Adur Valley Wildlife
Butterflies, Larger Moths and other Arthropods 2015
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)

  British Lepidoptera on  flickr


Adur Butterflies 2016

30 October 2015
A Red Admiral was spotted.

28 October 2015
Following an unsuccessful search of several sites I found a beautiful, male Long-tailed Blue at Southwick Basin in the afternoon, just east of the tall chimney.

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterfly Conservation Reports

I took my two dogs for a walk to Mill Hill as the weather was too good to miss. I began to think that even with the temperature close to 18ºC, after more than an hour I had not seen any butterflies only this day flying Silver Y Moth.
I was about leave and 3 Clouded Yellows appeared (1 female and 2 males) and a Wall Brown.

Report by Dave Cook on Sussex Butterfly Conservation Reports

I paid a visit to Shoreham Cement Works north of Shoreham for a Long-tailed Blue was seen today between 11.10 am and 2.30 pm but none seen, but did see 1 female Meadow Brown, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Clouded Yellow.

Report by Peter Farrant on Sussex Butterfly Conservation Reports
An unidentified vanessid was seen at the back of Dacre Gardens, Upper Beeding.
Oak Eggar 
Lasiocampa quercus
Feathered Thorn 
Colotois pennaria

25 October 2015
ALong-tailed Blue was photographed at Upper Beeding.

Image Report by Clare Sell
Red Admirals were seen when the sun came out today. One seen on Adur Recreation Ground and another over the towpath next to the houseboats where a Large White was the last butterfly to be seen just after midday.

24 October 2015
The female Long-tailed Blue was again seen at the Shoreham Cement Works site today, only stirring from its slumber when the cloud thinned and the sun threatened to break through.

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterfly Conservation Reports
20 October 2015
A Red Admiral and then three Large Whites in town, but no butterflies were seen on Mill Hill.

19 October 2015
Could the Large White Butterfly seen from my upstairs front window be the last butterfly of the year? A second one was seen later by the Riverside Industrial Estate (north of Ropetackle).

13 October 2015

Clouded Yellow
Red Admiral

A Clouded Yellow Butterfly was seen immediately I descended the southern steps to the lower slopes. It settled immediately on a Hardhead flower by the path, but I could not close enough for a decent photograph as the sun was casting lengthy shadows. There were three sightings of this fast flying butterfly on different parts of the lower slopes but it was flying so strongly it could have been the same one. Just one Meadow Brown was spotted and the last butterfly, a Large White seen up closely. A few Red Admirals were seen, a memorable one form the Cyclepath between Ropetackle and old Shoreham.

Adonis Blue (female)11 October 2015
A passage journey along the Steyning Line Cyclepath via the Flyover Boot Sale produced occasional Small White Butterflies, occasional Red Admirals, a Large White and a Speckled Wood in the shade of a Betula Birch. The sun came out so I made a small detour to Shoreham Cement Works where more Red Admirals visited Ivy and a fresh female Adonis Blue landed on some short grass and a Comma Butterfly fluttered nearby. A Brimstone Butterfly was spotted over the cyclepath in Upper Beeding (by the Cement Works) on the return journey.
Seven butterfly species

In the fading light on a late still sunny shirt-sleeves late afternoon (after four), I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill where I spied five good condition Meadow Browns and at least five strong-flying Clouded Yellows. There was also a Small White and a few Red Admirals over the top of the hill.
Nine species of butterfly on the day

8 October 2015
Following a lengthy hiatus I located another British born Long-tailed Blue at 2 pm on Thursday, at Shoreham Cement Works. I flushed it from the clump of Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea beside the tarmac area, as soon as I got out of the car. Luckily it didn't fly more than a couple of metres, and the mixed weather conditions worked in my favour. Several times it opened its stunningly beautiful wings, revealing that it was a male. I have seen quite a few British Long-tailed Blues now, but this was my first male in perfect condition. During a warmer period it moved to the central clump of Ivy, where it sunbathed on some Clematis leaves. At 3 pm it launched an attack on a passing Comma, and accelerated away so rapidly that I immediately lost sight of it.

