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saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Monday 31 December


I ran my Skinner trap (in Newhaven) over the last two nights (30th and 31st) for the first time since November to see if anything was around and drew a blank on 30th, but had five moths last night: 4 Epiphyas postvittana (2 male; 2 female) and 1 Mottled Umber. Let's see what 2008 has in store... (Steven Teale)



Sunday 30 December

One Red Admiral enjoying the morning sunshine around our house on Mill Hill, Shoreham. (Dave Green)


Wednesday 26 December

Peacock at Mount Harry near Black Cap near Lewes (Louise Holloway and Colin Tingle)

Christmas Day

Lindfield: December Moth, two Mottled Umber and a Common Quaker in the trap (the latter an early sign of spring?). (Bob Foreman)


Saturday 22 December


It was so mild tonight that I ran the 40w Actinic moth trap until 10.30. A few regular visitors came out :- 2 December Moths, 2 Mottled Umber, 1 Winter Moth and 1 Agonopterix heracliana. It was the first time I had trapped since 27th November and it was good to see a moth again. (Mike Snelling)


News for Tues 18 Dec: Belated news of a Red Admiral at Bignor - seen by Sarah Patton's Mum and Gran!



Wednesday 19 December

A morning hunt at Crawley Rugby Club and Willerby Fields, Ifield found 13 Brown Hairstreak eggs on the blackthorn in the surrounding hedgerows. (Sam Bayley)


Sunday 16 December

Probably a disturbed hibernator rather than a genuine awakening - a very groggy Peacock on Winter Heliotrope, sheltered by flint wall, Southease (Dave Harris)


Tuesday 11 December


A Red Admiral at the Pagham Harbour Visitor Centre (Ivan Lang)



Saturday 8 December


Thanks to Crispin Holloway for the name of John's moth: Giant Comet Moth (Argema mittrei). Imagine that around your porch light!



Friday 7 December



Yes, it has become that desperate given the unremitting rain and gale-force winds in Sussex that we have been forced into printing a photo of this amazing moth taken by John Luck in Madagascar (so at least the photographer was from Sussex). Apparently it is one of the world's largest. Can anyone put a name to it? Michael Blencowe spotted that the thorax appears to sport an image of Kenny Rogers' face. A timely reminder to all who have yet to take the plunge into mothing to get that all-important moth trap onto your Christmas list.


The Spring 2007 newsletter from Sussex Moth Group is now on their pages within this site (access via the link in the box at the top of this page, or off our homepage).



Monday 3 December


Red Admiral flying in Harley Lane, Heathfield this morning (Nigel Kemp)



Park Corner Heath Work Party: Sunday 9 December from 8:30am

It's the final work party of 2007 at PCH this sunday. There's always plenty of jobs to do on the reserve; this month we'll be busy cutting back some birch and unblocking the drainage ditches. Then the most important task; clearing a plate of mince pies. All are welcome to come and join in the management of our reserve. Contact Michael on 01323 423711 or sussexgrayling@aol.com

Park Corner Heath is at TQ515146 just off the A22 about 5 miles NW of Hailsham, and so within easy reach of eg Lewes, Eastbourne, East Grinstead.


Many members have asked for more social events to relieve the butterfly-less boredom of those dark winter months. So......

Sussex Butterfly Conservation 40th Anniversary QUIZ NIGHT

Friday 25th January 2008.

The Royal Oak , Barcombe (Nr Lewes),


Quiz starts at 8pm sharp!

1 per person. Top prizes and a chance to meet up with other members. Bar meals are available. Don't worry; you don't need to be a genius or a butterfly expert to take part!



The dreary weather means that no butterfly sighting has been received since 23 November. If you see one, you know what to do...!


Meanwhile, why not check out the Events page - we haven't got all of them in yet, but Michael Blencowe's Grayling obsession means that you have got some, erm, unusual events to get into your diary. That's 'unusual' in a good way!




What to look for in December

  • Butterflies: Any record is a good record in December. In 2006, butterflies were seen on the wing on 11 dates. One was a Peacock; all the others were Red Admirals.

  • Moths: For a very few moth species, such as the revealingly named December Moth, this is prime flying time. But you'll be lucky to get a handful of species.


Wednesday 28 November


Yes, four days with no records due to the weather. It wasn't like this last November!

Last night there were almost ideal conditions for moth trapping - for this time of year - calm, mild, and overcast. I put out the trap here in Findon and got a reasonable haul but it only contained regularly appearing moths. In total there were 20 moths of 8 species. An Acleris sparsana and 3 Eudonia angustea were the highlights. Otherwise the catch comprised attractive moths such as Feathered Thorn, Mottled Umber, Scarce Umber as well as 7 December Moths and 3 Winter Moths and Light Brown Apple Moths. (Mike Snelling)



Friday 23 November

Checked the Half Moon PH (Crawley) site again at midday and found a Red Admiral enjoying the sunshine. (Vince Massimo)


Thursday 22 November

Surprised to see a Speckled Wood together with a Red Admiral still flying at the Half Moon PH site in Crawley. (Vince Massimo)

2 Red Admirals on the usual East Worthing playground hebe and also enjoying a chase today! (John Maskell)


Wednesday 21 November


A nice late autumn collection of moths at my outside light this morning here in Edburton - December Moth, Sprawler, Scarce Umber, 2 Mottled Umbers, 2 Feathered Thorns and 2 Winter Moths. Also a probable Rusty-dot Pearl was on the outside of an upstairs window but I couldn't get at it! (Tony Wilson)



