Adur Valley Wildlife
Butterflies, Larger Moths and other Arthropods 2012
Dragonflies & other Flying Insects of Note

Link to the Mill Hill web page for 2008All observations by Andy Horton, unless stated otherwise.
It would be tedious to list all sightings on the main pages,  but for flight times purposes the following butterflies and moths include ones not recorded on the main Nature Notes pages:

BUTTERFLY LISTS   2010
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009


Sussex Butterfly Reports (Butterfly Conservation Society)
UK Butterflies: Sightings
Adur Butterfly Species
Adur Moths
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Skippers
Adur Nature Notes 2011
Adur Butterfly List 2010

  British Lepidoptera on  flickr

WILDLIFE REPORTS
(Narrative):

Butterfly List 2013
 
 

Images may be found on the Adur Butterfly 2012 Blogspot


25 October 2012
A few Red Admirals were seen in Steyning, flying at gutter height beneath the old buildings of the country town.

18 October 2012
Two Red Admirals and a Large White were seen over the towpath by the houseboats.

15 October 2012
A Comma Butterfly rose from some blackberries on Mill Hill near the stile to Old Erringham.
 

10 October 2012
Butterflies were still fluttering around of six species but mostly Red Admirals prior to hibernation. On the levels at Old Shoreham, there were occasional Red Admirals and Small Whites with a few Large Whites. On the Pixie Path there were more Red Admirals, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Comma. On Mill Hill, I noted three Meadow Brown Butterflies, another Red Admiral and another Comma. The latter was disturbed when I was collecting blackberries and I did not see it until it moved after I picked the blackberry it was on.
Six species.

Comma Butterfly4 October 2012
On the fourth day of the month the rain had stopped and it was worthwhile taking the camera out. There were still frequent butterflies of five species blown about in the breeze with the leaves, mostly Large Whites frequently seen on the outskirts of town and well over a dozen Red Admirals visited the Ivy on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. These Red Admirals seemed to have moved up the path from the rather faded Ivy in the Butterfly Copse. At least one Comma Butterfly flew out of the Ivy. It was relatively cool (> 15.7 °C) and a the blustery wind (Force 5 gusting to Force 6) from the WSW nearly blew me off the exposed lower slopes of Mill Hill. Conditions were such that I would not have been surprised if no butterflies appeared and this appeared to be the case until I saw my first flutter of a Meadow Brown Butterfly (probably a Small Heath) in the Tor Grass, followed immediately by a Treble-Bar Moth and shortly afterwards a pristine Comma Butterfly simultaneously with two Meadow Brown Butterflies.

A Southern Hawker dragonfly flew over the Pixie Path and Frampton's Field. Common Darters (dragonfly) frequently arose from the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
Four butterfly (probably five) and one macro-moth species

27 September 2012
After three days of heavy rain, I would not have been surprised if there were no butterflies around in Old Shoreham by the river. However, there was an occasional Buddleia still in flower and frequent Red Admirals, occasional Large Whites and two metres north of the Toll Bridge I definitely identified a Green-Veined White. On the hedge-like verges of the cyclepath between the Toll Bridge and the Buffer Stop a Southern Hawker dragonfly hawked to a fro without settling.

22 September 2012
A medium-small brown moth or butterfly was seen flying over Adur Recreation Ground. This may be the Vapourer Moth as they are seen at this time of the year.

21 September 2012
In contrast to four days ago, there was just the one Red Admiral seen on the Ivy in the Butterfly Copse.

18 September 2012
I stopped at Mill Hill to do my weekly butterfly transect in the sunshine. The results show a considerable decline since last week: Adonis Blues 21, Comma 1,  Meadow Brown 55, Small Copper 1, Small Heath 3, Small White 1. I also saw a Treble-bar moth, Aplocera.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


17 September 2012
I was able to count the butterflies on the Ivy bush illustrated below and the figure came to 14 definite Red Admirals, possibly 18, with 7 more in the area within fluttering distance, plus four Comma Butterflies seen at he same time and one more over the Waterworks Road, plus one Large White in the Butterfly Copse and two nearby. There were also a few Common Darters (dragonfly). It was still too breezy for decent photographs the whole Ivy bush swaying in the wind. The vanessid butterflies were easily disturbed by shadows of passing people and the persistence of hoverflies and bumblebees. When the sun came out both Red Admirals and Large Whites were seen on on the outskirts of Shoreham with two Specked Woods in the shade.
Four butterfly species

16 September 2012
A Painted Lady visited my south Lancing front garden.

Report by Ray Hamblett on facebook Adur Valley & Downs


On a cool, cloudy breezy day, most of the butterflies on MIll Hill had disappeared in unfavourable conditions. There was still frequent Meadow Brown Butterflies and a few Adonis Blues of both genders, and a Common Carpet Moth or two. A Large White and Speckled Wood on the path at the top but that was all. A Southern Hawker dragonfly hawked to and fro over the path next to the overgrown top meadow. By this time dark grey clouds had appeared and one gust nearly blew me over.
Four butterfly species (my total)

15 September 2012
On a sunny day, a large Ivy bush in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road was covered in about thirty butterflies of which an estimated 25 were Red Admirals and five Comma Butterflies were counted. The same bush hosted a few small flies, at least 15 of the usual hoverflies, but including one of the impressive Volucella zonaria. A Large White Butterfly visited the Buddleia in the same copse.

Ivy at the Butterfly Copse

A Speckled Wood was seen in the nearby Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. Large Whites was seen everywhere over the gardens of residential Shoreham. There were also Small Whites seen. No butterflies were seen on a brief visit to Mill Hill Cutting (SE).
Five butterfly species

11 September 2012
On an overcast breezy day, butterflies were common on Mill Hill. Meadow Brown Butterflies were the most prevalent with an estimated 150+ in the transect acre of the lower slopes. Adonis Blues were also common with over a hundred seen. The males were very tatty and all were damaged to some extent. The females fared better with 20% of them in fine condition and most of them crawling in amongst the leaves of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. The tally in the transect acre was 86, with 49 males and 37 females. After I completed the acre and stopped counting, I then found another hotspot of about 24 more, about 12 males and 12 females all within the transect acre. Adonis Blues were not evenly distributed and seemed to be divided into hotspots where the density was much higher. The males had to be identified from about ten much fresh and undamaged Common Blues. Small Heath Butterflies were frequently seen (20+) on the lower slopes with one on the upper meadow.

Adonis Blues on Carline Thistle

The two other species of butterfly were seen on my downs trip in the middle of the day before it suddenly became cooler were occasional Red Admirals and occasional Large Whites.
Aerial insect predators were around with a Common Darter and a Southern Hawker dragonfly and a Hornet Robber Fly over Mill Hill.
Six butterfly species
MIll Hill Report
Adur Flies

8 & 9 September 2012
Although the sun was shining and it was warm over the weekend, I did not make any special trips but in Shoreham and the outskirts I noted frequent Large Whites, Small Whites and Red Admirals, occasional Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods and Holly Blues, and probable Green-Veined Whites and Common Blues.
Eight species

7 September 2012
On a half an hour trip up the Pixie Path I spotted occasional Red Admirals and Holly Blues and one Speckled Wood. On the Mill Hill Cutting (SE) there were two worn and faded brown butterflies which I think were female Chalkhill Blues. In Shoreham town there were occasional Large Whites and one Small White.
Mill Hill Cutting (SE) Report

6 September 2012
After the recent bonanza on Mill Hill, I made a comparative visit to the Lancing Ring meadows including McIntyre's Field. I was disappointed. There were frequent Meadow Browns in the meadows, and frequent Speckled Woods in the shade and frequent Large Whites everywhere. However, the Hemp Agrimony, often a migrant for migrants only hosted only one Red Admiral which flew off rapidly. There was a Holly Blue seen on passage, a new Small White in Old Shoreham, but only three Red Admirals on the Buddleia that was so prolific two days earlier.
Six species

5 September 2012
On my passage through Southwich on another sunny pleasant day with the breeze less than of most of the summer and Cirrus uncinus clouds, there were frequent Red Admirals (mostly flying north), one Speckled Wood (in Shoreham), one Holly Blue (in Shoreham), frequent Large Whites and an occasional Silver Y Moth.

