Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Send Sussex butterfly & moth sightings (TEXT ONLY PLEASE - NO PICTURES) to This page is updated as often as possible, usually daily. Red sightings are first of the year; purple are moths. These sightings are largely unverified at the time of publishing - unusual sightings, together with the sender's email address, will be forwarded to the County Recorder. If you do not wish to be contacted further about your records please add the words 'NO CONTACT' after your email.

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Wednesday 30 June 2010

Although just out of Sussex I called in on Botany Bay today and had a male Purple Emperor on the ground at 11.45am for about 30 minutes. Then a black version of White Admiral at Oaken Wood. Then late afternoon the butterfly of the day with a suffusa form of Comma (above) back at Botany Bay. Lots of Ringlet, White Admirals and Silver Washed Fritillaries. I then called over to Iping Common where there were a few Silver Studded Blues flying, although these are now past their best. Also a couple of Golden Ringed Dragonflies were seen. (Bob Eade)

Went to Southwater woods late afternoon to see many Silver Washed and White Admiral Butterflies. But slightly unexpected and it has to be said an amazing first time ever encounter with a Purple Emperor at close quarters er. like 6 inches away. Plenty of time to take some special photos (above) which luckily caught the beautiful blue iridescence of this magnificent creature. Fantastic. Many thanks to the expert BC member who I am in gratitude for pointing out His Majesty to me and of course the illustrious Mr Hulme who "some say" may have had a influence with his apothecary skills. (Richard Roebuck)

On my way over to Rowland Wood this morning I had to stop off at Plumpton College, as the weather was so fine I was unable to resist the temptation of a quick hike up to the top of The Downs to see what I could find. The bostal track, TQ358127, was the most productive, here I found Small and Large Skippers as well as Meadow Browns. Best of all, on a sheltered, sunny verge nectaring on the kidney vetch were two Small Blues. In all I saw: Small Tortoiseshell 6, Speckled Wood 4, Green-veined White 1, Small Skipper 3, Meadow Brown 100's, Large Skipper 13, Common Blue 1, Small Blue 2, Red Admiral 1, Large White 1, Small Heath 3, and an unidentified Burnet moth.
Thence to Rowland Wood... Great to see Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral scattered throughout the wood as well as my first Marbled White of the year, Ringlets were numerous, particularly so in some locations and on the plateau at Park Corner Heath, I saw a rather faded Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. I think the heat was getting to some of the butterflies and tempers seemed to be short, I watched a dog-fight between a Red Admiral and a White Admiral near the pond - not sure who won - and on the path that runs down to PCH a Silver-washed Fritillary seemed to have taken exception to a Comma minding its own business on a bracken frond, the Comma finally moved on after repeated dive-bombing, only finally giving up after actually being crashed into by the fritillary. Species seen: Small Skipper 1, Large Skipper 7, Large White 1, White Admiral 9, Red Admiral 1, Comma 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 9, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary 1, Speckled Wood 3, Marbled White 1, Meadow Brown 16, Ringlet 20. And lots of nasty, bitey Cleg-flies too... (Bob Foreman)

Diplock's Wood (TQ576043): as sure as I can possibly be that I saw 4 White-letter Hairstreaks out this morning in one patch of elms. I have given as close a reference as I can in the hope someone (Tom?) can confirm this. (Go along lane on southern side of woods to end where one elm is clearly dying and check canopies of healthy elms - no bench, I'm afraid!) (Susan Suleski)

5 male and 4 female Silver-studded Blue spread over rough moorland (mixed heather and grass) below Smugglers car park on Ashdown Forest. This includes one mated pair. (Tom Ottley)

A walk at Southwater today with Phil and Neil turned into a very productive day. Jill turned up to check where Saturday's walk was starting from and accepted my invitation to wander along the track. A Purple Emperor landed at our feet 200 yards from the road and gave us a great display while investigating rabbit droppings. Later the same butterfly landed on Neil's boot and enjoyed sucking up whatever nutrients were embedded therein... White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillaries were everywhere. We saw a couple of Emperors fighting around a tree top then later Phil spotted a nigrina form of the White Admiral which topped off a great day (Colin Knight)

Taken today at Botany Bay. A male [Purple Emperor] that was on the main ride just before the bridge. (above). (Frances Bassom)

Seen while meadow surveying near hadlow down 30/6.
20+ Meadow Browns
TQ520256 1 female Common blue
TQ520256 1 Ringlet
TQ520256 4 Small Skippers
TQ520256 10+ Meadow Browns
TQ517255 2 Small Skippers
TQ517255 1 Ringlet
TQ523258. (Jonathan Wood)

Tetrad TQ7016 Creep Wood, Penhurst. TQ700160 40 Meadow Brown, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Copper. TQ700170 20 Meadow Brown. There were also a couple of Skippers but they were too quick for me to identify. (Roy Wells)


Tuesday 29 June 2010

Very quiet on Frog Firle today, however I did spot my first Ringlet of the year. The only other species of note was once again good numbers of Small Tortoiseshell. (Bob Eade)

Seen today on Markstakes common, chailey TQ398178.
2 Speckled Woods
1 White Admiral
1 Silver Washed Fritillary (though not 100% certain, I was giving some pond advice when a large fritillary, bigger than the white admiral,flew around the pond and off. I was not in a position to give chase. Apparently they were seen here last year... (Jonathan Wood)

Since I was in Brighton I went to Hollingbury Park. 3 White-letter Hairstreaks seen at the northern end of the strip of woodland at TQ 31735 07783 to be precise. Quite easy to see on a sunny day since they can't resist fighting every minute or two and the elms there are not too high. Use WheresThePath to see exactly where to go and there's even a seat thoughtfully provided for hairstreak watchers. (Tom Ottley)

News for Monday 28 June 2010: Southwater Woods was bulging at the seams with butterflies today! The 'big three' all performed well. The first Purple Emperors put on a good show, and I spent a very enjoyable 15 minutes lying beside Paul Day and a particularly obnoxious fox poo, as we photographed the first of hopefully many (I suspect we are in for a good PE year). A second male Emperor was later seen at a Master Tree, beating the living daylights out of Purple Hairstreaks. I was delighted to see two valezina Silver-washed Fritillaries (above, right), amongst the dozens that are now on the wing here. This olive-green, aberrant form of the female butterfly is quite rare in Sussex, and tends to seek out the shadier rides, to avoid over-heating. White Admirals numbered 50+, and are still emerging. Hannah spotted the all black nigrina form. All-in-all, a day to remember. (Hannah Sanders and Neil Hulme)

More news for Monday 28 June 2010: Kiln Wood Blackboys: at the spot I mentioned on Saturday (26th June), there were 18 Purple Hairstreaks, presumably all males. Pleased to be able to show them to Ali Wright and Andy Stokes too. Interestingly the main tree they use is neatly divided between two tetrads! (Tom Ottley)

News for Sunday 27 June 2010, BC Walk: I led 30 people around Botany Bay, in temperatures that soon exceeded 80 degrees, despite an early (9am) start. Several BC Sussex members stayed on after the official end of the walk at midday, by which time most of the butterflies were over-heating and looking for shade (like us!). Some respite was to be found in a small stream-bed, where we watched 3 male Silver-washed Fritillaries and a hutchinsoni Comma from a low concrete bridge, as they repeatedly returned for a drink. It turned out that we were one day too early to see the hoped-for Purple Emperor, but we did see an impressive list of butterflies, with excellent views of all species. Our tally included Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Wood White, Purple Hairstreak, Ringlet, Comma, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Common Blue, Brimstone, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown. Many thanks to all that came along for a most enjoyable walk. (Neil Hulme)

News for Saturday 26 June 2010: I spent a very enjoyable day with Matthew Oates at Southwater Woods, where White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary numbers are building rapidly. I saw my first Ringlets of the year and good numbers of Small Skipper, with 23 seen in a communal roost beside a track, during the evening. This was encouraging, following a poor year for the species in 2009. Matthew reported seeing two nigrina White Admirals (all black) on the way back to his car. (Neil Hulme)

More news for Saturday 26 June 2010: At Southwater Woods, a beautiful valezina Silver-washed Fritillary, with possibly a second one as well, though couldn't get on it for long enough as it whizzed past us. (Paul Marten)


Monday 28 June 2010

On a walk in north-west Sussex a few weeks back we met and recruited Tony Grace to help record butterflies for the atlas - he's sent in his first report from his tetrad square north of Lodsworth. "Today I was working in the garden of a cottage next to the woods, a nightingale sang and a male Purple Emperor came into the garden and rested on my foot !". Some folk have all the luck! (Michael Blencowe)

Word has obviously got around the Moth World that I haven't been running mothtraps recently so they have decided to make it a bit easier for me. And so it was that I was doing a dragonfly survey on one of the tributaries of the Ouse when I reached a fingerpost pointing across the next field and lo and behold perched part way up was a Privet Hawkmoth (above). (John Luck)

Seen on a dragonfly outing 27/6 at Pippingford Park.
1 Speckled Wood TQ447311.
1 Brimstone TQ449311.
1 Small Tortoiseshell TQ453311.
1 Small Skipper TQ447312.
10+ Small Skippers TQ451311. (Jonathan Wood)

2 White-letter Hairstreaks clashing around the young elm tree in my neighbour's garden in Brighton. Observed quite early in the day (9:45am) on the sunny side of the tree with the weather hot, dry and calm. (Caroline Clarke)

I ventured over to Mill Hill, Shoreham after work today for some fresh air and butterfly spotting. As it was about 6pm there was not much around except for one Small Blue, two Marbled Whites, one Painted Lady, several Meadow Brown and Small Heath. Not very impressive but I did manage to get my first shots of the year of a Marbled White, so not all was lost (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)

Checked out the elm in Hove Recreation Ground: 2 White-letters high in the tree canopy at TQ293061 at the south-eastern end of the Rec. Also, a further 2 observed from the Rec. on a street tree at the end of Hove Park Road at TQ292059. (Caroline Clarke)

News for Sunday 27 June: Botany Bay: Thanks Neil for a great day. Here is some that we could count: Ringlet 6, Meadow Brown 5, Large Skippers 20, Small Skipper 1, Wood White 7, Silver-washed Fritillary 10 plus, White Admiral 6 plus, Small Tortoiseshell 1 (photos above). (Pat and Peter Gardner)


Sunday 27 June 2010

Very pleasing to see the Small Tortoiseshell is making something of a spectacular recovery... above a nettle bed in Edburton, I estimated 20 - 30 inividuals - all in super newly emerged condition... got some nice video shots.
In Wiston woods quite a few White Admirals, and also Silver washed Fritillaries, and thanks Richard for the tip re. your sighting of a Hornet in Spithandle... no PE s yet, but probable Puple Hairstreak. If anyone has a Hornets nest, not too high, I would much appreciate information on this - for filming with long range video... 07710 808075 (David Geoghegan)

This morning I visited Iping Common for 2 hours in temperatures which reached a hot 27░C. Silver Studded Blues were everywhere, including in areas where I had not seen them before. My count was over 250! In the more wooded areas Large Skippers were guarding their territory on bramble or fern. My totals were Meadow Brown (5), Large Skipper (18) and Silver Studded Blue (235 Males 34 Females) (above). (Richard Symonds)

Today I ventured next door to Friston Forest to an area I think is called The Gallops. It was to be a perfect relaxation prior to the England vs Germany game. (I don't know why I didn't stay longer and miss the match).
It was a hot day so the butterflies had charged their batteries and were whizzing around, especially these georgious orange ones. I have never seen them before and so it was my first ever spotting of the wonderful Dark Green Fritillary. These lovely insects are mainly orange and black in colour, so I wondered where their name came from. Then I saw their underside and all became clear. I must have seen what appeared to be around 100 of them but as they were forever on the move I suspect the number was closer to 50. But to see 50 in my first go is no mean feat.
I also saw one Marbled White which was a nice suprise as I haven't seen one for quite a while. When I first used to go butterfly spotting a couple of years ago I used to see lots of them at High & Over but alas they don't seem to be there when I return these days. I wonder why that is?
Also witnessed today were several Small Tortoiseshell whose colours were impecable and so might have been newly emerged. There were lots of Large Skippers and possibly a few Small or Essex Skippers (which I couldn't really identify as they kept flying off, but I did get one shot). I also spied a small number of Small Blue once I had got my eye in as I had initially thought them to be moths. At least the small number of Cinnabar and Six-Spot Burnet (including a caterpillar) moths spotted were easily identifiable. I also saw one Large White and one Red Admiral as well as masses of Meadow Brown and Small Heath (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)

After six days in the Norfolk Broads with Swallowtails and other butterflies, I wondered what we would see on Neil Hulme's Oaken Wood tour yesterday. The large group was not disappointed. Although the Purple Emperor was not about yet, we had an abundance of butterflies, the most surprising being over a dozen Wood Whites, including a mating pair. Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals were everywhere, though few settled. The little stream under the path was a settling place for Fritillaries and a Comma. Meadow Browns were mating, and we also saw many Small Skippers, Large Skipper, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Ringlet and a Purple Hairstreak. Full details of our Norfolk trip with reports on nature reserves are being posted on my blog www.seapic.com (photos above). (Colin Knight)

News for Saturday 26 June: Sussex Butterfly Conservation attended the Wildlife Weekend event at High Beeches Gardens on Saturday (www.highbeeches.com). Unlike other ornamental gardens in the county High Beeches dedicates plenty of space for wildlife. The famous wildflower meadow was a sight to behold  and incredible profusion of wildflowers alive with insect life - and the ponds held a wide variety of dragonfly species. On Friday evening we held a moth trapping session and in the morning the trap was opened in front of a crowd of visitors. There was plenty for everyone in the trap including crowd-pleasers (Elephant Hawk-moth and Buff-tip) as well as Sussex rarities (Great Oak Beauty and Beautiful Snout). In the day there were wildflower walks (expertly lead by Arthur Hoare) and butterfly walks around the gardens where we recorded the first Ringlet of the season. Visitors to the gardens over the coming weeks should look high into the oaks for the possibility of Purple Emperor and Purple Hairstreak. (Michael Blencowe)


Saturday 26 June 2010

Instructions for seeing Purple Hairstreaks!
This should work on any sunny evening in the next 3 - 4 weeks. You need to take binoculars and be there between 7 and 8 pm. Go to Kiln Wood near Blackboys TQ 52714 20027 http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?Z=115&X=552714&Y=120027
If you get to the right place you should be on a footpath, just coming out of the wood with a meadow in front of you. Go through the gate, close it and then lean against it and look at the oak tree directly ahead. It should be in bright sunlight. Look at the upper branches, right near the top. Ignore all the Meadow Browns that like the lower parts of the tree, and in any case these appear visibly brown of course. Look for something moving much faster and glinting silver in the sunlight against the green of the tree. They can be quite tricky to watch as they move effortlessly through the branches. When silhouetted against the sky they just appear to be dark. In terms of size they are about 2/3 the size of the Meadow Browns. Don't expect to see any purple; the underwings are silver and appear almost metallic. When two or more males come together they will fight, spiralling round each other, impossibly close.
I will be there Monday evening for sure and then later in the week if it stays fine. As of today there are definitely 2 males in this tree and numbers should build in the next week or so. (Tom Ottley)

Spent over 2hrs with a new BC member on our first outing at Cissbury ring this morning. Sightings were as follows, large numbers of Small Heath and Meadow Browns, Large Skippers, also saw Small Skipper, Common Blue 6 most were worn. Female Brimstone 1, Painted Lady 2, Marbled White 3, Holly Blue 2, Dark Green Fritillary 25 - 30 or even more, Difficult to count as always on the move and only a small area covered Many pristine we were surrounded by them most on the wing but spent a long time with one particular female (Presumed) that posed for pictures. By chance found also a mating pair. Also 6 spot Burnets just emerging, Cinnabars, Burnet Campion. A fantastic morning. (photos above) (Richard Roebuck)

A Silver Studded Blue on Ashdown Forest from Hollies Car Park this morning. Also a Dark Green Fritillary and 3 Small Tortoiseshell. (Matt Eade)

We Run our Skinner trap in our Garden in Hampden Park on Friday 25th, and had in our trap. Silver Y. Willow Beauty. Swallow-tailed moth. White Ermine. Dark Arches. Green Pug. Clouded Silver. Small Blood Vien. Barred Yellow and hundreds of small flying insects which made it very uncomfortable when approaching the trap. (Ron & Brenda Elphick )

Noticed a small butterfly spending time on the creeper at the back of my pond. Thought it was a bit late for a Holly Blue, so after risking an early bath, I managed to get close enough to i.d. a White-letter Hairstreak. I have been keeping an eye on a solitary largish elm in the middle of Uckfield for a few years but never seen any. I can only imagine this sighting is connected to this tree which is a hundred yards from my garden, or perhaps there is a breeder nearby? (Andy Stokes)

In my Storrington garden there were two freshly emerged Small Skippers this morning together with several Large Skipper and Meadow Browns.
A walk from Storrington to Kithurst Hill, via Chantry Hill revealed my first Marbled White of the year, Large White, Comma, Common Blue with at least 50 Small Heaths and a similar number of Meadow Brown. Not a great list but good numbers of the common species. I am relatively new to butterfly recording but I get the impression that Small Heath have had a very good year, so far. (Martin Kalaher)

Single White-letter Hairstreak bobbing around the tops of a line of young elm on the edge of Surrenden Field in Brighton (TQ301 075). (Caroline Clarke)

In addition at Cissbury this morning Speckled woods 3, Large white 1. In the afternoon went to Spithandle Woods where I saw many Large Skippers, Commas 2, Red Admiral one (and David, a Hornet). I believe a Silver-washed Fritillary flying past at great speed. But also 3 White Admirals (above), first of the year for me. One was very close on a bridle path sitting on hazel and oak and sipping honey dew giving an unusually good opportunity for pics of this beautiful butterfly. Fantastic day. (Richard Roebuck)

Had a lovely walk from Old Town, E/bo over the downs and through the valley past Cornish Farm this morning and back via Beachy Head. Saw many "seasonal" butterfliesflies: Small Heaths, Small Tortoiseshells in abundance, Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers and stunning Dark Green Fritillaries but didn't manage any photos. Did, however, get pictures of an exotic/grotesque! Lizard Orchid and beautiful Bee Orchids on B. Head. Sitting in the garden on my return home I noticed this colourful Mullein caterpillar munching on a buddliea leaf - shame the moth isn't so noticable! (photos above) (Anna Grist)

