston)

At Park Corner this morning 2 White Admirals near the hut. Later at Frog Firle my first Small Skipper of the year roosting early in the poor weather. (Bob Eade)

Back at Arundel cricket ground on Wednesday the change in the morning weather (a bit damp until noon, then hot and sunny like the day before) produced a change in butterfly sightings - 6 Meadow Browns around the fringes of the ground and only 1 Small Tortoiseshell, flying over the spectators. (John & Val Heys)

Not much on display at Mill Hill today, on a largely overcast morning. Main item of interest a dozen or so newly emerged Marbled Whites. Visited Cissbury Ring in the afternoon, where a newly emerged Small/Essex Skipper seen. No sign of Adonis Blue or Dark Green Fritillary. (Simon Quin)

Had my first Clouded Yellow of the year at the southern end of Thorney Island this afternoon plus 2 Marbled Whites,and there are now good numbers of Meadow Browns on the wing. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

Just saw this Scarlet Tiger in my garden in Brighton. (Alex)

These are sightings from Cissbury Ring on June 18th 2014 between 2pm and 5pm.
Dark Green Fritillary x3 (one very active around the bank to right of the steps going up from the moat over the ridge at about 4:45pm)
Small Copper (with blue spots) x1
Small Heath
Meadow Brown
Marbled White
Small Tortoiseshell
Common Blue
Large Skipper
Brimstone
Speckled Wood.
(Janet Morgan)

Recent news: On Monday at Arundel I found a Hemp-agrimony Conch (Cochylidia rupicola). On Tuesday I completed my Mill Hill transect: Common Blue 2, Marbled White 8, Meadow Brown 4, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 1, Small Heath 10, Small Tortoiseshell 2. One of the Meadow Browns was in pristine condition but was unable to support itself and kept falling over on the path. I was delighted to see a Humming-bird Hawk-moth flitting around at great speed at the bottom of the hill. When I looked at my photos I realised it was egg laying on a species of Galium. A Wavy-barred Sable (Pyrausta nigrata) was a welcome addition. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

News for Saturday 14 June: On Saturday the Murray Downland Trust held its annual open day at Heyshott Escarpment and Mark Colvin ferried visitors up the long track from Cocking. BC volunteers have enjoyed the winter Wednesday morning work parties at this spectacular location. The benefits to the Duke of Burgundy colony have been evident during the past 3 years and now Pearl-bordered Fritillaries have surprised us by colonising the site. As part of the open day a prime mover in the MDT, ecologist and entomologist Mike Edwards, gave us a tour of the chalk meadows at the site. I found several species of micro moths during the tour: Cinereous Groundling (Bryotropha terrella), Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella), standard and pale forms, (Chrysoteuchia culmella) and Satin Grass-veneer (Crambus perlella f. warringtonellus). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Tuesday 17 June 2014

Whilst at Ebernoe Common NNR (SU976278) with SWT staff assessing future management work saw our first White Admirals of the year with at least three very fresh specimens feeding on bramble flower in some of the glades and rides. Also saw our first Silver-washed Fritillary of the year also on bramble along with a scattering of Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods and Large Skippers. (Colin Booty)

On a path nearing Hollingbury Hill Fort I counted 6 Speckled Wood. At the Hill Fort I saw 4 Meadow Brown, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Common Blue and 2 Large Skipper. Then later at Hollingbury Park I saw 2 Meadow Brown, 1 Brimstone, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Ringlet, 4 Speckled Wood and 1 Comma. Nearby at a field next to Woodbourne garage I saw 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Common Blue. On the way home down an alley way I saw a further single Red Admiral. Going out again along my road in Hollingbury I saw 1 Red Admiral. Near a pharmacy practice I found Emperor Moth caterpillars, seeing two. This is the second year I've found and had to move them from the pathway. At Carden Park I saw a Meadow Brown interested in the created wild flower beds along with a Red Admiral further on. Finally at Hollingbury Industrial Estate Reserve I did my last Small Blue count, I saw 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 10 Meadow Brown, 1 Large Skipper, 1 tatty Brown Argus, 12 Common Blue, 10 Small Blue, lower numbers then last visit, mainly seeing faded females. A single fresh Small Skipper was also present. Then in the evening I saw a single Small Tortoiseshell along Ditchling Road, basking on a bare chalk path. (Jamie Burston)

Tipped off by Mike Russell, I went out in my lunch break to see if I could track down the White Admirals that he had seen flying amongst the trees in the Woods Mill SWT Reserve. As luck would have it, I found one flying around the canopy of a Field Maple. (Bob Foreman)

1 White Admiral seen by the road at Blackbrook Wood, Ditchling Common today. (TQ341173) (Mark Cadey)

1 White Admiral in Framfield today looking very fresh. They used to breed in the local wood but not seen there for many years now. We also have high numbers of Large Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell in the hedgerows. (Tom Ottley)

At Cissbury Ring this afternoon we saw one Clouded Yellow, one Marbled White, four Dark Green Fritillary, two Brimstone (a male and a female) half a dozen Small Tortoiseshell, good numbers of Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, and Small Heath. TQ140080. (Susie Milbank)

On Friday evening I found more micro fauna at Rewell Wood: a Hook-marked Straw Moth, a Hook-streak Grass-veneer, a Yellow Shell, the sauve Red-necked Footman, a Longhorn beetle (Leptura aethiops), a Common Ground-hopper and a Springtail. I finished the evening watching with fascination as a Large Yellow Underwing moth nectared on Foxgloves. (Colin Knight bit.ly/1pbPD7m)


Monday 16 June 2014

Two of our finest have risen to the challenge of Mr Linazasoro's caterpillar and it would appear that we have a consensus:

The larvae that Nick got is a Meadow Brown by the look of it, a whitish tail and quite hairy. Here is one I prepared earlier at High and Over on May 6th. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

This has all the hallmarks of a butterfly larva (rather than a moth) and I'm as sure as I can be that it's one of the "Browns" because you can just make out a little tail. The colour of the head and long, backward curving hairs all point to this being a Meadow Brown. (Vince Massimo)

News for Sunday 15 June: Humming-bird Hawk-moth at Anchor Bottom on Sunday. (David Buckingham)

News for Saturday 14 June: On Saturday morning I arrived at Iping Common with my dad just after as the rain stopped. Lots of Silver-studded Blues roosting in long grass either side of the path that runs along the ridge, sometimes two to a stem. Then just as the sun started to break through the clouds they began to fidget, opened their wings and soon after that they were all flying. Saw several mating pairs, then just before 9am found my first ever emerging blue still attended by ants. After watching for several minutes he shrugged off the ants opened his wings and flew onto a nearby piece of heather. We found 4 in total, all in the short cut strip close to the paths, so be careful where you are walking if you visit here. Counted over 100 Silver-studded Blues, also saw Emperor Moth caterpillar, Golden Ringed Dragonflies and Emerald Damselflies. Small clip here of butterfly with ants http://youtu.be/Qi6VV7gpHHo. (Mark Cadey)


Sunday 15 June 2014

Went for a very quick walk along the Seaford Head Local Nature Reserve and saw a Speckled Wood and a caterpillar (answers on a postcard please...). That's it today. (Nick Linazasoro)


Saturday 14 June 2014

Despite cloud and showers 27 Silver-studded Blues counted on a potter across Iping Common. (Chris and Helen Corrigan)

Hello, Went for a walk in Friston Forest this morning in the hope that I would not get wet. Spotted were Large Skipper, Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Six-spot Burnet and a rather nice Mullein caterpillar. (Nick Linazasoro)

Perhaps inevitably the Brimstone eggs laid on Common Sorrell at Castle Hill, Newhaven, in mid-May have failed to make it. It seems the caterpillars got through the first instar alright but never really thrived from thereon. Did see a very early male Marbled White while searching the sorrell in vain again today. (Dave Harris)

A walk from Woodingdean to Kingston in overcast conditions resulted in some nice butterflies. On the the South Downs Way by Castle Hill NNR were 2 Painted Ladies; the track from there down to Kingston had 4 Adonis Blues, 6 Small Blues, a Common Blue and a Small Heath. Small Tortoiseshells were seen throughout the length of the walk (Paul Cole)

On Saturday we went to the Tennis international at Eastbourne for the first time in several years, which always gives me an excuse to stop off at Park Corner Heath on the way. We were there between about 9.45am and 10.10am. Where we left car by the road we saw two Speckled Woods. Reaching the hut, it was depressing to glance at the book and see only a few reports of single Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. We also noted that the day before, Friday, which had been bright & sunny, the only butterflies seen had been Small Tortoiseshells. When we were there, although the sky was fairly cloudy, it was actually sunny, sultry and windless. On the wing were some small moths, dragonflies & damselflies and there were plenty of birds singing, but not a single butterfly anywhere  not even a distant hint of one. We didn't have time to walk through the new areas, but from afar we saw no sign of anything fluttering there either. (John & Val Heys)

Recent news: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following recent sightings:
11th June Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835089) 19C. Red Admiral 1, Small Tortoisehell 5, Common Blue 1.
11th June Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU824098) 20C. Brimstone 5M 4F, Speckled Wood 1, Small Heath 3, Small Totoiseshell 2, Red Admiral 6, Common Blue 3, Large Skipper 1.
13th June Circular Walk from Horsley Farm, Markswell Wood and Compton Down, West Marden (SU7614) 23.5C. Meadow Brown 17, Speckled Wood 12, Common Blue 1, Red Admiral 7, Small Tortoiseshell 4, Large Skipper 1. (Richard Symonds)


Friday 13 June 2014

While doing one of my transects on Bevendean Down mid-day today I saw my first my first Ringlet of this season. Most of the 7 Common Blues looked past their best. There were a couple of fresh Marbled Whites and 4 Meadow Browns and two more Ringlets a Large Skipper, 2 Small Heath one very tatty Small Tortoiseshell and one Peacock and two Cinnabar moths. (Geoff Stevens)

My first Ringlet and Dark Green Fritillaries of the year on my Friston Forest transect today. Also a Green Hairstreak and a Humming-bird Hawk-moth.
Yesterday, a Clouded Yellow at Shoreham Airport. (Paul James)

Thought you may be interested in this picture of a Grizzled Skipper, I saw and photographed at Seaford Head. I believe it is the abberation form Pyrgus malvae ab. taras. I may be wrong but thought it may be of interest to you if it is. If it is, is it usually found in the general area? (Alan Major)

While walking at Well Bottom, Beddingham, East Sussex I spotted at least 10 individual Dark Green Fritillary and 1 Humming-bird Hawk-moth. (Jan Knowlson)

1 Humming-bird Hawk-moth seen in Pavilion Gardens, Brighton - TQ313 043. (Caroline Clarke)

Around 4pm I arrived at Hollingbury Park, I looked for White-letter Hairstreak, but as predicted even with the weather this is still too early for this site. Sadly Creeping Thistle is down in numbers this year and this is no doubt down to the overgrown mass of grass which has encroached the wild bays. Also brambles seem to have been reduced on site and the glades are starting to get overgrown and shaded out by unnecessary young trees which have been left to grow tall, potentially bad for adult Silver-washed Fritillary. Whilst there I saw three Speckled Wood, one Red Admiral, one Small White and one Comma. Also earlier seeing a single Red Admiral in my Hollingbury back garden. (Jamie Burston)

Lancing Ring yielded another Clouded Yellow today and a single Marbled White. (Lindsay Morris)

Yesterday I did my Mill Hill Transect and found plenty of Summer butterflies: Adonis Blue 1, Brimstone 1, Common Blue 1, Large Skipper 1, Marbled White 4, Meadow Brown 5, Painted Lady 2, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 1, Small Heath 14, Small Tortoiseshell 6, plus 2 moths: Yellow Shell and Treble-bar. Later at Steyning Downland Scheme I found Large Skippers, Common Nettle-taps and a Yellow-spot Twist. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Recent news: Late sightings from Sunday 8th June at Washington Chalk Pits between 14:15-16:00 are; 1 Clouded Yellow, first Meadow Brown of the year, Brimstone, Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock 1 very worn, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small White, Small Heath and Green Hairstreak. Day-flying moths included; Cinnabar, Mother Skipton, Latticed Heath, Silver Y, Burnet Companion, Humming-bird Hawk-moth and Small purple and Gold.
Working at High and Over on Tuesday 10th were 12 Small Tortoiseshell, 8 Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Wall Brown, Small Heath and Common Blue. On Wednesday 11th while strimming the car park at Birling Gap I noticed a large butterfly that at first glance I thought looked like a rather large Marbled White but as it past me, flying very quickly and purposefully I could just make out the tails. It never stopped and carried on towards Belle Tout so I am only 99% sure it was a Swallowtail. While working at Blackcap on Thursday 12th I noticed 7 Speckled Wood, at least 30 Meadow Brown, 6 Small Heath, roughly 20 Common Blue, 2 Brimstone, 1 Large White, 3 Red Admiral, 14 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Dark Green Fritillary and 1 Small Blue. Day-flying moths were 1 Five-spot Burnet and Burnet Companion. (Lee Walther)


Thursday 12 June 2014

At Lancing Ring a Clouded Yellow. Between there and Steepdown, 28 Large Skipper, 2 Small/Essex Skipper, 40+ Small Tortoiseshell, 8 Small Heath, 7 Meadow Brown, 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Red Admiral, 30+ Common Blue, 2 male Brimstone, 5 Whites, 2 Holly Blue. Also, 11 Bee Orchids amongst the Common Spotted and Pyramidal. (Lindsay Morris)

A very productive walk on the Steyning Downland Scheme site today produced a good range of butterflies, especially on the Steyning Coombe where I saw 5 Large Skipper, 2 tatty Brimstone, 3 Common Blue, 2 Marbled White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Meadow Brown, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Small Heath, but best of all, a pristine Dark Green Fritillary. Also a Humming-bird Hawk-moth June gap? (Pete Varkala)

Went for a hike up Windover Hill to Friston Forest today. Saw 3 Small Blues on my way up to Windover Hill and 3 freshly hatched Dark Green Fritillaries on my way from Windover Hill to Lullington Heath. During the hike I also saw an assortment of Small Tortoiseshells, Brimstones, Red Admirals, Meadow Brown, Common and Adonis Blues and Grizzled, Dingy and Large Skippers, and finally 1 freshly hatched Comma. (Gary Norman)

