Adur Valley Wildlife
Butterflies, Larger Moths and other Arthropods 2018
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:


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
Adur Butterfly List 2011
Adur Butterfly List 2012
UK Butterflies & Moths (alphabetical order by common name)
Sussex Moth Group Sightings
Diapause (=hibernation)

UK Leps Taxonomic Butterfly List

  British Lepidoptera on  flickr


29 December 2018
A Red Admiral Butterfly fluttered under the canopy of Shoreham-by-Sea railway station.

30 November 2018
After three days of rain and winds gusting to Gale Force 8 the weather brightened up and there was a Clouded Yellow and a Peacock Butterfly on the lower slopes of Mill Hill around midday.

Report & Images by Dave Cook on Butterflies of the Biosphere
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
14 November 2018
More images of the action from Mill Hill in the form of an ovipositing Clouded Yellow. Also seen were a further 5 male Clouded Yellows, 3 Common Blue, Brimstone and Comma.
Report, Video & Images by Dave Cook on Butterflies of the Biosphere

13 November 2018
A return visit to Mill Hill (upper slope) at lunchtime produced another fairly fresh Clouded Yellow and a shy Speckled Wood.

Blue Text Report & Images by Dave Cook on Butterflies of the Biosphere

12 November 2018
Ten days since my last visit to Mill Hill: the bright and breezy conditions produced two Clouded Yellow, Brown Argus, another fresh Common Blue and a Red Admiral.

Blue Text Report & Images by Dave Cook on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

10 November 2018
A quick trip to Mill Hill in the morning with the car thermometer at 13°C. With the sun out it was much warmer and I quickly spotted a Meadow Brown. A short while later a Peacock flew by. There were several Clouded Yellows and perhaps half a dozen Common Blues of both sexes. One male looked remarkably fresh.

Blue Text Report & Images by Jonathan Crawford on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

5 November 2018
An immigrant  Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, visited a purple Salvia flower in a Shoreham town back yard.

Video Report by John Finch

2 November 2018.

A Painted Lady Butterfly visited one of the occasional remaining Greater Knapweed flowers near the upper car park on Mill Hill.


Brown Argus, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Clouded Yellow, Brown Argus
November Butterflies
Photographs by Dave Cook

It was just too good to stay at my desk and so headed to Mill Hill. Under clear blue sky and light wind, it wasn't long before I had my first, albeit brief, sighting of a fresh female Common Blue as I was walking down the steps towards the lower slope. By the time I reached the northern end I had 6 male Clouded Yellow under my belt. In the bottom corner were numerous mix of male and female Common Blue, most in various states of ‘worn’ but one male stood out as a minter. On my return I spotted what I initially thought was a Common Blue pairing when who should show up but Vince. He and I spent the best part of an hour discussing this very late phenomena for a Common Blue pairing when we suddenly noticed the possibility that one of them could actually be a Brown Argus (you'll see what we mean in the photos as the tell tale figure eight is very indistinct on the male). The pair then rotated 180° so we got a good view of both sides and realised they they were in fact both Brown Argus. A very fresh Meadow Brown was also seen along with a very large Small White and a Red Admiral.

Blue Text Report & Images by Dave Cook on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

These were the first two local reports of both Brown Argus and Small White in the month of November.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

29 October 2018
A Painted Lady Butterfly was seen in Shoreham.

Image Report by Colin Lee  flickr
26 October 2018
A Red Admiral fluttered over my head in the early morning, over the twitten at the Corbyn Crescent end to Adelaide Square, Shoreham.

25 October 2018
Two Red Admirals fluttered over my head, one over Widewater and the second one over Lancing town centre.

23 October 2018
A Small White Butterfly sharing a Dandelion with a Red-tailed Bumblebee on an Erringham Road verge, north Shoreham is only worth a mention as possibly the last butterfly of the year. There was a chill on the northerly breeze in the afternoon and no butterflies were seen on the upper part of Mill Hill.

9 October 2018
As the afternoon wore on, the sun came out under a clear blue sky. Already the most likely flutterings were falling leaves, but I spotted a Large White Butterly over the verges of the Down's Link Cyclepath at Old Shoreham, which prompted an unplanned visit to the top part of MiIl Hill . The new growths of Hemp Agrimony attracted five Red Admirals on the middle gentle slopes of MiIl Hill near the Copse. I made a passage journey twice over the top plateau without seeing any butterflies.

28 September 2018
A Speckled Wood Butterfly fluttered amongst the row of Elms just above where the high tide laps against the A27 main road between the Norfolk Bridge and the small bridge to the tidal pool known as the Flood Arches.

26 September 2018
Under a hazy blue sky, the new growths of Hemp Agrimony attracted the vanessid butterflies on the middle gentle slopes of MiIl Hill near the Copse. These were Red Admirals, Peacocks and  a Painted Lady Butterfly. Other butterflies seen on the top part of MiIl Hill included occasional widespread Small Heaths, occasional Common Blues localised to the Marjoram meadows, one Meadow Brown on the plateau, one Wall Brown which was the only butterfly seen in the top meadow, and a Large White. Crane-flies were frequently seen as well as few Common Darters (a small dragonfly). A pair of Speckled Woods were seen by Hamm Road allotments in Shoreham town.

