Adur Valley Wildlife
Butterflies, Larger Moths and other Arthropods 2020
Dragonflies & other 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


Reports 2021

17 December 2020
11°C and sun was enough to bring out a Peacock Butterfly at Lancing Ring.

Report by Lindsey Morris on Sussex Butterflies
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
28 November 2020
A Red Admiral was recorded the southern slope of Lancing Ring, north of the cemetery access, basking and flying around in unseasonably warm sunshine.
Report by Ray Hamblett
22 October 2020
A Peacock Butterfly entered my Lancing house.
Report by Sarah Reeve
11 & 14 October 2020
Clouded  Yellow Butterflies were reported from Shoreham Harbour (Southwick Basin) x 4 and Shoreham Beach.

9 October 2020
A Speckled Wood Butterfly and a Common Darter (dragonfly) were spotted on the sunny Knepp Estate in the afternoon.

28 September 2020

Large White

21 September 2020

There were well over a hundred Common Blue Butterflies on a sunny Mill Hill. more on the top than the lower slopes. Over 70% were the bright blue males, with females having a blue tinge and some were mating in flight. Other butterflies included occasional Wall Browns, at least two very bright yellow and restless Clouded Yellows, a few Large Whites, and at least one Meadow Brown.
Devil's Bit Scabious was in flower on the lower slopes but it was only an occasional magnet for butterflies in the early afternoon.

20 September 2020

Clouded Yellow
Photograph by Glynis Pierson

18 September 2020

Common Blue Butterflies
Photograph by Jo Parsons

Hundreds of Common Blue Butterflies decorated the long grasses on the path (adjacent to the road) to Truleigh Hill.

illustrated Report by Jo Parsons facebook
15-16 September 2020

5 - 13 September 2020
Large White Butterflies were seen frequently around town in the sunshine.

4 September 2020
A Holly  Blue Butterfly fluttered over the greenery on the north side of Worthing Hospital.

2 September 2020
A Brimstone Butterfly fluttered over the greenery on the north side of Worthing Hospital.

17 August 2020
About a hundred lively butterflies on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, on a humid afternoon, were led in frequency by Meadow Browns, with Chalkhill Blues, Common Blues, Adonis Blues, Small Heaths, Large Whites, and two restless bright Clouded Yellows. Add on a few Gatekeepers, one Wall Brown. two Speckled Woods and an ambush predator the Hornet Robber Fly around the winding path and southern steps. There were significantly more Meadow Browns, Common Blues and Small Heaths south of the Reservoir.

5 August 2020

Chalkhill Blue
Mill Hill Cutting

There were at least ten male Chalkhill Blues fluttering over the southern bank of the Mill Hill Cutting on a sunny afternoon. There were an estimated forty more seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.


3 August 2020
I added two more species of butterfly to yesterdays tally of 19: a faded Comma, or two, and a bright Small Tortoiseshell, sharing the Buddleia bush with Red Admirals, on the western side of the South Downs Way bridge over the Adur near Botolphs.

2 August 2020
With a breeze blowing the flowers about there were scores of butterflies fluttering over MiIl Hill and nearby (in a good year, this would be hundreds) of nineteen different species: Chalkhill Blues (estimated 35 males+2), frequent Common Blues, Painted Lady, (one at the top of Chanctonbury Drive), frequent Gatekeepers, and occasional Meadow Browns, a Speckled Wood in the copse. and a mating pair of Wall Browns plus one more, male Adonis Blues (4), a Red Admiral and a Peacock Butterfly. two Holly Blues in the scrub, a Large White and a Small White, two restless bright Clouded Yellows, a tatty second brood Dingy Skipper on the lower slopes, a tatty Small Skipper and a Brown Argus in the top meadow, a few bright yellow Brimstone Butterflies, and a Small Heath on the middle slopes. Six-spotted Burnet Moths were attracted to purple flowers, especially Dwarf Thistle and diminutive Hardheads (Lesser Knapweed).

Chalkhill Blue (female)
Mill Hill

Nineteen butterfly species and one macro moth specie
30 July 2020
A very unusual Silver-washed Fritillary was spotted on Buddleia by the River Adur near Botolphs.

It was unusual because this is a woodland butterfly. 

