Butterfly Reports (Butterfly Conservation Society)
UK Butterflies: Sightings
Adur Butterfly Species
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
Adur Nature Notes 2011
Adur Butterfly List 2010
Adur Butterfly List 2011
Adur Butterfly List 2012
UK Butterflies & Moths (alphabetical order by common name)
Sussex Moth Group Sightings
This week's Mill Hill transect and I was grateful for the blue sky: Adonis Blue 7, Clouded Yellow 4, Common Blue, Meadow Brown 11, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Copper 4, Small Heath 3, Small White 4, Wall Brown . I saw four more Wall Brown after the transect was completed.
I spent a fabulous couple of hours at Mill Hill, and enjoyed the company of Dave Cook. Among the fresh butterflies seen were several Common Blues, Small Coppers, Brown Argus, four out of five Clouded Yellows, many Peacocks and a few third brood Wall Browns. A total surprise was a female Brown Hairstreak.
With an hour to kill and the sun in the sky, I headed to Mill Hill in the morning. There were still a few butterflies. Peacock, Common Blue, Adonis Blue (female), Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Small Copper and a Clouded Yellow.
At Southwick Basin in the morning in bright sun apart from Small and Large Whites there were 10 Common Blue (4 female), 3 Clouded Yellow, 2 Red Admiral and 2 Small Copper in copulation.
18 September 2017
Small White Butterflies were frequently out but not in the numbers of the previous week. When the sun shone through the gaps in the clouds a few butterflies made some brief flights in search of nectar on the top of Mill Hill, notably a Clouded Yellow flitting from Hawkbit to Ragwort for a second on each. Three Small Heath Butterflies were seen. On the rough meadow at the top, occasional Meadow Browns were disturbed. There was a Small White Butterfly around the Blackthorn on the edge of the top copse by the tarmac path. On the middle slopes two male fresh Common Blues fluttered about, rarely settling. No butterflies were seen on Hemp Agrimony in the early afternoon.
Small Heath, Common Blue, Clouded Yellow
Butterfly fluttered over my head at Old
Shoreham near the Tollbridge. Further north
up the Downs Link Cyclepath, a Southern
flew at head height and a Red Admiral
left the path.
Eight butterfly species
In a brief interlude between the squalls a Peacock Butterfly rose before me by the canal at Southwick.
There were scores of Small Whites fluttering around with well over a hundred seen on passage in urban areas.
Cloudy and dull and breezy and not butterflyweather, but within the Shoreham boundaries I noted Small Whites, at least one Large White and one Red Admiral and one Speckled Wood.
6 September 2017
on Mill Hill
Photographs by Dave Cook
Quite a few fresh Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, around the Hemp Agrimomy on the upper north side of Mill Hill. And on the lower slope three male Clouded Yellow plus one very fresh looking female amongst lots of Small Heath and now tired Adonis Blue. On the way back to the car I found one very fresh female Wall Brown in the grass and a very amiable Painted Lady.
Small Heath, Meadow Brown
Mill Hill Upper
with rain in the air, a cloudy afternoon was
unfavourable for butterflies
to be out and they weren't. Well, not many on the upper part of Mill
Hill, just seven Small Heaths and
White, one Small
the tiny pyralid
on the area immediately
north of the Reservoir. I disturbed another dozen Meadow
Browns in a minute and another twenty on the
middle slopes in three minutes. The large patches of Hemp
Agrimony did not host any butterflies, but
a Peacock Butterfly
rose from the path in front of me. Unidentified white
butterflies were frequently
seen in Shoreham.
NB: Other visitors (Dave) to Mill Hill had spotted three Clouded Yellows and a fresh Wall Brown on Mill Hill.
Five butterfly species (personal tally only)
I spotted a gap in the bad weather at noon and headed to Mill Hill: Adonis Blue 20, Brown Argus 2, Clouded Yellow, Meadow Brown 31, Red Admiral, Small Heath 18, Small White 2, Mother of Pearl moth (Pleuroptya ruralis).
1 September 2017
I made a brief sortie to the upper part of Mill Hill as the weather was pleasant and the white fluffy clouds on the blue sky were conducive to photography in the middle of the day. Butterflies were very frequently flying around and I chose the area immediately north of the Reservoir to record the species which were frequent Meadow Browns (20+) and frequent Small Heaths (15+), seen continuously as were the males of the occasional Adonis Blues (8+), more conspicuous than frequent with at least two chocolate brown females in fine condition. A tatty brown female looked like a Chalkhill Blue.
White, Small Heath, Adonis
Peacock, Meadow Browns
the middle slopes, Hemp Agrimony
was an attractant for at least three Peacock
Butterflies, two Red
Admirals, a male Common
Blue and occasional Meadow
Common Ragwort and other flowers
were visited by a big Large White
and a handful of Small Whites.
Eight butterfly species
31 August 2017
at Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, on the
downs west Steyning, for a Brown Hairstreak
to come down from the trees was forlorn and unsuccessful. Waiting
is not my norrnal observation method. Fallen
leaves blown up could be mistaken for butterflies.
There were a few Meadow
the rough grassland and both Small Whites
and Large Whites,
a Speckled Wood
and a Red Admiral
on the hedgerow-lined Mill Road path (by Steyning Bowls Club) approaches
to the conservation cattle pasture.
Five butterfly species
With the marked difference between the flora on the top of Mill Hill and the Rifle Range, Steyning Downs visited yesterday, came a difference in the butterflies seen. I only made a passage visit to the small area north of the Reservoir on Mill Hill where the frequent Meadow Browns were the same but not five Chalkhill Blues including an amorous pair, half a dozen or so male Adonis Blues, occasional Small Heaths (9+) and a one second glance of a Silver-spotted Skipper visiting a Lesser Knapweed. One Chalkhill Blue made a fleeting visit to a Round-headed Rampion. After a few ninutes a male Common Blue fluttered on to a Bird's Foot Trefoil in the hazy warmth. The three whites were in flight all over the place: Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and Large Whites.
the top of Anchor Bottom (Beeding Hill
gate) I walked south-west until it got too steep and there were occasional
an amorous pair (the Adonis Blue female
was much darker than the Chalkhill Blue),
as well as the inevitable Meadow
cycled back along the Coombes Road but no significant butterflies were
spotted in the early afternoon.
