2016 Sightings in Sussex
Mewsbrook Park Rustington.Red Admiral taking lunchtime sun on last day of the year.
Happy New Year to everyone. (John Ward)
You too John. (Ed jnr)
Saturday 31 December
Friday 30 December
2 Red Admirals on a walk round the old airstrip, Ashdown Forest yesterday on a gorgeous winter day. (Chris and Helen Corrigan)
Crawley Down - A glorious winter day was capped by a single Red Admiral in the garden for most of the early afternoon, feeding on winter honeysuckle in between periods of sunbathing on a house wall. It seemed to be in good condition, looking quite fresh in fact. Happy new year to all. (Jonathan Ruff)
A Red Admiral basking in the sunshine at 12.30 at a local site in Crawley. By the time I got back with my camera it had gone. The temperature was 9C in almost calm conditions. (Vince Massimo)
Driving through the Burgess Hill industrial estate, a butterfly flew across in front of me. I pulled over and it had settled, albeit briefly, on the factory wall, so I grabbed the camera and managed a half decent photo of this Small Tortoiseshell before it headed off. (David Cook)
Thursday 29 December
My hawk-eyed son-in-law spotted a Red Admiral as we came back with the goodies for lunch. As it was about minus 5 degrees last night that is a pretty good effort! (martin kalaher)
Tuesday 27 December
Back in January, after seeing a Red Admiral in Ashdown Forest I set myself a target of seeing at least one butterfly in each month of 2016. All went well until December when I was beginning to think I was going to fail at the last hurdle. However, today, Boxing Day a Red Admiral was seen flying near High and Over as well as a Bumble Bee on the Gorse. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Boxing Day Bonus
A walk in St Leonards Forest today produced a single Red Admiral. It appears to be the same one I saw in mid December and in the same area. (Patrick Moore)
Monday 26 December
Red Admiral in garden of 109 Willingdon Road, Eastbourne, BN21 1TX (Paul Howard)
Sunday 25 December
An unexpected Peacock seen at Michelgrove Park then another on Rackham Hill in the sunshine today. Happy Christmas. (Patrick Moore)
Thursday 22 December
My sightings of Brown Hairstreak in Burgess Hill at the end of last year and again this year along the circular walk on the south side of town and witnessing egg laying at one location, lead me to take a much closer look at the blackthorn hedges in and around the Batchelors Farm area. As this is my local dog walk, I could inspect sections at a time and over the passed few weeks have identified numerous groups of up to a dozen eggs at each. On a return visit, I was more than a little perturbed to find that the 'farmer' had started flailing and had completely destroyed one area. I got home and made some enquiries and it turns out that 2 areas of particular interest are managed by 2 different councils (Burgess Hill Town & Mid Sussex District). Neither, it turns out, new of this nationally scarce butterfly or that the actions of their park keepers was putting the butterfly at risk. I'm glad to report that, after providing them with grid references and species details, they appear to be on board as far any further cutting is concerned (at least for the time being). (David Cook)
Wednesday 21 December
Helping daughter to move into new house and Red Admiral flew into face. Location SU 925 005 (John Knight)
Sunday 18 December
I completed a careful survey of 125 metres of Blackthorn hedgerow. 50 metres of my garden hedge, 40 eggs; 65 metres of excellent Blackthorn hedgerow in the field to the east of our property, 10 eggs; 10 metres of 'old' Blackthorn in the field to the south of our garden, 3 eggs.
So roughly one egg per 2.5 metres. The 'excellent' hedge ought to have more but I think is too exposed to the Storrington winds. The old hedge needs my attention (I will have a chat with the manager of the field). The bit of hedge that is most productive is the outside of my garden hedge to the east of the garden. Conclusion (as previously posted) Brown Hairstreak do like sunny aspects but they like even more, 'protected, sheltered' spots.
Changes at Park Corner Heath: This week I made the first of several planned visits to perform management work on Park Corner Heath, armed with either a brushcutter or chainsaw. As many of you will be aware, a more active programme of bracken management has already begun (Bob and his mower, or Michael if he can wrestle it off Bob) and further cutting is underway. However, I will also be doing other things which some might find worrying, without an explanation.
Most visitors will be aware that PCH supports a good population of Brimstone (both breeding and overwintering adults) and that the caterpillar feeds on buckthorns. Regulars tend to notice less than occasional visitors, but in recent years the amount and maturity of plants has increased significantly, without a commensurate increase in Brimstone numbers. This is because many of the plants are in unsuitable positions for egg-laying, and buckthorn becomes increasingly less appealing to the females beyond four or five years age. They will enthusiastically lay eggs on the smallest of fresh shoots. In order to open up some areas specifically for my Fritillaries for the Future project, I will be cutting a significant number of buckthorns to ground level - in effect starting a buckthorn coppice cycle. This will ultimately benefit the Brimstone, and other species such as Grizzled Skipper, as more open habitat is created. I will also be felling a sizeable Turkey Oak - Oaks are good, Turkey Oaks are not (think Spanish Bluebell). I hope this allays any worries some might have, on seeing some quite marked changes in the vegetation structure.
I have just found a Red Admiral inside the building where I work which is on the outskirts of North Bersted, Bognor Regis. It is a converted cowshed in some farm buildings but is heated so I have taken it outside where it is now hanging upside down under a wooden table. It seems to have become more lively since being outside so I am hoping it will find somewhere suitable to hibernate. Sorry no pics as I left my phone at home today. (Penny Kirk)
While having lunch break with some of the Ashdown Forest Conservstion Volunteers during a busy morning cutting down a number of sapling birch trees at Chelwood Vachery on Thursday, a Red Admiral flew overhead possibly disturbed by our activities. (Stuart Ridley)
Friday 16 December
Whilst walking across the fields at Chesworth Farm this morning to check on the sheep in glorious sunshine a Red Admiral flew past me. Whilst not in the prime of it's life it still had enough energy left to not want to hang around and was obviously determined to get somewhere. (Judith Alford)
Walking under the canopy leading to Sainsbury's at Benfield Valley Hove, I'd just noticed a dark leaf being blown upwards when Val pointed out that it was a butterfly. It was rather unsettled but Val got a good enough topside view to be able to identify it as a Red Admiral. This was at about 12.20 pm, when it was sunny, if a bit breezy, with an air temperature of about 12 centigrade. We walked on north up the nature area to Hangleton Lane and back seeing no more butterflies, although we did get close to a little flock of about 10 long-tailed tits. (John & Val Heys)
This sighting is particularly special, thanks to the support of Brighton & Hove City Council Rangers Neil Doyle and Chantelle Hoppe, along with volunteers at the beginning of the year, habitat management was applied for Brown Hairstreak at a site in Patcham, old Blackthorn/Bullace was cut down to produce favoured young shoots for egg laying females. Today whilst sunny I thought I would head over to the site to survey all the new growth for Brown Hairstreak eggs, if any were found on the new growth it would prove that our work had successfully benefited the species, unfortunately I didn't find any eggs, that was until the very last clump of growth I needed to check, just under 3 feet from the ground I clearly saw two Brown Hairstreak eggs laid together, see photo. Fingers crossed the slight discolouration around the micropyle of these two eggs isn't that of bad news. To have some confirmation that the work you've instigated has had a positive effect, definitely brings a feeling of pride. I'm hoping to plant Blackthorn at the site, which came as part of a Woodland Trust pack. (Jamie Burston)
Whilst doing my Winter Bird Survey on private land at Foxhunt Green, Waldron. A Red Admiral flew along field edge hedge between the the trees of the enclosed Monastery Garden.
As the sun was shining this afternoon I set out for a walk in St Leonards Forest and visited the area where Red Admirals seem to have made a home. Most pleasingly there were two, mainly basking on tree trunks then visiting damp patches on the path. (Patrick Moore)
A brief and unexpected visit at midday by a Red Admiral to my Keymer garden, flying low around my patio in the sun and alighting briefly on the conservatory, before flying off. (Malcolm Le Grys)
Both were Red Admirals- first flying near small pond and second at 5M height through forest- sunny and mild at about 13'C - sorry no pics (John mc shane)
Wednesday 14 December
One Brimstone seen flying in the garden of the Jack and Jill Inn’ at Clayton, Sussex. Postcode is Brighton Rd, Clayton BN6 9PD (Duncan Priddle)
Tuesday 13 December
I managed to get out for a quick walk in St Leonards Forest today mainly to see if Fridays Red Admirals were still around. One was, and very lively it was as well. It sat on the path then headed into the outer branches of a Pine. (Patrick Moore)
Sunday 11 December
My family Summer holiday was spent on the Greek island of Crete during the early part of July. Butterflies were not an intentional attraction but I couldn't help being distracted by the shear number of Painted Lady in and around the hotel complex and this led to the dubious privilege of taking part in the recent BBC4 migration documentary, as photo opportunities were plentiful. Here are some pics of other species seen whilst there: Bath White, Scarce Swallowtail, Continental Swallowtail, Mediterranean Skipper, and what I've subsequently learnt is a first for Crete, False Marbled Skipper.
Many thanks to everybody who came to the Oaken Wood Conservation work party earlier in the week.
I think it was a very successful day and I hope you all enjoyed it.
Please see my two tweets on the subject – and also Martin Warren’s very nice reply to the second.
Thanks Bill, everyone at the Sussex branch appreciates the great work you are doing.
By the way, if you live near Oaken Wood the next work party is on Thursday January 5th and they would love to see someone from the Sussex branch come along. (Ed jnr)
Saturday 10 December
Just as I was poised to share some summer sightings from my travels, a walk in St Leonards Forest produced several Red Admirals charging around in the warmth. (Patrick Moore)
Friday 09 December
Maybe someone can help with this butterfly, which Val & I saw on coastal cliffs near Tossa de Mar, Spain (a bit north of Barcelona) on 17 May 2016. It was actually quite small, but very photogenic until it opened its wings when the glare from the white was too much for our camera. I've tentatively put it down in my book as a (western) dappled white rather than a Bath white. We also took some very good pictures of a Swalllowtail, but you get a lot more of them than this! (John & Val Heys)
Thursday 08 December
To add to Ed Jr's photos of butterflies from abroad, here is a Weavers Fritillary I took whilst on holiday in Provence last September. (Graeme Rolf)
Wednesday 07 December
Peacock waking up inside house (Michael Hawkins)
A Peacock passed through our front garden in East Dean (TV562984) around midday, in full sunshine, briefly pausing on a window pane.(Carole Jode)
Tuesday 06 December
Big and brash - where else ?
An ambition was to see the big five . Number one was the Monarch in the continent of America . By chance this September the chance arose . Had several tantalising sightings in Washington however whilst cycling in Central Park , New York finally came upon this iconic butterfly. Huge and I would say charismatic gliding around in true splendour, Grid Ref : Central Park, New York.
The one I saw in central Washington even pursued a low flying sparrow with ease . Also saw one in Manhattan , New York flying 6 floors up along a sky scraper ,perhaps a surreal back drop for a butterfly The second huge butterfly seen was in Washington DC , an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail ,5 inches across . After two days hanging around in the garden trees it finally came down to imbibe after the automatic sprinklers had been on .
As for the other Big four - yet to be discovered- the journey continues .
(Richard Roebuck )
In late June I visited the northern Lake District on a stag/walking weekend. One friend organises the accommodation, another the transport and I plan the walking.
Now, northern Lakes in June to me means Mountain Ringlet. I did a lot of reading and planned a walk from the top of Honister Pass to Great Gable via the flanks of Grey Knotts, an area where they are found.
The weather was dull and once on the fells heading towards the Drum House rather chilly. Not looking good for Mountain Ringlet spotting. Looking towards Gable we could see that most of the mountain was in cloud, so a conflab resulted in a change of plan and a diversion to Hay Stacks.
It was on the path below Grey Knotts that a small dark insect darted quite low between me and my companions. I followed it both by eye and then on foot to a clump of Mat-grass. I could see nothing in the grass when suddenly a butterfly shot off to another clump. Mountain Ringlet? I pursued.
My friends possibly thought I’d gone mad.
I parted the stalks and there low down and motionless was a brown butterfly, quite tatty and warn but definitely a Mountain Ringlet, my first. It climbed onto my hand and I took as many photos as I could, hoping at least some would be in focus and half descent.
After a short while it took off, low and at speed to another clump chased by two further much darker individuals that must have been quite close to me.
Later whilst ascending Hay Stacks, I started to wonder if indeed it had all happened. So whilst my friends watched a chap hiking down with a fridge on his back for Help for Heroes I checked my photos. Yes they were real and Yes it was a Mountain Ringlet. Luck or great planning, I wonder.
The butterfly season is well and truly over now. A couple of people have sent me in sightings from outside Sussex, so perhaps it is a good time to ask for you to post any interesting sightings from places beyond the county border.
To get the ball rolling, here is a Robber fly I photographed in central Greece during the summer. We were wandering through a canyon when I spotted this brownish non-descript butterfly dancing along at head height without a care in the world. Suddenly this creature darted out of a bush at a tremendous pace and snatched the butterfly from the air. I was close enough to see where it landed and snapped it with my phone. We saw many butterflies in Greece but it is the Robber fly which I remember most clearly. I also have to thank Richard Roebuck for identifying the beast for me when I got back.
Monday 05 December
On the last day of Autumn the heavy frost was still very evident late in the day at Old Lodge, Ashdown Forest. Despite the freezing conditions the sun had warmed one brave Red Admiral just enough to encourage it to take flight. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
It was a beautiful morning of sun and ice at Heyshott. I arrived at tea break time and joined Mike, John, Garry, Nick and Greg. We continued scrub clearance. (Katrina Watson)
Wednesday 30 November
Red Admiral braving the cold at Wakehurst Place this afternoon, flying across the car park then resting in sun on a nearby tree. (Malcolm Le Grys)
Monday 28 November
On the outside of our front door (New Church Road, Hove) there was a rusty dot pearl moth when we went out at 2.00 pm which was still there on our return at 4.30 pm. Sorry to hear that ed jnr is poorly. I seem to recall that Virginia Woolf used to catch butterflies on her long family walks on holiday in Cornwall. It's a tenuous link, but why not try "To the Lighthouse"? Although it's nominally set in Scotland, it's actually based on her memories of the family house in St Ives. Also I found it easier to read than most of her other books, so no wonder it outsold all her earlier novels and she was able to buy a car on the proceeds.
(John & Val Heys)
Thanks, I am not a great novel reader, preferring hard facts as Mr Gradgrind would say. Though I think Les Miserables would have suited my plight. I settled on a book about the naval battles of the American revolutionary wars. You can rest assured that if I find any butterfly references inside it, I will keep you updated (Ed jnr)
A Comma butterfly seen in the garden on Saturday, flying around the ivy on a south-east facing wall for most of the day. A queen bumblebee also seen investigating the log pile in our garden. (Chris Skinner)
Sunday 27 November
Glad to see that it was well worth a look at Southwick today. Val & I went the other way to central Brighton. I spotted a Red Admiral which settled rather far away on a property in Clifton Terrace. The Terrace goes into Dyke Road, where we noticed the entrance to the St Nicholas Church Rest Garden (on the west side of Dyke Road). Despite living in the area for 40 years, we'd never been in this garden until today. We saw two more Red Admirals at the sheltered north west end. The first was very battered and faded. It flew up before I could take a picture and disturbed the second which was much finer. They spiralled around for several minutes and the finer one landed near where the battered one had been. We were sure it wasn't the same as the one 20 or 30 yards up the hill in Clifton Terrace, so that was 3 different Red Admirals in very close proximity. (John & Val Heys)
A Red Admiral was fluttering around the lane to Lidsey SF early afternoon. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Crawley Down - Just 1 Peacock briefly on the buddleja today, before being blown elsewhere by the strong easterly wind. (Jon Ruff)
With the return of our Indian Summer today, clear, sunny and 12c, I couldn't resist the urge to revisit Southwick Basin and see if anything had survived the recent storms. No Common Blue or Clouded Yellow were seen but I was rewarded with, what for me has been a pretty rare sight this year, a Small Tortoiseshell and later, a male Brimstone. The lousy Brimstone pic was taken quickly before it relocated deep inside the bramble not to reemerge. (David Cook)
Friday 25 November
Update on the Swallowtail sighting posted by Michael Blencowe on the 21st November. After pouring over maps of the location it has been determined that this Swallowtail was seen near Stubbermere some 500 metres inside the West Sussex border, so we can definitely claim this sighting as the third Sussex Swallowtail of the year. It is not known if this butterfly was seen by anyone outside Sussex. (Ed jnr)
Thursday 24 November
Today I joined Garry Philpott and the Murray Downland Trust volunteers at Heyshott and we cleared scrub to benefit the Duke of Burgundys. It is a bit of a climb but worth it for the views, company and butterflies.
Not to mention that great feeling you get when you know you are doing something which is unequivocally worthwhile. Thanks to all and well done. (Ed jnr)
Wednesday 23 November
Here's a sighting to brighten up a dull day:, a photo of a Continental Swallowtail sent in by Lynn Lane. This Swallowtail was seen on the South Downs north of Emsworth on 13th November by a friend who was part of a walking group.
Emsworth is of course a town in a county to the west of Sussex and to the east of Dorset. (Ed jnr)
Our Wednesday morning work parties at Heyshott escarpment are going well. So far this year we have concentrated on clearing vegetation to create suitable habitat for the primroses and cowslips to appear as food plants for the Duke of Burgundy next Spring. More information can be viewed on our website. (Colin Knight http://murraydownlandtrust.blogspot.co.uk/)
Monday 21 November
Eight members of The Friends of Bevendean down alongside Countryside Ranger Emma and S.B.C. chairman Nigel spent this morning clearing invasive scrub from the steep south facing slope known as Cardboard Hill. We hope that grazing will soon be introduced to this valuable chalk grassland site, home for many Butterfly species.
(Geoff Stevens http://bevendeandown.wordpress.com)
Thanks Geoff, the work of the Friends of Bevendean much appreciated. (Ed jnr)
Sunday 20 November
One Clouded Yellow at TQ233098 was a great surprise (Colin Brooks)
Thursday 17 November
A Red Admiral briefly sun-bathed in my Storrington garden today. (Martin Kalaher)
A solitary, worn Clouded Yellow, was the only Butterfly found at Shoreham today
(Trevor Rapley )
Crawley Down - just 1 Red Admiral in the garden today. (J Ruff)
Bentswood Road, Haywards Heath, Sussex. Seen to be a bit caught up in some spider webbing whilst feeding on Budlia flower, but freed itself soon after photo taken. (Richard Whiteside)
Wednesday 16 November
Expecting it to be mild but cloudy Val & I headed off to central Brighton to find some Snow Dogs. When we reached the Level at about 11.20 am it was so sunny and warm that we were saying Dave and Vince should have plenty of butterflies at Shoreham Harbour. Then I notice something pale and interesting on a distant verbena flower. (Yes, I think I actually saw this one first.) As we got closer we could see it was a butterfly - and, even more unexpectedly, it was a Holly Blue. I took about 10 pictures of which only the last one was in focus. I had a chat with the gardener for the Level who was watching my attempts to get a decent photo. He explained how much he is doing to help butterflies & bees there. All very positive and it already looks much more insect friendly than a few years ago. So the "final Holly Blue sighting" record for this year is not the one we saw on 23rd September in our garden in Hove. What's more, if it's mild again tomorrow, someone might see another, but it's due to turn a lot colder by Thursday. We also saw a very fine "blue monarch" on one of the snow dogs at the Marina.
(John & Val Heys)
And let's say a big thank you from Sussex BC to the "Gardener of the Level" for helping with the butterflies and bees. Much appreciated. (Ed jnr)
Red Admiral resting on a seat in our East Dean (TV562984) garden late morning today. The pink possibly attracted it! (Carole Jode)
Despite leaden skies the temperature peaked at 15 deg C today, enticing this Red Admiral on to the buddleja. (Jonathan Ruff)
After a night of rain, the cloud had cleared by late morning and with temperature touching 18c, a trip to Southwick was in order. As I made my way down to the gated end I was greeted by the male Common Blue patrolling. I first photographed this individual 2 weeks ago and had to seek advice from someone better qualified than me (thanks Ed) to understand how this butterfly has remained in such good condition--the answer--he's not mated yet! The first male Clouded Yellow seen was also busy patrolling the gated end and occasionally resting for photos along with a Red Admiral that stopped very briefly on the higher shrubs. Back to the 'sandy' bank and the 2nd Clouded Yellow appeared and rested twice before disappearing as it became overcast again. (David Cook)
Tuesday 15 November
A large oak on Sussex Wildlife Trust's Woods Mill reserve came crashing down last week so on our weekly wildlife walk I challenged the staff to find a Purple Hairstreak egg. With the canopy now lying at ground level it was a unique chance to search for eggs without the use of a cherry picker. Still, as I handed out the magnifying glasses, I didn't have much confidence that anyone would find one - so I was amazed when Lois called over Bob (our adjudicator) and he confirmed that she had indeed found an egg - the first I'd ever seen. Photos by Jess Price. (Michael Blencowe)
Monday 14 November
Nice to see Vince Massimo's shots of Clouded Yellows at Fishersgate by the power station. Ele our youngest, down from London for the weekend, suggested we go there and we arrived at about 10.45am. The Common Blue mentioned by Vince was spotted first by Val and I was able to get several shots of it. We saw one of Vince's Clouded Yellows from a distance around 11.00am and one of the Red Admirals. We headed off for a family event in Lavant in West Sussex afterwards and although it was quite warm there we didn't see any butterflies or moths. Vince's mention of the Silver Y moths reminds me that I saw a couple at Fishersgate on 31 October, but I think I forgot to mention them at the time. I've no idea how long they last and therefore whether the two today might be the same moths. (John & Val Heys)
Some pictures from today's conservation work party at Park Corner heath/Rowlands Wood. (Mike Mullis)
A visit to Southwick Basin, Shoreham between 11am and 1pm today produced 2 male Clouded Yellows and 2 Red Admirals. A male Common Blue was photographed before I arrived by John and Val Heys, but I failed to re-locate it. The Clouded Yellows were patrolling different parts of the site during the long sunny spells. The temperature in this sheltered location reached 12C and there was a light northerly breeze. Male No.1 was the same individual first seen by me on 26th October, while the other was in much better condition. Given that there is no frost forecast on the site for the next 10 days and the continuing availability of nectar sources, it is likely that sightings of this species could continue here for a while.
Two Silver-Y moths also seen at Southwick Basin today.
A Red Admiral and a Comma were seen at this morning's Conservation Work Party at Park Corner Heath (Jonathan Crawford)
Sunday 13 November
Here you go John & Val--from my visit today. Probably the same 2 I saw yesterday but from slightly different areas. Common Blue and Clouded Yellow, both very mobile in the warm conditions. I must admit I did hope to see more but it wasn't to be. (David Cook)
1 Red Admiral feeding on garden Buddleja "Sungold". Also, along Worth Way,, 1 Red Admiral seen on a flowering field and this (moth?) caterpillar feeding on a lone ragwort plant which is still in flower.
My guess is that it is a White Ermine Moth caterpillar. In the unlikely event that I am wrong, I am sure someone will be kind enough to set the record straight. (Ed jnr)
Just returned home to Broadstairs, Kent after visiting my parents' grave at Fairlight Church on top of Fire Hills. Saw Red Admiral there today! (Sue Smith)
At around 9.45 this morning a Red Admiral was basking in the sun on my south facing property at Seaford. (Stuart Ridley)
A Red Admiral sat in the sunshine in my Horsham garden this afternoon. (Patrick Moore)
It was so warm in Beach House Park Worthing that we expected to see the odd butterfly, but didn't despite there being quite a few flowers in bloom at the wild area near the cafe. Then, when we walked back to our daughter's house in Sussex Road, there was a Red Admiral sunning itself high up on their front Wall. I'm hoping there will be more pictures from anyone who went to Fishersgate by the power station. It was still brilliantly sunny when we drove past at 1.00 pm, but we didn't have time to stop. (John & Val Heys)
A male Brimstone flying around my Keymer garden in the sunshine at midday. (Malcolm Le Grys)
Friday 11 November
No doubt the same individulals that both I and Trevor have seen during the passed few days at Southwick but never the less good seeing them surviving at this time of year, although both are now beginning to show their age a bit. The Common Blue sharing some warm sunshine with a Hover Fly and the Clouded Yellow just before the 'heavens' opened and we all got drenched this afternoon. (David Cook)
Crawley Down - just 1 Red Admiral feeding in the afternoon sunshine. (Jonathan Ruff)
A quick lunchtime walk in St Leonards Forest today produced two Rex Admirals. Unfortunately my camera didn't want to come with me so the photo was taken with my mobile phone. (Patrick Moore)
Thursday 10 November
Still a few going: a Red Admiral was fluttering around our farm today in Oving, West Sussex. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Wednesday 09 November
In spite of a bank of grey cloud that arrived as I did. One male Common Blue put in an appearance during a brief spell of sunshine, at Shoreham Harbour today. The temperature was 8C! (Trevor Rapley )
Just goes to show you should always carry camera. I very nearly left mine at home for this mornings walk as the frost was still on the ground and with an air temperature of 3c 'wrapped up' and set off. It had only marginally warmed to 6c by the time I reached Southwick but under a temporary clear blue sky I walked the harbour and found the blues had gone but there was still one Clouded Yellow trying to warm up but it soon disappeared when it became overcast at 11.00am. (David Cook)
Tuesday 08 November
Found these two yesterday (Sunday 6/11/2016) - still flying in the sunshine despite a daytime temperature of barely 8C and an overnight frost the previous night. The Small Copper was active along a sunny, sheltered woodland edge between Wartling and Pevensey Levels and the Red Admiral was basking on a tomb-stone in the churchyard at Herstmonceux Church overlooking the Levels.
(Mike Mullis )
It may have been 5 degrees in the shade yesterday , but in the sunshine temperatures topped 18 degrees. On late flowering Buddleia as well as the usual Nymphalid suspects one male Small White and a female Large White stopped for drinks. Both in very good condition. Summer continues......
Not where I was on Seaford Head! (Ed jnr)
Amazed to see a Red Admiral battling against the strong and cold wind today at Seahaven Academy in Newhaven! (Chris Hooker)
Red Admiral Kingston nr Lewes (TQ391085). Should be able to identify this one again by its wing damage, how long will it stick around? (Crispin Holloway)
Monday 07 November
Frost last night and with this mornings temp barely 6c, I headed up the Downs just south of Keymer for a stroll with my 2 dogs not really expecting much but was pleasantly surprised when this Red Admiral (ab. bialbata) shot passed me and landed briefly for a quick photo. (David Cook)
Red Admiral active in my back garden this morning but it looks as if our Speckled Wood colony has now finished (David Macdonald)
Sunday 06 November
Following the heavy rain yesterday and with daytime temperature today in single figures, I thought I'd make one last trip to Southwick to see if anything was braving the cold northerly breeze. Just one tired Common Blue was found and this, I guess, brings an end to what has been a fabulous location for sightings this Autumn. A big thank you to Lindsay for sharing his earlier lunchtime sightings via these pages. I've added an additional sighting for 3rd November of a rather battered Small Tortoishell from the same location. (David Cook)
Saturday 05 November
As we'd had a new table delivered today for our patio (New Church Road, Hove) and it was sunnier than expected, we sat outside to read the papers and have coffee. I thought I'd seen the shadow of a butterfly but had gone inside to get some more coffee and so missed actually seeing the Red Admiral which flew past Val. (John & Val Heys)
Wed 02/11/2016. 2x Small Whites seen, the first in Dover Rd at 11.52am, the second in Central Ave at 12.42pm under a sunny blue sky. also a Common Darter seen settled on our windowsill outside sunning at 3.04pm. All in Polegate, East Sussex. (Peter Farrant)
A visit to Shoreham Harbour today, in very cool conditions produced two Clouded Yellows ( one very fresh ) and three male Common Blues. Two of the Common Blues were also fresh. Also a Plume Moth put in an appearance. (Trevor Rapley)
Well done Trevor, I admire your persistence. My walk on the this morning on the Adur was so frosty today that I was sure there would be no sightings. (Ed jnr)
Thursday 03 November
We felt that today, despite the colder air, it would be worth a final trip to the Fishersgate area of Shoreham Port (opposite the power station) as the forecast was for lots of sun. We weren't disappointed and butterfly spotters were out in force around 12 noon. We didn't see as many different types as Vince Massimo, Dave Cook and Andy Horton, but we were delighted with our 5 or 6 Common Blues and at least 3 Clouded Yellows. In 2014, we saw a Clouded Yellow on 29th November, but I don't recall that we've ever seen Common Blues as late as November before. Some were a bit battered but others were in fine condition. The blue in the final picture seemed a bit misshapen and there appear to be 4 small black dots on the upper side of the left forewing (not very easy to see at the scale it'll appear on the website). Is this anything unusual? Unfortunately it flew off when I tried to get a better picture. (John & Val Heys)
On some open access land in an area called Willingdon Bottom near Jevington I saw this Small Copper today. This one is a bit worn and the photo is from my phone so not great. I saw another much brighter one and some Red Admirals and a probable distant Clouded Yellow. (Tim Squire)
The day started with 2 Red Admirals in my garden at 10.15am nectaring on Bowles's Mauve Wallflower and my late-flowering Buddleia. By 11.15am I was at Southwick Basin, Shoreham. This sheltered site continues to produce late sightings, with the following species seen during my 3 hour stay:
1 Small White (a fresh male)
3 Clouded Yellow (2 males and a fresh female)
2 Red Admiral
6 Common Blue (5 male and 1 female) One male was very fresh.
In the sunny conditions temperature reached 12C despite a cool northerly wind. (Vince Massimo)
Today I went back to the White-letter Hairstreak egg with my macro lens. I've noticed odd looking structure beneath the egg in a variety of colours, they too look like some kind of egg, hopefully nothing harmful. Whilst still at the Elm tree I noticed a single Red Admiral which settled on sunlit leaves. (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
A Red Admiral flew into my Seaford garden early this afternoon, rested awhile in the sun before flying swiftly away. I also saw another one yesterday morning basking in the sun, just after nine`clock, when it was much warmer than today. (Stuart Ridley)
A surprise find at Tide Mills this morning, a Red Admiral ab. bialbata with an extra White Spot in the forewing red band. Two Clouded Yellows were also on the wing (Trevor Rapley )
During a short trip to Stedham Common today I found one Red Admiral and was impressed by its camouflage. (Katrina Watson)
Shoreham Harbour Basin lunchtime. Glorious sunshine. 1 female, 2 male Common Blues battling with a Kingfisher for "most blue" award. 1 or 2 Clouded Yellows. (Lindsay Morris)
Wednesday 02 November
Two, possibly three, near pristine male Common Blues seen at Shoreham Harbour this morning. A real treat for November (Trevor Rapley)
At Hope Gap, Seaford Head and Cuckmere Haven saw a few Clouded Yellows and a couple of Red Admirals (Tim Squire)
1 Clouded Yellow - couldn't get a decent picture (Patrick Austin)
We had postings from 13 different people yesterday (thank you everyone). We have had postings from more people than this on only two days in 2016. Not really to be expected from the last day in October, however we had a similar number of postings on 31 October 2014. (Ed jnr)
I can't see all of Colin Knight's larva on a log (October 31), but I'm thinking that it is a sawfly larva. (Jeremy Tatum, Victoria, Canada)
Yesterday (30/10/16) we disturbed a Common Plume moth while we were gardening (New Church Road Hove) and a moth similar in markings to the Rusty-dot Pearl moth of a few days ago but this time darker, with dark legs and its wings held closer together which l think was a Rush Veneer moth. Today (31/1016) we saw a Red Admiral in Wish Park Hove and at Fishersgate on the slopes opposite the power station I saw a Common Blue and at least 2, possibly 3 Clouded Yellows. (John & Val Heys)
A walk to the dew pond of Wild Park, Brighton, with my mum produced three butterflies, all Red Admirals, however two of them were smaller in size than the average Small Tortoiseshell. Elsewhere on a residential roadside Elm I was overjoyed to find my first 2016 laid White-letter Hairstreak egg, as shown in the (poor quality) photo, the female tightly positioned the egg into the fork of two twigs on the growth scar. I'll be producing a photo illustrated guide to finding each stage of the White-letter Hairstreaks life cycle, hopefully to be completed and on our website by the end of the year. (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
At Lords Piece today I spotted a Grey Dagger larva (Acronicta psi) making its way down an old oak trunk. It inspected all the crevasses in its path, possibly looking for a hole to pupate in. I also found another larva on a log and hope someone recognises it. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
At least 4 Red Admirals seen feeding mid-morning in a field of flowering Phacelia (?) on the outskirts of Crawley Down, all gone by early afternoon. (Jonathan Ruff)
I must've just missed Lindsey today in Southwick but support his sightings except I additionally found 5 Male Clouded Yellows (3 on the sandy bank and 2 at the far end by the gate) plus 2 fly by Peacocks during this mornings visit. I received an image from Mark Lloyd in Dorset who found a female Brimstone in his back garden which had it not been for Helen and Martins post today would have seemed unusual. (David Cook)
Sunday 30/10/2016. between 12.40 and 1.50pm saw 1x Red Admiral and 1x Clouded Yellow at Whitebread Hole, Eastbourne. No photos taken though. the Whitebread Hole area has been getting a bit scrubby, but there has been quite a lot of scrub clearing going on so has opened up some parts of the downland which is good. On walk back along sea front photographed a halo around the sun. Today Monday 31/10/2016 saw 1x Small Tortoiseshell in Central Ave, and 1x Small White, both Polegate. (Peter Farrant)
The Mediterranean weather brought out a male Brimstone in my Storrington garden today. It didn't stop but flew along the sun-bathed hedge before hopping over, into the neighbouring field. (Martin Kalaher)
At least 6 Clouded Yellows at Tide Mills, some newly emerged, on a perfect Summers Day. Sorry I'm getting forgetful, last day of October !!. (Trevor Rapley)
A walk along the seafront at Lancing and Worthing today produced 3 Clouded Yellow (2 male and a helice female), 1 Common Blue (male, near Worthing Pier), 1 Red Admiral and a Peacock. I Also found 2 Red Admiral eggs on a south-facing patch of nettles in a sheltered spot. The weather was sunny with the temperature reaching 18C. (Vince Massimo)
In vineyards west of Cuckfield today I was pleased to see a Clouded Yellow. I was also surprised to see what looked like a Brimstone flying in woodland nearby - can this be possible? The butterfly was quite distant and flitting about between the trees but it was the normal Brimstone yellow colour.
Hi Helen, it may well have been a Brimstone. Though their peak period is over, they can turn up in small numbers throughout the year because they hibernate over winter but will wake up on a sunny day. Wish I could spend my winter like that. (Ed jnr)
Shoreham Harbour Basin lunchtime. Blues rampant, as they were at The Amex on Saturday! 4 possibly 5 Common Blues, including 1 or 2 iridescent males, a couple of old buffers and a very blue female. Yellows not so rampant (another football analogy!) - just the 1 Clouded Yellow patrolling the slopes. Also 1 Small White. The forecast suggests an end to such warm lunchtimes is imminent. If it is, I'd like to thank all the butterflies and butterfly folk for time well spent. A frustrating season in many ways, but certainly a long one in the end! (Lindsay Morris)
we came across this magnificent caterpillar on the Dunes of Camber Sands yesterday .
A convolvuolous hawkmoth ? A good 5 to 6cms in length (Amanda Connolly)
Monday 31 October
A very fresh Speckled Wood at the end of Marshfoot Lane in Hailsham and a Red Admiral on the Pevensey Marsh, beside the Hurst Haven near Newbridge. (Chris Hooker)
I went for an afternoon walk around Cissbury ring today. We saw two Small Tortoiseshells chasing each other around at great speed until they disappeared over a Beech tree. On the north eastern side of the hill I cam across Andy Pierce, who is currently the National Trust Ranger responsible for the hill. He was leading a conservation work party on the northern flank of the hill. They were clearing away Sycamore saplings which were overshadowing the native hawthorn and blackthorn, and if left unchecked would turn the flank of the hill into woodland. They were also clearing away young Ash trees which had been killed by Ash die back. Some of the Ash was being collected by a troop of Morris Dancers (though not in their dancing gear unfortunately) for use as staves.
Andy told me that they would shortly be introducing ponies onto the top of the hill to graze as the old Yew, which attracts migrating Ring Ouzels, has now been fenced off. Yew being poisonous to most livestock. The introduction grazing onto the hill will be of tremendous benefit to the grassland and the large number of butterflies it supports. It is really great to see National Trust working to improve a key butterfly habitat in Sussex and I am very grateful for both their efforts and the work done by the volunteers. (Ed jnr)
A few minutes after the sun appeared this morning a Red Admiral flew in and settled for some time on the south-facing Wall of my Seaford bungalow . A good reason for me to cease gardening and watch it. (Stuart Ridley)
Thanks to Colin Knight for identifying my immigrant Rusty-dot Pearl moth. Here is a much enlarged version from the original picture which I hope will make it look more exciting. (John Heys)
Sunday 30 October
Taking a break from clearing the garden pond I decided to do a Brown Hairstreak egg count in the garden. I found 39 eggs in 50 metres of hedgerow. This is a garden record and bearing in mind that much of the Blackthorn is still in leaf, I expect the total to be a lot more in 4-6 weeks time. As I have previously written (and contrary to what the books say), when a favourable spot is found the females are more than happy to disgorge themselves, laying lots of eggs in a small area. Also, the eggs can be laid very high up, we just don't spot them. I recently cut off some of the tips of the Blackthorn and found eggs at 13-14 feet! Martin Kalaher, Storrington. (Martin Kalaher)
On October 22 a November Moth (Epirrita dilutata) visited our Littlehampton balcony. The photo does not do justice to its beautiful silver and gold sheen. On 26th parasitic Scarlet Caterpillarclubs were visible at Ebernoe Common growing on Lepidoptera larva in the soil. On 27th a Small Copper fluttered around a meadow in the same area. During this week a large number of second brood Light Brown Apple Moths (Epiphyas postvittana) have appeared by our balcony light. The body pattern of this moth is highly variable. Several tiny leafminer Garden Midgets (Phyllonorycter messaniella) were also flitting around.
P.S. John & Val Heys' moth looks like a Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis).
(Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Saturday 29 October
Two male Speckled Woods dogfighting at a site just north of the New Moon PH, Crawley (TQ266355). One of them looked in reasonably fresh condition. The temperature was 15C and sunny at the time. (Vince Massimo)
Outside the grange in Midhurst hitting the window a rare glimpse and of the Clifden Nonpareil, lifted from the floor and taking away from the lights to release it hence it sitting on my hand.
It seems you have found the Holy Grail of moths. (Ed jnr)
Thursday was quite misty in our garden (New Church Road, Hove) early on and as the mist dispersed we were invaded by a gang of birds - 2 magpies, 4 or 5 aggressive blackbirds, a starling, a few sparrows, 2 great tits, 2 blue tits, a crow, a jay and (the first time we've ever seen one of these in the garden) a greater spotted woodpecker. They were here, there and everywhere, making a lot of noise but after about 10 minutes were all gone - only a lone robin singing as though it had fought them all off. There's nothing in the feeder. Maybe the rotting apples were the main temptation. After that it warmed up and there was a Red Admiral behind the garage, plus a small moth on the inside of the garage door which I've not found time to identify yet, so maybe the editor or moth man can help? (PS I do appreciate seeing the moth pictures.) In the afternoon we went to Brooklands Pleasure Grounds, Worthing and saw a Speckled Wood and a couple of Red Admirals.
(John & Val Heys)
The best way to get someone to identify this moth is for me to claim it is a Timothy Tortrix and wait for the corrections to come flooding in - I am getting the hang of this now! Colin Knight thinks this is a Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis). (Ed jnr)
Friday 28 October
At the risk of appearing repetitive I wasn't going to send in my sightings for a return trip to the power station at Southwick/Shoreham. I had prearranged to meet up with Trevor Rapley and we spent the early part of the morning waiting for the Clouded Yellows to wake up. We noted several that we'd both seen before and perhaps one or two we hadn't judging by how fresh they looked. We watched the only female seen come to rest high on the bank in a clump of grass. A passing male found her and coupled immediately and stayed joined for well over an hour. When I checked my photos at home, I'm pretty sure the male is the same one I found coupled with the Helice on Saturday as it has the same split hind wing--he's been a busy boy! (David Cook)
During a visit to plan future management work on our reserves, with Nigel Symington, Bob Foreman and BC National Reserves Officer John Davis, we saw two male Brimstones, a Speckled Wood, several Red Admirals, an Adder, and some beautiful (but poisonous) Fly Agaric toadstools.
Yesterday I was joined by seven enthusiastic coppice-cutters from the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service, to continue work in a private wood near Small Dole. Many thanks to Nicki, Mark, Barry, Thomas, Joshua, Ian and Jim. The wood was buzzing with lovely Hornets. (Neil Hulme)
My Birthday butterfly results, Cissbury Ring.
Red Admiral 3 Speckled Wood 1
Small Copper 1 All other butterflies 0 (Patrick Moore)
A Red Admiral in Cowbeech this morning and 5 Clouded Yellows at Cuckmere Haven this afternoon. (Chris Hooker)
A brilliant day at Shoreham Harbour yesterday. The highlights included two female Common Blues, one of which was a finely marked ' blue ' specimen. About five Clouded Yellows were present, as were a few fresh Small Whites. (Trevor Rapley)
Thursday 27 October
I saw a beautiful bright yellow butterfly in Folkington this pm, I'm pretty sure it was a Clouded Yellow but looked brighter than in your pix.
It was too speedy to photograph. (Lisa Blundell)
Thanks Lisa, at this time of year it was almost certainly a Clouded Yellow (Ed jnr)
The forecast looked good so headed down to Southwick to see if the Helice Clouded Yellow was still around. In fact not only was she still around but there were 2, plus about 5 or 6 males. Common Blue, both males and females were present and a Red Admiral ab.bialbata. The second Helice was being pursued by a Male Common Blue as seen in the pic included here. On the way back Lepidoptera Royalty arrived in Trevor Rapley and Vince Massimo, who I hope had good sightings too! (David Cook)
I visited St Leonards Forest this morning for a quick circular walk in the sunshine and saw a single Specked Wood and Red Admiral. There were plenty of rutting deer however! At home in Horsham another Red Admiral visited my garden. (see photo) (Patrick Moore)
Wednesday 26 October
1 Clouded Yellow flew past on Crowlink today. (Chris Hooker)
We`re still running weekly transect walks at Castle Hill LNR, Newhaven. This Saturday 31 butterflies of 10 species were seen:-
Clouded Yellow - 11(Eleven)
Large White - 5
Small White - 6
Green-Veined White - 1
Small Copper - 1
Common Blue - 1
Red Admiral - 3
Small Tortoiseshell - 1
Peacock - 1
Speckled Wood - 1
The condition of all the Large Whites and some of the Small Whites is suggestive of a partial fourth generation rather than a lingering third. (Dave Harris)
Tuesday 25 October
Indeed the Season is not over yet. A brief visit to Tierra del Fuego at lunchtime produced Cyntheris Fritillary, Common Chilean Satyr and a rather tatty Four-eyed Lady. Chile for the time of year, but it beats working.
Next time, please don't forget to take your camera. (Ed jnr)
Clouded Yellow landed for just enough time to get a photo at East Preston beach. (John Ward)
I found these 2 rather sleepy Small Coppers in my local meadow in Burgess Hill late this afternoon. With the temperature barely 12c, Grey and overcast they weren't moving around much and that made photos a bit easier especially as one was happy to warm up on my finger. (David Cook)
Red Admiral seen at Tunbridge Wells Garden Centre
early p.m. Sorry but its just over the boarder in Kent.
That's ok. At this time of year we'll take sightings from Tierra del Fuego. Anyway it is nice to know they still have butterflies East of Sussex. (Ed jnr)
To make the most of the bright, sunny morning (Satuday) I went over to Tide Mills. About 8 Clouded Yellow were seen over the site. But the real surprise was a very fresh Small Copper. The season is not quite over yet!
Sorry for the delay on this sighting which was emailed to me. I have been away in Paris for the weekend. No butterflies to report at all despite pleasant weather. The trip highlight was the pair of peregrines flying under the Eiffel tower and perching in its superstructure. (Ed jnr)
Monday 24 October
I first visited Mill Hill and with only Red Admiral (5) sightings I decided that I would head down to Southwick Basin--a very good move as it turned out.
As I walked down the steps, it was clear the Clouded Yellows (3) were still active, including 1 female. At the end of the first bank, male (2) and female (1) Common Blues and a couple of Small Whites were patrolling the hedge line. As I walked down to the gates there were about 5 or 6 Clouded Yellow flying along the path but the highlight of the day has to go to a Clouded Yellow pairing, with the female a Helice! (David Cook)
Sunday 23 October
In my garden in Bevendean there was a Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral today. (Geoff Stevens)
We had 4 surprises when we went to watch the Rooks (ie Lewes Football club not birds) this afternoon. It was very sunny before kick off and shortly after 3pm a Small White flew over the pitch. At 3.17pm Val first spotted a small orange butterfly. It reappeared a minute later a little way down the grassy slope on the north side: a Small Copper. As I followed it along the bank the sun went in, it disappeared and visitors Cray Wanderers scored the opening goal. A few minutes later a Red Admiral flew past. The 4th surprise was that despite being behind twice to Cray, who were a lot higher up the Ryman League 1 South table than Lewes, Lewes hit back to win 5-2 and Cray finished with only 9 men. Jamie Brotherton, who we saw score a goal for Worthing on his debut aged 16, got a hat-trick for Lewes. He's a bit stout and bald now! (John & Val heys)
A couple of Red Admirals around the east side of Medmerry today whilst on the west side were at least five Clouded Yellows. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Red Admiral sunning on privet hedge in my garden (peter bennett)
Clouded Yellow feeding on verbena bonarienses this morning (Rob Durrant)
Saturday 22 October
I have had a few moths round my balcony light at Littlehampton recently: Barred Sallow (Xanthia aurago), Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata), Blastobasis vittata, Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella), Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis). I have been photographing fungi the past few weeks and on Wedenday at Amblesham Common I spotted a Southern Hawker egg laying in the mud by a temporary pond on a path. It ignored me and even landed beside my foot at one point. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
After seeing Bob Eade's report about a few nice Clouded Yellows still at Tidemills I thought I would go there this morning to see if I could find any. After some searching I found 3 male Clouded Yellows, only one of these was in good condition. Other butterflies seen: one extremely fresh and lively Red Admiral, one Small White and a single extremely worn Common Blue. (James)
Rather surprised to see a Painted Lady flying swiftly along the woodland edge at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean this morning. (Peter Whitcomb)
Friday 21 October
In my garden in Bevendean this morning one Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood in the sun on an old wooden seat but flew of as it clouded over. (Geoff Stevens)
It seems there are still a few Clouded Yellows at Tide Mills and the one I saw go to roost today was still very fresh. Only 2 seen but the sun had just about gone when I arrived at 3pm. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Yesterday 13 volunteers climbed Heyshott escarpment to begin the new season's weekly clearance programme in glorious Autumn weather. The following BC volunteers joined Murray Downland Trust members: Garry Philpott, Paul Day, Katrina Watson, Nigel Symington, Colin Knight. Further information and photos can be seen on the MDT website. (Colin Knight http://murraydownlandtrust.blogspot.co.uk/)
I thought I had seen my last Small White in my Seaford garden but one settled on a Verbena Bonariensis for several minutes this morning. Within half an hour a Speckled Wood appeared and fluttered around before moving on. It was only the second one I have seen in the garden this year and did look rather tatty. (Stuart Ridley)
Peacock Butterfly resting on the roof of our house in Gresham Way, St Leonards on Sea at lunchtime today during a brief sunny period. (Janet Wilkes)
Thursday 20 October
Just a reminder about the talk "Some like it Hot" by Graeme Lyons tonight in Heyshott. If you go, please can you ask Graeme about the unidentified insects in the flyer, and let me know what they are. I have had a couple of suggestions. Unfortunately I cannot get there tonight. (Ed jnr)
Wednesday 19 October
A visit to Shoreham provided sightings of Clouded Yellow (6), Common Blue (3M & 1F) and a Small Copper enjoying some late afternoon sun in the less windy areas. (David Cook)
No butterflies in my Seaford garden today (a Red Admiral yesterday and another on Sunday) but a Humming Bird Hawk Moth was flying rapidly around feeding on Valerian Bonariensis plants this afternoon before flying swiftly away. (Stuart Ridley)
St Leonards Latest.