A exploration of Malling down,this afternoon gave me sightings of Meadow Browns, Small Tortoiseshells, Common Blues, one Adonis Blue, Small Heaths were numerous. But the what made my afternoon was of a single Clouded Yellow patrolling its length of path coming and going then returning to the small chalk pit then it flew of in a different direction. This was observed on the path back to the Mill road car park. (Alan Major)

Much better butterfly day today. Starting at the path by the houseboats on the south of the Adur, we walked across the new footbridge into Shoreham and then along the east bank of the river to the Downslink footpath. We followed this to just north of the old cement works and then back along the footway by the main road to the Dacre Gardens bus stop, where we caught a bus back to Shoreham. We saw a faded Small Tortoiseshell at the start of the walk (still there at the end, 5 hours later) and 2 Small Whites by the boats. As we joined the Downslink path, by the old railway buffers there were 2 Common Blues. (There has been a colony round here for a long time.) Spread out along the remainder of the walk we counted another 4 Common Blues, 11 Small Tortoiseshells, 4 Holly Blues, 2 Large Skippers, 2 Red Admirals, 4 Speckled Woods, 3 Meadow Browns, 31 Burnet Moths, 3 Burnet Companion moths, 2 Cinnabar moths, a possible Common Heath & 1 male demoiselle agrion damselfly (I know it doesn't count but it looks a bit like a black butterfly). From about the flyover onwards the walk is very good for pyramidal orchids with some common spotted near the cement works, but best of all, orchid wise, were 3 unexpected bee orchids just north of the flyover. The last butterfly seen, while we were waiting for the bus, is the battered old lady Holly Blue in the picture. She wasn't interested in any of the open flowers on the buddleia. Instead she sought out a number of undeveloped sprays of flower buds & laid eggs on them, which I was too slow to capture on the camera. I see from my books that they do lay on quite a wide variety of plants, but none of them mentions buddleia. (John & Val Heys)

The transect count today was Brimstone 11, Common Blue 18, Dark Green Fritillary 2, Large Skipper 6, Meadow Brown 6, Painted Lady 1, Red Admiral 2, Small Heath 9, Small Tortoiseshell 3, Speckled Wood 7.
I was surprised and delighted to see the DGF on a bramble flower near the patch where the Wild Oregano grows, and then another flew past me halfway round the west moat. (Peter Atkinson)

Today the 12th June I saw two Humming-bird Hawk-moths hovering around the wild valerian at 7 Whitemans Close Cuckfield. As I also have red valerian in the garden I'm hoping they might lay eggs. (Tim Newnham)

Today I went out covering a few areas, this being my only attempt to look for any local Swallowtails. On my walk I covered the whole of Hollingbury Golf Course of which I walked around the edge of two allotments, Hollingbury Hill Fort, the dew pond area of Wild Park and surrounding fields. Totals are two Speckled Wood, two Small Tortoiseshell, one Holly Blue, nine Common Blue, one Small Heath, six Large Skipper, two Large White and around 10 Meadow Brown. Continuing with Swallowtail Butterflies, I have a possible sighting, I put my Facebook account to use and alerted the Brighton and Hove allotment community, I got a response from BHAF's page, Donna Theresa potentially saw one on the 9th of June, she didn't provide the location but from what I can gather it may have been seen at the allotment in Bevendean located at (TQ327064).
News from the 10th June: I saw one Large Skipper and one Small Tortoiseshell at Hollingbury Hill Fort and three Small Tortoiseshell seen at (TQ32320813) and one Small Tortoiseshell around about (TQ32190830). (Jamie Burston)


Wednesday 11 June 2014

Swallowtail seen on Steepdown near Worthing on 8th June. (David Jefford)

I saw one (Swallowtail) fly by me yesterday while sitting in my garden at Warren Hill, The Bostal, Upper Beeding. (Peter Maasz)

At Friston Forest today we saw large numbers of Small Tortoiseshells, Small Heaths, Meadow Browns and Large Skippers, good numbers of Common Blues, Small Blues and Speckled Woods, a couple of Red Admirals and Grizzled Skippers and our first Dark Green Fritillary of the season. (Pauline Batchelor)

Dark Green Fritillary near Littlington today. (Nigel Kemp and Bob Eade)

This evening after work I ventured along the lower path on Mill Hill and saw Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Adonis Blue and alas no Swallowtails, but to my amazement on arriving home I found a Chequered Blencowe - a very rare and highly entertaining species! (tee hee hee) (Nick Linazasoro)

Despite the sunshine, the only butterflies at Nymans today were 6 Speckled Woods, all in the woodland walk to the north of the ornamental gardens. (John & Val Heys)

News for Tuesday 10 June: Just finishing my walk around Welches Cmmon on Tuesday after a bleak butterfly transect around Burton Mill Pond, when a Clouded Yellow nearly flew into me. Great way to finish! (John Knight)

Late afternoon yesterday I found several firsts for me at Rewell Wood: a stunning red Hazel Leaf-roller Weevil, a Red-fringed Conch, a tiny weevil (Cionus hortulanus), a Mirid bug (Grypocoris stysi), a pair of mating micromoths and the star prize  two Buff-tip moths. Pics on my blog (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

News for Sunday 8 June: On 8th June, after the event at Rowland Wood I returned to 3 Ponds Holiday Park, South Heighton and as I drove in (slowly) I was preceded by a male Orange Tip. (Peter Atkinson)


Tuesday 10 June 2014

With the June Gap rendering the Downs very quiet for butterflies at the moment, today I turned my attention to the heathlands around Midhurst. Silver-studded Blue numbers are building rapidly now, with 17 counted on Stedham Common and 31 over a small part of adjacent Iping Common. There are a few females already laying eggs and eventually I found what I was looking for - a mating pair with both butterflies in perfect condition. Clouded Buff moths were seen quite regularly, including the less commonly observed female. I also found one of my favourite moth caterpillars, the very beautiful Beautiful Yellow Underwing. (Neil Hulme)

There was a Silver Y moth in my garden in Mytten Close, Cuckfield. yesterday. (Peter Lovett)


Monday 9 June 2014

I was pleased to see a female Brimstone visiting the two purging buckthorn bushes in my Bevendean Garden early this afternoon. Hope she laid eggs. (Geoff Stevens)

Today I visited Hollingbury Industrial Estate Reserve located at (TQ32270919) for the sole purpose to moniter how the Small Blue are fairing, the result was an increase from my last visit, totaling around 25, however hard to tell as they roam all over the site. This beats by best count from last year which was a poor record of 16 being seen on the 19th June 2013. I have planned another visit around the 20th of June to complete one last count, hopefully this will add to the bigger picture of how they have fared this year. Also seen on site was Common Blue, again around 25 seen. I interestingly observed new behavior, males would interact by circling each other using a slow gliding motion, resulting later in a change in speed gathering into larger groups of five or more. Also seen was a extremely fresh Small Tortoiseshell basking on clumps of chalk and my first Meadow Brown of the year, all before being caught in the rain. (Jamie Burston)

I have a colony of Peacock butterfly caterpillars at the edge of the garden absolutely mullering the nettles. Having checked them tonight I noticed one individual had just shed its skin giving a rather interesting appearance before it turns darker, like the sibling next to it. Spectacular in the macro world. About 20 minutes later this individual had actually changed colour to the normal caterpillar colour. Perhaps it's times like this, I admit, that a few grand on an SLR and a good lens may just be worth it, but not quite.
And on a different note...
Neil Hulme picked up on Red Admirals recently and also the reports of the arrival of Clouded Yellows and Silver Y confirm certain weather conditions have been conducive to immigration. It would be interesting to hear if anybody else running light traps have also caught any other migrant moths recently?(Richard Roebuck)
Not seen anything up here in Lindfield, not even a Silver Y or Diamond-back Moth. It's worth keeping an eye on the sightings page of The Sussex Moth Group (www.sussexmothgroup.org.uk/SMGsightings.php too. ed.

News for Sunday 8 June: In the afternoon I took a long walk along the top of the Downs between Chantry Hill and Amberley Mount, in the hope of locating another gorganus Swallowtail. I didn't find my target species but it was interesting to see how markedly the butterfly fauna has changed over the last ten days. Spring butterflies, which occurred in impressive numbers along these slopes, have all but disappeared now. I saw a few Common Blue (8), Speckled Wood (4) and a Brimstone, but nymphalids made most of the running. I counted 18 Red Admiral and 6 Painted Lady, all of which have probably arrived on our shores over the last couple of days. Amongst the 15 Small Tortoiseshell seen there were both aged, overwintered parents and their freshly emerged progeny. (Neil Hulme)

More news for Sunday 8 June: Today I went for a lovely walk around Friston Forest saw lots of butterflies. Spotted were Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Mother Shipton, Six-spot Burnett and Cinnabar. (Nick Linazasoro)

And some more news for Sunday 8 June: After a Saturday of watching Brits triumph in world cup canoeing & kayaking at Lee Valley (never seen any live before and it was very enjoyable despite a rainstorm  even a few butterflies around), we opted for a local-ish walk on Sunday. Starting at Walpole Road, Brighton (TQ325041) we walked up a footpath to the ridge above Whitehawk and on as far as the north end of the Racecourse grandstand area (TQ333055). We saw 1 Red Admiral and 8 Speckled Woods along the wooded path at the start of the walk. At the top, near the allotments, we saw 2 more Speckled Woods. Then we found a reasonably flowery area on the east side of the top of the ridge, just north of the allotments, which was a Common Blue zone  about 8 of them including one definite female. There was also a single Holly Blue on some bushes nearby. In the Common Blue zone and over a wider area nearby were Burnet Companion moths, maybe as many as 20. Finally, starting from the allotments and extending as far as a nice patch of nettles at the south end of the Grandstand, we came across 8 Small Tortoiseshells. Theres a lack of wild flowers in a lot of the grassland up there, particularly once the grandstand is reached, which may explain why we saw no butterflies at all after the last 3 Tortoiseshells. We didnt see any whites at all up there, but did see 2 Small Whites in our garden in Hove, one in the morning and one in the evening. (John & Val Heys)


Sunday 8 June 2014

A very brief visit to Stedham and Iping Commons earlier today produced five male Silver-studded Blues. (Mark Colvin)

Single Clouded Yellow this morning on the South side of Room Bottom below the Truleigh Hill car park at 7.45am. (Chris Corrigan)

A Clouded Yellow flew fast and furiously past me today on Cradle Hill, never to be seen again!! The Humming-bird Hawk-moth also reappeared briefly in the garden again today. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

During a walk around Steyning this afternoon I found a single Meadow Brown, Brown Argus and a still good looking Green Hairstreak. The Common Blues and Large Skippers were much more numerous. The only large yellow butterfly was a single Brimstone! (Tom Parker)

Just a quick note that I saw a perhaps rather late Grizzled Skipper for this season and also my first Silver Y moth of the year - most likely a migrant given the recent weather conditions, at Steyning rifle range. (Richard Roebuck)

Today I saw two Large White pass through the garden both around about (TQ31640846) and my usual Speckled Wood.
7th June 2014 : On my way to Hollingbury Hill Fort I saw the following along the golf course side of Ditchling Road, one male Common Blue (TQ31780811) , one Small Tortoiseshell and my first Large Skipper both feeding on Brambles within (TQ32230825)and five Drinker moth Caterpillars along the same overgrown, small path at (TQ32260826). At the Hill Fort I saw three roosting Common Blue at (TQ32230797), two Red Admiral at (TQ32160796) and two Small Tortoiseshell (TQ32140793 and TQ32220797). 5th June 2014: On a walk around the Hollingbury area I found five Common Blue seen at (TQ31670805 ,TQ31990815, TQ32230831 and TQ31700812 of which here was one male and one very blue female). Also three Speckled Wood seen at (TQ32380793 ,TQ32510778 and TQ32240831). Finally one Red Admiral at (TQ32530772) and one Small Tortoiseshell at (TQ32240830). (Jamie Burston)

Having seen Tessa Pawsey's notification about a sighting of a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on 4 June, and then having seen one in my garden on 7 June, it jogged my memory, and having checked my records I saw one in our East Dean garden (TV562984) on Friday 11th April.
I know that Chris and Mary Barnett saw one in their Seaford garden around the same time. (Carole Jode)


Saturday 7 June 2014

I had a beautiful walk today from Southease railway station, over Beddingham Hill into Glynde then up and over to Lewes. First sighting from Itford Hill was the steam train come to celebrate 150 years of the Seaford railway line. It was quite breezy on the tops but I saw a few Common Blues and my first Small Heath of the year. Coming down the track into Little Dene out of the wind I saw my first Small Blues, and lots of Purple Orchids, Yellowhammers and Stonechats. Masses of tadpoles in the dewpond at Oxteddle Bottom and the clash of male Broad-bodied Libellulas. Then lots of Pyramidal Orchids on the slope below the golf course and two Bee Orchids, much to my delight. Lastly on the golf course road down into Lewes a Marbled White, another first of the year for me. All this and only half a dozen people until I reached the seething masses of Lewes.
Sorry, forgot to say that there were also lots of bright Small Tortoiseshells out today too, and that I saw a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on my allotment on Whitehawk Hill in east Brighton on Wednesday TQ329046(Tessa Pawsey)

Butchershole, Friston Forest: about a week ago, I had seen 4 Small Blue on the lower slope of the gallops, so I stopped by there briefly yesterday to check on them and counted 5. Lots of horseshoe vetch but no kidney vetch nearby. Also saw 3 Large Skipper, one Dingy Skipper, several Common Blue and at least one Adonis; several Small Heath; 2 Red Admiral. I have not been able to find again the Small Blue I reported in my Tetrad (TQ5602) a couple weeks ago, but have lots of Common Blue, which seemed to have almost disappeared last year. (Susan Suleski)

Recent news: Walking in Friston Forest on 3rd June, I was busy checking Garlic Mustard tops for Orange-tip larvae when my wife Carol noticed this Four-spotted Footman larva resting on a lower leaf... a rare find in Sussex. (Carol and Nigel Kemp)


Friday 6 June 2014

After failing to relocate the gorganus Swallowtail at Steyning this morning, I headed to Heyshott Escarpment to say farewell to the Duke of Burgundy for another year. Over the years I have put so much effort in for this species that I feel quite sad at the end of each flight season. It seems such a long while before we'll be reacquainted again. That said, I feel incredibly proud of what we have achieved in Sussex; this year I have note of 1011 sightings, which is so much better than its nadir in 2003, when the total count for Sussex was just 8. In the end I found just 4 faded but still feisty males. This is one butterfly that always goes down fighting. They have no chance of meeting further females but still want to beat the living daylights out of anything which approaches too closely. Summer is now officially here by my own personal definition (first Meadow Brown on Thursday 5th June at Knepp) and the other spring species are also fading fast. Dingy Skippers were barely recognisable and I saw only a handful. Green Hairstreak was hanging on in reasonable numbers, but they've all lost their shine. Despite us now being in the 'June Gap', there were a couple of new kids on the block. There is a good emergence of Small Tortoiseshell underway and their numbers increased significantly throughout he day. The first (5) Large Skipper are now whizzing about over the slopes. Most of the Fly Orchids here have now gone over, along with the White Helleborine, but a few Greater Butterfly Orchids are still in stunning condition. On my way home, I noticed a Red Admiral fly across the road. Then another, and another. Although it was now after 7 pm I saw c.30 from the car between Clymping and Rustington. There has clearly been a significant influx today and they were behaving in that typical, frenetic manner that butterflies sometimes exhibit on landfall. It will be interesting to see how localised or otherwise this event is. (Neil Hulme)

I have recently started trying to find as many species as I can in my local 1km square - I've just reached 100. While shaking an Elder bush (in a deciduous wood near Cuckfield) on to a white sheet to find new insect species, a moth caterpillar landed on the sheet. I would greatly appreciate any help with identifying this to increase my count! I also had a small moth fall out of another bush which it would be wonderful to have identified too. (Eleanor Crabtree)
Not sure about the caterpillar (my hunch is it's a Pug of some sort), but the moth is White-barred Twist, Olindia schumacherana. ed.