Report by Paul Day on Sussex Butterfly Conservation Reports

4 October 2015
A short walk round the top of Mill Hill produced 3 Wall Browns, 3 Meadow Browns and 2 Small Heaths.

Report by Neil Hulme on Sussex Butterfly Conservation Reports

1 October 2015
Down on the lower slopes of Mill Hill there were still frequent butterflies mostly Meadow Browns (11) but also occasional Small Heaths (4), Large Whites (6) and one old and worn male Adonis Blue. There was a slightly damaged Speckled Wood in the scrub and three more Meadow Browns in the long vegetation and a Silver Y Moth on the southern top part of the hill. Over the Pixie Path approaches to Mill Hill, there both Small Whites and Large Whites and a few Red Admirals. Also I thought I spotted a Peacock Butterfly over Frampton's Field but it was too far away for a good view.
Mill Hill Report
Seven butterfly species

26 September 2015
A Small Copper Butterfly was seen visiting Ragwort near Shoreham Fort on Shoreham Beach.

Report and Images by Skyjas 5

25 September 2015
Cats brought in two large caterpillars, one reported by Lorraine Courant as green with white dots was most likely the larva of a Lime Hawk-moth, Mimas tiliae, and the other one reported by Trev Smith was recognisable as the larva of the Elephant Hawk-moth, Deilephila elpenor.
Adur Hawk-moths

23 September 2015
Cloudy but at least it was not raining and anything fluttering in the breeze was more likely to be a fallen leaf as the equinox passes and the days become even shorter. There were still frequent white butterflies, most seem to be Large Whites, but I expect there were Small Whites as well. There was a Red Admiral over Shoreham town, but I also disturbed four or five more in a single Ivy bush on the Pixie Path, north Shoreham. The Pixie Path hosted a Small Robber Fly, Machimus atricapillus, three Common Darters (dragonfly) and a larger dragonfly. As they all appeared simultaneously so I did not get a chance to chase the larger dragonfly to find out what is was. I fancied it to be a Migrant Hawker rather than the more usual Southern Hawker.

Probably a female Common Blue

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill it was so cool it was not enough just to disturb the occasional remaining butterflies, in most cases they had to be spotted resting. This was certainly true of the five Small Heath Butterflies and one resting female of the blues on Carline Thistle, which was not identified (it could be either the female Chalkhill, Adonis or Common Blue?). The seven Meadow Browns and another Red Admiral were more flighty but looked to hide after being disturbed.
Devil's Bit Scabious proved an attractive resting place to a Small Heath Butterfly in the afternoon.
Five butterfly species

20 September 2015
The white butterflies were looking worn and tattered, mostly frequent Small Whites, but also a few Large Whites, and a good condition Red Admiral was spotted around Shoreham and the immediate outskirts. A few Common Darters (dragonfly) were seen over the cyclepath north of Old Shoreham.

8 September 2015
On a grey cloudy day, I thought there would be so few butterflies, I would be able to count them. Almost all were resting I and I had to almost tread on them to spot them in the afternoon.
At the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of Mill Hill Nature Reserve) a Holly Blue fluttered by and four Speckled Woods were quite lively with a Large White and a Red Admiral on the edge of the trees.
The Pixie Path (north) hosted two Small Whites, three Holly Blues, a Speckled Wood, a Meadow Brown, and last but not least a fresh Comma Butterfly. Other insects of note were a Southern Hawker (dragonfly), a Common Darter (dragonfly) and a Small Robber Fly, Machimus atricapillus.

Adonis Blue 
(Worn specimen, ID not definite)
Common Blue 
Holly Blue

The lower slopes of Mill Hill with its short vegetation still did not make the resting butterflies easy to find although there was a flash of blue immediately after descending the southern steps. The bright blue of 32 (26+6) of the Adonis Blues were the easiest to spot especially if they chased after the six brown females. 39 Meadow Browns were the most numerous, much larger than ten Small Heaths. All these were in the transect acre with a few (3+1) Common Blues appreciably smaller in size than the word Adonis Blues. A Green-veined White was belatedly identified from a photograph and a Carpet Moth was noted on a Privet leaf. The pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta purpuralis was frequently seen on the lower slopes.
More of the same resting butterflies on the middle slopes with one male Adonis Blue, five Small Heaths, at least seven Meadow Browns and a Small White recorded. One pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta purpuralis was seen on the middle slopes and there was likely to be more.
Ten butterfly species and two dragonfly species