This week (and last) I have mainly been seeing Speckled Wood and Red Admiral! (Patrick Moore)
Whitbread Hollow, Beachy Head - 1 Clouded Yellow and a strongly flying male Common Blue (Bob Edgar)
Tuesday 18 October
The garden escape michaelmas daisies at the west end of the Bevendean Down LNR are at their best now but just 2 Red Admirals on them today. The nearby everlasting peas are still in flower but still no visitors. (Geoff Stevens http://bevendeandown.wordpress.com)
A Small Copper flew through the garden on Oct 15th. It was heading south. (Martin Kalaher)
Monday 17 October
A stroll along The Comp and Greenway Bank produced a few Butterflies today with a few Speckled Wood along The Comp as well as Small White and Red Admiral. On Greenway a Peacock made an appearance and finally what will probably be my last Wall Brown sighting as a rather tatty female flew up. Any more Wall Brown sightings please send in to the sightings page to complete the Wall year!!
(Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
For those who don't know The Comp and Greenway Bank are footpaths north of Seaford and west of Alfriston TQ494032 (Ed jnr)
Sunday 16 October
I always feel drawn to woodland as Autumn approaches. Today before the rain set in we explored the woodland north of Spithandle lane, which is largely part of the Wiston estate. Saw three Red Admirals and one Speckled Wood. (Jonathan Crawford)
On a return visit to Shoreham Harbour today I was pleased to see that there was still a good number of Clouded Yellows to be seen.
Thank you Trevor, on a grey evening with the rain pouring down the windows, these really are a rays of sunshine. Perhaps the last we will see this year. (Ed jnr)
Saturday 15 October
During a sunny and less breezy spell at around 11am this morning, Val saw a Small White and I saw a Red Admiral in our back garden (New Church Road, Hove.) No sign of any butterflies this afternoon when we went down to the Level in Brighton. (John & Val Heys)
A fabulous visit to Shoreham Harbour today, 10 Clouded Yellows, a Painted Lady, male and female Common Blue, and a Small (Trevor Rapley)
A Red Admiral flew in this morning to rest and then nectar on Verbena Bonariensis in my Seaford garden. Shortly after a Small White arrived with the same idea. A fairly brisk easterly wind was blowing so I was pleasantly surprised to see them. (Stuart Ridley)
Mill Hill lunchtime. Intermittent sun but more chilly than of late. A Clouded Yellow, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, a handful of Whites and Red Admirals. 2 Ring Ouzels stole the show a bit. (Lindsay Morris)
Caught up with the rather pedestrian and slightly irritating "The Great Butterfly Adventure" documentary about the Painted Lady migration on BBC i-Player last night. Our very own David Cook popped up a couple of times, which was a surprise. Some of the research footage at Rothamsted was unsettling and left me wondering if the butterflies were perhaps paying too high a price for our desire to know more. If you have any comments on this, let me know. (Ed jnr)
Thursday 13 October
I put up a news article about the talk "Some like it hot", by Graeme Lyons a few days ago. The information I was sent contained pictures of two unidentified insects. I was wondering if anyone knew what they were? (Ed jnr)
Shoreham Harbour lunchtime, mostly sunny. Highlight again was a helice Clouded Yellow. I fancy she might have been a different one to yesterday's. Or perhaps a night out in Southwick had taken its toll (?) as today's looked decidedly less pristine. 6 other Clouded Yellow patrolling, 2 female and 3 male Common Blue (hoorah!), a pair of Small Copper (double hoorah!), a couple of Large White, rather more Small White and about 10 Red Admiral. (Lindsay Morris)
I didn't think I would be sending in any more reports this year but today I had an interesting record of a Clouded Yellow in my mother's back garden. From the very brief view I had I thought it was a female. My mother lives in Hailsham suburbia and whilst she has a large garden it is far from butterfly friendly. Given the date I assume this butterfly was British-born? If a Clouded Yellow can turn up in Hailsham, then I guess they could be anywhere in Sussex right now. (Martin Kalaher)
I was cleaning and repairing some bird nestboxes at the weekend, in New England Wood on the edge of Cuckfield, and I took down an old box from one tree and found a really lurid caterpillar. I think it is a Pale Tussock moth caterpillar.
What a fabulous thing! (Ed jnr)
A return trip to the Tide Mills to continue my search for the elusive Long Tail Blue proved fruitless but other butterfly on the wing were numerous Red Admiral, several Small Whites, a very active Peacock did its best to avoid the camera and of course several (6) male Clouded Yellows. (David Cook)
Wednesday 12 October
Just 1 Speckled Wood in my garden in Bevendean today. (Geoff Stevens)
Working on a site at Pyecombe today clearing scrub and my first ever Brown Hairstreak landed next to me in the grass. It then went up into some nearby hawthorns. This discovery has made us adjust our management of the site and we will now leave the young blackthorn which was going to be bulldozed! Also saw a very fresh looking Small Copper, a couple of Red Admirals and a white in the distance. (Tim Squire)
At least two Clouded Yellows around Hope Gap, Seaford Head, this afternoon (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
A Small Copper flew through the garden on October 8th but didn't stop. We also had a Red Admiral on the 9th but today there was a bonus of a Small Tortoiseshell on the Michaelmas Daisies. These flowers are usually irresistible to Small Tortoiseshells but this is the first one I have seen this autumn. It didn't stay long. Both Commas and Small Tortoiseshells have been very scarce in the garden this year and I suspect they have both had a poor season (or at least in these parts). I was rather nicely rewarded for working outside in the flower meadow for in the space of 20 minutes I had two Red Kites floating over the nearby copse, an immature male Peregrine low down over the garden and then the Small Tortoiseshell (which Mary spotted). (martin kalaher)
Several very fresh-looking Red Admirals seen on a walk around Barnham this afternoon. (Paul Cox)
Tuesday 11 October
While I was counting Canada Geese (!) at Medmerry west side today a pristine looking Clouded Yellow flew past, unfortunately it declined to stop for a picture. Another Clouded Yellow was seen today at Selsey Bill by Chris Janman. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk)
I hooked up with Bob Eade at midday for a very pleasant stroll around the Tide Mills at Newhaven where it seems a fresh generation of Clouded Yellows were imerging in the warm Autumn sunshine and each spending a few moments nectaring before heading off in pursuit of females. (David Cook)
I was surprised to see a rather tatty Brown Hairstreak in the reserve on the Rifle Range this morning. She even came down from the trees to visit the blackthorn. Also a Red Admiral and a Comma. (Pete Varkala)
1 Painted Lady
Thank you, Veronika (Ed jnr)
Lunchtime on the bank north of Shoreham power station. Intermittent sunshine, but sheltered from the breeze. Clouded Yellow - at least 4 bright males and a glorious helice that thankfully stopped to say hello. Common Blue - 2 single males plus a pair coupling. A lovely Small Copper, an utterly decrepit Painted Lady, a handful of Red Admiral, plenty of Small and Large White. (Lindsay Morris)
Monday 10 October
On the Conservation work party today at Rowland Wood I found myself working alongside Gary Norman. Gary does the Lullington Heath transect, which is one of the longest and toughest in Sussex, and is therefore one of the unsung heroes of the branch. He mentioned having seen and photographed a second brood White Admiral on Lullington Heath on the 25th of September. So here it is. Thanks Gary. (Ed jnr)
Lancing Ring & chalkpit before the cloud rolled in around one o'clock. 16 Speckled Wood, half in dogfights. 14 Red Admiral, 3 Comma, a Wall, a Large White and what I thought to be 2 or more Brown Hairstreak patrolling the chalkpit in a blur of orange. If only I could freeze frame my vision! (Lindsay Morris)
Sunday 09 October
Many thanks to Paul Day and SDNPA Ranger Simon Mockford and his Friday Group volunteers for their hard work at Rewell Wood, extending last year's coppice compartments for the benefit of Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Please keep an eye on this website for the announcement of a weekend BC event to continue this work, sometime before Christmas. While the species is at a low ebb here (hopefully soon resolved) the work of volunteers is essential in supplementing the commercial coppicing. When the sun finally broke through later in the afternoon a Red Admiral and male Brimstone made welcome appearances. During a visit to assess the habitat and plan winter work last Sunday, I counted 27 Red Admirals and a Painted Lady, all heading south through the wood in a determined manner. Over the past few weeks there has been a steady stream of departing butterflies, in what must be the largest exodus since 2011. (Neil Hulme)I have just updated tomorrows Conservation work party at Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath with some information from Michael. (Ed jnr)
Saturday 08 October
On October 3rd during a visit to Arundel WWT I watched 4 Red Admirals and a Comma nectaring on ivy by the reed bed hide. Every evening I turn our Littlehampton balcony light on and photograph any moths that settle. Most are migrants that have probably just flown in from the sea, which is 115 metres away. On some days there are no moths and some days there are plenty. These have turned up since October 2nd: The Narrow-winged Grey (Eudonia angustea) is a coastal species and these are migrants: Cypress Carpet (Thera cupressata), Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella), Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Friday 07 October
After a cold dull morning the sun came out for a while in the afternoon and out came 3 Red Admirals and 2 Commas to feed on the Ivy blossom and also a Speckled Wood in my Bevendean Garden. (Geoff Stevens)
St Leonards Forest produced two species this afternoon when the sun came out, Speckled Wood and Small Copper one of which was an ab caeruleopunctata (I think) with the blue specks on the upper hind wing. (Patrick Moore)
Just a reminder that the first Conservation work party of the year at Rowland Wood is on Sunday morning. I shall be going and would love to hear your views on the website. I have been told on good authority that there will be gingerbread. (Ed jnr)
Thursday 06 October
Very sunny today and not as cool as the forecast said it would be. Briefly saw 2 Red Admirals at same time in our back garden. There were strong sometimes gusty east winds which may have put off the whites. We saw only one all day and that was in Wish Park behind the garden. (John & Val Heys)
A couple of reports here. On Sunday afternoon Pen and I were walking along the seafront at Seaford and it was very evident that Red Admirals were migrating South with around 20 seen flying straight out across the beach and out to sea.
Today, Wednesday 5th a very smart Painted Lady in the garden nectaring on the buddleia. It also sat briefly in some ivy allowing an underwing shot. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Having provided the inspiration for my visit to Shoreham harbour, it was something of a surprise, and a pleasure to meet Lindsay Morris on site today. Having seen his report on this sightings page on Monday I just had to see for myself. On such a windy day it was surprising to see so many species active. Including about 8 Couded Yellows, 2 Common Blue males, a Comma, Small Copper, many Large Whites, and non stop Red Admirals (Trevor Rapley)
Shoreham Harbour at lunchtime. Beaten to it by a nice fellow claiming to be Trevor Rapley. We admired the half dozen or so Clouded Yellow and hoped the season would not end soon. Only one male Small Copper today, but it was a different one to the male seen on Monday, though in the same place. Foul play? Very sunny, but very windy, otherwise I feel it would have been more productive.(Lindsay Morris)
Crawley Down - Numbers increasing here after a lull. 1 Small White, 1 Large White, 1 Peacock, 2 Painted Ladies, 4 Red Admiral and yet another Humming-bird Hawk-moth (it has been a good autumn for them), all feeding on buddleia "Beijing". (Jonathan Ruff)
Wednesday 05 October
On Monday 3rd October whilst making the most of a beautiful sunny day catching up with a few gardening jobs I had at least one Red Admiral come through the garden. Another butterfly caught my eye too, so downing tools I went to investigate, and was completely surprised to find, when it landed and sunbathed briefly, a Large Skipper. It stayed just long enough for me to take a quick photo before it flew off again disappearing from sight almost immediately. First for my Broadbridge Heath garden and surely not the right time of year for it.
Judith, you are correct. Neil Hulme confirms this is a female Large Skipper - a rare second brood specimen. Excellent sighting. Well done! (Ed jnr)
The ivy blossom in my garden in Bevendean is still attracting Red Admirals and Commas when the sun shines. Today there were 2 Red Admirals and 1 Comma feeding on it and a very fresh looking Speckled Wood. Also seen were 2 Common Darter dragon flies and a Small White butterfly and several beautiful but unwelcome rosemary beetles (Chysolina americana) (Geoff Stevens)
A Red Admiral was out in our back garden fairly early this morning. It came down quite close to me a couple of times before deciding I wasn't interesting enough. This afternoon we saw another in Wish Park (the far side from our house, so probably a different one) and at least half a dozen Small Whites. The park keeper is allowing a few areas of nettles to flourish, including a patch in a sunny location behind our back garden. (John & Val Heys)
A short visit to Sussex with good weather meant a couple of last days out with the butterflies. Between David Cook and myself, we didn't do too well with new camera hardware this weekend. David for having a flat battery in the camera he was testing and me for inadvertently forgetting I'd set my new camera on ISO1000 for most of the time which didn't do much for the quality of my pictures. I can't add to what David said about our trip to Mill Hill so I'll mention my previous day at Ditchling Common and Burgess Hill. I failed to find Neil's Small Coppers south of Tescos but then I failed to find any nectar plants there either so that might explain that! I spent most of the day in the company of about 4 Small Coppers that David had previously found near the car park at the Common. They spent most of the day inhabiting a small part of an expanse of yellow flowers similar, but not identical, to the Ragwort my Lincolnshire Small Coppers live on. Only towards the end of the day did they show an interest in the rest of the site where the flowers were more widely dispersed but the ground cover a little denser and perhaps nicer to roost in. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience sitting amongst them watching them inflict almost non stop violence on each other! (Rolf Farrell)
On Sunday 2nd October in sunshine, I visited Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve, walking most of the main tracks. Overall it was disappointing as I only recorded 3 Speckled Woods. No sign of any Red Admirals or Whites. (Roy Symonds)
Tuesday 04 October
Spent a very pleasant afternoon on Mill Hill with Rolf Farrell who was visiting Sussex from Leeds and hoping to catch some interesting species in the warm Autumn sunshine. Mill Hill didn't disappoint with I think about 10 or so varieties including Small White, Meadow Brown, Clouded Yellow, Comma, Peacock, Common Blue, Wall, Red Admiral, Small Copper, and possible Small Tortoiseshell and Large White. Long may the Indian Summer continue! (David Cook)
I have cut back a few of the taller bits of Blackthorn that have begun to shade an area where I have lots of Slow Worms and occasionally Grass Snakes in the spring/early summer. The lowest cut was about 7 foot up. I found 6 Brown Hairstreak eggs ranging from 7-8 foot high to 13 foot high. This info will only be of interest to a few but it does go to show that this species does not only lay eggs low down. It also suggests that my local colony has had a good year as I have already 'found' 9 eggs in the garden this year. (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)
This morning in our back garden (New Church Road, Hove) there were 2 Red Admirals sunning themselves together on the ivy at the bottom of the garden. A Small White and a Large White visited our neighbour's buddleia at the same time and there was a steady stream of Small Whites passing though. We disturbed a Common Plume moth while we were gardening. However, in the afternoon we didn't see any butterflies when we went into Brighton even though it remained very warm and sunny. (John & Val Heys)
This afternoon I walked a pleasant circular in St Leonards Forest. The sunshine bought out small numbers of Small Copper but only in one area on the Turf Plain. A Comma flew past and rested for a while and Speckled Woods seemed to be in every sunny glade. The highlight for me was a Red Admiral which not only circled me as I walked but also landed on my hand when I flickered by fingers. It also sat on the path and allowed me to take several photos. I could see a stunning purple sheen on the dark area of the wing in the sunlight, you can hopefully see this in my photo. All in all a great walk. (Patrick Moore)
About six fresh looking Clouded Yellows seen today, some making frequent stops to nectar. Also of interest a particularly large, Large White was spotted at High and Over (Trevor Rapley)
A sunny lunchtime on the north bank of Shoreham Harbour was surprisingly productive. Long-tailed Blue? Forget 'em! But... at least 4 Clouded Yellow (probably more) was delightful enough, and there were also 5 male and 2 female Common Blue, a pair of Small Copper (new to this site for me), Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, 10 Red Admiral. A content stream of Whites. Not even the smell of the sewage treatment plant wafting over the Basin could put me off such a fragrant butterfly experience! (Lindsay Morris)
Monday 03 October
More butterflies....Planting done and with the afternoon temp rising I walked on the downs for an hour following the SDW from the Paradise Drive entrance, Meads. There were 4 Red Admirals and a Painted Lady nectaring on ivy, at least 6 more Red Admirals flying, and a Small Copper on some bramble. What a change from Saturday! (Anna Grist)
Thanks to James (posted below) and Bob for helping in the hunt for long-tailed blues. None found but this nice Clouded Yellow and this migrant hawker dragonfly were a consolation. Bob and I also saw a bird (which has been attracting some attention in the area) eating a lizard.
I am guessing that would that be the butcher bird. (Ed jnr)
A quick look around Mill Hill today and I saw one Wall, one Small White and one very mobile Clouded Yellow.
Yesterday in Devon I saw a Small Copper but that doesn't count! (Jonathan Crawford)
Spent an enjoyable morning with some friends at Newhaven Tidemills today. The hoped for Long-tailed Blue didn't materialise. But I did find a really nice male Clouded Yellow. Other Butterflies seen were Red Admirals and a few Small Whites. (James)
In the garden today there was Small Copper, Red Admiral and Large White. In the past three days there has also been Small White and female Brimstone. I was chatting to the 'manager' of the neighbouring field when a small brown butterfly landed quite close by but out of sight to me. It then flew off without me making a firm ID but I strongly suspect it was a Brown Hairstreak. There have now been 20-22 records for Small Copper in the garden for 2016, which is a garden record. The third brood has made up for the early poor season. (Martin Kalaher)
I was planting bulbs in the greensward in front of the houses where I live near Sussex Uni Campus, Meads, this morning and a Common Blue flew past, bright blue in the sun shine, a welcome sight.
Indeed, and this year know as the "not so common blue" (Ed jnr)
Lancing Ring, intermittent sunshine. 17 Red Admiral, 11 Speckled Wood, 2 Small White, fresh Comma, fresh Peacock. Assumed Brown Hairstreaks patrolling the blackthorn, but none settled. (Lindsay Morris)
I found a Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum) on our balcony last night and today a Convolvulus Hawk moth (Agrius convolvuli) was seen at the Sand Martin hide at Arundel WWT. I also saw a Small Copper in a north Sussex field today. My Mill Hill transect results for the 6 years 2011-2016 can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2dazH7a (Colin Knight http://bit.ly/2dxylqG)
Seen this afternoon, a Peacock, in our back garden in New Church Road Hove. Maybe attracted by the dazzling white paint I've recently put on the wall! Peacocks are infrequent visitors to our garden. (John & Val Heys)
Friday 30 September
The butterflies at my local meadow at Batchelors Farm were brought to premature end at the beginning of July, wiped out by an over zealous council making a claim on the hay thereby despatching the Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites that flourish there. That said, a small corner (and I mean small) was left fenced off for the local school to 'manage'. And it was here today that butterfly life, it seems, has begun to return to some sort of normality. A small colony of Small Copper have taken up residence. I counted at least 10 but could easily have been more as they move around quickly. A pair of Speckled Woods were also having a 'face off' which was intriguing to watch. The last picture of the pair on the fence is a bit blurred as the action was getting a bit frantic at this point. (David Cook)
On the final section of my walk yesterday near Hill Barn, Compton Down (SU763144) I saw several Red Admirals along the tall hedgerow which separated two large fields. Comma 1, Red Admiral 3. My walk took two and a half hours, during which time I recorded only 14 butterflies in total (4 species). (Roy Symonds)
At Markwells Wood, Compton Down (SU758144) on my circular walk yesterday I saw 3 Speckled Woods. (Roy Symonds)
On my circular walk at Horsley Farm Bridleway yesterday (SU761138) the following were seen, Small White 1, Speckled Wood 1, Comma 1. (Roy Symonds)
Yesterday I walked a circular walk in the vicinity of Horsley Farm, West Marden and Compton Down. The following were seen at Horsley Farm (SU765136), Small White 1, Comma 2, Red Admiral 1. (Roy Symonds)
wed 28/09/2016. first paid a visit to Markstakes Common, looking for East Sussex Brown Hairstreak eggs, found some blackthorns along field edges, but no eggs found. so moved on to fields near South Street, Chailey. i'de found 2x BH eggs along south facing side of hedge here on sat, 22/09/2012 after a long search. so for another search, I found 2x on north side along same hedge at 1.52 and 2.00pm, a good start. I made my way to a NW facing hedge and found another 1x BH egg at 2.10pm. then at 2.26pm saw a brown butterfly flying low then over hedge, I chased after it over gate but lost sight of it, after more brief sightings and much climbing back and forth over the gate I caught up with it at 2.30pm. my first East Sussex adult Brown Hairstreak (f) sunning in blackthorn hedge, photo taken, she proceeded to lay eggs (I later found two) she did this until 2.38pm when I lost sight of her, they seem to disappear easily. at 2.46pm she was in sight again, she flew up and settled this time to take in the sun, then at 2.50pm she was up flew along hedge did a sharp turn and headed out across open field heading east towards Rabbit Wood. later 3.15pm found 2x more BH eggs along a NW facing fence with young blackthorn growth. (Peter Farrant)
On my final butterfly transect of the season at Beddingham Landfill Site yesterday I spotted 2 Common Blue's, also a Small White, a Meadow Brown and 3 Peacocks.
We really appreciate the enormous effort put in by our transect walkers in all weathers from April to September. The work done is tremendously important and was used in the latest State of Nature 2016 report. So thank you to Helen and Peter and Colin and all the other transect walkers. Hope you now have time to put your feet up. (Ed jnr)
Thursday 29 September
Dear Ed Jr
Thanks for the kind wishes after I left Sussex in August to return home to Yorkshire. I have since spent much time in Lincolnshire at Chambers Wood in search of Brown Hairstreaks (highly successfully; one for over an hour egg laying! I can recommend Chambers to any Sussex Hairstreak fans visiting the Midlands as it must be one of not too many places where they can all be found) and Risby near Scunthorpe where most of the countries Small Coppers have emigrated to (we counted 61 on Sunday). They appear to have been sedated as well as they are remarkably friendly and unaggressive! Attached is a picture of the Small Copper tree we found last time. I hope to plant one in my garden. I have also just joined BC and intend to add Sussex to my membership. Best wishes and thanks for the best BC sightings page I've visited so far! (PS not expecting this Northern posting to contaminate the pages of Sussex Butterflies!)
Nice to hear from you again Rolf. Thanks for your compliments. It is of course the members who make this such a great sightings page. Happy to post your northern sighting. At this time of year we are happy to post anything about butterflies. (Ed jnr)
I had 10 minutes to check out one of the sites in my home town Burgess Hill for any late Brown Hairstreak and just about given up and was heading back to the car, having not seen anything at all, when a butterfly that initially I took to be a Meadow Brown landed right next to me. This female Brown Hairstreak, although looking tired was surprisingly complete and posed nicely for several photos, even happy to climb on my finger. (David Cook)
I walked the Cissbury, Monarchs Way, Canada Bottom area this afternoon and despite the wind and cloud saw the following; Red Admiral, Comma, White probably Small but maybe Large. Brimstone and Small Copper only on Cissbury and Speckled Wood. (Patrick Moore)
Your list of Butterflies still on the wing should include the Clouded Yellow.
I saw one today, and at Tide Mills last year they were flying throughout October.
If the summer visitors mated, then their offspring will see us through
October this year. Weather dependant naturally.
There's a prospect to look forward to. thanks Trevor (Ed jnr)
Available online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07w44wj/inside-out-south-east-26092016 an article on the fabulous Knepp Wildland. This was on Inside Out for the south-eastern region, so viewers in the southern region missed out. Familiar faces include Raymonda the Purple Emperor. The Knepp sequence starts at 16.45 mins. (Neil Hulme)
Wednesday 28 September
I have just updated the last sightings list. The
14 15 butterfly species still out there are
so please keep an eye out for them and send in your sightings
Tuesday 27 September
I undertook a 60 mile butterfly transect across Sussex over the weekend walking from the woods of Ebernoe Common near Petworth on Saturday then all through the night to finish at Seaford on Sunday. Generally too windy once I got up on the Downs but there were some butterflies in sheltered spots. Red Admiral (5), Speckled Wood (5), Small Copper (1), Small White (1), Large White (1). Overall a nice stroll, not sure I'd do it every weekend though. (Michael Blencowe)
sun 25/09/2016 our forth and final visit to this site this year. Sarah picked just over 2oz of blackberries. "that's not a lot" i hear you cry! (there going over you know). found 3x more Brown Hairstreak eggs, total now 32. and one of last years eggs with a neat hole in it. also at 2.43pm 1x female Brown Hairstreak settled in a Sallow bush, took some distance photos, she didn't settle lower or nearer, she got blown about in the breeze at times, at 2.51pm she flew off leaf and around a nearby blackthorn and settled again but I lost sight of her at 2.52pm. I was looking at the Business Parks direction board and noticed between York and Victoria Road's a couple of dotted lines running right through this Brown Hairstreak site, is it going to end up under concrete ?. that's progress I suppose. Victoria Business Park, Burgess Hill. W,Sx (Peter Farrant)
Monday 26 September
This afternoon we walked along Shoreham Port's Basin Road South from the Lagoon to the Lock Gates, over and back via more inland routes, checking out the everlasting pea site on the bank north of the power station. No long-tailed blues there and no butterflies at all anywhere despite the sunshine, as there was a very strong south-westerly wind. However, our back garden is relatively sheltered even though it faces south and when I popped out there at 4.45pm I disturbed a Red Admiral. (John & Val Heys)
St Leonards latest.
A midday walk in St Leonards Forest produced quite a few Red Admiral and Speckled Wood, several Small Copper and Small White as well as a Small Heath and Meadow Brown. (Patrick Moore)
Just a quick note of thanks to everyone who turned up to help on the three days of Wall Cotoneaster removal here this September. Today`s turnout included several from Seaford Natural History Society, and two neighbouring residents who stopped by to offer their assistance in 2017. The Western end is now looking great, and it is intended to return there in Spring to monitor seedling regrowth of both the Cotoneaster and Kidney Vetch. Next September the adjoining alien thickets will be smashed up to further extend the availability of open ground.
As well as the `target species` of Small Blue and nationally scarce Kidney Vetch Weevil, there is an obvious colony of Viviparous Lizard and an apparently healthy Fox Moth population, with Bob Eade finding another fully grown caterpillar disturbed by clearance around their copious Salad Burnet larval foodplant.
The manner of application of glyphosphate to Cotoneaster this late in the year is an experimental and pioneering work in Sussex, and quite possibly the UK. It will be interesting to evaluate the relative success of this treatment in the coming years.
Sadly, however, no Long - Tailed Blue!
And we at Butterfly Conservation Sussex would like to express our appreciation of the time and effort you have spent both organising this important project and then executing it. Well done Dave! (Ed jnr)
A Swallowtail was at Pagham on the 18th of September, details are on the Selsey Birder blog. (Bart Ives https://selseybirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Sunday 25 September
It all seems to be slowing down fast! Only a Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown at Chantry Hill this morning, although it was on the breezy side.
A Painted Lady in our Shoreham garden in the afternoon (Chris Corrigan)
Managed to pop up to Mill Hill this morning. Saw plenty of Red Admirals and Speckled Woods.
Only one Wsll though. (Jonathan Crawford)
While writing the 46th of the 53 species accounts for the forthcoming 'The Butterflies of Sussex' (at last there is light at the end of the tunnel!) I was distracted by the almost constant presence of Red Admirals in my Worthing back garden. This species has provided a welcome lift to a generally very poor butterfly season, but has been heading south in significant numbers over the last few weeks. Almost everywhere I've been in Sussex I've noticed an almost constant stream of them, although in the majority of cases it's just been ones and twos. However, in some areas near the coast, where Ivy is in flower, they have been congregating to take on supplies before crossing The Channel. A friend has consistently had upwards of 25 in his garden (also Worthing) over the last ten days. (Neil Hulme)
Saturday 24 September
Walked Devils Dyke area this afternoon and saw quite a few Red Admiral and Small White. Benfield Hill NR produced a Large White, Small Heath and a Painted Lady. Also seen, on Southwick Hill were Speckled Wood and a Meadow Brown. Truleigh Hill provided a home for a single pristine Wall Brown. (Patrick Moore)
The Holly Blues have had a strange season in our neighbourhood and the strangeness continues. Early this afternoon, we saw a pristine female in the back garden (New Church Road, Hove). It was near the house and unusually it fluttered low and settled on some rather bare grass for a few seconds after we'd disturbed it. I think it may have only recently emerged from some nearby ivy that we'd already cut back quite a bit. Then it headed off to the end of the garden where there is a lot of ivy in flower and sat high up in the sun. I think it may struggle to find a mate. The last Holly Blue in the vicinity of our house was as long ago as 4th August. Also in the back garden today:- a resident Red Admiral and modest numbers of Small Whites. (John & Val Heys)
Speckled Wood has visited Ladydell road, Worthing yesterday and again today. (Stuart Hill)
During the space of an hour in my garden late this afternoon one Large White and several Small Whites together with a Painted Lady were nectaring on various Verbena Bonariensis flowers. A Humming Bird Hawk Moth joined in the feast before speeding elsewhere. (Stuart Ridley)
Having returned from Holiday I was a bit jaded this morning suffering from jet lag .
However found some relief with several Red Admirals and a Comma feeding on rotting Blackberries and then an elderly Female Brown Hairstreak appeared in the garden in Ashington at 1.45.
(Richard Roebuck )
My visit to Newhaven Tide Mills in search of Long Tailed Blue was unsuccessful but the trip was rewarded with a very fresh Common Blue and for you 'birders' out there a Juvenile Red Backed Shrike was attracting the attention of an ever growing number of admirers--a very rare event by all accounts.
Thanks for the pictures of the funny looking chicken, David. (Ed Jnr)
Friday 23 September
The ivy blossom in my Bevendean garden had 2 Commas and a Red Admiral feeding on it for much of the day also in the garden a Speckled Wood and a Large White. (Geoff Stevens http://bevendeandown.wordpress.com)
I was looking at my photos taken at Warnham nature Reserve yesterday (21/9) and realised that some of the Small Copper were of the caeruleopunctata form. Several had Small Blue/White Spots on the upperside hindwing. I had intended to delete the photos as they are slightly out of focus but luckily saw the spots and thought I would share. (Patrick Moore)
Autumn 'Gold' at Lewes Racecourse today. (David Cook)
Myself and James Arnott yesterday went to High and Over hoping to find a Wall Brown ova. Plenty of females were found eventually including one that had to be a 2nd brood individual, unless it had been through a tumble drier!! Later a female that had just been seen nectaring on Scabious went into a Rabbit scrape and promptly laid an ova. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
The Great Walls of ...High and Over. Visited the site at High and Over yesterday and pleased to say that down the path from the CP towards the small gate and expansive views were plenty of Wall butterflies, including a couple of females descending down into the scrub with a mate on-board. Also a Clouded Yellow doing the rounds. Good to see the Wall settling on a couple of ragwort flowers and occasionally on other flowers. My photos are yet to be processed...back to work! (Mark Jones)
On Tuesday, as we walked along the north side of St Andrews Road (west end) Portslade, we saw a couple of Small Whites & more surprisingly a Speckled Wood in a small front garden. It looked to be trying to egg-lay on a rather small clump of weedy grass. On Wednesday, at Portslade station (north platform) I saw 3 Red Admirals, a couple of Small Whites, a Speckled Wood and a Small Tortoiseshell. (John & Val Heys)
I snatched an hour on the slopes of Mill Hill yesterday, while en route to a BC Sussex committee meeting. The sun was already sinking and at first I struggled to locate the third brood Wall I was seeking, with just a single female located at the southern end of the lower level. With the temperature gradually falling below ideal I suspected they would most likely be on the part of the scree slope tilted flattest to the sun, which involved some mountaineering (please don't try this at home). Here I found a further 2 females and 4 males. I rearranged some old planks to form the perfect sunny perch and within five minutes had a beautiful female Wall posing for me. (Neil Hulme)
Thursday 22 September
My Mill Hill transect today gave greatly reduced numbers despite the sunshine: Adonis Blue, Clouded Yellow, Meadow Brown 3, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Heath 2, Small Whites 3, Wall, Rush Veneer 2 (Nomophila noctuella), Snout (Hypena proboscidalis), Rusty Dot Pearl 4 (Udea ferrugalis). The past couple of days I had some interesting moths round my outside light: Beautiful Plume (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla), Common Plume (Emmelina monodactyla), Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuate), Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana), a tiny <5mm Poplar Bent-wing (Phyllocnistis unipunctella), many Rush Veneers (Nomophila noctuella), Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis), Silver Y (Autographa gamma). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Shoreham Harbour lunchtime. 6 Clouded Yellow, 2 Painted Lady, 1 Katrina with bamboo cane, Siver Y, several Whites. That was it for me apart from a Red Admiral beating against the breeze towards the sea. Bon Voyage! (Lindsay Morris)
Please take just 30 seconds to vote for the Chelsea Road Elm (Sheffield) at http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/tree-of-the-year/england/ This magnificent, mature Elm (now a rarity outside Brighton & Hove) supports a colony of White-letter Hairstreaks, but Sheffield City Council is determined to fell it, in retaliation for the utter devastation it's causing to a few paving slabs and kerbstones. Many thanks. (Neil Hulme http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/tree-of-the-year/england/)
Wednesday 21 September
My visit to Mill Hill today provided perfect conditions to see the newly emerged 3rd brood Wall. 4 in total, all males. Neil Hulme arrived as I was leaving so will be interested to see his report too.
Also, a spectacle of Red Admirals sharing a feast with a swarm of bees on Ivy. It's worth mentioning that around the lower slope at the north end, rabbit holes seem to have attracted a large number of bee nests. (David Cook)
Near the summit of Windover Hill I saw a number of Small Coppers. Most were in good condition. (Trevor Rapley)
Pete Atkinson kindly did my Mill Hill transect on September 13 while we were on holiday in Devon: Adonis Blue 16, Clouded Yellow 2, Comma, Common Blue, Large White, Meadow Brown 20, Red Admiral 3, Small Copper, Small Heath 4, Small White 10, Speckled Wood 1, Whites 4. While away we visited the Otter sanctuary and butterfly farm at Buckfastleigh where enjoyed the Emerald Swallowtails and Flames fluttering around us. On returning home I was pleased to find a new moth on our outside light, a Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata). (Colin Knight http://bit.ly/2d50EId)
A colleague of mine, Rachel Revéreault, sent in these pictures of the The Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Agrius convolvuli, photographed in her bedroom in Brighton & Hove, on 15th September 2016. It seems we are having a bumper year for them. Watch out! (Dan Danahar)
Tuesday 20 September
Yesterday (Sunday) there were 2 Small Whites and a Red Admiral flying at the same time in our back garden (Hove) and today one Small White and a Red Admiral which obliged for a photo. We've been up to the North Yorkshire Moors for a week. The weather was mostly warm and sunny. We saw modest numbers of butterflies, the interesting features being (1) absolutely no Meadow Browns whereas there were some Speckled Woods and (2) in the Walled gardens at Sewerby Hall just north of Bridlington huge numbers of Small Tortoiseshells (with a few Red Admirals, painted ladies and a Comma) on 2 long beds of heliotropes. There must have been at least 50. This is not just a coincidence as we went to the same place a few years ago, slightly later in September and there were quite a lot of Small Tortoiseshells on the heliotropes then. Yorkshire also appears to have more hedgehogs than us. We saw a dead one in the road and a live one at our holiday house. Despite 6 adults and a child being noisy in the garden, this bold hedgehog waddled past us as if we weren't there, climbed into an empty seed tray, drank the water in it and waddled past us again into the bushes. (John & Val Heys)
Sunday, on the third visit to Victoria Business Park, Burgess Hill found 2x more Brown Hairstreak eggs making twelve altogether on this smallish site. Also 2x female adults seen at 12.21pm and 1.41pm, the second one not so tatty as first. The second BH settled on small blackthorn, then onto bramble leaf, click picture taken, she flew up over bushes and out of sight. I had alook at small blackthorn for eggs, I found one, then another, then another, final tally 17 eggs on one small plant including three pairs. I couldn't believe it. so many eggs on one blackthorn. would this be from one female, I'm picturing a cooler day no flying but perhaps crawling up and down plant laying eggs? 29 eggs in total now. (Peter Farrant)
I was delighted this morning to discover a male and female Wall Brown sharing a Teasel together, the female later rejected the advances of several males. This was the only female seen among many males flying. Seen at High and Over (Trevor Rapley)
Monday 19 September
Not in Sussex - but an observation. I have just returned from a week in Teesdale, Co.Durham. On one day we visited Moor House Nature Reserve around Cow Gill Reservoir and was surprised to see good numbers of Red Admiral and Painted Lady flying south non-stop across high moorland, plus a couple of Small Tortoiseshell. The next day we called in at a friend's in York and they have been getting regular 6-10 Painted Ladies in their garden. It seems strange that reasonable numbers are being seen in the North of England, yet down here in Sussex I doubt if I have seen a dozen all season. Have I been unlucky, or have others seen very few? (Peter Whitcomb)
This morning I joined a crowd of 40 people including special guests SDNPA Members Norman Dingemans (Deputy Chair) and David Coldwell, SDNPA Staff and Volunteer Rangers, and a large contingent from the Steyning Downland Scheme to plant 1500 Primula plugs (1000 Primrose, 500 Cowslip) at Steyning Coombe. This will be followed a second event to plant a further 1500 elsewhere on the Steyning Downland Scheme area on 5 October, to encourage colonisation by the Duke of Burgundy butterfly. Thanks to everyone involved - a magnificent job! A very obliging female Brown Hairstreak dropped by to reward our efforts.
Having just returned from Norfolk I visited the High and Over area this morning to see how big the 3rd brood of Wall Brown was. Straight away it was clear that good numbers had emerged with over 20 seen in the vicinity. This included 5 females with many nectaring on the Scabious. 4 or 5 Clouded Yellows also seen including a very smart helise form. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
St Leonards Forest produced six species this afternoon a Meadow Brown, several Small Copper and Red Admiral, a single Peacock, Small White and quite a few Speckled Wood. Earlier in the week I also saw Small Heath, Clouded Yellow, Comma, Green-veined White and Brimstone. So quite a lot of species still to be seen weather and good luck permitting. (Patrick Moore)
Numerous Small Whites where flying, and occasionally nectaring on Michaelmas Daisies in my garden at Seaford. A Painted Lady hung around for most of the afternoon nectaring on either Verbena Bonariensis or Michaelmas Daisies or dashing around the garden before another bit of nectaring. (Stuart Ridley)
Went to Cradle Valley. Saw a few Adonis Blues, mainly female but the odd male. Also Speckled Wood, Small White, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Comma, Small Heath and one Clouded Yellow. Later we saw a common lizard at Tide Mills but nothing else of note. (Jonathan Crawford)
Lancing Ring. 26 Red Admiral, 9 Speckled Wood, 4 Comma, 2 Wall (new generation), Small Copper, Meadow Brown. Could be a lot worse at this time of year, so happy with that. (Lindsay Morris)
A Small Copper was in the Bill House garden at Selsey today, also a few Peacocks & Red Admirals present. (Bart Ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
We've just spent a weeks holiday in snowdonia where every hilltop seemed to have a welcoming committee of Red Admirals. Returning home I dashed up to my allotment on Whitehawk Hill on the east of Brighton to find a convulvulus hawk moth sitting on the outside of the greenhouse door. It stayed put despite me opening and shutting the door while I did the watering. (Tessa Pawsey)
I did not get a picture .. I'm from eastbourne I was walking around the our local park we all call it shine water park I was round the side nearer hampden park and I saw a small butterfly the brightest yellow but it had no markings . I was wondering if you knew .. the nearest I can find is Minso butterfly I think I have remembered that wrong.. I would love to know as I have never seen a butterfly that bright yellow it was just so lovely many thanks
There are only two yellow butterflies you would see at this time of year. One is a male Brimstone which is quite a pale yellow . This is quite a large butterfly. The other is the Clouded Yellow which is a bit smaller. Both have some wing markings but these can be overlooked. The chances are it was a Clouded Yellow as they are continental visitors and the recent warm weather has seen a large influx. I saw one today north of Seaford. It could also have been a moth as a number of these are yellow. Anyone else go any ideas? (Ed jnr)
Sunday 18 September
A couple of visits to Mill Hill earlier this week in the unseasonly warm sunshine provided some interesting sightings. A very fresh lone Brown Argus was a very pleasant. Several Clouded Yellows tearing up down the lower slope along with some tired looking Adonis Blue a couple of Small Heaths several Meadow Browns.
The walk back to the car park provided a of Red Admirals nectaring on ivy:
And finally back to the car, I was stopped in my tracks by what I immediately recognised as a Brown Hairstreak as pictured. It was quite incredible this individual could still fly and this she did amiably trying to evade my camera until I finally caught up and managed a couple of shots before she disappeared. (David Cook)
I am pleased that Neil has had greater success with Small Copper this week for curiously I have had more sightings of this species in the garden in 2016 than ever before. Although not until the past couple of weeks have they been regular and easy to spot, partly as they rather like nectaring on Michaelmas Daisies. Perhaps 18-20 different individuals all told. It may be that because it has been scarce I have been particularly keen to locate them? Anyway, I reckon I have had had 8 different Small Coppers in the past week, including three in the garden on the 14th with one nectaring on the daisies and two resting on the back lawn. Mary was armed with a basket of washing, so I walked over to give her a hand when not one but two small brownish butterflies settled on the lawn. They do this a lot in my back garden - just resting on the back lawn. Not territorial, not feeding, not laying eggs. All a bit curious? We have a great deal of both Common Sorrel and Sheep's Sorrel in the garden. As and when I extend the wildflower meadow by a foot or two Sheep's Sorrel is the first plant to colonise the new bare patch. This is followed by Kidney Vetch, which I planted years ago in an attempt at attracting Small Blue. I disturbed a female Small Blue 5-6 years ago, which appeared to be on Kidney Vetch (when I almost trod on it) but I haven't seen one since! Otherwise the other record worth mentioning was four female Brimstones on the 15th. I was trying to photograph one nectaring on the daisies when I realised there was another one nearby but then looked up and had another two females fluttering around each other over the other side of the garden. I have never seen four Brimstones in the garden in mid-September before. Finally, a Meadow Brown in the garden yesterday - a late record for me. Storrington. (Martin Kalaher)
Saturday 17 September
This evening I was pleasantly surprised to see my first Humming-bird Hawkmoth on a Buddliea the edge of a car park. I only had my mobile with me so the photo is not great but I had great views as it was nectaring and flying around. (Katrina Watson)
It is raining.
I was intrigued by Neil's photo's of the Vapourer wasp. I know that some species of gall wasp males live their entire life inside a fig. However the female of the species leaves the fig and therefore dispersal takes place. The Vapourer moth female lays her eggs where she pupates and therefore dispersal must be accomplished by the catipillars. It seems they do this by allowing themselves to be blown in the wind on a silk thread. This is clearly a successful strategy as they are fairly well distributed.
Friday 16 September
A Holly Blue flew across my Crawley garden in the early afternoon. (Vince Massimo)
On Tuesday (13 September) I could no longer resist the urge to get outside and enjoy what may be the last of our Indian Summer. I decided to have a look at David Cook's Burgess Hill hairstreak site, and explored a little further afield. It does look very good and it would be worth searching for White-letters here too. Despite being so late in the season I saw two female Brown Hairstreaks still at work.
As I wandered along the course of a small stream I came across a patch of flowers where 11 male Small Coppers were battering the living daylights out of each other - that more than doubled my 2016 tally, demonstrating the resilience of butterflies as this third brood emerges. On the basis of this discovery I dropped in for 30 minutes at Cissbury Ring on the way home, finding a further 15. (Neil Hulme)
Over two days this week the bizarre life of the flightless female Vapourer Moth was played out in our Worthing back garden. The moth emerged at 14:15 on 12 September, having been nurtured over the previous weeks by my five-year-old daughter, Mia, who found the caterpillar in a local park (she's now got three species on the go).
An amorous male Vapourer came calling at 15:39 and was gone by 15:48. By 16:40 she was laying eggs and in just a few hours she had squeezed out more than 130. It seems rather sad that she had nothing now to do, other than wait for her life to ebb away. She died during the afternoon of 13 September, having moved no further than 1 centimetre.
Sorry Ed - not enough lunchtime to get to the Cement Works. Another visit to Shoreham Harbour, therefore, with an almost identical outcome to yesterday's visit. If Long-tailed Blues were there, they were having a well earned siesta. Given the heat, who could blame them? (Lindsay Morris)
Thought you might like to see this photograph I took of a Green-veined White on the edge of Lullington Heath/Friston Forest. (Gareth James) We do! Would make a nice poster. Thanks Gareth (Ed jnr)
Thursday 15 September
Walking along River Arun in Bury we saw two Comma butterflies on brambles not far from Amberley station (Jane Hambling )
If you like Odonata then join Chailey Commons Society Thursday evening 15th September for a talk: details at http://www.chaileycommons.org.uk/activities-2016
(Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
For those who don't know, Odonata is the order which includes damselflies and dragonflies, though you probably guessed that from the pictures. (Ed jnr.)
Shoreham Harbour lunchtime. No Long-tailed Blues for me on the Lathyrus, but I'm glad to hear they are about in Sussex! 4 Clouded Yellow, Red Admiral, Common Blue, c.10 Small White, Green-veined White. The Lathyrus remains in good condition. Shall I give it one more go tomorrow?
Of course you should! Maybe you could try Beeding Cement works too. (Ed jnr)
Humming-bird Hawk-moth again in the garden today, feeding this time on both Buddleia "Davidii" and "Beijing". Also 2 Large White, 2 Small White,2 Red Admiral, 2 Painted Lady, 1 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Speckled Wood. (Jonathan Ruff)
Today I decided to visit Tide mills to see if I could find any Long-tailed Blues. I arrived at about 9.30am and I immediately saw a Clouded Yellow followed by several more. Arriving at the various clumps of Everlasting Pea there was no sign of any long-tailed Blues, I spent the next couple of hours searching until I decided to call it a day. On the way back I bumped into Katrina Watson and Trevor Rapley. I told them I hadn't seen any LTB's but I wouldn't mind one last go. So we all made our way back into Tide mills and would you believe it we all Spotted a Long-tailed Blue almost immediately! It was a very active male and we all struggled to get a shot of it. although this was not our first sighting of an LTB we were all delighted to have seen one, our first of 2016. I also found a freshly emerged and stunning female Red Admiral - a very good day in great company. (James)
As I walked out of my back door at 1030hrs 13/9/16 in Heathfield, a huge moth took off from my shed door, right in front of me and flew over my garage, across the road and over the roof of the house opposite. Its large size, pale Grey appearance and hint of blue on the hindwings left no doubt as to its identity; a Blue Underwing (Catocala fraxini). Early in the morning my eyes and brain take a while to get going and when I checked the moth trap at 0630 hrs I just didn't notice it. Whilst it was a WOW moment, it was also most definitely one of those frustrating AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!! moments. (Nigel Kemp http://eastsussexwanderer.blogspot.co.uk)
On a visit to High and Over this morning I discovered some 3rd brood Wall Browns, 4 males and 1 female (Trevor Rapley)
Wednesday 14 September
Today at Warnham Local Nature Reserve I photographed a butterfly that was behaving a little differently to anything I'd seen before. Looked Common Blue like, behaved hairstreak like & rotated it's rear wing like a dog scatching it's back leg. On later closer inspection of the photo in a darkened room I believe it to be a Long-tailed Blue.