Recent news: The good weather this week has kept me busy visiting different sites in West Sussex, with emphasis on searching for the emerging European Swallowtails. At a Chichester site I found plenty of Orange-tips in good condition, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell (adult and larvae) and a Lackey moth larva. The Adonis were still doing well at Mill Hill on Tuesday with some Green Hairstreaks, Common Blues, Small Heaths and the micromoth Straw-barred Pearl (Pyrausta despicata). Later at Woods Mill I found a Small Barred Long-horn, 2 Drinker larvae and a Common Sweep larva (Psyche casta) which carries a caddis-like case made of tiny twigs. It was on a huge nettle leaf a metre up and was on the same leaf when I spotted it two days later. There were smaller ones on Willow leaves near the car park. The highlight of the week was the fresh female European Swallowtail which eagle-eyed Neil spotted at Steyning Rifle Range. The fresh breeze made it a challenge to photograph. Swallowtails will feature on BBC's Springwatch next week. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Thursday 5 June 2014

Ladies and gentlemen here's Sussex Swallowtail number 11. She was laid as an egg on August 11th 2013 - just moments before her mother met an untimely end at the claws of my favourite cat. After spending the summer of 2013 munching on a garden Fennel she dropped onto the lawn, did a few laps of the garden and chose a sheltered Rosemary bush as her pupation site. 9 months later and She has made it through the winter and yesterday she emerged in all her glory, dried her wings, flew over the fence and was gone.

The 2014 season continues to amaze and delight! This morning, while performing a survey at Steyning Rifle Range, I found a female gorganus Swallowtail on the northern flank of the coombe. There was probably a second individual present but I never saw them simultaneously. She hung around nectaring for several hours, allowing time for me to call a few friends along before she finally slipped away in the early afternoon. There must be a good chance shell stick around here and she was far more obliging than the male I found on the outskirts of Chichester last week. More at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=10000. (Neil Hulme)

Following an alert from Neil I was elated to see one of the British born European Swallowtails in Sussex. This beautiful female was found up on the downs near Steyning - we suspect there may be more out there. Here are just a few of the many shots I took. (Leigh Prevost)

After hearing reports of another Swallowtail on the Downs we took a hike this evening from Washington, through the chalk pits, to Chanctonbury Ring. When I got there I realised that I had never been to this famous Sussex location before. It wasn't really how I imagined it. Still, saw my first Painted Lady and Large Skipper of the year and there were Small Tortoiseshells all along the route. (Michael Blencowe)

This afternoon we walked up footpath behind the houses on the east side of the Benfield Valley (Hove) pay-as-you-play golf course from Pipers Close to the A27 bypass and saw 4 Speckled Woods, 1 Green-veined White and 1 Red Admiral. We then crossed the bypass and walked down the path towards West Hove Golf Course and on into the Benfield Valley nature reserve, doing a circuit of the reserve and back to the bypass bridge. Although it was sunny, there was a strong wind. We saw 10 Common Blues, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Small Heath. We also came across our first 2 pyramidal orchids of the year, 1 twayblade, many common spotted orchids and a few small moths which vanished too quickly to be identified. (John & Val Heys)


Wednesday 4 June 2014

A near fully grown Marbled White larva on Frog Firle today. (Bob Eade)

Another Holly Blue at the County Cricket ground, Hove, this time not close to the gardens (and ivy) around the fringes, but venturing briefly on to the field of play and checking out the hanging baskets in front of the members' pavilion. Very quiet in butterfly terms here in central Hove. Not even any distant whites around  despite there being some quite warm spells today. (John & Val Heys)

News for Tuesday 3 June: I spent the afternoon showing 28 ecologists from the RSPB around Rewell Wood on the Norfolk Estate. The Estate has become well known for its wildlife-friendly management, particularly for the benefit of farmland birds (leading to a spectacular winter influx of raptors) and Estate Manager Peter Knight was a runner-up in the 2012 RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award. However, we were here to see the work done by the Estate in improving woodland habitats for butterflies and moths. Of course the RSPB does a lot more than look after birds and this visit was to allow their ecologists to see whether any of these techniques might be transferred to some of their many reserves. We started off by looking at the sweet chestnut coppice cycle in the southern part of the wood, which supports a thriving population of Pearl-bordered Fritillary, a few Grizzled Skipper and provides nesting opportunities for Nightjar and Woodcock. We then visited some large clear-fell areas which, when replanted, will retain some relatively small but highly valuable open areas along sunny ride-sides. Finally, we looked at some permanent open glades which have been created, and some significant widening of rides within blocks of now towering beech. Duke of Burgundy, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Grizzled and Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Brown Argus, Common Blue and a large number of moths, including the rare Drab Looper, have all benefitted from this work. It was nice to be able to point out a good example of Fly Orchid while on our travels; this species seems to have had a very good season. Our thanks go to the Norfolk Estate and its Head Forester Mark Aldridge for arranging access. (Neil Hulme)

News for Sunday 1 June: On Sunday morning I visited the Mill Hill Reserve behind Old Shoreham. I arrived at 9:30 when it was still quite cool and overcast. On walking down the steps to the lower slope we soon saw an Adonis Blue warming itself in the weak sunshine. As we walked further on we soon found many more Adonis Blue, mostly males, and in all, I consider that we saw over 25 males and 5 female Adonis Blue. Also seen on the reserve were a small number of Common Blue, 1 Small Heath, a newly emerged Peacock (very fresh!), Small White, and Brimstone. Not a butterfly, but a Red Kite flew over the hill, the first that I had seen around the Adur Valley. (Brian Lawrence, BC Lincolnshire)

News for Saturday 31 May: On Saturday I did my Mill Hill transect where the Adonis Blues are still doing well. A keen eyed young naturalist found a Heart and Dart moth larva on the grass and I saw a Pretty Chalk Carpet, a Yellow-spot Twist and a Chafer. Small Tortoiseshell larvae were feeding on nettle. I then visited Woods Mill where there were many tiny Common Nettle-tap moths fluttering over the nettle beds. Other moths seen were Dark Strawberry Tortrix, Clouded Border, Small Barred Long-horn, Meadow Grey and a Drinker caterpillar. Harlequin Beetles were everywhere in a variety of patterns, including mating pairs. Other interesting insects were a tiny Rove beetle and a stonefly - photos on my blog (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Tuesday 3 June 2014

We walked down the east side of Thorney Island this afternoon and saw our first Meadow Brown and Large Skipper of the year. There were also two Hairy Dragonflies on the wing at Thorney Deeps. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

News for Monday 2 June: At lunchtime on Monday I noticed the garden was a bit like a race track with several Small Tortoiseshells bombing around the garden beds. I then noticed one individual investigating a nettle growing out of the compost heap. She returned several times to exactly the same stem before eventually staying put and commencing egg laying. She stayed in the same spot about 2 feet off the ground for about 30 minutes and then departed leaving a big bunch of eggs all piled up on top of each other It was fascinating to watch. An added bonus was that that she was one of the particularly light individuals with distinct yellow borders to her wings. Having checked another 6 individuals, nectaring on brambles the other side of the hedge, none of these had this colouration. This must be in the local gene pool of this colony as the last time I saw this variant was June last year in virtually the same spot. Marvellous. (Richard Roebuck)

More news for Monday 2 June: My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings from Stansted Forest (SU754115). Holly Blue (1) Speckled Wood (2). A poor count on a day with sunny spells. I was going to visit the missing grid square at Stansted House, but cloud cover prevented me from attempting it. (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)

More news for Monday 2 June: Above is a photo of a Mother Shipton moth feeding on buttercup, taken in our wild-flower meadow today, first one this year. (Chris Page)


Monday 2 June 2014

Double figures folks! A tenth Sussex Swallowtail! This one was first seen in a garden as a caterpillar last August. It dropped off the fennel, wandered around the lawn and chose to pupate in a rosemary bush. We put a mesh sleeve around the rosemary to protect the chrysalis from a certain feline (name omitted for legal reasons) and have monitored its development over the past 9 months. He (it's a male) emerged this afternoon and was immediately released whereby he cleared the fence in a few flaps and was gone. He looked 'As happy as Larry' apparently.

Having caught a glimpse of an odd looking butterfly in the garden yesterday on a dandelion I had convinced myself I was seeing things and discounted it as an actual sighting. Today sat on a garden chair (and why not) was a Wall, sadly both hind wings were deformed. I wouldn't have thought it could have flown very far as it wasn't a strong flier. Although they are known to wander and perhaps it had emerged locally. So this is my 17th recorded species in the garden. TQ138171. (Richard Roebuck)

Holly Blue still flying in our Hove back garden (31/5) and at the county cricket ground Hove (1/6). Also a Small White at the cricket ground. (John & Val Heys)

Recent news: I have found more micromoths in Rewell Wood: the tiny (3mm) Cocksfoot Moth (Glyphipterix simpliciella), Common Drill (Dichrorampha petiverella), Common Slender (Caloptilia syringella), Triple-blotched Bell (Epiblema trimaculana), Vetch Piercer (Grapholita jungiella) plus a Yellow Shell in the Chichester area. Other microfauna may be viewed on my blog posts (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Sunday 1 June 2014

It'd be easy to think that the Swallowtail that Neil found (see below) was simply one of the garden Swallowtails we are monitoring not too far away. Indeed 'Swallowtail Number 3' (as we imaginitively called him) - had just left the garden on his maiden flight 2 hours before Neil's sighting. However if you look at this collage that I hastily cobbled together you can see that the pattern of 8 dots (and the pattern in cell R5, to the left of the second dot from the top) on the forewing of Neil's butterfly clearly identifies it as a completely different individual. (Michael "Miss Marple" Blencowe)

Had a Swallowtail fly from the south, dip low over my garden, and then power off northwards over the roof at approximately 1pm today when I was eating my lunch! Unmistakeably a Swallowtail! (Susie Milbank, Broadbridge Heath)

I finally lost my Duke of Burgundy virginity today and made it to the right place at the right time of year, Heyshott Down, and saw my first Duke (only one, and it was no spring chicken, but it was still a pretty little critter).
A bit of sunshine while there also meant I saw Green Hairstreak (1), Grizzled Skipper (1), Small Heath (25), Speckled Wood (3), Common Blue (16), Large White (3), Green-veined White (3), Unidentified Whites (15), Brimstone (5), and moths Mother Shipton (3), Burnet Companion (3). (Thyone Outram)

I took another day out between Artwork. Before I went out I saw a moth which came in through a window, it was an Angle Shades at (TQ31640847), it was then escorted to the window back into the garden. I first headed to the Hollingbury Industrial Estate Reserve, once there I saw six male and one female Common Blue all around (TQ32180909). Also moving to the main area of the reserve I saw ten male Common Blue, around 10 Small Blue and a fairly tatty Green Hairstreak seen to be laying eggs. The centre area for these is (TQ32270919). On the way to Hollingbury Hill Fort I saw one male Common Blue at (TQ32310917). At the edge of Ditchling road, half a meter from the road edge I was overjoyed and amazed to see a female Wall Brown, since 2011 I've been looking for a year after year area, hopefully this is it for them, seen at around about (TQ32360882). Moving towards Wild Park in a enclosure like area near a car park I found five male and one female Common Blue, seen in the following area (TQ32370849). Later on two Speckled Wood at (TQ32390790 and TQ32330789). Next to a stone shelter by the Hill Fort was a single fresh looking Small Tortoiseshell (TQ32320781). Finally around the Hill Fort I found a single Painted Lady, seen at (TQ32300792), this site never let me down, each year seeing at least one. One fresh Small Copper at (TQ32230798) and seven male Common Blue, mostly around (TQ32200798). (Jamie Burston)

3 Hawk-moth (Eyed (x2), Elephant and Poplar) species from yesterday night's trap of 46 macro, which Spectacle, Burnished Brass, Straw Dot, Angle Shades, Large Yellow Underwing, Scalloped Hazel, Common Footman, White-point (x5), Dark Arches, Garden Carpet, Small Waved Umber, Orange Swift (x2), Swallow Prominent, Pale Tussock, Light Brocade, Marbled Minor, Mottled Rustic, Pale Mottled Willow, Dark Brocade, Rustic Shoulder-knot, Green Pug and Lime-speck Pug.
This time, the Scalloped Hazel did not escape being photographed, but on release, managed to find the dirtiest most-cobwebbed corner of the room... a cunning beast. (John Luck)

News for Saturday 31 May:I had a walk on Wolstonbury Hill, Pyecombe side, on Saturday, Lots of lovely Common Blues and the Small Blue Colony still persists with 6 fresh individuals seen in a sheltered spot. In addition a few Dingy Skippers, Small Heaths, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Common Heath and Burnet Campion moths. There were hundreds of Orchids on the hillside making a splendid view. Also saw several Speckled Woods on the quagmire of the bridle track on the way up. (Richard Roebuck)


Saturday 31 May 2014

Apologies for the delay...

