Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Tuesday 31 December 2013

The current series of storms we're experiencing in Sussex must surely be the most destructive since the infamous hurricane of 1987. The recent panic about the 'St Jude' storm in October resulted in my recycling bin being blown over however this past week we have lost our garden fence and roof tiles. Sadly over on our Rowland Wood reserve the high winds and powerful gusts have taken their toll on one of the reserve's landmarks. The 'Big Beech' has come crashing down. This tree was one of the oldest trees in the wood but despite its impressive stature it was slowly decaying and was becoming increasingly hollow. Bob Foreman visited the reserve this week to inspect for any storm damage and found the Big Beech and other trees had been blown down by the high winds. (Michael Blencowe)

A check on wind damaged fences proved fruitful yesterday with the discovery of ten final instar Large White caterpillars and five first or second instar Red Admiral larvae in the leeward shelter. (David Harris, Newhaven)


Monday 30 December 2013

Here's something a little different...

I had a Peacock butterfly in the shed on the 2nd of December. I had heard it in there a few days before (but assumed it was mice) and I waited a couple of days for sunshine until i safely relocated it. I live in West Chiltington, Pulborough. (Claire Sell)

...and talking of things different, I think it's about time we had some exotic butterflies to admire, so if you have been away from Sussex this year and have some photos of butterflies and moths that you think others would like to see please send them, together with some accompanying text to the usual address and I'll put them on the site. Ed.


Sunday 29 December 2013

I was surprised to see a lone Small Tortoiseshell flying around in the sunshine at Redhill Drive (a sunny south-facing spot) in Brighton today. (Caroline Clarke)

A Red Admiral flew over Thorney Deeps at 12.28 today, our latest sighting of this species. (Barry and Margaret Collins)


Saturday 28 December 2013

A Red Admiral flying in bright sunshine today at the RSPB's Broadwater Warren near Tunbridge Wells. It came to rest on a pine tree trunk felled by the recent storms. (Steve Wheatley)

Kingston near Lewes (TQ3915 0862) two Red Admiral basking and flying around between 12.15 to 1.15pm. Taking advantage of the short space of time in the day when the sun has sufficient warmth for basking, feeding on fallen apples and activity. Love to know where they roost.
Although not seen together the two individuals were distinctly different and hopefully it will now be possible to identify them in the future from the photos I have taken. Will a third one turn up?
Boxing Day 2004 I remember seeing 4 all together. This is the first December since 2009 that I have recorded any Red Admirals. Will these be the last sightings of 2013? Crispin Holloway)


Boxing Day 2013

Red Admiral seen flying around sheds and apple trees Kingston near Lewes (TQ3915 0862). The lichen on the apple trees are just like the underside of a Red Admiral - perfect camouflage. Previous last sighting 11/12/13, same one? Will it make it through in to 2014? (Crispin Holloway)


Friday 20 December 2013

At around 1pm today a male Brimstone was seen fluttering around ivy at the far corner of the Arundel Wetlands reserve near to the Black Rabbit pub. Definitely my latest or earliest I have ever seen. (Paul Stevens)


Wednesday 18 December 2013

The weather smiled on us this morning at the last Heyshott work party of the year. Neil, Mark and Katrina joined me and we enjoyed Murray Downland Trust hospitality with mulled wine, mince pies and sausages. The next work party will be on Wednesday January 8th (Colin Knight, murraydownlandtrust.blogspot.co.uk)


Monday 16 December 2013

News for Saturday 14 December: A Peacock flew around our conservation work party at RSPB Broadwater Warren today. It might have been attracted by the warmth from our bonfire. (Alan Loweth)


Sunday 15 December 2013

It was great to see so many people helping us planting the trees at Rowland Wood last week - but we only got halfway. This Sunday I called on volunteers to help us finish the job and a team assembled at Rowland Wood and got to work in the shadow of the Big Beech. We grabbed spades, mallets, stakes and sledgehammers and got stuck in. The trees were being planted at an amazing rate and by 11am there were only a few left to go. I still can't work out how the team managed to plant so many so quickly. I must admit I was a bit suspicious when I found a bag of white powder being passed around the group - but Bob assured me it was a chemical used to promote tree growth and not 'Nigella's secret ingredient'. A huge thank you for all those who came today for putting in the extra effort and getting the job done before the rain started! Thanks to Bob, Jo, Robert, John, Dave, Gary, Theresa, Carole, Keith, Ian, Mark, Julie and Malcolm (Michael Blencowe)


