Sunday 23 September
It was a privilege to take part in Chris Packham's People's Walk for Wildlife in London yesterday (22 September), which started with many inspirational speeches, particularly those from youngsters. https://twitter.com/BellaLack/status/1043591775036891136. For me, Bella Lack (15) was the brightest of many stars. It was great to see such a strong presence of Butterfly Conservation people, including quite a few from BC Sussex. The peaceful march through London, to the loud tune of bird song played by many of the 10,000 participants, ended with more speeches, before a 200-point manifesto for wildlife was presented to Downing Street. Shockingly, the main stream media universally claimed the size of the march to be just 'hundreds'; such inaccurate reporting of numbers (much backtracking overnight) hasn't been seen since the US Presidential inauguration! Even worse, neither the BBC nor ITV bothered to cover the event, which rather highlights the difficulties in raising wider awareness of the plight of British wildlife. This seems like a good opportunity to emphasise the value of all the work done by our own volunteers, as a new work party season begins. I'd also like to thank the immense generosity of all those who bid for lots at the BC 50th Anniversary dinner at Eltham Palace the evening before, where c.£12,000 was raised for the cause. And thank you to every one of our members, all of whom contribute to our work. (Neil Hulme)
Friday 21 September
Butterflies are becoming few and far between in St Leonards Forest, Horsham especially in this afternoons high wind and showers. However I managed to find Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Common Blue, a Large White and a Meadow Brown. (Patrick Moore)
I went for a walk in the morning to Southwick along the canal to look for LTB or at least their eggs but no luck. I did get to see two Clouded Yellow, one Painted Lady and a handful of blues. After that I walked around in Hollingbury Park, Brighton inspecting the nettle in search of Peacock chrysalis as I saw a good number of caterpillars there earlier this year. Again no luck but I saw a very nice Red Admiral enjoying the sunny spells and plenty of Speckled Wood still around. Low quality photo was taken by my phone. (Istvan Radi)
A very windy walk, but mostly sunny, around Lancing Ring & Steep Down. 36 Speckled Wood, 23 Wall Brown, 9 Common Blue, 8 Red Admiral, 6 Small Heath, 5 Comma, 5 Small White, 4 Small Copper, 2 Brown Argus, 2 Peacock. (Lindsay Morris)
As the strong wind this morning was battering the front of my West facing house, I gambled that the East facing hedge at High and Over would offer some protection. And so it proved, with a good showing of male Wall Browns, and the prize I was after, a lovely fresh, third brood female Wall. Also seen, two fresh Brown Argus, two male Common Blues, quite a few Whites, several Speckled Woods and a flyby Painted Lady. (Trevor Rapley)
On Wednesday morning around 11 a.m. walking down Cavell Avenue in Peacehaven, I was surprised to see what looked like a freshly emerged Common Blue male hovering around some low bushes. (Bob Brown)
Thursday 20 September
A slightly hasty lunchtime trip to Mill Hill with Dave Cook - for me to see any butterflies I can as I am slightly starved of them in W Yorks at the moment and for Dave to relocate the Peacock pupae as posted by Neil Hulme on the 16th. We both did OK though, despite being cunningly marked, the pupae took quite a long time to re-find! Anyway, Small White, Comma, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Common Blue, Wall and Red Admiral all had a go at fighting the strong winds during briefly hazy sunshine. Yorkshire butterflies seem less friendly in these conditions........ (Rolf Farrell)
Having given up mid-afternoon on Sussex's failing attempt to beat Warwickshire & gain promotion, we were cheered up by the sight of a Small White in Pembroke Crescent, Hove braving the literal & metaphorical gloom . (John & Val Heys)
seen in my house 4 miles from sussex border, unable to id from the usual uk moth sites so after googling brown and white moth
finally came up with BOX TREE MOTH, a moth slowly spreading out of london where it has colonised and is now regarded as a
pest because of the damage the caterpillars do to box tree shrubs and hedge's, so sussex beware (david long)
Wednesday 19 September
5 years of searching: On Monday 17 September I finally found Small Copper eggs, lots of them! 24 eggs counted on one sorrel plant, 12 eggs on another sorrel plant and 1 egg on another, that is 37 Small Copper eggs all located within a 30cm square! Plus another egg nearby = 38! A friend has pointed out how the eggs look like golf balls, this takes miniature golf to a whole new level, especially as they were found at the edge of Hollingbury Park Golf Course! On my walk I saw 5 adult Small Coppers, including 2 definite females. The photo shows 6 Small Copper eggs, 2 of which have hatched with an additional 2 eggs located out of sight on the underside of the leaf, 8 eggs on a single leaf, a species which is obviously doing very well at the moment! (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/470732567/small-copper-butterfly-on-patrol?ref=shop_home_active_4)
Val & I were in Worthing yesterday afternoon & a bit early for our allotted task of collecting the granddaughter from school, so we strolled along the footpath section of Barrington Road near Durrington Station. It's a little urban oasis of green & we were not entirely surprised to come across 2 Speckled Woods. (John & Val Heys)
Tuesday 18 September
Due to the wind instead of going up to Mill Hill I opted for bird-watching at Widewater Lagoon LNR where I found a Painted Lady, a Small White. Then I walked across to the Adur Rec Ground where I saw a beautiful brand new Red Admiral, about two dozens of Speckled Wood and Small White. Also found this little moth and a critter what I believe to be a Meconema meridionale (southern oak bush cricket). (Istvan Radi)
Solitary Clouded Yellow seen nestling in the grass at Southwick Basin on Saturday, before zooming off into the distance. (Alan Beard)
The highlights of a couple of hours on Cissbury Ring (17 September), in glorious autumnal sunshine, were 73 Small Copper (including two mating pairs) and 7 Wall Brown. Plenty of Small Heath and a few third brood Common Blue were also seen, together with some now faded Adonis, including egg-laying females. (Neil Hulme)
Monday 17 September
The penultimate transect of the year at the Gatwick north-west zone today produced 29 butterflies of 8 different species including 3 Brown Hairstreaks. However the highlight of the day was finding 2 male Willow Emerald damselflies. (Vince Massimo)
St Leonards Forest, Horsham played host to Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Small Copper, Common Blue, Small Heath, Small White and a Red Admiral in the warm sunshine this afternoon. (Patrick Moore)
I went for a walk around Seford Head N.R. and Cuckmere Haven and had the most amazing weather for it. The dominant species seemed to be the Small Heath and Small Copper but low numbers of Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Chalk Hill Blue, Small White and Large White were present too. Disappointingly I could not find any Clouded Yellow what was my target species for today. I shall try Mill Hill tomorrow... (Istvan Radi)
A walk round Lancing Ring and Steep Down in near perfect warm sunshine turned up the following among the 15 species of butterfly. 28 Wall Brown (in cop included), 13 Small Copper, 7 Adonis Blue, 7 Small Heath, 6 Red Admiral, Painted Lady, 2 Brimstone, 32 Speckled Wood, Brown Hairstreak, 19 Common Blue, 2 Peacock. Apologies to those of you desperate to experience proper autumn weather! I shall continue to make hay... (Lindsay Morris)
sun 16/09/2018. fields behind Friars Oak pub, Hassocks, W.Sx. counted 25x Brown Hairstreak eggs today, nine in field one, this is sixteen in total including last weeks seven. and sixteen in field two, including ten in a very small area which consisted of a blackthorn growing though a bramble bush (TQ 30362 16653). a total of 32x BH eggs have been found, but no adults seen. butterflies seen: 1x Clouded Yellow patrolling all afternoon, 2x Speckled Woods, 1x Large White, 2x Small Coppers, 1x Small Heath and 4x Swallow's overhead. and not forgetting, Sarah picked 2lb 15oz of blackberries. a grand day out. (Peter Farrant)
We like fields behind pubs. I am surprised that there are not more sightings from them. I suppose their proximity to the pub is the answer. (Ed jnr).
After watching a few Wall Brown this morning at High and Over I spotted the marker that I had placed by the Clouded Yellow egg that James and I had seen laid on the 6th September. I thought I might as well have a quick look to see if there were any signs of larva. Amazingly, there was one of the tiniest little larva there. At first I didn't think it was a Clouded Yellow larva until I got home and checked some images on UK Butterflies website of the 1st instar. Hopefully there are several more on the site from the egg laying butterfly we saw. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
An early visit to High and over revealed a very healthy population of third brood Wall Browns. On one occasion eight males could be seen flying and sparring near the steps. And they were found in four locations over hillside, including one male in the car park. A very striking female Common Blue Commanded attention, but unfortunately grass blades were always in the way, creating a shadow across the wings. (Trevor Rapley)
It's been so sunny & warm this morning (& not as breezy as it will be later) that I've been looking out for butterflies in our back garden in Hove. So far only one measly white (probably a Large White). This was such a poor return that I've walked the best bits of Wish park in terms of butterfly potential. Enough nectar sources but not a single butterfly. We did a lot better out of Sussex yesterday at Osterley house where we saw more than a dozen Small Coppers in the formal gardens, a few Speckled Woods & whites and even a Red Admiral. It's years since I've been there. The National trust has done a lot to improve the gardens so well worth a visit when in bloom. (John & Val Heys)
Visited Mill Hill on Saturday with my daughter in the afternoon, weather was warmer than I expected. After a brief chat with Trevor Rapley, my daughter and I met up with David Cook who was accompanied by Neil Hulme, all looking for similar species. My quest was to see a Clouded Yellow and Wall, and I was not disappointed. I was over the moon to capture my first sightings of these to say the least. I shall return in hope of finding more. Also sightings of Small Copper, Painted Ladies, Adonis Blues, Chalk Hill Blues, Common Blues, and Large Whites and Peacock flittering around. (Kirsty Gibbs)
Two Clouded Yellows seen on Sedlescombe allotments. (Jonathan Warner)
Sunday 16 September
I spent the whole afternoon tramping around the Cissbury area which was fantastic once the sun came out and stayed. There were quite a few Small Copper around, I did intend to count them but gave up at 37 or was it 53? There were also Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Heath, Small White, Large White, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Peacock and Speckled Wood. A Meadow Brown egg laying was rather interesting to follow. To continue with the list there were also Wall Brown, Comma, Holly Blue and a single Brown Hairstreak. Worth a visit especially when the sun is out. (Patrick Moore)
I could only get up to Cissbury first thing when it was cloudy and windy. Managed to see a few Small Coppers. Later in the afternoon on Mill Hill I found a pair of old "Ranger" 7-15 zoom Binoculars in a place only lepidpoterists would visit. If the owner wants them back please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If not I will add them to the raffle at the AGM. (Jonathan Crawford)
My plans to return to Cissbury Ring today (16 September) changed when David Cook contacted me, to let me know that he'd located a second brood Peacock pupa at Mill Hill. David first spotted numerous caterpillars here a while back, and I narrowly missed the opportunity to photograph them on 13 September, when the last one had headed off to pupate earlier in the day. Mark Jones spotted it hanging up below a nettle leaf as he left the site, and today guided David to the precise location over the 'phone. It's hard enough to find Peacock pupae at the best of times, so to locate one from the occasional, partial second brood is a rare event. The adult butterfly should emerge in early October. Plenty of Wall were seen, including some freshly emerged males, and I found a female Brown Hairstreak laying eggs near the top car park. (Neil Hulme)
During our monthly litter-pick at Tidemills this morning I disturbed a Clouded Yellow which quickly flew to another spot to shelter from the wind. The amount of litter collected is much less than previous years which is a good thing. Back home in my garden a few Large and Small Whites flew in, some feeding on Verbena Bonariensis and perennial wallflower Bowles Mauve. A Common Blue, a single Speckled Wood and a Wall butterfly also appeared. I have seen more Walls in the garden than previous years so it seems to be a good year for them. (Stuart Ridley)
Standen, East Grinstead: Small Coppers (Kim Berry)
A male Adonis Blue still in reasonable condition on the path above Horseshoe Plantation at Belle Tout this morning. Also a Clouded Yellow near the Beachy Head Hotel. Elsewhere on the headland, one Comma, good numbers of Small Heaths and a few Meadow Browns and Common Blues. (Simon Linington)
Had a short walk in the meadows Beeding side of the Adur, not expecting much. No A List celebrities but quite a few busy Speckled Woods, several nice Peacocks, a tatty blue and a reasonable showing of Small Coppers. These largely in the shelter of a Blackthorn hedge. Also a lady bird hunkered down in a holly leaf. (Simon Buck)
Today I joined Dave Harris and 8 other people cutting wall cotoneaster on the Northern embankment of the Buckle Bypass, near Seaford. Hard on the ankles as the site is so steep! But we were working in full sun as the embankment is South-facing. Numerous Common Blues - mostly males in pristine condition - flew around us. A Clouded Yellow made a high speed fly past, while Brimstone and Meadow Brown were sighted in the distance. Careful examination of Broad-leaved Everlasting pea in the area failed to show up any long tailed blue eggs. We uncovered this Fox Moth caterpillar which was carefully relocated to a fresh plant of salad burnet outside the work area. (Nigel Symington)
Yesterday we explored the extensive grassland at Petworth Park. There were Small Heath everywhere but we found Small Coppers only in the few areas which had flowers amongst the grassland, and these were few and far between. After lunch we visited North Stoke. It was quite hard to look for butterflies due to the extraordinary numbers and behaviour of four different species of raptor. I suspect a Sheep carcass was behind this festival. There were plenty of whites as well a quite a few Small Coppers, Commas and the odd Common Blue. A fresh Red Admiral was a welcome sight. (Jonathan Crawford)
Saturday 15 September
It was harder going at Mill Hill today (15 September), probably due to the much windier conditions than yesterday. Fewer Wall were seen (14), but my count did include a mating pair. Mating pairs of Meadow Brown and Small Heath were also encountered, together with a few Clouded Yellow and Small Copper. On the way home I made a late afternoon visit to Cissbury Ring (south side) where, in very short time, I counted 67 Small Copper, as many were preparing to roost. I'll return for a fuller count, as numbers must now be very high over the entire site. (Neil Hulme)
Took the bus up to Devil's Dyke for a short walk, ended up walking for five hours it was so glorious up there. Plenty of Small Heath as I walked over to Newtimber hill and a few Small Copper. Very many more butterflies over on Newtimber Hill, lots of pristine Small Copper, and quite a few battered Adonis Blue, lots of Small Heath, and a few Common Blue and Meadow Brown. Other highlights were a fantastic ivy bee nest, the autumn gentian just coming in to flower (sideways photo) and possibly the best blackberry bush in Sussex. (Sylvia Davidson)
The fine weather today did not produce the number of Butterflies one might have expected.
In nearly three hours at Southwick, only one distant Clouded Yellow was seen. But on the plus
side Common Blues did show well at Southwick and Mill Hill. I also found four male Wall Browns,
a Small Copper, and several Brown Argus at Mill Hill.
It was probably the constant cool breeze that kept numbers low.
A walk from Lancing Ring via Steep Down to Steyning Rifle Range included 15 species of butterfly. 3 female Brown Hairstreak still looking good was a nice way to finish, and 7 third brood male Wall Brown included one on The Monarch's Way, the rest nearer the start. (Lindsay Morris)
Friday 14 September
I had a very lucky encounter with a Hummingbird Hawk Moth this afternoon, at High and Over.
At least my camera managed to ' freeze ' the body of the moth.
Also four very fresh male Wall Browns braved the breeze and occasional weak sunshine, as did
a fresh Large White. (Trevor Rapley)
Thursday 13 September
Mill Hill was wall-to-wall with Wall Brown by the end of today (13 September), as a large hatch of third brood butterflies is underway. I arrived before 11 am but couldn't drag myself away before 6 pm, although it felt like I'd only been there for a couple of hours. David Cook and Mark Jones dropped in for a while, with Mark doing us proud by finding a mating pair. My final tally of 21 Wall Brown included just four females, so there are probably plenty more to come. They were spread over the entire site, at all levels, including the paths running north from the top car park.
There were plenty of other species on offer, including Clouded Yellow (3), Adonis Blue, Chalk Hill Blue, Common Blue (some third brood), Brown Argus, Small Copper, Small Heath, Meadow Brown (including three mating pairs), Green-veined White (third brood), Small White, Peacock and Red Admiral. I had hoped to photograph the second brood Peacock caterpillars that David Cook recently found here, but they've all headed off to pupate. (Neil Hulme)
A follow up visit to Southwick Basin with Mark Jones this morning produced only 2 Clouded Yellow. A fresh Red Admiral and good numbers of Whites and Common Blue. We decided to head up to Mill Hill in the hope and expectation that the Wall Brown would be putting on a good display. We weren’t wrong. They seemed to be popping up everywhere from the northern end of the middle slope. Neil Hulme joined in the fun and after getting a shout from Mark that he’d got a pairing I headed off to find him whilst Neil went looking for his stick! The female looks to have an extra eye spot so is most likely an aberration. (David Cook)
On a walk from Kithurst meadow to Chantry hill, a few Speckled Woods, large and Small Whites. Lots of Meadow Browns and Small Heaths, a couple of Brown Argus and Small Coppers, 3 chalkhill blues that had seen better days and a Comma (Denise Diston)
At Worthing for most of the day. Plenty of Small Whites & a few Large Whites everywhere. In Clive Avenue near West Park School a Clouded Yellow flying strongly south-east to north-west up and over a bungalow. In a rather shaded garden in Browning Road, a Speckled Wood. As I was pondering the complete lack of Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells & Peacocks anywhere we've been over the last few weeks, I did catch a glimpse of something which could have been one of these, or possibly a Comma, but it was too far & too quick for a positive i d. (John & Val Heys)
A walk from Lyons Farm up and around Cissbury Ring in glorious calm sunshine. 15 butterfly species seen including a fabulous 110 Small Copper, 4 Wall Brown, Clouded Yellow, 158 Small Heath, 22 Speckled Wood, 56 Common Blue, 46 Meadow Brown, 3 Brimstone, 7 Adonis Blue, 2 Brown Argus, Comma, Red Admiral, Holly Blue. (Lindsay Morris)
Until today my record for Small Coppers seen in our Broadbridge Heath garden was eight, and that was many years ago.This afternoon we managed to count 17, although there may have been more. They kept moving! They have been attracted to two large areas of Devil's Bit Scabious I have grown in place of a traditional lawn. Apologies for my photos - I am no photographer - but I thought an image or two of this garden habitat might be of interest to anyone looking for an excuse to do less lawn mowing. Also in the garden today there was a female Brown Hairstreak and Comma, plus, in the bird department, a Marsh Tit feeding on Honeysuckle berries, or at least the seeds of these. (David Bridges)
Very pleased to report that at least three pristine Small Coppers were feeding on Devil's-bit Scabious growing on the SWT Waltham Brooks Reserve in between the Sewage Works and the Pedestrian Railway Crossing. One of them was the gorgeous form caeruleopunctata; the first I've seen. Lots of Speckled Woods around too, and the odd Small Heath. (Chris Skinner)
I had something of a Wall Brown extravaganza at High and Over this morning.
On arrival they were performing on the famous steps, and sending one another up.
One battle in the air consisted of five males, again right near the steps.
Assuming that it was third brood Walls that were seen today, many were worn, or tatty.
Only one female was spotted, no photo unfortunately.
Another Butterfly of note was an almost derelict Clouded Yellow, which still managed to fly.
A single, fresh, Small Copper and many Small Heaths were also present. (Trevor Rapley)
Small Copper in lovely condition relaxing in the sun on a drying pumpkin in my garden. King's Stone Avenue side of Steyning. (Simon Buck)
Wednesday 12 September
I managed to find a single Small Copper and single Common Blue in the afternoon rain in St Leonards Forest, Horsham today. (All mobile phone images so they will probably load lopsided) (Patrick Moore)
Tuesday 11 September
I know they're not butterflies, but I thought folk might be interested to see some of the fungi that were recorded on Butterfly Conservation's Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath reserves, on a recent visit by Sussex Fungus Group. I've written a blog about it here: http://misidentifyingfungi.blogspot.com/2018/09/mychorrhizal-madness.html (Clare Blencowe http://misidentifyingfungi.blogspot.com/2018/09/mychorrhizal-madness.html)
Monday 10 September
A trip to Mill Hill in very breezy but bright conditions produced a very fresh Painted Lady, good numbers of Common Blue and Meadow Brown but the highlight had to be, what for me has been a very rare sighting this year, a Small Tortoiseshell.
In a patch of nettles several Peacock laval webs were seen along with some very large caterpillars. (David Cook)
We stopped off at Southwick Basin this morning at about 10.30am for half an hour. It was bright & sunny but with a quite stiff south westerly wind. We saw 2 Clouded Yellows, at least 5 male & at least 2 female Common Blues, a Large White and around 15 Small Whites & Green-veined Whites. It was nice to see a lot of grasshoppers too as there are plenty of places where you'd expect to see them these days but don't. (John & Val Heys)
sun 09/09/2018 on corner of York Road and Charles Avenue, Victoria Business Park, Burgess Hill, W.Sx. no adult Brown Hairstreaks seen, but counted 25x BH eggs between 11.45am and 1.50pm, a couple of weeks ago counted 16x eggs, total so far 41 BH eggs. oh and Sarah picked 3lb of blackberry's. only butterflies seen were 3x Small Whites. then we had grub at the Friars Oak pub at Hassocks, behind the pub is a field which has masses of fleabane and young willow bushes and blackthorn hedges (TQ 303 165), a couple of years ago I found 2x BH eggs, this time counted 7x BH eggs, five along south facing hedge and three along east facing hedge between 4.00pm and 4.36pm, butterflies seen: 1x Small Heath, 1x Clouded Yellow, 1x Common Blue (m), 2x Speckled Woods and 1x Hornet. (Peter Farrant)
Amongst the13 butterfly species identified, a tatty female Brown Hairstreak was basking at 13.30 in Beeding Hill chalk Pit. A new site for this species for me. A third brood Wall Brown was seen here and another in Anchor Bottom. (Lindsay Morris)
Large numbers of Sm. Heath 1 Common Blue 2 Clouded Yellows and Passenger Moth (Arthur Greenslade)
Sunday 09 September
I spent a few hours this morning (between 10am and noon) chasing Clouded Yellows at Shoreham Harbour (or Southwick Basin or whatever other name it goes by). Probably half a dozen or so males. Mostly patrolling but some did stop on the small Buddleja's at the eastern end. Also present were at least a dozen or so Common Blues (watched a female ovipositing on medick) and all three species of White
I then moved on to Mill Hill where I found more male Clouded Yellow, at least 3, along with more Common Blues and aged looking Adonis. Best spot here tough were two very fresh 3rd gen Walls. There were also good numbers of Meadow Browns, mostly females who were egg laying like it was going out of fashion. Managed to locate one egg after one flew off. (Paul Atkin)
Brown Hairstreak on raspberry plants on our allotment in Haywards Heath at about 12.30. (David Rose)
There were plenty of Clouded Yellows at Southwick Basin this morning but they were too busy to stop for a photograph. I was fascinated to see a tiny white butterfly flying inside a bush. On close inspection it was a midget Green-veined White. It was about the size of a Common Blue. Later at Mill Hill I bumped into a Northerner who had just seen two fresh Wall Browns. Whilst these eluded me, I did see at least four Clouded Yellows though there may have been more. I saw courstship behaviour on the ground and what i think was egg laying. Other species were fairly abundant and included Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Brown Argus and a single Small Copper. I also saw an absolute Methuselah of a female Chalk Hill Blue who was so warped by age that she was virtually unrecognisable and resembled nothing like the pictures in the guide books I poured over on returning home. (Jonathan Crawford)
In the Beachy Head area today (Sunday) - still quite a few Common Blues (especially on Went Hill - west side of Birling Gap), a Brown Argus (Went Hill), two Clouded Yellows (one in Shooters' Bottom and one near the zigzag in the road west-south-west of the hotel), two Meadow Browns (Shooters' Bottom), several Small Coppers, at least one Small White and a small number of Speckled Woods. However, the highlight was a Lesser Emperor Dragonfly found by Geoff G near the road zigzag (above) that stayed a number of minutes before disappearing off. (Simon Linington)
With James finding the first 3rd brood Wall Brown on Thursday at the back of Seaford, I was quite keen to do a bit of a hunt today. The wind didn't really help but 7 Wall Brown seen today, this included the same old 2nd brood individual that has been seen several times over the past week, and then 6 more fresh 3rd brood butterflies. I even had a mating pair.
A nice Hummingbird Hawk-moth was also seen which kept landing on the fence posts for a few seconds. It then landed on a bush long enough to get a few shots of. Many species seen including a very tired Silver-spotted Skipper.
(Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
This is a date I cannot ignore and is one that makes so much sense to me, so please save the date: 22nd September 2018. Join Chris Packham in central London for The People's Walk for Wildlfie. It's up to us to protect our wildlife and ensure we have a world where all life can flourish. More details to follow soon with exact location of where we will assemble.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNNbGoxtOxQ (Dan Danahar)
Saturday 08 September
99.9% cloud and an increasing breeze were not ideal conditions to look for butterflies around Cissbury Ring. However, 11 species were seen including 18 Small Copper, 22 Small Heath, 13 Meadow Brown, 8 Common Blue, 9 Speckled Wood, Adonis Blue, Brown Argus, Peacock, Green-veined White. The south west facing compartment was being mown. Complementing the cattle, ponies, scrub bashers and herbicide to hopefully further enhance this extensive and interesting site. (Lindsay Morris)
On Thursday James Arnott and myself spotted a fresh Clouded Yellow at High and Over busy laying eggs. Hopefully these will mature in time to give us all a good end to the year. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
3 Clouded Yellows in the sand dunes at Littlehampton on Thursday but too quick in the sunshine for a photo. 2 Small Coppers egg laying were easier. Also a few Small Whites. (Richard Stephens)
I've been reading about Large Skipper in the wonderful Butterflies Of Sussex 21st century atlas, average flight period extending into August. Had also noted on the Sussex BC website Large Skipper last sighting July 22.
In light of the above, I thought I’d best pass on that I was up on Kithurst Hill watching butterflies on July 25 and saw a lone Large Skipper there. It was one of 23 species I saw.
My apologies for not sending in my sightings for that day. I'm getting to grips with technology now and have just submitted all the sightings from my garden for July and August to the B&Q garden survey! (Denise Diston)
Good stuff Denise and don't worry about getting to grips with technology. I never have, and I've worked in the industry for years. (Ed jnr)
Friday 07 September
About eight Clouded Yellows were seen at Southwick this morning, along with quite a few fresh Common Blue males, and one ' blue ' female. The constant, cool, westerly breeze made things difficult however. (Trevor Rapley)
This Speckled Wood was in my garden this morning, on the edge of Brighton (Philip Booker)
The Downs around Shooters Bottom and Horsehoe Plantation shimmered with Small Heaths at every footstep. Still a male Chalkhill Blue in reasonable condition, modest numbers of Common Blue, a single Small Copper, Large and Small Whites and a few Speckled Woods. (Bob North)
Thursday 06 September
An early morning call from Mark Jones concluded with agreeing to meet at Southwick Basin so he could photograph his 58th species if we found Clouded Yellow. Reading Trevor’s report from earlier in the week and with the weather looking favourable, the odds were good. On arrival, I found 4 on the west side of the steps. Mark arrived and we had to wait quite awhile before he was able to get his shot as the now numerous (12) Clouded Yellow were in no mood to stop. Our patrol also added Small Copper, Large White, Green-veined White, Common Blue and Small Heath by which time we had reached the gas tanks at the eastern end. At this end are some Buddleia bushes. You can imagine our surprise when a ‘little brown job’ plonked herself down on one right in front of us and we jointly exclaimed Brown Hairstreak! She posed briefly before heading on her way.
Anyone who’s visited this site will know, it’s hardly the typical habitat for Brown Hairstreak although there is some Blackthorn present. (David Cook)
Lancing Ring started sunny but deteriorated somewhat. 12 butterfly species including 22 Small Copper, 35 Common Blue, Wall Brown, 7 Holly Blue, 9 Small Heath, 6 Speckled Wood, 5 Brown Argus, Peacock, Red Admiral. (Lindsay Morris)
Despite a collapse in the weather this afternoon (6 September), I still managed to find 36 Small Coppers over just the southern part of Cissbury Ring; I suspect there are now many more present. Amongst the other species seen was another female Brown Hairstreak, this time in surprisingly good condition. (Neil Hulme)
Another amble around my local patch at the back of Seaford revealed a few very aged summer butterflies still clinging on. A single Second Brood Wall Brown plus a very tired Silver Spotted Skipper were seen, plus a smattering of Brown Argus mixed in with some very ragged Common Blues. The enormous number of Small Heath's continues unabated. Adonis Blues were seen far and wide in places I've never seen them before! Thankfully there was signs of some new life arriving to re invigorate the end of the season with a very fresh 'egg laying' Clouded Yellow, followed by a third Brood Small Copper and then a few fresh Common Blues. Surprisingly I only found one each of Comma and Red Admiral. A Hummingbird Hawk Moth caught my eye but vanished the moment I tried to change lenses! I then came across a very nice Angle-shades Moth which I proceeded to take photos of from (yup you guessed it) various angles. Just as I thought I would fail to find my main target for today I finally saw it! A lovely third Brood Wall Brown, quickly followed by a second. With luck these emerging third brood butterflies will manage to avoid the large numbers of Wasp Spiders in the area! (James. A)
Late afternoon walk to Ashcombe Bottom, still lots of Small Heath and Small White, as well as Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Peacock and a solitary very battered Clouded Yellow. (Ian Seccombe)
A visit to High and Over found a male Wall Brown hanging on from the Summer brood.
Also a very fresh female Meadow Brown was very patient for the camera. (Trevor Rapley)
Up to 10 Clouded Yellow up and down, in various states - some fresh males. Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, green veined/small/Large Whites as male and female. And a female Brown Hairstreak on the buddleia right next to the sea. Plenty of blackthorn on the bank but no trees. The most southern Brown Hairstreak? Seen with Dave Cook- we saw it at the same time and both let out various 'not to be repeateds'. (Mark Jones)
Wednesday 05 September
An afternoon with Small Copper and Speckled Wood was most enjoyable in St Leonards Forest, Horsham today. There were also rather faded Common Blue, Small White, Small Heath, Green-veined White and Meadow Brown. (Patrick Moore)
A quiet late summer afternoon in Southwater Woods. Autumn is almost here and haws, blackberries and rose-hips are now mature. A fair number of Speckled Woods on the wing and resting on ground and in oaks. I also saw a very battered but still fluttering White Admiral. A group of lovely white micro moths in remnants of honeysuckle. I'm still learning so am guessing Grass Veneer or similar. (Greg Burgess)
Last night I was delighted to find another large and beautiful moth on our balcony, the Red Underwing (Catocala nupta). Other moths seen the past two days: Light Emerald, Small Dusty Wave, Bright-line Brown-eye, Brimstone Moth, Clothes Moth (Monopis species), Square-spot Rustic, Willow Beauty. (Colin Knight http://colinknight.blogspot.co.uk)
Tuesday 04 September
Inspired by the seemingly large 3rd brood Small Copper sightings from around the county, I decided to return to Batchelors Farm for a look. Sure enough, the small colonies that are ever present here are showing really well. One small area in particular I counted at least 20 fresh individuals mixed in with some Common Blue and Small Heath. Several Speckled Wood were also seen and one, now tired looking, Brown Hairstreak appeared to be egg laying but I failed to find any eggs after she departed. (David Cook)
The Red Admiral on my Buddleia leaf has now turned into a pupa and has amazing and intricate patterns on it. A photo does not do it justice!!
(Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
3 September 2018
An immigrant Clouded Yellow Butterfly was seen flying near the Tollbridge, Old Shoreham in the middle of the day. And another one was seen in the afternoon over Anchor Bottom. Adonis Blues were common over the large expanse of the conservation pastures of Anchor Bottom: I counted 37 (30 males +7 females) in a timed 45 minutes, almost all of them in the central south-facing bank area in the space of 16 minutes. There were many more in the areas I did not visit and Lindsay Morris recorded over one hundred (182) in four hours.
With a different flora to Mill Hill, the Adonis Blues were nectaring on the abundant Rough Hawkbit., noted visiting the diminutive Squinancywort hidden amongst the grasses, attracted to the occasional tall Carline Thistles, once seen on the few Round-headed Rampions, often on the common Small Scabious, seen on occasional Hardheads, one spotted on a Dwarf Thistle, but not seen on the few Devil's Bit Scabious, or the spikes of the orchid Autumn Lady's Tresses. One female Adonis Blue was seen crawling amongst the leaves of Mouse-eared Hawkweed looking for somewhere to drops its eggs (which should on or near Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, leaves).
There were eight species of butterfly seen on the day with frequent Small Heaths seen all over the Anchor Bottom pastures with occasional Meadow Browns. I spotted a female Common Blue on Everlasting Pea near the Cement Works as well as a Small White, Large Whites and a Red Admiral near Dacre Gardens, Upper Beeding. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/AnchorBottom.html#2018)
Monday 03 September
A Wall passed through our East Dean garden TV562984 mid-afternoon today...full sunshine. (David Jode)
Third brood Small Copper numbers are increasing nicely in the Seaford area, out of the five I saw 'in the half hour I was looking' only one was showing signs of wear. Hopefully there will be many more to finish of the season in style. (James. A)
Another check at High and Over today resulted in a single Wall Brown, once again, not a fresh 3rd brood!! Still plenty of Adonis Blue on the wing and along the valley a late Silver-spotted Skipper.
On Friday I found a Red Admiral larva on the garage. After it fell off I placed it on foliage in the garden. It was clear it was fully grown and it soon started a half hearted larval web. The next day it had started to turn into a pupa. A further day and it has now become a pupa and looking pretty under a Buddleia leaf. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
A walk round Anchor Bottom and Beeding Hill in still and bright conditions was responsible for 11 butterfly species including 182 Adonis Blue, 139 Small Heath, 38 Common Blue, 3 Small Copper, Clouded Yellow. Finished at the Cement Works with ace snapper Andy Horton, looking for glory, but only finding an Adonis Blue and a Common Blue. Too big, not enough tail... (Lindsay Morris)
Clouded Yellow pale form 'helice' near Rye, E Sussex yesterday in part of wildflower meadow intentionally left uncut for inverts. Also several Meadow Browns and Common Blues still flying. (Ralph Hobbs Hobbs)
This morning I went over to Shoreham harbour, hoping that Clouded Yellows might be on the wing. In all I found three, none of which were fresh, but maybe more will emerge over the coming weeks and take us into late October. As usual the proved tricky to approach in the warmth of the sun. (Trevor Rapley)
Blackthorn is abundant at Knowlands Farm, Barcombe and I have long been hoping that Brown Hairstreak would turn up. Yesterday, Sunday, I spotted a female and watched her as she moved from plant to plant, observably laying, in a west-facing hedge to the south of Knowlands Wood. A lovely conclusion to the season and it brings the total number of butterfly species recorded here to 33. (Nick Lear)
Sunday 02 September
We had the pleasure of meeting Patrick Moore at Steyning Rifle Range this afternoon & chatting about butterflies plus Brighton & Hove Albion's first come back from being 0-2 down since reaching the premier league. We'd arrived a bit later in the afternoon than was desirable. Although it was warm there was not much flying apart from Small Whites, a handful of Common Blues (several males and dark females), a Holly Blue, a Speckled Wood & a pair of Brown Argus (unless dark Common Blue females attempt to mate with each other). While we were searching for Brown Hairstreaks Val spotted a Clouded Yellow & Patrick a very fine spider. Eventually we did track what we thought was a Brown Hairstreak as it popped up here & there, but our only view of it when settled was high up. We got a picture of it but as we don't have a lot of zoom on our camera it's tiny - just below & to the right of the topmost bunch of Sycamore seeds. On the basis that it's (a) the right colour & (b) has darker areas just where they should be, Val & I are satisfied that Patrick can include it in his records as a Brown Hairstreak & we can record that we've seen every British hairstreak species in Sussex in 2018. After Patrick left we came across another Speckled Wood, a few more Small Whites & a Large White. In our garden in Hove it's mostly Small Whites at present plus a nice Comma, last seen on Friday nectaring on clematis berries. (John & Val Heys)
Today (2 September) I spent a few more happy hours on Cissbury Ring, which is probably my favourite venue at this time of year. I never got any further than the SW and S compartments below the ramparts and didn't perform any accurate counts, but I certainly saw in excess of 20 of both Small Copper and Adonis Blue. I also saw large numbers of Small Heath, plenty of Meadow Brown (including two mating pairs) and a bonus Brown Hairstreak. (Neil Hulme)
Today I visited a few sights in the Adur Gap area. First was Anchor Bottom mainly for the Autumn Lady's-Tresses which I've never seen before. Also of note were plenty of Adonis Blue as well as a Small Tortoiseshell amongst others. I then had lunch at Mill Hill where of note, a Silver-spotted Skipper appeared.
I then headed to Steyning Rifle Range where I bumped into Val and John Heys and we looked for Brown Hairstreak, probably rather too late in the day. We may have seen one but definitely spotted a Clouded Yellow. (Patrick Moore)
Began my day at the bottom of Anchor Bottom at 10 am looking for Adonis Blue. Walked up the north facing slope and found first Meadow Brown and then Small Heath, then moved over to southern side and immediately found abundant Adonis Blue, plus hundreds of the orchid Autumn Lady's Tresses. I sat and watched for quite a while and the Adonis Blue really like the orchids, but not enough to stay for a good photo - for once I wanted a photo of an Adonis on something beautiful and not cow pat!
Moved on to Steyning Rifle range after lunch and spotted five female Brown Hairstreak, one of which just landed on the grass next to me when I decided to have a rest. (Sylvia Davidson)
Try going earlier in the morning when the Adonis are waking up, or towards sunset when they are getting ready to roost. Much easier to photograph them then. (Ed jnr)
A bright and sunny afternoon in Seaford today and not vast numbers of butterflies in the garden but some nice ones. Several of both Large and Small Whites, 2 each of Small Copper and Common Blue, and 1 each of Painted Lady, Small Heath and the best one, a pristine Clouded Yellow. (Stuart Ridley)
I've been trying to find Brown Hairstreaks at Weir Wood Reservoir for the last few weeks,there's plenty of good habitat but I don't think there's been any recorded for several years.Then at last late morning I spotted a female coming down low in the meadows at the western end of the reservoir,watched for 15mins egg laying on young Blackthorn be for she made her way back higher up in the hedge.we now know that theres some around so hopefully we can manage the site better for them leaving plenty of young Blackthorn. (Alastair Gray)
I have always had a soft spot for Small Coppers so today I decided to see as many as possible. I think the best habitat in Sussex for these butterflies is Friston Gallops. Arriving just before 10am, there were plenty of Small Coppers to be seen. As the day warmed up they became more elusive. My total count was 41. There was a gap of 35 minutes between the 39th and the 40th Small Copper. The mixture of desperation, determination and hope that motivated my search may be familiar to other lepedopterists. In truth, I was disappointed by the tally. The southern part of the gallops has been cut and cleared and so was devoid of butterflies. This area is more sheltered than the northern end and in the past has had the greater concentration of Small Coppers. If you want to visit the site, the diagonal path across the gallops is the most fruitful place to begin your search.
A couple of Brown Hairstreaks in my garden yesterday. Seemed interested in the plum tree. Might be of interest. King's Stone Avenue side of Steyning (Simon Buck)
Thanks Simon, Brown Hairstreaks are always of interest. (Ed jnr)
Yesterday, while seeking signs of Long - Tailed Blue in a large valley meadow full of flowering Broad Leaved Everlasting Pea (without success) a fresh Small Blue was seen sunbathing in the warmest corner. (Sue Cross and Dave Harris, )
Saturday 01 September
I went on a bird walk to Beachy Head today but the butterflies were perhaps better than the birds. Saw a Clouded Yellow, Adonis Blue and Brown Argus. (Tim Squire)
I visited Cissbury Ring today hoping to see third brood Small Coppers. I did see a few in the ditch below the south-eastern rampart but they were very skittish in the bright sunshine. I also saw a Brown Hairstreak, the first time I have ever seen one on Cissbury Ring. (John Williams)
Spent an enjoyable hour in and aound the Lancing Ring area - our first visit. The views were excellent. There were plenty of Speckled Woods, a handful of Holly Blues, Common Blues, Small Heaths, Large Whites, a Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and this moth whose name escapes me. I am sure someone knows... (Martin Buck)
On the Downs between Lancing and Worthing (but didn't reach Cissbury!) I identified 16 butterfly species. Very glad to find 13 male Adonis Blue on Steep Down along with 4 Chalk Hill Blue. Also 104 Small Heath, 13 Small Copper, 24 Holly Blue, 29 Speckled Wood. Possibly a Fire Bug next to the A27 at Sompting. Tentatively so! (Lindsay Morris)
I am most grateful to Kirsty Gibbs, Harry Mole and David Cook for checking on the Liz Williams Butterfly Haven at Dorothy Stringer School, during August, whilst I was out of the country. Having had a first brood of Adonis Blue earlier in the year I was keen to see if this led to a summer brood on the site. So I was delighted to hear via the 'Butterflies of the Biosphere' Facebook page that this was indeed the case. Of course as soon as I returned home I felt the need to check the site for myself.
I went to the Surrenden Campus on Friday 31st August and within minutes of visiting the Liz Williams site, I discovered a male and two ovipositing females Adonis Blues. With conditions as good as they were I was not surprised by this discovery. Curiosity then got the better of me and so I visited the Butterfly Haven, created in the winter of 2015-16, at the west facing end of Dorothy Stringer School's newly developed artificial turf pitch (ATP). This site has already been colonised by the Small Blue and so I was immensely pleased to discover yet again another male and two ovipositing female Adonis Blues.
In two years we have attracted two BAP butterfly species, on this newly created habitat. This is a remarkable result, even though we have had favourable weather conditions.
I then visited the Varndean Butterfly Haven but no butterflies were seen at all, as this site was exposed to the wind, being high up on the campus. Its also true that this is a small site, with only limited amounts of Horseshoe Vetch, which is not true of the other two sites which have the colonies of Adonis Blue. Either way, quite an achievement considering we started with just an amenity/municipal playing field. I guess the test is, will we see them next year? (Dan Danahar)
Another lovely circular walk from Berwick village via The Comp south of Afriston. Plenty of Adonis Blues, male and female, on the bank just north of the Long Burgh and also on the Green Way track down to Blackstone Bottom. They were mainly nectaring on scabious and the beautiful, if subtle, carline thistle flowers. Also seen were Small Coppers, Brown Argus, Small Heath, a few Chalk Hill Blues and Common Blues. Welcome refreshment at The Cricketers pub in Berwick village too! (Tessa Pawsey)
Just seen a Small Heath on The Drove in Brighton. It was powering up the centre of the road, veered off for a stop in a front garden, then set off again very fast towards Hove. Never seen a Small Heath here before, do they travel far to new territories? This one appeared to be on an urgent mission. (Sylvia Davidson)
Sadly this is more a record of non sightings than sightings. We visited the ride in Abbots Wood that goes 90 degrees from the road going towards the Old Oak pub. We parked in the muddy bumpy lay-by and walked through the wood to the ride. At this time of the year this open wide ride is covered in scabious and other flowers and this time last year, was buzzing with crowds of all the nettle feeders. This morning, as I am yet to see a Small Tortoiseshell this year, we thought we would go and find them. We saw 3 Large Whites and 3 Small Whites and that was it. Not another butterfly to be found. Hundreds of bees, hornets and dragonflies but no butterflies. (Kerry Baldwin)
1st September 2018 - unfolding parasol in garden, giant convolvulus hawkmoth - agrius convolvuli dropped out. Photos taken and identified as above. We have a large garden backed by trees (T.Morrell)
There are just not enough photos of giant moths in the world, so we would love it if you could share yours with us. (Ed jnr)
In the weak sunshine with clouds I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill where there was over forty Adonis Blue Butterflies with about one third females, frequent Small Heaths and frequent Meadow Browns, a few, mostly worn, Chalkhill Blues, occasional Common Blues, a few Large Whites, one Green-veined White, one Clouded Yellow, occasional 7+ Treble-bar Moths, and frequent, faded to brown, pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta purpuralis. Three mating pairs of blue butterflies were observed. Two pairs were definitely Adonis Blues and probably the first pair as well. Most of the male Adonis Blues were worn and many were tattered and some had lost their blue sheen. The scattered Bird's Foot Trefoil was almost the only flower visited by the Adonis Blues. A spike of Autumn Lady's Tresses was spotted on the lower slopes.
(Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2018.html)
Friday 31 August
Yesterday morning I visited Cissbury Ring after reading Neil's report. In the southern compartment I saw 8 Adonis, but none in the eastern compartment, though my walk was a stroll through the areas rather than a thorough count. There were many Small Heaths and Brown Argus, a very worn Painted Lady on buddleia, Meadow Browns, Whites, Speckled Woods, Small Coppers, Common Blue, Silver Y, Common Grass-veneers. There were 3 ponies doing an excellent job of mowing the lawn for the benefit of the butterflies. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Today I walked the Cissbury Ring area and managed to see 16 Butterfly species and also bump into Neil Hulme carefully counting his coppers! Seen were Small White, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Large White, Small Copper, Brimstone, Brown Hairstreak, Common Blue, Chalk Hill Blue, Adonis Blue, Peacock, Brown Argus, Speckled Wood and a Comma. (Patrick Moore)
I spent a very enjoyable afternoon (31 August) with Patrick Moore on Cissbury Ring, chasing Small Coppers and Adonis Blues in the warm sunshine. As expected, we saw Adonis Blue in both the south and east quarters of the site, but the presence of at least one in both the north and west quarters came as a nice surprise and is testament to the excellent management by the National Trust over the last couple of years. Third brood Small Coppers are only just starting here, so I expect the 23 I saw today to be no more than a taste of things to come. By far the most numerous species was Small Heath, which I didn't even attempt to count. This is a fantastic site to visit at this time of year, with plenty of migrant bird interest, including Spotted Flycatcher and Common Redstart. (Neil Hulme)
New to my garden! (Emma-Louise Jones)
A lovel Comma which will be looking to stock up before its winter hibernation. (Ed jnr)
There was intermittent sunshine for my walk around Newtimber Hill, but this didn't seem to bother the numerous Small Heath, with many many pairs of them circling madly around the path. Also saw Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, whites (small and large), a couple of Common Blue and a Red Admiral. Had fantastic views of a kestrel hunting below me. (Sylvia Davidson)
I thought that as today is the end of meteorological Summer, It would be appropriate to spend the day with the last of the Summer Butterfly species to emerge. So it was off to Sreyning Rifle Range for the Brown Hairstreak. In all three were seen. As is often the case this site does seem to attract more than it's fair share of cloud, which probably kept numbers down this morning. (Trevor Rapley)
I checked our balcony around 11pm and was amazed to find a large moth (6x4.5cm) settled into a corner near the light. I saw a small patch of blue and hurried to the computer with photos. I soon identified it as a Clifden Nonpareil (Catocala fraxini) aka Blue Underwing. This rare and beautiful immigrant moth is the one I have long wondered about due to its fame and being Victorian collector's classic target. We now know what all the fuss was about! Also seen: Silver Y, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Square-spot Rustic, Double-striped Pug, Lime-speck Pug. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Because of my relative failure of my photography the previous day, I visited the top plateau of Mill Hill and I spent well over an hour there in the early afternoon, mostly because I had difficulty in finding the spikes of Autumn Lady's Tresses (an orchid). When the sun was out from behind the clouds, so were the butterflies and many more than expected. An estimated 40 Adonis Blues, including a count of 16 females, were everywhere on the one acre upper plateau but were only active when it was sunny. They were exceeded in number by an estimated 50+ Small Heaths, joined by a dozen Meadow Browns, a few Small Whites and at least two Common Blues. Nectar flowers were well spaced out and the Adonis Blues were seen visiting Bird's Foot Trefoil, Rough Hawkbit, Hardheads and Carline Thistle as expected, as well as Squinancywort, Eyebright, and the rarely visited Hoary Plantain and Round-headed Rampion. The first flowers of Autumn Gentian appeared. Two micro-moths were frequently seen: the Common Grass-veneer, Agriphila tristella (probably) or Agriphila selasella, and the pyralid Pyrausta despicata. Grasshoppers were frequently disturbed, most of them identified as green specimens of the Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2018.html)
Thursday 30 August
This morning (30 August) I returned to Cissbury Ring, primarily to assess Adonis Blue numbers. I found a few more than last time (28), but a higher proportion were females, some of which were probably overlooked during my previous visit (28 August). I was also looking for Small Coppers, but soon became distracted by the abundance of Small Heath, so started counting them; I decided to stop at 150. This easily overlooked species is clearly having a bumper year and I don't recall the last time I saw so many. Best was a bundle of six males in pursuit of a female.
I later moved on to Steyning Rifle Range, where I saw ten female Brown Hairstreak between 11.50 am and 1.30 pm. (Neil Hulme)
A walk to Cissbury from Lyons Farm in calm and bright conditions turned up 14 butterfly species including 185 Small Heath, 92 Meadow Brown, 33 Common Blue, 21 Adonis Blue, 17 Small Copper, 12 Brown Argus, 4 Chalk Hill Blue, 2 Painted Lady. (Lindsay Morris)
At Anchor Bottom today the grass was bejewelled with Adonis Blues soaking up the hazy sunshine and feasting on delicious cow dung. Mmmm. I also came across a Small Heath apparently perched on a scabious flower with wings open, but actually being devoured by a crab spider (Xysticus). The spider didn't like being watched, dropped out of the flower and dragged her prize out of sight. (John Woodward)
I have over-lapping broods of Small Copper in the garden, with fresh ones emerging on the 28th. Otherwise there is still quite a nice selection to be seen, including a very faded Comma (which I mention, as I haven't seen one for many weeks). A garden-first when I spotted a white spider (I cannot remember its proper name) hanging on to and murdering a moth! (Martin Kalaher)
The day started with a female Brown Hairstreak in my Crawley garden at 11.30. Later 5 more were seen on the transect at the Gatwick North-west zone, together with a smart Painted Lady. The long meadow alongside the River Mole has now been cut, but all the nectar sources here had dried up weeks ago. (Vince Massimo)
BHS walk 26th August 2018 Steyning Rifle Range
By a miracle the weather on Saturday was perfect for Brown Hairstreak activity being still and warm, temperatures reached 17.
The day started with a temperature of 8 degrees and felt very Autumnal. At the meeting point at 9.30 there were four of us, but by the time I gave a briefing at 10.00 there were over 30 enthusiasts had arrived, and later other people joined us, swelling numbers to around 40. I had a good omen spotting a newly emerged splendid Comma at about 8.30 which we all filed past .There were plenty of smart Speckled Woods on the track on the way up to the rifle range.
I was convinced that female Brown Hairstreaks would be seen soon after 11.00. Indeed a chap who had travelled the furthest (from Southend) spotted a female sunbathing on a bunch of Ash trees which must have been 60 feet away only really clearly seen with binoculars.
A short while later a female came down to short Blackthorn at the front of the fenced reserve, giving excellent views, spiralling and descending down Black Thorn stems and then egg laying. Indeed several eggs were also discovered during the visit. Possibly 10 - 12 Female Brown Hairstreaks over several hours.
Unlike previous years outings, several Brown Hairstreaks were content with just sunbathing for quite long periods, providing open winged shots for anyone with a camera phone, let alone a camera. I suspect this was due to the lack of warmth the previous day and the need to aid maturation of eggs and continued egg laying. I had mentioned earlier that observing Brown Hairstreaks was hit and miss as they are elusive and distributed in small colonies in suitable Blackthorn and Bullace habitats.
Due the excellent management of cyclical cutting of Blackthorn, to provide prime egg laying shoots, the reserve mangedby the Steyning Downland Scheme volunteers at the Rifle range remains an excellent site to see Brown Hairstreak butterflies in warm still conditions after the golden hour of 11.00 a.m. This site can be visited on any suitable day during the flight season.
It was great to meet so many enthusiastic people an the day which was good fun. The visit was a great success. Of course this was due to the liberal appearance of female Brown Hairstreaks and the unusual patience they showed to inquisitive humans.
For a change of scene, I went over to Burgess Hill for a Brown Hairstreak hunt. Life would have been easier and simpler if I had not met so many fresh Small Coppers whilst searching for Hairstreaks. Two female BH were found, one high up in an Ash, and another which flew into a bush right beside me. One Small Copper should qualify me for membership of the blue badge club. (Trevor Rapley)
On my walk over Blackcap this morning I noticed dozens of Small Heath. Other species seen were Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small White, Small Copper, Speckled Wood and a solitary Painted Lady. (Ian Seccombe)
Wednesday 29 August
As the skies cleared today (29 August) I headed to Steyning Rifle Range, confident that the Brown Hairstreaks would be doing their stuff. I arrived at 12.30 pm and immediately found one sunbathing on a Blackthorn sucker. As the temperature rose the action came thick and fast; at one point I was watching two females when I looked down to see a third sitting on my boot! I saw 12 individuals before the cloud cover returned just before 2 pm. Several freshly emerged Commas were feeding greedily on ripe blackberries, which for me marks the onset of autumn. I'm hoping that there'll be plenty of Small Coppers to come, and a good third brood of Wall, but I think this wonderful butterfly summer has reached its end. I then headed to Anchor Bottom, where many Adonis Blues were doing their best to get airborne. After the epic first brood here, numbers are a little disappointing, almost certainly due to droughting of the foodplant. However, the Autumn Lady's-tresses were far from disappointing, with thousands on show. (Neil Hulme)
Two very tatty 2nd brood Wall Brown were just hanging on at High and Over. Adonis Blue have had one of their best years in recent years at this site with many females now being seen looking for egg laying sites and nectaring on the Devil's-bit Scabious. Small Heath are everywhere and a few Chalk Hill Blues are still just hanging on. A newly emerged Small Copper was also seen along Cradle Valley, still with partly folded wings. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Yesterday (28 August) I visited Cissbury Ring, to see if the autumn brood of Small Copper had started to emerge; it had, with a total of six seen, but I'm optimistic that numbers will increase greatly over the next few weeks. However, the best result was the surprise sighting of so many Adonis Blue, a species which has really struggled for survival here in recent times. The National Trust (NT) has been grazing the site with ponies for a few years now, and the benefits are clearly beginning to show. I found 19 Adonis Blue in the southern compartment at TQ137076. Even better, I found a further five (including a mating pair and an ab. krodeli) in the eastern coombe at TQ142079, above the rifle range. We identified this area as having having high potential at a meeting with NT and Natural England in 2017, and the clearance work and grazing with cattle has brought about a rapid improvement in the habitat. There is much more to do, but things are clearly moving in the right direction. (Neil Hulme)
Tuesday 28 August
Visited the site around lunchtime today with my daughter, and the weather looking propitious hoping to see Brown Hairstreaks. A gentleman almost hiding in the blackthorn told us he hadn’t seen any, so waited around half an hour and our first of the day was spotted. A tatty female but a BH none the less. Also joined us was a man that had driven quite some way to see them and after we had seen our 3rd BH both gentlemen left very happy. But my daughter and I stayed on for another hour or so and I was very lucky to spot another 4. So 7 in total. We left very happy to have found so many in such a short time. (Kirsty Gibbs)
A trip to Steyning downland late this morning was fruitless until the sun showed for more than a few minutes at 1pm, when 3 female Brown Hairstreaks appeared for an audience of four. One gentleman had driven for 3 hours for the show. Also seen were Blood-vein and Dark Strawberry Tortix moths. Visitors to our balcony last night included The Uncertain, Silver Y, Small Dusty Wave, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer and the tiny Poplar Bent-wing. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
A sunny visit to St Leonards Forest, Horsham this afternoon enabled 11 species of butterfly to be seen. Speckled Wood were all over the place and quite a few Common Blue and Brown Argus near the Dragon Seat. Other sightings included Large White, Small White, Green-veined White as well as Small Heath, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Copper and a Red Admiral. (Patrick Moore)
Sat 25/08/2018 Victoria Business Park, Burgess Hill, W.Sx. I forgot to mention in my last report that Sarah picked 3lb 11ozs of black berry's. a grand day out. (Peter Farrant )
I am glad you remembered.(Ed jnr)
Sat 25/08/2018. Victoria Business Park, Burgess Hill, W.Sx. between 11.20am and 1.44pm counted 16x BH eggs including two pairs (eggs laid side by side) and one small blackthorn had four on it. As it was mostly cloudy with a few sunny spells it took awhile for the adults to get going, but at 1.50pm a female seen high in blackthorn doing her stuff, then right in front of me at 1.54pm another female low down at waist height and in lovely condition settling in blackthorn but I lost sight of them, but I managed to take two not very good photos. the third was seen at 2.18pm flying and settling in blackthorn in egg laying mode, but I couldn't find egg. but got a photo of her at rest. the mound area at far right of photo is getting rather difficult to access because of the encroaching brambles. other butterflies seen: 1x Large White, 1x Speckled Wood, 3x Small White and 1x Comma. (Peter Farrant)
A search of Lancing Ring in calm and increasingly sunny conditions found 12 species of butterfly including 4 Brown Hairstreak, 11 Small Copper, 38 Holly Blue, 11 Small Heath, 11 Common Blue, 20 Speckled Wood. (Lindsay Morris)
Preston Park Rock Garden. A quick walk round this morning yielded 4 Small Whites (and a large terrapin!). (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
Sunday 26 August
Spent an hour late afternoon up at Anchor Bottom yesterday with my daughter, and we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of Adonis Blue butterflies there were. A really beautiful sight of males and females scattering through the grass. A lovely sight to see and no need for tracking them down. Simply Stunning! (Kirsty Gibbs)
My garden butterfly season is rapidly coming to a close but in the past couple of days there have been 11 butterfly species, including a female Brown Hairstreak yesterday. I didn't actually see it nectaring on Buddleia but it came from a clump of Buddleia located close to the house. In flight it looked interesting, so I pursued it to a perch on Portuguese Laurel, raced off for my camera and then couldn't re-locate it. Fortunately it hadn't gone far and rested on Spindle for a while (albeit around 8 feet away). Species and numbers for the past week as follows: Large White (5), Small White (4), Brown Hairstreak (1f), Small Copper (4), Brown Argus (4), Common Blue (5), Holly Blue (2), Red Admiral (5), Speckled Wood (2), Meadow Brown (4) and Small Heath (4). (Martin Kalaher)
Saturday 25 August
I visited Furnace Meadow at Ebernoe Common hoping to see 3rd brood Small Copper (which I have seen there in previous years). But none were to be seen today, just some Small Heath and a few faded Meadow Brown and Common Blue. I switched to foraging mode instead and picked enough Sloes for a bottle of Sloe Gin! (John Williams)
A walk up to Ashcombe Bottom this morning, Common Blue, Chalk Hill Blue and Wall on the way up and in Ashcombe itself Comma, Red Admiral, Small White, Large White, Speckled Wood, Small Heath and a surprise Clouded Yellow, first I've seen this year bringing my total Sussex species count to 46. (Ian Seccombe)
On a spontaneous visit to Steyning rile range I spent a lovely day in the company of Neil Hulme and his Young son Jacob, who showed that he is following in his fathers footsteps by directing a visitor a Brown Hairstreak that he'd found. Having already seen two Brown Hairstreaks before Neil arrived we went on to find a total of 9. Lot's of Brown Hairstreaks about for anyone hoping to visit Steyning in the coming days. (James A)
Delighted to see the beautiful Brown Hairstreak for the first time. Many thanks to our informative guide, Richard Roebuck for leading the group. A bright and warm day with barely a breeze brought the butterflies down from the Ash trees then posed contentedly for photos. (Maria Dixon )
Congratulations to Richard Roebuck on the success of his Brown Hairstreak walk at Steyning Downland Scheme today (25 August). I turned up towards the end of the event with my three-year-old son, Jacob, and it was obvious from the many happy faces that the group had done well. People were hanging around chatting, even though there were hairstreaks still posing in the Blackthorn; a sure sign that everyone had had their fill. We headed up to the northern flank where we joined James Arnott in tracking down plenty more, seeing nine here alone. At one point, while James and I were photographing a hairstreak, we noticed that Jacob was now talking to someone about 30 metres away. I was delighted to discover that my boy had found his own Brown Hairstreak and had pointed it out to the grateful hairstreak-hunter! By the time we had dropped in on another local site, the total number of female Brown Hairstreaks seen over the Steyning Downland Scheme area, on both the guided walk and by ourselves, had risen to about seventeen. A few were still in good condition and there will be plenty more opportunities to see this species over the next couple of weeks. (Neil Hulme)
I went on the Steyning event today to see my first ever Brown Hairstreaks. When I got home I nearly fainted when I saw one briefly in the garden and just managed to get a picture on my mobile. (Ian White)
This Marbled White caught me by surprise this morning in Burgess Hill and I only had my iPhone to record this very late sighting. (David Cook)
Friday 24 August
A quick visit To St Leonards Forest, Horsham this afternoon, before the rain happened, was worth it for the Speckled Wood and Brown Argus. There were also Small Copper, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and rather surprisingly, several Gatekeeper. (Patrick Moore)
Very close to my home is a very narrow country lane, Coldthorn Lane, Hailsham.
Despite being so close I had never explored the area for Butterflies.
Today I decided to take a look. In all I found two Small Coppers, a single Small Heath,
many flighty Speckled Woods, and some worn, male Common Blues. (Trevor Rapley)
Pretty quiet at Lancing Ring this morning with only 11 butterfly species seen. Not much sun and cooler than of late. Only Small Copper, Common Blue and Speckled Wood managed to reach double figures. I drew a blank with Brown Hairstreak (after just one yesterday). (Lindsay Morris)
Thursday 23 August
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
During a walk round Rewell Woods this afternoon I saw Speckled Woods, Holly Blues nectaring on hemp agrimony, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Large Whites and mating Small Heaths. A Juniper Shieldbug hitched a ride home. On 11 August I saw a Drab Looper in Rewell Wood.
Our balcony has received many moths during August including Silver Y, The Uncertain, Common Plume, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers, Heart and Dart, Marbled Beuaty, Small Fan-footed Wave, Light Brown Apple Moth, Dingy Dowd, Twenty-plume Moth, Twin-spot Honey (Aphomia zelleri), Marbled Green, Cloaked Minor, Beautiful Plume, Clouded Border, Bright-line Brown-eye, Starry Pearl (Cynaeda dentalis) on 8 August - a rarity in West Sussex, Cloaked Minor, Skin Moth, Dark-Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon), Setaceous Hebrew Character, Cypress Pug (Eupithecia phoeniceata), Small Fan-footed Wave. (Colin Knight)
If you like Speckled Wood then St Leonards Forest, Horsham was the place for you this afternoon. They were in most sunny and dappled clearings. There were also Common Blue, Brown Argus, one Green-veined White and several Meadow Brown. (Patrick Moore)
Excited to see a brown hairsteak in my small Storrington garden this afternoon. Moved here 2 ½ years ago, knew they were in the area, so optimistically planted 3 puny blackthorn whips in November 2016. Was suprised to find 3 eggs last winter, and even more surprised to actually see the butterfly crawling about amongst the now 6ft high and growing well blackthorns this afternoon. It also nectared on nearby verbena and I managed to get this rubbish photo of it on my mobile while it rested in purple loosestrife. It's roughly in the middle, but you may need to zoom in to see it!
(Denise Diston )
Wednesday 22 August
Off we trotted on the transect walk at PCH/Rowland Wood today, where the sun was sulking but 3 pairs of eyes between us instilled a little surge of optimism. It was quiet and peaceful, and the butterflies were also taking easy, occasionally rising lazily from their roosts ahead of us to ensure we did not feel entirely alone.
Consequently, we saw 4 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (second brood), 13 Common Blue, 15 Small Heath, 3 Speckled Wood, 1 Holly Blue plus 1 Silver Y moth and 1 Light Emerald moth. We enjoyed spotting all the wildlife in the reserve, including a slow-worm and a small grass snake, a couple of hornets, a shieldbug of some kind (ID help please?) sporting a fetching peach outfit, and a garish yellow crab spider (we didn't pander to him for long). Please forgive us if any of the ID is incorrect.
P.S. We said hello to the lost property at the gate (small rubber whale?)
Rosie, James & Andrea (Andrea Gibbs)
An 8 mile circuit south from Berwick village held a delight of butterflies despite, or maybe because of, warm grey weather.
A little north east facing bank at TQ512036 had horseshoe vetch and adonis and Wall Brown among others. The Comp had what I have come to think of as Bob Eades' Wall Browns and the little path from The Comp down to Blackstone Bottom at TQ490026 seemed full of Adonis Blues, both male and female, which often stayed still with wings open allowing really good views with our Papillio binoculars. (Tessa pawsey)
I think of all Wall Browns as Bob's too, just as I think of the White Letter Hairstreak as Jamie's and the Dukes and Pearls as the personal property of Neil. That's because they are great species champions. (Ed jnr)
During a visit to Kithurst meadow yesterday afternoon I enjoyed the sight of many of our summer butterflies fluttering around: Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Heath, Large and Small Whites, Silver-washed Fritillary, Holly Blue, Comma, Speckled Wood plus a Migrant Hawker.and a Ruddy Darter. (Colin Knight)
The transect at the Gatwick north-west zone today was carried out in warm, but cloudy conditions. The highlights were a Small Copper, a Silver-washed Fritillary a Brown Hairstreak egg and a lovely micro moth which I assume to be Oncocera semirubella (Vince Massimo)
we saw these butterflies in Southerham nature reserve, Lewes. Large Skipper, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Comma, Common Blue, Small Blue, Small Heath, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large White, Small White and Green-veined White. (alexander and suzy (my mum))
Thank you for you sightings Alexander, keep sending them in. The Large Skipper is in fact a Silver Spotted Skipper which is much rarer and more exciting. You can find more of them on Malling Down over the hill from Southerham where you might also find Brown Argus and Adonis Blues. (Ed jnr)
Tuesday 21 August
In the garden in Bexleyheath Kent (Donna Hoadley)
It's a Privet Hawk Moth caterpillar. (Ed jnr)
Today (21 August) I visited the BC Park Corner Heath (PCH) & Rowland Wood reserves to monitor second brood Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (SPBF) numbers, probably for the last time this year. While thoroughly searching the entire site I also started making mental notes about what work needs to be done by both contractors and our volunteers this winter; we're going to be busy!
Things started well, with the sighting of four SPBF (3m, 1f) in the upper part of the rush meadow, and a single male in the lower part of the adjacent birch meadow. I then struggled to find more, surprisingly drawing blanks on PCH and the W-E ride to the south of the Rowland Wood lake; both locations have consistently produced SPBF over the last few weeks. However, I had better luck at the west (lower) end of the W-E ride which runs past the fallen Beech, where I found two females at roost in the long grasses. I've never encountered females here before and I hope they've been egg-laying in some of the newly created areas of habitat in this part of the wood. Although I only found a total of seven SPBF, one female was in absolutely mint condition, so must have emerged earlier today. They're there to be found, but do take some hunting out. Over the two broods I've collated more than 300 SPBF sightings on the reserves this season, which certainly gives cause for optimism. (Neil Hulme)
On a lunch time visit to Steyning Rifle Range today my wife and I found this very battered Brown Hairstreak down at ground level egg laying on very young Blackthorn shoots. (Terry Wood)
A walk around the SWT Malling Down Reserve coincided with some late afternoon sunshine. Many of the expected species were seen including good numbers of vividly blue male Adonis Blues and numerous Brown Argus on slopes at the east end of the coombe, and plenty of Small Heaths in the chalkpits. There were also small numbers of Silver-spotted Skippers (some looking quite worn), a few Chalk Hill Blues, one Small Copper and two Red Admirals. (Simon Linington)
While looking around Thorney Island this afternoon we found 4 Clouded Yellows, 2 Brown Argus and still good numbers of Common Blue and Small Heath on the wing. (Barry and Margaret)
Walking to my allotment in east Brighton today my attention was caught by a strange flying insect. When it landed it turned out to be a mating pair of Humming-bird Hawk-moths. Unfortunately they had landed in the road at a bus stop just as the bus was coming up the hill so despite the odd looks from the people in the bus queue I felt I had to move them out of harms way. (tessa pawsey)
A further visit to Steyning Rifle Range this morning produced six female Brown Hairstreaks.
It was rather cloudy most of the time, but a few decent breaks in the cloud was enough to bring
some females down. I was very surprised to have the place almost to myself for most of the morning.
My visit was cut short when I noticed a change in the type of cloud, which produced some very fine drizzle. (Trevor Rapley)
I am told that people in Surrey have more than 40 different words for that kind of cloud. (Ed jnr)
I was delighted and surprised to see a female Brown Hairstreak in my garden yesterday. I live in Sharpthorne Crescent, Portslade.Rather unusual I thought.No photo I am afraid. (Sally Milne)
Visited The Liz Williams Butterfly Haven in Brighton yesterday for an hour with my daughter. Although she wasn’t keen on the amount of beautiful Wasp Spiders we discovered within the area (my daughter is not keen on spiders to say the least), we were so pleased with the amount of Common Blues, Whites, Small Coppers, Brown Argus we saw, and in particular plenty of Male Adonis Blues. The best part of our visit was also our discovery of our very first sightings of the Female Adonis (Kirsty Gibbs)
Monday 20 August
In the hope of seeing Brown Hairstreaks I called in at Steyning Rifle Range this morning on my way to Petworth. I arrived at 11.30hrs with hazy sun, 22 deg C. and light winds. Within a few minutes I spotted a Brown Hairstreak in reasonably good condition near the style. During the 45-minutes I was present this was the only one of this species I saw. (Douglas Neve)
We had a walk along the west side of Thorney Deeps this afternoon and had a record count for this site of a 182 Wasp Spiders. (Barry and Margaret)
Any butterflies? (Ed jnr)
A female Holly Blue appeared to be egg-lay on ivy in Barcombe village this afternoon. A walk up to nearby Knowlands Farm yielded just a few of the commoner species (including a Small Copper) but nothing in any numbers possibly due to the dearth of flowers following the dry weather. There was a brief spell of excitement when a hairstreak fluttered out from the top of an ash on the old railway line (where there is also an abundance of blackthorn) near the south-west corner of Knowlands Wood. After much scanning, it turned out to be a rather worn Purple Hairstreak. It was living rather dangerously as it was surrounded by about 15 flying Migrant Hawkers. In turn, these were the presumed reason a Hobby appeared overhead momentarily. (Simon Linington)
Today (20 August) between 11.15 am and 2.10 pm I achieved my highest ever count of female Brown Hairstreaks on the Steyning Downland Scheme (26). 13 were seen in some of the less visited areas, such as Pepperscoombe Bank and the Round Hill, and a further 13 were encountered on the Rifle Range, which I didn't reach in time to search thoroughly. I could have covered a little more ground had I not come across someone I know, out on a butterfly hunt with her two grandsons. The priorities were clear and I was delighted to find them two Brown Hairstreaks, one of which we tracked for quite a while as she sought out small Blackthorn suckers on the southern flank of the range. She laid several eggs while we watched and she occasionally stopped for a rest and opened her wings wide. "She's beautiful" said one of the boys. I hope they'll want to see more. (Neil Hulme)
Yesterday (19 August) I found this single Brown Hairstreak egg laid on young Blackthorn, at the edge of Hollingbury near Ditchling Road, in Brighton. (Jamie Burston)
Today I walked around Chesworth Farm, Horsham looking for Brown Hairstreak along the many Blackthorn hedges. I found two but also spotted Small White, Large White, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Copper and a Comma. The area is well worth a visit and probably much better if it's sunny unlike today. (Patrick Moore)
fri 17/08/2018. 1x SPBF seen feeding at 2.05pm in Rowland Wood TQ 51211 15000. and 2x SPBF feeding on heather in front of shed at 2.28pm and 2.30pm TQ 51151 14812. Coudy on arrival but had a nice sunny spell. I still can't get over seeing SPBF feeding on summer flowers. (Peter Farrant)
Rowland Wood provided some Butterfly variety this morning.
Including a single Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, a pair of fresh Small Coppers ( male and female ),
Many worn Common Blues, two Brimstones, several fresh Large Whites, the last few Gatekeepers,
And a mating pair of Small Heaths.
Two Small Whites at the same time in our back garden in Hove. One did some nectaring and chose the michaelmas daisy flowers rather than the nearby much larger buddleia. Later, a Comma rejected the michaelmas daisies in favour the buddleia. When I was pointing it out to Val we found there were two Commas, I think the first occasion we've seen 2 Commas in the garden at the same time. (John and Val Heys)
Sunday 19 August
On my way home this evening I called at Mill Hill, hoping for a few Adonis Blues.
The sunny hillside was hot, despite a fairly strong wind.
This made photography tricky, but a few Adonis obliged for the camera.
One deformed male had obviously had a hard life. Many males were found
varying from reasonably fresh to very worn. Many Meadow Browns were present. (Trevor Rapley)
I've not been down to Sussex since the Black Hairstreak bonanza so it was a welcome opportunity to get a chance to pop over to Malling Down on Friday (taking an unsuccessful gamble that I might pick up Brown Hairstreak over the weekend). It was somewhat idyllic with, if I remember correctly, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Large White, Small White, Meadow Brown, Wall Brown (fleetingly), Chalk Hill Blue, Adonis Blue (in large numbers), Common Blue, Brown Argus (also large numbers) and Small Copper all present. And none of the hibernators at all. Still, the Brown Argus (Argii?!) were particularly welcome as I'd not actually managed to see any this year until now! The sheer number of butterflies in action was a delight; at one point I had more than 20 buzzing around me covering most of the above species at once. It was like being in a very second rate Transylvanian meadow which is actually a good thing (Malling was just short of the half dozen or so Fritillary species to measure up - I've just been on a Greenwings holiday there and the difference in butterfly population is staggering with a single meadow delivering 10 species of Fritillary and a random roadside lunch stop featuring Southern Purple Emperor, Hungarian Glider and Scarce Swallowtail for example - and no managed sites visited at all). Makes you realise what a mess we have here....... (Rolf Farrell)
Seeing as the weather has been so poor during this weekend I finally had a chance to sort through my images from last Friday - 17th of August. In fact the weather when I arrived at Steyning on Friday was not very promising either but I still found 2 Brown Hairstreaks under some rather ominous clouds. Approaching midday and with sightings having dried up I decided to have a wonder about leaving the main group of Hairstreak watchers behind. Mercifully the weather started brighten up and the Hairstreaks suddenly woke up! I saw a further 8 in total 7 females and one very worn male just above head height. A highlight for me came when I found a pristine Female basking, she stayed around for a good few minutes allowing me to get some photos. This was followed by some egg laying activity where I saw several females busily depositing the next generation. On the way back to the car I spotted a huge and very handsome Privet Moth Caterpillar posing a little too conspicuously for it's own good. (James A)
I had hoped to walk the transect at Mill Hill this morning but the weather was not suitable. However once the sun came out in the early evening I headed straight up the hill.The butterflies were particularly active, i guess because they had to cram a whole days work into an hour or so. Outstanding were the Adonis Blues (male and female) , but also seen were Small Heath, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Chalk Hill Blue. (Jonathan Crawford)
Saturday 18 August
Last week I spent several days in Eastbourne during which time I spent a couple of days searching for butterflies in the Beachy Head / Birling Gap area on 12th and 14th August, overall I saw a fantastic total of 27 species and I was amazed by the sheer numbers of butterflies which were seen in this area and in the best spots there were so many butterflies flying all around me that I had to be very careful where I walked, the areas around Beachy Head and immediately east of Horseshoe Plantation both proved excellent for butterflies but the meadows about 1km further east from Horseshoe Plantation between Shooters Bottom and the Beachy Head Hotel was without doubt the best spot for butterflies in this area, I don't think that I have ever seen so many butterflies anywhere else in the UK before (certainly not up in Scotland where I live) and it actually brought back amazing memories from my last holiday to the French Pyrenees (Ariege Department) where clouds of butterflies could be seen virually everywhere I looked and I can recall seeing approx 95 species within 10 days on that holiday which was truly exceptional.
List of the 27 species, 24 species were seen in the Beachy Head / Birling Gap area while the other 3 species (*) were only seen around Eastbourne.
Adonis Blue, Brimstone (*), Brown Argus, Chalk Hill Blue, Comma (*), Clouded Yellow, Common Blue, Dark Green Fritillary, Dingy Skipper, Essex / Small Skipper (?), Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue (*), Large White, Meadow Brown, Painted Lady, Peacock, Red Admiral, Silver-spotted Skipper, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Copper, Small Heath, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown. (John Candlish)
Thanks for you sightings John. I am glad you had a good trip. I think you probably got the downland set for this time of year. (Ed jnr)
I visited Steyning rifle range under cloudy skies this morning, more in hope than expectation. There were quite a few Speckled Woods, some quite fresh but I didn't see a Brown Hairstreak. (John Williams)
Friday 17 August
At Kithurst Meadow this afternoon a female Brown Hairstreak spent half an hour working her way along the Blackthorn beside the roadside fence, resting frequently with he wings open. Still many Common Blues and Brown Argus, a female Holly Blue was feeding and a very worn Silver washed Fritillary visited. There were also a lot of Small Whites and a Red Admiral. (Bob North)
A late afternoon visit to Anchor Bottom produced good numbers of Adonis Blue. This site is probably the best site for this butterfly in the South Downs. I have visited twice and in windy and cloudy conditions and have been able to find many roosting in the grass. I am not sure the numbers are as good as last year when I witnessed the incredible spectacle of thousands flying on a sunny day 18 August but you are likely to see many adonis here. These butterflies thrive in the short cropped turf that this site has thanks to the grazing. The farmer has both cattle and sheep grazing the site which is what is needed for chalk grassland management on the Downs. If you visit you will also see the handiwork of the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service and the National Park Authority who clear invasive scrub and have recently been cutting the regrowth that comes up on the areas of previously cleared scrub. This combined with the grazing enables the recovery of the short turf, a component of which is the horseshoe vetch that is the Adonis Blue caterpillar food plant. Most of the Adonis Blues appear to be on the north facing slope. You would normally expect to find them on hot south facing slopes but I only found a couple on that side today. You will note that there are ant hills on the north facing side and not the south. I theorise that the butterflies are on the north side because of the symbiotic relationship it has with the ants. The ants protect the caterpillar in return for a sweet secretion that the caterpillar produces. This is an incredible valley and bucks the trend of most other chalk grassland sites which are under grazed or not grazed at all and are slowly being lost to scrub. Visit this weekend if you can to see the most amazing butterfly of our chalk grassland which is so special to the South Downs. (Tim Squire)
Grayling: Thank you to everyone who has helped monitor Grayling numbers over the last month; it seems that its (rather short) flight season is now over. The data collected has provided a very clear picture of the butterfly's current status in Sussex and we have every reason to be concerned about its future. We can only hope that a rescue plan proves effective in preventing its loss, but the situation does look rather bleak. (Neil Hulme)
Walked over the south facing slope of Deep dean this morning from 11 until 12.30. No Graylings were seen. Other species present included Small Heath, Chalk Hill Blue, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Adonis, Silver-spotted Skipper, Wall Brown, Small White (Ian Seccombe)
This morning's visit to Steyning Rifle Range started well, with the first female Brown Hairstreak obeying site rules and appearing just a minute or two before 11.15 am. Two more showed shortly afterwards, but then a bank of cloud moved in and the action cooled down. I headed to the much sunnier Knepp Wildland to check on Brown Hairstreak numbers there, and things looked promising as a female flew straight into my face as I reached the first Blackthorn hedge! I found a further three nectaring on Fleabane before the clouds moved in. A brief stop at another site on the Downs produced four more, but it seems I would have done just as well by staying at the Rifle Range, where the hairstreaks later reappeared in good numbers when the sunshine returned. (Neil Hulme)
Wolstonbury Hill this afternoon was busy with butterflies as below plus Speckled Woods on the wood margins. Hundreds of field grasshoppers too. To spot Autumn Lady's-tresses orchids was my reason to go on the hill but none were found. (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
On a walk in the West Bevendean part of Bevendean LNR this morning I found several Adonis and Chalk Hill Blues and Brown Argus and Common Blues and Small Heaths and a few Meadow Browns. (Geoff Stevens)
We looked at the weather forecast & decided it was worth driving up to Balcombe to walk our 2 WCBS lines for August provided we'd done them by 11.30am. On the "official" line walks we saw 10 Small Whites, 7 Speckled Woods, a probable Meadow Brown, a Holly Blue, a Large White and 3 male Common Blues. The total was 23 which was 6 more butterflies than on 15 August 2017 with 2 different species from last year (Holly Blue & Large White instead of Red Admiral & Gatekeeper), but vastly less than the 177 butterflies we saw on 6/7/18. We did make other sightings off the lines, including a nice female Holly Blue and a wall butterfly on a very fine wall - a bridge over the railway tantalisingly 10 yards beyond our walk line. The cloud was over the sun by the time we left at noon. The weather forecasters on the BBC got it right. (John & Val Heys)
The 11.15 Brown Hairstreak at Steyning Rifle Range this morning with Neil Hulme & others. (John Ward)
Went back to Deep Dean this morning for just over 2 hours starting at 9.30. Weather was sunny with 1-2 oktas of cloud, 20 C, wind SW2-4. Explored areas 1a-h, 2a-c and 3c but found no Grayling present. I think their flight season is now over. However, I saw plenty of other butterflies with good numbers of Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Chalk Hill Blue, Adonis Blue, Small Heath and Silver-spotted Skipper along with the odd Small White, Large White, Small Copper, Wall Brown, Painted Lady and a very old and tatty Small Blue (the first one I've seen up there for about 3 years). (Chris Hooker)
Thursday 16 August
A mid afternoon walk in St Leonards Forest, Horsham proved to be most exciting in the rain as I managed to find Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath and a Meadow Brown all like most of us, waiting for the weather to improve. (Patrick Moore)
Wednesday 15 August
I wasn't expecting to see any butterflies on an evening walk over to Arlington Reservoir from Berwick, so was pleased to see a Wall Brown at TQ5298306853. Also 2 Small Heath. (Chris Bird)
I am just going through the photos I took today at Deep Dean and found this one. When I took the picture I thought it was just a faded Brown Argus whose black marks gone white but now I read the description in my guide book and there is no mentioning of this kind of change so I started to hope for an "exotic" Northern Brown Argus who got lost but then I ended up with the most likely answer what is a faded female Chalk Hill Blue. Could anyone confirm this please? (Istvan Radi)
You can hope all you like for a Northern Brown Argus but your not going to find one round here. Come to think of it, I would have said the same thing about Black Hairstreaks six months ago. I think you are right with the Chalk Hill Blue though. It is one species which exhibits an enormous amount of variety (Ed jnr)
12 species of butterfly seen when the sun belatedly shone on a blustery Lancing Ring, including 37 Holly Blue, 24 Speckled Wood, 21 Common Blue, 15 Meadow Brown, 7 Wall Brown, 5 Small Heath, 2 Painted Lady. (Lindsay Morris)
Further sightings from today at PCH/Rowlands Wood (Vincent Oates)
Following a swift overnight fishing session with my daughter, Rosie, we decided to make a quick call at Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood reserve to look for SPBF. It was warm and overcast and a tour of the heath provided no sightings for us, nor a couple from Norfolk, who had made the trip specially. We finally finished on the meadow and found one SPBF on the ride alongside the wood and, subsequently, another individual bang in the centre of the meadow (where we also met up again with the couple from Norfolk and made their trip worthwhile). Whilst photographing the second SPBF, my daughter pointed out a Wasp spider feeding on a sizeable grasshopper and we subsequently spotted another three in the space of three square metres. These spiders have only been recorded in Britain since 1922 and are fairly scarce, so may interest some of you. (Vincent Oates)
I arrived at 08:45 and due to overcast conditions I started to inspect the bushes on the top of Deep Dean. Then at 9.30 the sun put in a brief appearance what brought all the butterflies out and for half an hour there was a frenzy of mating and feeding. All the butterflies but the Grayling. I covered the best part of the South facing slope zigzagging from one patch of bare ground to an other but nothing. Then at 11am I walked down to Ewe Dean on the main path but no luck there either. On my way back to Polegate I once again stopped and had a quick look at the top of Deep Dean but I had no luck whatsoever so at 11.45 I called it a day. It was overcast with a breeze, the temperature was a humid 20 Celsius. (Istvan Radi )
Tuesday 14 August
Blackstone Down is a long finger of chalk grassland between Alfriston and Firle that has mostly gone to scrub. There are however some good remnant bits of chalk grassland and I saw Adonis Blue flying there during a brief burst of sunshine. This is very encouraging and the remaining bit of chalk grassland I looked at was very nice and worth trying to save from further degradation. On the slopes of Firle Escarpment where there is a battle to control tor grass I saw no adonis but did pick up common and chalkhill blues plus wall, Small Heath, Small Copper. I thought there were Brown Argus but think they may have all turned out to female Common Blue. (Tim Squire)
On 6th August I saw a Comma laying eggs on the potted nettle in my Crawley garden. Today they all hatched and I counted 9 larvae on the undersides of the leaves. Fairing less well are my Large White eggs. Despite hundreds being laid, there are no larvae. Many eggs have been predated by slugs, but it was unusual to see a Harlequin ladybird also taking an interest. Any larva that hatches seems to be taken by wasps. Also today, a walk in woods near Gatwick Airport produced two Orange-tip pupae on Garlick Mustard stems situated in shady conditions. Both were green and stood out against the parched ground and dead stems.
Today looked like a write-off for butterflies as the weather refused to live up to the forecast, but as I headed back towards home there appeared to be just sufficient sunshine to make a visit to Steyning Rifle Range worthwhile. It was getting on for 1.30 pm before I arrived, but for 45 minutes there was a flurry of Brown Hairstreak activity, with six different females being spotted by various members of the small group present; three others had been seen prior to my arrival. If the sun shines, this coming weekend should provide plenty of hairstreak action, and there should be plenty still flying for Richard Roebuck's guided walk here on 25 August. (Neil Hulme)
Another entertaining day a Steyning Rifle Range started slowly owing to a mixture of leaden skies
and brief spells of bright sunshine. The last hour of the Brown Hairstreak hunt produced the most
Butterflies, as the weather improved. Indeed the weather played it's part in ensuring that the females
seen either perched or basked for long periods, allowing all admirers good photo opps.
One of my images, taken from above the Butterfly, shows the tail display to attract snacking Birds away from the head.
Just after lunch I spent a happy 40 minutes or so lurking by the blackthorn enclosure on Steyning Rifle Range with congenial company (Trevor Rapley, Neil Hulme and others. Six female Brown Hairstreaks put in an appearance, despite the somewhat gloomy conditions, and three more were seen earlier. As one of the locals tasked with managing the blackthorn (I have the scars) I was relieved to see that we hadn't overdone it with the loppers! (John Woodward)
I also visited Deep Dean today from 11AM to around 2.30PM and unfortunately saw no Grayling despite zig-zagging the entire slope more times than necessary. There were however Wall Brown, Meadow Brown, Chalkhill Blue, Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Heath, Small Copper, Speckled Wood and Adonis Blue to be seen. I then headed to PCH and saw with others, 2 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. (Patrick Moore)
I spent quite a few hours in the garden today, weeding one of the herbaceous borders and moving seedlings around. I was also hoping for Clouded Yellow (which I didn't get) but there was a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on the Buddleia, as there was yesterday, and that was my first garden sighting of the year. Last year the first sighting was on July 1st and with all the good weather we have had this summer I rather expected to see more. Most of my garden plants flowered early and finished early, so I'm grateful to Devilsbit Scabious which is flowering nicely. This is an interesting British native as it seems to do well in wet conditions, grows nicely on chalk and also does well in the very dry sandy soil that I have in my garden. Ten butterfly species in the past couple of days but numbers diminishing rapidly. (Martin Kalaher)
I visited Roland Wood and Park Corner Heath this afternoon. Ths sky became quite overcast soon after my arrival, however many Common Blues were seen on the Fleabane at Roland Wood. As I reached PCH the sun finally emerged and a single Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary was seen. (Douglas Neve)
Paid a visit to Deep Dean this morning but saw no Grayling. There were good numbers of Meadow Brown and Silver Spotted Skipper though along with some Adonis Blue, Wall Brown, Small Copper, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue and Small Heath. (Chris Hooker)
Monday 13 August
As Trevor reported, an unexpected joint visit to Rowland Wood and Park Corner Heath proved difficult to start with but as the sun broke through we were able to locate our quarry with 3 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary seen. Also seen were significant numbers of Common Blue, Small Heath, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Small White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and a very smart Painted Lady. As the weather worked against us we departed the reserves and headed off.