Eight butterfly species
White butterflies of the three common species were in flight in the sunshine: Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and Large Whites. On the verges of the Down's Link from Erringham Gap to Castle Lane Bramber, I spotted a male Common Blue and a Red Admiral. At Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, on the downs west Steyning, I spotted (entirely on my own) my third Brown Hairstreak (butterfly) of the day as it fluttered down to land on a Blackthorn sapling to lay a egg in the middle of the day, They were very difficult to spot and because they climbed down the stem immediately I found them impossible to photograph successfully. Other butterflies present were frequent Meadow Browns and at least one Brown Argus, Brimstone and Speckled Wood. .In Shoreham I cycled past a Holly Blue.
Eleven butterfly species
It was a pleasant autumn day with the sun casting strong shadows in the late afternoon. A Speckled Wood and two Holly Blues were seen at Buckingham Cutting (south). Nothing special about these half expected finds, but the surprising thing was one of the Holly Blues was extremely tiny and no bigger than a Small Blue high up in the hedgerow. White butterflies were frequently in town and outskirts seen with one Small White but the others unidentified as they were restless and seen at too great a distance to discern their features. On the Pixie Path by Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, I spotted eight fair condition Meadow Browns and two more Holly Blues, with one smaller than usual.
Chalkhill Blues on Cotoneaster
Mill Hill Hill Cutting (SW) there were no butterflies
to spot for a few minutes but after twenty or so minutes, I managed to
discover five separate female Chalkhill
laying eggs amongst the Horseshoe Vetch. They were joined by three males,
one instantly recognisable and the other two badly worn. Quite often the
Chalkhill Blues landed on Cotoneaster.
Five butterfly species definitely
On a cloudy day, I made late morning visit to Mill Hill before the intermittent weak sun had woken up the butterflies. I still managed to disturb several hundred. The tally for the half transect (the Privet prevented the whole acre transect) on the lower slopes was an unprecedented 153 Adonis Blues (including 17 females), 11 Chalkhill Blues (including one female), a few Common Blues (including one female), an estimated 75+ Meadow Browns, an estimated 30+ Small Heaths, a few each of Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and Large Whites, at least four restless Clouded Yellows, a Treble-bar Moth, a Blood-Vein Moth and frequent faded pyralid moths Pyrausta purpuralis. A few of the Meadow Browns visited the Devil's Bit Scabious now in flower at the northern end of the lower slopes. Some of the Meadow Browns looked fresh, but none of the Adonis Blues did and one in ten was frayed at the edges.
purpuralis, Painted Lady
Adonis Blue, Adonis Blue, Chalkhill Blue
was where the vegetation had grown where the top plateau abuts the Reservoir
compound that I counted nine more male Adonis
Blues, one Chalkhill
Blue and over a dozen Meadow
Browns. On the middle slopes there were eight
more Adonis Blues
and a Chalkhill Blue,
another twenty or so Meadow
Browns, the same number of
Heaths and a few Common
Blues. One particularly large Green-veined
White visited of of the few remaining Marjoram
in flower. As I rested on the seat, a yellow Brimstone
Butterfly flew past. The tiny micro-moth
was also spotted. Fatigue
set in and I only made a less than cursory visit to the meadow north of
the upper car park as I expected just more of the same. I did chance upon
a faded Painted Lady visiting
a Greater Knapweed
Eleven butterfly species and two macro moths
On a cloudy day, I cycled the Down's Link Path from Erringham Gap north to the bottom of Anchor Bottom (Dacre Gardens entrance). Butterflies were common on Anchor Bottom but spread thinly like the flowers. Meadow Browns were everywhere and I estimated well over a hundred in the 80 minutes I spent on two acres of the "conservation" lightly grazed rough pasture. I lost count of male Adonis Blues at fifty, and spotted a worn Chalkhill Blue on a Carline Thistle. A few Common Blues squabbled with the Adonis. Small Heath Butterflies were sparse but there were handful over the two acres. Two Clouded Yellows fluttered over the butterfly bank. And a Small White was seen by the dead Elderflower. At the Dacre Garden entrance a very tatty Comma Butterfly flew around where a Common Darter (dragonfly) landed on the concrete path.
Eight butterfly species
18 August 2017
Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar
was blowing a Near Gale and it was just not
worth the trip to Southwick Hill, not even for an Elephant
Hawk-moth caterpillar crawling out of
The large field north of Slonk Hill Farm Road was ungrazed and full of
male Common Blues,
Small Heath Butterflies
when seen from the bridlepath. The difficult bridlepath route to Southwick
Hill (via Stonechat Junction) added occasional Small
Whites, a Holly
Blue, a Wall
Brown, a Speckled
Wood and a Comma
Eight butterfly species
After the early morning rain it was gusting to Gale Force 8 and on the top of Mill Hill, it felt constant from due west nearly blowing me off my feet. For the record on the meadow north of the top car park, there were frequent male Common Blues (30+), frequent Meadow Browns (25+), a few Small Whites, two Wall Browns, occasional male Adonis Blues (5+) and a handful of Small Heaths.
small area north of the Reservoir as rather exposed on the plateau area
where I spotted more Small Heaths
and the only male Chalkhill Blue
on passage, and disturbed more than a dozen Meadow
the taller and thicker vegetation in a minute.
Seven butterfly species
As I was not happy with the pictures yesterday, I returned to the top of Mill Hill but the southerly breeze was much too strong (Force 6) for photography. There were still plenty of Meadow Browns with more than forty in ten minutes, and occasional pristine male Chalkhill Blues and good condition male Adonis Blues, a few poor condition Common Blues and a few Small Heaths and big Large Whites all in the small area north of the Reservoir. Later on the sunny day I saw a Small White.