Thursday 12 December 2013

News for Wednesday 11 December: We were surprised to see 2 Red Admirals yesterday (Wednesday) while walking at The Burgh above Amberley in warm sunshine. 1 flew along the path next to Canada barn (TQ038111) and the other was just south of that. (Julie and Malcolm Redford)

Notes from a long time ago... I can't remember sending this in, I believe this will be of interest and help. Back on the 27th July 2013 I visited Great Wood at Stanmer Park, Brighton to do a kind of survey of the number of Silver-washed Fritillaries to get a rough idea of their population, I walked the whole stretch of the wood, looking at my notes I saw a total of four individuals. These were seen between TQ33500921 and TQ33700906. Seeing two together in flight, another flying between the trees and another for a brief moment attending Bramble flowers. All seen within the Center of the woods, of note I found it odd to see them active in a more enclosed environment away from the more open southern end of the woods. However this could be to do with the time as it was around early evening and may have started to roost. However I did see one back on the 30th July 2012 feeding on brambles in the south clearing. Another note is the great population of Ringlet as I counted 23 individuals. (Jamie Burston)


Wednesday 11 December 2013

2 Small Tortoiseshell at lunchtime, basking in the December sunshine at the University of Sussex. The two together possibly indicates they were both disturbed from the same hibernating location or there may be many more around. (Crispin Holloway)

Red Admiral basking and feeding on fallen apples, Kingston near Lewes. Previous last sighting 16/11/13. (Louise Holloway)

A sunny day in Seaford and 2 Red Admirals flying over the garden. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

This morning I attended the weekly work party at Heyshott Escarpment, along with another 10 members of the Murray Downland Trust and BC Sussex branch. As always, good progress was made in further improving the habitat for butterflies and other fauna and flora. It was also a chance to collect a little mistletoe for the house; one tree in particular is spectacularly draped in this parasitic plant. A pair of Mistle Thrush left the tree as I approached, probably having gorged themselves on the fruit. Next Wednesday will be the last work party before reconvening on 8th January. Thanks to all who came along. (Neil Hulme)

This morning four BC Sussex members joined the Murray Downland Trust work party at Heyshott escarpment for the weekly work party. Garry, Katrina, Neil and Colin enjoyed the magical winter views on this frosty day. Afterwards we had the satisfaction of seeing another potential site for the Duke of Burgundy cleared. (Colin Knight, murraydownlandtrust.blogspot.co.uk, www.seapic.com)


Monday 9 December 2013

I have news of two recent Red Admiral sightings. We saw one basking on our wall at home on Sunday 8th and I saw a further one on Monday 9th fluttering around in the shop window of an opticians in Newhaven High Street. The receptionist seemed a little perplexed when I offered to rescue it! It flew off searching for a safer and cooler place to hibernate. (Steven Teale)

Pleasantly surprised to see a Red Admiral on the wing as I was fishing on the beach at Pevensey Bay. (Jamie May)

1 Red Admiral flew along Worthing beach this morning; latest sighting I've personally had now by one day! (Ads Bowley)

News for Sunday 8 December: Usually, at our work parties at Rowland Wood, we're cutting down trees but on Sunday we were giving something back. As part of the restocking of a recently felled pine block within the wood we set to work to plant hundreds of sweet chestnut trees. In the future this sweet chestnut block will be coppiced to provide the correct habitats for fritillary butterflies - but that's going to be a good few years off just yet. To get things started the task on Sunday was hammering stakes, planting the trees and protecting them with tree guards. It was a major operation - but luckily I was joined by a team Sussex BC's finest. It wasn't long before the hammering, digging and tying were underway - the teams only stopped for some barbequed venison burgers and samples of some fantastic home baking. At the end of the day we had 350 young trees in the ground. A big thank you to everyone who came along and helped out and it was great to see some new faces joining us too. It was all so enjoyable that we're going to do it all again next Sunday! (see work party notice). Thanks to Ian, Mark, Jim, Nigel, Nigel, Natalie, Chris, Julie, Malcom, Becky, Ashley, Graham, Bob, Alan, Andrew, Keith, Gary, Robert and John. Thanks to Stuart, Carola and Keith for providing the banquet. (Michael Blencowe)