Back in the Burgess Hill and the weather much improved, I decided to nip up to Batchelors Farm. My arrival, although quite late in the day (2.30pm) did produce 3 egg laying females to the left and right of the entrance gate. It really is worth checking the Burial Ground, Tesco fields, Nightingale Meadows and of course Batchelors Farm over the next week as there has been a sudden increase in Hairstreak activity as has also been reported from Steyning. (David Cook)
Appearing this afternoon in the St Leonards Forest, Horsham humidity were, in order of appearance; Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small White, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Comma, Brimstone and last and actually least in number a Large White. All were seen along the track known as Micks Run and around the Dragon Seat. (Patrick Moore)
Another visit to Steyning Rifle Range today (13 August) produced numerous female Brown Hairstreaks, with some bursts of frenetic activity whenever the sun broke through. I didn't keep an accurate tally, but suspect I saw about eight individuals just in the vicinity of the fenced-off area of Prunus. Just after 2 pm I finally managed to get up onto the northern flank of the Rifle Range, where I found a further five in as many minutes. Although some are rapidly collecting nicks and scratches, several of those I saw were still in mint condition. Some of today's visitors saw Brown Hairstreak for the first time, and went home very happy! My thanks go to the Steyning Downland Scheme volunteers for keeping the Blackthorn and Bullace here in such great condition for the butterfly. (Neil Hulme)
I went over to Rowland Wood this morning, and soon met up with Dave Cook.
After a lot of searching we eventually found a female Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, and two males near the hut at Park Corner. Later a mating pair of Common Blues was seen in Rowland Wood. Many worn Common Blues were also present. (Trevor Rapley)
Several more Brown Hairstreak were seen today at Steyning rifle range, in between the showers. Plus I've added a bonus shot of Neil Hulme in action! (John Williams)
Went looking primarily for female Brown Hairstreaks before the heavens opened at Lancing Ring. None found! Of the 12 butterfly species identified Holly Blue excelled with a minimum of 30. (Lindsay Morris)
Sunday 12 August
I visited Mill Hill today around lunch time. Under leaden skies I saw a few Adonis Blues basking open-winged trying to absorb what little heat there was. I stayed about an hour before the rain set in. (John Williams)
I only had a brief opportunity to get out and about yesteday and decided to pay a visit to Blunts Wood in Haywards Heath. This has proved to be a good location for Brown Hairstreak in the past but even though conditions were favourable, it didn’t produce, so I had to be content with Meadow Brown instead and got this rather unusual male ab grisea-aurea and a pairing. Also a rather tired female Purple Hairstreak (David Cook)
The annual Steyning Rifle Range Brown Hairstreak festival is now underway, with the site performing spectacularly well yesterday (11 August). I arrived just after 11 am and spotted a pristine female sitting in the first stand of Blackthorn I approached, which was quickly joined by a second. The action came thick and fast and the combined efforts of a search team including Tom Parker, Gary Norman, Trevor Rapley, John Williams and James Arnott located a total of 16 egg-laying females, before activity ceased just before 2 pm. The majority were in perfect or excellent condition, although a couple of tattier examples were seen later in the session.
Gary and I then moved on to the Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves, to monitor numbers of the second brood Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. We were surprised (and very pleased) to see more than we expected, and it was clear that butterflies are still emerging; four were so fresh that they must have emerged earlier that day. Despite weather conditions varying between unsuitable and borderline, we saw 11 individuals in a couple of hours. We only searched over the most promising areas, so I suspect there are a few more present. The top of the rush meadow, the W-E ride just south of the lake and the patch cleared of Bracken in front of the PCH hut were most productive. We were relieved to see plenty of fresh violets following the recent wet weather, providing a critical improvement in the breeding prospects for this second flight - just in time!
Plenty of other species were seen, including Wall, which seems to have gained a firm foothold here. I'm delighted by the rapid response of the wider butterfly fauna to the recent restructuring work. (Neil Hulme)
Some of the 16 Brown Hairstreak spotted by myself, Neil, Trevor, James, and Gary on Saturday morning. (John Williams)
Saturday 11 August
Today I got some Brown Hairstreak photos at Steyning rifle range - which means that this year, for the first time ever, I have managed to get a picture of all 5 Hairstreaks - and all in Sussex too! (John Williams)
Walked up Malling down today. Saw plenty of butterflies, but many were looking very battered. There was a Wall Brown and a Chalk Hill Blue that I was amazed could still fly as they had so little left of their wings. Saw plenty of Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Small Copper and Meadow Brown as I walked up the valley. Saw a Clouded Yellow that I managed to get as a blur in a photograph. Although there were some Silver-spotted Skipper near the bottom end of the allotments, they really increased in number as I climbed the Snout, this was also where the Chalk Hill Blue began to appear. (Sylvia Davidson)
Hard to beat this trio. (Jon Warner)
Surprised to find a Wall on my Chailey Common (Lane End) transect this morning. I don't think its been recorded here before. (Ian Seccombe)
I spent a very enjoyable few hours at Steyning Rifle Range today, searching for Brown Hairstreaks. In all I found three, but the experienced regulars present found more. It was agreed with Neil Hulme that the total for the day was sixteen females. In addition I found an immaculate, fresh Speckled Wood.
It was my first visit here, as a new member of BC and I wanted to see some butterflies other than the regulars who visit my garden. On the edge of the wood, I saw a Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood. Around mid-day, As I left the shade of the trees and walked up onto the sunny Downs I immediately spotted a Wall butterfly, a Clouded Yellow (flew off before I could photograph it!) and later, lots of Common Blues, and Adonis Blues, as well as several Small Heaths, lots of Gatekeepers and a few Brown Argus’. (Maria Dixon)
After a couple of wet and windy days it was good to see the butterflies again and during the morning several Small Whites visited my Seaford garden. I have had a few sightings of Wall recently including a very worn one this morning and another fairly fresh looking one this afternoon. Until this year they rarely visited. Also seen were a few Large Whites, 2 Meadow Browns, 1 each of Red Admiral, Holly Blue and Common Blue, the latter thinking my kitchen doormat was a good place to rest. It`s better outside Mrs Blue so you ought to leave! She did. (Stuart Ridley)
Every year I usually get a few Brown Hairstreaks visiting my Crawley garden, sometimes laying eggs. Today I found a female that had alighted on my neighbours front hedge. A more unusual sighting for this part of Crawley was that of a male Brown Argus at Rathlin Road pond which was only the 3rd one I have ever recorded there in nearly 20 years. (Vince Massimo)
Whilst in the poly-tunnel at Seaford Community Garden on our Wednesday morning session I rescued a very bedraggled Wall Brown from a spider's web. First sighting of a Wall here, I remember in the 1960's they were a very common species but latterly much rarer. (Bob Brown)
Thursday 09 August
After the rain came the sun and driving home from work I figured Mill Hill would be a good place to enjoy sunbathing butterflies. This proved to be the case, despite a strong wind. (Jonathan Crawford)
Think this is a Blue moon butterfly, llypolomnas Bolina, Eggfly. Male. Spotted it on my buddleia in my small Garden on the Folders Lane Estate near Ditchling Common. It spent most of afternoon flying around and settling on my shrubs.
Is this Butterfly native to this country? or do you think it flew in from across the channel? or maybe its escaped from captivity?
I think you are right, it is a male Blue Moon. Unfortunately not a Sussex species nor a natural immigrant. It is found from Madagascar eastwards to Australia so there is no chance that it got here of its own volition. For this reason we don't count it as a first sighting. Normally we get exotic Asian butterflies sighted near Chichester because there is a butterfly centre at Earnley, from which they occasionally escape. In this case I have no idea of its origin, but if someone else knows I am sure they will drop me a line. Still a fantastic thing to find in your garden. (Ed jnr)
As per Istvan Radi's post of Tuesday 24 July we were the couple he met who mentioned 2 sightings of Grayling outside of Deep Dene. Hope it is ok to send via this system? I have checked back via my sightings book and diary and one sighting was 4 August 2013, we found a Grayling on the path going up towards the top of Windover just as the path starts turning towards the top, away from Ewe Dene. We were very surprised and delighted to find one there. The other sighting was around the same year, but unfortunately as I wasn't there I didn't note it down. My partner runs regularly on a circuit up from the car park past the reservoir, up over the top to the trigpoint above the Long man where he saw a Grayling. He reckons it was about the same year. In the future, should we see anymore outside of Deep Dene, we will report and long may they continue and make, for some of us, a hard climb very worth it! (Kerry Baldwin)
Thanks Kerry, sightings of Grayling are so precious that we would love to hear about them both in Deep Dene and outside. 2013 was a hot summer too, and I wonder if they go over to the north face of Windover when it gets too hot in Deep Dean. (Ed jnr)
Wednesday 08 August
I'm very upset to report that I have just found the caterpillars of Box moth (Cydalima perspectalis ) on one of the box trees in my garden on Hampden Road, Brighton. It's taken twenty five years for the tree to get to 9 foot high and apparently the caterpillars can defoliate the trees completely. The RHS garden website says the moth has only been found in Britain since 2008. (Tessa Pawsey)
It was not my intension to post any sightings today from St Leonards Forest, Horsham. Only a Wall Brown put in an appearance at the Dragon Seat (TQ2172 3187) which was really quite exciting. I've never seen one in the area before. So as I am now posting I may as well mention that there were also Common Blue, Brown Argus and Gatekeeper also at the Dragon Seat. Other butterflies included Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, plenty of Speckled Wood, Green-veined White as well as both Large and Small White. Also a very warn Silver-washed Fritillary. One Gatekeeper was Small Heath sized only when it opened its wings at rest did I realise. (Patrick Moore)
This afternoon I visited Roland Wood and Park Corner Heath. I made my way first to the Common Fleabane strip in the north-east corner of Roland Wood where I lucky to spot a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and a Wall Brown together with numerous Common Blues, Small Heaths and Meadow Browns. Close to the hut at Park Corner Heath I later spotted two further Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which were very active and difficult to photograph. (Douglas Neve)
A quick tour of BCs site at Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood to find Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Many Common Blues in evidence, also Small Heaths and Meadow Browns, until we finally spotted the intended target at the back of the top field near the road/car park. Looking slightly tired, but still very active and the first time i've seen one in that location (normally see them on the heath itself). (Vincent Oates)
A short visit to Wild Park, Brighton this morning between 09:10-10:00 produced a Purple Hairstreak on the small oak tree near the (almost fully dried up) dew pond, a very small number of other butterflies and most importantly a few individuals of my target species for the day namely the Brown Hairstreak. At the location provided by Jamie I saw a very faded one on a tree and almost immediately two more on the neighboring tree. The latter two did not settle in sight so no photos of those, only a silhouette of one of them.
As for Batts Wood...when I got home and calmed down I did some research and apparently I was supposed to follow the Blue Arrow Bridleway from Witherenden Farm not the Yellow Arrow footpath. And I also should have mentioned that once in the Woods the paths are all good. But I attached a photo of the footpath leading into an impenetrable cornfield... (Istvan Radi)
Tuesday 07 August
No problems with access to Batts Wood from the footpaths from Witherenden Road. On 14 July we did the circular route from the footpath at Pound Bridge through Batts Wood and back onto Witherenden Road to the east. Plenty of butterflies in the long straight ride along the south edge of Batts Wood including at least 7 Silver-washed Fritillary. (Richard Farran)
Today I popped into Park Corner Heath-Rowland Wood on my way to Deep Dean. There was a single Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary next to the shed nectaring on the Heather. I managed one picture!
I then walked from Wilmington to Deep Dean via the summit of Wilmington Hill arriving about 12.30. It was hot, very hot with a distant rumble of thunder and cloud build up to the south. I found no Grayling for the first hour of zig-zagging.Then after the first rain shower two males appeared along the top bush line and after the following hail storm two flew down the slope. Only one further Grayling appeared, I left at around 15.30 before the next cloud bank arrived. Totals 2m, 1f, 2 un id. (Grayling seen in 1a, 1b, 1c and 1d. nothing in 1e, 1f, 2a and 2b). It seemed that numbers were building from mid afternoon onwards when the temperature dropped. However the weather failed me! (Patrick Moore)
Malling Down. From 13.30 - 17.00 hrs, 25 degrees. Lots of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Common Blues and Small Heaths. About 20 Silver-spotted Skippers, 30 Chalk-hill Blues, 3 Adonis Blues, 1 Small Copper, 1 Painted Lady, 3 Wall Browns, 4 Small Whites, 1 Large White, 7 Silver Y moths and a Wasp Spider. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
Escaping the madness of the gas main replacement in Cuckfield if only for a few hours I arrived at the Burial Ground in Burgess Hill about 10.30. Unusually it is one of the few places where you can watch butterflies from the comfort of your car because it is in the 2 oaks in the car park where the hairstreak action could be witnessed. A few flew off southward but it was too hot to give chase. A gentleman joined me briefly and he left minutes before a Brown Hairstreak came into perfect view and on an adjacent branch Purple Hairstreak did the same. In vain i checked the other master trees as suggested previously by Dave Cook but did see some Small Coppers and Common Blues and plenty of Speckled Woods.
It was approaching noon when I arrived at Bachelors Farm in the searing heat. Drew a blank on hairstreaks but again a number of Common Blues and other usual suspects. The views towards the Downs are wonderful. A special thanks to Dave Cook for detailed maps of the master trees which cut out some unnecessary walking in the hot weather. (Martin Buck)
Those members who have visited my Storrington garden on Open Days will appreciate that I have a large deciduous hedge (on the southern border) that appears to somewhat unruly. I cut it back once a year in early August, and so I did today. Pausing to wipe the sweat from my brow a rather faded and tatty male Brown Hairstreak stopped by within 2-3 feet of me to say hello. Now that was very nice for that takes the total count for 2018 to 31 butterfly species. I believe that is a national record for a garden and am more then happy to be told otherwise, for then I will try harder to encourage more butterflies into the garden! I took a few photos yesterday of butterflies waking up in the meadow (plus a Holly Blue later on in the morning). (Martin Kalaher)
Having done my Big Butterfly Count at midday I was astonished to see this female Brown Hairstreak in my Ferring garden where it has been nectaring on solidago for several hours. My plot is about 10 minutes walk from the sea. I've planted several blackthorns so shall be examining the twigs later. Other firsts for the garden this year were Marbled White ovipositing in the meadow area on 26th June and ovipositing Large Skipper on 8th July. (Tim Freed)
Yesterday (6 August) I joined David Cook, Kirsty Gibbs and her (impressively patient) daughter for a Brown Hairstreak hunt around the Burgess Hill Green Circle. In all we saw the best part of a dozen males high in various master trees, with most being on the Burial Ground site. Four females were also seen in the master trees, with just one settling low in the shade of a Bramble for a few minutes. It wasn't until much later in the day that we finally found one egg-laying at the Batchelors Farm site. Brown Hairstreak males have behaved rather differently to last year, when unprecedented numbers of freshly emerged butterflies were photographed low down, particularly at Knepp; not so this year. The big difference in behaviour has clearly been driven by this year's lack of nectaring opportunities. Although (now faded) males are descending to feed on Hemp Agrimony (where present) as it comes into flower, the thistles had already seeded due to the intense heat, and the Fleabane flowers were already 'dry'. However, the behaviour of females has remained remarkably consistent. Although a handful of females have been seen in Sussex through late July, they have been freshly emerged individuals, soon retreating to the canopy. It is only now that the females are starting to egg-lay, to precisely the same timetable as in previous years. This has held true over the twenty year period surveyed by the 1990-1994 and 2010-2014 Sussex atlases; although we've seen some remarkably early males, the female Brown Hairstreak refuses to be hurried. Peak female activity is expected, as always, to be through mid and late August, but we should start to see a few more this week.
I then headed to our Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves, where there are plenty of Common Blues and Small Coppers to be seen, together with the odd Wall and Painted Lady. However, my target was second brood Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, of which I saw four (3m, 1f). I had to wait until 7.30 pm before they finally closed their wings. (Neil Hulme)
Falmer Station, Brighton: On the cycle to the gym I stopped by the Railway side to spot the following: (Philip Booker)
I was parked for a few minutes at the edge of Sheepcote Valley, on the edge of Brighton. (Philip Booker)
6 August 2018
An early afternoon truncated visit to the lower slopes off Mill Hill was just too uncomfortable with the excessive warmth and drenching humidity. In a one third of an acre transect, I found an unplanned count of 133+ lively male Adonis Blues, about 30+ Chalk Hill Blues including five brown females, 25+ Common Blues, 60+ Meadow Browns 15+ Gatekeepers 15+ Small Heaths, occasional Small Whites, four restless Clouded Yellows, two Wall Browns, a few Speckled Woods (over the southern steps) and a Treble-bar Moth. At one stage thirty Adonis Blues surrounded me. On the southern top of Mill Hill, there were occasionally more Chalk Hill Blues, Meadow Browns and a pyralid micro-moth: a Pyrausta despicata. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2018.html)
Monday 06 August
From 13.00 to 16.00 I plodded about on Weavers Down, vainly hoping for a Grayling to show. The habitat looked perfect to me - lots of short dry grass with much evidence of rabbit and mole. I did manage to see 11 butterfly species, including a Clouded Yellow, 52 Small Heath, 8 Small Copper, 65 Common Blue, 4 Brown Argus, 17 Gatekeeper, 120 Meadow Brown. (Lindsay Morris)
And thank you for visiting the last of the Atlas sites. That's all 60 accounted for in 2018, so we now know they Atlas authors didn't make any of the sites up! (Ed jnr)
A brief visit to Steyning Bostal chalk pit and adjacent downland this morning before the serious heat kicked in revealed an encouraging number of Wall Browns (maybe 10), plus a Painted Lady glowing in the sunshine. (John Woodward)
A most disappointing and frustrating visit to Batt's Wood (site No. 56). I walked from Stonegate but the public footpath is in such a bad shape that very often is doesn't actually exist. Several signs are removed and gates are locked so have to climb over or squeeze through next to it. Walkers don't seem to be welcome in this area... As for butterflies I have never seen such low numbers in an Atlas site. I counted 31 Speckled Woods, 6 Gatekeepers, 4 Meadow Browns, 1 Small White and 2 Large Whites. I don't think I will make the four-hours long round trip anytime soon again. The highlights were a few deer and two Nuthatches and an aerial display by 3 Buzzards. (Istvan Radi )
Sorry about that Istvan and thanks for the warning. It would be interesting to hear from any locals about access to the site. (Ed jnr)
Filby: hi i found this in my living room this morning , is it a moth or butterfly ? can you identefie it please (Moira Cox)
It is definitely a moth, probably a Large Emerald (Geometra papilionaria) and I have just discovered that Filby is in Norfolk, so we are both a little wiser today. We are a site for Sussex sightings but you can get assistance here https://www.norfolkmoths.co.uk/ (Ed jnr)
I visited to Rowland Wood & Park Corner Heath on a very hot Saturday morning. Nothing much doing at PCH except for a Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown. Rowland Wood was much better, 20-30 Common Blues, 1 Wall, 2 Brimstone, Large and Small Whites and 2 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries in Ride S. (Howard Wood)
I am guessing that it wasn't you who put "nothing good" in the sightings book on saturday! (Ed jnr)
Sunday 05 August
Val & I have been up in the north east for a bit and visited a Durham site where we were told we would have seen northern Brown Arguses if we'd been 3 or 4 weeks earlier. We were able to console ourselves with dark red helleborines instead which are so magnificent that I can't resist attaching a picture as they can't be seen down south. However, we did see what I'm now sure was a brand new ordinary Brown Argus (female) at Barnard Castle fairly nearby - I checked last night in the Butterflies of Sussex how to tell them from brown female Common Blues. This turned out to be very useful today when we visited family who have recently moved into a house in East Preston which is virtually in the country and has a garden well protected by trees and shrubs. In quite a short time we saw Small Whites, Large Whites, a Comma, a Red Admiral, several Speckled Woods, a Gatekeeper, a Meadow Brown, 3 Holly Blues and best of all a female Brown Argus nectaring on golden rod. Having so recently revised the identification features I was able to nail it before an annoying bee disturbed it and thwarted my attempt to get a decent photo. I was luckier with one of the Speckled Woods. (John & Val Heys)
Rushed up to Cissbury this afternoon to look for the phone I lost there on Friday. I found it, along with 3 Brown Hairstreak, 2 in the south east part of the moat and one near the top of Tenants Hill. They were all very faded and on Hemp Agrimony. 2 Humming-bird Hawk-moth, a hornet, 7 Small Copper etc, but no Clouded Yellow today. (Lindsay Morris)
I tramped over Chantry Hill today and between "the Hill" and my garden recorded 20 butterfly species as follows: Silver-spotted Skipper (35), Dingy Skipper (1), Clouded Yellow (1), Brimstone (1f), Large White (many), Small White (many), Green-veined White (3), Small Copper (4), Brown Argus (350), Common Blue (500+), Chalk Hill Blue (35), Holly Blue (2), Red Admiral (1), Painted Lady (1), Comma (2), Speckled Wood (20), Wall Brown (3), Gatekeeper(6), Meadow Brown (500+), Small Heath (150). With so many comments about high numbers of Silver-spotted Skippers I expected more, the second-brood Dingy Skipper was a first record for me and the Clouded Yellow my first for the year. I usually see 1-2 Speckled Wood on this walk, so 20 or so was a lot. Everywhere there was a combination of sunshine and shade there was another one (on the walk to Chantry, not on Chantry itself). No Fritillaries seen. At home, one of the delights is in the early evening when there are so many "Blues" roosting. Two evenings ago there were 12 Common Blues, 5 Brown Argus and a Small Copper. They like the seed heads of Ox-eye Daisy. (Martin Kalaher)
There was an influx in Hampshire of Clouded Yellows on the 31st we found 10 in Wiltshire and 6 here in Hampshire I mention in order to alert observers. (Ted Raynor)
Thanks Ted, we are beginning to have them reported here too. (Ed jnr)
At least 30 Silver-spotted Skippers around Horseshoe Plantation (TV 56087 95866), Belle Tout, this morning including five that were down beside the main path. Additionally, nine were seen in short grassland on the west side of the car park at Shooters Bottom (TV 57381 95571). Photo attached of one that might be described as suffering a 'bad hair day'. Also in the area were three Wall Browns, one Small Copper, and two Small Skippers (looking very worn). On Went Hill near Birling Gap (TV 55141 96613) there was a Painted Lady and what appeared at times to be 'clouds' of Common Blues. (Simon Linington)
Istvan and I got up to Deep Dean around eight thirty this morning, having seen two Humming-bird Hawk-moths on the South Downs Way as we climbed up. We quickly found two female Graylings near the top of the south facing slope, both in scrapes. Not long afterwards a couple from Essex showed us the scrape where they had seen a male Grayling. It was their sixth trip to Deep Dean and their first Grayling. We were soon joined by Mark and Ian Cadey and together we surveyed the entire south facing slope, finding only one more male Grayling, once more in a scrape. We then surveyed the north facing slope which was full of butterflies but no Grayling. Highlights were one Dark Green Fritillary, one Clouded Yellow, a few Small Coppers and Wall Browns, and plenty of Silver-spotted Skippers and Chalk Hill Blues. At the bottom of the valley Common Blues were also abundant.
Female Grayling TQ 54318 03119
Female Grayling TQ 54355 03151
Male Grayling TQ 54438 03189
Male Grayling TQ 54239 02912
Leaving Deep Dean we checked out the scrapings on Windover Hill for Grayling and drew a blank. However we did find large numbers of Wall Browns. We were also disappointed to discover the Long Man of Wilmington is made out of painted breeze blocks which was apparently done in 1969, replacing Victorian brickwork.
On the way back Istvan and I called in at Park Corner Heath and almost immediately saw a single Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary in front of the shed. It was hot and the butterfly declined to be photographed.
Tried to beat the heat with a morning walk at Batchelors Farm but failed - glad I took some water with me. Thanks to David in an earlier post for pointing out the best places to search for the Brown Hairstreaks. I saw a few and finally found one who was willing to perch for a while in the open albeit at some height. There were a few Common Blues, Small Coppers, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and whites around also. (Paul Sharman https://paulsharmanoutdoors.com)
I too went to Mill Hill yesterday morning, and good to bump into Jonathan Crawford and, as a newcomer to Sussex, get some gen about some of the local sites. My sightings were similar, but did also see a solitary 2nd-brood Dingy Skipper. Got home to find this Painted Lady in my Steyning Garden. (Ray Baker)
A Brown Argus flew into our conservatory in the hamlet of Gay Street, near Pulborough, on 4 August. This is only the second year I have seen the Brown Argus here (the first was last year) and we are hoping our wild-flower meadow is the reason. A moth also flew into the conservatory and after buzzing around for a few minutes, settled long enough for me to photograph it. After looking through my 'Britain's Day-Flying Moths' book, I am unable to identify it and am hoping someone with more knowledge than me is able to tell me what it is, please? Could it be a night-flying moth that was disturbed? (Chris Page http://www.g4bue.co.uk/Butterflies/)
Having seen two Humming-bird hawk-moths today, my first thought is that this what your moth is.The only thing that seems different from the standard pictures is the red patch on the back of the head, which have been caused by attempting to leave the conservatory. Anybody else got any thoughts? (Ed jnr)
Silver Spotted Skippers seem to be having a good year. I only saw them twice at this site last year and they seemed to be much more localised than yesterday when I found my first one right at the bottom of the hill, almost by the car park. TQ 43268 11405 (Harry Mole https://www.instagram.com/wannabephotoguy)
An over wheeling number of blues (common, chalkhill and Adonis) at Castle Hill yesterday including this doubly aberrant chalkhill. Plus at least 8 Wall, 1 Dark Green Fritillary, a few Small Heath and one very battered old Small Copper. (Harry Mole Https://www.instagram.com/wannabephotoguy)
I am guessing "over wheeling" is a spellcheck error as "overwhelming" probably makes more sense. However I see my role as editor largely restricted to correcting spelling mistakes in butterfly names (i.e. Chalk Hill Blue) so have left it as it is. (Ed jnr)
Saturday 04 August
This afternoon I visited Kithurst Meadow then walked a loop via Medley Bottom and North Stoke. Highlights included Adonis Blue (not huge numbers but several at Kithurst and more at Medley), Chalk Hill Blue, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Large, Small and Green-veined White, some very small Brown Argus at Medley. Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock and Comma at South Stoke. A helice Clouded Yellow failed to stop for a proper photo, There were also Brimstone, Small Skipper, Small Heath, Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper. (Patrick Moore)
An early and shortened 'beat the heat' walk from Litlington alongside Lullington Heath had four Wall Browns amongst the usual downland butterflies. Lovely to see a Humming-bird Hawk-moth egg laying on a white flowered bedstraw. Later while having a swim at the beach in Bishopstone on the way home we were cheered to see a Painted Lady flying in from the sea. Such a feat of endurance for such a flimsy seeming creature to migrate so far. (Tessa Pawsey)
It seems along with others that I'm seeing regular Common Blues in our Crawley garden this summer,including both male and females this afternoon.still several Holly Blues and Small Whites too.And loads of Mint moths. (Alastair Gray)
Did the transect at Anchor Bottom this morning. Nearly six hundred butterflies, though unfortunately most of them were Meadow Browns. An earlier trip to Mill Hill led me to hope that Anchor Botttom might put in a good show for Adonis Blues, but these were somewhat muted with only 99 recorded. I did see a Clouded Yellow, my 44th Sussex Species of the year. Other highlights were a pair of mating Wall Browns and quite a few Brown Argus.
After that i went to Burgess Hill to look for Brown Hairstreaks. It was hot and there was little moving except the Common Blues on feebane in the meadows. Back at the Burial Ground car park where I had spotted hairstreaks last year in an oak, I noticed one again. I hung around a while. They were flying briefly but always landing out of the sun and out of sight. At one point the sun was obscured by a cloud and I counted six. In addition there were three Purple Hairstreaks in the same tree.
The Brown Hairstreak was the 45th Sussex species for me this year. Once again the only one I am missing is the Wood White, which is too precious to visit. Whilst on the subject, I spoke to Margaret Hibbard, species champion, earlier in the week. She told me that the second brood Wood Whites were doing really well and unusually were showing in larger numbers than the first brood. She also mentioned that she had found three Wood Whites in a place they had never been recorded before so it looks like they are pushing out. (Jonathan Crawford)
This afternoon I went over to Rowland Wood, and found the most magnificent, fresh and scale perfect Painted Lady I have ever seen. This specimen is surely ' home grown ' , and not from across the Channel, to be in such fine condition.(Trevor Rapley)
I expect you are right Trevor. However I do remember the Mount Caburn Swallowtail incident earlier this year, where Mr Hulme suggested that a butterfly could cross the channel and still look immaculate. (Ed jnr)
I went looking for the Brown Hairstreak at the Knepp estate and Steyning rifle range today but no luck at either, just these less exotic beauties. (John Williams)
Had a lovely cycle ride on the West Grinstead Downs Link (Atlas site 46 tick!) from Copsale to Henfield and back in the sunshine today with my youngest son. It could be renamed Speckled Wood Link as it has the perfect dappled light and we counted over 30. Also over 20 Large Whites, about 6 or so Silver-washed Fritillaries, one Brown Hairstreak, two Common Blues, one Red Admiral, one Comma, two Small Whites and two Meadow Browns (plus one deer!). It is a lovely path and was a railway line so is very flat. I can also recommend the Cat and Canary pub in Henfield (which is right on the Downs Link) for its food, drink and friendly staff! No pics as camera currently kaput. (Tony Gould)
/Thanks Tony. Only two left now. Weavers Down at the extreme west of end of Sussex and Batts Wood at the extreme east. Perhaps we are all just centrists at heart. (Ed jnr)
There have been 19 different butterfly species in my Storrington garden over the past 4-5 days, with Speckled Wood and male Chalkhill Blue adding to the list, today. This is only the second time I have recorded a Chalkhill blue, the first record on 28/07/2014. This year there have been five "Blues" in the garden - Common Blue, Holly Blue and Brown Argus as "residents" and Small Blue and Chalkhill Blue as "visitors". I have so much Kidney Vetch in the borders of the meadow I am hoping for a breeding colony of Small Blue. I am working on it! In 2018 I have recorded 30 butterfly species in the garden, which equals last years total. I am awaiting Brown Hairstreak and Clouded Yellow. Note that this butterfly is nectaring on Ragwort, a plant that may do harm if in a hay mix but otherwise is an important wildflower for many of our insect species. (Martin Kalaher)
My first Brown Hairstreak of the year on the west side of Rusper Road playing fields, Crawley. It was in high up in an Ash master tree at TQ24603 37064 where they are regularly seen every year. Meanwhile, in my Crawley garden I have had visits most days of this week from Common Blues which is unusual. Also reporting that a new transect has been set up on land controlled by Gatwick Airport, east of the railway line. It basically follows a line around the Y-shaped lagoon at the water treatment works there. Species have included White Admiral (now finished), Silver-washed Fritillary and White-letter Hairstreak, but a reminder that, whilst presently in Sussex, all transect records are submitted to Surrey because the site is in Vice-county 17 for recording purposes. (Vince Massimo)
Barrie Puttock 1 Wall Brown Knepp Castle Estate TQ 1428 2041 (Barrie Puttock)
1 Grayling Windover Hill 50.80946, 50.80946 (TQ 54044 03376)
1 Grayling Windover Hill 50.80833, 0.18514 (TQ 54055 03250)
The time was 14:39 and the temperature was about 30C. The time for the second sighting was 14:45 temperature was similar. Please note that both of these sighting were on the South Downs Way track. (Barrie Puttock)
An early morning walk around Rowland Wood and we found several Common Blues, including a few still roosting which was nice, time for a close study. Lots of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Small Heaths. 1 Ringlet, Large White, green veined white, a Speckled Wood, a Dark Green Fritillary, 2 Silver Y moths and the highlight - a Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary. Not bad for a ‘beat the heat’ walk! (Kerry Baldwin)
Apart from the Fritillary, these are a few of the butterflies which have regularly visited my Bexhill garden in the last week. (I’ve Recently joined BC and happy to be here! ) (Maria)
And we are happy to have you here too. (Ed jnr)
Friday 03 August
I went to see the Kittiwakes at Splash Point, Seaford today and then ventured up Seaford Head and walked over to Hope Gap, roundabout and back. There were plenty of Meadow Browns, Small Heaths, Gatekeepers, Common Blues, Chalk Hill Blues, Small Whites, a Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow en route. I saw a couple of Wall Browns at the Head and the Gap ends, also Small Copper and Brown Argus at Hope Gap. A glorious walk on a beautiful summer's day. (Anna Grist)
Whilst visiting friends, in Fernhurst I took a walk around the local cricket and football pitch. Plenty of Large and Small Whites, Meadow Browns and dancing around the trees, some Comma butterflies who eventually slowed down and allowed me a close up . Martin Neil (Martin Neil)
I was very pleased to see a female Wall Brown on my allotment today on Whitehawk Hill Road in east Brighton today. That seems pathetic compared to Lindsay's wonderful sightings but as I have'nt seen one here for ages I reassured to think that they are still hanging on on my patch. (tessa pawsey)
I have recorded 17 butterfly species in the garden over the past 3-4 days. The most unusual (I suppose) was a Silver-washed Fritillary, which flew past me heading south. For this year, just as unusual, was a Small Tortoiseshell, which was nectaring on Buddleia yesterday. Remarkably, this is only the second garden Small Tortoiseshell I have seen this year, the first of which was on April 17th. I was out all day but on my return managed to find an egg-laying Common Blue. (Martin Kalaher)
At last a Painted Lady spent some time in the garden (Theobalds Road, Burgess Hill), browsing on the Verbena bonariensis. A Common Blue turned up when I was photographing the Painted Lady! (John Prodger)
Only 18 butterfly species see on a circular walk from Lyons Farm via the southern area of Cissbury Ring, but happy to see at least 5 Clouded Yellow, 28 Wall Brown, 65 Silver-spotted Skipper, 6 Small Copper, 66 Small Heath, over 200 Common Blue, 4 Painted Lady, Humming-bird Hawk-moth. (Lindsay Morris)
Due to some train cancellations I only got up to Deep Dene around 10:30 today and as Ed.jnr already mentioned it I didn't find any Graylings in areas 1A,1B,1C and 1F despite checking every patch of bare ground. I also noticed the very high number of Silver-spotted Skippers. Last time I was up at Ewe Dean there was lots of them there but I didn't notice any in Deep Dene. It looks like they spread successfully. I wish the Graylings would follow suit. Unlucky for me there are plenty of "big fat" Wasp Spiders on the slope. I also found some bigger moths of which one I think is a Clouded Buff but I cannot find the other one in my guide book. Any ideas? On my way back to the station I had a little detour to check 2B but no Graylings there either. A good number of other butterfly species otherwise. (Istvan Radi)
An early morning visit to Rowland wood found many roosting Common Blues.Despite the strengthening sun they were still in the same position as last evening. As well as many fading Gatekeepers, some fresh Small Heaths were present. I found one battered Butterfly fluttering in an Oak, it took several guesses as to what it might be. I finally settled on a Female Silver-washed Fritillary. She still had the Command of flight and shot off at high speed. Several female Brimstones were seen on Thistle flowers. No second brood Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries were found. (Trevor Rapley)
On the 2nd of August I made it up to Deep Dene for a couple of hours to see how the Grayling were doing. It quickly became evident that they are now in their final stages. I walked the main escarpment from one end to the other. I didn't see a single Grayling, although with camouflage as good as that anyone could easily miss a few! My technique was to try and spot any on the wing, and cast my shadow over as many scrapes or rabbit burrows as possible. Having failed to find any on the escarpment I wondered along the scrub line at the top where I finally saw one. Knowing that in previous years Grayling usually decamp from the escarpment near the end of their flight season on to the top of Windover Hill I made my way to the chalk path where I found a further two very worn individuals, one of which escaped my lens making a count three in total. The most notable sight at Deep Dene were the incredible numbers of Silver Spotted Skippers, probably the most I have ever seen there. I then went onto Rowland Wood PCH where I saw three - possibly four second brood Small-pearl Bordered Fritillaries. By now the temperature was approaching 30 degrees and the Fritillaries were not stopping. (James A)
I am glad you saw some Grayling yesterday. Istvan has just been up there and drew a blank today which is worrying. We are going there for 9am on Sunday morning if anyone wants to join us. (Ed jnr)
On my morning walk with the dog along the Adur I saw three Brown Argus and a Wall Brown by the river near the A23 flyover.
First time I have ever seen these by the river, normally because it is too early for butterflies. But today it was 23C. There was also the smallest male Common Blue I have ever seen. About the size of my little finger nail. (Jonathan Crawford)
I must get out of the habit of pressing "Enter" after I've inserted a picture! Now where was I? Ah yes, and plenty of Speckled Woods in the shaded path areas. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
Indeed. But glad to see you made the effort to complete the post. (Ed jnr)
Burgess Hill Green Circle (Burial Ground Region). From 10.00 am to 12.00 pm, 25 degrees C. Unsuccessful hunt for Brown Hairstreaks. However, 1 Small Copper, 1 Brimstone (Male), 1 Red Admiral, 2 Commas, 1 completely knackered Purple Hairstreak, several Large Whites, Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadown Browns, Common Blues and Brown Argus. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
On a walk this morning over the area covered by my old Bevendean B Transect that includes Cardboard Hill and the seldom visited area between The Avenue and Bevendean Crescent I saw a Humming-bird Hawk-moth Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, a Ringlet, Brown Argus, Common Blues, and lots of Chalk Hill Blues, a few Speckled Wood, a Small Copper, and a few Small Heath and Large and Small Whites and a big fat Wasp Spider. (Geoff Stevens)
2 brief, Brown Hairstreak sightings today at Batchelors Farm Nature Reserve. Here’s a short clip of an ovipositing female.
Seaford East Sussex: Speckled Wood butterfly (Linda Lammiman)
Several Wall Brown egg laying observed today at High and Over. Seeing one in a scrape, obviously looking to lay, I was surprised to find 2 eggs left next to each other on a Dandelion Clock. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
On Monday 30th July I was visiting my sons at Wick Street Farm and took the opportunity of carrying out a Big Butterfly count with one of my sons who is aiming to encourage butterflies on the property. We located 17 species of butterfly and one Humming-bird Hawk-moth. We were delighted to find two Walls, but were disappointed that there was not a single Peacock to be seen on the 21 acre site. There are Purple Hairstreaks flying round a number of the large oak trees on the farm but there was two much wind to be able to observe them while I was there. The extensive clumps of Fleabane on the site are an excellent source of nectar as will be seen from the pictures I took. (Michael Pitt-Payne)
Thursday 02 August
On a walk into Hogs Trough Bevendean, after pushing through rather a lot grazing cattle there were still plenty of Common Blues and Meadow Browns but the chalkhill blues were fewer fewer and looking rather worn but there were good numbers of second brood adonis also seen were Small Heaths, Brown Argus, gate keepers, various whites and Speckled Woods, 6 spot burnet moth and a Silver Y moth. (Geoff Stevens)
Northiam: I didn't take a picture but on investigation it was definitely a hummingbird moth hovering above a large clump of phlox. (Rosina Adkins)
Late afternoon a female Wall Brown suddenly appeared on the Buddleia in the garden nectaring. 2 Humming-bird Hawk-moths also here on and off during the day. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
With reports from the Lancing area of large numbers of Wall Brown, (Thanks Lindsay), I ventured out to do a very quick walk around the 4 mile circuit of Frog Firle. I had to abort twice last week which was a shame as it was evident today that numbers are almost certainly past peak with most of the butterflies looking past their best!! One of the problems with a long hot spell is where they complete their life-cycle in double quick time!! Some areas of the walk were down more than I would have hoped. The Comp for instance has suffered this year from heavy farm traffic, occasionally also some dreaded chemicals for spraying on the crops has gone along there which I'm sure hasn't been beneficial to human or butterfly!! Wall Brown certainly do not respond well to this type of disturbance which is possibly one of the reasons they are struggling nationwide.
Having said all that I still had my 3rd best count since I started doing this in 2009 with a count of 85 (30 down on 2017) so I was well pleased really. I just hope that there is enough good quality grass for the young larva to feed on.
Other species seen were good numbers along Cradle Valley of Silver-spotted Skipper and Chalk Hill Blue, however, our local Adonis Blues were conspicuous by their absence!! (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
"The Pride of Sussex", our county flower is flowering now on the South Downs and buterflies like Silver-spotted Skippers are flying too. Lots more pics at https://sussexrambler.blogspot.com/ (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
Butterflies seen around Frant- On the Buddleia-Butterfly Tree near the disabled car parking space at the Church 2 Painted Lady, a Comma and a Peacock. 4 Speckled Wood around the Churchyard. A Common Blue in the grass opposite the Memorial Hall.
Visits to Hargate Forest have been curtailed due to incidents highlighted in the press recently. If any member needs more details please email me. (Janet Wilkes)
For those of you who are perhaps not up to date with the local news from Tunbridge Wells, a serial "flasher" has struck seven times in Hargate Woods recently and remains on the loose. (Ed jnr)
The slopes immediately west of Horseshoe Plantation, Belle Tout near Birling Gap were alive with downland butterflies this morning. In an area not much more than 100m x 100m we estimated that we'd seen 200+ Chalkhill Blues, 100+ Common Blues, 50+ Silver-spotted Skippers plus a supporting cast of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small Whites, Small Heath, Small Copper (1) and Wall (1). Additionally, there was a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. On the edge of the plantation were Brown Argus (1), Green-veined White (1), Commas (about 3) and a few Speckled Woods plus a Southern Hawker dragonfly. (Simon Linington & John Gowers)
I went for a walk around Mill Hill nature reserve this weekend and found....a go pro camera and power bank! If you've lost it, or know friend who has get in touch! I've charged it back up and can see who it belongs to but don't know who you are! Please like and share! (Mat Armstrong https://www.facebook.com/groups/MillHill/search/?query=go%20pro%20camera%20)
Wednesday 01 August
A search of Highdown Hill revealed only 18 species of butterfly. Unable to locate any species that would have got me excited (such as Silver-spotted Skipper, Brown Hairstreak, Adonis Blue, Chalk Hill Blue etc.) but that's butterflying! 115 Common Blue, 52 Small Heath, 7 Holly Blue, 6 Painted Lady were notable. The café has sadly closed down. (Lindsay Morris)
I walked from Milton Street to Windover Hill and Deep Dean this afternoon to look for Grayling again. I walked virtually the same zig-zag path as last week and encountered 4 females, 4 males and 3 unidentified Grayling. Two females were egg laying. Regards to all I met on the hill and I hope they found what they were after. There were also another 16 species of butterfly to be seen in the area, so well worth a visit. (Ed, I will email further details) (Patrick Moore)
Today (1 August) I started at Deep Dean, to continue monitoring Grayling numbers. With the help of several others I struggled to a deeply worrying tally of three (2m, 1f), all of which were quite old butterflies. The Sussex Grayling is in serious trouble, so any further sightings would be most welcome, and vital in determining just how critical the situation is. There's plenty more to enjoy up there, including numerous Silver-spotted Skippers and the first second brood Adonis Blues, so it's still well worth a visit.
Things were considerably better on the Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves, where I recorded a wide variety of species (25), including Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (5, including 3 egg-laying females), Dark Green Fritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary, Wall, Painted Lady, Clouded Yellow, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Small Copper, Purple Hairstreak, Holly Blue, Common Blue and Brown Argus. Two female Oak Eggar moths were sitting quietly on vegetation, while several males were seen flying at high speed. (Neil Hulme)
1 August 2018. I cycled up to Mill Hill about midday for the annual count of Chalkhill Blues on the fixed one acre transect on the lower slopes.The 30 minute count recorded 51 male Chalkhill Blues. This was a very low day count but not the worst recorded which was 30 in 2016. They were even outnumbered by male Adonis Blues which were counted at 58. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2018.html#1August)
Regular visitors to these pages will recall my postings from last year referencing the conservation work done by Burgess Hill Town Council to protect and increase the numbers of Brown Hairstreak at Batchelors Farm Nature Reserve on the south side of Burgess Hill. It’s still early days but numbers I’ve seen in this area are definitely responding well. Here’s another female seen today, unusually at 17:10pm.
