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

If your managed to get interesting digital PHOTOS of your sighting, please send to We try to show something from everybody who sends images in, but we can only display a limited selection so that people with slow computers can still open the page easily.

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Tuesday 29 December 2009

Mill Wood Work Party: 16 people came to Mill Wood at Peasmarsh today to help coppice sweet chestnut and hazel along a section of the High Weald Landscape Trail. Everyone got stuck in to both the cutting and the mince pies. Finally rain stopped progress at about 1:30 but not before we'd enjoyed vege-burgers, vege-hotdogs and hot drinks. Thank you to Mike and Tracy at Mill Wood, Jim, Sheena, Martin, Steve, Susanne, Judy, Peter, Simon, John, and Don and family for excellent work on a grey, rainy Tuesday morning. We burned off a few Xmas calories and walkers will be sure to see many more butterflies as a result in 2010. (Steve Wheatley)

You can sheck out a new mothing website, Montgomeryshire Moth Group, created by Peter Williams, Montgomeryshire County Moth Recorder. Not exactly local but has lots of great photos and information, well worth a visit.

Friday 25 December 2009

And a very happy Christmas everybody. This is my last day editing the website, so excuse me if I just offer some heartfelt thank-yous.

Firstly to the 'original' Sussex Butterfly Conservation committee under Roy Neeve who, four years ago, threw caution to the wind and allowed little old me to set the website up and supported me in its early days.

Of course thanks too to the wonderful current committee under whom the branch has gone from strength to strength. Four years ago I think the membership was about 450; today it is over 700.

Huge thanks to Bob Foreman, who has given such wonderful support to the site, and into whose ever-so-capable hands the website now passes, and to Steve Wheatley for his invaluable back-up which is set to continue.

But most of all thanks to all of you who have contributed sightings, comment and photos to the website and who have helped make it such a living and vibrant thing. Due to you, I think I've received over 6000 emails in the four years, and through that we've all had the chance of getting to find out about inspiring sights such as dogfighting Purple Emperors, elusive Brown Hairstreaks, clouds of Clouded Yellows, and clinging-on Graylings, as well as surprises such as Queen of Spain Fritillaries and Camberwell Beauties.

One last plea from me before I head off into volunteering pastures new - if you are not yet a member of Butterfly Conservation, it is the one surefire way of supporting the future of our amazing butterflies and moths in the county. Go on - it is Christmas money well spent!

Thanks everyone

Adrian :-)  

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Below: Our very own Michael Blencowe at the national Butterfly Conservation AGM in November getting his award for his outstanding volunteering effort (photo by Neil Hulme)

Newtimber, West Sussex, BN6 9BU - a beautiful condition Peacock flapping around inside at the window, let out so that it can go and hibernate somewhere cooler!

Thursday 17 December 2009

Here's Steve Wheatley's hibernating Comma at Herstmonceux on 12 December:

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Third prize in this year's Sussex BC photo competition for 12-16 year olds went to Theo Ormrod-Davis with the pin-sharp Peacock on Hemp Agrimony.

Red Admiral, Crawley Down, 12 December (Jonathan Ruff)

Saturday 12 December 2009

I was surprised to see a lone Red Admiral flying around our garden in Seaford. (Nick Linazasoro)

A Comma spotted today overwintering at Mike Mullis' fascinating Wild Flower Barn at Hertsmonceux. The Wild Flower Barn was hosting a Rother Woods Project butterfly workshop where volunteers learned more about the autecology of Pearl-bordered Fritllary. (Steve Wheatley)

Thursday 10 December 2009

Red Admiral or Peacock (too high to be sure) flying around the tops of birch trees at RSPB Broadwater Warren. (Alan Loweth)

Crawley Down - Red Admiral in garden today. It was in good condition, feeding on Viburnum and sun bathing on a fence. (Jonathan Ruff)

A Red Admiral sunning itself in my Seaford garden (Roy Neeve)

News for Saturday 5 December: Red Admiral seen at Fiveways junction, Ditchling Road, Brighton, pm. (Peter Whitcomb)

Recent sightings: Southwater Country Park. Wednesday 9 December: 100+ Winter Moth, 1 Feathered Thorn. Tuesday 8 December: 1 Feathered Thorn, 1 December Moth, 1 Winter Moth.  Wednesday 2 December: 2 Feathered Thorn, 1 Mottled Umber, 1 Winter Moth. Also Wednesday 9 December: Warnham Nature Reserve 1 - Red Admiral. (Jacob J Everitt). Why not check out Jacob's blog at http://sussexnature.blogspot.com/

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Red Admiral in our garden in Seaford late morning, briefly caught in a cob web before escaping. (Bob Eade).

Monday 7 December 2009

News for Sunday 6 December: Kingston near Lewes, a Peacock at 12.45 flying around in front garden and sometimes basking on south-facing wall of house. Also Thursday 4 December: Basking on trunk of apple tree in garden a Red Admiral at 9.45. It which was the one with a nicked hind wing which was present on 09/11/09. (John Holloway)

Saturday 5 December 2009

News for Friday 4 December: One Red Admiral seen at Friston gallops (Nigel Kemp)

Friday 4 December 2009

This has gone on the homepage, but as I know many regulars log in here first, here's this year's winning shot from our 12-16 year olds' photography competition, a fab shot of mating Small Whites by Jamie Burston. Congratulations!

The new Rother Woods Project website is now live here - it was launched last night at Steve Wheatley's Rother Woods meeting in Battle.

A walk late morning in the cold but sunny conditions produced a Peacock flying past me at map ref. TQ487038 on the South Downs Way between Seaford and Bo Peep. (Bob Eade).

News for Thursday 3 December: Spent a great winter's afternoon and evening over in Steve Wheatley's Rother Woods project area. In the afternoon Steve and I were joined by some very enthusiastic local landowners who are bringing their woodlands back into a coppice cycle and, with advice from Steve, are doing so in a way that will encourage many woodland butterfly species to return to their land. Driving around Steve's project area you can see many new coppiced areas - woodlands being opened up for the benefit of wildlife. It's as if there are big 'Wheatley was here' signs dotted throughout the landscape.

In the evening Steve hosted a very well attended Rother Woods Review. Other 65 people crammed into the hall in Battle to discuss the project's achievements in 2009. Not only has Steve been working closely with landowners and a loyal work party team but he has also mobilised a small army of butterfly and moth recorders in the Rother area. One new butterfly recorder, Wendy, has sent in records for over 6,500 butterflies that she has recorded whilst walking her dog and Steve presented her with his 'Rother Recorder of the Year Award'.

A special Rother Woods version of my 'Review of the Year' talk (in which I demonstrated my ignorance of both garden plants and TV gardening presenters) was followed by some important and exciting announcements of future work for 2010 which we hope could bring some big changes for certain rare Sussex species and Bob Foreman gave us the world premiere of his fantastic new Rother Website.

A big thankyou from the Sussex branch to Steve Wheatley and all our members who support him in the east of the county - I look forward to seeing you all again at the next Rother Review. (Michael Blencowe)

Wednesday 2 December 2009

In order to pre-empt the inevitable phone calls from anyone that might walk on the Steyning Rifle Range this winter or spring, it grieves me to announce that there has been an unfortunate 'slip-up' here. A breakdown in the timing of communication between estate personnel has led to the overly aggressive removal of the blackthorn on which the Brown Hairstreak butterfly breeds, around the entire periphery of the site. Some removal of blackthorn was inevitable (and desirable), as the boundary fence-line is being upgraded to allow the Rifle Range area to be grazed - a very positive and welcome measure which will greatly improve the site for many other species of butterfly, as well as the downland flora and other wildlife. However, the details of the management plan that would have ensured the survival of the prime Brown Hairstreak egg-laying areas, have unfortunately been overlooked. Eggs from the cut material cannot be rescued, as a mulching machine was used. Yesterday I met Richard Goring of the Wiston Estate, who's sincere and heartfelt apologies for this error are extended to all that enjoy visiting this location, particularly to see this species. When a genuine mistake such as this is made, we must focus on the positive aspects. Severe cutting of the older blackthorn nearer the fence-line is beneficial, irrespective of the fencing work, as the butterfly much prefers to lay eggs on low, young blackthorn suckers. The wide strip which has been cut around the periphery of the site will of course be underlain by an extensive and mature root system, and a much larger area than planned will come into ideal condition in a few years time. This will also facilitate future management of the blackthorn, specifically for the Brown Hairstreak. Egg-laying has been observed on the northern flanks of the valley where the scattered scrub remains uncut, and isolated stands near the periphery of the site have survived. Despite the loss of a very high percentage of this year's eggs from the Rifle Range itself, the butterfly will survive here and, crucially, it is widespread throughout the adjacent landscape. Do not expect the site to provide the superb Hairstreak-watching opportunities in 2010 that it has done, but do expect it to 'bounce back' strongly in a couple of years. I'm confident that the site, as a whole, will ultimately benefit greatly from this work, and that we will see just a short-term (although possibly severe) 'dent' in Brown Hairstreak numbers, while the remaining species begin to thrive for the first time in a long while. (Neil Hulme)

