Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment

Please remember, you can raise money for your favourite Butterfly Conservation Branch every time you shop online simply by clicking on the easyfundraising.org.uk logo first and selecting:
"Butterfly Conservation - Sussex Branch".

2019 First sightings

0 Species to date
* indicates a national first

Dark Green Fritillary
09 Jun

Marbled White
09 Jun

Silver-studded Blue
09 Jun

White-letter Hairstreak*
08 June

06 June

Silver-washed Fritillary
05 June

Purple Hairstreak*
04 June

White Admiral*
2 June

Meadow Brown
28 May

Large Skipper
27 May

Black Hairstreak*
21 May

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
16 May

Wood White
12 May

Large Tortoiseshell
02 May

Adonis Blue
02 May

Small Blue
01 May

Brown Argus
29 April

Common Blue
28 April

Duke of Burgundy
23 April

Pearl-bordered Fritillary
20 April

Small Heath
17 April

Dingy Skipper*
11 April

Wall Brown
07 April

Small Copper
30 March

Green Hairstreak
30 March

Grizzled Skipper*
30 March

Clouded Yellow
29 March

25 March

Green-veined White
24 March

Large White
07 March

Painted Lady
25 Feb

Speckled Wood
24 Feb

Camberwell Beauty
23 Feb

Small White*
23 Feb

15 February

Small Tortoiseshell
15 Feb

Holly Blue
14 February

09 January

Red Admiral*
01 January

01 January


Send in your sightings

Recent sightings in Sussex

What to look for in June

In June 2008, which was the first year of this website, the editor Adrian Thomas wrote:

"Butterflies: As summer progresses you expect butterfly numbers to grow and grow, but June is in some ways a bit of a lull before the fireworks. It is the tail-end for many spring-flying broods, and too early for late summer butterflies, but there are some new species to be found. Watch for the first Ringlets, Marbled Whites and White Admirals in the first fortnight, and both Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks if we are lucky, with Purple Emperor possible by month's end. Meadow Browns should increase, and Large Skippers will probably reach their peak."

Now we can add to the list Chalk Hill Blue, Essex Skipper, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper, Silver-Washed Fritillary, Silver-studded Blue, Dark Green Fritillary and of course Black Hairstreak.

Ed jnr

The Sussex Black Hairstreak: Sunday June 16th

Rather inconveniently, the London to Brighton Bike Ride is being held on Sunday the 16th of June. Whilst the cyclist will not be attending our two Black Hairstreak events at Ditchling Common, they will be the reason for the closure of the North/South B2112 that runs beside the common. If you are attending our events you will need to come by the East/West Folders Lane road, and allow a little extra time for the journey. (Ed jnr)

Butterfly Report

Due to unforseen circumstances, this years edition of the Butterfly Report has been delayed. Hopefully members will receive a copy at the beginning of July. (Ed jnr)

Sunday 16 June

Where do I start—at the beginning, I hear you say! When I volunteered to have a BC Sussex walk for Black Hairstreak on Ditchling Common I had no idea what to expect. Especially as I’d never down one before. Jamie Burston also volunteered to lend a hand and it was just as well he did. The bookings came flooding in and the Saturday sessions were filling up fast mainly due to the forecast weather being better. Some of the attendees travelled from far and wide, with guests from Cardiff, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Buckinghamshire. The pressure was on to deliver! It has to be said the weather was far from perfect, with a mix across the 2 days of bright and breezy to down right cold, very wet and very windy, the odds of fulfilling our hopes and giving our guests their first close ups was going to be very challenging. I’m pleased to report that ALL 65 + visitors left with big smiles, having achieved their goals. A Herculean effort supported as ever by Neil Hulme, enabled us to locate and track butterflies and escort our guests to exactly the right spot without delay during the most testing weather conditions (including pouring rain). The one Black Hairstreak picture I have included, is of the newly emerged female (next to her pupa case) that decided to enter the world at 10:00am in pouring rain and ensured our Sunday guests got their close encounter.
With a double fly past of the Red Arrows on Saturday and a Spitfire fly past on the Sunday to ‘serenade’ our guests, added to the excitement. A big thank you to all our guests and to Jamie and Neil for making it a weekend I shall never forget. (David Cook)

Today (16 June) saw another two highly successful guided walks at Ditchling Common, despite poor weather in the morning. Over the four sessions this weekend, Jamie Burston and David Cook managed to show more than 60 attendees the Black Hairstreak, with everyone holding a camera going away with photographs. A total of 15 hairstreaks were seen low down on the Bracken today, with much more activity above the Blackthorn thickets. A chrysalis discovered by Ben Greenaway finally hatched, allowing a few people the rare opportunity to photograph a (female) Black Hairstreak next to its vacated pupal case. A great weekend was had by all. (Neil Hulme)

I set out for Blean Woods this morning but decided to turn back in torrential rain when I'd got as far as Crawley. I headed for Ditchling Common instead and my decision was vindicated when I spotted a lovely fresh male Black Hairstreak on a Fern. Then Dave Cook lead me to Neil Hulme who was photographing a freshly emerged female, right next to the empty pupa! (John Williams)

Our first Humming-bird Hawk-moth of 2019 seen in our East Dean garden (TV562984) at 2pm today nectaring on Purple Sage in overcast conditions - 17c (Carole & David Jode)

Humming-bird Hawk-moth seen feeding on pansies in sheltered rear garden. (James Beals)

Visited Ipping Common early morning to day and found about 10 males in one localised spot, hunkering down in The Ling due to persistent winds . Passing clouds changed the light conditions within minutes with interesting effects on the male Silver Studded Blues - they were stunning.
On an area that had been cleared, I noticed from a distance what looked like red shredded ,plastic, baler twine. aagghhh!
On closure inspection i realised it was Dodder I think Cuscuta epithymum - Its a vine parasitic on Ling and straight out of war of the worlds - weird . Worth looking out for . Also saw several smart Stonechats and Yellow Hammers . It started to rain so went to Amberham and Heyshott Commons . Near the car park next to the paths there are lots of Alder Buckthorn.
Eventually found various instars of Brimstone Caterpillars, one showing a defensive posture and all have silk on the leaves to hold onto. (Richard Roebuck)

Congratulations to Jamie Burston and David Cook for their excellent guided walks to see the Black Hairstreaks of Ditchling Common yesterday (15 June), despite challenging weather conditions in the afternoon. The morning event was a 'walk in the park' and the large crowd (25+) was treated to numerous close-up views of the target species. Everyone managed to get photographs of a male hairstreak in perfect condition, within just minutes of arriving in Hairstreak Alley. Other highlights included an early Ringlet and a fabulous display of Common Spotted Orchids.
The weather collapsed for the afternoon event, but fortunately we had marked the position of a male Black Hairstreak sheltering from the drizzle, so everyone managed to see the butterfly at point blank range. (Neil Hulme)