Seven butterfly species
After two weeks off because of rain, breezes and other inclement weather, I cycled up to Mill Hill in warm humid conditions in the afternoon. Butterflies were common enough but not very varied. I parked my ebike just north of the Reservoir and I was immediately struck by butterflies quarrelling in the breeze. A male Adonis Blue chased a good condition male Chalkhill Blue where the plateau merged into the longer vegetation above the ridge, with a few Meadow Browns. It was good sign and I counted nine Chalkhill Blues in a minute.
Heath, Chalkhill Blue,
Adonis Blues, Pyralid Moths
Alas, there was so much Privet on the southern end of the lower slopes it was impassable in places and not conducive to spotting butterflies. When I eventually managed to fight my way through to open ground Meadow Browns were everywhere, well over a hundred, exceeding the total of blues altogether which comprised nearly fifty Adonis Blues, just under forty Chalkhill Blues, and frequent Common Blues. A few females of all three species were seen. Small Heaths were frequent as well and there must have been more than twenty on the lower slopes. At least six Clouded Yellows fluttered past and that was it apart from a few Large Whites and over the southern steps a tatty Speckled Wood showed. A few Treble-bar Moths were spotted. Occasional tiny pyralid moths Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta nigrata flitted amongst the short vegetation.
Silver-spotted Skipper visiting Dwarf Thistle on Mill Hill
the middle slopes and upper meadows there were very frequent
frequent Adonis Blues, Chalkhill Blues, Common
Blues and Small
Heaths. The Hemp
Agrimony hosted one Small
Tortoiseshell and a Red
Admiral. The short turf of the upper
plateau added a Brown Argus.
I packed my camera away to unlock my bike to go home. It was then I spotted
my first Silver Spotted Skipper
of the year visiting a Dwarf Thistle
right next to my ebike! There was still time for a pyralid
despicata to make an appearance. I
did not spot a single Gatekeeper
Eleven butterfly species and one macro moth
10 August 2017
zonaria, Common Ragwort and Mint
Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, Steyning
were all over the Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, on the downs west Steyning,
as I ventured to the northern row of mixed trees where I added three Gatekeepers,
a few dark Speckled Woods,
and a Holly Blue.
was cool day with rain in the air so I was
lucky if any butterflies
were in flight. There were a few Large
Whites in flight near the allotments.
I was more fortunate with hoverflies
as I spotted my first impressive Volucella
zonaria hoverfly of the year, shortly
followed by my first Volucella inanis.
The small pyralid moth
Pyrausta aurata visited the sparse
Steyning Downland Scheme]
Four butterfly species on a cool day
With a breeze (Force 4) blowing from the north and black clouds over the sea, I was not even thinking about butterflies until I surprised a Painted Lady by the south-facing carnot walls of Shoreham Fort, It fluttered rapidly away. A male Common Blue fluttered around the remaining flowers south of the Coastwatch Station, Shoreham Beach.
As far as I am aware this is the first positive record of a Brown Hairstreak from any part of Mill Hill. This one was discovered by Etienne Fournier near the copse and north of the top car park.
An unconfirmed fleeting view of this elusive butterfly has been seen by
myself on Mill Hill
as well as one personally photographed record in north Shoreham in 2010.
Cumulus clouds were thinly spaced across the blue sky and the sun was out more often than it was in. This made for more active butterflies chasing each other and generally more visible, but not much more in total numbers seen in the early afternoon. A few Speckled Woods and a Holly Blue were seen over the southern steps down to the lower slopes where blue butterflies just about exceeded the orange ones. On the one acre transect area of the lower slopes I counted 41 Chalkhill Blues (including five females*), 15 male Adonis Blues, an estimated 20 Common Blues, a few Brown Argus, an estimated 25 Meadow Browns, an estimated 12 Gatekeepers, about a dozen Small Heath Butterflies mostly in pairs, at least one Large White, three (one large white one) large Brimstone Butterflies, another Speckled Wood, one tattered Wall Brown, three strong flying Clouded Yellows, two second brood Dingy Skippers, two Treble Bar Moths and a few 6-spotted Burnet Moths.
(* the females were all seen walking over Horseshoe Vetch.)
Adonis Blue, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown
by the ridge route and over the middle slopes, adding four Red
Admirals on Buddleia,
five Peacock Butterflies,
a Small Tortoiseshell
and a Painted Lady
patches on the middle slopes of Mill Hill were also attractive to more
(20+) and Gatekeepers
(20+), one good condition
Wall Brown, another big yellow Brimstone
Butterfly, unidentified Whites^,
two more Clouded Yellows,
and a score or more Common Blues that
stopped for only a seconds.
(^ one could have been a Green-veined White.)
The top meadows on Mill Hill were only transversed on passage and given only a cursory view. I quickly disturbed a dozen or more Common Blues, more Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, and one pristine Brown Argus. A few pairs of Small Heaths were present over the top plateau. There were five male Chalkhill Blues immediately north of the Reservoir.
A Small White Butterfly was seen by Middle Road Allotments.
Nineteen butterfly species (a good tally and best of the year) and three macro moths
At the top of Chanctonbury Drive, north Shoreham, I noted a few Speckled Woods, a few Meadow Browns, a Holly Blue and a Small White Butterfly.
Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Chalkhill Blues,
Wall Brown, Red Admiral, Adonis Blue, Painted Lady
cloud blocked out the sun and sent a large shadow over the
lower slopes of Mill Hill. This tends to
send the butterflies
into hiding and then they were only seen if actively disturbed. This gives
disappointing numbers of butterflies
at the peak time for numbers in the whole of the year. I battled though
the Privet on
the lower slopes and I only recorded 53 male Chalkhill
Blues plus one mating female
a 90% coverage of my transect acre. I was
surprised to record my first eleven second brood male Adonis
Blues. A Wall
Brown visited a Dwarf
Heath Butterflies courted in the breeze.