News for Tuesday 1 December 2009: One Red Admiral seen near Arlington Reservoir, East Sussex (Carol Kemp)

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Well, what a freak month November 2009 turned out to be. Had October's sunshine managed to persist into the month, maybe we'd have had Clouded Yellows on the go for several weeks. But instead it was rain rain rain. I've been running a little weather station in my Peacehaven garden for 5 years now. The previous record monthly rain total was 148.5mm, with several months coming in just under that - it looked like 150mm or thereabouts was about tops for what we can get here. So what did we get last month? 289.5mm!

I also calculate the average temperature per day (high and low), and all these mild low pressure systems meant last month had the highest November temperatures in 7 years of recording here. One of the interesting things about recording is how it removes all those blind assumptions you otherwise make. October 2009 in my mind feels like it was rather warm, but no, the records show it was distinctly average, over 2 degrees Centigrade cooler on average each day than 2005. But at least it was warm enough for the Queen of Spains :-) (Adrian, webmaster)

So, anything to look for in December?!

  • Butterflies: Any record is a good record. In 2006, butterflies were seen on the wing on 11 dates, and on 5 dates in 2007, mainly Red Admirals but a Peacock too. With the Met Office predicting a cold December, expect even less this year.

  • 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.

News for Saturday 21 November 2009. Balcombe. A Red Admiral spent from 11.00 -11.40 motionless but 'spread-eagled' on a bergenia leaf. The weather was white cloud with occasional streaks of blue sky and mild. A change to grey cloud and a noticeable drop in temperature put an end to its sunbathing. Roger Jackson

Sunday 29 November 2009

News for Friday 27 November: 1 Red Admiral was seen on the wing in Lewes in what were cool, breezy conditions. (Steven Teale)

Saturday 28 November 2009

News for Wednesday 25 November: My wife Val saw a Red Admiral in Worthing Town centre, trying to get into a jewellers shop (the butterfly, not Val fortunately). (John A Heys)

Monday 23 November 2009

News for Saturday 21 November: Something of a surprise to see in November – a pristine Brimstone making the most of a rare spell of sunshine on Saturday morning! Seen at Wish Wood together with a couple of Red Admirals. I also saw 3-4 Red Admirals plus 1 Peacock in the woods behind home on the same morning plus several Common Darters about still. Think that must be more Red Admirals than I have seen all year (though it’s strangely not a species I see all that often anyway) and it’s the first I’ve recorded for Wish Wood. Didn’t expect any new species this late in the year! (John Bogle)

Sunday 22 November 2009

Ivan Lang's Oak Rustic at Pagham Harbour, 20 November

While walking the dog in Stansted Forest this afternoon a familiar shape caught my eye – a pristine female Brimstone at rest on the trunk of a larch tree. My guess is that it got blown down during the overnight gale from its hibernating site (probably among ivy on a nearby tree), and crawled up the larch trunk when the sun briefly appeared earlier today. ( Adrian Hoskins )

Saturday 21 November 2009

News for Friday 20 November: Pagham Harbour: 1 Oak Rustic, 1 Winter Moth, 1 Dark Chestnut, 6 Rush Veneer, 1 Silver Y, 2 Diamond back moth and 2 Large Yellow Underwing (Ivan Lang)

Recent news: Over the last two nights at Edburton the following moths have been recorded: 4 Sprawlers, Feathered Thorn, Scarce Umber, 2 Mottled Umbers, Winter Moth and Rusty Dot Pearl (Tony Wilson)

Friday 20 November 2009

On 15 November, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth flew into the shop at Merriments garden, Hurst Green. After some time it flew into a speaker and remained there, and was still present today, presumably hibernating (Allan Roffey)

Thursday 19 November 2009

A Red Admiral was flying strongly in our Worthing garden this afternoon. A somewhat worn Large Yellow Underwing was found accompanying 7 Light Brown Apple Moths in our Mercury Vapour trap three nights ago. (John Maskell)

Whilst packing up after after the Sussex Moth Group indoor meeting at Woods Mill last night (18th), we found one Winter Moth, two Sprawler and two Feathered Thorn around the outside light. When I came in this morning there were more Sprawlers, seven altogether. Over the past few days we have seen a number of Feathered Thorn around the light. (Pen Green)

Below: White-speck, West Wittering, 15 November (Derek Lee)

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Many thanks to the Duke of Burgundy Task Force that turned out in wild and windy conditions at Rewell Wood today. The combined South Downs Joint Committee and BC Sussex work party comprised Simon, James, Roger, Nick, Ivan, Derek, Peter, Paul, Colin, Alexander and I. A huge amount was achieved and the habitat here looks better and better with every visit. A number of new blocks were cut into scrub along the southern margin of a pathway, creating the warm, sheltered clearings that I'm sure the butterfly will love. (Neil Hulme)

One Painted Lady getting buffeted about by the wind in my Broadbridge Heath back garden this afternoon but fighting on valiently. (Susie Milbank)

News for Tuesday 17November:  1.15 p.m. - Peacock sunbathing on flint wall of house, Swanborough Hill. (Dave Harris)

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Still one Clouded Yellow at Thorney Island today.(Barry Collins)

Red Admiral flying along the Alfriston Road in Seaford at 12.30 just after a heavy rain shower. (Bob Eade)

Crawley Down: One Red Admiral feeding intermittently on Buddleia "Sungold" for about 30 minutes in the midday sun. This buddleia is good one to have at this time of year, since it seems to stay in flower until the first frost. (Jonathan Ruff)

Monday 16 November 2009

News for Sunday 15 November: One Clouded Yellow seen in field to east of Highdown Gardens carpark, North Ferring. (Darryl Perry)

News for Sunday 15 November: Here in Edburton there was a Rusty Dot Pearl and a Rush Veneer at my outside light last night. (Tony Wilson)

News for Sunday 15 November: West Witering. During the day 2 Red Admirals along the hedgerow. Overnight in the moth trap: 1 White Speck (a "tick" for me!) 1 Oak Rustic 1 Red-Green Carpet 1 November Moth 1 Feathered Thorn 1 Mottled Umber 1 Dark Chestnut 1 Grey Shoulder-knot 2 Yellow-line Quakers 2 Light Brown Apple Moths (Derek Lee)

Sunday 15 November 2009

Just one Red Admiral briefly in the garden today, Crawley Down (Jonathan Ruff)

News for Saturday 14 November: In my garden in Steyning, despite a real hooley blowing out there, a Red Admiral, in good condition, flying very strongly around the garden, and eventually landing in the apple tree..real piano strings out there a few moments earlier - amazing ( David Geoghegan )

Thursday 12 November 2009

News for Monday 9 November: A Clouded Yellow at Selsey Bill (Beryl James)

Wednesday 11 November 2009

West Wittering: Not a bad night  last night for mid-November moth trapping. 22 moths of 13 species: 3 Light Brown Apple Moth, 1 Acleris logiana, 1 Cypress Carpet, 2 November Moth, 1 Feathered Thorn, 1 Grey Shoulder-knot, 1 Blair's Shoulder-knot, 1 Green Brindled Crescent, 3 Oak Rustic (all form albomacula), 2 Chestnut, 1 Brick, 2 Red-line Quaker, 3 Yellow-line Quaker (Derek Lee)

Tuesday 10 November 2009

We discovered that a new bulb in our light trap had attracted just a single Silver Y when we opened up this morning. However, slightly off-topic but very exciting was the calling Tawny Owl at the bottom of our Worthing garden that was illuminated by the light trap yesterday evening! (John & Shena Maskell)

Monday 9 November 2009

Red Admiral on Hove railway station today (Adrian Thomas)

Sunday 8 November 2009

Richard Roebuck's caterpillar photo depicts a young Oak Eggar larva (Adrian Hoskins)