Thorney Island: 8 Marbled White, 2 Essex Skipper, 2 Holly Blue and 90 Meadow Brown. (Barry Collins)

Saw a Scarlet Tiger moth sunning itself on the driveway of my father's house in Eastbourne today (26 June). Got a picture so was able to check and confirm it. However, the moth which foolishly came into our sun lounge last night and perished in todays intense heat is still defying my attempts to identify it, even though I have its little carcass. It looked a lot bigger when it was flying. (John A Heys)

Cissbury Ring Transect produced 123 butterflies in 14 species of which the highlights were 13 fresh Dark Green Fritillary and 5 Marbled White. One of the Dark Greens flew so close it was clearly identifiable as a female. Several seen in close focus binoculars but all with wings closed. Meadow Brown gradually increasing at last with 47 count. (Peter Atkinson)

With the help of the ukmoths.org.uk website, I have now tracked down the identity of the moth which died in our sun lounge - L-album Wainscot. It is my moth book, but somehow it was easier to identify from the on-line pictures. (John A Heys)


Friday 25 June 2010

A visit to Home Bottom, north of Denton yielded no hairstreaks yet but 45 Small Skippers were some compensation, along with 6 Marbled Whites. (Tom Ottley)

At Worms Wood SU969010 today I saw Marbled White - 11 (above), Large Skippers - 10, Meadow Brown - 14, Small Tortoiseshell - 1. (Paul Ingate)

A suprise in the moth trap this morning, a single Rosy Marbled (above) along with the usual 75 seasonal specailities. (Ivan Lang)

Finally, the unmistakable jerky flight of a single White-letter Hairstreak made its way from one mature English elm to another along the A23 into Brighton - grid ref. TQ300072. This first sighting for me is 9 days after the first sighting for 2009. (Caroline Clarke)

I visited Botany Bay/Oaken Wood on the Sussex border this morning and was surprised to find 6 Wood White (3 Male and 3 Female). These appear to be late first-brood individuals rather than the result of an early second brood. Numbers of Silver Washed Fritillary and White Admiral are building only slowly (photos above). (Vince Massimo)

I captured 2 Rannoch Looper moths in my moth trap on Friday night (18th) in Catsfield, East Sussex TQ719135. We were not sure of the sighting having checked our moth book due to its natural habitat Scotland! So my wife took one of the moths to David Burrows who confirmed the sighting for us. He also caught one in his trap a few nights later. He thinks they may be offspring from last year surviving possibly on another food plant. I believe he may have sent the record to you already. I will be running my trap again on Saturday night 26th to see if any more are around. (Rob Brownnutt)

News for Thursday 24 June: Pulbourough Brooks: Saw my Purple Hairstreak of the year yesterday on the hedge leading to west mead hide. Meadow Browns out in ever increasing numbers now, and also around the trail in recent days Speckled Woods, a few Common Blues, Small Tortoiseshells, Large Skippers and one Painted Lady. (Pete Hughes)

Transect details; Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill walked today, 25th June, butterflies recorded:
Large Skipper, (10)
Large White, (1)
Common Blue, (12)
Red Admiral, (1)
Small Tortoiseshell, (3)
Comma, (1)
Meadow Brown, (225)
Speckled Wood, (1)
Total, 254 butterflies, 8 species. (David Pyle)

More news for Thursday 24 June: Yesterday, I walked around the gallops above Butchers Hole CP hoping I might see my first Marbled White and sure enough, there was a very fresh one at the SW end of the gallops, but that was the only one I saw. Walking along the hedge I counted more than 20 Large Skippers (met Tom Otley in the CP and he confimed that was what they were as none of them settled). Each was patrolling a territory of about 2-3 metres by 1-2 metres and attacked anything that flew into the territory, which was mostly male Meadow Browns and Small Heaths, but also bees, moths, etc. At one point 3 Skippers were fighting over the same territory. Also saw at least 4 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Dark Green Fritillaries (again, confirmed by Tom). Also, several very worse-for-wear blues on the 'forbidden slopes' but no Chalkhill Blues yet - a week early maybe? Also several very fresh, bright Cinnabar Moths. (Susan Suleski)


Thursday 24 June 2010

Single White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary in Knowlands Wood near Barcombe. Also 9 positively identified (!) Small Skippers (above) of which 8 were males. This site also has Essex but they won't be out for another couple of weeks. (Tom Ottley)

A good search this morning at both Horseshoe Plantation and Littlington for White Letter Hairstreaks drew a blank. However did find a 6 Spot Burnett Moth freshly emerged and still sitting on its pupal case near Birling Gap (above).
At Littlington to Alfriston I did my Small Tortoiseshell count again in better conditions and got 54 one way and 59 on the return. Certainly in this area the Tortoiseshells are doing better. Most were feeding on the few thistle heads that are out just South of Deans Place. The count will possibly get even bigger when more thistles are out!! (Bob Eade)

Found a Lobster Moth near to the moth trap yesterday, first one I have seen of this fabulous looking moth. Also found a Female stag beetle flying at about 8.00 am and Glow-worm Beetle larvae on he downs link path at Henfield. On a visit to Birling Gap on 22.06.10 saw two Small Tortoiseshells by the car park about 20 Small Heaths on the embankment leading up to the Horseshoe plantation. Speckled Woods near the sycamore trees and on the east side several Common Blues. Also saw two male Clouded Buffs which were extremely difficult to approach to get a photo. Six spot burnets were numerous with hundreds of cocoons on grass stems by the bottom footpath (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

My first Marbled Pug of the year in my Lewes moth trap last night. (Michael Hawkins)

A Lime Hawk-moth roosting today in the Northgate underpass. Also a Holly Blue in the North Street precinct. (Derek Lee)

A rather worn Wall Brown this afternoon at High and Over. (Bob Eade)

Seen today while surveying meadows near Hadlow Down:
20+ Meadow Browns TQ519259.
6 Large Skippers, 10 Meadow Browns both TQ518256. (Jonathan Wood)

News for Wednesday 23 June: Chilgrove area: Highlights were 5 Marbled White my first of the year, 25 Large Skipper and one male Orange Tip still on the wing. (Barry Collins)


Wednesday 23 June 2010

I walked some of the more "greener" tracks within Stansted Forest (SU745118) this morning on a day where I recorded the temperature as 22░C. I was pleased to me my first Silver Washed Fritillary of the year, a male which flew with some urgency within a glade contained Sweet Chestnut trees. My counts were: Large White (1), Green Veined White (1), Speckled Wood (10), Meadow Brown (7), Comma (1), Silver Washed Fritillary (1), Large Skipper (8) and Six Spot Burnet moths (5). (Richard Symonds)

A day hunting Dark Green Fritillaries on the edge of Lullington Heath/Friston Forest and Deep Dene. Approx 10 were seen at Lullington before moving to the southern end of Deep Dene where large numbers of males were searching for females, very rarely settling but giving great views as they flew past. At least 50 individuals were seen in total including 1 very dark form that I believe was a female which settled more regularly nectaring on thyme (above, right). At one time I was watching 10 flying around me at the same time, all very fresh specimens. Other species seen included Green Hairstreaks, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brown Argus and Small Blue. A female Large White produced a photo opportunity as did a Forester Moth (top) in Deep Dene. In total 17 butterfly species were seen on what was a great day. (Bob Eade)

News for Tuesday 22 June: Two new impressive first of the years on a sunny midday with at least one Marbled White Butterfly fluttering energetically over the Spotted Orchid and Ox-eye Daisy meadow of the southern bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting, north Shoreham, and a Beautiful Demoiselle, Calopteryx virgo, settled on vegetation at the top of Slonk Hill Farm Road on the south-west side of the bridge over the A27. (Andy Horton)

News for Monday 21 June: From a distance McIntyre's Field (north of Lancing Manor and the eastern part of Lancing Ring Nature Reserve) was covered in the yellow of Bird's Foot Trefoil, and close-up hundreds of of small moths and butterflies could be disturbed in the long grass meadow. The numbers were exceptional and included frequent Common Blue Butterflies of both genders, frequent Burnet Companion Moths, numerous Common Carpet Moths, and at least a dozen species that had to remain unidentified because of lack of time and knowledge. The much larger Meadow Brown Butterflies were also frequently seen.
A male Broad-bodied Chaser (dragonfly), Libellula depressa, rose from a dry mud patch next to Lancing Ring dewpond and flew into the scrub where it hid. Two each of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies and Large Skippers were seen in the path to the meadows by the Cemetery on the southern part of the Nature Reserve. (Andy Horton)


Tuesday 22 June 2010

A butterfly survey in a private wood near Ringmer produced several Silver Washed Fritillaries and a single White Admiral. Many Meadow Browns (above) also seen as well as a very fresh Comma. (Bob Eade)

Cissbury Ring, Findon: A 2 hour visit in the morning produced 5 Dark Green Fritillary, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Dingy Skipper, 1 Small Skipper, 1 Marbled White, 5 Speckled Wood, 1 Large White and 2 Brown Argus. There were also numerous Large Skipper, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and "Blues". These all looked like Common Blue, but were so worn, there could also have been some Adonis amongst them. A chap I spoke to reported a sighting of a Ringlet, but this was not seen by me.
Southwater Woods - A 2 hour visit in the afternoon produced 5 Silver Washed Fritillary, 1 White Admiral and 2 Red Admiral as well as numerous Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood. (Vince Massimo)

News for Monday 21 June: Mid afternoon along the East Side of the Rife in South Ferring there were 8 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Red Admiral, and 1 Small White. (Colin Knaggs)

News for Sunday 20 June: Spotted on walk to Highdown Hill from Angmering two Burnet moths, two what I think were Holly Blues, three Speckled Woods and a Meadow Brown (photos above). (Paula Marshall, Angmering)

News for Monday 7 June: I saw a pair of Poplar Hawkmoths (above) mating on leaves of a passion flower vineá in my garden (West St Leonards, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 area) on Monday 7 June 2010.
The larger, paler coloured moth was hanging onto a leaf, its 'tail' pointing downwards; the slightly darker smaller one was below - it's 'tail' was attached to the lighter one, so that one was hanging with it's head pointing downwards.
I first noticed them at about 15.45 hrs, they were still in place, attached to eachother, at 21.00 hrs. It rained in the night and they had gone when I checked the next morning. (Jenny Challacombe)


Monday 21 June 2010

With a sunny warm day promised I set off to do a count of Small Tortoiseshells between Littlington and Alfriston. This area is full of nettles and each year I get good numbers of these butterflies here. Unfortunately, halfway through the count the wind picked up, the sun went in and the temperature dropped several degrees. However, despite this I still had a count of 26. This would easily have got into the mid 30s if the weather had held. I will try again later in the week. At High and Over I had another 7 Tortoiseshells as well as 2 Wall Brown. As I was nearly home the sun came out again so I called into the 'waste ground' just off the Alfriston Road and here I saw 2 Marbled White, 1 Dark Green Fritillary, several Small Skippers (above), several Meadow Brown and a further 6 Small Tortoiseshell. In all a total of 39 Tortoiseshells. I was also pleased to meet with new BC members Maggie and Steve that had come over from the Brighton area to explore the back of Seaford. (Bob Eade)

A late afternoon visit to Birling Gap to Beachy Head produced yet more Small Tortoiseshell with 8 seen. Also 4 Dark Green Fritillaries, many Small Heath as well lots of Burnett Moths. There was also a Lackey Moth larvae. (above) (Bob Eade)

2 White-barred Clearwings attracted to pheromone lure at Old Lodge, Ashdown Forest this morning (between 10.45 - 11.00). Also tried for Large Red-belted Clearwing but no luck (it had clouded over by midday).
I also saw 2 Small Tortoiseshells. (Darryl Perry)

I was interested to read about the Small Elephant Hawkmoths something I have never seen, and the Heath Fritillary (stunning pic), However I did find the dismembered wings of both an Elephant Hawkmoth and a Polar Hawkmoth on the lawn this morning. The culprits are sparrows and their young who have caught on to the odd moth on the outside of the trap at day break. To make matters worse my neighbour has a virtually tame black bird which this morning made a bee line for a Grey Arches which was trying to make good its escape about 3 feet from me. Luckily it escaped. I have also noticed bits of moth in the trap. This is also worrying in that I know there are wood mice in the garden. The last problem I have to put up with is my spaniel who is also fascinated by what's in the moth trap and on my outings is quite partial to having ago at Speckled Woods but strangely ignored the Silver-studded Blues (don't mention the duck). I will have to think about these problems. Moving house seems to be the only option? By the way found a male broad bodied chaser (above) in Spithandle this evening on the longest day, and 20 Large Skippers and 10 Meadow Browns. (Richard Roebuck)


Sunday 20 June 2010

Caught a single male Ranoch Looper in the Skinner trap I run in my Ringmer Garden on 18th June. Also 2 Small Elephant Hawkmoths. (Jacob Everitt)

White Admiral (1) and Wood Whites still flying. wood near Plaistow. (Margaret Hibbard)

I set off for Iping common quite early this morning. On arrival I was slightly disheartened as firstly it was cloudy, cold (about 13 degrees ) and my goodness the heath land was huge. No chance I thought. However I set off and after about 45 minutes in the middle of the common on one side of a large ride I spotted a quite small blue butterfly. Bingo. Having never seen a Silver-studded Blue before I thought its got to be it. On a small strip of vegetation sprinkled with flowers about 10 feet long and about 2 foot wide I found 10. They were just waking up mostly sun bathing with small short flights. Some were clearly newly emerged in pristine condition. I also noticed that for some reason the females varied in size some were really small (small blue size) and some appeared quite large? As the sun finally came out and I retraced my steps I felt surrounded, I counted about 35. I also saw 8 Large Skippers and a couple of Meadow Browns and one mallard with four ducklings in the heather. Being a northerner I still think there is something odd about seeing blue butterflies on Ling /heather, and also getting lost on my way back to the car added to a fab morning. Butterfliers beware? (photos above) (Richard Roebuck)

On the open part of the path that runs parallel with the dual carriageway at the top of the southern embankment of the the Slonk Hill Cutting, north Shoreham, the first Six-spotted Burnet Moth settled on the first Tufted Vetch noted in flower this year. (Andy Horton)

TQ358165 Plumpton. 6 Meadow Browns.
TQ359165 Plumpton. 1 Small Copper.
TQ359164 Plumpton. 4 Meadow Browns.
Also: Seen Thursday 17 June at TQ331306 Hanging meadow, Wakehurst estate. 5 Common Blues. (Jonathan Wood)

News for Saturday 19 June: First emergence of Narrow Bordered 5 Spot Burnet at the local colony. The larvae were observed feeding on Meadow Vetchling in May. They have also been seen on Red Clover in previous years. (Graham Parris, Isfield)

News for Friday 18 June: I walked my first transect in Rowland Wood this morning, there wasn't a great deal flying, it was fairly cool and the sunshine was intermittent but when it did shine I recorded the following:
Speckled Wood: 9
Green-veined White: 1
Large Skipper: 4
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary: 2
Meadow Brown: 1
Also saw four Orthotaenia undulana, an Alabonia geoffrella, Nemophera degeerella (thousands), a Speckled Yellow, and a few Brown Silver-lines. (Bob Foreman)

News from elsewhere...
On Sunday 20th June I travelled up from Brighton to Blean Woods near Canterbury in Kent hoping to see some Heath Fritillaries. At first the weather was cloudy and there wasn't a butterfly to be seen but then the sun came out in a wide ride through the forest and suddenly there were Heath Fritillaries everywhere. I must have seen at least 20. They are quite a dopey species and very easy to photograph, not at all like the hyperactive Small Pearl-Bordered at Park Corner Heath! If you visit, park at the car park near Rough Common and then follow the green-marked route. (John Williams)


Friday 18 June 2010

A Painted Lady Butterfly today in Barcombe Churchyard, near Lewes TQ428143. (Jeremy Burgess)

Details of the species recorded on the Transect walked today, 18th June, at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill.
Species recorded:
Large Skipper, (1)
Small White, (1)
Green Veined White, (1)
Green Hairstreak, (1)
Common Blue, (88)
Red Admiral, (1)
Small Tortoiseshell, (1)
Speckled Wood, (3)
Meadow Brown, (18)
Total, 115 butterflies, 9 species.
Also recorded, 2 Silver Y, 2, Cinnabar, Burnet Companion, 22, Yellow Shell, 1, 6 Spot Burnet, 281. Extrapolating the number of pupae cases on wire string panels in one field the average number of pupae on each panel was 25, 150 panels provides a total of 3750 potential adults. (David Pyle)

Tetrad TQ5608 Milton Hyde TQ566087 3 Small Heath. (Roy Wells)

A pleasant walk from Charleston Manor to Lullington Heath and back showed good numbers including 6 Small Heath, 11 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Brimstone, 1 Large Skipper, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Small Copper, 2 pristine Dark Green Fritillary, 1 Red Admiral, and numerous Adonis and Common Blue. (Stuart Ridley)

Not 100% sure what moth this is but looks a bit like a Common Heath enjoying the sun and posing for photos (above) in my garden in Angmering, West Sussex. (Paula Marshall)
... I think this is actually a Willow Beauty, ed.