4 September 2012
In the morning I made the most of good weather to do my Mill Hill butterfly transect with the following result:  Adonis Blues 106, Brown Argus 1, Common Blue 1, Meadow Browns 186, Red Admiral 3, Small Heath 11, Small Tortoiseshell  4, Small White 7, Speckled Wood 2, Wall 1. The Small Tortoiseshells were all on 2 Buddleias.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards

Sunnier than the previous day with a constant breeze. The original plans to go to Lancing Ring were waylaid, and my journey only visited residential areas and a passage trip from Shoreham to Lancing and back via the Royal Coach (now closed)  and the coastal route past Widewater on the outward journey, and the return on the edge of the A27 past New Monks Farm (north side) and Shoreham Airport. Large Whites were frequently seen with an occasional Small White.
 

In Old Shoreham over the cyclepath along the east bank of the River Adur to Ropetackle, a Holly Blue flew in the late afternoon. Buddleia had already turned from purple to brown but where the purple flowers remained they provided an attractive nectar source for Red Admiral Butterflies, notably by the buffer stop (north of the Riverbank Industrial Estate, mostly derelict) where about forty Red Admirals visited and stayed around one large Buddleia bush. All the Red Admirals were in good condition.
Four butterfly species

3 September 2012
When the sun came out in the early afternoon, the lower slopes of Mill Hill were alive with butterflies. At one point on my return journey, a spot just above the path it was difficult to avoid treading on the brown female butterflies amongst the Horseshoe Vetch leaves. This was after I had completed my one acre transect count which was half done in shade where the butterflies were not so lively. The count of the Adonis Blues came to an unprecedented 205 (132 males 73 females) and this was thought to be under-recorded by about 45 because of the overcast conditions at first. Although there were hot spots the Adonis Blues seem to be just as prevalent on all of the five acres of the lower slopes so the total numbers may be in excess of 800. Many were tatty and damaged but at least 20% of the males were in fine condition and some looked as good as new. There were two mating pairs seen and occasional courting pairs. At least a dozen of the females were crawling amongst the Horseshoe Vetch to lay their eggs so many of these could have missed the count. The male Adonis Blues were very aggressive amongst themselves but more so chasing off other blue butterflies, but not harassing them.
 

 Adonis Blue  on Carline Thistle
Adonis Blues 
 Adonis Blues

Because of the numbers of butterflies all appearing at one time were too difficult to count I stopped counting the Meadow Browns, so the part count and part estimates was in excess of 150 in the transect acre. All the other species hardly registered in the final numbers tally. Small Heaths (15+) led the way, with at least half a dozen male Common Blues all being chased by the Adonis Blues, one Speckled Wood over the southernmost steps, a few Large Whites, one Brimstone, one Small White Butterfly, one or two Red Admirals, a Treble-bar Moth and a Shaded Broad-bar Moth. Because of the strength-sapping humid conditions I returned by the path through the lower slopes seeing well over fifty more Adonis Blues. On the top southern part of Mill Hill there were occasional Silver Y Moths, possibly many more, amongst the leaves of Greater Knapweed.
Nine butterfly species and three macro-moths

Green-veined Whites31 August 2012
Large White Butterflies flew around the Sea Kale by the Old Fort at the eastern end of Shoreham Beach. But the white butterflies on Adur Recreation Ground were a mating pair of Green-Veined Whites. A red vanessid that landed on  the Adur towpath adjacent to Shoreham Airport (the Toll Bridge end) was a Small Tortoiseshell.
Three butterfly species

30 August 2012
As the month draws towards it end with the first chill of autumn in the morning. By late afternoon the sun very occasionally shone through a gap in the Cumulus clouds with a bit of a northerly (NNW) breeze (Force 4 gusting to Force 6) and conditions were inimical for butterflies. I made a detour passage trip up the Pixie Path around 4:00 pm and I would have been surprised to see anything of note in unpromising conditions. A handful of Meadow Browns were seen on the western edge of Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, and when the sun pierced the clouds for about a minute half a dozen male Common Blues were seen on Ragwort flowers, but fluttered off and did not return when the clouds obscured the sunshine again. I paused by the Ivy on the Pixie Path but there were no other butterflies active in the cool conditions (17.7 °C). Fighting through the Bramble thorns to get to the Mill Hill Cutting (SE) I was surprised to instantly see a male Adonis Blue. The sun came out for two minutes and it even opened up its wings. This is the first time I have seen an Adonis Blue in this location and in the boundaries of Shoreham (south of the A27). It was the only butterfly species seen on this small area of chalk bank and the last but one seen as the weather became breezier and inclement, and quickly became dark under some rain clouds. The last butterfly was a Red Admiral struggling to fly against the wind and blown away.
Three butterfly species

28 August 2012
I did my Mill Hill transect and was delighted to see a Painted Lady (first of the year) and a mating pair of Adonis Blues. Other transect results:  Adonis Blue 201, female Brimstone 1, Meadow Brown 265, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 3, Small Heath 12, Small Tortoiseshell  1, Small White 1, Speckled Wood 1. I  then visited Steyning Downland and joined eight other enthusiasts at the reserve where I found two Brown Hairstreaks in reasonable condition.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


23 August 2012
Under another Cumulus sky, the sun shined only for period of up to ten minutes, but it was still worth a trip to Mill Hill by the direct road route through the Dovecote Estate. The first port of call was the top part of the Pixie Path by the high hedge (which was being pruned drastically). A couple of Speckled Woods (4+) were courting, two Meadow Browns, one Wall Brown, one Large White and four restless Holly Blues comprised the tally after five minutes.

A large cloud cast a giant shade over Mill Hill as a Small Heath Butterfly and frequent Meadow Browns fluttered over the southern part of Mill Hill before I descended the steps down to the lower slopes. Butterflies of several species fluttered all at once in myriad directions. Meadow Browns were everywhere and about third of them seemed to be the larger females. On the southern part of the lower slopes that seemed to outnumber all the other butterflies by about five to one. They exceeded the numbers even in the good year of 2003, and the estimate of their numbers over the one acre transect amounted to a conservative 350 in the transect acre and possibly 525+. Adonis Blues were fluttering all over the lower slopes (although many of them I almost trod on them to get them to move) and the count came to 118 males, with only 19 male Chalkhill Blues, and 22 brown females of both species, but only two of them looked like Chalkhill Blue females. To complicate identifications further there were at least a dozen Common Blues of both genders, as well as at least ten Small Heaths, a few Gatekeepers, three Wall Browns, one Shaded Broad-bar Moth, at least one Treble-bar Moth, and some small pyralid moths on the lower slopes. The pyralids were Synaphe punctalis and Pyrausta nigrata. There were two mating pairs seen of Meadow Browns and Adonis Blues.
 

 Meadow Brown
 Brimstone Butterfly
Adonis Blue

Walking through the Hawthorn scrub I encountered more Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns. In places the undergrowth had grown so much I did not recognise the paths that led into the open glades. In a glade with Hemp Agrimony, a half a dozen Red Admirals visited. A large whitish-coloured butterfly suddenly appeared as a cloud resulted in a noticeable temperature chill, it was a Brimstone Butterfly which quickly hid. Common Blues were plentiful as well and on the middle slopes and upper meadows the number seen exceeded a hundred and there were probably many more in hiding.
On the top meadows there were even more Meadow Browns, hundreds of them almost everywhere as well as scores of Silver Y Moths. Two 6-spotted Burnet Moths rested on a Greater Knapweed flower. I chased one of the female Common Blues as it looked very much like a Brown Argus.
Mill Hill Report
Hundreds of butterflies but only twelve species, plus four species of micro-moths

22 August 2012
On the outskirts of Shoreham, a variety of brown butterflies were in prominence of display. Speckled Woods were frequently seen with 30+ on a detour passage through the Pixie Path. This far exceeded expectations on a cool (18.9 °C) breezy (Force 5 to 6) and humid afternoon under an intermittently cloudy (Cumulus + vapour trails) sky. Mill Hill Cutting is a continuation of Footpath 3138. The footpath has been diverted (1971) to go over the bridge to Mill Hill.

