the usual peak date for Chalkhill Blues
on Mill Hill I went directly to the lower
slopes in the late morning recording 37 (including four females) on the
acre transect before 11.20
am and an estimated 35 mostly males in the
following 15 minutes. Most of these appeared fresh and could have just
emerged. This was still a poor total of 72 on the lower slopes and two
elsewhere on the hill. Without making more than a cursory attempt to search,
I discovered at least half a dozen second brood Dingy
Skippers, five on the lower slopes of
Mill Hill, and one on the middle slopes in the the Triangle
area amongst the Wild Basil.
There could have easily been more. Fourteen
species were seen in the late morning including
a further 20+ Chalkhill Blues
on the Mill Hill Cutting (SW).
targeted search of the slopes and upper glades of Mill
Hill produced 12 Dingy
Skippers, this being by far the strongest
second brood showing I have ever seen. The knock-on effects of the unusually
warm spring may yet produce more unexpected events in the late summer and
autumn butterfly calendar.
the Pixie Path I spotted my first Migrant
mixta, of the year with two Hornet
Robber Flies, Asilus crabroniformis,
on the Chestnut fencing. There was also at least two Common
Hill was notably poor (at the
time of the year when the numbers should have been good) for butterflies
on a cool day.
would should be the peak period for the Chalkhill
Blues on Mill Hill with hundreds, perhaps
thousands fluttering around, it was dire that I only saw a fleeting view
of one male in half an hour on the one acre
transect. It was cloudy and there were very
a low frequency of any butterflies
about on the lower slopes around midday
and these had to be disturbed.
the sun shone through the gaps in the clouds, but
it was too cool for most butterflies.
However, I recorded my first female Chalkhill
of the year with a few males on Mill Hill Cutting.,
where there was also a female Common Blue
amongst the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis
the Pixie Path I spotted my first Common
of the year.
was a few minutes before I spotted my first
Mill Hill: a second brood Wall
Brown briefly visited a Violet.
By the time I reached the middle slopes of Mill Hill about 1:00
pm, there was a large black cloud over Erringham
Hill. Typically, flitting from one stem head to another by first pristine
of the year showed amongst the Marjoram
to the north of the Triangle area of the middle
slopes of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. Butterflies
were widespread and the 15 species seen was equal to the most seen in a
day this year.
I cycled north down Church Street in central Shoreham,
I glanced and caught a commotion in St. Mary's Churchyard,
New Shoreham: four Jays
were squabbling amongst the gravestones. This
was the first time I had ever seen four of these corvids
I would have had a chance to observe their behaviour if a white
terrier dog off its lead had not sent the
dozen Wood Pigeons
into flight and chased the Grey Squirrels
headed off to Mill
Hill to get my weekly butterfly transect
done while the sun was shining. More Chalkhill
Blues emerged, including some large specimens.
There was a second brood of Adonis Blue.
A big surprise was second brood Dingy Skippers.
I also saw a Grass Snake
slither away into the Brambles.
of 3.9 magnitude (depth 10 km, poorly
constrained) was felt in Shoreham
at 7:59 am. Its
epicentre was 89 km (55 miles) SSW
10 km under the English
least three Ringlet Butterflies
in the meadow on the southern bank of the Slonk
Hill Cutting were rather belated first of year additions for this species.
They were amongst Meadow
I had to follow them until they settled to make sure. There were also a
few Silver Y Moths fluttering
amongst the meadow plants. Ten species of
were seen on the outskirts of Shoreham on a
warm cloudy day.
Butterflies: First Dates
the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the first
male Chalkhill Blue Butterfly
of the year flew about quickly, noted only landing briefly on the yellow
flowers of Bird's Foot Trefoil
and hiding amongst the leaves of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis
species of butterfly
were seen in the late morning.
Butterflies: First Dates
or five Swifts screeched
and chased each other low over the rooftops by Manor Hall Road at the Portslade
end, south of the allotments. These were first time I had seen these migrant
birds this summer.
the sun shined intermittently through the clouds,
I spotted my first Gatekeeper
of the year on the cyclepath at Old Shoreham, followed by my first Small
Skipper (possibly an Essex
Skipper?) on the River
Adur eastern towpath at the same latitude
as Mill Hill (south of the upper car park)
202 073), and my first Blue-tailed
of the year nearby.
White Butterflies were very frequent in
the long grass by the towpath with at least 24 counted and there were probably
over 60 present. Eleven species of butterfly
were seen in the afternoon.
& Moth Report
Butterflies: First Dates