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".

2018 First sightings

0 Species to date
* indicates a national first

13 July

Silver-spotted Skipper
11 July

Brown Hairstreak
6 July

Chalk Hill Blue
27 June

Camberwell Beauty
23 June

Essex Skipper
22 June


Purple Emperor
17 June

Purple Hairstreak
15 June

Small Skipper
14 June

Silver-Washed Fritillary
13 June

9 June

Marbled White
9 June

White Admiral
8 June

White-letter Hairstreak
7 June

Silver-studded Blue
6 June

Black Hairstreak
4 June

Dark Green Fritillary*
2 June

Meadow Brown
28 May

Large Skipper
26 May

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
15 May

Adonis Blue
11 May

Small Blue
9 May

7 May

Wood White*
6 May

Common Blue*
6 May

Brown Argus*
6 May

Duke of Burgundy
4 May

Pearl-bordered fritillary
4 May

Small Heath*
25 April

Wall Brown
22 April

Dingy Skipper
21 April

Clouded Yellow
18 April

Green Hairstreak*
18 April

Holly Blue
14 April

14 April

Grizzled Skipper*
14 April

Large White
11 April

Green-veined White
3 April

Speckled Wood
31 March

Small Copper*
14 March

Large Tortoiseshell*
15 March

Small White
13 March

Painted Lady*
6 March

Small Tortoiseshell
16 February

25 January

10 January

10 January

Red Admiral
10 January

Atlas Sites

Sites are listed according to their number in the "The Butterflies of Sussex". Sites which have been reported from in 2018 are coloured green.

1Stansted Forest
SU 74700 10500
2Harting Down
SU 79096 18002
3Kingley Vale
SU 82460 11093
4Levin Down
SU 88653 13378
5Heyshott Escarpment
SU 89900 16800
SU 92797 19351
7Eartham Wood
SU 94301 11051
8Rewell Wood
SU 98540 08053
9Fairmile Bottom
SU 98835 09454
10Houghton Forest
SU 99448 11553
11Medley Bottom
TQ 04400 11600
TQ 07000 12500
13Chantry Hill
TQ 08060 12533
TQ 13891 08024
15Steyning DS
TQ 16818 11325
16Anchor Bottom
TQ 20400 09300
17Mill Hill
TQ 21167 07456
TQ 23612 11325
19Benfield Hill
TQ 26167 07852
20Devils Dyke
TQ 26176 10681
TQ 27021 11652
22Wolstonbury Hill
TQ 28100 13800
23Hollingbury Park
24Whitehawk Hill
25Bevendean Down
TQ 33800 06400
26Castle Hill
TQ 37015 06996
SU 92096 29374
28Malling Down
TQ 42164 11255
29Well Bottom
TQ 45300 05500
30Newhaven Tide Mills
TQ 45999 00260
31Frog Firle farm/ High and Over
TQ 50916 01097
32Cuckmere Valley
TV 51613 98238
33Deep Dean
TQ 54300 03000
34Lullington Heath
TQ 54473 01754
35Friston Forest
TQ 51879 00174
36Beachy Head
TV 59467 96037
37Weavers Down
SU 81300 30400
38Chapel Common
SU 8194 2861
39Iping & Stedham Common
SU 85234 21996
40Thorney island
SU 76700 01000
41Binsted Wood
SU 99403 06629
42Ebernoe Common
SU 97576 27836
43Southwater Woods
TQ 15729 25765
TQ 15590 21737
TQ 17200 32700
46West Grinsted Downs Link
TQ 18251 23147
47Woods Mill
TQ 21836 13811
48Bedelands Farm Nature Reserve
TQ 31867 20558
49Markstakes Common
TQ 40116 18362
50Rowlands Wood & Park Corner Heath
TQ 51482 14924
51Abbots Wood
TQ 55781 07267
52Blunts Wood & Paiges Meadows
TQ 31828 24794
53Ashdown Forest
TQ 45901 27803
54Eridge Rocks/Old Park
TQ 55454 35509
55Hargate Forest
TQ 57445 36918
56Batts Wood
TQ 63783 27505
57Fore Wood
TQ 74700 13100
58Brede High Woods
TQ 79400 20200
59Hastings Country Park
TQ 84931 11732
60Beckley Woods
TQ 85800 21900

Send in your sightings

Recent sightings in Sussex

We need to talk about the Grayling...