29 July 2020
Under a clear blue sky, butterflies were frequently seen on a hazy afternoon. This was to be expected and nowhere near a good day. On the top of Mill Hill. amongst the long  grasses, male Common Blues quickly appeared and one Brown Argus, frequent Gatekeepers, and occasional Meadow Browns.  Over the southern steps to the lower slopes there was a Speckled Wood and a Wall Brown. The lower slopes were parched with less nectar flowers than usual. A restless bright yellow Clouded Yellow Butterfly was seen after a few minutes. A pair of Brimstones were fluttering from flower to flower. A Red Admiral and a Peacock Butterfly gave a large splash of colour in contrast to a Large White.

Chalkhill Blue

The lower slopes also hosted at least thirty male Chalkhill Blues, occasional Common Blues, including a female, occasional Meadow Browns ,including a mating pair, Gatekeepers amongst the bushes, one Small Heath, a faded  Small Copper and a dozen Six-spotted Burnet Moths on purple flowers. A few pyralid moths were spotted the lower slopes of Mill Hill  in the warm sunshine, occasional Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta despicata.
Ten butterfly species and one macro moth specie

24 July 2020

Red Admiral

22 July 2020
On a warm energy sapping humid afternoon, my visit to MiIll Hill was not as long as I would have liked. On the southern part, south of the Reservoir, amongst the parched long grasses, and all the stages (including the silver discs) of Greater Knapweed,   I disturbed frequent butterflies: male Common Blues (10+), at least one Brown Argus, frequent Gatekeepers, occasional Meadow Browns, one Large White, at least one Marbled White, and one Red Admiral. Fleabane was in flower. The first Wild Parsnip appeared.

Brown Argus, Brimstone, Common Blue
Chalkhill Blue

Brimstone Butterfly

Down the southern steps past the Wayfaring Tree on to the lower slopes where a "helice" Clouded Yellow was seen very quickly, but not for long as it fluttered rapidly between nectar plants, almost exclusively Wild Basil. Widespread and frequently seen, at least thirty male Chalkhill Blues were very lively, like all the butterflies in the sunshine, including a few male Adonis Blues, more male Common Blues, Gatekeepers and Meadow Brown Butterflies, one Brimstone Butterfly and Six-spotted Burnet Moths.

Full Mill Hill Report
Eleven butterfly species and one macro moth specie

21 July 2020
A very brief detour to the Rough Hawkbit covered southern bank of the Slonk Hill Cutting in the late afternoon disturbed a fresh male Common Blue Butterfly, a definite Ringlet Butterfly and a Meadow Brown.

13 July 2020
At last, the first Chalkhill Blue Butterfly of the year was spotted on the lower slopes of Mill Hill. It was one of a few males seen in the late afternoon, accompanied by frequent male Gatekeepers, occasional Meadow Browns, male Adonis Blues and male Common Blues, occasional Marbled Whites (8+), a few Small Whites, one lively Peacock Butterfly, one Wall Brown and a few Six-spotted Burnet Moths.

Marbled White, Gatekeeper
Chalkhill Blue

At the top of the southern steps down to the lower slopes a worn Dark Green Fritillary visited a flowering Teasel.
Ten butterfly species and one macro moth

6 July 2020
Summer had just about arrived on a cloudy late afternoon on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, with my first of the year Small Purple-barred Moth, Phytometra viridaria, Shaded Broad-bar and a Six-spotted Burnet Moth, and my first of the year Marbled Whites (3) and Gatekeeper butterflies. I also spotted my first Cinnabar Moth caterpillar on Common Ragwort. Occasionally I disturbed Meadow Brown Butterflies and a Treble-bar Moth. More active fluttering about were a few Large White Butterflies and a brightly coloured Peacock Butterfly. Then to my intense surprise a fluttering bright blue butterfly settled and it was confirmed as a good condition male Adonis Blue. This must be a second brood and it is three weeks earlier than in 2019. There were scores of bright green grasshoppers amongst the short vegetation.