It’s a pleasant walk for anyone who fancies having a look around. Check out the Blackthorn hedges between the markers on the map shown here and also the Ash, Oak and Field Maple master trees.
Easy access and parking at TQ 31200 17908. Follow the path to the pond and turn left and over the railway bridge. Batchelors Farm is directly in front of you with the Water Tower in the distant field. (David Cook)
About three hours walking deepdene this morning covering areas 1a,1b, 1c and 1d in the company of Neil I found only one female Grayling hiding in the scrub in area1c near the top of that area.Quite a few walls on the way down. I then joined Neil in Rowlands wood where we observed several SPBs both male and female quite active. I also found a lovely little Viper. (Peter Jarman)
In the extreme heat last week the meadow was brimming with beautiful butterflies...fritillary , whites, Brimstones, skippers , Meadow Browns and many blues. And many beautiful Chalk Hill Blues like this one. (Kirsty Gibbs)
This rather tatty two spotted Meadow Brown could not keep away from the mint growing next to our pond (off Theobalds Road, Burgess Hill), last Tuesday. (John Prodger)
Morning walk on Harting Down Today (1 Aug) Lots of Common Blue Meadow Brown Small Heath 3Brimstone Red Admiral Peacock, 6 silver washed fritillary 2 Speckled Wood 4 Large White Green Veined White lots of Small White Clouded Yellow 6 Gatekeeper Small Tortoiseshell (Ian Thomas)
Three Painted Ladies were feeding on one of my Buddleia bushes at the same time at around 9 o`clock this morning. During the day I have also seen a number of Small Whites, a few Meadow Browns and 1 each of Gatekeeper, Large White, Common Blue, and a second Wall this year in my Seaford garden. (Stuart Ridley)
In my back garden in Hailsham on a large patch of fleabane, this afternoon I have a female Common Blue. First time I have seen this butterfly in my garden so very happy! (Kerry Baldwin)
My thanks to Paul Atkin for reporting the Wall Browns he saw at Tide Mills. This is an area of particular interest as the butterfly was once numerous here, but in recent years has all but vanished. I did start to get reports last year of their return from a few people, although what the impact for them will be once the concrete blocking factory arrives we will have to wait and see.
I am also interested if anyone sees any Wall Brown the other side of the railway line on the Ouse Estuary Project. This also was once a very good site for them. (Bob Eade - Wall brown Species Champion http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
On the turn of the month, the Chalkhill Blues were expected to reach peak numbers on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, but for the fifteenth successive year the numbers have been terribly disappointing. Under a cloudy sky, a third of an acre transect at the northern end of the lower slopes recorded an estimated (part counted) 60 blue males and two brown females with not many more than a hundred seen over the hill. Adonis Blues were about 30, but of the twelve species of butterflies seen the ubiquitous Meadow Browns led the way with 400 seen and many more hidden. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2018.html#31July)
The garden is well and truly entering its end-of-season quiet phase. The recent high winds and heavy rain battered the meadow and scattered more-or-less all the flower seed that was waiting to drop. There are still butterflies to see and pursue with a camera but there are fewer opportunities. One of the little games I like to play at this time of the year is to see how many different female Common Blues I can photograph. I am fascinated by the colour variation. One of the photos shows a very pale individual. Initially, I thought it was just faded but since there is very little wear of the hairs of the white outer border I changed my mind and decided that it more-or-less emerged that way. In my articles on wildlife gardening I have mentioned that Musk Mallow is a lovely wildflower for both the meadow and the herbaceous border. However, looking through my photo albums I realised that I had never managed to photograph a butterfly nectaring on the flower head. This year I have been more successful as I realise that Brown Argus and Common Blue are both regular visitors (if other preferred flowers are not available). The other characteristic of Musk Mallow is that it is not fazed by high winds and heavy rain and remains proudly upright when storms have petered out. We often talk about the resilience of butterflies and after the weekend I thought the meadow butterfly numbers would have plummeted but not a bit of it and as soon as it brightened up there were around 5 male Common Blues, 4 female Common Blues and 3-4 Brown Argus - all going back to their business as if nothing had happened. (Martin Kalaher)
Tuesday 31 July
A morning wander on Malling Down found amongst dozens of Chalk hill & Common Blues my first second Gen Adonis of the year. Also lots of Silver-spotted Skipper (50+ over the whole sight observed). Walls, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Brown Argus, a single Small Copper, fresh Painted Lady & all 3 Whites also seen.
A slight detour home via Newhaven Tidemills (looking for Clouded Yellows mainly) found more Small Heath, Common Blues, Red Admirals and the surprise appearance of at least 3 Walls (1.2). Not sure if Walls have ever been recorded here before but 1 of the females was definitely in laying mode. 1 M&F seen here TQ45880025, 2nd F seen here TQ45440044. Finished the day with a Hummungbird Hawkmoth as I was leaving (Paul Atkin)
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
This morning I checked Fairmile Bottom and saw Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Small Heaths, Gatekeepers, Painted Ladies, Large Whites. moths seen: Straw Dot, Satyr Pug larva (Eupithecia satyrata) on Slender Knapweed, Common Purple and Gold, V-Pug larva (Chloroclystis v-ata) on Hemp Agrimony, Light Brown Apple Moth, Red Piercer (Lathronympha strigana). Later I visited Kithurst Meadow where I saw Silver-washed Fritillaries, Small Whites, Large Whites, Common Blues, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Clouded Yellow, Commas, Red Admirals, Brimstones, a Small Copper, Brown Argus and a female Long-tailed Ichneumon wasp (Gasteruption jaculator). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Humming-bird Hawk-moth. I have seen this today feeding on Verbena and a Buddleja
I met up with Trevor Rapley today to do a thorough search of the Blackthorn hedges around the Burgess Hill Burial Ground on the west side of town. The early signs looked promising in the oaks by the car park (marked red) with males seen dicing with Purple Hairstreaks high up. Following the path in a northerly direction, headed towards point 1 on the map, as this was a bit of a hot spot last year. A couple of possibles in the Ash and a brief encounter with a female low down. We made our way around to point 3 (just visible) and here found an Oak and Ash master tree that had several males again dicing with Purple Hairstreak. I also found a female in the scrub in front of this area at point 5.
We checked most of the fleabane on our walk but only found Common Blue, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Small Whites, Gatekeeper and Meadow Browns nectaring. (David Cook)
A walk up and around Lancing Ring and Steep Down was made glorious by 110 Wall Brown. Full support was given by 2 Brown Hairstreak nectaring on hemp agrimony, 2 Clouded Yellow (one a delicious helice), 5 Painted Lady, 2 Hummingbird Hawk-Moth. 19 species of butterfly seen including that current rarity a Small Tortoiseshell. Couldn't find any Adonis Blue yet and the everlasting pea was devoid of diminutive blue migrants. (Lindsay Morris)
This is a correction to yesterdays sightings. It was a Common Blue that I should have reported not a Small Blue. (another senior moment......worrying!) (Stuart Ridley)
Thanks Stuart.When you don't worry, it's the time to worry (Ed jnr)
A fresh male Clouded Yellow alongside the Northern Perimeter Road at Gatwick this morning. (Vince Massimo)
A good day butterfly spotting in my semi-wild garden in Lewes: Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Comma and Small White made up the current crew of regular sightings. In addition there were 2 Brown Argus (clearly distinguishable from the female Common Blue also present) flitting around the wild geranium and to cap it all a lovely fresh Clouded Yellow on buddleia.
Also watched a Humming-bird Hawk-moth on buddleia outside the Linklater Pavilion in Lewes this morning. That's the 5th sighting this year in Lewes this year. (Ray Pyne)
Monday 30 July
These sightings were all in the Woodingdean Castle Hill Nature Reserve area
Small Skipper (I think?) (Philip Booker https://1drv.ms/f/s!ArU6MTVhfwxBhfhFdLlKyo02yyJYTw)
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
During a walk in Houghton Forest this afternoon I saw worn male and female Silver-washed Fritillaries, Green-veined White, Large and Small Whites, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, 4th instar Comma larvae on nettle and a White-spotted Pug larva on an umbellifer. Plus Silver Y and Pearl Veneer moths. Also seen: a lacewing larva, leafhoppers (Evacanthus interruptus and Eupteryx urticae), and Mirid bugs (Liocoris tripustulatus and Plagiognathus arbustorum). (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
After the very wet and windy weekend I was surprised to see 9 different species in my Seaford garden this afternoon, namely several Small Whites 2 Meadow Browns and one each of Gatekeeper, Brown Argus, Large White, Painted Lady, Small Blue, Wall and Speckled Wood. The latter 2 are not frequent visitors to the garden but nice to see them. (Stuart Ridley)
Dark Arches, Apamea monoglypha - dead on my bedroom floor.
(Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
Sunday 29 July
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
Before the rains came we had many visitors to our balcony the past week including a new one - Small Grey (Eudonia mercurella). Others included Blastobasis vittata, Bright-line Brown-eye, Brimstone Moth, Brown House Moth, Channel Islands Pug, Cloaked Minor, Common Wainscot, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer, Knot Grass, Light Brown Apple Moth, Marbled Beauty, Marbled Green, Meal Moth, Silver Y, Small Purple and Gold aka Mint Moth, Twenty-plume Moth, Waste Grass-veneer, Yponomeuta species. (Colin Knight)
In the middle of Orange Tip season I purchased a new pair of walking trousers which are supposed to be waterproof. As I left to test them this afternoon in St Leonards Forest, Horsham; "Take a camera dad, you never know" was the shout from the family. I'm glad I did for despite high winds and driving rain I found a group of Common Blue sitting it out at the "Dragon Seat". Rather odd taking pictures of butterflies in the teeming rain I have to say. The trousers worked well. (Patrick Moore)
I visited Kithurst meadow on my way back from a camera sensor cleaning course at Cameracal, West Chiltington yesterday afternoon. Plenty of butterflies seen and a few moths, including Chalk Hill Blues, Brown Argus and Straw Dots (Rivula sericealis). I hope they are well hunkered down today! (Colin Knight)
Saturday 28 July
On Thursday (26 July) I paid another visit to Deep Dean (Windover Hill, Wilmington) to monitor the ailing population of chalk-based Sussex Grayling, where I joined forces with Patrick Moore and Lindsay Morris. Between us, we could muster no more than 8 individuals (all male), although the butterflies were clearly doing their best to hide from us (and the heat) in rabbit holes, scrapes and shrubs. I'm hoping that the subsequent rain will trigger a substantial emergence of particularly females, but observations over the last two weeks give cause for real concern. The chance meeting with Tim Squire (SDNPA) allowed us a useful opportunity to discuss habitat management issues on site, as it is becoming a little clearer where some of the problems may lie.
As I made my final ascent of the steep slope I flushed what I initially thought was a mating pair of Silver-spotted Skippers, but it soon became apparent that this male skipper hadn't been as lucky as first appeared; a rare Downland Robberfly had the hapless butterfly in a Vulcan death grip.
I then visited the BC Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves where, among many other butterflies, I spotted a second brood Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. My fears for any breeding opportunities for a second brood were somewhat alleviated the following day, when a trip to Drusillas Park with the kids ended with a rain storm, which swept over the area.
My final stop on Thursday was at the Knepp Wildland, which seemed strangely quiet after recent weeks. I toured most of the hotspots which have given so much pleasure since mid June, during the best Purple Emperor season I've ever experienced, and may ever experience. I saw just one reasonably conditioned female and a fragment of a male. Time to say goodbye for another year. (Neil Hulme)
With all the national first sightings in for 2018, Sussex has once again topped the provisional county list. Last year we had seven national firsts. This year we managed an astounding ten, which was far more than anywhere else and probably a record. In fact if Mr. Hulme had his way it would be eleven as Head Office don't count the Large Tortoiseshell and he does.
2018 Leaderboard Sussex 10 Derbyshire 6 Cumbria 4 Devon 4 Hampshire 3 Norfolk 3 Oxfordshire 3 Cornwall 3
Already too warm by 11:00 am yesterday , the butterflies were all very active on Mill Hill. Fourteen species of butterfly were spotted including 47 Chalkhill Blues, a dozen Adonis Blues and a Silver-spotted Skipper. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2018.html#27July)
Colin Knight writes that the micro looks like a Satin Grass-veneer (Crambus perlella f. warringtonellus) (Ed jnr)
Friday 27 July
10 species of butterfly seen on a patch of rough ground by the Alfriston road in Seaford today. Small Copper, Green Veined, Small, and Large White, Wall Brown, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Brown Argus (lots of the last two) (Mike Kerry)
Spent a couple of hours at Burgess Hill green circle from 10am hoping to see a Brown Hairstreak. Did the section from the burial ground and the fields behind it round to Tesco. Everything was moving so fast in the heat and the only hairstreaks on view were purple. Plenty of Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, a few whites, a Small Copper, a silver washed fritillary and a Red Admiral. (Martin Buck)
A couple of good home sightings on 22 July.. We are at TV562984 (East Dean).
A Chalk Hill Blue in the garden, possibly 2 or 3.
Jersey Tiger in the house. At least six sightings here during July. (Carole & David Jode)
Silver washed Fritillary (Valezina). Seen on the Abbots Trail walked anti-clockwise from the car park, on the way back from the lake, along the main path. Also Purple Hairstreak, similar area (on 26th) and photo of one on the 16th taken along main path by lake. (Marilyn Dewar)
The garden meadow is now dominated by a handful of Common Blue and another handful of Brown Argus. I wander around the garden hoping for Brown Hairstreak and Clouded Yellow but have yet to see one of either. However, it is only July and there is plenty of time yet. In my garden there is a very strong association between Brown Hairstreak and Hemp Agrimony and as a result of the hot dry summer much of the HA has failed to flower, and the plants that have flowered are going to seed very quickly. The Buddleia is looking good but isn't attracting any great numbers of butterflies. Yesterday there was Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Comma and Peacock, all on Buddleia and Brimstone on Everlasting Pea. There were 13 species in the garden. The photo of Brown Argus has some interest as the "Figure of Eight" can be seen but the inner circle is very small. (Martin Kalaher)
I was surprised to see a female Purple Emperor flying in the shade of a large group of willow's in the garden at Turners Hill today. (Tom Parker)
Approaching thunder scuppered my plan to go on to Steep Down from Lancing Ring. Around the latter I could find only 15 species of butterfly, the highlights of which were 38 Wall Brown, 69 Common Blue, 10 Brown Argus, 4 Painted Lady. Yesterday, in the very bottom of the Deep Dean oven, I was lucky enough to have a Grayling land on my binoculars, but we only managed two sightings. I saw 11 Silver-spotted Skipper between here and the SDW car park, at several sites. What a population there must be! Also 3 Small Blue and 7 Wall Brown. I was surprised to see a Silver-washed Fritillary amongst the several Dark Green Fritillaries in Deep Dean. (Lindsay Morris)
I bumped into Neil in Deep Dean yesterday (26th) and despite the heat helped to conduct a zig-zag sweep of the south facing slope for somewhat difficult to find Grayling. Despite several fleeting sightings most were hiding from the heat within or just outside rabbit burrows towards the valley floor. For one "over-too-soon" moment a Grayling landed on clothing, rucksacks and camera, wonderful. Totals for the day reached 8, yes 8. Worrying isn't it? (Patrick Moore)
Yep. (Ed jnr)
Thursday 26 July
I saw only one Grayling at Deep Dean but it was with a Neil Hulme so that was good. A fortunate meeting as we had a very useful talk about the management of the site. Too busy to photograph the Grayling itself even though it landed on my leg at one point! Did get some nice shots of a silver spotted skipper though. (Tim Squire)
With the midday mercury nudging 35c and low humidity (33%) these Purple Hairstreak were seeking moisture by the pond at the entrance to Batchelors Farm today. I sat and watched for about an hour in the hope that the female Purple Emperor i’d seen earlier in the week would make an appearance but alas she didn’t. Seeing the Hairstreaks though was a very entertaining. (David Cook)
With an arrival time of 09:30 I entered Binsted Woods (No.41 in Atlas) from Binsted Lanes and I found the first Silver-washed Fritillary at SU 99544 06971 followed by an other 15 of them at SU 99307 07234. This latter spot is the end of a clearing where the electricity poles are running and the trees have been felled so there is plenty of Fern, Bramble and wildflowers for the butterflies. This corridor runs all the way to SU 98940 07282 where I counted an other 6 SWFs. In this area there were a few Meadow Brown, Large White, Small White, Gatekeeper, a Red Admiral and one male Brimstone. Along the path at SU 99208 06898 I found yet an other bunch of SWFs and I saw a Purple Hairstreak high up on an Oak tree. I also ventured out onto Binsted Park SU 99064 06400 what was buzzing with MBs, Skippers, and all kind of blues. In the woods the dominant butterfly was the Speckled Wood with 30+ seen. Unfortunately I cannot confirm the presence of the PE or WA but I guess that is due to the time of the day.
I left at 12 noon and walked back to Arundel and popped in to the WWT Center where I saw a fishing Kingfisher and a Grass Snake lurking in the murky water of the reed. (Istvan Radi)
Two beautiful Jersey Tiger moths attracted to my moth trap last night, in my Eastbourne garden. My first sighting of this moth. (Robert Coleman)
Wednesday 25 July
Following a habitat management meeting at Rewell Wood with Norfolk Estate Forester Mark Aldridge, this afternoon (25 July) I headed up to Cissbury Ring to monitor the Silver-spotted Skipper, which colonised the site in 2012 (first observed 2013). Since then, numbers have been highly variable, largely reflecting the condition of the sward (too rank in damp summers) in the SW compartment, which is in dire need of grazing. In poorer years the species retreats to the southernmost compartment, where I saw most, but not all, today (some in Shipdens Holt meadow and within the ramparts). Silver-spotted Skipper is clearly doing very well this year and I easily beat my previous best count with a tally of 128, including three mating pairs. Although the currently occupied area is relatively small, the action rivaled the best I've experienced at Malling Down and Newtimber Hill. The place was buzzing with skippers and I watched chases of up to six or seven males in pursuit of a female. However, you need to 'get your eye in', such is the speed at which they move in this heat. Other highlights included Wall, Dark Green Fritillary, Small Copper and a second brood Dingy Skipper. (Neil Hulme)
This afternoon despite the heat I went Silver-spotted Skipper spotting on Newtimber Hill. Also of note there were Chalkhill Blue above the old quarry as well as Dingy Skipper and Wall Brown in and around it. A total of 19 species were recorded. (Patrick Moore)
Up and around Lancing Ring and Steep Down were 90 Wall Brown. A Clouded Yellow and a Brown Hairstreak stood out amongst the many other butterflies. It's well worth doing the Butterfly Conservation Big Butterfly Count. My nephew Joe (S.E. London) sat by his pond for 15 minutes and photographed a Purple Hairstreak (his first encounter with this species) drinking from a lilly pad! (Lindsay Morris)
In our Crawley, Poundhill garden today a Silver-washed Fritillary a first for the garden.3 male Holly Blue,female Common Blue,Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and several each of Small & Large Whites. (Alastair Gray)
Wall Brown female on Water Mint, TQ51151471, 50m south of the Shed. (Francis Kelly)
Plenty of Silver-spotted Skippers at Mailing Down, on the hill immediately East of the allotments - too fast to count but I would estimate 60+. Plenty of chalkhill blues. Also seen on the reserve but in smaller numbers were Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Brown Argus, Common Blue and Essex Skippers. Saw one of Dingy Skipper, Comma, Wall Brown, Speckled Wood, Small White, Large White, Small Copper and Gatekeeper. The area was full of butterflies but even at 11.30am it was too hot to stay long. (Martin Buck)
Tuesday 24 July
A few pictures of the 14 species seen in St Leonards Forest, Horsham this afternoon. (Patrick Moore)
There's been a lot going on at the BC Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood reserves over the last two days. On Monday (23 July) I was joined by Andrea Gibbs, Bob Foreman (on the mower), Nigel Symington, Graeme Rolf and Doug Neve, for a day of Bracken control on Park Corner Heath. Similar work was conducted today (24 July) by Mike Fearn and a dozen of his Brighton Conservation Volunteers, this time on Rowland Wood. My thanks go to everyone who took part; a huge amount of Bracken clearance was completed, despite the intense heat. Summer cutting will allow some areas to become more grassy and herb-rich, which will suit the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. A partial second brood of this species is likely (late July and August) given the hot summer we're experiencing, so the cut will also make more violet accessible. The drought conditions are very worrying (rain please), but the plants in semi-shade around the Bracken margins will hopefully prove usable. It was encouraging to see a couple of female Dark Green Fritillary immediately start laying eggs in the newly cleared area on Park Corner Heath yesterday. During my walkabout I also saw plenty of Common Blue, Brown Argus and Small Heath, together with a few Silver-washed Fritillary. Andrea and Gary Norman have both seen Wall on the reserve recently, and Gary has reported a second brood Dingy Skipper; the first time I've heard of one in a woodland setting. (Neil Hulme)
My watching brief was to look after two grand-children but it did allow me to pop into the garden once in awhile. There were 13 butterfly species and around 70 butterflies in total (with Gatekeeper contributing about 30). The female Common Blue in the photo appeared very blue in flight, but very brown when perched. There was at least one male Small Copper on territory, as well as a minimum of 5 Common Blue and 4 Brown Argus, resident. One Red Admiral on the Buddleia was nice. Still no Small Tortoiseshell. It would seem that so far this year they have had a disastrous season. (Martin Kalaher)
Roedean Old 9-hole Site. A few more pictures. I forgot to mention a handful of Small Skippers! (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
Roedean Old 9-hole Site. Between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm, 25 degrees C.. The constructed bank was alive with Meadow Browns, Small Whites and Common Blues, accompanied by a lesser number of Brown Argus and Small Blues. Elsewhere over the meadow were several Small Heaths, a Green-veined White, a Small Copper and a Wall Brown. There were also a couple of Six-spot Burnet Moths on the Scabious. One Common Blue seemed to be a spider's breakfast!
Some Cinnabar moth caterpillars were merrily munching on the occasional Ragwort plant. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
There were 2 Clouded Yellows and 150 Small Whites on the southern end of Thorney Island this morning. (Barry and Margaret Collins )
A circular walk from Lyons Farm via Cissbury. Some highlights from the 28 butterfly species identified were 33 Silver-spotted Skipper (all in the usual area (TQ 13733 07675) except one up on the flint mines), 2 Clouded Yellow, 129 Common Blue, 109 Chalk Hill Blue, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Small Copper, 8 Wall Brown, 4 Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Hummingbird Hawk-Moth, 19 Small Heath, 10 Brimstone. (Lindsay Morris)
Following on from my report of a sighting of a Dark Green Fritillary at RSPB Broadwater Warren on 14 July, I saw another today nectaring on buddleia outside the RSPB 's Wealden Office at Sham Farm Business Units, Eridge Green which is situated within the Eridge Park Estate (TQ563338). (Alan Loweth)
As I am doing a night shift today I had time to quickly go up to Ewe Dean and look for Graylings. I arrived just before 9am and stayed until about 11am and spent my time in Area 3C and 3B mostly on the top and in the middle with NO sightings.Temperature was around 22C and no clouds. I am not an expert but even I noticed the huge difference between Deep Dean and Ewe Dean as in the latter is covered with dense knee-waist high grass and it also lacks exposed soil/rocks. On my way back to Polegate I stopped at Deep Dean for 10 minutes in the hope that I wouldn't have to leave without seeing at least one Grayling and I did see one at TQ 54330 03104 what is Area 1A I think. Plenty of Wall Brown, Silver-spotted Skipper and Chalk Hill Blue though. I also met a couple who told me that they have seen Graylings in Ewe Dean twice in the last 5 years, hopefully they will get in touch with the details. (Istvan Radi)
Hot sticky day at Woods Mill with little to show for it . On way out , tried the dried out dipping pond for dragonfly activity -- ruddy darter and golden ringed were very welcome . Then ,on a sunlit area of the moist pond bed ,a Common Blue, followed amazingly by a Purple Hairstreak, then a Brown Hairstreak ! (William Gemmell)
Clouded Yellow At goodwood trundle midday (Ian Thomas)
We spent yesterday morning on Chantry Hill where we saw a dozen or so Silver-spotted Skippers, Dingy Skipper, Small Skippers, Chalk Hill Blues, Brown Argus, and some very worn Dark Green Fritillaries. (Barry Sketchley)
23 July 2018
With the humid warm weather approaching a health risk, perhaps a visit to Mill Hill was ill advised, but I wanted to check up on the number of butterflies in the afternoon on the parched downs. Butterflies were lively and a full report is available on the Mill Hill page.
Chalkhill Blues were all over the upper meadows and middle slopes in the early afternoon, but not so numerous on the parched lower slopes where most of them are usually found. Second brood Adonis Blues were a surprise this early in the year and a second brood Dingy Skipper was always a rare find. Thirteen species of butterfly was equal to the most in a day this year, but still nothing special. (Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2018.html#23July)
Monday 23 July
A search round Lancing Ring and Steep Down was notable for a whopping 86 Wall Brown amongst the 25 butterfly species identified. Also a Hummingbird Hawk-Moth and my first Clouded Yellow of the year. (Lindsay Morris)
I have had 18 butterfly species in my Storrington garden over the past 4-5 days. The slightly unusual ones today were Silver-washed Fritillary on Buddleia, a faded Painted Lady and a Speckled Wood. I mention the latter as I haven't seen any in the garden for weeks/months. The record which is probably the most interesting is that of a Common Blue egg-laying on Dogwood. Prof Thomas tells us about all sorts of legumes but no mention of hedgerow plants. Any thoughts anyone about this? (Martin Kalaher)
I thought you might like to see this photo of a Dark Green Fritillary taken by visitor David Saunders at Broadwater on 14 July near the Decoy Pond. I have seen in the Butterflies of Sussex that there is a population in some tetrads south of Tunbridge Wells and I recall some years back someone saying that they had seen a Dark Green Fritillary on the border between Broadwater and SWT Eridge Rocks, but this is our first confirmation of one being recorded in Broadwater.
(Alan Loweth Office Manager & Volunteer Co-ordinator)
Nick Linazasoro's caterpillar from 22nd is a beetle larva, Drilus flavescens. The male ends up as a small beetle but the female is wingless and similar to a glow worm female. I know this because we occasionally get them on my Brighton allotment site. Penny Green wrote about them, there are not many records of them in Sussex, possibly because they get over looked. (Tessa Pawsey)
And thank you too Tessa. (Ed jnr)
Some of the other species found on Windover hill this morning.
Chalk Hill Blues must now be in their thousands, over the whole area. (Trevor Rapley)
I set out for Windover hill very early this morning, in order to make the climb in cooler conditions. Graylings were my target, but on arrival there were many other distractions, so much so that the sun was fully up when I arrived on the Gayling site. In all I found 10 Graylings, 6 on the ground and 2 pairs in chases. They were all seen over the full length of the path below the Gorse thicket. (Trevor Rapley)
The unidentified larva that Nick put up from Malling Down is actually a beetle larva, Drilus flavescens. It is a rare, NA classified beetle, although its stronghold does appear to be in the Lewes area. (Bob Eade)
Thanks Bob (Ed jnr)
Wall on a wall near Arlington (TQ5524206418) (Judith Barnard)
Wall at the top of Deep Dean, Windover Hill (Judith Barnard)
Silver Washed Frittillary flew past me in Lewes Town Centre yesterday whilst I was busking!
Sunday 22 July
I managed to spot this Small White whilst watering the patio flowers this evening, it's still there as I write this (10PM) (Patrick Moore)
The usual low numbers in our Hove back garden but as we were having a family get together we were outside for most of the day and saw good variety:- Small Whites (best 3 at same time), Holly Blues (best 2 at same time), 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Gatekeeper, 1 Six-spot Burnet moth (may be a first in our garden), 1 Light Brown Apple Moth and at least 2 Common Purple and Gold moths. (John and Val Heys)
Here are a few more Malling Down photos for you to enjoy. (Nick Linazasoro)
Here are a few more Malling Down photos for you to enjoy. (Nick Linazasoro)
Went for a peaceful stroll around Malling Down, Lewes and saw Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Holly Blue, Large White, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Copper, Small Heath, Small Skipper, Small White, Speckled Wood as well as Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata), Cinnabar Moth caterpillar and an unidentified caterpillar. (Nick Linazasoro)
The first Clouded Yellow I've seen this year, two over a meadow beside carpark at Chalkpit Lane Goodwood (Ian Thomas)
Correction to the date (18th July) of my first Grayling on the path up to Windover Hill (TQ 53941 03533) (Judith Barnard)
My second Grayling seen in Deep Dean (TQ 54369 03165) (Judith Barnard)
My first Grayling seen on the path up to Windover Hill (TQ 53941 03533) (Judith Barnard)
Ashenground & Bolnore Woods, Haywards Heath - lovely to have a Peacock included in my Big Butterfly Count and sooo excited to see a male Silver Washed Fritillary (not included in the Count) as not seen one in my local woods for several years. Also sighted: male Common Blues, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Ringlet and 6-spot burnet. (Kim Berry)
Yesterday evening looking for roosting Chalk Hill Blues I came across this male ab at High and Over. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Visited Malling Down yesterday between 1030 and 1300 wanting to photograph Silver spotted Skippers and Brown Argus. Parked in the car park on the B2192, spent most of the time on the south facing slopes south of the of the golf course. About 10 Silver spotted Skippers seen plus many Brown Argus,Chalk Hill Blues, Common Blues, Essex Skippers and Small Skippers, Small Heaths, 1 Dark Green Fritillary and 1 Peacock. (Jonathan Warner)
It was both hot and windy at Malling Down, Lewes this afternoon, making photography very difficult. Fortunately there were a couple of Silver-spotted Skippers that stopped for more than one nano-second and I managed to snatch a few photos. (John Williams)
In Jul17 we went on a BC organised walk which introduced us to the butterfly reserve on the edge of Warnham village (not the nature reserve on the way into Horsham). I thought I'd go back today but of course everything is baked dry by the weather with large cracks in the ground. Few flowers left but turning right immediately after the entrance to the field brought me to a large bramble bush that still had flowers on it. There was something big and fritillery like gliding about but it didn't stop long enough to see properly. Many Meadow Browns, some in a bit of a tattered state. I also got a Ringlet on ragwort and then something else that I now believe to be a Purple Hairstreak but happy to stand corrected (Nick Layt)
Yep. PH it is. (Ed jnr)
I decided to forego a trip to Deep Dean this weekend (I'll return in mid August after a short holiday) and instead paid a visit to the Ashdown Forest this morning to carry out another SSB survey (even though I was not expecting to find any!). It was very quiet on the butterfly front with just Gatekeepers, a Meadow Brown and a Ringlet showing. And then I reached site 3B and immediately up flew a male Silver Studded Blue; I couldn't quite believe it! In the next 5 minutes at the same site I found 9 more SSB's (giving a total of 8 males and 2 females) - amazing! I also added Small White and Large Skipper to my morning's list from the same area. I then moved on feeling optimistic but all went quiet again. Eventually I caught up with 2 more male SSB's, one at site 5B and the other on the track at TQ 478287 giving a total count of 12. Both females were worn but some of the males at 3B looked really fresh. A lovely walk made all the more special with these sightings and my curiosity aroused as to why 3B should have had so many late SSB's when they were pretty much absent everywhere else. I'm looking forward to returning next year to see how they are faring. (Chris Hooker)
Chris has been part of a most excellent team surveying the Ashdown Forest for Silver-studded Blues this summer. More about the project and the sites Chris visited here. (Ed jnr)
I went to Chantry Hill today between 7 and 8.30. The butterflies were already very active on arrival. There was a hot air balloon flying in the distance. From the main pathI saw 5 Silver-spotted Skippers, lots of Meadow Browns including a mating pair, didn't count the Chalk Hill Blues but I would guess about 20, 2 Small Coppers, 2 Marbled Whites, 2 Dark Green Fritillaries, 3 Brown Argus, 2 Common Blues, a few other skippers, Gatekeepers, 2 Small Heaths and a Large White. (katrina watson)
I have been doing other things as regards the natural world and as far as butterfly observations are concerned haven't strayed from my Storrington garden. Although the date is only July 22nd it seems more like August 10th with many of the native wildflowers in rapid decline. The garden is generally very quiet. In the last week of July I usually have a few days when the total garden-butterfly count exceeds one hundred. Right now I would be lucky to count 35. It has been a glorious summer in the garden but it seems to finishing early. The highlights of the past week have been emerging Common Blue and Brown Argus. On the 18th there were five male Common Blues all freshly-emerged and all reluctant to fly. Having emerged late afternoon they appeared to decide that going to bed was a better option than trying to fly around the meadow. The other highlight is a regular small roost of the above two species with Small Heath and Small Copper thrown in some evenings. The Buddleia is in its full glory but with very few insects nectaring. Not only has the garden butterfly population crashed, the bumble bee numbers are also considerably down compared to a week or two back. (Martin Kalaher)
I set out on Saturday to look for Brown Hairstreaks at Knepp. Unfortunately I didn't see any, but I saw a nice female Gatekeeper, and also bumped into Trevor who made the welcome suggestion of a pint of shandy at the Countryman! Later I went to Kithurst Hill to see some Chalkhill Blues, and a mating pair of Common Blues. (John Williams)
Saturday 21 July
Today I arranged to go with 2 friends and their son to Castle Hill. The only time that worked for both of us was in the middle of the day. I was hoping both to catch up with them and give then a window into the butterfly hobby experience and hopefully share some of my enthusiasm. I think I at least had a modicum of success in my mission with my friend getting very good at spotting Gatekeepers. We were beaten back by the heat early though.
Seen today were Small Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Chalk Hill Blues, Brown Argus, Marbled Whites, Dark Green Fritillaries, a single Dingy Skipper, a single Small Blue, some skippers, a Speckled Wood and some Burnet moths - six-spotted I think.
Aberrant Chalkhill male at Bevendean from last weekend (Harry Mole)
Spent an hour trying to photograph Silver Spotted Skippers at Malling Down today. I wasn't counting but there must have been dozens of individuals including ovepositing females. I managed to find an egg. (Harry Mole https://www.instagram.com/wannabephotoguy)
Here are some more photos from my Seaford Head, Rathfinny, High & Over amble. Enjoy. (Nic Linazasoro)
Here are some more photos from my Seaford Head, Rathfinny, High & Over amble. Enjoy. (Nick Linazasoro)
Here are some more photos from my Seaford Head, Rathfinny, High & Over amble. Enjoy. (Nic Linazasoro)
Went for a wonderful stroll around Seaford Golf Club and the Rathfinny Wine Estate area and spotted Adonis Blue, Brown Argus, Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Holly Blue, Large Skipper, Large White, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Painted Lady, Peacock, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Copper, Small White, Speckled Wood and Wall. Also spotted were Cinnabar Moth caterpillars and Six-spot Burnet Moth. Also of interest were several Blue Hawker and Black Tailed Skimmer dragonfly. (Nick Linazasoro)
Having seen my first and only Grayling on Wednesday afternoon, I decided to revisit Deep Dene today accompanied by my wife, Sam, our youngest daughter, Rosie and our spaniel, Dottie. Checking along the west hillside about halfway up, we soon spotted one, then more until we'd counted four different individuals. Many other butterflies in evidence including hundreds of Meadow Browns, various whites, Gatekeepers, Small Coppers and many blues, including Chalk Hill Blues on pooh (see picture). (Vincent Oates)
Went to Wilmington this afternoon to see if we could spot a Grayling. Success. We saw one at 4pm on the top of Windover Hill just above Deep Dean. Also many Chalk Hill Blues, Dark Green Fritillaries, Marbled Whites, Wall Browns, Silver-spotted Skipper, and best of all, the Small Copper. (Elizabeth Japes)
Silver-spotted Skipper at Cissbury Ring this afternoon, very warm & a little breeze.I saw about 8 in an hour at TQ137076. There were many other species around. (John Ward)
This morning I visited Knepp. As soon as I arrived a Purple Hairstreak flew down from an Oak
and landed low down on Sallow. Later I met Simon Withers, as we talked a very tired old female
Purple Emperor gave us a wonderful flying display, swooping low down and around us.
She landed several times, usually out of sight, then grounded several times. I was not expecting
to see an Empress so late in the season. In all I saw three over the course of the day. (Trevor Rapley)
Chalk Hill Blues at Deep Dean (Jonathan Crawford)
I got to Deep Dean this morning just after half eight. It was cloudy and not particularly warm though there was still a lot of butterfly activity. Not long after arriving I saw a Chalk Hill Blue emerges from the grass dragging his wings like a wedding train. I put him on my bag and he walked across it trailing meconium. After watching him for some time I wandered off to look for other butterflies, leaving my bag behind. As I was leaving I remembered earlier sightings about Graylings responding to sweat. I had worn my hat climbing the hill and it was quite damp, so I thought I would leave it by the bag.
There were quite a few newly emerged Chalk Hill Blues, and these are easy to identify because they fly erratically two inches off the ground. I guess they are like toddlers learning to walk. Anyway, they are easy to photograph because after a few seconds they stop and open their wings, which are of course perfect.
Returning to my bag and emergent Blue, I found a Grayling sitting in the middle of my hat. The first of my day despite completely overcast skies.
Over the next couple of hours the weather brightened and I managed to see a total of 10 Grayling including three in the air at the same time and a mating pair. I was trousered several times and even the dog was "pawed" twice. I was even successful with the hat trick a second time. One male was so persistent that I wondered if he had a mineral deficiency. I also experienced the disappearing trick where Ii saw a Grayling settle and knew it was two feet in front of me but just could not see it until it moved off.
Other species seen were Dark Green Fritillaries, Common Blue, Wall Brown, Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Copper amongst others. (Jonathan Crawford)
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
On 17 July I recorded a micromoth from Rewell Wood as a Dark Strawberry Tortrix. Then I spotted a more likely id, the rarely recorded Moss Marble (Celypha aurofasciana) which was confirmed by Sussex county recorder Colin Pratt. Other records from Rewell Wood yesterday: Brown Argus, Gatekeepers (one with a 'bleached' part on the forewing), Meadow Browns, Common Yellow Conch (Agapeta hamana), Long-winged Pearl (Anania lancealis), Small Purple and Gold (Pyrausta aurata). Our balcony visitors last night included Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta), Lime-speck Pug (Eupithecia centaureata) and 3 new species: Spectacle (Abrostola tripartita), The Uncertain (Hoplodrina octogenaria) and Hawthorn Ermel (Paraswammerdamia nebulella). (Colin Knight)
The once not so Common Blue and Brown Argus butterflies delayed my quick walk in St Leonards Forest, Horsham by several hours on Friday afternoon, they were everywhere near the "Dragon Seat". The weather looked set for rain, the clouds rolled in, the light failed but the Blues and Argus came out. Here is a small selection of the photos I took... I took a lot! (Patrick Moore)
Friday 20 July
A Female Purple Emperor seen very closely for several minutes, laying eggs on the underneath of the leaves of a goat willow at the edge of the middle lake at Five Oaks Fishery, Mill field Farm House (TQ107287). (Ian Woolsey)
First time we've seen White-letter Hairstreak in Hotham Park, Bognor Regis - enjoying the wonderful cottage garden flower bed near the Lodge at the main entrance. Is it a regular in Hotham Park? (Duncan Reavey)
White-letter Hairstreak sighted on PROW between Barnham Rd and Eastergate Lane. resting on old mans beard. Seen whilst undertaking a bumblebee transect. First seen in walking this route for 10 years. (Nigel Madge)
Today whilst in the area I looked for Brown Hairstreak at Green Ridge - Brighton/Hove. I was delighted to find a smart looking male perched on Blackthorn, seen from the green, near the Hill Top Cafe car park, Dyke Road Avenue. The butterfly was exactly at (TQ 28624 08050) when the grid reference is copied over to: https://gridreferencefinder.com/
A day after my initial sighting, I returned on the 18th July, to an area just off the Ditchling Road, Brighton, here I was pleased to see two male Brown Hairstreaks, the second spotted by my friend, Suzie. Again they were located at (TQ 32362 08504). Both different, "Male 1" was paler and larger, whilst "Male 2" was strongly coloured but smaller, some good variation, probably down to the weather during the pupa stage. "Male 1" was seen below head height for over an hour! - Perched on Blackthorn leaves and also feeding on a dainty umbellifer species.
Catch-up: Having seen a Small Blue lay eggs in the garden back on 21st June, on the 16th July, I located a single caterpillar! Within hours of finding it, it disappeared from the Kidney Vetch plant, I can only assume it's gone off to pupate, what bad timing on my part to have missed it's departure! My search of the caterpillar was inspired by the photo taken on the Bevendean Blues walk.
Back on the 15th July, I arrange an event for my fellow Woodbourne Meadow conservation volunteers/friends, having seen Purple Hairstreaks the previous day, I was keen to share where they were active, as until now the species had hidden from us at Woodbourne Meadow (Brighton), despite searching every year, for 8 years. Finally I was able to confirm their presence! We found them most active between 7.30 and 8.00pm, mostly seen flying between an Oak and a Sycamore within the wood at (TQ 32167 08271). The previous day I also saw the Purple Hairstreaks flying around the following areas of these trees, but with less frequency: (TQ 32179 08294, TQ 32211 08285, TQ 32222 08313 and TQ 32245 08321).
Back on 5th July I counted 4 Purple Hairstreaks in the evening around the dew pond area of Wild Park LNR, Brighton. Istvan should be interested to know that the best locations to see evening activity is on the "Master Oak" (TQ 32545 07744), "Small Ash" (TQ 32542 07723) and particularly the "Big Ash" (TQ 32522 07759). It's been my local Purple Hairstreak study/observation site for 8 years now.
(Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
Took a walk up Castle Hill, Brighton, this morning looking for Chalk Hill Blue. Strange weather, including some bits of water that dropped from the sky occasionally, think its called rain. Saw plenty of Chalk Hill Blue, but the highlight was the nice number of fairly fresh Wall. At one point I could see at least four on the narrow chalk track ahead of me lined up with about a metre between them. As I walked they rose and then settled back behind me. Also plenty of Gatekeeper and Ringlet, a few Marbled White, a male Common Blue, couple of Essex Skipper, Silver Y moth, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, and Small White. (Sylvia Davidson)
Yesterday (19 July) I spent six hours covering almost every square metre of Deep Dene (Windover Hill, Wilmington), in an attempt to accurately determine the numbers of Grayling present, and to see if there are any potentially negative changes in the habitat since I was last here a few years back (there are).
As many will be aware, we have serious concerns about the long-term survival of this unique chalk-based population, so collecting as much data as possible is the first step in any remedy. Thanks to all those who have already been reporting from the site, but it is important that survey visits are spread throughout the flight season, particularly through early and mid August, so please hold some effort in reserve!
Timing is important; during this early, male-dominated stage of the flight season, the butterflies become far less active from c.11.30 am onward, and are almost 'invisible' by early afternoon as they shelter from the heat. During my visit I recorded 24 Grayling, only two of which were females. At 9.00 am I witnessed an impressive chase of five males, which tend to glide down the slope in search of females, before returning to the upper level near the gorse-line; they are very mobile, making counting tricky. I enjoyed a total of seven trouserings throughout the day, as the males sought salts from my jeans. I expect numbers to peak 7 - 10 days from now.
It took me some while to reach Deep Dene, as there was so much of interest to see during the climb up Windover Hill. Highlights included some very fresh Wall, some rather older Dark Green Fritillary, and large (but not huge) numbers of Chalk Hill Blue, many of which were drying-off their recently unfurled wings. During my visit I also saw six Silver-spotted Skipper (including a mating pair) and two second brood Dingy Skipper. As always with this site, the wildflowers and views were breathtaking.