Five separate and quite distinct brown butterflies were quite prominent on the garden-sized area of Mill Hill Cutting on the chalk bank covered in the leaves of Cotoneaster, Horseshoe Vetch, Mouse-eared Hawkweed and other herbs. Three were seen simultaneously and recognised not to include two much tattier specimens. All these were thought to be female Chalkhill Blues, even the one that was smaller than the others. (The possibility that some of these are Adonis Blues is still open.) They were accompanied by at least one Meadow Brown and more than one Common Blue, a female and a male respectively. Looking like many of fallen leaves blown about, its static position revealed a closed Red Admiral, one of a handful seen. More Meadow Browns were seen over the path and one Gatekeeper in a good condition. All the whites, even the smaller ones turned out to be Large Whites. Holly Blues (10+) fluttered around the Brambles and Ivy with the first blackberries appearing.
Eight species of butterfly.

21 August 2012
I did my Mill Hill butterfly transect. I parked my car by a Buddleia and saw two Small Tortoiseshells and a Red Admiral on this butterfly magnet. Transect  results:   Adonis Blue 121, Chalkhill Blue 8, Common Blue 11, Gatekeeper 10, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Brown 305, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 6, Small Heath 3, Small Tortoiseshell 4, Speckled Wood 4, Wall Brown 14, Small White 1. The Adonis second brood are booming and this was the largest number of Walls I have ever seen in one place.
Thirteen species of butterfly.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


17 August 2012
On a sunny and very humid day the butterflies were out and seen almost as I left my front door:
A passage trip through Shoreham town I immediately spotted one Small Tortoiseshell, followed by occasional Speckled Woods, one Comma, one Red Admiral, frequent Large Whites and lastly just the one Small White.
Frequent Speckled Woods, one Red Admiral, occasional Common Blues, one Brimstone Butterfly, occasional Holly Blues, a few Small Blues, frequent Meadow Browns, one Large White, and one Silver Y Moth all appeared within ten minutes in and around the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting.
 

Meadow Brown
Meadow Brown 
 Meadow Brown
Silver Y Moth

The open lower slopes of Mill Hill were alive with hundreds of butterflies, at an average of a butterfly per square metre over the southern part of the lower slopes, usually a less favourable area for numbers on the Shoreham Bank. I spent under a quarter of an hour on the hill, but I still managed to see over fifty of each of four species: Meadow Browns, Chalkhill Blues, Adonis Blues and Common Blues. (I estimated their numbers to be over 100 of each in the transect acre.) A Wall Brown landed on one of the bottom steps. Brimstone Butterflies were amorous with their partners and chased off rival males and a Large White. Small Heath Butterflies chased each other over the sun bathed slopes. I only completed a quarter of the transect because it was so humid that my spectacles misted up. At least one Silver Y Moth landed in some Privet and the small pyralid moths frequently flitting about the undergrowth were Pyrausta despicata with at least one Pyrausta purpuralis. Just when I thought I was going to have to exclude Gatekeepers from my list, a female opened its wings in mint condition.
Seventeen butterfly species (most in a day this year)
Mill Hill Report

16 August 2012
Butterflies were frequently seen on the towpath route to Cuckoo's Corner, the usual species Large Whites and Meadow Browns with a Speckled Wood in the shade. On the track to the west of Middle Road allotments a Small Tortoiseshell basked by some Stinging Nettles and Borage.
Four species

13 August 2012
A brief trip to the lower slopes of Mill Hill was curtailed by rain. It did give me the chance to see my first second brood male Adonis Blue of the year immediately as I descended the steps from the southern end. It was one of 13 seen on an uncompleted (66%) of the acre transect. A handful more were noted as walked back along the winding path. The Chalkhill Blue count was low as well with just 23 males disturbed. Other butterflies spotted were one Speckled Wood, one or two Wall Browns (it could have been the same one), frequent 50+ Meadow Browns, frequent 15+ Gatekeepers, a surprise Small White, a lonely male Common Blue and a Small Heath.
 

 Treble-bar Moth
 Adonis Blue 
 Wall Brown

A 6-spotted Burnet Moth was first spotted on the now flowering Autumn Gentian. At least two Treble-bar Moths showed and one Common Carpet Moth. The small pyralid moths frequently flitting about the undergrowth were Pyrausta despicata. A Large White Butterfly was blown about in the breeze and seen through my upstairs  window overlooking the back gardens of Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham.
Ten butterfly species and three macro-moths

12 August 2012
I did my Mill Hill butterfly transect and found the second brood Adonis Blues have increased dramatically since Thursday. I also found 3 Small Tortoiseshells and 3  Walls which obligingly opened their wings in contrast to those at Chantry Hill and Steyning. The rest of the transect results: Adonis Blue 23, Chalkhill Blue 68, Common Blue 5, Gatekeeper 7, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Brown 174, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 1, Small Heath 1,  Small White 1, Speckled Wood 1.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


Cycling back from the Flyover Car Boot Sale on a busy Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath and I noted occasional Meadow Browns and Large Whites, a few Gatekeepers and one faded and intact Peacock Butterfly on Hemp Agrimony.

11 August 2012
Speckled Wood Butterflies courted in the warm sun in Hebe Road, Shoreham. Flying insects were lively on the outskirts (Adur Levels) of Shoreham. Southern Hawkers (dragonfly) were occasionally spotted (about eight seen) on the cyclepath north of Old Shoreham to the Cement Works. Identification was certain on one that settled on a Buddleia. My first of the spectacular hoverfly Volucella zonaria this year was seen near the ground in Butterfly Copse by the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. This hoverfly is usually seen higher in the bushes.
 

Southern Hawker
Comma
 Southern Hawker (dragonfly)
Red Admiral

Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns were frequently seen, but it was the amorous Large Whites that were the most prevalent (no other species of white butterfly recorded or even thought likely). Other butterflies seen were a handful of mostly faded Comma Butterflies, a few Red Admirals, two Peacock Butterflies, at least two Gatekeepers, and a few Holly Blues.
Eight species of butterfly

9 August 2012
I did my Mill Hill transect with the following results: Adonis Blue 4, Brimstone 4, Chalkhill Blue 144, Common Blue 5, Gatekeeper 3, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Browns 192, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 2, Small Heath 4, Small White 3, Wall 3.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Butterfly Reports
The mist hung around until midday, but breeze died down and the rain held off on a humid day.
 
 Small Blue
Small Blue
 Meadow Brow
Gatekeeper 

A Red Admiral was quick to show under the shade of the linear wood at the top of The Drive in north Shoreham. As the path opened out on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting, a Small Blue Butterfly was spotted immediately amongst the dead heads and the occasional flower on the patch of Kidney Vetch. It was the first of about a dozen and they may be more as the females searched out the flower heads to lay their eggs. Meadow Browns were also frequently seen on the cutting meadows which had not been mown by the highway authorities. One Gatekeeper was spotted amongst the Bramble and there were at least two Holly Blues and two Large Whites fluttering above. Further to east I disturbed a Shaded Broad-bar Moth, Scotopteryx chenopodiata.
Six butterfly species

Gatekeeper6 August 2012
It was another irritating (Force 5) breeze spoils a day when the sun occasional shines through the clouds. On the small garden at the entrance to PC World on the top road at Hove (out of the Adur area) the meadow contained Bird's Foot Trefoil and about twenty small male Common Blue Butterflies were fluttering around including my first brown female of the year. There was also a few Meadow Browns and Speckled Woods in the brief few minutes of sunshine. Underneath tree canopy a second of the year Southern Hawker (dragonfly) looked menacing but the butterflies were fluttering around and chasing each other very quickly. After examining the out of focus record photographs, I discovered that the blue butterflies included at least one Holly Blue.
Under St. Julian's Churchyard, Kingston Buci, another Migrant Hawker was spotted and some more Speckled Woods. Large Whites were regularly seen from the road in residential Shoreham, with one Gatekeeper in the twitten connecting Adelaide Square with Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham. The bright yellow fluttering in Southwick was a fresh Brimstone Moth.
Six butterfly species

5 August 2012
Because of the dreadful weather I missed the peak emergence of Chalkhill Blues this year. (The Chalkhill Blue Butterflies tend to emerge simultaneously over two days at the turn of the month.) On the first suitable (if far from ideal) day a trip to the lower slopes of Mill Hill discovered only 90 in the transect acre on a cloudy cool (>18.0 °C ) day. There were 86 males seen and four females including two mating pairs. There were further male Chalkhill Blues occasionally noted on the middle and upper part of Mill Hill exceeding ten to bring the total over a hundred seen in an hour.
 