Butterflies on Mill Hill

Nine species of butterfly

17 September 2018]

With most of the flowers finished for the year, there were still enough nectar plants on the top of Mill Hill to sustain over thirty butterflies of eight species. Small Heaths led the way with more than a dozen disturbed on bicycle passage over the short turf paths over the upper plateau. There were a handful more on the middle slopes where they were exceeded by at least fifteen mostly fresh Common Blues and accompanied by a handful Meadow Browns, a few Large White Butterflies, a male Adonis Blue, and most impressively two or three pristine and flighty Wall Browns. The seventh species was a Speckled Wood in the top Copse. The eighth species was a Peacock Butterfly attracted to the fresh growths of Hemp Agrimony.
Eight species of butterfly

16 September 2018]
There were a few butterflies along the Down's Link Cyclepath from south of the Cement Works, notably a male Common Blue in good condition.

10 September 2018
There was the usual Kestrel over Mill Hill, but that hardly warrants a mention.  Nine species of butterfly including 25 Adonis Blues that were disturbed in the afternoon under a cloudy sky over the downs. This was nine blue males and sixteen brown females, which all had to be disturbed as they were not actively fluttering around, although one or two visited nectar flowers after they took flight. The frequent 15+ Small Heaths were more lively. Frequent 12+ Meadow Browns were not so lively. There were at least four Common Blues at the far northern end of the lower slopes. Large White Butterflies fluttered about. I spotted a resting Treble-bar Moth and I disturbed a few faded to brown, pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta purpuralis..

Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Adonis Blue
Clouded Yellow, Adonis Blue
Butterflies on Mill Hill

Immigrant butterflies included a couple of restless Clouded Yellows over the lower slopes and a faded Painted Lady near the upper car park. There were was a Speckled Wood near the top Copse.
There were also three Speckled Woods at the top of Chanctonbury Drive and a probable Holly Blue.
Nine species of butterfly and one macro moth

9 September 2018
A few Speckled Woods were seen over the shady parts of a passage visit along the Downs Link Cyclepath from Erringham Gap to just north of the Cement Works
Another medium-sized moth was discovered in my kitchen and released. It was another Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes.
There was a smaller fawn moth L-album Wainscot, Mythimna l-album, as well, but I could not capture it.
Adur Moths 2018

8 September 2018
A partially colourful Red Underwing Moth, Catocala nupta, found its way into my upstairs bathroom in Shoreham. It was trapped and released but flew away rapidly before I could get a photograph.

6 September 2018
A dozen Clouded Yellows and a surprise Brown Hairstreak were found at Southwick Basin with other butterflies.

Report by Dave Cook on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

Red Admiral

5 September 2018
A Lesser Yellow Underwing Moth Noctua comes, found its way into my upstairs kitchen in Shoreham. It escaped through a partially open window.
Adur Moths

4 September 2018
There were no butterflies seen on Mill Hill Cutting (SW).

3 September 2018
An immigrant Clouded Yellow Butterfly was seen flying near the Tollbridge, Old Shoreham in the middle of the day. And another one was seen in the afternoon over Anchor Bottom. Adonis Blues were common over the large expanse of the conservation pastures of Anchor Bottom: I counted 37 (30 males +7 females) in a timed 45 minutes, almost all of them in the central south-facing bank area in the space of 16 minutes. There were many more in the areas I did not visit and Lindsay Morris recorded over one hundred (182) in four hours.

Adonis Blue 

With a different flora to Mill Hill, the Adonis Blues were nectaring on the abundant Rough Hawkbit., noted visiting the diminutive Squinancywort hidden amongst the grasses, attracted to the occasional tall Carline Thistles, once seen on the few Round-headed Rampions, often on the common Small Scabious, seen on occasional Hardheads, one spotted on a Dwarf Thistle, but not seen on the few Devil's Bit Scabious, or the spikes of the orchid Autumn Lady's Tresses. One female Adonis Blue was seen crawling amongst the leaves of Mouse-eared Hawkweed looking for somewhere to drops its eggs (which should on or near Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, leaves).

There were eight species of butterfly seen on the day with frequent Small Heaths seen all over the Anchor Bottom pastures with occasional Meadow Browns. I spotted a female Common Blue on Everlasting Pea near the Cement Works as well as a Small White, Large Whites and a Red Admiral near Dacre Gardens, Upper Beeding.
Eight species of butterfly

31 August 2018

Adonis Blue, Treble-bar Moth
Small Lasioglossum bees on Burnet Saxifrage
Large White, Green-veined White, Pyrausta purpuralis micro-moth, Adonis Blue

In the weak sunshine with clouds I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill where there was over forty Adonis Blue Butterflies with about one third females, frequent Small Heaths and frequent Meadow Browns, a few, mostly worn, Chalkhill Blues, occasional Common Blues, a few Large Whites, one Green-veined White, one Clouded Yellow, occasional 7+ Treble-bar Moths, and frequent, faded to brown, pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta purpuralis. Three mating pairs of blue butterflies were observed. Two pairs were definitely Adonis Bluesand probably the first pair as well. Most of the male Adonis Blues were worn and many were tattered and some had lost their blue sheen. The scattered Bird's Foot Trefoil was almost the only flower visited by the Adonis Blues.
Eight species of butterfly and one macro moth

30 August 2018

Adonis Blue  on Round-headed Rampion

Because of my relative failure of my photography the previous day, I visited the top plateau of Mill Hill and I spent well over an hour there in the early afternoon, mostly because I had difficulty in finding the spikes of Autumn Lady's Tresses (an orchid). When the sun was out  from behind the clouds, so were the butterflies and many more than expected. An estimated 40 Adonis Blues, including a count of 16 females, were everywhere on the one acre upper plateau but were only active when it was sunny.  They were exceeded in number by an estimated 50+ Small Heaths, joined by a dozen Meadow Browns, a few Small Whites and at least two Common Blues. Nectar flowers were well spaced out and the Adonis Blues were seen visiting Bird's Foot Trefoil, Rough Hawkbit, Hardheads and Carline Thistle as expected, as well as Squinancywort, Eyebright, and the rarely visited Hoary Plantain and Round-headed Rampion.

