Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Friday 28 December 2012

Despite the mild weather, I was shocked to find 33 healthy Large White larvae on my purple broccoli. Seem to be around 2nd to 3rd moult. Would the eggs have been dormant during the previous frosty weather and are they likely to have escaped parasites? They are now safely housed in the greenhouse while this mild weather continues. (Bob Coleman, Eastbourne)

Friday 21 December 2012

A smart Red Admiral was flying strongly in our Worthing garden this afternoon... our first for two months! (John & Shena Maskell)

1 Red Admiral seen flying and settling at base of wall to sun itself, in hastings close, polegate 12.35pm.
Also, on Wednesday 5 December 2012 I found this Speckled Wood larva hung up for pupation on doorbell (above), temp -5°C. Friday 7 December larva had pupated. So on Monday 10 December I collected pupa, and put in container with one Elephant and two Privet Hawkmoth pupae. (Peter Farrant)

Thursday 20 December 2012

We do not have to go to distant climes to see what wonders we have around us, if we take pictures of them and enjoy them as we watch them, when the time comes we can always look through these picture and be reminded of their beauty during these wet days. These pictures are but a few of the wonderful butterflies in Sussex. My wife and I actually live in Hampshire but are members of the Sussex Branch and take holidays in Seaford as it so easy to get to the butterfly sites from there. (Pat and Peter Gardner)

Tuesday 18 December 2012

I was inspired by Andrew Burns to take my first ever Butterfly trip this year and went to St Gervais (round the corner from Chamonix) in the French Alps in the last week of June.
I thought I was perhaps a little early in the season for an Alpine area however I knocked up about 42 species familiar and unfamiliar and moths such as Bee Hawks and Hummingbird Hawks. As you can imagine it was heavily forested but I spent a lot of time on various ski slopes which were a mass of beautiful flowers with lots of butterflies and other insects. So some of the highlights of many were 3 pairs of mating Large Blues all next to each other, some stood on ticks incidentally, and a glorious dark False Heath Fritillary. Chequered Skippers in woodland glades and absolutely stunning Purple-shot Coppers that a photo can never do justice. Black-veined Whites and Black-veined Moths on the wing together and so approachable. I walked high up in mountains (even parachuted off one of them) and found loads of Dewy Ringlets at 2525 m on Mont Joly a most unlikely windswept habitat. Incidentally even up here there were Small Tortoiseshells nectaring on thyme and they were common everywhere. I only found one patch of nettles at the top of a ski slope infested with caterpillars - I didn't however see Peacocks or Red Admirals and only the odd Comma. The amazing thing about the mountain environment is that you had a sort of seasonal overlap of species so I saw Swallowtails, Small, Silver-studded and Mazarine Blues, Dingys, Grizzled Skippers spp, Clouded Yellows, Silver-washed, Q of S, Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, all the Whites etc. etc. all in close proximity. Fantastic, Lastly on a slightly different note I saw my first ever Butterfly-lion Ascalaphus libelluloides, these are amazing insects with yellow or blue wings and hunt a bit like dragonflies but at a slower pace, fascinating creatures. I managed to get a picture of one backlit by the sun. Overall a fabulous and beautiful place to visit especially when no one is skiing and you like walking up mountains. (Richard Roebuck)

Monday 17 December 2012

A perfect condition Red Admiral in the garden enjoying the winter sunshine at 9:30am. The Avenue, Lewes TQ4114 1018 (Louise Holloway)

A Red Admiral in flight and then basking in sun on the wall of the Chequer Mead Theatre in East Grinstead at 12.30. (Paul Clark)

Sunday 16 December 2012

With December half gone and Christmas only just over a week away, it's definitely time to ease those winter blues with some butterfly photos. If you have any reports and photos from exotic destinations that you think would brighten the gloom and that we would like to see, please send them to the usual address.

First off the mark is this set of photos from Sunny Beach which is near Nessebar in Bulgaria taken by Nick Linazasoro back in August, thanks Nick. Oh, and please send any positive identifications (or corrections) to sighting@sussex-butterflies.org.uk too. (ed.)