This is definitely a Long Tailed Blue - great sighting. Well done. (Ed jnr)
Still got Holly Blues in my garden in Shoreham. (Jonathan Crawford)
sun 11/09/2016. the annual blackberry pick. well Sarah picks, I look for Brown Hairstreaks. the first visit was on the monday 29th august, I didn't see any adults but counted 6x EGGS. on this second visit I found 2x more EGGS, and between 12.36pm and 2.05pm saw and photographed 4x female Brown Hairstreaks all in various states of tattiness, which is a good thing as they can be distinguished from each other. two of these each laid an egg, the first at 12.56pm, the second at 1.08pm. 10x EGGS altogether. Victoria Business Park, Burgess Hill. W.SX. (Peter Farrant)
Lunchtime Shoreham Harbour. 3 bright Clouded Yellow, 3 faded Common Blue, Red Admiral, Comma, Whites and my first Peacock for some time (very dilapidated). (Lindsay Morris)
Tuesday 13 September
You have asked for sightings.
One moth spent much of a sunny morning on 5 September on our garden verbena bonariensis.
Our O/S is SU 9353 3002 and we live at GU27 3BY (David Martin-Jenkins) Thanks David (Ed jnr)
I read an article which was about these moths this time last year. I found this one on my washing in PO21 5PU
That looks like a rather faded Privet Hawk-moth. The Moth curse strike again! Mark Colvin informs me that this is in fact a
Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli).
St Leonards Latest.
It was rather nice in the forest this afternoon with lots of Speckled Wood to be seen. Also Red Admiral, Small White and Large White as well as Green- veined White. There were yet again Clouded Yellow, two of which were patrolling a field boundary in the Turf Plain area. Also seen were Small Copper and a Comma. (Patrick Moore)
A conservation strip at Knowlands Farm, Barcombe with a good deal of fleabane and some ragwort is still attracting butterfly attention, though now very few individuals. Apart from a sprinkling of Small Whites, yesterday there was a Small Copper and today a Red Admiral. What I took to be another Small White this morning appeared on closer inspection to be a white Clouded Yellow. Presumably Colias croceus f. helice rather than Pale or Berger's? Unfortunately the diagnostic pointedness or otherwise of its forewings has been compromised by wear and tear. (Nick Lear)
Hiked from Upper Beeding to Ditchling Beacon and then did a few laps around the South Downs above Brighton (17 miles). Red Admiral (11), Small Heath (3), Speckled Wood (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Common Blue (1), Painted Lady (1) Meadow Brown (1) and distant whites. Weather warm and calm. I'm planning on hiking 50-60 miles in a few weeks (Michael Blencowe https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wildestwalk2016)
Monday 12 September
I went up to Cissbury ring this afternoon with some friends. I saw 4 Red Admirals, some Meadow Browns, Whites and Small Heaths, 4 Small Coppers including one caeruleo punctata, and one Common Blue (Katrina Watson)
Great to see my first Small Copper of the year - nectaring on Rudbeckia in the garden; also a female Brown Hairstreak pottering around the garden - not a rare butterfly here (Broadbridge Heath area) but always good to see. (David Bridges)
Spent the day walking the Downs and saw plenty of butterflies. They were mostly assorted Whites, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Meadow Brown but I also found a few Common Blues, Small Coppers and Small Heaths. The highlights for me though were Clouded Yellows in Telscombe and Jevington and a very tatty Wall Brown on the top of Firle Beacon. (Chris Hooker)
I was extending one of my flower beds today when I was joined by a Painted Lady (in very good condition) which alighted on Verbena Bonariensis just 3-4 feet from where I was working. I went to grab my camera but it didn't stay long enough for a photo. It went on its way, heading south, presumably towards the Channel and beyond. I am surprised that I haven't seen one in the garden since the passage in early June. Unfortunately there is very little nectar on offer other than some Scabious and Michaelmas Daisies. Otherwise a couple of Red Admirals flew through (heading West), just one Large White, one male Brimstone, 5-6 Small Whites and two Small Coppers. This species is coming to the garden more or less every sunny day to nectar on Michaelmas Daisies. (Martin Kalaher)
In the area of Lancing Ring I saw an amazing 77 Red Admiral, mostly nectaring on ivy. 57 of them were in the chalk pit. 13 species altogether including a female Brown Hairstreak, 2 Small Copper, 7 Comma, 2 Painted Lady and 2 Humming-bird Hawkmoth. Fantastic warm sunny day. Deep joy! (Lindsay Morris)
On 100% sunny day on Graffham Down near Petworth, we saw Clouded Yellow 2, Red Admiral 4, Holly Blue 1, Small White 12, Large White 2, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Meadow Brown 5 and Brimstone 2. It was very good to see so many Speckled Woods, 29 in total, after a disappointing butterfly year. (Dianne Hardcastle )
Sunday 11 September
Today I joined the conservation work party organised by David Harris on the Buckle Bypass. The steep slopes of the cutting through which this road runs support a colony of Small Blue, whose numbers have declined in recent years as the kidney vetch on this site has been swamped out by the growth of cotoneaster. The objective of this work is to remove the cotoneaster and allow the kidney vetch to flourish once again.
We were joined by Peter, Bob and Paul who are shown in the photograph, and subsequently by a second Peter and second Bob. Work was slow due to the steepness of the site. We had to bag and remove all that we cut to ensure that we complied with the terms of the licence granted to David by East Sussex Highways.
Further work is planned for tomorrow to complete what was started today. There will be a further conservation work party on Sunday 25th September from 10.00 am till about 2.00 pm. All are welcome to join us for as long or as short a part of that time as you wish.
Saturday 10 September
Saw a Small Tortoiseshell in the garden this morning, basking on Choisya and then nectaring on sedums. Also one Red Admiral, 2 Large White, and 3 Speckled Wood (Nigel Symingtonn)
Friday 09 September
I was tidying some of the wildflower meadow when a butterfly shot past me at a rate of knots. I was close to the back hedge and I suspect the butterfly only saw me at the last moment and just about avoided a collision. If flew fast and low over the garden, checked temporarily, enough to identify it as a Clouded Yellow and then continued its journey heading north. It was behaving in very similar fashion to the Painted Ladies that I have seen migration. I suspect this Clouded Yellow was a fresh migrant. No way of knowing for sure but it seemed that way. Its my third this year, seen in the garden. Also another Small Copper popped in this afternoon.. (Martin Kalaher)
We took a walk on the west side of Cuckmere Haven today and saw a very bright male Clouded Yellow, 3 Small Copper, 2 Comma, 1 Common Blue, 1 Red Admiral, 4 Small Heath, 1 Meadow Brown, 8 Small White and 1 Large White. (Terry Wood)
Lunchtime at Mill Hill - very exposed to the wind, but sunny. A single Clouded Yellow meandered amongst the numbers of Adonis Blue, Small Heath & Meadow Brown . Singles of Red Admiral, Common Blue and Brown Argus. (Lindsay Morris)
My Mill Hill transect yesterday yielded Adonis Blue 32, Clouded Yellow 2, Comma 3, Common Blue 3, Meadow Brown 27, Red Admiral 2, Small Heath 13, Small White 2, Silver Y 2, Common Carpet 2, Treble Bar 1, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer (Agriphila geniculea) 2. The Clouded Yellow at the bottom of the hill was worn and nectared on thistle. The one at the top of the hill was in good condition, nectared on solely on the masses of Autumn Gentian and kept returning to the same area just south of the car park. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
On September 3rd at Heyshott Common I watched a late instar Buff-tip larva eating a silver birch leaf and saw Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Silver Y. Afterwards at Fairmile Bottom I saw a Clouded Yellow, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Whites, Common Blues and Common Carpets. On September 5th I visited Worms Wood, Middleton-on-sea and found a Small Copper and a Vapourer larva. There were moths near my outside lights: Barred Marble (Celypha striana), Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata), Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria), Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer (Agriphila geniculea). On September 6th at Kithurst meadow I saw a few Common Blues, including a laying female, Red Admirals, Small Whites, Speckled Woods, Brimstones, Brown Argus and a Small Tortoiseshell. Moths: Marbled Conch (Eupoecilia angustana) plus Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis), Common Grass-veneer (Agriphila tristella) and Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) and many Silver Ys. In the evening I found two tiny micro moths near my outside lights: Poplar Bent-wing (Phyllocnistis unipunctella) and Garden Midget (Phyllonorycter messaniella) plus Marsh Grey (Eudonia pallid), Yellow-backed Clothes (Monopis obviella) and Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Thursday 08 September
On a walk into Hogtrough Bottom Bevendean I saw 4 Clouded Yellows, 2 Speckled Woods, 1 Small Copper a dozen or more Small Heath and Brown Argus, 6 old Common Blues and 1 very fresh Common Blue plus a few Small Whites (Geoff Stevbens http://bevendeandown.wordpress.com)
It has been a very poor season here but today a Humming-bird Hawk-moth visited the buddleia Beijing for most of the day. Plus at least 8 Small White, 2 Large White , 3 Red Admiral and a Meadow Brown. (Jonathan Ruff)
We had a Humming-bird Hawk-moth in our Hastings garden this morning, as well as 3 Small Whites and a Red Admiral. (Terry Wood)
Apart from the numerous white butterflies, one each of Clouded Yellow, Speckled Wood (unusual in my open and treeless, except for small shrubs, garden) and Meadow Brown were nectaring on Verbena Bonariensis. A fast flying Small Tortoiseshell passed through. (Stuart Ridley)
I have been waiting for a really nice day to go wandering over Chantry Hill again, and what a day. I recorded 15 species, which is a pretty good total for September 7th. The 'star' for me was a female Adonis Blue. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that this is a rare species for this site. I am rather hoping that from next year onwards it won't be quite so uncommon. Species and approximate numbers as follows: Clouded Yellow (1), Brimstone (1m), Large White (2), Small White (15), Green-veined White (5), Small Copper (2), Brown Argus (5), Common Blue (30), Adonis Blue (1f), Red Admiral (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Peacock (1), Speckled Wood (6), Meadow Brown (90-120) and Small Heath (45-60). The flower meadows were really lovely in the hot sunshine.
At home in Storrington there was an obliging Small Copper on Michaelmas Daisy. This is the 10th date this year I have recorded Small Copper in the garden, so despite their overall scarcity this year I seem to see them at regular intervals. (Martin Kalaher)
Shoreham Harbour lunchtime. Had a good look for Long-tailed Blue. Plenty of Lathyrus in good condition, so might try again Friday. At least 2 Clouded Yellow (one faded, one fresh), 2 Red Admiral, 3 faded male Common Blue, plenty of whites. (Lindsay Morris)
In Eastbourne yesterday (Tuesday) for All or Nothing, the Small Faces musical - very historical and rather tragic, but good even though we were never mods. Last night tonight if anyone is tempted. Scorchingly hot on the sea front, where we saw a mint condition Red Admiral, some Small Whites and a faded male Common Blue, all between the Pier and the Wish Tower. Credit to the Eastbourne parks and gardens people who have managed to make the lower level flower gardens even in this central area wild enough to tempt butterflies, whilst keeping them from becoming unkempt and unattractive to tourists. (John & Val Heys)
Lovely couple of hours spent strolling around this area. Lots of Small Whites. 1 Large White. 1 Clouded Yellow. 1 Painted Lady. Several Small Heaths. 2 tatty Common Blues and 2 tatty Meadow Browns. (Graeme Rolf)
Wednesday 07 September
Last of the summer fritillaries? This tatty Silver-washed Fritillary was still going strong (ish) at Abbots Wood today (Michael Blencowe & Mike Mullis)
Can you have too much wildlife in your garden? I can mentally visualise an article in the making but for now can state quite categorically that too many Badgers and too many Wasps can be a bit of a pain! OK, it's my fault. If you create the conditions and the beggars like what they find there is no one else to blame but yourself. Digging holes everywhere, destroying Common Carder Bees' nests, killing Hedgehogs (speculation), I could go on and on. 1000s of wasps in the garden! I have never, ever, been stung by a wasp, so I guess we must get along, somehow. I wouldn't want any children in my garden right now.
Enough of the rant. I was happy enough to see a female Common Blue in what is left of the meadow. I delayed the final cut as it was apparent that the Common Blue season was also very late. As usual I didn't have my camera to hand but it was in fairly fresh condition with just a bit of wear on the rear edge of the wings. It nectared on Corn Marigold, which has been producing flowers for about 4 months! Mary is a great fan of Corn Cockle, Corn Marigold and other annuals, so I try to keep them going in the meadow. Also Brimstone on Broad-leaved Sweet pea (amazingly still flowering, just about), Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Holly Blue and Red Admiral. (Martin Kalaher)
Saw this beautiful Red Underwing fly in front of my car by Stanmer House this morning (Tim Squire)
Tuesday 06 September
St Leonards Blues,
No, not a cue for a song but rather a lament for the lack of Common Blue butterflies in the forest this year. This afternoon I saw just one, despite the sunshine and warmth, just one.
However on a happier note I also saw several Clouded Yellow for the first time in the forest. Also appearing were Large White, Small White and Green-veined White. As well as Meadow Brown, some in pristine condition, Brimstone, a Comma and plenty of Speckled Wood. (Patrick Moore)
sun 04/09/2016. Sovereign Park Picnic Area, Eastbourne sea front. Between 1.18 and 1.34pm saw 1x Clouded Yellow, 2x Small White, 1x Meadow Brown and 1x Painted Lady. it was cloudy and breezy. (Peter Farrant)
On Saturday I attended the South Downs National Park 'Secrets of the Heath' day at Petersfield Heath. The objective of this was to celebrate the launch of the 'Heathlands reunited' project. The day featured exhibits showing how the use and management of heathland has developed over the last 15,000 years or so, to show the diverse wildlife that lives in such a habitat, and the conservation work necessary to maintain the heathland in suitable condition. Exhibitors included the South Downs National Park, the National Trust, the Sussex Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and other conservation organisations. (Nigel Symington)
Michael Casement from Harting has sent in information and images of a Death's Head Hawk-moth caterpillar "This was discovered a week ago, by a nearby neighbour, in West Harting, who alerted me to this huge bright yellow caterpillar feeding on the winter jasmine hanging down over his front door. I took it home, and photographed it on my lawn and identified it from my books as a Death's-head Hawk-moth: – it was then about 3” long, but having placed it in a vase of privet and winter jasmine, it has eaten all I offer it, and it has grown to five inches, and doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to pupate. The larva creeps up the vertical stems munching as it goes, until it reaches the top, when its weight causes the frond to bend over, and it starts on another vertical climb – fascinating to watch! To my surprise another friend of mine found an exactly similar caterpillar in a garden in East Harting."
On a 27.5 mile hike from Upper Beeding to Firle on Sunday I saw 7 butterflies. 4 Meadow Browns, 2 Speckled Woods and a Small Heath. The butterflies were outnumbered by Wheatears (8). (Michael Blencowe)
Monday 05 September
During an evening walk at Anchor Bottom I found this Adonis Blue ab. (Katrina Watson)
Here are a selection of photos taken on Roedale Valley Allotments of some of the butterflies I've seen on the 1st and 3rd of September. General sightings for 1st September: 2 Meadow Brown, 3 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 61 Small White, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Comma, 2 Common Blue. On the Butterfly Plot was 1 Small Copper, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Speckled Wood and 5 Small White.
General sightings for 3rd September: 1 Comma, 2 Meadow Brown and Small Whites. On the Butterfly Plot was the same female Small Copper which feed on Hemp Agrimony and on the plot below seen and photographed feeding on Sedum, which is a great plant for supporting our overwintering butterfly species when nectar begins to run low in Autumn. This stunning Small Copper also displays some blue scales on the hindwing, but barely worthy of the full ab. caeruleopunctata title. In addition on the way home from the allotment, along Ditchling Road, Brighton, I passed an active Small Copper, success, earlier in the year I did my research on the caterpillar foodplants and noted Common Sorrel growing at the roadside, this was exactly where I found it. (Jamie Burston)
Sunday 04 September
This morning at Heyshott Common I watched a late instar Buff-tip larva eating a silver birch leaf. Also seen: Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Silver Y. Later at Fairmile Bottom, Slindon I saw a Clouded Yellow, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Whites, Common Blues, Common Carpets (Epirrhoe alternata). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Jersey Tiger guarding its territory whilst resting in ivy on our porch in East Dean (TV562984) this afternoon. This was not set up well not by me!
What a fabulous moth! (Ed jnr)
Followed the Symington trail from Mill Hill up to Anchor Bottom to see the Autumn Lady's-tresses. The wind was blowing a gale but there were a few Adonis Blues hunkered down. We say a good few of the aforementioned orchids too, (Jonathan Crawford)
Lancing Ring & Steep Down. Before the cloud rolled in it started well with 11 species of butterfly before 11am. 3 pristine Comma and 2 Small Copper shone out, as did a male Adonis Blue. 7 Red Admiral but only a single Small Tortoiseshell and less Speckled Wood at 13. A fly-by in the chalk pit I thought a probable Brown Hairstreak. (Lindsay Morris)
Went up to Mill Hill this morning and saw the obligatory Clouded Yellows. There was a good show of Adonis Blues and I saw my first Silver-spotted Skipper on this site. (Jonathan Crawford)
Saturday 03 September
Hi there, wondered if you could help me with this very small butterfly sitting on my mint. Not quite in focus I’m afraid. Thanks, (Tony Gleave).
Thanks for your picture Tony. This is in fact a moth called "Small Purple and Gold" - Pyrausta aurata (not to be confused with the similar "Common Purple and Gold").You can tell it is a moth because the ends of its antennae are not clubbed like a butterfly. You can see a clearer picture of this butterfly here which was taken by one of our regular contributors, Colin Knight. (Ed jnr)
Yesterday, when it was sunny and hot, Val, our son Alan & I were on our way to the County Cricket Ground in Hove. On the west side of Wilbury Road, just before the junction with Eaton Road, I spotted two painted ladies nectaring on buddleia. To see anything on buddleia in Hove this year has been unusual. However, it got better still when I also noticed a Small Tortoiseshell on the Wall of the building nearby & Alan saw a second Small Tortoiseshell on the buddleia. At the cricket ground, we also saw a Red Admiral while we watched the Kent batsmen methodically grind Sussex into the dust. No sun and no butterflies today, as the Kent bowlers delivered the coup de grace before the rain could attempt to save Sussex. (John & Val Heys)
Lots of Field Cuckoo bees feeding and other solitary bees. Scabious spp., especially Devil's-bit Scabious were glorious. A week today is a work party with the Friends of Wolstonbury Hill from 10.00 am and new volunteers are welcomed to join the fun under the direction of the National Trust ranger. (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
The Comp path at the back of Seaford is alive with Speckled Wood. A steady walk, to make sure no double counting went on, 54 Specklies were seen with lots of aerial battles etc. The path is roughly a mile long. On the Downland at the end a surprise was a aged Small Skipper along with a couple of Clouded Yellow and a Small Copper as well as the usual suspects. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Friday 02 September
Further to my previous reports of this site in Burgess Hill and a seemingly strong colony of Brown Hairstreaks I took this video of one of the females egg laying.
Also a very fresh Small Copper showing some beautiful colours caught in the sun this morning
Made an early morning visit to Mill Hill this morning - too early as I'd not taken into account that the site faces North West and the sun doesn't hit it until some time after sunrise.
First up was a Red Admiral, basking on some Old Man's Beard which was at the top of the slope and the first to be reached by the sun. Then at the bottom Meadow Browns appeared, resting on ragwort and with the dew drops still on their wings. Finally the Adonis Blues came out, but instantly went into manic mode and were difficult to photograph.
Went on up to Anchor Bottom. The South facing slope was alive with Adonis Blues, including females laying eggs - they only chose very small low-growing plants to lay on. A good showing of Autumn Lady's-tresses - I counted 65 spikes in total.
A garden record of 28 butterfly species in one season ( I wonder if this is a 'National Record' for a half-acre back garden?), as today I recorded Brown Hairstreak. OK not an adult but a freshly laid egg (well, actually there were three on a 3-foot Blackthorn sucker). In 2014 and 2015 I recorded a female Brown Hairstreak on August 28th but this year I was away visiting family on this date. Only once have I seen this species in the garden without the help of Hemp Agrimony, on which it loves to nectar. Also in the garden today: Small White, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone and Small Copper. The rolling total for the garden, over the past 6-7 years, is 32 species. Small Blue, Chalk Hill Blue, Wall Brown and Grizzled Skipper have only been recorded once. Chantry Hill and Kithurst Hill are 1-3 km away, so the odd stray is likely to come my way - with a little encouragement. More on wildlife gardening, another time.
We look forward to hearing more about wildlife gardening. (Ed jnr)
I visited Kithurst Meadow today and saw Common Blues, Brown Argus, Brimstones, Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods, Holly Blue, Red Admirals, Small Copper, Silver Y, Common Carpet. Gill from Horsham told me she had seen a Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on the marjoram. The past few days the following moths landed round my outside light at Littlehampton: Beautiful Plume (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla), Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata), Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea), Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana), Square-Spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa), Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata), Marbled Beauty, (Bryophila domestica). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Two Red Admirals (and a Large White) on buddleia on Ladydell Road, Worthing, BN11 2JS. (stuart hill)
Brimstone in the Walled garden at Wakehurst Place . Only other butterflies seen were Small Whites and a single Meadow Brown . (Jane Hambling)
Yesterday I visited the Steyning Downland Scheme (SDS) area, primarily to make a final decision on planting locations for Cowslip and Primrose plugs, in readiness for colonisation by the Duke of Burgundy (now only a few kilometres away!). There will be a fab and fun event to get these in the ground on Sunday September 18, so please visit the SDS website to find out more if you would like to help out - http://steyningdownland.org/event/dukes-planting-day/.
Of course it would have been rude to visit this fantastic site without having a last look for the Brown Hairstreak. I managed my best count of low-level females this season, with a total of 4 seen in quick succession, all close to the lower gate on the northern flank of the Rifle Range. It was a case of quality over quantity, with one individual being in perfect condition. I suspect she hadn't even reached one of the master trees yet, and will probably still be laying eggs in late September.
Later in the day, when passing through Findon Valley, I decided on a quick yomp to the top of Cissbury Ring, to catch the beautiful sunset. The reward, apart from the view, was a newly-hatched female Adonis Blue. These will be some of the last butterflies I see this year, so it was great to find a couple of corkers to close the innings. (Neil Hulme)
I currently have 13 potted specimens of the Dutch Elm Disease-resistant cultivar LUTECE in my back garden, which have been purchased by BC Sussex. These will be planted at Littlehampton during the winter, to secure the future of an important White-letter Hairstreak colony. I will be calling for assistance from green-fingered Branch members in due course. In the shorter term the trees are providing a steady supply of food for my daughter's pet Vapourer Moth caterpillar. I'm delighted to see that she's now taking a keen interest in butterflies and moths, without too much bribery. (Neil Hulme)
sun 28/08/2016. 1x Jersey Tiger moth feeding from Hemp Agrimony flowers at 3.26pm. also counted a total of 80 Autumn Ladies Tresses dotted over site, in one small area counted 56. and 9 female Wasp Spiders in webs. (Peter Farrant)
A good display of Adonis Blues on Malling Down yesterday. Male and female both in evidence. My picture shows both genders on the same flower head - note the female's turned up abdomen, a clear 'No' in butterfly language. After some persistent efforts from the male, she flew off.
One Clouded Yellow also flew over at great speed. Speckled Woods showing on the bushes by the side of the walk back to where I had parked. Meadow Browns and Small Heaths also present in good numbers. (Nigel Symington)
Wednesday 31 August
Surveyed field south of A283 & beside & east of A24 and saw Clouded Yellow, umpteen Large White, Meadow Brown and Painted Lady TQ120132 (Mike Warren)
Mill Hill was alive with butterflies this afternoon. A single Silver Spotted Skipper, numerous Meadow Browns, Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Small and Large Whites, Small Heath and probably about 10 Clouded Yellow included a pairing (see pics) (David Cook)
In my Plymouth Avenue Bevendean garden this afternoon there were 2 Holy Blues, 6 or more Small Whites a Speckled Wood, a Red Admiral and 2 Small Tortoiseshells. Also a Common Darter dragonfly (Geoff Stevens)
Small Whites in reasonable numbers in St Anne's Well Gardens, Hove and, slightly disappointing, just one Speckled Wood as well. In our back garden (New Church Road, Hove) more Small Whites, a Red Admiral and at about 5.00 pm a Clouded Yellow which settled on a Japanese anemone leaf. I made the mistake of pointing it out to our granddaughter. She charged towards it, so it flew away before I could take a close look. On an elm leaf at the pavement outside our house, a Brimstone moth. (John & Val Heys)
A Clouded Yellow was spotted flying through the graveyard at Shoreham Church, heading west. (Vince Massimo)
Yesterday I upgraded the light bulb on our balcony from 60 to 100W equivalent and the moths flocked in. I recorded 7 new species among the 17 seen: Black-headed Conch (Cochylis atricapitana), Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata), Marbled Beauty (Bryophila domestica aka Cryphia domestica), The Nutmeg (Anarta trifolii aka Discestra trifolii), Brown House Moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella), Cabbage Moth (Mamestra brassicae), Common Plume (Emmelina monodactyla), Common Wainscot (Mythimna pallens), Dark Spectacle (Abrostola triplasia), Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea), Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana), Rosy Minor (Mesoligia literosa), Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella), Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis), Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta), Silver Y (Autographa gamma), Yellow-backed Clothes (Monopis obviella). This afternoon a Small Dusty Wave (Idaea seriata) landed on the outside door. More species photos on my blog link. (Colin Knight http://bit.ly/2bPBm4c)
Exciting developments on our Butterfly Conservation - Sussex Branch ''Butterfly Plot'', on Roedale Valley Allotments in Brighton. I was overjoyed to see the hard work was showing some very promising indications. I saw one highly active Small Copper darting across the plot, landing occasionally on the bare chalk. I observed this individual briefly feeding on Small Scabious, later found going to roost on dried grass, clearly it had nodded off with it's drooped and tightly positioned antenna. I additionally saw Common Blue, two males and a female, at one point one of the males attempted to pair up with the female, you can see what happened here:
Most exciting, within a few seconds of seeing the Common Blues try to pair up I looked up to see a Brown Argus pair, trying to do exactly the same! Although both pairs were unsuccessful this time it shows great promise for our Butterfly Plot, clearly the butterflies must be in approval of the created habitat, wanting to breed and perhaps even lay their eggs, indeed the caterpillar foodplants for these three species are all present. A singleton Small Purple and Gold was also seen.
Elsewhere on Roedale Valley Allotments, across four plots I counted 21 Small Whites and a single Small Tortoiseshell just as I was leaving the site. (Jamie Burston http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/conservation/allotments/)
On Monday I walked to all the best sights in St Leonards Forest to look for Common Blue, alas there were none! I did however see Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White and Speckled Wood.
Today (30/8) I visited the Standean area north of Brighton and saw quite a few Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Small White and a few Green veined White. As well as Common Blue, Brown Argus and Clouded Yellow and a Small Copper. (Patrick Moore)
In view of the reported sightings of both Clouded Yellows and Painted Ladies at Arlington Reservoir, I paid a visit this morning. A dozen Clouded Yellows were actively patrolling the site and three Painted Ladies seen. There was not much else other than a couple of Common Blues and a Small Tortoiseshell. (Simon Quin)
29 August - walk round the open area in Rowland Wood mid morning, saw the following - Large and Small Whites, Common Blue including almost blue female with usual markings on upper wings. Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Speckled Wood x 10 at least, 2 Commas, Silver Y, a number of Clouded Yellows, a Painted Lady and a Brown Argus. Today 30 August - walk round the same area at midday and saw 1 Clouded Yellow, 1 Painted Lady, 2 Small Heath, again good numbers of large and Small Whites, a Brimstone, several Meadow Browns, 5 Speckled Woods, Silver Y, several Common Blues. Also heard a raven today. And above us circling swallows and sand martins. (Kerry Baldwin)
A brief lunchtime visit to Mill Hill - sightings included at least 3 Clouded Yellow, many Adonis & many Small Heath plus the star of the show for me - my first (and maybe only!) Silver-spotted Skipper of the year. (Lindsay Morris)
The gravel path at the top of Dukes Mound (Kemp Town, Brighton) was replanted about five years ago with several species of plants to attract butterflies and bees, including Verbena bonariensis, Sedum, Buddliea, Agapanthus and Echium. There were loads of large and Small Whites all along the walk, but the white Buddliea at the western end had 4 Red Admirals on it. (Graeme Rolf)
The gravel path at the top of Dukes Mound (Kemp Town, Brighton) was replanted about five years ago with several species of plants to attract butterflies and bees, including Verbena bonariensis, Sedum, Buddliea, Agapanthus and Echium. There were loads of large and Small Whites all along the walk, but the white Buddliea at the western end had 4 Red Admirals on it. (Graeme Rolf)
This perfect condition Holly Blue was an easy target to photograph as it settled on the yellow flowers at the pond margin. (Graeme Rolf)
In answer to your request for information on Small Tortoiseshell sightings, there were two pristine individuals in my garden at Goring, Worthing on 03/07/2016, and a further 2 seen on Cissbury Ring on 27/08/2016.
Thanks Gerry, much appreciated. (Ed jnr)
Tuesday 30 August
On a whim we turned a short walk in Portslade into a longer trip to Fishersgate to see if there was anything interesting on the slopes and lower areas down by the waters of Shoreham Port. The top by the A259 has been efficiently strimmed in the past few days, but down the slopes plenty of everlasting pea was in flower. No sign of any long tailed blues, not that we really expected any. The best bit of the slope (a small area of sparse grass with flowers, kept low by rabbits I think) was attracting 3 Clouded Yellows as they patrolled the area. It still contains a colony of Common Blues - we saw 2. There was also a general distribution everywhere of Small Whites in modest numbers. (John and Val Heys)
Some images from a fantastic long weekend of butterflying: Friday - Brown Hairstreak at Steyning rifle range; Saturday - Small Heath at Malling Down; Sunday - Adonis Blue at Mill Hill; Monday: Clouded Yellow at Rowland Wood. (John Williams)
It looked like it was going to be a very promising day when I spotted my first Brown Hairstreak at 9.55 just pass the bowls club at Steyning on my way up to usual hairstreak site . For the next two hours I had Brown Hairstreaks on the wing for most of the time , with 3 being the most seen at any one time. They were mostly along the tree line , sometimes up to the canopy and occasion flying over the shrubby fenced off area and towards the grass. Eventually at about midday one settled just a short distance away and I was able to get a good look. It landed on four or five more blackthorns all outside the fenced off area to lay eggs. All the chosen plants were already eaten down by the cattle. (Tom Parker)
Lancing Ring & Steep Down. Brown Hairstreak frustrated me today with several "probable" sightings east of The Ring. Happiness restored by 8 Small Tortoiseshell, 9 Holly Blue, 7 Common Blue and singles of Clouded Yellow, Small Copper, Chalk Hill Blue, Adonis, Brown Argus, Wall and Hummingbird Hawk moth . (Lindsay Morris)
Went up on the Downs to look for Adonis Blues this morning ,i.e. , a small colony I found a few years ago. They are doing well this year as I saw over 10 males, all in good condition and a mint female in-between bouts of egg laying deep in Horseshoe Vetch Plants. Took a picture of one male perched on Lady's Tresses Orchid - bit of luck. Also seen, plenty of Small Heaths, Brown Argus Meadow Browns, Common Blues , Red Admiral, Clouded Yellow, Speckled Woods, a smart Redstart, and two rare Small Tortoiseshells nectaring on Buddleias. Great for a Sunday morning, correction Monday morning . That's the week gone pear shaped. Back home found a rather worn Purple Hairstreak investigating a re-blooming Orange Rose. (Richard Roebuck)
Monday 29 August
My Mill Hill transect this morning yielded the following: Clouded Yellow, Small White 2, Common Blue 5, Chalk Hill Blue 1, Adonis Blue 49, Red Admiral 2, Meadow Brown 43, Small Heath 8, moths: Common Carpet 1, Straw-barred Pearl (Pyrausta despicata). Last night a Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) obligingly flew in through an open window and the usual Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer and Rush Veneer hovered around the outside light. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
After Steyning took bus to mill hill in afternoon. Sightings were 19 x Small White, 7 x Holly Blue, 1x Comma, 2 x Speckled Wood, 2 x Red Admiral, 7 x Clouded Yellow, 89 x Meadow Brown, 25 x Small Heath, 31 x Adonis Blue(4 female),21 x Common Blue(1 female), 2 x Wall, 2 x Painted Lady on buddleia, 5 x lesser treble bar, 2 x pyrausta purpuralis. Please note my previous Steyning report was 27 gh also not 28th (David Gower)
Went to Steyning from 10.30 am and recorded 3 x Brown Hairstreak( female close by), 1 x Holly Blue, 1 x brown Argos, 6 x Small Heath, 5 x Common Blue( 2 females), 1 x Adonis Blue, 2 x Small White, 23 x Meadow Brown, 1 x green veined white, 21 x Speckled Wood, 3 x Silver Y, 2 x Yellow Shell, 1 x Brimstone moth. (David Gower)
Walked round Birling Gap, Beachy Head and Crowlink - more migrant lepidoptera than birds! Lots of Silver Y moths, a few Clouded Yellows and Painted ladies. The Autumn Ladies Tresses on one of the Birling Gap garden lawns is well worth seeing. I was extremely jealous and want a lawn just like that rather than one full of couch grass! Walk up the track from the Birling Gap car park and check the lawns on the right. (Chris Corrigan)
I made a morning visit to Mill Hill to avoid the humid warmth of the midday sun. When the sun warmed up the hill the butterflies came out in their hundreds. Thirteen species and over a hundred each of Adonis Blues (104 in the one acre transect) and Meadow Browns, a handful of Clouded Yellows and the remnants of the Chalk Hill Blues were most notable. Later in the day I added a Small Tortoiseshell to the list to make fourteen species. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2016.html#26August)
Sunday 28 August
Over a two hour period we managed to see a minimum of four Brown Hairstreaks including several females egg laying on Blackthorn. Other butterflies here included Brown Argus, Brimstone and lots of Speckled Woods! (Steve Grimwade http://www.swallowbirding.co.uk)
I popped over to Arlington Reservoir this afternoon hoping that the huge amount of Fleabane would attract some Clouded Yellows and Painted Ladies. With a strong breeze blowing there weren't many butterflies to be found. I saw 3 Clouded Yellows several Brown Argus, Common Blues and the usual Whites. I was however rewarded with some good views of a lovely female (Helice) Clouded Yellow.
Looking for a bit shelter from the wind I moved on to BC reserve Rowland Wood. There I saw 3 more Clouded Yellows, 5 Brimstones, Common Blues (including an egg laying female) and some Small and Large Whites - including a mating pair of Small Whites. (James)
Went to the Rifle Range for the fourth weekend running and finally got a fleeting glance of a Brown Hairstreak. There was a minibus full of people from Chelmsford and also a chap who had come down from Middlesex.
After that we went to Pulborough Brooks and I saw what I think was an amazingly speedy White Ermine caterpillar. I am surprised people don't race these for sport!
Still got Holly Blues in the garden in Shoreham.
Also thanks to Katrina Watson for saving me the bother of checking out the Beeding Cement works. Perhaps we should organise a rota. (Jonathan Crawford)
If you have a youtube or vimeo clip you want to add to your sighting, just include the link in your report. (Ed jnr)
I went to Chantry Hill this morning. Meadow Browns kept flying past and into the grass. Later I saw Small Heaths then found some Brown Argus and Common Blues and an occasional Chalk Hill Blue and one Small Tortoiseshell.
On the way home I briefly stopped at Anchor Bottom then Beeding Cement Works. In the lane to Anchor Bottom I found a Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady. There I found 2 Clouded Yellows, many Brown Argus , a few Common Blues a well as Meadow Browns and Small Heaths. At Beeding Cement Works (the briefest of stops walking round the everlasting pea three times) , a Common Blue flew off the everlasting pea and a Meadow Brown was nearby. (Katrina Watson)
Yesterday I was pleased to find several species I haven't seen before among the nine round my outside lights at Littlehampton: Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata), Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer (Agriphila geniculea), Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea), Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana), Marbled Green (Cryphia muralis), Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella), Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis), Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa), Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Saturday 27 August
A short walking into Hogstrough Bottom Bevendean to see what butterflies were still about produced 1 Clouded Yellow several large and Small Whites a dozen or so Meadow Browns,3 Speckled Wood, 3 Small Heath, a dozen Common Blues mostly a bit faded,about 15 chalkhill blues and 4 Brown Argus
one of which settled on a round headed rampion for a picture. (Geoff Stevens http://bevendeandown.wordpress.com)
Lancing Ring. I was extremely thrilled to be in the lovely sunshine looking at a female Brown Hairstreak climbing down a blackthorn whip and later posing higher in the hedge. A first for me at this sight, hence the excitement!
Also-rans included a Clouded Yellow, 3 Wall and 10 Holly Blue. (Lindsay Morris)
At least three Clouded Yellows were seen at BC's Park Corner reserve this morning. All were in superb condition. (Trevor Rapley)
Friday 26 August
During survey of East Clayton Farm, nr Washington TQ115134 saw many Small Heath, some Meadow Browns, 2 Clouded Yellow(see photo), 1 female Brown Hairstreak on sloe hedge to field south of copseTQ118132 and 2 Speckled Wood butterflies on edge of copse.
Then went to Beeding Cement works to see if any long tailed blue butterflies on extensive everlasting pea plants on north side of works beside A283. No sign but saw Adonis Blue and Small Blue (see photo) TQ19850890 (Mike Warren)
Last night by the garage I found a dead Brown-tail (Euproctis chrysorrhoea) and by door and balcony lights I found several moths and a Harlequin Ladybird devouring the many midges. moths: Blastobasis vittata, Common Plume (Emmelina monodactyla), Elbow-stripe Grass veneer (Agriphila geniculea), Ox-tongue Conch (Cochylis molliculana), Small Purple and Gold aka Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata). I have only seen the Mint Moth on grassland previously. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Enjoyed a walk along the Arun between Arundel and Amberley and recorded 7 Clouded Yellows. Approaching Amberley I was pleased to find a beautiful Privet Hawk Moth caterpillar. (Colin Upton)
Short visit to East Hoathly site off Park Road. ( area between main road and the pond)
7 Clouded Yellows, could be more but difficult to keep them in sight.
2 Painted Lady
4 Meadow Browns ( very ragged as was the gate keeper.)
8 Brimstone (looking immaculate) (Graham)
Thursday 25 August
Lancing Ring. 1 Clouded Yellow speedily through among 14 butterfly species. My first Brimstone in this area for some time. 6 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Painted Lady and 9 Holly Blue. Wall down to 2 and numbers generally still troubling. All that Hemp Agrimony, Buddleja and Knapweed going to waste.(Lindsay Morris)
It was good timing to get out the new paddling pool and spend the afternoon in our back garden (New Church Road, Hove) with our granddaughter. Small Whites were sufficiently numerous for there to be 4 in the garden at the same time more than once. The only blue we saw coming and going didn't look quite right for a Holly Blue and turned out to be an unusual visitor for our garden - a rather dull-coloured male Common Blue. It did nectar for a few seconds on our birdsfoot trefoil, so I was able to get a good look at it. It preferred pretending to be a Holly Blue sunning itself high up on the ivy at the back of the garden. Val then tried to draw my attention to a Red Admiral circling around, but as usual I looked the wrong way at first and instead saw a Clouded Yellow briefly winging above our fences and on into the park. I'm fairly sure that's a first for us in this particular house. (John & Val Heys)
23 August - I visited areas in and on the border of Wild Park LNR. Along the verges of Home Farm Road, just off the Lewes Road I saw 3 male Adonis Blue, 11 male and 14 female Chalk Hill Blue, 3 Meadow Brown, 1 female Speckled Wood, 1 Small White, 3 Large White, 2 Holly Blue, 5 female and 8 male Common Blue. Along the front edge of Wild Park I visited a location nicknamed ''Peace Slope'', as of the chalk peace sign etched into the slope. Here I saw 4 female Chalk Hill Blue, 1 male Adonis Blue, 1 female Common Blue, 8 Meadow Brown and 1 Helice Clouded Yellow. The Devil's-bit Scabious looked amazing. Finally within the Coombe of Wild Park at 5:19pm, I saw a single Purple Hairstreak flying around the Canopy of an Oak. Sadly I didn't see any Silver-spotted Skippers, the best area where I observed them last year was sectioned off with electric fencing!
21 August - In my back garden I saw 1 Holly Blue and 1 Red Admiral, later visited the Lavender Line at Isfield, here I saw 2 Large White, 4 Small White, 1 female Brimstone, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Holly Blue and 1 Speckled Wood.
20 August - During a walk at Hailsham Country Park I saw 8 Speckled Wood.
18 August - At Arlington Reservoir I saw 5 Clouded Yellow including 1 Helice form, 7 Small White, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Gatekeeper, 5 Meadow Brown, 2 Large White and 1 Green-veined White. Later in the day I visited the dew pond at Wild Park LNR, Brighton where with my dad I saw 4 Purple Hairstreak between 6pm and 6:30pm.
17 August - Leaving Woodbourne Meadow, a site between Ditchling Road and Cuckmere Way, Brighton, where I volunteer with local friends, I saw 8 Speckled Woods which included a group of four males flying around a female, amazing sight and good to see they are doing well. Later that day I saw my first summer brood Small Tortoiseshell in the back garden.
16 August - At Ovingdean Gap whilst waiting at the top of the steps which lead down to the beach I saw 1 Common Blue, 1 Meadow Brown and 1 Clouded Yellow using the grassland at the edge of the cliff.
15 August - I joined Jo Poland and her family for a day visiting the downland of her childhood. Jo is a friend and someone who does extraordinary work for Butterfly Conservation - Cornwall Branch. First we went to Ditchling Common were I saw 10 Meadow Brown, 5 Gatekeeper, 2 Large White, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Holly Blue, 2 Small Copper and 1 Comma caterpillar. We then moved onto Warningore Bostall where I saw 1 Clouded Yellow, 11 Meadow Brown, 3 Gatekeeper, 3 Small Heath, 11 Common Blue, 9 Brown Argus, 19 Chalk Hill Blue, 1 Brimstone, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Silver-spotted Skipper, 1 Holly Blue and 1 Small White.
9 August - In my Hollingbury back garden I saw 1 male Holly Blue, later seeing 1 female Holly Blue which I observed taking nectar from a Pansy in the hanging basking, amazing! (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
Wild Park LNR this lunchtime - a very pale Small Heath, see photo. Looked almost white in flight and I was close to dismissing it as a moth! Could it be an ab? (Peter Whitcomb)
Many Thanks to Richard Roebuck who met me at Steyning on Tuesday after the gales of the weekend spoilt the Brown Hairstreak walk.We found a pristine female 10/10 who modeled for us in a variety of poses on different plants and grasses. Neil Hulme led the chase across the field and back across the barbed wire at no small risk to himself! Great to see the enthusiasm in the Sussex branch and well worth the drive down again from Surrey. (Richard Stephens)
It was a hot walk to find Autumn Gentians and Autumn Lady's Tresses orchids with no success on both counts. The butterflies were rewarding though. More pic's on my blog. Also photographed were Silver Y moths, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper. Small Heath was seen but not photographed. (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
Variety good; numbers poor. Here at Knowlands, Barcombe we do not get the downland butterflies but have from time to time recorded thirty-one species in and around Knowlands Wood. This year has seen fewer butterflies but more species than usual - I have photographs of 29 species (all those ever to appear here except Wall and Grizzled Skipper). But this includes only a single specimen (so far) of each of five species: Clouded Yellow (yesterday), Essex Skipper, Green Hairstreak and - remarkably - Small Copper and Common Blue. Two tattered male Silver-washed Fritillaries. were still on the wing on the 23rd. White Admiral has made a very poor showing this year, the last one seen on the 19th. Both species appeared first on the 27th June. We have lots of blackthorn so I'm now on the lookout for Brown Hairstreak, never before identified here. (Nick Lear)
Not to be down heartened by the lack of observations on Saturdays BHS walk, I teamed up today with Richard Stephens Surrey enthusiast, who at least after the walk saw three females BHS at Blindly heath on Monday.
The forecast today looked perfect , hot , blue skies and no flippin hurricane winds. I just couldn't resist having a look This was also in the mind of other enthusiasts and even Neil Hulme was forced out of hibernation ( I jest he's undertaking an absolutely Herculean job of writing the species details for the forthcoming fantastic Sussex Butterfly Atlas ) A nice female was spotted just before 11.00. Much hilarity and excitement followed with several grown men chasing this female around the bushes and long grass - with Neil Hulme in hot pursuit as always. The strong light was very difficult for photos but hey ho, I got one pic which completely caught her beauty. All agreed she was a 10 out of 10 , a pristine individual. A second was seen before I left.
On the way back I couldn't help taking a shot of a newly emerged Speckled Wood , hind wings still to be fully formed. Back home found a Female Brown Hairstreak in the garden which disappeared and perhaps another flew over my head outside the back door and dived into the shadows by the fence She was a bit fidgety and then flew into the top of a laurel hedge next door, too hot for me or her I feel. (Richard Roebuck)
Wednesday 24 August
I've been slaving away over a hot atlas (The Butterflies of Sussex; published spring 2017) for much of this year, and intensively over the last few weeks, to the point where Cabin Fever had really set in by yesterday evening. A quick email to a friend and I was heading to Steyning Rifle Range to look for Brown Hairstreaks this morning, for only the third time this year. As I walked down the slope it was obvious from the small huddle of enthusiasts that all the hard work had already been done. A perfect female Brown Hairstreak was already posing beautifully.
However, despite the weather being perfect, and this being 'peak week', we only saw another two. My two previous visits were admittedly very short, but only produced singles down low. The Rifle Range is performing well below par this year. This has been due to a problem that I spotted a few weeks back, and that I will be working with the Steyning Downland Scheme and South Downs National Park Authority to resolve before next season. Unfortunately, the Dexter cattle, which were told to eat the coarser grasses on the site, have developed a liking for the tender parts of Blackthorn and Bullace, browsing it back hard to the woodier growth. Their dish of choice will have been served with caterpillar croutons. However, we know from experience that once the problem is resolved, the population will recover quickly.