Sunday 8 December 2013

Early this afternoon I was surprised to see a male Brimstone fly across the South Downs Way, as I climbed the slope towards Chanctonbury Ring. This is the latest I have ever seen the species active. (Neil Hulme)

2 Red Admirals still on the wing today along the main path from Burpham up to the Burgh. (Ads Bowley)


Wednesday 4 December 2013

This morning I joined the regular Wednesday work party at Heyshott Escarpment. We had originally intended to assist with the controlled burn of a local heathland site later in the afternoon, but with sufficient helpers on hand we were not needed. This left a few of us free to work until after 3 pm, allowing us to coppice a large area of hazel on the eastern edge of the reserve. This will not only create more habitat for butterflies (and hopefully orchids), but also allow much more sunlight into an established but currently quite shady glade. As is often the case at Heyshott, the conservation work is also bringing aesthetic benefits by opening up lovely new vistas, in this case northwards out over the Weald. Mike Hadley (Murray Downland Trust www.murraydownlandtrust.blogspot.co.uk) and Nigel Symington (BC Sussex) are pictured taking a well-earned rest. (Neil Hulme)

On 2 December I found around 75 Small Tortoishells and a single Peacock hibernating in our local pub in Westfield, near Hastings. The pub had been empty all summer awaiting planning permission for renovation works, so it was fortunate that as soon the builders started taking down the inside walls the owner Philip Newton saw what was about to happen and called me in pronto! The full story of their safe removal is here, and it's so far so good! westfieldwildlife.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/butterfly-rescue. (Ralph Hobbs)


Tuesday 3 December 2013

This afternoon I went walking on the downs around Chanctonbury Ring, parking at Washington and walking up through the disused chalk pits. The briefest of searches located my first Brown Hairstreak eggs of the winter, only a couple of hundred metres from the car park. I've always found them here in previous years, but it usually requires some effort to locate just one or two. Today I found 7 in under five minutes, including 2 pairs. It's too early to draw any conclusions yet, but this does look quite promising for a good 2013 crop. After reaching the Ring I soon found my target for the afternoon, a handsome Great Grey Shrike. (Neil Hulme)


Saturday 30 November 2013

A lone Red Admiral Seen in my Seaford garden this morning (Roy Neeve)


Wednesday 27 November 2013

It was great to see such a strong turnout for the Wednesday work party at Heyshott Escarpment this week, with a dozen participants representing the Murray Downland Trust (murraydownlandtrust.blogspot.co.uk) and BC Sussex. The 'Usual Suspects' were pleased to welcome Katrina and Gary for the first time. (Neil Hulme)

On a day free of butterflies, this moth has turned up on a window. Possibly a white plume(?) although my books suggest it should not be on the wing at this time of year. (Jonathan Ruff, Crawley Down)

I think the report from John Heys (below) should shed some light...

I think the plume moth in the picture above is Amblyptilia Acanthadactila, number 1497 on the UK moth website (or, better still: The Sussex Moth Group website, ed.). It was on the garage door this afternoon when I went to take out the wheelie bin. The moth is a lot smaller than it looks in the picture, which makes the door look a lot dirtier than in normal vision. The front garden has quite a lot of cranesbills, so plenty of food-plants around. (John Heys)

A most unexpected discovery was a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly asleep on my bedroom wall (Shoreham-by-Sea). Sleepily, I cupped in my hand as I did not recognise it as a butterfly at first. Without my spectacles on I thought it must have been a spider and I gave it a nudge. It was then I recognised what it was and took to my small empty plastic aquarium tank in my bathroom. Then the butterfly came to life and flew around the light bulb. I caught it again and by midday the butterfly is resting with its wings closed in the small aquarium. It looked worn but it did not appear to have any obvious damage. (Andy Horton)


Tuesday 26 November 2013

Spotted a single Red Admiral today on my lunchtime walk around the ruins of Lewes Priory. Lively and in good condition, the only frustration was not having my camera with me! (Chris Hooker)