Wednesday 12 December 2012

It's great to see so much habitat management going on across Sussex... work parties everywhere! Heyshott Escarpment looked spectacular this morning, blanketed in a heavy hoar frost that persisted all day. However, the biting cold did not deter the hardy volunteers of the Murray Downland Trust and BC Sussex, and another old chalk pit was cleared of scrub. Thanks to all that attended. (Neil Hulme)

Tuesday 11 December 2012

A big thank you to the team from the Brighton Conservation Volunteers who came to Rowland Wood today to help out with the ongoing habitat restoration work here. Mike Fearne led his merry band of volunteers as they continued the brash burning that the Sussex BC members started on Sunday. And they certainly needed a fire in there today to warm them up - it was frosty! The BCV asssist us with a number of volunteer work parties on our reserve throughout the year - we're always very thankful for their help and hard work. (Michael Blencowe)

Sunday 9 December 2012

A surprisingly mild day for the work party this Sunday - but we still lit a few bonfires to make sure we were kept warm. Today's task was to continue burning the pine brash left after this years felling work. After a very helpful health and safety talk (thanks Jim) with some very tasty mince pies (thanks Keith) we got on with dragging and burning. I put some more potatoes in the fire and everyone had a hot spud for lunch. At the end of the session we had cleared this ride of brash and ensured that the woodland floor is open for all those lovely violets next year. Thanks to all who came along - the next work party will be on the second sunday of the new year. Thanks to Dave, Alan, Jim, Colin, Carole, Theresa, Sherie, Roger, Dave, Bob, Graham, Peter, Paul, Carol, Nigel and Keith for all their help. (Michael Blencowe)

Saturday 8 December 2012

On Saturday volunteers from The Murray Downland Trust, Veolia, Brighton & Hove City Councils Parks Department, Butterfly Conservation and parents & staff from Dorothy Stringer School descended on the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven to help maintain the site, renowned for its remarkable butterfly populations. The volunteers worked fantastically hard to reduce and remove the excessive plant growth, produced during the 2012 growing season. It is hoped that a visit from the sheep in March will help prepare the haven for it's specialist spring butterflies, including; Small Blue and Green Hairstreak.
Big thanks go to all those involved in the day.
(Dan Danahar)

Monday 26 November 2012

About 6 Winter Moths around my lights here in Edburton this evening  possibly the last moths for a while as the cold weather sets in. Regarding Crispin's comment about Harlequin Ladybirds, I've also noticed an almost complete lack of them this autumn when I usually get up to 800 swarming over the house on warm October days. It will be interesting to see whether many emerge from hibermation in the spring  usually I have to remove about 30 a day from my bedrooms from March  May! (Tony Wilson)

Saturday 24 November 2012

After the officialdom of the AGM was completed, Nigel Symington, our new branch Chairman, duly opened proceedings in a very efficient manner, leaving the membership with no doubt that the Sussex branch remains in good hands. In a rather smart, black, three piece number, Dr Dan Hoare kicked off the talks with 'Dukes on the Edge - Saving the Duke of Burgundy in Sussex'; a presentation I have heard on several occasions in the past though one from which I always glean something new. A short break and raffle followed, where I was really pleased to see Phil Everitt win first prize; a series of framed butterfly prints which had been donated to the branch. Phil commented on how butterflies had touched his life, particularly through a period of serious ill health; a lesson to be learnt maybe. Our very own 'Award Winning' and stylishly dressed, Dr Dan Danahar followed, giving an inspirational and warming account of his personal quest to see 50 species of butterfly in the UK in his 50th year; and he did it, just, with a last minute dash to Cumbria where the beautiful Scotch Argus completed his adventure. An almost unrecognisable Michael Blencowe, our resident speaker, comedian, and all round good bloke, concluded, by talking about the highs and lows of the 2012 butterfly season in Sussex; sadly with far more more lows than highs. Not that inter branch rivalry occurs (that would be childish) but as Michael proudly pointed out, a Chalkhill Blue site count high of 1000 in Hampshire was followed by one of 825,000 in Sussex; one couldn't help a feeling of smugness. You never quite know what coming next with Michael and, with THE END of Michael's speech coming in the middle, everyone was in tears of laughter. A pleasant way to spend a very wet afternoon (Mark Colvin)

Put our Christmas tree up last night to get the kids in the mood! But obviously dad had some influence as to what it was finished with!
(Nick Linazasoro)

Friday 23 November 2012

Crawley Down - After the gales and deluge of recent days, just 1 Red Admiral feeding in the garden today in weak sunshine. (Jonathan Ruff)