Meadow Brown on Dwarf Thistle
Chalkhill Blue on Hardhead
Meadow Brown
on the PC World verges

At the top of Chanctonbury Drive (north Shoreham, SE of the bridge to Mill Hill) three Holly Blues fluttered around with a Large White. On the southern part of Mill Hill, a Large White Butterfly and a patrolling large yellow Brimstone Butterfly were seen within a couple of minutes. The first butterfly seen on the lower slopes was a Marbled White. Subsequently, Meadow Browns were common over the whole of Mill Hill exceeding a hundred in total. Gatekeepers were frequently seen with five Small Heath Butterflies and five Common Carpet Moths spotted. A few 6-spotted Burnet Moths flew with their wings whirring. A Buddleia bush amongst the deep scrub was an attraction for Red Admiral and Peacock Butterflies  with at least two of each. Male Common Blue Butterflies were frequently seen on the upper meadow (north of the car park) with occasional Small Skippers. On the wildlife meadows south-west of the upper car park I spotted my first Brown Argus of the year (its identity confirmed when it open its wings).
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Thirteen butterfly species (the most in a single day so far this year) and two macro moths

2 August 2012
After the rain had stopped, the breeze died down in the late afternoon, a Holly Blue Butterfly flew over my small front garden in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham, and fluttered over the roof tops and away without pausing.

31 July 2012
At the expected peak period for the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies felt obliged to check out Mill Hill although the conditions were far from ideal with overcast skies and a very irritating breeze (Force 5) and cool (> 18.6 °C). The first male Chalkhill Blue left the Pixie Path at the southern end, almost in Old Shoreham, which was an encouraging sign. However, when visiting Mill Hill Cutting when for a few minutes, there were twenty male Chalkhill Blue Butterflies fluttering around but most of the butterflies were roosting under a cloudy sky, not being warm enough for them to venture out. On one seeded Hawkweed there were four tattered males resting and the actual numbers must have been at least double those in flight. There was a Large White on the Waterworks Road and a Red Admiral in the Butterfly Copse. A few Gatekeepers were seen around the Ivy and one in Frampton's Field.
 

 Chalkhill Blues
Chalkhill Blue
Wall Brown

On Mill Hill the same pattern emerged with almost having to step on any butterflies to get them to show. On the lower slopes one acre transect I counted 64 Chalkhill Blues which comprised 62 active males and one mating pair spotted in about 30 minutes. Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were both frequently seen, most of them disturbed by my presence, with one intact Small Heath Butterfly. In contrast to the butterflies, a few 6-spotted Burnet Moths flew with their wings whirring and would not keep still. Other moths disturbed were two Common Carpet Moths, a Treble-bar Moth or two, and a Shaded Broad-bar, Scotopteryx chenopodiata. Just one Pyrausta nigrata pyralid moth made an appearance, but these micro-moths are easily overlooked.

Traversing the middle slopes of Mill Hill, the scrub hosted occasional Gatekeepers and a few Meadow Browns. I avoided the Copse and upper meadows and plateau and chose a path through the scrub where a pristine Wall Brown Butterfly patrolled. This was the first of the second brood I had seen and it visited a Self-heal flower. There were five male Chalkhill Blues seen over the ridge area on the upper part of Mill Hill.
Seven butterfly species and four macro-moths

29 July 2012
Too cool (17.5 °C ) for butterflies to be in flight (a Gatekeeper was observed hiding in the Ivy) and too breezy (Force 5 gusting to Force 6) for flower photography, with black clouds that filled the sky over Mill Hill and to the north, I nevertheless ventured out to the outskirts of Old Shoreham where there was a few inevitable Large Whites blown about in the mid-to-late afternoon Moderate Breeze, a handful of Gatekeepers were disturbed and three Red Admirals advertised their presence.
 

Chalkhill Blue
 Chalkhill Blue & Common Blue 
Common Blue 

A trip up the Pixie Path led to a brief visit to Mill Hill Cutting when for a few minutes the sun shone through a gap in the clouds. In this large garden plot sized habitat, the Cotoneaster-covered chalk bank was covered in fluttering blues, too intermingled to count, but at least 25 blue male Chalkhill Blues were seen in flight simultaneously and one female was spotted. They were accompanied by two Small Skippers and a solitary fresh male Common Blue Butterfly. I dislodged a Yellow Shell Moth in my stay of under ten minutes.
Six butterfly species

27 July 2012
It was cool and humid (18.2 °C, compared to the last two warm days) and a visit to Mill Hill saw fresh Chalkhill Blues emerging. In the the transect acre 91 of the pale blue males appeared in 20 minutes on the verdant lower slopes. As it got warmer (20.1 °C) more appeared in flight estimated at 150 in the acre and I spotted my first brown female of the year.
 

Chalkhill Blues
       

Other butterflies on the lower slopes included frequent Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, a few Large Whites, at least a pair of Green-veined Whites, a female Brimstone Butterfly, a ragged Small Heath, two Marbled Whites, two 6-spotted Burnet Moths, a Treble-bar Moth and the micro-moth Pyrausta nigrata. On the southern part of the top of Mill Hill Nature Reserve, I added a Small Skipper, Red Admiral and a Common Carpet Moth.
Adur Pyralids
Ten butterfly species and three macro-moths

26 July 2012
A Holly Blue Butterfly was seen in Ray Hamblett's south Lancing garden.

24 July 2012
On the warmest day of the year so far Large Whites and one Red Admiral coming off the sea were seen on Lancing Beach with a handful of Meadow Browns. North of Ropetackle on the verges next to the towpath by the River Adur, there were frequent Small Skippers and the much larger Meadow Browns.

23 July 2012
Under a blue sky, the sun bathed Mill Hill in light (>19.3 °C), and I found myself on an overgrown part of the southern part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve which was covered in Stinging Nettles and not normally an area that I visit. A Southern Hawker (dragonfly) flew past (first of the year). A path had been worn and by the path a clump of Marjoram was beginning to flower. I stopped for a photograph and if I hadn't I would probably missed three visiting Small Skippers*, my first of the year. As other places had been reporting an abundance of Chalkhill Blues I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill again to see if there was a new emergence or a reason for the demise. It was sunny enough but the tally of butterflies was like the previous day with 46 fresh flighty male Chalkhill Blues (in the 1.2 acre transect) noted, but none appeared to be new emergences. They were again using Self-heal as a nectar plant. Meadow Browns were frequently seen but not counted and they numbered at least twenty, occasional Gatekeepers, a few Large Whites,  one Small Heath, two Marbled Whites and a 6-spotted Burnet Moth completed the half an hour tally for the lower slopes. A bright Peacock Butterfly was seen on the top part as I returned by the quickest ridge route.
(*These could be Essex Skippers?)
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

22 July 2012
At least the clouds have dispersed and the sun shines and the butterflies appeared as it warmed up in the early afternoon to a below average 17.8 °C. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill the fresh male Chalkhill Blues appeared from the verdant ground vegetation with 45 counted in the one acre transect.  This is a week before the peak emergence is due. Some had darker than normal upper wing borders and their favoured nectar flowers were Bird's Foot Trefoil and Self-heal. The second most prevalent butterfly were the frequent (about 26) Meadow Browns of the eight butterfly species seen in just over an hour.

Two Marbled Whites were still around and a pristine Peacock.