7 September 2015
A Red Admiral fluttered across a road in Shoreham. On a cycle ride to Upper Beeding, I was able to confirm frequent white butterflies, including occasional Large Whites and Small Whites, at least six Green-veined Whites, a surprise and unmistakable male Adonis Blue and two Speckled Woods. Two Southern Hawkers (dragonfly) patrolled over the cyclepath. On a cloudy day generally the butterflies had to be disturbed. On Anchor Bottom, I added nine Meadow Browns, six (4+2) Adonis Blues, and two Small Heath Butterflies.

Adonis Blue
Adonis Blue
Green-veined White

Nectar plants for butterflies were few and far between but for the Adonis Blues these were Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil and Traveller's Joy on the cyclepath and Devils Foot Scabious and Small Scabious on Anchor Bottom.  A Meadow Brown was seen on Devils Foot Scabious and Small Scabious. The Green-veined White visited Hemp Agrimony.
Eight butterfly species

6 September 2015
Frequent Large Whites and a Holly Blue were seen in Shoreham.

1 September 2015
On a cloudy day the butterflies were very frequent, but not too many to count. Almost all were resting. I stumbled across 50+ Meadow Browns, 20+ Adonis Blues, and a few Chalkhill Blues, Common Blues and Small Heaths on Mill Hill. A Southern Hawker (dragonfly) patrolled over the Pixie Path. where a dozen Holly Blue Butterflies and ten Speckled Woods were livelier.

Speckled Wood
Meadow Brown
Chalkhill Blue 
Pixie Path North & Mill Cutting* (SW) Lower Slopes of Mill Hill Ridge and Southern Part of Mill Hill
Meadow Brown 4 40 11
Large White 5 2 2
Small White 1 - -
Common Blue 2 4 (3+1) 3 (2+1)
Holly Blue 12 1 -
Chalkhill Blue 2 (1+1)* 2 2
Chalkhill or Adonis females (unidentified) - 4 -
Adonis Blue - 20 1
Speckled Wood 10 - -
Small Heath - 4 2
Pyrausta purpuralis - 33+ -
Pyrausta despicata - 1+ 1
Pyrausta nigrata - 1 -
Southern Hawker (dragonfly) 1 - -
Common Darter (dragonfly) 2 - -
Small Robber Fly
Machimus atricapillus
- - 1
Rhingia hoverfly 1 - -
Dasysyrphys albostriatus hoverfly 1 - -

 Eight species of butterfly

29 - 30 August 2015
In and around Shoreham I noted Large Whites (omnipresent, occasional) and Red Admirals (a few over a widespread area), Speckled Woods (bridleway from Hoe Court to the Sussex Pad) and male Common Blues (Shoreham Fort).

28 August 2015

After a week of rain, a took my first opportunity between the showers to visit the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the middle of the afternoon. It was still too cool for the blue butterflies to be active but the Carline Thistle provided an attractant in addition to the butterflies disturbed as I walked the one acre transect. Meadow Browns were common and I estimate a number of 150+ actually seen and these are the ones I dislodged in passing. They varied considerably in size. Thirty or so Small Heaths were slightly more active, but I did not manage a sighting of a Gatekeeper. Male Adonis Blues were spotted resting or visiting Carline Thistle. 28 males were counted on the transect acre, ahead of 20 male Chalkhill Blues and ten Common Blues (5 males and 5 females, not Brown Argus). There were four large brown females which could be either Chalkhill Blue or Adonis Blue?  The only other butterfly species seen flying was a brief sight of a Clouded Yellow over the lower slopes. I think I disturbed it as I passed with six Carpet Moths, one Treble-bar Moth and a few Silver Y Moths. The pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta purpuralis was frequently seen on the lower slopes and one Pyrausta nigrata. There was possible Holly Blue over the hedgerow north of the bridge. A Red Admiral was seen at the top of Chanctonbury Drive. A Large White (could have been a Green-veined White) was seen near the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham.
A few Common Darters (dragonfly) were noted.
Seven butterfly species and one possible, three macro-moths