Thursday 17 June 2010

Today I had my butterfly fun on a walk to the library in Littlehampton. I walked through an unspoilt piece of woodland between Granville and Fitzalan Roads (TQ03180171) and found it teeming with Speckled Woods resting on grasses and the path and battling in the air. I counted a dozen within a short time, the most I have seen anywhere. This must be a self contained colony on my doorstep (Colin Knight)

News for Thursday 16 June: A trip to Rowland Wood yesterday afternoon gave me my first sighting of the famous Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Four other butterfly enthusiasts were also at the reserve. The butterfly was mostly flying fast along the paths but I found one resting on the path and two others on blackberry flowers and birch leaves. Also present were Speckled Woods, Large Skippers and Broad-bodied Chasers. (Colin Knight)

More news for Thursday 16 June: During a half hour walk on Iping Common, SU853220 this morning, I saw 5 male Silver-studded Blue, 1 Large Skipper and 1 Speckled Wood. (Roger Pendell)

And some recent news: I have seen several Small Tortoiseshells every day in the Polegate/Wannock area this week, including six together on the red valerian in my small garden yesterday. Also seen Red Admirals daily since last week's rain, and one very pale Painted Lady. (Susan Suleski)


Wednesday 16 June 2010

On a roadside verge in Crawley my first Small Skipper of the year. (Paul Marten)

Tetrad TQ6622 Bateman's, Burwash TQ671236 2 Meadow Brown (Roy Wells)

Had a walk around Spithandle woods late afternoon, found Red Admiral 1, Speckled Woods 20, Large Skippers 8 Large White and none of my target spp. slightly too early I think. There were however two spp of Longhorn beetles nectaring, one I have never seen before. Two Broad bodied chasers and presumably, a Golden Ring Dragonfly (above) that thankfully stayed still while I snapped off loads of Pics. (Richard Roebuck

News for Tuesday 15 June: Went up to a very breezy Springhead yesterday 15th June but when the sun did break through there were some butterflies about, the best being a fresh Large Skipper male and the female Small Blue (photos above) which I am convinced was egg laying but couldn't see them as no glasses with me. Others braving the wind were Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper, Common Blue and Meadow Brown. (John Baker)


Tuesday 15 June 2010

Several Meadow Brown on Sunday 13th in open glades in a deciduous wood near Storrington. A common butterfly but my first of the year. (Martin Kalaher)


Monday 14 June 2010

On a windy walk around the perimeter of the RSPB Bracklesham Bay reserve we saw 4 Painted Ladies, plus a number of Common Blues. (Derek Lee)

A walk round the field opposit our house this afternoon produced 4 Common Blue, 1 male, 3 female, Small Copper, 2 Meadow Brown, Brown Argus, Painted Lady, a dozen Peacock caterpillars, Scarce Chaser,and a large blue Hawker Dragonfly of unidentified species. (Graham Parris, Isfield)

Tetrad TQ6810. Farm track near Hooe Levels TQ685104 5 Small Tortoiseshells. (Roy Wells)

I saw my first Small Tortoiseshells of the year today. Two (it seemed a male pursuing a female) close to Blatchington Reservoir, Seaford. (Chris Brewer)

Had an evening walk around Cissbury ring, Common Blues 50+, Small Heath 25, Large Skipper 12, Green Hairstreak 5, Dingy Skipper 1, Wall 4, Painted Lady 1, Cinnabar moths 12, Speckled Yellow moth 5, Burnet Companion 2, Mullein moth caterpillars feeding on Mullein 15+ (above). These caterpillars are here every year skeletonising the Mullein plants. Also later on a walk south of Henfield, Red Admiral 1, Speckled Wood 5, Large Skipper 20, Comma 1. (Richard Roebuck)


Sunday 13 June 2010

Had a Dark Green Fritillary on my BMS transect walk at upper Beeding this morning. Also a pristine Painted Lady. (Jim Steedman)

This morning I visited Iping Common (SU848219) where I was pleased to see my first Silver Studded Blue (above, left & centre) this year - a single male resting on long grass. Despite looking closely at other areas of the common where it is usually found in large numbers, my only other sighting, again another male was flying a further 200 yards away. My only other sighting (apart from moths) was a single female Common Blue. Also seen were two male Beautiful Demoiselles, a female Broad-bodied Chaser, a female Golden-ringed Dragonfly and a juvenile Adder resting under a sheet of corrugated tin.
In the afternoon I walked the South Downs Way near Manor Farm, Cocking (SU880166) where I was excited to see my first Small Blue (above, right) for 10 years, a male which when disturbed would only fly about a foot before settling again to enable me to get some nice photos. Disappointingly little else was flying except a Small Heath, a female Brimstone and a Silver Y moth. (Richard Symonds)

Details of Transect walked today, 13th June, at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill.
Species recorded;
Large Skipper, (2), first sighting this year.
Small White, (3)
Small Copper, (3)
Common Blue, (37)
Speckled Wood, (2)
Meadow Brown, (1) first sighting this year.
Total recorded, 48, species seen 6. (David Pyle)

Seen today 13/06 between 3-4pm. 2 Large Skippers TQ355164.
1 Common Blue TQ356156.
1 Common Blue, 2 Large Skippers, 1 Small Copper TQ355162.
1 Speckled Wood TQ356165.
1 Cinnabar Moth TQ354160. (Jonathan Wood)

At Westdean Woods today we saw three male Silver-washed Fritillary, our first of the year. Other butterflies of note included 30+ Speckled Wood newly emerged second brood, several Large Skipper and a single Grizzled Skipper. Two Brown Silver-line disturbed from bracken, 6 Speckled Yellow and one Common White Wave. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

This morning myself and my two boys nipped out for a brief nature walk around Horseshoe Plantation at Beachy Head. We were rewarded with several Common Blue, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Large White, 1 Six-Spot Burnet, 2 Cinnabar and a few small yellow moths that I couldn't get close enough to photograph in order to identify (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)


Saturday 12 June 2010

During a visit to Highdown Hill - TQ098042 this morning, I saw a Meadow Brown, Adonis Blue (Both a Male and Female), Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Small Heath and a Five Spot Burnett Larvae. (Pete Ashley)

A walk around the local lanes produced our first Painted Lady of the year, also a few Silver Ys, Common Blues, Red Admiral & Speckled Wood.
Also, a couple of days ago a single Large Skipper paid our garden an extremely brief visit.
On the moth front, a Mocha was in the MV trap last night. (Derek Lee)

Seen today while on a Dragonfly fieldtrip on the Arun.
2 Small Tortoiseshell TQ066255
1 Common Blue TQ062252
1 Peacock TQ060247
1 Small White, 1 Common Blue, TQ060247
2 Common Blue TQ059246
1 Speckled Wood TQ058245
1 Comma TQ059243
1 Yellow Shell (moth) TQ059243
1 Peacock TQ064247
1 Yellow Underwing TQ067248
1 Meadow Brown TQ068251
1 Red Admiral TQ067254. (Jonathan Wood)

Today myself and my sons went for an early pre-3-game World Cup walk right around Frog Firle and Rathfinney. Things weren't looking too good as I think we started off too early, but worry not! We had a much better day than Robert Green! We got some great photos and saw lots of Common Blue, 1 Dingy Skipper, 3 Red Admiral, 3 Large Skippers, 2 Small Heath, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, several Speckled Wood, 3 Wall (Brown), 1 Large White and several moths and unusual beetles. (Nick Linazasoro)

On the downs link at Henfield saw several Wasp beetles on dog rose, worth keeping an eye out for, (above right), also two Large Skippers and a first for me, caterpillars of Red Admiral in their little nettle leaf "tents". At Steyning, Bostal Rd old quarry, saw four Adonis Blues, and a Small Heath and a Holly Blue TQ168103. At the Rifle range Two Large Whites (above left), rarely are these obliging for photos, but still a beautiful butterfly close up, two Small Tortoiseshells, one Common Blue, 6 Small Heaths, two Large Skippers, huge numbers of Grasshopper nymphs, bloody nosed beetles and lots of other insects. P.S. The topped damson and sloe has new shoots and appears to be growing back quite well. (Richard Roebuck)


Friday 11 June 2010

Small Purple and Gold, Pyrausta aurata (Below). We've had a lot of these little beauties all over the mint in the back garden. (Tim Davies)

After a rather wet day the evening brightened up and lots of insects were just sitting around on vegetation including Large Skippers 3, Cinnabar moth 1, Silver Y and my first Meadow Brown of the year (above right) in a meadow off Bramlands lane nr Woodmancote. The weekend should be excellent. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Wednesday 09 June: Seen while meadow surveying in Buxted. 3 Small Whites, 5 Common Blues, 1 Small Copper TQ492223. (Jonathan Wood)


Thursday 10 June 2010

It would seem that Wall Brown may be more widespread on the South Downs than hitherto known. Two weeks ago there two male Wall Brown at Chantry Hill but yesterday there were three males and one female. All in one very small area, which will hopefully be observed from a respectable distance and left to get on with expanding this small new colony.
Also yesterday, two Painted Lady on the South Downs Way quite close to Washington (the first in excellent condition, the second in aerial combat; not seen well). (Dr Martin Kalaher)

After a terribly slow start to the year the moths in my garden in Lindfield seem to be making up for lost time. I have recorded 92 species so far this month. Three of these have been new records for the garden: Bordered White, Alder Moth and best of all, today, the remarkably beautiful Rosy Marbled (above) a tiny moth which I first assumed to be a tortricid. Things are definitely looking up. (Bob Foreman)

Some how I feel a slight pause in the butterfly calendar as we wait for the new flush of summer butterflies. However Nature is rampant as ever and waits for no man. For me the recent highlight in my home village of Henfield is the annual emergence of stag beetles flying around after about 9.30 a.m. This has caused much intrigue to the kids and eventually one became within reach to cause much excitement (above). On another note I was given a tetrad which I have avoided thinking there was nothing there, however eventually I made a visit and instead of butterflies a profusion of Banded Demoiselles in a drainage ditch running through meadows. Eventfully I did a check at 6.00 a.m to to do a rough count.Here goes, I paced out three steps and counted as many as i could on both sides of a ditch,three times ( average 10). I then paced out 400 steps along said ditch. With a bit of crude maths and extrapolation I came up with 1330 demoiselles or approx 4.0/m. Now bearing in mind males are easy to see and females being green aren't, most of the count was based on males. This is without doubt the biggest concentration of large insects I have ever seen in my life and quite possibly underestimated. Amazing, see dew covered female Demoiselle (above). (Richard Roebuck)


Wednesday 09 June 2010

A really warm day on Frog Firle produced lots of butterflies with 20 species seen. A great start with an Adonis Blue just below High and Over. A further 10 were seen along Frog Firle in 4 different areas with the majority being on Greenway Bank. I also had my 1st Small Blue on Greenway Bank as well as a couple more on Frog Firle. 2 Painted Ladies were my 1st of the year. The 2nd brood of Speckled Wood are building well although the 1st brood of Wall Brown are now already almost over with only 3 seen. Green Hairstreaks are still hanging on as well as a few Dingy Skippers and a single Grizzled Skipper. Large Skipper numbers are also building well. Common Blues were once again everywhere. There was also a very fresh Small Tortoiseshell. (Bob Eade)

At Worms Wood today SU969010 I saw: Large Skipper 5 (2 male, 3 female), Orange-tip 1, Small White 2, Large White 1, Common Blue 3, Speckled Wood 1. At SU955025 I saw hundreds & hundreds of Peacock Caterpillars on nettles, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Red Admiral 1 (photos above). (Paul Ingate)

Highlights at Thorney Island today were 2 Large Skipper my first of the year and one Meadow Brown, also a male Orange-tip was still on the wing. Nearby at Pilsey Island a Cream-spot Tiger showed well. (Barry Collins)

Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne. TetradTQ6202. TQ639023 1 Large White. 1 Small Tortoiseshell. (Roy Wells)


Tuesday 08 June 2010

First Large Skipper of the year on the 8th. My first for my Storrington garden this year. One also present on a local footpath. (Martin Kalaher)

A few nice butterflies were flying around on Frog Firle (TQ 503 013) between 2 and 4pm today (08 June 2010):
1 Wall Brown,
1 Small Heath,
3 Grizzled Skipper,
2 Dingy Skipper,
3 Small Blues,
1 Adonis Blue.
And to conclude, there were loads of Common Blues! They are an absolute treat to watch! With every step you take, there's about 10 flying up! Amazing! (Rien De Keyser)

Mother Shipton (above), seen basking in the sun at Ardingly reservoir on Saturday 5th June. (Heather Maryson)

Whilst looking for butterflies in Spithandle woods came across two Hover flies mimicking Bumble bees so did a bit of research and found the following (although similar the third name is the form or subspecies) The imitator of the Red-tailed Bumble Bee is scientifically known as Volucella bombylans bombylans (above left). The imitator of the Earth or Garden Bumble Bee is called Volucella bombylans plumata (above right) the larva of both are apprently found in bumble bee nests scavenging around. Nevertheless they are quite impressive insects and fairly common.
In response to Nicki Kent's moth query: Its possibly a Silver-ground Carpet Xanthorhoe montanata. (Richard Roebuck)

My first Cinnabar Moth of the year flitted amongst the grasses and herbs on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting, north Shoreham, where about fifty Small Blue Butterflies were immediately seen in an area of five square metres in just two minutes. (Andy Horton)

News for Monday 07 June: Two Painted Lady at Chantry Hill on the 7th. My first for the year. Neither was in very good condition but one of them was very faded. (Martin Kalaher)

Response to Darryl's message: I'm afraid that Jill must be mistaken Darryl, as you suspect. We are unlikely even to see the adult as early as in the previous couple of seasons (23/24 June), bearing in mind that most Purple Emperor larvae are some way off pupation. I'm expecting the first adults towards the end of June this year. (Neil Hulme)


Monday 07 June 2010

While doing a Timed Tetrad Bird Atlas visit at Thorney Island SU70K this morning at 0630. I had a Painted Lady in pristine condition and another necturing on thrift mid-morning at Pilsey Island. (Barry Collins)

A colleague of mine is adamant she saw a Purple Emperor on The Weald in the Groombridge area over the weekend - seems very early for Purple Emperors & I am not sure whether they even occur in that area (sorry to doubt you Jill!!) - if anyone could confirm if this species occurs in that area & whether it is possible it could be on the wing this early it would be interesting to know. (Darryl Perry)

Spent a large part of the weekend at Park Corner Heath (my first visit). Saw plenty of the gorgeous Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, lots of Brimstones, a Green Hairstreak, a Painted Lady and a Grizzled Skipper. However, my personal highlight was a Cream-spot Tiger - which was hypnotically beautiful. Also saw this slightly nibbled moth (above right). Since I'm a beginner in the field of butterflies and moths I have no idea what it is. I think it's a type of carpet moth. Perhaps someone could enlighten me. (Nicki Kent)

News for Thursday 03 June: While botanical surveying. A nice meadow. TQ 481268 10 Common Blues, 1 Large White. (Jonathan Wood)


Sunday 06 June 2010

An early evening visit to Rowland Wood finally gave the opportunity for some closer viewings of the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (above). Nice to meet and chat to other fellow entusiasts during my visit. (Richard Roebuck)

Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne. Tetrad TQ6402. TQ640023 Around a couple of bushes in exposed shingle with no trees nearby 1 Speckled Wood. TQ640025 5 Common Blue. TQ641025 1 Small White.(Roy Wells)

I joined an excellent tour of Mill Hill on Saturday morning led by Brianne Reeve of the Shoreham District Ornithological Society. Common Blues were everywhere and mating, also some Adonis Blues. A pair of Dingy Skippers were conducting an aerial courting display a few inches above the grass for over five minutes. A Wall, Brimstone and Speckled Wood were seen. In the afternoon I joined a species survey at Stanmer Park and found a Common Blue female on cow parsley and buttercup in a clearing by the woods, also a spectacular Black-Headed Cardinal beetle (photos above). (Colin Knight)

As part of the Bioblitz Event this weekend in Stamner Park the Biodiversity Record Centre organised a moth trapping session on Saturday night ahead of Sunday, when the main Spring Watch Event was held. The evening had two main aims; to record as many species of moth as possible in the evening to add to the site records, and to catch moths and beetles to show to the attendees at the event and help inspire them about biodiversity. As we discovered, children seem to love nothing better than a Maybug or Hawkmoth crawling over their hand! We set up 5 MV traps and one actinic, and after a slow start to the evening the moths started pouring in, in ideal conditions from around 11pm.
Around 75 species of moth were recorded (including dayflyers) before we had to pack up our traps at around 12:30am as the thunderstorm approached. The moths included Haworth's Pug, Scorched Carpet, Broken-barred Carpet, White Point, Least Black Arches, Barred Hook-tip, numerous Pretty Chalk Carpet, Clay Triple-lines, Sandy Carpet, Waved Umber, The Miller, The Flame, Buff-tip, Pale Oak Beauty, Marbled White Spot, Figure of Eighty, Foxglove Pug, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Lime Hawkmoth, Flame Shoulder, Pale Tussock, Pale Prominent and Iron Prominent.
The butterfly list for the weekend was rather small, consisting of Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood. (Alice Parfitt, Graeme Lyons, Wendy and Keith Alexander, Rich Howorth, Dave and Pen Green)


Saturday 05 June 2010

A number of Common Blues, both male and female, and a single Wall Brown at Blatchington reservoir (Seaford) early this morning. Red Admiral on Silver Lane, Bishopstone. (Chris Brewer)

My first Painted Lady of the year at Wolstonbury Hill, late pm today.(Peter Whitcomb)

Today myself and my two sons went to Park Corner Heath and then onto Arlington Reservior for a picnic. At Park Corner Heath we saw around 25 Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary. It seemed to look like more, but the pesky butterflies kept whizzing around in the hot sun and were quite difficult to photograph. We also saw a few Brimstone, a couple of Speckled Woods and a Cream Spot Tiger Moth which looked tremendous as it flew away. We then went for a picnic at Arlington Reservior and saw about 40 Common Blues (I think), one female Orange Tip and two Small Heath (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Saturday & Sunday May 29th & 30th: Thank you Michael for a very enjoyable weekend, the weather was kind to us, and when the Cavairy of gentlemen Moth-trappers turned up, to my mind, a successfull evening, also my thanks to you all for your patience, as i was the only woman there on Saturday trapping-night, ( I must remember to stay at home and wash my hair next time!). Michael and Dave had everything under control as allways.Dave does not say much, but does he work, you should see him with his power assisted wheel-barrow, no bank too steep no rut to deep, the generators are in place. Sunday was also great, Sunshine and every thing set out like a professional for us to see at the opening of the Moth-traps, which also included the three tap-hopping click beetles which made the young and not so young smile. It was nice to see the young representative from the St Johns Ambulance there again this year. As I think I heard Michael say a few times A ( Great Prominent ) event. (Brenda Elphick)


Friday 04 June 2010

Transect details; Bedelands Farm, walked today.Species recorded;
Large White, (2)
Small White, (5)
Orange Tip, (1)
Green Hairstreak, (4)
Small Copper, (4)
Common Blue, (314)
Speckled Wood, (4)
Total, 334 butterflies, 7 species.
In addition to the above the following day flying Moths were also seen;
Cinnabar, (4)
Silver Y, (1)
Burnet Companion, numerous
Grass Rivulet, too many to count almost like snowflakes' when disturbed.
(David Pyle)