Thursday 19 July
I was doing a summary of what had turned up in our back garden in Hove over the last 15 days or so when it all vanished, so this will be briefer. In our sun lounge this morning a Silver Y moth and in the garden regular visits from Small Whites, an early Speckled Wood joined by another, a brief flash of a Comma and 2 Holly Blues at the same time. Seeing 2 of the same species at the same time in our garden is not very common except in relation to the whites, so a pair of Speckled Woods and a pair of Holly Blues was a bit exciting. (John & Val Heys)
Purple Hairstreak in lots of Oaks, Holly Blue patrolling and nectaring. Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Comma spread fairly evenly, Large White and Small White in most sunny areas and Common Blue in the flower beds. That in a nutshell was Horsham Park this afternoon. (Patrick Moore)
We've had 28 species of moths on our balcony the past two days including Bud Moth (Spilonota ocellana), Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis) and 3 new ones: Large Clover Case-bearer (Coleophora trifolii), Pebble Hook-tip (Drepana falcataria), Wormwood Pug (Eupithecia absinthiata).
Whilst walking near the Kingly Vale Nature Reserve I spotted a Grayling as well as a Male Brown Hairstreak. (Charlie Mouland)
Charlie sent this in yesterday, and I delayed publishing it whilst I consulted with wiser men. I am assured that this is feasible though if it is true, quite an extraordinary find. Still, we have had more than our fair share of those this year. This would probably not be a chalk Grayling as found at Deep Dene, but the acid heath variety, possibly a migrant from Hampshire. According to Colin Pratt the last sighting was at Weavers Down in 2011. (Ed jnr)
Forgot to mention a Purple Emperor seen to land in the Oak tree next to the railway bridge at TQ 31228 17692 whilst train spotting with my youngest Grandson yesterday afternoon around 14:30 (David Cook)
After reading Jamie Burston's report about the Hairstreaks in Wild Park I got really excited. This park is at my doorstep and I go there very often but I have never expected to find such treasures on the treetops. I have known it for a few years that the meadows are rich in butterflies but today after work I was inspecting the trees rather than the grass and Bramble. I arrived at 12:40 and in the same time it became cloudy but I still managed to find the Purple Hairstreak on the small oak tree. No luck with the Brown Hairstreak but on my way home (4pm-ish) I did find an other two Purple ones on a different oak tree at TQ 32579 07619. Apart from that the usual good number of more common butterflies all over the place. Also a Blood-vein moth and this brown one what I do not know by name.
Seeing a single Silver-spotted Skipper earlier this week whilst pursuing Grayling, I thought today, with a bit of cloud cover, it was worth checking out Ditchling Down. I checked several of the most likely and found 2 males.
Back to Burgess Hill and taking note of Jamie Burston’s afternoon fresh Male, I walked the East side of the Burgess Hill circular walk and found this very obliging and fresh female Brown Hairstreak. (David Cook)
Deep Dene: Trousered by a Grayling at TQ5406 0285, there were 4 of them skirmishing. (John Ward)
The Painted Lady was seen in Parham Gardens today and the Meadow Brown was in Bignor Park on Tuesday. (Graham Hicks)
White Admiral sighted on High Weal Landscape Trail in wood between Pickwell and Pickwell Farm about 11 A.M. Never seen one before so v pleased to see it and find it is high on the butterfly conservation (Bernard Plaister)
My husband saw a Purple Emperor whilst out cycling a week ago, and today while cycling near Duncton Mill he is sure he saw a Swallowtail - it was very big and we have seen them abroad so he is sure that's what it was. (Mrs Paula Little)
Brown Hairstreak on the margin on my garden pond today in suburban Lancing, before flying off southwards. My gardens is one tetrad south of the distribution shown in "The Butterflies of Sussex". I must get the planned Blackthorn hedge planted this winter! (Adrian Thomas)
A trip to Rewell Wood on Tuesday afternoon was rewarded with Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, a Brimstone, Silver-washed Fritillaries, Whites, Large Skippers, Peacocks, Ringlets, Speckled Woods. moths seen: Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata), Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Dingy Footman (Eilema griseola), Hemp-agrimony Conch (Cochylidia rupicola), Large Skipper male (Ochlodes sylvanus), Pearl Veneer (Agriphila straminella). (Colin Knight)
A second visit to see white letter hairstreaks turned up zero. A few other butterflies on the thistles that were going over and some ragwort. Small White and Gatekeeper and Commas (Tim Squire)
After seeing on his blog the Bob Eade has seen silver spotted skipper I went to Sheepcote to look for the small population there. It was windy and not much flying and no sign of sss. Meadow Browns were all I saw on the slope. I got a nice Small Copper and Comma near the woods. (Tim Squire)
Only one Grayling for me. It was a bit windy and the only one I saw was one I flushed. Lots of Dark Green Fritillaries egg laying. (Tim Squire)
Wednesday 18 July
I arrived at Deep Dean shortly after 3.30PM in sunny very warm conditions. I spent the next hour and a half zig-zagging the slope, and found 4 Graylings, plus another probable fly-by. They particularly liked to settle in the chalk scrapings. Not a huge figure, but very welcome, and I know earlier visitors have seen more. One of the pictures is of a Grayling in its unique chalk habitat. Lots of Chalkhill Blues, many of which were already going to roost when I arrived, sitting out the heat. But, as it cooled,a few opened their wings. A most enjoyable afternoon and evening down from Essex. (Mark Bunch)
Wednesday saw Team Buck (one keen the oyher less so) descended upon Alfriston in pursuit of the Grayling (non piscarian variety) at Windover Hill. Careful planning of the route, ample supplies of water and the promise of tea and cakes at the end (irrespective of the outcome) saw us set off on a warm, sunny morning. Downright lies about the distance (no more than 1.5 miles) and steepness (not very) started to unravel when we reached a car park that would have considerably shortened the distance. At this point clouds of chalkhill blues appeared and momentium continued interspersed with 'not much further' claims that lost their credibility as we edged ever closer. The views of course are amazing and to cut to the chase, we spotted 5 Grayling on the SE slope at Windover in the same coordinates already provided by previous visitors. The descent was easy and the tea and cakes at the Apiary cafe excellent. Mission accomplished and a wonderful morning enjoyed. (Martin Buck)
I thought it was interesting to see this Garden Tiger moth in the heart of Whitehawk in my garden. (Katrin Tweddle)
And you were right. (Ed jnr)
On a walk on Friston Gallops this afternoon one had to be careful where one trod so as not to tread on a Chalk Hill Blue. Mainly males evident but some females, all the subject of fierce aerial tussles. Also present were Common Blue, Brown Argus, Dark Green Fritillary, Small Copper, Dingy Skipper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Brimstone and Small Skipper (Nigel Symington)
I arrived at Deep Dene at around 9am this morning and immediately saw two Grayling, this is a good start I thought! I then began a systematic search from one end of the valley to the other along the escarpment. I was pleased to note that the Grayling were present all along one end of the scarp to the other. Between TQ544031 to TQ540028 and extended right down almost to the bottom at TQ544030. At one point I saw 5 Grayling sparring!! A very welcome sight indeed. I then met Ian Seccombe, we compared notes and both agreed that the Grayling are certainly into double figures. Even taking the inevitable double counting into consideration. Some were obviously very fresh - suggesting that there may be more to emerge. Just as I was about to leave I met a nice chap called John Warner, it was his first time looking for Grayling at Deep Dene so I was rather amused when he casually said "oh look it's a mating pair!" this being something I've been trying to see over many years up there but never have! The very strong breeze blew the pair away so I gave chase, they briefly landed on a twig "for all of 5 seconds" allowing me to get a really nice shot of them. A great day, many thanks again John. Lastly it was interesting to note that a lot of the males were sporting a pronounced and more dazzling white stripe than usual. (James A)
A walk from Lancing Ring to Steep Down and east on the SDW to Dacre Gardens was best for Wall Brown (15). Only 17 butterfly species identified. Wretchedly, no L-tB at the Cement Works. Are the wheels coming off? (Lindsay Morris)
I went to Castle Hill in the midday heat. I saw Meadow Browns, Chalkhill Blues (lots), Common Blues, Gatekeepers, Whites, Skippers, 5 Small Coppers, 2 Small Blues, 2 Red Admirals, 5 Dark Green Fritillaries, one Peacock, one Dingy Skipper and one Speckled Wood. (Katrina Watson)
I arrived at Deep Dene just after 8am this morning, it was blustery but warming up rapidly. I found my first Grayling at 08.15 - couldn't miss it as it landed on the barrel of my camera (TQ5431 0305). This was the first of four that I saw on or near the path that runs down towards the northern end of the valley. I found one at the far north end of the valley (TQ 5449 0315) and a group of three down the slope at the southern end (TQ 5422 0289). Apart from those three all my sightings were above the path with one right at the top (TQ5438 0319). By 09.45 I had seen 10-12 individuals (the blustery conditions made it difficult to be sure that they were unique). All looked fresh and none had red mite. I met James Arnott at that point and we saw another four or five before I left at 10.30. In total I would estimate that I saw at least 12 individuals. Other species I saw included three very fresh Silver-spotted Skippers (near the fence line at the top), Chalkhill Blue (en masse), Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Small Copper, Small White, Large White, Brimstone, Common Blue, Dark Green Fritillary, Marbled White, Small Skipper, Large Skipper (Ian Seccombe)
Tuesday 17 July
A few pictures from Cissbury Ring this afternoon, where, out of the wind there were large numbers of butterflies, both species and amounts. (Patrick Moore)
I'm not surprised if you now dread the length of my sighting reports! Sorry everyone!
Today (17 July) I went for a walk with my friend, Lesley Goodfellow, to the dew pond area of Wild Park LNR, Brighton, between 10am and 11am, to look for low down Purple Hairstreaks and we struck silver! Two seen on the small Oak located at (TQ 32501 07752). However it was this female that we saw below head height for 40 minutes! She did multiple practice runs of egg laying - nothing produced. Hilarious in the way she would strut and then suddenly race along the branches, as Hairstreaks do, they love to have a walk about (see photo descriptions).
She was seen low down during sunny and cloudy intervals (changeable). No mobile with me so I couldn't share the news with anyone! Last seen low down 6/7 years ago at the same location, the wait is finally over!
After walking away from the dew pond in a state of shock and amazement, having seen the Purple Hairstreaks, me and Lesley couldn't believe our luck when this assumable newly emerged male, Brown Hairstreak, perched right in front of us by an area to the side of Ditchling Road, Brighton, at (TQ 32362 08504). Our jaws dropped. If you visit, please let me know how you get on! The time was 11.45am at this point, sunny and sheltered from the wind. Further along the path we were surprised to see a female Wall (Brown) sitting ahead of us on the path, seen at (TQ 32370 08571). I've seen them along the road verge before, but not here. Notably 8 Common Blue, 2 Brown Argus and 1 Marbled White in the same area. Furthermore a Painted Lady seen on the Hollingbury, Hill Fort, Brighton, at (TQ 32223 07983), earlier in the day I had one also visit my garden. Thinking about today's sightings, certainly brings a smile to my face. (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
Amongst the usual suspects of high summer at Mill Hill near Shoreham, were at least 2 second gen Dingy Skippers. Good numbers of fresh Peacock, Red Admiral and 1 Painted Lady. Also seen was a rather impressive Gatekeeper ab. (Paul Atkin)
By the time (11:45am) I walked up to Deep Dene the wind picked up and it was overcast so I did not have too much hope to see anything but non the less I decided to walk around a little bit but an hour and a half later I was ready to call it a day when at 1:10pm I spotted my first ever Grayling!!! It was resting on a stick on the ground next to a small bush (TQ 54318 03077) where others have seen Graylings too. I took a few not so great photos but watching this little fella for around 10 minutes was more important. When it took off to chase a Chalk Hill Blue away I lost sight of it but 15 minutes later I found an other one what I presume to be the same individual as it was very close (TQ 54255 03042) to the first location. There was an other gentleman taking pictures of it so hopefully he got some decent shots and will share it. Also, as I always walk up from Polegate station via Folkington what I think used to be an other location for Graylings, could you please post some grid reference numbers where to look? (Istvan Radi)
This man walked from Polegate Station to Deep Dean just for the Grayling! Respect. (Ed jnr)
After yesterday’s exertions at The Long Man I opted for a local walk today and spent a couple of hours searching for Brown Hairstreak on the west side of the Burgess Hill circular walk. Only one male seen in overcast and windy conditions. (David Cook)
Took a detour through Dyke Road park, Brighton (or possibly Hove I think the border runs through it) on the way to work, just to see what was about - first 2 Meadow Brown, then a Speckled Wood and then a lovely white letter hairstreak floated down to potter around on the geranium leaves at ground level, where it posed for close-up shots with my phone.
I have been taking a detour through this park for a while now, and although only a small section is planted with flowering plants I have now spotted 11 species in total, including the WLH. Pretty good going for a small park and there may be more yet. For some reason my phone photo is loading oddly - need to turn your head by 45 degrees to see it properly (Sylvia Davidson)
Monday 16 July
Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue and Brown Argus in the evening sunlight at Kithurst flower meadow. (John Williams)
Circular walk from the car park at Darwell Wood between 9 and 10.30 this morning: 2 White Admiral, 3 Silver-washed Fritillary, 9 Brimstone, Comma, Peacock, Large White, Common Blue, plus multiple Gate Keeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Speckled Wood. (Richard Farran)
more pictures, Eridge (Istvan Radi)
I payed a visit to Eridge Old Park (54) where I have never been before so it was a great day out despite not having time to explore the rocks on the other side of the road. I am not trained in transect walks so what I did today was using the grid reference numbers from the Atlas and tried to slowly walk in a more or less straight line from Eridge to Frant and on a different route back to Eridge where I had to catch the train. I only counted the butterflies what I disturbed by my walking past despite that I could see more on the field in the distance so it is not a scientific and full report but it hopefully gives a good impression of how rich this place is in butterflies! Also it is a huge area and although quite remote it is so well worth the visit that I might even go back again in the coming weeks! On my list there are 19 species for today. I tried to broke up my route into four sections but here I will just give the totals. Meadow Brown: 210, Small White: 24, Large White: 28, Ringlet: 19, Gatekeeper: 125, Comma: 11, Brimstone: 3, Small Skipper: 6, Essex Skipper: 22, Large Skipper: 2, Speckled Wood: 13, Small Copper: 1, Small Heath: 4, Peacock: 2, Holly Blue: 2, Silver-washed Fritillary: 13, Dark Green Fritillary: 5, Purple Hairstreak: 18, White Admiral: 12
Unfortunately no luck with the Emperors ans White-l HSs but maybe if someone just focused on the Elm trees instead of trying to explore the whole area there would be sightings. I would mention that almost all of the Oak trees had PHs up in the canopy but if it was not on my path I did not count them. I have a few grid reference numbers where I saw the most interesting things if needed I can email it to Ed.jnr. (Istvan Radi)
Two Atlas sites. Must be my lucky day. Please email me your sightings, Istvan , I will make sure they go into the record. We will be doing transect training in the Spring. (Ed jnr)
sun 15/07/2018 Paygate Wood, Uckfield, E.Sx. between 11.54am-12.54pm. 1x Purple Emperor still flying over and around territory oaks at 12.11/12.22/12.23 and 12.44pm the last being the best sighting as it was longish and relaxed in open area, then headed north and over territory oaks. (Peter Farrant)
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
The past two night's 28 moth species visited our balcony, including 6 new ones: Least Carpet (Idaea Rusticata), Lesser Wax Moth (Achroia grisella), Marbled Piercer (Cydia splendana), Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa), Grey Knot-horn (Acrobasis advenella). (Colin Knight)
In addition to the event "Surveying Seaford's White-letter Hairstreaks" which was back on the 26th June. I personally conducted two further surveys in Seaford, looking for White-letter Hairstreak colonies whilst assessing the health of Elm. My survey back on the 5th July produced my first White-letter Hairstreak at 10.34am with one White-letter Hairstreak flying around the Wheatley elm outside house number 34, Chyngton Way, with a follow-up second sightings at 10.37am. The next sighting was at 10.48am, with one in the canopy, on the Wheatley elm outside house number 28, Chyngton Way. Lastly at 11.08am and then again at 11.11am I saw one in the canopy of the Wheatley elm (photo attached) outside house number 15, Chyngton Way. Thanks to Michael Blencowe for the lift to and from Seaford and to Ann Roe who later join me with Michael for photos on her birthday, attached one of her photos, a White-letter Hairstreak "typical dark Triangle" flying above a diseased Wheatley elm along Chyngton Way.
Some of the trees along Chyngton Way, mentioned above illustrated a scenario that I hadn’t come across with such clarity. White-letter Hairstreaks (at least the males) are clearly not able to tell that the tree they live on is infected or even dying from Elm Disease. The fact that these butterflies were still faithful to the diseased trees makes me think that there might actually be some value to diseased elms as a habitat to continue breeding - given that there are areas on a diseased tree which retain healthy foliage going from one year to the next based on the fact that some elms have a slower rate of dying from the disease. Some elms are killed much quicker than others, so won’t work for all cases. This may explain why you might still find White-letter Hairstreak occurring amongst infected elm trees, such as in the countryside, where Elm Disease isn't managed. A thought provoking possibility. To be clear these are my own views and in no way represents the views of Butterfly Conservation. I believe Elm Disease should be managed where possible, as this helps to slow or stop its spread to further Elm trees, as I've witnessed first-hand.
Now onto my survey conducted on the 9th July! Thanks to Diana Windley, Seaford Tree Warden for giving me a lift to and from Seaford, whilst also joining and assisting me in the survey.Firstly at the Memorial Garden off Kings Mead Lane, we looked at a Wych elm located at (TV 48026 99825), here I was demonstrating to Diana where you would expect female White-letter Hairstreaks to lay their eggs, and sure enough, after looking on three different branches, I located a White-letter Hairstreak egg within reaching distance to show her, photo attached. The egg was found in a typical position, on the scar band between this and last year's growth.
At the edge of Carlton Road, a tall, but more slender elm produced a sighting of a White-letter Hairstreak at 10.48am, seen flying and resting up in the canopy. This tree is located at (TV 48028 99700). On the elm trees along Belgrave Road, situated between Kedale Road and Kingsmead (road) - (TV 48147 99743 along to TV 48202 99774) we searched for the butterfly, this location was where 3 to 5 White-letter Hairstreaks were seen back on the 26th June, during the "Surveying Seaford's White-letter Hairstreaks" event, attached, a photo taken by Mike Kerry during the event. I sadly noted that Elm Disease has since taken hold on these elms. Despite this we saw 1 White-letter Hairstreak flying on the elms here, in front of house number 41 (Headland View) Belgrave Road at 11.01am.
At 11.53am there was a very brief sighting of a potential White-letter Hairstreak seen flying around elm foliage overhanging the pond at the far western end of Sutton Drove, located at (TV 48597 99496). Wildflowers around the pond could be a good source of nectar for the White-letter Hairstreaks to feed from, allowing for potential close views, this or in future years. Nearby, along Blatchington Road we had 1 White-letter Hairstreak seen at 1.15pm on healthy elm, then at 1.16pm saw 2 or 3 White-letter Hairstreaks flying together on the same tree, then a few minutes later at 1.19pm we had two male White-letter Hairstreaks dog-fighting with each other. The elm they were using is exactly at (TV 48443 99391), just west of where Chichester Road meets Blatchington Road. Moving along Blatchington Road, we came to a group of elm trees (multiple trunks in close proximity), the middle of the group of elms, located at (TV 48381 99347), just east from the Auto shop. Here at 1.37pm we saw 2 male White-letter Hairstreaks dog-fighting, after they broke apart, one eventually landed at the tip of a leaf, which made for clear viewing, I took a photo, attached. Here we had multiple sightings of individuals flying around the canopy. Blatchington Road, a hotspot of activity. Note, there are opportunities to see White-letter Hairstreaks low down at close proximity, if they visit Bramble blossom, Buddleia or Ragwort flowers to feed, plants all seen whilst walking along Blatchington Road, especially towards the eastern end, along the road edge between Chichester Road and Avondale Road.
Moving onto Alfriston Road, there was a grouping of elms within close proximity, opposite house numbers 3 and 5 along Alfriston Road, approximate grid reference is (TV 49303 99829), house numbers are a more reliable reference to the location. The tree(s) were a hotspot for White-letter Hairstreak activity. 3.02pm - two males dog-fighting. 3.06pm - one seen flying. 3.08pm a group of three definitely seen flying together (possibly four).
I attach a photo sent to me by Sue Robinson, who took this photo of a female White-letter Hairstreak feeding on Marjoram in her back garden, on the 11th July. She also had a male feeding on Marjoram that same day. The sightings were towards the northern end of Firle Road. It would be great if you could help to survey for the White-letter Hairstreak along Firle Road, at and past the junction with Firle Grange (road), especially heading north on Firle Road, looking at the elms around the Bowden House School area and beyond for White-letter Hairstreaks. There should still be a week and a half left of the White-letter Hairstreaks flight period for this year to check, please send all sightings of White-letter Hairstreaks in Seaford to me, it will help my work as White-letter Hairstreak Species Champion. Email: email@example.com
With my assistance the Seaford Natural History Society has kindly produced a PDF document which you can view by visiting their website (http://www.seafordnaturalhistory.org.uk/). The PDF contains maps showing the distribution of Elm across Seaford, I would be particularly interested in White-letter Hairstreak sightings from the areas covered by maps "Seaford 2", 4, 7, 8 and 9. To access the PDF, visit the Seaford Natural History Society website and click on "WLH (PDF)" located under "Local Events" on the far right-hand side of the opening page.
Finally, I have produced content for the White-letter Hairstreak, Sussex Species page, covering information on how to survey for White-letter Hairstreaks on Elm trees, as seen in "Part Six" at the bottom of the page, viewed here: https://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/species/white-letter-hairstreak.php.
(Jamie Burston - White-letter Hairstreak Species Champion)
This afternoon I paid a visit to Ebernoe Common (site 42) for the first time. What a fascinating place, woodland, meadow and hammerponds. There were Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeeper everywhere as well as Silver-washed Fritillary along most of the rides and paths. Also Small, Large and Green-veined White. Other sightings included Comma, Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral a single Purple Emperor and Holly Blue. I also heard a Turtle Dove. If visiting take a map, there are a lot of very inviting paths. (Patrick Moore)
Thank you Patrick. Five left. Anyone want to place a bet on which one will be last? (Ed jnr)
My report pretty much mirrors Jonathan’s from the weekend with a start time of around 9:00am at Deep Dene, with the first Grayling seen just after at TQ 543 030. It was very interested in Bertie my dog and seemed determined to land on him even though he was walking about. My attempts to photograph this were thwarted by a flat camera battery. Lesson learned—start the day with a fully charged one!! I’d walked down as far as the scrub at the eastern end without seeing another and instead enjoyed the fresh Brimstone, Small Coppers, Essex Skippers and Chalk Hill Blues nectaring. The shade offered by the shrubs giving my dogs a break from the intense sun.
It was on my return walk along the lower slope that my 2nd was encountered. This one kept landing on me!!
Bob Eade and Mark Colvin were seen higher up the slope and we joined forces around 10:15 by which time many more were on the wing including a very large female. I left them to it around midday as I’d run out of water (the dogs were very thirsty) and had a count of 8.
As I was leaving, 1 Silver-spotted Skipper up by the gate. (David Cook)
Two more pictures from Sunday's Bevendean Blues walk. (Geoff Stevens)
Sunday 15 July
This morning I visited the Tugley Wood complex, whilst I realise this is all in Surrey just a stone's throw form the Sussex border, I was rather pleased with this Wood White picture and wanted to share. (Patrick Moore)
A big thank you to the 14 people who braved the heat to come on the Bevendean Blues walk today. What a nice group of people seem to be attracted to butterflies and conservation.
Despite the high temperature on the south facing chalk grassland slope there were still plenty of butterflies to be seen.
Skippers, large and Small Whites, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Ringlets, Small Copper, Small Blues, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Chalk Hill Blues, Speckled Woods a Brimstone and some day flying moths such as six spot burnet and Silver Y.
The highlight for me was someone finding a Small Blue caterpillar on a kidney vetch seed head.
The grassland was very dry, going a bit crispy on the steepest slope where the horseshoe vetch is abundant. I hope they have deep roots.
Tessa Pawsey wrote the above report and Sarah and Patrick took the pictures with my camera. (Geoff Stevens)
The warm still nights continue to draw dozens of moth species to our balcony light: Brown-tail, Waste Grass-veneer, Burnished Brass, Dingy Dowd, Rosy Tabby, Garden Grass-veneer, Obscure moth, Yponomeuta species, Riband Wave, Yellow-backed Clothes moth, Bright-line Brown-eye, Rosy Tabby, Inlaid Grass-veneer, Meadow Neb, Brown-tail, Meal Moth, Common Footman, Double-striped Pug, Heart and Dart, Knot Grass, Long-legged Tabby, Marsh Dowd, Satin Grass-veneer, Shuttle-shaped Dart, White Satin. (Colin Knight http://www.seapic.com)
Couple of hours around Cowdray Forest & Greentrees SSSI found 6-7 Silver-washed Fritillarys,3 Purple Hairstreaks,1 Holly Blue,22 Speckled Wood,1 Large Skipper,4 Small Skipper,80 Meadow Brown,40 Gatekeeper,1 Peacock,1 Red Admiral,18 Small White,12 Large White,6 Ringlets. (Alastair Gray)
Big highlight of Lancing Ring amongst 22 butterfly species was a Brown Hairstreak resting in a blackthorn. Also Hummingbird Hawk-Moth.
Saturday 14 July
18 species seen at Friston Gallops between 11am and 2pm today. Most numerous were Chalkhill Blues (although unfortunately it was too warm for them to settle with their wings open). Also Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Marbled White, Small Heath, Gatekeeper, Comma, Red Admiral, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary, Large White, Small White, Brimstone, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Blue, Small Copper and Essex Skipper. (John Williams)
Today in company with my father, Roy Symonds I visited Stansted Forest (SU7410) where the temperature reached a scorching 25°C. We covered many paths during our 3 hour walk, which included woodland, forest clearings, scrub and grassland. An impressive total of 18 different species were recorded, the main species being Whites, Silver Washed Fritilarys, Gatekeepers, Ringlets and Meadow Browns. In the open grassland areas several Marbled Whites were seen, some slightly worn, while others had significant wing damage. Close examination of settled Small Skippers revealed two Essex Skippers. I looked closely at the many Oaks but was unable to note any Purple Hairstreaks.
Totals: Brimstone 8M 7F, Large White 55, Small White 38, Green Veined White 24, Common Blue 2M 1F, Gatekeeper 32, Marbled White 8, Meadow Brown 46, Ringlet 37, Speckled Wood 10, Comma 9, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 1, Silver Washed Fritillary 49M 30F, White Admiral 3, Large Skipper 1, Essex Skipper 2, Small Skipper 13.
Glad you are having a good trip Richard. Still time to see a few more butterflies before you head back to Cornwall. (Ed jnr)
I went to Deep Dean this morning from about 7.30 -9.30 No points for me for observation as I didn't manage to find the Graylings. I, however, just caught a few Chalkhill Blues still roosting and most were still warming up. Also seen were numerous Meadow Browns And Dark Green Fritillaries (mainly faded), Gatekeepers, a Small Copper, some Skippers, some Marbled Whites and Large Whites (Katrina Watson)
Surprised to see a fresh looking Brimstone on the edge of Vert Wood today (Mike Kerry)
After Deep Dean we went to High and Over andCradle valley which was buzzing with butterflies. These included Silver-washed Fritillaries, Wall Browns, Common Blues and a small but active colony of Small Blues locked into a battle with a larger population of Brown Argus. We saw one Marbled White with 5 Trombidium bree mites and also saw one on a Common Blue, In all we saw 24 species today. (Jonathan Crawford)
Bob Eade writes "I see you say you saw Silver-washed Fritt at High and Over. I have never seen them here despite being there several times a week. There are plenty of female Dark Green there egg laying at the moment. Are you sure it wasn't these you saw. They are quite a bit larger than the males you probably saw at Deep Dean". Bob is probably right as the fresh butterfly was only glimpsed in passing. Thanks Bob for clearing that up. (Ed jnr)
I counted 25 Silver-washed Fritillaries upon arrival at RSPB Fore Wood today then stopped counting and I just enjoyed the sight and being surrounded by them even more of them. More interestingly I also counted 6 Purple Hairstreaks and I was made aware of an other two in a different part of the reserve. My individuals mostly stayed high up on the oak trees but one did come down to waist level for a brief period of time (obviously when I didn't have my camera at hand). I do wonder if there was a chance to see P. Emperors as well given the number of oak trees. Also present 3 Red Admirals (no luck with the White ones), 2 Comma, 1 Ringlet, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Brimstones, Small and Large Whites and one Skipper what I believe to be a Silver-spotted Skipper based on a very visible white line in the middle of the sex brand (unfortunately couldn't get a clear shot of it). (Istvan Radi)
Given it's location it is probably unlikely that it was a Silver-spotted Skipper, Istvan, though not impossible. Female Large Skippers are most often confused with this species. (Ed jnr)
I went to Deep Dean this morning with my old school friend Robert, arriving around nine thirty. On the way up we met Katrina who had done an early shift, and later handed over to Chris Hooker. We walked along the south facing valley side in strips with about three metres between us, which meant we covered most of the northern hillside.
The first Grayling was the hardest to spot but then it became progressively easier. Our total count was nine. I thought none of them had the Trombidium bree mite, but later looking at my pictures I can see that one did.
We didn't find any of the Grayling in the scrapes but instead found them sheltering beneath small shrubs. When disturbed they would tend to seek a shady spot. Once settled they seem unperturbed, so I don't think they were hiding and it is more likely that they were just finding it a bit hot. My guide says that they perform a looping flight, though I am not sure what that means. We did seem a number of them gliding down the hill rather like a fritillary does.
All of the Grayling we saw were seen within the marked area in the photograph. There were also large number Chalk Hill Blues, quite a few Dark Green Fritillarys and a number of Small Coppers amongst other butterflies. (Jonathan Crawford)
Circular walk through Hawksden Park Wood and Rolfs Farm (Mayfield) at 14.00 today. Highlights : 1 White Admiral, 5 Silver-washed Fritillary, 1 Marbled White. Plus Common Blue, Essex Skipper, Brimstone, Peacock, Large White, Small White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Copper, Comma, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue. (Richard Farran)
Thanks to dropping my son for a Duke of Edinburgh expedition and a visit to my in-laws I was able to combine trips to Ashdown Forest and Windover Hill. In the forest I saw 6-8 Silver-studded Blues on the heathland north of the Poundgate car park (thanks for the tip Jonathan Warner!). Then at Windover amongst the hundreds of Chalkhill Blues my highlights were a Small Blue (actually in the disused quarry across the road) and a pair of coupling Dark Green Fritillaries. Sadly no Graylings! (Tony Gould)
Literally dozens of Silver Washed Fritillaries in Vert Wood this morning. Also several White Admiral, and 8 other butterfly species. (Mike Kerry)
The highlights of a walk round Lancing Ring and the north side of Steep Down were 5 Wall, 5 Chalk Hill Blue, 2 Silver-washed Fritillary - my first in Lancing for a couple of years. 24 butterfly species identified, plus a probable Brown Hairstreak. I'll track it down in the end. Resistance is futile. (Lindsay Morris)
I spent about 2 hours across the middle of the day walking around Deep Dean and ended up finding 11 Grayling including 3 having a chase. All were on the SE facing slope about half way up the slope and were spread along about a 300m section starting 100m to the NE of the SW end fence that runs down the slope. I had 2 land on me and another 2 on my clipboard, obviously curious to know what I was up to! Eventually one settled away from me and I was able to get some photos. Also seen were numerous Meadow Browns, Chalk Hill Blues and Dark Green Fritillaries as well as small numbers of several other species. (Chris Hooker)
An early morning visit to Abbots wood revealed four Purple Hairstreaks, low down. One in particular allowed close approach for both open and closed wing shots. Although none of the PH's seen recently are fresh, but many remain in good condition. This was also true of a female Silver-washed Fritillary found nectaring on Ragwort. (Trevor Rapley)
Friday 13 July
With our Bevendean Blues walk on Sunday I had a short walk over the main site to see what was about
today and there were plenty of Chalkhill Blues and other downland butterflies and flowers. (Geoff Stevens)
Another sortie to the southern block of Knepp Wildland this morning. Plenty of Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Small & Essex Skippers etc. We were hoping for early Brown Hairstreaks and many thanks to Matthew Oates for sharing his find with us of a pristine male - the only one we saw. Also Purple Hairstreaks flying high as usual. (Chris Hamilton)
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
Many of the usual suspects have appeared again on our balcony the past 3 days. A Poplar Hawk-moth appeared in the house last night and laid 2 eggs on a lampshade! I hope to nurture the larvae when they emerge. Gatekeepers were seen by the Golf course path. Balcony moths: Brown-tail (Euproctis chrysorrhoea), Meadow Neb (Metzneria metzneriella), Meal Moth (Pyralis farinalis), one of the Obscure moths (Oegoconia species), Rustic (Hoplodrina blanda) and the Privet moth returned. (Colin Knight)
Spent nearly four hours looking for signs of Grayling on windover hill today but no luck yet. Plenty of butterflies and duelling marbelled whites plus scores of Chalk Hill Blues and Dark Green Fritillarys. (Peter Jarman)
Today while visiting my father, Roy Symonds from my home in Cornwall, we visited Houghton Forest (SU9911). When we first arrived at 11:30 the weather was warm, humid with some hazy sunshine. During the course of our 2.5 hour walk the sun appeared reaching a temperature of around 23°C. Ringlets and Whites were everywhere, with good numbers of Silver-washed Fritillarys, but no signs of any White Admirals. I have visited this site during July for the past 4 years and have never been lucky to record a Purple Emperor here, until today. First I found the remains of a Purple Emperor beside the path (at approx SU99261127) and took some photos of possibly a female, as no traces of purple could be seen from any angle on what was left of the wings with the head absent - the final resting place of a regal butterfly.
Later as we were walking out of the forest on a main track towards the car park at 14:11 (at approx SU99961119), a female Purple Emperor flew over my head across the path and disappeared behind a large bush. As I walked along to see where it had flown, I noticed that a sallow bush was growing behind, but no traces of the Empress, but a close encounter which made my day.
Totals: Brimstone 5M 6F, Large White 31, Small White 28, Green-veined White 11, Gatekeeper 15, Meadow Brown 19, Ringlet 72, Speckled Wood 4, Comma 12, Peacock 10, Purple Emperor 2 (1 dead), Silver-washed Fritillary 20M 10F, Large Skipper 8, Small Skipper 6. (Richard Symonds)
Nice to hear from you again Richard. It's been a while. (Ed jnr)
The first of the second generation Small Blues was seen at Dorothy Stringer School today, along with the first ever record of the Ringlet on the Surrenden Campus. (Dr Dan Danahar)
Spent three hours this afternoon scouring the top of the Deep Dene valley looking for Graylings, in places we have seen them before (mostly where scrub clearance had taken place). Alas none seen, although there were plenty of Chalkhill Blues and we counted c40 Dark Green Fritillaries, some looking decidedly tatty. Also 7 Small Coppers.Good luck to all those who look tomorrow... no-one we met saw any today either. (Chris Skinner)
I am sorry, Chris. We all know that feeling.Thanks for looking anyway. (Ed jnr)
more pictures (Istvan Radi)
I spent about 5 hours walking all the paths up and down around Windover Hill and Deep Dean and yet I didn't see any Graylings what is slightly disappointing especially as others did see them (well done to Bob Eade). But not all is gloomy as I did see a LOT of other butterflies. Not a full list just the most interesting and what I can remember: 2x Peacock, 3x Comma, 1x White Admiral, 3x Dark Green Fritillary, 1x Red Admiral, 8-10x Wall Brown, 100s of Meadow Brown, dozens of Marbled White and Gatekeeper, quite a few Small Copper, 10-12x Painted Lady, lots of Small and Essex Skipper (surprisingly to me I didn't notice any Large), plenty of Chalk Hill Blue, some other blues, probably 1000s of Five/Six-spot Burnet moth, a few Forester moth and zillions of other day flying moths of gold, white, brown and mixed colors. (Istvan Radi)
Mill Hill - I couldn't find any Silver-spotted Skipper, but did manage 21 butterfly species including 2 Dingy Skipper in good condition, but is it too early to claim second brood? 4 (fresh) Painted Lady is the most I've seen anywhere this year. (Lindsay Morris)
Roedean Old 9-hole Site. I've tried to promote this wonderful site on here, but as yet, I haven't bumped in to anyone belonging to SBC whilst there. Easy, free on-site parking and a cafe just over the road. TQ347031.
This morning from 11.15 am to 12.15 pm, numerous Large Whites and Small Whites, Essex Skippers and Meadow Browns. A lesser number of Gatekeepers and Marbled Whites. 15 Small Blues, 4 Common Blues, 3 Peacocks, 2 Small Heaths, 1 Brown Argus and lots of 6-spot Burnet moths. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
Early this morning I went with Doug Neve to Abbots wood to show him my Purple Hairstreak hot spot.
Despite unfavourable weather, ie. little sun, one female PH was found low down in an Oak.
We then carried on to Knepp where a fresh male Holly Blue was found, along with many Gatekeepers
and Meadow Browns ( some very fresh ). As a late bonus, three Purple Emperors were seen in the air. (Trevor Rapley)
It was a case of Deja Vu today, as last year on July 13th I did my Wider Butterfly survey in Friston Forest followed by a visit to Deep Dene where I saw the 1st Grayling of the year. Today on that same date I repeated the exercise with very much the same results. In Deep Dene I did a zigzag course across the hillside and again, similar to last year I was about to give up when a Grayling flew up. As it already had a red mite attached it is possible it has been on the wing for a few days. At one point another joined it and a small battle commenced.
There were also one or two Chalkhill Blues in the area!! Looking like snow blizzards at times.
In a patch of Viper's Bugloss there were 3 Hummingbird Hawk-moths flying together. My first UK Clouded Yellow of the year was also seen.
As usual there were almost plague numbers of Mecyna flavalis on the slopes. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
The Grayling has landed! I know where I am going to be tomorrow morning.(Ed jnr)
Silver-spotted Skipper seen on a flying visit to Cradle Valley this morning. (Chris Brewer)
I spotted a Camberwell Beauty in Friston Forest at approximately 20:30 between Butchershole Bottom and Friston Pond. It was unmistakably this species, as it was large, had a cream perimeter around the topside of the wings and a purple/burgundy colouring. Maybe has something to do with the hot weather and easterly wind helping them over from Scandinavia? Unfortunately, the butterfly flew up into the trees before I could take a photo.
Location of sighting: https://goo.gl/maps/K61kyQjgh7P2 (Alan Mackenzie https://www.alanmackenziephotography.com)
On Tuesday night our balcony visitors included Dotted Oak Knot-horn (Phycita roborella), Inlaid Grass-veneer (Crambus pascuella), Long-horned Flat-body (Carcina quercana) and the mighty Privet Hawk-moth (Sphinx ligustri), the first Hawk-moth we have ever seen here. (Colin Knight)
Yesterday (12 July) Matthew Oates and I led the last of the 2018 Knepp Purple Emperor safaris, finishing the season in style. We saw a total of 27 emperors, including two 'tumbledowns', in which both female and male spiral down to the ground. Of the many observed on sap bleeds, we were surprised to see a freshly emerged female, which should still be egg-laying in two weeks time. However, it will be very difficult to see Purple Emperors beyond mid next week. Among the wealth of other fauna and flora, we found this funky pink hopper, showing how not to do camouflage. (Neil Hulme)
Thursday 12 July
In a line of Oaks near Pease Pottage,Crawley at least 10 Purple Hairstreaks seen,some coming low down on Brambles. (Alastair Gray)
I set out for a walk in St Leonards Forest, Horsham this afternoon to see some of the more common species that live in the forest. I've always enjoyed watching Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeeper but sometimes neglect to photo them whilst persuing other species. There were also Small Skipper, Essex Skipper and Large Skipper. Large, Small and Green-veined White. As well as Red and White Admiral, Brimstone and others totalling 19 species. (Patrick Moore)
Visited Ashdown Forest to look for Silver Studded Blues yesterday afternoon. Parked at Poundgate car park and walked a circular route north of New road. About 20 males and 1 female spotted. Other species seen included Large and Small Skippers, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, a Brimstone, a Peacock and a Clouded Yellow. (Jonathan Warner)
Whitehawk Hill. I spent an enjoyable hour and a half on the lower part of the hill. An abundance of Chalkhill Blues, Meadow Browns, Large and Small Whites, Gatekeepers, Essex and Small Skippers and Marbled Whites. Also, 15 Ringlets, 10 Common Blues, 2 Peacocks, 2 Speckled Woods and 2 Brown Argus. There were also 9 Burnet and 1 Silver Y moths. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
On a walk up Blackcap this afternoon, many Gatekeeper, Marbled White and Chalk Hill Blue. Meadow Brown and Ringlet in the grass, also Six-spot Burnet moth and Cinnabar caterpillars on the ragwort. Plentiful Large White. Dark Green Fritillary in the grass land on the top, and Silver-washed Fritillary in the woodland on the way down to Ashcombe Bottom. Only the Chalk Hill Blue let me take a picture! (Nigel Symington)
I went to Chantry Hill with the intention of counting Dark Green Fritillaries and counted five females before the clouds came and I gave up. Otherwise in the garden there were fresh individuals of Brown Argus, Common Blue and Small Copper and faded specimens of many others (17 species in total). A count of at least 3 Holly Blue was nice. (Martin Kalaher)
Yet another beautiful walk round the Litlington, Jevington and Folkington area, the highlights of which were lots of male Chalk Hill Blues, oodles of Marbled Whites, skippers, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, only a few Dark Green Fritillaries this time, three bright new Small Coppers, a couple of Forester moths, abundant six spot burnet moths, a pair of peregrines with two vociferous young in tow and two kestrels, one of which was very very pale, like a ghost kestrel.
We spent a bit of time at the head of Deep Dean looking at patches of dust dry earth and hoping to flush Grayling but we did'nt. It was hard trying to explain to my companion that we were looking for a butterfly that you can't see. (tessa pawsey)
Well thanks for trying Tessa.(ed jnr)
Back on Sunday 8th July was my 'Green Ridge - Marbled Meadow' guided walk, at Green Ridge in Brighton & Hove. It was good to see visitors from Butterfly Conservation, RSPB, three local Councillors, Brighton & Hove Wildlife Forum and Keep The Ridge Green members. I remember counting 18 attendees. Thanks go to Annabeth for my lift to and from the site and for compiling a detailed list of species and numbers seen, as follows, my own notes in brackets: Essex Skipper (easily a few hundred over the whole site, every Skipper I checked was of this species), Large White 19, Small White 3, Green-veined White 1, Brimstone 1, Marbled White 19, Gatekeeper 1 (plus 3 I saw, including one where orange was absent on it's left hindwing when viewed with wings open, instead of orange it was white), Meadow Brown 26 (had to be more on site), Red Admiral 2 (plus 1 I saw), Common Blue 2 (plus another 2 I saw), Peacock 1, Comma 3, Six-spot Burnet 3 and Five-spot Burnet 2. Many thanks to Colin Leeves for allowing me to share his photos, including this female Silver-washed Fritillary that was feeding on Privet in his garden that morning along Green Ridge (road) which backs onto the site, also seen in his garden the previous day. To my knowledge Silver-washed Fritillaries haven't been recorded from this area of Brighton & Hove before. Many thanks to everyone who came along, you made it most enjoyable, it was great to put faces to some familiar names and for meeting new people. If you visit Green Ridge during this month you may well see Brown Hairstreaks along the Blackthorn hedgerow or feeding on the Creeping Thistle, Bramble or Ragwort flowers, as having found their eggs on site, at the start of the year.
(Jamie Burston http://www.keeptheridgegreen.com/)
Ashurst wood, West sussex White Admiral in my garden at 13.30 today 12th July. I have a large sunny garden backing on to light woodland. (Mike)
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
I visited Kithurst meadow yesterday afternoon and enjoyed the spectacle of many flowers and grasses up to waist height. I saw 17 butterfly species: Brimstone, Brown Argus, Chalk Hill Blue (2), Comma, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Large White, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Small White, Painted Lady, Peacock, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Heath, Small Skipper. Moths: Common Plume (Emmelina monodactyla), Silver Y, Six-spot Burnet. At one point 12 Whites were tumbling in the air together, including a Marbled White. Silver-washed Fritillaries flashed by and included a mating pair. (Colin Knight http://colinknight.blogspot.com/2018/07/kithurst-meadows-july-butterflies14.html)
I saw a wide variety of species this morning in just two locations.