We attended the Henfield Remembrance service at the War memorial on the high street. Just after the 2 minutes silence a Small Tortoiseshell flew over the large gathering. It was only about 10 degrees C soI assume it was disturbed from its roost somewhere possibly from a building. A poignant moment though. Also Saturday 7 November: one Painted Lady sunning itself on the house wall. (Richard Roebuck)

We found just 2 Light Brown Apple Moths and a shattered MV bulb in our Worthing light trap this morning! (John & Shena Maskell)

News for Saturday 7 November: Having not seen one all year , was surprised and delighted to see a Clouded Yellow battling the breeze flying over Felpham sports centre at 12.45 (David Macdonald)

News for Saturday 7 November: At Shooter's Bottom there were still a few butterflies enjoying the sunshine – one each of Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady and Red Admiral. (Adrian Hoskins)

Saturday 7 November 2009

Crawley Down: The butterfly count is going up here. Today 2 Painted Ladies on buddleia and 1 Red Admiral on Viburnum. This is the latest in the year that I have observed butterflies in the garden. (Jonathan Ruff)

At Brandy Hole Copse I saw two Painted Ladies, 10 Red Admirals (some in excellent condition) and a Clouded Yellow in poor condition (Colin Knight)

Single Red Admiral sunning itself in our Worthing garden this morning. (Shena & John Maskell)

3 Painted Ladies, 2 Red Admirals and a Peacock nectaring on Winter Heather at Nyman's Gardens today (Adrian Thomas)

News for Thurs 5 November: Found this solitary caterpillar (1" long) on Goat willow sapling at Woodmancote - does anyone know what it is? (Richard Roebuck)

Friday 6 November 2009

One Painted Lady in my daughter's garden in Lewes. Also in my garden at Kingston near Lewes, Thursday 5 November one Red Admiral on apples at 8.30 am; Wednesday 4 November one perfect Painted Lady basking on stones and one fresh Red Admiral on rotting apples. (John Holloway)

Thursday 5 November 2009

Found 60+ Large White caterpillars feeding on four Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli plants in a garden near Mill Hill. Wide range of instars but seems rather late in the year (Richard Roebuck)

Wednesday 4 November 2009

One Painted Lady, Seaford, BN25 3SG (Chris Barnett)

Below: Clouded Yellow pair, Mill Hill, 2 Nov (Andy Horton); BC work party, Rewell Wood, 2 Nov (Neil Hulme)

Tuesday 3 November 2009

News for Monday 2 November:Beachy Head area, about 20 Clouded Yellows and 5 Painted Ladies. The Yellows were mostly grounded, trying to warm up, all were gone by 2pm,suggesting the sun is already too weak by then. (Mark Bunch)

News for Monday 2 November: Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on Red Valerian in our East Dean (TV562984) garden.(David and Carole Jode)

News for Monday 2 November: Red Admiral at Keymer churchyard, flying around the church and basking in sun. (Malcolm Le Grys).

News for Monday 2 November: During the day 1 Painted Lady on ivy in the garden. Last night a brief session with the moth trap attracted yet another Oak Rustic, along with Red-line Quaker, Yellow-line Quaker, Beaded Chestnut and Turnip Moth. (Derek Lee)

News for Thursday 29 October: Many thanks to the Environment Agency Legal Team of Julie, Jackie, Mary, Rosemary, Peter, James, Gordon and Martin for their help at a work party in Rewell Wood today. Daisy helped carry a few sticks. The next work party here will be held on Wednesday 18th November. Please contact me (nh(AT)nhulme.eclipse.co.uk) if you would like to join South Downs Joint Committee volunteers in continuing habitat improvement work for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly. (Neil Hulme)

Monday 2 November 2009

When the sun emerged from from behind the frequent clouds a Peacock emerged from hibernation by the Ivy on the edge of the Pixie Path, Old Shoreham, looking slightly tatty. Four Common Blue were seen at the northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill; both these records were the first for the month of November. There was also a probable Large White in Shoreham town which would also be a first for the month. On Mill Hill, two Clouded Yellows courted and then mated and this was also the first time that I've seen this locally. (Andy Horton)

Crawley Down: One fresh looking Painted Lady today on the buddleia (Jonathan Ruff)

Just a single Red Admiral on the wing in our Worthing garden this afternoon. (John & Shena Maskell)

In Hampden Park Library car park this morning at 9-20 am. Two Red Admiral on bramble bushes. Both in very good condition. ( Ron & Brenda Elphick )

Sunday 1 November 2009

In addition to the usual batch of Light Brown Apple Moths (4) we had singles of Rush Veneer and Silver Y when we opened up our Worthing light trap this morning. (John & Shena Maskell)

Sherie New has compiled this impressive memento of her 2009 year with Sussex Butterfly Conservation - click on the image to get a closer view.

What to look for in November

Well, we can't complain about what October 2009 brought us, but it looks like butterfly sightings may well be gold dust in November.  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. 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.


Saturday 31 October 2009

Single Red Admiral and Speckled Wood again seen in our Worthing garden this afternoon. A further Speckled Wood was noted on the east bank of Ferring Rife at noon. (John & Shena Maskell)

Feeding on Verbena bonariensis this afternoon in my garden in Broadbridge Heath were Red Admiral, Comma and Painted Lady. It is a delight to see them still around at the end of October. (Susie Milbank)

News for Friday 30 October:Specimens in our MV light trap in Worthing yesterday included Angle Shades, Rush Veneer and a Scarce Bordered Straw (a different individual to the one trapped on 27th). (John & Shena Maskell)

News for Friday 30 October: Newhaven. A brief foray home at lunchtime revealed a single male Small White and Small Tortoiseshell and continued egg laying by Red Admiral, Painted Lady ( Mallow ) and Clouded Yellow (Black Medick). It will be interesting to see whether the Lady or Yellow offspring manage to join the Admirals in successfully overwintering around Sussex this year. (Dave Harris)

Friday 30 October 2009

On a family outing to Birling Gap, we had to pay a last visit to those fields by Hodcombe Farm behind Beachy Head. Hazy sunshine and a stiff breeze produced a solitary Clouded Yellow bravely nectaring on red clover. (Dave Miller)

A second Oak Rustic in West Wittering last night - this one with orange kidney so definitely not the original one back again! also Dingy Footman, Silver Y. (Derek Lee)

Ron and Brenda's Angle Shades from yesterday...

Thursday 29 October 2009

A walk around South Furze Field, a wood near my house in Edburton, this afternoon produced a Small Copper, Clouded Yellow, Speckled Wood and 3 Painted Ladies (Tony Wilson)

Crawley Down: A Red Admiral on the buddleia and a Peacock on lavender. (Jonathan Ruff)

(Who needs a moth trap?!) A shout from Brenda when the security light came on, get your net, there is a moth out here. With a combined effort we managed to net it and potted it up.The moth turned out to be a Angle Shades. So cameras out, before releasing it. (Beats watching telly.) ( Ron & Brenda Elphick )

Single Red Admiral and Speckled Wood were found sunning themselves in the silver birch in our Worthing garden this afternoon. Small numbers of moths in our "safari" MV lighttrap this month have included a few new additions to the garden list: Black Rustic (12th), Red-line Quaker (19th+27th), Grey Pine Carpet (23rd), Monopis obviella (5th) with the "best" being a Scarce Bordered Straw (27th). (John & Shena Maskell)

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Below: Clouded Yellow helice at Beachy Head, 25 October, Dave Millar


Just a solitary Red Admiral on buddleia today at Crawley Down (Jonathan Ruff)

I had just about given up taking pictures of butterflies this year, however a worn Peacock caught my eye (below), sunning itself this afternoon in Henfield. Wonder if it will make it to hibernation? (Richard Roebuck)

News for Tuesday 27 October: ( Some say better late than never ) Having missed the large influx of Clouded Yellow earlier in the autumn, a walk at Shooters Bottom only revealed 3 Clouded Yellow. But in the field opposite the car park Clouded Yellow could be seen flying low over the grass, only walking part of the field easy counting up into double figures. Also 2 Painted Lady both in very good condition. ( Ron & Brenda Elphick )

