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Tuesday 31 May 2011

Had another short walk at Cissbury today in unsettled weather. Butterflies seemed less numerous but Dingy Skippers, Brown Argus etc appeared in small numbers. The cooler temperature seemed to slow down the butterflies and I managed to get reasonable photos of Adonis and Painted Lady (above). Also saw 3 Meadow Browns. The Adonis numbers have increased slightly - I saw 5 during this truncated walk. (Mike Snelling)

News for Wednesday 25 May: Common Blue - 15, TV560983, East Dean. Holly Blue - 2, TV560983, East Dean. Green Hairstreak - 1, TV560983, East Dean. Small Heath - 1, TV560983, East Dean. Holly Blue - 1, TV559981, East Dean. (Cassie Jode)


Monday 30 May 2011

At Kingston Nr Lewes, E Sussex this afternoon in the garden a Meadow Brown. This is the first time I have recorded one in May, have there been any other sightings yet this year? Also a male Adonis. It has been a cloudy day with a max temp of 16.3° and still without a drop of rain. Warmer weather is on the way. (John Holloway)

I visited Iping Common today and saw my first ever Silver-studded Blues. They are beautiful little creatures! (photos above) (John Williams)

I visited Stedham Common today and it took quite some time to locate a Silver-studded Blue. At about 12.30 things started to warm up and I saw 20 plus Silver-studded Blues including females which were harder too spot as they are brown. Most looked in very good condition and once again I noticed the males varied in size.
In addition saw an adder and three slow worms and a host of other insects, Volucella spp, Longhorn beetles, Speckled Woods, Large Skippers etc nectaring on the brambles and dog rose next to the car park (note, there are adders in the undergrowth here). From here I thought I would pop into Oaken wood at Plaistow just over the border, the Wood Whites are still on the wing and saw my first Meadow Brown of the year. There were also large numbers of Green Oak Totrix moths flying around the oaks throughout the wood. An overcast, but very pleasant day out (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

I was planning to go to Patrick Roper's 'Caterpillar Masterclass' on Saturday but couldn't make it. An illustrated account of the event can be found on the Rother Guardians blog here http://rotherguardians.blogspot.com/
I did search some local sites today for caterpillars and I was quite surprised at how few caterpillars I could find. Trees which have in past years looked decimated by caterpillars in May were all looking rather healthy. The local Mulleins were supporting a few Mullein (above, left) caterpillars and Clare found a Satellite (above, right) caterpillar in the kitchen (Michael Blencowe)


Sunday 29 May 2011

Despite the strong winds, low temperature and 100% cloud cover I was still confident that I could find some Silver-studded Blues at Iping Common. If you know the patches of rejuvenating heather that they inhabit, a careful search of any sheltered features nearby will usually turn them up. It's still very early in their flight season, and numbers are still low, but after a 30 minute hunt I found half-a-dozen hunkered down. In the few minutes that the cloud thinned and the temperature rose a little, one obligingly opened his wings for me (photos above). (Neil Hulme)


Saturday 28 May 2011

I had planned to go to East Blean today but nearly bottled out because of the windy overcast conditions. Sunday appeared better. However my excitement got the better of me and I duly set off. Things were looking grim, especially on arrival where it was cold and windy and nothing was on the wing. I spent my time watching numerous colonies of wood ants which appeared to be thriving with some nests 4 feet across. I even found a partly dug out bumble bees' nest which wood ants were now raiding and dragging out the unfortunate bumble bees clearly outnumbered. I also saw some unusual shield bugs on various flowers, large red weevils and a longhorn beetle. After one and a half hrs I felt the temperature rise slightly and with a bit more patience eventually found the beautiful Heath Fritillaries (above). What was initially disappointing turned into a perfect photo opportunity as they just sat still rarely actually flying. So who dares wins. Fantastic trip. (Richard Roebuck)

News for Saturday 21 May: On a trip back to Hampshire following my move to Pendeen in Cornwall I ventured brieftly into West Sussex where I walked the length of Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835090) while en route to Goodwood races. Many Whites were flying and a single male Orange Tip, perhaps my last sighting this year. My count was: Small White (16), Green-veined White (1), Orange Tip (1), Speckled Wood (2) and Common Blue (1M 1F). (Richard Symonds)


Friday 27 May 2011

Details of the transect walked today at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill:
Hardly worth the effort, one miserable specimen, a Common Blue and two very worn Burnet Companions. (David Pyle)


Thursday 26 May 2011

Visited Iping Common today and dodged a few heavy downpours. Due to the rain and the wind there wasn't much flying but down amongst the heather the Silver-studded Blues were emerging (above). The Silver-studded Blue has a very intimate relation with ants and while we watched this emergence ants were running all over the butterfly - attracted by liquid on the butterfly's body. The ants provide protection for the butterfly during the emergence while it is preparing itself for its first flight - a particularly vulnerable period for any insect. (Michael Blencowe & Jane Willmott)

News from the butterfly haven: The Small Blue has done very well on the butterfly haven this year. As can be seen from the graph of daily counts, they first appeared on 1st May assuming a peak abundance of 36 individuals on days 6 and 8. Since that point the numbers have reduced to an average of 11.8 per day, with the slight suggestion that the abundance peaked again around 21st May, before declining once more. A general observation has been that low counts have corresponded with cool, windy or wet weather.
I think that it's possible that the 400 square metres of the Butterfly Haven may be too small to hold such a high population numbers as 36 individuals and so these early high peaks of abundance may have been lost to emigration from the Butterfly Haven to other sites. There must be a carrying capacity of any site and dispersal from the Haven under these conditions may go part of the way towards explaining the pressures that motivate dispersal and the original arrival of the species to the site in 2009.
Another interesting factor was, that like many species this year, the appearance of the Small Blue on the site was a full 15 days earlier than last year. Interestingly, the Kidney Vetch only started to come into flower on about 18th May and now is getting close to peak flower production. Is this a species that is loosing synchrony with its food plant? I know that there are some concerns and evidence that a similar phenomena my be taking place with the Orange tip. Having said this, the colonisation of the site was undertaken by just two known females and so I don't think we are in any peril just yet.
On a final note for the Small Blue, I went to meet with Philip Thompson at his house, which is about half a mile from the school. He has the most remarkable postage stamp sized front garden, composed almost entirely of an artificially created "chalk grassland" that he has created. I would hazard a guess of 2 by 5 metres in total. Philip came to visit the butterfly haven after revealing that he had Small Blue on this lawn last year, yesterday he reported to me that they were back. It seems that as an early successional specialist this butterfly has remarkable abilities to colonise new sites. Philip's lawn is only seven years old. In addition to this location, local ecologist Ben Kimpton reported to me that at a site in Hollingbury, that he has been responsible for restoring, a colony of Small Blue has established itself after only three years.
So this is three new colonies establishing themselves in the last three years, in northern Brighton. I wonder what is going on else where?

... In addition to this news, as previously reported we have had at least one Green Hairstreak ovipositing on site for a 10 day period before disappearing. Yesterday I found a new female yet again ovipositing on Lotus corniculatus. I tried to see the egg that she laid but either my eyesight is too poor or I did not give credit for her abilities to conceal the egg, but it was impossible to locate. Fortunately I was off to the Booth Museum to photograph some British Butterflies and so took this sprig with me, as there must be many hundreds of eggs on site by now, with the intent to photograph it at the Museum. I am grateful to Gerald Legg for his time & expertise because he has just e-mailed me these images.
Image 1 (above, right) shows the egg in situ. The black thing to the left is the rear abdomen of an aphid. Image 2 (above, right) is a closer view of the same egg. It was very hard to photograph this egg because it was so well concealed. One can only assume that there are predators of the egg, which makes the butterfly go to so much trouble. It is my intention to try to rear this individual for further photographic opportunities before returning it to the Haven.
Lastly, I reported on May 8th that the Large Skipper had been seen on the Butterfly haven for the first time. This was in fact the earliest record for this species, this year in the UK (jointly recorded on the Butterfly Haven and a location in Cornwall). Since then sightings of single males have continued but never more than one at any one time. This is something I will be keeping an eye on. (Dan Danahar)

Yesterday evening's trap produced 28 macros, dominated by Heart & Dart moths and also included two Hawkmoths - Privet and Small Elephant - Alder Moth (new for me and also probably for location), Large Nutmeg, White-point, Rustic Shoulder-knot, White Ermine, Buff-tip, Shears, Common Swift, a very early Common Rustic, Mottled Rustic, Pale Mottled Willow and Grass Rivulet. (photos above) (John Luck)

News for Sunday 22 May: Mullein (above) moth caterpillar on vegetation at bottom of lower slope of Mill Hill. Also Holly Blue and Brimstone in Steyning TQ175105. (Michael Warren)


Wednesday 25 May 2011

Popped briefly to Park Corner Heath today to see the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. In addition spotted my first ever Brimstone caterpillar and also a Yellow-tail moth caterpillar on Alder Buckthorn. On Wolstonbury Hill last night saw one of several Six-spot Burnet moths on fence posts preparing to pupate. Last week I saw my first ever Orange Tip caterpillar - in the past few days I have seen 35+ of these in various places. The highest no was 5, various instars, on one Garlic mustard Plant. Either it's a good year for Orange Tip or I have finally got the timing correct and my eye on the ball (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

The first Small Blues I have noticed have appeared at Cissbury. Four were seen today and one in a different area yesterday. The Large Skippers are increasing there - 7 noted so far, but Adonis numbers remain fairly low - only 3 (possibly 4) seen today. There are still a good number of species still on the wing there but the only fairly numerous ones now seem to be Common Blue and Small Heath. (Mike Snelling)

In my Moth Trap at Vines Cross TQ596178 Eyed Hawkmoth and Green Silver-lines. Both a first for me (photos above). (Neville Richardson)