Other sightings today included a Clouded Yellow (here they come!) and a female Adonis Blue ab. krodeli. On one of my previous visits I also found a nice Oak Eggar. (Neil Hulme)
All day walk from Lancing to Steyning ending up at the Rifle Range. 20 species, with highlights as far as I was concerned 2 Clouded Yellow, 20 Common Blue, 10 Holly Blue, 7 Small Tortoiseshell, 9 Wall, 31 Speckled Wood, 5 Brimstone, 3 Painted Lady and one Brown Hairstreak courtesy of a kind lady who pointed out one was flying over my head at the very moment I was bemoaning the fact that I thought I was too late and it was now too hot for the hairstreaks to fly. I was very happy to be wrong on both counts as I got a brief but close view. Also met a charming lady from Surrey who had just this week completed the "59 British species in a year" challenge. When will butterfly watching be allowed in the Olympics? Team Butterfly Conservation would sweep the board! (Lindsay Morris)
4 Clouded Yellow sightings at Mill Hill during my evening walk. Of course it may have been the same one four times. They just won't stay put! (Jonathan Crawford)
I checked Chantry Hill today to see if the Silver-spotted Skippers had increased since last week. I had 17 last week but only one today. Overall numbers for all species were down to about 15% compared to a week ago. However, there were 8 Clouded Yellows. At home in Storrington a good variety over the past three days (12 species) but low numbers. Martin Kalaher (Martin Kalaher)
From 9.45am Val & I spent over 4 hours roaming around most parts of Ditchling Common in hot sunshine. There was relatively little wind. We saw a fair variety of butterflies but numbers were poor bearing in mind the good weather. Spread generally around the common there were 15 to 20 Speckled Woods, 10 to 15 each of Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, several Large Whites, fair numbers of Small Whites and pleasingly at least half a dozen Green-veined Whites. To the north of the open field on the west side of the common there were two each of Small Coppers and Common Blues, slightly more Small Heaths and a Red Admiral. We had three very brief glimpses of what might have been Purple Hairstreaks flying fairly low. There was no sign of any movement at all higher up. About 5 times we noticed very irregularly flying orange insects which we liked to hope might be Brown Hairstreaks but were probably all moths. However while we sat down for lunch by a gate between the east side bridle path and the open bracken area above the lake, Val noticed a small butterfly investigating the shrubbery nearby and this turned out to be a very obliging, if slightly bitten, female Brown Hairstreak. She did walk around a lot and made a few short flights but we both had time for a good look and plenty of pictures. (John & Val Heys)
Beacon Hill NR, Rottingdean today: 2 Clouded Yellow on my transect count. Numbers dwindling - just 8 Meadow Brown, beaten by 9 each Common Blue and Small Heath! (Peter Whitcomb)
A Clouded Yellow alighted briefly on Buddleia in my Crawley garden at 11.00 before being chased off by a Large White (TQ268 352) (Vince Massimo)
Andrew House reports up to twenty Clouded Yellows along the banks at Medmerry, West side, this morning. (Bart Ives https://selseybirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Clouded Yellow at 8.30 am, on the east side of the River Adur just north of the Toll Bridge. (Helen Corrigan)
Tuesday 23 August
I saw a Silver-spotted Skipper at Mill Hill this lunchtime along the lower path. I also saw good numbers of Chalk Hill Blues and Adonis Blues on the footpath to Erringham farm. (MBB)
Very windy and not quite as sunny as forecast, but we struggle on! A late start at Lancing Ring and Steep Down eventually yielded 14 butterfly species. Best were 14 Speckled Wood, 8 Wall, 2 Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow. The next few days look promising weatherwise. Fingers crossed. (Lindsay Morris)
I spent an enjoyable afternoon at Woods Mill today and was pleased to see a male Brown Hairstreak with wings open. I have to admit as to wondering what it was at first. There were also Speckled Wood, Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Purple Hairstreak flying around some of the tall oaks. I also saw a Clouded Yellow, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and of course Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. A great place to visit. (Patrick Moore)
The butterflies are at last making up for the poor Spring. This is especially the case with the Speckled Wood with an estimated 40-50 along The Comp at Seaford. This is the highest number I have seen along here for several years. Wall Brown are now getting a little past their best but still around 15 seen. Brown Argus nearby were in very large numbers with 40 plus seen. 2nd brood Adonis Blue were okay with around 15 seen, but no females!! Singles of Clouded Yellow, Small Copper and a Small Skipper. An unusual sight of Silver-spotted Skipper on Greenway Bank was good as they are rarely seen here despite being very common only a short distance along the valley. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
A Brown Hairstreak paused briefly in my Crawley garden at 12.50 (TQ268352) (Vince Massimo)
Sunday's weather was all sun cream and waterproofs but during a 20 mile walk around the far west of the county we managed to see a few Speckled Woods, Common Blues and Meadow Browns during the sunny spells. In Charlton Forest we found one rather ragged Silver-washed Fritillary still hanging on and along the South Downs way at Cocking there were 3 Clouded Yellows and a Painted Lady - but overall the countryside seemed rather butterfly-free. On Monday a short lunchtime walk around the Woods Mill reserve in Henfield was made a lot more thrilling when a pristine female Brown Hairstreak landed right in front of us and put on a show for 5 minutes - only the 6th Brown Hairstreak I've ever seen! (Michael Blencowe)
My Mill Hill transect today provided some pleasant surprises: Adonis Blue 27, Chalk Hill Blue 5, Clouded Yellow 2, Common Blue 8, Gatekeeper, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown 73, Small Heath 16, Whites 3, moths: Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata), Common Grass-veneer (Agriphila tristella), Silver Y, Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Treble-bar (Aplocera plagiata), Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata). The Clouded Yellows had a brief battle at one point. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Report received from John Phillips in Broad Oak; " This afternoon I was working in our garden, doing some planting out. I was delayed, when a gust of wind caught our sweet pea wigwam and had to add some extra canes. At that moment a Camberwell Beauty passed me, flying low and I got a fleeting glimpse of the dark wings, with the edges, appearing as two yellow zig-zag lines. In a moment it had flown on and over our boundary hedge, heading west. I am interested to know if there have been other sightings as I understand that mid-August is the peak time for this migrant?"
thurs 18/8/2016. at 12.23pm saw a female Brown Argos, wings open on fleabane flower, in a front garden in Pevensey Road, Polegate. it was cloudy and humid at time of sighting. (Peter Farrant)
I too was with Richard Roebuck at Steyning Rifle Range for the Brown Hairstreak and left without success. I must take this opportunity to thank him for his shared knowledge and advice which has since proved very helpful. I'd every intention of going back to Steyning this morning now the weather was looking more promising. However, a last minute decision was to first take my own advice and revisit the site i had identified as a possible location having seen a male there last Wednesday 17th here in Burgess Hill.
I arrived at 11.30 whilst it was still overcast but with obvious breaks in the cloud cover. By the time I had reached TQ2999618090 (no more than 50 yards from the entrance gate) and was greeted by a flash of orange.
It turned into 'Hairstreak Heaven' with at least 4 different females nice and low and seemingly unphased by my presence. I ended up staying for a couple of hours and searched a wider area but in the end came back to the same spot. I'm not sure this a relevant observation but it seemed the 2 additional males I'd seen were actually chaperoning the females down to start ovipositing.
Anyway, well worth a visit. (David Cook)
Val, our younger daughter Ele, & I took a Sunday walk in the Horsted Keynes area, up along the Sussex Border path past the fishing lakes as far as Tanyard and back down the Bluebell railway path to Horsted Keynes station. At first it was rather cloudy and we saw very few butterflies, but later it was fine. Speckled Woods, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and whites (mostly small) were relatively plentiful, at about 15 to 20 of each. We also saw 4 Holly Blues, 3 or 4 Clouded Yellows, 1 Comma, 1 Peacock, 1 Painted Lady and one or two kingfishers, although I was unlucky with the kingfishers. Despite plenty of suitable oaks, blackthorn and ash, there was only one hint of a hairstreak, possibly a Purple Hairstreak coming down to the hemp agrimony by the railway where we saw quite a few butterflies. There were plenty of smartly turned-out trains too, motive power an S15, a Standard 5MT and my favourite, a Q. The station master kindly allowed us to buy a single £2-50 platform ticket for all of us so we could get some very tasty chips, pies and ale from the buffet on platform 3/4. (John, Val & Ele Heys)
On Sunday I joined Dominic, Geoff, Sarah, Mike, Graham and Patrick for a conservation working party on Bevendean Down. This beautiful chalk grassland slope on the edges of Brighton is heavily scrubbed over, and the Friends of Bevendean Down meet here on the third Sunday of every month to clear hawthorn and Sycamore from the open areas. Today we saw Chalk Hill Blues (which came and nectared very close to us while we worked. Why don't they do that when one has a camera??) and Speckled Woods, and a number of different crickets and grasshoppers. Those members who came on the walk on this Down in July, led by Tessa and Geoff, will remember the wide variety of species that we saw that day. (Nigel Symington)
Monday 22 August
My last Sussex report - after 5 days of fantastic Sussex butterflies I am back in Leeds and looking for the Yorkshire variety. On Wednesday I again visited Steyning Rifle Range. Arriving around 10 in great weather, not much happened for two hours and three quarters aside from a nice Small Heath and various Speckled Wood. Eventually, I spotted two Brown Hairstreak in an Ash tree just south of the protruding fenced off bit (where the two paths join). They didn't come down but James Langiewicz kindly sent me a couple of pictures via his telephoto lens which showed one of them to be a slightly frayed male. Then, at 12:45 a huddle in the fenced off area indicated one was down - a very approachable female. There was much complaint about her condition (that tattiest I've ever seen being one comment which I thought was very rude - she looked great to me!) but she let us photograph her for 15 minutes before disappearing off to another set of bushes. One lucky gent turned up as our hairstreak was present, took his photos and was gone in 10 minutes. Just shows how much luck you need. I then went to Mill Hill (bottom right hand corner) and immersed myself in Adonis Blues, Chalkhill Blues, Common Blues, Brown Argus, the odd Small Heath and two Clouded Yellows. These seemed to patrol a stretch of the hillside infront of me almost to a specific timetable. Never found their resting spots. Thanks to all the nice folk I met in Sussex - it was a great trip and I hope I get back before the end of the season.
I am glad you had a successful trip down south Rolf. Thank you very much for posting all your sightings, which were much appreciated. We hope you come back down here soon. If not post a picture of the next Northern Brown Argus that you see for us as we don't get the around here. (Ed jnr)
Also Painted Lady, Small Heath and unidentified small moth
The moth is a Common Purple and Gold - Pyrausta purpurali (Ed jnr)
I also went to the Butterfly Conservation walk to see Brown Hairstreaks at Steyning yesterday reported below. Unfortunately I did not see the single brief appearance of the target species that was seen. The only brown I saw was the Meadow Brown pictured which I was pleased to capture with wings open. We also saw the mating beetles pictured (can anyone name them?). The last BC walk I did I learnt the specialist downland moth the Chalk Carpet so I was pleased to have the Common Carpet pointed out to me yesterday - also pictured. Following the walk, and also missing the sighting of the Adonis Blue I headed to Mill Hill which I know is good for Adonis. I was most pleased to see plenty despite the wind. I saw what I assumed at the time was a female adonis but on studying the photos at home I now am pretty sure it was a female chalk hill. Please let me know what you think from these photos. As you can see the adonis males were in suberb nick but there were some sorry looking ragged fellows there too as you can see. Chalk Hill Blues reaching the end of their flying days I think but still putting up a good fight. I captured a nice photo of the underwing of a Painted Lady too. So although it was still pretty windy and I got caught in a heavy shower at Mill Hill it turned out a good day for butterflies. (Tim Squire)
Sunday 21 August
I was one of the enthusiasts who joined Richard at the Rifle Range (see below). I confess I failed to make the afternoon cut. However I did spot this pair of slow worms on the western bank. Whilst slinking away I also found a Speckled Wood enjoying the briefest moment of sunshine. Anyway, thank you very much to Richard for organising the event. (Jonathan Crawford)
I was full of trepidation regarding the walk today regarding the forecasted unfavourable conditions. However the forecast changed as of Friday, and the rain had largely passed through in the night. However a lot of cloud and strong winds are not the best inducement for Brown Hairstreaks to appear. The weather conditions last week and indeed the forecast for next week are ideal.
At least 20 enthusiasts attended and all being well are now armed with knowledge to help them spot BHS on another occasion.
Many thanks to Michael Blencowe for dropping off some excellent pics and distribution maps I could share. Andrew Armitage from SDS also arrived with his party slightly later, so I was pleased to pass on some BHS knowledge to his participants. Despite a concerted effort the field thinned out by late morning. A hard core remained and searched the locality. The following were seen Speckled Wood , Meadow Browns, Wall, Gatekeeper, Common Blue , Holly Blue ,Painted Lady and several Wasp spiders and perhaps more importantly a newly emerged Adonis Blue on the south facing embankment.
There were odd sightings of BHS in Ash trees but it wasn't until 13.06 that a couple of us spotted a Female Brown Hairstreaks at ground level in a sheltered area of the fenced reserve. She briefly flew around landed on a Black berry flower and then flew off up to and behind an Ash Tree, a brief moment alas. The season is by no means over and female BHS will be egg laying over the next few weeks at the Steyning Rifle Range. It is an excellent site to see them from 11.00 a.m. onwards on warm , sunny still days! . It's an elusive species but it's well worth the leg work to track down this beautiful butterfly. Please feel free to contact me by email if I can advise accordingly .
Saturday 20 August
As Ditchling Common is local to me, I have made a point of visiting nearly everyday in the hope of seeing a female Brown Hairstreak low down but to date this hasn't happened, they've all been male. My last visit at lunchtime on Wednesday 17th provided some unexpected close ups of a Purple Hairstreak at head height enabling half decent pics but although conditions seemed right not a single Brown Hairstreak to be seen--where did they all go?
An earlier visit on the same day at Ditchling Down provided this photo opportunity of a Silver Spotted Skipper having a cap of decaf (sorry, couldn't resist it??)
On August 3rd and 4th I visited Worms Wood and found several moths: Cherry Fruit Moth (Argyresthia pruniella), Clouded Border (Lomaspilis marginata), Mocha (Cyclophora annularia), Maiden's Blush (Cyclophora punctaria), Cinnabar larvae plus Large and Small Whites, Brown Argus, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood and Common Blues. (Colin Knight http://bit.ly/2bnuQ01)
Sunday 14th and wed 17/8/2016 Whitebread Hole, Eastbourne. 1x Silver-spotted Skipper seen feeding from small scabious, 10x Wasp Spiders one with a male Chalk Hill Blue ready meal. on the Wednesday 3x Silver Spotted Skippers seen, 9x Wasp Spiders, one with an attendant male. also a mating pair of Small Skippers, what drew my attention was the very small male. (Peter Farrant)
There were several Holly Blues flying by the hedges on the west side of Worthing hospital this afternoon. (John Heys)
Friday 19 August
Several Clouded Yellows at Tide Mills today, not easy to count as most were very active and flying good distances. However, I am sure the number was into double figures. This included a very smart helise form. It was also very pleasing to see good numbers of Common Blue. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
There was another Clouded Yellow in my Storrington garden this afternoon. I was on my tractor mower when I spotted the butterfly in flight. It landed on Ragwort and began to nectar. I was off the tractor in a flash and back with the camera within 30 seconds but the same thing happened as two days ago; it had scarpered! I have had annual sightings in the garden for the past 4 summers but have yet to manage a photo. They are in and out of the garden so quickly. Martin Kalaher (martin kalaher)
A visit to High Beeches gardens at Handcross produced 1 Small White, 2 Large White, 5 Green-veined White, 20 Meadow Brown, 3 Gatekeeper, 3 Speckled Wood, 12 Common Blue and 3 Silver-washed Fritillary (Vince Massimo)
My previous post was from Monday. On Tuesday I went to Ditchling Common early for the Brown Hairstreak and, aside from the usual Speckled Woods doing their Br Hairstreak impersonations saw very little. David Cook turned up again and the best we managed was a few glimpses of Hairstreak flying between trees with only a nice Red Admiral to add interest. I then went on to Malling Down. Here was a feast of amorous Chalk Hill Blues, ambivalent Brown Argus's (Argii?!) and Silver Spotted Skippers (one egg laying). I just missed seeing a couple of Small Coppers which is annoying as I have yet to see any. Also present I think Essex Skippers, a Marbled White and one Clouded Yellow (another of about five firsts for me this week) that I could get nowhere near. Plus Small Heath, Meadow Browns and Common Blue. Most of these seen in one corner, immediately west of the quarries on the transect route over the Down. The western edge of the quarry helps to shelter this spot. (Rolf Farrell)
First to Steyning for obvious reasons. Quickly found a slightly raggy Sliver Washed Fritillary at the head of the valley and, at the top of the bank to the left, a Holly Blue, 2 Wall and a Brown Argus (my first). Then I got shown where to go and spent 2 hours waiting for Brown Hairstreak. One pristine female came down, buried herself in the grasses before hiding in the fenced area. 10 seconds of Br Hairstreakiness and one ropey photo was the reward!
Then on to the quarry behind the NT at Newtimber Hill - home of countless Common Blues and Meadow Browns it wasn't until I spent time on the awkwardly steep North West facing quarry slope that I found real butterfly entertainment. Here the Chalkhill Blues and Brown Argus were constantly dogfighting. It was fun to watch the strange hind wing shuffling that the Chalkhills and Argus seem prone to do. I followed one friendly female Chalkhill for a while until she got harrassed by a male suitor. The fight was over after three rounds and the male roundly despatched. I hope his luck improved later..... Eventually, my eye got in and I started seeing the Silver Spotted Skippers which was another first for me. (Rolf Farrell)
3 Clouded Yellow still at Hope Bottom down to Hope Gap, near Seahead. Also lots of Common Blue (that are not at all common this year elsewhere). 2 Wall. Brown Argus and Small Tortoiseshells. Lots of moths too. One Clouded Yellow at Arlington Reservoir on bank of flowers near the picnic area. Highly mobile though. (Mark Jones)
Thursday 18 August
On Tuesday Val & I walked up the track from Home Farm Glynde, past Caburn and on to Southerham via Oxteddle Bottom, then back again. We saw 19 different butterfly types. One each of Large White and green veined white were seen at Glynde. Meadow Browns and Common Blues were plentiful everywhere and there were reasonable numbers of Small Whites, but rather low numbers of Gatekeepers (mostly towards the Glynde end) and Speckled Woods. Nine or ten each of painted ladies and Small Tortoiseshells and three Red Admirals were spread out on the walk. There were two Brimstones, some chalkhill blues, three silver spotted skippers and one Essex Skipper by the track where it nears the small, old quarry above Home Farm. Three Wall butterflies were all in the section between Home Farm and Caburn. Reasonable numbers of Small Heaths (and another Essex Skipper) were all to the west below Caburn in the Oxteddle Bottom area. Also here on the north side of the valley were two Clouded Yellows and at least two Adonis Blues, one male and one female. We saw a Peacock at Southerham. Silver Y moths were very common and there were fair numbers of mint moths of which I think our pictured moth is the Small Purple and Gold, pyrausta aurata. I first did most of this walk in July 1964 on a school trip - a blazing hot day just like today - and a few weeks later went back with my family. Dad took a picture of a Painted Lady which started my interest in butterflies and by happy chance we saw one in almost exactly the same place. I've not been back for a few years and although some parts of the walk are a bit more overgrown than the last time I went, others are better than they were, which I guess is mostly due to the involvement of the Sussex Wildlife Trust. We met one of their wardens with a huge net. He was looking for Adonis Blues and not confident of being able to identify them unless he could examine them closely. (John & Val Heys)
Finally after numerous attempts I saw silver spotted skipper at Sheepcote. A Gatekeeper too plus some Meadow Browns. Lots of Silver Y and plenty of flying ants. (Tim Squire)
A great evening on Friston Gallops yesterday. A warm and sunny but windy evening. At first not many butterflies to be seen, but at the top of the hill in the shorter grass there were a number of Chalk Hill Blues present. Male and Female in about equal proportions. The males were very interested in the females, but their attention was vigorously rebutted and I didn't see a single pairing. Two Clouded Yellows flew over, one of them vigorously pursued by a male Chalk Hill Blue. Common Blues also present in small numbers. As the day cooled down, suddenly there were many Chalk Hill Blues to be seen heading to roost on grass stems. Also a large number of Silver Y appeared nectaring on Common Knapweed - my thanks to Bob for identifying these for me, and for his suggestion that these are probably a recent influx from the Continent. (Nigel Symington)
This morning I went to Chantry Hill early. I could only stay for an hour. There was reduced visibility due to a blanket of mist. I found a dew covered Brown Argus, Meadow Brown and Silver-spotted Skipper. (Katrina Watson)
A Helise Clouded Yellow on Seaford Head this morning. Picture on the blog. (Matt Eade http://seafordbirding.blogspot.com)
Whilst I don't have any photos to add to this post I would like to draw others to this site in Burgess Hill not far from the Tesco store where there is ample parking. I was there briefly this lunchtime and spotted 1 male Brown Hairstreak in the Ash tree that nestles between the 2 Oaks at grid reference TQ30008 18042. Between this point and TQ30141 18022 the attributes are everything that is right for the Brownies---Oaks, Ash, low Blackthorn, bramble and south facing and I believe could produce significant numbers. I saw, what I believe to be 2 females making the trip across the field from TQ30124 17905. Anyone who has some spare time might like to check it out. (David Cook)
Wednesday 17 August
Having seen my first Brown Hairstreak yesterday I saw my second today, egg laying, whilst walking from Hassocks to the Amex Stadium. There were also Meadow Brown but all looking warn. There were slightly more Gatekeeper on the Downs and Red Admiral, Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and one Dark Green Fritillary. I almost trod on two Painted Ladies attempting to mate. At Black Cap were Small Heath, Common Blue and Brown Argus as well as a magnificent view. Holly Blue flew around Ivy in Falmer in the lowering sun as well as a few Large Whites. (Patrick Moore)
Wakehurst Place and Loder Valley
In addition a Fritillary was flying around the wetland area of Wakehurst Place (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
Clouded Yellow in my Storrington garden this morning. It was nectaring on Field Scabious. Unfortunately it didn't stay long and I was unable to photograph it.
I decided to go back to Chantry Hill today and tramped for three and a half hours up and down the slopes. I'm glad I did for the results were very impressive with numbers far exceeding those of yesterday. Either there has been further emergence in this warm weather (quite possible) or they were showing themselves more readily as it was a lot less windy (more than likely). Species with numbers as follows: Small Skipper (2), Silver-spotted Skipper (17), Large Skipper (2), Brimstone (2), Large White (4), Small White (6), Brown Argus (150+), Common Blue (800-1000), Chalkhill Blue (400), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Speckled Wood (2), Gatekeeper (10), Meadow Brown (600), Small Heath (600). Numbers for Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue, Brown Argus and Small Heath all very impressive. I was pleased with the Silver-spot count but I had to search high and low to find them. Wherever I trod there were butterflies everywhere. The flora is also fantastic. (Martin Kalaher)
3 Clouded Yellow this morning at Hope Gap, Seaford Head. Also Silver-spotted Skipper and Brown Argus. There was also an emergence of Small Tortoiseshell evident. (Matt Eade http://seafordbirding.blogspot.com)
Tuesday 16 August
At around 12 noon a Holly Blue was in our front garden in Hove (New Church Road). Oddly they seem to have disappeared in the back garden despite it being much larger & with plenty of holly & ivy. During the rather late tea interval at the County Cricket ground in Hove, while we were strolling on the outfield, a Clouded Yellow flew strongly from south east to north west. There were also intermittent Small Whites. (John & Val Heys)
I am beginning to revise my opinion of this butterfly season as there is clearly a very good late flurry going on. I went to Chantry Hill today and spent 3 hours doing the usual criss-crossing, checking out all the best areas. Not a great variety but good numbers with 450+ Meadow Brown, 150+ Common Blue, 100+ Small Heath, 60+ Brown Argus, just 2 Siver-spotted Skippers (one laying eggs on Sheep's-fescue) and 1 male Adonis Blue (a rarity for this site). At home I had my third different Brown Argus in the flower meadow and also one Small Heath. I have recorded 26 species in the garden this year so far. I am looking for a Clouded Yellow and a Brown Hairstreak to break last year's annual record of 27 species. At home at least 9 different Common Blues in the past few days - I photograph them to check if they are different. I get a lot of females that are mostly blue with just some brown around the outside.
Also at Chantry Hill were Wall Brown (1m), Chalk Hill Blue (35-40),Small Copper (1), Small Skipper (3), Dark Green Fritillary (1f, very faded), Speckled Wood (2). Between my Storrington garden and Chantry Hill 23 species, which a lot for this time of the year. Since so many species are very late coming through this year I wouldn't give up on Small Copper. I remember 3 years ago when there were very good numbers in September/October. (Martin Kalaher)
Today I took my dad to Cissbury Ring, he is in his eighties so we took things easy. We spent nearly six hours admiring the views and spotting butterflies. We arrived about 10.45 and there were only a few Meadow Brown, Brimstone and Gatekeeper, however as we walked anti clockwise from the NW car park, out of the wind, Common Blue, Brown Argus and Chalkhill Blue appeared. Further round towards the SW facing seat there were Painted Lady, Small Heath and Small Tortoiseshell. I then saw my first Clouded Yellow of the year followed quite quickly by my years first Dark Green Fritillary. Around the seat area were plenty of Silver-spotted Skipper low and fast moving and Small Copper. I was then surprised to see my first ever Brown Hairstreak in the shrubs that grow from the old flint mines. We walked the entire ring and also saw Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White and Small Skipper. A great day out. (Patrick Moore)
2 second brood Adonis in Hogtrough Bevendean this afternoon, one settled for a picture also a faded Wall Brown (Geoff Stevens https://bevendeandown.wordpress.com)
Purple Emperor seen at Tillets fields Warnham on 14th July and for approx a week after. The picture is from 10.30am on 15th July (Jean)
I decided to have a walk around Arlington Reservoir on Sunday afternoon. There were a very few butterflies along the bridle path, 3 Common Blues, 1 Speckled Wood, 3 Meadow Browns, 1 Peacock, 1 Red Admiral and 1 Painted Lady. On the far side of the reservoir there were at least 8 Common Blues many Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers but also 10+ Clouded Yellows, the most I have ever seen. (Howard Wood)
Late this afternoon I called in at Eartham woods for an hour. I was very surprised to find a male Silver-washed Fritillary in very good condition. Also of note a fresh Painted Lady. Lots of Brimstones seen too. (Trevor Rapley)
Last week on Horsdean Allotments: Peacock butterfly, (never seen one there before) also Red Admiral and Large White.
Also Cinnabar Moth catterpillars. (Jenn Price - Plot 3b)
Monday 15 August
I recorded 15 species of butterfly in my Storrington garden this weekend, with minimum daily counts as follows: Brimstone (3), Large White (5), Small White (5), Green-veined White (1), Small Copper (2), Brown Argus (2), Common Blue (7), Holly Blue (4+), Red Admiral(2), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Peacock (2), Comma (1), Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Gatekeeper (5) and Meadow Brown (6). I was very pleased to see so many late Common Blues, many of which were in very good condition. At long last I saw an Argus Brown in the garden (courtesy of a CB that was chasing it!). This is the first year I have had both Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary. To have such a variety in my garden mid-August is unusual, partly explained by pruning the Buddleia in April (as I was away in March). (martin kalaher)
I cancelled a planned trip to Ditchling Common today due to the weather forecast suddenly becoming innaccurately pessimistic which turned out to be a mistake as it was a nice day. I will return this week and earlier (I only went there thanks to the postings of David Cook on here so it was a pleasant coincidence to bump into him there yesterday - a meeting which he has already referred to; thanks for the NGRs) but today I didn't get beyond my parents garden. Which turned out OK as I found a superb Comma and then frustratingly brief glimpses of a flighty Holly Blue which eventually landed on the holly/ivy hedge and began to lay eggs. (Rolf Farrell)
On August 11 I checked out the area in front of Beeding cement works and found a 6 Six-spot Burnet, a Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata), a Silver Y and a Speckled Wood being predated by a spider. Later at Chantry Hill I spotted a Knapweed Conch (Agapeta zoegana) and 5 Silver-spotted Skippers. One nectared on ragwort and the others were sheltering from the light wind in the middle of tracks through the grass. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
On August 12 I did my Mill Hill transect and saw my first Silver-spotted Skipper at the site. Transect results (previous week in brackets): Silver-spotted Skipper 1(0), Adonis Blue 2(0), Small Heath 1(0), Large White 1(1), Small White 3(1), Common Blue 5(1), Chalk Hill Blue 16(21), Red Admiral 3(4), Painted Lady 1(1), Small Tortoiseshell 1(1), Peacock 2(4), Wall 1(2), Gatekeeper 18(30), Meadow Brown 101(31). I spotted mating Common Blues and Chalk Hill Blues plus a Heart and Dart larva, (Agrotis exclamationis) and a late instar Cinnabar larva marching across the path. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Good to see the go ahead for Catoneaster clearance at the Buckle By-pass. I have been clearing some of this fast spreading plant from High and Over since last Autumn. These are some very large plants there now which I'm hoping the National Trust will help with.
On another note, once the cloud cover had built yesterday making the Brown Hairstreak hunt more difficult it was decided to head over to the Surrey side of Chiddingfold. The cloud cover was still there on arrival but 6 Wood White were found including a mating pair. Once the sun had returned 2 females were seen egg laying on Birds-foot Trefoil. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Sunday 14 August
This really a follow post to add to my previous sightings at Ditchling Common Country Park as I bumped into another enthusiast who had read my earlier posting and asked for specific locations to see the Purple Hairstreaks and Brown Hairstreaks. The site is very large and I have by no means studied the whole area but here are 3 grid references where I have seen numerous hairstreaks, many at low level:
Also a Silver Washed Fritillary that paid a visit whilst there. The area underwent some pretty extensive shrub clearance last winter and the fresh bracken that's grown this summer seems to attract quite a few different species to sunbath or nectar on. (David Cook)
At least six Clouded Yellows at Medmerry this morning, including four in the air together at one stage, and six Common Blues, five females & one male; the area preferred was around the Easton Lane viewpoint. Other species: Small Whites, a solitary Gatekeeper and a few Meadow Browns. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
2 pm in Malling Down coombe in sunny but breezy weather: Adonis Blue second brood 2 males just above the stile at the east end of the valley; many Chalk Hill Blues male and female courting; Common Blues, Brown Argus. Dozens of Silver-spotted Skippers including mating pairs, and one that landed on me! (Patrick Frew)
Saturday 13 August
On a walk on Bevendean down this afternoon it was sunny but very windy. Butterflies seen were Peacocks, a Comma, Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Common Blues, chalkhill blues a Brown Argus, large and Small Whites.In my Bevendean garden were Holly Blues, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns and whites and a rather worn Red Admiral and Speckled Woods. (Geoff Stevens http://bevendeandown.wordpress.com)
11th August. A walk along the paths at RSPB Medmerry, Selsey produced 12 Common Blue, 3 Painted Lady, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Clouded Yellow and some unidentified Whites. (Vince Massimo)
After a good deal of patience at Steyning this morning a Brown Hairstreak that I'd been observing through binoculars finally deigned to come down low enough for a hurriedly taken record shot. It was in the small Ash tree to the right of the stile. Unfortunately I missed the one at the top of the slope seen by others but a quick look there later found two Wall, a Common Blue and a few Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns in the area. In general a surprisingly low number of butterflies at this site.
09.08.16 , At 8.49 I spotted a male Brown Hairstreak flying around a low ash tree. It was in a South facing vista along a tree line whereby the trees had not been cut back and overgrown the road beneath Suffice to say both opposing tree lines created a narrow SSE facing corridor which was strongly lit by sunlight. In a short stretch of about 30 yards I counted 7 separate Males. They were mainly flying about 12 - 15 feet off the ground along the tree canopy "Wall ". They were active around Oaks and Ashes which were intermingled .However I saw several interactions by two males as they rolled around each other on the wing . Indeed also saw a Purple Hairstreak and a Brown Hairstreak having a small set too .The males behaviour was similar to Purple Hairstreaks i.e. they appeared to be searching along more or less level straight lines although occasionally ascending or descending but never below say about 10 feet . I also saw one male fly inside the crown of an Ash and walk vertically down a stem , presumably stopping at a leaf petiole looking for dew or nectar in the joint .It is known they feed on a sticky secretion exuded from the developing Ash bud .Pic attached - on a separate bud ,in the interest of science , this secretion didn't taste strongly of anything in particular .The temperature at ground level was a
12- 14 degrees c .and still, it would have been warmer higher up the tree line . Horse Chestnut Leaf miners were also on the wing but not in the huge swarms I had seen on previous still mornings. I watched up to about 9.49 when activity by male Brown Hairstreaks ceased . Having popped back at around 10.30 as temps had increased there was obvious no male BHS activity at all - presumably for a Brown Butterfly they don't like the higher temperatures . Indeed apart from some brief basking , several were perching with their wings closed . On another note being active very early in the morning could avoid predators . Indeed there was no bird activity at the time or large dragonflies on the wing, later on, I saw an Emperor Dragonfly take a Purple Hairstreak clean out of the air , however it did manage to escape .The opposite is probably true for egg laying females who come down near the ground where they would need a higher air temperature to be active especially within preferred egg laying locations , either on exposed plants or just inside low growing groups of plants . Clearly this location is a "master tree " whereby the males congregate . This is the only the second one I have found but meets the similar characteristic - low down in the overall environment and sheltered , protected from the wind. If anything I think I think was bit late with my arrival . On the 9th and 11th of August 2012 I saw Male Brown Hairstreaks on the wing at around 07.45 - so they are early starters Butterfly wise . Again on one of these occasions it was cool and misty .An excellent observation from David Cook seeing a lowdown male at 08.06 a.m. on the 5th of August , it looks in good condition , so may be its just emerged?
At 3.00p.m I saw Several males active again in one of the low ash trees especially when overcast . I saw one repeatedly return to the same large Ash bud to imbibe , which it also shared with a Speckled Wood and a wasp. So in the middle of the day they are less obvious feeding on the Ash bud secretions within the ash foliage . On another note also found 5 fresh eggs on the same plant as last season in the garden .
12.08.16 BHS males were on the wing at 06.55 close to home in Ash trees . In the garden at home at 08.55 found a newly emerged Brown Hairstreak on low vegetation beneath overhanging Sloe Bush where I found eggs last year. Excellent . I'm pretty sure this one was still pumping up its wings as they had not flattened completely and it assumed quite a distinctive posture. It was also the smallest BHS I have ever seen about the size of a Common Blue , however this may have been slightly misleading if the wings weren't fully formed . It stayed around for over an hourr. So the season is in full swing perhaps and fascinating behaviour to see for the early bird .
Friday 12 August
Several very fresh Common Blue and Brown Argus were seen at Kithurst Meadow this morning. Other species seen included Chalk Hill Blue, Brimstone, Large White, Red Admiral, Comma, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Peacock. At nearby Chantry Hill, Silver-spotted Skipper (3 or 4) and Small Heath took our total for the day to twelve species. (Paul Cox)
Despite the low numbers some quality butterflies at Steyning including this pristine female Brown Hairstreak, one Wall at the top end, and a single Brown Argus. Other species noted were: Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue. One Common Darter and a probable Southern Hawker. (L Prevost)
During the past days 3 moths have entered our Littlehampton home: Beautiful Plume (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla), Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana), Rosy Tabby (Endotricha flammealis). A trip to Steyning Downland with Mark Colvin resulted in a sighting of a male Brown Hairstreak landing in the tree canopy at 10:50am. We met Leigh who found a Vapourer early instar larva. There were many Vapourers flying along the tree canopy plus some Holly Blues. A Southern Hawker posed for me and a female Roesel's Bush Cricket appeared. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Thursday 11 August
A quick march around St Leonards Forest this morning produced more species than I expected given the cloud and wind. Of course Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper appeared, then a few very warn Ringlet and Small Skipper. There were a few pristine Speckled Wood and a stunning Painted Lady that avoided my lens very successfully! Also Silver-washed Fritillary and Red Admiral. (Patrick Moore)
I managed to find a single female Brown Hairstreak at Steyning rifle range
this morning, PLEASE NOTE ! There is an under ground Wasp nest, just inside the
fenced area, right by the stile. So enter with care!. (Trevor Rapley)
On Tuesday afternoon, Val & I walked up past Sainsbury's and the 9 hole golf course in Benfield Valley, Hove to Benfield Hill nature reserve. The weather was a bit breezy, quite warm and intermittently sunny. We saw fairly good numbers of butterflies on the reserve, considering the weather. These were an Essex Skipper, 5 or 6 Small Whites, about 20 Common Blues (male and female), 2 Peacocks, a Red Admiral, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Comma, a Dark Green Fritillary, 2 Speckled Woods, 25 to 30 Gatekeepers, 15 or so Meadow Browns and a Small Heath. The only different type of butterfly we saw before we got there (and on the way back) was a Painted Lady, on the track near the old Benfield Barn. (John & Val Heys)
Wednesday 10 August
I walked Steep Down, Monarchs Way, Cissbury Ring area today. Plenty of species to be seen, I managed to see 20. Including quite a few Wall, Red Admiral and Peacock. There were a few Common Blue on the east flank of Steep Down and a single Brown Argus on Cissbury. Limited numbers of Small Skipper and only one Marbled White. (Patrick Moore)
On July 30 at Kithurst Meadow I found a new micro-moth, the Ash-coloured Sober (Acompsia cinerella) plus Cinnabar larvae, Common Carpets, Common Purple and Golds (Pyrausta purpuralis), Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana), Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella), Pearl Veneers (Agriphila straminella), Red-fringed Conch (Falseuncaria ruficiliana), Satyr Pug larva (Eupithecia satyrata), Gatekeepers, Peacocks, Red Admirals, Ringlet. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Saw a female Purple Emperor at Whiteways lodge car park Bury hill today, it flew around the picnic area and briefly landed on a motorbike. I knew they used to been found in Arundel woods, so good to see their still around this area! (David Hiller)
It is not often I get 15 species on my Hollingdean transect (part of the Wild Park LNR) but today was rather exceptional. I recorded my first ever Silver-washed Fritillary on these transect walks, but unfortunately a Red Admiral took exception to its proximity and it flew off before I could focus. I also recorded my first Wall Browns and Small Copper of the year. The warm temperatures and a welcome drop in wind speed accounted for a total of 92 which also included Holly Blue, Small Heath and more Speckled Woods than I have counted this year. (Peter Whitcomb)
An hour's walk this afternoon along the slope the far side of Horseshoe Plantation. In the wood: a pair of Speckled Woods, a Comma and a Large White. Other side of the wood we saw another 3 Commas, a handful of large and Small Whites. A Peacock, a Red Admiral, a Large Skipper, good numbers of both Chalk Hill Blues and Common Blues but nothing like as many as in previous years. A few Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, again not as many as in previous years. And at last we saw 3 Brown Argus, (first sighting of the year for us) and a Small Copper (first sighting of the year). (Kerry Baldwin)
At Wish Park, Hove on Monday 8th August, two Red Admirals and several Small Whites. In our nearby garden, I also rescued a battered Small White from a spider's web. On Friday 5th August there was a Holly Blue in our front garden and another or maybe the same one on the other side of New Church Road. On Sunday 7th August we went to the WWT wetland centre at Barnes where there are lots of really great butterfly habitats, but despite it being hot & sunny (if rather windy) we only saw about 20 butterflies in 3 hours. So the poor year is happening up there too. (John & Val Heys)
Monday 8th Anna & I went to Tugley Wood (Botany Bay). In Sunny 23 degree temperatures we saw Six Wood Whites (a couple mating on Knapweed), between the Triangle and the bridge. We also had 12+ Silver-washed Fritillary, Brimstone, Peacocks & Comma along the same ride.On out return walk through Tugley Wood Anna noticed A Brown Hairstreak & Peacock settled on Hemp Agrimony at eye level. Whilst watching this magnificent sight a Holly Blue floated by and as we turned to leave a White Admiral landed on the path in front of us.
Also of note in the 2 hours we were there, was a Staw Dot Moth, Banded Demoiselle, Southern Hawker and Four-spotted Chaser Dragonflies, and 2 Marsh Tits.
An excellent day and already booked in the diary for a return visit next year.
(Anna Grist & Peter Coyston.)
A visit to Windover Hill this morning found many Chalk Hill Blues on the way up from the road. At the top at least 8 male Wall Browns were seen, and about 6 Grayling hiding on their usual hillside.(Trevor Rapley)
Tuesday 09 August
Adding to the Common Blue discussion I had, at long last, an egg-laying Common Blue in the flower meadow today. I have had brief views of a single male on four dates over the past 10 days. They were not all the same male as one was very faded but yesterday's and today's were in pristine condition. I recorded approximately 10 different individuals in the first brood but so far the maximum daily count for the second brood has been two (1m & 1f). Last year peaked at 25, which was a garden record. Additionally, I have yet to record Brown Argus and Small Heath in the garden this year - both annual for the past 10 years. Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma are all incredibly scarce. (martin kalaher)
Monday 08 August
Echoing Neil Hulme's thoughts about the dearth of Summer butterflies, our 1 acre meadow on the edge of Lewes, was looking devoid of blue butterflies despite it looking as good a piece of chalk downland as you could wish for. That was until this weekend when numbers of Common Blue began to rise to c. 15 & I still think more is to come. We would normally count second brood, between 20 - 30 in a good year however I could only find singles of Small Copper & Brown Argus where normally I would expect 4 - 5 of each. Just over the hill, the sheep fields above Ashcombe Bottom gave cause for concern. This area is reliable for Common Blue & over the last 10 years I would normally count them in hundreds at this time of year. Earlier in the year the first brood did not appear, not helped by the heavy grazing pressure of both sheep & cattle, but once the livestock had gone and all was looking good, the field has recently been topped, making matters worse & despite a quick search, not a single blue butterfly could be found. (Tim Duffield)
Just found a lime hawk moth caterpillar on my front lawn - only just alive... Probably blown out of tree opposite our house, which is in The Street, facing North. (Ellie Blows)
My first Speckled Wood sighting of 2016 in our meadow on Saturday 6 August, later than usual, the last four year's sightings have all been by 15 June. I also saw two moths: a Yellow Shell and, what I believe to be, another Common Carpet.
(Chris Page https://www.g4bue.co.uk/en/Butterflies/)
I believe you are correct. (Ed jnr)
Sunday 07 August
I visited Steyning Rifle Range this morning. I was fortunate to meet Jim who found several Brown Hairstreaks in trees but none came down for us. Later it was a pleasure to meet and catch up with many of the butterfly regulars. Also seen were Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Walls , Brimstones, Red Admirals and a Peacock. (Katrina Watson)
I recorded 20-21 species at Chantry Hill today. My main intention was to try and find some Common Blues but also count Silver-spotted Skippers. I was only there 5 minutes when it became very cloudy and there was little sunshine for the next hour. I persevered and was glad that I did. I didn't check the whole of Chantry Hill but did have a look at some of the more productive areas. Species and numbers as follows: Small Skipper (15), Essex Skipper (1+), Silver-spotted Skipper (2), Large Skipper (2), Brimstone (3), Large White (6), Small White (10), Brown Argus (3), Common Blue (20+males, 1 female), Chalk Hill Blue (40+), Holly Blue (1f), Red Admiral (4), Peacock (4), Comma (1), Dark Green Fritillary (7), Speckled Wood (1), Wall (1), Gatekeeper (10), Meadow Brown (40) and Small Heath (7). It was nice to see a few Common Blues and bearing in mind I only saw one female, there should be more to come. Four Skipper species on the same day was good to see. There were still a few DGF around but they were very faded. The single Wall was a female. I personally haven't seen Wall here for a couple of years. At home in Storrington there were 10 species in the garden with 10 each of Red Admiral and Peacock dominating. A single Comma was good to see as they have been very scarce. Before heading for Chantry Hill I saw a Hornet patrolling the Hemp Agrimony. This is my first for the year. On my return I saw a Hornet once more and in the same spot. It flew after a Peacock and then later on tried to grab the Comma. (Martin Kalaher)
Glorious sunshine on the Lancing downs. My first Brown Argus of the year and 19 other species. 32 Wall was encouraging, and about the same number of Chalkhill Blue. 5 Common Blue was the 2016 site maximum so far. More sun please. More butterflies too. (Lindsay Morris)
Early morning at Steyning Rifle Range, a single pristine Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae) showing well relatively low but deep in the trees, several others (total of 4 seen) fluttering about but not coming down. Plus a lot of the usual suspects normally seen in this area, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and (Jim & Dawn https://www.flickr.com/photos/biteyourbum/)
My friend thinks this is a rare moth. I'm not an expert so thought I'd let you decide. (Shirley Stewart)
Shirley , can you please resubmit with the photograph. Thanks. (Ed jnr)
St Leonards Latest.
It was very nice to return to St Leonards Forest this afternoon having been away on hols. (pictures to follow in Dec/Jan)
There was quite a high species count but once again not the normal numbers. Only one Holly Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Silver-washed Fritillary and Brimstone. Several Common Blue and Small Skipper but more Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper as well as Small and Large White. (Patrick Moore)
Saturday 06 August
A stroll through our wild flower meadow this morning gave me my first Brown Hairstreak sighting of the year, and earlier than the previous two years (18 August in 2014 and 8 September in 2015). I also saw Large White, Small White, Comma, Peacock, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper, some of which I managed to photograph. No Clouded Yellow or Silver-washed Fritillary yet. I also saw a moth that I believe is a Common Carpet. (Chris Page https://www.g4bue.co.uk/en/Butterflies/)
Decided that due to recent good fortune seeing Purple Hairstreak at Ditchling Common I would take a look earlier in the day and headed over there at 8.00am. I wasn't disappointed. Within 15 minutes a Purple descended from high to bask on bracken right in front of me followed shortly (6 mins) by a male Brown Hairstreak on a low oak branch. A nice Small Copper, Holly Blue, Peacock and Gatekeeper also posed nicely. (David Cook)
I also took this today at Chantry Hill (with thanks to Sean Foote for the ID): a Chalk Carpet moth. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Plenty of species out at Chantry Hill near Storrington early afternoon, the highlights of which were singles of Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Copper & Dark Green Fritillary. At Steyning, an obliging, if somewhat battered, Wall was around the rabbit burrow on the steep bank. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
On 31 July and 3 August I covered many miles of highly variable habitat, including dry and damp meadows, woodland and copse, parkland and river bank, as part of my annual butterfly monitoring over the Northern and Middle Blocks of the Knepp Castle Estate. As I have mentioned in a previous post, only those butterflies which form large populations over extensive habitat in excellent condition are likely to resist the worst effects of the weather-extremes driven by climate change. This is why some observers have reported good numbers of some species on some sites, although I would argue against the use of the term "abundance" in many cases - this being relative. My surveys of Knepp do not measure the fortunes of our butterflies in the manner which so many others do, on nature reserves or on our carefully managed, premier sites, and in many respects have more in common with the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS). They perhaps give a less biased, more generalised snapshot of what's happening in the countryside. I have yet to crunch all of the numbers, but I can already see how shocking the 2016 results are for a wide variety of species. Several have crashed severely.
As always when walking long distances through the beautiful countryside of Sussex (and parts of Knepp are looking increasingly like a more beautiful, ancient Sussex), there were some fabulous butterflies to be seen. Summer brood Holly Blues are appearing and I watched several males processing minerals from cowpats and urine. It was nice to see a couple of second generation Brown Argus in one field, although the species is still struggling this year. The Brimstone will be more highly valued when it stirs from hibernation towards the end of winter, but it will never be more beautiful than it is just now. I saw several Painted Ladies which showed that strong salmon-pink colouration, indicating a very recent hatching on Sussex soil. Best of all, as the last Purple Emperors of the year disappear into the sunset, I watched the next generation clinging to a Sallow leaf.
Friday 05 August
Here are a selection of pics taken today between midday and 1.00pm and from Sunday evening around 7.00pm of Purple Hairstreaks at Ditchling Common Nature Reserve. The Oaks around the pond have foliage that in places almost touch the ground and the Purples frequently descend to lower levels making a photo a bit easier. (David Cook)
As we waited in our car for our granddaughter to be handed over at Sainsbury's car park (opposite the garage), Benfield Valley, Hove, we saw on the windscreen a tiny moth, brilliantly white with little black dots. Unfortunately we've got no picture, but it was clearly a Spindle Ermine or one of the very similar yponomeutidae. Having read that this moth can be a pest with extensive webs, I recall that one or two months ago the shrubs near the petrol station were absolutely covered with webs. Later in the morning we were able to show our granddaughter a Painted Lady sheltering on the pavement from the wind in Norman Road, Hove. Later still she pointed out a Small White in our garden near New Church Road, Hove. We saw several in the garden and nearby today but the Holly Blues seem to have disappeared already - none for 8 days now. (John & Val Heys)
From a walk Exceat into Friston Forest to photograph Broad-leaved Helleborines to Charleston Bottom -- Litlington -- Cuckmere valley (Peter Lovett)
After visiting Kingley Vale, I walked Inhams Lane, West Stoke (SU835089) towards Stoke Clump. Totals: Large White 8, Small White 15, Meadow Brown 4, Gatekeeper 2, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 6, (Roy Symonds)
Today I visited Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU8210) walking most of the main tracks. The weather was windy with cloudy patchy sunshine, temperature 20°C. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Large White 13, Small White 14, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Brown 20, Gatekeeper 3, Speckled Wood 1, Red Admiral 8, Large Skipper 1. (Roy Symonds)
Whilst walking the dogs early this morning close to home I checked out my local Common Blue colony . This has come to life with lots of newly emerged males .However the first one I spotted was a smart female which shows quite extreme variation and is probably an ab. This reminded me of another strange female Common Blue I saw at Shoreham Beach 13th September 2014 which on reflection , perhaps was another aberrant form . However having trawled websites for Abs and read Aberrations of British Butterflies by A D A Russwurm ( which I incidentally won at Last Year's Sussex BC AGM - fab event) I have realised
it's not totally a female ? I am convinced it's actually a Gynandromorphic
specimen . I.e. it exhibits both male and female characteristics
which is rare , so stroke of luck on several counts and perhaps this particular one is unique in form .Pics attached for interest Back to the walk, I also saw fresh Brown Argus, Red Admirals , Speckled Woods ,and Peacocks . One Superb Peacock never took its eyes off me and from a headon angle it almost has a sinister appearance . Indeed what we see is very different to what a Bird may see . And at last, my First Small Copper of 2016 ! Whilst taking pics of this male a female flew past us and he set off like a rocket to intercepted her . There was a brief parallel hovering , a few inches above a Wheat ear before both landed next to each other . I kept my distance, but could clearly see him reversing and circling behind her until they coupled .Very interesting behaviour and all this activity hopefully promises a great month ahead , weather permitting .