Yesterday's mystery moth: Scarce Silver-lines

Tuesday 27 October 2009

1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral and 3 Clouded Yellow along the rides in Friston Forest today. This mild weather and southerly winds - which look set to continue over the next few days has also seen a last minute dash for migrant moths with many migrant species being reported along the south coast. There was Gem, Dark Sword Grass and Small Mottled Willow in the Friston Trap last night - for all those of you with moth traps it's worth running them over the next few evenings (Michael Blencowe)

Still this amazing season goes on. Walking between Eastbourne and Beachy Head this morning (at the lower level) we saw 7 Clouded Yellows, 6 Small Whites, 1 Red Admiral and 1 brilliantly fresh Painted Lady. Then more Clouded Yellows in the field near Belle Tout. (John Kerby)

Through our East Dean garden this morning (TV562984): Clouded Yellow 1 and a handful of Painted Lady. At least 30 fairly inactive Clouded Yellow plus a solitary Large White in the usual meadow opposite Shooters Bottom Car Park near Beachy Head. (David and Carole Jode)

RSPB Pulborough Brooks: Last night's moth trap produced lots of epirrita species, plus several Satellites, Red-line Quaker, Yellow-line Quaker, Merveille du Jour, The Streak, Feathered Thorn, Mottled Umber, Chestnut, Green-brindled Crescent and Red-green Carpet. On the wing in the sunshine this afternoon were Peacock, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Comma, Red Admiral and I got brief look at something that was probably a Painted Lady. (Pete Hughes)

At Lewes this morning 5 Clouded Yellows along bank of River Ouse near Tesco, including a mating pair on grass beside river. (Malcolm Le Grys)

News for Monday 26 October: Not world shatteringly exciting but yesterday we saw one Large White and a Red Admiral (who was virtually in the main road) in Eastbourne whilst shopping (booo hiss boring shopping...much prefer butterfly walks!). (Nick Linazasoro)

News for Monday 26 October: Old Shoreham: My walk along the Pixie Path found the identical Holly Blue of the previous day. This was followed by a very pale Clouded Yellow and a bright yellow one. I thought I was going to draw a complete blank on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, when a pure-white black-lined Clouded Yellow fluttered rapidly past. This was the first time I had seen a completely white one and I have identified this this as a female Clouded Yellow var. helice, which would be my first for Mill Hill and Shoreham. Then to my surprise a nearly new male Adonis Blue was spotted on a single Devil's Bit Scabious flower its presence preventing a female Common Blue from landing. The iridescence was quickly noticeable when the Adonis Blue was first spotted. Seven species of butterfly, including another Clouded Yellow, were seen on an overcast day.

News for Monday 26 October: Havant..OK so it's just over the Sussex border but I wanna get it off my chest. Was busking in Havant Town centre and a Painted Lady stopped by for a listen. The only butterfly I saw of the day. Drove right across Sussex...no whites spotted (almost tempted to go and search for that Queen Of Spain in Chi again..but thought it would be fruitless). Glorious weather..I'm sensing the butterfly season is over. I think the last person to spot a Painted Lady in 2009 should get a prize...It could be me!!! (Danny McEvoy)

Yesterday's mystery photo: Large Thorn. Today's (24 August, Ringmer, Mark Underhill):

Monday 26 October 2009

In our East Dean (TV562984), a Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on Red Valerian at 5pm. Earlier one Small White and one Large White through. (David and Carole Jode)

Gem, the amazing Flame Brocade, and the site's first photo of Oak Rustic, all at West Wittering, 23 October (Derek Lee)

In Edburton today 6 Painted Ladies, Clouded Yellow and a Peacock (Tony Wilson)

Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, today - 1 Painted Lady and 1 Red Admiral on Asters (Adrian Thomas)

Butterfly friendly Indian summer on gallops above Butchershole CP walking NE towards/above Jevington: 6 Clouded Yellows, 3 Red Admirals, 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Commas, 1 white, and 3 separately fluttering around brambles which I think were meadows browns but did not get good look at (or similar size moths?). Then circled through Friston Forest and saw 2 faded Speckled Woods. (Susan Suleski)

Single Clouded Yellow at 1.15pm flying beside car park at Widewater Lagoon, Shoreham, then coming down to rest on grass. Red Admiral in flight. (Malcolm Le Grys)

News for Thursday 22 October: Painted Lady in good condition on our Local Nature Reserve at Rottingdean -TQ 364028 (Alan Holden)

Yesterday's mystery photo was Gold Spot. Today's...(19 Sep, Ringmer, Mark Underhill)

Sunday 25 October 2009

I was tempted down from Middlesex to the Clouded Yellow fields near Beachy Head today for another look - sunny and fairly warm, but blowing a gale, and the poor butterflies were cowering in the grass looking very unhappy. I found seven without looking particularly hard, and I imagine there were many more tucked out of sight. At least the wind is supposed to ease. Only Clouded Yellows seen today, nothing else at all. (Dave Miller)

1 Red Admiral and 1 Painted Lady in my garden at Langney (TQ635027) (Roy Wells)

Along the foreshore at West Wittering - 2 Clouded Yellows; In our garden 1 Red Admiral (Derek Lee)

Yesterday's mystery photo Bordered Straw. Today's... (26 July, Ringmer)

Saturday 24 October 2009

Below: Geoff Stevens' Peacock and Clouded Yellow at Bevendean yesterday - great to see the upperside of the Yellow for once

Below: Autumnal Rustic, Cypress Carpet and Scarce Bordered Straw, all photographed this month at Edburton by Tony Wilson

West Wittering migrant moths. Last night produced 2 ticks for me - Flame Brocade & Oak Rustic, plus 23 other species including Dark Swordgrass, White-point, Rush Veneer and Rusty-dot Pearl. (Derek Lee)

News for Friday 23 October: I would like to say a big 'thank you' to Simon, Brian, Steve, Tom, Alexander and Bob, the combined South Downs Joint Committee and BC Sussex workforce, for their magnificent efforts in Rewell Wood today. With kind permission of the Duke of Norfolk's Estate, we are performing some important habitat management work here, primarily for the Duke of Burgundy. Other beneficiaries are likely to be Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Drab Looper moth. Habitat corridors were opened up and new areas 'fit for a Duke' were created. A pristine Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood graced us with their presence. (Neil Hulme)

Yesterday's mystery moth? Satellite (look closely and you'll see the two little 'moons' flying next to the white 'planet' on each wing). Today's photo from Tony Wilson - answer tomorrow

Friday 23 October 2009

On a glorious sunny afternoon on a patch of scruffy Michaelmas daisies at Bevendean I watched 1 Small Copper, 1 Peacock,  2 Painted Ladies and 2 Clouded Yellows. When it clouded over they all flew off except the Peacock that remained on the flowers. (Geoff Stevens)

News for Thursday 22 October: The Clouded Yellows between Shooters Bottom and the Beachy Head Visitor Centre continue to impress. I couldn't resist another trip down from Essex today. There are fewer now, of course, but I still reckon I saw a hundred in these fields. Often 4 or 5 at a glance. Many were showing signs of wear, but some were in mint condition - could they be still emerging, even? Also, several Painted Ladies,2 Small Whites, 4 Small Coppers and a male Common Blue. With Buzzards, Ravens and Peregrines in the area, plus some great walking along the cliff tops, all made a great day. (Mark Bunch, Cambs and Essex branch)

Yesterday's moth was Dusky Thorn; here's today's little test, photographed 18 Oct (Ringmer, Mark Underhill)

Thursday 22 October 2009

Hooray - butterfly sightings!

2 short trips out today, 1st a run along The Comp produced singles of Speckled Wood, Small White, Red Admiral and Painted Lady. Then for the afternoon looking for the Firecrests around Plantation Wood near Birling Gap 5 Clouded Yellow, 1 Red Admiral and 2 Painted Lady. 1 of the Clouded Yellows and Painted Lady (below) was in pristine condition. Also seen was a young adder only about 7 inches long. (Bob Eade).