Meadow surveying in Barcombe;
1 Brimstone @ TQ437193.
1 Common Blue @ TQ440193.
1 Common Blue @ TQ440191.
Tuesday 24 May: Around Plumpton:
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ355164.
1 Small Skipper @ TQ354161.
1 Small Skipper @ TQ353159.
1 Red Admiral @ TQ353159.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ353160.
2 Common Blues @ TQ354160
2 Small Heath @ TQ354162.
1 Speckled Wood
1 Red Admiral both @ TQ361164.
Monday 23 May
Too windy.
(John Wood)

News for Tuesday 24 May: Yesterday I visited East Blean Wood near Canterbury to see the Heath Fritillary which emerged a week ago. The clearing next to the car park (TR19336433) was teeming with more fritillaries than I have seen in one place before. I observed six tumbling in an aerial group, mating pairs and half a dozen nectaring on the same head of bramble flowers. I walked along the woodland paths and only saw one Common Blue, one Large White and one other HF. HFs were also nectaring on ox-eye daisies in the car park. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Tuesday 24 May 2011

A few wanderings over the last few days have seen my first Meadow Brown of the year whilst surveying with Michael on the 24th. Large Skippers have been seen at woodland near Barcombe as well as Downland above Offham and at Park Corner Heath. Also at Park Corner the taras Grizzled Skipper seen along with Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries (above) which yesterday included a mating pair that was split up by another male trying to get into the act!! Hopefully not before the pair had done what was necessary. (Bob Eade)

Slope above Butchers Hole CP: I was admiring and counting the Adonis and got to 23 when my attention was caught by what turned out to be a male Small Blue (99.99% sure  looked just like Colins photo!). My impression was that it had recently emerged - it was clinging tightly to a plant and mostly kept its wings closed, clearly showing the pale blue undersides. The slopes are covered with horseshoe vetch but the nearest kidney vetch I know of is about half a mile away. Also saw some Common Blues, very dingy Dingy Skippers and played god by freeing a very fresh looking Small Tortoiseshell from a spiders web, hoping I was not depriving an endangered spider of its favourite prey! (Susan Suleski)

Lovely time in Park Corner Heath/Rowland Wood today.
Park Corner Heath: 1 Red Admiral. 3 Speckled Wood. 1 Common Blue. 1 Grizzald Skipper and 1 aberration taras (confirmed by Bob Eade thank you Bob) 8 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and mating pair.
Rowland Wood. 1 Small Heath. Very Pleased to see 1 Painted Lady. Also at Vines Cross TQ596178 2 Meadow Brown (photos above). (Janet Richardson)

On a lovely walk, albeit blustery, we saw our first Painted Lady (above) of the season, resting on the South Downs Way between Cissbury Ring and Chanctonbury Hill. (Maggie and Steve East)

Regarding Colin Knight's picture of a 'fly with green markings' this appears to be a specimen of the Green-legged Sawfly (Tenthredo mesomelas). (Mark Colvin)

Whereas...

90% sure Colin Knight's green fly is Thick Legged Flower Beetle, Oedemera nobilis. The male has thickened joints in the rear pair of legs. They are unusually numerous this year,and show up particularly well in yellow flowers, buttercup and dandelion for example. (Graham Parris, Isfield)


Monday 23 May 2011

I took an early lunch break today and headed to Park Corner Heath, still inspired by Barkham's book to see all the Sussex butterfly species I can this year. I was motivated by a break in the clouds that followed me all the way along the A27 & B2124 until I got to the woodland. On arrival I was pleased to meet up with Bob Eade, I have long been impressed by his photographs. During 20 minutes we saw about 10 individuals Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (above) and the weather conditions were near perfect for easy photography. Although we looked for it, we did not see the aberrant Grizzled Skipper by the hut.
I was also very impressed by all the hard work that has gone into opening the rides at different locations on the reserve. Well done Michael Blencowe, Bob Foreman and all the others who have been working so hard to improve this site. (Dan Danahar)

News for Sunday 22 May: I visited Kithurst Hill/Springhead near Storrington yesterday afternoon and was astounded by the number of Small Blues, mainly at the top of the meadow. There were also Common Blues, an obliging Green-veined White and a fly with green markings (id appreciated if anyone knows) (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Sunday 22 May 2011

Butchers Hole Bottom: Seen today despite the wind! Lots of Common Blues, Grizzled Skipper, The Snout and a Yellow Shell (photos above). (Heather Maryson and Debbie House)

I visited Park Corner Heath on Sunday afternoon and first saw the resident ab. taras Grizzled Skipper, just a few yards from the hut. Then just a couple of yards beyond that, I found a most obliging Small Pearl-bordered which sat on the same bramble flower for the entire 90 minutes I was at the site! (John Williams)

The Large Skippers appeared today at Worms Wood (SU969010). I saw three while briefly walking along a small section of the hedgerow/grassland. (Paul Ingate)

Around Plumpton (Very windy conditions).
5 Common Blues ( 4f,1m) @ TQ363168.
Saturday 21 May: Knepp Estate.
1 Common Blue @ TQ147280.
8 Cinnabar moths @ TQ146209. (A lot of ragwort in the re-wilding areas.)
2 Brown Argus @ TQ145211.
2 Small Heath @ TQ142209.
20 Cinnabar moths @ TQ141204.
1 Green-veined White @ TQ142203.
1 Large White @ TQ142203.
10 Cinnabar Moths @ TQ144206.
1 Peacock @ TQ147212.
River Adur south of West Grinstead.
1 Large White @ TQ171205.
1 Common Blue @ TQ172205.
1 Green-veined White @ TQ174206.
1 Small Heath. @ TQ175205.
1 Large Skipper @ TQ176197.
Around Plumpton.
1 Speckled Wood
1 Holly Blue both @ TQ361164.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ358162.
Friday 20 May: Around Plumpton.
1 Peacock @ TQ359165.
1 Comma @ TQ361164.
(Jon Wood)

News for Saturday 21 May: Levin Down Transect - Large Skipper and Painted Lady - great to see. (Ann Griffiths)

More news for Saturday 21 May: We went to East Sussex on Saturday and decided to visit Arlington Reservoir and Park Corner Heath. After the sun appeared in the early afternoon, Arlington revealed more than 30 Common Blues and I counted at least 8 Brown Argus and 2 Green Hairstreak. Going on to Park Corner Heath BC Reserve, I bumped into a couple looking intently at a black ladybird on a leaf eating a caterpillar. They were in doubt as to its identity, I have checked and found it to be a Harlequin Harmonia axyridis conspicua. We saw more than 10 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and a Grizzled Skipper with what I think is the taras aberration (above). (Colin & Lucia Knaggs)


Saturday 21 May 2011

The BC Sussex trip I led on Heyshott Escarpment on Saturday was probably my last outing for the Duke of Burgundy this year. The warm spring and very early emergence dates have made being in the right place at the right time very difficult and our target species was all-but-over. However, our tally of 9 albeit faded Dukes would have been cause for celebration only a couple of years ago, prior to the population explosion here. Similarly the Green Hairstreak, Grizzled and Dingy Skipper, Small Copper, Brown Argus and Speckled Wood were thin-on-the-ground and looking tired  we are firmly in the June Gap. Considerably fresher were the numerous Common Blue and Small Heath we also saw. A single Red Admiral passed through quickly and Green-veined Whites patrolled the lanes at the base of the slope. But there is more to Heyshott than the butterflies and we enjoyed a fine selection of orchids including Fly (above), Greater Butterfly and White Helleborine. And then there are the views across Sussex, which are second to none on a sunny morning. Most importantly, I would like to think that the 14 who attended the walk enjoyed it as much as I did. It might be time to say farewell to the Duke, but as I returned to the car I was happy in the knowledge that its been another very good year for the species in Sussex. (Neil Hulme)

On the BC walk around Heyshott Escarpment today, we were lucky enough to see lots of butterflies present including the wonderful Duke of Burgundy (above). We saw a total of 9 DoB's plus the following Brown Argus (1), Common Blue (many!), Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak (3), Green-veined White (2), Red Admiral (1), Small Heath, and Speckled Wood.
Also seen Butterfly, Common Spotted, Fly Orchids Twayblade and White Helleborine. More photos on my blog (http://mud-puddling.blogspot.com).
Thanks Neil for your enthusiasm and knowledge. (Leigh Prevost)

Saw eight male Scarce Foresters at Southerham SWT yesterday evening. They were up Bible Bottom on the south facing slope. Easy enough to ID with a net and a hand a lens but several of them were obliging enough that I could creep right up to them with just a hand lens. Also hundreds of Adonis Blues. Photos and details on my blog:
http://analternativenaturalhistoryofsussex.blogspot.com/2011/05/scarce-foresters.html. (Graeme Lyons)

Recent News: Large Skipper at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean (above, left) and Mother Shipton (above, right) Wildpark LNR, Brighton 18 May. (Peter Whitcomb)


Friday 20 May 2011

18 butterfly watchers joined me today for my walk around the Frog Firle area. Good sunny conditions were enjoyed with a cooling breeze in parts. Wall Brown was the main target and we saw 3 at High and Over before setting off towards The Comp. At least 17 Wall were seen throughout the walk. Several fresh Grizzled Skipper seen as well as many Dingy Skipper. One of the group was Mark Colvin from Plaistow who had never seen a Green Hairstreak. By the end of the walk he had his eye well in as we lost count of Green Hairstreaks we had seen. They were everywhere!! In total 20 species were seen. My thanks to all that turned out for the walk and the generous donations that has raised 66 towards the Rowland Wood project (photos above). (Bob Eade)

A trip to Hunter's Burgh, Folkington, today, saw several species mating, including Brown Argus and Dingy Skipper (photos above). (Bob Coleman)

Details of the transect walked today at Bedelands Farm Burgess Hill, species recorded:
Green Veined White, (1)
Common Blue, (31)
Total 32 butterflies.
Also recorded,
Mother Shipton, (1)
Burnet Companion, (26)
Cinnabar, (2)
Grass Rivulet, common all over the reserve,
Common Damselfly, 3
Azure Damselfly, 1
Beautiful Demoiselle, female, 1
(David Pyle)