It was so windy on Mill Hill, Old Shoreham, I nearly turned for home immediately, if it wasn't for the bright orange of a Painted Lady Butterfly. Many of the butterflies were resting but I was very surprised to spot a second brood male Adonis Blue (11 days earlier than last year). Even allowing for a cool day, male Chalk Hill Blues was disappointing on Mill Hill with only 28 in a half acre transect. Altogether, in about 90 minutes, I recorded an unexpected 13 species of butterfly including a first ever Silver-spotted Skipper (not seen at the time but seen in a photograph later).
Location detais: TQ 2107
General (middle) location on lower slopes: TQ210072
(Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2016.html#3August)
Thursday 04 August
A very late afternoon visit to Steyning Downland: Red Admiral (6), Peacock (2), Speckled Wood (4), Gatekeeper (4), Meadow Brown, Large White, Six-spot Burnet (2), Yellow Shell (K & J Dawson)
Our first visit to Malling Down in search of Silver-spotted Skipper (8). We also saw Marbled White (3), Chalk Hill Blue (3), Common Blue, Dark Green Fritillary, Peacock (3), Red Admiral (4), Comma (3), Brimstone (2), Large White (3), Speckled Wood (3), Meadow Brown (16), Gatekeeper (3), Ringlet (2), Six-spot Burnet moth (6) and Pyrausta purpuralis moth, as well as Migrant Hawker and Southern Hawker dragonflies and a Great-Green Bush-cricket. (K & J Dawson)
With the strong South/Westerly wind blowing I thought I would see how the Wall Brown is doing on the North facing slopes of Bo Peep Bostal. This site performs better with the 1st brood as there is then more bare areas for them to bask. At this time of year the area is covered with long grass which is good for egg laying but not so good for seeing the butterflies. In the 2-3 mile circuit I saw 22 Wall Brown, 10 of which were in an area with bare patches and was just 100 metres long!! In the sheltered area at the bottom of the hill I saw a very fresh female followed by an even fresher male that I think I probably disturbed as he was finishing off drying his wings. Certainly these North facing butterflies were all fresh and are probably 2 weeks behind the Southern softies at High and Over!! (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Wednesday 03 August
On Sunday I visited Wolstonbury Hill , one of my favourite Downland sites I have visited over the past few Years At the moment it looks splendid with all the summer Downland flowers and as always great views across Sussex .
I went specifically to see Silver spotted Skippers and although slightly early in the morning did account for 10 or more. Which were all pretty newly emerged males , Also seen was a second generation Female Small Blue and a first for me a Female Small Skipper laying an egg in a tightly folded grass stem sheath ( clever stuff). Also seen were a few Chalkhill Blues , Common Blues , Gatekeepers the odd Marble White, Large and Small Whites occasionally ,several Peacocks and Red Admirals Loads off Small Skippers ( Essex Skippers ) I didn't check them all . Actually Small Skippers and Essex Skippers seem to have been really abundant this year .
One male Brimstone , 3 Speckled Woods on the Bridle path from Pyecombe. Moth wise one Silver Y , quite a lot of Pyrausta aurata ( Mint Moths )all fresh and the odd Treble bar But actually overall the abundance of Butterflies was really poor . I only saw two 6 spot Burnets and a massive single Small Heath .
Fortunately I did notice Six spot Burnet cocoons yet to emerge This is a north facing slope so may be in a week a two thing may improve The other thing I noticed, was the huge growth in thick Grasses and Hog
weed , this may be indicative of generally wetter conditions on the Downs. But these are starting to smother, what was once good habitat for other Downland species of plants .
Finally I went to the bottom of Wolstonbury Hill - this appeared to be really great butterfly habitat but all I saw were a few whites and a very worn Female Dark Green Fritillary who appeared to be egg laying both under an oak tree and also among the general plant debris .
On the back up the hill in the heat ,a Butterfly instantly caught my eye feeding on Scabious flowers , clearly a Meadow Brown but also distinctly different. It was in good condition apart from a few small tears in the wing , but at the right angle it had a distinct brassy shimmer to the hind wings which was quite beautiful.
I took a load of pics . At home I checked them out and it seemed in pretty good condition . Meadow Browns do lighten in colour with wear and they are also quite variable and indeed I have seen numerous individuals with the odd
white patch on a wing - the term for this is Pathogenic . However the scales appeared largely intact and the coloration including the distinctive cream Fore wing was symmetrical and also on the underside
At West Grinstead saw Holly Blue, Commas and probably my last PE of the year. Having later bumped in to Neil , I sent him the pics and he thought it could be a pale ab . Also checked Souths Butterflies and also Russwurm for abs and also U.k. Butterflies site where upon spotted a similar pic taken by Vince Massimo . Vince subsequently confirmed that rather than wear , especially due to the brassy colouration it was a candidate for being a female Meadow Brown Ab . Alba i.e. The usually Fulvous path on the fore wing is replaced by White .I had to look up Fulvous but it means dull reddish-yellow, or brown So please see attached pics , the rear view pic depicts the brassy colour in green on the rear hindwing , Typical female for comparison with Trombidium breei mites.
Good walk and just goes to show always expect the unexpected.
( Richard Roebuck)
I did not managed to take a photo but had two lovely Peacock butterflies in my garden (Francoise cummings)
Butterflies seen Knowlands Wood Sunday 31st July Sunday was bright and relatively wind-free. Numbers of butterflies were not great but the species count was quite pleasing with
White Admiral (only one), Silver-washed Fritillary, Small White, Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Green-veined White, Large White, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Ringlet (one), Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Purple Hairstreak. The only Small Tortoiseshell was such a worn specimen that I could not immediately identify. Photo attached. Is it merely faded or is it ab alba?
From a circular walk RSPB Pulborough Brooks to Stopham bridge. (Peter Lovett)
On Monday I joined Neil Hulme, Steve Wheatley, Bob Eade and South Down National Park Authority's Fay Pattinson and Tim Squire for a visit to the Short Bottom / France Bottom area near Alfriston. The aim of the visit was to inspect the recent work that has been carried out here by Fay and her team. Fay's certainly been busy over the past few years and has been undertaking so impressive scrub clearance work. I had visited the downland banks of Short Bottom while surveying for the atlas and was disappointed to find they were covered with thick scrub and Sycamore and providing a home to woodpigeons. The South Downs National Park have now cleared a large part of these slopes and in the future we should jopefully see them returning to a condition which will support the specialist chalk grassland species of the area. There were certainly plenty of butterflies on the bank despite the poor weather and I was pleased to note my first Wall, Chalk Hill Blue and Brown Argus of 2016. Thanks to Fay and Tim for taking us to the site and to Fay and her South Downs National Park team for the great habitat restoration work that has been undertaken here. I did take lots of nice photos of us all stood pointing at stuff and generally looking impressed but, on returning home, discovered that I had lost my camera - so you'll have to use your imagination. (Michael Blencowe)
Tuesday 02 August
dark bush cricket at France Bottom (Tim Squire)
On a visit to France Bottom, near Alfriston, and its environs we saw a good number of Wall butterflies. I think I may be getting into the moths now too. Pictured here is Dusky Sallow, Common Heath and a Treble-bar (lesser, rather than the one that isn't lesser - can anyone verify?). Also seen were Mycena flavalis. Best of all for me were two new species ticks of Grayling and Silver-spotted Skipper. A nice dark green bush cricket too.
Colin Knight sent me this link which should help with the Treble-bar. (Ed jnr)
On Sunday we went to see Kiss me Quickstep at the Winter Garden, Eastbourne (a new play about ballroom dancing, excellent & very reasonably priced - on until mid August - go and see it if you can) which gave us an opportunity to enjoy the promenades east of the Wish Tower towards the Pier. We saw plenty of Small Whites, a Large White, a Red Admiral, a Small Tortoiseshell and two purple & gold moths, possibly different types but our daughter Ele hasn't sent us her pictures yet. Also Ele got a picture of the most interesting & unexpected butterfly there, which Val & I didn't see - a Small Copper.
(John, Val & Ele Heys)
If anyone else would like to combine a theatrical review with a sighting, please feel free. (Ed jnr)
Found this White Admiral today along a bridlepath leading north west to the Denture from Whiteways Lodge near Bury (Tony Letchford)
I have been reading conflicting reports of numbers of butterflies and here at Beacon Hill LNR, Rottingdean the recent counts have been decidedly low. These peak July weeks in the past have seen 200-300 counted but this year around 100 down at least, even on the more suitable days. The exceptions seem to be Small Skipper and Gatekeeper. Recently a few more Red Admirals and the second brood of Common Blue (including two females) on 31st July were a bit of an encouragement. However it is disappointing to note that so far not one Dark Green Fritillary, not one Small Copper and not one Chalk Hill Blue have been noted. Our chalk grassland reserve near the coast has its fair share of species, but even Six-spot Burnet and hoverflies seem to be in short supply. (Peter Whitcomb)
I do see many butterflies in my area. I live at 75 Edinburgh Rd St Leonard's-on-Sea, East Sussex. The butterfly I photogragped seemed to have damaged wings. There is a wooded area near the schools.(Tony James)
Thanks Tony. This is a Red Admiral. They seem to be having a good time of it at the moment as there are higher than average numbers about. As they get older they get more and more damaged. You would be amazed how some of them can still fly with half a wing missing .(Ed jnr)
Small Tortoiseshell (1), Eastbourne Seafront, Gatekeeper (2) at Eastbourne DGH, Red Admiral Eastbourne DGH (1), Meadow Brown (2), (Angie Bowey)
Enjoyed an afternoon of butterfly hunting. I started off at Windover Hill where I found Grayling (14), Dark Green Fritillary (16), Silver Spotted Skipper (3), Wall Brown (2), Small Skipper (2), Chalk Hill Blue (too many to count and plenty of females too), Large White (4), Small White (8), Brimstone (10+), Gatekeeper (15), Meadow Brown (100+), Red Admiral (1) and Peacock (3). I then moved on to Cuckmere Haven where I finally found my first Small Copper of the year. I also found Chalkhill Blue (20+), Wall Brown (5), Small Heath (3), Small Skipper (1), Small White (3), Marbled White (1), Gatekeeper (10+), Meadow Brown (50+), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Red Admiral (1), Peacock (1) and Common Blue (2). (Chris Hooker)
Lancing Ring & Steep Down on a partially cloudy afternoon - 17 species, the highlights for me being my first Small Copper on this walk in 2016. Lovely fresh male Common Blue, which has been almost as rare here. Still good numbers of Red Admirals and a definite surge in Peacocks. 10 Wall were also much increased from the odd singles seen before during this generally underwhelming season.
Good numbers of Chalk Hill Blues on the slope of the quarry at Newtimber Hill among the lovely flowers! Silver-spotted Skippers less easy to see but not difficult to find nonetheless. Lots of other butterflies including Marbled Whites, Wall, Brimstone, Essex Skipper, Comma, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Red Admiral and large and Small Whites. And probably some others I have forgotten! (Chris Corrigan)
I did my Wall Brown 2nd brood count today. In the 4 mile circuit I found a minimum of 53 adults. All Male except one. Strangely I didn't see many in the main hot-spots as the sun went in as I did the Comp although I did still get 10 along here. At High and Over I only managed to add 5 which was very poor. Other spots though, including Greenway Bank performed much better than usual. If I get the chance I hope to do another count with the sun shining throughout!!
One male at High and Over was, I think, the same male that I saw back on the 17th July. It has a distinctive mark on one of the hind-wing spots and was holding territory in exactly the same spot. Obviously I cannot be absolutely sure but if it is the same individual he has had a reasonably long life for a Wall Brown male and I bet he has a few stories to tell!! (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
This morning I met Mark Colvin at Steyning Downland. At 9:13am Mark spotted a male Brown Hairstreak land in a tree high up above the fenced area. It came down to the grassland and kept moving from grassy patch to grassy patch. Later I spotted one at the top of the hill in the trees. Mark then saw a female in the fenced area which flew to the grassland and moved from grassy area to grassy area. There were 4 Wall at the top of the hill, plus plenty of Gatekeepers, Comma, Large White, Peacocks, Red Admirals, Whites. Afterwards I did my Mill Hill transect: Essex Skipper, Brimstone, Small White 9, Chalkhill Blue 15, Red Admiral 4, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock 9, Marbled White, Gatekeeper 19, Meadow Brown 25, Small Heath 2. Moths: Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Wavy-barred Sable (Pyrausta nigrata), Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae), Lesser Treble-bar (Aplocera efformata), Small Fan-footed Wave (Idaea biselata), Cinnabar larvae. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Trombidium mites at Kithurst Hill. Tiny red mites (Trombidium breei) attach themselves to certain species of butterfly imagos;these photos of Gatekeeper and Small Skipper with these mites were taken at Kithurst Hill on Sunday 31/07/16. Studies indicate that the mites do no detectable harm to the butterflies.
(David Tomlinson http://www.davidtomlinsonphotos.co.uk)
Tim Squire sent in a picture on Monday of a Ringlet with the same Trombidium mites. (Ed jnr)
Went up to Cissbury today and saw 18 species of butterfly. Pleased to see plenty of Brimstone as I don't remember the last time I saw any. The highlight was my first Silver-spotted Skipper on the southern slopes. Also saw a Common Purple and Gold which I was immediately able to identify because of Tim Squire's sighting picture this morning. (Jonathan Crawford)
A bonus on my WCBS today around Langley Green and County Oak, Crawley was a smart female Brown Hairstreak right by the bridleway at TQ266387 close to various industrial buildings. (Andrew Guest)
I went to Chantry Hill early this morning. I saw about 40 Chalkhill Blues, a similar number of Meadow Browns, some Gatekeepers, two faded Dark Green Fritillaries, one Brown Argus, one Silver-spotted Skipper, one Marbled White and four Red Admirals (Katrina Watson)
Near Bignor Hill Car Park SU 971 128
Possible pair of Adonis Blue, but pictures are not very good (Phil Harris)
A Big Butterfly Count at Hailsham Country Park this morning resulted in Large White (3), Small White (5), Gatekeeper (7), Meadow Brown (2), Peacock (1), Common Blue (2), Purple Hairstreak (2) and Small Skipper (1). The lack of Meadow Browns and Skippers here compared to previous years is very noticable. (Chris Hooker)
Making a last ditch effort to see white letter hairstreaks I went to The Level this morning. I think I may have missed out this year despite numerous attempts to see them. Did see Essex Skipper, two Meadow Browns (one with curly wing) and a Red Admiral. Also saw a moth pictured. ID please Ed!
That would be a Common Purple & Gold Pyrausta purpuralis (Ed jnr)
Sunday 31 July
I have little to add to my posting of two days ago regarding my wildlife garden other than a mention regarding Brimstone and also to a lesser extent Small Copper. I probably under-estimated the numbers of Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown, so more like a total of 90-95 butterflies in the garden on the 28th. I am not suggesting for one moment that we are having a particularly good year for butterflies in Sussex, but for my garden they are holding their own - just about! Today I had another Small Copper (5 singles this year, about average). Also 16 Red Admiral and 14 Peacock. As I have mentioned in previous years, Hemp Agrimony is favoured above Buddleia by these two species (and I do have lots of Buddleia should they prefer it). I had 50 or so mature Brimstone caterpillars a few weeks ago on Alder Buckthorn and I wondered quite how many adults my might seen in July/August. Well, about 4.0pm a few appeared and then completely disappeared by 4.30pm. So, 4 males and 2 females. Oh, and by the way they do like Broad-leafed Sweet Pea. Also a certain Large White male seemed to find a female Brimstone quite irrestible as it tried again and again to mate with it. (martin kalaher)
Yesterday morning I found a rare moth outside my back door at Littlehampton, the Channel Islands Pug (Eupithecia ultimaria). In the afternoon I visited Worms Wood, Middleton-on-Sea for the first time. This 13 hectare Woodland Trust site was planted with native trees and shrubs in 2000 and is an area of mixed habitat: http://bit.ly/2aRuizV. I saw Red Admiral, Large Skipper, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Comma and some interesting moths: Common Cloaked Shoot (Gypsonoma dealbana), Maiden's Blush (Cyclophora punctaria), Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis), Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis), Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata), Dingy Footman (Eilema griseola), Cinnabar larvae on the ragwort and Stigmella species leaf mines on oak leaves. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Saturday 30 July
This afternoon I witnessed a female Speckled Wood rejecting the advances of a male by playing dead.Seen on the Cuckoo trail in Hailsham (Trevor Rapley)
Yesterday I visited Kithurst Meadow for the 18th time this season. I was surprised by how good the meadow looks and four other enthusiasts I met made the same comment. Year after year the meadow provides good sightings of butterflies, moths and other insects in addition to the varied chalk grassland flora which we enjoy. This is a public access site which cannot be expected to remain in a pristine state. Each year paths are formed through the grassland which visitors tend to follow during their tour and I see no cause for concern about its condition.
I saw about equal numbers of male and female Chalk Hill Blues, abouts 20 individuals. A male Silver-washed Fritillary returned to the low sheltered area several times to nectar on the hemp-agrimony. There were male and female Brimstones, one male Common Blue, several Green-veined Whites, Essex Skippers, old Large Skippers, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and plenty of Red Admirals and Peacocks on the hemp-agrimony. Moths seen: Silver Y, Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternate), Red Twin-spot Carpet (Xanthorhoe spadicearia), Pearl Veneer, (Agriphila straminella), two Satyr Pug larvae (Eupithecia satyrata) on a Hieracium/Hawkweedy type of flower, plus several Cinnabar larvae.
(Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Friday 29 July
I've been revisiting a site just below Ditchling Beacon in the hope that the Silver-spotted Skippers I found there last year would again show themselves this year. My first sighting yesterday was promising but at the same time concerning as there was little else save for 1 Chalk Hill Blue and a Small Heath. What a difference 24 hours can bring. Today there were 20+ Chalk Hill Blue including at least a couple of females and probably dozen or more Silver-spotted Skippers. (David Cook)
I recently watched a female Red Admiral in my Hollingbury back garden, she was showing interest in the nettle patch. On 17 July she laid an egg and come the 23 July the caterpillar emerged, taking a week. Here are some photos taken with my macro lens of the various stages. (Jamie Burston)
Kithurst Meadow looking beautiful in the morning sunshine today. As usual, it provided us with an excellent number of different species. These were Chalkhill Blue, Large White, Small White, Green Veined White, Brimstone, Marbled White, Comma, Small Skipper, Peacock, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Chalkhill Blue numbers seem much lower than in recent years, but there were good numbers of very fresh-looking Peacocks and Red Admirals. A single Dark Green Fritillary at nearby Chantry Hill took our total for the day to fourteen species. [Paul and Margaret Cox] (Paul Cox)
There were 14 different species of butterflies in my Storrington garden this morning with a total count of 83 butterflies: Small Skipper (1), Essex Skipper (1), Large Skipper (1), Brimstone (1m), Large White (6), Small White (8), Green-veined White (1), Holly Blue (1-2f), Red Admiral (14), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Peacock (15), Comma (1), Gatekeeper (19) and Meadow Brown (13). Notably absent: Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath and Small Copper. Just one each for Small Tortoiseshell and Comma is cause for concern but 15 Peacock and 14 Red Admiral a delight to see. (martin kalaher)
At High and Over today I watched 4 female Wall Brown busy looking for egg laying opportunities. I saw one egg appear, and instead of being on the exposed grass root in a scrape this one was positioned on the top of a bit of dead grass. A very fresh Painted Lady was also seen. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
In our back garden in New Church Road Hove today, before the rains came, several Small Whites, a Red Admiral and at least 2 Holly Blues as we saw a pair at the same time. Yesterday, we only saw a Small White. (John & Val Heys)
Several species seen in Abbotts Wood at lunchtime in a walk from the car park to slightly beyond the lack and back. Pride of place were around 12 Silver-washed Fritillaries. and 2 White Admirals. At least 5 Purple Hairstreaks whizzed past high up and never landed. There were also many Red Admirals and Peacocks, 2 Commas, 4 Speckled Wood, Large and Small Whites, many Meadow Brown and Gatekeepers as well as a single Brimstone. (Chris Bird)
Thursday 28 July
On July 24 I did my Mill Hill transect: Chalk Hill Blue 8, Red Admiral 6, Peacock 4, Marbled White 3, Gatekeeper 35, Meadow Brown 18, Whites 9. On July 27 I visited Arundel WWT and saw Red Admirals, Peacocks, Whites, a Gatekeeper, a Dingy Footman (Eilema griseola), a Small Purple and Gold (Pyrausta aurata), a dead Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) in a spider's web and a Poplar Bent-wing mine (Phyllocnistis unipunctella) on a Black Poplar leaf.
(Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
A walk over the fields behind Fletching was full of Red Admirals this evening. I counted 8 and 1 Gatekeeper and 2 Large Whites in an area usually notable only for its absence of butterflies (Nigel symington)
Green-veined White seen in the wooded area to the right of hollies car park (facing the view!). Picture attached ,apologies for quality (Jane Hambling)
One Silver-studded Blue was spotted flying over the right hand pond (facing up the hill path) and landed briefly on a Sallow tree to enable a glimpse of the underneath but unfortunately to short a time to focus the camera.It headed towards the heathland behind the left hand pond but despite searching we did not spot it again. We have just returned from a butterfly trip in the Spanish pyrenees where we saw many blues so are reasonably sure it was a silver studded (Jane Hambling)
From a circular walk from Crowlink through Friston Forest and the Seven Sisters on 26th July 2016. (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
A visit to Cissbury Ring on Tuesday afternoon (26 July) provided my first (3) Silver-spotted Skippers of the year, and the opportunity to photograph some beautiful, female Chalk Hill Blues. Despite these highlights, I was shocked by a dearth of butterflies that I have never experienced in the nearly fifty years I've visited the site at this time of year. (Neil Hulme)
On Saturday (23 July) I ran a butterfly identification and recording workshop for the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service (SDVRS), followed by a field session at the Castle Hill NNR. The SDVRS provides much of the muscle for the management work performed by the South Downs National Park Authority, so their efforts are of huge benefit to butterflies and moths.
We were lucky with the weather and notched up a respectable number of species, including; Essex Skipper, Small Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Dark Green Fritillary, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock, Comma, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue and Chalk Hill Blue.
Now here's an interesting report sent in by Tim Lincoln via Facebook:
"My friends' daughter found this forewing in a Brighton pub garden on Sunday - it appears to be possibly from a male Purple Emperor. I went on the PE walk at Woods Mill last week and learned from Michael Blencowe that there are no known colonies in Brighton.. the pub was The Martha Gunn on Upper Lewes Rd and the Lewes/Bear Rd cemeteries / Woodvale Crematorium complex are just a couple of hundred yards away, with plenty of suitable habitat. I'll try to go and look for displaying males at the earliest opportunity. I guess it could have fallen from a car after a butterfly strike elsewhere or even be from an old mounted specimen, but neither seems very likely. Confirmation of ID would be appreciated! Afraid I couldn't retain the wing as little Myla who found it wanted to keep it in an empty pop bottle!"
It is indeed a Purple Emperor wing. The nearest known Emperors to Brighton are north of the South Downs at Ashcombe Bottom / Plumpton /Lewes. But the butterfly is spreading. Has little Myla found evidence that the Emperor has reached Brighton?! (Michael Blencowe)
Wednesday 27 July
Following on from Mark Jones, today and yesterday afternoon I failed to see any White-letter Hairstreaks at Hollingbury Park. It now seems that their flight period for this site may have finished. As I was leaving by the golf course club house I saw a tree infected by Dutch Elm Disease, the third case I've had to report locally. (Jamie Burston)
This afternoon, we parked at Offham, just north of Lewes & did two walks. First we went up the downland path to Offham Hill. We saw a few each of small and Essex Skippers, quite a lot of passing whites, mostly small but maybe a few large too, 15 or so Chalk Hill Blues (mostly male), at least 3 Red Admirals and 5 Peacocks, a Ringlet, about 15 each of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers & Marbled Whites, 2 Speckled Woods, a few burnet moths & a Silver Y moth. The weather was quite sunny and rather breezy. The area of shorter grass in & above the old hollow-way by the current path, which is the home of the Chalk Hill Blues & plenty of orchids is more overgrown than when we last went there a few years ago and more scrub is creeping in. Our second walk was from Offham to Hamsey, at first in overcast conditions but it brightened up. We saw some whites, probably mostly small, up to 10 Meadow Browns, slightly greater numbers of Gatekeepers and, only in Hamsey itself, one small or Essex Skipper, 2 Holly Blues, 2 Commas, 3 Red Admirals and 5 or 6 Peacocks. (John & Val Heys)
At long last a second brood male Common Blue in my wildflower meadow this afternoon. I was collecting some Corn Cockle seed for dispersal in the garden and my camera was not to hand. Inevitably, it had perched up and was out of sight by the time I was armed. I did take a picture of a pair of bugs, which were multi-tasking - mating and feeding at the same time. Not a common occurrence in my experience. Can anyone tell me the name of this strange-looking bug? Storrington
Colin knigght reports that this is Spotted Longhorn Beetle, Rutpela maculata aka Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle. You can view one here. (Ed jnr)
Feeding on thistles in the 'shadow' of Glynebourne's wind turbine on the hill above Glynde was by far the largest group of Red Admirals and Peacocks I've seen this year. Wonder if this modern windmill acts as a beacon? (Robert Ludman)
On my way to the shops this morning, I spotted this male Holly Blue basking
with wings open. It was probably taking a break from ground searching.
Seen on the Cuckoo trail in Hailsham. (Trevor Rapley)
I have been away for four days but was delighted to be back yesterday when the garden was alive with butterflies. I counted a total of 76 butterflies, although somewhat surprisingly only 11 species. Pride of place has to be Peacock. I note Richard Roebuck's recent comment with which I fully agree - they have been scarce this year. There were at least 11 individuals nectaring on Buddleia, Hemp Agrimony and Field Scabious. Second pride of place has to go to Red Admiral of which there were at least 12. So, the garden list as follows: Essex Skipper (1), Brimstone (2), Large White (5), Small White (5), Green-veined White (1), Small Copper (1), Red Admiral (12+), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Peacock (11+), Gatekeeper (22), Meadow Brown (15). On the dark side: still no Common Blue, Brown Argus and Small Heath (all annual and regular in my garden).
Mary and I went to Kithurst Hill for half an hour in the afternoon. A minimum of 40 Red Admirals and 25 Peacocks all feeding on the Hemp Agrimony. Just a few Chalkhill Blues but no Common Blue, Small Blue or Brown Argus. I regret to say that the main meadow is more path than meadow. I appreciate everyone wants that 'special photograph' but surely not at the expense of ruining this wonderful meadow? Perhaps it should be fenced off for three years and allowed to recover? Last year I watched in dismay as two photographers wandered all over the meadow trampling the vegetation as they went. Yes, they did produce some lovely photos which appeared on the website, but was it worth it? (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)
The Purple Emperor season at Knepp may just be showing the first signs of winding down for the year, although numbers are still higher than at peak anywhere else in Sussex! On 23 July Matthew Oates and Paul Fosterjohn counted 28 between them, which was followed by a tally of 23 by Matthew on 24 July. In good conditions yesterday (25 July) I could only muster 9 in a couple of hours.
I've recently been sent a few nice images of Knepp Emperors including: a male sitting in a Sallow and a close-up of the ripening egg I initially discovered on 15 July, taken during a visit by my Brother, Mark, on 20 July; and a male on a cowpat, taken by Matt Adam Williams during the 'A Focus On Nature' www.afocusonnature.org group meeting on 17 July.
The Brown Hairstreak is also now flying at Knepp, with the first seen by Paul Fosterjohn on 23 July, followed by sightings of 2 and 5 on subsequent days by Matthew. (Neil Hulme)
Spring for Peacocks seemed to be extremely grim , however I did have a group of caterpillars on nettles in the garden , A portion of which were parasitized by an unknown fly which also produced cocoons adjacent to deflated caterpillars Nevertheless the remainder spread out and I assume a good proportion pupated .
Although I have seen a few Peacocks in the garden recently and not a lot else , today I had a surprise There were 7 pristine individuals all nectaring in a small patch of Hemp Agrimony in my main bed ignoring , Tansy , Hog weed and Thistle Flowers . They were extremely skitty . Having disturbed them , four of them all flew over tall current bushes and all sat together In another part of the garden . It was curious as to this behaviour but actually it was pure coincidence as they all collected in a very sunny spot Anyway they stayed in the garden all day returning to the Hemp Agrimony flowers so hopefully Peacocks have coped better later this season and I would like to think that this crowd are all Garden Born proving that letting the weeds( wild Plants ) run riot helps .
Small torts still grim and noticeable by their absence . Red Admirals everywhere however, could be spectacular occurrences on fallen fruit and Ivy flowers this Autumn.
Tuesday 26 July
This morning Trevor Rapley and I visited Botany Bay hoping to see Wood White and Silver-washed Fritillary butterflies. We arrived at about 09.30 hrs and soon saw our first Wood White quickly followed by a Silver-washed Fritillary. During our 3.5 hours at the location we saw about 25+ of each species as well as Gatekeepers, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Ringlets and Skippers. We were fortunate to see a Wood White laying eggs on Birds-foot Trefoil. (Douglas Neve)
My return trip to Windover Hill today provided quite a variety of species including fresh Brimstone and Peacocks and thanks to Bob for the redirection of my previous efforts to locate the Grayling, I saw 5 or 6 with the additional help of my 2 dogs 'putting them up' so to speak enabling 2 other enthusiasts to share the moment. Numerous Chalk Hill Blues (mostly Males) and the 3 'Whites', Red Admirals and occasional Small/Essex Skippers.
I've also posted a pic from my visit last week of the Dark Green Fritillary egg laying. I spotted about a dozen individuals buzzing around and occasionally resting for a photo which was very pleasing. (David Cook)
A bumper afternoon on Park Corner Heath where Jake, Zara and Thomas joined me to carry out a Big Butterfly Count. We saw 2 Large White, 5 Gatekeeper, 3 Meadow Brown, 1 Ringlet, 6 Red Admiral and 12 Peacock. Also 2 Silver-washed Fritillary. A large black adder slid off into the bracken in front of us In Rowland Wood, a Small Skipper and 2 Cinnabar moth caterpillars were joined by a white-legged damselfly. (Nigel Symington)
The summer brood Wood Whites are on the wing at Chiddingfold
forest, seen in one's and two's over quite a wide area. Hopefully
numbers have yet to build.
Monday 25 July
During a walk through Ashcombe Bottom yesterday we were delighted to see lots of Silver-washed Fritillaries, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Commas, assorted whites and one White Admiral whilst on the path through the wood. The sun was very warm and therefore the butterflies activity was high and therefore not too easy to photograph. (Sarah Stevens, Patrick Bonfield)
Following Dan Danahar's report in the 2015 Sussex Butterfly Report I went to Ashcombe Bottom in search of White Admiral. I am very pleased to report I saw them. A first for me although they were either moving quite fast, as you would expect, or my view was obscured. Two, maybe three individuals. Also in the woods were a good handful or more silver washed fritillaries, plenty of Red Admirals, Peacocks and whites (large and green veined positively identified) and Comma. As well as a new tick for me I also had the amazing Spectacle of dozens of Chalk Hill Blues on the scarp slopes of Black Cap on the way up and back. Loads of them. Also picked up a humming bird hawk moth, Essex Skipper, Marbled White, Six-spot burnet, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and possibly a single Common Blue. What a great morning. Also of interest was seeing a female Chalk Hill Blue with wings open, a Chalk Hill Blue with a deformed wing like it hadn't unfurled properly after emerging and what I assume are mites on a Ringlet. (Tim Squire)
On Friday James Arnott and myself climbed Le Col de Windover to see if the local Grayling were on the wing yet. On the way up a couple of Small Blue were good to see. Once in the valley it wasn't long before the unmistakable flight of a Grayling was spotted. It's very early in the flight season, but with 3 or 4 seen hopefully there will be many more to come. As usual Mecyna flavalis micro moths were everywhere and a single Silver-spotted Skipper also showed.
Saturday 23rd I stayed local and was more than pleased to see 3 Small Copper on Greenway Bank. This doubles my year tally for this species. A brand new Ringlet and 11 Wall Brown along the Comp completed a good day. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Just a heads up for folk. No White-letter Hairstreaks seen yesterday at either the Littlehampton golf course site nor at Hollingbury Park. Lots of lovely Red Admirals and new Peacocks though at the former. (Mark Jones)
Amazed to find a strange butterfly which looked a bit like a a Swallowtail on a buddleia in my Birdham garden this morning !
Sadly my camera focused on the foreground but at least you can see what it is. I have been advised that it is a the Malachite (Siproeta stelenes) which is found throughout Central and northern South America. Mark Colvin thinks it has probably escaped from nearby Earnley Butterflies. (Paul Stent)
I decided not to add this interesting find to the first sightings list because it is so exotic that there is no chance that it came to Sussex on the wing. Earlier in the week we had two sightings of a Monarch in Brighton and I did include this butterfly on the list. Sadly that Monarch was probably bred in captivity like the Malachite and then released at a Brighton wedding for reasons which baffle and dismay me. This conclusion can be drawn because the North American Monarch migrations do not start until the Autumn so it is unlikely to have been blown across from there. The Monarch is also resident, though more sedentary, in the Canaries, and there is a slim chance it came from there, though the weather patterns last week make this unlikely. As there is a slim chance the Monarch flew to Sussex I allowed it as a first sighting. We know Monarchs can cross the Atlantic. The first recorded Monarch in Sussex was at Hassocks Gate in 1876 and in 1995 there were over 170 sightings on the South Coast. (Ed jnr)
Sunday 24 July
Started off today at Shoreham Fort. I had never been before and thought it would be a good morning to go and see the Wall Lizards. It was. There is a colony of non native lizards there which crawl about on the Walls of the fort built in 1857 (I think that's what I remember from the interpretation board) I also saw hummingbird hawk moth. Later went on BC guided walk from Swanborough. We notched up 22 species of butterfly I think, plus some moths. Photos here of chalkhill blue, Brown Argus and Peacock. Ended the day taking Jamie Burston's advice of going to Hollingbury Park to look for white-letter hairstreaks later in the day. Went up at about 6pm but no wlh to be seen. Bit windy maybe. Photo here of Red Admiral, Large White and a spider. (Tim Squire)
Topped up on tea and cake and with loins girded, a kite - like trail of excited enthusiasts wormed their way along the bostals of Swanborough and Kingston Hills in near perfect weather conditions. Although Red Admirals seemed to be everywhere, it soon became clear that numbers of butterflies overall were well down on previous years and some, such as the Small Heath, Small Copper, Common Blue and Brown Argus were having an absolute `stinker`. Despite this a fairly respectable species list began to develop. The mixed picturesque blue and yellow Phacelia and Charlock field cover crop was taking advantage of the equally mixed `Cabbage` Whites on the wing, and further along Chalk Carpet, the target species, broke the previous record for numbers observed. By the half - way stage 15 species had been `ticked`, and the now familiar lunch break yielded three more, with Dave Bradford spotting what was to be the only Wall Brown of the day.
With the heat and sunshine keeping the sea mists at bay, a skirt around The Street Woods meant many were able to see Dark Green Fritillary, Ringlet and Chalk Hill Blue (and even an Emerald Green Rose Chafer) whilst contemplating the demise of the Ash trees. Six - Spot Burnet moths were much in evidence, and the elusive Essex Skipper was finally winkled out of its `lair`. By now, of the original 30 starters only a `hard core` 15 remained. The reward for this feat of stoic endurance was to be treated once again with an annual pilgrimage to local artist Mary Smythe`s delightful garden to be topped up (once again!) on tea and cake and jam and cream scones. Thank you so much for this, Mary, it was most appreciated.
The final tally was 23 species of butterfly - 24 if the Painted Lady at Mary's is included. Moths were less evident this year, but Cinnabar, Silver Y, Six Spot Burnet, Satin Grass Veneer, Straw Barred Pearl, Small Purple and Gold and Chalk Carpet were reasonable returns on what turned out to be a very pleasant and enjoyable day indeed.
(Steve Teale and Dave Harris )
Early morning around Rowlands Wood, at last lots of butterflies, even if they were only common ones, but very nice to see. Large and Small Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets all in abundance. Lots of Small Skipper and Large Skipper, possibly the most we have ever seen there. 2 x Peacock, 1 x Red Admiral, 3 x Silver-washed FritillariesGatekeepers in abundance, 1 x Silver Y. M and F Brimstone. Unfortunately despite struggling through the swamp and the jungle to a spot where we saw White Admiral last year, we failed to see one this year. (Kerry Baldwin)Just in case you missed this news about the Large Heath reintroduction in Heysham, Lancashire. You can read about it here. (Ed jnr)
Yesterday I visited Houghton Forest in the area by Whiteways café. There were the usual Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns and Gatekeeper and a male Brimstone. several male Silver-washed Fritillaries whizzed around, occasionally joining the Red Admirals and Peacocks nectaring on hemp-agrimony. I was delighted to spot a beautifully marked tiny (<10mm) micro-moth, the Bramble False-feather (Schreckensteinia festaliella). Other moths seen: Pearl Veneer (Agriphila straminella) and Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Saturday 23 July
A good selection of butterflies on Newtimber Hill this afternoon. Essex Skipper mixed in with Small Skipper and an occasional Silver-spotted Skipper. A few Chalkhill Blues, Red Admiral, Peacock, with Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. In the chalkpit there were some second generation Dingy Skipper and about a dozen Chalk Carpet. (Mark Cadey)
On a later visit to Hollingbury Park between 5 and 6pm I saw at least 8 different individual White-letter Hairstreaks down feeding on Creeping Thistle and Bramble, seen between the playing area at the bottom of the park up to the reservoir near the top of the park. All at various stages of wear, the males are worn out, quite understandably, I saw one female which looked in good condition aswell. It really seems later is better, something I've only just learnt for myself after my friends had similar success. This weekend looks like a good time to see them before the season passes by. If you visit please post your photos of White-letter Hairstreak to the sightings page or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm comparing all White-letter Hairstreaks photographed at Hollingbury Park to build an idea of their population, my findings will be shared in my upcoming Species Champion report. (Jamie Burston)
Having spent quite a lot of time in our back garden over the last 3 days (New Church Road, Hove) it seems that the white letter hairstreak season for us ended on 19 July, a day later than last year, although it also started a day later this year. In both years the last hairstreak coincided with the first Holly Blue of the second brood, so maybe they are still up high & just don't like trespassing on Holly Blue territory as there's lots of ivy and holly in & near our garden. Today was better than Wednesday and Thursday:- our local Red Admiral, a Holly Blue, reasonable numbers of Small Whites, some even pausing to nectar, and a green veined white which was the first in our garden for a long time. The wren disturbed a Large Yellow Underwing moth but it escaped and turned itself into a good imitation of a bit of dead leaf in the grass. Val kept her eye on it better than the wren. Neil mentions seeing many whites at Castle Hill today. They started arriving in good numbers in Hove on 18 July which was hot with (I think) easterly winds. Until then we'd seen very few and the Large Whites moved on. They were gone the next day. (John & Val Heys)
Small number of Silver-studded Blues seen below Smugglers (Ashdown Forest) in cloudy but warm conditions. (Donal McCarthy and Ellie Burke)
Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady seen between Birling Gap and Beachy Head today along with lots of Chalk Hill Blues. (Donal McCarthy and Ellie Burke)
I have just posted the latest Ashdown forest Silver-studded Blue Project update from Steve Wheatley on the news page. If you get the chance to visit the Ashdown forest this weekend, please look out for the Silver-studded Blue and send in your sightings, whether you see them or not. So getting on for twenty people have joined in, which is fantastic, and I would like to say a big thank you to all of them. (Ed jnr)
A check of Medmerry around the banks at Easton Lane mid afternoon found plenty of Gatekeepers, singles of Painted Lady & Marbled White, notably few Meadow Browns, Large & Small Whites, Essex & Small Skippers and good numbers of Six-spot Burnet moths. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Yesterday afternoon I visited Kithurst meadow and enjoyed the fluttering of many species of butterflies. Pristine Peacocks and Red Admirals nectared on the hemp-agrimony and Marbled Whites covered the meadow. There were a few Chalkhill Blues plus Small and Essex Skippers, Meadow Browns, various Whites, Gatekeepers, Commas and Ringlets. Moths seen: Common Wave (Cabera exanthemata), Pearl Veneer (Agriphila straminella), Red Twin-spot Carpet (Xanthorhoe spadicearia), Silver Y. I also saw a Spotted Longhorn beetle. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Some of you may have seen the White-letter Hairstreak making an appearance on 'The One Show' last night. This sequence was filmed a couple of weeks ago, on 5 July, at a site on the outskirts of Littlehampton. I had been asked to help the BBC get some close-up footage of this species, to provide the last, naturally occurring letter in the presenters' quest to spell out the programme name.
As there was a teachers' strike that day, I was able to take 12-year-old Joseph Reavey (and dad, Duncan) along, in the hope of helping him see his 50th species in the UK. Not only did we achieve this in style, Joseph had his photograph taken with presenters Mike Dilger and George McGavin! Mike rated this as one of his best butterfly experiences, as the White-letter Hairstreaks swarmed around us. I performed a count later that day and managed a tally of 88, a number which I never achieved even back in the 1970s.
This species has been one of the few to perform well this season, at least in West Sussex where it remains under-recorded. Three colonies on the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland have yielded counts of up to a dozen individuals. (Neil Hulme)
I went to site on the outskirts of Brighton this afternoon to look for the
White Letter Hairstreak. A total of three were seen, two quite worn.
Also a Red Admiral landed on the shirt of a well known local Butterfly personality
I did not know there was such a thing as a Butterfly personality! (Ed jnr)
A brief recce visit to Castle Hill NNR ahead of a weekend event for the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service (I suddenly realised I hadn't been there for 20 years!) revealed the first significant landfall of 'Cabbage Whites' this season. At least 150 Small White and a much smaller number of Large White were scattered over the Linseed Oil and adjacent crops above Woodingdean. There were several hundred male Chalk Hill Blues already flying on the reserve, but I expect this number to multiply rapidly as the species demonstrates its appreciation of the lush, nitrogen-rich growth of Horseshoe Vetch prevalent this summer. Just to keep Ed jnr happy I photographed one of the relatively few Meadow Browns I've seen this season (tens, not hundreds; and hundreds; not thousands). (Neil Hulme)
Friday 22 July
This afternoon I walked a circular from Kithurst Hill, Harrow Hill, Barpham Hill and return. There were plenty of butterflies to be seen. There was a huge amount of Small and Large White in a ripe field of oil seed rape near Lee Farm, amazing to see but impossible to photograph. Also a lot of Red Admirals and Gatekeeper and a single Wall. In Kithurst Meadow there were quite a few Chalk Hill Blue as well as Meadow Brown, Peacock, Brimstone, Marbled White, Small Skipper and Comma but no DGF or Common Blue. Small Tortoiseshell only appeared on the South Downs Way for some reason. A wonderful afternoon. (Patrick Moore)
We took our granddaughter to High & Over near Seaford for her first official butterfly walk. She's two and a half and made a good start by pointing out plenty of whites. These were all small apart from one large. She wasn't so good at seeing the others:- about 10 Red Admirals, 4 or 5 each of Meadow Browns & Gatekeepers, a Marbled White, a probable Ringlet & best of all, 14 or 15 Wall butterflies. There was also a clump of very healthy looking deadly nightshade, nicely in flower, just near the car park. (John & Val Heys)
At last things are really improving locally with some great areas covered with wild flowers giving the butterflies lots to nectar on. In one corner of a meadow on Frog Firle I saw a sight I didn't think I would see this year with several Common Blue flying with good numbers of Chalkhill Blue and a Brown Argus. On one bit of grass there were 2 male Common Blue roosting together. On approach one flew off only to return to the same spot with the other butterfly still there. Up to 4 Silver-spotted Skippers in the area as well and large numbers of Six-spot Burnet Moths. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
So... I was having a meeting at Woods Mill today with Clare Blencowe, Nigel Symington, Bob Foreman and Jonathan Crawford and we were discussing the sightings page of this website. I was complaining that I'm always too busy working and that I never have any good sightings to send in to the sightings page. Right on cue a female Purple Emperor sailed overhead and starting doing laps around us. We all sprang up and I chased her behind a bush where she flew at me and landed right next to my head; she was just a few inches away - we were staring at each other eye to eye! I've never been closer than 50ft to an emperor before (and I've never seen a female Purple Emperor) - so it was a pretty intense experience for me. Clare went into the Sussex Wildlife Trust's offices and put out a 'bing-bong' over the tannoy and made an announcement about the special visitor in the Woods Mill garden. There was a stampede of SWT staff into the garden - hopefully most people saw the Empress as she sat surveying her audience from a holly bush before heading off to find a juicy Sallow somewhere. I've had some great views of Purple Emperors in the treetops of Woods Mill this past week - including a pair of battling males who spiralled so high into the sky that I lost sight of them in my binoculars. (Michael Blencowe)
Yesterday I attended a Chalk Grassland workshop at Steyning led by Sarah Quantrill and Petra Billings. A very informative day was concluded by a tour of the Steyning Downland Scheme. We are looking forward to another good display of Brown Hairstreaks in the fenced area and were told about the work done to prepare habitat for the Duke of Burgundy when it arrives. One participant told me she believes she saw one last season. There were plenty of Six-spot Burnets and their pupa, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Cinnabar larvae on the ragwort, Small Skippers, Commas, Red Admirals, a Satin Grass-veneer and the first Chalk Hill Blue I have seen on the site. There were Dexter cattle on both areas, doing an excellent job of browsing and grazing the site. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Yesterday ( at about 3.30 pm) we were delighted to see a male Purple Emperor butterfly at Swanbourne Lake, Arundel. (On the path North West of the Lodge Tea Rooms).(Jo and Jon Bennett)
Thursday 21 July
I took a few hours to investigate a local meadow next to Warren Rd in Brighton and came across numerous amounts of Marbled White, Small Skipper butterflies. Its amazing what you can see just off a really busy road where butterflies are in their own world. Isn't nature amazing!! (Paul Simmonds)
It is indeed "The Poetry of earth is never dead" wrote John Keats . This is why the Bee banks and refuges in Brighton are such a good idea as they bring nature into the city, so nature can just do its stuff which never ceases to amaze. (Ed jnr)
I decided to have a walk through Charleston Bottom (lots of "bottoms" on the South Downs) then part of Friston Forest to Lullington Heath. It was warm and windy but not sunny so I was pleasantly surprised by the number and types that I saw. There were many Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, and at least 50 Red Admiral, several Gatekeeper and Large White and a few Comma, Peacock and Small Skipper. There were also singles of Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Dark Green Fritillary, Large Skipper, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and finally a White Admiral that was involved in a successful skirmish with a Red Admiral. A very pleasant afternoon ramble. (Stuart Ridley)
Lunchtime. The sun was out. Went to Mill Hill to look for Silver Spotted Skipper in particular, but no luck with this. Small numbers of the common species, the best being lovely Chalk Hill Blues and a Clouded Yellow steadfastly patrolling the main slope. Yesterday - not too much action in Tottington Wood, but the Silver-washed Fritillaries were magnificent as always. (Lindsay Morris)
In stark contrast to yesterday's heatwave the sun had disappeared and the wind was howling along the South Down's Way at Wilmington and was posing a problem to the few butterflies on the wing. It became apparent that the path itself was offering shelter to a few brave ones and was pleased to see numerous Chalk Hill Blues, Gatekeeper, Meadow Browns, several Red Admiral and a very fresh Brown Argus. Also a Vapourer Moth. The Chalk Hill Blue pictured with open wings was probably fresh yesterday but has already sustained quite a bit of damage in the strong wind. (David Cook)
After the hyperbole of two days ago (when I reported on my excursion to Chantry Hill), yesterday was a gardening day and time for reflection. Firstly the reasonably good news regarding the state of play in my garden, the following list including all my sightings over a three day period: Small Skipper (4-5), Essex Skipper (4-5), Large Skipper(1-2), Large White (4), Small White (4), Green-veined White (1), Small Copper (1), Holly Blue (1-2), Red Admiral (2), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Comma (1), Dark Green Fritillary (1), Marbled White (3), Gatekeeper (15), Meadow Brown (15), Ringlet (3). So 16 species, and at any one time 30+ butterflies in the garden. Not bad, but last year (albeit later in July) I had approximately 100 butterflies in the garden (again, albeit 40 Gatekeeper and 25 Common Blue). Yes folks, I have written 25 Common Blue! This year, so far, no second-brood Common Blue. There is time yet. I had about 10 different first brood Common Blues, so I am waiting patiently. This year no Brown Argus and no Small Heath (both are annual). There is still time. On another subject, since I have a small colony of Essex Skippers I have been able to have a look at this species more closely. I enclose some photos (not great compared to what others send in) but do illustrate a couple of points. Although one is suppose to look at the underside of the antennae tips for glossy black (Essex Skipper) there are 2-3 other points I would mention (I know others have done so before). The Essex Skippers' antennae are generally a bit shorter, a bit fatter and the distal third looks like a fat cylindrical club. The distal third is not angulated but very straight. Small Skippers have slightly longer antennae, the distal end is spatula in shape and there often seems to be a distinct angle between the proximal two thirds and the distal third. Anyway, for what its worth I thought I would add my two pennyworth. Martin (Martin Kalaher, Storrington)
On my way home after a hard morning`s work as a volunteer at RSPB Broadstone Warren reserve (pulling bracken on the hottest day of the year so far!) I decided to look for silver studded blues on Ashdown Forest. I stopped for a short while at Hollies car park and was fortunate to find 1 male and 1 female in the expanse of cross-leaved heath and bell heather just off the track leading southwards from the car park. (Stuart Ridley)
Wednesday 20 July
Stop the press...relax, take a breath and sit down.