Tuesday 20 November


I put the trap out last night, not realising how much rain was coming, to be rewarded with twenty moths in the morning: 1 December Moth (below), 1 Winter Moth, 7 Scarce Umber, 1 Feathered Thorn, 1 Chestnut, 7 Light-brown Apple Moth, 1 Acleris hastiana and 1 Rusty-dot Pearl. It was my largest catch since 16 October and, thanks to the foul weather, the first moths I've seen for a week! (Bob Foreman)



1 Peacock fluttering outside south facing garden door in High Salvington around 11.30 this morning and again about 15 minutes later. (Peter Atkinson)



Sunday 18 November

Regular site visitors and BC members will know that we now have Species Champions who are monitoring and finding ways to protect Sussex's most vulnerable butterfly species. Check out Caroline Clarke's White-letter Hairstreak page, and start to identify your local elms now ready for monitoring next summer.

News for Fri 16 Nov: 1 Red Admiral through East Dean garden about 2pm heading North (David Jode)


Saturday 17 November

News for Mon 12 Nov - A male Speckled Wood was seen at the Half Moon PH site in Crawley at midday. It was flying weakly in the sunshine but was a nice clean specimen. I have continued to check this site at the same time every day this week with no further sightings except for a Red Admiral on Thursday 15th. (Vince Massimo)


Friday 16 November

Despite recent frosts, Red Admiral eggs laid 20th October hatching today, after nearly 4 weeks, so please continue monitoring sheltered nettle beds. Also today fresh adult seen flying in frost outside main doors at Wyevale Garden Centre, Kingston. (Dave Harris)

2 Red Admirals flying around my East Worthing school playground today; one in hot pursuit of the other in the midday sun. (John Maskell)


Thursday 15 November

1 Red Admiral nectaring on playground hebe in East Worthing at noon today. (John Maskell)



Wednesday 14 November


Things have been very quiet in Newhaven during the past week, although I have continued to run the trap every night. Of the 35 moths that have visited since 5th November, highlights have included my first recordings of a Sprawler and Scarce Umber. I've also had three previously unseen micro species: a Caloptilia species of some sort, Scrobipalpa costella (Porter name: Winter Groundling), and Monopis obviella (Porter name: Yellow-backed Clothes Moth). The only species to visit in numbers (19 individuals) has been Epiphyas postvittana (Light Brown Apple Moth), and I'm still getting the odd Large Yellow Underwing. (Steven Teale)



Tuesday 13 November


News for 12 Nov: 1 Red Admiral nectaring on valerian in East Dean garden at 6 degrees C (David Jode)


Check out Paul James's new website, www.sussexwildlifewalks.com to promote local wildlife walks



Sunday 11 November

1 Red Admiral nectaring on valerian in East Dean garden (David Jode).

Park Corner Heath: It was bonfire night this morning at Park Corner Heath and the team of volunteers were able to see all their hard work from the last two months go up in smoke. We burnt the piles of brash we had stacked up since October and after the last birch branch was thrown on the bonfire we stood back and admired the new habitat we have created. It will no doubt be swarming with clouds of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries in 2008. Seen on the reserve today a Red Admiral and a Peacock that we disturbed from hibernation. Many thanks to Dave, Dave, Roger, Bert, Steve, Steve, Nigel, Carol, Paul, Toni and especially Caroline, Miles and Ed for cooking the sausages and bacon!

1 Red Admiral, Peacehaven (Adrian Thomas)

News for 10 Nov: East Dean garden - 1 Red Admiral nectaring on valerian. (David Jode)

News for 9 Nov: East Dean garden - 1 Red Admiral. (David Jode)

News for 1 Nov: A late Wall on the Downs near Lancing (Bert Laker)


Saturday 10 November

1 Red Admiral at Hastings Country Park (Michael Blencowe)

Kingston village green, 1 Red Admiral. (Caroline Clarke)


News for Fri 9 November: A male Speckled Wood was still flying in a sunny spot just north of the Half Moon pub in Crawley. Two others and a Red Admiral were seen in the same location on Tuesday 6th. (Vince Massimo)

Gallery updates today: Some great pics from this year from John Baker of early stages of Speckled Wood and Orange-tip as well as mating Common and Silver- studded Blues, Gatekeepers and Green-veined Whites

Figure of Eight and Scarce Umber, both 8 Nov, Findon Valley (Mike Snelling)



Friday 9 November


Two Sprawlers broke my concentration during a late evening meeting last night as they battered at the windows of Woods Mill SWT visitor centre  (Adrian Thomas)

News for 6 Nov: Whilst touring some garden centres, I saw Red Admirals at Ashington and Findon but also a Painted Lady at Findon. BW Sarah

News for 6 Nov: A Meadow Brown fluttering around the green herbs over the northern part of the lower slopes of Mill Hill was the first ever of this species recorded locally in November. A few Red Admirals around.