A Clouded Yellow
fluttered rapidly over the lower slopes without pausing. Meadow
nearly as many as the Chalkhill Blues
on the lower slopes and more on the whole of Mill Hill as I only saw one
additional Chalkhill Blue
above the ridge. Gatekeepers
were very frequently seen and the most numerous (80+
altogether seen) on both the lower slopes and the middle slopes where they
were attracted to Marjoram,
which also enticed a Small Tortoiseshell
(one of two) to visit for nectar. Buddleia
proved attractive to occasional Red
Admirals, a Peacock
and a Painted Lady.
Male Common Blues were
seen on the lower slops but frequent on the top
of the hill, especially so in the meadow north of the car park where I
also spotted a Small Copper,
Argus, and a Large
Burnet Moths and Silver
Y Moths occasionally attracted my attention
as well as a definite small pyralid
Pyrausta purpuralis on Marjoram.
Eighteen butterfly species (a good tally and best of the year) and two macro moths
Chalkhill Blue Numbers
per transect acre on Mill Hill
With a constant breeze (Force 6) under a cloudy sky, it was not a time to go outside the boundaries of Shoreham. So I didn't, I just made a quick cycle up Mill Hill Road to the outskirts of north Shoreham spotting a Large White Butterfly at the top of Chanctonbury Drive and a Holly Blue and a faded Wall Brown on the Pixie Path. I climbed over the prostrate chestnut fencing to make my way to the Mill Hill Cutting (SW) where I spotted my first female Chalkhill Blue of the year amongst about a dozen males and a Silver Y Moth.
Y Moth, Wall Brown
the sun made a brief appearance and I changed my mind cycling along the
Link Path as far the Cement Works before the sun went behind
a cloud and I turned back prematurely. In the shady part of the path by
the Cement Works spotted four Red Admirals
are hardly noteworthy, and then most impressively a massive Emperor
Dragonfly patrolled the path incessantly. Past experience has indicated
that they rarely settle. A Gatekeeper Butterfly
fluttered over the path and a Meadow
a few male Common Blues
were seen over the meadow-like verges.
Seven butterfly species and one macro moth
Chalkhill Blue and female Adonis Blue
One guideline is that the pale scales on the hind wings, between the red dots and the white fringe, are blue in a female Adonis Blue, and white in a female Chalkhill Blue.
Identifying Similar Butterflies
Under a cloudy sky and a constant breeze (Force 5) and the added gusts made photographing very tricky on the Down's Link Path between Old Shoreham to just north of Erringham Gap.
Admiral, female Common
Gatekeeper, Green-veined Whites x 2
Down's Link Cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Erringham Gap
It was even more tricky with the butterflies blown about in the breeze: a few each of Red Admirals, Gatekeepers, Green-veined Whites, Meadow Browns, female Common Blues, one Small (or Essex) Skipper and one Silver Y Moth in much less than a hour before I felt the first spots of rain.
The first Green-veined White Butterfly sported some distinct black markings that at a quick glance could have been penned it as a Large White.
On a cloudy day I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill where I fought my way through the Privet to complete a 90% transect registering a count of 21 male Chalkhill Blues and if I was to include the southern part of the top of the hill they were exceeded by both Common Blues and Meadow Browns, and these were exceeded by 6-spotted Burnet Moths.
Small Heath, Common
lower slopes also hosted at least one Large
White Butterfly, a pristine Small
Tortoiseshell, frequent Small
Heath Butterflies, and a Treble-bar
Moth. I returned by the ridge route and
noted a Peacock Butterfly
over the path through the scrub and the distinctive hoverfly
Chrysotoxum bicinctum by the Reservoir. Gatekeepers
were frequently seen by the bushes on Mill Hill. A Speckled
Wood was spotted at the top of Chanctonbury
Drive, north Shoreham.
Nine butterfly species and two macro moths
Although it was cloudy and it had been damp, I was still surprised the Flyover Car Boot Sale was cancelled. Instead, I cycled non-stop from Erringham Gap to Anchor Bottom (Dacre Gardens entrance) along the Downs Link Path, spotting a couple of Large White Butterflies and a Red Admiral on the way.
Anchor Bottom (south north facing slope to the central now dead Elder
trees, and adjacent south-facing slope) I
spotted frequent Meadow
and Common Blues (12+
including a bluish female), occasional Gatekeepers,
but only one male Chalkhill Blue.
A few 6-spotted Burnet Moths were
seen in flight. Colin
Knight reported Clouded
I paused a few times on the return journey over the Downs Link Path but there was rain in the air and no more butterflies showed.
Six butterfly species and one macro moth (my tally only)
Butterflies were fluttering all over Mill Hill with just some of the expected species. On the top part male Common Blues exceeded a hundred with a Brown Argus, very frequent Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, a few Small Skippers, a few each of Marbled Whites, Large Whites and Small Whites, at least one Brimstone, Red Admiral, a Peacock and Silver Y Moths before a dozen or so male Chalkhill Blues put in an appearance. On the middle slopes there were more Common Blues (including a female), Chalkhill Blues (8+), Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, Marbled Whites, Large Whites, and 6-spotted Burnet Moths. It was here I spotted my first ever pyralid micro-moth Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata on Mill Hill, visiting Marjoram. In the dense scrub there was a Comma and a Speckled Wood.
the energy sapping humidity, I nearly did not venture down to the lower
slopes, half covered in Privet
I was glad I made the effort as I simultaneously saw some large Brimstones,
and much smaller first Clouded Yellow
of the year over the Wild Basil.
Blues (30+) were flighty, widespread and all
males on the half transect, chased by Common
Whites, some huge Large Whites,
Heaths (12+) and a few more Peacocks
and Red Admirals, Small
more 6-spotted Burnet Moths.