23 August 2015
A cloudy afternoon cycle ride on the circular route to Botolphs via the Coombes Road and back along the Downs Link Cyclepath produced just a few Speckled Woods, Large Whites and three Red Admirals, Two Meadow Browns and at least one Gatekeeper were seen at Botolphs.
Five species of butterfly

20 August 2015

Holly Blue
Chalkhill Blue

Circumstances restricted me to Shoreham town and outskirts in the afternoon sunshine which was favourable for butterflies as in the town and immediate outskirts (south of the A27) I noted frequent Small Whites and Large Whites as well as a few Green-veined Whites, occasional Holly Blues, two faded Comma Butterflies* and a Red Admiral. Adding the northern part of the Pixie Path 3138 and Frampton's Field added a handful each of Gatekeeper and Meadow Browns, two to four Wall Browns, occasional Common Blues and frequent Holly Blues and at least eight fresh dark Speckled Woods. The southern bank of the Mill Hill Cutting added fifteen lively Chalkhill Blues of which ten were faded females, but there was at least one very fresh male. (* One was seen in The Street, Old Shoreham, and the other near Middle Road Allotments.)
Twelve species of butterfly

NB: I am not sure of some of the Chalkhill Blues were females or males that have lost their blue sheen? Almost all of them were like this.

19 August 2015

Speckled Wood
Adonis Blue 
Chalkhill Blue 
Holly Blue

A visit on a cloudy afternoon to the lower slopes of Mill Hill was unlikely to be special but I did manage to chance upon a Holly Blue at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (south of the bridge). On the southern steps a Speckled Wood basked in the low mist. Conditions were dull enough to discourage butterflies from active flight and all seen were either disturbed or spotted resting. The radiant blue of the first of seven male Adonis Blues caught my eye before the first of a dozen male Chalkhill Blues. There were two large brown butterflies which could be either a female Adonis in good condition of almost certainly a female Chalkhill Blue which was already worn. Meadow Browns 20+ were frequently seen but Gatekeepers were only occasionally spotted. In the transect acre Wall Browns numbered five in about 20 minutes and one was worn and faded. One Peacock Butterfly was seen in flight. And that was the lot although it was worth mentioning that I had never seen so many active pyralid moths. Over fifty Pyrausta despicata and 15+ Pyrausta purpuralis were both seen on the lower slopes. Large moths included a Treble-bar. By the time I reached the middle slopes conditions were dull for any movement and by the top of the hill it was raining. I hurried home spotting a handful of Meadow Browns disturbed in the long vegetation. One of the male Adonis Blues was later thought to be a male Common Blue.
Nine butterfly species actually seen and one macro-moth

I did my Mill Hill transect while the weather was suitable. The Buddleia by the car park was covered in Painted Ladies, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and Peacocks - a reminder of childhood. Meadow Browns and Small Tortoiseshells were the winners this week: Adonis Blue 14, Brown Argus 2, Chalkhill Blue 20, Common Blue 11, Gatekeeper 7, Large White 1, Meadow Brown 70, Painted Lady 3, Peacock 3, Red Admiral 4, Small Heath 4, Small Tortoiseshell 7, Small White 1, Speckled Wood 2, Wall Brown 5.  (Colin Knight Postcards from Sussex)

Green-veined White17 August 2015
Two amorous Large Whites and a Speckled Wood visited my tiny garden. On a day I was busy the sun came out and on passage there were frequent Large Whites and some of the whites were definitely Green-Veined Whites. One Red Admiral was seen on the occasional remaining Buddleia flower.
Four species on passage only