Found this immaculate ab. taras Grizzled Skipper today during a High Weald (East Sussex) butterfly survey, having first spotted it a week ago when it disappeared without trace before I could get the camera out. Perhaps there was more than one! Also in this species-rich meadow near Mayfield were a freshly emerged 2nd brood Small Tortoiseshell, Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Common Blue, Small Heath, Small Yellow Underwing, Yellow Shell, Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton, Straw Dot, several Silver-Y and what looks like micro-moth Crambus lathoniellus. (Mike Mullis)

Having seen your appeal for someone to visit OS square SU7804 at Nutbourne, West Sussex, I contacted my father, Roy Symonds who spent 2 hours walking the public footpaths in that grid area. Sadly he did not see any Orange Tips, but did recorded the following sightings with temperature of 18C. Small White (7), Green-veined White (1), Large White (1), Speckled Wood (1) and Red Admiral (1). (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)

My first Meadow Brown of the year in the set-aside field north of Hollingdean Estate, Brighton, this morning. Also Burnet Companion and 3 Small Heath. (Peter Whitcomb)

Celebrating a recent family birthday I was at Washbrooks Farm near Hurstpierpoint. Whilst there I saw one Speckled Wood (TQ27581624) and one male Common Blue (TQ27451603). On the way back near home I saw a single Small White by Carden Primary School at (TQ31730865), finally in our Hollingbury back garden a pair of fresh looking Speckled Wood (TQ31640847). (Jamie Burston)

On Bevendean Down today 17 Common Blues, 2 Adonis, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Small Blue, 4 Small Whites, 2 Small Heath, 2 Speckled Woods, 2 Dingy Skippers and 1 Grizzled Skipper. (Geoff Stevens)


Friday 30 May 2014

I did a walk round the Bevendean Down site this morning with Graham Champion doing a breeding bird count on a mostly cloudy morning.There were plenty of day flying moths but few butterflies but we did see several Common Blues and 1 Small Blue 1 Small Heath 1 Brown Argus and a very fresh Large Skipper. There were 4 large caterpillars amongst the bramble and white bryony that Graham thought were Drinkers. Graham has been doing bird counts for us for the last 22 years and used to do Vert wood including P.C.H. amongst other sites in Sussex. (Geoff Stevens)


Thursday 29 May 2014

I normally put "firsts-for-the-year" at the top of the day's reports but in this case I have to make an exception... Swallowtail trumps Meadow Brown I'm afraid. ed.

The big story of 2014, which is still developing, is the emergence of gorganus (Continental subspecies) Swallowtails on British soil, following an influx of these magnificent insects during the summer of 2013. The discovery of resultant larvae and pupae in Sussex gardens and further afield has been well documented ('Supplement Three to A Complete History of the Butterflies and Moths of Sussex', Pratt (2014); 'The Sussex Butterfly Report 2013', Colvin et al. (2014); UK Butterflies website; BC Sussex website) and we waited with bated breath to see if gorganus would emerge in Sussex for the first time since 1948; it did! So far this year, Continental Swallowtails have been seen in Hampshire and along the Kent and East Sussex coasts, but most of the observations have focused on 9 pupae being monitored in a Chichester (West Sussex) garden, about half of which have now flown the coop, bringing the total of known adult specimens on the wing to about 10. In order to honour the privacy of the owners, access to these insects has been very restricted, leaving them tantalisingly out of reach. But common sense dictates that these butterflies must represent just 'the tip of the iceberg', and many more must be present in Southern England and particularly Sussex. Yesterday afternoon I made my third visit to a very promising looking area of semi-urban 'wasteland' (with a public right of way running across it), close to the superstores on the outskirts of Chichester. This was one of several areas around Chichester which I had earmarked using satellite imagery and then followed up on foot, confirming an abundance of food-plants in suitable habitat. As with the Long-tailed Blues last year, it is a great feeling when a hunch (and a lot of groundwork) pays off, so I was positively euphoric when I spotted this giant within ten minutes of arriving, just as the sun started to break through the cloud. At present I have no way of knowing, and perhaps never will, whether this is one of the insects which has emerged from the monitored garden, which lies just over 1 Km away. My gut feeling is that it isn't, and that more will appear here and elsewhere. (Neil Hulme)

Another day - another Swallowtail. This one was originally found as a caterpillar munching on carrot tops in a suburban Eastbourne garden in August 2013. It was taken indoors and put in a child's butterfly mesh cage where it pupated and, after contacting Sussex BC, the owner was advised to take it back outdoors. The garden owners were a bit concerned leaving the pupae outside during the storms of the 2013/4 but Sussex Swallowtails are made of tough stuff and yesterday lunchtime another great gorganus Swallowtail emerged, headed over the fence and was gone! The weather over the weekend looks more Spanish than Scottish and it could trigger more Swallowtail emergences anywhere along the Sussex coast. There's never been a more exciting time to get out and about in Sussex. And - everybody - plant as much carrot and fennel as you can in your back gardens!

My first Meadow Brown of the year at work today (Mount Harry TQ386126). Also 1 Painted Lady, 1 Red Admiral and 6 Common Blues. (Mark Cadey)

Having returned from a holiday in Wiltshire for our first look at Marsh Fritillaries (successful despite the gloomy weather), it was good to have a sunny afternoon which produced two Holly Blues, one in our back garden in Hove and a fragile but still whole female in Aldrington Recreation ground (alias Wish Park) just behind our house. Wiltshire's reporting system is a bit more complicated and a lot less chatty than ours  I'll have to gather my brains together and make an effort! (John & Val Heys)

This morning 3 Small Blues roosting in the 'wildflower meadow' in my Hollingbury, Brighton back garden. Cool overcast conditions resulted in their remaining motionless, although as the day warmed a fraction at lunch time they took to the wing and were joined by a single Common Blue. The first Small Blue this year was seen on Sunday 25th. (Philip Thompson)

A Painted Lady floated into our garden at 5.20pm today and headed for the Sweet Rockets, where it happily nectared until I got that bit too close. Are we in for another invasion? (John Luck)

Today I had a leisurely stroll around Friston Forest and saw Brimstone, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Large White and some caterpillars including a Scarlet Tiger. (Nick Linazasoro)

Imagine If a Butterfly migrated to the UK just to see you, well that's what it felt like when I was looking out of my lounge window enjoying the farm and downland view when a Painted Lady decided to pay me a visit (TQ31640848), my first one of the year, fantastic! (Jamie Burston)

News for Tuesday 27 May: Despite the grey skies and low temperatures another of the Swallowtails we are monitoring in Sussex gardens has emerged (the 6th Sussex Swallowtail reported so far this year). This individual was first discovered as a caterpillar feeding on fennel last summer and pupated in a warm spot in the garden in the Autumn. Because of the exposed pupation site he has been inside a mesh cage to protect him from predators over the winter. We wanted to prove that he could survive the British winter climate - getting eaten by a bird would have just proved he was unlucky! He emerged as an adult in the poor weather this week and is no doubt wondering why he's in Sussex and not Spain. With the temperature set to increase over the next few days this may be the trigger to encourage other swallowtails - and there must be more out there that we don't know about - to appear.

More news for Tuesday 27 May: My first Painted Lady of the summer on the Red Valerian here in the garden at Westfield on Tuesday. (Ralph Hobbs)

Recent news: I visit Rewell Wood frequently and always find fascinating microfauna to photograph. I have recently found 3 species of Longhorn moths there, including the tiny (3mm) Little Long-horn (Cauchas fibulella). Others were the small Micropterix aruncella and Large Long-horn (Nematopogon swammerdamella). Other interesting micromoths were Yellow-faced Bell (Epiblema cynosbatella), Common Slender (Caloptilia syringella) and a rare Eulamprotes species (E.unicolorella or E.immaculatella). Other insects can be viewed on my blog. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Sunday 25 May 2014 (contd.)

For some time now I've been meaning to explore the south west section of Hollingbury golf course, today was my chance. It was great to look for new Butterfly habitat. I started near the club house, I counted ten male Common Blue from (TQ31800769 to TQ31720757). I then found a wild area at the edge of the course, maybe being the Butterfly glade of Burnstead Wood, here I found one Brown Argus (TQ31780732), two Small White (TQ31810732 and TQ31790731), two Large White (TQ31790731 and TQ31870735) and thirteen male Common Blue, mostly around (TQ31780733). Moving on I found three Small White, two at (TQ31960727) and the other one at (TQ31920745) and a single Speckled Wood at (TQ32110731). I then saw three Large White, all seen at (TQ32090729), one of which lead me off to a active Bees nest at (TQ32080725). Leaving the golf course, at the edge I found a single Small Heath around about (TQ32270746) as I was heading toward the dew pond. I also visited Hollingbury Hill Fort seeing eleven male Common Blue and two female Common Blue go to roost, the best numbers I've seen on site !, obviously a good year locally. All these Common Blues were seen on the northern side of the fort, this being a central point (TQ32220799). Lastly I saw two Small Copper, seen at (TQ32210798 and TQ32270779). (Jamie Burston)

News for Saturday 24 May: I had a walk along the top of Chantry Hill on Saturday in quite blustery conditions. I saw several Brown Argus amongst the Common Blues, one of which was flapping on the ground with quite soft wings, presumably newly emerged. So I placed it on grass stem, in a sheltered spot out of harm's way . Also noteworthy were good numbers of Red Admirals all nectaring high up on the flowers of Whitebeam Trees together with several very wornPainted Ladies. The Red Admirals and Painted Ladies had some quite energetic tussles with each other. (Richard Roebuck)

Recent news: On Thursday I found a small (21mm) Mullein Moth on the outer door of our home. On Friday I found a sunny window to complete my Mill Hill transect: Adonis Blue 27, Brimstone 3, Common Blue 3, Dingy Skipper 1, Green Hairstreak 2, Small Heath 1 plus a Common Heath. I then visited Woods Mill and saw Azure and Large Red Damselflies in a meadow and much microfauna on woodland nettle beds, including mating Green Dock Beetles, Dark Strawberry Tortrix and Grey Sailor Beetles. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Sunday 25 May 2014

A walk in next doors very overgrown garden produced the first Large Skipper of the year, for me anyway (and for everyone else too, by the look of things! ed.). (Graham Parris, Isfield)

Today I conducted the first of three annual surveys I now perform at Fairmile Bottom, just to the north of Rewell Wood near Arundel. Nothing spectacular appeared during my search of the mixed habitats here, although it was encouraging to find both Grizzled and Dingy Skippers. Other species included Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone and Green-veined White. Day-flying moths were quite common and I recorded Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton, Speckled Yellow, Silver Y, Fox and Pyrausta aurata. By far the most common species on site was the Five-spot Burnet ssp. palustrella, of which I counted more than 100. This is also a good area for orchids, supporting Fly, Southern Marsh and hybrids between the latter species and Common Spotted. (Neil Hulme)

Hope Gap: More than 10 Common Blues. One very fresh Painted Lady and three Red Admirals on a Guelder Rose. Small Heath by Harry's Bush. A male Orange Tip in my Rodmell Garden 18 April. (Sharifin Gardiner)

This morning a single Painted Lady was flying around the last of the Bluebells on the edge of one of the rides at RSPB Broadwater Warren. We also saw several Brimstone (male and female) and a Red Admiral. (Alan Loweth)

We walked around Thorney Island today and the number of butterflies sightings was quite low. Red Admiral 8, Speckled Wood 9, Holly Blue 1, Common Blue 3, Large White 1, Small Heath 7 and a Cream-spot Tiger on the wing at Pilsey Island.(Barry & Margaret Collins)

On 21st May my father, Roy Symonds reported the following sightings from Inham's Lane, West Stoke (SU835089) where the temperature was 16C. Orange Tip (9M 4F), Small White (5), Speckled Wood (1), Common Blue (2M) and Red Admiral (1).
On 25th May he visited Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU822106) where the temperature was 15C. Brimstone (7M 4F), Small White (1), Common Blue (3M), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Grizzled Skipper (1).
Also on 25th May he reported the following from Inham's Lane, West Stoke (SU835089) temperature 15C. Brimstone (8M 2F), Small White (7), arge White (1), Orange Tip (5M 1F), Common Blue (4M), Speckled Wood (3) and Red Admiral (1). (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)


Saturday 24 May 2014

I was on the A27 near Hollingbury this afternoon when a big patch of blue sky appeared! So I took advantage and paid the industrial estate nature reserve a visit. Although fairly quiet, I did see a Green-veined White and a few Common Blues before finally tracking down my real quarry - 5 Small Blues. And then, just as I was leaving, I found a Brown Argus. A pleasant 20 minutes in warm sunshine! (Chris Hooker)


Friday 23 May 2014

Number 5 is alive! A fifth Sussex Swallowtail has emerged. Number 5 was originally found as a caterpillar in a garden near Eastbourne last August. However, it had been taken indoors for some time where it pupated and we feared that this warm and dry environment could have dessicated the pupae. It was moved back outdoors (in a kid's mesh butterfly cage) where the chrysalis enjoyed the lovely British winter. Yesterday we were thrilled to discover it had made it through OK!