A trip to the meadow opposite Kithurst Hill car park (Springhead) today found a Duke of Burgundy, 2 Green Hairstreaks on the meadow, abundant Common Blues and Small Blues, Small Heaths, Large Whites, Brimstones, a Red Admiral, an old Painted Lady and an Orange Tip. (Colin Knight)

Had a late afternoon walk around Wolstonbury Hill started off with the usual Speckled Woods (5) along the Bridleway from Pycombe Street. On the Hill lots of male and female Common Blues (30+), Small Heath (10), Green Hairstreak (5) Burnet Campion (10+), Dingy Skipper (12), Mother Shipton (2), Common Heath (2), Wall (1), Broad-bodied Chaser (1) that's high up, but best of all the first time I have seen a Small Blue (female) (above) on Wolstonbury Hill. It stayed in a sheltered patch of about 8 foot square and never left apart from attacking the odd male Common Blue that flew past. (Richard Roebuck)

At Worms Wood and adjacent meadow this afternoon I saw Small Copper - 2, Common Blue - 5, Green-veined White - 2, Orange-tip - 2, Peacock - 1, Comma - 1, Cinnabar Moth - 1, Silver Y - 12. Boy those Silver Y's can fly fast! (Paul Ingate)

A single (and my first) Currant Clearwing attracted to a pheromone lure at my Parent's House in The Avenue, Lower Bevendean, Brighton. Another (or the same individual) attracted around half hour later. I have armed myself with the 'full set' of Clearwing pheromone lures for a 2nd year so I hope to add a few more Clearwing species to my Sussex list (I managed Orange-tailed & Six Belted back in 2009. (Darryl Perry)

Saw my first Large Skipper (above) (2) of the year yesterday, at the edge of a small plantation, nectaring on buttercups they were zooming around in the evening sunshine. The give away is the hooked antenna. (Richard Roebuck)


Thursday 03 June 2010

Whilst doing the Frog Firle transect today I counted 129 Common Blue, 10 Wall, 7 Green Hairstreaks, 2 Grizzled Skippers, 5 Dingy Skipper, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Small Heath, 1 Small Copper, 1 Peacock, 3 Large White and best of all 4 Small Blue (above). I then went onto Bo Peep Bostal where the Wall Browns are doing extremely well with 16 seen in quite a small area. Small Heath were also very numerous here as were Dingy Skippers. I then travelled over to Windover Hill looking for more Small Blue where there were several more flying. Very difficult to count here but there must have been double figure numbers. (Bob Eade)

Went to the Rowland wood and another first for me. In a beautiful setting saw at least 5 Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (above) busy patrolling over the reserve. Fantastic. They very occasionally stopped to nectar on a a small vetch and the occasional bramble flower, very difficult to get a good clear pic as they were very active. Also saw lots of different spp of dragonflies a lovely cardinal beetle and another first heard the bizarre song of a Night Jar ( didnt know they called in the day) which sounded to me like a machine. (Richard Roebuck)

Me and Jazzy went butterflying today on Mill Hill... Grizzled Skipper (2), Dingy Skipper (1), Common Blue (loads), Small Heath (20+), Adonis Blue (loads), Brown Argus (1), Small White (2), Large White (2), Red Admiral (1), Cinnabar Moth (1). (Danny McEvoy)

(Below, clockwise from top left) Small Blue, mating Common Blues, Small Copper, Burnet Companion, Green Hairstreak and Dingy Skipper, High & Over. (Nick Linazasoro)

What better way to wind down from work than a leisurely stroll around High & Over and Frog Firle? Today's was quite successful as spotted were 5 Wall (Brown), 4 Small Heath, lots of male and female Common Blues, 1 Small Blue, 1 Green Hairstreak, lots of Dingy Skippers (but suprising not a single Grizzled Skipper), possibly 1 Brown Argus, 2 Small Coppers, 1 Red Admiral, several Large Whites and 1 Speckled Wood. So a minimum of 10 butterflies! (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Wednesday 2 June 2010: John A Heys sent me a photograph (above) of a butterfly his wife spotted on the Downs at Springhead (TQ 069125) earlier in the day, understandably confused as to its identification! A quite worn Glanville Fritillary no less! Although captive-bred release is a distinct possibility, the species is having a very good year on the Isle of Wight - and warm, calm conditions are ideal for the dispersal of pioneering females. Species such as the Duke of Burgundy and Pearl-bordered Fritillary have certainly shown a greater-than-usual tendency for wandering of late. (Neil Hulme)

A visit to Steyning Rifle Range on Wednesday produced a Green Hairstreak among the grass tussocks, Large Whites, Brimstones, Small Heaths, Common Blues and a Dingy Skipper. A nearby chalk working (TQ168102) had plenty of Walls and Six-spot Burnet moth caterpillars (above). (Colin Knight)


Wednesday 02 June 2010

Sitting in the garden at Ripe enjoying a cup of coffee, I noticed a brown butterfly settle of a clump of sea pink flowers, and on approaching it slowly realised that it was Wall Brown!
As a former chairman of Herts and Middx Branch where this species is now excessively rare to say the least, I was delighted.Unfortunately I did not have my camera to hand but I have a witness, who agreed that it was identical to the photo in J.A.Thomas's book Butterflies of the British Isles. (Malcolm Newland)

At last the summer has returned, so a walk to The Comp, Greenway Bank and Frog Firle was a must to see how the Wall Browns are doing this year. A total of 20 were seen throughout the walk which was not as many as I expected to see. In fact none were seen on Greenway Bank which was a big surprise, however, Greenway Bank did hold another very pleasant surprise. Last year I saw 2 Adonis Blues on the bank. These were the 1st I had seen there up until then, but today there were 9 seen on the bank (bottom row, above) including 1 female. I did find a couple of males that were trying to mate!!! Having walked regularly on this bank for the last 5 years it just shows how you can still be surprised by what you can find. This could become another important Adonis site. I did find 1 more Adonis between the bank and Frog Firle. On the bank there was also 14 Brown Argus. On Frog Firle my first Large Skipper (top row, left) of the year showed up. I also saw yet another mating pair of Green Hairstreaks with the female looking very fresh and the male very worn. Common Blues were everywhere and there was also 1 Small Blue on Frog Firle. A total of 18 species were seen. Also Burnett Moth larvae were climbing tall grass preparing to pupate (top row, right). (Bob Eade)

Wolstenbury Hill. Wednesday, 2nd June 2010. Sunny day following rainy Tuesday. Good variety of sightings (photos above). (Peter Cockerill)

Significant numbers of Small Heath and Common Blue seen on Seven Sisters Country Park today. The Small Heaths seem so intent on mating that they were oblivious to us erecting fences. (Chris Brewer)

A sunny, flying day again at long last. At Trolliloes near Cowbeech. Tetrad TQ6214, Studden's Lane TQ629147 1 Orange Tip, 4 Green Veined White, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Speckled Wood. Trolliloes Stream TQ637149 1 Orange Tip. 2 Green Veined White. (Roy Wells)

News for Monday 31 May 2010: Cream-spot Tiger (above)Found outside RSPB Pulborough Brooks visitors centre by Mark Simcox on Monday. (Abi Bulloch)

The extensive webs made by caterpillars in the Sussex entries for May 24 and May 27 are a species of Yponomeuta. These are "micros", sometimes known as "small ermine moths". One of them - another dastardly European invader, Y. malinellus - is just starting out here on Vancouver Island. Yours may well be the same species, though I can't be sure. I expect I'll be putting up a photo on our BC (British Columbia!) site in a few days. That'll be http://vicnhs.bc.ca/invertalert.html (Jeremy Tatum)


Tuesday 01 June 2010

News for Monday 31 May 2010: Went to Heyshott down on a cloudy day on Monday and took my darling wife out for the "first time Butterflying !?" Temperatures were warm with very little breaks in the cloud. Very little activity until 12.30 until I saw 6 Duke of Burgundy all worn so possibly coming to the end of the season. Lots of male Common Blues and very few females 10, Small Heath 15, Dingy Skippers (6) Burnet Campion (3). However the interesting thing was there were 5 Spot Burnet moths everywhere including mating pairs and some strangely marked, but perhaps this is natural variation. According to the book they shouldn't be out until July ?! I also saw one quite small Burnet moth caterpillar. So what did the wife think? She sat in the same place relaxing,while I scampered all over the hill getting heated up. Where have you been I have seen several of those those Burgundy's flying around. You mean Duke of Burgundy, What's that brown one? er Dingy Skipper. What about the lunch you suggested, Aah, what now? Okay Yes Dear,Cest le Vie. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Sunday 30 May 2010: We spotted this individual in the lower Cuckmere Valley, East Sussex (Grid Ref: TV512986) late morning on the 30th May 2010. It appeared from lush growth at the side of an irrigation channel and flew into an adjacent area of leafy scrub where we took the photograph (above). Our first thought was White Ermine but the few black spots and its habitat made us think it may have been a Water Ermine. Were we correct? (Lynne and John Scott)

The pic of the large black beetle grub is the larva of The Bloody Nose Beetle. And the fly... Its definetly a sawfly, possibly the Rose Sawfly. (Richard Roebuck)


Monday 31 May 2010

The first known sighting of the Small Heath in this area at location Ditchling Common, Ref TQ332184, found today by Barbara Allen whilst out walking. (David Pyle)

On Beeding Hill this morning alongside 2 Wall Brown we saw migrant Silver Y and our first two Rush Veneer of the year. In the garden we are catching one or two Orange Footman every night we run the trap suggesting they are breeding somewhere close by!
Regarding any dragonfly sightings, Pen would love to hear from about any species seen with a grid reference and date and these can be sent to her at pennygreen@sussexwt.org.uk. Alternatively, you can post your sightings on the new Sussex Dragonfly website at http://www.webjam.com/bdssx/recent_sightings. (Dave and Pen Green)

A bit of a surprise this afternoon when a Green Hairstreak settled in our garden in North Seaford. First time I have seen 1 here. (Bob Eade)

Mill Hill on a cloudy day was alive with Adonis Blues and my first Wall of the year (Colin Knight)

Visited Heyshott Down and despite the overcast weather managed to rustle up my first ever Duke! It looked a bit faded but I wasn't complaining! Also saw 3 or 4 Common Blues, Dingy Skippers, and Small Heaths (photos above). (John Williams)

News for Sunday 30 May 2010: We had our first Meadow Brown of the year on the Downs near Chilgrove on Sunday. (Barry and Margaret Collins)


Sunday 30 May 2010

Historic Day for this very day I saw Pearl Bordered Fritillary at Abbot's Wood (about 20) and a single Small Pearl Bordered at Park Corner Heath... never seen both species on the same day before!! (Danny McEvoy)

Took my three year old son, Elliot, for walk in Verdley Wood, Henley, Fernhurst. We stopped for a picnic in a small coppiced area and when finished I set off and told Elliot to let me know if he saw a Butterfly. 'There's one Daddy', he cried immediately. I turned to see two Pearl-bordered Fritillaries fluttering by him!!! They both disappeared into the coppiced area. I was determined to get a photo of at least one as these are a first for me. I sat him down on the path verge with food and drink and began scouring the coppiced area, (Elliot was only a few feet away and always in sight just in case your about to call Social Services) I could find nothing untill my son called again, 'Here's one Daddy'. I walked back toward him and noticed something orange and small moving about a foot from his seated position. I couldnt believe my eyes. Another Pearl-bordered Fritillary. And so the afternoon went on. Lots of great photos of these lovely butterfly's, thanks to my wonderful little boy. He is an up and coming Neil Hulme. Get ready to move over Neil!!!!! Happy Days (photos above). (Steve Morgan)

Seen today at TQ365165: 1 Green-veined White, 1 male Orange Tip, 1 Red Admiral that looked very fresh. Also at TQ358163: 1 Common Blue at TQ355162: 2 Common Blues, 1 Small White. (Jonathan Wood)

Two more notable firsts of the year were three Silver Y Moths, Burnet Companion Moths and a Purple Bar (a carpet moth) on Mill Hill. On the transect 1.2 acres of the lower slopes the count in a timed 11 minutes was 122 male Adonis Blues and nine females, including a mating pair. This count extrapolates to about 350 Adonis Blues on Mill Hill. ID could be tricky as at least 20 of the Adonis Blues lacked the definitive black markings on the white fringes of the upper wing (above). And this was not because they were worn. Eleven species of butterfly and three macro moths were seen in about an hour. (Andy Horton)

On downland between Offham & Mount Harry I counted over a hundred Adonis Blue with a ratio of 4 males to 1 female. In the same area 5 Common Blue & in the scrub a single Green Hairstreak. I then went on to Waitrose for supplies & put my token in the BC slot, for the umpteenth time, adding to what is obviously the most popular cause by a country mile. (Tim Duffield)

Went for a speedy walk around the Frog Firle area late this afternoon to calm my nerves after the England Japan game! Still managed to see 5 Red Admiral, 2 Common Blue and a Wall (Brown) as well as several Corn Buntings and two unidentified insects. Can anyone assist with naming these please? Thanks (above). (Nick Linazasoro)

On Sunday Harting Down had Common Blues, Small Heaths, Brimstone, Orange Tips, Small Whites, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers but the Green Hairstreaks had gone. I found one Pearl Bordered Fritillary at Rewell Wood and plenty of Speckled Yellow moths nectaring on bluebells (above). (Colin Knight)

Recent News: I ventured across from Dover on the off chance of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary emerging, which they duly did. I didn't download my photos until yesterday evening and found this (above). (Alan Cooper)

News for Wednesday 26 May 2010: Last Wednesday I spent a very enjoyable day out with Simon Barnes, David Bebber, BC Chief Executive Dr Martin Warren and Michael Blencowe. Simon is the award-winning sportswriter and wildlife columnist for The Times, as well as being an accomplished author. David is one of the UK's top media photographers, and I was left in awe at his proficiency with the camera - I couldn't even work out what he was up to most of the time, as he wielded his Canon with such consummate ease! Unsurprisingly, we were out doing an article on butterflies and conservation. We started off at the BC Park Corner Heath Reserve, before Michael gave us a tour of the newly acquired and adjacent Rowland Wood. Cool and overcast conditions precluded any sightings of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, or any other butterflies, with only the occasional Speckled Yellow moth on the wing. After lunch we travelled to Mill Hill at Shoreham, where I was confident we would find some nice butterflies shivering in the grass. Sure enough, Adonis and Common Blues, plus the odd Small Heath, Dingy and Grizzled Skipper were there to smile for the cameras. Simon's article will hopefully appear in The Sunday Times Magazine in a few weeks from now. It was a real pleasure to spend a day with such 'greats' - and by that I mean all of them. (Neil Hulme)

By the way... Richard Roebucks picture is a Scarce Chaser. This species is increasing in numbers through Sussex and have just started to emerge this year. Penny Green would be interested in the map reference of the spot where they were found. (Bob Eade)
and...
The chaser dragonfly pictured by Richard Roebuck is an immature Scarce Chaser. (Sam Bayley)


Saturday 29 May 2010

Despite the weather have set trap going in MIll Pond Marsh on (28th/29th June) although low numbers of species trapped most notable was 4 Flame Wainscots (above). (Ivan Lang)

As the forecast today was for rain I went for a walk about 7.30am to try and find a Small Copper and a wide bodied chaser which I had seen recently. This was not to be, however I found 10 large dragonflies roosting by a hedge a spp I haven't seen before anyone know what they are? In addition by Betley bridge on the downs link I found a colony of about 20 roosting Banded Demoiselles in reeds. I got a beautiful pic of a female, due to the green light cast from the reeds. I didn't find any butterflies except some Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars. (Richard Roebuck)


Friday 28 May:

The only three Common Blues (below, left) sighted today in John Holloway's garden (Kingston) roosting together on salad burnet. (Louise Holloway)

Both Adonis Blue (above, right) and Small Blue are few and far between on Frog Firle so was pleased to find 1 of each today. This is my first Adonis on this site for many years although I did find 2 last year further along on Greenway Bank. There was 1 other seen by Nigel Kemp last week at the other end of Frog Firle. Today's was very fresh so I think it is a seperate specimen. (Bob Eade)

Had a look at Room Bottom, near Edburton today and although it was far too windy for the hoped for Small Blues, I did clock up a Painted Lady, 3 Walls, 12 Dingy Skippers, 10 Brown Argus, 8 Common Blues and a Small Heath. Also a Drinker caterpillar crossed the path. In the garden 2 Walls, 2 Common Blues and a Holly Blue. On 25th there were 15 Silver Ys in the garden. (Tony Wilson)

Common Blues and damselflies (above) at Warnham Reserve provided subjects for a new macro lens today. In addition an Orange Tip and Small Whites were seen (Colin Knight)

On a sunny but windy Friday afternoon at Bevendean I saw 2 Dingy Skippers, 1 Orange Tip, 1 Small Copper, 1 Brown Argus, 19 Common Blues, 10 Adonis Blues, 2 Speckled Woods, 13 Small Heaths. It is good to see the numbers of Small Heath increasing after many years of scarcity on this site. Also the Adonis numbers crashed a few years ago but are now increasing again on parts of the site. (Geoff Stevens)

News for Thursday 27 May: I was working at Eridge station on Thursday when I noticed lots of moths in the ticket hall and walkways probably attracted to the lights the night before White Ermine (2), Barred Umber, Pale Tussock (4) male and female, Swallow Prominent, Scalloped Hazel and others high up I couldn't quite see clearly. (Richard Roebuck)

The photos (above) were taken yesterday (Thursday) on Lordings Road, Nr Adversane. If someone can identify them for me I would be very interested to know. (Abi Bulloch)


Thursday 27 May 2010

Over the last few days we have caught Silver Y at both Mill Hill and Woods Mill, the first time we have seen this migrant species this year. The best moths in the trap at Woods Mill this morning were a couple of Chocolate-tip, one Buff-tip and a Common Swift. At Mill Hill we have seen 2 male and 1 female Poplar Hawks this week and one of my colleagues found a male in our industrial unit in the north of Burgess Hill, attracted to the fluorescent lights after dark. His first thought was to call pest control, although luckily he spoke to me first! (Dave and Pen Green)

After a 3 hour drive from Essex, we were dismayed to find dull, cold conditions at Cocking quarry. But things improved! As the sky brightened,the butterflies appeared. About 40 Small Blues were present, plus plenty of Common Blues and Dingy Skippers. Then onto Heyshott Down, where 10 Duke of Burgundy, some in mint condition still, were seen quite easily. Plus more Dingy's, Small Heaths and a fresh Grizzled Skipper. Time was pressing after the slow start, so on to Mill-hill near Shoreham, where plenty Adonis Blues showing nicely, plus Common Blues, Small Heaths, a Brimstone, a Peacock and a Wall male. By evening, we found Dingy Skipper roosting in their peculiar moth-like fashion, plus a Grizzled Skipper. Buzzard, Kestrel and Peregrine cap a great afternoon (photos above). (Mark Bunch and Esther Hitchcock)

Recent News: Firstly, I would like to say a belated 'congratulations' to Crispin and John Holloway for picking up this year's Silver Trophy Award - well deserved! The cup and cheque are generously donated by Colin Pratt each year.