Sixteen butterfly species and two macro-moths
An unplanned cycle trip to Wood's Mill (via Erringham Gap and Down's Link Cyclepath to Bramber and the A283 (Henfield Road) and back for a total distance of 8 miles) was both disappointing and rewarding. I noted in the change of summer flowers on the verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath (Old Shoreham to the South Downs Way Bridge). It was cloudy in the middle of the day and butterflies were merely frequent Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, occasional Large Whites, Small Whites, Marbled Whites and at least one Peacock, and a 6-spotted Burnet Moth on the verges of the cyclepath. Add a shredded Ringlet at the Wood's Mill farm meadow, and a Small Skipper on the Restricted Byway over Windmill Hill near Upper Beeding.
Eight butterfly species and one macro moth
14 July 2017
Small Skipper visiting a Spear Thistle
was cloudy but fine, but not warm enough for many butterflies
to be active but I did spot a Small Skipper
a Spear Thistle and
a Large White fluttering
around a patch of Greater Willowherb on
the harbour canal bank at Fishersgate. .
I returned home a tatty Peacock Butterfly
flew in through the open front door.
On the southern part of Mill Hill, I noted quite a few Meadow Browns, a Comma and Silver Y Moths. On the steps down to the lower slopes a Speckled Wood showed in the shade before I was distracted by a Peacock and my first Painted Lady of the year. Scores of butterflies fluttered around on Mill Hill including my first dozen or so of the first male Chalkhill Blues of the year over the lower slopes. On a warm sunny afternoon, all the butterflies were extremely lively especially over the large patch of Wild Basil at the northern end of lower slopes where they were joined and disturbed by frequent Small Heaths, Gatekeepers, male Common Blues and Marbled Whites., a couple of Brimstones, a Red Admiral, a Small White, and a Large White. I only visited the northern end of the lower slopes for under an hour. From the path I also spotted lots more Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites, Gatekeepers and 6-spotted Burnet Moths as I returned hurriedly. I did manage to add a brownish Small Skipper to the list amongst the Greater Knapweed and many grasses south of the Reservoir.
Thirteen confirmed butterfly species (the most this year) and two macro moths
On another warm sunny day, occasional butterflies could be seen over the vegetated shingle on Shoreham Fort Beach Most of them were Large Whites around the Sea Kale, but I spotted at least two male Common Blues, a Meadow Brown and a Small Skipper.
On the bicycle disaster day (a major puncture) had me otherwise preoccupied I noted frequent Meadow Browns and Large Whites all over the Adur Levels and occasional Gatekeepers, a few Ringlets (Tottington Wood) at least one Marbled White (Henfield Road), one Essex (or Small) Skipper (Tottington Wood meadow), my first of the year Silver-washed Fritillary at Tottington Wood, and one Red Admiral (Wood's Mill) and occasional Speckled Woods (Tottington Wood).
Nine confirmed butterfly species
Meadow Browns (50+) were all over Mill Hill and Marbled Whites (25+) were frequent too, but there were not many butterflies for summer and not many species, frequent fresh Gatekeepers, an occasional Small Heath a few Large Whites and Small Whites. Looking out for blues, I disturbed a Treble-bar Moth and a Silver Y Moth, spotted a 6-spotted Burnet Moth. (There was a possible Wall Brown over New Erringham pasture near the bridge, and large orange butterfly on the lower slopes of Mill Hill which could have been a fritillary? Hindsight: more likely to be a Painted Lady. No skippers were seen.)
Six confirmed butterfly species and three macro moths
4 July 2017
Buckingham Cutting (south)
the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting I noted
occasional Meadow Browns,
and Marbled Whites,
at least one Large White and
Burnet Moth. A Peacock
Butterfly was spotted over Ropetackle.
Five butterfly species and one macro moth
2 July 2017
Small Skipper Marbled White
the height of summer, the sun shined in the middle of the day and
were very frequently seen on the verges of the Down's
Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the fields south of Bramber.
I cycled back to Shoreham along the Coombes Road. The verges hosted frequent
Small Skippers, Marbled Whites and
Whites with occasional Small
Whites, at least one Ringlet,
one fresh Small Tortoiseshell,
one or two 6-spotted Burnet Moths, and
a few Gatekeepers.
Admiral was seen near Annington Sewer,
and a Peacock
Eleven butterfly species and one macro moth
1 July 2017
Under a cloudy afternoon sky, on the cyclepath from Old Shoreham to just south of the Cement Works, there was only occasional butterflies. With the summer flowers came my first Gatekeeper Butterfly of the year visiting Melilot, a few Large Whites, a few Meadow Browns including at least one fresh specimen, and a languid fluttering brown butterfly was identified as a faded Ringlet. Cinnabar Moth caterpillars crawled over the budding Common Ragwort.
Four butterfly species
I was surprised that a good condition Comma Butterfly visited my front garden in the late morning.
Marbled White, Ringlet
sunny day with a Gentle Breeze (Force
a visit to Shoreham
Beach around the middle of the day. I
was rewarded with my first handful of Small
Skippers fluttering around the shingle
plants without settling. These were my first of the year and in atypical
habitat for this small widespread butterfly.
are easily overlooked or mistaken for a moth.
White Butterflies fluttered around the
Flood Plain hosted my first Six-spotted
Burnet Moths of the year, the first seen
visited the fading Thrift,
and then a newly budding Common Ragwort,
but then seven were seen on a single Viper's
On the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting, frequent butterflies were all lively and unsettled, with half a dozen or more each of Ringlets, Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns in the afternoon. (There were no Small Blues, Speckled Woods or other butterflies seen on Buckingham Cutting.)