In order of numbers rather than appearance, today at Mill Hill we saw 20 or so Adonis Blue (mostly male), about 15 Dingy Skippers, 5 Common Blues, 2 Small Heaths, 1 (possibly 2) male Brimstones, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Wall butterfly, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Peacock, and 1 Red Admiral. There might have been more to see in the sun if the wind hadn't been so strong. Our little camera prefers the less reflective colour of the female Adonis blues to the males! (John & Val Heys)

News for Monday 19 May: On Monday I visited Brandy Hole Copse, a beautiful north Chichester woodland nature reserve, and found Speckled Woods, Brimstones, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Hook-streak Grass-veneer (Crambus lathoniellus), Large Red Damselflies and Common Blue Damselflies. (Colin Knight, photos at http://bit.ly/Tx0cIw)


Thursday 22 May 2014

Painted Lady near Herstmonceux: Spotted this one basking in the parking area at my wildlife plot (Wild Flower Barn) near Herstmonceux, East Sussex at lunchtime today about half an hour before the thunderstorm! Also saw two Red Admirals at Abbots Wood in the very warm weather on Tuesday (20th May) so assume these are all probably recent migrants... (Mike Mullis)

Apologies for the terrible photo - it just would not keep still! (no need to apologise, it's a great photo and I love the matching flowers, flowerpot and wellies! ed.) Humming-bird Hawk-moth seen in on the Pevensey Levels, Normans Bay, this afternoon, shortly before the thunder storm. It was around the red campion flowers for a long while and kept coming back even though we were sitting next to it. (J. Williams)


Wednesday 21 May 2014

A fourth Sussex Swallowtail is on the loose. This individual was one which we were monitoring at its chosen site in one of the private gardens which was lucky enough to be visited by egg laying females in 2013. So that's four Continental Swallowtails on the loose in Sussex. The most exciting thing is you're just as likely to see one flying across your patio in the middle of Worthing as you are to see one out in the middle of the South Downs.

This morning I met South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) Biodiversity Lead Emily Brennan, her mother, and SDNPA Ranger Simon Mockford for a tour of Heyshott Escarpment. The SDNPA and their predecessors the South Downs Joint Committee have always been great partners in projects which benefit butterflies and moths in Sussex and the neighbouring counties. Certainly in Sussex we would be lost without them. Simon does a huge amount of work to help the Duke of Burgundy in the Arundel and Storrington areas, but this was his first visit to Heyshott. As expected here, we saw a huge number of butterflies, along with White Helleborine, Greater Butterfly and Fly Orchid (all now fully in flower) and a large female Adder. Despite the overcast conditions we had already seen 45 Dukes before we completed our walk. I later returned to cover the rest of the ground under slightly improved conditions and ended up with a count of 88 Dukes. It appears that the emergence is all-but-over on this site, with only a few of the female butterflies being in really good condition. They've had a great season here already and, assuming we get some decent weather over the next ten days, there should be sufficient eggs laid to ensure a very bright future. Amongst the other species seen were Dingy and Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak (including newly emerged females), Common Blue, Small Heath, Small Copper and Red Admiral. I saw half a dozen of the latter, including two laying eggs in the lowermost pit. (Neil Hulme)

This morning I went to Southwick Canal. The first butterfly I saw of the day was my first Painted Lady of the year. I also saw 3 Small Whites and 3 Common Blues. Another thing I saw was some interesting caterpillars with 2 red spots on their backs. Having done some googling I think they are Brown-Tail moth caterpillars which are apparently highly irritant if handled so be warned if you visit the site. Later on I went on for a quick stop in the Chantry Hill area of the Downs and saw 1 Wall Brown, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Brown Argus, 3 Small Heaths 4 Common Blues and 7 Dingy Skippers. I stopped at Mill Hill on the way home and saw a fox, 2 Red Admirals, a few Dingy Skippers and some Common Blues and Adonis Blues. (Katrina Watson)

I risked going out with a cold to Hollingbury industrial estate reserve, on the way walking past Carden School playing field, the colour blue caught my eye, I saw one male Common Blue on Bird's-foot Trefoil (TQ31940878), once at the reserve I only saw another single male Common Blue (TQ32270919). (Jamie Burston)

Wednesday was unrelentingly cloudy, but at, and north of, Steepdown were 24 Red Admiral, 8 Wall (including 2 mating) and a Small Blue. (Lindsay Morris)

Recent news: I made several visits to Rewell Wood recently and each time discovered moths and other insects which were new to me. A pair of Brimstones were courting and Common Blues were nectaring on another local meadow. Moths included Cocksfoot (Glyphipterix simpliciella), Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana), Meadow Grey (Scoparia pyralella) and a possible Little Longhorn (Cauchas fibulella). Other insects were Garden Chafer, Grey Sailor Beetle, Black-tailed Skimmer, green Sawfly (Tenthredo mesomelas), Orchid Beetle, Dark Bush Cricket, Broad-bodied Chaser and Brassica Shieldbug which can all be viewed on my blog. (Colin Knight http://bit.ly/1o5Ubil)


Tuesday 20 May 2014

The weather wasn't quite good enough to continue my Duke of Burgundy surveys today, so I took time out to visit Mill Hill (Shoreham) and its beautiful Adonis Blues. There were plenty about and during the short spells of milky sunshine they became very active. Most of the time they just lay around in the grass looking pretty. Whenever the cloud thickened and the temperature dropped they closed up, showing off their equally lovely undersides. The first brood is probably at peak now and plenty of females were present, all keen to get on with the job of laying eggs. It would be advisable to visit this coming weekend if you wish to see any fresh ones. (Neil Hulme)

I have a Painted Lady in my garden, in Hove, TQ288052. Isn't it rather early? (Noranne Biddulph)
Not really, we've had quite a few Painted Lady reports so far this year, the first being back on 6 March. ed.

One Holly Blue and one Small White in my Hollingbury garden, both at (TQ31650847). (Jamie Burston)

Even though the weather was dull I thought I may find a few roosting butterflies by the road at Saddlescombe (TQ268117). Well there were more than a few. Mostly Common Blues (50+), with the occasional Brown Argus (12), and then inside the chalk pit 6 Adonis Blues, 6 Dingy Skipper and 1 Red Admiral on the way back to the car. (Mark Cadey)

News for Saturday 17 May: In general my trapping activity year to date has been pretty disappointing with the exception of a Dotted Chestnut in March and a Great Prominent on the night of the 17th of May so it was pleasing to find this Barred Red of the form prasinaria in my Hailsham garden Skinner trap this morning. Given the conditions the rest of the contents of my trap were unremarkable to say the least with 13 other macros comprising 7 species and 8 micros of 2 species. TQ590099 (Chris Ball)

News for Friday 16 May: On Friday, I had a phone call from my good friend Mark Gapper. He knew I had been unwell but this was the start of the recent good weather and he also knew that it would do me good to get out.
"Hello Dan" said Mark in his customary and incongruous, statement of fact kind of way. "You need to get out and see the Small Blues near Roedean" he insisted. "It's a wonderful day and it would do you the world of good to get out". I didn't need much more convincing. I quickly formulated a route to take in another local specialty and departed shortly afterwards.
My first stop was the south facing chalk slopes on the A27 between Lewes and Falmer (TQ 3731 0917) because I wanted to see the Adonis Blue colony that I had described on Monday 5 May. Much to my delight I saw between 50 to 70 adults. Many of the males were past their best but the females looked excellent and there were many of them to see. I found it best to walk the brow of the hill as the ground was easier to walk and there were many insects here that were easy to photograph. The males were very interested in the females and active courtship, as well as copulation was easily observed.
I was also pleased to see 5 to 6 Dingy Skippers and they made excellent subjects for photography. In addition, I was delighted to see a swift moving Wall Brown fly up the slope and into the adjacent pasture.
Having spent time here, the next stop was Mark's recommendation, a chalk grassland site at Roedean near Brighton (TQ 3406 0333). Along the seafront there are many patches of good quality grassland that Mark has been carefully managing, in his capacity as horticulturalist for the Brighton & Hove parks department. He had taken me to this particular site once before to show the orchids that were growing there but this was the first time that he had directed me to this location to see butterflies. I had been told that there was a lot of Kidney Vetch at the site but I did not really see as much as I had expected. The grass was quite long (on average 30cm high) and I've seen lekking Small Blues in similar habitat before and sure enough, within a few minutes they began to show themselves. I guess I saw between 10 to 15 individuals, along with some flighty Common Blues. I also saw another Wall Brown, a singleton, that like that previously encountered at the A27 site, was in transit, travelling well beyond the boarders of this site.
I was delighted to spend sometime at both locations and it was a great opportunity to test out my new Lumix FZ200 camera. I had been thinking of upgrading from my Lumix FZ45 and when Mark Colvin showed me that he had two cameras, one for landscape/habitat shots and one set up with an extension tube and close up lens - ready for action, I thought this guy is onto something. It's difficult to know if the images are any better than those I could have taken with my FZ45 but I hope that as time passes I will improve. (Dan Danahar)


Monday 19 May 2014

Two more Swallowtails reported in Sussex. The first at Peacehaven and the second, a female, up on Chanctonbury Ring and seen heading east. Our observations over the winter has proved that Continental Swallowtails can survive in Southern England so there may be many more emerging over the next few weeks in both the countryside and urban areas. If you,re lucky enough to see one please email in details of your sighting. And if you're feeling really lucky plant some carrots or fennel in a sunny spot in your garden - you may attract an egg laying female!

Tetrad TQ5602: a Small Blue! The first I have seen in the four plus years I have been looking for them in my Tetrad. I was watching 2 Common Blue fighting when suddenly this little 'grey butterfly' chased them off. It settled and I got a very clear view of a fresh Small Blue. I will return over the next few weeks to see if more emerge. No sign of their favourite kidney vetch anywhere nearby. Also finally saw a Dingy Skipper and over 20 male Common Blue and 4 female, several male and female Brimstone, 3 Green Hairstreak, 3 Red Admiral, 2 male Orange Tip and 1 female (?), several Small Whites, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Wall and a Brown Argus. Great day! (Susan Suleski)

At home (New Church Road, Hove) one Holly Blue. At Park Corner Heath (1pm to 2pm) 20+ Brimstones (male and female), 2 Speckled Woods, 1 Green Hairstreak, many Speckled Yellow moths, 6 or so Brown Silver-line moths (hope that's right - see picture) and one Crimson & Gold moth. At Malling Down north-eastern chalk pits (2.30pm to 3pm) 1 Small Heath, 1 Small White, 1 Orange Tip, 5 Common Blues, 1 female Brimstone, 3 Dingy Skippers and 1 Peacock. Not many orchids emerging - even common ones - from an area where I recall seeing very many 15 or 20 years ago. (John & Val Heys)

Today whilst waiting for a bus in Hollingbury I noticed a Butterfly in the bus shelter, looking closer I managed to narrow it down to a female blue as of seeing it flutter about. I found it to either be a Common or Adonis Blue, purely based on it's larger size I would have to guess Adonis Blue however it flew off before I got the chance to look at it's wing margins to confirm my opinion, seen at (TQ31850846). Then Later coming back from Brighton town centre I noticed a Holly Blue around a bush seen from the bus, this individual was seen near Fiveways at (TQ31370697). (Jamie Burston)

At work today (Mount Harry TQ386126) there were 3 Common Blue, a Brown Argus, 2 Speckled Woods and 2 Red Admirals. A short visit to Blackcap (TQ375128) gave me 1 Wall Brown, 3 Adonis Blue, 2 Small Blues, 6 Dingy Skippers, 3 Small Heaths, 3 Brown Argus, 4 Common Blue, 2 Red Admirals and a Mother Shipton. (Mark Cadey)

Sunday 18 May 2014 contd.

Shock horror!
For the first time ever the sun shone on the annual Sussex BC Mill Hill walk on Sunday 18 May! The lovely sun brought out 25 fabulous enthusiasts lead by Chris and Ellie Corrigan. Chris was too busy talking and distracted watching 2 lovely red kites which left everyone else to find the butterflies! That's the danger of having someone from the RSPB lead a butterfly walk! Mill Hill has to be one of the best butterfly sites in Sussex though so has plenty to see and within minutes a couple of Wall Browns were on the list quickly followed by heaps of other butterflies of a range of species.
Of course, just to demonstrate that the weather can never be right, it was actually too sunny! Everyone saw Common and Adonis Blues but they were hyperactive in the lovely weather so lots of fly pasts and few settled individuals to get close ups of the tell tale wing margins. There was a special request to see a Green Hairstreak (they were a demanding bunch!) and just as it looked as it would end in failure, right at the death a lovely Green Hairstreak perched obligingly on a horseshoe vetch for all to see.
The leaders failed to keep a list of what was seen but luckily two of the group were more organised so thanks to Rog and Mo Pendell for the following (the counts for common and Adonis Blue are the totals of the ones positively identified).
A spectacular Drinker moth caterpillar also seen (thanks to Penny Green for the identification advice!)
Orange-tip 1
Wall 6
Brimstone 6
Speckled Wood 3
Dingy Skipper 9
Common Blue 11
Adonis Blue 6
Green-veined White 1
Large White 1
Small Heath 2
Grizzled Skipper 2
Green Hairstreak 1
Thanks to everyone who came along for contributing to a friendly, sociable and enjoyable event. (Chris and Ellie Corrigan)

On Sunday I searched numerous sites along the Downs near Storrington, both with public access and on private estates. The news for the Duke of Burgundy is good and my composite count easily beat my best figures for the area, with an encouraging 119 seen. My running Sussex total for the species this year stands at just below 800, which compares very well with the entire 2003 Sussex count of just 8! Later in the day, when the counting was over, I took a walk through Rewell Wood. Most of the butterflies were already tucked up in bed, but I did notice a dragonfly which wasn't one of the resident Hairys. After carefully stalking it to get a better look, I was surprised to see it was an early Black-tailed Skimmer. I assumed it was a teneral male, but local dragonfly expert John Luck informed me it's a fully mature female. These things are far more confusing than butterflies! (Neil Hulme)

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings on 18th May from the tracks near Treyford Hill (SU820178). Temperature was 19 degrees. Brimstone (2M 3F), Orange Tip (2F), Large White (2), Small White (4), Green-veined White (1) and Comma (1). (Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)

I decided to dig out the mothtrap on Saturday and was surprised to find that my last one was almost 3 years ago. I was hoping to attract a hawkmoth or two without success, but managed to see 28 species including one new one, a Scalloped Hazel. I thought, this one's worth a photo so having cooled it down, decided to release it in the breakfast room. It shot off at a rate of knots on to the french windows, giving me a half a chance to catch it which I failed to accept, then disappeared under the settee. All attempts to locate it were sadly in vain.
Anyway, other species of interest were Peach Blossom, Common Marbled Carpet, Muslin Moth, Light Emerald, Common Swift, Spectacle, Shears, Light Brocade, Lychnis, Clouded Drab, Pebble Prominent and Small Quaker. (John Luck)

Astonished to find a Brimstone egg laying on Common Sorrel flowerheads today. Had to do a double check! Is this aberrant behaviour in the absence of Buckthorn, or something else? It will be interesting to see whether the caterpillars thrive or succumb. Will keep you posted... (David Harris, Newhaven)

First Dingy Skipper recorded from Buchan Park, Crawley. TQ242346. (Dave Browne)

News for Friday 16 May: White Admiral larva (final instar) in Rowland Wood on 16.5.14. The photos show the larva in resting, feeding and defence posture. (Nigel Kemp)


Sunday 18 May 2014

Something has survived... Last year's great summer weather encouraged Continental Swallowtails to cross The Channel and visit Sussex. Sussex Butterfly Conservation asked the people of Sussex to look out for these distinctive caterpillars in their gardens. We were amazed to discover that Swallowtails had laid eggs on carrots and fennel and their caterpillars (the first reported in the county since the 1940's) were munching away in gardens and allotments. With the kind co-operation of the gardeners we were able to track the caterpillar's progress and tracked them as they pupated in their chosen habitats - an unprecedented opportunity. We've monitored 13 pupae at sites across the county for the past 9 months. Sussex BC members will have read the full story in our 2013 Annual Report.
But the question was could we be able to prove that Continental Swallowtails can survive a Sussex winter? This weekend we were privileged to witness the first of these Swallowtails emerging - a truly magnificent sight as they took to the Sussex skies. Could this be the first step in the colonisation of Sussex by Continental Swallowtails? There must be many more pupae out there that we don't know about so keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks and let us know if you see any of these beautiful butterflies in Sussex.