16 August 2015
A special planned trip to the downland west of Steyning promised much with an early morning sun, but when we arrived clouds blotted out the sun and it was too cool for the butterflies to be active, but was good for photography if the butterflies could be discovered. On the shady path from Steyning three Speckled Woods danced between the hedgerows and a Large White flew near Rublees Allotments. A Wall Brown rose from a clump of Greater Burdock. But the frequent flashes of orange were Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, although they included a resting Small Heath and my first Small Copper of the year. A Red Admiral fluttered in my direction and nearly landed on me. Credit to Mark Colvin who spotted a Brown Hairstreak, two metres high up in a Sycamore, next to the Ash and Blackthorn. It was the only one seen by a group of half a dozen searchers. It was only the second one I had ever seen.
Personal tally of nine butterfly species (including two not seen before this year)

At least two Southern Hawkers (dragonfly) flew over the conservation pasture. Grasshoppers stridulated amongst the grass and crickets with long antennae were spotted in the taller vegetation. Hoverflies were frequently seen including Chrysotoxum bicinctum.
Adur Hoverflies

14 August 2015
Large White Butterflies were seen along the borders of the Widewater Cyclepath. Small White Butterflies were spotted in Lancing Town.
On a passage cycle journey I made a quick decision to detour to the southern bank of the Mill Hill Cutting via Pixie Path 3138 (from the south) where 12 Holly Blues were the most prevalent butterfly on the path, with a few Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, a Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and one Wall Brown. Clambering over the chestnut fencing and Ivy onto the crumbly chalk road verges stabilised with Cotoneaster, a male Common Blue was seen immediately, the first of 9, and almost simultaneously the first of frequent Chalkhill Blues fluttering around on an overcast day. In a garden-sized patch an estimated 24 (20+4) were seen in 20 minutes with 15 males seen flying around at the same time. They were in various condition, from pristine to good and some a bit worn, and included four females which the males had difficulty in finding.

These numbers prompted me to visit the lower slopes of Mill Hill to see how the Chalkhill Blues were faring there, although it was getting a bit late in the afternoon. There was a Holly Blue around the hedge, north of the bridge. Numbers of Chalkhill Blues were again low with an estimated 75 males and two females spotted. Lo and behold, a fresh male Adonis Blue was unmistakable amongst a dozen or so Common Blues, frequent Meadow Browns and occasional Gatekeepers, Large Whites and at least one Wall Brown, and a definite Green-Veined White. (Other butterfly watchers had arrived earlier and seen more butterflies including Clouded Yellows, a Dark Green Fritillary and a Silver-spotted Skipper.) Macro moths included a Treble-bar and a Yellow Shell Moth. The pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta despicata and Pyrausta purpuralis, were both seen on the lower slopes.
Personal tally of twelve butterfly species and two macro-moths

13 August 2015

Brown Argus
Small Blue

After the thunder and rain, a few butterflies came out in the afternoon: Small Whites and Large Whites in Shoreham town. On Buckingham Cutting (south) I saw a few each of Holly Blues, Common Blues, Brown Argus, one or two Small Blues, one Red Admiral and a Silver Y Moth
Seven butterfly species and one macro-moth

12 August 2015
I did my Mill Hill transect on a warm but cloud covered morning, which accounted for the low numbers of everything except Walls. It was wonderful to see the brilliant colour of second brood Adonis Blues. Later the sun shone through and the butterflies rose up in numbers. Results: Adonis Blue 3, Chalkhill Blue 13, Common Blue, Essex Skipper, Gatekeeper 6, Meadow Brown 20, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Small White, Wall Brown 8. Afterwards I stopped at Beeding cement works where there were plenty of Common Blues, Brown Argus and a Holly Blue. Finally I visited Steyning Downland Scheme and thought I saw a Brown Hairstreak heading over the prunus towards the canopy. There were plenty of Walls and Holly Blues on the brambles at the top of the hill.

Postcards from Sussex by Colin Knight

10 August 2015
A cloudy morning was not the optimum time to visit Mill Hill as the butterflies had not awoken and I even managed to disturb three resting Clouded Yellows (they are usually endlessly restless). Two were on the lower slopes and one on the middle. But I was still unpleasantly shocked how low the butterfly count in the transect acre on the lower slopes actually was. I recorded a mere 39 all male Chalkhill Blues, 36 Meadow Browns, an estimated 25 Gatekeepers, five clearly seen Wall Browns, a Peacock or two, a male Common Blue, and a few Large Whites. In the middle of Mill Hill some of the paths had been cleared and were passable whereas they weren't on my last visit. The Buddleia hosted Peacock Butterflies and Red Admirals.