News for 2 Nov Two Speckled Wood and a white butterfly were flying near the Blackthorn Sloes on Lancing Ring. These are the first records of Speckled Wood recorded in November locally. (per Andy Horton, www.glaucus.org.uk)


Thursday 8 November


The moths seem to have been wandering around a bit more last night - since there were 3 new species for me in my Findon trap. In total there were 17 moths of 8 species. The new ones were Figure of Eight, Merveille du Jour and Scarce Umber - 3 very attractive moths. (Mike Snelling)



Tuesday 6 November

Bevendean Down. Still one Small Copper on Michelmass Daisies in bright sunshine today. (Geoff Stevens)

Still one Speckled Wood on the wing at Thorney Island today. (Barry Collins)


Today on Ashdown Forest (behind the Kings Standing compound) I saw a single Red Admiral heading south. Very quiet moth-wise: 2 Epiphyas postvittana and 1 Large Yellow Underwing on Monday night. (Steven Teale)

Park Corner Heath Work Party: Sunday 11th November from 8:30am. It's the big brash burn-up at PCH this Sunday! We'll be having a bonfire to burn everything we have cut from Coppice Area 2 over the past few months as well as completing a few odd jobs around the reserve. All are welcome to come along and help. Please wear some old clothes in case of fire damage. Contact Michael Blencowe on 01323 423711 or sussexgrayling@aol.com


Monday 5 November


Sunday night, 4 November: 4 moths, 4 species with the highlight being my first Dark Sword-grass. Monday morning, 5 November: 1 Peacock and 1 Rusty-dot Pearl (both by the White Horse at High & Over); also 2 Red Admiral seen at Arlington Reservoir. (Steven Teale)



Sunday 4 November


Below, Mottled Umber and Feathered Thorn from Steven Teale's trap at Newhaven on 2 November


Another short walk around mid-day and still present were Common Blue 1 (female) and Small Copper 1. Also 1 faded Red Admiral flew over. (Peter Atkinson)

A two-hour walk for the new Bird Atlas around Peacehaven also turned up 10 Red Admirals, with five on a front-garden Hebe and those that seemed to be on the move apparently heading north! (Adrian Thomas)

News for Sat 3 November: 4 Red Admirals at Sheffield Park nectaring off Fatsia japonica, plus on Sun 4 Nov upwards of 8 dragonflies (thought to be Common Darters) at Wakehurst Place, with three mating and ovipositing females. (Paul & Toni Lister).


Saturday 3 November


Into November, and yet 11 species of butterfly seen today!

There were 4 Speckled Wood and 2 Red Admiral in the trees just north of the Half Moon Pub (Crawley) at midday. Another Speckled Wood was seen yesterday at nearby Broadfield Pond. My garden Buddleia is still hanging on and attracted a Red Admiral during the morning. (Vince Massimo)

Friston Forest 1 male Brimstone (Michael Blencowe)

Findon Valley: 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on lavender, and 1 Comma nectaring on Buddleia x weyeriana (Adrian Thomas)

A very late Meadow Brown was sunny itself and nectaring on Ivy today in my Edburton garden (Tony Wilson)

I visited Cissbury Ring today in warm sunshine with no wind from 11am to about 12:30, checking to see if the Small Coppers had finished at last for this year. In the spot where Bill Taylor and I saw 11 of them on 18th October I waited a few minutes and along came a female Clouded Yellow and alighted nearby to bask. Almost immediately what appeared to be a blue fluttered into view. It too perched, right in front of me and spread its wings - a Brown Argus. I was still wondering about Small Copper when another apparent blue arrived. I managed to climb onto the bank and get above it - a female Common Blue. After a few more minutes I began to move off and - you've guessed it, a Small Copper appeared apparently egg laying. I suspect these will not be the latest records this year. If the weather holds tomorrow would be a good bet. (Peter Atkinson)

A beautiful morning along the western end of Bexhill sea wall we were surprised to see Clouded Yellow and also 1 Peacock, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Small Whites. (Janet Richardson)


I've had a relatively successful week with the Skinner trap in Newhaven, with a variety of species and numbers that are well worth reporting. Last night I switched on early (1700) to see if I caught a higher number of the Light-brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana), which seems to be an early riser. I wasn't disappointed with a total of 8, mostly female, of the species. With a total of 20 moths (9 species), highlights included an ancient Common Marbled Carpet, my third Delicate of the season, my second Feathered Thorn - which I nearly sat on (it had missed the trap and landed on the garden bench), my second Mottled Umber of the season, and one Rusty-dot Pearl. (Steven Teale)



Friday 2 November

While battling through brambles in Friston Forest last Saturday (27th Oct) I spotted a small caterpillar munching on a nettle. I decided to take the larva home and try out my caterpillar id skills. As I reached out to take the little chap off his leaf he dropped but fell into my sleeve from where he was shaken into my pot. At home I put the tiny (less than 1cm) larva under my microscope and soon identified it..... and was shocked by what I had found. County moth recorder Colin Pratt was able to confirm my id: a Scarlet Tiger larva; the first wild Scarlet Tiger larva to be found in Sussex since at least 1929 and proof that this species has established a colony in the county. It just goes to show that even the smallest discoveries can be of major importance. (Michael Blencowe)

The moth trap in Newhaven on Thursday night had 13 moths of 6 species, including 1 Double-striped Pug, 1 Green-brindled Crescent and 6 Epirrita spp. The Epirritas had only been visiting in single numbers until two nights ago, when two visited - last night's figure was a sudden increase. I'm still also getting a lot of Ophion luteus wasps, which don't seem too bothered by the changing temperatures. (Steven Teale)


Thursday 1 November

The warmer temperature meant a reasonable return for the Skinner Trap last night in Newhaven. 17 moths of 10 species included 1 Beaded Chestnut, 1 Black Rustic, 1 Feathered Ranunculus, 1 Large Yellow Underwing, 5 Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Epirrita spp, 2 Carcina quercana, 2 Emmelina monodactyla Plume Moths, 1 Square-spot Rustic and 1 Willow Beauty. The two latter species are late according to Waring, who says they are on the wing until early October. Has anyone else seen these species recently? (Steven Teale)