Firstly an early visit to Abbots wood produced two Purple Hairstreaks, and among the abundant Butterflies
at Abbots wood a lovely female Silver-washed Fritillary.
I then moved on to High and Over and saw three Wall Browns, many Chalk Hill Blues and a huge, fresh, Large White.
A Brown Hairstreak near the Hanger View point briefly today which pleased everyone on the guided walk. Attached is a back of the camera shot. (George Kinnard)
Wednesday 11 July
I went for an afternoon walk behind Springs Smoked Salmon today at Edburton. In the sunshine the hill was alive with Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Gatekeepers, gliding Marbled Whites, small and Large Skippers, two Commas, a Peacock, small and Large Whites, lots of six spot burnet moths and a couple of what looked like Dark Green Fritillaries. However I saw only one Wall Brown and no blues of any description. Sadly Springs had shut by the time I got back there so no fish supper for me. (Tony Gould)
Thanks Tony, that's another Atlas site. (Ed jnr)
With nothing much of interest on this evening, I popped up top Mill Hill to see if I could find any roosting Marble Whites. I have tried several times recently and have always been too early or too late. This time was no different, though i did spot several Meadow Browns and a dozy Small White. (Jonathan Crawford)
Spent the whole of the afternoon on windover hill and deep dean completely surrounded by many dozens of various butterflies particularly Chalk Hill Blues but no signs of the elusive Grayling yet. I must reiterate what Nigel said in an earlier post that the wild flower display is something to behold at the moment, the downs at their very best. (Peter Jarman) Thanks Peter. much appreciated. Welcome to "Team Grayling". (Ed jnr)
A walk through Wakehurst garden and the Loder Valley gave some nice shots of Silver-washed Fritillaries and other butterflies, Dragon' and Damselfies, Cuckoo Bumblebee, and a Meadow grasshopper (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.com/)
Tuesday 10 July
University of Sussex - Falmer campus. I've not seen any White-letter Hairstreaks high in the elms recently, but females have been visiting patches of brambles that are still in flower - 2 seen today. Also, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, 3 Comma, numerous Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and 4+ Ringlets, 1 Peacock, many Whites - most being Small Whites but probably several Large as well. (Chris Bird)
Took an evening walk on Devil's Dyke to investigate whether there is a colony of Purple Hairstreak in the small wood of weather-beaten oaks at the eastern end of the southern slope. And yes there is, what's good is that as the oaks are so stunted and on a steep slope it is possible to stand level with the canopy of several of the trees, which makes looking for them a lot easier. I am very excited by this find as I've sat under those trees for years not realising what was up there. The light was such that they all look brown in the photos though, but I'll be going back as its a good spot. Also saw a mixture of small and Essex Skippers, Marbled White, Gatekeepers, Six-spot Burnet moths, Dark Green Fritillary and Meadow Brown. Also photographed a small yellow and brown moth that I haven't managed to identify yet. (Sylvia Davidson)
A walk up to Cissbury and back from Lyons Farm was notable for 23 butterfly species including 300+ Meadow Brown, 175+ Gatekeeper, 120+ Small/Essex Skipper, 84 Marbled White, 46 Chalk Hill Blue, 41 Peacock, 27 Ringlet, 21 Speckled Wood, 21 Small Heath, 15 Common Blue, 13 Red Admiral, 10 Dark Green Fritillary, 9 Comma, 8 Brimstone, 4 Large Skipper, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Painted Lady, 2 Small Copper, Brown Argus. Silver-spotted were not spotted! (Lindsay Morris)
The accompanying images, taken on the 5th and 6th July, show iris feeding on several sap runs high in the oak canopy at Knepp. More at http://markcolvin.blogspot.com (Mark Colvin http://markcolvin.blogspot.com)
Did a survey around the three meadows at Whillets,Weir Wood on Monday,seen were 31 Small Skipper,1 Brimstone,1 Large White,7 Small White,18 Green-veined White,1 Holly Blue,2 Red Admiral,7 Comma,1 Speckled Wood,18 Gatekeeper,45 Meadow Brown and 83 Ringlets.Only moths 2 Six-spot Burnets. (Alastair Gray)
The transect for the Gatwick North-west zone today produced 509 butterflies of 20 species. The totals were: 11 Small Skipper, 22 Essex Skipper, 58 mixed Skipper, 1 Large Skipper, 11 Large White, 22 Small White, 13 Green-veined White, 5 Common Blue, 1 Brown Argus, 2 Small Copper, 9 Purple Hairstreak, 11 Comma, 5 Peacock, 1 Red Admiral, 4 Silver-washed Fritillary, 139 Meadow Brown, 29 Ringlet, 157 Gatekeeper, 4 Small Heath, 4 Speckled Wood. However the highlight of the day for me was a Six-belted Clearwing moth. (Vince Massimo)
Thanks Vince. (Ed jnr)
(continuation of the previous post) (Colin Knight)
The warm still nights on 6th,7th and 8th July have brought 46 species of moths to our balcony light, including many new ones to the list. I turned on the light at dusk and leave it on all night. Most moths arrive between 10pm and midnight. I have been going out 5-6am and sometimes several new species had arrived overnight. One morning there was a lot of tweeting from the hedgerow and while I was still on the balcony a sparrow flew past me, grabbed a moth from the wall and settled on the railing a few feet away. The moth was fluttering in its mouth then the sparrow flew off. Cheeky bird! (the rest of the images can be viewed on my blog). (Colin Knight http://colinknight.blogspot.com/2018/07/moths-galore-sparrow-feast.html)
Working in my garden in West St Leonards this morning the following Butterflies seen 4 Gatekeepers, 1 Small Copper, 3 Speckled Wood, 2 Holly Blue, 2 Meadow Brown and a Skipper near a Stinking Iris could not I.D.?
Many thanks to Paul Johnson. His walk in Hargate Forest last Saturday was most interesting. 21 Species including White Admiral, an egg laying Purple Hairstreak and a female Purple Emperor( a first for me) Silver Washed Fritillary and Dark Green Fritillary to name a few. A pity it was not well supported. It was enjoyed by the few friendly people that did come along.
I went up Windover Hill today to Deep Dene, but no sighting of a Grayling. Other species were very visible in spite of a strong wind. Chalkhill Blue (Many), Small Blue, Small Copper, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Six-spot Burnet moth and some Dark Green Fritillaries flying vigorously between nectaring on knapweed flowers. The walk up is worth it for the wild flowers alone. (Nigel Symington)
Thanks Nigel and welcome to "Team Grayling". You are leading by example, and hopefully others will follow in your footsteps later this week. We are very keen to know when the flight season starts for the Grayling this year. (Ed jnr)
After a week away I was keen to get back to the Frog Firle area to search out 2nd brood Wall Brown and Silver-spotted Skippers.
Around 8 Wall Brown were seen and it was clear they had been out for a few days with some already a little worn.
I then saw at least 7 and probably 8 Silver-spotted Skippers with 3 females. Once again these had probably been emerging over the past couple of days. An egg laying female Dark Green Fritillary was followed by another very fresh female. A 2nd brood Brown Argus was also good to see. Chalkhill Blues are also numerous. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflis.blogspot.co.uk)
An early morning ' beat the heat ' visit to Abbots wood for Purple Hairstreaks proved successful
with three seen at close quarters, two females and one male. I also found a female Gatekeeper
with an unusual brown stripe on the right hand forewing. Several Silver Washed Fritillaries were
present, all showing signs of wear. (Trevor Rapley)
Went up Malling Down on Sunday evening. Marbled Whites in profusion but not sitting still! I saw this pair of Gatekeepers on the way down. (Nigel Symington)
We have been managing Coldean Woods for five years now and the work we have put in, along with the impact of Chalara on the Ash, has made this violet rich woodland a prime location for colonisation by the Silver-washed Fritillary. Last year I observed a single individual scouting the woodland. This year the woodland is much more open and as I walked my dogs through on the 6th July I thought that its about then that we could expect to see some SWF investigating the woods. No sooner had I thought this when a female made herself apparent and spent 20 mins ovipositing on trees at 2 metres above ground level. I managed to get a couple of images with my iPhone. Happy days indeed - two woodland success in one week! (Dr Dan Danahar)
Monday 09 July
I went to the Kithurst Hill flower meadow this evening hoping to see some roosting Chalkhill Blues. I didn't manage to spot any but I got photos of a Comma, Marbled White and Small (or Essex) Skipper. (John Williams)
On the last tree on my walk I just found a Yellow-tail moth (?). (Istvan Radi)
I just finished a short walk in Wild Park, Brighton and found this dry pupa with this black dry something in it. It looks like a dead butterfly's or month's body stuck in the pupa. Any ideas what it might be? (Istvan Radi)
Neil Hulme writes "Istvan’s image shows the remnants of the chrysalis case (black) of a burnet moth, poking out from the cocoon (straw-coloured) within which the caterpillar pupated, and from which the emergent adult has escaped." Thanks Neil. (Ed jnr)
Roedean Old 9-hole Site. Lots and lots of Meadow Browns, Small Whites, Essex Skippers and Six-spot Burnet Moths. Also, 1 Peacock, 12 Marbled Whites and 4 Small Blues.
The Butterfly Bank area has now Wild Marjoram, Scabious, Knapweed and Wild Carrot pushing up through the Kidney Vetch which is going to seed. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
I was working in the garden all day and by tea-time realised I had recorded 15 butterfly species, the high-lights being two sightings of male Dark Green Fritillary and freshly-emerged Brown Argus in the meadow. I haven't seen a Peacock for around two months and then there was one in flight yesterday and four on the Buddleia today. Twenty butterfly species seen in the past 5 days. (Martin Kalaher)
In North Lancing I saw my first Hummingbird Hawk- moth of the year and my first ever Rosy Footman, a real stunner!
Ah Rosy Footman, I am sure I went to school with her....(Ed jnr)
Matthew Oates and I led another two Knepp Safaris to see the Purple Emperor over the weekend, seeing 34 on Saturday and 37 on Sunday. Most of the males are now looking tired, and activity is largely restricted to afternoons and evenings. On Sunday we managed to get very close to a male emperor on a head-height sap bleed; he had only three legs and one foot in the grave, but provided us with the opportunity for images of some interesting behavioral activity. A 'tumbledown' female (rejecting a male's advances) also allowed us to get very close, as she sat quietly on Bramble flowers until the coast was clear. Plenty of others butterflies were also present, including Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Purple Hairstreak and golden skippers. (Neil Hulme)
In my back Hailsham garden at 5.15am, just rescued an Elephant Hawk-moth from a spider’s web on the honeysuckle. It flew off quite happily and I can go back to bed. Hope I got the spelling correct this time, I copied from the BC website? (Kerry Baldwin)
Two gold stars for you: one for rescuing the moth and the other for spelling its name properly. (Ed jnr)
Sunday 08 July
Several other schemes for the day came to nothing so we spent more time in our back garden in Hove than usual. As usual we didn't see great numbers of anything but unusually we had a lot of variety. The hot weather has encouraged butterflies to wander far and wide and Wish Park just behind our fence is much more butterfly friendly. First up before 9.00am was a Small White and they were in and out all day along with a few Large Whites. A Speckled Wood soon followed and hung around a bit in their preferred area, making a short appearance again in the afternoon. The surprise guest mid morning, nectaring on some blue flowers, was a Marbled White, but once gone it didn't return. (We have had one before, a long time ago.) I noticed a Peacock on our buddleia. It powered past us again several times during the day. A small darkish butterfly seen by Val on clover on the grass was a female Common Blue. Then a couple of skippers turned up. It wasn't until the sun went in a bit that one of them settled and could be identified as an Essex Skipper. Next up, a Ringlet which visited several times but infuriatingly wouldn't stop. Fortunately we'd seen enough Ringlets and Meadow Browns flying at Balcombe a few days ago to be sure of its identity and when a Meadow Brown passed through later we were convinced about that too. There had been occasional flashes of orange from a Comma which came to rest during another cloudy moment. The final one we could be sure of was a Holly Blue in the afternoon. Val also saw a large washed-out orange butterfly which was probably a Painted Lady. So that's 11 different - maybe 12 - which is a record for one day in our garden. (John & Val Heys)
I went to Friston Gallops this evening. It was alive with butterflies. I saw Chalk Hill Blues, Small Skippers, Peacocks, Commas, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns. Dark Green Fritillaries, Marbled Whites,Small Coppers, Whites and a Brown Argus. (katrina watson)
I visited Iping Common to see Silver-studded Blue around lunchtime today and managed to see 12, mainly between the car park and trig point. Most but not all were very warn. I then headed off to Woolbeding Common to explore. The views were immense; Heyshott Down west to beyond Butser Hill in a place they call Hampshire, Selbourne Hangers and the sandstone hills which almost surround Milland. Butterflies were plentiful Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Skippers, Whites, Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Hairstreak, But the highlight were unexpected Purple Emperor, I counted 6 around a group of Oak, there were probably more. All flying to the North West of the difficult to find trig point at Older Hill. The whole area is well worth a visit. (Patrick Moore)
I found this strange butterfly in my Shoreham garden. Amazingly it was alive and kicking and keen to get away, showing how resilient these insects are. Now if only I knew what species it was.... (Jonathan Crawford)
This morning I visited Botany Bay hoping to see and photograph Wood Whites and perhaps a Purple Emperor or two. I arrived at 08.30 and left at 11.20 hrs. During the time I was at the habitat I saw about 10 Wood Whites and a single worn and damaged Purple Emperor on the ground near the Triangle. Purple Emperors on the ground were also seen by others present. (Douglas Neve)
These Wood Whites were of course in Surrey. (Ed jnr)
Went for a well overdue summer stroll up and around Seaford Golf Course and down to the Rathfinny Estate. It's been about a year since my last report and it took me ages to get my eye in again for the little ones. But thankfully got there. I saw Brown Argus, Common Blue, Comma, Skippers (not sure if Essex, Small or Large as lost my touch), Large White, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Small Heath, Small White and Speckled Wood.Enjoyed it very much. (Nick Linazasoro)
A walk around Cissbury this morning hoping to see Dark Green Fritillaries was unsuccessful, though there were plenty of other butterflies including Silver-washed Fritillaries, Common Blues and Chalk Hill Blues. There were a lot of female Brimstones and the odd male. On the way home I stopped to admire the expansive everlasting pea at Beeding Cement works. (Jonathan Crawford)
Yesterday (7th July) I walked a circular route from Horsley Farm, West Marden almost reaching Compton Down (SU7614) and back to West Marden. A total of 14 different species were recorded during the walk which took me two and a half hours. Totals: Brimstone 4M 3F, Large White 11, Small White 56, Green-veined White 1, Holly Blue 1, Gatekeeper 2, Marbled White 7, Meadow Brown 32, Ringlet 4, Speckled Wood 6, Comma 3, Red Admiral 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 1, Small Skipper 2. (Roy Symonds)
Really lovely walk along the Green Ridge this morning led by Jamie Burston. Essex Skippers seem to have taken over Brighton this year and Green Ridge was no exception, hundreds of them, so unfortunately all my decent photos are of them (different angles though!). Also seen were several Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, whites (including a Green-veined White), Peacock, Comma, five spot burnet moth and right at the end of walk a female Red Admiral visited the bramble next to us. Jamie spotted a second brood Common Blue as well. Hope I haven't missed anything. Thanks Jamie for a lovely walk, although it was baking up there. Once again I noticed how resilient to drought grassland like that is - the long grass is brown but down near the ground everything is still green and lush - in contrast to everywhere that has has been mown. (Sylvia Davidson)
Fishbourne: I have this butterfly resting inside the house on my kitchen wall. I don't recognise it so would appreciate it if you could advise. (Chantelle Whittle)
Thanks for you sighting, Chantelle. It is not a butterfly. It is a Swallow tailed moth. These start out as pale yellow and as they age turn whiter. Theya re usually nocturnal. (Ed jnr)
more photos (Istvan Radi)
Seaford Head was buzzing with butterflies yesterday morning. I didn't count but lots of Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, all kind of Skippers, Gatekeepers, Small and Large Whites, one Red Admiral, one Peacock, a few Commas and Painted Ladies and a fritillary. Then I walked down to Cuckmere Haven and along the river up High and Over. Along the river there were dozens of different Skippers feeding on the purple flower down on the riverbank (very low tide). Here I saw one Skipper what was much brighter than any I have seen before but as I couldn't get a picture of it I dare not say that it was a Silver-spotted. I also found two blues what are the first ones in a while. Up at High and Over apart from the beautiful view I didn't see much just the same species as before but less abundant in numbers. (Istvan Radi)
Over the past two days there have been 17 butterfly species in my Storrington garden. There has been an influx of Large Whites, many Brimstone have emerged with 3 males and 2 females yesterday, and others such as a second-brood Small Copper and a second-brood male Common Blue. (Martin Kalaher)
Saturday 07 July
In my garden in West Hove today this Comma on my black currant plant 10+ whites on or around the nasturtiums (Michael Church)
A stroll around Southwater woods at lunchtime today revealed 16 butterfly species including 3 Purple Emperor and plentiful numbers of Purple Hairstreak tree topping apart from 1 which luckily visited a low lying Oak branch right next to me. Several Silver-washed Fritillary visited the ground looking for moisture or minerals. Other highlights were White Admiral and large numbers of Gatekeeper and Marbled White in the meadows. (Patrick Moore)
For anyone who is joining me for the "Green Ridge - Marbled Meadow" walk tomorrow (Sunday 8th), regarding health and safety, please can I remind everyone to bring drinks with them to stay hydrated during the hot temperatures forecast. Should you want to buy drinks or food locally there is the Hill Top Café near our meeting point on Dyke Road Avenue. If doing so I would advise that you arrive 10 minutes early so to be ready for the 10.30am start. Please also consider skin protection as the site is mostly open, with limited areas of shade, wearing a hat would be a good idea. Many thanks. (Jamie Burston http://www.keeptheridgegreen.com/)
It was good to be back on Mill Hill for the transect this morning. Fifteen species of butterfly and I was particularly pleased to see 8 Chalk Hill Blues and a couple of second brood Common Blues. The dominant species were Gatekeeper and Meadow Browns, though the Marbled Whites put on a good show. After that it was along to Ashdown Forest for the Silver-studded Blues. Arriving in the morning, I could not match the 150 or so seen by Mark and Ian Cadey earlier in the day, but still recorded enough to make the trip worthwhile. (Jonathan Crawford)
In an early morning walk (7.30 am) at Ditchling country park saw plenty of Purple Hairstreaks whizzing around the canopy. Managed to get a few terrible shots of one that came down slightly lower. I saw what I'm pretty certain was a Purple Emperor - it flew towards me over my head turned and flew away from me at my height for a while before disappearing up into the canopy so got a pretty good look at it. I've never seen one before and this had all the right characteristics - size, pattern, flight type etc. I didn't know they were here, is it likely to be one? Also saw a couple of White Admirals, and lots of Large Skippers, Gatekeepers, Ringlets, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Large White, Small White, Peacock and Silver-washed Fritillary. Got a photo of a Gold Swift moth - I think they are quite common and love bracken, but its a lovely looking moth. (Sylvia Davidson)
White-letter Hairstreak seen in my Steyning garden this morning.... plus Marbled White and Hummingbird Hawk Moth. (Ray Baker)
A Comma, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Small Whites, Essex Skippers, Gatekeepers, lots of Meadow Browns plus, for the first time here, a White-letter Hairstreak, seen in an Alfriston downland garden today. (Tony Gould)
We live in the North Heath area of Horsham which is now fairly suburban. We had a huge surprise this morning when a Marbled White (probably male) appeared in our small garden. We assume we are a long way from any breeding area and there is hardly any breeze today so where it came from is anybody's guess! We are seeing Holly Blues & Large Whites every day and the occasional Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown & Gatekeeper. (Chris & John Hamilton)
We walked our two WCBS lines at Balcombe yesterday (6/7/18) seeing about twice as many butterflies as last year (7/7/17) although a little less variety. Nothing was settling and it was very hard to tell battered Meadow Browns from faded Ringlets or the types of skipper. The totals for both lines were:- Large White 4, Small White 31, Green-veined White 2, Meadow Brown 103, Ringlet 16, Gatekeeper 6, Common Blue 1, Purple Hairstreak 1, skippers 15. None of the skippers appeared to be large and the only one Val had a fair look at was a Small Skipper, so they'll go down as small on the WCBS record, but last year in the same part of the walk the only one we identified was an Essex Skipper, therefore the 15 could have been a mixture of both. There is nothing worse in butterfly identification than chasing little skippers around when you've just had a bit of laser eye surgery and have blobs floating around an eye! Away from the two lines, we saw plenty more butterflies, the only different types being a Red Admiral and a Silver-washed Fritillary. A good way to spend the wedding anniversary. (John & Val Heys)
Purple Emperor activity on the Knepp Wildland has now become sporadic, with afternoons and evenings being by far the best times to watch the butterfly, particularly around oaks which bleed sap. There is now very little activity on hot, sunny mornings. However, numbers remain high and the sport can still be spectacular if you're in the right place at the right time. During a half-day safari on Thursday 5 July we managed a total of 60 emperors (and a very nice female Purple Hairstreak down low) and a more extensive search on Friday 6 July gave me a total of 81, including several empresses sitting in scrub and a middle-aged male on the ground. As the Knepp Purple Emperor season moves into its later stages, the Brown Hairstreak flight is already starting. (Neil Hulme)
Sitting with my coffee at 8am in my garden in Prince Edwards Road in the Wallands part of Lewes when I was amazed to see a White Admiral swoop around and then sit sunning itself on ivy only a few feet away! Have only seen them at Ashcombe Bottom previously. (Ray Pyne)
West St Leonards on Sea. A Holly Blue on Blackberry Flowers near an Ivy covered fence in my rear garden. Is this a second brood? (Janet Wilkes)
Yes (Ed jnr)
Yesterday , July 6th I rode my bike up to Hollingbury. I arrived at 1230 I was interested to note there wasn’t a single White-letter Hairstreak, on the area I’d seen dozens only a few days ago. I spotted 4 Marbled Whites, 2 Commas, 20+ Essex Skippers, 2 Speckled Woods, Large Whites, Small Whites, a few Green-veined Whites, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths, Ringlets were plentiful. 1 Fritillary. I did the adjoining wood, including the allowable part of the golf course. Have to say I was slightly disappointed as the conditions seemed very favourable, but in Hove overnight there had been rain and it was very wet early doors. (Michael Church)
Friday 06 July
I visited Knepp this morning hoping to see Purple Emperors but I only saw one, flying from an oak tree into some Sallows. But I did get a nice picture of a Small White, which I actually have fewer of than shots of Purple Emperors! I then went to the Kithurst flower meadow, where I saw my first Chalk Hill Blues of the year and some fresh Brimstones. (John Williams)
So on Monday (2nd July) I had pupils measuring light intensity, temperature and humidity - at ground level, in the school woodland, to demonstrate the influence of managing woodland structure on the physical environment. Suddenly a White-letter Hairstreak flew down onto a coppice stool and before I could get close enough to take a photo, if flew off. Then in the next glade I saw a female (see iPhone image) desperately trying to get nectar from flowerless bramble fruits.
I returned twenty minutes later, once I had discharged my responsibility for my pupils. I then looked into the canopy of the large Elm that is closest to were I saw the Hairstreaks and lo and behold there were hairstreaks having dog fights all over the canopy.
After 18 years of managing this woodland with the White-letter Hairstreak in mind, I can firmly say, we now have an established colony. This is one of the most exciting developments I have had in my habitat restoration career because its woodland based as opposed to that which I am most commonly recognised for - chalk grassland restoration. The images included here are of some courtship and are frames taken from a video filmed with my iPhone.
I returned to the woodland on Wednesday (4th July) to see more dogfights above yet another Elm within the same woodland. Happy days. (Dr Dan Danahar)
A walk round Lancing Ring and the northern half of Steep Down. 20 butterfly species with highlights 160 Meadow Brown, 96 Marbled White, 63 Ringlet, 48 Gatekeeper, 29 Peacock, 10 Comma, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Red Admiral, 4 Green-veined White, 2 Small Heath, Holly Blue, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Brimstone. I must admit I didn't look for Brown Hairstreak today, but I will tomorrow! (Lindsay Morris)
Visited Markstakes common early yesterday. Quiet at first but more action as the weather warmed up. In a clearing Purple Hairsteaks were low on the bracken. Plenty of Hedge Browns (aka Gatekeepers), Large Skippers half a dozen Silver-washed Fritillaries and a couple of White Admirals. Moved on to Hollingbury Park. Two very worn White-letter Hairstreak ,several Commas,a Peacock and many Essex Skippers. (Jonathan Warner)
A morning stroll through Lewes Railway land yielded plenty of Peacocks, Ringlets, Meadow Brown, Commas, Gatekeepers and the occasional white (most of which looked quite large) flypast. The buddleia is just getting going here and in previous years I have found this area to be excellent for Peacocks. Out on the brooks the large mounds of bramble were very busy with Gatekeepers and Commas. Blackberries look like they will be good this year as well. (Sylvia Davidson)
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
(contamination of previous report) (Colin Knight)
Last night a record 14 moths were attracted to our balcony light, including 5 new species: Blastobasis species, Buff Ermine (Spilosoma luteum), Cloaked Minor (Mesoligia furuncula), Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata), Dark Bordered Pearl (Evergestis limbata), Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis heparana), Double-striped Tabby (Orthopygia glaucinalis), Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis), White-line Dart (Euxoa tritici), Marsh Dowd (Blastobasis rebeli), Riband Wave (Idaea aversata ab remutata), Rosy Tabby (Endotricha flammealis), Ruddy Streak (Tachystola acroxantha), White Satin (Leucoma salicis). (Colin Knight)
Brown Hairstreak spotted at Knepp at 9.25am today July6. Matthew Oates reckons it's the earliest ever sighting (July7 was the previous record, also at Knepp) (David Hasell)
Robertsbridge and Hurst Green. A look at the Elms in the Millennium Field failed to locate White-letter Hairstreak.
A Gatekeeper on Blackberry Blossom on the footpath opposite and several Ringlets seen from the path en route to the allotments
A Red Admiral around the Café area at Planters Garden and Farm Shop A21 Hurst Green
Hastings Country Park, Barley Lane Car Park. 2 White-letter Hairstreaks flying around the top of the Wych Elm at the entrance to the Car Park. Tree canopy very dense could not see them showing on leaves. A dog fight took place. This site was suggested to me as a possible by my friend Laraine who also saw the Hairstreaks. I will continue to check this site (Janet Wilkes)
Thursday 05 July
Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Comma and White-letter Hairstreak enjoying the late afternoon sunshine in Hollingbury Park (Tony Gould)
I forgot to mention that while I was out with Jamie looking for hairstreaks on Tuesday 3rd July, Val had to go down to George Street (approx TQ287049 virtually in the centre of Hove's urban area) where she saw a Marbled White. If anyone else can recall seeing a Marbled White here before I shall be as surprised as if the Albion win the Premier League next season. (John & Val Heys)
A (sadly dead) White Admiral, in excellent condition, was found on my indoor kitchen windowsill on the morning of 5th July.
There is no actual woodland in the immediate vicinity, but our large garden has many mature trees. I have never (so far) seen one flying in the garden. Address - Rectory Lane, Clapham, BN13 3UU (Sally Morris)
First impressions can be deceptive! Initially I thought the moth on top of my new ALS Robinson trap this morning was a Dark Crimson Underwing, however I had some nagging doubts which were confirmed later that it was a Light Crimson Underwing. Either way the new kit has paid off already! (Chris Ball)
Two days ago I had a male Dark Green Fritillary in the garden meadow. That brings the annual total for the garden to 29 species. As last year I counted 85 Brown Hairstreak eggs in the garden I'm confident of reaching the magic 30, the same as 2017. Clouded Yellow would make it 31. Today I did my weekly tramp across Chantry Hill. Mostly for the Dark Green Fritillary count but also to see what else was around. I counted 67 DGFs, up from 31 just six days ago. There were no females last week but at least 8 this week. The variety was less this week, as follows: Marbled White (500), Small Skipper (450), Meadow Brown (400), Small Heath (150), Large and Small White, Brimstone (2m), just one male Common Blue. Back home my first Brimstone for a month or more (a male), Small Copper and a very attractive Painted Lady, which was so pristine it has to be locally-born (and not a migrant). (Martin Kalaher)
Five Silver-studded Blues at TQ472294, including a mating pair. (Steve and Noah Wheatley)
A friend of mine was staying with me for a few days. This friend got me in to butterflies over fifty years ago. We relived the old days by spending a lovely afternoon at two sites.
Hollingbury Park. 12 White-letter Hairstreaks. 1 Marbled White. 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Lots of Large and Small Whites. Lots of Ringlets and Meadow Browns. 7 Commas. 8 Small or Essex Skippers.
Ditchling Common. Lots of Purple Hairstreaks flitting around almost every Oak tree. 1 White Admiral. 7 Silver-washed Fritillaries. Lots of Large and Small Whites and Small and Essex Skippers. Lots of Ringlets and Meadow Browns. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
The Knepp Wildland felt very different today (4 July). Admittedly, I covered much less ground than during recent monitoring visits, but my day-count of 181 Purple Emperor was disproportionately lower. Although I saw one 'Benny Hill chase' of seven, clashes involving more than a pair were rare. The regular bundles of four, five and six or more already seem a distant memory. The head of steam has been lost; they are suddenly getting lazy. I have no doubt that there will be more fireworks to come, but they can no longer be expected. The same thing happens every season, reflecting completion of the female emergence.
However, the numbers present remain huge. Knepp has set the bar so high that we have come to know this species, at least here, as a quite common butterfly of scrub and hedgerows; a butterfly of the wider countryside. Of course the emperor will never be Common, but neither will things ever be the same again, and that is something to celebrate.
On the way back to the car I saw my fourth tumbledown (rejection drop) of the day. She landed on some Bracken and peered down on me as I edged below her. There is still life in the season yet, but there is now more of an urgency to squeeze every possible moment from this momentous emperor year. (Neil Hulme)
Thanks to David Bridges, who took me on a walk into a private wood near Slinfold yesterday. Target species was the White Admiral, but this hadn't read the text book: although there had been many there a couple of days before, we saw only two. The Purple Emperor had not been recorded in this wood previously, but we first saw one high up and then another came and sat in a tree above us for several minutes. Star of the day had to be the Silver-washed Fritillary: we lost count when we had seen over 50, mostly freshly emerged males but with one or two females. (nigel symington)
Wednesday 04 July
I realise that this picture of a Purple Emperor is not the most fantastic or interesting that you will ever see, BUT, this Purple Emperor was in St Leonards Forest, Horsham. The first Purple Emperor I have ever seen in the forest, despite staking out good looking areas for a many a year. Hopefully there will be many more! (Patrick Moore)
Not great pictures but I decided to send them in from the other day when I visited Ditchling Common. (Istvan Radi)
some more pictures (Istvan Radi)
I again went for a walk in Wild Park today where I saw 2x Silver-washed Fritillary, about two dozens of Marbled White, a lot of Meadow Brown, all kind of Skippers, 5-6 Comma, a number of Small White, Large White and Ringlet, Gatekeepers, one Red Admiral, one Peacock, and I am probably forgetting to mention some more as usual...
Then I tried my luck in Hollingbury Park and this time beside plenty of other species I found 2 White-letter Hairstreak feeding on Thistle. One of them was rather broken but the other one was a nice looking individual. I also saw a beautifully shiny green bug what I believe to be a Cetonia aurata (Green rose chafer). I am not sure if that is a good thing to have them around but that green color is just beautiful... (Istvan Radi)
Roedean Cliff Top. Right opposite Roedean Cafe there is a particularly floriferous area which this afternoon was alive with Meadow Browns, Whites and Skippers. I managed to capture a couple of Essex Skippers performing. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
Very short walk in Beckley Wood late morning. In first 200 yards counted 8 species, White Admiral,Gate Keeper, Purple Hairstreak , Silver-washed Fritillary in good numbers, Peacock, Comma ,Large Whites and Small Whites. Further along the ride Small Skipper and Large Skipper , Ringlet, Small Heath and a very battered Meadow Brown. Large numbers of Common Darter dragonfly, also seen golden ringed dragon fly and Brown Hawker. several very blue and very fast not identified. My best day for a long while. (Graham Grimmett)
Spotted this Gatekeeper in the wooded area near to Burton Mill Pond, which is near to the village of Duncton. (Graham Hicks)
Visited Crowhurst RSPB reserve yesterday. Many Silver Washed Fritillaries as well White Admirals and Purple Hairstreaks .Monday went to Knepp where plenty of Purple Emperors as reported, as well as Purple Hairstreaks, a few White Admirals and one Silver-washed Fritillary. Lots of the common species. On Saturday did a walk on the downs around the Long Man of Wilmington. Large numbers of Dark Green Fritillaries, Marbled Whites and one Chalkhill Blue. Today had a female Silver-washed Fritillary in my garden in Sedlescombe. (Jonathan Warner)
Our first Chalk Hill Blue sightings of 2018.
Five at TV558960 on the roadside path between Birling Gap and Horseshoe Plantation. Also, one in an East Dean garden TV560983.
The path between Birling and Horseshoe also had 5 Dark Green Fritillary, a similar number of Common Blue and circa 50 Silver Y. The East side of the plantation also had circa 50 Silver Y plus half a dozen White-letter Hairstreak and a Red Admiral.
Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Marbled White, Large-Small-Essex Skippers in good numbers. A Painted Lady at TV566955 (David & Carole Jode)
Yesterday morning I joined Mark Colvin at Houghton Forest for a Purple Emperor search. We saw several, including a female on the ground. There were also White Admirals, Meadow Browns, mating Ringlets and Red Admirals. moths seen: Common Cloaked Shoot (Gypsonoma dealbana), Common Emerald (Hemithea aestivaria), White-faced Twist (Pandemis cinnamomeana). Littlehampton moths on our balcony: Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella), Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella), Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria) and Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria). (Colin Knight)
Streat, Hassocks, Sussex: I wish to report sighting one White-letter Hairstreak butterfly on a young oak tree outside my back door. (Stuart Fisher)
My husband and I spotted a large bright orange butterfly at the Singleton open air museum, near the near the Boarhunt medieval Hall. It fluttered quickly around us for several minutes. It didn't land. We could see no markings on it at all. It didn't look like a moth. It almost looked tropical. Any ideas (Lyn Morum)
Without a photo i can't be certain but I suspect it is a Comma butterfly. The early summer hatchining (hutchinsoni ) is much lighter and brighter than later broods. In the summer sun they can look very orange. The flight behaviour is also indicative of the Comma at this time of year. There seem to be quite a few about this year and I too have been surprised at how exotic they can appear. (Ed jnr)
Tuesday 03 July
A few photos form a breezy but warm and sunny afternoon walk in the Steep Down, Lancing Hill/ Ring area. I counted at least 12 White-letter Hairstreak high in the Elms at Cow Bottom to the west of Applesham Farm as reported here earlier. (Patrick Moore)
Two locations in Ashdown Forest to see the silver studded blues. A triangular route between Ellisons Ponds to Camp Hill and Old Lodge yielded only a plethora of skippers and Meadow Browns plus a Red Admiral and a Large White. It was quite breezy and party cloudy.
The sun was fully out and the temperature 25 degrees when we arrived at Poundgate car Park and within 50 yards on the north side of the road we had seen at least 2 males and 3 female silver studded blues. I was only there for 20mins so I am sure that a closer inspection would have uncovered more. (Martin Buck)
Jamie Burston & I did a marathon Hove White-letter Hairstreak tour between 10.00am and 4pm today. As I set off at 9.10am to pick him up I spied a Gatekeeper in our front garden on New Church Road, which I took as a good omen as we don't see many butterflies there. In Wish Park Jamie spotted 2 White-letter Hairstreaks, one near the south west corner and one above the east cafe/pavilion. As we returned to my house Jamie spotted a third in a street elm on New Church Road. In my back garden I spotted one which was suddenly there on the lawn as if by magic. I let Jamie take most of the pictures & I'll post a couple of them. Jamie popped in to St Leonard's Churchyard (where there is a huge DED elm which needs removing) but didn't see any hairstreaks. Next stop was Hove Cemetery (north side) where we think we saw 2 more hairstreaks. Hove Recreation Ground was more productive: certainly 9 and probably 12, mostly on the north side (eg just north of a big white dead tree trunk) with a couple of pairs rising up in combat. Jamie got a good picture of a distant hairstreak here which I couldn't see with the naked eye. Jamie hasn't visited any of these sites before, but he has been to Hove Park although he didn't see any hairstreaks on that occasion. However, this time he spotted at least 16 mostly in ones and twos, spread widely over the park's elms. So that comes to 29 definite sightings plus a further possible 2. Miscellaneous Meadow Browns, large and Small Whites, 2 Commas, a Gatekeeper and a skipper were around on our travels. My final enigmatic picture is all that remains of a Small White I was watching as it met a hungry magpie. Snap and it was gone. If I've got any of this muddled up, I hope Jamie will post any necessary corrections or additions. It's been a relief to compose all this while missing England's extra time and the first 4 penalties against Columbia. Far too much tension. I did go back in to see the Columbian miss and Eric Dier's winner. I'm still quivering with shock! (John Heys)
I went to Hollingbury Park, Brighton to see white letter hairstreaks after work last week. Loads of them on the thistles possible twenty plus individuals. Saw three on one plant at one point. I also saw one settle on an elm leaf. It walked over to the underside and laid an egg I think. I think you can see the newly laid glistening clear egg in the photo. I spent a long time using rapid shutter firing to try and get one with the wings open. Just about succeeded. (Tim Squire)
Arlington Reservoir. Gatekeepers on the Blackberry bushes opposite the wildflower meadow and in the hedge opposite the fishing lodge. (Janet Wilkes)
Ashenground & Bolnore Woods, Haywards Heath: Hoping to see the Marbled White that flew by me the other day but no such luck. However, there were Small and Large Skippers, a Brimstone, Comma, Speckled Wood and saw my first Gatekeepers of the year. (Kim Berry)
tue 03/07/2018. I went back to Shermanreed Wood, Snatts Road, Uckfield. to try and see if I could find a Purple Emperor territory, after seeing a female egg laying there on Sunday the 30th. I arrived on site at 11.20am, saw 4x Silver washed Fritillaries, 30+ Meadow Browns, 30+ Marbled Whites, 10+ Ringlets, 4x Commas, 5x Large Whites, 2x Small Whites, 1x Green veined White, 6x Purple Hairstreaks, 4x Speckled Woods, 4x Holly Blues, 4x Large Skippers and 1x Brimstone. then at 12.44pm 1x Purple Emperor (m) flying around crown of an oak, and again at 12.50pm. then I went for a wander around looking for other possible territory sites, but none found, so back to oaks, 1.44pm/1.46pm/1.49pm/1.51pm male flying in area. then at 1.53pm 2x Purple Emperors chasing over trees, and again at 1.54pm. I saw twos at 2.08pm/2.11pm/2.13pm, and more just the territory holder flying in his domain and settling at times, but he never settled long enough for me to get a photo though, I last saw him sortie over territory at 2.28pm & 2.32pm then I left at 2.35pm. the breeze was from the NE, the territory oaks were blowing about at times but the PE soared in his kingdom. (Peter Farrant)
A wander round Lancing Ring and Steep Down accounted for my first Dark Green Fritillary of this year, but no Chalk Hill Blue yet. Other highlights among the sixteen butterfly species seen were 152 Marbled White, 32 Gatekeeper, 16 Peacock, 10 Red Admiral, 6 Comma, 5 Small Tortoiseshell. Is this unremitting northeasterly wind going to blow the World Cup from Russia to England? (Lindsay Morris)
I took this picture two days ago in Wild Park and I was sure that it was a Small Skipper but the more I look at it the less certain I am... Could it be an Essex Skipper? It has black enough antennae... Thank you.
I also visited Ditchling Common for the first time and I got to see my first ever Purple Hairstreak (around 15 of them), also a first was the White Admiral (4 of them), lots of Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Large and Small Skippers, Ringlets, Commas, Brimstone, Large White, Marbled White, Gatekeepers and a fritillary. I have to come back for the Purple Emperor as I did not see one today. (Istvan Radi)
I think you can call that an Essex Skipper, Istvan. (Ed jnr)
My third visit to Markstakes Common early this morning and I was delighted when a Purple Emperor landed nearby in an oak tree as I photographed some of the plentiful Purple Hairstreaks in Heather Glade (see the Friends of Markstakes Common website for maps). Also 10+ Silver-washed Fritillary and 3 White Admiral seen; plus Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Large and Small Whites, Large Skipper and Speckled Woods. (Polly Mair)
Today (2nd July) in very hot sunshine, the temperature reaching 28°C, I visited Stansted Forest (SU7410). I walked most of the mian tracks completing a Figure of Eight circuit. Ivisit this site usually early or late in the season, but found it to be abound with butterflies, with 14 different species recorded. I was pleased to see 7 White Admirals, the most I have seen in total here before, along with fresh Silver Washed Fritillarys and Marbled Whites.
Totals: Brimstone 2M 2F, Large White 8, Small White 20, Green-veined White 1, Holly Blue 1, Marbled White 17, Meadow Brown 20, Small Heath 3, Speckled Wood 5, Comma 1, Red Admiral 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 26, White Admiral 7, Small Skipper 3. (Roy Symonds)
A thorough survey of the entire Knepp Wildland Southern Block has achieved our highest count yet; a massive 388 Purple Emperors. 66 were counted on the Green Lane transect and a total of 16 females were seen. I watched 11 'tumble downs' (when already-mated Empresses spiral down to the ground, trying to shake off amorous males), which mostly occurred in the vicinity of 'feeder trees' (those oaks hosting multiple sap bleeds, encouraging large, boisterous drinking parties). At one such tree ('Rosemary's Tree') I enjoyed a chase of nine males, spiraling tightly around my head (at c.7pm). Earlier, beside a small wooden bridge on Green Lane, I watched six dogfights occurring simultaneously, two of which comprised three males; that's 14 emperors in view at the same time! I ran out of unsearched areas of the Southern Block long before the butterflies became less active at 8pm. Had I not taken a significant break earlier in the day, to chase White-letter Hairstreaks, I would undoubtedly have had time to move into the Middle and Northern Blocks, probably enabling a count in excess of 400 Purple Emperors. However, the route I took allowed me to observe something I've never seen before; just before 8pm I found a mating pair of hutchinsoni (summer brood) Comma. Knepp continues to amaze. (Neil Hulme)
Matthew Oates and I have started our 2018 Knepp Purple Emperor Safari campaign in good form, which is hardly surprising given the excellent weather and unprecedented numbers of the butterfly. A full-day outing on Saturday 30 June gave us a count of 87, followed by a half-day tally of 56 on Sunday 1 July. Numbers are now at peak and although more females will emerge, the males are probably all out now. It's great to see so many people enjoying the Spectacle. There are plenty of other species showing well too, including more White Admirals than usual. In the last few days we've also seen large increases in the numbers of Comma and Purple Hairstreak, the latter best viewed in the evenings. (Neil Hulme)
Yesterday (2nd July) we had our Knepp moment - 6 butterflies in our Hove back garden at the same time. In 30 years I can't recall ever having so many all at once. OK, so the were whites, but excitingly they were 2 Large Whites, 3 Small Whites and a very fresh Green-veined White. We'd just bought a rather small flower that butterflies are supposed to like and one actually nectared on it. Result! Between 11am and 12.30pm we also had a White-letter Hairstreak visiting our brambles and lawn, although it was very tricky to get a good picture - I had to do a lot of grovelling. Only one out of 22 was really clear. (John & Val Heys)
Monday 02 July
An early morning visit to Markstakes Common on Sunday was notable for the hundreds of Purple Hairstreaks present across the site. At around 7am, many were warming themselves low down on the bracken - becoming more frisky as the day (rapidly) warmed up. Also seen were 3+ Silver-washed Fritillary, 1 White Admiral, 1 Red Admiral, 2+ Speckled Wood, numerous Meadow Browns, 2 Gatekeeper, 1 Ringlet, 2 Marbled White, 1+ Large White and 1+ Small White. (Chris Bird)
Stopped at Ditchling Common to, hopefully, get my first photo of a Purple Hairstreak. Saw plenty up in the tops of the oaks, but none close enough for me to get my photo, so I had to make do with this Purple Emperor that accosted me along the woodland pathway :) (Vincent Oates)
Purple Emperors are clearly like buses you wait for years to see one on the ground at Knepp and then you get two. A pair made three spiralling chases from the canopy down to ground level and both touch down for perhaps a fifth of a second. (Bob North)
Westhampnett,Nr Chichester: Saw a Purple Emperor(?) in our garden which used to be a woodland but they have left oak trees at the rear and around the estate. It was beautiful.