News for Thursday 19 May: Visited Cissbury Ring in the hope of increasing my tally of species for the year with Small or Large Skipper on the hit list. Butterflies in abundance and saw 17 different species but unfortunately nothing new. My count for the day was as follows:
14 Dingy Skipper, 7 Grizzled Skipper, 10 Brimstone, 2 Large White, 1 Small White, 2 Green-veined White, 1 Orange Tip, 2 Green Hairstreak, 7 Small Copper, 5 Brown Argus, 25 Common Blue, 1 Holly Blue, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 6 Speckled Wood, 2 Wall Brown, 20 Small Heath. It is also possible that I also saw Adonis Blue but none of the suspects settle long enough for me to be able to get a positive ident. In addition I saw 9 Cinnabar moths.
Anyone going to Patrick Barkham's talk at the Kingston Reader's Festival on Tuesday 24 May? (Richard Stone)

More news for Thursday 19 May: On Thursday I visited Cerne Abbas near Dorchester. As soon as I entered the meadow at the bottom of the Giant Hill I saw Marsh Fritillaries (above) darting everywhere. They varied in condition from fresh to old and there were many very small males. Another visitor said they were smaller than last year. In addition I saw my first Large Skippers of the year. There were also Small Coppers, Common Blues, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Small Heaths. Speckled Woods, Orange Tip, Whites and Brown Argus. The Small Heaths were larger than I have seen before (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Thursday 19 May 2011

Another article in The Guardian that is likely to be of interest:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/17/butterflies-caterpillars-purple-emperor-spring-summer?INTCMP=SRCH

Saw a Small Skipper on Whitehawk Hill, east Brighton, on 19 May (TQ332047); had a good look through binoculars and was able to distingusish from Essex Skipper using Tom Ottley's guidance (particuarly slightly hooked antennae and scent mark on wing crossing vein). (Nigel Bowie)

I saw my first Meadow Brown of the year today in Brightling and here's a picture (above) I took today of two Common Blues mating. (Katie Walker)

In Calcot Wood Spithandle Lane many Speckled Wood and Speckled Yellow moths TQ175151 and 3 Large Whites further west TQ 168152, Common Blues at Warnham nature reserve. Last month there were Orange Tips around Steyning bypass TQ185104 & TQ165125. (Michael Warren)

Sightings today at Beacon Hill Rottingdean:
10-12 Common Blues All Male
5 Small Heath (1 pair courting a 2nd pair engaged in a sexual act)
2 Brown Argus
1 Holly Blue
1 Wall Brown
1 Orange Tip
6 assorted Whites
(Mark Senior)

This morning on the Downs Link I saw my first Large Skippers at 7.00am nectaring on Herb Robert and saw my last surviving Brown Hairstreak caterpillar whom I feel sure is in the last instar and may have a chance of pupating. I also discovered that the head is at the small end, not the humped end as you may suspect (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

Meadow surveying in Buxted:
1 Large White @ TQ502242.
1 Common Blue,
1 male Orange Tip (looking tatty),
1 Small Copper,
3 Mother Shipton Moths,
1 Large green caterpillar with pale yellow/green stripe probably Meadow Brown, All @ TQ498241.
1 Small Heath, 1 Common Blue @ TQ499242.
In Plumpton:
1 Comma @ TQ361164,
1 Orange Tip @ 356165.
Wednesday 18 May: Meadow surveying near Hadlow Down (Raining):
2 Common Blues @ TQ519216 (Sheltering in the grasses).
Tuesday 17 May: In Plumpton:
1 Green Hairstreak, sunning itself on a path, @ TQ361164.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ359164.
In Chailey:
1 Speckled Wood @TQ396180.
2 Speckled Wood @TQ397177.
1 Common Blue @ TQ397178.
Sunday 15 May: In Chailey.
1 Peacock @ TQ397178.
Saturday 14 May: In Plumpton:
1 Male Orange Tip @ TQ360165.
(Jon Wood)

News for Tuesday 17 May: Beside stream opp Woods Mill TQ216142 5 newly hatched Common Blues, old Dingy Skipper, 3 Small Heaths. (Michael Warren)


Tuesday 17 May 2011

News for Saturday 7 May: When I traveled to see the Wood Whites on May 7th I also saw these moths, Micropterix calthella (above), in the middle of a buttercup flower. There's a lot of them around this year. They're pollen feeders and as far as I'm aware they are particularly partial to buttercup, I guess because of the solar warming effect in the cup of the flower. Its quite incredible to see so many tiny moths in just the one flower, I can count 25. They are like a watchmaker's greatest miniature creations, each brushed with gold leaf. (Dan Danahar)


Monday 16 May 2011

"Butterfly revival could be threatened by cuts, warns charity" is the headline in today's Guardian, an article by Patrick Barkham here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/16/butterfly-revival-threatened-by-cuts.

Speckled Yellow (above) seen today in abundance at Abbots Wood. (Heather Maryson)

At Ebernoe Common today (mostly in furnace meadow) many Common Blues and Small Heaths, plus tatty Dingy Skipper, pristine Grizzled Skipper, Speckled Wood, Green Hairstreak, Red Admiral and most remarkable of all, a Large Skipper (in May!). Moths we found were Yellow Shell, Oak Hooktip, Brown Silver-line, Silver-ground Carpet and a fabulous dancing 'swarm' of Nemophora degeerealla. (Peter Hughes)

Weekend news: Had an enjoyable weekend out and about in Sussex. On Saturday I joined Mike Pepler and Jim Barrett at a Rother Guardians meeting in Mill Wood near Peasmarsh. Despite the weather being a bit cloudy Mike and Jim lead a very interesting tour of this woodland which is being managed for wildlife. Jim's report from the day can be read here http://rotherguardians.blogspot.com/ On the way home I surveyed a few more tetrads and added some new Orange-tip squares to the atlas - the OT's are very much in their larval stage now feeding on the Garlic Mustard seed pods. On Sunday it was the first meeting of the newly formed Park Corner Heath / Rowland Wood Management Board. I convened the meeting in the shed at Park Corner Heath (we had an agenda and everything!) and then we toured our reserve looking at the current condition and habitat suitability and discussed proposed work for the future - all in all it was an extremely positive meeting. I am sure some of you will be distressed by the pictures of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary which fell prey to the Crab Spider. In the past I would have dealt with the unruly arachnid straight away but in my new role on the management board I would like to assure you that the subject of this particular Crab Spider will be raised as an item at the next board meeting, and, if deemed a threat to butterflies (and if a majority vote is received) the spider will receive a formal written warning. (Michael Blencowe)

News for Saturday 14 May: Steve East visited the butterfly haven and saw an Adonis Blue on Saturday. I have yet to see on myself but we did find a female Fox Moth (above) on the same day just outside the Butterfly Haven. (Dan Danahar)

More news for Saturday 14 May: Paul Cox & I spent a rather blustery Saturday morning at Cissbury Ring. We saw plenty of Small Heath and Common Blue. Also two Green Hairstreak. These two were low down on the grass & flowers & behaving very differently from the very territorial males we had seen on previous occasions this year. We supposed they might be females. Other sightings were Red Admiral, Large White, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Brown Argus, Small Copper. We were disappointed not to see any Wall but were pleased to see a very sedentary, pristine Cream-spot Tiger moth (maybe newly emerged) and a nice Mother Shipton (photos by Paul Cox, above). (Paul Ingate)


Sunday 15 May 2011

We have just seen a Purple Hairstreak in our garden - location deep in Oak and Beech woods in Kirdford.
The earliest we have seen one here before was in 2007 when the first one was on 16th June. Given that just about everything seems to be early this year it seems possible that Purple Hairstreaks may also be ahead of the spring game! (Ray and Julie Kilner)

Many thanks to Neil for another delightful butterfly walk around Steyning Downs and to the Steyning Downland Group for all their hard work improving the site and creating such excellent butterfly country. Our first butterfly sighting was a Holly Blue seen fluttering around the fenced off patch of Wild Plum and Blackthorn, where we hopefully will see some Brown Hairstreak activity later on in the year.
Just before heading along to the south western escarpment we had a real treat, as we heard a Nightingale singing in the distance. Then we set off to continue our search for butterflies. Along the way we saw a Red Admiral and a Beautiful Damoselle flying amongst the shrubbery bordering the tree margin next to the path.
Before searching began in earnest, Neil explained how the site has been managed in the last few years to improve the conditions for fauna and flora. Cattle have been introduced and graze the site. This has reduced the height of the grasses, allowing a greater variety of downland flora to flourish, as well as increasing the ground temperature to levels suitable for re-colonization by fauna, including ants and butterflies. There are large ant hills all over the escarpment housing red ants that have a special relationship with the Blue butterflies. In particular the Adonis Blue and red ants have formed a partnership that benefits both parties and the improved conditions have meant that both species are now present at Steyning Down. The relationship between Adonis Blue and the red ants can be seen during both the caterpillar and chrysalis stages. The red ants tend the Adonis Blue caterpillar, protecting it from predators, and even constructing cells in which it can moult its skin. The chrysalis is attended by ants too and attracts them with a combination of amino acid secretions and sounds, which causes the ants to bury and protect it as one of their own. The ants benefit as well because the caterpillar has a honey gland that the ants beat with their antennae to gain droplets of honeydew. Unfortunately we did not encounter any Adonis Blue on the day of our walk but there were sightings of red ants around some of the ant hills.
There appeared to be more day moth activity on the south western escarpment than butterflies, although we did see a variety of butterflies, including Small Heath, Common Blue, Green Hairstreak, and Dingy Skipper. A female Red Admiral was spotted flying rapidly around the nettles at the most southerly bottom of the hillside trying to find suitable sites for laying eggs. Later on in this area a Green-veined White was seen, along with a large Cardinal Beetle. Neil told us that the Green-veined White possess green veining on their under wings and feeds on crucifers. However, they are often incorrectly thought to be Small Whites and therefore mistakenly thought to be responsible for damaging crops.
After searching for more butterflies in the dip, we walked up the eastern escarpment, where Early Purple Orchids were flowering and Common Spotted Orchids were in bud, ready to emerge in the next couple of weeks. Then we made our way along through a wooded area to a spot where some coppicing had been undertaken by the Steyning Downs Trust and were treated to more sightings of Common Spotted Orchids, this time in flower, Common Twayblades, and our first sighting of a Wall butterfly. More butterflies were seen in the clearing, including a male Brimstone, egg laying Holly Blues, a male Green Hairstreak defending his patch, more Small Heaths, Common Blues, and an old Dingy Skipper, which was living up to its name.
Finally we made our way along the path leading from the coppiced woodland to the entrance to the site. All in all a pleasant morning's butterfly watching (photos above). (Barbara Woods)