News for Friday 9 November: A Speckled Wood seen in my front garden at 13.20 today. Lovely to see but this seems quite a late sighting. Grid ref is TQ327195. (Pearl Carter)

Thursday 22 November 2012

Returning from a walk a Red Admiral flying around the Close trying to escape the Seaford wind!! A Beautiful Plume has been in the house for the last couple of days. (Bob Eade)

Sunday 18 November 2012

On Sunday morning in glorious sunshine we went for a walk from Seaford through Tidemills to Newhaven Harbour to look for Purple Sandpipers under the pier on the eastern side of the harbour. Whilst we were on the pier we found a Speckled Wood butterfly in very good condition resting in the sun on one of the concrete beams near the top of the pier - not a place we would have expected to see this butterfly at any time let alone this time of the year (John East)

Red Admiral seen basking on a south facing wall in Kingston near Lewes (TQ39152 08629) Fieldfares calling and a very late grasshopper chirping and hopping around. Strange combination of summer insects and winter birds!
I have not noticed any influx of Harlequin Ladybirds this autumn (hardly any at all in 2012)  all previous Octobers since 2006 there has been massive influx, but not this year? Last heard a Brown Bush Cricket 15 November. (Crispin Holloway)

News for Wednesday 13 November: Speckled Wood and Red Admiral seen in Kingston near Lewes (TQ39152 08629). (Louise Holloway)

I saw a single of both Red Admiral and Peacock at Pagham North Wall yesterday while waiting for the Hooded Merganser to not turn up! (Dave Pearson, Winchester)

After a frosty start Sunday was nice and warm and at Shoreham Beach shingle reserve temperature was 12 degrees C with lovely warm sunshine. Insect life was surprisingly busy with the following seen, garden ants, male wasps nectaring, grasshopper stridulating, Seven-spot Ladybird, hover-flies, Buff-tale Bumble Bees, male Common Darter, Silver Y (2) Angle Shades moth 1, unidentified micros (2), Wall Lizards (mainly young ones 80+). Large White caterpillars 8, various instars on one remaining patch of sea kale. I also saw several <1 cm long hairy caterpillars normally on the kale But found one on a mallow - I think they may be an overwintering early instar as I have seen many before of exactly the same size over the past few months on Sea Kale. it seems rather distinctive, maybe someone knows what it is? A large patch of the Hot n Tot fig, is a reminder of the relatively mild climate at this habitat. I hoped I would see a Red Admiral on the wing but alas no. (Richard Roebuck)

Friends of Bevendean Down met today to do their favourite annual bit for keeping down the fertility of the chalk grassland they help manage on Brighton's northerly urban fringe, scraping up some of the sheep poo left after the residency of the Brighton Grazing Project flock. We were joined by people from the Bevendean Community Garden so fifteen of us had a sociable time (and some very nice carrot cake) in the sunshine and collected 24 bags of sheep poo which will be added to the Community Garden compost bins, leading to better crops for them next year. The younger members of the groups did the important job of counting the bags as they were loaded into the truck to be taken down the hill to the garden. As we left the site we had the satisfaction of a fly by from a Red Admiral, not a specialist chalk grassland species but it was a nice end to the workday. (Tessa Pawsey, bevendeandown.wordpress.com)

I was walking with Indi, Dan and the dogs today in Stanmer Great wood, when I spotted a Red Admiral gently fluttering amidst the autumn Beech litter. Dan was very pleased that I had noticed it and very beautiful it was too! (Libby Danahar)

We had a Red Admiral nectaring on ivy flowers and a Comma sunning itself on the wall in the garden at lunchtime today. (Bob Foreman, Lindfield)

Just 3 Red Admirals in the garden today. The first 2 were nectaring at 9.30 in the morning, in bright sunshine, but when ambient temperature was only about 4 deg C. (Jonathan Ruff)