Congratulations also to Dr Dan Danahar on encouraging both good numbers of Small Blue, and now Green Hairstreak, to the school playing fields of Brighton!

Although quite 'old' news now (this is a very busy time of year for me and it's sometimes hard to keep up!), I must report an exciting find on Mill Hill, back on 19th May. I noticed that one of the many Adonis Blue males flitting across the lower slopes looked a little different, and I immediately sensed that this was something special. As I clambered up to it, in a state of excitement, I strongly suspected (later confirmed by expert opinion) that this was Polyommatus coridon ab. polonus (Zeller, 1845), which in fact is not an aberration of the Chalkhill Blue at all! 'Pollonus' is the rare hybrid between the Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue, and more aptly attributed the label Polyommatus bellargus x coridon - for me, a bit of a 'mythical beast' (photo above). It clearly has characteristics of the males of both species. Although I didn't get a shot of the underside, this was very pale and more akin to the underside of a male Chalkhill Blue. Happy Days! (Neil Hulme)


Wednesday 26 May 2010

News for Thursday 21 May: My first Cinnabar of 2010 and a Common Blue on the University of Sussex campus at about 8.15am.

News for Friday 22 May: 2010 looks set to be a superb year for butterflies, transect sightings at Malling Down, Lewes indicate all species recorded so far are doing really well - especially Peacock, Small Copper, Brown Argus and Adonis Blue.

Malling Down Transect results for 22.05.10: 189 sightings & 14 species. Dingy Skipper 3, Grizzled Skipper 1, Small White 6, Orange Tip 2, Green Hairstreak 2, Small Copper 9, Brown Argus 21, Common Blue 31 male & 1 female, Adonis Blue 87 male & 12 female, Holly Blue 1, Peacock 1, 3 Wall Brown, 8 Small Heath.

News for Tuesday 25 May: A walk across Malling Down at about 5pm just as the warm sun was disappearing in to the hazy cloud, I counted over 128 Adonis on the south facing Combe all catching the last of the evening sun. There were also Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Heath, Dingy Skippers, Speckled Wood, Small White and Small Copper. (Crispin Holloway)


Tuesday 25 May 2010

Slopes above Butchers Hole CP: LOTS of blue butterflies (well over 100, almost all male) - they were very busy so hard to identify for sure but I think they were mostly Common Blue, but some certainly were Adonis. Also, about the same number of Small Heath and at least 15 Dingy Skippers and 2 Grizzled Skippers - all arguing over territory above the horseshoe vetch and birdsfoot trefoil! (BTW the Forestry Commission recently put up some rather unfriendly and ugly signs restricting access to the gallops and slopes area. Some of these sign have been removed by?, and I have been told the matter has been taken up with E Sussex CC and the SDJC/National Park people.) (Susan Suleski)

I saw my first Wall Brown of the year at 7.30am today on the Comp (Seaford) close to the NT Frog Firle boundary marker. (Chris Brewer)

I have been persevering with my moth trap and things are picking up, although not catching anything particularly out of the ordinary I am still amazed at these fascinating creatures especially when they are enlarged under macro. So here are three that caught my eye Buff-tip, Chocolate-tip and Pale Prominent (above). I think the Pale Prominent is amazing as it truly looks like a piece of wood, shame about the hairdo though.
I sympathise with Sherie re the Pearl-borders. I have been to Rewell wood three times, twice arrived in sunshine and clouded over and saw nothing third time intense heat and bright conditions with pearl borders like jet fighters - impossible to get near for a decent photo, oh well its part of the challenge. (Richard Roebuck)

Seen today 25/5 between 11-12 on northern slopes of black cap TQ373126: 1 Green Hairstreak, 2 Small Heaths, 4 Small Blues, 2 Common Blues, 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Orange Tips. (Jonathan Wood)

News from Monday 24 May: Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I went to Kithurst, or is it Springhead Hill? About 1615hrs Neil had left and Barbara had just gone when we saw a female Green Hairstreak fluttering slowly close to the ground on the sunny bank at the side of the lane. It must have been about 28C. She was seeking out marjoram plants and when she found one to her liking she would crawl in and out and under it searching for a fresh succulent growing tip to lay an egg on. She would thrust her arched abdomen deep into the chosen spot, when we could see her, and while all her movement suggested egg-laying we couldn't actually find any ova, but only because they wee laid so deep. I only managed one poor photo (above). She wasn't an easy subject and I am no photographer. You can see she had no markings on her wings whatsoever. Has anybody else seen a Green Hairstreak appearing to lay on marjoram. My latest butterfly book by Thomas & Lewington stated they lay on a wide range of plants, but I have never seen marjoram mentioned. (Roger Martin)

News from Sunday 23 May: In the afternoon I undertook my transect at the butterfly haven (TQ 309072) and I'm delighted to say that the warm conditions revealed 11 sightings of the Small Blue (above, right). The butterfly was everywhere and joint most abundant species with the Common Blue. In addition to Small Coppers I also observed a new species for the site, a female Green Hairstreak (above, left) ovipositing on Lotus corniculatus. Of course I jumped up in the air and shouted Yippee! (Dan Danahar)

Recent and not so recent news: Bognor Regis: Our first garden sighting of Orange-tip was 17th April, also seen on the 28th, 29th & 30th. Had a female Muslin Moth in the garden on May 21st. (Trevor Gibson-Poole)


Monday 24 May 2010

In the warm weather this morning once again plenty of Wall Browns (above) flying around High and Over with 8 seen in the area. (Bob Eade)

I had a peaceful walk this afternoon in and around Worms Wood (SU969010). I saw Orange-tip 3 male, 2 female, Small White 2, Large White 1, Common Blue 5, Holly Blue 3, Brown Argus 1, Small Copper 2, Red Admiral 1, Peacock 1, Mother Shipton 4, Brown-tail Moth caterpillar 1. I came across a Puss Moth & 3 small trees covered with webs containing caterpillars. I'd be very grateful if someone could identify the moth and the caterpillars for me. (photos above) (Paul Ingate)

A visit to Harting Down with Steve Morgan produced Duke of Burgundy (2), Green Hairstreaks, Orange Tips, Large and Small Whites, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Brimstones, a Small Copper, a Small Tortoiseshell, Common Blues and a Speckled Yellow moth. (Colin Knight)

Just North of the Selmeston level crossing, a Clouded Yellow flying up & down the wide road verge. (Tim Duffield)

Common Blue and Dingy Skipper at Hope Gap, Seaford Head. (Mike Kerry)

Over the weekend we ran a moth trap in a woodland near Ashburnham at the invitation of the owner, who is looking to re-establish active management of the wood for the benefit of wildlife. The woodland is coppice that has been left largely unmanaged for many decades, resulting in virtually 100% canopy cover and very little ground flora.
We ran an MV trap in an area of recently cleared hornbeam coppice and, although it was cloudless, we caught a reasonable number of moths. The highlights were the 21 Great Prominent we caught and the 13 May Bug were nearly as impressive. Some of the other species caught included Oak Hook-tip, Waved Umber, Buff Tip, Scorched Carpet, Seraphin, Clouded Drab, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Pale Prominent and Orange Footman.
Back at Mill Hill we caught one presumable wandering Orange Footman last week (roughly the same time of month we caught our only one of 2009) and Monday's moth trap included our first Yellow-barred Brindle of the year and a fantastic male Poplar Hawkmoth.
(Dave and Pen Green)

On the southern side of Buckingham Cutting, north Shoreham, two first of the year Small Blue Butterflies appeared after a few minutes waiting. Twelve species of butterfly were seen on the day on the Adur Levels and a visit to Anchor Bottom where over thirty Adonis Blues were in flight and the Green-winged Orchids were flowering. Others: Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Wall Brown, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Peacock, Small Heath, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood. (Andy Horton)

Sunday 23: while walking my tetrad I spotted a Common Heath moth at TQ366168 nectaring on a large patch of ground ivy.
Today: Speckled Wood TQ355165, 2 Common Blues at TQ354161. (Jonathan Wood)

News for Sunday 23 May: This is the third year of my transect at Wildpark LNR (TQ 327080) in Brighton. There have been records for Grizzled Skipper (above) at the site but over the previous two years I haven't seen any. However, today I saw my first singleton at this site. This is fabulous news because Brighton & Hove City Council have undertaken extensive management of the site this winter and so the species has a chance for recovery in this former stronghold. (Dan Danahar)

North Chailey Tetrad TQ3620 TQ379218 1 Peacock:
Tetrad TQ3622 TQ370235 1 Brimstone:
North Chailey Tetrad TQ3820 TQ382218 3 Peacock, 1 Speckled Wood: TQ387218 2 Brimstone: TQ391217 4 Brimstone, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Heath. (Roy Wells)

I popped round to Mill Hill after work on Friday 21st May and was delighted to find 24 to 30 Adonis Blues and 12 to 16 Dingy Skippers. I also saw Red Admiral (1), Common Blue (1), Pyraustra Nigrata (3) and Treble-bar moth (5) plus a very small moth yet to be identified. The following day I attended the Caterpillar Masterclass at Brede High Woods organised by Jim Barrett and led by Dr. Patrick Roper. Dr. Roper showed us some great techniques to find caterpillars and we followed this up with a beautiful walk through some very lovely woodland trying to locate caterpillars for ourselves. We found quite a few species but I'm afraid I haven't had time to ID them yet. There were a few different Umber species (Mottled Umber and Scarce Umber I think) as well as Drinker Moths. We also saw adult butterflies and moths flitting around. These included numerous Speckled Yellow as well as Green-veined White (2), Orange Tip (2 or 3), Peacock (2), and (for me - I stayed on a bit after the walk) Brimstone (1) and Grizzled Skipper (1). I wasn't writing species down as I saw them I'm afraid so this is as well as I can remember. We also saw several Green Tiger Beetles (including two mating), an almost fully grown Glow Worm larvae and a strange beetle trying to look like a Ladybird together (apparently) with larvae of the same species. BTW, having seen Speckled Yellow today I can confirm that the moth I saw at Mill Hill recently was not Speckled Yellow but Latticed Heath.
After a lovely morning and afternoon at Brede High Woods I made my way back to West Sussex via Abbots Wood. This is a busy site but well worth visiting for the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. I must have seen numbers in the high twenties. At first I could not see any and then I noticed one..and then another...and then another. At one point it seemed that I was surrounded by them: I could see two instances where males were being told to go away by females on the ground as well as other individuals in flight all around me at the same time. On seeing my camera, of course, they immediately dispersed and I found it a challenge to get close enough to them for macro photography but did manage a couple of half-way decent shots. I would like to get a shot of them with their wings closed but none of them wanted to oblige with that - they were either nectaring, chasing females or basking, wings fully spread, in the sun. Still, it was magical watching them flying about and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them. (Sherie New)

News for Friday 21 May: Peacock, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Small Copper at Blatchington golf course, Seaford. (Mike Kerry)

Recent news: 21.05.10 At least 10 Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Verdley, nr Fernhurst.
22.5.10 and 23.5.10 Wood White numbers higher than last year's spring brood. Woods near Plaistow. (Margaret Hibbard)


Sunday 23 May 2010

It was the first big weekend of the summer! On saturday a group of keen new recruits for the Sussex Butterfly Atlas army joined me for a classroom session in lepidopterology at Woods Mill. After the lecture on butterfly i.d we headed up onto the Downs to see some of the butterfly highlights that Sussex has to offer. There we met Neil Hulme who introduced the group to the Duke of Burgundy - who posed well and gave us all the chance to look at his fine features. We were also able to present some other species to the students including Small Blue, Brown Argus, Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreak. Thanks to everyone who attended the course and graduated as professional Sussex Butterfly Recorders (MIchael Blencowe)

News for Saturday 22 May and today: Wolstonbury - on bridleway Speckled Wood 3, Orange Tip 2, Holly Blue 2, Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars TQ2813.
Wolstonbury Hill - Green Hairstreak 4, Burnet Campion 2, Peacock 1, Small Heath 1.
Shoreham cement works - Path back of terraced houses, Holly Blue 5, Orange Tip 2, Green-veined White 1, Green Hairstreak 2 (above),TQ199089. On the adjacent access land Small Heath and Mother Shipton, and Brown Tailed moth caterpillars. TQ199090
Eyed Hawk-moth found at Henfield Cricket pavilion late evening after stoolball. TQ223154 23.05.10 Henfield: Small Copper, and Holly Blue. TQ2017.
Rewell Wood - 4 Pearl Bordered Fritillary, male Brimstone, Red Admiral, Peacock, Green-veined White, Speckled Yellow moth numerous, Common Blues 10+ SU9807 (Richard Roebuck)

A BC walk at Wolstonbury Hill today with Neil Hulme and the Friends of Wolstonbury Hill (www.wolstonbury.com) was very productive on this hottest day of the year. We saw Green Hairstreak, Adonis Blue, Small Heath, Green-veined White, Small White, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Dingy Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell. A Silver-ground Carpet moth also appeared. (Colin Knight)

Went for a leisurely long walk up and around Seaford Golf Course to Frog Firle and down into the valley and up past High and Over and back to Blatchington Seaford. During my 4 hours I saw quite a lot of butterflies including: several Dingy Skippers, several Grizzled Skippers, one Brimstone, numerous Large Whites and Small Whites, one patrolling male Orange Tip (alas too quick to photograph), one Green Hairstreak, several blues but I'm not very good at identifying them (photos above), two Peacocks, several Speckled Wood, two Wall Brown both trying to hide amongst the mud but when approached both flew off and two Small Heath. 12 different butterflies. Plus one unidentified moth, two Green Woodpeckers, two Broad Bodied Chaser dragonflies, other dragonflies and damsel flies. All in all a good afternoon out! (Nick Linazasoro)

With the sun coming out, so were the butterflies. From the southern steps leading down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was visible but a few days away from its peak. Venturing down to the lower slopes, there were sufficient butterflies around that I immediately knew there would be a problem counting them unless I kept notes. Most of these were male Adonis Blues and I kept my count to the 1.2 transect area completed in 25 minutes. The transect tally recorded was exactly 100 males plus two females, including a mating pair. Later (after I had stopped counting) four mating pairs were seen. Fourteen species in a couple of hours was the most variety seen in a day this year.
The tally included seven of my first Small Heaths of the year, a Green Hairstreak losing itself amongst The Horseshoe Vetch and a Wall Brown seen in the same area (near the copse at the top of Mill Hill) for the last seven years. Over the Waterworks Road, (Old Shoreham), the first female Broad-bodied Chaser (dragonfly), Libellula depressa, of 2010 cruised above my head, and the four white butterflies seen there were females of the Orange-tip. Two males were also seen. The other butterfly species seen about midday were 16 Common Blues, 15 Dingy Skippers, four Grizzled Skippers, frequent Holly Blues, at least one Small White, Large White, and Green-veined White, two Red Admirals and one Speckled Wood. (Andy Horton)


Saturday 22 May 2010

I ran a trap last night in the grounds of Oathall School in Haywards Heath in preparation for their Farm Open Day, which is running today, Sunday, from 11:00 to 15:00 - I'll be there running a stand for Sussex BC. It wasn't a great night, but we did get a pretty good variety of species to be able to show to visitors to the stand. Lime Hawk (2), Oak Hook-tip (1), Pale Prominent (2) Spectacle (1), Knot Grass (1), Grey/Dark Dagger (1), Heart & Dart (1), Shuttle-shaped Dart (1), Flame Shoulder (2), Waved Umber (1), Brown Silver-lines (1), Oak-tree Pug (1), Common Pug (1), Brindled Pug (1), Brimstone (2), Light Brown Apple Moth (2) Cnephasia Sp. (1) Small Magpie (1), Garden Pebble (1) and a couple of micros I have still to identify. (Bob Foreman)

Visited Mill Hill today and saw countless Adonis Blues, quite a few Dingy Skippers and Brimstones, also Small and Large Whites, a Wall Brown, Speckled Wood, and Peacock. The highlight was two Green Hairstreaks, which unfortunately wouldn't photograph properly because the sun was right behind the butterflies. (John Williams)

I attended an excellent Sussex Butterflies ID class presented by Michael Blencowe with his usual great humour at Woods Mill today. This ws followed by a visit to Springhead where we saw about 15 species: Duke of Burgundy (2), Small Blue, Common Blue, Green Hairstreak, Orange Tip, Small White, Green-veined White, Peacock, Red Admiral, Dingy Skipper, Comma, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Brown Argus, Small Heath. (Colin Knight)

The day started well here in Edburton today when I opened the door and came face to face with an amazing Eyed Hawk Moth + Pale Pinion, 3 White Ermines and a Silver Ground Carpet - all attracted to the outside light. I then did my Tetrad count (TQ2210) for the Atlas and was not disappointed. The highlight was a total of 36 Green Hairstreaks, far more than I have ever seen here before, 13 Dingy Skippers, 3 Wall Browns, Brown Argus, 3 Common Blues, Holly Blue, Small Heath, 3 Peacocks, Red Admiral, 4 Orange Tips, 3 Speckled Woods and a few Large and Small Whites. I rounded the day off with a Red Kite over the garden. (Tony Wilson)

Tetrad TQ6606. Pevensey Levels TQ6683207430 2 Orange Tip, 1 Wall. (Roy Wells)