 Clouded Yellow
 Chalkhill Blue
 Meadow Brown

The middle slope meadows of Marjoram and Hemp Agrimony were habitats for one more male Chalkhill Blue, a few more Common Blues, more Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns and whites. The whites included Green-veined Whites and Small Whites. On the top meadow, it appears that the male Common Blues had hatched a new brood: the were scores seen, perhaps even hundreds hidden away. I also disturbed a mating pair of Essex Skippers. On the top short cropped slopes I spied a Small Heath Butterfly, and four more Wall Browns making a total of nine, and a 6-spotted Burnet Moth.
Adur Skippers

 Essex Skipper
 Common Blue
 Wall Brown

Thirteen butterfly species and a macro-moth

9 August 2015
A Southern Hawker (dragonfly) flew over the car boot sale in the field north of the Flyover.

Chalkhill Blue 
Meadow Brown

On a cycle ride to Steyning and back on a sunny day, ten butterfly species was par rather than noteworthy: Gatekeepers (50+), Meadow Browns (50+), Small Whites, Large Whites, Green-veined Whites, two Red Admirals, a few Peacocks, a few Speckled Woods in the shade, a few Holly Blues in the hedgerows, and two worn Comma Butterflies. I made a detour to Anchor Bottom and added a worn Painted Lady, a few Common Blues and three sightings of Clouded Yellows and although it could have been the same one I think it was three different butterflies. Last but not least a female Chalkhill Blue turned up as I was leaving by the gate at the bottom, chased by four males.
There were no Brown Hairstreaks seen at Steyning. On a Marjoram clump (same one as before) to the west of Steyning there were twenty Gatekeepers.
Fourteen butterfly species

Mill Hill in glorious sun amongst the Chalkhill Blues and the company of some nice butterfly people from Cambridge. They pointed out some Silver-spotted Skippers (3) I had missed, but I couldn't help them with their target species of Adonis Blue. Blow me down, a few minutes after they left I found a freshly emerged male of that species. Other highlights among 19 species of butterfly were at least 3 Clouded Yellows, quite a few Wall and a very faded Dark Green Fritillary. (Lindsay Morris)

7 August 2015
My Mill Hill transect today showed plenty of Walls: Brimstone, Chalkhill Blue 39, Comma, Common Blue 13, Essex Skipper 4, Gatekeeper 30, Meadow Brown 32, Peacock 10, Red Admiral 6, Small Heath, Small Skipper, Small White 3, Wall 9, Humming-bird Hawk-moth, Lesser Treble-bar 2.  (Colin Knight) Butterfly Conservation

5 August 2015
On a breezy day the only butterflies seen on the outskirts (Old Shoreham to Cuckoo's Corner) were Small Whites, Large Whites, a Red Admiral and Wall Brown.

3 August 2015

Mill Hill

More a low mist than just overcast, inimical for the appearance of butterflies, but not the strong shadows to hinder photography. Nevertheless the weather was unfavourable as all the vanessids and most of the butterflies were in hiding. On the lower slopes of slopes of Mill Hill, the butterflies need mostly be disturbed to be seen in flight and then only 26 Meadow Browns, an estimated 15 Gatekeepers, six Wall Browns and just five male Chalkhill Blues, a clear Clouded Yellow, a possible Peacock and a few 6-spotted Burnet Moths were seen in the transect acre. The pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta despicata and Pyrausta nigrata, were both seen on the lower slopes. A Yellow Shell Moth was seen in a scrubby part of the transect as the northern end has now become. The middle and top slopes only added more Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns and two or three male Common Blues.
Six butterfly species and one possible, and two macro moths
2 August 2015
A Large White Butterfly visited the two metres high Spear Thistle in my front garden.