Six butterfly species and one macro moth
The chalk downs above Shoreham were swathed in the yellow of Bird's Foot Trefoil, on the middle slopes of Mill Hill and New Erringham pasture to the east of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. A Rook soared like a Buzzard in the mostly blue sky on the warmest air temperature of the year reaching 25.6 °C at 10:00 am and 26.1 ° C at 11:00 am when I was on Mill Hill.
were very frequently seen but not much variety, twenty
five or so Meadow Browns
amongst the long vegetation on the top part of Mill Hill south of the Reservoir
with many more well hidden with at least one, probably more, Silver
Y Moths. On the Privet
covered lower slopes, the lively Marbled
White Butterflies (18+) merged well with
the flowerheads of the invasive Privet
bushes, Small Heath Butterflies
(18+) courted in the gaps between the bushes with a few male Common
Blues, a few more Meadow
Browns, and one Small
Tortoiseshell on my less
than one acre transect walk. Frequent tiny
Pyrausta puperalis, flitted amongst
the low herbs. There were at least a dozen Meadow
Browns, half a dozen Small
Heaths, and another four Marbled
Whites on my passage return over the middle
and top part of Mill Hill north of the Reservoir. Add to my tally a Brimstone,
Comma and three more Small
Tortoiseshells on the fringes of the scrub.
Seven butterfly species and one macro moth in the morning
At least two Meadow Browns and one Small White Butterfly were seen over the Car Boot Sale field, Old Erringham. On a warm sunny morning my first two Ringlets of the year were seen on the western shadier verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath just north of Erringham Gap. Add in a few more Meadow Browns and a probable Green-veined White and that was it on a passage journey with a brief pause ot look at the Pyramidal Orchids.
Four butterfly species in the morning
On another breezy afternoon, there was a Meadow Brown on the southern bank of Slonk Hill Cutting and a Burnet Companions Moth on Buckingham Cutting and that was all of interest.
14 June 2017
Moth caterpillar, Small Blue
Marbled White, Holly Blue
Buckingham Cutting (south)
Woods courted at the top of Buckingham
Park in the shade of the trees. In a humid afternoon on the southern bank
of Buckingham Cutting with tricky bright
light I struggled to take any pictures.
Blues were fluttering around the Bramble
and the was even one on the roadside meadow. My first Small
Blue Butterfly of the year would settle
on my camera strap and enticed on to my finger, but it would not transfer
to a Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil
(in the absence of any Kidney Vetch).
My first of the year Marbled White
was lively and when it did settle on a Red
Clover, it was immediately chased off by a
My second Large White Butterfly
of the year fluttered by.
Five butterfly species in the afternoon
13 June 2017
Still breezy (Force 4) and just a handful of Red Admirals fluttering around in Old Shoreham, a Green-veined White over Frampton's Field, two Wall Browns over the towpath between the Toll Bridge and Cuckoo's Corner, and a Meadow Brown in the field of Yellow Flag Iris next to Ladywell's Stream visited yesterday. There was a Snout Hypena proboscidalis moth disturbed on an overgrown impassable path FP3138 from Old Shoreham to Mill Hill. Azure Damselflies were out in the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.
A whole week of persistently breezy weather continued with a steady Fresh Breeze (Force 5). In a field of Yellow Flag Iris and Stinging Nettles, next to Ladywell's Stream (just north of Cuckoo's Corner) I disturbed a Meadow Brown Butterfly and a Brown Argus. They were the only butterflies seen in the afternoon and both first of the year finds for me.
My Mill Hill transect produced Adonis Blue 28, Brimstone 2, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Heath 19, Small Tortoiseshell 3. Moths: Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae) 3, Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica), Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Hook-streak Grass veneer (Crambus lathoniellus), Lesser Treble-bar (Aplocera efformata).
31 May 2017
A male Common Blue Butterfly was seen amongst the vegetation on the verges of the cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works. A Mother Shipton Moth visited Yellow Rattle and was attractive to look at but would not keep still in the warm sunshine in the afternoon. A Small White Butterfly was also spotted.
On the north-facing southern bank of Anchor Bottom (entered via the Dacre Gardens entrance) there was a Yellow Shell Moth and twomale Common Blues. On the south-facing northern bank I stumbled across 13 Adonis Blues of which five were females. An unidentified vanessid flew rapidly overhead.
A male Common Blue Butterfly was seen amongst the flowering vegetation at the eastern end of Shoreham Beach in the warm sunshine.
Frequent Holly Blues were seen on passage and a few Speckled Woods as well. A pair of Mother Shipton Moths were seen at Buckingham Cutting (south).
A Holly Blue was seen in residential Shoreham, a handful of Small Whites around the outskirts of town, a strong flying vanessid thought to be (75% chance) a Small Tortoiseshell on the towpath near Cuckoo's Corner, a Red Admiral at Cuckoo's Corner with a fresh Speckled Wood.
Five butterfly species
On a humid sunny afternoon the first butterfly seen was a Holly Blue in Buckingham Avenue when the sun was behind one of he few cirrus clouds. This was the only butterfly seen on the road approaches to Mill Hill.
On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, I tried to count the Adonis Blues in the designated one acre transect area (which now takes me half an hour to traverse if I do not pause) but at the count of 91 (including seven females), the numbers were too many together at the northern end to get an accurate count but estimated at 125 in the acre (10% females). They were accompanied by frequent 12+ Common Blues which almost all appeared to be males. A few Adonis Bluesmated. Others were chased by the frequent amorous Small Heaths. Brimstone Butterflies (8+) were incessantly on patrol, although one did visit a Bramble flower.
Cinnabar Moth, Common Blue, Small Heath
Skippers courted and a third one was seen
alone. They were drabber than a Mother
Shipton Moth of the same size and similar
behaviour. A Peacock Butterfly
flew overhead and was seen to be intact when it later landed. The most
distinctive find were three Cinnabar Moths
quickly disappeared into hiding. Altogether there was not much variety
which included a single Green-veined White.