We walked our local quadrant in the morning and saw Holly Blues everywhere, but were very pleased to find reasonable numbers of Common Blues in the south side of Hove Cemetery (Old Shoreham Road) and even a few on the north side. Later on we walked on the north side of Devils Dyke Road, quite near the Dyke end, and saw lots of moths, a Dingy Skipper a few Common Blues and, the very last sighting, one Small Blue. (John A Heys)

On a walk round the field opposit our house this morning, I saw a Common Blue, a pristine Small Copper, Peacock, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, and a Mother Shipton, the first I have seen this year. Not bad for an ordinary arable field. (Graham Parris)

News for Friday 21 May: Visited Rewell Wood on Friday 21st May and saw at least 5 Pearl Bordered Fritillaries (below). The last time I saw this species was 40 years ago in Kent! Also saw numerous Orange Tips, Common Blues, a Small White, Large White and a Peacock. (John Williams)

News for Monday 17 May: We saw this beautiful female Duke of Burgundy ab.gracilens on the Downs last Monday (below). (David & Molly Dancy)


Friday 21 May 2010

Tetrad TV5494 Beachy Head TV557956 1 Small Heath, TV558956 1 Small Copper.
TetradTV5694 Beachy Head TV562905 1 Small Copper, 5 Speckled Yellow Moth:
TV564957 1 Small Heath, 1 Common Blue, 1 Peacock, 1 Speckled Yellow Moth:
Wigden's Bottom TV573968 14 Small Heath. (Roy Wells)

Whilst doing my weekly butterfly count at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean this morning, I noted 1 female Orange Tip, my first Cinnabar moth of the year and a Burnet Companion. (P. Whitcomb)

Wall Browns (above) now out in good numbers at High and Over. Around 10 seen including at one time 6 in view with 4 spiralling together. (Bob Eade)

Steyning Rifle Range today yielded a Green Hairstreak, Brimstones, a Peacock, Orange Tip, Grizzled Skippers, Dingy Skippers, Small Whites, Small Heaths and a Wall Brown. Also a Cinnabar (above, left) and a Burnet Companion (above, right). (Colin Knight)

A very quick look around the garden and nearby Edburton Hill late afternoon produced 3 Green Hairstreaks, 2 Dingy Skippers, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Holly Blue and 5 Orange Tips + Pyruasta Nigrata. A selection of moths at my outside light included Streamer, Bloodvein, White Ermine, Green Carpet, Pretty Chalk Carpet and Common Quaker. However, the highlight was an impressive male Stag Beetle (above) as I was watering the plants this evening for which I couldn't resist sending you photo. (Tony Wilson)


Thursday 20 May 2010

Tetrad TQ6220. Forest Lane, Punnett's Town TQ637208 3 Brimstone, 1 Speckled Yellow Moth:
Tetrad TQ6016 Blackhurst Gill, Rushlake Green. TQ613169 2 Orange Tip, 1 Green Veined White, 1 Peacock:
TQ618170 1 Orange Tip. (Roy Wells)

A survey at Heyshott Down today with Roger Martin yielded 27 Duke of Burgundy, Dingy Skippers, Brimstones, Orange Tips, Speckled Woods. A Green Hairstreak and many fresh Common Blues including a mating pair. (above) (Colin Knight).

At 0830 this morning I set off in hot sunshine, armed with a large piece of the wife's homemade fruit cake and flask of coffee, to once again visit this very special site at Heyshott Down. It started off very promising with, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Small White, Dingy Skipper, Small Heath. By 09.30 the sunshine had been replaced by dull grey skies. Not to be put off I scoured the tiered flats and bowls for any sign of a Duke, all to no avail untill I reached the top level where the stone shaped heart is. There in its usual small bowl was my first and always reliable 'Duke'. The day was not lost after all I thought to myself. I continued on this top level and found a further three. The adrenalin had taken over. With a renewed spring in my tail I set off to search an area I had not previously had any Duke sightings. A further five Dukes were added to my list. Time was pressing on and so I slowly worked my way down covering the previous ground that had proved Dukeless. By the time I reached the bottom tier my total was a staggering; 23 Dukes, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Small White, 3 Common Blue, 13 Dingy Skipper, 2 Grizzled Skipper, 6 Small Heath, 2 Brimstone and a Burnet Companion Moth.
I managed to Photograph most of the Dukes and what a slide show they make. My wife could hardly contain her indifference at my excitement. Cest la Vie! (photos above) (Steve Morgan)

My colleague Charlie Sutton took this picture (above) Seen at Filsham Valley alongside the river rather than the reedbeds on Saturday 15th May 11.00.am (Dan Danahar)


Wednesday 19 May 2010

I saw my first male Common Blue and first Speckled Wood today flying on Seaford (Blatchington) golf course. (Chris Brewer)

Another lovely morning produced, on the Rifle Range, one Brimstone, several Small Heath, both Grizzled & Dingy Skippers & a pristine Wall Brown (above, right). Further up, on the newly-fenced Steyning Coombe, many more Grizzled & Dingy Skippers, several Small Heaths, male & female Brimstone, 2x Wall Browns &, a first for me here, 5x Green Hairstreaks (above, left). Also a Green Carpet Moth & a Treble Bar. (Pete Varkala)

Jeremy Tatum. Thank you for the identification of the caterpillar of the Lesser Yellow Underwing you so kindly posted on the Sussex Branch Web Site. (Brenda Elphick)

As I was passing the village of Cocking I had a quick look at the old quarry site SU878171. I found one Small Blue (above) only because it attacked an Adonis Blue flying by otherwise I would probably have not discovered it, my first ever sighting of this tiny pretty butterfly. It was located on a very small a patch of grass surrounded by trees. Also saw, Speckled Wood 3, Green-veined White, Orange Tip 3 males, Brimstones 2. (Richard Roebuck)

Once again the weather turned cool over Frog Firle but not before 8 Green Hairstreaks had shown themselves including yet another mating pair. I've now seen 7 mating pairs this spring. 25 Dingy Skippers and 1 Wall Brown also seen as were 3 Brown Argus. 2 on Frog Firle and 1 roosting on Greenway Bank (above). (Bob Eade)

Perhaps a common and maligned moth however, tonight I was setting up my moth trap when i noticed a strange moth waddling across the lawn with floppy short wings, A Few minute later I realised it was a newly emerged Large Yellow Underwing. Despite cooking a roast pheasant dinner and Holby city starting I kept my eye on it. It took about 45 minutes for the wings to inflate (photos above). Initially the wings were held like a typical butterfly until eventually assuming the natural position never to return. Fascinating, pheasant was excellent and Holby city was good. Wonder what I'll catch tonight. (Richard Roebuck)


Tuesday 18 May 2010

Went to Mill late afternoon for a quick walk around today I saw 5 Green Hairstreaks (above, left) my fist ever in Sussex, also Wall Brown (1) Small Copper (1) Brimstone (3) Dingy Skipper, some egg laying (>20) (above, centre), Small White (1), Burnet Companion 3, Adonis Blue > 15 one mating pair (above, right) with deformed wings of female. Perhaps this was due to very early mating on emergence the male was quite literally carrying her around. Quite frankly Mill Hill was alive with butterflies. (Richard Roebuck)

On Steyning Rifle Range this morning, 2x Small Heaths, one Grizzled Skipper & one Dingy Skipper.
As the area has now been fenced & is being grazed by cattle for the first time in years, (to be followed in due course by sheep), it will be interesting to observe any changes in the butterfly populations. (Pete Varkala)

With a warm day in prospect I revisited Kingley Vale Nature Reserve (SU824098) where temperatures reached 17░C. Many Orange Tips and Brimstones were flying although not settling. Grizzled Skippers seemed to be chasing anything that approached. My count during my hour and a half visit was: Brimstone (9F 11M), Green Veined White (7), Orange Tip (2F 10M), Peacock (3), Red Admiral (1 very worn), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Small Heath (3), Common Blue (14M), Small Copper (3), Grizzled Skipper (7), Dingy Skipper (2), Burnet Companion (1), Speckled Yellow (1), Crambus lathoniellus (1), Pyruasta aurata (5) and Pyruasta nigrata (6). (photos above) (Richard Symonds)

A trip to Heyshott Down today provided an excellent Orange Tip encounter on the path from the road when a Male Orange Tip approached a female at rest. I managed a number of shots with the male in the air around the female and the final approach. Although overcast, the Down provided a joint count of 8 Duke of Burgundy when Bob Eade joined me. Brimstones and Dingy Skippers (photos abave)were around plus 2 buzzards wheeling overhead (Colin Knight)

Tetrad TQ5012: TQ518138 6 Brimstone: TQ518136 1 Brimstone, 1 Speckled Wood, 4 Speckled Yellow Moth: TQ519133 1 Peacock. (Roy Wells)

News from Monday 17 May: A pleasant warm sunny morning saw the wife and I make our way up to Heyshott Down armed with Binos, cameras and the all important picnic.
It was a perfect day for the Duke of Burgundies to be out in force and they did not let us down. In total we saw 12 over a two hour period. At one stage we had 3 dog-fighting over the lower east bowl. In addition to this we had a total of 7 Small Heath, 3 Orange Tip, 1 Green Veined White, 3 Large White, 2 Speckled Wood, 4 Dingy Skipper, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Common Blue. (photos below) (Steven Morgan)

News from NMN 2010: On National Moth Night we ran an MV trap on the outskirts of Horsham, hoping that the slight increase in temperatures would lead to a few more moths. To kill the time in between moths we decided to hold a fancy dress Italian murder mystery dinner; Pepi Roni had been killed and we had to find out whether Tara Misu (his promiscuous lover), Marco Roni (his footballer son), Clair Voyant (a clairvoyant), Bo Jolais (the vinyard manager) or one of an assortment of other suspicious looking characters had committed the sin.
Although the night was cold (especially for the men wearing dresses) we caught 12 species as follows: Hebrew Character, Pebble Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, Green Carpet, Common Quaker, Small Phoenix, Brimstone, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Mottled Pug, Early Grey, Cinnabar and a very unexpected Dotted Chestnut. A great night was had by all.
(Dave and Pen Green, Dave Fawcett and Geraldine Fewster, Don Baker and Mary Carruthers and Jim Foster.)


Monday 17 May 2010

Had a walk around part of Pagham Harbour this morning and saw four Orange Tips and in the area SZ861965 two Peacocks. (Pete Ashley)

This morning I spent nearly two hours walking around Kingley Vale nature reserve (SU824098). The sun soon became obscured by heavy cloud but with some spells of sun activity soon commenced. Several male Orange Tips were flying in an area close to the site entrance and I soon discovered a female Orange Tip waiting to mate with passing males although unsuccessfully. Nearby I found a female Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly which was happy to remain sitting on a bramble branch for a considerable time. With little on the wing with heavy cloud I also noted a Glow-worm and a Slow-worm crossing a chalk path. My count was: Brimstone (2F 11M), Green Veined White (3), Orange Tip (1F 8M) (above, centre and right), Peacock (1), Common Blue (2M), Grizzled Skipper (1) (above, left), Pyrausta aurata (2), Pyrausta nigrata (1) and Crambus lathoniellus (1) (Richard Symonds)

With warm weather promised today I set off along The Comp, Greenway Bank and Frog Firle expecting to set a new record for Green Hairstreaks seen. Unfortunately, just as I was getting to the main hot spot for these little gems the warm weather went to be replaced with overcast coldish conditions yet again. However I did still manage to get a count of 12 including several in areas that I havent seen them before this year including 1 along The Comp. I also saw again 2 mating pairs. Dingy Skippers were very numerous with 35 seen before the weather turned. It probably would have got to 50 if the sun had stayed out!! Other species seen included 3 new species for 2010 for me, the best of which was a superb Wall Brown along The Comp, Brown Argus, 2 on Greenway and another on Frog Firle and 2 Common Blue. Only 10 Speckled Wood were seen, 1 Comma, 4 Small Copper, 2 Holly Blue, 1 Orange Tip, 2 Red Admiral and 1 Grizzled Skipper. 17 species in total were seen. (Bob Eade)

Abbott's Wood: 1 Holly Blue (above, right), 3 Speckled Wood, 2 male and 4 female Orange tip, 1 Red Admiral, 21 Pearl-bordered Fritillary (above, left), 2 Peacock. (Janet Richardson)


Sunday 16 May 2010

May 2010 has been a complete 'write-off' for moth trappers. The cold evenings haven't given us much to shout about - and last Tuesday was the coldest May night for 17 years! So it was with some anxienty that I set up Rowland Wood as the venue for our National Moth Night 2010 event. However, it wasn't such a bad night after all. The temperatures did not plummet as I feared and around 30 attendees had an enjoyable nocturnal stroll around the wood which was illuminated by 10 moth traps.

The theme of this year's event was 'Moths and Bats' and members of the Sussex Bat Group were at hand to loan out bat detectors and help identify what was flying by above us (and no doubt eating the rarest moths!).

Here's the full species list for the evening; Brimstone Moth, Knot Grass, Brown Silver-line, Early Tooth-striped, Scalloped Hazel, Adela reaumurella, Pine Beauty, Nut-tree Tussock, Ochreous Pug, Common White Wave, Small White Wave, Pale Tussock, Silver-Y, Barred Umber, Birch Mocha. Chocolate-tip, Peacock, Lime Hawk-moth, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Green Carpet, Hebrew Character, Small Quaker, Peppered Moth, Scalloped Hook-tip, Tawny-barred Angle, Clouded Border, Brindled Pug, Square-spot, Waved Umber, Flame Carpet, Nematopogon swammerdamella, Least Black Arches and the 'Prominents'; Great, Lesser Swallow, Pebble, Coxcomb, Pale and Scarce.

Thanks to everyone who attended and supported this event especially the trappers; Graeme Lyons, Steve Wheatley, David Burrows, Mike Feeny-Brown and Wendy and Keith Alexander. Thnaks also to Dave Mitchell and Jonathan Wood and to Helen and Kim of the Sussex Bat Group. (below) (Michael Blencowe)

Display table for National Moth Night 2010 event and Scarce Prominent and Scalloped Hazel, Rowland Wood. (below) (Michael Blencowe)

Twenty five brave souls joined me and the Lewes District Council Rangers Dan Ross and Thyone Outram for our National Moth Night event at the Newhaven undercliff (TQ44800003). The weather was disappointing in what was an exposed location, but the breeze dropped for a few hours after dark and the temperature held up better than expected. No bats were recorded on our bat detector, which had an advantage in that none of my moths were being eaten by bats!
Only nine species were recorded in the three traps; 17 moths in all: Agonopterix arenella (Brindled Flat-body) (2), Cochylimorpha straminea (Straw Conch), Freyer's Pug, V-pug, Green Carpet (2), Brimstone Moth (2), Waved Umber, Shuttle-shaped Dart (6) and White-point.
Back at home I recorded Double-striped Pug, Muslin Moth, Shuttle-shaped Dart (2), Common Quaker (2), Hebrew Character and my first ever record for Poplar Kitten.
That totals up at 14 species and 25 moths. Disappointing.
(Steven Teale)

Eleven people attended the BC walk on Mill Hill at Shoreham this afternoon. Despite overcast skies and a strong, cold wind, the butterflies performed well! Many stayed on after the official end to the walk, enjoying spells of quite warm, late afternoon sunshine - and some fabulous butterflies. Approximately 25 pristine Adonis Blues provided the 'star turn', including a mating pair. Several other chocolate-brown females were seen. Other species included Dingy Skipper (15), Grizzled Skipper (3), Common Blue (2), Green Hairstreak (1), Small Copper (1), Brown Argus (1), Small Heath (2) and Holly Blue (1). Thanks to all that showed a lot of faith in turning up on such a dreary Sunday afternoon, making it a very enjoyable event. (Neil Hulme)

For the second time this month the people of Lewes are being asked to make their choices and cast their votes. BC member Dave Bradford suggested that Waitrose include Sussex BC in their monthly 'battle of the charities'. Waitrose will make a donation to Sussex BC depending on how many green tokens we receive in the box at Waitrose in Lewes throughout May. We're halfway through the month and as you can see from the photo the people of Lewes have been going to the Waitrose poll and have firmly voted for the charity with the best policy; to save butterflies, moths and our environment.
But there's still half a month to go until the poll closes and the votes are counted - so make sure you don't waste your vote when you're next in Lewes Waitrose. As spokesman for Sussex BC I can categorically promise you that every pound raised will be spent on our reserve at Rowland Wood near Lewes and that we will not enter into some dodgy coalition with our rival charities (Michael Blencowe)

Whilst out birding yesterday around Rye Harbour, I came across a Clouded Yellow in a field between Camber Castle and Castle Farm, flying in a northerly direction. (Phil Dunk)

I had a garden Green Hairstreak on April 24th and thought that would be it for another few years but low and behold another turned up yesterday. It was a male and it held territory for approximately two hours (perhaps more).
I watched it for that duration. It was located in a shrub bed with very well established Camelia, Vibernum, a solitary self seeded Ash sapling with a backdrop of 10 year old Portugese Laurel. It is a sun trap and I often see butterflies warming themselves in the early morning.
The epi-centre was the Ash sapling and if any insect came too close it moved them on. A Holly Blue got the 'treatment' twice as did another insect which I was unable to identify. It changed perches every 3-5 minutes and only the Ash provided an excellent backdrop.
Several tiny Brown Hairstreak caterpillars seen in the garden yesterday. (Martin Kalaher)

News for today and Saturday 15 May: Yesterday (15th May) I managed a couple of hours at Mill Hill where I saw the following: Peacock, Small White, Common Blue (9), Adonis Blue (3), Brimstone, Small Copper, Dingy Skipper (4), Burnet Companion and Pyrustra Nigrata (3). There was also a moth which may have been Speckled Yellow or possibly Latticed Heath. Unfortunately I did not manage to get a photo so could not check for a positive ID once I got home. Today I went walking the local tretrad for a couple of hours before the weather clouded over and saw the following: Red Admiral, Small Heath, Green-veined White and Small Tortoishell. I did not see any adult Orange Tips so resorted to egg hunting. This worked out quite well. I managed to locate three distinct locations where Orange Tips had laid eggs (below). (Sherie New)