Walking from Jack & Jill Windmills at Clayton across the South Downs Way towards Ditchling Beacon, as far as the first dew pond: Multitudes of Meadow Browns, Large White, Marbled White, Small and Large Skippers, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady and Small Heath (Kim Berry)
After visiting Levin Down I walked Inham's Lane, West Stoke (SU835089) where the large hedgerows provide a good place to watch butterflies. The tempertare here reaced 27°C where the following were recorded: Large White 4, Small White 9, Green-veined White 1, Meadow Brown 3. (Roy Symonds)
Today in the hot conditions I visited Levin Down (SU886133), where the temperature reached 26°C. I walked the main paths around the site where many Meadow Browns were flying as well as Marbled Whites. A total of ten species were recorded. Totals: Large White 4, Small White 7, Marbled White 16, Meadow Brown 43, Small Heath 6, Speckled Wood 2, Red Admiral 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 1, Large Skipper 1, Small Skipper 1. (Roy Symonds)
I saw 17 species during a 2 hour visit to Friston Gallops this morning: Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Dark Green Fritillary, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Marbled White, Small Heath, Small Blue, Small Copper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper and my first of the year of both Gatekeeper and Chalk Hill Blue. (Andy Wilson)
Yesterday I enjoyed a visit Martin Kalahar's open garden event. I was impressed by his famous butterfly meadow, I can now imagine it when he gives his regular reports on this page. There were many Six-spot Burnets and some Marbled Whites and others. Thanks for your hospitality Martin. The warm evenings continue to bring moths to our balcony light: a Scopariinae species micro, Small Dusty Wave (Idaea seriata), two Swallow-tailed Moths (Ourapteryx sambucaria) and a White Satin (Leucoma salicis). (Colin Knight)
100s of Meadow Brown, dozens of Marbled Whites, plus Gatekeepers, Small Skippers (I think), along footpath between Howick Farm and Tisman's, TQ075309 (Quentin Given)
Thank you to Martin Kalaher for opening his wildlife garden to BC yesterday. I drove down from Surrey and was not disappointed. Martin spent lots of time showing people his wildflower garden which hopefully will be an inspiration to others to provide some wildflower habitat.
sun 01/07/2018. UCKFIELD TURNS PURPLE. Shermanreed Wood, Snatts Road. I've looked in this field before when visiting the cemetery at this time of year and not seen anything but its always looked promising, we entered the field at 12.11pm and had a wander around, then at 12.21pm I saw a largish butterfly in Sallow, not a very good sighting but I thought that's a Purple Emperor? it flew out over open area and it was, I couldn't believe it, it went behind oak and out of sight. wow that was good. then at 12.25pm a female flying in same Sallows and settling, I got my binoculars on her as she settled on one of the leaves, after a moment she flew up the leaf bounced back up and I could see a pale green egg on upper surface of leaf, she continued to settle on leaves, I recon she may have layed about 4x eggs, she gradually made her way northwestwards down the slope and out of sight, crickey that was even better, I was getting quite excited now. then at 12.34pm a Purple Emperor flew from same oak as earlier over clearing to same area of Sallow but soon was out of sight. these could have been two different emperors but I'm not sure. I was thinking that Uckfield is not to far away from Rowland Wood? (Peter Farrant)
Hargate Forest, Nr Tunbridge Wells.
A White Admiral showed well on an oak leaf, 2 Comma on Bramble and Nettle, and 2 Small Skippers in the Grass. Also several Large White and Meadow Browns. All species seen on the main path before the first green waymarker during a 40 minute late morning visit. (Janet Wilkes)
Sunday 01 July
I went for an early jog in Wish Park at 6.50 am this morning and wondered whether any butterflies would also be up as it was very warm. I didn't see any until 7.02am when a Meadow Brown crossed my path over the very short grass. At 7.08am a Small Tortoiseshell appeared by the Friends of the Park's garden where I'd seen one a couple of days ago (plenty of nettles and other cover round the fenced off area). At 7.18am, on my way home, a Small White was sunning itself on east facing shrubbery. We were off to Hampshire for the day after that, so no chance to see if anything interesting turned up in our garden. When we were returning, I noted that the car temperature gauge was saying 29C as late as 7.30pm. (John Heys)
I enjoyed my BC walk at Stedham and Iping Commons yesterday with David, Ian and Julie. Before they arrived I did a recce was privileged to meet Robin Crane CBE of Midhurst who did the long-term studies on the Silver-studded Blues on Lower Greensand Heathlands (see The Butterflies of Sussex, Blencowe and Hulme 2017, p281). There were plenty of male SSBs at my usual place on Stedham Common (SU85692191). When my group arrived I was able to show them a pristine mating pair of SSBs - job done! We continued our walk and saw more, mainly males, then walked along the main path at Iping Common where the fire had burnt much vegetation. There was a strip of live vegetation by the path where we saw many SSBs. We saw plenty of others on our walk round the common, mostly males. We also saw many Large Skippers, also Common Heath moths, but not as many as usual. We were intrigued by wasps which disappeared down holes in the sandy path. A large one was the Ornate Tailed Digger Wasp (Cerceris rybyensis). I also saw a Brown Silver-line moth and Ian spotted a Wasp Beetle. (Colin Knight)
I went for a short litter-picking walk in Wild Park in Brighton so I didn't have my camera with me what was a huge mistake! Not a great variety of butterfly species but really good numbers. 20+ Marbled White, lots of Meadow Browns, plenty of Gatekeepers (first ones for me this year), Ringlets, at least 10 Small (?) Skippers, Small Heaths, 4-5 Comma, Brimstones, Large Whites and one fritillary what was too far for me to identify. Also lots of moths including the one on the picture. (Istvan Radi)
The White-letter Hairstreak came back yesterday to the buddlea in my garden and I was able to get a better picture. (Ruth Street)
This was in my moth trap this morning. Is it a Kent Black Arches?
I live in Portslade near West Hove Sainsbury’s
Thanks to Martin Kalaher where I spent an enjoyable hour viewing the extensive insect life in his meadow garden. It demonstrated that however small your garden there is always enough space for plants that support our native butterflies and moths.
Then on to Pullborough Brooks where there was no shortage of butterflies all zooming about in the heat of the afternoon. Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Silver Washed Fritillary, 2 Holly Blues, several Gatekeepers, all 3 skippers and all 3 whites, Marbled Whites and plenty of Ringlets and Meadow Brown's. Dragonflies and damselflies were in abundance too. (Martin Buck)
Tottington Wood Small Dole. Highlights were 8 Silver-washed Fritillary, 4 White Admiral, 3 Comma, 2 Purple Hairstreak down on bramble leaf (plus many in the canopy), Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock. Purple Emperor evaded me, but I did have a couple of "possibles", one by the footpath crossroads and one at the southern end. Oh well... (Lindsay Morris)
On my way elsewhere, I stopped briefly in The Street Shoreham to look at the elms. 2 White-letter Hairstreak seen. There must be more I'm sure! (Lindsay Morris)
I just want to say a huge thank you to all the people who have been sending in sightings of the Silver Studded Blue as part of the Ashdown Forest 2018 survey. The response has been overwhelming and it would be wonderful to keep up the effort for another two or three weeks. For the moment I have not been publishing your indivudual sightings but will do towards the end of the month. (Jonathan Crawford)
For a numbers years I looked at local elm trees and wonder if they had any White-letter Hairstreaks living on them and never found any until this morning. There are two separate groups of Elms, one at TQ327353 on private land and I spotted two White-letter Hairstreaks high in the canopy of an English Elm. The group includes 3 trees of 30ft plus and two are Wych Elm plus a shrubby English Elm. The trees are very close to other trees and it is difficult to view the canopy with the extensive bramble underneath.
I didn't spot any Hairstreaks on the other group of Elm which are a short distance away, next to the Withypitts Dahlia Nursery. The Elms are much bigger and largest is probably 60ft and is very healthy. I suspect the White -letter Hairstreaks are hear too but the site is much more exposed to the steady breeze. (Tom Parker)
A great couple of hours getting lost on The Downs, some good orchids, plus: Large Skippers, Essex Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, many large fritillaries presumed to be silver-washed, Marbled Whites, Ringlets, 1 White Admiral, 1 Red Admiral, Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Speckled Wood and this beautiful Purple Emperor which was good enough to hang out with us for 10 minutes or so, making its way along the chalk path from about TQ 37407 12694. (Harry Mole http://www.backgardensafari.com)
This morning I visited Abbots Wood in the hope of seeing and photographing butterflies that weren't too active. I arrived at about 06.45 hrs however as the sky was partially overcast nothing was seen for at least an hour. When the sun fully emerged I saw Ringlets, White Admirals, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers and Silver-washed Fritillaries. As I was leaving I noticed a large patch of thistles where several Silver-washed Fritillaries were nectaring and later came across a patch of brambles where more Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals were nectaring together with a dragonfly, which I photographed but have yet to identify. (Douglas Neve)
Yesterday (30 June) was only the second outing I've had since the event in Seaford, back on the Tuesday. Thank you to everyone who came along. That day I was too sun happy and as a result I suffered from dehydration, this lowered my immune system and as a result I caught a cold, I've now recovered from dehydration but I'm still left with a slight cold. Whilst recovering at home, I had the perfect opportunity to sit down and write new content for the White-letter Hairstreak, Species page. I've written a new section, very much relevant to the event in Seaford, covering information on how to survey for White-letter Hairstreak colonies on elm, this will be added to our website, keep an eye out for the notification during this coming week or the next.
Now back to yesterday (30 June), in my madness I went to Hollingbury Park to conduct a White-letter Hairstreak survey, keeping my visit to around half an hour so not to over do it. I started my first count at 5.04pm, walking from the top of the park down to the bottom by the playground, looking at my tally I had 5 males and 9 females by the time I finished the survey at 5.19pm, the sightings were on Bramble and Creeping Thistle, systematically searching flower heads, the heat completely suppressed activity in the canopy of the trees. I then did another 15 minute reverse walk from the bottom of the park back up to the top - the golf course end. During this survey I also made note of what flower were being used, I had a total of 11 males on Creeping Thistle and 2 males on Bramble (13) and 3 females on Creeping Thistle and 2 females on Bramble (5). Comparing the highest count of males (13) and females (9), I had a grand total of 22 White-letter Hairstreaks. No stopping for photos, though very tempting when you see groupings of the butterfly in close proximity.
My advice - stay hydrated! (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
At least five White-letter Hairstreaks seen on the eastern edge of Horseshoe Plantation (TV562957) nectaring on bramble flowers in full sunshine between 10 and 11am. Also, seen in TV5695 were a Comma, Small Skipper, and a Small Copper, 2 Dark Green Fritillary, 3 Large Skipper, a handful of Common Blue and Gatekeeper, plus numerous Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Large White,and Small Heath.
There were Cinnabar larva on two Common Ragwort plants but none on any others. Also a handful of Six-spot Burnet.
Some poor record shots attached! (David & Carole Jode)
Saturday 30 June
A short stroll around New England Wood in Cuckfield and spotted silver washed fritillary, both red and White Admirals, a large and Small White and plenty of Meadow Browns. And my first Gatekeeper of the year. (Martin Buck)
Either a Large or a Yellow - Legged Tortoiseshell seen first at the roundabout and then over the road in the recently cleared pond area next to McDonald`s at The Drove, A259 Newhaven, late this morning. Eventually disappeared into a regenerating Willow. (Sue Cross & Dave Harris )
This morning my sister and I went to Chiddingfold forest. We shortly after had the fortune to bump into and join forces with Andrew and later Mark Colvin. My sister surprisingly found several Purple Hairstreaks in the grass. Other highlights included mating Silver Washed Fritillarys not sure if 2 pairs or the same pair twice, mating Ringlets and a Toad, as well as Purple Emperors.
Later we went to Knepp where highlights were more Purple Emperors and Purple Hairstreak all flying , and a still Comma. (Katrina Watson)
Open Day: I should have mentioned regarding car parking that we have space for 4-5 cars on the driveway, but of course you may get boxed in! As for the butterflies I spent an hour watching over the meadow this evening hoping yesterday's Small Blue would return (it didn't). However there was a Silver-washed Fritillary in the garden today, which takes the garden annual total to 28 butterfly species. We are not yet in July! What amazing weather! This evening butterflies have been in abundance, including an egg-laying Small Skipper. (Martin Kalaher)
At 10.30am I was sitting in our back garden in Hove under the apple tree unpicking a name tag on a scarf destined for a charity shop when I looked up and there 5 feet from me, nectaring on a rather tall daisy in the lawn, was our first White-letter Hairstreak of the year. That's 5 days earlier than last year. It then spent a minute or so just out of the sun on bramble. After I'd rushed in for the camera with Val guarding it, it spent another minute on several grass stems on the lawn. As I poised to take a shot my camera battery gave out. I just had time to change it and grab a quick shot from a bad angle before it left and did not return. Apart from that we had roaming whites in the garden from 9am and at 6.15pm a slightly battered Meadow Brown. (John & Val Heys)
Ashenground & Bolnore Woods, Haywards Heath: Plenty of 6-spot burnets, large and Small Whites, Brimstone, Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods and my first Marbled White sighting of the year. (Kim Berry)
On a short Walk around Friston we found four Scarlet Tiger Moths. On the gallops the usual suspects battled with the wind. (Jonathan Crawford)
On Tuesday I took my daughter to Knepp, where the central footpath proved accessible - just - for her wheelchair. We saw numerous Purple Emperors, including one that spent about 5 minutes flying in loops around us, but none settled.
I returned today armed with a bottle of water with some smelly rotten fish in it: again lots of Emperors but they declined to settle. One came and sat briefly on a bush but at the wrong angle to see the purple iridescence. But the day had its consolation prizes: the oak trees were swarming with Purple Hairstreaks and I had my closest encounter yet when one sat briefly on a bush, just within camera range. Also large numbers of bright orange Commas, and a broad-bodied chaser. (Nigel Symington)
The water works in Dankton Lane Sompting at midday. At least 2 White-letter Hairstreak dogfighting. Searched a few hedgerows containing small elms around about, but no further luck with the target species.
Loads more photo's from this walk on 29 June 2018 with opera singer and keen naturalist Francois Piolino on his day off from Glyndebourne. (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.com/)
We were surprised to discover a male Silver-washed Fritillary in our conservatory this afternoon, as we are some distance from any butterfly-rich woodland. Pleased to report that it regained its freedom without any apparent ill-effects. For the record, our conservatory is at TQ022 162. (Chris Skinner)
A very early morning visit to Abbots wood was to prove very fruitful.
My target was the Purple Hairstreak, with four found basking.
The prize of the morning was a White Admiral ab. With no white on
the upper side whatsoever. All found between 06.15 and 07.30. (Trevor Rapley)
After the strong wind on the coast we headed back to Hollingbury to show my brothers wife the white letter H Hairstreaks. Plus to check our visit a few days ago wasn’t a fluke! Sure enough we saw about 30+ in about 20mins from 3:45 to 4:05 also 8 Commas and numerous browns (Michael Church)
Out around Tide Mills near Seaford, it was fairly breezy but saw a Red Admiral on the ground , 6 Small Tortoiseshells over various large areas of stinging nettles, 2 Marbled Whites in the long grass above the water inlet where there’s a large anchoring point in the water. Dozens of Large Whites and Small Whites , Small Heaths were plentiful too. The wind was probably 5-10 mph simply to strong . I tried to take a photo, but it was hopeless! (Michael Church)
Friday 29 June
1. This morning in our back garden in Hove there were several brief flashes of a Comma, a few Small Whites and at lunch time a Holly Blue. It came down from the bushes and visited several selfheal flowers (we've got a lot of selfheal in the lawn). It seemed unusual behaviour for a Holly Blue and I wondered if it might have been laying eggs. It then visited flower buds on our low growing buddleia where I could see that it was egg laying and I managed to get a picture. I checked several books none of which mentioned selfheal and buddleia but in my "Butterflies of Sussex" bible I found the observation that "this species has a habit of occasionally laying eggs on a wide range of unrelated and seemingly unsuitable plants." In the early evening a Small White and then a Large White looked like settling down into the undergrowth for the night but didn't like me being interested and left for next-door's garden. 2. At about 1pm I walked round Wish Park paying particular attention to the elms but saw nothing except a few more Small Whites and a Small Tortoiseshell. 3. In mid afternoon I was in Worthing and saw a Holly Blue and Small Whites in Beach House Park, a Meadow Brown and an Essex Skipper on a grassy bank in the north west grounds of Worthing Hospital and 2 Speckled Woods in Homefield Park. (John & Val Heys)
Attached is a photo of what I think is a white letter hairstreak which I saw on my buddlea this morning. My garden backs onto a cemetery in Bognor and I have elm trees at the bottom of my garden which are about 20 feet tall. Please could you let me know if that is correct. (Ruth Street)
Yep, that's the one. (Ed jnr)
OPEN DAY, CHERRY HOUSE. Just a few words about Sunday. Cherry House is the second dwelling on the left in Kithurst Lane, Storrington. Please park on the left by the laurel hedge (just past the house) or wherever there is a space. I have e-mailed all my neighbours and they are aware of the situation. Come up the driveway as it is safer than the steps. I will be around and in the garden from 10.0am until 4.0pm. I will be taking groups round the garden and will try and answer any questions you might have. If people just want to wander that's fine. It's impossible to know what we will be around as far as the butterflies. I've recorded 18 species in the past 12 days and so there has been plenty of variety. The wildflowers are looking pretty good. As far as health and safety is concerned there is a road (dangerous for children and dogs), a small pond, the odd nettle but nothing else of note. If you have any concerns then ask me. The paths around the meadow are fairly narrow. Please keep to them as I don't want the meadow trampled unduly (there are eggs and caterpillars getting ready for the next generation!). Just enjoy yourselves and feel free to ask anything you want. I have been asked if there is an admission charge, and no there isn't. (Martin Kalaher)
When @BCSussex pays for 52 Elm trees to be planted @DorothyStringer School as part of your management for the White-letter Hairstreak, it’s delightful to report your first female butterfly of the year. (Dr Dan Danahar)
in an hour and a half in the middle of the day at Abbots Wood I counted 24 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 8 White Admirals, 5 Comma, 1 Red Admiral and uncountable Ringlets.
On the previous evening at Knepp state I was hailed by two young photographers who'd been there all day and had just passed 312 Purple Emperors! Is that a record?
Delighted to have bought the wonderful butterflies of Sussex congratulations to all concerned and also for the fascinating introduction to the White Hairstreaks of Seaford. (Sharifin Gardiner)
Now that I know where and when they go to bed, photographing sleeping Essex Skippers is an entire delight (on the meadow in front of my house, in Brighton - between 19.15 to 19.45hrs). (Dr Dan Danahar)
I had brief sighting of the Purple Emperor in the Turners Hill garden where I work today around 12.30. We have wild area with a number of shrubby willows and lots mature Oaks . It is first male PE in garden for a few years but we have a did female searching around the willow last year. In the afternoon I disturbed a Purple Hairstreak on the ground . (Tom Parker)
I visited Ditchling Common this morning and watched the Purple Hairstreaks flitting around the oaks. One came down as soon as I arrived at 9:45 but later they stayed high. There were also Large and Small Skippers, Silver-washed Fritillaries and Meadow Browns around. I saw the Purple Emperor at the oak tree by the lake that David Cook described. It soared around several times at 11am. I'm looking forward to my Silver-studded Blues walk at Iping and Stedham Commons tomorrow, should be good! (Colin Knight https://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/events/#68)
I had "a life-time first" today when I watched a Humming-bird Hawk-moth egg-laying on Lady's Bedstraw. I was just three feet away but without my camera I wasn't able to capture the moment. At the time I was in the middle combe at Chantry Hill trying to count Dark Green Fritillaries. I managed a count of 31 DGFs and a total count of 16 butterfly species. There are still first-brood Common Blues and Brown Argus on Chantry Hill and two Silver-washed Fritillaries were nice to see. At home I took an interesting photo of a Gatekeeper perched on Kidney vetch. Otherwise lots of skippers and Marbled White. The Gatekeeper was the 27th butterfly species for the garden this year and 18 species in the past 12 days or so. (Martin Kalaher)
After fruitless searching last year and three blanks this, I finally discovered the area on Ashdown Forest where the Silver-studded Blues could be found. One male spotted and photographed on Monday evening, then two males and a female on Weds evening. My camera sensor appears to have fried out a bit, but I managed to salvage around seven photo's from over 200 taken. Back to Ebay soon, i fear. (Vincent Oates)
Please see https://sussexrambler.blogspot.com/ for full account.. (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
Yesterday afternoon I checked out the Littlehampton Golf course path and found 2 White-letter Hairstreaks on one Wych Elm at TQ0191401351. They were often airborne and one rested low down on the leaves, easily seen from the path. Also seen - Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, a female Ruddy Darter, a buzzard and swifts. (Colin Knight)
I never tire of watching skippers in the garden meadow and I am very fortunate in having all three meadow skippers. They don't stay in the meadow but wander throughout the garden and adjacent fields. Judging by the few Large Skippers I am seeing this year in the garden I'm not convinced they are having a good season. I am off to Chantry Hill later on today and will see if there are many up there. I don't often manage to photograph all three Meadow Skippers in the same day but did manage it yesterday. The Small Copper seen the previous day put in another appearance and I also managed a reasonable photo of a Marbled White. This year my maximum daily count for this species is five but there are always 2-3 in the garden whenever I take a stroll. (Martin Kalaher)
Thursday 28 June
As well as the large number of Purple Emperors, up to six at once over one of the many oaks they are flying from, higher numbers of White Admirals than previous years there was a young Tawny Owl close to one of the platforms. Not quite a butterfly but very nice to see. (Bob North)
I visited Nymans today with my brother , the meadows had so many browns, Ringlets, Small Heaths, gate keepers there were to many to count 100s
When we took the woodland walk , we found Speckled Woods (12) along the trail, many Silver Washed Fritillaries on the wing , (14) several fighting each other and browns that were getting in their way. We were very fortunate to see the only White Admiral fly across the path right in front of us. 1 Small Skipper which I managed to photograph. There was a scattering of large and Small Whites probably a dozen or so. 1 blue which I wasn’t sure which one it was. Several Commas ,
I live in West Hove and still haven’t ever seen a Purple Emperor or Hairstreak . Could anyone tell me a place that’s quite handy worth a shout and time if possible.
Thanks Mike (Michael Church)
For White-letter Hairstreaks your best bet is Hollingbury park in Brighton TQ 31444 07600. For Purple Hairstreaks and Purple Emperors you can't go wrong by visiting Knepp. Neil Hulme has written much about that below (Ed jnr)
Visited the Torfield area of Hastings after noting that Sharon had reported a White Letter Hairstreak there earlier this week. Although we were unable to obtain any close-up photos, we did watch 4 or 5 repeatedly chasing high above the trees there. Also seen Large Skipper, Essex Skipper, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, Comma, Small White. (Terry Wood)
It was hard work in the heat this afternoon at Southwater woods - nothing was settling for more than a nano-second. These snatched shots of Silver-washed Fritillary and a Meadow Brown were the best I could get. Unfortunately I think the habitat at Southwater woods has deteriorated since its heyday 6 or 7 years ago, with the rides having become overgrown and more shaded. (John Williams)
I should have checked with Val before I put in yesterday's return as she saw 2 Small Whites in our Hove back garden. Today she saw a Meadow Brown in central Worthing - Shakespeare Road at the junction with Tarring Road. Later in Portslade by Benfield School she saw 2 more Small Whites. (John & Val Heys )
First day back at work and I mitched off early to go butterfly hunting with Marion at Spithandle (TQ 16837 15320). There were 20 plus Silver-washed Fritillaries all in excellent condition as well as more than a dozen White Admirals. Marion found a White Letter Hairstreak and then later a dead Purple Hairstreak lying on the path. They appear to be doing a lot of timber clearance so it should be interesting to see how this site develops. We found more White Admirals deeper into the Wiston estate. (Jonathan Crawford)
9male + 3 females seen 1hr 20 mins. (John Linney)
Was intent on seeking White Letter Hairstreaks in the Victoria Drive area of Eastbourne this week, but when my youngest daughter, Rosie, came in from the garden before school this morning and announced "Dad, there's a hairstreak in the garden", I found one of my target species on my back wall (YaY!). Managed to grab some pictures with it in the shade before coaxing it onto my finger for a shot. (Vincent Oates)
Photo of a white letter hairstreak in our Seaford garden today, on the smooth leaved elm tree. We were very interested to read that people were in Seaford (Belgrave Road) this week, looking at white letter hairstreaks on the elm trees, and are also concerned about the spread of Dutch Elm Disease which is very much in evidence on Belgrave Road (we live just off Belgrave Road). The white letter hairstreaks breed reliably on the smooth leaved elm in our garden every year, and it would be very sad if the tree succumbed. We also have a mature wych elm tree in the garden. (Simon, Fran and Amy Fletcher)
This afternoon in our garden first of the 2nd brood Holly Blues seen,(Crawley.) (Alastair Gray)
It's been just over a year since our book 'The Butterflies of Sussex' was published by Pisces Publications. The book sales have been amazing and almost all 2000 copies of the book have been sold and we are discussing a reprint. Pretty impressive for a local butterfly atlas. Yesterday I gave a talk in the Norfolk Broads about the Sussex Swallowtail invasion of 2014 /2014. I gave the book a bit of promotion but also dedicated a few choice words and images to the one person who has given us a lowly 4-star review on Amazon (amongst a sea of 5-star reviews). "If anyone knows this gentleman I would like to have a word with him" I said, only to discover he was sitting in the second row. Awkward and hilarious. Thanks again to everyone who has purchased a copy. It has generated some wonderful income for the branch to spend on future conservation projects. (Michael Blencowe)
Thank you to Jamie Burston for leading leading a great walk to look for White-letter Hairstreaks in Seaford on Tuesday. Jamie shared his knowledhge of this elusive, urban species with 35 Hairstreak Hunters while we searched trees in Westdown, Carlton and Belgrave Road. The elms (and oak) on the junction of Belgrave and Kedale Road provided everyone with great views of this species as they flew and fought around the trees. Jamie plans to conduct more searches in Seaford with the hope of informing the planting of disease-free elms which is being already being undertaken here to help this lovely butterfly. Thanks again to everyone who came along and to Jamie for leading this event. (Michael Blencowe)
Again today I was frustrated and sad that I couldn't find any White-letter Hairstreaks around McIntyre's Field, Lancing. After nearly an hour however I struck gold with a pair in cop from 13.30. They were on a shaded leaf about ten feet below the top of a thirty five feet tall elm. They hardly moved for an hour and a quarter, when I left them to it. At least 2 other White-letter Hairstreak present dogfighting in the canopy, maybe 4. A Red-letter day for me! (Lindsay Morris)
I finally caught up with one of the Purple Emperor at a lower level than my previous sightings. It seems to like the oak by the pond at TQ 33497 18165. The Purple Hairstreak are numerous and can be found at low levels, even at midday, at TQ 33480 18127. Considering it was hot but windy the Purple Hairstreak were abundant in this Oak tree and easily seen. At one point, after I shook the tree, at least 10 in the air, that I didn’t know were there. Several Silver-washed Fritillary were seen charging about the place and only stopping briefly on bramble flower.
Also seen was probably the last of the Black Hairstreak of this season judging its tired appearance. And a few Comma often being chased by the bigger Frits! (David Cook)
Over the last two years I have been working on a tiny (2 acre) site on the edge of Broadbridge Heath to improve the habitat, especially for butterflies. This site is known locally as Top Common and is adjacent to the local cricket pitch in Byfleets Lane. Previously there was virtually no butterfly interest but today my patch list increased to 17 species with Marbled White and Small Copper being sighted there. I should add that Broadbridge Heath Parish Council who own the land have been incredibly supportive and helpful with this project. (David Bridges)
I led an informal butterfly walk around the Warnham Butterfly Fields today and we were rewarded with excellent sightings of at least 4 Purple Emperors, often at head height. The butterflies were seen at different locations around the two fields and the annual habitat management, which Sussex branch has kindly contributed towards in the past, seems to be bearing fruit. Masses of Meadow Browns and reasonable numbers of Ringlet. Other sightings included Marbled White, Small Heath, Silver-washed Fritillary, Comma, Large Skipper and huge numbers of Purple Hairstreak, many of which were coming down to 'our level', presumably because of the heat!
Some us then moved on to visit the nearby woods and found more Silver-washed Fritillaries and an obliging White Admiral. (David Bridges)
Yesterday afternoon I visited Knepp and my inital walk down the path at 4:30 was rewarded by White Admirals, Skippers and a Marbled White. From the tree hide I enjoyed a lovely view across the pond to three Red Deer resting by the water. At 5pm the action started and PEs rose up from the oaks in ones, twos, threes and fours, swooping around high and low, some passnig me just a few metres away. Plenty of Purple Hairstreaks were also seen. On the way back I spotted a Clouded Border (Lomaspilis marginata) by the path. I came across Richard Roebuck and David enjoying the PE show. Every oak seemed to be buzzing. Just 30 meters from the road a stand of three huge oaks provided amazing views of the PEs swooping around. Last night a single moth, a Marbled Beauty (Bryophila domestica) visited our balcony. I think the cool sea breeze kept the moths away, whereas the previous night's aggregation came during a warm, still evening. (Colin Knight)
Before sending in a posting I usually have a look at what others have sent. I congratulate Dan on his excellent photos of Essex Skipper. As it happens I was also watching Skippers going into roost yesterday evening and as I have a garden meadow I don't have to travel far! Around 6.30pm two Marbled White settled down and didn't move thereafter. I went out again at 7.30pm to see if there numbers had swelled (they hadn't) and realised that just a few feet away the skippers were settling down. I counted six skippers and since I didn't go too close (or could be bothered to get my binoculars) I think most were Small Skippers. During the early evening I had attempted to photograph skippers nectaring on flower heads and as I wanted to watch the T20 cricket I didn't fetch my camera. I have recorded 17 butterfly species in the garden in the past 10 days, with Painted Lady and a second-brood Small Copper added yesterday. (Martin Kalaher)
Purple Emperor spotted on wolstonbury hill Sussex June 24th 2018 (Ruth Gaskell)
Wednesday 27 June
(continuation of previous report) (Colin Knight)
The recent warm evenings have brought a good variety of moths to our LIttlehampton balcony light during the past few days: Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata), Common Emerald (Hemithea aestivaria), Dark Arches, (Apamea monoglypha), Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella), Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata), Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella), Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis), London Dowd (Blastobasis lacticolella), Marbled Minor agg. (Oligia strigilis agg.), Riband Wave (Idaea aversata ab remutata), Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx- sambucaria), The Coronet (Craniophora ligustri), White Satin (Leucoma salicis), Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria). (Colin Knight)
I felt I should try to get a photo of an Essex Skipper as it went to roost on the meadow in front of my house in Brighton.
Much to my delight I found that 19:30 hrs was the ideal time to photograph them. I say them because as the sun dipped behind Coldean Woods so I found the whole colony, of between 10 to 15 individuals, tracked the last patches of the sunshine as they rapidly diminished in size. It made for a delightful experience and some lovely photos. (Dr Dan Danahar)
I went with my Brother Ray down from Cambridgeshire. We walked from 4:30 to 5:45
We saw 40+ White letter hairstreaks on blackberry flowers and purple thistles .
We saw 6 Red Admirals on higher tree leaves, 4 Small Tortoiseshells , 4 Speckled Woods, 2 skippers, 8 Large Whites, 1 green veined white, 5 Commas, many Ringlets,gate keepers,Meadow Browns, Small Heaths to many to mention. The Commas we saw are distinct in their flying , then we saw some that flew like Fritillaries but not like any we could I d . (Mike Church)
A sunny four hour romp around the Litlington-Jevington-Folkington area with lovely cooling breezes was particularly notable for the large number of Dark Green Fritillaries. Probably about forty seen over the course of the walk as they whizzed about and occasionally landed on greater knapweed flowers. Lots of Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, skippers etc.
Sadly there was also discarded picnic plastic by the bench at Winchester's pond. The pond water level was very low but still plenty of dragonflies about. Two lots of people came came in to the pond enclosure with the intention of swimming in it but I did the Head Girl thing of telling them that as the notice clearly stated that it was a wildlife pond that people were requested not to let their dogs go into that the wildlife probably would'nt appreciate them going in either. However it was probably the lack of water rather than my bossyness that put them off. (tessa pawsey)
No sightings in central Hove today, but maybe that's because I spent most of the day at Bookham Common where I saw plenty. Sadly they don't count for Sussex. On 3rd July, Val & I are planning to look for white letter hairstreaks in Hove's parks with Jamie, starting with Wish Park. To satisfy ed jnr's tennis curiosity, we didn't see Andy Murray play at Eastbourne as we were on court 1, but Val by chance found herself in front of him after he'd won and got his autograph. Our best match was Cibulkova beating Makarova in two hard fought sets while we were still in the shade. Boy did it get hot when the sun came round. (John & Val Heys)
That's better (Ed jnr)
A visit to Worth Forest mid afternoon found 2 White Admirals (TQ313347) and 5 Silver-washed Fritillarys scattered around the rides. (Alastair Gray)
Rowland Wood. I've never seen so many Ringlets. Almost as many Meadow Browns. Lots of Small Skippers, a few Large Whites, 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 1 Painted Lady and 1 White Admiral. Spent most of the morning photographing Dragonflies at the big pond. (Graeme Rolf https://www.flickr.com/photos/128321708@N03/albums/72157649396241380)
I had a wonderful morning at Botany Bay. On arrival I met Andrew, then later Trevor and several other like-minded enthusiasts.
I saw at least 7 Emperors on the ground although not all stayed long. Thanks to my companions for pointing out one of the Emperors had reduced markings. (Katrina Watson)
The elms by the footpath west of Applesham Farm Lancing had 12 White-letter Hairstreak in the canopy and 7 on bramble flowers between 13.00 and14.20. I adjourned to McIntyre's Field, but was unable to find any hairstreaks. Too hot for them by then? I hope there is still a colony here despite the poor condition of the elms, of which there are only a few remnants. (Lindsay Morris)
I visited Knepp this morning for the third time this season, this time with my wife providing a second pair of eyes. We saw a total of about 40 Emperors up at tree-top level, and one that buzzed us at head height. Eventually, we found a female that posed nicely in a Sallow. Right at the end of our walk, I spotted a male on the ground among some horse poo. He flew up but eventually he settled right between my feet, and I got my first ever double-purple wing shot from directly above him. He then flew up and landed on my wife, who proceeded to get a trousering. I'm told this is only the second such event ever witnessed at Knepp! (Andy Wilson)
A late morning visit to Birling Gap walking East to Horseshoe Plantation via The Lookout produced 1 Male Chalk Hill Blue, 2 Dark Green Fritillary on the Knapweed, 2 Small Skipper, Marbled White. Meadow Brown in double figures. Cinnabar also feeding on Knapweed. 1 Speckled Wood in the plantation. I have double checked Chalk Hill Blue ID. It landed on a bare patch on the path in front of me enabling a good view of the folded wings grey brown colour with dark spots (Janet Wilkes)
butterflies taking minerals (continued from previous report) (Colin Knight)
Yesterday I visited Houghton Forest and Southwater woods where I met Steve and Maggie East who had seen the colour Purple, which was missing from my day. Plenty of butterfly activity at both places - Silver-washed Fritillaries zooming around at 100mph, White Admirals flying tantalisingly around and settling for just a few seconds, Red Admirals, Skippers, Whites, Commas galore, a Marbled White, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Speckled Woods. I saw 3 species feasting on horse and dog faeces: Commas, a Red Admiral and a White Admiral. On a bramble clump a female SWF was joined by a male who stood on her flattened wings and proceeded to couple with her. Another male joined them, followed by another. The weight of 4 SWFs was too much for the leaf and they tumbled down, then flew up as a group, the coupled pair continuing their business in flight, pursued by the other two, flying high up from tree to tree. (Colin Knight)
Tuesday 26 June
At last, a couple of butterflies in our back garden in Hove this morning: a Red Admiral and a Holly Blue. No sign of any white letter hairstreaks either in Wish park or our garden, although it is still a bit early for sightings around here. Coming back on the bus from the tennis at Eastbourne yesterday we saw a Meadow Brown still flying at Exceat at 20.13. We noticed a few whites in central Eastbourne, but nothing else. (John & Val Heys)
No review of the tennis? (Ed jnr)
Great to meet so many friendly & enthusiastic butterfly hunters at Seaford on Jamie Burston & Michael Blencowe’s Walk today - we learned SO much about the elms, and sadly saw several looking the worse for wear. Happily we were a delighted audience for some excellent White Letter Hairstreak action - plenty of dashing butterflies to try & focus the binoculars on.
After this, I met Jamie in Hollingbury Park, Brighton (where I first met him a few years ago when he donned the hat of species champion) where 2 fine gents from London & Bucks also joined us to get some fantastic close-up views of both male & female White-letter Hairstreaks that were appreciating the creeping thistle at the edge of the open (mown) area. Also seen, Comma & Meadow Browns & Ringlets in same area.
Huge thanks to Jamie & Michael for your patience & knowledge today - I have been richly rewarded because of you. Congrats to Dick & Jonathan of London/Bucks for completing their quest to see every UK butterfly with this grand finale in Brighton! (Andrea Gibbs)
Following Alastair Gray's recent report from Ashdown Forest, this morning, I decided to walk from Bushy Willow Car Park along to Ellison's Pond, and return, in the warm, sunny conditions with a light breeze from the north-east. In total, I saw 16 male and 1 female Silver-studded Blues in much the same places as reported by Alastair though two of the males were about 100m west-south-west of Camp Hill Clump. (Simon Linington)
A trip to Levin Down produced 30+ Ringlets,40+ Meadow Browns, 6 Small Heaths, 10+ Speckled Woods, 15+ Marbled Whites, Large and Small Skippers, 1 Brimstone, 20+ Large Whites, 1 Blue (not sure which variety), 8 Commas, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Fritillaries (suspect Silver Washed) and 1 Wood White in little over an hour. (John H)
Just five days before my garden Open Day! Today there was more-or-less non-stop activity in the meadow with Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Marbled White and Small Skipper all very active. The highlight of the day was a mating pair of Marbled White. As regards the Open Day and I will mention a few things regarding health and safety. This is a legal/insurance requirement I hasten to add as there is nothing too fierce in the garden. Kithurst Lane can be hazardous if you have children, so please be aware. Some of the paths through the meadow are a bit uneven. There is a small pond. There are stinging/biting insects but other than Horsefly (which seem common this year) nothing will attack you if you do not attack them. 25 years in the garden at Cherry House and I have yet to stung by anything! There are no ticks in the garden but should you acquire one then remember Lyme Disease. As I am a retired GP I should be able to answer any medical concerns, if you have any. (Martin Kalaher)
Hastings, TQ82805, Tuesday 26th June from 07.30 this morning, at least two, maybe three White-letter Hairstreak seen in canopy of small beech tree in garden, from elms nearby, settling on ivy and bramble flowers. Always exiting to see each year! (Sharon Bigg)
After the Seaford White Letter Hairstreak walk a Lunchtime visit to the North West Corner wild flower meadow at Arlington Reservoir. Target Species Marbled White quickly seen together with Ringlet, Small Skipper, Comma, Speckled Wood and Meadow Browns too numerous to count. No Silver Washed fritillary. (Janet Wilkes)
My first Gatekeepers of the year this morning and good numbers of Marbled White. The totals on my transect at Hollingdean (part of the Wild Park LNR) were: 98 Marbled White, 89 Meadow Brown, 40 Ringlet, 14 Small Heath, 10 Small/Essex Skipper, 4 Gatekeeper and a couple of Large White. (Peter Whitcomb)
My first ever White Letter Hairstreak, seen on a guided walk in Seaford today, 26th. This one in Belgrave Road. (Mike Kerry)
And here are images of the newly emerged female Purple Emperor, which fell to earth after 7.30pm at Knepp. (Neil Hulme)
Following the previous day's exhausting count of Purple Emperors over a large area of the Knepp Wildland, today (25 June) was all about the more relaxed enjoyment of the current glut of this magnificent butterfly. I spent a few happy hours with my father, during which we enjoyed plenty of action, including a fresh male emperor on one of my shrimp lures. At one point this butterfly flew in through the open door of my car and fluttered around the dashboard.
After a short break, I returned to Knepp, but then didn't escape again until after 8pm, when the emperors were still flying. I watched empresses gliding around the canopy with up to four and once five males in pursuit, and observed one pairing (which lasted 3 hours 17 minutes) at the top of an oak. Many emperors were seen visiting sap bleeds; one at head-height. A grounded male (on an organic cowpat; these days, most are plastic) demonstrated an unusual marbling pattern, which I've seen before and suspect is caused by still-soft wings. This theory was supported when it raised its abdomen and ejected a stream of meconium while feeding.
On a couple of occasions I watched classic rejection drops, when an already-mated female tumbles down to avoid unwanted male attention. A male/female chase at 7.30pm initially appeared to be similar, until the female finally shook off her suitor and landed in low scrub; it turned out that she had only just emerged and was not quite ready to copulate, as her wings appeared to still be damp, and she too squirted meconium.
It was great to spend some time with Purple Emperor aficionado Dennis Dell (visiting from Sheffield) and wildlife photographer David Woodfall, among many others. (Neil Hulme)
Monday 25 June
I returned to Southwater woods this afternoon to try my luck again with Purple Emperor groundings, however I was side-lined by the appearance of what I think may be a White Admiral aberrant possibly obliterate in Marl Post Wood. S/he kept returning to the same clump of bramble to nectar along with at least 7 or 8 other non ab White Admirals. There were also plenty of other species to watch in the same area including Purple Emperor and a friendly or more likely angry Comma who returned several times to sit in my binoculars and attack most other flying insects. (Patrick Moore)
Gazing idly into my Brighton garden near Elm Grove at 8 o'clock this evening there was a flash of red fluttering around a large pittosporum bush. Oh good, I thought, it's my once a year sighting of a Scarlet Tiger moth in my garden. Then there were two bright red blobs whizzing wobbily around the bush and when I got my papillio binoculars to have a good look there was another moth resting on a leaf showing it's crisp metallic sheen and pale orange spots. So that's three Scarlet Tiger moths keeping up their population in this area, such handsome creatures. Lovely. (tessa pawsey)
A walk in the heat on Ashdown Forest today only yielded about 8 butterfly species but included 4 to 5 Male Silver-studded Blues in what seems to be slightly different area to where most previous reports have been. They were by the main track about 1/2 mile North East of the Friends Clump, approximate grid ref. TQ462295. Nearby on the heath Dragonflies included Keeled Skimmer and Golden-ringed Dragonfly. (Anthony Bennett)
A Purple Emperor ab. was discovered by Jan Wilczur at Chiddingfold forest this morning.
Jan only had a video camera, so we agreed for me to post images from my camera. (Trevor Rapley)
Yesterday (24 June) I dedicated the whole day (10:30am - 6:20pm) to counting and surveying White-letter Hairstreak numbers in my local Hollingbury area of Brighton. My total for the day was 64 individuals, here I give a breakdown of my sightings: 35 seen within a few minutes (assumed all male, every close encounter proved to be the case), the total was collectively seen on a grouping of four Wheatley elms, secondary non-elm territory trees and Bramble flowers. 3 males seen on a friends garden hedge of Privet and Bramble. 2 (assumed) males seen at my study site on Huntingdon elm. 2 males seen on the Wheatley elm (the only elm) - along my road. 9 males seen collectively on five elms I hadn't previously surveyed. 5 males seen in the canopy of various elms at Hollingbury Park. 8 males feeding low down on Creeping Thistle at Hollingbury Park in the afternoon, where I met Gary Faulkner and John Williams. Also seen at Hollingbury Park were: 3 Small Heath, 3 Comma, 1 Essex Skipper, 1 Marbled White, 1 Large White and a couple of Meadow Browns.