I visited Rowland Wood today. There was sufficient sun for Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries to show themselves and I counted around 16 in two hours. One unfortunate fresh specimen was killed by a Crab spider. A Cream-spot Tiger moth and a Grizzled Skipper aberrant (ab Taras) were a bonus. There were plenty of Speckled Yellow moths (photos above). (Colin Knight)

My wife and I found a Cream-spot Tiger (above) resting by the path that ascends from Warren Glen towards Firehills, Hastings Country Park (at 2.05pm on Sunday 15 May). We hadn't seen one before, but were able to identify it at the visitor centre as we had taken a few photos. (Stephen and Maggie Freeman)

I managed to grab nearly 4 hours over Frog Firle today. I was well rewarded by my first sightings of the year of six Wall (Brown) and 3 Small Blue. There were lots of Speckled Wood and Small White as well as a handful of Green-veined White, Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak. There was also a couple of Large White and Red Admiral, one Peacock as well as several "blues", Adonis I think (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)

At Park Heath Corner today we saw several Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (including one being attacjed and killed by a Crab Spider) and a number of Common Blues. Also seen were 1 Brown Argus, 1 Grizzled Skipper, (poss. ab taras abberant), 1 Speckled Wood, and 1 Brimstone. There were also lots of moths about, including a Cream-spot Tiger (photos above). (Leigh Prevost)

This year the expanse of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on the lower slopes of Mill Hill was extremely disappointing. It was already past its prime and the flowers were only showing about 20% of their usual brilliance after an extended dry spring.
The north-westerly direction of the Moderate Breeze made conditions poor for butterflies on the exposed slope of Mill Hill. Almost all of them were hiding or resting. About 160 Adonis Blues were disturbed as it was too cool and overcast for them to be actively fluttering around. The males were worn and the females looking to lay their eggs amongst the Horseshoe Vetch. On the southern part of Mill Hill, I spotted a handful of my first Common Blue Butterflies of the year. (Andy Horton)

News for Thursday 12 May: Above are photos of a group of 3 Small Blue in my garden in Kingston near Lewes. The mating pair were being observed by an inconsiderate additional male.
Just a few feet away was an Adonis Blue, one of three, plus one female not in the picture. (John Holloway)

More news for Thursday 12 May: Red Admiral - 2, SU780176, Uppark.Cinnabar Moth - 1, SU780176, Uppark. (David Jode)


Saturday 14 May 2011

Re. Martin Kalaher's observation of many Green Hairstreaks this year, have seen three in unexpected spots myself, one on a roadside verge off the A26 North of Lewes, one in Harveys Lane TQ 470 150, and one nectaring on Bowles Mauve Wallflower in our garden. (Graham Parris, Isfield)

A bit too cool, breezy and cloudy for lots of butterflies
Newtimber Hill - Common Blue, Grizzled Skipper, Adonis Blue (2), Dingy Skipper, Small Copper and Small Heath all in TQ 2612
Wolstonbury Hill - Common Blue, Brown Argus (1), Small Heath, Dingy Skipper and Orange Tip (1) in TQ 28 12
A Green Hairstreak near the Jack and Jill pub (TQ 296 142 ie TQ 28 14 tetrad). Hope I have got my tetrads right!
Forgot to submit an old Orange Tip record in our garden on 24/4 in TQ 2006. (Chris and Ellie Corrigan)

After a dog walk this morning watching Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers in a meadow, I returned home and was surprised to see in our front garden a Green Hairstreak nectaring on a Mountain Corn flower Centaurea. This is my first record ever for our postage stamp suburban garden and indeed my Henfield area, a pristine Red Admiral also arrived. Inspired by Dan's recent report, I then set off for Oaken Wood at Plaistow. After a cloudy cold start I was rewarded with 15 Wood Whites (this one's on Greater stitchwort), a mating pair of Ermine moths, loads of Speckled Yellow moths, an aptly named Greater Butterfly Orchid and narrowly missed seeing a Broad Bordered Bee Hawkmoth, aaaahhh! This is beautiful reserve and well worth a visit, albeit slightly over the border (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)

News for Friday 13 May: Returned to Rewell Wood to see Pearl-bordered Fritillaries as part of my quest to see all UK butterfly species during the season.
Walked SW through meadow at Fairmile Bottom and joined public footpath south over Rewell Hill, eventually reaching the main ride running the length of the wood. Thankfully plenty of Pearl Bordered Fritillaries on this occasion and because the weather was sunny but relatively cool they were well behaved, frequently settling to nectar on the bugle.
My sightings for the day were as follows:
9 Pearl Bordered Fritillary
4 Speckled Wood
5 Common Blue
2 Green-veined White
1 Small Copper
2 Grizzled Skipper
1 Peacock.
In addition, I saw a Cream-spot Tiger Moth within the cleared woodland compartment with a diagonal track running through it. The moth was see on the ground within the valley area which had not been replanted at SU991086.
The Pearl-bordered Fritillary is species number 25 in my count of sightings for the season.
As part of my quest I had intended to travel to the Isle of Wight this week to catch up with the Glanville Fritillary but I had been tipped off that I could see them much closer to home in Surrey. In anticipation I travelled over the Hog's Back to a sand pit in Wrecclesham (SU818447) on Monday and sure enough, and much to my surprise, there were plenty of Glanville Fritillaries to be seen, possibly too many. I gave up counting after I had quickly reached 50 and there were hundreds, if not thousands of the them flying around everywhere. Although I have some misgivings about the merits of introducing a butterfly into a previously unrecorded site the Glanville is clearly thriving in its new home. (Richard Stone.)

More news for Friday 13 May: Red AdmiralI visited Mill Hill to do my weekly butterfly transect and I recorded: 182 Adonis Blue, 2 Brimstone, 6 Dingy Skipper, 4 Green Hairstreak, 2 Grizzled Skipper, 3 Holly Blue, 2 Large White, 1 Orange Tip, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Small Heath, 1 Speckled Wood and 10 Common Blue. The Adonis Blue were mating all over the lower part of the hill (photos above). (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Friday 13 May 2011

Park Corner Heath: Visited today and saw 6 fritillaries which we believe were Small Pearl-bordered. Photo of underside of one above is clearly SPBD
(above). Delighted to see the very white Grizzled Skipper ab taras?, our first ever but unable to get photo.
Also seen were Small Copper, Brimstones, Common Blues, Green-veined White, Small Heaths and Speckled Woods. (David & Molly Dancy)

I have seen lots of Green Hairstreak this year but it's always nice when one turns up in the garden (above). Viewed at leisure as it was nectaring on Columbine (Aquilegia Vulgaris). (Martin Kalaher)

Details of the transect walked today at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill, species seen;
Large White, (1)
Small White, (3)
Green Veined White, (2)
Green Hairstreak, (8)
Small Copper, (1)
Common Blue, (28)
Red Admiral, (2)
Speckled Wood, (2)
Total, 47 butterflies, 8 species.
Also recorded;
Mother Shipton, 1
Burnet Companion, 232
Yellow Shell, 1
Cinnabar, 2
Grass Rivulet, numerous
Broad Bodied Chaser dragonfly
(David Pyle)

News for Tuesday 10 May: 4-5 Wall Brown at Chantry Hill. One seen nectaring on Buttercup. (Martin Kalaher)

Recent news: Sunday 08/05/2011. Cloudy, not much on the wing.
1 Large White & 2 Red Admirals @ TQ398183.
1 Green-veined White @ TQ398183.
Driving back from Woods Mill 09/05/11
1 Brimstone @ TQ262147.
While Reptile surveying on 10/05/11. Chailey.
1 Male Orange Tip @ TQ397178.
1 Large White @ TQ397178.
1 Brimstone @ TQ396178.
1 Brimstone @ TQ399182.
1 Red Admiral @ TQ398182.
1 Red Admiral @ TQ399182.
1 Holly Blue & 1 female Orange Tip @ TQ398183.
Also 2 Small Heaths @ TQ354162.
While surveying a meadow near Shepherds Hill on 11/05/2011
2 Green-veined Whites @ TQ514225.
10 + Orange Tips @ TQ514225 on abundant Cardamine pratensis.
(Jon Wood)


Thursday 12 May 2011

A cool breeze blowing on Frog Firle so a much reduced stroll. 3 Wall at High and Over. I then went to Cradle Hill part of Frog Firle and found a single Small Blue, the first I've had at this site this year. I checked the tops of some Garlic Mustard to check for signs of Orange Tip activity and was pleased to find a larvae on nearly every plant. A Lackey Moth larva was also good to see. Hopefully I will be able to show the Orange Tip larvae on my Frog Firle event next Friday (photos above). (Bob Eade)

Freshly-emerged Large Skipper in my Storrington garden today at 4.40pm. Two minutes later, armed with my camera (darn- was not able to find it). 90 mnutes later still no photo. Maybe tomorrow. (Martin Kalaher)


Wednesday 11 May 2011

Today while out on an expedition with the Sussex Botanical Recording Society at Hastings Country Park (Fairlight TQ8511) we saw a Green Hairstreak butterfly and a Cream-spot Tiger moth. (Jim Barrett)


Tuesday 10 May 2011

Lunar Double-stripe (above) taken at MV light in our Bracklesham garden last night. 2nd confirmed record for West Sussex. (Derek Lee)

A Green Hairstreak flying around the forecourt of the garage on Malling Hill in Lewes today (Michael Blencowe)