Adonis Blue on Rough Hawkbit

Two micro-moths were frequently seen: the Common Grass-veneer, Agriphila tristella (probably) or Agriphila selasella, and the pyralid Pyrausta despicata. Grasshoppers were frequently disturbed, most of them identified as green specimens of the Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus.
Five species of butterfly

24 August 2018

Adonis Blue 

Cloudy and breezy with a hint of rain on the top and middle slope meadows of Mill Hill where Small Heath Butterflies (20+) were disturbed with Common Blues (15+), Meadow Browns (20+) both mainly females, male Adonis Blues (15+) and a few Small White Butterflies. Two pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta purpuralis showed.
Five species of butterfly

14 August 2018

Adonis Blue 

After a week of inclement weather, I made a visit to the lower slopes of Mill Hill under a cloudy sky. Butterflies were still common and intermittently lively, mostly needing to be disturbed  by me or other butterflies in the afternoon. I completed a full one acre transect. Adonis Blues were the dominant presence with a count if 131 males in the transect with probable 7 females*. Chalkhill Blues were down to a tatty dozen and Common Blues about the same in numberMeadow Browns were constantly in sight with an estimate of 175+ of various sizes including very frequent numbers of large females. Small Heaths (30+) were rarely out of sight. Occasional Small Whites were lively. I spotted a Speckled Wood over the southern steps and a Red Admiral shortly afterwards, and a pyralid micro-moth: a Pyrausta despicata. (* I was unable to discern if they Adonis Blue females or Chalkhill Blues, although I think all but one or two is most likely the former.)
Eight species of butterfly

6 August 2018
An early afternoon truncated visit to the lower slopes off Mill Hill was just too uncomfortable with the excessive warmth and drenching humidity.  In a one third of an acre transect, I counted of 133+ lively male Adonis Blues, about 30+ Chalkhill Blues including five brown females, 25+ Common Blues, 60+ Meadow Browns 15+ Gatekeepers 15+ Small Heaths, occasional Small Whites, four restless Clouded Yellows, two Wall Browns, a few Speckled Woods (over the southern steps) and a Treble-bar Moth.  On the southern top of Mill Hill, there were occasionally more Chalkhill Blues, Meadow Browns and a pyralid micro-moth: a Pyrausta despicata.
Ten species of butterfly and one macro moth

1 August 2018
I cycled up to Mill Hill about midday for the annual count of Chalkhill Blues on the fixed one acre transect on the lower slopes. The 30 minute count recorded 51 male Chalkhill Blues. This was a very low day count but not the worst recorded which was 30 in 2016. They were even outnumbered by male Adonis Blues which were counted at 58. There were about the same number of Meadow Browns (estimated 50+), frequent Common Blues (20+), Gatekeepers (15+), Small Heaths (15+) a few Small Whites and  a solitary Marbled White on the lower slopes transect. Carline Thistle was the best flower attractive to the butterflies as the parched slopes.  A Treble-bar Moth landed and I remember noting the bright colours of a pristine Purple Pyrausta MIcro-moth.  Only after completing the transect, I found a female Chalkhill Blue very slowly crawling over some Horseshoe Vetch leaves.  I only visited the lower slopes, returning by the winding path where I met a Speckled Wood over the southern steps. There is a Buddleia tree by the lower car park and  this hosted a fresh Painted Lady, a tattered Comma Butterfly and a Red Admiral.

Afterwards I cycled to Annington Sewer and back noting plenty of Common Blues and Silver Y Moths in the verges and Small Whites over the verges on a quick passage journey. Annington Sewer was full of water as the River Adur was on a high spring tide. Three blue Southern Hawkers (dragonfly) patrolled about 30 cm above the surface.
Eleven  species of butterfly and two macro moths

31 July 2018
On the turn of the month, the Chalkhill Blues were expected to reach peak numbers on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, but for the fifteenth successive year the numbers have been terribly disappointing.  Under a cloudy sky, a third of an acre transect at the northern end of the lower slopes recorded 26 (including two females) and were nearly usurped by 24 male Adonis Blues and frequent Common Blues. I did manage to spot  my first two Clouded Yellows of the year. Then the sun came out briefly and suddenly I was surrounded by 25 more Chalkhill Blues and a few extra Adonis Blues as well. This made it difficult to arrive at a count which must have been fifty or more. It was still a disappointing tally. Two females were spotted with one crawling over Horseshoe Vetch leaves before laying her eggs.

Meadow Browns (350+) were common and ubiquitous all over Mill Hill, with very frequent Small Heaths and Gatekeepers, Speckled Woods in the shade, a few Small Whites, a surprise Marbled White from a patch of long grass on the lower slopes, a Wall Brown on a path near the copse, hundreds of Common Blues in the meadows with a few Brown Argus, a Painted Lady south of the Reservoir. On passage through the middle slopes I noted a 6-spotted Burnet Moth, and Silver Y Moths amongst the denser vegetation especially Knapweeds foliage, with a Treble-bar Moth on the lower slopes.
Twelve species of butterfly and three macro moths