My White-letter Hairstreak highlights of the day (not of the hairdressing kind) were: Simultaneously counting 8 flying around a single Wheatley elm, in groups of chasing males, the video captures just some of the action I saw:
In addition to observing male White-letter Hairstreaks descending to the lower branches of a Wheatley elm tree to take a break from fighting, seeking to regain their energy by dramatically angling their wings completely flat to absorb as much warmth, to engage their flight muscles, pictured. My favourite photo is of a silhouetted male, he was resting directly above my head, angling his wings to such a degree to catch the sun, that it looks as if he is sitting upright, but instead I had my camera pointing directly upwards towards the sky! I also include a photo taken back on the 22 June when I photographed a group of four males feeding on a small area of Bramble, growing out of a garden hedge. (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
We had 6 Gatekeepers our first for the year at Thorney Island today. Other species of note included Marbled White 100+, Small Heath 30, Peacock 3 summer brood and Comma 4 summer brood. (Barry and Margaret Collins )
The garden is hotting up both literally and figuratively with 12 species today and a daily count of around 38 butterflies. Species and numbers as follows: Small Skipper (1), Essex Skipper (1), Large Skipper (1), Large White (1), Small White (1), Green-veined White (1), Purple Hairstreak (1), Red Admiral (1), Comma (2), Marbled White (3), Meadow Brown (20) and Ringlet (3). I am pleased that all three meadow Skippers are back and the Purple Hairstreak was a bonus. I watched a Small Skipper laying eggs on Yorkshire-fog. I haven't seen that too often. The total count for the garden this year is now 26 species. (Martin Kalaher)
A good number (30+) of Purple Emperors at Knepp today, despite the very warm weather. Also pleased to see one Purple Hairstreak on a nettle plant, as well as many more up in the Oak canopies. At nearby Marlpost Woods I counted over 20 Silver-washed Fritillaries as well as four White Admirals, a Comma and two Marbled Whites (Bill Brooks)
I went looking for Silver Studded Blues on kiAshdown Forest today finding 69 which is by far my best ever count on Ashdown.At Hollies 2 males and 2 females seen at TQ461284.Then on to Ellison Ponds where 1 Female and 12 Males were found between TQ62288-TQ463287.On the main ride below Smugglers 1 Female seen along with 10 males.On the main ride at Poundgate TQ481286 1 Female and 9 males seen.Then finished on the 3 rides which run down hill between Crows nest clump and Poundgate TQ479285-TQ478287-TQ477288-TQ477289 in these areas 3 Females and 22 males seen.A few more males were in the police compound area. (Alastair Gray)
Playing catch-up yet again!
Back on 21 June I was pleased to discover that a Small Blue had made it's way into my Hollingbury, Brighton, back garden, upon approaching closer I realised it was a female, she soon wondered over to the patch of six Kidney Vetch plants, having planted them earlier in the year. It wasn't long before she started to lay her eggs, I observed her lay at least three eggs, between work to put up a new garden fence. She was seen in the garden between 12:17pm and 4:14pm. When I have the time I hope to search for how many she laid.
Back on 20 June I visited Southwater Woods with Steve East where I had many firsts, providing incredible and joyful moments, which included seeing: Speckled Wood 25+ (conservative estimate), Meadow Brown 25+ (conservative estimate), Ringlet 6, Marbled White 3, Common Blue 3, Purple Hairstreak 2, Comma 2, White Admiral 14, including one grounded individual, which is a first for me, easily approachable and at one point landed at my meet (personal highlight) and my first ever grounded Purple Emperor, which settled for a few minutes on the pathway, after several attempts to land. Not far from Southwater Woods, on the way back to Brighton, we had a sighting of a single Large White seen from the car. Thank you Steve!
(Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
A male White Admiral today at Rathlin Road pond, Crawley (TQ25870 35352). A first for this site. (Vince Massimo)
Two White-letter Hairstreak seen above tree canopy, then restingbriefly on ivy and bramble, in garden of Torfield Cottage, opposite All Saints Wood, Hastings on Saturday 23rd June at 1.30pm (Sharon Bigg)
East Sussex RSPB Broadwater Warren. A White Admiral seen near the Car Park. Small Skippers around the Heathland. Meadow Browns too numerous to count. Speckled Wood near Decoy Pond. Sadly no Silver-washed Fritillary (Janet Wilkes)
Almost in East Sussex-an update from Tunbridge Wells Garden Centre ,Eridge Road, Tunbridge Wells.
9+. Meadow Brown on the bank from the Car Wash to the Beehive area. Male and female Common Blue and 2 Small Skippers near the Beehives. (Janet Wilkes)
Sunday 24 June
Yesterday (23 June) Mark Aldridge (Head Forester at the Norfolk Estate) was fortunate enough to receive a very special visitor to his garden near Whiteways (Bury Hill). Mark phoned me for an ID while still looking at this unusual butterfly; his description left me in little doubt! Unfortunately, the Camberwell Beauty failed to reappear today. (Neil Hulme)
Between 9.15 am and 7.07 pm on 24 June I counted precisely 300 Purple Emperors (only six of which were female) on the Knepp Wildland, spending a fabulous day in the company of Matthew Oates and Paul Fosterjohn. Many thanks to Matthew for helping tease out the remaining two (which took the final hour), when he would probably have rather had his feet in a bath of warm salty water; it had to be done.
Why were we so determined to make 300, when 298 is enough for anyone? The achievement of such a ridiculously large total demonstrates very clearly that a species which many would consider as rare can in fact be rather common, if only we were to treat at least larger areas of our countryside in a more sympathetic manner.
The Purple Emperor is, in fact, widespread in West Sussex, but its numbers are so heavily suppressed by tidiness that we perceive it as a habitat specialist of mature, healthy woodlands. Knepp is teaching us a great deal, not least that this is a species which thrives in Sallow scrub and flies freely along unflailed hedgerows. Our skewed perception is based on a landscape which has become so degraded that we now set the bar very low.
The Purple Emperor is just one of many high profile species which tell a similar tale, but these represent just the tip of the iceberg. It is already easy to forget that this was traditionally farmed land fewer than 20 years ago. Mother Nature can heal very quickly when allowed; we need more Knepps, as soon as possible. (Neil Hulme)
On a visit to Knepp today I saw an astonishing numbers of Purple Emperors flying. I only found one briefly on the ground though. Also seen were Purple Hairstreaks, Commas, White Admirals, Meadow Browns, and Large Skippers. (katrina watson)
I set out late this afternoon to the Southwater Woods area to look for Purple Emperor. I found one in Madgeland Wood sitting on some dog plop in the middle of the path. I managed one poor photo before he cleared off and sat in an oak tree and watched. To get him back down I broke up the plop with a stick and splashed some of my drinking water on it. The smell was appalling, but enough to attract a return to the ground, where he stayed for at least half an hour allowing me to get very close.
Also seen were White Admiral, Red Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Meadow Brown, highly active Purple Hairstreak in the tree tops, Comma and Speckled Wood. (Patrick Moore)
A late afternoon visit to Botany Bay, Surrey produced a rather poignant experience.
A barely moving black object on one of the main paths proved not to be a beetle (my initial reaction), but a male Purple Emperor.
It was immediately evident that he was in trouble - he was still attached to his chrysalis and his wings were very crumpled. I assumed that he had fallen whilst emerging and was now struggling to inflate his wings.
Having not yet taken my apatura iris first aid course, I pondered what to do.
First things first - he was in obvious danger on the path, so I moved him into direct sunlight (I'd found him in the shade) and sat him on a Fern.
I then tried feeding him, but he only took sips. He could walk quite well, but his wings were limp - he raised them very feebly a few times. It was a sad sight to see such a magnificent creature so weak, with crooked wings and dragging his chrysalis behind him.
My final throw of the dice was to carefully remove as much of the chrysalis as I could. I was able to free him of all but one piece, but he didn't respond.
By the time I left him, his wings were no more inflated than when I'd found him almost an hour earlier. I took him off the path and sat him on a Fern in one of the few remaining shafts of sunlight. If nothing else, it was a more dignified death bed than a gravel path. (Paul Cox)
3 Purple Hairstreaks this morning (before the football) at Ditchling Common, and then after the football (on cloud 9) I went to Hollingbury Park and saw 3 or 4 White-letter Hairstreaks. (John Williams)
On a weekend down from Manchester, where we live, decided to spend Saturday and Sunday looking for butterflies in the Beachy Head - Horseshoe Plantation - Seven Sisters - Friston Forest - Abbots Wood circuit. Here are some of the highlights of what we saw in the glorious sunshine.
Beachy Head: Adonis Blue (1), Marbled White (many), Painted Lady (1), Gatekeeper (1), Small Heath (many), Small Skipper (2), Brown Argus (1), Common Blue (3), Large Skipper (few).
Horseshoe Plantation: Green Hairstreak (1), Purple Hairstreak (1), Marbled White (several), Common Blue (few).
Seven Sisters: Dark Green Fritillary (3), Adonis Blue (1), Large Skipper (several), Marbled White (many).
Friston Forest: Ringlet (several), Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Red Admiral (3), Adonis Blue (2), Marbled White (several).
Abbots Wood: Silver-washed Fritillary (4), White Admiral (3), Comma (1), Large Skipper (several). (Nicholas Turner)
Made an early morning visit to Chapel Common today in the hope, again, of witnessing black ants tending a newly emerged Silver-studded Blue. I did see one ant, but it was nowhere near a butterfly. The blues were there in abundance again, with probably more females than males. The latter were definitely coming to the end of the flight season, many with very lived-in bodies with bits missing, though this didn't seem to sap their enthusiasm for finding the females.
A Six-spot Burnet moth put in an appearance, and while I was crawling through the heather photographing butterflies, I put my head up to see I was only a few yards away from 2 roe deer. I'm not sure who was most surprised, but eventually they disappeared soundlessly into the bracken, where they rested until they were disturbed by an out-of-control dog some 15 minutes later. (Nigel Symington)
This morning I visited the Knepp Castle Estate in the hope of seeing and photographing Purple Emperors and other butterfly species. I arrived at 08.00 hrs and had the place to myself for sometime. Many Purple Emperors were in flight but I saw only one on the ground, close to the Countryman Lane entrance. I observed this for about 40-minutes, despite being disturbed several times by horses and dog walkers. Attached are some of my images. (Douglas Neve)
It was an early show at Ditching Common yesterdaywith a single Black Hairstreak at eye height within minutes of arriving and then no more after nearly three miles of walking and looking. Plenty else to see though, including a brief glimpse of a White Admiral just before leaving. (Sue Cross )
Yesterday (23 June) I gave Theresa Turner and Gary Norman a personal tour of the Knepp Wildland, to thank them for all their brilliant work on the BC Fritillaries for the Future project. I was keen to show them both Knepp and the Purple Emperor at their best. Emperor sightings gradually became more regular and a nice male eventually succumbed to one of my shrimp baits. Then the fireworks started; we turned a corner to find a low-level swarm of butterflies, comprising two females and five males, forming tight twisting bundles and linear chases at head-height and sometimes lower. Occasionally they would land in the grass, as the females attempted to shake off the amorous males. The females also repeatedly chased the males at high speed; something I've never seen before. All seven of the emperors regularly perched in the hedgerow, at or just above head-height. This frantic game of kiss chase went on for the best part of an hour, before the butterflies finally dispersed. During this part of the day we saw 40 Purple Emperors, all viewed from the main tracks and paths.
I later rejoined others in a systematic search (although we covered different routes) of the Sallow scrublands, where activity was at times quite incredible, although I never matched the chase of eight reported by Darcia Gingell and her mother. The tallies at the end of the day read like a late 1970s West Indies cricket team scoresheet; Oates 177, Fosterjohn 158, Hulme 144 (Tutton batted to the end, but the scorer lost count). A Knepp double-century must surely be possible, as the Wildland project continues to demonstrate that 'rare' wildlife need not be rare.
Most visitors had left before 6.00 pm, but I stayed on to enjoy the swarms of Purple Hairstreak which become active in the oak canopy on sunny evenings, the purring of nearby Turtle Doves, and the commotion caused by a family of Tamworth Pigs digging up mussels from the bottom of a small pond. (Neil Hulme)
Saturday 23 June
I found 5 male Silver studded Blue and I female on the West of the wide track near Smugglers Car Park on the Ashdown Forest. All were in excellent condition but none of males managed to locate the female . One of the males was separated from the others by about 80 metres. I did find a further 2 males on the East of the track but it wasn't clear if they were the same Silver studded Blues I had already seen or new specimems. (Tom Parker)
A very early morning visit to Abbots wood revealed at least nine White Admirals, and several, male, Silver-washed Fritillaries, all these were found in a very small area. From my observations, White Admirals seem to be having a very good year. (Trevor Rapley)
I am just looking at a White-letter Hairstreak in Preston Park. It is on the top of one of the Preston Twins (the one further from the road) chasing away bumblebees and then settling back onto a leaf. But should have brought my bigger binoculars for a really good view. (Istvan Radi)
Friday 22 June
Talking with member Gill Shepherd when male Purple Emperor alighted next to us at about 14.00 hrs. Subsequently saw another male. Two White Admirals (M,F), loads of Silver-washed Fritillary solitary,Comma, solitary Marbled White, Browns some unidentified, Honeysucke at one clearing covered in emerging small moths with distinctive upturned wings ? (Greg Burgess)
I walked up the bostal in a zig-zag fashion then into Ashcombe Bottom where I walked most of the rides before heading back down across the scarp. A 4 hour walk in glorious weather amongst the fine chalk grassland with 1000's of orchids including a few bee orchids.
On to the butterflies, 690 individuals of 21 species counted including 1 Purple Hairstreak, 11 White Admiral, 9 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 8 Dark Green Fritillaries including 2 mating pairs. In the grassland 382 Meadow Brown were supported by 124 Small Heath and 1 Small Blue. Ever hopeful of a Purple Emperor but no joy on that front. (Lee Walther)
And this is supposed to be the June Gap! (Ed jnr)
Just after Sussex finished off Durham in the match at Arundel, a celebratory Purple Emperor was flying around the covers at the Park End for a few minutes. A good day on two fronts, then. (Dave Sadler)
An Essex Skipper just south of Knowlands Wood, Barcombe this evening. Also about 15 Purple Hairstreaks in the wood. (Simon Linington)
Today I visited Kingley Vale (SU8211) where the temperature reached 20°C. I walked most of the paths in and around the wooded areas and scrub, where I saw two new species for the year - a Silver Washed Fritillary and a Gatekeeper, both of which I managed to get photographs. Totals: Large White 3, Small White 16, Common Blue 2M, Gatekeeper 1, Marbled White 22, Meadow Brown 24, Small Heath 4, Comma 2, Red Admiral 5, Silver Washed Fritillary 1. (Roy Symonds)
Chantry Hill was very productive today with 16 butterfly species, as follows: Small Skipper (1m), Large Skipper (4), Grizzled Skipper (2), Brimstone (1m), Large White (1), Small White (1), Brown Argus (10), Common Blue (15), Red Admiral (1), Painted Lady (6), Dark Green Fritillary (14), Speckled Wood (1), Marbled White (7), Meadow Brown (300), Ringlet (22) and Small Heath (50). I went to do a Dark Green Fritillary count but for much of the time the sun was hidden and that didn't help my cause. I suspect 20-30 the actual number. One of the Grizzled Skippers was in mint condition. The Painted Lady numbers suggests a recent cross-channel passage. When I got home I had a Ringlet in the garden, making 22 species for the season. Earlier there was a Marbled White and a faded first-brood female Holly Blue (this seems a late date?). Also a flock of 22 non-breeding Ravens at Chantry Hill. (Martin Kalaher)
Today I walked Inham's Lane, West Stoke (SU835089) beforea visited to nearby Kingley Vale. Here in the lane leading to the old quarry I recorded the following: Brimstone 1M, Large White 1, Small White 3, Meadow Brown 1, Speckled Wood 1, Red Admiral 3, Small Tortoiseshell 1. (Roy Symonds)
The last few days have seen an explosion of Purple Emperor activity on the Knepp Wildland, although the action is punctuated by long periods when the butterflies remain motionless in the canopy, and one could be forgiven for thinking that there are none present! Much depends upon the weather, and other factors which we don't always understand. Matthew Oates and I have been monitoring the numbers closely, often over the large areas with restricted access, which we visit as members of the Wildland advisory and survey groups (please keep to the public rights of way and permissive footpaths). However, the emperors can easily be seen from these paths, especially from the bridleway which runs approximately south-north across the Southern Block; many male emperors are coming to ground here (and occasionally to my trousers).
Maximum day counts remained on a plateau on 20 June (61) and 21 June (56), but there was clearly a huge hatch during the generally quiet morning period today. We stopped at 5.30 pm, as Matthew was beginning to melt, by which time we'd counted 121,120 of which were males. This indicates that we are still in the early build phase, and that we are likely to see a significant further increase, once the females get going.
The bridleway (green lane) is also a great place to watch Purple Hairstreak, particularly after 6.30 pm. Yesterday I counted 100 in the oaks during a relatively short period. A handful of White Admirals and the occasional Silver-washed Fritillary are also being seen. (Neil Hulme)
more pictures (Istvan Radi)
I went for a walk today at Malling Down, Lewes and saw 1 Ringlet, 1 Small Skipper, 2 Large Skipper, 4-5 Marbled White, 2 Brimstone, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Holly Blue, 1 Comma, dozens of Small Heath and even more Meadow Brown, a few unidentified white butterflies and around 10 Cinnabar Moth and its caterpillar in high numbers. Several Meadow Browns were carrying those red eggs of some kind of a parasite. (Istvan Radi)
Visited Rowland Wood today to carry out another set of fixed point photographs to support our grant application. No SPBF seen which suggests this flight season has finished. But plenty of the usual suspects - Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Large Skipper, and one Common Blue. Also two lovely White Admirals. (nigel Symington)
Purple Hairstreak spotted at Ditchling Common resting around 4pm below waist height on grass near bramble next to pathway into reserve. Rested for at least 20mins before stretching its wings a few times then took to flight. (Kirsty Gibbs)
I saw two White-letter Hairstreaks today on a lunch-time visit to Hollingbury Park, Brighton - one was very fresh and the other quite tatty.
A walk from the Devil's Dyke pub along the north facing slope began with a few Meadow Brown, a lovely Comma and several Small Heath. The Meadow Browns and Small Heath increased in number as I headed east until they were everywhere I looked. Following the path to Saddlescombe farm (the lower path, not the south downs way) I saw my first Dark Green Fritillary as I was approaching the road past Saddlescombe farm. I continued around the lower slopes of Newtimber hill, where butterfly chaos was in full flow. Meadow Brown, Marbled Whites, Large Skippers, and Small Heath all fighting with each other or dancing around - and would any of them stop for photos - no. There was also the occasional flash of blue, at least one of which was a very tired looking Adonis Blue. Saw several more Dark Green Fritillary, which would stop momentarily, but never long enough for a photo. Despite, the lack of models for my photo shoot, it was lovely to be surrounded by so very many butterflies. (ok I did get a few photos - just no Marbled White or Dark Green Fritillary) (Sylvia Davidson)
After several years absence from our local woods, I was delighted to see at least three White Admirals in the woods west of Warnham village today. (David Bridges)
At the Warnham Butterfly Fields off Tilletts Lane, two or three Purple Emperors were in action today in the midday heat. Masses of Purple Hairstreaks too. (David Bridges)
Several White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillaries seen in the Roman Woods near Slinfold this morning. (David Bridges)
Purple Emperor spotted at Ditchling Common 10.30am , flew to the waters edge for a drink on rotting wood. Rested for a couple of minutes before taking flight back into tree top. 22/6/18 (Kirsty Gibbs)
I saw this very recently emerged Gatekeeper at the University of Sussex's Falmer campus. Also present was a female Common Blue and several Meadow Browns. (Chris Bird)
Ditchling Common this morning producing the first Purple Emperor for this location patrolling high in the oaks. Also Purple Hairstreaks and Silver-washed Fritillary numbers building nicely. Sadly no Black Hairstreak seen but plenty of visitors still looking. (David Cook)
Thursday 21 June
A midsummers evening amongst roosting Marbled Whites - in the hay meadow adjacent to Madgeland (Southwater) Woods. I also saw Meadow Browns, Small and Large Skippers, Common Blues, a White Admiral and a battered Comma that looked like a survivor from 2017! (John Williams)
High Beeches Garden: There are Marbled Whites, Ringlets, Meadow Browns and many Skippers on the wildflower meadow and in the garden. (Sarah Bray https://www.highbeeches.com)
I wandered around my garden a few times today and recorded eight butterfly species, including Marbled White which is my 21st garden species for this year. Also of note I had two second-brood Holly Blue. On the wing they both appeared to be males. Species and numbers as follows: Large Skipper (1m), Small White (2), Green-veined White (1), Holly Blue (2), Speckled Wood (2), Marbled White (1), Meadow Brown (8) and Small Heath (1). (Martin Kalaher)
A change of scenery was in order today so I headed to West Sussex and the Knepp Estate where the action was all Purple with Purple Emperor easily in double figures. What made this year different was the number that were coming to ground after their aerial dog fights to refuel—fantastic experience! (David Cook)
St Leonards on Sea. 1 Small Tortoiseshell on the untidy bank in my front garden. My first for this species in 2018. (Janet Wilkes)
With the local Elms really suffering over the past few years every year gets harder to find White-letter Hairstreaks at my local sites. It was therefore a relief to find a superb female in my most local site which is only around 200 yards away from my house as the butterfly flies. I was searching a large bush of flowering Bramble when it suddenly appeared in front of me. A little earlier I had also seen my first Small Skippers of the year. On the stroll I was also surprised to see a very fresh Grizzled Skipper on Cradle Valley. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Picture taken on my sony mobile phone at 10.28, we were talking to a keen butterfly man who was showing us a picture when I saw it land in the bracken. (Tracey Farrage)
I spent this morning in the Arundel area around the river and spotted a Small White and a Small Tortoiseshell along with a Comma. (Graham Hicks)
At Tottington Wood this morning, 3 fresh Silver-washed Fritillaries and a White Admiral, along with dozens of Meadow Browns. (Pete Varkala)
This morning I visited Rowland wood specifically for the White Admiral. Three were seen. The surprise of the morning was a tiny, male, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, in good condition. The small size of this Butterfly can be scaled by comparison with the Bramble flower it is perched on. One of the White Admirals seen, although fresh, had extensive wing loss.
Brighton: Scarlet Tiger Moth,9.00 am morning. (Neil Breeden)
Wednesday 20 June
As the Ditchling Common Black Hairstreak decline in number the other species of interest are beginning to make an appearance. 3 White Admiral, a Silver-washed Fritillary, several Ringlet and a couple of Purple Hairstreak were the highlight today. (David Cook)
Absolutely no butterflies in our home area of Hove for the past week, not even the occasional roving white. However, Val & I were at the cricket ground in Arundel today. It was overcast until the afternoon, but even in the gloom a few Meadow Browns were about. When the sun came out there were plenty of them, particularly on the grassy and flowery bank under the main scoreboard. We saw one with distinctly white markings on the hind wings and dark black areas nearer the body. Smaller numbers of Marbled Whites appeared on the bank, along with 3 burnet moths. A single (possibly large) white flew from east to west and away over the trees. To round off a good day, Sussex did well against Durham with youngsters Salt & Haines (he's not 20 yet) getting maiden first class centuries. It's been a long time since I've left a match with Sussex having over 400 in their first innings and 5 wickets in hand. (John & Val Heys)
Week 12 of the transect at the Gatwick North-West zone today produced 300 butterflies. There were 197 Meadow Brown, 28 Ringlet, 26 Small Heath, 3 Marbled White, 3 Speckled Wood, 14 Common Blue, 15 Large Skipper, 12 Small Skipper, 1 Red Admiral and 1 Green-veined White. (Vince Massimo)
I saw this butterfly by the side of the path of the South Downs way on Harting Down. I think it is a Fritillary but I’ve no real idea. Could you identify it precisely? (Kelvin Barber)
Dark green fritillary (Ed jnr)
I spent from 2.30 til 4 at Chantry Hill. The weather was was warm with a blustery wind. Seen from the main path were 12 highly active Dark Green Fritillaries, 2 Marbled Whites, many Small Heaths many many Meadow Browns including 3 pairs, some Brown Argus and one Red Admiral. (katrina watson)
Today at about 9.30am I found this Lime Hawkmoth being eaten/attacked by hornet or similar insect , on a pavement by the road opposite the local woods. There was a huge struggle going on as the hornet had attached itself to the moth’s head and wouldn’t let go despite me attempting a rescue with a stick. Apologies for poor quality picture. I have a video but it won’t uoload. (Laura Farmer)
My first visit to Knepp in June and it certainly delivered. My first Purple Emperor, thanks to Trevor, was followed by at least a further 5. 6 White Admirals and a similar number of Red Admirals. Loads of Meadow Browns, plenty of Speckled Woods and dozens of Small Heaths. Skippers and whites were in good supply too. At least 6 Marbled Whites freshly emerged as were 3 Commas. Purple Hairstreaks in late afternoon were spotted in several oaks. Also spotted were Painted Lady, Common Blue and probably others I have forgotten. What s day! (Martin Buck)
Just 11 days before my Storrington Wildlife garden Open Day and I have to confess that there are not a lot of butterflies around! I managed to spend an hour or two in the garden this evening and recorded just Meadow Brown and Large Skipper. This is a garden that I have had 19 species in a single day and well over 100 butterflies as a daily count. It will get better! On the plus side, I think that many of my garden wildflowers will be in peak condition on July 1st. Ultimately, that is what matters. Establish the habitat and the rest should follow. Ed Jnr mentioned awhile back that collectively we tend to neglect Meadow Brown when it comes to photos, and I am pleased to see that quite a few photos of this species have been sent in since his comments. I happen to think that Meadow Brown is rather photogenic when nectaring on certain wild flowers, of which Greater Knapweed is a good example. (Martin Kalaher)
Knepp Castle safari today with Chailey Commons Society meeting Butterfly royalty: Matthew Oates and Neil Hulme. Now what is good for bees is good for butterflies -- take a look at
(Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
This Painted Lady was spotted flying around near to our house on 10/06/18, it took a liking to the valerian bush in our garage compound. (Graham Hicks)
I managed to escape from domestic duties for an hour yesterday afternoon and went to Knowlands Wood in Barcombe, which is just down the road from me. There were several White Admirals, including this nice fresh one which posed beautifully. (Andy Wilson)
Yesterday during a walk by Littlehampton golf course I saw a Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii) and two other enthusiasts looking for White-letter Hairstreaks. At Ditchling Common on 18th I found a new micro moth for my gallery - Speckled Fanner (Glyphipterix thrasonella). (Colin Knight)
I visited Hollingbury Park in Brighton on Tuesday lunch time hoping to spot a White-letter Hairstreak. The weather was cloudy but quite warm and bright. But sadly I didn't see any, just a few Meadow Browns. I think it's still quite early in the flight season, last year I didn't get any photos till early July. (John Williams)
Tuesday 19 June
Found an eyepiece from a pair of binoculars. Someone hunting Black Hairstreaks must have lost it. Contact me if you want it back (Tim Squire)
A mid to late afternoon walk in St Leonards Forest, Horsham produced the first Small Skipper of the year in the area. There were also Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Large Skipper in most clearings and grass verges on the paths and tracks. Less frequent were Common Blue and White Admiral. (Patrick Moore)
South of Smugglers car park on the wide ride Ashdown Forest (Tom Lee)
Ashdown Forest, south of Smugglers car park, on the wide ride (Tom Lee)
Loads of Dark Green Fritillary. Good numbers of Marbled White. Some freshly emerged with wings still expanding. Small Skipper, Large Skipper and Meadow Brown. Couple of blues I didn't get a good look at. (Tim Squire)
During the winter clearance work at Rowland wood I noticed a Bramble thicket on a sunny corner
that looked just right for White Admirals, and so it proved. Doug Neve and myself spotted two WA. on the very same Brambles. Also, Ringlet numbers are building at Rowland wood along with Meadow Browns. Many Large Skippers were also seen. (Trevor Rapley)
Yesterday afternoon during a visit to Ditchling Common I saw only 3 Black Hairstreaks under a blue sky. I also saw my first Ringlet of the season plus Meadow Browns mating, a Large Skipper, a Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis) and a Comma, hutchinsoni form. A Silver-washed Fritillary zoomed past. (Colin Knight)
Monday 18 June
I spent about 6 hours at Knepp today. Conditions were cool and cloudy at first, but improved rapidly... apart from the wind, which was still gusting badly at times. My first few hours were fruitless, Emperor-wise, but I did get a little over-excited about some White Admirals, of which I saw about 6.
At about 3 pm, I met up with a certain Mr Oates, and, would you believe it, almost immediately we saw a shadow pass along the ground. We looked up and there was an Emperor up in the canopy. Matthew then showed me a few other favoured spots, but no one was in residence. Finally, however, we saw a couple of males in combat on the lee side of a line of tall oaks.
A lovely day out, but I have a lot to learn. Thank you to Matthew for his company and knowledge. (Andy Wilson)
Such a beautiful butterfly. They used to be a common sight but hardly see them now. I saw a couple at the beginning of the season in March or April but nothing since until the other day I saw this one on a farmland bird survey on Bevendean Farm. Sad (Tim Squire)
Willingdon Lane, Jevington. On the pavement, 17.30BST, 17th June 2018.
(can't log in to the moth group so posted here) (Chris Pellett)
Belated report from Saturday. I did an early morning search for Silver-studdied Blue butterflies on Ashdown Forest from Roman Road Car Park via Camp Hill to the Hollies Car Park. Eventually found a female still roosting just south of The Hollies (TQ461284) and then a male on the path going back up to Camp Hill (TQ462287). (Chris Bird)
Vince Massimo writes "Chris Bird's photo of a female Silver-studded Blue in Ashdown Forest looks like a Common Blue to me". I should have spotted this but I am 5000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain managing sightings with my phone. Normal service willbe resumed the weekend after next (Ed jnr)
Visited Ditchling Common 18/06/2018 and after a lot of searching found what we were looking for. My forty fifth species of Sussex Butterfly! I'm not including the Monarch in Pavilion Gardens but this one is a tick! As well as a single Black Hairstreak also saw quite a few Meadow Brown, a couple of Common Blue, a Silver-washed Fritillary and a Large Skipper. It was great to bump into the man himself, the hairstreak hero and his hounds, David Cook, who kindly gave me a whistlestop tour of the site and imparted some of his great hairstreak knowledge. Unfortunately no purples today.18/06/2018 (Tim Squire)
This afternoon I went to Hollingbury Park. When I arrived I noticed my good friend Steve East, who was scanning the Creeping Thistles, prior to my arrival he was successful in locating a male White-letter Hairstreak, upon meeting we both clocked eyes on the individual who had now moved to a further flower head. Steve being courteous, wanted me to post the photos I've taken to cover the occasion. By this weekend more Creeping Thistles should have flowered, offering the opportunity for close-up views of the males. If visiting Hollingbury Park please be respectful of work that the volunteers have done in managing the Creeping Thistle, the result of their work now provides the greatest abundance of the plant, please refrain from trampling, as every one damaged, is one less plant available for later emerging individuals to visit, notably the females. Thank you! (Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
16 June: Me and the family headed over to Eastbourne for the day. Every outing is an opportunity and so whilst on the move in the car (Dad driving), leaning my head to the window, I scanned the roadside Wheatley elms as we drove along, it was late morning and I was delighted to have a sighting of 1 male White-letter Hairstreak seen on Wheatley elm at (TQ5911900040 - Beechy Avenue) corner junction to Victoria Drive, Eastbourne. I had a further sighting, again of a single male White-letter Hairstreak, seen on Wheatley elm at (TQ5909900173 - Victoria Drive), tree just prior to The Avenue turn off from Victoria Drive, Eastbourne. Both valuable sightings, as there is a lack of records from this area. We stopped off at Eastbourne's tallest tree - a Wheatley elm (pictured), with records last measuring a height of 35.60 meters back in 2014. Despite stopping for 15 minutes I wasn't able to achieve a sighting, the tree located along Paradise Drive at (TV5945198312), it's yet to be confirmed as a host tree to the butterfly, parking was both awkward and dangerous, due to the only available space being a small lay-by on the opposite side of the road.
(Jamie Burston https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JamieBurstonArt)
Loder Valley and above Ardingly Reservoir No Purple or White butterfly spp seen. Plenty of Meadow Browns though.
35 Greylag Geese, 4 Reed warblers (heard only), 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Cormorant and 1 Great Crested Grebe. (Peter Lovett https://sussexrambler.blogspot.co.uk/)
Sunday 17 June
At Blackbrook Wood, south of Ditchling Common today, me and my dad found 7 Purple Hairstreaks low down in a small area of coppiced hazel. Just the briefest moment of sunshine and they disappeared into the oaks above. (Mark Cadey)
At our workday today our ranger Emma ,Brig, Istvan, Peter, myself and Sarah cleared some of the brash from the bottom path and then we had a walk into Hog Trough,
Not too many butterflies about but we did see a few Ringlets, Meadow Browns ,
Small Heaths, Common Blues, Speckled Woods and a nice fresh Marbled White and a Small Skipper.
(Geoff Stevens http://bevendeandown.wordpress.comp)
Fortunately it was not quite dull enough in St Leonards Forest, Horsham to stop the Ringlet flying this morning. There were also Meadow Brown, Large Skipper and Speckled Wood when the weather occasionally brightened. (Patrick Moore)
Large Skippers, a very fresh Dark Green Fritillary, and a newly emerged Small(?) Elephant Hawk moth in breezy and cool conditions at Friston Gallops this afternoon. (John Williams)
I joined the work party at Bevendean Downs, Brighton for the first time today for what I was rewarded with my first sightings of a Ringlet, two Marbled White and a Small Skipper. There was plenty of Small Heath, Brown Meadow and different blues and whites too. It was nice to meet the others who came along and I definitely will be back on a less windy day to explore the reserve in more details. (Istvan Radi)
Today (17 June) I saw my first Purple Emperor of the season, in the oaks at the northern end of Green Lane (Knepp Southern Block). A male was observed flying rapidly around the canopy in unsuitably strong wind at 12.15 pm. A second male flew over my shoulder from the Sallow scrub behind at 12.25 pm and climbed up to join the first. By 12.35 pm they were dogfighting at breakneck speed; this was silly, as someone could have been hurt. Earlier in the morning I'd seen 8 Black Hairstreak (the flight is now declining rapidly) at Ditchling Common. I never thought I'd record pruni and iris on the same day in Sussex! (Neil Hulme)
Saturday 16 June
This morning I saw 3 Black Hairstreaks at Ditchling Common, in a brighter spell of weather between 12 and 1pm. Then I went onto Kithurst flower meadow, where under leaden Grey skies I saw a nice fresh Marbled White, and a few Meadow Browns. (John Williams)
With very little wind, in fact for once, no wind, I headed up to High and Over very early to see the Marbled Whites waking up. I had spotted 9 the evening before roosting so I knew there were some about. A great morning was had with the unusual event of a Small Heath posing being the highlight!!
Today, 16th, a walk around Friston Forest produced my first Ringlet of the season. There was a total lack though of Dark Green Fritillaries and Marbled White though. (Bob Eade http://bobsbutterflies.blogspot.co.uk)
Yesterday (15 June) I revisited Chapel Common to spend some more time with the Silver-studded Blues. There were even more there than earlier in the week. Weather was perfect, with no wind and the sun coming in and out from behind clouds. When the sun was out, the heather was shimmering with butterflies. Many females are now evident, though still heavily outnumbered by males. I saw many newly emerged insects climbing stems of vegetation to dry out and pump their wings: though not one case of ants in attendance. Males were fighting fiercely over the females: one was mating even though her wings had not finished drying, and in many cases a number of males were tussling fiercely over a female - even to the point of persisting long after it was evident that the game was already up. I saw two females crawl down the stem of heather as soon as they had finished mating, curling their abdomens round and depositing something that didn't look like the egg as depicted by Richard Lewington. I have always imagined that females have to go into hiding for a couple of days after mating to let the eggs ripen: can anyone shed light on what was happening here? (see attached picture 3).
Just in case anyone imagines my blue period is going on too long, I attach a picture of a 5-spot burnet moth nectaring on bird's-foot trefoil. (Nigel Symington)
I visited Markstakes Common (new Atlas site) this morning, mostly Meadow Brown and Small Heath plus a couple of White Admiral and then a Purple Hairstreak at ground level which made my day. (Ian Seccombe)
Some still fresh looking Black Hairstreak to be found on the Ditchling Common this afternoon taking shelter from the wind and lack of sun. Also fresh Comma doing the same alongside a Red Admiral I disturbed whilst taking the pic of the Comma. (David Cook)
Following a single report of a Purple Emperor at Knepp yesterday evening, I spent a couple of hours wandering around there today. Conditions weren't good, being rather cool and cloudy, and worst of all, windy. I am definitely crazy or a wild optimist (probably both). No Emperors were seen, but during the occasional sunny interludes I saw 3 Admirals (2 white, 1 red) and there were lots of ordinary seamen (Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood). (Andy Wilson)
Yesterday (15 June) I spent a few hours in Charlton Forest, planning follow-up habitat work for the Fritillaries for the Future project. It's been encouraging to see that many species have already invaded what was once an enclosed and shady area of woodland, including Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers, Common Blue, Brown Argus and Marbled White. Numbers of the rare Drab Looper moth have also increased spectacularly. During my visit I saw my first Silver-washed Fritillary of the year. On the way home I stopped off to photograph the magnificent display of poppies at Bury Hill. (Neil Hulme)
Thursday night was warm and windless so I had a good number of moths on our balcony: Brown House Moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella), Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis), L-album Wainscot (Mythimna l-album), Light Arches (Apamea lithoxylaea), Marbled Minor agg. (Oligia strigilis agg.) and Vine's Rustic (Hoplodrina ambigua). (Colin Knight https://www.colinknightimages.com/Nature-Photography-UK/Moths)
Friday 15 June
I had an enjoyable day at Ditchling Common with Jamie and met up with Katrina and Ian. The Black Hairstreaks did not appear in the numbers I saw on Wednesday, but enough posed for the most of the visitors to take photos. I also saw a Large Skipper male, an Azure Damselfly male, a female Broad-bodied Chaser, a sawfly larva and a Spotted Longhorn Beetle. We then headed to Hollingbury Park and were rewarded with a White-letter Hairstreak which came down briefly where the only patch of creeping thistle was in flower. (Colin Knight)
A brief lunch time visit to the newly discovered colony of Black Hairstreak at Ditchling Common. (John Williams)
Knowlands Wood, Barcombe. in past days I have been looking out for some more firsts but today butterflies had to take second place - a work-in-the-wood day, bringing out the winter's coppice product. On the way in this morning, our first Silver-washed Fritillary of the year wafted past. After lunch, a Speckled Wood and a couple of White Admirals were no surprise but a male Purple Hairstreak was! It sat quietly in the ground foliage while i poked my phone towards it (no camera, of course), presumably newly emerged. Purple Hairstreaks are abundant here most years but normally seen in the evening at the top of the oaks. Years go by without me seeing one up close. A real bonus. (Nick Lear)
Beacon Hill LNR Rottingdean -Today's excellent count included my first Marbled Whites of the year (3) and the highest ever day count of Small Heath (67). Putting this in to perspective in 2010 the overall year total was only 66, and the totals before that much lower. This species has done extremely well here and follows on from last year's record total. Other counts were 55 Meadow Brown, 17 Common Blue and a Large White. (Peter Whitcomb)
We visited our local White-letter Hairstreaks near Littlehampton this morning and examined most elms between the golf course & Climping and found just 1 male. Many suitable elms and other vegetation on Climping Street had herbicide damage.
There were many Speckled Woods,4/5 Red Admirals and a Drinker moth larvae. (Barry Sketchley)
If anyone was going to see a tatty example it had to be me, seen early evening yesterday at Ditchling, the only one I saw close up in two hours
I know the feeling. It looks like it might be a bird strike as the chunk is taken out of both wings at the same spot. (Ed jnr)
Thursday 14 June
I went for a quick explore around the Abbot's Amble path at Abbot's wood after collecting my son from school. We saw 1+ Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (TQ561079), 1 White Admiral, 3+ Meadow Browns, 2 Speckled Wood and 1 Painted Lady. (Chris Bird)
This afternoon I took my dad to Fairmile Bottom to find Bee Orchids following a tip-off from a gentleman I met out butterflying last Tuesday. Apparently they don't go into hiding when it rains! It was sunny when we arrived and there were plenty of butterflies around. The most common were Meadow Brown, Large Skipper and Small Heath as well as Burnet moths. Common Blue were less abundant as well as Brimstone. There were also Marbled White and more surprisingly a Dark Green Fritillary which stopped for a short time within binocular range to aid identification. We did indeed manage to find two Bee Orchids, lovely. (Patrick Moore)
Two male and one female Small Skipper seen late afternoon at Ditchling Common. (Mark Colvin)
Arthur Greenwood,who walks the transect on Chapel Common in the far west of the County kindly took me on a tour yesterday to see Silver-studded Blues. He had said there were many more there than at Iping Common, but I wasn't prepared for the feast that awaited me. Butterflies were flying up out of the heather with every step we took: we didn't count them but Arthur has day counts of the order of 300 or more. Many were males, but females are starting to emerge too, every one surrounded by 2 or 3 males anxious to secure her favours. He outlined to me the conservation work that has been done over the years, and particularly the mowing of the heather, which has resulted in ideal habitat. A spectacular site.
We moved on afterwards to Bramshott common, only a few miles away but with completely different habitat: nevertheless a very rich and fruitful site to visit. I can't report more as it's in H***shire! (Nigel Symington)
I set out for a lovely sunset walk through the fields and woodland between Coldean and Hollingbury, finishing off with a circuit of Hollingbury golf course. Paying more attention to the sunset than where my feet were going, I very nearly stepped on this lovely Painted Lady - my first sighting of the year - in the middle of the path, still soaking up the last rays of the sun at 8:15pm! (Claire Harkin)
St Leonards on Sea-Butterflying very close to home 3 Meadow Browns in my small untidy rear garden in West St Leonards on 13th June at 9.30a.m..My first for this year. (Janet Wilkes)
Wednesday 13 June
Thanks to Mark and the others who helped me find the right spot for the Black Hairstreaks this morning. So wonderful to see this rare species here in Sussex! (Bill Brooks)
I have to say, the number of visitors to Ditchling Common today took me by surprise. The car park was FULL! A quick walk around, meeting many familiar and some unfamiliar faces. Many enjoying Black Hairstreak for the first time. Other sightings included Painted Lady, Large Skipper Meadow Brown.
I met up with Neil later in the day for a search further afield at Batchelors Farm but whilst we didn’t find any Hairstreaks, a very smart Comma Hutchinsoni was seen at one likely location. (David Cook)
I spent a lovely morning enjoying the peace and quiet of our Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood reserves today (13 June); I suspect that most butterfly watchers were at Ditchling Common! It was encouraging to find 15 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary still on the wing (7m, 8f), a month after they first emerged. Most are now faded, but the females were still laying plenty of eggs. With the early emergence, good numbers and warm weather, I'm expecting a partial second brood in late July. Plenty of other butterflies were seen, with the best of the supporting cast being 3 White Admiral. (Neil Hulme)
some more pictures (Istvan Radi)
From Seaford I walked across to Friston Forest and Gallops. Didn't see anything along the Cuckmere River but found quite a few butterflies in the forest. Once again lots of Small Heath, probably in a hundred of them, a dozen or so Large Skipper, at least 40 Meadow Brown, different "blues" in high numbers, a few Speckled Wood, a Painted Lady, a Green Hairstreak, 2 very new looking Small Tortoiseshell, and I got to see my first fritty of the year what I believe to be a Dark Green Fritillary. Again lots of moths, including 4 Cinnabar, a Common Plume, a Mint moth and lots of others. And a caterpillar enjoying an Ox-eye daisy. (Istvan Radi)