Recent news: A nice selection of moths here at Edburton in the last week or so with the highlight last night being a Scarce Bordered Straw that landed in front of me while I was checking the ivy allowing easy potting. Also L Album Wainscot, Rush Veneer, Feathered Thorn, Brick, Cypress Carpet, Dark Chestnut, Chestnut, Beaded Chestnut, Sallow, Barred Sallow, Large Wainscot, Common Marbled Carpet, November Moth + Ypsolopha mucronella (Tony Wilson)

Yesterday's mystery moth (just for fun; don't ring in!) was Canary-shouldered Thorn. Here's today's; no rushing to the field guide. (Photo: 9 Sep, Ringmer, Mark Underhill):

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Recent news: Although this is not about butterflies, last week I found a Common Darter dragonfly struggling to fly despite flapping like mad. On closer inspection there was a wasp attacking the dragonfly, clinging on to the abdomen and stinging it as well. After about 30 seconds the dragonfly managed to lift off and flew into a neigbour's garden, however the wasp was still attached. I've never seen anything like this before and was wondering if this was unusual. (Bob Eade) Yes, I saw that for the first time last year in my Peacehaven garden - I was alerted to it by the frenzied 'dried paper' rustling of the dragonfly's wings. At first I couldn't work out who was attacking who - Editor

Having been sent a batch of photos this week from Mark Underhill in Ringmer, I thought it might be nice to post one a day during this wet weather, and let you ID the species. First below, photographed on 15 August. Answer tomorrow. Moth-ers will find the first very easy, so this first one is perhaps for those new to moths:

Tuesday 20 October 2009

News for Sunday 18 October: The Painted Lady chrysalis, a picture of which was posted on the website 4th October finally emerged as a pristine butterfly on Sunday mid morning . So that was exactly 2 weeks in the pupal stage . Despite the early morning frosts locally at Henfield it was extremely active and was released unharmed and sped off into the blue yonder. (Richard Roebuck)

WORK PARTY INVITATION: If anyone wishes to get some fresh air, exercise and do some important habitat management work this coming Friday at Rewell Wood (near Arundel), please email me at nh(AT)nhulme.eclipse.co.uk. I will be joining a group of South Downs Joint Committee volunteers here, to create new habitat for the Duke of Burgundy. (Neil Hulme)

Monday 19 October 2009

News for Sunday 18 October: 1 Clouded Yellow Eldon Road Cemetery, Eastbourne (TQ596002) (Roy Wells)

News for Sunday 18 October: Yesterday the chillest so far we saw the Comma in our garden in Yapton soaking up the sun then later on our walk round the fields again the Painted Lady will she ever disappear. We also saw what looked like a Peacock stuck on a piece of grass - does this mean it was at its end? (Mavis Burrows)

News for Sunday 18 October: Clouded Yellow seen at Henfield (Will Green)

News for Sunday 18 October: During a workday at Hogstrough Bevendean this morning we saw 2 Clouded Yellows and 2 female Common Blues. (Geoff Stevens)

Recent news: Sunday 18 October: Kingston near Lewes. 1 Large White, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock, 1 Speckled Wood. Saturday 17 Oct: Kingston near Lewes. 1 Small Copper, 1 Large White, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 1 Speckled Wood. Wednesday 14 Oct: Painted Lady University of Sussex. Monday 12 Oct: 2 Clouded Yellow University of Sussex (Crispin Holloway)

Sunday 18 October 2009

A Clouded Yellow was at Warnham LNR today. The only butterfly I saw today! (Sam Bayley)

Crawley Down: 1 Painted Lady (during the morning only) and 1 Red Admiral on buddleia. Also 1 Speckled Wood sunbathing on my shoe. (Jonathan Ruff)

Perfect conditions for butterflying today at Brandy Hole Copse..Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Clouded Yellow, Large White, Peacock, Painted Lady.....but no Queen of Spain Fritillary... if only I had known about it earlier..... (Danny McEvoy)

Pagham Harbour area: Clouded Yellows matched Red Admirals as most frequent butterfly, about 6-7 of each, plus 3 Small White, Comma, Painted Lady and Peacock (Adrian Thomas)

News for Saturday 17 October: On a cloudy, chilly Saturday morning, my wife & I set off from Cissbury Ring to complete a circular walk taking in Chanctonbury Ring. About 2.30pm whilst returning to Cissbury along the main footpath from Bostal Road just above Sompting, the sun came out briefly & within 100yds we saw the only 2 butterflies of the day. The first was a male Wall Brown & the second was a Red Admiral. The Wall was in good condition, but slow & weak & was only interested in warming itself. Whilst this will probably not be the last recorded of this species this year, I found it interesting because it was possibly proof of a third brood. This site is not typical of Wall Browns, a chalk path bordered by a low hedge with arable crops beyond, but personally I have seen more Walls than ever this year & they certainly appeared to be increasing their range. (Roger Martin)

News for Saturday 17 October: I went to Brandy Hole Copse today and didn't see The Queen of Spain Fritillary! Though I didn't really know where to look! Lets hope it's sunny tomorrow. (Danny McEvoy)

News for Friday and Saturday nights, 16 and 17 October: MV Light Trap in Ringmer TQ 461124. 17 October: Red-line Quaker 2; Dark Rustic 1; Lunar Underwing 2; Beaded Chestnut 3; Green-brindled Crescent 1; Pale November Moth 1. 18 October: Red-line Quaker 2; Dark Rustic 2; Lunar Underwing 1; Green-brindled Crescent 2; Angle Shades 1; Beaded Chestnut 1 (Mark Underhill)

Saturday 17 October 2009

Below - mating pair of Queen of Spain Fritilliaries, Brandy Hole Copse, 13 October (Neil Hulme) and Comma on Michaelmas Daisies, Bevendean, 15 Oct (Geoff Stevens)

Below - Small Copper, Bevendean, 15 Oct (Geoff Stevens) and (presumed) Ruby Tiger caterpillar, Mill Hill, 16 Oct (Richard Roebuck)

Pevensey Levels 1 Red Admiral (TQ60M); and 1 Painted Lady, 1 Clouded Yellow, 1 Red Admiral, 2 unidentified small whites (TQ60T) (Roy Wells)

News for Thursday 15 October: Painted Lady seen in orchard at rear of Keeble House, East Grinstead, approx co-ord TQ398372 (Kevin Sexton)

Friday 16 October 2009

News for Thursday 15 October: Mill Hill: Had a quick walk around at lunchtime. Saw three Clouded Yellows, Painted Lady, Red Admiral and several Small Coppers all were flying purposefully and did not land. In addition it was very warm and there were thousands of small dung beetles filling the air. Many landed on piles of rabbit droppings, going about their business. I don't know what a group/ swarm of dung beetles is called may be a Scattering? Also two Speckled Woods seen at Bines Bridge near Partridge Green. (Richard Roebuck)

Queen of Spain Fritillary update: Although the survival of the Queen of Spain Fritillary will be very much influenced by the severity of the forthcoming winter, they at least have a chance! On Monday a few of us were privileged to see something that can seldom have been observed in the UK - wild QoS mating! A newly hatched, virgin female flew close to a male territory and was immediately intercepted. After the briefest of tumbles they paired for 25 minutes. A magical moment - for us and the butterflies! The species will at least attempt to over-winter in either the egg or immature larval stage. (Neil Hulme)

Thursday 15 October 2009

On my favourite clump of Michaelmas Daisies behind Bevendean Crescent today there were 6 Painted Ladies, 2 Small Coppers, 1 Peacock, 1 Comma and a Small White passing by. On some Red Valerian 1 Small Tortoiseshell. (Geoff Stevens)

News for Wednesday 14 and Tuesday 13 October: My catch at Rye on 13th included a Delicate, as well as Mallow, L-album Wainscot, Brindled Green, Satellite, Chestnut, Brick, Red-line Quaker, Large Wainscot, etc. On 14th the highlight was a Cypress Carpet. (Patrick Bonham)

Recent sightings: Over the last week or so our MV trap in our back garden at Mill Hill has been fairly quiet. Over three nights we have had single Silver-Y, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Large Wainscot, Feathered Ranunculus, Eudonia augustea, Sallow, White Point, Large Yellow Underwing and Light-brown Apple Moth. 5 Lunar Underwing, 4 Beaded Chestnut and 2 Black Rustic have helped make up the numbers and 4 Pale Pinion are the first records of this species we remember for our garden. The most unusual moth though was a second generation Yellow-tail, a most unexpected visitor! (Dave and Pen Green)

Check out Sandra Gould's photo here of one of the Queen of Spain Fritillaries at Paul James's blog

Wednesday 14 October 2009

After a worrying wait of about an hour, we eventually saw a male Queen of Spain Fritillary at Brandy Hole Copse today. The sun shone brightly for about 10 minutes at 12.30 and suddenly there it was resting on a cow parsley flower. We followed it for about 5 minutes before losing it. Also 2 Painted Ladies, Comma and Red Admiral. (Paul James, Sandra Gould & Christine Hill)

Below: Yes its that time of year again, 'Help I'm a celebrity get me out of here!' or its just a Queen of Spain Fritillary being pursued by the paparazzi (Richard Roebuck)

And here's Neil Hulme's photo from yesterday (left), and Carol Kemp's photo of prayers being offered to the Queen.