On the way back from Mill Hill, the weak sun was a bit shaded on the south-western bank of the Mill Hill Cutting in the afternoon, but at least five male Chalkhill Blues were seen simultaneously and there may have been more. One was chased around by a Large White Butterfly. Two Speckled Woods and at least two Meadow Browns were also noted. 

Chalkhill Blue
 
Town & Outskirts
Mill Hill (lower)
Mill Hill (rest)
Mill Hill Cutting
Chalkhill Blue
-
45
5
Meadow Brown
-
14
10 +
2
Gatekeeper
-
1
1
-
Marbled White
-
1
1
-
Large White
2+
-
-
1
Speckled Wood
1+
-
2
2
Comma
-
-
1
-
Peacock
-
1
-
-

Eight butterfly species and three macro moths

Mill Hill Report
Adur Moths

21 July 2012
Dark clouds to the north made the full tide on the River Adur appear dark. The sun shined through intermittently, but not often enough for the butterflies to be in flight in the early afternoon.
 

6-spotted Burnet Moth
Gatekeeper 

Butterflies were occasionally seen over the cyclepath and into the meadow-like verges between Old Shoreham to a point south of the Cement Works and most were not in active flight: Meadow Browns occasionally fluttered around, there was one Marbled White  and one Gatekeeper, Green-veined Whites and Large Whites. My first 6-spotted Burnet Moth of the year was seen on some of the flowering Marjoram.

20 July 2012
No sun equals no butterflies, but a visit to a verdant Mill Hill under a cloudy sky and I managed to disturb two male Chalkhill Blues for my first time this year. After the blues two Meadow Brown Butterflies appeared, possibly because I almost trod on them. At least twenty Cinnabar Moth caterpillars were seen on just two budding Ragworts plants near the top of the steps at the southern end of Mill Hill. Earlier, on the approaches ot the Mill Hill via the now cleared Pixie Path route, I noted two Speckled Woods and two Meadow Browns near the Mill Hill Cutting and a Gatekeeper nearer the top. The white butterflies seen in the outskirts of Shoreham were thought to be Large Whites and Green-veined Whites.
Six species

16 July 2012
I visited Mill Hill. As soon as I dropped onto the lower slopes I saw my first Chalkhill Blue of the year. This was followed by another ten plus a magnificent Peacock, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Gatekeepers, Green-veined and Large Whites.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

15 July 2012
 
Swallow-tailed Moth

A Swallow-tailed Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria, dropped out of the hedge bordering a twitten in residential Shoreham. About twenty Cinnabar Moth caterpillars were seen on just two budding Ragworts plants near the top of the steps at the southern end of Mill Hill.
There was standing water on the southern part of Mill Hill on a cool day (15.1 °C) with small amounts of the algae Nostoc Commune on the lower slopes. Any butterflies needed to be disturbed and there were just half a dozen seen under a under a cloudy sky on the lower slopes: two Marbled Whites, one Small Heath, a surprise Comma, and two Meadow Browns. There was also a Gatekeeper and an unidentified white butterfly on the wind swept top part of the hill.
Six butterfly species and two moths

13 July 2012
Another unseasonably cool and overcast day. Despite being not warm enough (>16.2 °C) for butterflies, I made a brief trek to the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Conditions were worse than expected, with a Moderate Breeze Force 5, gusting to Force 7, blowing from the south-west straight on to the exposed slopes. And rain was in the air. I did manage to disturb my first Gatekeeper of the year as well as a single Meadow Brown. A pale Treble-bar Moth was disturbed as well.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

12 July 2012
The rain held off under an overcast sky. I made a brief detour to the southern bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting, where immediately the first of a few Marbled White Butterflies fluttered around the fading Common Spotted Orchids.
 

 
 Ringlet Butterfly
 
 Marbled White
 Marbled White

Then the first of a few Meadow Browns appeared, but it was a few minutes before I saw my first Ringlet Butterflies of the year. Over dozen of these butterflies flew languidly amongst the orchids in the meadow-like embankment; the longer I stayed the more that appeared. The Ringlets settled with their wings opened and a few attempted to court. Only one of the Ringlets appeared fresh so they had probably emerged before the recent rain.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Three species

5 July 2012
Two Red Admirals and two Small Whites were noted over urban Lancing.

4 July 2012
I visited Mill Hill in the afternoon on what turned out to be uncomfortable humid conditions and slippery under foot. I did manage to spot my first four Marble White Butterflies of the year as well as eight Small Heath Butterflies, a few Silver Y Moths and one faded pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta purpuralis on half of the lower slopes transect only.

Large Skipper1 July 2012
Exasperated in the blustery condition (Force 6 gusting to Force 7) as I persisted in attempting to photograph the flowers blowing in the breeze, I would probably have missed my first Large Skipper of the year on the verges of the Downs-Coastal Link Cyclepath near the Cement Works end. At the same time there was a Small Heath Moth spotted resting briefly on a grass. Male Meadow Browns were frequent and restless, The males are the darker ones with just a hint of orange on the upper wings. Red Admirals occasionally seen on the path where the first flowers of Buddleia were swaying constantly in the wind. There was one white butterfly, either a Green-veined White or a Small White.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Four butterfly species and a macro-moth

27 June 2012
On a humid overcast day, there were very few butterflies although eleven Small Heaths including courting pairs on the lower slopes of Mill Hill with a Yellow Shell Moth disturbed amongst the abundant flowering Privet, and four pyralid moths with Pyrausta nigrata and Pyrausta despicata identified.
Mill Hill Report

24 June 2012
There were not many butterflies on Mill Hill despite good conditions: two Meadow Brown, 17 Small Heaths and a Marbled White, (my first of the year), were recorded.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

On another breezy and overcast day with spots of rain, a Large White and a Red Admiral came out when the sun shone through the clouds for a few minutes on the verges of the cyclepath south of Old Shoreham.

20 June 2012
In the twitten by Adelaide Square in Shoreham, a Speckled Wood Butterfly fluttered. A flash of red and my first Cinnabar Moth of the year flitted into some Cotoneaster on Spotted Orchid swathed southern bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting and completely disappeared. A Red Admiral Butterfly attempted to land on me and succeeded for a fraction of a second. Later in the late afternoon, about twenty Small Blues eventually appeared (after ten minutes) and my first Meadow Brown Butterfly of the year also made an appearance fluttering strongly over the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting.
Adur Butterflies: First Dates (Worksheet)
Four butterfly and one macro-moth species

19 June 2012
The sun made a welcome appearance in the afternoon but there was a dearth of butterflies on the outskirts of Shoreham on the Adur Levels. Three Red Admirals, a Large White and a probable Green-veined White were seen in an hour.

18 June 2012
I made a quick sojourn to the upper part of Mill Hill north of reservoir with a brief detour to the middle slopes. In conditions too cool and breezy to be inimical for butterflies I noted three Small Tortoiseshells and a Silver Y Moth over the meadows fringing the copse at the top and a Speckled Wood under the shade of the trees. There was a Large White in Shoreham town and on the direct Mill Hill Road approach to MIll Hill, I noted two more Speckled Woods south of the bridge over the A27, and a Red Admiral along the hedgerow to the north of the bridge.
Four butterfly species
 
15 June 2012
A "woolly bear" caterpillar of the Garden Tiger Moth, Arctia caja, crawled over the Marsh Marigolds in my front garden. More have been seen in Shoreham Beach gardens and by the houseboats where they are known as Hairy Marys

17 June 2012
I did my weekly butterfly transect at Mill Hill. There were no Adonis or Common Blues so I guess the recent gales had finished them off. "The Adonis have had a very bad year compared to last year." I saw a Holly Blue, two Small Tortoiseshells, a Meadow Brown and 12 Small Heaths. Small Heaths have been showing in good numbers everywhere but Small Tortoiseshells are having a bad year nationally. It was good to see sizeable Mullein Moth caterpillars in large numbers on three Great Mullein plants.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


14 June 2012
Too cool (about 16 °C, Force 5) for butterflies to be active, I nevertheless saw at least a dozen Small Heaths were lively the lower slopes of Mill Hill and I recorded two Adonis Blues (one of each gender) and a male Common Blue. The male Adonis Blue was roosting amongst some Tor Grass. The first fluttering was a Yellow Shell Moth was followed by the first of a few Treble Bar Moths. A few of the small pyralid micro-moths were seen, notably Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta despicata definitely identified. On the Pixie Path there were two Speckled Woods and a Holly Blue. A Large White was seen in Shoreham.
Six butterflies and four moths
Mill Hill Report

I started off by doing my weekly butterfly transect at Mill Hill. The results were disappointing as numbers were very low and the few Adonis Blues were weather beaten following the exceptionally heavy rainfall of the past few days. Count (previous week's numbers in brackets): Adonis Blue male 3 (15), female 5 (3), Small Heath 6 (16).