30 July 2018

Chalkhill Blue 

It felt cool in the late afternoon when I  made an unplanned visit to the upper part of Mill Hill under a cloudy sky. The breeze spoilt many photographs as long grasses were blown into the frame blurring the image. Butterflies were easily disturbed on the plateau with seven male Chalkhill Blues and a Red Admiral. In the top meadow, Common Blues were frequently sent into flight with my footfall, with frequent Brown Argus, Meadow Browns, Silver Y Moths, a Painted Lady and a Wall Brown. A very quick detour to the middle patch of Mill Hill added a Small Heath and Gatekeepers. There were five Chalkhill Blues disturbed on Buckingham Cutting (south).
Nine species of butterfly and one macro moth

27 July 2018
Already too warm by 11:00 am, the butterflies were all very active on Mill Hill. Ubiquitous and common, Meadow Browns (200+) were in the meadows, middle slopes, scrub and lower slopes with plenty of large females. Common Blues (100+) had a similar widespread appearance with most in the taller meadow habitat with Brown Argus. Gatekeepers (30+) will only found in the hedgerows, scrub and visiting Marjoram. .Chalkhill Blue Butterflies were more widespread than expected with 16 counted on the top and middle of Mill Hill and a very disappointing 31 males on the parched lower slopes on the half acre  transect. There seemed to be a new emergence and an a impressive display of Small Heaths (50+) in both the meadows and more open slopes. Other butterflies in frequent numbers were Large  Whites* everywhere is small numbers (12+), a dozen energetic male Adonis Blues on the lower slopes, and about the same number of Speckled Woods in the shade of the scrub and copse. (* Some, possibly all, could and likely to have been Small Whites?)

Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Heath

A Silver-spotted Skipper attracted my attention landing on an isolated flowering Hardhead on the northern middle slopes. It was very obliging for a photograph as well. Not so obliging was a restless Wall Brown on the middle slopes above the ridge path, where a Treble-bar Moth landed and I found just one 6-spotted Burnet Moth.

Buddleia was flowering on bushes scattered over Mill Hill. Meadow Browns were the main visitors accompanied by a handful of the more colourful Painted Ladies, a few Red Admirals and a Peacock Butterfly.

Fourteen species of butterfly (the most this year) and two macro moths  Whites unclear ID.

24 July 2018
I spotted two Holly Blues (not seen yesterday) in the linear copse at the top of The Drive, north Shoreham, with Speckled Woods and Large or Small? Whites.

23 July 2018

Chalkhill Blue, Adonis Blue 
Meadow Brown

With the humid warm weather approaching a health risk, perhaps a visit to Mill Hill was ill advised, but I wanted to check up on the number of butterflies in the afternoon on the parched downs. Butterflies were lively and a full report is available on the Mill Hill page
Chalkhill Blues were all over the upper meadows and middle slopes in the early afternoon, but not so numerous on the lower slopes where most of them are usually found. Second brood Adonis Blues were a surprise this early in the year and a second brood Dingy Skipper was always a rare find.
Thirteen species of butterfly (equal most this year) and two macro moths

Adur Skippers

21 July 2018
A Plumed Fanfoot (moth), Pechipogo plumigeralis, was seen indoors.

18 July 2018
A Small or Essex Skipper settled on Fleabane on the verge between the cyclepath and Widewater Lagoon.

17 July 2018

Brown Argus x 2, Gatekeeper
Chalkhill Blues x 2, Meadow Brown
Common Blues x 3 
Mill Hill

I made a trip to Mill Hill in the afternoon when the Cirrus cloud cover made it a bit cooler. On the middle slopes the cooling breeze blew the flowers about making all types of photography varying from difficult to near impossible. Butterflies were common in varying degrees, Meadow Browns (100+) were ubiquitous but the other butterflies were more specialised in their appearance, frequent Gatekeepers amongst the thorn, occasional Speckled Woods in the scrub with two Peacock Butterflies on Buddleia, and a dozen male Chalkhill Blue Butterflies over the parched lower slopes, with a few Small Heaths. Most butterflies visited the Marjoram patches on the middle slopes, including more Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, Large Whites, Small Whites, three more Chalkhill Blues and the first of the  Common Blues. Three Marbled Whites and a Wall Brown and a Brimstone showed very briefly over the lower slopes. The last place on Mill Hill I visited was the meadow to the north of the upper car park which was alive with butterflies: more Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, frequent Common Blues (20+ seen, more hidden) and a few Brown Argus. 6-spotted Burnet Moths were widespread and Silver Y Moths were frequently seen in the undergrowth.
Thirteen species of butterfly (equal most this year) and two macro moths

16 July 2018
It was too warm to go out during the day, but in the late afternoon there were occasional Speckled Woods in the shade of the top of Buckingham Park and Buckingham Cutting (south) where there was a Holly Blue and a Large White. Alas, there were no Small Blues and the Kidney Vetch seems to have disappeared from Buckingham Cutting, which was overgrown with Rough Hawkbit leaves.

15 July 2018

Brown Argus

In the warmth of midday sun under a clear blue sky, a passage visit along the Downs Link Cyclepath from Erringham Gap and a stop on the verge south of the Cement Works with the butterflies, skippers and moths all hiding in the undergrowth.  They were all very restless after being spotted: an occasional each of male Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Small Skippers, Large Whites, Small Whites, frequent 6-spotted Burnet Moths, but no Gatekeepersseen. There was at least one each of Marbled White, one Small Copper one Brown Argus. and one Silver Y Moth.
Eight species of butterfly and two macro moths

13 July 2018

Common Blue 

A sunny afternoon short cycle ride along the Downs Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to the Cement Works was not expected to feature anything noteworthy, just a low tally of butterflies with frequent whites: Small Whites, Large Whites. Green-veined Whites and two Marbled Whites, frequent Meadow Browns, occasional Gatekeepers and Small Skippers, two Common Blues, one each of a Large Skipper and a Red Admiral. 6-spotted Burnet Moths were frequently seen on the purple flowerheads. Silver Y Moths were disturbed.