At least 30 Wall Brown seen between Bo Peep Bostal and the next valley along. After walking up the Bostal walked along the top of the hill towards Alfriston to the next valley. The most Walls were along the top with several seen together as well as a mating pair. In the next valley an Adonis Blue was also seen. The first of these I have seen on these slopes. Too many Dingy Skippers to even think about counting and also large quantities of Small Heath. 12 species in total. (Bob Eade)

This evening we had an evening stroll after work up to Mill Hill, Shoreham to see what delights awaited us. We were not disappointed. We found one Dingy Skipper, two Grizzled Skipper, two Cinnabar moths (our first of the year), about ten Small Heath and about 50 Adonis Blue (also our first of the year). We dedicated the walk to our great friend "Eddie-Baby" who unexpectedly passed away at the weekend (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro & Martin Fuller)


Monday 9 May 2011

Nothing too exciting seen on a visit to Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood this afternoon - Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Large White - but I got a couple of nice shots of a Green-veined White nectaring on bluebells (above). Also there were numerous Speckled Yellow moths fluttering about. (John Williams)

I had an enjoyable short walk at Cissbury today during which I saw 13 species of butterfly. The highlights for me were 8 Wall Brown, 3 Red Admiral and my first Adonis Blue there. The Skippers (Dingy and Grizzled), Green Hairstreaks, Brown Argus etc seem to be doing very well this year.
On the moth front I caught and photographed an Alabonia geoffrella which is quite striking (above, left). On the 2nd May I caught another moth there which in real life looked much better than my photo (above, right) it was Micropterix tunbergella (which is Moth 0001 in the numbering list). It is apparently very scarce in Sussex. (Mike Snelling)

Green Hairstreak - TN22 4EA: 3 yesterday - 2 on a bramble patch at edge of a wood - the other in the adjoining field.
1 today in a SSSI field on Dyer's Greenweed whilst walking with a Sussex University Group.
Speckled Woods/Orange Tip (male and female) - up to 10 or more each during short 15 minute walk every day for the past 3 weeks. (Ann Spencer)

Wall Brown were showing well along The Comp today with 15. At this point I was thinking that there was a good chance of a very high 1st brood count, however, with none on Greenway Bank and even stranger none on High and Over, the count for the circuit was 20. Still pretty good but not as high as it could have been. The breeze was probably the reason that High and Over had none as well as it being a little later in the day than I usually get there. 18 species were seen with at least 10 Adonis Blue on Greenway and 2 more singletons seen on both Cradle Hill and High and Over. Lots of Brown Argus and Small Heath but still no Small Blue here yet. (Bob Eade)

Adonis Blues at Malling Down are very early, some are even looking a bit worn! They are doing surprisingly well considering the second generation in 2010 was less than that recorded in the first generation, I think they will peak about a week earlier than normal (may be next week).
With the assistance from Michelle Bullock of Exeter university I saw a tiddly little Silver-spotted Skipper larva with some little red dots on it. I didn't think the larva had any orange/red dots - mites?
Recorded on transect at Malling Down:
2 Dingy Skipper,
2 Brimstone,
1 Large White,
2 Small White,
4 Small Copper,
8 Brown Argus,
24 Male Common Blue,
1 Female Common Blue,
90 Male Adonis Blue,
10 Female Adonis Blue,
2 Red Admiral,
2 Wall Brown,
5 Small Heath.
Seen off transect at Malling Down Grizzled Skipper and Orange Tip. (Crispin Holloway)

Many Wall near High & Over Car Park, and along the track which goes W past the Seaford Golf course, also Speckled Wood, Small White and Red Admiral. One Pearl-bordered Fritillary in a patch of nettles at the bottom. Later I found small patch short turf with plenty of Horseshoe and other vetches and trefoil. To my delight in about half an hour I found (approximate numbers):
Small Heath 8
Common Blue 6
Adonis Blue 10
Small Blue 8
Brown Argus 2
Green Hairstreak 3
Dingy Skipper 6
Grizzled Skipper 2.
These remnants of rich, short downland turf are very precious. (Sharifin Gardiner)

Common Blue - 2, TV544975, Crowlink, 2, TV543976, Crowlink, 8, TV539978, Crowlink, 18, TV538978, Crowlink, 5, TV538977, Crowlink, 4, TV537975, Crowlink, 1, TV537974, Crowlink, 3, TV536973, Crowlink, 1, TV537973, Crowlink, 1, TV538974, Crowlink, 8, TV538972, Crowlink, 5, TV540972, Crowlink, 11, TV541973, Crowlink. Brown Argus - 1, TV538973, Crowlink. Small Heath - 1, TV538973, Crowlink. Small Blue - 1, TV538978, Crowlink. Large White - 1, TV538977, Crowlink. Dingy Skipper - 1, TV537976, Crowlink. Comma - 1, TV540972, Crowlink. (David Jode)

Recent sightings: Pair of mating Green-veined Whites on a bridleway off Bramlands lane Woodmancote at 5.00pm 06.05.11. Lovely Small Copper, Kithurst Hill 30.04.11 and two of many Small Blues at Kithurst Hill on Sunday (photos above). (Richard Roebuck)


Sunday 8 May 2011

News from the Butterfly Haven: A new species was recorded today at the Butterfly Haven, a male Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) (top, left) was seen sun bathing in the rank grassland area of the reserve. This brings the total species list to 21 species for this site now and this particular individual is 15 days earlier than the earliest Sussex record for 2010, when it was first seen on 23 May. I also recorded 36 Small Blues (bottom row - photos by Neil Hulme), 12 Common Blues, 1 Brown Argus, 2 Small Whites and 1 Green Hairstreak. This Green Hairstreak has a recognisable mark on its hind wing and so I can confidently say that its the same female that was first seen on 1st May. Since then I have observed her repeatedly laying on Lotus corniculatus, on at least four different days.
I have also seen two Red Admirals near to the butterfly haven today, are we having an influx???
Finally, I have not run my moth trap for over a year, so I decided to give it a go this weekend. However, it has rained all night over these last two nights and so I have turned it off after only a few hours running. But when I checked it this morning a rather nice Small Elephant Hawkmoth (Deilephila porcellus) (top, right) was in the trap. (Dan Danahar)

We took advantage of the late sunny afternoon to visit Lancing Ring LNR for the first time. In over two and half hours from 2pm until 4:30pm we spotted 7 Red Admirals, 1 Peacock, 4 Brimstones, 6 Holly Blues, 1 Wall, 1 Speckled Wood, 10 Small Heath, 1 Small Copper, 15 unspecified Whites (probably large whites), 5 Small Blues, 28 Common Blues (of which 4 were females), and 5 Brown Argus. (Colin & Lucia Knaggs)

A Small Heath in our East Dean garden (TV562984) on Sunday. (Cas & David Jode)

Our annual pilgrimmage to the Amberley Working Museum produced six Brimstones and six Red Admirals a Grizzled Skipper, a couple of Holly Blues and a pair of Peregrine Falcons. Pleasingly the Bristones were mostly on the banks by the railway as we chugged by, and the Red Admirals were in the sunny glades of the upper nature trail. (John Coxon)

I was wondering what to do today as I had a bad sinus headache all day. It got to late afternoon and I thought shall I go back to bed to sleep it off? Like heck! I ventured to High and Over instead in order to do some late day butterfly spotting. I wasn't really expecting much as it had been slightly drizzling. However, I was rewarded by just a few sightings, but boy were they good ones! I saw my first Common Blue (one) and Small Heath (two) of the year. They were so dosile that I could gently handle them. I also saw one Green-veined White, two Small White, one Large White, two Red Admiral, one Dingy Skipper and still a bush full of Brown-Tail Moth caterpillars. Not very many sightings but I got some close up photos and amazingly my headache had gone! (photos above) (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Saturday 7 May 2011: The weather was sunny/cloudy/threatening rain at times. In fact in Brighton and Hove we have been blessed by rain at night and sun during the day over the last couple of days. Anyway, it seemed perfect Wood White weather and after a quick chat with Neil for advice, I was headed towards a woodland near Plaistow. On arrival I parked up next to a car with a BC sticker in its window (always a good sign) and started to walk into the woods. The weather conditions had become overcast and I was beginning to think that it would be difficult to find anything, when I came across Paul Cox and Paul Ingate in one of the woodland rides. Thankfully they had seen two Wood Whites earlier and were currently watching their third ovipositing on some vetch. We chewed the fat for a while and then I left them to it, hoping to find a Wood White for myself. We had a gentlemen's agreement that we would call if either of us found anything of interest.
After a walk around the wood with no success, I chanced upon a foot path off of the main ride which opened up into a little glade, before I knew what was happening I was surrounded by Wood Whites. I photographed a few and then noticed in the distance Paul & Paul so I called them up to the glade. They had seen a further two individuals but were totally unprepared for the density of this localised population and we spent time like over excited school boys trying to make an accurate count. In the end we settled on 22 individuals. As we talked, Paul Engate walked, almost bouncing, through a cloud of 5 Wood whites and we discovered that we had all been inspired by Patrick Barkham's book "The Butterfly Isles" to go out to see as many Sussex species as we could during the year. We wondered if he realised how much good he had done for the souls of people, particularly for middle aged men who wanted to recapture some of the awe and wonder they had experienced when they were younger.
As for the butterflies themselves, they spoilt us to a rich display of courtship behavior. The males flew gently along the sides of the glade whilst the females mostly sat until discovered by a male. Then would start an intense courtship that between us Paul Cox and I managed to capture on camera.
The females seemed to deliberately position themselves halfway down a blossom whilst nectaring. Was this to avoid male attention or to facilitate the courtship? The male would then invariably land on the top of the same blossom in a dominant position, so that he could look down upon her. What followed was an intricate display of semaphore, starting with the male showing the female the distinctive white spots on the tips of his antennae, which only he has and uncoiling his proboscis. She responded by submissively reclining her antennae over the back of her body (top row, left). The male proboscis would then be extended in an erect fashion directly over her body (top row, right) and he would start to caress the side of her wings (2nd row, left) before raising his proboscis once more (2nd row, right). Next, the proboscis would be lowered again perhaps to caress the other side of her wings or to delve in between them (3rd row, left). Although this semaphore clearly formed both a visual and tactile display I could not help wonder if there was not more going on, was the male able to use his proboscis to detect her scent, or is this a function that the proboscis is incapable of?
On one occasion this routine was interrupted by a a third male (3rd row, right), where you can clearly see the first male's proboscis highlighted in the background by the second males wings) who positioned himself above the first male. The second male then "erected" his proboscis and this had the immediate affect of intimidating the first male, who promptly rolled up his proboscis (bottom row, centre).
Sue Clarke has told me that this courtship rarely leads to mating and in many cases interferes with egg laying. In the past three years that she has been studying the Wood White she has only observed the moment of copulation once, although she has seen copulating Wood Whites many, many times. However, mark/recapture has shown that females will mate more than once, even rather worn and tatty individuals do so.
Reading about this behavior is one thing, but to see it in the wild is another thing altogether. In the end I left the two Pauls to continue their observations but as I got to my car I came across a 23rd Wood White by the road itself. This was a pleasing thing to see and confirmed that the butterfly is doing well. Sue Clarke has said that some mark /recapture individuals have been found up to one kilometer from the original mark site. Lets keep our fingers crossed for this wonderfully interesting species. (Dan Danahar)