Second Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


13 June 2012
After a period of awful weather a break in the gales and heavy rain was a day to get out. A Speckled Wood was so familiar at the top of The Drive, north Shoreham, that I almost did not note it. There was Large White and a courting pair of Red Admirals as well. On the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting, at least twenty tiny Small Blue Butterflies fluttered around the Kidney Vetch in the afternoon.
Four species

5 June 2012
In the morning I had a window of dry, warm weather so I did my weekly butterfly transect at Mill Hill.
Butterfly count:
Adonis Blue: male 15, female 3
Common Blue: male 3, female 1
Dingy Skipper 1
Small Heath: 16

Report & Photographs by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


4 June 2012
Overcast again but a Speckled Wood fluttered over the twitten between Corbyn Crescent and Adelaide Square in Shoreham, the only butterfly seen on a cycle trip to from Shoreham to Portslade and back.

1 June 2012
 

Slightly damaged specimen from 13 June 2012

Small Blue Butterflies

Dawn was sunny and a Speckled Wood Butterfly visited the Meadow Buttercups in my front garden for the second time this year and the second time in the last few days.  Small Whites and Large Whites sparred. But the sky filled with clouds before midday and the butterflies went into hiding. It needed a careful look to spot the first of the Small Blue Butterflies this year, amongst the flowering Kidney Vetch on the southern bank of the Buckingham Cutting. There were at least five of these tiny butterflies seen but there would have been many more and they would have been around earlier last month. In the overcast conditions they were reluctant to open their wings.
Four species
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates (Worksheet)

A very early start at 5:30 am to catch the roosting butterflies on the lowers slopes of Mill Hill; there were many roosting butterflies, mainly on clumps of tall grasses. Afterwards I did my weekly transect:

Adonis Blue male 92
Adonis Blue female 22  (total 114 both genders)
Common Blue 8
Small Heath 29
Small Copper 1

Mill Hill Report & Photographs by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


31 May 2012
Just north of Ropetackle at the first bend on to the tarmac cyclepath, I was surprised to note a couple of Speckled Woods and a Holly Blue over the Dog Rose and Brambles mix with Sycamore etc. A Large White was seen in  Shoreham and a vanessid on the towpath a few metres north of the Toll Bridge, almost certainly a Peacock. And a Green-veined White patrolled the Waterworks Road.
Five species without trying

30 May 2012
It was certainly pleasant enough (about 15 °C) to visit the downs but I was otherwise occupied and the only butterfly of note was a Holly Blue seen on the cottages side of the road as I cycled down St. Julian's Lane, Kingston Buci, opposite the entrance to Shoreham College.

29 May 2012
A Speckled Wood Butterfly make a brief visit to the Marsh Marigolds in my front garden.

27 May 2012
Warm and sunny, and a bit too warm to spend too much time under the burning rays: warm enough for the butterflies to be fluttering around like a few Large Whites over the allotments (seen from a distance). At the top of the Pixie Path (hedge end SW of the bridge to MIll Hill) there were two Speckled Woods and a flightly Holly Blue. (The north-south section of the PIxie Path was overgrown to the point of being virtually impassable without being stung by nettles. I arrived through the Dovecote Estate, north Shoreham.)
 

 
 Green Hairstreak on Horseshoe Vetch
 
 Adonis Blues
Dingy Skipper

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill I did not have the impression that the Adonis Blues were particularly common but the acre transect count still came to at least 128 (including five females). (Because of the heat the trek took over an hour instead of the usual 20 minutes.) At first the handful of pairs were only courting, but as I was about to leave I spotted a mating pair. Small Heath Butterflies were frequently seen (25+) amongst the short vegetation landing with their wings closed and sometimes at an oblique angle to the sun. Two small white butterflies patrolled the bottom hedge without landing to reveal its identity. I would think it is probably a Green-veined White. The Brimstone Butterfly was positively huge as they sparred, the first of two. Fluttering amongst the undergrowth I noted my first of two Burnet Companion Moths on the day and the first I had seen this year. A few Treble-bar Moths were seen landing on the Brambles and this moth will land on Privet as well. At the northern end of the lower slopes frequent male Common Blues (12+) mixed with the Adonis Blues and there were probably some small females as well.
Just as I was about to leave I had a fleeting glance of an elusive Green Hairstreak. I returned via the lower slopes and then noted five Dingy Skippers at the southern end (area missed out at first). This area upped the Adonis Blues count including the mating pair. An then I spotted another Green Hairstreak which was very keen on visiting Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. Finally, at the top of the steps at the southern end, a Comma Butterfly flew past.
Eleven butterfly species (equal most in a single day so far this year) and two macro moths

26 May 2012
A small white butterfly flew with a noticeable white edge to its wing tips. When in landed in a back garden in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham, it was confirmed as a Small White and not a Green-veined White.

23 May 2012
It was a sticky rather than a warm (20 °C) day around midday, and I thought I would try the lower slopes of Mill Hill again. I made a false start and I had to return home not before I had seen Large Whites over the Middle Road allotments in Shoreham, a Comma on the grass of Buckingham Park and later pair of  Speckled Woods at the top of The Drive with a the first of two Holly Blues. When  I finally got to the lower slopes of Mill Hill, I was greeted immediately by male Adonis Blues. On the transect acre the count in 20 minutes was 32 (29 males 3 females including a courting pair) included one in a sorry state with wings that were not properly formed. Altogether I estimated about 60 because I stopped counting. They were complemented by frequent (12+) Small Heath Butterflies, a handful of Brimstones, a Peacock, two Common Blues and a few Treble-bar Moths. Two Green-veined Whites were seen over and around the Pixie Path at the southern Waterworks Road end.
Ten butterfly species

22 May 2012
On the first warm day of the year, a Holly Blue Butterfly and a Large White were seen over the residential part of Shoreham as I cycled by. In the early evening whilst still warm, one more of each were seen, another Holly Blue by Shoreham Library.

20 May 2012
Again, too cool (14.2 °C) for butterflies and too breezy (Force 4 from the north) to photograph flowers close-up, overcast without any sun, the rain of the past few days had nevertheless stopped. Nevertheless, I made an afternoon trip to Mill Hill to check out the extent of the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, which was not so extensive in previous years and nearly at its peak. Despite the cool conditions I did note a Holly Blue and a Red Admiral at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of Mill Hill). On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, there were no sign of butterflies at first and eventually the first of 23+ Adonis Blues appeared and this included a fresh female, the first seen this year. Other butterflies seen on the lower slopes were a few Small Heath and just the one Dingy Skipper. A Small Purple-barred Moth, Phytometra viridaria, made a fleeting appearance.
 

 Adonis Blue 
 Small Heath

For the first time this year I travelled to the middle and upper part of Mill Hill, but there were no butterflies seen.

19 May 2012
At last, the sun appeared briefly in the early afternoon and with it a Holly Blue was seen by the houses on the same side of the road as the Toll Bridge in Old Shoreham. And there were a pair of Green-veined Whites over the Waterworks Road, and two more, later, near Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road.
 