Small Skipper, Common Blue
Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper
Downs Link Cyclepath from Old Shoreham to the Cement Works

Ten species of butterfly and two macro moths

11 July 2018
Under Cirrus clouds, and cooler than before this month at 20.3 °C in the early afternoon, meant the butterflies were not so lively and had to be disturbed, but there was not the energy sapping heat, nor the strong shadows in bright sunshine that can make photography more tricky. On the top meadow of Mill Hill (north of the upper car park) and middle slopes (the Patch to the south of the copse) Meadow Browns (200+) were omnipresent with most hidden, frequent 6-spotted Burnet Moths, and frequent Gatekeepers, shared the top and middle with occasional Chalkhill Blue Butterflies (4+), Common Blues (4+), Large Whites, Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Small Skippers, a very worn Ringlet and a Peacock Butterfly.

Male Chalkhill Blues visited Marjoram on the middle slopes of Mill Hill

I made just a passage journey across the parched lower slopes with Meadow Browns (75+) disturbed just about everywhere, Gatekeepers in the hedgerow-like, white butterflies including three Marbled Whites, but I do not recall actually noting a Small Heath. Over the southern steps there was a pristine Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood. Five separate male Chalkhill Blue Butterflies were disturbed, which meant in each case I nearly trod on them, as the sun was behind the clouds.

Chalkhill Blue on Melilot, 6-spotted Burnet Moth on Greater Knapweed, Common Blue
Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

Thirteen species of butterfly (the most this year) and one macro moth

9 July 2018

6-spotted Burnet Moth, Silver Y Moth, Chalkhill Blue Butterfly
Lower slopes of Mill Hill

Over the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the flash of pale blue were the very active and restless male Chalkhill Blue Butterflies, and I could not be sure how many there were, anything from three seen simultaneously quarrelling with a Marbled White and other butterflies, to fifteen separate sightings? The snag was they were so restless that I could have counted the same one twice or more .I'd estimate about eight seen on the lower slopes transect. They were outnumbered by the frequent Meadow Browns, frequent 6-spotted Burnet Moths, and frequent Gatekeepers, and shared the lower slopes with Marbled Whites, Large Whites, Green-veined Whites (some large ones) and a few each of Small Heaths, Small Skippers, Silver Y Moths, and two species of Pyrausta micro-moths. I thought I recognised the bright yellow and flight pattern of a Clouded Yellow Butterfly, but did not get a close look so it could have been a Brimstone? On the southern steps there was a Speckled Wood and a Peacock Butterfly, identical to my previous visit.
NIne species of butterfly and two macro moths

8 July 2018
Three fresh Comma Butterflies were seen over the shady verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works. A few Burnet Moths were not identified to species, i.e. they did not settle so I could not count their spots

7 July 2018

Small Skipper

Under the midday sun over the flowery patch on Adur Recreation Ground butterflies were frequently seen with Large Whites were in view all the time and Meadow Browns and Small Skippers fluttering around constantly amongst the colour in a parched landscape. A very pale Brimstone Butterfly seemed positively huge.
Adur Skippers

6 July 2018
Without a hint of rain the sun and extra humidity produced a haze and the flowers were dry and the old ones were wilting from lack of water.

Peacock Butterfly at Cuckoo's Corner

Some of the larger butterflies may have been suffering too. The illustrated Peacock Butterfly had a damaged wing. In the early evening other butterflies seen were a Speckled Wood at Cuckoo's Corner, Small Skippers in Old Shoreham by the Tollbridge, and Large Whites everywhere

5 July 2018
All the signs of late summer; the meadows had been cut for hay and the young birds were out of their nest and trying to survive on their own. Gatekeepers (butterfly) fluttered around in the hedgerows, where the first Travellers Joy, Clematis, was climbing.

Marbled White, Gatekeeper
Speckled Wood
Mill Hill

Most of all, the a flash of sky blue and the first male Chalkhill Blue Butterfly emerged on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. Meadow Browns were frequently seen all over Mill Hill, but it was the flashing contrast of frequent Marbled Whites that were most noticeable. A formidable butterfly predator, the Southern Hawker (dragonfly) flew over the southern steps on Mill Hill where in the relative shade under the early afternoon sun, a dark pristine Speckled Wood, (the underwing view of) a fine Peacock Butterfly and a Red Admiral were all disturbed simultaneously.

Butterflies were constantly seen on Mill Hill with the total number well over a hundred in under an hour, mostly restless and querulous, the male Common Blue combative with the Chalkhill Blue. A bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly was positively huge when compared the frequent Small Skippers and occasional Small Heaths. Only one at a time Burnet Moths were spotted over the lower slopes. Immigrant Silver Y Moths were occasionally seen almost everywhere like they have been for the last week or more. Likewise the Large White Butterflies.
Ten species of butterfly and two macro moths

4 July 2018

The grass was brown and parched and some flowerswere wilting as the dry period continued. I saw my first Small Copper Butterfly of the year over the pebbles and gravel next to Widewater Lagoon. A Burnet Moth flew around without a pause, and whilst trying to find the Small Copper for a photograph all I spotted was a Small Skipper, two Meadow Browns, two Gatekeepers and frequent Large Whites.
There were more Small Skippers in the Marsh Woundwort and other flowery patch between the semi-circular path and the Flood Arches, and more visiting the multitude of alien flowers on the seeded patch on Adur Recreation Ground.
Adur Levels 2018

1 July 2018
A score or more Green-veined Whites were seen on the warmest day of the year over the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and Old Shoreham.