There was a Common Blue in St Leonards Forest this afternoon! Just one but still a Common Blue, hopefully the first of many, many more.
It was absolutely baking, I could hear Gorse seed-pods cracking open in the heat. There were plenty of butterflies 17 species in all however only one each of quite a few including; Marbled White, Peacock, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Heath, Small White and Speckled Wood. Plenty of Meadow Brown some really faded and Ringlet.
Others included Gatekeeper, Purple Hairstreak, Large White, Small, Essex and Large Skipper, Red Admiral and Comma who were very active and aggressive. (Patrick Moore)
We decided it would be too hot going off to look for the more exotic butterflies & spent a lot of the day in our back garden in New Church Road, Hove. What a day it turned out to be - 5 different types of butterfly, which is pretty unusual for this location. Small Whites flitted in and out from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm. At around 10.30 am I was amazed to see a Marbled White fly west to east (against the wind). We've been here over 25 years and I don't recall ever seeing one this far in the urban area before, but I'll have to check my records. Between 11 am & 6.30 pm a Red Admiral based itself mostly in the back garden although it did pop round to the front at least once. As we were having coffee at 11.15 am Val spotted a white letter hairstreak on the lawn under the apple tree & we had a few other brief hairstreak sightings later on. At 1.30 pm, a day later than last year, our first second-brood Holly Blue appeared and it (probably the same one) flitted around every now and then until 6.55 pm. We hoped for a Large White to make it 6 different butterflies, but despite there being quite a few in Wish Park yesterday, these all seem to have moved on - I didn't see any of them in the park today either. (John & Val Heys)
Of interest today while having lunch at the Level in Brighton I saw a Skipper Butterfly species - Small Skipper most likely? Sorry don't do photography so no photo. It was working it's way along the line of flowering plants between the skate park and the cafe. Haven't heard of Skippers being seen in the city before, is this unusual?
Both Essex and Small skippers colonise coarse grassland. There is a Bee bed and research station on the north-west corner of the park which would be ideal for skippers.Brighton and Hove City Council should be commended for their efforts to introduce wild life into the city.(Ed jnr)
Having visited the lake in Abbott's Wood, looking for Odonata, we saw the following butterfly species on our walk back to the car park from the lake:
White Admirals 4, Silver-washed Fritillaries 8, Large Whites 2, other white spp c4, Meadow Browns c12, Ringlets 2, Red Admirals 3.
This was the hottest day of the year so far, and we were walking from 1:00 - 3:00pm. Perhaps too hot for butterflies, or maybe there weren't many around.
mon 18/7/2016 Red Admiral. at 12.13pm after flying over beach it settled on seaweed, it could have been seeking moisture or even salt? it was earlier seen flying along tide line. another Red Admiral was seen to head out to sea heading in a SSE direction. sightings seen on Eastbourne beach. TV 609 997 (PETER FARRANT)
At the end of the first week in May we saw the start of a significant influx of Red Admirals from mainland Europe. These butterflies clearly enjoyed the excellent breeding conditions provided by lush nettle growth, which developed through late spring and early summer. We are now seeing the fruit of their labours as smart, new Red Admirals appear in ever increasing numbers. I'm now seeing them almost everywhere I go. I photographed a few of those I saw around the beautiful Hammer Pond at Knepp yesterday, while hoping for a Purple Emperor to land; which it did the previous day, much to the delight of a visiting group from 'A Focus On Nature' www.afocusonnature.org The Knepp Emperors are still going well and Matthew Oates reached an impressive tally of 46 yesterday. While 2016 may prove to be a rotten year for most butterfly species, the autumn might be really spectacular for the Red Admiral. (Neil Hulme)
Tuesday 19 July
Seen in Wish Park Hove, on my way back with the papers around 7.45 am, a Red Admiral, which was a good omen. Later at about 9.30 am, in our garden nearby, a White-letter Hairstreak sunbathing on the apple tree (they like this tree - it's very sheltered) and several Small Whites. Between 11.00 am and 1.30 pm, back in Wish Park reasonable numbers of both small and Large Whites flitting past plus a Peacock on patrol near the cafe. To prove that things are looking up, as we drove from Hove to Worthing in the afternoon more whites and maybe half a dozen darker butterflies crossed our path or flew nearby. (John & Val Heys)
While staying for the weekend with a friend in Maresfield we had a lovely encounter with a male Purple Emperor. It stayed just ahead of us for ten minutes as we walked along a sandy track near Cackle Street in the Ashdown Forest. It stopped often on the ground just a couple of feet away from us exploring the track surface with its tongue. It was amazing to be so close to such a beautiful creature.
On another note thank you to the 19 people who came along to the Bevendean Blues walk on sunday. We often worry that this urban fringe site is overlooked. There may have been less chalkhill blues than on previous BC walks here as they only started to emerge on thursday but we hope that more people now realise what a good piece of butterfly habitat Bevendean down is.(Tessa Pawsey)
On Friday (15 July) I was joined by 30 children and 6 adults from Laughton Community Primary School for a visit to our Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood reserves. The sight of so many happy youngsters rushing around spotting and learning to identify butterflies and other wildlife is always a welcome relief from the pressures of trying to save our rarer species from disappearing. It is, not least, a reminder of the importance of the conservation work we do, protecting what we can for future generations to enjoy. On the way home I stopped off at Springhead Hill, where I saw my first Chalk Hill Blue of the year and the unfurling flowers of Round-headed Rampion (aka Pride of Sussex). (Neil Hulme)
A quick look at Eartham Woods this morning by bike produced plenty of Red Admirals, Meadow Browns, a few Ringlets & Silver-washed Fritillaries, a Comma or two, a single White Admiral, Skippers and a couple of Brimstones. (Bart Ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
The morning started well with Essex Skippers in the garden nectaring on Birdsfoot Trefoil. I have all three meadow Skippers in the garden currently with Essex Skipper in the majority. I decided to do a comprehensive survey of Chantry Hill and tramped across the downland for three and a half hours. It was all quite magical. The flora is lovely with Marjoram, Self Heal and Small Scabious the dominant plants but with also several hundred Pyramidal Orchids. I have never seen so many butterflies, ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The main point of the exercise was to count the Dark Green Fritillaries of which there were 212. Just to remind you one in 2012, 30+ in 2013, 30+ in 2014, 140 in 2015 and now 212 in 2016. They were everywhere. It doesn't stop there. I estimated 3-4,000 Marbled Whites and 3-4,000 Small Skippers. The numbers were truly astonishing. Otherwise 400 Meadow Brown, 17 Red Admiral, 3 Brimstone and assorted others. On the dark side, just one Small Heath and three Common Blue (2f &1m). I even managed to see a couple of Silver-washed Fritillaries in an area where I haven't seen them before. Chantry Hill is just awesome and I congratulate Neil Hulme for all the effort he has put in together with Charles Francis (the farmer) and the South Downs National Park, both those employed and all the volunteers that have done such sterling work over the years. Oh, and the cattle without which the changes/improvements would not have happened. I also saw a Hummingbird Hawk Moth that I saw on my Chantry Hill walk Martin Kalaher, Storrington. (martin kalaher)
Today I joined Mark Colvin at Houghton Forest where we saw dozens of Red Admirals along one path. Silver-washed Fritillaries rushed past and a White Admiral fluttered around one section, periodically resting in a tree, then settling on the ground. There were many Ringlets, some Large Skippers, Essex Skippers, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Whites. Moths seen: Garden Grass-veneer, Pearl Veneer, Long-winged Pearl. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
I visited Hollingbury Woods this afternoon to reacquaint myself with White-letter Hairstreaks after a gap of more years than I care to remember!
There were a few to be seen mainly around the "Walnut Tree" north of the tennis courts next to the open parkland. There were also Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Comma, Large and Small White, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper and a Small Skipper to be seen.
I was a pleasure to meet other enthusiasts including Jamie Burston. Kind Regards to you all. (Patrick Moore)
A Comma Butterfly spotted early afternoon Valley Gardens, Brighton on 17/07/16. A small maintained, council-run patch between two busy roads in the centre of the city. (Andy Parkin)
As I sat under a tree in Brighton's Norfolk Square today, on Western Road, just before 1pm, eating my lunch & contemplating whether to cycle up to Hollingbury to try to see my first ever White Letter Hairstreak, imagine my surprise when I just happened to spot three small, brown butterflies fluttering around the short grass. Close inspection revealed them to be White-letter Hairstreaks and sure enough, as I looked up, there was an Elm tree across the Square & a couple White-letter Hairstreaks fluttering around the branches! Amazing! I also saw my first Marbled Whites of the season in the Lewes Road cemetery this lunchtime. A great start to the week but sadly no camera to hand! (Kelly Westlake)
Female Silver-spotted Skipper at High and Over. She was a little marked so may have been out for a couple of days. There was also a stunning fresh 2nd brood Brown Argus there. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Regular encounters with Silver Washed Fritillaries at Southwater Woods today.Only 3 White Admirals noted. (Dave Browne)
Silver-washed Fritillaries at the end of Bloomer's valley in the garden (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
A Monarch butterfly seen resting on a bay tree in our garden . It was seen by 3 of us and observed for less than a minute before it flew off west towards beacon hill . Unfortunately unable to get a photo in such short time . (Amanda Connolly )
We've been for a holiday in rural Wiltshire and it didn't seem great for butterflies there either. Usually we see a sprinkling of different types in our friend's garden but there were very few this time. Today, back home in our garden in New Church Road, Hove, we had better luck. In the morning, two Small Whites at the same time (wow!). In the afternoon I thought I might have seen something when I looked up from watching the tennis on TV, so I wandered down to the end of the garden and was just about to stroll back when I saw a White-letter Hairstreak on a bramble flower. It was still there when I'd fetched my camera and even though disturbed a couple of times it kept coming back to the brambles. I was even able to tempt it off the blossoms onto my hand. All this happened between 4.40 pm and 4.55 pm, when the weather was still, very warm and mostly sunny. (John & Val Heys)
Monday 18 July
With Regard to Johnathan Crawford's post about White Admirals I managed to see two at Park Corner Heath on 06/07/16 one at distance and another close up pic. attached
Thanks Arthur, I know Jonathan quite well and to be honest, he is not much good at spotting butterflies. (Ed jnr)
The Bevendean Blues Walk on Saturday was attended by 18 people with ages ranging from a few months old to over 85 years After all the varied weather forecasts the day was sunny and warm. The species seen were Speckled Woods,
Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, Gatekeepers, smal coppers, Brown Argus, chalkhill blues, Large Skippers, Small Skippers,small and Large Whites, Dark Green Fritillary, Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshell.
Bevendean down was one of the late Colin Simmonds favourite sites. When the dew pond was restored we named it Simmonds Pond. Colin was a founder member of Sussex Butterfly Society and a former chairman.
All pictures taken by Sarah Stevens (Geoff Stevens)
The guided events to see Purple Emperor at the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland www.kneppsafaris.co.uk concluded today, with a walk for 'A Focus On Nature' (AFON) www.afocusonnature.org Over the six events I've been involved with, mostly co-led by Matthew Oates, we've seen a few more than 200 Emperors.
There have been many highlights and a significant increase in the number of grounded butterflies this season. Only yesterday I saw a huge, freshly emerged Empress on the surface of the green lane, and before I arrived today some of the AFON group had photographed a pristine male on a cowpat. Significantly, this is at least the third sighting of a male feeding on a cowpat, probably reflecting the organic nature of the Longhorn faeces at Knepp. These days, the vast majority of cowpats are probably closer in composition to Frisbees, given the level of bovine medication.
Over the last few weeks we have seen numerous Empress 'rejection drops' and one pair ended up in the grass at our feet. A more successful tryst led to a 3 hour 59 minute coupling at the top of an Oak. However, with total numbers well down on 2015 (maximum day count 61 this year), there appears to have been less violence; attacks on birds have been quite rare. Matthew and I have both already located Purple Emperor eggs and the large amount of female activity observed amongst the Sallow thickets (on-going) bodes well for next year's crop.
This year the star-of-the-show was pin-up girl Raymonda, who we believe is the most photographed Purple Emperor in history. Literally hundreds of people have seen her since she was first located as a small caterpillar in 2015, by resident Knepp ecologist and BC Sussex stalwart Penny Green. It was therefore fitting that Penny was there to see Raymonda hatch and take to the wing on Thursday (14 July), after she had ceremonially 'trousered' Knepp's owner, Charlie (Raymonda, not Penny).
Although we have now seen the best of the Emperor season, there will still be plenty of action to enjoy through the remainder of July. Winter lasts a very long time, so I will be returning again and again to drink in the magic of Knepp, at least until the cool air of autumn is reverberating to the sound of rutting Fallow bucks.
I did not see a White Admiral this weekend despite this being the principal goal having missed them in 2015. Started on Saturday at Park Heath Corner and Rowlands Wood. Saw plenty of butterflies including Silver-washed Fritillaries but no White Admirals. After that we went to Lullington Heath via Jevington (Eight Bells) where the White Admiral is listed but I had low expectations which were not exceeded. Once again we saw plenty of butterflies including enough Dark Green Fritillarys to stop counting.
After pouring through the sightings page on Sunday morning, I decided that we should head for Houghton Wood. Here we found plenty of Red Admirals, Ringlets and Gatekeepers but no White Admirals despite walking for several hours staring up at the canopy. On Bignor Hill there there was an awful lot of Green-veined White activity, which was pleasing to see. Coming home we dropped into the woods on Spithandle Lane east of Wiston, where there is wild honeysuckle and I have seen White Admirals before. However there was little moving except Whites, Silver-washed Fritillaries and a Purple Hairstreak in the canopy doing its excitations. I wrapped up the day with a visit to Mill Hill where no White Admirals have ever been recorded and did manage to see a few Chalk Hill Blues, my first of the year. (Jonathan Crawford)
Paid a visit to Hollingbury Park early this afternoon and found 3 White-letter Hairstreaks. I then moved on to Malling Down where I found plenty of Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites. Also found Red Admirals, Small Heath, Small Skipper, Dark Green Fritillary, Small White, Large White, Green-veined White and a fresh looking Holly Blue. (Chris Hooker)
Phone message this afternoon to say a Monarch butterfly in a garden in Rottingdean. Flew off in the direction of Beacon Hill LNR. (Peter Whitcomb)
To the west of Applesham Farm North Lancing there is a line of elms by the footpath - some dying, some dead, but quite a few healthy. In the canopy I was excited to see a handful of White-letter Hairstreaks. It was a case of third year lucky for me at this site, as I have had no definite sightings before. (Lindsay Morris)
With this being a late season I called up to High and Over with only a faint hope of seeing an early 2nd brood Wall Brown. I was therefore amazed to see at least 3, and possibly up to 6. This is 2 days earlier than the first 2nd brood sighting of last year and one day over a month since Nigel Symington saw the last 1st brood at Castle Hill. One of them was even willing to pose for photos!! As most butterfly watchers know, this is not usual behaviour for the Wall Brown!! (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Yesterday I visited the path by Littlehampton golf course again hoping to see White-letter Hairstreaks on the brambles. I think I saw a couple but couldn’t be sure as they flew fast and disappeared. There were Red Admirals everywhere, including a trio in a dogfight, plus Commas, Large Whites, Large Skippers and Gatekeepers and a Yellow Shell. Afterwards I visited Woods Mill and photographed Beautiful Demoiselles again, including a mating pair. I spotted a late instar Peacock larva racing across a patch of Fool’s Water Cress by the river. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Sunday 17 July
White-letter Hairstreak in the Tennis Glade at Hollingbury Woods. (Stephen Simpson)
After years of trying I finally managed a discernible image of a Purple Hairstreak
today near Shipley (Trevor Rapley)
Great views of Purple Emperors and Purple Hairstreaks at Knepp on Thursday. We were lucky enough to bump into Matthew Oates en route to visit Raymonda who pointed out 2 males fighting in the oaks by the pond and we spent a most enjoyable half hour watching their antics! (Melanie Pond)
Today I went to Hollingbury Park, I was there to cut through the park to get to the allotment, however White-letter Hairstreaks stopped me in my tracks. I saw three males flying around the canopy edge of the Tennis Glade and also whilst there I saw two females, one on Creeping Thistle at the park, along the edge of the wood, up past the ''hotspot'' going north, here more Creeping Thistle is in flower, the other female looked to attempt to lay some eggs, though I never located them. If your thinking of visiting Hollingbury Park your best chances of seeing them are tomorrow, Sunday 17 July upto the Tuesday 19 July, after which the wind is forecast to pick back up again, these three days are much better with sun or sunny intervals expected. Monday is meant to be the best day of all three. (Jamie Burston)
Following my report of the 13th, two new arrivals in Knowlands Wood today - a Holly Blue and a Brimstone - both mint specimens. Silver-washed Fritillaries abundant; White Admirals scarce. As yet no (new) Small Heath, Common Blue, Brown Argus or Small Copper. (Nick Lear)
I had a good look at Chantry Hill this afternoon with the highlights 43 Dark Green Fritillaries, 300+ Marbled Whites and my first male Chalkhill Blue. There were also 80-100 assorted Skippers but just three Common Blues and a handful of Small Heath. Otherwise the usual assortment. The Fritillary count was a minimum count with a likely total closer to 60 or so. It is not an easy site for one person to cover. Probably 75% of the DGF were females and they were intent on egg-laying and not flying much. I've never seen so many Marbled Whites at Chantry Hill. . (Martin Kalaher, Storringtonr)
A look of Houghton Forest this morning in bright sunshine and calm conditions!! Half a dozen Marble Whites by the meadow path with Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns along the brambles. On the rides were Red Admirals, in good numbers, Silver-washed Fritillaries, Large Skippers, Small Skippers, a solitary White Admiral, a few Speckled Woods, Ringlets and a rarity for me this year, three Commas. Finally as I was leaving a Purple Emperor flew around the trees at TQ0016110978. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Lancing Ring and Steep Down - 15 species, the highlight being a lone Chalkhill Blue, 20 Small Tortoiseshells, 52 Marbled Whites and 58 Red Admirals (as predicted by Mr Hulme!). (Lindsay Morris)
A single fresh-looking White-letter Hairstreak seen in my Brighton garden today. It rested for a few seconds on a climbing rose but was off again as soon as I laid hands on my camera. (Caroline Clarke)
Yesterday I did my Mill Hill transect: first Chalkhill Blue of the season, Comma, Gatekeeper 18, Green-veined White 2, Marbled White 11, Small White 1, unidentified Whites 9, Meadow Brown 14, Peacock, Red Admiral 11, Small Tortoiseshell, Six-spot Burnet, Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana). Outside the Cement Works on the A283 I found an Essex Skipper, a Six-spot Burnet and a Crescent Plume (Marasmarcha lunaedactyla). At Woods Mill I watched a male Common Darter, a female Blue-tailed Damselfly and 5 Beautiful Demoiselles (4 males, 1 female). Two of the males displayed vigorously at each other. I also found my first Golden Argent (Argyresthia goedartella), a small 10mm moth that kept returning to the tip of a leaf and flashing its wings open, presumably to attract a mate. There were caddis and mayflies on the reeds. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Old Lodge Nature Reserve, Ashdown Forest next to the stream and larger pond.
Colin Knight reports that the unknown moth is a Brown China-mark (Elophila nymphaeata). (Ed Jnr)
On the North and west slopes of Wolstonbury Hill late Wednesday (Peter Lovett)
On Monday morning (11 July) I led a walk for Steyning U3A at Eartham Wood. Unfortunately the weather was against us, although we still managed to winkle out a White Admiral from amongst the Ringlets and Meadow Browns. As always, the Steyning group was great company, but next year I'll design a walk for them which is weatherproof.
Brian Henham stayed on with me after lunch and the sun eventually broke through, bringing this beautiful wood to life. Rob Thurlow and his Forestry Commission colleagues have done a brilliant job in reshaping Eartham over the last decade; it is now far better for butterflies than it ever was in my youth. However, in line with results almost everywhere, numbers were disappointingly low. It was a case of quality rather than quantity, with lovely specimens of White Admiral and both male and female Silver-washed Fritillary seen. Although there were plenty of Ringlets flopping about, their numbers are still much lower than seen here in most years.
The one species which put on a really good show was the Red Admiral. The significant influx of spring migrants has clearly made the best possible use of lush nettle growth. Expect to see large numbers in some areas, as a major hatch appears to be underway.
We finally located our main target when a male Purple Emperor sailed majestically into sight and did a couple of circuits around some Sallows. I was delighted to get a call from Brian the following day, telling me of his exploits with an Eartham Emperor, which gave the best 'Purple Emperor on hand' shots I've ever seen. (Neil Hulme)
Saturday 16 July
14 July 2016: On a 6-8pm visit to the dew pond of Wild Park I was finally treated to my first views of Purple Hairstreak, the most I saw at once was three individuals, often seen dog fighting and basking with the vast majority of activity on the surrounding Ash trees. My photos show one of the male Purple Hairstreaks basking in the Ash canopy, whilst the other shows the beautiful master Oak which they call home. To be honest it's a rather poor show compared to other sightings from elsewhere in Sussex. I've also included two photos of White-letter Hairstreak in the Elm canopy, taken back on the 13 July, these show one sitting and the other illustrating their typical behaviour of leaning their wings, at such an angle they could almost be flush with the leaf, this of course it to catch the most of the sun, so they can pick another fight with another male! (Jamie Burston)
While on holiday from Cornwall, I accompanied my father Roy Symonds on a visit to Houghton Forest (SU9911). The weather was overcast but warm with some sunny spells, the temperature reaching 17°C. The lack of full sunshine did not seem to deter many butterflies with 15 species recorded during a long 3 hour circular walk. Ringlets were flying everywhere, while there were high numbers of Red Admirals including four which were either feeding on or in the close vicinity of faeces. Silver-Washed Fritillary's were feeding on Bramble blooms and almost all were fresh. White Admirals would glide from the trees to feed in the larger areas of Bramble. I was also pleased to record my first Essex Skippers this year.
Totals: Large White 3, Small White 6, Holly Blue 1, Ringlet 186, Meadow Brown 14, Gatekeeper 1, Speckled Wood 1, White Admiral 7, Comma 3, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 31, Silver-Washed Fritillary 18M 2F, Large Skipper 14, Small Skipper 2, Essex Skipper 2. (Richard Symonds)
Thanks Richard. Hope you get to see some Purple Emperors whist you are here. (Ed jnr)
This afternoon Trevor Rapley and I called in at the Knepp Castle Estate where we were were surprised to meet Neil Hulme, who had the same objective as ourselves of seeking Purple Emperors. We joined forces and soon saw several females and one male Purple Emperor in flight. Two or three of the females landed on Sallow, one of which was spotted by Neil laying a single egg. (Douglas Neve)
Lovely Peacock along the green at Tamarisk Way, East Preston. (David Sargent)
The University of Sussex is in the South Downs and there is a good range of butterflies to be seen on campus, although I have never seen Chalk Hill Blues, Adonis Blues, Silver-spotted skippers or other real downland species other than the Dark Green Fritillary. The university also owns a few fields adjacent to campus, including the field that these photos were taken in, known as the "Research Trials Plot", which is used for ecological research and where my lab (LASI: Laboratory of Apiculture & Social Insects) maintains an apiary. The field is cut once a year and has long grass plus lots of wild flowers including black knapweed and bramble in abundance. There are the two most used for butterfly nectaring at the moment. I am also carrying out an experiment on butterfly height preferences in this field, and began the summer's research on 14 July. The butterflies I saw were Marbled White (very abundant), Small/Essex Skippers (very abundant), Meadow Brown (abundant), Ringlet (moderate numbers), Gatekeeper (a few, freshly emerged), Large Skipper (a few), Large White (a few), Green-veined White (a few), Red Admiral (one seen), Small Tortoiseshell (one seen, freshly emerged).
(Francis Ratnieks Professor of Apiculture, University of Sussex)
On Thursday morning I checked the path that runs by the Littlehampton Golf Course for White-letter Hairstreaks. I saw one here on 17th July last year nectaring on brambles and that is where I spotted one yesterday. They can spend over 10 minutes walking over a flower head, so can be difficult to see unless they fly. This one landed 3 meters away while I waited for some action. I also saw a mass of tiny (2mm) larvae with eggs underneath a hogweed leaf. In the afternoon I visited Houghton Forest and found a hotspot where four male Silver-washed Fritillaries were nectaring on brambles. There were plenty of Red Admirals along the paths, some attracted by the plentiful dog faeces. I was pleased to find my first Essex Skipper of the year, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Small Whites, Large Skippers and a Peacock. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Friday 15 July
Cissbury?Chanctonbury area today produced a comparison of old and young Painted Ladies.
There were also plenty of Red Admirals, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Marbled White. As well as Small Tortoiseshell, Small, Large and Essex Skipper a few Gatekeeper and a single Small Heath. No DGF or Blues. (Patrick Moore)
After some warm sun today I checked Friston Gallops again today and yes finally sighted a Chalk Hill Blue, yes just one along with good numbers of Marbled Whites also Meadow Brown,Small and Large Skipper,Red Admiral,Ringlet and Small White (Arthur Greenslade)
Went walking on Beachy Head this afternoon looking for locations for some habitat shots for the 'Butterflies of Sussex'. In spite of a strong wind I saw 10 butterfly species. Marbled Whites in great abundance, Large Whites and Large Skippers plentiful, 1 Painted Lady, 2 Chalkhill blues and 1 each of Dark Green Fritillary, Red Admiral and Comma. Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns completed the list. And the Field Scabious was covered with nectaring 6-spot burnet moths. No pictures because of the wind! (Nigel Symington)
A walk in Southwater woods on what felt like the best day of summer so far produced scores of Meadow Brown, a great many Gatekeepers, quite a few Ringlet, together with Skippers, Peacocks, Commas, Large and Small White, Marbled Whites, a single (and very welcome) White Admiral, and something in the region of eight or ten Silver-Washed Fritillaries. The latter species appear to be constantly on their way to somewhere else, and are all capable of rapid acceleration at the first sight of a cameraman!!
For your information, the bridleway running east off Malpost road at TQ141254 is virtually impassable due to the depth of mud and water (Gerry Slack)
A good number of Silver-washed Fritillaries flying at Chiddingfold forest
today, both male and female.
Thursday 14 July
Houghton Forest Tuesday 12th July. A short visit before the cloud rolled in produced, Silver-washed Fritillary 2, Comma 1, Large White 2, Large Skipper 2, White Admiral 1, also Ringlets and Meadow Browns. Most surprising was at one time there were 6 Red Admirals on the floor at the same time, all in pristine condition.
Today 13th I followed up with a walk around Eartham Woods I counted 41 Red Admirals, there does seem to have been a large emergence in the last few days. One butterfly the warm winter helped?
Also seen, SWF 9, Comma 3, Large White 2, Small White 3, White Admiral 3, Large Skipper 8, Marbled White 1, Speckled Wood 3, One of the Sliver-washed Fritillaries was a Valezina. (Paul Day)
St Leonards Latest.
I walked this afternoon in sunshine and showers in St Leonards Forest. There were plenty of Ringlet, less Meadow Brown and quite a few Small Skipper.
There were also a few Large Skipper and Gatekeepers. Also a single Silver-washed Fritillary, Red Admiral and Large White. But where are the Blues? (Patrick Moore)
Mixed weather but I went to look for Chalkhill Blues at Friston Gallops, today after a good 1.5 hr walk no luck in finding my target species but did see good numbers of Marbled White Small Skipper and Meadow Brown a few Gatekeeper Large Skipper, a couple of Forrester Moth and a single Silver Y and a first for me this year a Small Copper. (Arthur Greenslade)
It's not all gloom. I spent a happy two hours in Knowlands Wood, Barcombe this morning. Between 9.00 and 11.00 am, I saw and photographed Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, White Admiral (only one seen), Red Admiral (2), Comma (1) Silver-washed Fritillary (over ten, including a laying female), Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper (I saw the first last Saturday), Meadow Brown and Ringlet. In addition I recorded and photographed White-legged and Common Blue damselflies, Beautiful Demoiselle, Southern Hawker (my firt this year), Common Darter and some Cinnabar Moth caterpillars on Ragwort. I have not yet searched for them but earlier in the week I was glad to observe a good colony of Purple Hairstreaks around the top of an oak.
Excellent (Ed jnr)
Wednesday 13 July
Two full days at Castle Hill and just two Dark Green Fritillaries..a considerable difference to the high numbers observed at this time last year! (Dr Dan Danahar)
I thought it would be hard to beat my observations of White-letter Hairstreak this year, especially due to the weather. I was most certainly wrong!!! Around midday I was up by my favourite residential elm tree, here in Hollingbury, a return visit with the aim of seeing males dog fighting in the canopy, in the morning I counted four together in flight. On this visit during a lull in activity I saw a dead leaf floating slowly down from the canopy, only by the time it reached half way did I realise it was something remarkable! This ''dead leaf'' drifted into the middle of the road where it settled. The photo above gives it away, no chance of surprising you here! Right before me I was looking at a mating pair of White-letter Hairstreaks, in the middle of the road! Male left, female right, look at the size of her abdomen! After taking a few very risky photos, myself sat in the road, I gently moved the couple to a far better place, the shelter of a low growing branch, here they stayed until separation. I will include further information and photos in an article/ piece I'll write for the website after their flight period. I'm one very happy chap, my poor parents having to put up with the madness of my excitement once I got home. (Jamie Burston)
On Monday morning I faced a gale at the top of Mill Hill as I started my weekly transect. The usual hotspot at the bottom of the hill yielded Comma, Gatekeeper 8, Marbled White 9, Meadow Brown 5, Red Admiral and Small Heath. Moths: Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata) 2, Common Grey (Scoparia ambigualis), Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis) 3 and Cinnabar larvae, plus one big, fat black adder. In the afternoon I visited Houghton Forest and saw many Ringlets, several Red Admirals, 2 Commas, several Long-winged Pearls (Perinephela lancealis), a Small Fan-footed Wave (Idaea biselata) and a Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana). The Long-winged Pearls hid underneath leaves so were challenging to photograph and I used a dock leaf on the resulting nettle stings. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Tuesday 12 July
At Wish Park, Hove a Small White was hustled west to east through the childrens' play area by the wind. At the childrens' play area on the sea front in Lancing, a Small Tortoiseshell was tough enough to battle the wind, flitting around & settling in hollows in the wood chips. (John & Val Heys)
Monday 11 July
I paid a visit to Eartham woods late this afternoon, and found many Butterflies on the wing. Red Admirals were just about into double figures. Other species seen, three Marbled Whites, two Commas and my first Gatekeeper (aka Hedge Brown) of the season. Also many Whites and Ringlets were on the wing.All seen in about an hour
While glancing out of the kitchen door to see if it really had stopped raining I was delighted to see a Scarlet Tiger moth fly rather clumsily into a myrtle bush. Butterflies being in rather short supply it cheered me up. Fingers crossed for more butterflies by next saturday for our Bevendean Blues walk. (Tessa Pawsey )
The weather forecast was poor this morning but predicted an improvement by
2.00 p.m . The weather forecast was spot on .
So took a chance and I thought maybe if Purple Emperors are peaking in emergence now, things will back up and they will be keen to be out later on with the sun . The gamble paid off with 2nd and 3rd PE grounded locally, the light was variable as they wandered around and for pics a real challenge . The Purple Emperor is certainly very variable depending on the angle of light , but always stunning . Once again this was fantastic, spending time with two pristine males . These were in better condition than the ones yesterday .So wonder if they had just perhaps emerged this morning in the Drizzle?
This time I also got some better video clips as finally got round to not shaking so much so hopefully in due course I can get a sequence put together .
So few pics for interest of His Majesties , Ashington West Sussex .
A look around at Medmerry RSPB this afternoon in sunshine and strong wind produced three Essex Skippers, a Small Skipper, ten or so Gatekeepers and relatively low numbers of Meadow Browns. There were however plenty of Six-spot Burnet moths. (bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Just as Andy Murray was winning Wimbledon a Humming-bird Hawkmoth appeared in my North Lancing garden. Fittingly so for such a "Scottish" summer. (Lindsay Morris)
I had a memorable encounter with two grounded male Purple Emperors at ,West Grinstead Saturday morning.
My encounter lasted from 10.30a.m to 11.09 a.m. enough time for "one or two" photos and some video .
The light and conditions were perfect to catch His Majesty at his best , including his fetching Orange knees .
My school boy error yesterday has been confirmed with a correct I.D. from Chris Webster Latin name is Stratiomys potamida, and it's been given the English name of Banded General. Found mainly in southern England... larvae live in ponds and ditches. Adults mostly seen on umbellifers such as Hogweed. Nationally Scarce too, though it's technically a Soldier fly rather than a Hoverfly. (and a female) (Richard Roebuck)
For a fairly short period it was both sunny and warm in Wish Park, Hove. Hoping to find the White-letter Hairstreak hot spot (if there is one), I walked slowly round all four sides of the park, but saw nothing on the wing. There was, in fact, no sign of any butterflies of any type anywhere in the park during the half hour or so that I was there. It has been a pretty poor year for butterflies in this locality.
I agree, it has been a terrible year for butterflies so far with an absolute lack of abundance across many species. Neil Hulme has just written a piece about it here which you should have a look at. (Ed jnr)
Sunday 10 July
I had a feeling that there was a slim chance of a Chalk Hill Blue today. A short visit to High and Over proved worthwhile as a beautiful fresh male Chalk Hill Blue appeared not long after my arrival. It was the only one I saw but what a beauty. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
''Hello to the Hairstreak'' guided walk at Hollingbury Park, Brighton
I arrived early to do a pre-check of the park, the weather presented overcast and windy conditions but I was pleased when I found Essex Skipper, Ringlet and Marbled Whites in long grass at the northern end of the park. Just after 11:30 myself and Carole had a group of around 18 people, fantastic to see the younger generation join in, finding butterflies. Soon after we set off from our meeting point we came across an Essex Skipper, luckily on the same Ragwort plant that I had found it on half an hour earlier, the weather was great in this respect. Heading to the northern meadow we came across Ringlets and Meadow Brown, soon moving to the Bee (Butterfly) Bank which the local rangers and volunteers helped to make. Here we saw a Gatekeeper, the first one some of our group had seen this year, including myself. There was Meadow Brown, Silver-Y and Large Yellow Underwing. Close by on nettles a Red Admiral caterpillar was found, the pale white form. In a more sheltered position I briefly saw a small sized butterfly land high in a Bramble patch, although we couldn't locate this butterfly, through binoculars a Comma was found in the same area. Carole pointed out the key diagnostic features of Elm showing how the leaves have asymmetric lobes at the stem. We saw good examples of mature elm. Walking towards the southern end of the park we saw a couple of late instar Peacock caterpillars, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and a vibrant looking Comma, the weather was idea for viewing these species, the overcast conditions meant at times they would bask with wings fully open. Now at the typical hotspot by the Walnut tree, it was a surprise to see how few plants were in flower, we soon turned to look over at the roadside Elms along the edge of the park by Ditchling Road, a few of us caught brief glimpses of movement in the Elm canopy. By now the weather was improving with the cloud lightening up, we ended up in the Tennis Glade, where sheltered from the wind, here we again saw a Ringlet and soon after that a brief glimpse of a White-letter Hairstreak up in the Elm canopy. Minutes later two males were seen, seemingly irritating each other into flight as they moved around an Ash tree. The walk was concluded as I shared photos and various facts of all four stages of the White-letter Hairstreaks life cycle. Perhaps in better weather next year we can upgrade to ''Meet and Greet the White-letter Hairstreak''. On my way home, back up in the northern meadow I found a female Large Skipper, photo attached. Thank you to Carole and to everyone who attended the walk, it was lovely meeting you all. (Jamie Burston)
And thank you too Jamie for the amazing effort you put into the White-letter Hairstreak as their species champion. (Ed jnr)
Roedale Valley allotments plot 128: Am unable to identify this butterfly seen on my allotment plot at 3.30pm and 4.30pm on Friday 8th July.
Medium sized - definitely not small. The rich, solid velvet colour caught my attention. I managed to get images via my phone with wings open and closed. It returned a number of times to settle on Geranium plants as images show. Is this a female blue? (Ray Dennis)
Thanks for your sighting Ray. The butterfly is a Ringlet. They usually live in woodlands and areas of damp grassland. The caterpillars eat course grasses so they will not be a problem on the allotment.This is their peak time but you may see a few more of them for the next month. I too saw one today in Hollingbury Park and Woods and remarked on how pretty they were for a "brown butterfly". (Ed jnr)
A very warm but overcast day but those in the air had it . On my way to walk the dogs this morning came across a Cat having a go at a Young Carrion Crow in the middle of the road At one point both were 2 feet off the ground . Luckily for the Crow the cat dived in to a hedge and the Crow flew a good distance down the road none the worse for its encounter.
In the garden a Feisty Comma was spectacular with vertical air displays with other Commas that turned up , 60 feet or more disappearing about of site before returning to his perch Any way later on spotted a spectacular large hover fly , a fantastic Wasp mimic and pretty much the same size . A species I have never seen before .
Lastly about 6.00 p.m went to check out PEs at West Grinstead station . Got half an hour of fantastic scrapping with Purple Hairstreaks and other males perhaps 5 in the locality Had another thought and a tot up but on three short walks clocked up 17 species without really trying.
Gatekeeper , Purple Hairstreak, Comma ,Peacock , Red Admiral , Meadow Brown , Large Skipper , Small Skipper, Large White , Ringlet, Large White , Marbled White , Silver-washed Fritillary , White Admiral , Holly Blue , Orange-tip chrysalis (two on same Garlic Mustard stalk) .Purple Emperor (5) .
Saturday 09 July
I saw a few Silver-Washed Fritillaries and White Admirals at Knowlands Wood near Barcombe this afternoon, in warm but rather cloudy conditions. (Andy Wilson)
This afternoon I walked in the Cissbury Ring, Monarchs Way, Canada Bottom area. There was rain at first but some sun did eventually appear. There were plenty of Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Marbled White and a few Essex Skipper, Small Skipper and plenty of Large Skippers. I watched two Small White dancing in the air and then attempting to mate, the female offering her abdomen to receive the male. (see snatched photo). There was also a Green-veined White on the northern flank of Cissbury Ring, second brood perhaps? Also Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and a Large White. Great to be on the Downs in summer.
A visit to Chiddingfold forest this on Monday produced a male Purple Emperor, who entertained for over an hour. Two others seen in the air (Trevor Rapley)
Friday 08 July
If I haven't got much on I usually find something to do in the garden and then wander about occasionally, armed with my camera. I spotted a Ringlet in the grass and since it was too cold to move I managed a respectable photograph. Later this afternoon I had 3-4 what I assumed were all Small Skippers but then one had large black clubs for antennae tips, converting it to an Essex Skipper. If the Ed disagrees I stand corrected. (Martin Kalaher)
Visited Stansted Forest (SU7411) today walking the more open tracks to search for Silver Washed Fritillary's and White Admiral. Sadly I did not see any but did see one in a nearby wood located in Hampshire. Here, though there were good numbers of Ringlets and Marbled Whites in the grassy areas. Totals: Large White (3), Small White (4), Meadow Brown (4), Ringlet (32), Marbled White (44). (Roy Symonds)
Wednesday 6 July: At 10.45 am we were sitting outside in our garden (New Church Road Hove, by Wish Park) when my wife saw a small butterfly land on the lawn. We crawled carefully nearer and it turned out to be a white letter hairstreak, a day later than last year. It stayed long enough for me fetch my camera and get one shot. We also had a Small White hanging around in the late afternoon.
Tuesday 5 July: There were a number of small butterflies in a group of elms on the north side of New Church Road by numbers 29 & 31, near St Christopher’s School. They were too high to see easily and identification isn’t helped by there being Holly Blues flying at the start of the white letter hairstreak season. At one point I could see three at the same time (at the west end by St Christopher’s) and I think they were all Holly Blues. However, I also saw a single butterfly at the east end which looked a bit darker and may have been a white letter hairstreak.
Thursday 30th June: We walked from Lancing Ring along the east slope of Steep Down and back along the west slope. Although it was rather cloudy, it was warm in sheltered areas. We must have seen over 50 of each of Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large Skipper and Silver Y moths, slightly smaller numbers of Small Tortoiseshell, 10 or so Marbled Whites, 3 Red Admirals, 2 whites (probably small), a plume moth, a Yellow Shell moth and 3 Holly Blues. Two of the Holly Blues were unusually out in rather open country in a short line of bushes and a few low trees, but both settled so we were able to be sure of their identity. There were good numbers of pyramidal orchids on parts of our route and a small area of common spotted nearing the end of their flowering.
(John and Val Heys)
Today (6 July) and Yesterday (5 July) I began surveying for new White-letter Hairstreak colonies, looking around the canopy of various elms around Hollingbury, Brighton. Across these two days I've seen a minimum of 27 White-letter Hairstreaks, across 18 different elm trees, this including Huntingdon, Wheatley and Golden Elm. Of the 18 elm trees I searched 11 of them are new colonies/ tree being used, adding to those I found last year. Reassuringly I saw 3 White-letter Hairstreaks at Hollingbury park, taking position on a smaller sized tree (photo) within one of the scalloped bays, their typical hotspot. I believe that by the end of next week at least every existing colony should see an emergence, if not already. My advice, if it's sunny with a gentle breeze, get out to look for this amazing butterfly. If your coming to the guided walk to see them this weekend please bring binoculars. (Jamie Burston)
Thursday 07 July
Found a very cooperative Purple Hairstreak at Blackbrook Wood, Ditchling Common. Not even disturbed by the Silver-washed Fritillary which regularly passed by. (Mark Cadey)
The garden was alive with butterflies this morning with 12 species in the garden: Small Skipper (1), Large Skipper (4-5), Large White (1), Small White (2), Small Copper (1), Holly Blue (1), Red Admiral (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Comma (1), Marbled White (6), Meadow Brown (15) and Ringlet (2). Six Marbled White is a record for the garden, both Small Copper and Ringlet were 'first' dates for the garden this year and the single Holly Blue was a second brood individual. (martin kalaher)
Visit to Ashdown Forest to find Silver Studded Blues met with success at three sites:
(1) 14.30 hrs On left of main ride in heather/tufted grass area, heading south from Hollies Car Park: 7M 2 F (including one mating pair)
(2) 15.10 hrs On bank of heather/tufted grass on right of the main ride heading North East from Ellisons Pond: 5M
(3) 15.40 hrs On bank of heather/tufted grass on lower main ride heading South from Smugglers Car Park; 1M, 1F
(Robert Thomas & Barry Richardson)
Purple Emperor flew into our bedroom in the morning in South Chailey. (Jennifer Brumell)
My first sighting of a Marbled White in our wild-flower meadow this year on 5 July (three of them). Very difficult to photograph as they were very lively and never rested in the same position for more than a second or two. A good day as I also spotted my first Ringlet and Small Skipper of the year. (Chris Page https://www.g4bue.com/en/Butterflies/)
Wednesday 06 July
Knepp Emperor Update: The first three days of July saw the Purple Emperor season really take-off at Knepp. On Friday evening I joined Matthew Oates to help him finish his survey of the Wildland, with the day's tally eventually reaching 22. Surprisingly, bearing in mind how early in the season it appeared to be, he had earlier seen a female being courted, although the amorous couple was separated by a strong gust of wind. While with Matthew I spotted a second female, which I can only attribute to the rare aberrant form thaumantias Cab. - or very similar. She looked like a giant, faded Painted Lady, but with normal Emperor banding (see http://apaturairis.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/strange-lady.html).
After leaving Matthew I performed a rough and ready count of Purple Hairstreak along the Green Lane, already aware that this species is continuing its spectacular comeback from a run of years in the doldrums. Despite high winds I soon reached the 100 mark.
Matthew and I led very enjoyable Purple Emperor Safaris https://www.kneppsafaris.co.uk/ here on Saturday and Sunday, seeing 30 and 34 individual Emperors, with a further five seen post-walk on Sunday. Sunday's tally included a fresh, grounded male.
Other highlights included Marbled Whites, Small Skippers, White-letter Hairstreaks, Peacock caterpillars, a variety of dragonflies, Longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs, toads, Red Kite, Common Redstart and, last but not least, Raymonda, the beautiful Purple Emperor pupa.
With warm, sunny, windless conditions on Sunday evening we decided to perform a more accurate survey of Purple Hairstreak numbers. Between 18.20 and 19.20 hours we counted them on 50 Oaks spread over the northern 1.2km of the Green lane, allowing a maximum of only 60 seconds per tree. The best number on a single tree was 15. Only six trees were barren, most of which were visibly diseased and sparsely foliated with pale, yellowish green leaves. Small and medium sized Oaks with dense, blue-green leaves were favoured. The symmetry of our stats was ruined by a total of 199.
A look in a new area on Ashdown Forest this afternoon in cloudy weather found 12 Marble Whites,50 Small Skippers,3 Large Skippers,2 Small Heaths,100+ Ringlets,100+ Meadow Browns,1 Red Admiral and couple of Large Whites.Can't wait to return in better conditions. (Alastair Gray)
Afternoon walk around Hailsham Country Park yielded Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled White, Large Skipper and Essex Skipper. Niec to see some activity here after a quiet start to the year! (Chris Hooker)
At Knepp in the southern section of the estate I managed (after much searching) to find an Oak with Purple Emperors present, at first only 2 were visible but at one point I counted 4, at least one was a female, they were active for about 20 minutes just before 2pm and on several occasions flew down into some willow scrub next to the Oak. This was my first sighting of this fantastic species. (Elliot Dowding http://www.wildlifeandwords.com)
At least five dark green fritillaries plus Marbled White, Common Blue, Meadow Brown. Couldn't photograph the fast moving dgf. Well Bottom, Beddingham. (Tim Squire)
Female Purple Emperor, 0930 05/07/16 on windows of house for 15 minutes. Storrington (B Shadbolt)
Tuesday 05 July
Single Essex Skipper, in vegetation beside footpath which runs alongside stream W of Woods Mill SWT. TQ212139. (Colin Holter)
Today (4th July 2016) Whilst sat at my computer checking my emails one came through from my friend Ben Benatt. I was amazed to read ''WLH nectaring on ox-eye daisy in front garden as I type this!''. With Ben living no more than 6 minutes away I soon left and headed over to meet him, knowing that the species when settled normally is happy for some while, I hoped it would still be around, sure enough it was. It was soon evident that I was looking at a male White-letter Hairstreak with lovely markings, some signs of wear makes me think this individual is at least a few days old at the least. It was still nectaring on ox-eye daisy when I arrived. It became apparent how sheltered the garden was compared to the wind swept canopy of the nearby elms. This individual then took flight and alighted on a nearby bush in Ben's Hollingbury garden, now viewing it as the typical dark Triangle. After a few minutes it took to the wing again only to be lost from sight. It just goes to show how important wildflowers are in gardens for supporting this species in residential areas, if you want to do just that and you have an elm tree with a possibly colony of White-letter Hairstreak nearby, planting Scabious, Wild Carrot, Wild Marjoram, or Ox-eye daisy may benefit and attract them to your garden. If you have little space, growing them in pots works well. They of course like Bramble flowers aswell.