Still a few butterflies on the wing at Thorney on this glorious November day,1 Speckled Wood,1 Small Copper,1 Small White plus a few Red Admirals. (Barry Collins)

At midday today 3 Red Admirals were nectaring on sunny ivy in my East Worthing school playground. (John Maskell)

Garden sightings, East Dean - a maximum of 3 Red Admiral during the day nectaring together on valerian. 1 Red Admiral on clifftop between Holywell and Whitbread Hollow this afternoon. (David Jode)

Visiting the Buddleia and Mahonia in my Crawley garden today, were 2 Red Admirals. Around the corner, in trees just north of the Half Moon Public House were 2 male Speckled Wood and a male Brimstone. (Vince Massimo)


Speckled Wood in flight this afternoon in my Keymer garden (Malcolm Le Grys).


Last night's moth catch was varied and included Feathered Thorn, Dark Chestnut, Cypress Carpet. There were 16 moths of 10 species (Mike Snelling)


News for Weds 31 Oct:  In the morning before the clouds came I saw on Cissbury 1 Small Copper, 3 Brimstone, 1 Peacock and 2 Red Admiral. (Mike Snelling)


News for Weds 31 Oct: With the mild weather brought reasonable results from a trap at Pagham Harbour visitor centre: Angle Shades 1, Blair's Shoulder Knot 1, Flame Shoulder 1 (very worn), Shuttle-shaped Dart 1, Chestnut 1, White-point 1, White-speck 1, Delicate 2, Large Wainscot 2, Merveille du Jour 1, November Moth 1, Satellite 1, Red-lined Quaker 2, Beaded Chestnut 3, Large Yellow Underwing 4, Green-brindled Crescent 5, Rusty-dot pearl 43 and Light Brown Apple Moth 4. (Ivan Lang)


What to look for in November

By November, things are very quiet, both for butterflies and for moths. The likeliest butterfly is the Red Admiral, which should be seen on any sunny, still and warm day - this is quite a recent phenomenon, and they now successfully overwinter in good numbers. Any other butterfly species is notable, the most likely being Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow and Comma. For a very few moth species, such as November Moth and Winter Moth, we are now into their main flight period, but there are sometimes a few late stragglers of other species too, and Plume Moths can still come to house lights.


Wednesday 31 October

Both this morning and yesterday a handful of Red Admirals were seen nectaring on Ivy flowers, near the old fort at Littlehampton beach. Having taken on 'fuel' for the long journey ahead, several were observed heading out to sea. A single Peacock was seen in the same area. (Neil, Eric and Mark Hulme)

East Dean garden sightings - around noon today 5 Red Admiral nectaring together on valerian, 1 Speckled Wood seen early afternoon before the sun disappeared. ((David Jode)

News for 30 October: 1 Red Admiral and 1 Large White on cliff edge at Peacehaven around noon. 1 Red Admiral early afternoon in our East Dean garden. (David Jode)


News for 30 October: 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Clouded Yellow and 11 Red Admiral still on the wing at Thorney Island .(Barry Collins)



Tuesday 30 October

A single Speckled Wood was flying in our Worthing garden today. (John & Shena Maskell)

Walked from Folkington to Windover Hill. In the valley saw 2 Small Coppers, 1 male Meadow Brown and 1 Peacock. (Bob Coleman)


Haywards Heath Town moth trap: only two last night, Red-green Carpet and Mottled Umber, both firsts for the garden and taking the total for the year to 115 species. (Paul Lister)


Recent news: Clouded Yellows at Seaford Head (below) on 17th plus Red Admirals, plus Holly Blue at Seaford on 20th (Bob Brown)




Monday 29 October

1 male Brimstone seen today just before midday at Sussex Police's Training Facility in Asdown Forest, flying over gorse and scrub. (Steve Wheatley)


Sunday 28 October


News for Saturday 27 October: I was interested to see the last dates on the website for Meadow Brown, as I still had 2 on my transect near Upper Beeding yesterday (27th), with a further 2 flying nearby. Also 2 Clouded Yellows on transect. Last Sunday (21st) there were still 23 Meadow Browns on the transect, including a mating pair! I don't think it is commonly known how lucky we are down here, as in much of the country, Meadow Browns finish with most other countryside species around the end of August. According to Jeremy Thomas it is only on warm southern chalk downs that the species flies well into October, and still nobody knows why. (Jim Steedman)



Saturday 27 October

It's warmer and the moths are back! Friday night's visitors included a Feathered Thorn and a battered Common Marbled Carpet. Saturday night's highlights included 1 Angle Shades, 1 Black Rustic, 1 Delicate, 1 Green-brindled Crescent (my first), and 3 Large Yellow Underwings (the first for a fortnight).  I noticed Michael is still getting Lunar Underwings in Friston - they've dropped right off in Newhaven and I haven't had any in ten days. (Steven Teale)

After some interesting moths in the trap in the week (including a Small Clouded Brindle which according to my book has a flight season of late-May to early-July!) Friday nights moth trap held a lowly 3 moths. (Lunar Underwing, Beaded Chestnut and Brick). In Friston forest today 4 Peacock were seen along with a late Light Emerald. (Michael Blencowe)

I saw a solitary Peacock this afternoon just to the north of South Heighton at TQ453033. It was nectaring on Ivy. (Steven Teale)



Wednesday 24 October


It's been very quiet moth-wise in Newhaven. Over the past week I've been getting only a few each night. Highlights have included 2 Epirrita spp. (probably November Moth), a Rusty Dot Pearl and a Chestnut - all on Wednesday night (24th). (Steven Teale)