29 June 2018
A very parched Mill Hill was visited in the sunshine of the early afternoon under a clear blue sky on the warmest day of the year recording 26.0 °C in the shade at 3:00 pm by the Met Office (Shoreham)It was breezy(Force 4) on the top of the hill, the long grasses regularly swaying. Conditions were far from ideal for a walk under the burning sun and the downs were empty apart from a few dog walkers.

Small Skipper

Scores of butterflies fluttered around but would not settle on the nectar flowers for the most part. On the top and middle part of the Mill Hill, Meadow Browns (50+) led the way ahead of restless Marbled Whites and frequent Small Heaths with occasional Large Whites. On the middle slopes, three very bright blue fresh butterflies fluttered around the low vegetation. These can only be new male Common Blues. A few Cinnabar Moths were disturbed and a few Silver Y Moths fluttered amongst the dense growths of Greater Knapweed, which was now flowering. My first Gatekeeper of the year was spotted a on the edge of the scrub, and a second one skirting the scrub on the parched lower slopes. On a patch of Burdock on the disturbed land near the cattle trough, I spied my first Small Skipper of the year. Finally, a Comma Butterfly flew next to the road.
On Buckingham Cutting (south), I added a Red Admiral,  a positive Green-veined White and a handful of Small Skippers. There was no Kidney Vetch and no Small Blues this year.
Nine species of butterfly and two macro moths

Comma Butterfly23 June 2018
Bright and noticeable in the morning sunshine, my first Marbled White Butterfly of the year was very lively over the parched verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement Works site. All but one of the fifteen or so butterflies seen were restless and followed my first Ringlet of the year for a minute before it settled briefly and I was sure of its identity. Other lively butterflies were a few each of Large Whites, Small Whites and Meadow Browns. The exception was a Comma Butterfly that remained still with wings closed on a Burdock.
Six species of butterfly

17 June 2018
Overcast with drops of rain in the air, but the breeze had reduced to a few fresh gusts: I disturbed a few Meadow Brown Butterflies in the meadow-like verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the disused Cement Works site.

16 June 2018
Blustered about terribly in the breeze (Force 5) it proved too tricky to capture a publishable photograph of my first Large Skipper of the year visiting White Clover amongst the long grasses at the Flood Arches end of Adur Recreation Ground.

11 June 2018
In the humid sunshine without rain, I spotted a Red Admiral was seen in the afternoon over the Pixie Path, plus two amorous Common Blues, a pristine Small Tortoiseshells and a Holly Blue. A Speckled Wood was seen in the shade at the top of The Drive, north Shoreham.
Five species of butterfly within the boundaries of Shoreham

9 June 2018
Just the one Red Admiral was seen in the late afternoon over the verges of the over the Downs Link Cyclepath north of Old Shoreham.

6 June 2018
Often, the beginning of June shows a dearth in variety of butterflies as the Horseshoe Vetch nears its end with more seed pods than its yellow flowers, which are exceeded by the flowers of Bird's foot Trefoil. In the early afternoon on the lower slopes of Mill Hill there were still over eighty (roughly counted) blue butterflies fluttering around in the sunshine. Most of these were Adonis Blues with occasional Common Blues, all very lively with only the females settling, wings closed, to deposit eggs. Add on another twenty five mostly male Adonis Blues, quite a few in good condition, on the middle and top part of Mil Hill. Other butterflies seen on the day were an estimated forty Small Heaths, a handful of Brimstones, four Dingy Skippers, two Painted Ladies, one Large White and my first Meadow Brown of the year. As I heard the stridulating grasshoppers and spotted a few, I disturbed at least one Cinnabar Moth and one small pyralid: a Pyrausta purpuralis.
Eight species of butterfly and one macro moth

2 June 2018

Painted Lady

A Moderate Breeze (Force 4) blew the shingle plants around on Shoreham Beach to my distraction. The same south-westerlies may have helped my first immigrant Painted Lady of the year into the shelter of the swathes of Red Valerian on the pebbles east of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Whilst searching of this colourful butterfly, I chanced upon half a dozen Silver Y Moths fluttering around the nectar flowers. There were also smaller bumblebees than on Mill Hill, thought to be mostly Common Carder (Brown) Bumblebees, Bombus pascuorum, but also two larger ones thought to be Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius, and a Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris.

1 June 2018
Sidelined at home for just over a week with illness (a summer virus) and unsuitable weather (predicted heavy showers and lightning) and I missed one day for bicycle repairs (awkward puncture), so the receding Horseshoe Vetch  and new summer flora was expected on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, after my absence. In the afternoon an advection mist rolled up the Adur valley. Conditions were  too cool for active bees and butterflies. However, they were commonly found resting and the male Adonis Blues were frequently seen still in the short vegetation with their blue wings open. Every butterfly seen was disturbed by my passage and my tally of Adonis Blues was an estimated 135 (110 males and 25 females) in the one acre transect (counted 88 males and 17 females in the reduced transect 30 minute walk). Some of the Adonis Blues were tatty and worn. Occasional Small Heath Butterflies rose from hiding and I disturbed at least one Cinnabar Moth and a few smaller moths including one pyralid: a Pyrausta nigrata.

Cinnabar Moth, Adonis Blue amongst Horseshoe Vetch with seed pods
Buff-tailed Bumblebees (male workers) on Musk Thistle
Lower Slopes of Mill Hill

The highlight of a dull afternoon was a dozen bumblebees on a patch of unexpected Musk Thistle on the lower slopes.