Yesterday (3rd July 2016) I went to the dew pond at Wild Park to see if the Purple Hairstreaks had emerged, nothing seen but I did observe 3 Ringlets and nearby 2 Red Admiral chasing each other. Later around the hour of 6pm I was up at the Hill Fort and counted the following: 12 Marbled Whites, 8 Meadow Browns, 2 Large Skippers, 3 Small Skippers and 1 male Dark Green Fritillary, must have been around for a few days as damage observed to wings. This individual was flying then would stop to bask, then take off again. Sadly it was rather sensitive to my movements and would take off every time I got just within range for a photo. Heading home I observed a Ringlet flitting around the lone Oak at the northern end of Woodbourne Meadow.
A fairly cool afternoon at Friston Gallops but still many Marbled Whites and Meadow Brown to be seen also Small Heath, Small Skipper, Dark Green Fritillary and best for me a beautiful Gatekeeper. (Arthur Greenslade)
Visited Stansted Forest (SU7411) today, walking around the North West area paths hoping to see my first Silver Washed Fritillary and White Admiral. Alas none were seen. With weather conditions not ideal with sunny spells, temperature 16 degrees, no Whites were seen. Totals: Meadow Brown (8), Ringlet (10), Marbled White (11). (Roy Symonds)
Scarlet Tiger moths on Upper Lewes Road, Brighton and in the Hanover Community Centre garden on Southover Street. (Tim Squire)
On Sunday I did my Mill Hill transect: Marbled White 25, Meadow Brown 11, Small Heath 2, Ringlet 2, moths: Pretty Chalk Carpet (Melanthia procellata), Common Purple & Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Silver Y. I then visited Southwater Woods and saw a few Silver-washed Fritillaries, many Ringlets, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, a Speckled Wood, a Comma and a Red Admiral. Mark and Ian Cadey kindly showed me an egg laid by the Red Admiral. I then headed to the Knepp Estate where I watched one Purple Emperor chasing another. Later one perched at the top of an oak. I also saw many Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, and a Large Skipper. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Sunday 3rd July. Park Corner Heath and Rowlands Wood. Numerous Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Small and Large Skippers, 1 Marbled White and 1 Speckled Wood. Also Southern Hawkers and Broad Bodied Chaser. Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and a pair of Yellowhammers. I then had a quick trip up to Ashdown Forest and spotted 2 Silver-studded Blues on the heather behind Smugglers car park. A good afternoon. (Howard Wood)
Monday 04 July
Great show of Marbled Whites at Worms Wood, Middleton (SU969010) today. Other species seen were Red Admiral, Comma, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet (Paul Cox)
I checked Chantry Hill six days ago for Dark Green Fritillaries and found none but today I had eight (5m & 3f). It took awhile to find them but eventually I located them on the west-facing bank in the West Combe. The easterly breeze was a bit cold and most of Chantry Hill was very quiet. There were about 50-60 Meadow Brown and a 20-30 Ringlets (a slightly unusual species for an open downland site). Otherwise a few Small Heath and just three male Common Blue. So far there have been very few Skippers in my neck of the woods. I saw just 3-4 Large Skippers on the Hill. At home in Storrington I have had just two sightings of Large Skipper in the garden and today one Small Skipper. On my way back from Chantry Hill I had a good look in a meadow that has been left fallow for 20+ years. I counted at least 20 Marbled White but again just one Large Skipper. A final check of the garden late in the afternoon gave me a count of 17 Meadow Brown. Storrington. (Martin Kalaher)
On my mobile...
I visited Marlpost woods again late this afternoon hoping to spot Purple Emperors, alas there were none! However there were plenty of Purple Hairstreak in a lot of the oaks, great to see with binoculars but difficult to photo. There was also a lovely and very friendly White Admiral as well as Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large White and Comma.
A Red Admiral took great interest in the light on my mobile phone in the shade. (Patrick Moore)
Plenty of Meadow Browns and Ringlets too. (Sarah byrne)
Between 10-15 Dark Green Fritillaries at Castle Hill NNR today and some lovely fresh Marbled Whites. (Dave Browne)
Whilst the Purple Emperor Safari was underway elsewhere at Knepp, I had a chance encounter with a grounded male on a spot of newly refurbished track. The much needed repairs have new hard core in them that was attractive to this male. My first encounter was just after 12pm. He disappeared over the hedgerow to return some 20 minutes later having sustained some damage. (Paul Fosterjohn)
Lancing Ring & Steep Down area on a partially sunny day. 56 Small Tortoiseshells was the highlight across only ten species seen, with no blue of any kind. (Lindsay Morris)
Sunday 03 July
A right Regal day. Stumbled across this lovely White Admiral whilst following a fresh Comma sunbathing in the early morning sunshine in the wood south of Ditchling Common before heading over to Knepp where it turned out that the day's Purple Emperor safari was just getting underway lead by the royalty of butterfly experts, Neil Hulme and Matthew Oates. It wasn't a difficult decision to tag along and take full advantage of their expertise and enjoy the company of other multi national enthusiasts, albeit for just the morning session. (David Cook)
A brand new Gatekeeper in my Aunt's garden in Burgess Hill this morning. (Mark Cadey)
Today I visited Marlpost Wood west of Southwater, in between the showers there were plenty of Meadow Brown, Ringlet and a few Comma.
There was also a delightful Silver-washed Fritillary feeding on bramble, White Admiral, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Speckled Wood and a Purple Hairstreak.
Saturday 02 July
I saw a hummingbird hawk moth in my flower hanging baskets today around mid afternoon, it was very busy going from flower to flower the flowers were petunias. I have never seen one before I stood and watched it go from flower to flower for several minutes. I did not know what it was until I saw a photo of it on the internet. It also said that you wanted sightings to be reported. Regrettably I did not have my camera with me so I don't have a photo to share.
Hope that this is helpful to you (Julie Morris)
Thanks Julie, very useful. (Ed jnr)
On Thursday I headed to Iping Common to search for the Heath Tiger Beetle. This has been a target since hearing Graeme Lyons fascinating account of the reintroduction of this UK rarity by Sussex Wildlife Trust. I was fortunate to see two. The first flew up in front of me and I saw its metallic blue sheen in flight before it dived into the heather a few meters away. The second scuttled across in front of me on one of the cleared areas of heather with one years growth and plenty of soil showing. It obligingly allowed some photos to be taken before flying off and diving into the heather. I spotted two Green Tiger Beetles and found my first Heather Groundling moth (Neofaculta ericetella) plus Grey Gorse Piercer (Cydia ulicetana), Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella), Meadow Grey (Scoparia pyralella). There were plenty of Silver-studded Blues, male and female, including a mating pair. I saw two species of Sundews and another heathland specialist, the Mottled Bee-fly (Thyridanthrax fenestratus). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Small Tortoiseshell at Lower Roedale Allotments in the Hollingdean Area of Brighton (Hazel Still)
Today in St Leonards Forest there were more Ringlets than Meadow Browns. Along some rides they lifted every step I took. Most were pristine velvety dark brown. There was also a single Large White as well as Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell and an Essex Skipper. (Patrick Moore)
First Hummingbird Hawk-moth this year. Aldwick, nr Bognor Regis, late afternoon. Trying to feed at very wet Red Valerian' blooms. Stayed but 30 seconds or so, before zooming off! (Lawrence Holloway)
Thursday 30 June
A lovely sunny morning on Highdown I saw many Marbled Whites including 7 in flight in one small area, also Meadow Browns. (David Sargent)
Lancing Ring & Steep Down on a bright and breezy Tuesday provided 49 Small Tortoiseshell plus my first Clouded Yellow and Humming-bird Hawkmoth of the "summer". 14 other species seen with 30 Marbled Whites being another highlight. (Lindsay Morris)
Last Thursday I visited Arundel WWT. As soon as I arrived it started raining so I decided to explore the inside Walls of the hides and found several moths, including a new one for me: The Sycamore (Acronicta aceris). Others were Brown House Moths (Hofmannophila pseudospretella), Dark Arches (Apamea monoglypha), Little Greys (Eudonia lacustrata) and a Moth Fly. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
It doesn't take long for all that pent-up aggression to spill out, having been imprisoned in a pupa for nearly three weeks. I arrived at Knepp at 3.30pm. I saw my first adult iris of the year at 3.35pm. By 3.40pm it had attacked a Black-headed Gull, a Purple Hairstreak and a second Emperor.
I only had 20 minutes on site before the weather collapsed and I covered only 250m of the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland. However, I still managed to see five individual males, the third of which was also harassing hairstreaks. A different Purple Emperor seen on average every four minutes, while travelling over an average distance of 50m, and observed attacking innocent biodiversity at an average rate of one victim per 6 minutes 40 seconds, suggests a strong start to the season here. Numbers should be very good by the time of the first Knepp Purple Emperor Safari at the weekend www.kneppsafaris.co.uk
It was also encouraging to count a minimum of nine Purple Hairstreaks during this brief visit, including a bundle of five. This suggests another good start, following last year’s recovery. Both Purple species were spotted here on the previous day (27 June) by Matthew Oates.
Turned out early this morning to walk the local meadow and was pleased to see my first Small Skipper of the year. This particular meadow had a very slow start but it now seems to be catching up. Large numbers of Meadow Browns as well. (David Cook)
Wednesday 29 June
Quite sunny and warm out of the wind in Hove from about 8.00am to 3.30pm, but not a lot on the wing. At Hove Park in the morning the specially created little butterfly bank was flowering well with plenty of suitable butterfly food plants, although no butterflies on or near it. There was a Meadow Brown by the children’s play area and an unexpected Holly Blue near the tennis courts and cafe. Is it very late or very early? In our garden, no butterflies and none just beyond our garden on the butterfly bank in Wish Park (nor anywhere else in the park). Although judging by last year it’s probably a bit early still in the Wish Park area, we are on the lookout for white letter hairstreaks. However, our chances of seeing any in 2016 may be quite low, if the elm behind our garden which was cut down just after their flight period last year (despite it not being diseased) was their main tree. (john a heys )
Apologies for a late report but I saw three Purple Emperor males at Knepp Wildlands on Tues 27th. The butterfly also appeared at Bookham Common, Surrey, then. Today, I managed two Sallow searching males in an hour mid-morning, and Neil Hulme counted five in 20 minutes before the sun was lost in mid-afternoon. This summer is in need of redemption, only the Emperor can provide it... (Matthew Oates)
I was messing about in my wild flower meadow when a male Large Skipper appeared in front of me. I went for my camera but by the time I got back it had gone. I usually record Large Skipper in the middle of the month. This year was 15 days later than previous 'first sighting' records. Within half an hour a Marbled White popped in and nectared for a while. Later on there were two MWs. Otherwise, 12 Meadow Browns and one Red Admiral. Martin Kalaher, Storrington. (martin kalaher)
I visited the Police training site in Ashdown Forest today. It was pretty breezy but managed to find 10 Silver-studded Blues, thinly distributed across the site. Plenty of Small Heaths, Meadow Browns and Silver-Ys, and I saw a Green Hairstreak at TQ425304, ...but where are all the other Silver-studded Blues in Ashdown Forest?!?
(Steve Wheatley http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/conservation/silver-studded-blues/)
After visting Iping Common, crossed over to Stedham Common (SU8521),where despite searching I was unable to locate any Silver Studded Blue. I must have been searching in the wrong areas. Totals: Meadow Brown (7), Large Skipper (2). (Roy Symonds)
Visited Iping Common (SU8422) last Friday where the weather was much better than my last visit. Many Silver Studded Blues were flying including a mating pair. Totals: Silver Studded Blue (54M 2F), Large Skipper (1). (Roy Symonds)
Tuesday 28 June
On Friday I did my Mill Hill transect: Adonis Blue, Marbled White 4, Meadow Brown 7, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small Heath 10, Small Tortoiseshell, moths: Yellow Shell, Silver Y 4. I then visited Woods Mill and found four more Dingy Flat-body larvae in various stages of spinning their cocoons (Depressaria daucella), Nettle-taps (Anthophila fabriciana), a Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella) and a Brown China-mark (Elophila nymphaeata). Today I joined Mark Colvin at Chiddingfold Forest. We saw many Large Skippers, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, a Brimstone, Silver-washed Fritillaries travelling fast and White Admirals nectaring on brambles, plus Garden Grass-veneers (Chrysoteuchia culmella). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Took a walk around Arlington Reservoir late this afternoon and found several Meadow Browns along with 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Large Skippers and single sightings of Large White, Red Admiral, Marbled White and Ringlet. (Chris Hooker)
This afternoon I saw my first Dark Green Fritillary of the season. Seen near Birling Gap (Trevor Rapley)
A single immaculate Painted Lady today at Ardingly Reservoir in grassland on the Wakehurst estate arm of the reservoir, my first this year. (Elliot Dowding http://www.wildlifeandwords.com)
Iping Common....Ringlet, Meadow Brown, many Silver-studded Blues and a photograph of a "Single-studded Blue". (David Tomlinson http://www.davidtomlinsonphotos.co.uk)
Extremely pleased to see my first adult White-letter Hairstreak of 2016, a stunning male found on Huntington Elm in Hollingbury, this being on the same tree where I photographed the young caterpillars earlier in the year. Hopefully the weather will be kind come the 9th July for the White-letter Hairstreak walk myself and Carole Mortimer are putting on at Hollingbury Park, hope to see you there. Whilst on the subject of White-letter Hairstreak, please would anyone who sees a White-letter Hairstreak send in your records, we can only gauge how well the species is faring if we get a fuller picture of what is happening. For those of you who might not want to share due to their location, you can email me the details of your sightings directly, that way I can still receive the data but keep treasured sites private. Information such as the date, location name and grid references of the site or individual tree used and the number of individuals seen is extremely useful information to have on record, many thanks. Email me at: email@example.com (Jamie, White-letter Hairstreak Species Champion) (Jamie Burston)
What a difference a fortnight makes. Knowlands Wood, Barcombe is now well stocked with Meadow Browns. Silver Y moths abound; I have never known them so plentiful. Ringlets have appeared in the past week and this morning i saw the first Marbled White in the wood (others seen earlier around the farm). The odd Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. I have been watching for the two woodland ride specialists and today rewarded with several Silver-washed Fritillary sightings (all too elusive for a picture) and two White Admirals in a little dogfight, one of which stayed for a photo. (Nick Lear)
A Silver Y moth spotted in our wild-flower meadow and a small unknown moth(?) on a wayfarer tree leaf in the hedge around the meadow. Another unknown moth, about the size of a yellow underwing, that I disturbed in our barn (a night flying moth?). Can anyone identify the two moths, please? (Chris Page)
Monday 27 June
I returned to Iping Common on Sunday and was joined by Mark Colvin. We spotted many Silver-studded Blues in most of the areas we visited. We also saw our first Ringlets of the season. Moths seen: Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata), Inlaid Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella), Clouded Buff (Diacrisia sannio), Rosy Tabby (Endotricha flammealis). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
On Saturday I joined nine BC members at Iping Common for our annual Silver-studded Blue walk. We first visited Stedham Common and saw male SSBs, and two mating pairs. One of our eagle-eyed ladies spotted a Knot Grass larva (Acronicta rumicis) below a Four-spotted Chaser that we were watching. On Iping Common we saw many male and female SSBs. Moths seen: Common Heaths (Ematurga atomaria), Common Grey (Scoparia ambigualis), Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella), Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata) and several Heather Knot-horns (Pempelia palumbella). A Slow-worm, a Green Tiger Beetle, three Wood Larks and a Yellow Hammer were other highlights. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Visited the Ashdown Forest this afternoon but unfortunately it was very cloudy. I started off exploring the area near the Smugglers car park and my persistence was eventually rewarded when I found a Silver Studded Blue as well as a very large black Adder. I also found a Small Heath and a Large Skipper. They were to be my only butterflies of the afternoon although I did find several promising areas for the blues which I hope to return to when the weather is brighter.
Thanks Chris. You can download a detailed PDF of historic Silver Studded Blue sightings in the Ashdown Forest here, which you may find useful. (Ed jnr)
Spent the afternoon in the Cradle Valley opposite the Rathfinny vineyards. It is one of my favourite places for butterflies, but when we arrived the wind was blowing fiercely down the valley and I expected that the trip would be a disappointment. However there are enough warm sheltered spots for butterflies to seek refuge in and as the afternoon progressed the wind abated a little. We saw quite a few Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and Marbled Whites. We saw plenty of Small Skippers and at least one Essex Skipper (I have the muddy knees to prove I did the antennae test). We saw three Ringlets, several Red Admirals ,one Small Tortoiseshell, a couple of Painted ladies and a Speckled Wood. By then end the Common Blues were out in force and I may have seen a Small Blue but am not going to count it nor the distant white. We also saw a very frenetic Dark Green Fritillary dashing about and a Clouded Yellow dashed past us at a hundred miles an hour in the breeze. There were also plenty of orchids about and we were wondering about the one in the photo.
Clouded Yellow in Seaford (Roy Neeve)
Just to let you know that you will be able to vote for "a picture for the month of June" between the 28th to the 30th of this month. I am really looking forward to seeing James Arnott's shortlist. He's had some great pictures to choose from. Thank you for sending them in.
Also - don't forget to read about the Ashdown Forest project (see latest updates). After all this is really what Butterfly Conservation is about.
Sunday 26 June
Great walk today with Colin Knight at Stedham and Iping Commons, target species Silver Studded Blues and Common Heath Moth.
We saw lots of Silver Studded Blues including two mating pairs. After a rain and lunch break we resumed our search.
Thank you Colin! (Richard Stephens)
I spent a delightful morning at Lullington Heath today and serenaded by Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Whitethroat saw some stunning butterflies: Dark Green Fritillaries, Marbled Whites, Ringlets, Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells, Painted Ladies and Large Skippers. Also, not quite so stunning Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and Common Blues. There were numerous Silver Y moths and several Cinnabar moths. Someone has put a sturdy new bench on the ridge area dedicated to 'Flinty Pete' which was great for lunch and panoramic views over the heath. (Anna Grist)
3 Male Silver-studded Blues seen at Hollies left of main track,and a single male below Smugglers car park,Ashdown Forest,East Sussex.And an amazing 263 Silver Y Moths counted.
Thanks Alastair. Steve Wheatley will really appreciate that sighting for the Ashdown Silver-studded Blue project. Please keep them coming. (Ed jnr)
Saturday 25 June
A fresh-looking Holly Blue in my Crawley garden today. (Vince Massimo)
On a walk around Ebernoe Common reserve (SU 9755 2783) today saw my first White Admiral of the season, on Blackberry flowers in a clearing under Power Lines. Elsewhere in the wood things were fairly quiet with only a few Speckled Woods, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Large Skipper seen. However, the Furnace Meadow area was looking good in the sunshine with good numbers of Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, Silver Y's, half a dozen or so Essex Skippers, a couple of Common Blues and Small Heaths, a Ringlet and a Small Tortoiseshell. Nice to have some warmth and sunshine! (Colin Booty)
I found both a Marbled White and a Silver-washed Fritillary at High Beeches Woodland and Water Garden, Handcross, RH17 6HQ (Sarah Bray http://www.highbeeches.com/)
Male Silver-washed Fritillary found by the trustee Sarah Bray and seen by myself in the Magnolia garden in High Beeches garden Handcross at 12.30pm todad (Jim Joyce)
Friday 24 June
Beside River Gotham north of Rickney TQ 628071
Small Tortoiseshell 9, Meadow Brown 5.
Nice to find an emergence of new brood Tortoiseshells, especially after last summer's non event. That's about as exciting as it got for me in Sussex this week! (Andy Bolton )
Birling Gap, nr. Belle Tout TV 565955.
Large Skipper 6,Meadow Brown 5, Marbled White 1. (Andy Bolton )
High & Over TQ511009 Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Small Heath, 1 of each. (Andy Bolton )
I stopped for a stroll around the Elm trees that border Hollingbury Park on my way out of Brighton and in the tree directly opposite Surrenden Road high up in the Elm was a White-letter Hairstreak which I was able to confirm with binoculars but too high for a photo. (David Cook)
My walk around Iping Common yesterday started with a generous serving of drizzle - but the weather was warm and, with the slightest hint of sunshine, the Silver-studded Blues were emerging and trying to grab some warmth. Later, on an evening hike along Plumpton Plain, I saw my first Painted Ladies of the year (3 of 'em) - showing off their Grayling-like ability to blend in with the South Downs Way. Great to see some emerging Ghost Moths along this stretch of the South Downs too. (Michael Blencowe)
On Tuesday I was involved in filming on the Knepp Castle Estate Wildland www.kneppsafaris.co.uk where a Purple Emperor called Raymonda stole the limelight. She was originally found, as a tiny caterpillar (in 2015), by Matthew Oates and her development has been monitored ever since (see www.apaturairis.blogspot.co.uk). Based on her pupation date, Raymonda will emerge on 8th or 9th of July. This remains a late season, so the species is unlikely to appear before July. (Neil Hulme)
Thursday 23 June
On Tuesday a wander through the Arundel WWT reed-bed walk gave me my first Small China-mark (Cataclysta lemnata). At Washington chalk pits today I saw a Painted Lady heading somewhere fast, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers and ten moths: my first Ash Bud Moth (Prays fraxinella) plus Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis), Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana), Yellow Shells (Camptogramma bilineata), Yellow-spot Twist (Pseudargyrotoza conwagana), Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana), Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana), Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata), Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmell), Hook-streak Grass-veneer (Crambus lathoniellus). A bonus was a Golden-ringed Dragonfly that flew around its territory for ten minutes before settling. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
This afternoon I visited Iping Common to look at the Silver-studded Blues with my father. We purposely chose a dull but warm day, as these conditions provide the best opportunities for photography. The place was littered with them, varying in condition from worn and torn to freshly minted, with several squirting meconium. We found two mating pairs and a beautiful female with an usually large quantity of blue scales (for this population). Those attending Colin's walk on Saturday are in for a treat. (Neil Hulme)
Can anyone tell me the name of this small day-time moth that appears in my garden every year as it has again today?
My guess is that it is a Mint Moth but I am confident someone will correct me if I am wrong (Ed jnr)
Apologies for being a bit in arrears. On Sunday 19th June we went to Small Dole, where it was sunny but rather breezy. We walked first in the Tottington and Longlands Woods areas and saw 3 Meadow Browns, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. The paths in these woods are increasingly overgrown, although the open mound area near the entrance is still being cut regularly. Apart from the Speckled Wood, we made all the butterfly sightings here, where there were also were good numbers of orchids. We then walked a new area for us, on the west side of Small Dole, along a public footpath down through Horton Wood towards the river Adur. There were around 20 Meadow Browns, 10 Small Heaths & 6 Large Skippers, plus 1 very worn Peacock, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 female Common Blue, 1 Mother Shipton moth and 1 Cinnabar moth. Most of these were on the north side of a long hedge, on a grassy remediated area of filled land. At home, we’ve had a couple of moths in the house (see pictures). I think the first is a codlin moth and the second maybe a Common Pug or a White Spotted pug? I can confirm that Shetland is barren for butterfly spotting. In 5 days of quite sunny and dry June weather we saw just 1 Large White & the moths may be fascinating but they are tiny! (john a heys )
Visited Iping Common (SU8422) in the late morning where the weather was overcast. I searched for Silver-studded Blues and found only 3 plus a Meadow Brown. I made a return visit later in the day and saw nothing! (Roy Symonds)
tues 21/6/2016 went to this site to count the Bee Orchids. I had counted 166 on sun 12/6/2016, they were in five separate groupings. Tuesday 21st I found three more groups containing 34 more orchids. total 200. also seen 1x female Holly Blue battling in the breeze and settling. Sovereign Park Picnic Area, Eastbourne, E.Sx (Peter Farrant)
Whilst walking the dog on Highdown I spotted what I think are a pair of Large Skippers feeding on a thistle, what a lovely sight. (David Sargent)
Wednesday 22 June
A wonderful day on Iping and Stedham Commons today, and as the weather was overcast the butterflies were quite subdued and posed well for pictures. Plenty of Silver-studded Blues, both male and female, widely spread across the site. I was delighted to find a Golden-ringed Dragonfly there - according to 'The Dragonflies of Sussex' this is one of the most westerly sightings of this dragonfly (Nigel Symington)
Tuesday 21 June
A single Ringlet at Warningore today. Lots of Large Skipper here too along with Meadow Browns, a Small Tortoiseshell and some Peacock larva. (Mark Cadey)
TQ530073. Arlington Reservoir path as the sun came out late afternoon: Holly Blue, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, one of each. I'm a BC Hants & IOW member on holiday discovering beautiful Sussex for the first time.
(Andy Bolton )
Thank you Andy. Hope you enjoy your holiday and get to visit some of the wonderful butterfly sites we have to offer. (Ed jnr)
Spoilers: filming for another episode of UK butterflies new series, which stars Martin Warren and the Heath Fritillary (in Blean & Thornden Woods, Kent). Imago & larva at the same time, what is going on with the Heath Fritillary? Find out when the episode is aired. (Dr Dan Danahar)
Monday 20 June
Not local but just thought you might be interested to hear that the Heath Fritillaries were out in force today in East Blean Woods, Kent in the sunshine. We counted over 50 just in the clearing by the car park. Well worth the pilgrimage! The two pictured were exhibiting interesting behaviour with the lower one flicking its wings horizontally at the upper one. I'm new to butterflies so would be grateful for advice whether this is a female displaying to a male, or vice versa or two males having a stand off. (Melanie Pond)
My Mill Hill transect today yielded Adonis Blue 4, including a mating pair, Brimstone 2, Marbled White, Meadow Brown 3, Small Heath 8 and Small Tortoiseshell. moths: Wavy-barred Sable (Pyrausta nigrata), Cinnabar, Straw-barred Pearl (Pyrausta despicata), Mother Shipton (Callistege mi), Hook-streak Grass-veneer (Crambus lathoniellus), Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata) and Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella). Later at Woods Mill I found a Brown China-mark (Elophila nymphaeata), a Dingy Flat-body larva (Depressaria daucella) and Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
A very fresh looking Holly Blue flying in the Picnic area of Sovereign Park, near Eastbourne seafront. (Bob Eade)
At least six Marbled Whites along the small wild flower banks at Drayton Gravel Pits, also a surprise Small Skipper there.
(Bart Ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
Three Holly Blues in my garden in Shoreham. One was as pale as can be, but the other two were still purple blue. So still going strong! (Ed jnr)
An early morning visit to High and Over produced a few more Marbled Whites as well as my first Small Skipper of the year. Small Tortoiseshell, Large Skipper, Common Blue and Meadow Brown also seen. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Sunday 19 June
Around 30 Silver-studded Blues at Iping Common Saturday morning including possibly the most 'studded' Silver-studded Blue female I've ever seen. 3 found at Stedham Common too. (Mark Cadey)
Not a lot going on in my Storrington wildlife garden but did manage a photo of a Meadow Brown on Ox-eye Daisy. Actually, the main reason for sending in this report is to mention some strange activity of a female Broad-bodied Chaser that seemed to be dropping eggs into the wildflower meadow. Most bizarre! When I first spotted it I thought it was a giant Hornet (I am talking 2-5 seconds of brain activity) and then the ID became apparent. It was moving very slowly very low down over the meadow with its abdomen curled forward, apparently dropping eggs. Then it flew around a bit and perched up, allowing a photo. The photo does not do it justice, for with apparently luminescent beacons either side of the green body and the four red fans it was a monster to give anyone nightmares. Quite clearly nothing in its right mind would attack it, which I guess is what it is all about. (Martin Kalaher)
We walked from Ashington to Thakeham along some very poorly marked footpaths. We saw a stoat and my first Clouded Yellow of the year, but the highlight, obviously, was the four Meadow Browns. (Jonathan Crawford)
Cool morning but delighted to see one pristine Marbled White at Fairmile Bottom (RAS)
A long walk with only one butterfly to show for it! A single Large Skipper. Pitiful! A Snout moth too. I should stick to birding..... (Chris Corrigan)
6 or 7 Marbled Whites at High and Over this morning in humid conditions and looking like rain at any time. One newly emerged individual had presumably had a tough time getting out of the pupa as he had lost a bit of an antennae!!
A little later there was a tired looking Holly Blue flying around the garden. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Saturday 18 June
Kithurst Meadow late afternoon today provided Meadow Browns and moths: Common Yellow Conch (Agapeta hamana), Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana), Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella), Grass Rivulet (Perizoma albulata), Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana), Red-fringed Conch (Falseuncaria ruficiliana), Satin Grass-veneer (Crambus perlella f. warringtonellus). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Marbled White Butterfly (Melanargia galathea)
First we've seen this season ;-)
On the lower eastern edge edge at Fairmile Bottom, near Arundel W.Sussex (James and Dawn Langiewiczý)
Friday 17 June
This morning I visited Steyning Downland Scheme and found several Large Skippers, a Meadow Brown, an old male Adonis Blue and a Small Blue. Moths seen: Burnet Companion, Common Carpet, Crescent Plume (Marasmarcha lunaedactyla), Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana), Bright Bell (Eucosma hohenwartiana), Hook-streak Grass-veneer (Crambus lathoniellus), Unmarked Neb (Eulamprotes unicolorella) plus a tiny (10mm) green larva on a grass stem. Beside the path to Mill Lane I found a Small Barred Longhorn (Adela croesella), a Common Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) and a Common Swift (Korscheltellus (Hepialus) lupulina) lying upside down under a nettle leaf. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Castle Hill, Woodingdean
A great day here with a wonderful bloom of orchids. One lone Small Tortoiseshell on the path from the car park. Many Adonis Blues and Common Blues at the bottom of the valley, and 3 rather tattered Walls. Also 3 Small Heath. (Nigel Symington)
Good timing for Colin Knight's Silver-studded Blue walk at Iping and Stedham Common on Saturday the 25th with plenty on Silver-studded Blues emerging. 3 seen with attending Ants. More pictures and story on the blog. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Thursday 16 June
Slightly damaged Swallowtail seen flying along a forest ride on private woodland adjacent to Ashdown Forest. Photographed it resting on reed stems. Midday. I am a bird surveyor for SOS/BTO and was doing a first visit to check on breeding success of redstarts in this woodland block. The owner has given me access for this work but generally the site is not accessible. (Matt Kirk)
A return trip to my local meadow in Burgess Hill today (15th) revealed that things are finally hotting up with at least 20 plus Meadow Browns and Large Skippers. Also a very fresh Small Tortoiseshell was nectaring in the morning sunshine. (David Cook)
I did my Mill Hill transect today: Brimstone, Adonis Blue 6, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Small Heath 3, moths: Cinnabar, Straw-barred Pearl (Pyrausta despicata) 3, Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Hook-streak Grass-veneer (Crambus lathoniellus), Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella). One Small Heath is an aberrant. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
At about 1.0pm I checked out the flowering Portuguese Laurel by the driveway. This is the warmest and most protected part of what is generally a windy garden. Sure enough I spotted a Holly Blue, but followed in quick succession by two Small Tortoiseshells, one Comma and then a single Peacock. We were out for the rest of the day, otherwise I might have watched this area for longer. The Comma is my first for the year. Martin Kalaher, Storrington. (martin kalaher)
Today I walked from Devils Dyke to Truleigh Hill, Southwick Hill and on to the Dyke. It was windy and chilly so it was great to see butterflies on the path south of Truleigh Hill and thereafter. The fun started with a Small Tortoiseshell, then plenty of Painted Ladies in different states of repair. Common Blues appeared then a Large White and Small Heath. Star of the walk was an immaculate Large Skipper.
As a matter of interest last Friday the 10th I photographed a Grizzled Skipper in a meadow at Colgate near Horsham. It has unusual extra white markings so I wondered if it is an aberration known as taras ? (Patrick Moore)
A visitor to my neck of the woods would lament the fact that there were no butterflies to be seen, and indeed they would be right. I had a very faded female Holly Blue laying eggs on the Portuguese Laurel on the 12th and a single Meadow Brown hunkering down in the flower meadow on the 13th and 14th. I disturbed a Painted Lady by the pond yesterday. It flew low down to the south into the adjacent meadows. There are plenty of thistles in some of these fields, so I will take a look over the next few weeks. I did spot a Mullein Moth caterpillar munching its way through Common Figwort. Otherwise, and for the first time ever, I decided to try and identify my garden Bumblebees. With the aid of some photos taken I soon had 7 species, all within a couple of square metres, nectaring on Vipers Bugloss. If you like having British Natives (and since you are reading this report, why wouldn't you!) it's definitely worth having Vipers Bugloss in your garden. The basal leaves are a bit odd (a bit ugly!) but the flower stems are very attractive and much loved by bumblebees. It's a biennial and needs disturbed soil to keep it going. I am disappointed in myself for not getting to grips with bumblebees before but that's all over now. The only problem is that that are not too many different species to keep the interest alive. We shall see. I had Buff tailed, Garden, Early, Broken belted, Common Carder, Red tailed and Tree Bumble bee. Martin Kalaher, Storrington (martin kalaher)
On Tuesday I checked out an area by Westhampnett Road, Chichester and watched an Orange-tip fly along a stream, nectaring on Charlock. I spotted a Lackey larva, a Speckled Wood, a Red Admiral, Common Blue Damselflies and a female Broad-bodied Chaser. Later I found a dead Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) on our stairs. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Principal filming has started on UK Butterflies' new series, on location in Norfolk, with @patrick_barkham. (Dr Dan Danahar)
Wednesday 15 June
Saw an Orange Tip in West Dean village on the edge of Friston Forest late this afternoon. (Chris Hooker)
Tuesday 14 June
At Fairmile Bottom near Arundel today I saw one Meadow Brown, one Large Skipper and One Small Heath. There were plenty of Cinerous Pearls, 7-spot Burnets and a Dark Strawberry Tortrix. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
I called in at Kithurst Meadow on the way home , in less than ideal conditions, late this afternoon. Only three Butterflies were seen, but one of these was a very blue, female Common Blue. Unfortunately lack of sun prevented a better
Monday 13 June
A somewhat optimistic look at Stedham Common at 1130 this morning was eventually rewarded with six male and one female Silver-studded Blues trying to soak up what weak sun there was between the showers. They were in the area to the right of the main path at SU857217.
(bart ives http://organicbirder.blogspot.co.uk/)
You can read about Bart's trip yesterday to Somerset and Devon to see both the Large Blue and the Heath Fritillary on his blog. Very interesting! (Ed Jnr)
Some recent local observations from around Hollingbury, Brighton.
I watched this female Speckled Wood basking in the garden, it then landed on the greenhouse, with my camera in hand I was amazed to witness this perched individual fall flat on it's side, remaining motionless for a minute or so, sliding down the glass ever so slightly by the breeze, playing dead, bizarre but amazing behaviour! Checking on a local site amongst the few tatty Small Blues I came across, I found the most stunning aberration, with a second opinion from Mark Colvin, thank you, we both came to the conclusion of it being referable to ab. latecaerulea. (Jamie Burston)
Okay Mr Ed jnr. I was recently in the Cevennes with Matt. For 2 days the weather was wet and cold!! However, we did see a few gems!! These included my first, at last, Large Tortoiseshell. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Holly Blues are still active around the garden here in Seaford. The Downland species have been pretty poor so far this year. My first Meadow Brown of the year was on the wing at High and Over. Hopefully these will fill the air soon along with other summer species. The only species that seem to be doing well here are Small Heath and Large Skipper. There has recently been some fresh Speckled Wood in the area, however, the local Common Blues and Adonis Blues have certainly been poor with their first brood. (Bob Eade)
My Shoreham Holly Blues did not make it through the week. Perhaps yours will be the last ones flying. (Ed jnr)
It's raining and I don't think there will be many sightings today so let's make it a holiday free for all. Anything from anywhere where it is not raining will be published. I know Michael Blencoe has just come back from holiday. What have you got Michael? (Ed jnr)
We have just returned from a weeks holiday on the beautiful island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. The weather was fantastic and the turf was full of flowers, birds foot trefoil, thrift, louse wort, sprill squill, orchids etc etc but to my surprise there were'nt many butterflies about though there were lots of little pale moths. Having just caught up with the Sightings page I decided to send this email because the butterflies seen were a few Common Blues, a few Small Heaths and lots of painted ladies. We were on the island from the 3rd of June to the 10th of June so wonder if these painted ladies might have been part of the influx noted by Sussex butterfliers. (Tessa Pawsey )
Not a UK sighting but one I would like to share. This sighting was whilst I was in Spain last week. Its relevance is to highlight how certain species can find their way to unusual locations including the UK.
I was exiting a Euro Market, Chinese run warehouse, when I spotted 2 little butterflies paying quite a lot of determined interest in the display of potted geraniums outside in the garden centre area. It soon became clear they were egg laying on the fresh buds. I whipped out the iPhone and took a few pictures with a view to identifying them later. It turns out they were Geranium Bronze, a species that has indeed been recorded in the UK and this is clearly one of the ways this happens, if the unsuspecting purchaser returns home to the UK and plants it in their garden. (David Cook)
Sunday 12 June
A few Small Heaths, Common Blues and Adonis Blues this afternoon after a big shower (Chris Corrigan)
Two or three Silver-studded Blues at Iping Common early this morning. At Stedham there were a couple of males along the top path including one attended by ants.To the right of the main path there were at least 4 males, mainly perched open-winged in the humid conditions. A single pair found in the same area. (Ian Tamon)
It has been remarkably quiet in my garden over the past two days but I did have a very freshly emerged Cinnabar Moth today in the Wild Flower Meadow. I inadvertently disturbed it as I walked along the outside of the meadow. It could barely fly and just hung to a grass stem.
Otherwise one final count of the Brimstone caterpillars. So, three 5 foot bushes of Alder Buckthorn in the garden with 60, 49 and 5 eggs. Followed by 41, 14 and 9 small caterpillars, and yesterday there were 32, 23 and 4 large caterpillars. So as of now 114 eggs converting to 59 caterpillars. That's pretty impressive. We have nesting Blackcap and Chiffchaff either in the garden or very close by and numerous Tit species. I wonder if they have found them yet?
A pristine Painted Lady was fluttering around our allotment neighbour's plot mid-afternoon today, Sat Jun 11th, in Moulsecoomb, Brighton. Hello Summer (we hope!). Sadly no camera to hand at the time (isn't that always the way!?) (Kelly Westlake)
Saturday 11 June
My local meadow hasn't seen much butterfly action so far this year so I wasn't optimistic when I left the house this morning for a quick circuit. My first sighting was a Painted Lady with the turbo on full boost. I then spotted a lone newly emerged male Meadow Brown and one Large Skipper. (David Cook)
Lured by reports of Small Blues in abundance, I headed for Kithurst where I ran into Neil Hulme on a similar mission. In fact the Small Blues were somewhat less than abundant, but certainly present, along with some pristine Common Blues and, remarkably, a lone female Duke of Burgundy, still hanging on in there. Might this be the last Duke sighting of the year? (John Woodward)
A visit to the Birling Gap area this morning revealed about 6 Large Skippers,
and fewer Common Blues than I might have expected. Also a single Meadow
Brown was seen in a squabble with some Speckled Woods.
Passing the village Hall at West Stoke today, I saw my first Painted Lady (1) of the year. (Roy Symonds)
Along Inham's Lane, West Stoke (SU835089) the following sightings were seen; Brimstone (1M 1F), Large White (2), Small White (13), Green Veined White (1), Speckled Wood (4), Red Admiral (1). (Roy Symonds)
The following were seen in the wooded area on Stoke Clump (SU832094), Brimstone (1F) and Speckled Wood (5). (Roy Symonds)
Visited Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve (SU8210) toady where the temperature reached 19 degrees. Sightings were: Brimstone (3M 5F), Orange Tip (3), Large White (1), Small White (6), Common Blue (4M 1F), Small Heath (4), Speckled Wood (1). (Roy Symonds)
Despite the 9 June being a mostly sunny warm day (75F high), I didn't see any butterflies in our wild-flower meadow, despite making a couple of visits there. I did see several moths, including this first 2016 sighting of a Common Carpet. (Chris Page https://wwv.g4bue.co.uk/en/Butterflies/)
Friday 10 June
St Leonards Latest.
Yesterday the 8th the first Large Skippers and Common Blues appeared in St Leonards Forest along with Brimstone, plenty of Holly Blue, Peacock, Large White, Red Admiral, Grizzled Skipper and Speckled Wood.
Today in the Chesworth Farm area a Small Copper charged around the path in front of me. (Patrick Moore)
On Wednesday I found two new micromoths at Kithurst Meadow: Knapweed Bell (Epiblema cirsiana) and Ragwort Bell (Epiblema costipunctana). In addition a Silver Y, Meadow Grey and plenty of Diamond-backs, Cinerous Pearls and Grass Rivulets. I found one early instar (10mm) Emperor larva on dogwood. I saw my first Meadow Brown of the season, a single individual flitting around the meadow. Plenty of Small Blues, including one taking salts from something nameless on the path. A pristine Speckled Wood, male & female Brimstones and Common Blues appeared. Also a Red-headed Cardinal Beetle. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Thursday 09 June
The lower part of the re-landscaped Liz Williams Butterfly Haven is currently a wash with Ox-eyed Daisies, but beneath these are a range of other species, including Kidney Vetch, Grass Vetchling, Birds Foot Trefoil and Ploughman's Spikenard. We also have a small problem with Creeping Thistle and so spent an hour with pupils to remove it today. After it's removal I was delighted but a little dismayed by the appearance of yet another Painted Lady, only this time ovipositing on the cut stems...Still there are plenty of nectar sources for the continual arrival of this species. (Dr Dan Danahar)
This afternoon I saw a male Meadow Brown in our wild-flower meadow and this time I had my camera with me! I am now doubting the sighting of the Meadow Brown I reported on 27 May. Although at the time i thought it was a Meadow Brown, I now think I was mistaken for two reasons: (1) despite searching the meadow at least once every day since then, I haven't seen another one until today, and (2) today's sighting is more in keeping with the first Meadow Brown sightings here for the last four years (2012 - 15 June, 2013 - 19 June, 2014 - 6 June and 2015 - 7 June). I would therefore like to withdraw my sighting of 27 May, if that's possible, or at least have it disregarded when compiling the first sightings list.
I also saw four moths in the meadow this afternoon: Burnet Companion, Common Nettle-tap, Plum Tortrix and possibly a Diamond Back. I would be grateful if somebody could confirm the Diamond Back as it would be a new one for me - thanks.
(Chris Page https://www.g4bue.co.uk/en/Butterflies/)
Hi Chris, I don't think we should withdraw it. Looking at the last three years sightings, the Meadow Brown appeared for the first time in the last few days of May. It is not uncommon to have a local early emergence and the following weeks cold weather probably retarded the emergence of more. Thanks very much for the photo. I had a quick look and I don't think there was a single photo of a Meadow Brown last year so they must be really camera shy. I hope we get more this year! (Ed Jnr)
Not too many Meadow Browns have yet to be recorded in Sussex but as usual (my garden serving as a microcosm of what is happening in the wider countryside) sure enough a male Meadow Brown emerged in my flower meadow at 3.0pm only to disappear at 4.0pm. It was on a mission! No females in my patch, so off it ventured. The Painted Lady migration seems to have petered out. None today. So, a four day passage from the afternoon of 4th June until the 7th. We shall see what else transpires. (Martin Kalaher)
At a site near Arundel yesterday I found a Broad-blotch Drill (Dichrorampha alpinana) and a Cocksfoot Moth (Glyphipterix simpliciella) on an oxeye daisy, which is also the food plant of the Broad-blotch Drill. I was also found a Comfrey Ermel (Ethmia quadrillella) which turns up here every year among the large swathe of comfrey. A female Broad-bodied Chaser posed on a stick, Blue-tailed Damselflies were everywhere and a Red-headed Cardinal Beetle wandered around on a comfrey leaf. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Wednesday 08 June
One Cream-spot Tiger on the southern end of Thorney Island plus four Meadow Browns.There was also two Hairy Dragonflies at the Little Deeps.(Barry and Margaret Collins) (Barry and Margaret Collins)
I was away all day yesterday and so was unable to follow the Painted Lady story in my garden but sure enough today there were three nectaring all morning on Portuguese Laurel. I also spotted two singles fly through the garden heading north. It was all a bit reminiscent of the huge migration a few years back, but not to the same degree. Otherwise it was remarkably quiet in the garden today with some nice weather in the afternoon but very few butterflies. Whilst watching the PL on the Laurel I also saw a Red Admiral in superb condition and a Holly Blue laying eggs on the Laurel. I always thought Holly Blue were very much Holly in the spring and Ivy in the autumn but clearly not (and my thanks to the member who mentioned the various plants used over the years - a bit of an eye opener). (Martin Kalaher)
This morning I found a solitary male Wall Brown at High and Over, near Alfriston (Trevor Rapley)
Silver-studded Blue males chasing each other in the absence of any females, at Stedham Common, West Sussex, today. (Dr Dan Danahar)
Two Silver-studded Blue at Iping Common this afternoon. Photo courtesy of my daughter's phone. (Susie)
While out leading a volunteer walk along the bottom of Belle Tout saw a very fresh Dark Green Fritillary along with a few Common Blue, Small Heath, Painted Lady and a Large White. (Lee Walther)
Tuesday 07 June
This slightly battered Painted Lady enjoyed a feast of nectar from these daisies in our Steyning garden for at least an hour in glorious sunshine on Monday afternoon. Our first in the garden, to our knowledge. A very welcome migrant! (John Woodward)
On Saturday Kithurst Hill had Small Blue, Common Blue, Green-veined White, Burnet Companion, Dark Strawberry Tortrix, Grass Rivulet, female Green Longhorn, Plume moth, Red-fringed Conch, Satin Grass-veneer (Crambus perlella f. warringtonellus), Thistle Bell, Twin-barred Dwarf, White-barred Gold and the rarely reported Unmarked Neb (Eulamprotes unicolorella). I also found my first Scarce Tortoise Shieldbug. Today I visited Fairmile Bottom and saw Brimstones, Common Blues, Holly Blue, Small Heath, Holly Blue, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Five-spot Burnets, Diamond-back Moths, Cinerous Pearls, Meadow Grey, Small Purple and Gold (P. autrata), Common Yellow Conch (Agapeta hamana). Afterwards my Mill Hill transect gave me Adonis Blue 15, Brimstone 3, Large White 1, Painted Lady 1, Red Admiral 1, Small Heath 3. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Today I walked a circular taking in Steep Down, Sompting, Cissbury, Findon, Chanctonbury and South Downs Way return in the heat.
Quite a few butterfly species to be seen but no great numbers except Small Heath. Seen were;
Wall Brown, Painted Lady, Large White, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, my first Large Skipper of the year and the last Orange Tip (probably). Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Small Heath, Brimstone, Peacock and Dingy Skipper. (Patrick Moore)
At least 10 sightings of Painted Lady around East Dean and Friston on 5 and 6 June.
(David Jode) (David Jode)
Today I witnessed the transition from Spring to Summer in the Butterfly world.
In the form of a fresh Large Skipper and nearby a Grizzled Skipper.
Both seen at Friston Gallops.