News for Sunday 21 October: Blunts Wood & Paiges Meadows: Red Admiral (2) and Speckled Wood (1). (Paul & Toni Lister)


News for 12-24 Oct: Butterfly species seen in the Shoreham, Sussex, area: Occasionally: Large White, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral One each of: Common Blue (male), Small White, Comma, Peacock, On 19th, a Pale Tussock caterpillar crawled across the pavement on the approaches to Lancing Clump. Photo at www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2007.html (Andy Horton




Tuesday 23 October

Week 30 Transect Count today: Small Copper 7, Red Admiral 2, Meadow Brown 1. (Peter Atkinson)

At Bevendean Down on a patch of Michaelmas Daisies (garden escape) sheltered from the cold wind 3 Small Coppers, 1 Red Admiral, & 1 Peacock all very fresh looking. Also dozens of assorted bees on the same flowers. (Geoff Stevens)

In my Crawley garden today were 4 Red Admiral feeding on Buddleia. There were 2 others seen nearby together with 2 Speckled Wood. (Vince Massimo)


(Note that in 2006, the last sightings of Meadow Brown, Small Copper and Speckled Wood were on 23 Oct, 20 Oct and 16 Oct respectively. For anyone new to the site, all 'First and Last Dates' for the last few years are online, accessed off the Sussex species page in the side menu. Ed)



Monday 22 October


News for Sun 21 October: Pristine Holly Blue feeding on Ivy flowers in Burgess Hill (Steven Robinson)



Sunday 21 October


At last , I've got there! All the photo galleries are finally up to date. Special thanks to Sam Bayley and Clive Dickson for the hundreds of photos they sent, and to all the other contributors whose efforts mean that we now have 1471 photos (and counting) on the site, all taken in Sussex, covering every regular adult butterfly in the county and several hundred moth species. Still loads of gaps to fill in future years - undersides or uppersides we don't yet have shots for, variants, larvae, pupae, behavioural shots etc, so keep the photos coming. Adrian.


Arthur McCulloch, Michael Blencowe and myself represented BC Sussex at the RSPB Pulborough Brooks Autumn Fair over the weekend. We would like to thank the RSPB for their hospitality (and the tea). With at least two of us there for most of the time, it was possible to have a look at the interesting selection of arts and crafts on show. Thanks to Anna Allum of the RSPB for providing us with some recently trapped moths for our stand, with 3 Merveille du Jour (below) providing the glamour. (Neil Hulme)



Surprisingly warm in the light winds and clear skies. Speckled Wood in my Peacehaven garden was the latest I have had, and a white sp flew over high plus Red Admiral. Also at Rodmell, Painted Lady on the downs and Speckled Wood, plus several Migrant Hawkers and many Common Darters. (Adrian Thomas)


Recent sightings: Just a few sightings during the last week all in my garden at Kingston near Lewes. 17th: A pair of mating Brown Argus, 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth - a large one in good condition. On every other day except 15th and 16th when it was cloudy there were 2 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 1 Comma on rotting apples, 1 or 2 Speckled Wood, and on 19th the Red Admiral count went up to 6 but only the usual 2 subsequently. Also on 19th a Rush Veneer. (John Holloway)



Saturday 20 October

Visiting my Crawley garden today were 2 Red Admiral feeding on Buddleia and along a tree-lined path just around the corner there was a nice fresh Speckled Wood. Earlier in the week a Hummingbird Hawkmoth also visited and took nectar. (Vince Massimo)


Friday 19 October

My count of the butterflies on the playground ivy at my East Worthing school coincided with a lengthy window pole being wielded in an attempt to dislodge a ball from the vegetation! Needless to say my quarry were a little restless but I did note 5 Red Admirals and 2 Painted Ladies. (John Maskell)


Thursday 18 October

Reports of several hundred Red Admirals coming in off the sea further West yesterday (Wednesday) so keep eyes peeled. No obvious emigration as yet........? (Dave Harris)

Several photos have come in the past couple of weeks while I have been away, and here's the first of them, part of a series of moth photos from Mike Snelling in Findon Valley of species we haven't had on the site before. Here are Large Ranunculus and Hedge Rustic:

Feeding on sun-drenched ivy in my East Worthing school playground this morning were 12 Red Admirals and a single Painted Lady. (John Maskell)

Week 29 of Transect Walker at Cissbury Ring and still going. Today Bill Taylor and I shared the walk, together at first then 2 of the last 4 sections each. Together we counted 11 Small Coppers in Section 2. The rest of the count was: Brown Argus 1, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 3, Meadow Brown 4, Speckled Wood 1. (Peter Atkinson)

The moth trap in Newhaven last night was very quiet - 7 moths of 5 species. These included my first Dark Chestnut and the first Square-spot Rustic I've had since the end of September. (Steven Teale) (You did better, Steve, than Bob Foreman who won't be expecting me to put up his catch of 1 Chestnut, a caddis fly and a woodlouse! Webmaster).