Saturday 17 November 2012

On Saturday I attended the BC National AGM and Members Day at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel, together with Nigel Symington, Dan Danahar, Colin Knight and Bob Foreman from Sussex. I always enjoy these events as they provide a welcome opportunity to catch up with BC staff and volunteers, many of whom have become good friends over the years. David Dennis (Chair of BC) and Bill Bacon (Chair of East Midlands Branch) both did a fantastic job in providing us with a highly entertaining day, with the support of a great many local branch members and Manor Yard staff. As always the talks were fantastic, but a highlight for me is always the period put aside to recognise the contribution made by branch volunteers, all of which have given huge amounts of time to the cause, often over much of their adult lifetime. This year the Role of Honour included David Redhead, Dr Bernard Watts, Dr Guy Meredith, Steven Palmer and Gordon Mackie. Recipients of the Marsh Christian Trust Awards included Patrick Barkham, Dr Phil Sterling and Prof Christer Wiklund. However, the proudest moment for us was seeing a much-deserved Outstanding Volunteer Award go to Bob Foreman of the Sussex Branch (far left). Much of Bob's work goes on behind the scenes, and with great modesty, but the branch could not have grown so rapidly in recent years without his huge contribution. I am sure you will all join us in congratulating Bob, and thanking him for all he has done for BC Sussex. (Neil Hulme & Committee)

There was a nice male Brimstone at the base of Edburton Hill late morning today (Tony Wilson)

Wednesday 13 November 2012

At the weekly work party at Heyshott Escarpment I was delighted to see a male Brimstone fluttering high amongst the canopy of some magnificent beech trees. The colour combination of lemon and burnished copper was as spectacular as anything Ive seen all season. Thanks to all that attended. (Neil Hulme)

Garden butterfly numbers going up here, thanks to the recent good weather. Today at least 5 Red Admirals and 1 Comma on the buddleias in unbroken sunshine, and one even nectared for a while on the viburnum. (Jonathan Ruff)

Tuesday 13 November 2012

At about midday today a female Brimstone was flying around an area of coppice in the centre of RSPB Broadwater Warren. It was quite warm at the time and the coppice was bathed in sunshine. (Alan Loweth)

Sunday 11 November 2012

Small Tortoiseshell around our East Dean garden (TV562984), all day whilst the sun shone, mostly nectaring on Red Valerian. We left the garage open but it was not interested! (David Jode)

It was one of those perfect autumn days. No breeze, blue skies and the trees looked fantastic in their many shades of yellow and orange. Whatever chill there was in the air was soon dispelled by the whopping great bonfire we lit in the middle of the wood. I was joined by 20 volunteers yesterday and we set about the task of collecting and burning the pine brash that had been leftover from the pine felling work that has been undertaken by the contractors. Clare successfully lit the fire and soon it was a blazing pine pyre. The team worked hard sawing, dragging and stacking and had soon cleared the area of pine brash. What was even more impressive was my spuds. I attempted my famous bonfire baked jacket potatoes again. It usually takes me a few work parties to perfect them but it appears I haven't lost that ol' baked potato magic - they were perfect! Rowland Wood looks fantastic - you suddenly realise how much more beautiful and natural a woodland looks when you get rid of all those horrible pine trees. At the end of the work party we waited until the embers had died down - and a few people remarked that they really didn't want to leave. Thanks to everyone who came along yesterday - Lucy, Clare, Dave, Richard, Nigel, Phoebe, Tasha, Georgia, Eleanor, Bob, Gary, Mike, Alan, Jim, Keith, Neil, Roy, Andrew and Roger. Next work party will be on the second Sunday in December (Michael Blencowe)

Here are a couple of images showing how beautiful our Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood reserves look at this time of year. It was good to catch up with so many friends at the work party this morning. (Neil Hulme)

Butterflies still visiting the garden on every day that the sun shines. Today, 2 rather worn looking Red Admiral and 1 pristine Comma on garden buddleia. (Jonathan Ruff)

Friday 9 November 2012

Today I joined Paul Day (BC Sussex) and the South Downs National Park 'Friday Club' volunteers for a work party at Rewell Wood. The previous day was spent at another work party, this time at a Pearl-bordered Fritillary site on the Cowdray Estate near Fernhurst. BC was also represented by Dr Dan Hoare, but again the majority of the workforce comprised SDNP volunteers, this time from the Midhurst area. Although we always pay tribute to their valuable input in our Branch Annual Report, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the huge contribution that these volunteers make each year. Thanks to all that attended. (Neil Hulme)

One Red Admiral flying along Lewes High Street in the sunshine - TQ415 101. (Caroline Clarke)