I only visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill, but access was over the top
southern part and it looked as though there may have been a late in the
day emergence of Common Blues
as they were occasionally disturbed on passage with a Treble-bar
Slack photographed a Grizzled
Eight butterfly species (my tally) and three macro-moths in the afternoon.
A casual passage journey on the cyclepath back from the Erringham Gap and I spotted my first Small White Butterfly of the year visiting Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum. I followed this with an unplanned detour through Old Shoreham up The Street and Mill Hill Road where at the northern part of Chanctonbury Drive, a Green-veined White and a Speckled Wood were spotted fluttering around the instant I got there.
White Butterfly, Holly Blue
a weak sun was shining, I made a quick visit to the upper part of Mill
Hill, where a female Adonis Blue landed
on the path in front of me just above the ridge. Occasional
Brimstones were the most prevalent butterfly
in the late morning fluttering strongly around the scrub, where I was surprised
to see a lively female Holly Blue.
Heath Butterflies fluttered around
in the shorn vegetation.
Seven butterfly species (my tally) in the late morning
Other butterfly visitors commented on the dearth of butterflies on the top of Mill Hill although they could add two Small Coppers and some Common Blues to my tally.
Mill Hill was covered in glorious swathes of the yellow of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, flowering the slopes, mostly the steep slopes and lower slopes but also some quite large patches on the upper part of the hill.
Butterflies were common (over a hundred) for the first time this year with male Adonis Bluesleading the way with sixty plus and a few flighty females. About twenty male Common Blues were seen for the first time this year with frequent Brimstone Butterflies, frequent Small Heaths, just two Grizzled Skippers, and one of each of Dingy Skipper, a worn Peacock, Speckled Wood, a first of the year probable Wall Brown, Red Admiral, and a Green-veined White.
Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Adonis Blue
made for eleven different species, the
most this year in over an hour on Mill Hill,
and it was only sunny for some of the time and one
cloud let loose a few drops of rain. I also
spotted a Treble-bar Moth
and my first of the year pyralid
Rolf also spotted two Green Hairstreaks
and three Cinnabar Moths.
Eleven butterfly species (personal tally) on Mill Hill in the afternoon
9 May 2017
Summer seemed to have put in its first appearance with the glorious blue of my first male Adonis Blue Butterfly of the year. It appeared on the lower slopes of Mill Hill at 3:00 pm with the sun still behind the fluffy cirrus clouds. It was the first of about ten, nine in perfect condition, but one slightly torn and ragged.
Swathes of the bright yellow flowers of the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, covered the slopes. This vitally important butterfly food plant was virtually at is peak flowering. Two Green-veined Whites, three bright yellow Brimstones, a worn Peacock Butterfly and the first of the dozen or more Small Heaths showed after five minutes or so. A flash of bright crimson was my first Cinnabar Moth of the year. My first damselfly of the year, a Large Red Damselfly, flitted around the short vegetation.
Skipper, Dingy Skipper
Adonis BlueLarge Red Damselfly
to wait around for an hour before a spell of sunshine enticed a veritable
flurry of activity and the appearance of the skippers,
including my first of only a few (maybe just one or two seen several times)
Skippers of the year. Grizzled
Skippers were discovered mating
on a Bramble
shoot. A flash of orange was a surprise Small
Copper Butterfly which was another first
for two years. A Red Admiral
was seen at the top of the southern steps as I left after an hour and half.
Nine butterfly species on Mill Hill in the afternoon
On the opposite side of the road, it looks through my upstairs window as though it was my first Large White Butterfly of the year.
Too breezy for photography, too cool for butterflies, and my days are numbered for scrambling about on steep hillsides. I stayed long enough to record three Peacock Butterflies on the edges of the scrub on the middle slopes, three Grizzled Skippers on the lower slopes followed by my first Small Heath Butterfly of the year. The Small Heath always keeps its wings closed when settled (as it appears to the human eye) and usually aligns to the sun and photographer at an oblique angle.
At Mill Hill, to help find some roosting Grizzled Skippers. By now everything was asleep, but a careful search of the scrub revealed 5 snoozing Grizzled Skippers, 2 dozing Dingy Skippers, 3 sleepy Small Heaths and a comatose Brown Argus (which may be a national first for the year).
I walked Mill Hill late morning in the fading 'grey' sun and in the sheltered areas out of the cool easterly breeze at the bottom of the steep slope, I counted at least 12 Grizzled Skippers, 10 Dingy Skippers, 3 Small Coppers, 4 Small Heath and one very fresh and surprisingly sprightly Adonis Blue that wouldn't pose long enough for a picture.
19 April 2017
On the lower slopes of Mill Hill two Peacock Butterflies and two Grizzled Skippers were reluctant to settle within camera range. I spotted a worn small pyralid moth Pyrausta despicata, and frequent micro-moths Pancalia leuwenhoekella and many small spiders running in the short vegetation. Pyrausta nigrata was not seen.
Breezy and cloudy, I cycled the downs route against a Force 4 passing Mill Hill and north of Beeding Hill down the narrow bridleway to Tottington Wood. The bridlepath was a difficult passage for cycling, but rewarded with a dozen Speckled Wood Butterflies, a Green-veined White and a Comma. In Tottington Wood, a damaged Red Admiral landed in the shade of the trees. On the Downs Link Cyclepath back to Old Shoreham, a female Orange Tip Butterfly was positively identified.
Five butterfly species in the afternoon
It was cold and cloudy at Mill Hill this morning with nothing flying but eventually the sun came out for a few minutes and I managed a picture of a Green Hairstreak. The wings look slightly crumpled so maybe they weren't quite dry (though it was able to fly).