Wednesday 17 October


News for Mon 15 Oct: A later Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar found in a Woodingdean garden (Sarah Clark)



Tuesday 16 October

Haywards Heath. After steadily declining numbers, last night's trap yielded a total of 17 moths, comprising 10 species, of which Blair's Shoulder Knot and Red- line Quaker were firsts for the year. A Merveille du Jour appeared for the third consecutive night (Oh, wondrous day!). Also seen nectaring in the garden a very worn Peacock and a female Common Blue, albeit that this has been a most uncommon species this year and this does not bode well for next year. (Paul Lister)


Monday 15 October


News for Sun 14 October: One Clouded Yellow at Selsey Bill this morning and a Brimstone at Slindon Woods. (Dave and Pen Green)



Sunday 14 October


Nine species seen around Edburton Hill in lovely autumn sunshine this afternoon - Wall, 3 Clouded Yellows, 4 Meadow Browns, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, 4 Red Admirals, 2 Small Coppers and Speckled Wood. However, the highlight was the usual autumn gathering of Harlequin Ladybirds with at least 400 all over the house. (Tony Wilson)


At Beachy Head between Birling Gap and Shooters Bottom, 2+ Clouded Yellows, 1 Small Copper, 4+ Meadow Brown (including mating pair), 1 Brown Argus and 2 Common Blue (Adrian Thomas)



Saturday 13 October

The moth trap in Newhaven last night had 25 moths of 12 species. Notable species included 1 Barred Sallow, 1 Black Rustic, 1 Blair's Shoulder-knot, 1 Epirrita species - most likely to be a November Moth, but not confirmed, and 1 Rusty-dot Pearl. After checking the moths I went for a walk along Poverty Bottom in the early sunshine and saw 1 Comma, 1 Meadow Brown (the first I've seen at Poverty Bottom since 16th September), 1 Peacock, 1 Small White and 4 Speckled Wood. (Steven Teale)

Garden sightings today in East Dean - 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on valerian, 1 Large White. (David Jode)

If you are unsure as to exactly how to get images down to the ideal 180x240 pixels and 72dpi, you may now send through unmanipulated images to Bob Foreman at the 'photo' email address. However, whatever you do please keep email attachments smaller than 1MB, and if you are able to crop and manipulate the images yourselves in advance, it is still of huge help. Thanks


A new autumn moth event organised by Sussex Moth Group on Mon 12 Nov has been added to the events page - all welcome


A Skinner trap in a Crowborough garden last night attracted amongst others: 1 Delicate (a new species for my garden list), 1 Large Ranunculus, 1 Pink-barred Sallow, 1 Black Rustic, 4 Angle Shades. (Bob Johnson)


Thursday night's results in the moth trap at Newhaven were disapointing: 13 moths of 5 species - of which a Blair's Shoulder-knot was the only highlight. Friday night's was completely different with 40 moths of 16 species. Highlights included: 2 Barred Sallow, 2 Blair's Shoulder-knot, a micro (Carcina quercana), 1 Common Carpet, 1 Common Marbled Carpet (which, with an upturned abdomen-tip, looked like a worn Phoenix), another micro (Crocidosema plebejana), 1 Garden Carpet, 1 Large Wainscot, 1 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 7 Light Brown Apple Moth (only ever occurred singly or in the odd pair before now) and 1 Mottled Umber. The Carpet species and the Lesser Yellow Underwing have been absent from my trap or some weeks, hence the special mention. There were also thousands of tiny little flies that have never previously swarmed around the trap. There's no rhyme or reason to it! (Steven Teale)


News for Thurs 11 Oct: Crawley - Managing to keep my Buddleia flowering and this attracted 2 Comma, 1 Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood to feed when the sun came out. (Vince Massimo)


Thursday 11th October

Seven species of butterfly seen during the day included a Holly Blue by the Toll Bridge and a Brimstone on Mill Hill. The others were a a Peacock, a few Meadow Browns, one Comma, a few Red Admirals and a Speckled Wood. (Andy Horton)

Garden sightings in East Dean 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Large White,1 Small White, 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on valerian in our garden at 6.15pm (David Jode)

I am looking after a house/dogs & large garden for a couple of days near Lower Dicker. Saw a single Small Copper and a single Comma at TQ549123 today. (Nick Blackett)

Running the Skinner trap on a nightly basis seems to be bringing in regular 'new' species that I have previously not seen. Last night I had a tiny micro - a Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella). Other highlights among the 29 moths (10 species) were a Double-striped Pug, an L-album Wainscot, a Rusty Dot Pearl, and a late Setaceous Hebrew Character. I also visited Poverty Bottom during late morning and saw 2 Comma, 4 Peacock, 2 Small White and 4 Speckled Wood, all nectaring on Ivy. (Steven Teale)


Wednesday 10th October


A Wall still flying at Cissbury today and a Common Blue. A few Vapourer moths are also still flying. On 8th October for the first time I saw a Vapourer perched. This seemed to happen because a large Hawker dragonfly started to hunt close by and the Vapourer immediately perched. Unfortunately I did not have my camera. (Mike Snelling)

1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on valerian in our garden first light. Later in the morning during the last of the sunshine on a walk from Birling Gap to Shooters Bottom and back... about 20 Meadow Brown, about 20 Speckled Wood, about 6 Small Copper, about 6 Small Heath, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Adonis Blue, 1 Common Blue, 1 Gatekeeper (definite sighting). (Carole Jode)

The moth trap in Newhaven last night had a Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis) as a highlight. Nothing else out of the ordinary, although it was very quiet with only 17 moths of 6 species. (Steven Teale)