Solitary Painted Lady moving from one of my mahonia bushes to the other and feeding. Sunny but windy. (Jennifer Als, Peasmarsh)

Comma (in fresh looking condition) sunning itself at the southern end of Hove Park at lunchtime. (Darryl Perry)

Three Red Admirals and a Speckled Wood in a sunny, sheltered spot in a Flowers Green garden where I was working this afternoon (14.00). Also two Common Darters at my plot just down the road (Wild Flower Barn). (Mike Mullis)

A bunch of Chrysanthemums have been sat on the windowsill for a week or so. I suddenly I noticed frass started appearing every morning on the window sill. Some very small and some distinctly larger. Anyway after a bit of searching at night I found one possible micro moth caterpillar on some petals and a large fat caterpillar under a flower head. I suspect that the large olive coloured caterpillar could be an Angle Shades? So I have at last found another good reason to buy flowers! (Richard Roebuck)

Tuesday 6 November 2012

2 Red Admiral seen in late morning sunshine at NT Sheffield Park; 1 at TQ4142 and the other at TQ414239. (David Jode)

Monday 5 November 2012

As I went into the potting shed for lunch in the garden where I work as a gardener near Shoreham by Sea a very tatty looking Small Tortoiseshell preceded me and landed on the lawn mower. It sat there in the sunshine and out of the breeze for a good while before flying off again TQ196063. (Tessa Pawsey)

Crawley Down - A sunny day here with light winds brought out 3 Red Admiral and 1 Comma to feed on the garden buddleia. (Jonathan Ruff)

Sunday 4 November 2012

In central Worthing our daughter Cathy spotted a Red Admiral brave enough to emerge, despite the relatively overcast conditions and gusty winds. However next door's cat lunged for it and it may not have escaped. (John Heys)

Saturday 3 November 2012

Solitary Red Admiral flying in bright sunshine along Osborne Road in Brighton today TQ308 066. (Caroline Clarke)

A Red Admiral was resting in the sun on my south facing patio in Seaford this morning at 10 o'clock. (Stuart Ridley)

Friday 2 November 2012

D(ice)ing with death. At 1.15pm today, whilst working in my office at home, the clouds rapidly darkened, the wind picked up speed, and the skies suddenly opened; heavy hail began to fall. Looking out of my window, and with the autumn leaves being blown from the trees, I suddenly became aware that one of the leaves was in fact a Red Admiral; no doubt disturbed from its resting place by the aerial bombardment, I watched intently as it bravely diced with death. I hoped it would find sanctuary under the eaves, though it was swiftly lifted away from the house and out of my line of sight. I almost expected to find its sodden and battered body lying lifeless on my driveway, when I popped out shortly after the downpour; the ice meteors glistening where they littered the ground. I'm glad I didn't and hope refuge from the storm was found. (Mark Colvin)

Thursday 1 November 2012

Butterfly numbers still low here. Today just 3 Red Admirals on yellow buddleia during the sunny spells in between heavy showers. (Jonathan Ruff)

Woodland Management in Brighton & Hove: Following on from their visit to Rowland wood on Monday 3 September 2012, (from left to right) Neil Doyle, Rob Walker and David Larkin (Brighton & Hove City Parks) met with Dan Hoare and myself at Stanmer park, today. Dan very helpfully suggested habitat management practices which may be of help within the city, as well as viewing much of the good work already taking place in the Great Stanmer Wood. Brighton & Hove has a lot of fragmented urban woodland, that has been allowed to mature, unchecked, since the Great Storm of 1987. It's fabulous that the parks department are now looking towards developing this great natural resource, in order to raise local biodiversity. This interest in potential nature conservation gains came out of discussions form the developing UNESCO Biosphere application. (Dan Danahar)

News for Wednesday 31 October: On Wednesday I joined the Murray Downland Trust volunteers at Heyshott Escarpment for the weekly work party. With the assistance of a couple of contractors and machinery, progress has been very rapid this autumn, and the clearance nothing short of spectacular. In addition to the benefits to wildlife, the improvements are also aesthetic and we are creating some spectacular vistas around the reserve. Huge specimen beech trees now stand proud in areas formerly obscured by dense scrub, some perched high on the recently exposed topography. It will be even more of a pleasure walking around the place next spring. (Neil Hulme)

Earlier Sightings

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