News for Tuesday 13 October: On a beautiful sunny day at Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve I had good views of 2 Commas on blackberries, at least 3 Clouded Yellows and a Speckled Wood. (Peter Watson)

News for Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 October 2009: Over the last two days about 25 people have enjoyed the spectacle of Queen of Spain Fritillaries, just to the south of Brandy Hole Copse, Chichester. Yesterday's visitors were treated to the sight of 2 males and a female, who flew 60' up to the top of a sweet chestnut to roost! A single male was seen throughout today, spending his time either sunbathing or behaving in a violent manner towards Clouded Yellows - great sport! (Neil Hulme)

Tuesday 13 October 2009

2 Clouded Yellow on a quick hop around Mill Hill (TQ 210 073). 4 Painted Lady and 1 Small Tortoiseshell feeding on a late-flowering buddleia in a friend's Brighton garden. (Caroline Clarke)

Went for a walk on to Worthing Pier and today only saw one unidentified black fast flying butterfly. Not deterred by this I went to the nearby Steine Gardens and saw one Peacock, one pristine Red Admiral and one Painted Lady. Things were looking up. So I ventured to the nearby Beach House Gardens and saw two Large Whites and an amazing 13 pristine Painted Ladies. Now that's more like it. Better than staying in the office, isn't it! (Nick Linazasoro)

Tuesday, PM. 30mins skirting the coastal side of Folkington Wood & meadow, produced, Clouded Yellow (9), Meadow Brown (7), Painted Lady (6, 3 of which were dwarf, all pristine), Speckled Wood (3), Red Admiral (3), Peacock (2), Common Blue (2, 1M, 1F), Large White (1) and surprisingly a Brown Argus in pretty good condition. (Bob Coleman)

There are still good numbers of Clouded Yellows on the Downs near Beachy Head, if not as many as at the end of September. I walked through the field just East of Belle Tout this afternoon (around 3.00 pm) and in a short time saw about 40. Driving slowly on towards Beachy Head we could see more from the car. (John Kerby)

The butterfly year continues to surprise, when the cameras should have been put away the weather was fab today so a short visit to High and Over to look for any late 3rd brood Wall Brown (below). Found 1 straight away, a male that was chasing any other butterflies that ventured near him. However this was the only Wall I saw. On the slope down heading toward Littlington there were some very fresh Clouded Yellows as well as fresh Red Admirals. On seeing the Yellows I crossed the road to the Cradle Hill area where I've seen many Yellows this year in the hope of getting a helice on film. However there was only 1 Clouded Yellow in this area so I decided to go back to the bank where I'd just seen the fresh specimens. On walking up the bank an immaculate helice (below) flew past stopping briefly a couple of times to nectar. However, it then flew back across the road where I had just come from. I then did a sprint that Linford Christie would have been proud of down the hill, through the gates and back up the hill the other side where I relocated it. I got a couple of record shots before it took off again down the steep bank with me again in hot pursuit, I lost it for a while but then saw her again with her nectaring more readily, where I managed to get several decent photos. There was also a very fresh Painted Lady, 1 Peacock, 2 Large White and 5 Speckled Woods. In all 10 Clouded Yellows were seen. (Bob Eade).

Since I have to work as a school teacher in Eastbourne then it looks like I'm gonna miss the Chichester Queen of Spain Fritillaries… will it/they hang around till next Sunday? Meanwhile I have to be content with two Clouded Yellows on Cavendish school playing field today. I pointed the species out to a few of the kids who were surprised that I knew about butterflies (!); there was also a Small Copper on the field. (Danny McEvoy)

News for Monday 12 October 2009: I spent a lovely a/noon walking around the Ouse Nature Reserve in warm sunshine and saw several Painted Ladies and Red Admirals nectaring on a large clump of pale purple Michaelmas Daises, and at least 6 Clouded Yellows on the wing. Also nearly trod on a huge "woolly bear" caterpillar crossing the grass path - a Fox Moth caterpillar. It was 6cm long, ginger brown and very hairy! I'll try and send a photo but am a new BC member and this is my first attempt (photos below). I thoroughly enjoyed the recent AGM and look forward to future events. (Anna Grist )

News for Monday 12 October 2009: Today I spotted several Clouded Yellows in vegetation alongside the beach between the Sovereign Centre & the water tower, in Eastbourne. It's the first time I've noticed the Clouded Yellow in this area and came to your website to find out more. (Sue O)

News for Monday 12 October 2009: After work both myself and my friend ventured to the nearest park to Worthing Pier to look for signs of the possible Peacocks seen flying in from the sea at lunchtime yesterday. But alas it was quite late and we found nothing. So we ventured back to the Pier and saw no butterflies. We'll have another go over the next few days. (Nick Linazasoro)

Recent news: October 2009: Life for the declining number of butterflies was beginning to becoming more difficult. The Ivy was still an attractant but everywhere the bushes were dominated by swarms of wasps, bees and flies with the occasional bumblebee and the butterflies if they were able to find a perch it was an even chance that it would be right at the top of the bush. Predatory dragonflies were frequently seen, mostly Common Darters, but also at least one Southern Hawker. Red Admirals were the only butterfly that were numbered in double figures with 14 or 15. Twelve butterfly species were seen on the day including at least five, possibly as many as eight Clouded Yellows, one of which was seen to settle on purple nectaring flowers. At least half of the six male Common Blues on the lower slopes of Mill Hill were in a very fresh condition. (Andy Horton)

Monday 12 October 2009

I will be meeting more people for a trip to see the Queen of Spain Fritillary at Grid Ref: SU 85040660 tomorrow morning (13 October) at 10.30 am. (Neil Hulme)

A visit to Brandyhole Copse today produced the following:- Queen of Spain Fritillary 2 males 1 in very fresh condition, Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady, Comma, Red Admiral, Large White, Small White, Speckled Wood, Small Copper and Peacock. A late afternoon visit to Cissbury Ring produced the following : Clouded Yellow, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell and most surprising of all, a good condition Gatekeeper and a very worn Meadow Brown. (Andrew Bashford)

A few hours spent with a male Queen of Spain Fritillary at Brandy Hole (photo above), once in a life time, who knows. It was certainly worth the trip. Greetings to all those who had travelled near and far, especially Pauline - hope I saved your day with the camera batteries. (Richard Roebuck)

2 pristine Painted Ladies, and 1 Peacock on the buddleia today in Crawley Down. (Jonathan Ruff)

Myself and my friend were participating in a little light refreshment on Worthing Pier this lunchtime, when our conversation was continually interrupted by fast moving black butterflies (most probably all Peacocks) flying in from the sea. We saw 8 in just a few minutes. I kept jumping up and chasing them much to the amusement of the fellow diners, but alas they were all too fast. I thought that the season was finished but clearly not. We assumed that they maybe heading for the nearest park and so we are going to investigate after work. Watch this space… (Nick Linazasoro)

Male Clouded Yellow, Hastings, Bembroke field, no others seen? (Rosalind Oldfield)

News for Sunday 11 October: Immigrant sightings at Pagham for the evening. Finally the first major immigrants to the trap at the visitor centre this October. Clancy's Rustic 1, Scarce Bordered Straw 1, Others included: 5 Large Wainscot 3 L-Album Wainscot, 1 Diamond-back Moth. (Ivan Lang)

News for Thursday 9 October: I saw a pair of pristine and very frisky Painted Ladies on a Buddleia at the Denton Island Bowling club car park in Newhaven. (Ronald Lee)

Sunday 11 October 2009

BC Volunteers re-grouped at our Park Corner Heath today to kick-off the 2009/10 work party season. The first task this year is to create another connecting corridor between the reserve and the ride to the south. With bowsaws in hand our volunteers made a start on the task and were treated to chips and a selection of dips served in the stylish tray which I was fortunate enough to win at last week's AGM. The next work party will be held on Sunday November 8th. Thanks to Dave, Nigel, Andrew, Clare, Bert, Bridget, Gareth, Richard, Steve, Steve, Finn and Tom. (Michael Blencowe)

In a brief sunny period before the rain came 1 Peacock, 1 Painted Lady and 1 Small White on buddleia. 1 Large White on lavender. (Jonathan Ruff)