Adonis Blue, Small Skipper
Marbled White

On the southern upper part of Mill Hill, a Red Admiral settled with its wings closed out of camera range. Another first of the year was a Small Skipper in amongst the long grasses. A Kite-tailed Robberfly, Tolmerus atricapillus, waited in ambush on the southern steps.
Full Mill Hill Report
Seven butterfly species and four moths

2 July 2020
The languid flight of the first of the year Ringlet Butterfly fluttered over the Downs Link Cyclepath verges, midway between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works, on a cool cloudy afternoon. A Red Admiral was spotted with its wings closed at the same time.

Late June 2020
The June slack period had frequent Meadow Browns and Small Heaths on the outskirts  of Shoreham

4 June 2020
On a cloudy day I disturbed a few each of Meadow Browns and Small Heaths in and around the thistle patch and adjoining bank in the north-west of Shoreham Airport. The few I saw I expect were only part of a larger population.

2 June 2020
The first Large Skipper of the year was spotted on the middle slopes of Mill Hill.

Report & Photograph by Nicky Freeman on Mill Hill Nature Reserve  facebook
This skipper is scarce in the wild habitats around Shoreham. Only a few are seen on Mill Hill each year.

1 June 2020

Grizzled Skipper

A first of the year Cinnabar Moth made a fleeting appearance on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the middle of the day. Butterflies were all lively on a warm sunny day under a clear blue sky. Small Heaths (20+) were the most frequently seen but there was also a larger  Meadow Brown Butterfly. The blue butterflies were worn at the edges which made them tricky to identify. I eventually determined that at least a dozen were male Adonis Blues with one female and a few were Common Blues and one Holly Blue. Two Brimstone Butterflies patrolled the steeper slopes. There was a probable Brown Argus and a definite Grizzled Skipper.
Eight butterfly species and one macro moth
Adur Moths
Adur Skippers

29 May 2020
My first Meadow Brown Butterfly of the year was spotted on the west-facing embankment of the Airport Towpath. This was an early record. Other butterflies on the outskirts of Shoreham were Small Heaths, Holly Blues, and a Speckled Wood.

27 May 2020

Painted Lady on Dogwood

A couple of fluttering Holly Blue Butterflies attracted me to the Dogwood on the eastern verge of the Downs Link Cyclepath at Old Shoreham, when I then noticed my first Painted Lady of the year. This immigrant butterfly is much larger but was elusive to photograph in the late afternoon.

24 May 2020
Small Heath Butterflies (10+) frequently fluttered around a thistle patch in the north-east corner of Shoreham Airport.

20 May 2020

Green Hairstreak

A sunny afternoon prompted a visit to the top part of Mill Hill where frequent butterflies fluttered around: occasional male and female Common Blues, a few each of male Adonis Blues, Brimstones, Dingy Skippers, my first Green Hairstreak of the year, and my first Mother Shipton Moth. A Speckled Wood showed in the top copse where I noted hundreds of Garlic Mustard plants going stringy. Two Holly Blues fluttered around the top of the scrub.
Seven butterfly species and one macro moth
Adur Moths

19 May 2020

Adonis Blue Butterflies

Under a pale blue sky, sheltered  from the easterly breeze, I gave up counting the Adonis Blue Butterflies over the lower slopes of Mill HiIl at fifty (46+4). They were all very lively in the afternoon sunshine and hardly ever settled, even when mating. After completing the lower acre transect I spotted an estimated further twenty, including three mating pairs, as I returned by the winding path. Again, there were occasional male Common Blues, occasional Small Heaths, patrolling Brimstones, and a handful of faded Dingy Skippers. I spotted a briefly settled Small Copper and a similarly transient Brown Argus before they were chased from their perch by larger blue butterflies.  There was also a Peacock Butterfly and a Small White.
Nine butterfly species

Common Blue                               Adonis Blue                Brown Argus

14 May 2020
Cumulus clouds cast a shadow over the lower slopes of Mill Hill making the appearance of butterflies very patchy and the estimated numbers not necessarily representative of presence. Adonis Blues were seen frequently and all but one of about twenty were the bright blue males. Many more were seen when the sun shined through a gap in the clouds as this caused these butterflies to be active. I had to be careful with recognition as there was at least eight pristine male Common Blue Butterflies behaving in a similar way over the lower slopes. Small Heaths were also seen and I spotted a resting Small Copper and a Brimstone. Only three Dingy Skippers were seen over the northern end of the lower slopes.