25 May 2018
On the Mill Hill transect with conditions overcast and damp, there was a solitary Small Heath at the top. Things were a bit better on the lower half where the tally for Adonis Blues was 184.

Report by Jonathan Crawford on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

22 May 2018
I cycled to the upper car park on Mill Hill (as I missed out the top and gentler middle slopes on my last two visits). The upper plateau was covered in grasses and Bulbous Buttercups and the amount of Horseshoe Vetch was noticeable less than in previous years. Small Heath Butterflies were a frequent sight. An open meadow-like area north-west of the car park hosted a mixed collection of butterflies fluttering occasionally in the sunshine. The first contestants turned out to be the first of a few male Common Blues and his surprising opponent was revealed as my first Green Hairstreak of the year. A single fine condition Dingy Skipper was querulous with other butterflies as well. Hawthorn was blossoming near to the border to Erringham Hill. On close inspection most of the handful of blue butterflies in the meadow were Holly Blues although there was at least one male Adonis Blue. A Brimstone Butterfly and a Large White fluttered by and two Wall Browns landed briefly where passage had worn a path. Another first of the year was a pretty Mother Shipton Moth.

Dingy Skipper

A Peacock Butterfly fluttered over my head by the pond at Castle Lane Park, Bramber, and another one at Annington Sewer.
Ten species of butterfly and one macro moth

Blurred image of a Wall Brown on Mill Hill

21 May 2018

Lower slopes of Mill Hill

Warm (20.4 °C) and humid, so humid that there a few sports of rain, and slightly overcast conditions in the early afternoon, which might make the butterflies hide but easier to photograph. The lower slopes of Mill Hill were still covered in the glorious carpet of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, and the blue butterflies were semi-torpid but easily disturbed and many of them seen resting. I decided to count the Adonis Blues in a slightly altered one acre transect (taking 50 minutes with pauses for photography) and this slowly built up to an unprecedented 206 males and 10 females. There was a higher density of butterflies on the richer swathes of Horseshoe Vetch at the northern end. After I completed a count I saw over a hundred more males on the steeper slopes, and the female count rose to 25+ including one mating pair.

Common Blue

These numbers simply swamped the other species with frequent Common Blues, frequent Small Heaths, just a few Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers, and one Brimstone Butterfly and one Small White. I spotted at least one Treble-bar Moth on the lower slopes. The micro-moths were not seen. I returned by the ridge route where I spotted a further dozen male Adonis Blues.  A Holly Blue flew over the Pixie Path (by Frampton's Field).
Mill Hill Report
Eight species of butterfly and one macro moth

18 May 2018

Common Blues
Cinnabar Moth, Adonis Blues

WIth the yellow carpet of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, looking splendid a day or two off its peak, the butterflies were out in force, in numbers, if not variety. In the transect acre there were estimated to be in excess of a hundred butterflies fluttering around in the sunshine. At least sixty were the lively and amorous male Adonis Blues, and the rest were made up of female Adonis Blues, frequent Common Blues, frequent Small Heaths, occasional Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers, and a few Brimstone Butterflies and Small Whites.

Adonis Blues

I spotted at least one Cinnabar Moth on the lower slopes, and one Carpet Moth where the cattle had disturbed the flora and spoilt the habitat by the water trough. There was almost an absence of the micro-moths that are usually so common, no Pancalia and just the one pyralid: a Pyrausta purpuralis. The only surprise of the early afternoon was a very quick male Broad-bodied Chaser (dragonfly) chasing after the skippers. A few Azure Damselflies were seen around the Brambles. There was a brown butterfly over the southern steps which was either a Wall Brown or a Speckled Wood.
Eight species of butterfly and two macro moths
Mill Hill Report

Orange-tip female
15 May 2018
Large Whites, Small Whites and Green-veined Whites were all probably seen on a passage cycle journey over the Downs Link  Cyclepath  from Old Shoreham to Upper Beeding. Only probably because the only one followed until it settled was at Woods Mill and that turned out to be an Orange-tip female.  At least one male, and probably several male Orange-tips patrolled under the sunshine and clear blue sky at Woods Mill where a Comma fluttered to settle briefly. Brimstones were spotted regularly and frequently. A probable Speckled Wood was seen in shady bit where the path goes past the Cement Works.
Seven species of butterfly
Adur Damsels and Dragonflies 2018

Image: Orange-tip female

14 May 2018
A Holly Blue Butterfly was spotted in a front garden in The Avenue at the top of Windlesham Road, Old Shoreham. Large Whites flew over Shoreham gardens.

Brown Argus, Adonis Blue
Dingy Skipper, Common Blue, Grizzled Skipper

It was only on the lower slopes of Mill Hill that butterflies and moths were frequent if rather patchily distributed. The first of 9+ Grizzled Skippers were immediately seen from the southern steps. But I was simultaneously distracted by two Cinnabar Moths which I may have disturbed. Small Heaths (15+) were chasing other butterflies around all over the place. They prevailed over at least two surprise clearly seen Brown Argus. All this before I spotted my first dozen or so blue butterflies, mostly quarrelling with other butterflies and skippers and not keeping still. The first recognised were the slightly more numerous (8+) male Common Blues, but at the same time there were at least five male Adonis Blues. They were causing such a commotion with each other that it was difficult to count them. Dingy Skippers were seen all the time, rarely keeping still, but the count was only five as on kept flying to and fro. A pale flutter was a Treble-bar Moth. A few Brimstone Butterflies patrolled the thickets/hedge and the larger brown butterfly was seen to be a Wall Brown. I did not note any of the very small moths. A few small white butterflies, on the top of the hill, were not positively identified, but were most likely Green-veined Whites.
Mill Hill Report
Ten species of butterfly and two macro moths

11 May 2018
I haven't had a chance to get to Mill Hill for awhile so with the prospect of fading sunlight I headed there at lunchtime. What a difference a couple of weeks makes. The place was alive with Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Heath. A single Green Hairstreak was seen and about 6 male Common Blue and 6 male Adonis Blue and 1 female.