Recent News: Despite weather conditions being less than ideal I have run the moth trap twice this week at Friston. On October 7th - despite heavy rain and wind - there was quite a haul in the trap including Four-spotted Footman, Dark Sword-grass, Delicate, Rush Veneer, L-album Wainscot and my first Dusky Lemon Sallow (below left). October 10th was a drier but colder night and saw the arrival of my first Satellite, Yellow-line Quaker and Red-line Quaker of the autumn as well as a out-of-season Rosy Footman (below centre). An anonymous tub labelled 'Venison Casserole' appeared on my doorstep on the 10th and I was only slightly disappointed when I opened it to reveal a Pale Tussock larvae (below right) - surely one of our craziest caterpillars. Thank you to whoever abandoned him there. (Michael Blencowe)

News for Saturday 10 October 2009: Species seen while out walking near Denton today (TQ461030): Large White, Small White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Painted Lady, Peacock, Red Admiral, Vapourer and Silver Y. Also, I recorded my first Blair's Shoulder-knot of the season in the garden tonight. (Steven Teale)

More news for Saturday 10 October 2009: Saltdean as I drove towards Rottingdean a Painted Lady flew across the windscreen heading South! It was going some as well. (Danny McEvoy)

News for Friday 9 October 2009: TQ 461124, MV Light Trap in Ringmer: Black Rustic 6; Dark Chestnut 1; Willow Beauty 1; Angle Shades; 3 Beaded Chestnut 40; Barred Sallow 6; Large Yellow Underwing 21; Red-line Quaker 5; Yellow-line Quaker 2; Snout 1; Lunar Underwing 19; Setaceous Hebrew Character 4 Green Brindled Crescent 1; Silver Y 1; Brindled Green 1. (Mark Underhill)

Some recent photos from Mark below: Clockwise from top left, Feathered Gothic 24 Aug, Brussels Lace and Dewick's Plusia both 20 Sept and Angle Shades 9 Oct.

Saturday 10 October 2009

News Flash…

Today about 25 people joined me, to witness a spectacular and very significant event. The female Queen of Spain Fritillary seen in Brandy Hole Copse near Chichester on 14 July by Robert Beale (see earlier report on this website) has given rise to a UK brood of this very rare and stunningly beautiful immigrant. First photographed by local John Kelsall on 22 September (but now reported as first being seen 'up to a week earlier'), I have personally observed 6 different insects (5 male, 1 female) since 4 October. A great deal of data has now been collected (paper in preparation) and it is clear that there has been a 'staggered' emergence of butterflies on the site (pristine specimens have appeared alongside increasingly battered-looking individuals). Today 2 males were still on the wing, along a maize field margin a couple of hundred metres south of where Robert's July butterfly was seen. I also found the dismembered remains of what was a still fresh-looking male butterfly on Thursday, lying in the undergrowth where I last saw it at roost. Predation by a spider seems most likely. Importantly, Barbara Ottley discovered Field Pansy (the caterpillar food plant) around the margins of the crop today, adding the last piece to the 'jigsaw puzzle'. Records going back to 2007, when an unusually high number of specimens (6, possibly 7) were recorded between Old Winchester Hill (Hampshire) and East Sussex, cluster around this area. The currently strong populations along parts of the Normandy coast will be the original source of these butterflies. 2009 has certainly been a year to remember! (Neil Hulme)

Warninglid: Interestingly, only our pale purple Michaelmas Daisy is very attractive (evidence below) - Comma, Peacock and Red Admiral. The red and the two pink shades [also in full bloom] are completely ignored. The bees and bumblebees do not seem to distinguish. (Peter Cockerill)

Quick walk with the dogs this morning up to the top of Mill Hill around 10am, butterflies spotted 5 Painted Lady, 1 Comma, 1 Common Blue, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Specked Wood, 2 Clouded Yellows. (Alec Trusler)

Nectaring on Buddleia and Red Valerian in East Dean today (TV562984) whilst the sun shone… Large White 4, Small White 2, Clouded Yellow 3, Painted Lady 5. (David and Carole Jode)

Took a walk along Climping beach from TQ 001 008 to SZ 948 991 at Felpham. 5 Painted Lady on Verbena bonariensis (in hotel gardens), then 6 Clouded Yellow, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock, 4 Speckled Wood & numerous whites on or close to shoreline. (Caroline Clarke)

Recent news: Trapped over last three nights in my garden in Portslade: A late White-spotted Pug, Lunar Underwing, Feathered Thorn, Mallow, Angle Shades, Large Yellow Underwing, Beaded Chestnut, L-album Wainscot. (Darryl Perry)

Friday 9 October 2009

Despite the chill in the air, last night's garden trap was very productive with 35 species and almost 200 moths. Several migrants including 1 Delicate; 1 White-point (I assume this was a migrant as our local breeders seem to have finished some weeks ago), 2 Dark Swordgrass & 3 Silver Y. Also 2 Merveille du Jour, 1 Clancy's Rustic, 1 Blair's Mocha, 1 Large Wainscot, 10 L-Album Wainscot, and (for this newcomer to the area at least) an amazing 34 Feathered Ranunculus. (Derek Lee)

News for Thursday 8 Oct: 1 Small Copper looking pristine Cade Street TQ607210. (Roy Wells)

Thursday 8 October 2009

Whilst waiting for a Yellow-browed Warbler to put in an appearance this morning just West of Birling Gap several Clouded Yellows were seen as well as 1 Red Admiral, a fresh Painted Lady and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth. There were also 2 Fox Moth (below) larvae present. There is a picture on http://www.rxwildlife.org.uk of a Convolvulus Hawk Moth larva from Dungeness for those interested. (Bob Eade)

West Wittering: Along the foreshore today: 10 Clouded Yellows - including a pair in cop and a single f. helice, 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Red Admirals 2 Large White also Rush Veneers in the herbage. In our garden on ivy - 2 Painted Ladies, 2 Red Admirals, 1 Large White, 1 Speckled Wood. (Derek Lee)

Yesterday was like the start of winter, however today was very unexpected. At Henfield in the garden there are the last flowers of a Buddleia and a Michaelmas Daisy in full flower this afternoon was a great show with the following nectaring, Pristine Painted Ladies several, Peacock, Red Admiral Comma, Large Whites and a full house with a Tortoiseshell (below, right) albeit with a damaged hind wing. Went for a local walk and also found my second Clouded Yellow seen in Henfield this year feeding on late dandelions Two Small Coppers flying high. At 5.15 p.m after a lot of searching found finally two Speckled Woods. That's eight species which seems to be a bit of a result. (Richard Roebuck)

This sunny morning on a patch of Michaelmas Daisies on Bevendean Down backing on to Bevendean Cresent there was just one Small Tortoiseshell and one Painted Lady (photos above) but they did stay and pose. A Clouded Yellow flew overhead in a southerly direction. Yesterday in my neighbours garden a Peacock seamed attracted to the smoke from a bonfire. (Geoff Stevens)

Through our East Dean today (TV562984) in the bright sunshine Large White 2 - Small White 2 - Clouded Yellow 1 - Red Admiral 1 All nectaring on Buddleia and Red Valerian. (David and Carole Jode)

We received the following from Bob Brown today - if you do have any thoughts, send them to the usual sighting address and we'll pass them on, thanks, ed.
On our Community garden site in Seaford yesterday, somebody pointed out that a vegetable we had growing called Wimatu or something like that, which seemed to have carrot-like fronds for leaves, which are apparently edible, had a plague of caterpillars on it. I had never seen these before, they were charcoal grey or black, hairless, with a white stripe low on each side. Quite small up to about 1 cm long. They curl up when picked up. What are they please?