News for today and Friday 14 May: Rowland Wood on Friday morning. 2 Speckled Wood TQ515148, 1 Peacock TQ512149, 1 male Orange Tip TQ515147.
Sheffield Forest on Sunday morning. 1 Green-veined white TQ421262, 1 Speckled Yellow moth TQ422268, 1 Common Heath TQ419268. Only sightings in 3 hours! (Jonathan Wood)

It was a Common Blue I saw at Heyshott Down on 4.05.10 SU8916. Thanks Neil for I.d. First Large White on hawthorn flowers and a Holly Blue interested in dog faeces on the downs link TQ2016 14.05.10
Late yesterday afternoon whilst walking the dogs I found what i believe to be two pristine male Brown Argus (below) in a damp secluded meadow just off the Downs Link they seem to be fairly removed from a typical Down land habitat TQ207152 (Richard Roebuck)

News for Friday 14 May 2010: With winds finally swinging around to the SW, and much improved temperatures, the meadow, road banks and plateau area on the Downs above Amberley at last 'came to life' on Friday. I spent a very enjoyable morning here (returning later in the afternoon) with Dr Martin Kalaher. Our tally comprised Duke of Burgundy (1), Small Blue (2), Brown Argus (4), Common Blue (2), Small Heath (2), Dingy Skipper (16), Grizzled Skipper (1), Holly Blue (1), Orange-tip (2), Large White (1), Brimstone (2), Small White (1), Green-veined White (2), Peacock (1), Comma (1) and Speckled Wood (2). Moths included Burnet Companion (2), Mother Shipton (1), and Cinnabar (2). (Neil Hulme)


Saturday 15 May 2010

We had a woodland working day at Dorothy Stringer High School today and did some work in the butterfly haven (TQ 308072). Whilst we worked a couple of people asked "what are these small blue butterflies?" Well I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't even noticed them and as I turned around there was four Small Blues flying around us in a dogfight that would have made the pilots of the battle of Britain ashamed. Of course regular readers of this sightings page will know that the small blue only established itself on this site last year, the first year that we had a good crop of kidney vetch. This year I had been concerned by that reduction in kidney vetch abundance. Interestingly, the Small Blues were found as far from the kidney vetch as was possible. They were flying/basking in the rank - Dactylis glomerata dominated grassland, created by default because we had moved some top soil to a new location, to expose nutrient poor soil, essential for the creation of the herb rich community we hoped would attract species like the Small Blue. How wrong can you be? Actually, the rank grassland is the warmest part of the reserve and its these warm conditions that I think attracted the insects to this part of the reserve. (Dan Danahar)

A quick visit today to Cocking Quarry produced only 3 Small Blue, emerging late this year, and at least 33 Dingy Skipper. No other butterfly species were seen at all. (Paul and Pam Callaway)

Went in search of Wood White over the border this morning and failed miserably. Saw cockchafers on the wing and then had a great view of a Holly Blue Holly Blue (below) that spent time collecting water or minerals from a spring in a bank before flying onto a leaf. Then I went to Heyshott Down, 3 male Orange Tips, two Speckled Woods on the track leading up SU898173. On the slopes I saw 4 Duke of Burgundy my first ever, fabulous butterflies, about 10 Dingy Skippers, 5 Brimstones some in courting flight, two Grizzled Skippers, 4 Small Heaths, my first downland Blue of the year (to be i.d.). One Burnet moth caterpillar, and two Orange Underwing moths SU8916. Fantastic. (Richard Roebuck)

Many thanks to all involved in a fascinating evening spent at Rowland Wood for National Moth Night, Sussex certainly has Talent. One of the many highlights was seeing a Lime Hawk Moth (below) absolutely stunning. Many thanks. (Richard Roebuck)

Cissbury Ring today gave me my first Small Copper (below, left)of the season. I also saw Small Heaths and the saddest Peacock (below, right) I ever saw. A Brimstone, Small White and Orange Tip fluttered around Findon below the hill. (Colin Knight)

Tetrad TQ6606 TQ667067 Pevensey Levels 1 female Orange Tip (Roy Wells

Mark Senior reports from Ouse Estuary Project: Peacock (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Red Admiral (1), Large White (3), Small White (5), Speckled Wood (1), Common Blue (2), Small Heath (2), Small Copper (1), Brimstone (2) and Dingy Skipper (1), the latter being a 'first' for the site.

A visit to Barcombe Mills looking for the first Scarce Chaser emergence produced a female Orange-tip (below) which perched in the reeds alongside the river (John Luck and Dave Mitchell)

During a visit to Highdown Hill - TQ098042 area I saw five Male Orange Tips, Small White, Green-veined White, and a Holly Blue all in this area. (Pete Ashley)

Barbara Woods sent us this photo (below) of Neil on the Heyshott field outing, adopting the yoga 'butterfly pose' (Duke of Burgundy on finger!)


Friday 14 May 2010

Continuing to pioneer our technique of drive-by mothing, (stopping the car and running out with a net whenever a moth is spotted in the headlights), we caught one Great Prominent along Spithandle Lane last night. This was the first time we had encountered this species. Earlier in the evening, the low number of moths on the wing on the Downs was notable with not a single specimen seen in more than an hour of driving off road, through promising looking habitat. Our garden trap back at Mill Hill continued to disappoint with only one Brimstone Moth and 3 Early Grey present. (Dave and Pen Green)

Having arrived home from work just before 3 this morning I should have had a long lay in, however, with at last a slightly warmer breeze I was tempted to have a stroll around High and Over and Frog Firle where the Green Hairstreaks (below) and Dingy Skippers have come out in force. On Frog Firle 15 Hairstreaks were seen including 2 mating pairs only 5 feet apart!! At least 14 Dingy Skippers were also seen along with several Grizzled Skippers. In total 12 species were seen.
I also found a zoomster type camera bag. If you have lost it on Frog Firle contact me on bob.eade@yahoo.co.uk and I will get it back to you. (Bob Eade).

Also at Frog Firle amongst the stinging nettles were large numbers of Small Tortoiseshell larvae(above). (Bob Eade)

Thanks to Neil's pinpoint directions I saw my first Pearl-bordered Fritillary today in Rewell Woods. Pictures don't do them justice; such a beautiful butterfly. Then on to Kingley Vale SU822107 - Brown Argus (2), Common Blue (2), Dingy Skipper (3), Grizzled Skipper (2), Small Heath (3), Brimstone (3), Red Admiral (1), Orange tip (2). Finally Worms Wood SU969010 - Red Admiral (1), Large White (1), Small White (1), Orange tip (2), Peacock (1). (Paul Ingate)

At this time of year the St. Mark's Flies, Bibio, make a bit of a nuisance of themselves and they were common on and around the Buckingham Cutting (at the top of The Drive, Shoreham) although not so common on Mill Hill. Twelve species of butterfly were seen in a couple of hours of weak sunshine including my first Wall Brown Butterfly of the year, my first chocolate-brown female Adonis Blue Butterfly, my first Brown Argus, and my first male Common Blue Butterflies of the year, all on Mill Hill. The other species seen were a Small White, frequent Large Whites, a Green-veined White, a male Orange-tip, a Grizzled Skipper, half a dozen Dingy Skippers, occasional Holly Blues, and frequent Speckled Woods. (Andy Horton)

Short trip to Mill Hill,lower slope,sun was shining but the wind was still chilly, spotted 1x Red Admiral,2X Small Heath,2x Grizzled Skippers,10+ Dingy Skippers and 25+ Common Blues. (Alec Trusler)

Tetrad TQ8822 TQ884228 Peasmarsh. 1 Holly Blue
Tetrad TQ9022 TQ913227 Bowler's Town 2 Orange Tip; TQ915237 Iden Church 1 Comma; TQ906233 Brabands Wood 1 Peacock. (Roy Wells)

I sepnt an enjoyable time Heyshott Down today doing a Duke of Burgundy survey finding 10 Dukes over the middle to western part of the site, including a few fighting pairs. There were Dingy Skippers everywhere and Grizzled Skippers on the lower slopes, including a mating pair. Brimstones and Small Heaths were seen plus this unusual small beetle(photos above). (Colin Knight)

Abbots wood - 8 Pearl-bordered Fritillariess, Peacock, Comma, Large White. (Danny McEvoy)

After a cold few days finally ventured to Wolstonbury Hill. Pycombe street end late afternoon. On the bridleway 4 Speckled Woods. One male Orange Tip Over the style onto the hill, 4 Dingy Skippers and several Common Heath Moths(photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

Glorious afternoon spent in Rewell wood in warm sunshine Friday afternoon. The only downside is that the butterflies were jet propelled. I did manage to get some photos of some Pearl-bordered Fritillaries after some patient stalking. Others seen were Brimstone, Comma, Large White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Peacock and Speckled Wood(photos above). (John Baker)

News for Wednesday 12 May: After missing out on the Heyshott Down Field Trip, Wednesday the 12th; dont ask!! ( The sad lonely lepidopterist on 'Graffham Down' looking for Dukes was me!!) I decided to put the record straight and go it alone today. I followed the instructions given by Neil Hulme, went to Heyshott Down not Graffham, and was soon on to Dingy Skipper, Large White, & Orange tip, hunting around a sheltered bowl I got a nice video shot of Adonis Blue. As I climbed down a steep bank I glanced back up to spot a second adonis this one was in the guise of Colin Knight! After a brief introduction we decided two pairs of eyes were better than one and we set off in search of the dukes. The steep but worthwhile climb to the top was accompanied by the sound of whitethroats and blackcaps warbling their spring song, accompanied by me on the steriod inhaler. Oh the joys of asthma! After nearly two hours of searching high and low and adding Yellow Brimstone, several more Dingies, Small White, Colin gave the shout I had waited for. Turning into a spring Gazelle I covered the mountainous distance to colin in a style to make Steve Ovett blush. There it was my first ever Duke of Burgundy. What a beauty. The next hour revealed two more Dukes, Peacock, Speckled Wood, three Grizzled Skippers. Sadly, 'she who must be obeyed', gave a call to remind me softly, dinner was on the table. I floated down the steep track to my waiting chariot thinking all my Christmass's had come at once. My thanks to Neil and Colin for helping to make one of those perfect, not to be forgotten days. (Steve Morgan)


Thursday 13 May 2010

Trapping in our Mill Hill garden this year has been disappointing, the trap on Wednesday producing only single Muslin Moth and Early Grey. Over the last few years our catches suggest the majority of moths we record here are either immigrants into Sussex or breeding species dispersing from the surrounding countryside. This is as opposed to species emerging from our garden or the gardens immediately surrounding our house, from where some of our moths undoubtedly originate, though perhaps less than 40% of them.
The year so far compares rather unfavourably to the same period in 2009, when we had slightly less recording effort. So far in 2010 we have caught 109 moths of 24 species, in the same period in 2009 we caught 124 moths of 40 species. This year we are catching both Muslin Moth and Early Grey a week or so later than we did in either 2008 or 2009, although rather oddly (considering the low temperatures this year) we caught our first Bright-line Brown-eye 2 weeks earlier than in 2008 or 2009, and our first Heart and Dart was 3 weeks earlier than in either of those years. The cold temperatures do seem to have had a serious impact on the diversity of species we are recording here, although this possibly reflects the very low numbers of immigrants and the fact that species may be less likely to disperse widely in such cold conditions. With comparatively warm weather promised for National Moth Night this weekend, it will be very interesting to see how these temperatures effect the number and diversity of species on the wing. Hopefully the year will start to improve from now on!
( Dave and Pen Green)

A walk around the outskirts of Storrington provided my first local Red Admiral for the year, also Orange Tip (5), Green veined White (3), Peacock (3), Speckled Wood (1).
Kithurst Hill late in the afternoon revealed Brown Argus (2), male Common Blue (1), Dingy Skipper (1), Orange Tip (1). I think the Brown Argus must have been very fresh as they didn't move despite me going very close (no bins with me). (Martin Kalaher - Mary also for the morning walk)

Tetrad TQ6216. TQ633169. Iwood Place Farm. 1 Orange Tip (Roy Wells)

News for Wednesday 12 May: Heyshott Down: a very good day with very good company thanks to great periods of sun we had a wonderful show of butterflies and of course Neil. Thanks. (Peter And Pat Gardner) (photos below)

News from other lands: (I apologise for posting a report from somewhere foreign but I'm sure you'll understand - ed.)
I was also just over the border in the badlands of Surrey looking for Wood Whites on 10th May. Botany Bay produced several, including a mating pair(below), and one that had been coincidentally joined on its flower stalk by a freshly emerged female Orange Tip: another photo opportunity! I am after all from the Herts/Middx branch and very very nearly in Surrey. But not Sussex, sadly. (Dave Miller)


Wednesday 12 May 2010

(Below, left to right) The Field Party, Duke of Burgundy and Dingy Skipper, Heyshott Down (Neil Hulme)

Thirty people attended the walk at Heyshott Down this morning, comprising a mix of RSPB and BC members. We were blessed with beautiful, sunny weather which held out for just long enough for a very enjoyable tour of this stunning downland reserve, managed by the Murray Downland Trust. Our target species, the Duke of Burgundy, had emerged only that morning, so they lay around drying off their wings and giving us wonderful close-up views. This was the first sighting of the species for many of the RSPB contingent, who were suitably impressed with this little gem of a butterfly! We saw 7 Dukes without having to look too hard. Bearing in mind that the Heyshott Dukes are only just appearing, this count is very encouraging. Roger Martin and Colin Knight have kindly (and wisely!) responded to the request I made at the BC Sussex Recorder's Seminar, and will now have the great satisfaction of monitoring the increasing population here. The Murray Downland Trust have done a superb job in improving the habitat at Heyshott. Also seen were Grizzled Skipper (4), Dingy Skipper (7), Green Hairstreak (1), Small Heath (2), Red Admiral (2), Speckled Wood (2), Orange-tip (3), Brimstone (3), Green-veined White (2) and Small White (1). Thanks to all that attended and made this such an enjoyable outing. (Neil Hulme)

A stroll in Oaken Wood at midday just across the magic border gave us male and female Orange tips, Speckled wood, Peacock and a festival of Wood Whites dancing on the border of the 'crossroads' at SU98543357. This was our first Wood White sighting and we were amazed at the beauty of this delicate creature fluttering around the plants, landing a lot on Greater Stitchwort (photos above) (Colin Knight) - see blog for more photos. ()

Holly Blue bobbing along the pavement in Rutland Gardens, Hove (TQ 279 049) - a first of the year for me. (Caroline Clarke)

My second identification from Victoria, British Columbia, of a Sussex caterpillar! I really think there can be no doubt that your May 9 caterpillar is the Lesser Yellow Underwing, Noctua comes. Like the Large Yellow Underwing, Noctua pronuba, which I identified earlier, this is a very common European invader out here, and we are very familiar with both of them. I posted a photo of one on our invertebrate site (shamelessly copied from your butterfly site!) http://vicnhs.bc.ca/invertalert.html on April 23 (St George's Day), and I also have photos of them from Victoria on the moth site adminstered by the University of South Carolina (isn't it a small world these days!), http://facweb.furman.edu/~snyderjohn/tatum/496-500.htm. I log on to the Sussex site most days - it's a great site! (Jeremy Tatum)

News for Monday 10 May: Cold blustery day on Monday with a bit of sunshine in the late afternoon, however saw several male Orange tips on the wing and a female perching on top of Umbellliferae (possibly wild carrot although not certain). Also one worn Small Tortoiseshell, TQ2312. Also, most surprisingly, a Small Heath flying along a bridleway, never seen one in this location before TQ236132 and a couple of Speckled Woods. (Richard Roebuck)


Monday 10 May 2010

Back on May 2nd I put out a request for folk to send in their Orange-tip records to help us to start filling in the Orange-tip distribution map for the Atlas project. Since that request was posted you could measure the amount of warm/sunny weather we have had in minutes rather than days - it's been dreadful. Despute this I have been inundated with Orange-tip records from roving reporters out in the countryside, from 'drive-by' recorders in cars and on trains and from obsessive Orange-tip egg-hunters. A big thankyou to everyone who has sent in records. As you can see from the updated distribution map we now have 261 tetrad squares covered! That's over quarter of the county. No doubt there's more records to come from tetrad sheets and other surveys - but it's already an impressive start to the atlas. The Orange-tips should be with us for just a few more weeks - so keep a look out for the adults or their eggs. Thanks again to everyone for their efforts! (Michael Blencowe)

Wood Whites now flying in wood near Plaistow (even more just over the border in Surrey part of Chiddingfold Forest!) (Margaret Hibbard)

Rowland Wood. 2 Brimstone; 1 Green Veined White; 3 Speckled Wood; 1 Speckled Yellow Moth.
Park Corner Heath. 9 Brimstone; 1 Green Veined White; 1 Speckled Wood; 1 Orange Tip; 9 Speckled Yellow Moth.
Milton Hide. Tetrad TQ5608. TQ567089. 1 Peacock; 1 Orange Tip.
As I was quietly sitting on Peter's Seat at PCH a vixen walked up the path to the left to within 4 metres until she realised I was there and fled. (Roy Wells)

Brown Argus on Levin Down Transect Walk 10 05 2010 [transect walk section 2 (6 in number) and section 3 (3 in number) - Compartment 3] (A Griff)

Woods by Dover Lane car park (TQ061063) near Angmering Estate produced Peacocks (above) 2, Small Whites 3 and Orange Tips 3 (Colin Knight) and glorious carpets of Bluebells mixed with Lesser stitchwort (Colin Knight)

News for Sunday 09 May: This weekend was National Mills Weekend and so we celebrated by visiting the historic 'Jack' & 'Jill' Windmills in Clayton. As we are members of these windmills, we were granted special permission to go inside the black 'Jack' windmill. We were told that the doors had not been opened for 9 months! However, much to our suprise we found one lonely Peacock butterly (below) hiding inside. (Nick Linazasoro)

On a cold and dull day on Sunday found a male range Tip resting (above), which gave me a chance to take some close ups of its head. Quite a hairy beast really. (Richard Roebuck)

Sunday 09 May 2010

Can anybody please help to I.D. this Caterpillar. I found three this morning after all the rain yesterday on my varigated shrub, (photo, below left). (Brenda Elphick )

Orange-tip larvae are much harder to spot than the eggs but more interesting when you do. Another 13 tetrads covered today. (Tom Ottley)


Saturday 08 May 2010

Apologies to all concerned for the slight delay with the posting of yesterday's sightings reports - slight technical malfunction - all sorted now though! ed.