Sunday 24 November 2013

Sunday saw another woodland working day at Coldean Woods, Coldean Lane, Brighton. Further removal of the abundant Ash has revealed good numbers of bolting Elm saplings. So we are hopeful that our continued efforts will benefit, spring butterflies and both the White-letter and Purple Hairstreaks, along the ride we are currently working on. Our numbers are small, mostly neighbours but we are making steady progress. We also benefit from keeping the wood that we cut, for our wood burning stoves.
If you are interested in helping our group, our next meeting is from 10.30 until 14.00 hrs, on Sunday 8 December 2013, meeting at TQ 3340 0858 in the woods. On this day we plan to construct a dead hedge to maintain the perimeter of the woodlands because of the removal of recently infected Elms. Park up on Coldean Lane near Forest Road and cross the road into the woods. We will be easily seen.
Sorry, wood for fires can only be given to residents of Coldean because of the risk of spreading Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea). (Dan Danahar)


Saturday 23 November 2013

A Red Admiral flying along Seaford seafront around 2pm followed closely by a brass monkey!! (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

Just one Red Admiral in good condition on the garden buddleias in the morning sunshine today. (Jonathan Ruff, Crawley Down)

A Red Admiral and a Peacock on the wing at Southwick Tennis Club, 1.30pm. (Steve Gilbert)


Tuesday 19 November 2013

One Red Admiral flying N over the harbour at Nutbourne Marshes. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

I treated your question about whether Saturday's pictures would be the last butterfly photos of the year as a challenge, so today this single Red Admiral was snapped feeding on garden buddleia and basking in the brief sunny periods. Temperature only 5deg C. I think there have been some local emergences recently. I think there is more scope for garden sightings this year, provided the snow stays away. (Jonathan Ruff, Crawley Down)


Saturday 16 November 2013

I attended the BC AGM at Swindon on Saturday and as usual thoroughly enjoyed it. There were excellent speakers covering a variety of subjects: http://butterfly-conservation.org/files/agm-flyer-final.pdf. The keynote speaker gave a fascinating account of bat and moth wars and described how counter measures are an ancient practice. It was great to see Neil Hulme, one of our conservation gurus, receive awards from two organizations: Butterfly Conservation presented him with an Outstanding Volunteer Award and UKButterflies gave him the "2013 UK Butterflies Outstanding Contribution Award". Next year the National AGM will be in Suffolk. (Colin Knight)

News for Thursday 5 September: Mid afternoon a Convolvulus Hawk-moth was found resting on an outside light. Very close inspection (tape measure and camera in hand) did not seem to bother it and it only flew off a couple of hours later. At the same time a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was seen visiting the honeysuckle and bed-straw and stayed around for several hours. Also seen in adjacent field/woodland: several Clouded Yellows, one Painted Lady, huge number of various white butterflies, 5 newly hatched Speckled Woods, and 9+ Small Tortoiseshells. (Ann Spencer)

I wonder if these will be the last butterfly photos of 2013? ed.

Sighting of Red Admiral 10:30am on Saturday in Rottingdean, Brighton. (Benjamin Herbert)

1 battered but feisty Red Admirall basking in the sun in the grounds of Lewes Priory today. (Chris Hooker)

On a bright and sunny Saturday morning a Red Admiral flew around my Seaford garden before moving on. (Stuart Ridley)

Crawley Down - 1 Comma and 3 Red Admirals feeding on buddleia and occasionally viburnum. All were in very good condition, suggesting recent emergence. Each Red Admiral arrived individually, nectared for a while then moved on while the Comma was resident most of the daylight hours. This Red Admiral count is higher than for any day last summer in this garden. (Jonathan Ruff)

I was pleased to be able to show Nigel and Carol Kemp a Red Admiral in the garden today. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

One Red Admiral soaking up the sun at Goring Beach today. (Katrina Watson)

Saw a Red Admiral lazily flying around near a stream in Princes Park, Eastbourne. (Jamie May)

A Comma spent much of this morning sun bathing on the roof of the house, occasionally gliding down to nectar on ivy flowers before returning to its perch. (Bob Foreman, Lindfield)


Friday 15 November 2013

After enjoying the views of Pagham Harbour and the various waterfowl, Mark Colvin spotted a butterfly flying in the shade at the top of a cluster of ivy near the RSPB car park. I was sent to the sunny side of the hedge to id it and managed a shot of this Comma from across the road. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)

One Clouded Yellow was still on the wing this afternoon at Waltham Brooks. (Barry Collins)