I visited the middle slopes for the first time this year where there was a few male Common Blues and a few Dingy Skippers amongst the fading Cowslips. A Speckled Wood Butterfly was seen at the corner of my eye as I walked into the top copse. Overall the top of Mill HIll was breeze blown and deserted.
Seven butterfly species

9 May 2020

Green-veined White on the Widewater Flood Plain

8 May 2020
A sunny visit to Mill Hill in the afternoon was superfluous and nothing new for the year was seen. Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, was determined to be at its peak, but the flowering was not as luscious as in the best years. Butterflies were frequent but not as varied as earlier. On the lower slopes Dingy Skippers were everywhere and in the half transect, estimated over thirty singles, as well as over ten Adonis Blues, a few male Common Blues, a few Small Heaths, a few probable Large Whites, and a few patrolling Brimstones. Deadly Nightshade was in flower. I returned by the ridge route and added a Wall Brown and another ten Dingy Skippers.

7 May 2020

Speckled Wood                                              Holly Blue

Under a hazy blue sky, there was rather minimal flying insect activity on the southern bank at the eastern end of the Slonk Hill Cutting. As the vehicles droned by, I spotted a few queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees, a Small Heath Butterfly, a Red Admiral, a Large Red Damselfly and a Holly Blue Butterfly in about thirty minutes. Later, at Buckingham Cutting (south) two Speckled Wood Butterflies and familiar hoverflies appeared in the shade of the linear copse.

6 May 2020

Adonis Blues

Butterflies were frequent and lively on a sunny afternoon, notably the first two female Adonis Blues of the year with half a dozen males, with a pair attempting to copulate. I estimated at least twenty Dingy Skippers all over the lower slopes of Mill HiIl. Grizzled Skippers only amounted to a probable pair. Other butterflies were occasional Peacocks, at least five Small Heaths, a few wandering probable Green-veined Whites, a few patrolling Brimstones, a first of the year male Common Blue Butterfly, at least one dark Wall Brown and a handful of Treble-bar Moths.

5 May 2020
Draughty and cloudy, conditions not ideal for butterflies but better for photography, I nevertheless enjoyed my afternoon visit to the Horseshoe Vetch covered lower slopes of Mill HiIl. Dingy Skippers were frequent and widespread and on the two-thirds transect I estimated at least 35, including a mating pair. However, I did not actually disturb a single Grizzled Skipper. Other butterflies disturbed from rest were occasional Peacocks, five male Adonis Blues, my first pristine Brown Argus of the year, one Small Heath, and one Brimstone. A Treble-bar Moth showed and a small pyralid moth Pyrausta nigrata were spotted. In Shoreham there was a Holly Blue and a probable Small White.
Eight butterfly species

Adonis Blue

4 May 2020
A few each of Peacocks, Red Admirals and Green-veined Whites were seen over the western towpath and the Downs Link cyclepath from Old Shoreham to the South Downs Way bridge.

27 April 2020

Small Copper
Grizzled Skipper

Mill Hill

A second day in succession, I visited the lower slopes of MiIl Hill hoping to get a decent picture of an Adonis Blue, but the one sighting was a flutter of blue for just ten seconds. Two Red Admirals were around the southern steps. I counted 25 Dingy Skippers on a half transect but only the occasional Grizzled Skippers (10+), Brimstones and Green-veined Whites, one Small Heath, one Wall Brown, one Small Copper, three Treble-bar Moths, and three small pyralid moths Pyrausta nigrata spotted amongst the short vegetation on the lower slopes. Another Small Copper fluttered over the grass at the top of the southern steps where Silverweed was flowering.
Adur Skippers
Adur Moths 2020

26 April 2020

Dingy Skipper

Typically, a pristine Wall Brown Butterfly landed on the winding path through the lower slopes of MiIl Hill, in the afternoon. It quickly fluttered away. I counted 28 Dingy Skippers but only the occasional Grizzled Skippers (8+), Brimstones and Green-veined Whites, just the one Small Heath, and three first of the year male Adonis Blues on the two-thirds acre transect walk. A Red Admiral fluttered over the Stinging Nettles at the top of the southern steps.
A small pyralid moth Pyrausta nigrata was spotted,
Adur Skippers
Eight butterfly species

25 April 2020
At last, the first distinctive Rhingia campestris hoverfly was seen on Alkanet on the southern footpath part of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham. Butterflies in the sunshine were a Holly Blue, two Green-veined Whites, and a pair of Orange-tip Butterflies.