It's been a great few days for filling in more Orange-tip atlas squares. Adults were seen by Jonathan Simons near Petworth, Dan Danhar found an adult at Waterhall and I took a quick detour off the A27 to find eggs at Poling and Preston. 4 more squares off the list! (Michael Blencowe)

Late afternoon at Rowland Wood there were 2 Wall Brown patrolling at the top of the big open area, a Dingy Skipper, 10+ Small Heath, lots of Brimstones and some freshly emerged White-legged Damselflies. (Mark Cadey)

Gallops above Butchershole, 18th May: over 100 Common Blue butterflies, mostly male. I think there were Adonis amongst them but they were all very busy so hard to check for sure. Also lots of Small Heath, and 3 Brimstone, 2 Small Copper, a Brown Argus and a Green Hairstreak. I had hoped for Small Blue and Dingy Skippers but no luck. Re Orange Tips: when out walking I have seen them more often this year than last, including 2 males at Old Lodge yesterday, and another in Polegate CP on Friday. (Susan Suleski)

I woke up early this morning. With a hangover. In Eastbourne. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to fill in some more Orange-tip squares for the atlas. So at 06:45 we headed out onto the Pevensey Levels to attempt the impossible - trying to locate an Orange-tip egg in one of the few remaining squares- TQ6406. Over the past few years Keith Alexander has tried and tried with no luck and recently Mike Mullis has given it a go too. We hiked around the square (accompanied by plenty of warblers and a few cuckoos) but drew a blank - and then we saw a lone garlic mustard plant. We searched all over the plant for eggs or caterpillars (despite our eyesight being impaired by the previous night's tequila) but couldn't find anything. Could this square be one of the few OT free zones in Sussex? (Michael Blencowe & Liesel Wilkes)

Lovely walk this afternoon around the fields and woodlands to the west of Mayfield adding some new species into blank squares for the atlas. Nice to hear a few more cuckoos too and see my first broad-bodied chasers and beautiful demoiselles of the year. Beautiful weather, fantastic countryside, plenty of wildlife and we didn't see another soul for hours - perfect! (Michael & Clare Blencowe)

Yesterday (17/05/14) a Large White on the sea front near the King Alfred in Hove. Today (18/05/14) in our garden in Hove (BN3 4JD) Val saw 1 Small White, 1 Speckled Wood (happy flitting around by the holly bush & apple tree until the lawnmower got down there and took out most of the long grass) and 1 Holly Blue. Also, on the way to watch Sussex being thrashed by Sri Lanka in a 20/20 game, two more Holly Blues along towards the east end of New Church Road (John & Val Heys)

This morning I headed for Washington chalk pits TQ129123, the habitat management has really paid dividends here, with a wider variety and higher number of species seen, than on previous visits. Dingy Skippers where so numerous I gave up counting after 40, Common Blue 3, Wall Brown 1, Green Hairstreak 5, Grizzled Skipper 3, Brown Argus 3, Brimstone 2, Large White 2. Moths included Mother Shipton 1, Cinnabar 2, Burnet Companion 2. (Paul Day)

Saw a male Brimstone on my allotment on Whitehawk Hill in east Brighton, think it might be the first time I've seen one there. TQ329046. (Tessa Pawsey)

Visited Malling Down a couple of times during the week and recorded 14 species. This included a few Dingy Skippers, several Adonis Blue and the most Brown Argus that I have ever seen in a small area.
Yesterday (Saturday) I wandered around Hindover Hill and managed to find 2 Adonis Blue amongst good numbers of Common Blue.
This afternoon (Sunday) I dropped into Park Corner Heath for about an hour and saw loads of Brimstones as well as 2 Peacock, 3 Speckled Wood, a Small White and, best of all, a pristine Green Hairstreak (on brambles in the middle of the open area in front of the shack). (Chris Hooker)

News for Friday 16 May: On Friday I did a circular walk from Bo peep Bostal to do a Wall Brown count. I was pleased to get a high count of 69 butterflies which is very good for the first brood. This North facing slope is at least 2 weeks behind High and Over which is now already coming to an end for the first brood.
Common Blues are now building well however on the Downs with good numbers going to roost on Frog Firle, and probably most suitable downland habitat. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

News for Wednesday 14 May: My morning started very well when I spotted a Green Hairstreak in my garden. It was nectaring on Red Campion. Also in the garden within the next half an hour was Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, Small White, Large White and Holly Blue. I then set off on my regular downland walk.
Chantry Hill was lovely. There was a staggering number of Green Hairstreak! In the West Coombe there were at least 60 and in the Middle Coombe another 30 or so. I am quite sure that a thorough survey of the whole of Chantry Hill would reveal somewhere in the region of 120-150 Green Hairstreak. It must surely be one of the best sites in the country for this species? Hazel is heavily favoured and one stretch of 25 metres had at least 20 butterflies. The dogfights were amazing!
There was plenty else to see: Dingy Skipper (70), Grizzled Skipper (30), Common Blue (10), Brimstone (5), Brown Argus (4), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Peacock (2), Large White (2), Small White (2), Green-veined White (2), Small Copper (2) and Red Admiral (1). I was surprised that of the 10 Common Blue only two were male. Usually with fresh emergence males predominate.
I have seen four Green Hairstreak in my garden over the past 5-6 years. They generally don't stay long, although one year an individual did hold territory for a couple of hours. I cannot find any in the hedgerows between my Storrington garden and the downland, so I assume there is no population in my immediate vicinity and that an occasional butterfly launches its wings and sails down in my direction - at least it's all down hill! (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)


Saturday 17 May 2014

Owing to a bit of a mix-up on the e-mail front the wrong text and images got posted with Leigh's report below, should all be correct now though. Apologies to Leigh. ed.

Had a good little stroll around the Southern Slope at Mill this evening - Adonis, Common Blue, Dingy Skipper and, best of all, a posing Grizzled Skipper catching the last of the evenings rays. (Leigh Prevost)

A visit to a fading Kithurst Meadow still had 3 Dukes of Burgundy 2 Dingy Skippers at least 4 Small Blue 1 Holly Blue 1 male Orange Tip 1 Speckled Wood a number of Brimstones a Burnet Companion moth and a male Hairy Hawker plus a female Azure Damselfly. (Bob North)

First running of the trap this season on 16th May produced just 1 each of Hebrew Character, Privet Hawk-moth & Spectacle. (Darryl Perry)

My father, Roy Symonds reports the following sightings:
Wednesday 14 May:
Stansted Forest, Rowlands Castle (SU745115). Brimstone (1M), Small White (4) and Orange Tip (1M 1F).
Thursday 15 May:
Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835089). Temperature 17C. Brimstone (1M 1F), Small White (4), Large White (1), Green-veined White (1), Orange Tip (7M 1F) and Speckled Wood (2).
Stoke Clump, West Stoke (SU832094). Temperature 17C. Small White (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Peacock (1).
Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU822106). Temperature 16C with sunny spells. Brimstone (13M 1F), Small White (2), Large White (2), Common Blue (1M), Dingy Skipper (1) and Dingy Skipper (2).
Friday 16 May:
Brimstone (7M), Small White (3), Orange Tip (6M 4F), Speckled Wood (2), Common Blue (2M) and Red Admiral (1).
Saturday 17 May:
Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835089). Temperature 19C. Brimstone (4M 2F), Small White (4), Green-veined White (1), Orange Tip (9M) and Common Blue (2M).
(Richard Symonds, Pendeen, Cornwall)

News for Wednesday 14 May: As she was nearly 5 months old, this afternoon we decided our granddaughter Lillica needed to do a butterfly walk. So we took her to Kithurst Hill and her first sighting was very appropriate - the original butter-fly, a nice male Brimstone, one of half a dozen while we were there. She also got to see a rather nibbled old Duke of Burgundy and a couple in much newer and finer condition. At this stage she started to cry and it got busy as Butterfly Conservation's Martin Warren turned up with an entourage of local stalwarts. Of course this was not to welcome Lillica, by now retreating to the car with our daughter, but a whistle-stop tour of special Sussex sites. Val was able to point out the first Green Hairstreak of the afternoon. During our visit we also saw a couple of Small Blues, 2 or 3 Dingy Skippers, at least one Green-veined White, a Peacock, a Burnet Companion, a Common Crimson and Gold moth and a Common Carpet moth. After everyone else had gone, we found a Small Copper up the hill a bit, by the South Downs Way. Before and after our trip we had a good Holly Blue day in central Worthing:- 2 at the same time (11.45am) at the north end of Crescent Road and 3 at the same time (4pm) in Sussex Road (BN11 1 DS). Finally, back home in Hove, we found a couple of tiny moths, both dead. I think they were White-shouldered House moths. (John and Val Heys)


Friday 16 May 2014

Today I joined Colin Knight, Mike Mullis and Paul Day to survey some known and potential Duke of Burgundy sites in West Sussex. Cream of the crop was Harting Down, where we found 24 Dukes spread between two adjacent coombes and the 'nose' between them. BC Sussex and national 'Dukes on the Edge' staff and volunteers have liaised with the National Trust to keep the habitat here right for this tricky species, and it looks as if the butterfly is showing its appreciation! Even better, a nearby cuckoo provided us with a springtime soundtrack as we searched. Thanks to Colin, Mike and Paul, and to Martin Kalaher who has also surveyed the area recently. More at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4065&start=1620. (Neil Hulme)

A big thank you to Vince Massimo and Penny & Dave Green who were out yesterday searching - and finding - Orange-tips across Sussex. Another six squares on the atlas have been coloured in. I thought I'd get in on the action myself and went out with Helen Sida to search squares near Rodmell and Firle (while looking out for Swallowtails too!). High on the Downs near Firle I was almost ready to give up when a male Orange-tip flew past. Things were not so easy down in the Rodmell square - which I have now searched a few times. For some reason we just can't find any evidence of Orange-tip in this square. With just 20+ squares left please have a look at the remaining squares and, if you're in that area over the upcoming sunny weekend, please keep an eye out for adults or check the garlic mustard. (Michael Blencowe)

News for Wednesday 14 May: Steve East invited me out to Kithurst Hill, on our visit we saw three Orange-tip, a first for me this year, seen at (TQ06471313, TQ06981258 and TQ06941259). One Small Blue seen at (TQ07021258), three male Brimstone seen at (TQ06921257, TQ07051255 and TQ06951259) and one female, one Peacock (TQ07031249), one Small White (TQ06951259) and one Large White. Also seven plus Dingy Skipper, all seen around these two areas (TQ06991256 and TQ06931258). As for Duke of Burgundy, we saw two males, both within (TQ06931258), then later Steve found a mating pair seen at (TQ06941258). Then at a roundabout near Mill Hill I saw a single Brimstone (TQ20840653). We decided to visit Mill Hill, whilst there we saw one Small Tortoiseshell (TQ21230693), one Grizzled Skipper (TQ21030731) and ten plus Dingy Skipper seen across most of the length of the lower slope. Also seen were two female Brimstone, one of which was seen at (TQ21130717) and three plus male, two of which were seen at (TQ21170708 and TQ21130716), one Small White (TQ21100723), three Large White, three Peacock (TQ21000734, TQ21070727 and TQ21140717), one Small Heath (TQ21030731), two Green Hairstreak (TQ21150712 and TQ21180711) and the final species seen at Mill Hill was Adonis Blue, one seen at (TQ20980734) and another seen at (TQ21080727) with other males mainly between these points, I can recall seeing eight, however Steve had a total of about 10 plus seen.
Back home in my front garden I was brought to the attention of a moth, unidentified could someone please identify it for me, it has to be my favourite Moth to date (see photo) - (it's a Common Marbled Carpet Jamie, ed.). With alot more enthusiasm to see more Butterflies I went out locally. Seen in the Carden Park area of Hollingbury I saw one Large White (TQ31920888) and one Small White (TQ31810891). At Ladies Mile NR I saw two Large White (TQ31750912 and TQ31940946) and one Small Copper (TQ32000951). Near by I saw one Holly Blue (TQ31990967), then at Hollingbury Industrial Estate Reserve were two Burnet Companion (TQ32280920 and TQ32270919). Leaving I saw one Small White at (TQ32380850), at Hollingbury Hill Fort I saw one Small Copper (TQ32220798) and in the general area I saw another Small White (TQ32470771). Leaving at the corner of the the golf course I found a single Drinker moth caterpillar, seen at (TQ32260826).
And...
News for Thursday 15 May:
As of the weather Steve East invited me out for a second day, we went to High and Over counting a definite 104/5 individual Butterflies over seventeen species. Near the car park we saw two Speckled Wood (TQ509010), moving towards the white horse we saw four Wall Brown, at one point all within the following area (TQ51030098). We then went back and crossed the road, from (TQ50920116 following the field margin to our right to TQ49850138) we saw two Large White and two Wall Brown. From between (TQ49850138 following the path to TQ49310167) we saw seven Wall Brown, two Small White, two Grizzled Skipper and one Speckled Wood. We then went down hill on a path for a couple of meters from (TQ49310167 to TQ49300171) seeing four Wall Brown and one Dingy Skipper. Making a wrong turn we returned to the main path, from (TQ49280170 to TQ48940223) seen on and either side of the path we saw fourteen Wall Brown, five Speckled Wood, two Holly Blue, two Small White and one Large White. Moving along the path further from (TQ48940223 to TQ48880241) we saw three Large White and one Green-veined White. Now going down hill from (TQ48910251 to TQ49050275) we saw the following on the path or from a range of three meters either side, five Dingy Skipper, two Small Copper, one Large White, two Small Heath, eight Brown Argus, one Small White, three Green Hairstreak, one Adonis Blue, one Common Blue and one Peacock. After we reached the bottom of the slope we then went back up, I ignored the same species seen to avoid repeats making notes of changes and new species seen in this area, from (TQ49080279 back upto TQ48910251) we saw one male Orange-tip, two Wall Brown, one of which was definitely female, two Peacock and one Speckled Wood. Now from another path going down hill from (TQ48920234 to TQ49160213) we saw one male Orange-tip, two Speckled Wood, one Brimstone, two Large White, two Dingy Skipper and one Green-veined White. once at the bottom we had to turn back due to the bottom path temporarily being private until the summer when it should reopen. Later in another area we saw one Large White at (TQ49820152) near the wild friendly vineyard field border. Moving back in the direction of the car park from (TQ50080144 to TQ50480141) we saw two Wall Brown, four Dingy Skipper and one Small White. Near Alfriston Road was one Grizzled Skipper and one Wall Brown at (TQ51170143). Now after crossing the road we saw one Small Heath and two Common Blue at (TQ51140135)and a further three Common Blue at (TQ51080125) in a field full of Buttercups. (Jamie Burston & Steve East)