More from Heyshott's Wednesday Work Party: Wednesday was a glorious day for our work party at Heyshott Escarpment. Plenty of cuttings were raked and burnt on three bonfires, leaving another large area at the top of the hill ready for the Duke of Burgundies next year. We were rewarded with wonderful views over the downs and the Autumn leaves on the beeches. A new blog has been created to inform about the work of the Murray Downland Trust, which manages the conservation work at Heyshott, and the progress on the escarpment: http://murraydownlandtrust.blogspot.co.uk/ You are welcome to join us on Wednesday mornings. (Colin Knight www.seapic.com)


Thursday 14 November 2013

Despite the low temperature 3 Red Admirals appeared in my Worthing back garden this morning, attracted to my Fatsia japonica along with a large number of wasps and hoverflies. (Neil Hulme)

News for Wednesday 13 November: Seven members of the Murray Downland Trust and BC Sussex attended the weekly work party at Heyshott Escarpment. The plateaus and pits on the middle level of the reserve were brush-cut and raked as part of the rotational habitat management programme. We were treated to a fine display of autumn colours in the sunshine. More at http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=4065&start=10000 There is also now a Murray Downland Trust blog, which can be found at http://murraydownlandtrust.blogspot.co.uk/ (Neil Hulme)


Wednesday 13 November 2013

Saw 2 Red Admirals basking on a wooden window sill on a building where I work in Crowborough. (Jamie May)


Tuesday 12 November 2013

Three Red Admirals on the southern end of Thorney Island. (Barry and Margaret Collins)


Sussex Butterfly Conservation AGM 2013, Saturday 9 November

Saturday was Sussex BC's AGM and 80 of our members attended the event at Adastra Hall in Hassocks. The afternoon started with our chairman, Nigel Symington running through the formal AGM which gave us a good chance to look back on all the branch has achieved in 2013. The first speaker of the day was Chris Corrigan who gave an educational and interesting talk about his adventures with the Chequered Skipper on the bleak west coast of Scotland. Chris recalled his childhood in the butterfly-less north of England, his birdwatching years and his recent emergence as a born-again butterflyer. Chris has recently spent time bravely exploring the tick-infested bogs of Scotland looking for the Chequered Skipper and his surveying has been helping BC get a better understanding of the distribution of the tough little 'McSkipper'. The tea and coffee break was boosted with the addition of a number of absolutely incredible home-made cakes (thanks to everyone who baked up a storm for us!) and then it was time for the raffle where I became rather confused about the addition of what I believed to be a dead Silver-striped Hawkmoth to the prize table. After the raffle I gave a presentation on the 2013 butterfly year in Sussex - and, after a great year, there was plenty to talk about. I must admit I was rather distracted when the Silver-striped Hawkmoth came back to life and flew past my head halfway through my talk. The event was rounded off with a short talk from Dr Dan Danahar about the Butterflies of West Africa. Dan has had the pleasure of being able to take his students to one of the most incredible areas of the planet for butterflies (and birds, elephants, chameleons...) for a number of years Dr Dan recounted some of the highlights with the help of some great photos of unbelievable looking butterflies and pictures of some rather bizarre African signs. Thanks to everyone who attended and helped out on the day and to artist Jamie Burston, Mike Mullis from the Wildflower Barn and to UK Butterflies who all had stalls at the event. (Michael Blencowe)


Sunday 10 November 2013

We had timed this month's Rowland Wood work party just right - the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I was joined by 22 members for today's task of gathering old tree guards from around the reserve to use in a future planting project in Rowland Wood. I though this job would take us most of the day but with so many folk coming along to volunteer the task was finished in record time. As the weather was so nice we decided to spend the rest of the work party taking a tour around Rowland Wood looking for butterflies (Red Admiral and Comma were on the wing) as well as some spectacular fungi. Thank you to everyone who came along - Dave, Julie, Keith, Theresa, Lucy, Mark, Malcolm, Nigel, Nigel, Charles, Andrew, Alan, Mike, Ian, Bob, Gary, John, Eddie, Jim, Roger & Carole - and to Wendy and Carola for sending in some cakes. The next scheduled work party at Rowland Wood will be on December 8th - but look out for details of another important call to arms at the end of the month. (Michael Blencowe)

A single Red Admiral at Coldwaltham Brooks (TQ024161), followed by a brace at Rewell Wood (TQ001100) and a Comma at Stansted Park (SU753109). Beautiful autumn colours wherever I went. (Neil Hulme)