News for Friday 6 May 2011: A late report from my father, Roy Symonds due to my house move to Pendeen in Cornwall. At Stansted Forest (SU743110) where the temperature was 17C, the following sightings were recorded: Orange Tip (1M 3F), Brimstone (1M), Green-veined White (7) and Speckled Wood (1). (Richard Symonds)

More news for Friday 6 May 2011: Kithurst Hill: Fourteen species seen today in the cowslip filled meadow just below Kithurst Hill car park: Small Blue, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Duke of Burgundy, Small Copper, Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tip, Large White and Green Veined White. The Small Blues were particularly numerous. This must be one of the easiest sites to see them in Sussex, only 100 yards from the car park! It's the first year that I've seen Small Blues - from their pictures in books I'd thought they were fairly dowdy but actually they are exquisite in their charcoal grey with a dusting of blue (photos above). (John Williams)


Saturday 7 May 2011

Today I visited the Butterfly Haven at Dorothy Stringer to find 1 Brown Argus, 2 Common Blue, 1 Green Hairstreak, and 15 maybe more Small Blue (photos above). (Jamie Burston)

Itchingfield: Cloud again dampened sightings on but managed a Grizzled Skipper, Orange tip, Brimstone, Small White and a Common Damselfly and three Large Red Damselfly. There was also a five minute dust up between a pair of what I presume were Dingy Skippers which made us tired just watching (photos above). (John Coxon)

Seen today while surveying odonata.
1 Red Admiral @ TQ398182.
2 Red Admiral @ TQ398183.
1 Red Admiral @ TQ399182.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ399181.
1 Red Admiral @ TQ399178.
1 Red Admiral @ TQ399179.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ398179.
1 Brimstone, 1 Red Admiral @ TQ397179.
1 Brimstone @ TQ397178.
1 Brimstone @ TQ398183.
2 Orange Tips @ TQ360165.
1 Common Blue @ TQ397178.
In addition 1 small fritillary flying very low and fast over bracken at woodland edge and despite 20 minutes of trying to get a good look or a photo we couldn't ID it to species will try again. (Jon Wood)

Amongst rather more usual species I recorded a specimen of Toadflax Brocade in my mothtrap in Little Common Bexhill last night (6/7May) despite the heavy rainshowers during the night Noted too that many of the micro moths in particular seem very early this year. (Stuart Pemberton)

News for Friday 6 May 2011: A Speckled Wood in our East Dean garden (TV562984) on Friday. (Cas & David Jode)

News for Thursday 5 May: Speckled Wood - 1, TV544975 Crowlink. Common Blue - 3, TV542973, Crowlink, 1, TV539972, Crowlink, 1, TV538973, Crowlink, 2, TV537976, Crowlink, 8, TV533978, Crowlink, 3, TV543975, Crowlink, 2, TV555977, East Dean, 1, TV562984, East Dean. Red Admiral - 1, TV543975, Crowlink. Small Heath - 1, TV533978, Crowlink. Small White - 1, TV537976, Crowlink, 1, TV543974, Crowlink. Grizzled Skipper - 1, TV537976, Crowlink. Dingy Skipper - 1, TV537974, Crowlink. Large White - 1, TV537975, Crowlink. Peacock - 1, TV539972, Crowlink. (David Jode)

News for Wednesday 4 May 2011: I'm delighted to report more good news in the battle to conserve the Duke of Burgundy (above) in Sussex. On Wednesday BC Regional Officer Dan Hoare and I counted 115 Dukes at Heyshott Escarpment, this being another significant increase over the previous year's population. Congratulations to all Murray Downland Trust and BC volunteers involved in this project - and 'thanks' from the Duke of Burgundy himself. (Neil Hulme)

News for Thursday 30 April: Green Hairstreak - 12, TV562957, Horseshoe Plantation. Speckled Wood - 2, TV562957, Horseshoe Plantation. Dingy Skipper - 1, TV562957, Horseshoe Plantation, 4, TV564956, Belle Tout, 2, TV565956, Belle Tout. Grizzled Skipper - 2, TV565956, Belle Tout. Small Copper - 2, TV565956, Belle Tout, 1, TV564956, Belle Tout, 1, TV562957, Horseshoe Plantation. Small Heath - 3, TV562957, Horseshoe Plantation, 1, TV563956, Belle Tout, 2, TV564956, Belle Tout. Red Admiral - 1, TQ560070, Abbot's Wood. (David Jode)

News for Friday 29 April: Pearl-bordered Fritillary - 22 Abbot's Wood. Green-veined White - 1, TQ560081, Abbot's Wood. Small White - 1, TQ560081, Abbot's Wood. Small White - 4, TQ537068, Arlington. Red Admiral - 2, TQ537068, Arlington. Peacock - 1, TQ563017, Jevington. Orange Tip - 1, TQ554069, Arlington. Orange Tip - 1, TQ560075, Abbot's Wood. Large White - 1, TQ560075, Abbot's Wood. Brimstone - 1 TQ560075, Abbot's Wood. (David Jode)


Friday 6 May 2011

Itchingfield: Returned with my camera to a little spot where I saw a Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, several Orange Tips, a couple of Broad bodied Chasers and a Common Damselfly the other day. Unfortunatley the sun went in and only saw two Orange Tips and my first Small Coppers (four) and Peacock of the year. Two suspected Dingy Skippers eluded our stalk!
However my son mentioned that a couple of Poplar Hawkmoths (above) had been landing on them at their playtime in the school field nearby so we got permission and my son took me straight to the tree where one was sat! (John Coxon)

I did my transect at Mill Hill this morning and counted 1 Holly Blue, 2 Brimstone, 7 Small Heath, 23 Dingy Skipper, 112 Adonis Blue. Most of these were at the bottom of the hill, though I did see Dingy Skippers and Adonis Blue by the top car park. The Hill is covered by Horseshoe Vetch, and I saw a Green Hairstreak, 2 Grizzled Skippers and a Red Admiral later (photos above). (Colin Knight)

Details of the transect walked today at Bedelands Farm, Burgess Hill, species seen;
Large White, (3)
Small White, (5)
Green Veined White, (4)
Orange Tip, (1)
Green Hairstreak, (6)
Small Copper, (2)
Common Blue, (1)
Holly Blue, (3)
Comma, (1)
Total, 26 butterflies, 9 species. Also seen, 2 Cinnabar, 34 Burnet Companion, 24 Grass Rivulet and 2 Hornets. (David Pyle)

A visit to Cocking Quarry today produced 60+ Small Blue, 20 Dingy Skipper, 10 Common Blue, 4 Brimstone, 1 Speckled Wood. The whole quarry was dessicated and the area the blues normally use for mud-puddling was unavailable. It was therefore perhaps not surprising to find 25 Small Blue and a single Dingy Skipper mud-puddling much lower down the hill at the start of the entrance track from Cocking village opposite the church. We have never seen them this far away from the quarry itself before. (Paul and Pam Callaway)

News for Thursday 5 May: Susan Suleski and I spent a lovely, sunny afternoon at Park Corner and Rowland Wood on Thursday, admiring all the work done over the winter and just recently by Michael et al, but also found the reserve alive with nature - nightingales singing, warblers warbling and plenty of butterflies: Brimstones, Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, Green-veined Whites, Orange Tips, Brown Argus, Common Blues (pair), Small Heath, Small Whites, a stunning Broad-Bodied Chaser, Emperors patrolling the pond, Common Blue Damselflies and loads of Speckled Yellow Moths. A quick nip into Abbott's Wood en route home for more Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and a pair of very amorous Grizzled Skippers! (Anna Grist)


Thursday 5 May 2011

One Pearl-bordered Fritillary seen this afternoon at Milton Hyde, North of Arlington Road West. TQ566089 (Roy Wells)

I am a sucker for often sticking to the same areas. However, today I finished work early enough to pay a visit to one of my old stomping grounds from over 35 years ago. The Downs just above Offham. I did visit 2 years ago and was amazed then how much was in a small area. I parked the car and saw a Beautiful Demoiselle just outside, amazingly it sat still whilst I got some shots of it. Then upto the small patch of Downs where there were lots of Dingy and Grizzled Skippers including my first ever ab. taras (above). For 90 minutes I had a fab time recording 11 species inc. 1 Wall, 1 Green Hairstreak and several Brown Argus. Also present was a Hairy Dragonfly and 4 Spot and Broad Bodied Chasers. (Bob Eade)

Took my brother Paul to Heyshott Down where we saw 10 x Duke of Burgundies just on the first lower level. Saw 4x Speckled Wood, 4x Common Blue, 5x Dingy Skippers, 2x Red Admiral, 2x Small Heath, 2x Orange Tip.
Went on to Verdley Wood, Henly, Midhurst, where we saw over 40 Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 3x Broad Bodied Chaser (photos above). (Steve Morgan)