Report by Dave Cook on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings
My first male Common Blue Butterfly of the year visited Bird's Foot Trefoil on the Widewater shingle margins.

8 May 2018

Speckled Wood

A spur of the moment detour added butterflies no seen the previous day: two Speckled Woods in the linear spinney near Slonk Hill  Road, three Holly Blues at Buckingham Cutting (south), and an male Orange-tip near Ladywells (house) on the Coombes Road. Other butterflies seen in town and the outskirts were Small Whites, Green-veined Whites and a Brimstone. My first damselfly of the year was an unidentified teneral  by the Streamside Scout Hut near Ladywells Stream and weir next to the Coombes Road.
Six species of butterfly

7 May 2018

Grizzled Skipper on Milkwort
Horseshoe Vetch,  Cinnabar Moth

Butterflies were out in the baking sunshine with my first Large White of the year at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (south-east of the Mill Hill Road Bridge). On the southern part of Mill Hill, I spotted my first of the year Small Heath almost immediately followed a clear sighting of at least two Green-veined White Butterflies. Down the steps on to the lower slopes where it was shimmering warm and the first Horseshoe Vetch was flowering. The flowers attracted occasional (10+) Dingy Skippers which were not allowed to settle byfrequent (20+) agonistic Small Heaths. Small moths flitted amongst the intertwined leaves including small Pyraustamoths with a definite Pyrausta nigrata and Pyrausta despicata. Two Brimstone Butterflies fluttered overhead and I disturbed two very fresh Wall Browns. Only after ten minutes did the first of  at least ten fresh and amorous Grizzled Skippers appear. A brightly coloured Cinnabar Moth fluttered around but would not stay still as usual. It was so warm that I returned by the path without completing the full transect.
Small Whites were seen in Shoreham.
Seven species of butterfly

20 April 2018
After the recent sunny spell of a few days, the mud on the southern steps down to the lower slopes of Mill Hill has already dried out and the Blackthorn was in blossom everywhere. It was even too warm for diligently spotting butterflies and on the lower slops where on passage I noted a mere one Speckled Wood, 2+ Peacocks, a Brimstone or two, one Small White, and frequent small Pyrausta  moths. Too warm for packs of dogs and there were only four butterfly watchers who reported Grizzled Skippers and a Green Hairstreak. It was really too warm for me as well and I did not stay long in the afternoon.

19 April 2018

Orange-tip Butterfly 

The familiar route to Bramber showed frequent butterflies: occasional Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Brimstones, and at least one Peacock.  North of Steyning there were small Comma Butterflies and my first Speckled Wood of the year in fresh condition. At Woods Mill at least one male Orange-tip was very lively and it was fifteen minutes before it it visited a Cuckoo flower. This was my first of the year for this attractive little butterfly of the wetland margins. I also spotted my first Holly Blue of the year.
Eight species of butterfly

18 April 2018
I spotted my first Green-veined White Butterfly of the year over Adur Recreation Ground.

11 April 2018
I spotted my first Brimstone Butterfly in Upper Shoreham Road (west of the Driveway), north Shoreham, and more on Mill Hill and at Old Shoreham on the verges of the cyclepath to Ropetackle where two highly probable Small Whites were also my first of the year. There were also a handful of both Brimstone and Peacock Butterflies over the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
Mill Hill Report

5 April 2018

Lower Slopes (looking southwards) of Mill Hill
Despite the rain and muddy steps, the slopes were looking dry and parched
(in contrast to the standing water on the levels below)

Sweet Violets were commonly spread over the lower slopes of Mill Hill but not abundant and the flowers were a bit bedraggled after the recent rain which left the steps and paths muddy but passable. Ten Peacock Butterflies flew past me and settled very briefly (not on the violets) and seven of these were on my lower slopes one acre transect. I spotted a pair of Small Tortoiseshells, my first of these butterflies of the year, near some short growths of Stinging Nettles on the edge of the scrub on the middle slopes. Buff-tailed Bumblebees were frequently seen and I noted one Common Bee-fly, Bombylius major, on a path through the scrub.
Lastly, a Red Admiral settled on the Chanctonbury Drive lawn at the south-eastern end of the bridge over the A27.

26 March 2018

At the southern footpath end of the Waterworks Road, the only flowering Cherry Plum attracted my first Peacock Butterfly of the year and like the first Comma Butterfly seen a minute afterwards were enticed out of winter hibernation by a brief spell of sunshine in the early afternoon.

Comma Butterfly

15 March 2018
In the weak sunshine I spotted my first butterfly of the year; a Red Admiral over Mill Hill Road at the southern end of the bridge over the A27.

Adur Butterfly Flight Times

Adur Butterflies 2017

Adur Flight Times

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

Adur Nature Notes 2015

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):

TBI: To be identified


ABUNDANT 1000- 10,000
VERY COMMON = 500-1000
COMMON 100-500
FREQUENT 10 - 50
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
Fine: good condition
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
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