Tuesday 9th October

Chanced the wet weather with the trap in Newhaven and just managed to stay dry! I had 34 moths of 11 species: 1 Angle Shades, 1 Barred Sallow, 5 Beaded Chestnut, 1 Dusky Thorn, 6 Feathered Ranunculus, 1 L-album Wainscot, 1 Large Wainscot, 7 Large Yellow Uunderwing, 1 Light Brown Apple Moth, 9 Lunar Underwing and 1 Shuttle-shaped Dart. My main reason for posting this report is to comment on the Wainscot species: according to UK Moths, L-albums like brackish ditches and the larvae of the Large Wainscot feed on the base of Common Reeds. The recent development of the Ouse Estuary nature reserve and the Drove Park Open Space, both fairly close to my house, and both being areas where reed growth and brackish water have been encouraged, could well see an increase in both species in my area in the future. It would be interesting to find out how widespread both species are in the area at present. (Steven Teale)

Monday 8th October

The moth trap in Newhaven last night saw 22 moths of 7 species: 1 Barred Sallow, 1 Beaded Chestnut, 1 Black Rustic, 6 Feathered Ranunculus, 4 LYU, 1 Large Wainscot and 8 Lunar Underwing. (Steven Teale)

Last night's catch in my 40w Actinic trap was reasonable - 16 species - 50 moths. The highlight was my first Four spotted Footman. The catch included a Delicate and a Blair's Shoulder-knot. (Mike Snelling)

Sunday 7th October

Garden sightings at East Dean... 1 Painted Lady, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma, 1 Large White,1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth. (David Jode)

A busy day at the Park Corner Heath reserve. 12 volunteers (and 2 dogs) armed with saws, slash-hooks and loppers went to work on the dense scrub on the north of the reserve. Like a biblical plague of locusts they reduced Coppice Area 2 to a few stumps and were rewarded for their efforts with bacon sandwiches. Plenty of new habitat for fritillaries and plenty of wood for the November work party's big bonfire! Many thanks to all who attended. The next work party is on Sunday November 11th. (Dave, Dave, Bert, Nigel, Roy, Steve, Jo, Stewart, Clare, Michael, Mark, Lesley, Spike and Fizz)

The moth trap in Newhaven last night yielded 3 Beaded Chestnut, 1 Black Rustic (my first), 2 very worn Double-striped Pug, 4 Feathered Ranunculus, 12 Large Yellow Underwing, 15 Lunar Underwing, and 1 Phoenix. In all I had 38 moths of seven species - a slight improvement on recent results. (Steven Teale)

Saturday 6th October

In the Edburton area there was a Wall, 10 Meadow Browns, Peacock, Large White, 2 Red Admirals, 2 Speckled Woods and a Comma (Tony Wilson)

1 Peacock in our East Dean garden. 10 Clouded Yellow, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, approx 100 Small White above Splash Point in Seaford during the morning. Except for the Comma they seemed to be coming in from over the sea and were all very fresh looking. An afternoon walk at Crowlink Hamlet produced 4 Speckled Wood, 2 Meadow Brown, 1 Clouded Yellow, 1 Common Blue, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral. (David Jode)

In the moth trap in my Rusper garden this morning, very little with highlights of my first Orange Sallow, Figure of 80 and Blair's Shoulder-knot for the year. (Sam Bayley)

I ran the trap in Denton again last night and had 1 Beaded Chestnut, 1 Blair's Shoulder-knot, 1 Carnation Tortrix, 1 Double-striped Pug, 2 Feathered Brindle, 2 Feathered Ranunculus, 4 Large Yellow Underwing,1 Light Brown Apple Moth (micro), 1 Light Emerald, 1 Lime-speck Pug, 9 Lunar Underwing, 1 (worn) Shuttle-shaped Dart. T  he Blair's Shoulder-knot was the first one I've seen so far, despite apparently being a common species (according to Waring). I went for a lunchtime walk near to Poverty Bottom (Denton) to check out some flowering Ivy while the sun was shining on it and saw 1 Comma, 2 Peacock, 5 Red Admiral and 2 Small White.  On the way back home, about 50 metres from my house, I saw my second Hornet Robberfly (Asilus crabroniformis) of the summer - on a pile of browned grass cuttings dumped by a local resident. (Steven Teale)

Friday 5 October

2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths nectaring on valerian in our East Dean garden. Also saw a Hornet in the garden. (David Jode)

Walked from Folkington to Windover Hill, Still plenty to see. Meadow Brown - more than 30, 1 Clouded Yellow, 2 Small Heath, 3 Small Copper, 5  Peacock, 1  Red Admiral, 1 Comma, 1 Common Blue (M). Not a bad day. (Bob Coleman)

At Chesworth Farm, Horsham a Clouded Yellow was present along with a Small Tortoiseshell (my first 2nd brood sighting), Peacock, Red Admiral, Small and Large White and a Speckled Wood. At Warnham LNR disturbed the first Grey Birch Button (Acleris logiana) of the autumn. (Sam Bayley)

Today we went out looking specifically for Wall. A thorough search of Mill Hill gave us a minimum count of 9, differentiated on the basis of sex and varying degrees of wear and tear (only one male had undamaged wings). This is the highest count I have ever had at Mill Hill and represents a strong, third brood emergence - I don't remember ever seeing more than 4 in the summer here. Second brood numbers are typically about three times greater than the spring emergence, and a third brood is often restricted to warmer sites such as this and/or following a hot summer. This may explain the absence of the species on the North facing slopes of Steyning Round Hill, which we had searched earlier in the day. Also present at Mill Hill were 3 Clouded Yellow , 1 Adonis Blue (female), 1 Small Copper, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock, 1 Comma, 1 Brimstone, 3 Large White, 1 Small White, 1 Speckled Wood and 8 Meadow Brown. (Neil and Eric Hulme)