News for Wednesday 4 May: Visited Malling Down Nature Reserve as part of my itinerary to see all the British butterflies during this season. My original target species for the visit were the Brown Argus, Green Hairstreak and Wall Brown. However I had already seen the Green Hairstreak (Hutchinson's Bank, New Addington on 19 April) and it had become apparent that butterflies were emerging several weeks earlier this year due to the exceptionally favourable spring weather conditions for butterflies. Therefore, buoyed by the evidence of sightings already posted on BC websites, I was hopeful of adding some of the chalk grassland blues to my list of sightings. I was not to be disappointed and by the end of the visit my count for the season had increased by 4 to a total of 21 species.
A total of 16 different butterflies were seen on my visit to Malling Down as follows: 7 Common Blue, 3 Brown Argus, 1 Small Blue, 10 Adonis Blue, 2 Red Admiral, 3 Small Heath, 9 Small Copper, 9 Dingy Skipper, 2 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Brimstone, 1 Small White, 1 Orange Tip, 3 Speckled Wood,1 Wall Brown, 1 Peacock and 1 Large White.
Most of these sightings were made near the bottom of the south facing slopes within the northern coombe. I have not visited this wonderful place before but it was apparent on my visit that a great deal of woodland and scrub had recently been cleared from the bottom of the southern coombe, and, indeed, at the time of my visit there were three workers from the Sussex Wildlife Trust strimming off the scrub (mostly hawthorn) from the southern slopes overlooking the allotments at the western end of the main coombe.
I had not seen a Wall Brown since I was a school boy. Even a more scientific approach to finding butterflies, adopted since I renewed my interest five years ago in things Aurelian, had not been rewarded with a sighting, so it was frustrating that at Malling Down I had only a fleeting glimpse of the elusive butterfly on the wing before it disappeared into a nearby street at the bottom entrance to the reserve.
Next stop Mill Hill Nature Reserve in the hope of getting a better sighting of the Wall Brown. It was not long before I had a really good sighting of the butterfly at rest on a gravelly piece of ground just below the top car park. In total I had six sightings of the butterfly during the course of a two hour walk and since they were made at fairly widely spaced locations around the reserve I doubt whether I had repeat sightings of the same butterfly.
A total of 11 different butterflies were seen on my visit to Mill Hill as follows: 6 Wall Brown, 4 Small Heath, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small Copper, 16 Adonis Blue, 2 Brimstone, 1 Small White, 3 Grizzled Skippers, 9 Dingy Skippers, 2 Speckled Wood and 1 Brown Argus.
Unfortunately my luck ran out at the end of the day as a visit to Rewell Wood to see Pearl Bordered Fritillaries ended in failure, although much to my surprise I saw a solitary Duke of Burgundy and a Common Blue in the glade close by Yew Tree Gate. The lack of PBF was probably a result of a noticeable drop in air temperature by the time I reached the site which was at around 5.30pm.
Note: my first sightings (Brimstone & Peacock) were reported to BC Sussex on 8 February. It already seems a long time ago. (Richard Stone)

News for Sunday 1 May: After so many reports of the Green Hairstreak elsewhere, I have been disappointed by the absence of any records for this species in the Butterfly Haven at Dorothy Stringer. If you are a regular reader of this sightings page or indeed if you have received a copy of the Annual report, you will know that a Green Hairstreak was seen ovipositing on Bird's foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) on 23 May last year. Thus, I was hopeful that we might observe some of her progeny this spring, at the Haven. Despite the warm weather that has lead to so many early sightings elsewhere the Butterfly Haven has been fairly barren of anything other than transient species. However, warm has also meant dry and the number of wild flowers in bloom have been minimal. Over the last two nights we have had rain in Brighton, not a lot but enough to increase relative humidity at ground level, amongst the low growing vegetation and encourage the emergence of a whole host of grasshopper and cricket nymphs that were not to be seen on Friday. It would seem that this has also had a helpful influence on the butterflies because I am delighted to report the observation of a single Green Hairstreak at the Haven today. This individual seemed fairly sedentary and unlike the female observed last year seemed intent on remaining on site. It was also fairly fresh and I'm convinced that these two observation mean that it emerged on the Haven. Jeramy Thomas believes that most if not all Green Hairstreak pupa spend the winter in ant nests and this spring a number of ant hills have been seen. As it's still early in the season there is ample opportunity to see more Green Hairstreaks in the days to come.
Furthermore, after reading about the sighting of a Small Blue by Martin and Mary Kalaher on their visit to Kithurst Hill on the 28 April, I have been keeping a careful eye on the Butterfly Haven at Dorothy Stringer for the return of this delightful little insect. I try to visit the site daily but did not manage to do so yesterday. However, I'm pleased to say that on my visit today I recorded 7 individuals, some very freshly emerged with wings still a little crinkled at the edges and a pair in copulation, who obligingly allowed me to take multiple photographs. This is a full 14 days earlier than was recorded last year (15 May 2010).
Now I am keeping my finger crossed for the return of the Adonis Blue (photos above). (Dan Danahar)


Wednesday 4 May 2011

On a short walk on the sheltered south facing banks of Bevendean Down this afternoon I saw 5 Adonis, 3 Common Blue, 2 Brown Argus, 1 Small Blue, 2 Grizzled Skippers, numerous Dingy Skippers, 3 Speckled Wood, 2 Green-veined White, 1 Small White, 4 Large White, 2 Orange Tip and several Small Heath, also there were day flying moths including Burnet Companion and Grass-veneer. In my nearby garden it has been the best spring for Orange Tip for many years also Holly Blue and Speckled Wood are doing well. (Geoff Stevens)

News for Tuesday 3 May: Abbots Wood: I have been enjoying the Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (and nightingales) in Abbots Wood for several days. I noticed that they had spread to nearby rides and clearings but today found two on the furthest SW ride and then several along other rides and clearings quite some distance from their 'home ride'. There was a stiff NE wind  maybe this was spreading them out? On 1 May I counted 30 Pbf in the 'home ride' before I stopped because they were 'everywhere' and I thought I might be double counting some. (Susan Suleski)

News for Sunday 24 April: Thanks to Neil's excellent butterfly tour skills I was able to photograph all of the above species at Rewell Wood and Heyshott downs on Sunday 24 April. PBF only seen at Rewell. (Dan Danahar)


Tuesday 3 May 2011

I was joined today on our reserve at Rowland Wood by the hard working Brighton Conservation Volunteers team. It's always a pleasure to have these folk on the reserve - and we always get a full day's work out of them! Today was no exception and they scoured the reserve for any unwanted debris from the previous owners and squeezed it into a skip. The place looks a lot tidier thanks to the BCV. Also seen on the reserve today Pearl-bordered Fritilary, Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak and an emerging Cream-spot tiger (photos above). (Michael Blencowe)

A very pleasant stroll around my patch today with Steve and Maggie East produced some great sightings despite the steady breeze blowing again. Highlights were 12 Wall Brown inc 2 females. The first Adonis Blues (above, left) on Greenway Bank. Lots of Green Hairstreak, Dingy and Grizzled Skipper, Holly Blue and some smart Brown Argus. In total 19 species seen as well as several Broad Bodied Chaser and 2 Beautiful Demoiselle (above, right). We also saved a sheep and a beetle that had both ended up on their backs!! (Bob Eade)

Steyning Downland Scheme: Dingy Skipper (top left), Green Hairstreak (top right), Wall Brown (bottom). (Pete Varkala)

Seen today around Plumpton.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ360165.
2 Orange Tips @ TQ355165.
1 Speckled Wood @ TQ361164. (Jon Wood)

News for Monday 2 May: On Monday I spent the day at Rewell Wood hoping to find Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Thanks to Richard Roebuck (who emailed me directions) and to Colin Knight (who showed me where they were), I was not disappointed. I saw such a lot of them that I lost count. I mostly stayed by the edge of the main path next to a patch of Bugle (SU 98794 08251). It was like Charing Cross Station there with PBFs flying past in all directions (while there I also saw a Brimstone and a Grizzled Skipper). It is really hard for me to guess at PBF numbers as individual butterflies might have been hunting around and returning. There were females feeding on the Bugle and several males were trying their best to interest them in a spot of hanky panky. I didnt quite get the photos I was after as all but one of the butterflies I found were in some way battered, notched, worn and torn but I thought you might be interested to see some photos of the frenetic attempts at mating by the males. I dont know if you will be able to see from these small uploads but the female has her abdomen well up in the air and was rapidly fluttering her wings. The male, on the other hand, had his abdomen turned down all ready for action. The portrait shot shows the female being regaled by not one but two males. Now cmon on fellas, were British! (photos above) (Sherie New)


Monday 2 May 2011

Despite the windy conditions, several Duke of Burgundy were on view at Heyshott Down this morning. Other species observed were Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Orange Tip and Brimstone. Photographic highlight of the day was provided by a pair of mating Dingy Skippers (above). (Paul Cox)

I spent the entire bank holiday sitting in my back yard drinking Harveys. Considering our backyard is entirely concreted over and there is no vegetation whatsoever I wasn't expecting much butterfly interest - so I was amazed to see a Dingy Skipper flying around a large clay urn in the corner of the yard. When I investigated it turned out that there were five Dingy Skippers in an area the size of about a metre square fighting for this territory. I've seen other Dingys off the Downs recently - it seems that good numbers on the Downs are pushing some individuals into less than suitable habitats in search of territories. Things must be good for them this year if a cracked urn in my back yard is worth fighting over. (Michael Blencowe)