I spent an enjoyable afternoon with Paul Johnson in the rain driving round the country lanes in East Sussex (Etchingam area) looking for Orange-tip eggs. It reminded me a bit of car-rallying, one person navigating with a map with the tetrads outlined on it, the other driving and looking out for foodplants and places to stop. As you get to a new tetrad it's a race to see who spots the garlic mustard first, then one or both of you leap out of the car (observing all health and safety issues identified in the risk assessment of course), quickly find an egg or a larva, back in the car, note it down and you're off again. We got it down to one tetrad every 12 minutes. We must have seen dozens of eggs, about half of which were white (as when freshly laid), the other half orange. We also found one tiny larva and one nearly fully grown one. Absolutely no adult butterflies of any species. Much better than sitting at home watching the rain though. (Tom Ottley)

Caught a Pebble Prominent Notodonta ziczac (above) in my moth trap last night, quite an attractive sp. (Richard Roebuck)


Friday 07 May 2010

Getting out of the car at High and Over carpark and it being so cold that you could see your breath it seemed that there was no chance of seeing any butterflies. In fact I didn't think that anybody else would turn up!! However, 16 hardy souls did turn up and with thick cloud cover and an icy wind we set off towards The Comp, some wearing gloves, scarf and woolly hats. Fortunately the sun did pop out a few times and it was along The Comp where we saw the first butterfly of the day. No surprise that it was a Speckled Wood. Before we got to the end of The Comp path we had seen about 4 more and also a Red Admiral. We then went down Greenway Bank where a Dingy Skipper sat on the bank and allowed most to view it. We also saw a Burnet Companion settled in the undergrowth. Near the bottom of the path we searched for the Green Hairstreak that I saw yesterday when Peter Atkinson spotted a Grizzled Skipper actually on the path amongst us. It was amazing we didn't tread on it and it sat there once again allowing all of us to admire it. The Hairstreak was also then spotted. Small, Green Veined and Large Whites were then seen along with a Small Copper along Frog Firle along with several more Dingy Skippers and 1 more Green Hairstreak. During the walk we also enjoyed seeing Early Purple Orchids, many Whitethroats, a Peregrine and the Broad Bodied Chaser. Many thanks to all that came and supported the walk and thanks for the donations that are going to help towards Butterfly Conservation work at Rowland Wood. (Bob Eade)

A quick look at the hidden away downland on the east side of Swanbourne Lake (TQ016081) revealed a lovely Red Admiral (below left), around five Grizzled Skippers and a single Dingy Skipper, the latter I had not recorded here before. (Alexander Henderson)

News for Thursday 06 May: A Great Afternoon... in the garden! Thurs. afternoon was surprisingly pleasant - sunny and warm - and I popped into the garden to feed the goldfish. Our pond is alive with frog and toad tadpoles and I glimpsed 3 smooth newts, several water boatmen and briefly a large red damselfly. The robin was flying to and fro with beakfuls of food, goldfinch were twittering about and I peeped in the nestbox to see the blue tit on her nest.The bees were buzzing, id'ed 4 from the Bee Aware chart plus some bee-flies. Then, the butterflies started... so I settled down with my bins and camera and saw 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Peacock, 1 Brimstone, 1 male Orange-Tip, possible female O-T, 1 Large White, 1 Small Copper (above right) which loved the many daises/dandelions in the lawn! and finally a Holly Blue flitting in the bay laurel foliage overhanging from next door. Just shows how much nature goes on in the garden!! (Anna Grist)

More news for Thursday 06 May: The afternoon was spent at Abbots Wood. 25 - 30 fresh-looking Pearl Bordered Fritillary, including at least 3 females (one egglaying). They were all very frisky due to the sunshine, so I waited until the late afternoon, hoping to see some go to roost. However by 5pm, despite the continuing sunshine, they had all disappeared. Other species seen were 1 Red Admiral, 3 Peacock, 3 Brimstone, 1 Green Veined White, 4 Orange Tip plus 3 other Whites. Also 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Holly Blue and 3 Grizzled Skipper. (Vince Massimo)

News for Friday 05 May: Last of the overwintering Red Admiral caterpillars under observation hatched and flew. 9 in total this year - better than the 2008/9 winter, so perhaps a more reasonable year ahead for the species? (Dave Harris)

Belated report from Saturday 1st May trapped in my Portslade garden: First migrant of the year in the form of a Diamond-back Moth. Also Streamer, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, Early Grey, Double-striped Pug & Knot Grass. (Darryl Perry)


Thursday 06 May 2010

Tetrad TQ3230, TQ336315, Wakehurst Place, 1F,4M, Orange Tip; 1 Green-veined White; 1 Holly Blue. (Roy Wells)

Red Admiral - pristine specimen - seen on dam of Douster Pond, Buchan Country Park TQ24433442 (Michael Funnell)

At Springhead today I found a Small White, a Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood (Colin Knight)

A walk on the Steyning Downland Scheme site in the afternoon sunshine produced several Orange Tips, a Speckled Wood, a couple of Peacock and two Small Heath. (Pete Varkala)

Not a bad day here in Shoreham,in the garden we spotted 3 Small Whites,1 Holly Blue, 1 Speckled Wood, and 1 Peacock. Then off across the bridge to Mill Hill Nature reserve on the lower slope spent 2 hours, 2.30 to 4.30 pm. saw my first Adonis Blue of the year,then I found 3 Green Hairstreaks, 3 Small Coppers (photos above),1 Grizzled Skipper,2 Orange Tips,1 Speckled Wood, 2 Small Heaths, lots of Dingy Skippers, male and female Brimstones, and Small Whites. (Alec Trusler)

The best day so far this year on my normal patch. Despite a cool breeze blowing I wanted to check how things are before tomorrows BC walk. 75 butterflies were seen in total with 13 different species. On Greenway Bank there were 3 fresh Small Coppers (above, left), my first for the year anywhere!! Dingy Skippers are also building up with 6 seen on the bank and a further 2 on Frog Firle. 8 Green Hairstreak (above, centre) were seen with 2 on the bank and the other 6 once again on Frog Firle. 3 Grizzled Skippers were also on Frog Firle. Holly Blues were also more numerous with at least 4 seen at High and Over. Small Heath (above, right) was the other new one for me for the year with 2 at High and Over. Nigel Kemp, whilst doing his transect reported the first Wall Brown, I searched around the area at High and Over but could not trace it. All in all a good day and I just hope there is some sunshine tomorrow!! (Bob Eade)

Blackcap nr. Offham: another Orange Tip Tetrad for Michael: TQ3712 - one male, possibly one female. Checking Exmoor ponies again and interested to note no cuckoo flowers or garlic mustard - seems the very hungry ponies eat just about everything but the cowslips. Bright sun but bitterly cold wind so few butterflies: 2 Large Whites; one Peacock and one Comma. Also, possibly a Grizzled skipper but did not get a good view. (Susan Suleski)

The season's moving on, week 6 of the transects started today and the horseshoe vetch is coming into flower. On my walk round Bevendean down this afternoon I saw 1 Dingy Skipper, 2 Grizzled Skippers, 3 Orange Tips, 1 Common Blue, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Small Copper, 4 Peacocks, and 7 Speckled Woods. (Geoff Stevens)

Yes, that definitely looks like Lysichiton americanus to me! We have lots of it here. (Jeremy Tatum)


Wednesday 05 May 2010

Can't resist answering Micheal Blencowe's question about the giant leaved plant he and Clare Jeffers saw on Tues 4th May. From the photo I think they were Lysichiton americanus, Yellow skunk cabbage, native of you can guess where. (Tessa-the-gardener-Pawsey)

Sightings in TQ410228 Iron Gates Field, Sheffield Park during botanical survey. 1 Peacock, 1 Comma on nettles on bank of the Ouse. 1 Small Tortoiseshell on Dandelion. (Jonathan Wood)

A fabulous visit to Abbotts Wood this morning found much activity from the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. Nigel and Carol Kemp turned up as well to witness it all. With the temperature going up and down the butterflies were quite approachable. We found 2 newly emerged butterflies, 1 male and 1 female. Nigel also found the pupa case that the male had emerged from. The female was perched nicely at the top of a thin stick and after observing it for 30 minutes a male flew upto it and paired up with it. The mating went on for 75 minutes. After they split up they sat opposite each other posing superbly!! As a guess we probably saw around 20 individuals. We also saw a Grizzled Skipper. (Bob Eade)

Pulborough Brooks: thank goodness for alittle bit of sun now and again between the showers. (Peter Gardner) (left to right, above) Female Oranget-tip, Orange-tip egg and Green-veined White

News for Friday 30 April: On Friday April 30th we went shopping at Asda in Eastbourne, and some parts are planted with very low growing cotoneaster. Driving in to park you could see a great number of white webs, on closer inspection there were hundreds of caterpillars in various sizes of the Brown-Tail moth (a lesson learned allways carry a camera). While my wife finished her shopping I tryed counting the webs, and counted at least two hundred. We returned again on Saturday armed with cameras only to find most ofthe caterpillars had gone. Then I found one bush about fifty yards on which on one side was completly covered in caterpillars as can be seen by the photos (above). (Ron & Brenda Elphick)


Tuesday 04 May 2010

After yesterday's meeting we decided to stay another day in Northwest Sussex. However the weather had not improved as I had hoped; the sky stayed grey and it was really cold - and I mean wooly hat cold! - and there weren't even any comedy pigs to cheer me up. Undaunted we decided to head out to the Petworth area for a walk in some random tetrads and resort to recording Orange-tip eggs for the Atlas. Now I've mastered the Orange-tip eggs I decided to progress to searching for White Admiral larvae. I've always wanted to see one of these crazy little caterpillars and was thrilled that the first honeysuckle drape I checked had the distinctive leaf damage I had read about. And there - only 5mm long- was a White Admiral caterpillar (above, left) - still a good few weeks away from a final instar but pretty spiny nevertheless. And then, shortly after, Clare found another insect that I had always dreamed of seeing - the cranefly equivalent of the Purple Emperor - the Yellow-ringed comb-horn cranefly (Ctenophora flaveolata) (above, centre). Many insect orders have wasp-mimics and this is what happens when a cranefly tries to get in on the act - about as convincing as an elephant pretending to be a tiger. Nevertheless a spectacular and extremely rare Red Data Book species. On the way back home the weather improved and at 6:30pm we decided to look around another random East Sussex tetrad. And, like yesterday (see Sophies report below) I was overwhelmed with oversized plants. The area was full of what looked like giant Wild Arum and I felt like I was on the set of a sci-fi b-movie - any botanists know what they are? (above, right). After surviving the triffids we made it to the tetrad and were rewarded by the sight of a drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. I would have had a better view but, ironically, the sun was in my eyes. This random tetrad surveying is great! - even if you don't see any butterflies. (Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers)

Abbot's Wood: Cold, cloudy and windy so very disappointing yesterday. I saw only 2 butterflies but both were Pearl-bordered Fritillary. The first looked freshly emerged; the second posed on a bluebell for some time and looked older as it had a small part of one wing missing. (Chris Brewer)

I joined Neil Hulme and Roger Martin at Heyshott Down today where we saw Dingy Skippers and a Grizzled Skipper. (above) (Colin Knight)

News for Monday 03 May: I returned to Rewell Wood today and in spite of the showers was rewarded with Pearl-bordered fritillaries (above), 2 males and a female, all flying and landing together at one point. The female was having none of it though. I was joined later on by BC member Paul who also saw a PBF. (Colin Knight)

Belated News for Thursday 29 April: A brief visit to Abbots Wood this morning resulted in 6-8 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries as well as 4 Orange Tips. There was also 2 Nightingales singing their hearts out and a distant Cuckoo. On the way back I stopped off at High and Over where a pair of Holly Blues were seen as well as a fresh Red Admiral. Also 2 Green Hairstreaks were seen on Frog Firle. (Bob Eade)


Monday 03 May 2010

We enjoyed a mix of weather today on the Sussex BC walk at Loxwood. There was blue sky, there was grey sky but most notably that north wind was very cold and because of this there wasn't much flying. Nevertheless 18 BC members joined me for a walk in an area that I had never explored before - around the Wey and Arun canal at Loxwood. Despite a lack of butterflies it was a very enjoyable walk in an area which will have a lot of potential later in the year for Purple Hairstreak, Brown Hairstreak and Purple Emperor. I took the opportunity to train the attendees in the ancient art of Orange-tip egg spotting and we managed to turn two more Sussex tetrads 'orange'. Two adult Orange-tips gave a brief fly-by when the sun emerged and a Speckled Wood put in an appearance but the highlight of the walk for many was the sighting of three of the funniest looking pigs I have ever seen which has us all laughing and reaching for our cameras. The return route was through a beautiful Sussex bluebell wood which looked - and smelled - fantastic. Thankyou to all of those who attended today, I for one will return to tetrad TQ0430 in the Summer. (Michael Blencowe) Photos by Ellen Shaw - Official 'Big Nature' Photographer (below)

Today we joined the walk in a new area for us, Loxwood, North West Sussex. We set off like intrepid explores into previously unchartered territory, lead by the ever enthusiatic Michael Blencowe, who soon had us peering at Garlic Mustard flowers looking for single orange eggs laid by the Orange-Tip butterfly. we later saw two Orange-tips, both male, and two Speckled Woods during short sunny breaks in the otherwise overcast day. We were all entertained by three rather fat and hairy pigs, particually Mr Blencowe, which further to the groups discussion I can now announce were in fact 'Kunekune' pigs, a New Zealand breed belived to have originated from Asia! Another highlight of the walk was the magnificent carpets of Bluebells on the floor of the woodlands through which we past and the Nightingale singing by the bridge. Michael was also fascinated by the Giant Hogweed which was growing in profusion along the river banks. On the way back to the carpark he decided an 8 foot tall dead hogweed would make a brilliant hat stand; I think Clare however was not so impressed...!
Thank you Michael for a most enjoyable and informative morning! (Sophie May Lewis) (photos below)

We saw 3-4 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at Rewell Wood SU 979 080. We also saw 1 Peacock and a Green-Veined White. (Ellie Corrigan)


Sunday 02 May 2010

Thank you to everyone who has been keeping an eye out for Orange-tips in their local area or on their travels around the county. As the weather was so awful today I entered the records into our Atlas database - we've covered 99 tetrads since the first sighting on April 8th. The weather looks set to improve this week and the Orange-tips will still be around for a few more weeks - so keep those records coming in and we'll be able to turn the map even more orangey. Can we fill another 99 squares in the next month? Every Orange-tip counts! Send records to the website or to me at sussexgrayling@aol.com (Michael Blencowe)

Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 27 April, Abbot's Wood. (John Luck) (below, centre)

An hour's stroll around Sheepcote Valley mid-morning in a chilly wind produced just 2 butterflies - Small White and Speckled Wood (above, left) which alighted on bramble for a couple of minutes before moving on to a bare patch on the ground (John Luck)

News for Saturday 01 May: Despite the gathering, ominous black clouds, twenty-six brave individuals (including myself) set forth into Barnes Wood on Saturday morning (1st May) to search for dingy and Grizzled Skippers.
Thankfully we were rewarded with occasional bursts of warm, bright sunshine and upon arriving at a location with a suitable skipper habitat, a few of these elusive spring butterflies were seen.
Though the conditions were not entirely conducive to butterfly recording a Peacock, a Red Admiral, a few Orange Tips, a Speckled Yellow moth and some Speckled Wood butterflies also made a welcome appearance.
A few common lizards scuttling through the undergrowth gave some vertebrate interest to the proceedings and were especially popular with the children.
One attendee who visited Barnes Wood in the 1970s reminisced about large numbers of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries flying along the rides but he was mightily impressed with the current management of wood, the wider rides and open spaces.
The bird watchers among us were a little disappointed that I marched them down the hill so fast without taking time to stop and appreciate the marvellous birdsong. But hey, forget the first cuckoo of spring, or the melodious song of the mistle thrush, for me there is no better herald of the warm and sunny days to come than the first skipper sightings of the year. (Jim Barrett)

Recent News: During a recent visit to Rewell wood I also found a Dor beetle Geotrupes stercorarius (above, right) this was probably newly emerged and was probably looking for some dung on the bridleway. Its one of our largest dung beetles and quite common. The interesting bit is the superb colouration on the underside and the copper coloured mites. (Richard Roebuck)

Not so recent news: Upper Beeding Levels produced Peacock x 15, Comma x 3, Small Tortoishell x 7, Small White x 1 and Brimstone x 2 on the 18th April. (Sherie New)


Saturday 01 May 2010

It has been pointed out, by a certain Mr M. Blencowe of Friston, that the Painted Lady sighting, recorded on 30 April by John Kirby wasn't the first record for 2010. The first was actually recorded by Crispin Holloway on 17 April - apologies to all concerned, ed.

Red Admiral, Burnt House Brooks, 30 April. (John Luck)

Despite the forecast we headed to the north of the county today to undertake some Sussex Butterfly Atlas surveys in the Rotherfield area. Under grey clouds and showers we walked for five and a half hours and didn't see one butterfly! However I resorted to crawling around amongst the Cuckooflower and managed to record Orange-tip eggs in seven 2km tetrads! If you're at a loose end over this wet bank holiday and want to do some butterfly recording simply find a nearby bank of Cuckooflower or Garlic Mustard then look just below the flowers for a tiny bright orange, oval egg and send your records into the website - scroll down for Richard Roebuck's picture of an OT egg from April 24th. Orange-tip only lay one egg on each plant as the caterpillars are cannibals! (Michael Blencowe & Clare Jeffers)

Warm but mainly overcast at Rewell wood this morning I did however see one Red Admiral and my first Painted Lady of the year which was in very good condition. Has this emerged recently or just arrived, curious? SU983078 (Richard Roebuck)

News for Thursday 29 April: Transect Details, Bedelands Farm, walked Thursday 29th April. Species recorded:
Large White (1)
Small White (3)
Orange Tip (10)
Peacock (2)
Speckled Wood (1)
Total recorded 17, 5 species. Also Burnet Companion (1). (David Pyle)


Earlier Sightings

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