News for Tuesday 13 May: On Tuesday I completed my Mill Hill transect where Adonis Blues are building and saw I my first Wall of the year. I then called in at Rewell Wood and was pleased to find a new micromoth, Lathronympha strigana. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Thursday 15 May 2014

On a brief visit to Park Corner Heath / Rowland Wood today I was amazed at how many Brimstones were flying around - there were over 30+ patrolling the rides despite the sun going in the moment I arrived! Also Grizzled Skipper and a male Wall too - the first wall I have ever seen on the reserve (Michael Blencowe)


Wednesday 14 May 2014

Today I joined a few Sussex Branch committee members in showing BC CEO Martin Warren and Senior Regional Officer Dan Hoare around a few sites where conservation work has proven particularly successful in recent years. Our visitors could not have chosen a better day and the Downs and Weald looked stunning in the warm spring sunshine. Heyshott Escarpment was our first port of call and it produced the goods in truly spectacular fashion. A less-than-thorough survey of the site produced 104 Duke of Burgundy, 6 Pearl-bordered Fritillary (incl. an egg-laying female), c.60 Dingy Skipper, 5 Grizzled Skipper, 4 Green Hairstreak, 8 Common Blue, 4 Brimstone, 2 Green-veined White, 1 Orange Tip, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock, 5 Small Heath and 2 Speckled Wood. Moths included Burnet Companion, Common Heath and Speckled Yellow. Orchids were numerous, topped by Fly (both normal type and green-flowered), Greater Butterfly and White Helleborine. Further stops included Rewell Wood and Springhead Hill, where more Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy were seen together with the first Small Blue of the day. We finished the tour at Chantry Hill with plenty of spring skippers, Brown Argus and Small Copper. As we sat on a small plateau, catching our breath after a steep, final ascent, we looked down upon the canopy of an ash tree in which 13 Green Hairstreak were enjoying the late afternoon sun, including a mating pair. Sussex did us proud today. (Neil Hulme & Michael Blencowe, Bob Foreman, Colin Knight)

Today I had some spare time and decided to go hunting for an Orange-tip in blank tetrad TQ3026. It was sunny but not all that warm, and it was quite hard-going trying to find any butterflies at all in this square of mainly mixed farmland. I did find one or two each of Peacock, Speckled Wood, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White and Red Admiral, but what I really wanted was Orange-tips and Brimstones. After nearly three hours I convinced myself that it was perhaps just a little too late in the year, and I headed home along the extreme eastern edge of Cuckfield golf course, not far but comfortably within the tetrad of interest. The first butterflies that I saw on the golf course were two Brimstones - result! Then in a neglected grassy area with lots of buttercups I noticed something moving and discovered that it was a Dingy Skipper nectaring on the buttercups. Quite surprised, I then spotted several more Dingy Skippers, including two engaged in some sort of involved courtship dance. Wow! Then, as if to finally reward me for all my effort, an adult male Orange-tip flew past!!! So my butterfly hunt turned out to be very rewarding in the end. (Helen Crabtree)


Monday 12 May 2014

A huge thank you to all those people who have visited orange-tip squares to help us fill in our orange-tip map for the upcoming atlas. Chris, Jon, Keith, Wendy, Anna, Dan, Nigel, Jon, Judy, Arthur, Chris, Colin and Lorna have all been helping me fill in the gaps on the map. Today I took a trip with Jon Mason to the Manhood Peninsula and found orange-tips in some more squares in this under-recorded area. The Sussex countryside in this area looks just like Norfolk - all flat fields and wet ditches. What we need here is a few swallowtails to liven the place up. As we explored these 'blank' squares we managed to accidentally discover Earnley Butterflies, Goodwood Racetrack and the Medmerry sea defence scheme. Three places that I've heard a lot about but never visited. I'll put up the updated orange-tip map before the bank holiday - there's still a few squares left and a few weeks of orange-tips left too. (Michael Blencowe)

On Sunday by an Arundel meadow I found a Red Admiral egg laying, 4 Brimstones, a female Orange-tip, a Comma and Green-veined Whites, plus a Hairy Dragonfly and a Broad-bodied Chaser. Videos on my blog: http://bit.ly/RKJgNu On Monday I found a Small Blue at Kithurst Meadow before the rains came. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

I don't know if these will fill in any atlas gaps, but in Batt's Wood (TQ6327) this morning I saw one female Brimstone, one male Orange-tip and lots of Green-veined Whites and Large Whites. Also lots and lots and lots of Speckled Yellow moths (I think), and a Beautiful Demoiselle. (Helen Crabtree)

News for Saturday 10 May: I also visited Botany Bay on Saturday arriving about 1.30pm and was lucky enough to see 6 Wood Whites one of which was a female egg laying just inside the entrance gate. (Arthur Greenslade)


Sunday 11 May 2014

At Kithurst Meadow Sunday afternoon 6 Duke of Burgundy including 1 female. Also 2 Brown Argus, 3 Small Blues, 1 Small Copper and 10 or so Dingy Skippers. (Mark Cadey)

My Dad found and pointed out a roosting Small White (TQ31640846) in our Hollingbury, Brighton garden, found under a bramble leaf, initially landing to escape the strong wind. (Jeff & Jamie Burston)

News for Friday 9 May: Single Cinnabar moth near Wych Cross on Friday. (Tom Simon)


Saturday 10 May 2014

I visited Botany Bay for the first time today in very wind conditions with fresh green leaves being blown off the trees. I wasn't that hopeful of finding Wood Whites but the sun came out and I spotted a small white shape in the distance being blown all over the place and when I manage to catch up with it I had no problem identifying my first Wood White. I watched it for some time not expecting to see any others but I find 2 more in flight further along the ride. I only two other butterflies on the wing were a Dingy Skipper and a Brimstone so the Wood Whites seemed the least put off by the gale! (Tom Parker)


Friday 9 May 2014

The emergence of Duke of Burgundy continues at Heyshott Escarpment and some pits were crammed with them on this blustery day. Following predicted warmer conditions from mid next week, the species will probably peak here over the weekend of 17th/18th May. Pearl-bordered Fritillary numbers have risen (2m, 1f), and Small Heath and Common Blue numbers are now climbing. Some nice orchids are also on show, including the small but beautifully marked Fly Orchid. More at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4065&start=1600. (Neil Hulme)

On Friday I visited Rewell Wood and found a Silver-ground Carpet moth, a Crab spider with a fly and a Grizzled Skipper laying 2 eggs on a Wild Strawberry leaf. Then at Kithurst Meadow I saw 4 male Duke of Burgundies, a Yellow-spot Twist and Twayblades. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Recent news: In the Bank Holiday sunshine at Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood I had a leisurely walk through the bluebells and pathways and recorded double figures of both male and female Brimstone, including a laying female and courting couple, Speckled Yellows in profusion, a very obliging newly emerged Grizzled Skipper that posed nicely for its portrait, 3 x Pearl-bordered Fritillary including once again a very obliging individual who posed sunbathing on the path right in front of me. Also a tiny golden-green jewel caught my eye, which turned out to be a weevil - Phyllobius argentatus.
In Rowland Wood there were several Speckled Wood - including one with unusually large spots, singles of Small Heath, Green-veined White, Peacock and a Brown Silver-line. On top of this were several newly emerged Common Blue Damselfly, a quartering Southern Hawker and a fresh Broad-bodied Chaser. The walk finished off with a sighting of a fluttering female Muslin Moth that landed and started crawling about in a grass tussock. Fingers crossed for the upcoming SPBF season. (Charles Waters)


Wednesday 7 May 2014

On Wednesday a stroll in Rewell Wood gave me Wild Garlic, Wood Speedwell, a male Ichneumon Wasp (Diphyus quadripunctorius) to go with the female I found recently and two moths: a Drab Looper and another Hemp-agrimony Plume. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

On a breezy meadow five Dukes of Burgundy active in the sheltered NW corner of the meadow during a sunny interval. Plus one Dingy Skipper and one Small Blue in the same corner. Distractions were Hairy Dragonflies M and F and a Stoat catching a rabbit for lunch. (Robert North)

This afternoon I spotted what appeared to be a dragonfly exuvia perched on one of our wooden ducks beside our garden pond. It wasn't, but equally good... a Mullein moth. (John Luck)

A nice clump of Garlic Mustard appeared in the garden this year and in due course was visited by female Orange Tips egg laying. The picture shows an early instar larva in typical pose on the right hand seed pod. In due course as this grows it will turn grey. The empty orange egg is at the base of the bottom left-hand seed pod. In addition there is another white egg just above the centre of the picture This either a newly laid Orange tip egg or possibly a Green-veined White egg. Time will tell. Orange Tip eggs are easy to see, so worth checking any plants near you. There are punctures in the seed pods and these are caused by the Brassica Pod Weevil egg laying - A couple of which are on the flowers. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Tuesday 6 May: On Tuesday I did my Mill Hill transect: Dingy Skipper 16, Grizzled Skipper 2, Brimstone 5, Adonis Blue 2, Green Hairstreak 3, Green-veined white 2, Grizzled Skipper 2, Large White 1, Peacock 1, Treble-bar 2. I then visited Chantry Hill where I found several specimens of a micromoth, Epiblema scutulana plus many Green Hairstreaks tumbling in the air and landing in front of me, also a female egg laying among the grass. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Tuesday 6 May 2014

Today I was helping with the gardening when a Red Admiral came into our Hollingbury garden, it settled for a moment then flew off, seen at (TQ31640846). Also two Speckled Wood continue to be in the garden and I found a Garden Tiger caterpillar. Later waiting to get into a recycling centre at the edge of Whitehawk, Brighton I saw two Small White, both seen at (TQ33930502). (Jamie Burston)

Today in Barnes Wood I saw a a solitary Dingy Skipper and I also saw my first Small Copper of the year. (Jim Barrett)

At least 3 Holly Blues near the Green at Southwick today and a few distant whites along the A259 as we returned to Hove. We kept a special eye open for Orange Tips as I think this is an area where there have been no sightings yet - we've not seen any round here and we didn't see any today either. Yesterday morning (5/5/14) there were a 8 or 9 people wandering round the Kithurst Meadow and the bank by the side of the road, mainly to see the Duke of Burgundy fritillaries. These were had just started to appear when we arrived (about 10.00am) and eventually there were probably about 4 flying (one very battered and one pretty new plus a couple in between). There were also:- Dingy Skippers (half a dozen), 2 Peacocks, at least 2 Brimstones (female), 2 or 3 Orange Tips, 3 or 4 Green-veined Whites plus other unconfirmed whites, 1 very small Grizzled Skipper (down the road on the bank), 1 Small Heath, 1 blue (probably holly judging from its high flying behaviour), and 4 or 5 Burnet Companion moths. No sign of any Small Blues or Green Hairstreaks on this occasion. A dozen or so early-purple orchids were in their usual place on the north bank and a dead slow-worm in the road nearby. The Dukes are a bit small for good pictures on our little camera, but I got a reasonable one of the much less trendy Small Heath. In the afternoon, in our garden in Hove, there were a few whites and a Holly Blue. Sadly the Holly Blue's stay was very brief. A blue tit dived out of a tree, performed some spectacular aerobatics and gobbled it up. (John & Val Heys)

Today I set out to look for Pearl-bordered Fritillary on some local sites, first up was Houghton Forest SU995115 where 3 were seen plus Peacock 3, Green-veined White 1, Orange Tip 1. Next I went to a small cleared woodland edge I found last summer, SU964145, this looks suitable habitat but only had Brimstones 6, and Orange Tips 2. (Paul Day)

This afternoon at Bevendean Down I saw 8 Speckled Wood, 3 Orange Tip, 2 Small White, 1 Comma, 1 Peacock and 3 Dingy Skippers including this one nectaring on horseshoe vetch, but note the sad overgrown state of this once good Adonis bank. (Geoff Stevens)

News for Monday 5 May: I spent a very enjoyable day with my daughter in the woods around Arundel on Monday. We didn't see the Grizzly Bear she had hoped for, but did see plenty of Brimstone, Orange Tip, Green-veined White and Peacock in Houghton Forest. No sign of Pearl-bordered Fritillary yet and we are very keen to hear of any sightings here. Along the ride edge at SU993117 we did see an almost black Dingy Skipper, and very extensive larval feeding damage on Greater Burdock, caused by the nationally scarce Spotted White Plume (Pterophorus galactodactyla). We saw plenty of the same in Rewell Wood at TQ002099. (Neil Hulme)