Although it was a bit breezy today I thought I would make the most of the sunshine and take a trip out to Kithurst Hill and Rewell Woods with my friend Stewart.
After parking the car, we made our way across the entrance road, then down the path towards the field along which there were a mass of cowslips blowing in the wind and further on a patch of Dog's Mercury. Once in the field we walked down to the north west corner looking for Duke of Burgundies. However, on this occasion we were not lucky enough to see any but we were rewarded almost immediately on looking at the hedgerow, spotting a ladybird on some clematis, followed by a Green Hairstreak, which accommodatingly alighted on some dogwood and posed for the camera long enough for me to get several shots. Then we saw the first of several Small Blue butterflies, as well as a Small White and an Orange Tip. The Small Blues were being buffered by the wind so were flying to the ground and rubbing their wings together before stretching them out to catch the warmth of the sun. We must have seen at least seven of these small beauties as we made our way along the path by the hedgerow.
Stewart spotted the last of the species we encountered at Kithurst Hill  a Speckled Wood  before we departed for lunch at the Black Horse pub near Amberley. After lunch we drove to Rewell Woods in search of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries which neither of us had seen before. On our way up to the woods we spotted a Brimstone and more Orange Tips. We climbed the steep bridle path up into an area of coppiced woodland and did not have to wait long before we caught our first glimpse of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary flying along the ride path adjacent to the mass of bluebells swaying in the wind and some Yellow Pimpernel scattered in clumps in amongst blue haze along the centre of the ride path. There were many bumble bees flying from flower to flower too, including Bombus terrestris, Bombus lucorum, and Bombus lapidarius. A narrower path broke off from the main ride and we walked gingerly along it and stopped about half way along to wait for more of the Pearly delights to glide in and out of the saplings and bluebells. They flitted in and out of the coppiced area occasionally stopping to nectar or soak up the sun before flying off into the mass of blue heady scented air. After sampling the delights of these aerial flights we traced our way back to the main ride path and continued along into the next coppiced area. There much fewer bluebells present here but there were large clumps of Bugle with the odd violet peaking out. A couple of bumblebees nectaring on the Bugle caught our eye, and while we were observing these wonderful buzzing pollinators, a Pearl-bordered Fritillary flew down on an adjacent Bugle flower, followed by three more. They were most obliging, perching quietly for several minutes, so that the Butterfly Paparazzi, (Stewart and myself), could take some shots of them in all their glory. We then headed back to the car after having a perfect afternoons butterfly watching (photos above). (Barbara Woods)

Seen today while botanical survey in Chailey. 1 Speckled Wood @ TQ396181. 1 Green-veined White, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Brimstone @ TQ397181 in small woodland glade. (Jon Wood)

We today visited a site north of Tarring Neville near Newhaven in tetrad TQ40M as part of the ongoing atlas work. Although it is a remote location, it was the only place we could think of that was sheltered from the strong wind. We were there from about 11.30 until 16.50 and were astonished by the diversity of Lepidoptera we found, as follows. Butterflies (18 species, 396 individuals): Grizzled Skipper (30), Dingy Skipper (185), Large White, Small White (7), Green-veined White (4), Orange-tip (4), Green Hairstreak (15), Small Copper (38), Small Blue (2), Brown Argus (62), Common Blue (8), Adonis Blue (2), Red Admiral (5), Peacock (2), Comma, Speckled Wood (3), Wall, Small Heath (23). Moths (19 species): Adela reamurella (7), Tinea semifulvella, Epiblema uddmanniana (Bramble-shoot Moth) larval tents (present in high numbers), Epiblema scutulana, Cydia ulicetana (c.50), Pyrausta despicata, Pyrausta nigrata, Lackey larval webs (2 - c.80 larvae), Common Carpet (21), Green Carpet, Lesser Treble-bar, Brimstone Moth (2), Common Heath (5), Cinnabar (5), Shuttle-shaped Dart, Silver Y, Mother Shipton (2), Burnet Companion, and Small Purple-barred (5). A remarkable day's work. (David Harris & Steven Teale)

During a walk today Orange Tip seen on Cuckoo Trail about 1 mile south of Horam and Speckled Woods where trail meets Horam (photos above). (Graham Mepham)

A sunny but windy day in Brighton today. A walk over Wild Park LNR with Jay Clifton & Heather Smith produced Speckled Woods (4) Small White (2) Large White (1) Green Hairstreak (1) Small Copper (2) and Brown Argus (1) (Temp 15°C). At the Butterfly Haven the majority of the Small Blues (7 in total) were hiding in the rank grassland a the bottom of the reserve, trying to thermoregulate, although some were seen higher up in the banks of the reserve (Temp 16°C). Neil Hulme discovered a female Green Hairstreak and she was ovipositing on Lotus corniculatus, confirming that this species seems now to be established at the Butterfly Haven (photos above). (Dan Danahar)

Visited Mill Hill for second Monday in a row and was not disappointed. Saw my first ever Green Hairstreak (1) - what a fantastic little butterfly (so hard to spot though), and my first Wall Browns (4). Lots of Adonis Blues (all males ), and Dingy Skippers (but too many to count), Small Heath (3), Green-veined White (1), Grizzled Skipper (4), and Speckled Wood (1) (photos above). (Leigh Prevost)

News for Sunday 1 May: An interesting walk around Abbots Wood early morning on Sunday produced 20+ Pearl-bordered Fritillaries feeding on bugle, 1 Large White, 3 Green Hairstreaks and 5+ Speckled Woods. (Kerry Baldwin)

Walking up the East side of Ferring Rife from the beach car park to Ferring Country Centre and then down the west side, skirting around one copse and into the flood lagoons, between 1pm and 2:15pm, spotted 23 Whites (of which at least 5 were Small Whites), 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 3 Red Admirals, 3 male Orange Tips, 5 Holly Blues (at least 2 were female), and 2 Speckled Woods. (Colin Knaggs)


Sunday 1 May 2011

Quite a bit of time spent over the last 2 days on Frog Firle. The wind however has not helped blowing straight onto the site, today especially. However there has still been plenty of activity with over 30 Green Hairstreak showing, several Wall inc. 5 along The Comp. Orange Tip are showing in greater numbers than usual this year on Frog Firle. Today I found 2 females together both laying on what I believe maybe Hedge Mustard. On searching the plant eggs also found. Common Blue and Brown Argus also now just emerging. Grizzled and Dingy Skipper having another superb year here. 18 species seen over the 2 days (photos above). (Bob Eade)

Saw my first Wall Brown this year sunning itself on chalk path early this morning while doing BTO Atlas fieldwork at Rodmell (Mill Hill) TQ 411053. (David West)

Enjoyed a sunny, blustery cliff-top walk Sun. morning on the downs at Whitebread Hollow and Cow Gap finding 4 Small Coppers, several Small Whites, 5 Small Heaths and plenty of Dingy Skippers busy pairing up or seeing off the opposition. Michael asked me to explore east into TV6096 which has to be said is mainly sea (!) but I did see a couple of Dingy Skippers on ground foliage at the "Sugar Lump". Also checked out another new tetrad TV 6098 mainly town/built-up area but found Holly Blues, Small Whites, Speckled Woods and Orange Tips in Gildredge Park.
Slightly off-piste but I think this is a White Helleborine (above) on the downland just opposite my house - beautiful! ( Anna Grist )

Spent two hours on Mill Hill on Sunday afternoon, rather windy, saw plenty of butterflies including, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Small Copper, Small Heath, Brimstone, Peacock, Adonis Blue, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstrek, Holy Blues. (Alec Trusler)

Visit to Castle Hill NR Woddingdean today. This site seems rather neglected in reports so thought I would correct the situation somewhat. Dingy Skippers everywhere in substantial numbers, Grizzleds also present. Species and numbers seen:
Dingy Skippers x circa 150
Grizzled Skippers x 11
Small Copper x 10
Peacock x 5
Small Heath x 5
Brown Argus x 3
Common Blue x 2
Green Hairstreak x 2
Speckled Wood x 2
Wall Brown x 1
Small Tortoiseshell x 1
Unidentified Whites a few
Cinnabar Moth x 1
Burnet Companion Moth ( I think ) x 1
(Mark Senior)

On a cool breezy day, the Adonis Blues were emerging from the herbs as I strolled along my 1.2 acre transect on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. In 25 minutes I recorded 31 (including four females) and as I waited about eight minutes for the Small Copper to appear, another nine fluttered by. The other butterflies recorded on the transect were one male Orange-tip, six Brimstones, 21 Dingy Skippers, eight Grizzled Skippers, six Green-veined Whites, two Green Hairstreaks (the most I have seen in a day), three Peacocks, five Small Heaths, and two Wall Browns at the southern end. A half a dozen Treble-bar Moths were counted, some of them hiding amongst the new growths of Privet. On the rest of Mill Hill, I recorded four Holly Blues, two more Dingy Skippers, two strong flying Brimstones, two more Wall Browns leaving Mill Hill and fluttering over Old Erringham pasture, five Speckled Woods in amongst the Hawthorn, a courting pair of Adonis Blues, two Green-veined Whites that obliged me by remaining still for a few seconds each, and one Red Admiral. Fourteen butterfly species on Mill Hill. (Andy Horton)

I went to the Pagham area today to hunt for Orange Tips. I was a bit disappointed to be honest because I visited four different sites and only found OTs at one of them (and one en route between two sites). The site that came up trumps was at the Pagham Harbour visitor centre which is a very popular place to go so I expect OTs have already been recorded there. Here is the full count for the day (numbers recorded of each species are in brackets):
Orange Tip:
SZ 85722 96635 (8)
SZ 86624 95321 (1)
Red Admiral:
SU 87241 02880 (1)
SU 86342 02568 (1)
SU 86538 02315 (1)
Green-veined White:
SU 87159 03206 (2)
SU 87312 03089 (1)
SU 86911 03448 (1)
SZ 85722 96635 (7)
Speckled Wood:
SU 87145 03218 (1)
SU 87141 03226 (1)
SU 87312 03089 (1)
The best sites were Pagham Visitor ctr for GV White and OT and Ivy Lake for GV White and Speckled Wood. Apart from one rather stressed looking Red Admiral fighting the wind to reach the refuge of some large trees, I found no butterflies at all along the Hunston to Chichester canal but the wind was getting stronger so maybe that accounts for it? By the time I got to North Wall it was too late to go inland as Id planned and the weather had closed in to boot so it is not surprising I found no butterflies out. It could be worth a second look in both these areas. (Sherie New)


Earlier Sightings

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