Green-veined Whites

13 May 2012
A Holly Blue Butterfly fluttered over the Dovecote Estate, north Shoreham. At last the sun came out (13.0 °C at 1:00 pm, with a Moderate Breeze Force 4) and with the warmth encouraged the butterflies and for for the first time this year they were common (100+) on the lower slopes of Mill Hill But they were slow to appear at first, frequent Dingy Skippers and a few bright blue male Adonis Blues were both very lively over the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa.
 

 Adonis Blue
Dingy Skipper
Small Copper 
 Common Blue

A pristine Peacock Butterfly basked on a Cotoneaster. After twenty minutes the numbers increased and there were at least twenty Adonis Blues, Dingy Skippers everywhere (60+), a few Green-veined Whites, Brimstone Butterflies of both genders (one female sparred with a Green-veined White), the first male of a few Common Blues of the year, my first of four Small Coppers, occasional Small Heaths, at least two Grizzled Skippers, a fleeting glimpse of a Wall Brown and a single Comma Butterfly. Moths included a Treble-bar and the micro-moth Agapeta hamana.
Adur Skippers
Eleven butterfly species (the most in a single day so far this year)

A Green Hairstreak Butterfly visited a Horseshoe Vetch flower on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, as well as taking an excellent photograph of the micro-moth Pancalia leuwenhoekella.

Hairstreak Report by Su Reed


12 May 2012
In the weak sunshine (12.4 °C), a small collection of butterflies showed on the outskirts of Old Shoreham, including a few Small Whites and a few Large Whites, a Green-veined White, only my second Holly Blue of the year, a pristine Peacock and a Speckled Wood. My first Odonata of the year, a Large Red Damselfly showed amongst the Stinging Nettles in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.
Six butterfly species

11 May 2012
Too cool (13.9 °C) for butterflies and too breezy (Force 4 from the north) to photograph flowers close-up, the rain of the past few days had nevertheless stopped in a white fluffy Cumulus blue and white sky. Nevertheless a Small White fluttered over the cyclepath just south of the Cement Works, a Peacock Butterfly fluttered over Anchor Bottom, the first male Orange-tip of the day fluttered around the back of the gardens of the houses in Dacre Gardens (Upper Beeding), and a tattered Small Tortoiseshell was spotted over the Wild Carrot and Stinging Nettles between the South Downs Way Bridge and Botolphs. Near the end of the afternoon, the weak sun shined and a few more butterflies made an appearance notably a Large White at Botolphs and another one the junction to Applesham Farm on the Coombes Road, and  two male Orange-tips and a Speckled Wood over the east verge of the Coombes Road by Ladywells.
Six species

I headed to Mill Hill to do my butterfly transect. The Adonis Blue made his appearance for the first time this year. I also saw a Green Hairstreak, Peacocks, Small Whites and Small Coppers mating, Dingy Skippers all over the bottom of the hill, a male Brimstone and Small Heaths. A flight of four Peacocks flew past me as I ate my sandwich, I assume these were three males pursuing a female. The Dingy Skippers were busy chasing any butterfly that flew near their territory, including Peacocks many times their size.

Mill Hill Report & Photographs by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


7 May 2012
A quick late afternoon dash to Mill Hill provided the first butterflies of any kind this Bank Holiday! In an hour or so we saw about 20 Dingy Skippers, 5-10 Grizzled Skippers, 1 Peacock, 3 Green Hairstreaks and two lovely fresh Wall Brown Butterflies (first of the year). Small Copper and Small Heath also seen (but not by us).

Report by Chris and Tom Corrigan on Sussex Butterfly Reports
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

30 April 2012
A bright turquoise-blue sky showed in the north and east on a breezy unpromising day, but the sun and some of butterflies came out in the afternoon. I checked out the lower slopes of Mill Hill where my first of 14 Dingy Skippers flitted between the thousands of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, flowers. The small day-flying pyralid moth Pyrausta nigrata flitted occasionally between the Horseshoe Vetch. I also spotted by first Small Heath Butterfly of 2012. At the top of the Mill Hill around the Alexanders on the east side of the road just north of the hedge by the house, a male Orange-tip Butterfly fluttered around without pausing. At the top of Chanctonbury Drive, I noted a Speckled Wood and a Small White. A Large White fluttered in and out of a hedge next to Erringham Road.
Six species
Adur Skippers

I did my weekly transect at Mill Hill as it was a blue sky day. There were several Green Hairstreaks at the north end of the lower slopes, plus many Dingy Skippers and some Grizzled Skippers.

Report & Photographs by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


27 April 2012
A turquoise-blue sky appeared as the clouds blew away in the afternoon and the sun and butterflies came out on an unpromising day. On the outskirts of Shoreham I recorded four Orange-tips (the first one at Buckingham Cutting south, and the others over the Waterworks Road, including one female), at least six Speckled Woods, at least three Brimstone Butterflies, at least six Peacock Butterflies, two Small Whites, one Green-veined White (Pixie Path, north), my first Large White of the year (Waterworks Road) and my first Holly Blue of the year (top of Chanctonbury Drive)..
Eight species of butterfly (the most in a single day so far) were spotted without visiting the downs.
(I did not visit Mill Hill because my camera battery ran out, and I was not happy with the focusing and macro of my new Canon SX40 and now wished I had purchased another camera.)
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

23 April 2012
I left to do my weekly transect at Mill Hill as it was a sunny day (it started raining for all of the afternoon around midday). There was a wind at the start and I was surprised to find a Grizzled Skipper at the top of the hill. Beside the path near the bottom of the hill I found a black Adder. At the bottom there was another Grizzled Skipper, a Green-veined White, a Peacock, a Small Heath, Speckled Wood and many Dingy Skippers, fighting and nectaring. Just below the car park I found a Small Copper, my first of the year. I tried my new camera, a Panasonic Lumix FZ45 with close-up lens, on the Dingy Skippers and am very satisfied with the results. I am getting depth of field, clarity of detail and colour vibrancy that I cannot achieve with my other cameras.

Report & Photographs by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

16 April 2012
On a Cumulus day too cool for butterflies, a visit to Mill Hill was only entertained because the forecast for later in the week was worse. Occasionally, a skipper (butterfly) rose from the lower slopes and fluttered rapidly to a new resting place. The only one positively identified was a fresh Grizzled Skipper at the southern end of the lower slopes.

10 April 2012
On a sunny day with a cold wind, Grizzled Skippers and Small Heath Butterflies were seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.

Report & Photographs by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


6 April 2012
Dingy Skippers, a Small Heath and a Green Hairstreak Butterfly were all seen for the first time this year on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, with Grizzled Skippers, a Speckled Wood, a Green-veined White and a Peacock Butterfly.

Report & Photographs by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards
Adur Butterflies: First Dates on an Excel Worksheet

3 April 2012
An unprecedented 26 Grizzled Skippers were seen on Mill Hill and only one of them was a female. A handful of Peacocks and single Comma and Small White were the only other butterflies seen.

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterfly Reports
Adur Skippers

2 April 2012
There was a chill breeze and no butterflies were seen in the afternoon, not on the Waterworks Road where the two Bee-flies visiting the patch of Ground Ivy were too energetic to photograph or even to identify to species species they would not settle. They were paler than normal, one was a pale orange when viewed from the side.

1 April 2012
I visited Mill Hill again to conduct a butterfly transect. These start on 1 April and are conducted weekly, preferably on a sunny day when the butterflies are out. I walk a set route and record the butterflies I see 2.5 metres each side of my track. Temperature, percentage sunshine and wind speed are also recorded. I will repeat this during the next 25 weeks. Unfortunately due to the cold wind I only recorded three butterflies - a Speckled Wood, a Peacock and a Grizzled Skipper.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards


30 March 2012
Finally I gave in to temptation and went to Mill Hill where I saw five Grizzled Skippers in various places. One in particular was immaculate and quite beautiful, so presumably newly emerged. In addition to all the pyralids on the wing I noticed several tiny, but delightful Violet Cosmet Moths, Pancalia leuwenhoekella, (approx. 3-4 mm long).