24 April 2020
In the linear copse near Slonk Hill Farm Bridge I spotted a Speckled Wood and a Holly Blue.

23 April 2020
With scarcely a cloud in the hazy blue sky, the sunshine made the butterflies very lively. At the very top of Chanctonbury Drive, two pairs of sparring Speckled Woods immediately appeared. Almost simultaneously on the PIxie Path side of the road to Mill Hill,  my first three of the year Holly Blues looked brilliant and restless over the Ivy.

Small Heath

On the lower slopes of MiIl Hill, in the middle of the day, butterflies and skippers were frequently seen and easily disturbed. Once in flight they were extremely reluctant to settle. Small Heaths (6+) quickly made a show and seen for the first time this year, with Grizzled Skippers (12+), first of the year Dingy Skippers  (12+), Peacocks (6+), occasional Brimstones and Green-veined Whites, and a single first of the year Small Copper on the half acre transect walk. Two more Speckled Woods were seen on the steps from the south leading down to the lower slopes.
Adur Skippers
Eight species of butterfly and skippers

19 April 2020
Butterflies were restless over the the footpath section of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham in the afternoon: Orange-tip Butterflies male and female, Green-veined White, Brimstone Butterfly, Peacock x 2.

16 April 2020
Small White Butterflies fluttered around Shoreham residential town. I only saw about three though.

15 April 2020
In the early afternoon sunshine, the footpath section of the the Waterworks Road hosted two pairs of Orange-tip Butterflies, my first two Large Whites of the year and at least one Green-veined White. All the butterflies were very lively and would not settle until a Large White eventually, fleetingly, made a visit to a Dandelion flower. A Red Admiral fluttered over the conservation patch at the junction of The Street and Adur Avenue, Old Shoreham, and later a Small White was spotted near Buckingham Park.

14 April 2020
In the meadowlands between the Downs Link cyclepath and the River Adur, I was surprised by the fluttering and the flash of orange of a male Orange-tip Butterfly over the meadow (north of the Erringham Gap) where I had not seen one before. A few minutes later I spotted an all white female fluttering rapidly away.

10 April 2020
In the bright Good Friday afternoon sunshine my first Speckled Wood of the year fluttered over the Waterworks Road. Activity was mainly Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees and buzzing Spring (Hairy-footed) Flower Bees, Anthophora plumipes, attracted to the flowering White Deadnettle. Immediately on arrival I disturbed a Brimstone Butterfly on Spanish Bluebells. I stayed long enough (30+ minutes) for a male Orange-tip Butterfly and a Green-veined White to put in a fleeting unsettled appearance.

7 April 2020
Brimstone Butterflies were fluttering around, notably in St. Nicolas Lane, Old Shoreham. My first of the year male Orange-tip was unmistakable over the deserted Waterworks Road in the early afternoon. I was not sure about the three larger white butterflies that sparred with the Orange-tip? Almost certainly they were Green-veined Whites from a brief look and past experience.

25 March 2020
A Brimstone Butterfly visited a Lancing garden. 

16 March 2020

Small Tortoiseshell

After five months isolation from Mill Hill because of inclement weather, the sun finally came out on the muddy southern top part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. And with the sun came my first butterflies of the year: at least two strong-flying Brimstone Butterflies skirting the still bare scrub, and secondly a Peacock Butterfly first spotted on a drain cover south of the Reservoir. I was most pleased to spot two Small Tortoiseshells fluttering over the thoroughly mown meadow (a good job) north of the upper car park.

12 January 2020
A Peacock Butterfly was spotted in a Shoreham garden. It must have been disturbed from hibernation on a cloudy day. It was the first butterfly of the year and the first local Peacock Butterfly seen in January on record.

Report by Suzanne Ross-Dale
on Shoreham-by-Sea & Southwick facebook
Adur Butterfly Flight Times > 2019
Adur Butterfly List 2019

Adur Flight Times >2020

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

2  September 2020

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