A Red Admiral was on the wing in the midday sunshine in north Shoreham. (Steve Gilbert)

The warm sunshine brought out two Red Admirals which busily peppered nettle leaves with eggs all day. One leaf had 8 eggs on it! And at lunchtime an unexpectedly late Small White flew over. (Dave Harris)

Had a Clouded Yellow today on the Lydds in Henfield at 11.43 am. Grid ref: TQ216158. A late survivor! (Bryan Michie)

Unfortunately, being unable to make it to the work party my compensation whilst being stuck at home was a Painted Lady and a Red Admiral in the garden!! (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

Every year I take between 15 to 30 children from Dorothy Stringer school to the Amateur Entomologists Society's (AES) Annual Exhibition, in London. This year, after fully carrying out my health & safety responsibilities, I took my customary walk around to view the exhibits. Shortly afterwards I was delighted to find some Silver-striped hawkmoth Hippotion celerio caterpillars for sale and after considering their dietary requirements I decided to buy some. These I carefully stowed away in my bag and continued to explore the rest of the exhibition. A little while later I found that somebody was selling Elephant hawkmoth pupae for 1.50 each. As I surveyed the mound of pupae in the bowl it became clear to me that one of the pupae was not an Elephant hawkmoth but something else entirely. I hurriedly found 1.50 and purchased the pupa. The coloration of the pupa was very similar to that of the Elephant hawkmoth but the region where the proboscis was to develop was very different, in fact it was distinctly prominent. This was the clue that informed me that I was holding the pupa of a Silver-striped hawkmoth.
Interestingly, the similarity in pupa shape is not the only thing these two species of hawkmoth have in common. I have reared this species before, back in the summer of 1976 and a quick look at my natural history diary that covered this period revealed the following entry:

"The larvae of this species is not unlike those of the Elephant hawkmoth, with those most misleading patches that look like eyes, with hard and taught looking skin which is quite smooth and silky to the touch. They also vary in colour from a milky green to coffee and mud brown, whilst in the same instars. However, in the early instars their tails are not stumpy and hard looking, as is the case in many Sphingidae larvae but are flimsy and rather whip like. Sometimes their tails exceed to great lengths."

Of course we didnt have digital cameras when I was young and the camera technology I had available was not that good and so I would frequently draw my specimens to record what they looked like. I found the accompanying sketch with the notes I had made on this species but remember the tails of some individuals from this particular batch of caterpillars being much longer than that of the illustrated individual.

Anyway, I digress, since my return the caterpillars have continued to grow, fed on fuchsia and the pupa has slowly changed colour, darkening just before emergence. This took place on Tuesday 5th November 2013, 24 days after I had purchased it on Saturday 12th October 2013. Throughout the development of all these insects I have taken photographs to document the different developmental changes. After I had taken some photos of the adult, I decided to store it in the refrigerator until Saturday 9th November so that I could show the insect to other interested enthusiasts at the BC Sussex branch AGM. Unexpectedly, I found the only location where it could be displayed was the raffle table, where it somehow became one of the raffle items. It was Audrey Kemp, our Treasurer, who directed her husband to pick the moth as a prize but unfortunately the insect took flight during Michael Blencowes talk and I felt truly disappointed for Audrey, who seemed somewhat bereft. This is why I wrote this account, so that at least Audrey would see some photos and an account of her prize.
Then just before I sent this account to Bob Foreman so that he could put it up on the website, I received the following e-mail from Audrey:

"Hi Dan
I don't know if you were at the hall when they found my (your) moth yesterday but he is home with me now!
According to my moth book it is rare for moth larvae to be found in UK except maybe in Oct. Did you breed this moth or find the larvae?
Anyway I am going to let him go tonight. I have honeysuckle, ivy and fuchsias in my garden so hopefully he will survive.
Thanks for the moth.
Audrey"

So in the end, alls well that ends well. However, I must apologise in advance, if you live in Sussex and trap a Sliver-stripped hawkmoth in your moth trap over the next couple of days.
Finally, I am no better off in my understanding as to the origins of this individual. I bought the pupa from the AES members tables, were items are donated so that money can be made for the society. The woman who sold it to me had no information to give about its origins. Was it the sole survivor of a batch of caterpillars that the previous owner had purchased or was it brought in on the foodplant as a young larva or egg, to feed the elephant hawkmoth caterpillars that developed into the large number of pupae I saw for sale? This is not so unlikely an event as you might think. I once reared Hummingbird hawkmoth caterpillars on Ladies Bedstraw only to find a caterpillar on some bedstraw whilst I was collecting their foodplant from a local grassland. (Dan Danahar)