Report by Richard Roebuck on Sussex Butterfly Reports


29 March 2012
Encouraged by the reports of others, I visited Mill Hill and quickly spotted my first Grizzled Skipper of the year  flying around on the northern part of the lower slopes. It might not have been so easy to spot to newcomers as there were scores of smaller day-flying pyralid moths. Other butterflies on the approaches were one male Orange-tip and two Brimstones on the Waterworks Road with three Peacocks, a Comma on the Stinging Nettles on the western part of the Pixie Path; and at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, two Speckled Woods sparred over the Cherry Plum Blossom. There were at least a couple more of restless Brimstones and a few more Peacocks on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the middle of the day sunshine.
Six species

28 March 2012
 

Orange Tip Butterfly on Sweet Violet
Orange Tip Butterfly on Sweet Violet
Speckled Wood 
Speckled Wood on Cherry Plum

A Small White Butterfly flew over Frampton Lane in Old Shoreham. On cue, a male Orange Tip Butterfly flew along the Waterworks Road and made a few visits to the Sweet VIolets. Except, although half expected it was early, the first time I have seen this attractive butterfly in March. A few minutes later as I waited for the Orange Tip to briefly settle from its endless wandering up and now the lane, I spotted my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year, with its wings closed (an then opening briefly), on a patch of Ground Ivy. A Peacock Butterfly landed on the same Ground Ivy and the Small Tortoiseshell flew off. Then along came the most magnificent large Brimstone Butterfly I had ever seen cruised by without stopping. A worn Comma Butterfly fluttered by and then landed on the road. My first Green-veined White Butterfly of the year courted the Orange-tip and I could see it was twice the size of its erroneous partner. This was another first for March. There was no sign of any Garlic Mustard (larval food plant of the Orange-tip). Common Bee-Flies, Bombylius major, were frequently seen.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Violets
Seven species (the most in a single day so far)

The Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria, is the only butterfly in Britain known to overwinter in both larval and pupal forms. The result is that adult butterflies emerge over several months, some as soon as March or early April and others well in to September.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

27 March 2012
I recorded ten different butterfly species in a day, which I cannot recall ever doing before during the month of March. In just a couple of hours at Mill Hill (Shoreham) I counted four Grizzled Skipper (first of the year), one Orange Tip (first of the year), one Speckled Wood, one Holly Blue (first of the year), one Brimstone, one Small White, 14 Peacock, one Red Admiral, two Small Tortoiseshell and two Comma. The day-flying moths Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta despicata  were both present in good numbers, along with the odd Pyrausta nigrata.

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterfly Reports


I was surprised to find a freshly emerged Grizzled Skipper on Mill Hill. There were also half a dozen Peacocks and a Small Tortoiseshell.

Report by Tim Newman on Sussex Butterfly Reports


I did my first butterfly transect of the year at Mill Hill in the morning and saw 2 Grizzled Skippers, 2 male Brimstones, 2 Commas, 4 Peacocks, 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Small White and 1 Speckled Wood plus the pyralid moths Pyrausta nigrata, Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta despicata.

Report by Colin Knight on Sussex Butterfly Reports
Adur Skippers

26 March 2012
I was surprised by an early Small White Butterfly, my first of the year over the twitten at the end of Gordon Avenue, by the Hamm Road allotments in residential Shoreham. At the top of the Pixie Path (by the hedge, the only part visited) the bright yellow of my first Brimstone Butterfly of the year was unmissable as the first of the Peacock Butterflies fluttered around. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, there were at least two more Brimstones and at least four more Peacocks (one visiting the Sweet Violets), with at least one more of each over the scrub near the gate to Old Erringham. Small pyralid moths were frequently seen flitting amongst the violets on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, with Pyrausta nigrata, Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta despicata seen very clearly and all three species definitely identified. This was the earliest and the first time in March I seen any of these three species. The micro-moth Violet Cosmet, Pancalia leuwenhoekella, was spotted on a Sweet Violet flower. On my return from a full visit to Mill Hill (passage trek over the top) I noted my first Speckled Wood Butterfly of the year at the top of Chanctonbury Drive.
A Common Bee-Fly, Bombylius major, (first of the year) was spotted over the path amongst the Hawthorn scrub on Mill Hill.
 

Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Four butterfly species

23 March 2012
CommaSmall Tortoiseshell (first of the year), Peacock and Comma Butterflies were seen in the sunshine on the Lancing Ring hillside. There seemed to be a Peacock around every corner and Comma’s were almost as frequent. The two Small Tortoiseshell's I saw were in among the nettle beds near the cemetery.

Report & Images by Ray Hamblett on Friends of Lancing Ring


The sunshine came out in the afternoon when I decided to visit Lancing Ring where a pair of Comma Butterflies courted over flowering Gorse in a clearing in the clump (two of the three seen).

22 March 2012
In north Lancing, Andy Brook noted the first Comma Butterfly of the year in a hedge outside of the Old Forge on the corner of Mill Road and Manor Road.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates

 21 March 2012
A Peacock Butterfly fluttered over the cyclepath halfway between Old Shoreham and the Cement Works.
Adur Levels

Peacock Butterfly19 March 2012
A Red Admiral Butterfly flew over the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of Mill Hill), only my second species of butterfly seen this year.
Report on the Mill Hill Blog
 
12 March 2012
Under a blue sky and weak sunshine (14.6 °C) the Sweet Violets were flowering on Mill Hill, where I saw two Peacock Butterflies (my first two butterflies of the year), one flying across the road at the top of the hill and another one fluttering over the lower slopes.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Violets

Butterfly & Large Moth List 2011
 
 
 
Butterfly Habitat Notes
 

Observations of the habitats of the Small Heath Butterfly

Observations of the habitats of the Small Copper Butterfly

Some Notes on the local Meadow Brown Butterfly populations

Notes on the Wall Brown Butterfly

Bird's Foot Trefoil & the Common Blue Butterfly

Some other notes on resident butterflies and moths in the Adur area (Part One)

Some other notes on resident butterflies and moths in the Adur area (Part Two)

Adonis Blues notes from the downs near Shoreham

Chalkhill Blues notes from the downs near Shoreham

Skippers of the downs near Shoreham

Observations of the other Butterflies of the Adur district area and a few absentees

Observations of some of the smaller Moths in the Adur district area

Etymology of the word "butterfly"
 

Lead Agencies for designated Local Nature Reserves
 

Clouded Yellow Butterfly  (Link to a recommended photograph by Dave Appleton)

 


Adur Butterfly Flight Times

Adur Butterflies 2010



 

Earliest Butterfly Sightings Summary
Sussex Butterflies
Butterfly Flight Times (best site)
Butterfly Conservation: First Sightings
UK Butterflies Discussion Board



 
 

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index pageMill Hill Wildlife Reports 2008 (Link)Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pagesLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pages

Notes:At the current rate of decline, Chalkhill Blue Butterflies would disappear from Mill Hill in about 20 years


Adur Butterflies
Blue Butterflies of Shoreham



Prevalence Definitions (does not apply to birds):

NEW ACFOR SYSTEM OF ABUNDANCE OVER A SPECIFIED AREA:

SUPERABUNDANT = 10,000 +
ABUNDANT 1000- 10,000
VERY COMMON = 500-1000
COMMON 100-500
VERY FREQUENT = 50-100
FREQUENT 10 - 50
OCCASIONAL 2-10
RARE = ONLY 1  or

Scarce 4-10 per year
Very Scarce 1-3 per year
Rare   less one than every year
Very Rare   1-3 records in total since 2000

Condition of Butterflies
Pristine
Fine:  good condition
Average
Poor
Tattered;  Torn and battered



Adur Butterflies
 

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and the Downs

British Lepidoptera on  flickr

UK Butterflies Sightings
 


Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pages


SquinancywortLady's BedstrawVervainEyebrightWild BasilLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes pages
 

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Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pages

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages


Link to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index page
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pages


 
  g" target="_parent" alt="Squinancywort">Lady's BedstrawVervainEyebrightWild BasilLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes pages
 
 JANUARY
 FEBRUARY
 MARCH
 APRIL
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUGUST
 SEPTEMBER
OCTOBER
 NOVEMBER
 DECEMBER

 

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pages

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages


Link to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index page
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pages