More news for Monday 5 May: On Monday I found a micromoth, Grapholita jungiella at Rewell Wood plus Grizzled Skippers and an Orange-tip laying an egg on Garlic Mustard. At Kihurst Meadow photographed 5 Duke of Burgundies with a pair mating high up on a leaf and found my first Brown Argus of the year, plus Dingy Skippers and a Small Heath. At Lord's Piece near Fittleworth I found a Brown Silver-line. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Monday 5 May 2014

Circumstances have prevented me from partaking in any natural history study for over two weeks now and when friends offered to take my wife, Libby, and I out for a meal to the Juggs PH, Kingston, nr Lewes, I couldn't help myself asking as we drove from Brighton along the A27, what's the temperature? My friend (farmer Stewart West) said "17.5°C". So I asked "Do you mind stopping by the petrol station between Falmer and Lewes (travelling eastwards) which was formally a "Jet" station and now a "Local Fuels" station - just for 5 mins?" My friends agreed to do so and so I walked to the steep south facing grassland slope that I have visited in previous years. I had not reached the turf before I saw the brilliant bright blue jewel I hoped I would see. There basking on some weathered flint was an immaculate Adonis Blue (male). I took several photographs with my iPhone 5s and returned to the car, no more than 3 minutes after departing from it. It looks like it could be a good year for the Adonis and this site is also good for Dingy Skipper, although I won't be able to easily return there. I wish I had more time but perhaps someone else can have the joys of visiting the site over the next couple of days. I would love to hear (and see?) what they find. (Dan Danahar)

Adonis Blue x 2 and Common Blue x 2 at Mill Hill in the early afternoon. (Andy Horton)

Clare and I have had a marathon butterfly survey over the three days of the Bank Holiday. I worked out we have walked 42.4 km which comes out at 26 miles 609 yards; 224 yards longer than an actual marathon to be precise. Surely we deserve a medal. It's been great to explore Graffham, Charlton Forest, Amberley, Houghton Forest, Bignor Hill, Eartham - there's some beautiful countryside out there and some amazing wildlife. We've helped fill a few more gaps in for the Sussex Butterfly Atlas and have had a final snoop around for some rarities too. A great Bank Holiday weekend. Right, I'm off to wrap myself in tin foil and spray a load of champagne into the air (Michael & Clare Blencowe)

On Iping Common today we encountered a few butterflies and moths including Brimstone, Orange-tip, Large White, Small Copper, Common Heath moth and some very fast flying Emperor Moths. Most interesting of all was a Blue butterfly which flew past looking pretty good for Silver-studded although unfortunately it didn't return. At about a month early it seems very unlikely, but many moths are out two or three weeks early this year... (Dave and Pen Green)

Paid a visit to Oaken Wood today and found 2 Wood Whites. (Chris Hooker)

I am not sure if Botany Bay is an honorary part of Sussex outside the Purple Emperor season but a stroll in the sunshine this morning from the gate to the clearing just past the triangle was alive with Wood Whites 30+ at least. This delightful little butterfly is an example to all the others, conspicuous, approachable and interacts slowly with others of it's kind. (Bob North)

In a last attempt to see Orange-tip this year I decided to look around Stanmer Park. I failed to see any however whilst there I saw two Speckled Wood, one of them seen at (TQ32520970), one Red Admiral seen around about (TQ334091), two Small White, one of them seen at (TQ33880890), one Large White seen resting on a Lilac bush (TQ337090) and a Silver-ground Carpet seen at (TQ33810896). When I was there I also saw something interesting, I saw a large butterfly which can only be described as being the same size and colour of a Silver-washed Fritillary. When you want to identify them it's always the one that never settles. On the way back home I saw a single Small Copper (TQ32130963), I then crossed over Ladies Mile NR and saw a definite number of five Small Tortoiseshells, all in varied conditions all seen within (TQ31800920 and TQ31750912), also two Small White within (TQ31750912). (Jamie Burston)


Sunday 4 May 2014

Between 2-3pm today at Kithurst Hill, 1 Duke of Burgundy, 1 Dingy Skipper, and 1 Brimstone, and just as I was leaving 1 Small Blue, kindly found and pointed out by John Williams. (Leigh Prevost)

Wall numbers have been pretty good so far on Frog Firle. Over the weekend several seen along with Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and a few Orange-tip. I did have my first Brown Argus on Saturday. Common Heath moths are also very numerous this year. A very nice Pyrausta nigrata was seen on Sunday. Green Hairstreak still do not appear to be flying on Cradle Valley in their most reliable spots, obviously no longer reliable then!! (Bob Eade)

Like most Duke of Burgundy sites, Heyshott Escarpment suffered a set-back in the spring of 2012, as the sun barely shone through the flight season. However, this morning I was left in no doubt that the population has almost recovered to its 2011 level. I started surveying with John Murray of the Murray Downland Trust, and by the time he left me, after we had only counted through the pits up the eastern margin of the reserve, we had already seen 26 Dukes. After 3.5 hours I finished with a tally of 59, including 5 females, 2 mating pairs and a dead male in a spider's web. I saw a bundle of 6 males in combat on the plateau and estimate that c.30% of the insects were no more than a day old. Many were still unsteady on damp wings. There are probably many more to emerge and it is already looking like a very good year for the site. It was also gratifying to see a freshly emerged (male) Pearl-bordered Fritillary (PBF); probably the same individual as spotted here yesterday by James Arnott. This species reappeared at Heyshott last year, for the first time since the 1990s. It is quite unusual to see a PBF continually scrapping with Dingy (c.70) and Grizzled Skippers (11)! It wasn't just Dukes that were hatching this morning. I saw a total of 9 Green Hairstreak on the slopes, the majority of which were scale-perfect. In previous years I've only seen them in twos and threes here. Other species seen today included Brimstone (6), Green-veined White (3), Peacock (2), Speckled Wood (2) and Orange Tip (1). Greater Butterfly, White Helleborine and Fly Orchid are all now in bud, while Early Purple Orchid is flowering in good numbers. (Neil Hulme)

Sending this picture of Dingy Skipper in as I am a newcommer to the butterfly world and am not sure of the records of this. Also saw Green Hairstreak, Wall, Small Copper and Common Blue on the SE ramparts of Cissbury today. (Simon Cross)

Got my mojo back, so out again. I decided to head off this morning to the Downs above Upper Beeding specifically to see the Wall butterfly. My favourite location is an old chalk pit with shear gradients and lots of exposed patches of chalk which Walls love to sunbathe in. They were there indeed and in typical fashion were unwilling to stay still as I crept up on them. I admire their tenacity but perseverance and good strong walking boots paid off and I got a few shots, five seen in total. On my walk I also saw a good number of Dingy Skippers although they were pretty spread out. I took one shot which revealed something curious. Above the right fore wing is a small white sphere, initially I thought this was something on my camera lens. However there is a fine vertical strand (silk like ) and I eventually realised it's the suspended egg of a lacewing (now that's a first). Later I found a gloriously marked first brood female Speckled Wood but unfortunately a tear in one of the hind wings. On closer inspection of the alignment of spots I think its damage caused by a bird, Perhaps it was lucky to survive. In addition saw a few Brimstones, Red Admirals, Peacocks and Green-veined Whites. (Richard Roebuck)

On Saturday at Rewell Wood I found a Hemp-agrimony Plume moth and today at a West Sussex site I found many Small Tortoiseshell larvae at various stages and a freshly emerged Speckled Wood. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

Today in sunny weather I visited Hollingbury Industrial Estate Reserve, on the way at Carden Park on the created chalk banks which are now in flower I saw a single Green-veined White, seen at (TQ31800890). Once I arrived at the reserve I saw two, possibly three Green Hairstreak, one was observed to be egg-laying on Bird's-foot Trefoil at (TQ32270921) and at one point I saw one of them flying two metres up into a hawthorn bush (TQ32290922). They were very active covering a range of six to ten meters in flight when disturbed. Also seen were three Burnet Companion seen at (TQ32270920, TQ32180909 and TQ32180908), one Large White (TQ32270920), one female Brimstone (TQ32180910), one Small Tortoiseshell (TQ32170908), one tatty Peacock (TQ32180908), one Small Copper (TQ32180909) and my first Brown Argus of the year, seen at (TQ32180910). (Jamie Burston)

News for Wednesday 30 April: I visited Ladies Mile NR, on my visit I saw fences being erected for sheep which will graze on the site. Whilst there I saw two Small White, both at (TQ31760914), one Small Tortoiseshell (TQ31750914), one Comma (TQ31850953), one Peacock (TQ31830954), one Green-veined White (TQ31540947), one Large White (TQ31520948) and one Speckled Wood (TQ31490946). (Jamie Burston)


Saturday 3 May 2014

What a lovely day. You don't get many days like that on the May Bank Holiday. We took the advantage of the non-stop sunshine and went for a four hour hike near Heyshott Down. I've already been to Heyshott Down once (in the winter) and I'm sure it gets busy there at this time of year - so we avoided it and headed south into the forests. With Pearl-bordered Fritillary recorded at Heyshott Down and Graffham Common I was determined to find the 'source'. Is there a hidden colony of PBF's in the area? We had a fantastic walk through the rides and glades of the neighbouring forest but we couldn't find the Fritillary Golden City. We did find plenty of other amazing stuff though - and my first Drab Looper of the year. I'm still sure there is an undiscovered fritillary colony out there... somewhere. (Michael & Clare Blencowe)

Event Report: A Nice Walk in the Woods Upon the gathering at the Footland Wood car park and completing the Sussex BC Event/Walk Risk Assessment, I spotted a Greater-spotted Woodpecker which I am now adopting as my "good omen" bird. All my performance anxiety was assuaged by a bright sunny morning that produced three Dingy Skippers and two Grizzled Skippers in remarkably short order.
A backdrop of brief periods of sunshine and some overcast conditions lead to a productive butterfly walk with Green-veined Whites, Orange-tips, Brimstones, Speckled Wood, Small Whites and Peacocks appearing at regular intervals.
Kudos to Dave Monk for spotting and identifying a "White death crab-spider" which was a wildlife highlight among the leaf hoppers, beetles, shield-bugs and common lizards we also saw. As promised the Nightingales turned up and treated us to a song duel. Fantastic.
So many thanks to all who attended and contributed to a superb Rother Event; Dave, Lyn(I), Robin, Peter, Anna, Lyn(II), John, Sue, Ian, Mark, Doug, Sally, Graham and Cisela. This turned out to be a very nice walk in the woods indeed. Butterflies? Certainly! (Jim Barrett)

Headed up to Kithurst and Chantry Hill with the family today. Saw one Duke of Burgundy in the meadow by the car park with loads of Dingy Skippers also present. Then walked across to Chantry Hill with Brimstones and Peacocks the most common sightings along the way. We sat in the large sheltered depression at the top of hill and found loads more Dingy Skippers and a few Green Hairstreaks. In a small deep sided hollow nearby I was very pleased to find a single male Duke of Burgundy in the bright sunshine. I didn't know they were on this part of the hill, hopefully he will find a mate. (Tom Parker)

This morning I only had time for a brief spin around Rewell Wood and a lightening stop at Springhead Hill. I made a quick count of Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy but photographed neither, having snapped away at plenty in the last couple of weeks. However, I did stop for this very pretty Clay Triple-lines at Rewell, and took the opportunity to photograph the gorgeous bluebells before they are over. (Neil Hulme)

There was a clear blue sky and sunshine this morning and the car had a thick layer of ice on it. Despite the chill I went to Rewell Wood at about 9.15, it was only 8 degrees but nevertheless soon saw a Pearl-bordered Fritillary and after a couple of hrs. probably saw about 15 individuals throughout the woodland. Also saw Green Hairstreaks 2, Dingy Skipper 1, Grizzled Skipper 2, Orange-tips, Brimstones, Peacock, Green-veined Whites, Speckled Woods, Speckled Yellow moths, Drinker moth caterpillar and perhaps unusually a Treble-bar moth. The highlight was watching a female Brimstone flying around what I initially thought was a medium sized dead tree. It was actually a very large Alder buckthorn just coming in to leaf. She was egg laying on a particular terminal bud. With binoculars I could see the eggs. Now here's the female and two eggs in the shot from about 10 feet away a challenge against the light on full telephoto hand held - so got an unusual pic. One egg is by her leg and the second at the base of the emerging leaf below. Chuffed to bits with something different I went to Heyshott. I was optimistic as the air temperature had climbed to about 13 degrees. On arrival started to find Dukes immediately amongst lots of Dingy Skippers. The Dukes were cracking with most in very good condition I probably saw about 13 but other enthusiasts confirmed others in other locations. So great to see them doing well and interesting behaviour between the different species. I also saw a Holly Blue, they seem a bit thin on the ground this season. Also very nice to chat with everyone else I met today from near and far and great to be out and about in our stunning countryside. I must get out more. (Richard Roebuck)

Went for a lovely stroll around Frog Firle Farm area and saw lots of butterflies including Wall, Green-veined White, Small White, Large White, Dingy Skipper, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock & Speckled Wood. (Nick Linazasoro)


Friday 2 May 2014

Headed towards Southerham, Lewes (TQ426093) Friday afternoon with the hope that the weather might break and I might find the Wall Browns my dad had found earlier in the week. No sign of the weather changing when I got there, but did find this lovely fresh Common Blue. Further up the slope also found Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper in the rain. (Mark Cadey)

I spent today on the South Downs in West Sussex assisting Alexandra Gardner who is researching Adonis Blue and Duke of Burgundy habitat in this area. Some of the areas we visited on the Downs to the west of Storrington had real potential for the Duke and, if the sun had come out for longer and the temperature had been higher, we could have been lucky. It's certainly worth visiting new sites adjacent to known colonies of Duke of Burgundy and Pearl-bordered Fritillary at this time of year to discover if any of these colonies are dispersing. If anyone has time a check of Rackham Banks area (approx TQ0512) for Dukes would be useful. Further west areas adjacent to Heyshott Down (such as Graffham Down, Charlton Forest approx SU8916) could turn up new colonies of Dukes or Pearls. (Michael Blencowe & Alexandra Gardner)


Thursday 1 May 2014

Three roosting Grizzled Skippers and a lone Small Copper were my rewards on an evening visit to Chantry Hill - not sure if I have ever seen a Small Copper with its wings closed. (Leigh Prevost)


Earlier Sightings

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