The Grayling is Sussex's rarest butterfly and in recent years it has suffered badly. It is now found at only one remote site on the South Downs, south of Wilmington. It is irreplaceable as no other Grayling butterfly in Britain lives on chalk habitat, so there can be no reintroductions if we lose it. In 2018 Neil Hulme will spearhead a programme of fieldwork to try and establish what is is going wrong.

How can you help now?

We need your help right away. We need people to go up to Deep Dene (TQ544031) and let us know when the Grayling first emerges. In previous years this has been in mid-July, but the current exceptional weather may bring it forward.

What else can you do?

We are looking for volunteers to take part in fieldwork and surveys in late July and August. If you would like to take part in any of these please register here. You don't need to be an expert to take part as training will be provided.

Tuesday 17 July

A few pictures from Cissbury Ring this afternoon, where, out of the wind there were large numbers of butterflies, both species and amounts. (Patrick Moore)

I'm not surprised if you now dread the length of my sighting reports! Sorry everyone!
Today (17 July) I went for a walk with my friend, Lesley Goodfellow, to the dew pond area of Wild Park LNR, Brighton, between 10am and 11am, to look for low down Purple Hairstreaks and we struck silver! Two seen on the small Oak located at (TQ 32501 07752). However it was this female that we saw below head height for 40 minutes! She did multiple practice runs of egg laying - nothing produced. Hilarious in the way she would strut and then suddenly race along the branches, as Hairstreaks do, they love to have a walk about (see photo descriptions).
She was seen low down during sunny and cloudy intervals (changeable). No mobile with me so I couldn't share the news with anyone! Last seen low down 6/7 years ago at the same location, the wait is finally over!
After walking away from the dew pond in a state of shock and amazement, having seen the Purple Hairstreaks, me and Lesley couldn't believe our luck when this assumable newly emerged male, Brown Hairstreak, perched right in front of us by an area to the side of Ditchling Road, Brighton, at (TQ 32362 08504). Our jaws dropped. If you visit, please let me know how you get on! The time was 11.45am at this point, sunny and sheltered from the wind. Further along the path we were surprised to see a female Wall (Brown) sitting ahead of us on the path, seen at (TQ 32370 08571). I've seen them along the road verge before, but not here. Notably 8 Common Blue, 2 Brown Argus and 1 Marbled White in the same area. Furthermore a Painted Lady seen on the Hollingbury, Hill Fort, Brighton, at (TQ 32223 07983), earlier in the day I had one also visit my garden. Thinking about today's sightings, certainly brings a smile to my face. (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)

Amongst the usual suspects of high summer at Mill Hill near Shoreham, were at least 2 second gen Dingy Skippers. Good numbers of fresh Peacock, Red Admiral and 1 Painted Lady. Also seen was a rather impressive Gatekeeper ab. (Paul Atkin)

By the time (11:45am) I walked up to Deep Dene the wind picked up and it was overcast so I did not have too much hope to see anything but non the less I decided to walk around a little bit but an hour and a half later I was ready to call it a day when at 1:10pm I spotted my first ever Grayling!!! It was resting on a stick on the ground next to a small bush (TQ 54318 03077) where others have seen Graylings too. I took a few not so great photos but watching this little fella for around 10 minutes was more important. When it took off to chase a Chalk Hill Blue away I lost sight of it but 15 minutes later I found an other one what I presume to be the same individual as it was very close (TQ 54255 03042) to the first location. There was an other gentleman taking pictures of it so hopefully he got some decent shots and will share it. Also, as I always walk up from Polegate station via Folkington what I think used to be an other location for Graylings, could you please post some grid reference numbers where to look? (Istvan Radi)
This man walked from Polegate Station to Deep Dean just for the Grayling! Respect. (Ed jnr)

After yesterday’s exertions at The Long Man I opted for a local walk today and spent a couple of hours searching for Brown Hairstreak on the west side of the Burgess Hill circular walk. Only one male seen in overcast and windy conditions. (David Cook)

Took a detour through Dyke Road park, Brighton (or possibly Hove I think the border runs through it) on the way to work, just to see what was about - first 2 Meadow Brown, then a Speckled Wood and then a lovely white letter hairstreak floated down to potter around on the geranium leaves at ground level, where it posed for close-up shots with my phone.
I have been taking a detour through this park for a while now, and although only a small section is planted with flowering plants I have now spotted 11 species in total, including the WLH. Pretty good going for a small park and there may be more yet. For some reason my phone photo is loading oddly - need to turn your head by 45 degrees to see it properly (Sylvia Davidson)