12 April 2017
Butterflies were frequently seen on the weak sunshine despite the breeze. White butterflies were seen on the verges of the cyclepath at Old Shoreham. These were the first of year and mostly they were too flighty to be identified. Eventually, one of a pair settled by a stream near Botolphs and was recognised clearly as a Green-veined White. By the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, an emergence of a dozen Speckled Woods, joined a few Peacock Butterflies, a Brimstone Butterfly, and a few whites, probably Green-veined. A Comma Butterfly made an appearance by Frampton's Field.
an impromptu decision to cycle along the Down's
Link Cyclepath to Upper Beeding where
it was too breezy for many butterflies. Streamside at Botolphs a few restless
male Orange Tips
made an appearance with the aforementioned Green-veined
Whites and Red
Admirals by the river towpath.
Seven butterfly species in the afternoon
9 April 2017
Blue larva with
Photograph by Su Reed
I accidentally caught an Adonis Blue, Polyommatus bellargus, larva complete with it's attendant ant! while trying to scoop up the spider! I was amazed, what a find! I knew they were there, and I knew others had seen them but I never expected to find one myself.
7 April 2017
of Holly Blue Butterflies
fluttering high in the trees at the top of Chanctonbury
Drive, north Shoreham, were my first of the year. This is on the way
to Mill Hill, where the highlight on the
lower slopes was another first of the year: a pair of mating Grizzled
Skippers on a dead Carline
Thistle plant. On the lower slopes at
least two species of micro-moth flitted around
in amongst the short herbs, including occasional Violet
Cosmet Moths, Pancalia
At least 2 Grizzled Skippers have emerged on Mill Hill. 3 Brimstone, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and several Peacock in half hour walk at lunchtime today.
6 April 2017
Orange Tip Butterfly on Green Alkanet
a field north of Ladywell's Stream on the Coombes Road, I spotted my first
male Orange Tip Butterfly
of the year fluttering endlessly for fifteen minutes without pausing together
with a Brimstone,
and two Small Tortoiseshells
that all landed very briefly. Luckily an Orange
Tip did visit Green
at Cuckoo's Corner. Its food plants Lady's
Smock (or Cuckoo Flower) had already been
on flower for a week, and the first Garlic
Mustard flowers showed on the verges of the
country road. Another Peacock Butterfly
was seen on cycle passage by the
In the linear copse at the top of The Drive, (north Shoreham) I spotted my first two Speckled Woods of the year, another Peacock Butterfly, and a Red Admiral. Perhaps, my biggest surprise of the day was a Comma Butterfly spotted at the top of Buckingham Park, as it is not a place I would look for them and it was only seen in passing.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Seven butterfly species in the afternoon
I went back to Mill Hill with Chris Corrigan. There were plenty of micro moths including a number of Small Purple and Gold. I also saw a Toad and a couple of Common Lizards. There were butterflies about including Brimstone, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Speckled Woods and a single Red Admiral. About ten minutes after I had abandoned all hope, I caught sight of a Grizzled Skipperout of the corner of my, sitting on vetch. It was amazingly vivid so had probably just emerged. Unfortunately in the fumble for my camera I took my eye off butterfly and it was gone. Half an hour of searching failed to find it again. Fortunately, some time later Chris spotted a second one just six feet in front of the spot Neil had deemed propitious. This was the earliest sighting of a Grizzled Skipper in England for 2017.
27 March 2017
Peacock Butterfly, Comma
With the sun shining under a blue sky and the highest air temperature this year recorded by the Met Office at 15.5 °C, butterflies were frequently in flight. My first bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly of the year fluttered around a large garden hedge at the western end of residential Rosslyn Road in Shoreham. I was already on my way on my deliberate trip to the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, where I expected to see the signs of spring. Butterflies immediately fluttered above my head seeing the shadows cast before the actual butterflies of a faded first of a handful of mostly fair condition strong flying Peacock Butterflies, just the one smaller than usual Small Tortoiseshell, and a half dozen patrolling Brimstone Butterflies, that briefly visited flowering Dandelions. This was all within a few minutes on passage, but I decided to hang around to see if the Small Tortoiseshell would settle for a publishable photograph. Six times I spotted a flash of orange, but these were all different Comma Butterflies. A few Common Wasps, Honey Bees, small hoverflies and Squash Bugs, Coreus, were noted as well as a small Nursery Web Spider.
By the towpath by the houseboats a butterfly fluttered over my head in the sunshine. It appeared as shadow and I had to wait a few minutes out for some more movement. Then three butterflies moved quickly in succession chasing each other off the resting places. Three of us were watching and we all saw three butterflies simultaneously. One was a Red Admiral and the other two were a first of the year Small Tortoiseshell and a first Peacock Butterfly.
by these surprise butterflies, I cycled to Mill
Hill, where a Peacock Butterfly
put in appearance over the pasture north of the Bridge, east of the road
followed by a Comma Butterfly.
Only a few Sweet Violets
were scattered over the lower slopes of Mill Hill, so I ventured not much
further than the southern steps, but I spotted a handful of Peacock
Butterflies in as many minutes.
the weak but welcome first sunshine of the year
a Red Admiral
pipped a Comma
as my first butterfly
of the year by about five seconds. Both butterflies made their appearance
at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (Dovecote
Estate) amongst the undergrowth beneath the trees (SE of the bridge to
Hill). This semi-wild area hosted
Sweet Violets which were visited by my first
Bee and my first of the small hoverflies
The sun came out and the air temperature measured 14° C at its highest at 4:00 pm.
A Red Admiral Butterfly emerged from hibernation in a Lancing conservatory.
Adur Flight Times
Butterfly Sightings Summary
Butterfly Flight Times (best site)
Butterfly Conservation: First Sightings
UK Butterflies Discussion Board
Blue Butterflies of Shoreham
TBI: To be identified
NEW ACFOR SYSTEM OF ABUNDANCE OVER A SPECIFIED AREA:
= 10,000 +
ABUNDANT 1000- 10,000
VERY COMMON = 500-1000
VERY FREQUENT = 50-100
FREQUENT 10 - 50
RARE = ONLY 1 or
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
Fine: good condition
Tattered; Torn and battered
MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and the Downs
British Lepidoptera on flickr