News for Friday 8 November: While gardening yesterday I disturbed a plume moth. Checking on the moth website (The Sussex Moth Group website I hope... ed.), it looked most like Emmelina Monodactyla. As Emmelina is common, can be seen in adult form all year and likes bindweeds (annoyingly we have some), I'm plumping for that. (John Heys)


Friday 8 November 2013

As I arrived at my allotment in east Brighton in a brief sunny interlude today two Red Admirals tumbled around each other before going their separate ways, one to bask on the dirt track beside the allotments. Then a Painted Lady paused briefly to feed on some late daisy type flowers, Anthemis. Much more than I would have hoped for on this dull, soon to be rainy, day. (Tessa Pawsey)


Monday 4 November 2013

We saw 3 pristine Red Admirals at Sheffield Park on the small lake closest to the car park TQ41522386 and a Clouded Yellow flew across the car as we were leaving. Also 1 pale and battered Red Admiral in our garden in Cuckfield on Sunday TQ30412449. (Julie and Malcolm Redford)

A Common Darter (dragonfly) was seen over the Pixie Path and I immediately thought that it might my total of interest as winter seemed to have set in. Immediately afterwards a Red Admiral flew northwards from Frampton's Field in a few minutes of weak sunshine. I visited Mill Hill (Old Shoreham) after the recent rain along muddy paths which were sticky but not treacherous. I was thinking it was hardly worth the trek to the lower slopes as there was hardly a plant in flower and nothing moving apart from the common birds.
Just as I was about to leave I spotted a flash of yellow out the corner of my eyes and it was not one of the many leaves that fluttered a bit like a butterfly in the gentle breeze. It was the first of three Clouded Yellow Butterflies, of which two appeared to be courting, despite the faintest chill (>9.8 C) in the air after the warmest October in my memory. I disturbed the resting butterflies and they flew up rapidly over the steep slopes above the muddy path. (Andy Horton)

11 Red Admiral, 3 Peacock and 2 Comma on a beautiful morning walk around Rewell Wood. (Neil Hulme)

Today in the warm sunshine there were Red Admirals and a Comma on fallen apples in the garden where I work north of Shoreham Airport and a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on Verbena bonariensis TQ 196063. Later cycling home to Brighton a Red Admiral accompanied me some of the way along Basin Rd South near Shoreham power station despite it being almost dusk. (Tessa Pawsey)

Crawley Down: One Red Admiral on Hebe and Buddleia in the afternoon sunshine, the first sighting for me since the storm blew through a week ago. (Jonathan Ruff)

Spotted a beautiful Red Admiral in my garden this afternoon, presumably searching for a suitable hibernation spot. (Duncan Monro Burgess Hill)

Three male Clouded Yellows, 4 Red Admirals and a Peacock were at Thorney Island. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

2 Red Admirals enjoying the midday sun in the Priory Sports Ground in Lewes today. (Chris Hooker)


Sunday 3 November 2013

This morning I joined BC Sussex members Mavis and Alan Hards at Rewell Wood near Arundel. We were there to plant out the 140 cowslip plants that they have kindly grown on from seedlings. These were distributed over areas where the Norfolk Estate has generously helped by widening the woodland rides, and where BC Sussex and the South Downs National Park Authority have recently financed the extensive removal of old stumps, allowing for 'cut and collect' management of the grass and scrub. I have little doubt that this work will be of benefit to the Duke of Burgundy, so wish to say a big "thank you" to Mavis, Alan and everyone else involved in the work here. The beech trees were looking magnificent in their autumn colours, particularly on such a sunny day. The warmth was enough to attract a few butterflies out, including 10 Red Admiral and a Peacock. (Neil Hulme)


Saturday 2 November 2013

Before the rain started today a Red Admiral in the garden in Seaford. (Bob Eade, bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com)

Saw my first ever November butterfly this morning; a Red Admiral enjoying the sunshine just to the west of Abbots Wood. (Chris Hooker)


Earlier Sightings

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