Thursday 4 October

Making the most of the clear weather, I ran the trap in Denton again and had 24 moths of only 5 species. These included 4 Beaded Chestnut, 1 Delicate, 2 Feathered Ranunculus, 4 Large Yellow Underwing and 13 Lunar Underwing. The Delicate was my first since I started, as were the Beaded Chestnuts, which I had been expecting for some days and keeping a careful eye out for because of their similarity to the ever-present Lunars. It's funny how four should show up at the same time, after having seen none before. (Steven Teale)

Butterflies at Thorney and Pilsey today included 13 Clouded Yellow one of which was a female helice, 3 Speckled Wood, 4 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 1 Comma, 4 Small White, 6 Small Copper and 1 Common Blue. (Barry and Margaret Collins)

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather today, I climbed up the steep, Yew-clad slopes of Kingley Vale. A respectable 8 species were on the wing, including 9 Small Copper, 3 Common Blue, 4 Comma, 6 Brimstone, 3 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock, 22 Meadow Brown and a Large White. The Comma were feeding up for the winter months on ripe blackberries. (Neil Hulme)

With reports of immigrant species visiting traps, I decided to stick my trap out in Newhaven last night. Sadly, nothing spectacular turned up. Here's what I had: 1 Carnation Tortrix, 1 Dusky Thorn, 1 Feathered Ranunculus, 1 Flounced Rustic, 1 Garden Rose Tortrix, 6 Large Yellow Underwing, 12 Lunar Underwing, 1 Mallow, 1 Emmelina monodactyla Plume Moth, and one as yet unidentified tiny micro. So no foreign visitors - not the first time this has been said about Newhaven! (Steven Teale)


Wednesday 3 October


Clouded Yellow at Sussex University. (Crispin Holloway)


Grey Tussock larva and male Four-spotted Footman, Friston Forest, 2 Oct (Michael Blencowe)

Arrived at work today to find a Grey Dagger larvae on my desk. One of my team had bought it in for me in a jam jar after finding it on her cherry tree. (Michael Blencowe)

1 Red Admiral, along with dozens of other winged insects, feeding on flowering ivy at Crawley Down (Jonathan Ruff).


With a cloudy and mild night last night, it was expected to be good mothing and it was - 231 moths from 40 species some highlights were Clancy's Rustic 1 (3rd this year), Dewick's Plusia (5th this year) 1, Rush Veneer 1, L-Album Wainscot 5, Large Wainscot 4, Delicate 9, Rusty dot Pearl 25, Pale Mottled Willow 1, Red Chestnut 1, Pink-barred Sallow 1, Oak Nycteoline 1, Gold Spot 1, Feathered Ranunculus 2 Frosted Orange 3, Black Rustic 4, Sallow 6, Beaded Chestnut 12 and Dark Chestnut 12. We have now recorded over 300 species at the visitor centre this year. (Ivan Lang)


News for Tues 2 Oct: Walking home through the dark woods last night an Angle Shades landed on my nose. I took this as an omen and hurriedly set up my moth trap in the fading Friston light. I was rewarded this morning with a full trap and a number of immigrant species; the highlight being the huge Four-spotted Footman (well it's huge compared to the other British footmen). Also in the trap Delicate (5), Feathered Brindle (4), Herald (1), Large Yellow Underwing (73), Lunar Underwing (40), L-album Wainscot (2), Beaded Chestnut (8), Straw Dot (1), Mottled Umber (1), White-point (2) and over 20 other species.  (Michael Blencowe)



Tuesday 2 October

Sightings this afternoon in our East Dean garden during one of the few moments when the sun threatened to break through: one Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on valerian and one Large White. Also, one Red Admiral in Sainsbury's car park at Hampden Park, Eastbourne. ((Carole and David Jode)

In my 40w Actinic trap last night was my first Delicate for the year plus a Straw Dot (which I normally do not see). Possibly a sign that migrants are about at last. The trap was dominated by Lunar Underwings (32) plus 6 Black Rustics. The first Beaded Chestnuts and Blair's Shoulder-knot have now started to appear here. (Mike Snelling)



Monday 1 October


Didn't think today's 13Centigrade and drizzle would produce many sightings, so grabbed the opportunity to update the butterfly galleries (go through the 'Sussex species' link in the side menu) with over 100 new images from the summer. Do check them out - if only to dream of a sunny 2008!


News for Sun 30 Sep: In a brief warm spell, a few butterflies made an appearance at Cissbury. There were several Meadow Browns and at least 6 Small Coppers plus a Brown Argus, 2 Adonis Blues and a Common Blue. 2 Red Admirals, 1 Peacock, a Speckled Wood were the only other butterflies seen. A couple of Vapourer moths also flew by. (Mike Snelling)


News for Sun 30 Sep: A whole day spent working on our East Dean garden, 16c with a fair amount of sunshine. We had just one Small White fly through. (Carole and David Jode)



What to look for in October

  • Butterflies: Things now really quietening down, with just a few species clinging on. Of the hibernators, only Red Admiral and Comma are likely to be seen regularly. Other species still on the wing, especially at the start of the month, can include Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Clouded Yellow, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Wall, Small Heath, but you’ll need warm days to see them!

  • Moths: Amazingly, some species are still just emerging, with others very much in the middle of their flight period. Watch out for species such as Chestnut, Brick, Satellite, Mottled Umber, Yellow-line Quaker, Beaded Chestnut, November Moth, December Moth and Winter Moth. Hummingbird Hawkmoths can still be seen on sunny days too.


Earlier Sightings

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