Encouraged by Richard Roebuck's recent sighting of a Brown Hairstreak caterpillar, I made a search of the mixed native hedgerow (that includes blackthorn) surrounding our wild-flower meadow for similar caterpillars on 5 june. I saw Brown Hairstreaks on the hedge last September and was therefore hopeful. My hopes were raised when I spotted this caterpillar resting on the underneath of a blackthorn leaf, but after comparing it with Richard's photo and Patrick Moore's photo of 4 June, I have (disappointingly) come to the conclusion it is the caterpillar of the Common Quacker moth, the same as Partick's. (Chris Page https://www.g4bue.co.uk/en/Butterflies)
While surveying Pepperscombe for the Steyning Downland Scheme I came across this glittering Green Hairstreak laying eggs on Bird's-foot Trefoil in the middle of the path up from Newham Lane. Worth a photo or two, however poor! Let's hope she laid a few somewhere less vulnerable to heavy-booted walkers. (John Woodward)
Sunday 5th June was warm and sunny - perfect butterfly weather. At 4.00pm I started round the most butterfly-friendly places here at Knowlands. By five o'clock I had two close encounters with a Painted Lady and that was it apart from a distant male Brimstone. Is it remarkable to find nothing much? I think so. By the end of June I will not be surprised to find a hundred individuals of a dozen species in the same walk. (Nick Lear)
Monday 06 June
Today I headed out with the intention of saying my annual farewell to the Duke of Burgundy, as I was sure that the recent and quite prolonged spell of poor weather would have seen most run out of steam. As I systematically visited colonies spread along the Downs near Storrington, that initially seemed to be the case. Numbers were well down and only a few battered and faded old males were left, typically refusing to go down without a fight. However, as spring slips into summer they've found new species to rough up. Instead of Dingy, Grizzled and Green Hairstreak they are now pursuing Large Skipper and Painted Lady.
As I reached the fourth colony of the day I got quite a surprise. Here, the season was far from over and amongst the 42 individuals I counted there were three mating pairs. One of these was particularly interesting, as both Duke and Duchess had one foot in the grave. This was the first time I've ever seen evidence of a female Duke of Burgundy being mated for a second time. Although multiple pairings in the females of a few species, such as Green-veined White, are well documented, this behaviour appears to be very rare in the majority of certainly short-lived species. I have only ever seen old females of Common Blue and Small Heath in cop, once before in each case.
There was still life in the last colony I visited, with several males still in pretty good shape. Over the five locations visited I counted a total of 93 individuals, which for June is remarkable. For me, the title of 'Butterfly of the Year' is already won. Nothing can hope to challenge the 2016 Sussex Duke of Burgundy season. The clock has been turned back for this species by at least 25 years.
I then headed to a site near Madehurst, to look at the rare orchids on display, including Frog and white forms of the Bee, and the Five-spot Burnet moth (subspecies palustrella). What I didn't expect to see was a Duke of Burgundy! Days like today remind me how very fortune I am to live in Sussex, and so close to the wonders of the chalk hills. (Neil Hulme)
On 5th June the day started by photographing a Holly Blue egg which was laid in my Crawley garden on 28th May. The host plant was Pyracantha, but another was also deposited on the adjacent Cotoneaster. Other larval host plants used by Holly Blue in my garden in the past have been variegated Holly (obviously) and Ceanothus, as well as local Ivy and Dogwood.
At my local patch (Broadfield Pond) I have been monitoring a Small Tortoiseshell larval web which is presently full of 3rd instar larvae. In another nettle patch I found an older web where the larvae had started to disperse. Some were basking out in the open, but others had formed shelters from nettle leaves. In my experience these are usually of the upturned leaf variety, but there were some down-turned leaves as well. Previous observations have shown that these shelters are used as resting and moulting places. http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB//viewtopic.php?f=37&t=7156
In the same nettle patch there were 3 Red Admiral larval tents (all occupied) and just a few metres away, 6 Orange-tip larvae feeding on Garlic Mustard.
Over at Tilgate Park later in the day there were 3 Painted Ladies and a Common Blue. (Vince Massimo)
Orchid hunting today at Wolstonbury. Fewer butterflies than anticipated - 2 Brimstone, 6 Speckled Wood, 5 Common Blue, 2 Painted Lady and a handful of Whites. Day-flying moths included my first Cinnabar (in Pyecombe churchyard), Burnet Companion and Green Carpet. Also of interest up the continuation of The Wyshe at Pyecombe were a group of what I believe were Emperor Moth caterpillars - see attached. (Peter Whitcomb)
A warm evening and thought I would have a look ,after dark for Brown Hairstreak caterpillars in the garden , with a torch .
I found one small larva and then another and out of the corner of my eye spotted a third much larger caterpillar on the same small Sapling where originally I had counted 6 eggs in March . What a result .
So it's 10 o'clock Saturday night ( I am sure normal people were doing other things ). Anyway thought I must get a pic of the big daddy , Which I reckon is a late instar and was 12- 15mm long . The only problem was that it was pitch black .Anyway to cut a long story short ,after some ingenuity got a pic. Incidentally the caterpillars were feeding - didn't like the torch light one bit and periodically returned to resting places on the underside of leaves .
On the Downs at Washington this morning saw a superb male Golden Ringed Dragonfly fly past . This is Britain's longest Dragonfly ,luckily it stopped for a rest So I could get a pic .Stunning creature .
Saw quite a few Small Blue just outside Black Cap on the bridleway towards Lewes. Also a Brown Argus in Ashcombe Bottom. (Ray Pyne)
Many Small Blues flying at Kithurst Hill today, outnumbering all other species seen (Trevor Rapley)
Parked the car at the forestry commission car park at Butchershole Bottom (what a picturesque name) and climbed up to Friston gallops where we had a nice walk on the gallops and woods and had a beer in Jevington. It was the first this year for me when butterflies danced around my feet as we walked along. There were large quantities of Small Heath and plenty of Common Blues. We saw a few Small Coppers and a couple of Wall Browns and Painted Ladies. I also saw my first Large Skipper of the year. In the forest there were plenty of Speckled Woods. We also saw the usual Whites and Red Admirals so it was a fair tally for the day. (Jonathan Crawford)
Late this afternoon another Painted Lady found the Scentless Mayweed irresistible. This one had a tatty rear edge and so I deliberately took a photo when most of the rear edge was obscured. I imagine there has been quite an influx in the past couple of days?
Ed's query about Holly Blues. There were a couple in the garden today. (Martin Kalaher)
Thanks for both the sighting of Holly Blues today. I will be checking mine all week. (Ed jnr)
After several barren days in our garden in Frant, today we saw 3 Large Whites, 3 Holly Blues and a Painted Lady. The latter stayed for quite a while this afternoon nectaring on Hebe flowers. (Alan Loweth)
Today in my Horsham garden I saw this Painted Lady, however look at the white areas leading from the tip of the upper wing on both sides of both wings.... interesting don't you think?
Regards (Patrick Moore)
Near the Gallops a Painted Lady as well as several very fresh male Large Skippers. 2 more Painted Lady today so perhaps a mini influx has happened. Todays Painted Ladies were at Bo Peep Bostal and another through my Seaford garden. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
2 Holly Blues and a Painted Lady in Hailsham Country Park this morning. (Chris Hooker)
Painted Lady x1 x2 Speckled Woods (Judy Lowe)
As I was in the area, I paid a quick visit to Oaken Wood in Surrey late on Saturday afternoon. Despite overcast conditions I was rewarded with 7 Wood Whites (including 3 on a single flower for a few seconds) along with a couple of Brimstone, Small White, Large White, Green Veined White and a good number of Speckled Wood. (Chris Hooker)
She is a Gemini, her interests are flying about a bit and ivy. She is undecided on Brexit. She lives in my garden in Shoreham. I had feared the worst with the recent cold spell but I saw her this morning at 8am. I know there are other Holly Blues in gardens in Hove, Hastings and Horsham amongst others. How are they doing?
Sunday 05 June
About 18 months ago I had a Scots Pine taken down as it didn't really fit in with what I was trying to create in the back of my garden. As I had a load of bits and pieces that could easily be burned I decided to have a bonfire, the first for 20 years or so. Out of the ashes (in the middle of my wild flower meadow) up sprung Scentless Mayweed, Corn Flower and Corn marigolds. I had all of these in profusion in the early days of the meadow (2006-08) but as it began to mature and the grasses started to dominate then the annuals were lost. But not forever! There is always a seed bank awaiting to spring to life. Anyway I now have a patch of daisies (the scentless Mayweed) beckoning the odd stray that comes my way. This is a very long preamble to say that a lovely Painted Lady paid a visit and nectared on the daisy flowers for a couple of hours. Also my first male Common Blue in the meadow today and a female Common Blue nectaring on Common Chickweed, which I haven't seen before. (martin kalaher)
Despite the cloud a walk in St Leonards Forest today produced several Painted Lady (the first I have seen in this area in 2016) as well as a Red Admiral, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and a Peacock. I also spotted a caterpillar of the Common Quaker moth on Oak leaves and an Adder on the path! Regards. (Patrick Moore)
A very fresh Dingy Skipper still on Windover Hill. With a very cool breeze and cloudy conditions the only other butterflies were a Wall Brown, trying desperately to warm up and a roosting Common Blue. 100s of Diamond-back micro moths also seen. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
While checking our one acre wild flower meadow for more Meadow Browns (this time with my camera!) on 3 June, I spotted this moth resting on Common Sorrel. At the time I thought it was a Small Yellow Underwing but after checking Peter Whitcomb's 29 May photo. my moth books and, of course, Google images, I don't think so. The two darker bands on the upper wings are quite different and the yellow on the hindwings is separated by a black/dark brown band. Can somebody identify the moth for me, please?
(Christopher Page https://www.g4bue.co.uk/en/Butterflies)
Christopher Page’s moth is the day-flying Burnet Companion. In flight it has fooled thousands of optimists into believing it’s a Duke of Burgundy, so has a slightly twisted sense of humour. However, this year I’ve had the last laugh, as for the first time ever, I’ve seen far more Duke of Burgundy than Burnet Companion. (Neil Hulme)
Saturday 04 June
A contributor to ispotnature.org identified my larvae from yesterday as Emperor Moths. I did not realise that the later instars look so different. Mine are early and late 3rd instars, being 13mm and 16mm long. Their appearance on dogwood is not mentioned in UK natural history texts I have looked at. The 4th instar is green and black, the 5th is green (http://bit.ly/1UBiHpq). On April 14 I photographed a dead female Emperor with eggs in the meadow. These larvae are very late – in 2014 Neil Hulme and I photographed a male and female Emperor on the meadow on April 22. I returned to Kithurst today and saw a Meadow Grey (Scoparia pyralella) and a Thistle Bell (Epiblema scutulana). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Painted Lady at Fairlight.
On a cold Grey walk this morning on the Fire Hills near Fairlight we were surprised to see our first Painted Lady of the year. (Terry Wood)
At Kithurst Meadow on Thursday I enjoyed watching a pristine female Broad-bodied Chaser patrolling one small area. A Cocksfoot Moth (Glyphipterix simpliciella) and a Red-barred Gold (Micropterix tunbergella) shared a Dogwood leaf. A Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana) and a Thistle Bell (Epiblema scutulana) landed in front of me during my tour of the perimeter of the meadow. A couple of Moth Flies appeared, also a Yellow-barred Longhorn (Nemophora degeerella). I estimate I saw 100+ Diamond-back Moths (Plutella xylostella) all over the site. Also Yellow-spot Twists (Pseudargyrotoza conwagana) were out. One Small Blue flew when the sun appeared. On one Dogwood I saw two instars of a hairy orange and black larva, presumably a moth. It is very distinctive, but its identity has eluded me so far. The later instar is 16mm long, the earlier instar 13mm.
(Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
On the 21st of May I posted some pics of a Brown Hairstreak early instar caterpillar - at the time I doubted whether I would ever see It again.
Today I found presumably the same caterpillar again on the same stem of this year's growth ,which has more or less doubled in size now 1 cm in length I found It early evening on the underside of a leaf . With diminishing light and about 20.00 , I found it feeding on top of a larger leaf. So this confirms they rest by day under a mid-rib of a leaf and feed at night . After brief feeding it once again returned to the underside of a mid-rib presumably to rest and digest its meal .
As much as I dislike Flash, needs must, so perhaps this shows some leaf damage which may help anyone else interested in perhaps finding one of these elusive caterpillars.
Friday 03 June
Narrow Bordered Bee Hawk, (Hemaris tityus) I know this is a bit irregular, but before posting, I sought countenance from colleagues. It's just such a remarkable moth and alas something we are unlikely to see today in Sussex. Which is a shame because the name would be quite good to repeat down the Pub .
This is perhaps one of the holy grail of Hawk moth species which has more or less disappeared from our county . But I suppose you never know....
This moth is a Notable Class A Red Data Book species which has been extinct in the east of the county since 1953 and presumed extinct in the west since 2000.
This is a first for me seeing this one in the Cevennes ,Southern France 13.05.16
It has such an astonishingly close resemblance to a Bumble bee . God knows why ,when it flew past me early morning on a road side, I knew it was something special. Luckily it landed for a while and I got some pics . So for interest really , as this is an astonishing species and a shame its missing from our landscape. By the way it's caterpillars feed on Vipers Bugloss, so keep your eye out you never know .
I spent nearly two hours at Kithurst Meadow today before the afternoon rain stopped play. I counted 25 Diamond-back Moths at rest, with more flying, in half the perimeter of the meadow. A Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana) obligingly landed in front of me and several Yellow barred Longhorns (Nemophora degeerella) waved their long antennae. I spotted a single Yellow-spot Twist (Pseudargyrotoza conwagana) and a Carpet Moth (Silver-ground or Common) posed. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Tuesday 31 May
I returned to Kithurst Meadow this afternoon and found different moths in the windy conditions. Yesterday Yellow-spot Twists were flying in the hedgerows; today there were none, instead there were plenty of Diamond-back Moths. On Springwatch this evening Martin Hughes-Games stated that these are immigrants (like Silver Ys), and held up one in a container. I also found another of those difficult-to-identify brown larvae on Hemp Agrimony. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Wed 25/05/2016 it was overcast and chilly, with bright spells but no sun. but I thought I would take a look at the original PBF release site (track) in Abbots Wood, I got there at 10.30am, didn't think I would see much, but what a surprise. my first PBF was at 10.33am, and by 1.38pm when I left I had taken about 120 photos, these when I got home I whittled down, then looked for wing damage etc. and ended up with 15x different PBFs, and this was on a not to promising day. 1x Grizzled Skipper seen, but no other butterflies. sat 28/05/2016 a nice sunny afternoon, so checked out the same area as above, more photos taken, same whittling down and ended up with 11x PBFs. also 1x Green Hairstreak. (Peter Farrant)
On a dull Monday yesterday I visited Kithurst Meadow mid afternoon. I was pleased to find five new moths for my galleries: Brassy Twist (Eulia ministrana), Dark-barred Twist (Syndemis musculana), Broad-blotch Drill (Dichrorampha alpinana), Large Birch Pigmy (Ectoedemia occultella) and Red Hazel Midget (Phyllonorycter nicellii). The Large Birch Pigmy is the best match I can find for this tiny moth, so the id is not definitive. In addition there were Yellow-spot Twist (Pseudargyrotoza conwagana), Cinerous Pearl (Anania fuscalis), Grass Rivulet (Perizoma albulata), Red-barred Gold (Micropterix tunbergella) and Small Purple and Gold (Pyrausta aurata). I saw one Small Blue roosting. When I arrived a family was enjoying a picnic in the chalk pits on the right before the gate. When I checked this area out later I saw a soil pit they had dug out but had not been filled in and two items of litter which I removed. Also another case of fly-tipping in the lay-by nearest the main road. Lovely people! (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Monday 30 May
Thanks to Colin Knight for suggesting my moth was a Plum Tortrix. That looks good to me. There was some blackthorn nearby, I think. Despite the wind and limited sunshine, a Holly Blue was still flitting round our back garden in Hove this morning (30/05/15) before we went to the cricket. However, we saw nothing flying at the county ground as it rapidly became more overcast and cold. (john a heys)
Peter Whitcombe's moth is a Burnet Companion. (David Tomlinson)
A few weeks ago Brimstone were busily laying eggs on Alder Buckthorn in my Storrington wildlife garden. I have three bushes all around 5 years old and 5 feet high. I counted the eggs on the three bushes and found 60, 49 and 5 making a total of 114 eggs. On subsequent days Brimstone continued to visit the Buckthorn and so these figures mentioned will be an under-estimate of the true totals. Today I thought I would count the caterpillars and I found a total of 78. For the three bushes mentioned and in the same order there were 41, 28 and 9. All the figures mentioned above will be less than the true numbers as undoubtedly some will have been missed. I intend to count them again in another week or so to see how many survive! So far the egg to caterpillar conversion is impressive. Martin Kalaher. (martin kalaher)
A visit to the Storrington Downs with my father revealed that the Duke of Burgundy is still emerging on some sites, although on others, including Heyshott Escarpment, the flight season has entered its final phase. Throughout the day I found a total of four mating pairs, and many other recently emerged females.
Later in the day I checked the seldom visited colony at Harting Down. Despite the unfavourable timing and strong, chill wind, I still managed to find an encouraging 21 Dukes; I suspect there have been far more than this flying over the last few weeks. The National Trust has got this site into excellent condition for this species and it's quite likely that there are other colonies here, and along the Downs further to the east. For those with the pioneering spirit this is probably the best area in which to make new discoveries. (Neil Hulme)
A quick stroll around my local meadow near Burgess Hill on Sunday 29th provided only a few sightings. A Small White, Small Copper, 2 Small Heath were the only sightings. I get the feeling the area is behind many downs sites and the explosion of butterflies has yet to happen. (David Cook)
Yesterday I had a lovely peaceful stroll around Friston Forest and saw numerous butterflies and my highlight was a Buzzard! The butterflies spotted were: Orange Tip, Large White, Red Admiral, Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brown Argus, Green Hairstreak, Common Blue, Small Copper, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Wall (Brown) and Small Heath.
All in all a good day I would say.
Sunday 29 May
My Hollingdean transect count this afternoon was 9 Small Heath, Holly Blue, 2 Speckled Wood, 4 Large White, Small White, Wall, Meadow Brown and Common Blue. Also a Small Yellow Underwing. (Peter Whitcomb)
A short visit to Roedean Butterfly Banks early afternoon. At least 20 Small Blue and a couple of Common Blue. Along nearby cliff-tops were 3 Green-veined White. (Peter Whitcomb)
My Mill Hill transect today produced Adonis Blue 14 (females 3, males 11), Brimstone 1, Common Blue 3, Dingy Skipper 2, Small Heath 7, Speckled Wood 1, moths: Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata) 3, Grass Rivulet (Perizoma albulata) 2, Silver Y (Autographa gamma) 1, Hook-streak Grass-veneer (Crambus lathoniellus) 1.
John Heys moth may be a Plum Tortrix (Hedya pruniana).
(Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
I walked around Nuthurst on Saturday afternoon after the rain and saw plenty of Large White as well as Small White, Orange Tip, Holly Blue, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Peacock, Dingy Skipper, Brimstone and a Grass Snake. As well as a Blood-vein moth. (Patrick Moore)
A single male Wood White in a Sussex sector of Chiddingfold Forest early yesterday afternoon.
Spotted my first Meadow Brown of the year on 27 May in our one acre wild flower meadow near Pulborough. The meadow is a mass of purple and yellow (ragged robin, meadow buttercup and yellow rattle) at this time of the year before the oxeye daisy turns it a mass of white in a couple of weeks or so time. This is the fifth year we have had the meadow and I have been recording the first sighting of each butterfly, and I have not seen a Meadow Brown in May before here (2012 - 15 June, 2013 - 19 June, 2014 - 6 June and 2015 - 7 June). Does that mean anything for this year's butterfly season?
Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me for the Meadow Brown, but I did when I saw a mating pair of Common Blues resting on Common Sorrel in the meadow on the same day and a female Common Blue of the sub-species icarus (Fb) ?, resting on yellow rattle. (Chris Page https://www.g4bue.co.uk/en/Butterflies/)
It is funny how many people "don't have their camera with them" when they see a Meadow Brown. If you look back at the sightings records you would think the Meadow Brown was the rarest butterfly in Sussex! (Ed jnr)
Saturday 28 May
After being stuck for an hour in heavy traffic heading to a music festival at Wiston and taking a detour through pouring rain, we began to wonder if a trip from East Sussex all the way to Kithurst was wise. However just before we got there the sun came out and by the time we got into the meadow we were not disappointed. My trip to worship His Grace has been rather late this year, due to a sprained ankle but he was worth the wait. We eventually saw one Duke of Burgundy which sat very obligingly while we took photos with iphone and had a closeup view of him. There were plenty of Common Blue, Small Blues, one spent half an hour on the straps of my binoculars and Pete's hand, another chance for a closeup view. Plenty of Brimstones, Large Whites, Dingy Skippers, an Orange Underwing and Green Hairstreaks. A worth while trip in the end! (Kerry Baldwin)
At Mill Hill this afternoon (27/5/16) we saw plenty of Adonis Blues. Unusually, for us at least, we were met by a female up the top of the slope near the road and we saw a male in the farmer’s field to the north of the main slope after the path has gone through the trees. We also saw a male Common Blue there. In the tree lined bit we saw a Red Admiral. Other butterflies on the main slope were 4 or 5 each of Small Heath and Dingy Skipper, a Brimstone, a Grizzled Skipper, a scattering of whites (those identifiable were small) and a Speckled Wood. In relation to moths we saw 2 Cinnabars, a Common Carpet and a tiny thing that we’ve got a partial picture of for the editor to try and identify (good luck!). We also drove up to near the youth hostel at Truleigh Hill. The only butterfly in either the open and tree lined areas was a Red Admiral, although an unexpected female beautiful demoiselle did briefly give us hope of another.
(john a heys)
Help! (Ed jnr)
A bright spell of warm sunshine at 12:45 produced a pristine Painted Lady which, pursued by a local Speckled Wood, bombed to and fro across our wooded garden in Aldwick. Unfortunately, it stayed but a few minutes before beating away north-westwards. (Lawrence Holloway)
Friday 27 May
Another trip to Rewell Wood today produced more seasonal moths. There were many Red Piercers (Lathronympha strigana) and Small Purple and Golds (Pyrausta aurata), some Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana), Silver-ground Carpets (Xanthorhoe montanata), a Thistle Bell (Epiblema scutulana), a Holly Blue, Red Admirals, a Small Heath and Speckled Woods. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Wall to Wall, Wall.
Hello, I walked today from Upper Beeding via the Monarch's way to Dyke Road then Devils Dyke and South Downs Way Return.
There were plenty of Wall Brown all the way to Southwick Hill, then no more until the last couple of turns next to the road at the Dyke. There were also plenty of Small Blue on the footpath beside Dyke Road from Brighton and Hove Golf Club heading north. I also observed Small Heath, Common Blue, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Small White, Large White, Holly Blue, Peacock and Painted Lady. There was also a load of caterpillars on a Blackthorn bush close to the Club House which I cannot identify.
I am in need of a result today after this mornings debacle so I am going to stick my neck out and say it they are Lackey moth catipillars. (Ed jnr)
SU900258 - One Pearl-bordered Fritillary in flight around bugle and the short grass margins beside east-west track and one fresh Grizzled Skipper at rest on plants above shallow ditch at rear of grass margin, near a wooden public bridleway sign in Verdley Wood. Green-veined White and Speckled Yellow moth frequent both here and at various other spots along the Serpent Trail. (Stephen R Miles)
On Thursday afternoon a trip to Rewell Wood gave me my first Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda) sitting on a grass stem. I assume it was newly emerged and drying out as it gave no sign of life as I photographed it. A Meadow Grey (Scoparia pyralella) flew around and eventually landed on a tree where it posed obligingly. A Rose Chafer then flew all over the grassland area next to the tree and finally landed. I attempted to grab shots as it bulldozed its way through the leaf litter, twigs and debris. Small Purple and Golds (Pyrausta aurata) were flying, mostly in worn condition. An Orange-tip and a Red Admiral flew by, a Holly Blue appeared briefly and Whites appeared occasionally on this fine day. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Saw this moth at Bevendean Down this afternoon, some sort of carpet?
I think that's the Common Carpet Moth (Ed jnr)
Colin Pratt has just contacted me to point out that Geoff Stevens’s Carpet is a Wood Carpet (Epirrhoe rivata) – A much more interesting moth. (Ed snr)
Around 9.00 am today (26/5/16), there were 2 Holly Blues at the same
time in our Hove back garden and, as we set off on our first proper butterfly spotting trip of 2016, there was another
in the front garden. Reaching Kithurst car park at about 10.45 am, we parked next to a decapitated mole. We’ve never seen
a mole alive or dead in the wild and I suspect that dead will be the rather sad peak of our mole spotting. At Kithurst meadow,
we saw a dozen or so Small Blues, a Duke of Burgundy fritillary, 2
Orange Tips, 2 Dingy Skippers, a Brimstone,
a green veined white and a Green Hairstreak. There were 4 or 5 different types of moth around, but
we could only positively identify a Small Purple and Gold and a Silver-ground Carpet.
We then trecked along the South Downs Way to Amberley and did a loop back via the east bank of the River Adur to the South Downs Way and
the Kithurst car park. On this route there were a few Large Whites, half a dozen Brimstones
(mainly at the Amberley end), 15 to 20 whites which were probably mostly small, 2 Holly Blues (near & in Amberley), 2
Peacocks (one by the river and one on the Downs), a Speckled Wood (in a little copse on the Downs – only on
our way back), another Silver-ground Carpet moth and 10 to 15 Red Admirals. The Red Admirals
were widely spread along the route, mainly on the Downs and much more in evidence between 3.00 pm & 5.00 pm on our way back.
(John & Val Heys)
Storrington. Two female Common Blues emerged in the wild flower meadow two days ago. I managed to photograph one of them on the day and captured the other today. Also today there was a Large White nectaring on Red Campion. Perhaps Large White is not the most photogenic of our native butterflies but on this occasion the Red Campion shows it off nicely. (Mrtin Kalaher)
Thursday 26 May
Visited Inham's Lane, West Stoke today (SU835089), where i saw the following: Brimstone (1M), Small White (7), Orange Tip (4m 1f), Red Admiral (3), Peacock (1). (Roy Symonds)
A short hour exploring the meadow the eastern side of the horseshoe plantation turned up 6 Green Hairstreaks on the trees along the wood edge, 2 Dingy Skippers, 2 Grizzled Skippers, 3 Small Heaths. Also the wood had a number of large and Small Whites and Speckled Woods. Saw at least half a dozen Common Blues in the grass. (Kerry Baldwin)
During a pleasant walk from Southease to Seaford via Firle Beacon, Norton and Bishopstone, the following were seen, the majority in the valley between Firle Beacon and Norton. 6 Peacock, 5 Common Blue, 5 Small Heath, 4 Red Admiral, 3 Small Tortoiseshell 3 Holly Blue, 1 Dingy Skipper and, a first for me, 1 Small Blue. (I`m glad I had my Pocket Guide by Richard Lewington with me for this one!) As expected there were numerous White butterflies about. (Stuart Ridley)
Small Heath has a cold wake up.
Also Jamie's other larva is that of a hoverfly. (Dan Danahar)
On Wednesday a walk along the path by Littlehampton golf course turned into a moth hunt. There were plenty of Common Nettle-taps and on the grassy area by the golf course I found a Speckled Wood, a Common Carpet and a micro-moth, the Swan-feather Dwarf (Elachista argentella). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Wednesday 25 May
Jamie Burston's geometrid larva of 24 May is Mottled Umber.
Thanks Tim (Ed jnr).
Tuesday 24 May
I've recently taken photos of these two caterpillars in Brighton, one small in size found on Bird's-foot Trefoil and another colourful individual on Elm. Any ideas what they could be? Thanks, Jamie. (Jamie Burston)
Yesterday afternoon (Monday) I visited Botany Bay in Surrey and saw 30+ Wood Whites and a similar number of Brimstones within about 2-hours. I was fortunate to see a mating pair of Wood Whites, which I was able to photograph. Apart from a single Green-veined White no other species were seen. (Douglas Neve)
Adonis and now fair sized Small Blue colony doing well at the A27 Falmer site. (Dan Danahar)
Monday 23 May
On Monday I met Mark Colvin at Kithurst Meadow early and we saw Small Blues and Dukes, which started flying at 8:15am. I then did my Mill Hill transect: Adonis Blue 17, Brimstone 1, Common Blue 3, Dingy Skipper 7, Green Hairstreak 2, Grizzled Skipper 1, Red Admiral 2, Small Heath 6, Cinnabar 2, Lesser Treble-bar 1. At Woods Mill I saw plenty of damselflies, an Orange-tip, a Holly Blue and a Cocksfoot Moth (Glyphipterix-simpliciella). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Is it possible that I saw a continental Swallowtail flitting round Wych Cross Garden Centre today?
A fairly brief sighting, but distinctive wing shape and lemon yellow background colour with black markings made it stand out quite clearly.
Hi Hilary, yes it is possible. In 2014 we had home grown Swallowtails in late May. The year before they came over from the continent in the first week in June. It could also have escaped from a butterfly farm, a distinct possibility given the earliness of the sighting. I can't add it yet to the list of first sightings as "is it possible?" does not satisfy the rather arbitrary criterion of certitude I have just been forced to invent. If you are certain, please post again. Anyway it is clear that we should all keep our eyes open, especially if we live between Uckfield and East Grinstead. If anyone has any further thoughts on this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (Ed jnr).
Today I visited Heyshott Escarpment for the first time ever and my hat goes off to all the people who have worked so hard to make it what it is now. I arrived at 10am and during the course of 3 and a half hours saw approximately 20 Duke of Burgundy on the eastern part of the site. Among these were a couple of slight oddities. One was noticeably paler than all the others and another had a pale left hind wing. Other species seen were Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Common Blue, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Peacock. The best was a Dingy Skipper pairing. Other species seen on the track approaching the site were Small White, Green-veined White, Large White, Orange-tip and Red Admiral.
The temperature reached a maximum of 18C with a northerly wind and broken cloud.
St Leonards Latest.
This afternoon in St Leonards Forest both Grizzled and Dingy Skippers have at last appeared, three weeks or so, later than last year!
I also followed an Orange Tip along most of a trail known as Micks Run (over a mile). It stopped now and again to feed from Bugle then continued at a fast walking pace. When the sun went in it stopped and waited, brilliant for photography. Once the sun reappeared it opened its wings for a few seconds then continued.
There was also Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Large and Small White, Brimstone, a Red Admiral and quite the largest Peacock I have ever seen. (Patrick Moore)
Just a note to say that Colin Knight's unidentified larva seen at Kithurst Meadow on 22 May is Acrobasis advenella.
Best, Tim (Tim Freed)
Thanks Tim, I am sure Colin will be delighted. (Ed jnr)
Lovely afternoon around the Steyning Downland Scheme site. Saw a good selection of species but in relatively small numbers. Small Tortoisehell, Large and Small White, Green-veined White, Green Hairstreak, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Wall Brown, Holly Blue, Small Heath, and Common Blue. Also several Silver Y moths. No photos due to absence of memory card! (Pete Varkala)
A Small Blue and a Orange-tip butterfly
in back garden central Brighton, seemed to like hydrangea petiolaris
Hi James, thanks for your sightings. I was wondering where you live in Brighton. Dan Danahar of Sussex Butterfly Conservation has been restoring the Butterfly haven at Surrenden Campus, Brighton. Small Blues have already been spotted there this year. I am sure he would be delighted if they were moving out into the surrounding area. (Ed jnr)
Sunday 22 May
I enjoyed another day at Kithurst Meadow on Sunday and found a new micro moth, the tiny (4mm) Twin-barred Dwarf (Elachista gleichenella) in the same place as the Red-barred Golds. A couple of larvae proved impossible to identify. There were plenty of Small Blues, but the Dukes were in fewer numbers than recently. Other sightings were an Orange-tip which patrolled back and forth all day, several Red Admirals, a Holly Blue, Green-veined Whites, Brimstones, Dingy Skippers. Silver-ground Carpets (Xanthorhoe montanata) were flying, also Cinerous Pearls, Red-fringed Conches and Grass Rivulets (Perizoma albulata). It was good to meet butterfly friends during the day. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Rather a cool and cloudy day here today at Heyshott Escarpment. As I came out of the woods onto the escarpment, I was met by a Small Heath. Dukes were difficult to spot - the first one was deep in the undergrowth, though I saw another one later on on the wing. As I sat to have a picnic, a Dingy Skipper landed on a grass stem nearby, wrapped its wings round the grass, lowered its antennae and went to sleep. And there it stayed in spite of all my antics with a camera. Once the sun came out it was off again, and was joined by another. Came down the Western Flank - many Brimstones there but nothing else evident. (Nigel Symington)
A great day on the meadow here at Kithurst. Dukes and Duchesses in abundance, showing off both their upper and underwings. Green Hairstreaks defending a patch on the trees at the bottom of the field, and an obliging Small Blue nectaring on forget-me-nots. (Nigel Symington)
2 Large Skippers seen today at Friston Gallops. Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers also along with Common Blue, Small Coppers, Small Heath, Green Hairstreak and Wall Brown. (Mark Cadey)
You can find out more about Friston Gallops including where to park here.(Ed jnr)
Liz Williams Butterfly Haven, Surrenden Campus, Brighton.
All home grown - 8 Small Blue seen (Dan Danahar)
Adonis doing well at Falmer and three Small Blue also seen there. (Dan Danahar)
Wonderful trip to Heyshott Escarpment today courtesy of a lift from Jonathan (thanks!). We didnt try a structured count, rather just soaked up the butterfly and orchid experience backed by a solitary singing tree pipit!
Having seen an Orange Tip on the way up we located a Duke of Burgundy almost instantly in one of the Pits. We enjoyed seeing more although wouldnt claim to have seen 200! Green Hairstreaks and Dingy and Grizzled Skippers were also seen in small numbers although there must have been "lots" on the site as they weren't difficult to pick up. Wemalso found our first Common Blues of the year along with a lonesome Brimstone and a green veined white and Red Admiral on the way back down.
Thanks to Nigel Symington and an anonymous visiting orchid spotter we saw fly orchids (quite a few when you got your eye in) and white helleborine (the ones we saw weren't yet fully out) as well as the Early Purple orchids and common twayblades.
An all round fantastic natural history experience, well done to the BC folk who have contributed to the management work!
We then went on to Kithurst Meadow but the cloud had started to build. We did see 4 Small Blues but no Dukes unfortunately. However, we did find some common spotted orchids just coming into flower ro add to our orchid tally.
Lots of small moths beyond identification by me apart from a few Burnet Companions and with help from Mark Colvin a Common Carpet (both at Heyshott) (Chris Corrigan)
These are some pictures from the trip to Heyshott Chris mentioned. Hopefully Nigel Symington will send in a better picture of the fly orchid. This was my first visit to Heyshott and it did not disappoint. Thanks to all those volunteers who have cut and chopped their way up the hill on cold winters mornings to make such an amazing place. (Jonathan Crawford)
After visting Levin Down on the way home I called at Inham's Lane, West Stoke (SU835089) where I saw the following; Brimstone (3M 1F), Small White (11), Orange Tip (1M), Peacock (1), Red Admiral (2). (Roy Symonds)
Visited Levin Down (SU8813) today hoping to see Dingy and Grizzled Skippers. Sadly I only saw a single Dingy Skipper, but this was disappointment was soon forgotten on the fact that I saw over a dozen fresh male Common Blues. Totals: Brimstone (2M), Small White (1), Speckled Wood (1), Common Blue (13M), Red Admiral (1), Dingy Skipper (1). (Roy Symonds)
Whilst passing the Elms pointed out to me by Jamie Burston, I decided to stop to see how the White Letter hairstreak larvae were doing. Whilst looking for them, just a change by a fraction of an angle in my line of sight enabled me to see this White-letter Hairstreak larva. (Dan Danahar)
Adonis in the Rain (Dan Danahar)
Saturday 21 May
An early start at Kithurst meadow today showed me just a roosting Small Blue initially. Later when the temperature rose a few Small Blues started flying and a Brown Argus roosted in a place when none were seen earlier. I found three specimens of the tiny (4mm) Red-barred Gold moths (Micropterix tunbergella). Grass Rivulets (Perizoma albulata) and Cinerous Pearls were flying, and I found single specimens of Small Purple and Gold (Pyrausta aurata) and Dark Strawberry Tortrix (Celypha lacunana). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
On a small Black Thorn sucker in the garden, I discovered 5 over wintering eggs in late March .
Having kept an eye on them they all successfully hatched by the first week of May .
The caterpillars although tiny would have hopefully managed to reach an opening bud to commence feeding.
Over the last few weeks I have had a careful look in the hope of spotting a caterpillar .
At 9.00a.m this morning despite being cool and overcast, I spotted a Brown Hairstreak caterpillar wandering around the leaves and the single stem of this year's growth, totally exposed . It was pretty small , less than 4.0 mm in length, but quite light green in colour and obvious when you get your eye in . So at least one has survived so far - whether I see it again remains to be seen as its current behaviour leaves it particularly vulnerable to predation . It has also survived the Ants which are also wandering around the plant . But these are probably less of a threat, at this time ,than it being eaten by Spiders or Harvestmen. With a bit of patience ,trying to get it to stay still for a few seconds , I finally got some pictures for interest. The characteristic hump at the fore end is already showing . On one shot I swear blind it nearly smiled for the camera .Interestingly the head capsule is black and all said and done the vulnerable bits are fairly well protected, especially if it pulls itself down .It is however perfectly camouflaged and nearly invisible if it sits on the underside of a leaf on the mid rib, which is normally where they spend the day. Later in the day I did find a second caterpillar in another part of the garden which was firmly positioned on a small leaf mid rib. I need to have a look at night to see if that's when they are feeding.
The pics are a little grainy and coarse as a result of the huge enlargement necessary to see the detail, which is not visible to the naked eye at this small scale ,not to mention the wind at the time .
This afternoon will be spent dealing with another problem - A great Spotted Woodpecker has started trying to hammer its way in through the front door of my nest box of Blue tits . That's not on "Woody !" - Re-enforcing is needed urgently .
( Richard Roebuck)
Got dropped off at Kithurst Meadow for probably my one chance to see Duke of Burgundy this year! Met Mark "the pessimist" Colvin who predicted I had no chance. He had a point looking at the mass of cloud, but being the super optimist I was determined to prove him wrong. Fat chance! His pessimism (he claims realism) prevailed. He did make amends by showing me a roosting small blue he and Colin Knight had found which was great to see.
It was then the long walk back to Shoreham! I did see 2 dingy skippers at Washington Chalk Pit in a brief brightish spell on an otherwise dreary walk!
If anyone is going Duke hunting tomorrow Sunday from the Shoreham area and is able to offer me a lift I will be overjoyed and eternally grateful. Alas I am without car! (Chris Corrigan)
After much modification of the Butterfly Haven landscape last summer, its a delight to see that the Small Blue colony has survived in the deliberately left marginal fringe habitat. Today, the first sighting gave evidence of four specimens (on the first day!) one of which was a female. Along with two Common Blues...Please forgive the poor quality iPhone images, (Dan Danahar)
After delivering a butterfly identification and recording workshop for the South Downs Volunteer
Ranger Service, held at the National Park Authority's offices in Midhurst, a large group of us headed to Heyshott Escarpment,
to put theory into practice. I was assisted by Jayne Chapman (BC Hants Reserves Officer) and BC/VRS stalwart Arthur Greenwood.
As always, Heyshott risked giving an entirely false impression of the plight facing some of our rarer and more localised species. If one were to live entirely within the confines of the Murray Downland Trust's flagship reserve, it would be easy to think that all was well with the natural world. At one point I became genuinely concerned that people might tread on some of the Duke of Burgundies scattered liberally over the ground. It came as a relief to occasionally find a more common species on which the group could hone its identification skills, but for much of the time it was 'Duke of Burgundy, Duke of Burgundy, Duke of Burgundy, Duke of Burgundy'.
Having recently made an accurate count of 135 Dukes here (almost exclusively males), and knowing the numbers usually encountered within each pit, it soon became obvious to me that I was looking at a larger population than I've ever experienced before. After our group had departed I returned to make a more accurate assessment, but time only allowed a count over about one-third of the productive area.
Females were out in abundance today and I saw a total of five pairings without having to search very hard. I also came across only my second ever example of the pale aberrant form leucodes (it looks rather like a very faded specimen but isn't!). It's been a historically good week for aberrant Sussex Dukes, as I've had the pleasure of sharing the rare ab. albomaculata with a few friends on another site.
Over some parts of the reserve which seldom support more than one or two Dukes, today there were many. At times the air was full of butterflies, with males chasing males, males chasing females, and males chasing Dingy Skippers. In several places I counted the number of individuals sitting within an imaginary one metre square. The last species I saw in comparable densities was the African Grass Blue in Furteventura!
So how many Dukes were flying over Heyshott Escarpment today? I generally prefer not to estimate or extrapolate, but it is important to record, even imprecisely, the unprecedented recovery of the Duke of Burgundy, on a site where it had come so perilously close to extinction. Today there were at least 200 Dukes here. (Neil Hulme)
Friday 20 May
An early start at Kithurst meadow today gave me roosting Brown Argus and Small Blues. A bonus was a male Hairy Dragonfly. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Mill Hill Thrill.
Hello, today I visited Mill Hill. I parked to the south just over the by-pass bridge and walked the lower path and back for an hour. When the sun came out the place sprung into life.
Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper and Common Blue were the first to appear. Followed by plenty of Adonis Blue, mainly male but several females. There were also Green Hairstreak, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Large White and Small Heath, as well as three Wall Brown. The thrill was when an Adonis Blue landed on my hand for a while. (Patrick Moore)
Thursday 19 May
Hello, today in St Leonards Forest a Green Hairstreak fed on a Bluebell, I've never seen this before, stunning!
Also a pair of courting Brimstone flew quite close, so I followed them for quite sometime until the female laid on her back and pointed her abdomen upwards (this can be seen in my somewhat hurried photo). The male seemed confused and scuttled around until they both flew away and tried again further down the path.
There was also Peacock, Large White, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood to be seen. Patrick Moore. (Patrick Moore)
For a couple of hours or so this morning there was some sunshine and warmth and consequently some butterfly activity in my Storrington garden. I was delighted to come across a mating pair of Green-veined Whites and even more delighted when my inadvertent disturbance caused them to fly around and then perch on White Honesty. Whenever possible I try to photograph my garden butterflies with a British native flower head as background. Martin Kalaher, Storrington. (Martin Kalaher)
On Tuesday I met Butterfly Conservation's North Yorks Duke of Burgundy Co-ordinator, Robert Parks, to discuss habitat management for our favourite species, while we walked over the slopes of Heyshott Escarpment. Of course the Duke leads a very different life in these two very different places, but there are also features common to both.
Perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from Heyshott is that relatively small changes in the management of habitat (at least "small" when viewed by the casual observer) can lead to spectacular increases in population. Rare species are often rare because they are so fussy, particularly in the early stages of their life cycle. So when it comes to managing habitat for them, nearly-right is not good enough.
As we slowly and methodically covered the entire reserve, discussing the different challenges faced by the Duke in our own areas, and by us in looking after it, we counted them. Robert was delighted when we spotted the first one, but realised that we were in for a real treat by the time we left the first pit.
I must admit that I was surprised we were seeing so many, bearing in mind that it was cool and almost constantly cloudy. It was certainly too cold for the females to be active, and we only saw 6 all day, with just one very short period of egg-laying observed.
However, males were in real abundance, although most of them were doing very little, other than sitting around in the hope of some sunshine and a passing Duchess. We passed the half-century mark quite early on, so I knew we were almost certain to break three figures. We did so in style, ending up with a massive count of 135, 129 of which were male. I've never seen so many Dukes in one place before. The lack of sunshine made this tally even more incredible, as many would probably have stayed in bed that day.
As I scaled the steepest of slopes at the very top of the reserve, I noticed that a significant proportion of the male butterflies here were freshly emerged, some with still slightly crinkled wings. This suggests that the species is yet to reach peak this season.
As we moved over to the west flank, Robert spotted the first of four freshly emerged males. If, as it now appears to be doing, the Duke becomes firmly established here, the population is likely to grow considerably.
I was delighted that Robert, who has worked on Dukes for several decades, was able to share such an experience, particularly having travelled so far for the visit. (Neil Hulme)
Wednesday 18 May
Visited Stansted Forest walking the main tracks on the South Western area. No Brimstones were seen as the temperature was 13°C. Totals: Small White (6), Green Veined White (3), Orange Tip (3M 1F), Holly Blue (1). (Roy Symonds)
During a walk across Seaford golf course and the sheltered side of the adjoining downland track, single numbers of Holly Blue, Small White, Small Heath and Green Hairstreak and varying numbers of Red Admiral, Large White, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Speckled Wood, Wall and Brown Argus were seen. Earlier in the day a Brimstone flew hurriedly through my garden.
2 Wall Brown seen on my Crowlink Transect at TV536973. (David Jode)
On a hot and sunny afternoon with temperatures reaching 17 degrees, I walked the main tracks in Stansted Forest (SU7411). Totals: Brimstone (2M), Small White (6), Green Veined White (1), Orange Tip (6M), Comma (1). (Roy Symonds)
Tuesday 17 May
Some bad news. The friends of Warnham Local Nature reserve report that their Heronry camera equipment was stolen last Tuesday or Wednesday. The equipment was funded and maintained by the friends and broadcast a live feed to the visitor centre. If anyone has any information about this theft, please make contact with the Wardens at the Reserve on 01403-256890, or with the Friends on 01403-756238. We at Sussex Butterfly Conservation commiserate with them. (Ed jnr)
Today at Kithurst meadow I enjoyed the Dukes, a Silver Y, Green Hairstreaks, Red Admirals, a Small Blue, Brimstones, Green-veined Whites, Cinerous Pearls, Red-fringed Conches. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Blue's Tuesday at Mill Hill and Kithurst plus other notable sightings. Firstly an 'electric' Common Blue, followed by fresh a daisy Adonis Blues both males and females (6 & 2 respectively). Numerous Dingy Skippers a couple of Grizzled Skippers and 3 Wall Brown. A couple of Green Hair Streaks at Mill Hill.
A move to Kithurst Meadow where quite a crowd were gathered in the bottom corner. I didn't get that far before spotting a very fresh Small Blue that kept me busy till the crowd dispersed and saw a couple of Dukes. The whole meadow was busy with a male and 2 female Orange Tips, several Brimstones all males except one female that was fending off an exuberant male, a couple of Green Hairstreaks a Red Admiral and lastly a Peacock. (David Cook)
If you are wondering how to tell a Common Blue from an Adonis Blue as in David's first two pictures, you can find out here. (Ed jnr)
On a walk around Bevendean LNR this morning I saw 10 Speckled Wood, 2 Orange Tip, 2 Common Blue,1 Small Copper, 1 green hairstreek, 1 Small Heath and many Small Whites. (Geoff Stevens)
On Monday 16th I walked through Horsham Park just after lunch and saw plenty of Holly Blue as well as Large White, Brimstone, Speckled Wood and Small White. Patrick Moore.
Perfect weather for my first ever attempt to see the Duke of Burgundy, at first no butterflies were to be seen but I eventually found a Dingy Skipper, also a first for me. After walking around for a bit and with a bit more sunshine I came across several Dukes fluttering over the turf in a small hollow allowing very close views when they settled. Over the next hour I saw more Dingy Skippers, Large White, Brimstone and Green Hairstreak along with another 3 or 4 Dukes. (Elliot Dowding https://www.wildlifeandwords.com)
Monday 16 May
I walked up and down the Chantry Hill Combes as much for the exercise as anything else and saw my first Brown Argus of the year. There were also several female Common Blues which might have caused some confusion (and just one male Common Blue). Approximately 50-60 Dingy Skippers. Not a lot else but the weather wasn't great. There were 30-40 Early Purple Orchids, looking rather splendid. Martin Kalaher, Storrington. (Martin Kalaher)