Wednesday 7 October 2009

One or two Large White on the wing in East Dean today until the heavy rain started. (Carole & David Jode)

Tuesday 6 October 2009

News for Saturday 3 October 2009 - Branch AGM Report: Between 75 and 80 people attended the Sussex Branch AGM at Chailey Parish Hall, this being our largest ever turnout. With speakers of the very highest quality on show, this was perhaps unsurprising. Following the formal AGM proceedings, guest speaker Matthew Oates gave a brilliant and thought-provoking talk entitled 'Why Butterflying is Dangerously Addictive… a look at the psychology and spirituality of butterflying'. It is probably rare that we actually consider precisely why we do it and why it gives us so much pleasure. I then presented Matthew with a framed photograph of a Purple Emperor, the species most close to his heart. Following a break for refreshments, mingling and the raffle (we raised a fantastic total of £207 - thank you for your generosity), it was time for Michael Blencowe's talk, 'Of Ladies and Loopers'. Those who have heard Michael previously would have been anticipating this for some time - and he didn't disappoint. Another hilarious and hugely entertaining journey through the Sussex Branch calendar. I wouldn't be surprised if he adds pyrotechnics and dancers at some point! (Forget it Michael - you're our Health and Safety Rep.). We finished off with a selection of member's slides - thank you to those that contributed. I would also like to thank all of those that helped organise the event (too numerous to list individually) and ensured that all ran smoothly on the day. With such a great team of people to work with, I needn't worry about Chairing these events in the future, this being my first one. Lastly, thank you all for coming along, as ultimately it's our members that 'make the day'. (Neil Hulme)

Recent news: I see on your sightings pages that Clouded Yellows are around in Sussex but that they seem to be mainly in the eastern part of the county. I live in Felpham near Bognor Regis and I saw the first one in our garden on 25th September. This was a male and I have subsequently seen one again last Saturday and Sunday, 3rd and 4th October. They are not in the huge numbers that you have seen further east but I thought you would like to know that we have over in the far west of Sussex too. (Sally Manning)

Monday 5 October 2009

Recent news: Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Clouded Yellow, Comma, Wall Brown, Small Heath, Painted Lady, Large White, Small White, Peacock and Small Copper. Thirteen species of butterfly seen in the first two days of October 2009 in the Shoreham area including Mill Hill. (Andy Horton)

Sunday 4 October 2009

OK folks it's time to get back to work at Park Corner Heath. Every second Sunday in the month, from now until next Spring, we'll be heading out to our reserve to get the place ready for 2010. There's plenty of jobs to suit everybody - we'll supply the tools - you just bring yourselves, some work gloves and food/drink if required. It's a great chance to get out and get some exercise, learn more about the management of our reserve and make a big difference to the conservation of the butterflies, moths and other animals that live there. This season's main task will be clearing a second corridor from the reserve to the new ride but there's plenty of odd jobs to do here and there. We'll be at the reserve from 08:30 on Sunday 11th October until 1pm - feel free to drop by when you want.
For more information email sussexgrayling@aol.com or call 01323 423711 (Michael Blencowe)

Regarding Nick's moth caterpillar, we believe it is a Fox Moth caterpillar as we also found a similar looking caterpillar at Birling Gap on Sunday. It was feeding on Salad Burnet and was about 75mm long. Also present, in the field to the east of Hodcombe Farm, were at least 80 Clouded Yellow including one helice form and a mating pair. (Dave and Pen Green)

Following on from Nick Linazasoro sentiments, which I whole heartedly agree with, I have also been out and about and once again found a an early instar Painted Lady caterpillar on a thistle although only one . Also I've attached a pic of a Painted Lady chrysalis (see above) . Wonder what the future holds for these at this time . Once again thanks ,the AGM was a masterpiece of Lepidopteral enthusiasm. Try saying that quickly. (Richard Roebuck)

Richard also e-mailed to say: "I think they (Nick's caterpillars) are those of Fox Moth found these commonly on cliffs etc."

News for Saturday 3 Oct:I spent about an hour walking along the cliffs at Bexhill on October 3rd and saw the following: perhaps 100 or more Large Whites (I stopped counting at 50!), some of which were egg-laying on Sea Kale; 20+ Small White; 15 Clouded Yellow, including one helice; 2 Painted Lady (very fresh looking); 1 Red Admiral; 2 Small Copper; and 4 Common Blue. Not bad for October! (Rob Bogue)

Saturday 3 October 2009

Attendees at this year's AGM cheering a triumphant Michael Blencowe winning a coveted "Chip 'n' Dip Set" - first prize in the raffle! For Michael, this was the highlight of the day, for everyone else the highlight was his hugely entertaining review of the butterfly year.

Having been inspired by yesterdays brilliant AGM, I thought I would give butterfly spotting on more chance for this year. I thought that if I ventured to Birling Gap, I may have a chance of finding some Clouded Yellows. Alas, I did not spot a single butterfly. So not giving up, I searched for caterpillars instead and luckily found two. I believe they must be moth caterpillars. Hopefully someone can assist (photos above). (Nick Linazasoro)

In late morning sunshine at approx 17°C I walked a circular route from Horsley Farm near West Marden. Most butterflies where sighted in grid SU7614 alongside a mature hedgerow surrounded by crucifers. Several Commas had stopped to feed on over ripened blackberries on the hedgerow, also, a pristine Red Admiral. Count was Small White (8), Red Admiral (2), Painted Lady (1) and Comma (above) (5). (Richard Symonds - Hayling Island)

Kingston near Lewes (TQ3915 0862). Large and Small White (1 or two of each), 1 Small Copper, 2 or 3 Comma surprisingly small ones, 1 Peacock, 2 or 3 Speckled Wood. (Crispin Holloway)

Although AGMs are traditionally rather boring affairs the Sussex BC AGM is a bit different - last year's event was described as 'an emotional rollercoaster' - and that was just the raffle. This year we are lucky to be joined by writer, broadcaster and Purple Emperor devotee Matthew Oates who will give a talk entitled 'Why Butterflying is Dangerously Addictive ... A look at the psychology and spirituality of butterflying'. After refreshments and a chance to chat with other butterfly folk I will be presenting; "Of Ladies and Loopers: The 2009 Butterfly and Moth year", looking back over the highlights of the season. When I've run out of things to say there will be an opportunity for members to display digital photos (Maximum of 10 please on a disc or USB stick). Everyone is welcome to attend whether members or non-members (donation please). The event starts at 2:30pm (see events guide for directions)

Friday 2 October 2009

Painted Lady nectaring on Ivy, Lindfield today (Bob Foreman)

Even as we hit October there are still several butterflies to see. With the sun shining again today I visited The Comp, Frog Firle and High and Over and despite the coolish breeze that increased throughout the walk I still managed to record 13 species. These were 25 Speckled Wood, 9 Clouded Yellow with 6 being in the Cradle Hill part of Frog Firle. I was hoping to get photos of helice form but by the time I got to the hot spot the cloud cover had built up and the breeze had increased so there were less yellows than I was hoping for, no helice were seen. 2 Painted Lady, 12 Small White, 4 Comma (below left), 4 Red Admiral (below right), 2 Large White, 2 Brown Argus, 3 Common Blue, 1 Small Copper, 3 Wall Brown, 1 on Greenway Bank and 2 by High and Over, 1 Peacock and 3 Meadow Brown. (Bob Eade).

Check out this link to BirdGuides, which talks about the MIGHTY Sussex and its Clouded Yellows! And this one for yet more mentions in the Guardian. (Neil Hulme)

Thursday 1 October 2009

Opposite Shooter's Bottom: I spent a good few hours hunting for Clouded Yellows on what was a glorious October Day! Highlights were several hundred Clouded Yellows, males, females nectaring but I only saw one helice but got some great pics of a mating pair (below left). Also saw Meadow Brown, a couple of female Common Blues, (tatty) Red Admiral, pristine Painted Lady (with a distinct pink hue on front of upper wing instead of normal brown i saw on all others this year. Why? Very new camera gone mad perhaps. Small Copper pristine. But most surprisingly a Six-spot Burnet newly emerged (below right). Got a flukey shot of a yellow with wings open as it took off (below centre. Great day. (Richard Roebuck)

I made one final trip to Birling Gap today before the weather changes. It was quite bright by the time I arrived at 11.15am, but there was a slight northerly breeze. I would estimate that there were at least 300 Clouded Yellow flying in the two fields at Shooters Bottom. There were more females out today compared to Monday and, as the afternoon wore on, some of the males were also pausing to feed. So, lots of photo opportunities, but the breeze made it difficult. There were four f.helice seen as well as a couple of newly hatched females and a mating pair. I left the site at 3.20pm. Also seen were 8 Painted Lady, 4 Red Admiral, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Heath, 5 Small Copper, 3 Large White and 2 Small White. (Vince Massimo)

Below is Vince's wings-open Clouded Yellow shot of a pair from Monday:

Below: the moth on the left might be small and dull, but it is our first photo on this site of Channel Islands Pug, plus Bordered Straw to the right, in Derek Lee's West Wittering trap on Tuesday

Earlier Sightings

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