1 August 2015
A sunny day brought out the vanessid butterflies on the Buddleia, Hemp Agrimony and Marjoram on the middle slopes of Mill Hill: frequent Peacocks, frequent Red Admirals, two Painted Ladies and a Comma. Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns were widespread and frequent as expected. Over a dozen Small/Essex Skippers were spotted in the long vegetation where they were tricky to identify which species and this was not possible. Two Speckled Woods were spotted in the shade. The white butterflies were patchy and occasional: Green-veined White, Large White, Small Whites, one Brimstone were noted on the middle slopes and two Marbled Whites amongst the Tor Grass on the lower slopes. Frequent Wall Browns (15+) were widespread all over Mill Hill. They looked like a fresh appearance of the second brood. A Holly Blue was spotted on the hedge by the road and cattle grid, and frequent Common Blues in the top meadows (looking more like a rough pasture).

As I took a route through the top scrub before descending through overgrown paths to the lower slopes from the north, the 22 male Chalkhill Blues for 75% of the transect acre was extremely disappointing. A single Small Heath was clearly seen on the lower slopes. A possible Brown Argus was rejected but a small moth Pyrausta purpuralis included. 6-spotted Burnet Moths were substantially reduced in number from my last visit but were still frequently seen in the early afternoon on the purple flowers. A large blue dragonfly in the scrub was probably a Southern Hawker. A Robber Fly Machimus atricapillus, landed amongst the stridulating grasshoppers on the lower slopes.
Eighteen confirmed butterfly species (most in a day this year) and one possible and one macro moth

30 July 2015
On the way by the cyclepath from Ropetackle to Old Shoreham, I spotted a Small/Essex Skipper, a few Large Whites and a Green-veined White. There was a Small White in Mill Hill Drive.

Common Blue
Peacock Butterfly
Essex Skipper

A trip to Mill Hill was in order as the wind died down. It was still cloudy approaching the peak time (this year may be two weeks behind schedule?) for butterflies. Even it was still pre-peak the numbers of butterflies were tragically disappointing.  The first butterfly seen was a male Common Blue on the top southern part. The one acre transect on the lower slopes only produced four magnificent Peacock Butterflies, one Comma, 11 male Chalkhill Blues, frequent Gatekeepers (40+), frequent Meadow Browns (15+), frequent Six-spotted Burnet Moths (25+), the pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta nigrata, a small Robber Fly Machimus atricapillus, a Common Darter (dragonfly), and a Dark Bush Cricket amongst the abundant and noticeable grasshoppers.
The middle and top slopes of Mill Hill added more Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, a few (5+) more Peacock Butterflies, a few (2+) Essex Skippers, a few whirring Silver Y Moths, a male Common Blue, a Painted Lady and a pair of Wall Browns. Conditions were inimical to butterfly spotting and the low numbers were partly explained by the butterflies hiding and needing to be disturbed in the early afternoon on a cloudy day.

The Chalkhill Blues rarely settled and were noted visiting Eyebright and Bird's Foot Trefoil flowers. Most butterflies were not active in their search for nectar flowers, except the pristine Peacocks first discovered basking on Ragwort and later spotted on Greater Knapweed. The Six-spotted Burnet Moths visited purple flowers almost exclusively: Greater Knapweed, Hardheads (=Lesser Knapweed), Dwarf Thistle, Wild Basil. Unusually, the prevalent Hemp Agrimony and Marjoram on the middle slopes did not attract any butterfly activity but by that time a big cloud had made it shady and cool. The Ragwort was very frequently found with the black and yellow caterpillars of the Cinnabar Moth crawling over its leaves and stem.

Twelve butterfly species and two macro moths

29 July 2015
In the late afternoon under a rain cloud dark sky, the butterflies were mostly dormant. On a cycle trip along the Buddleia-lined Downs Link to Upper Beeding I managed to spot a few Large Whites, Red Admirals, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, and my first very tatty Large Skipper of the year, one Peacock Butterfly and one Marbled White.

Large Skipper

Six butterfly species

Green-veined White25 July 2015
Frequent butterflies fluttered around the Buddleia and Hemp Agrimony lined cyclepath between Ropetackle and the A27 Flyover, at Old Shoreham. A handful of Red Admirals may signal the start of an autumnal influx? three Small (or Essex) Skippers chased each other around in the long grass over the towpath by the derelict Riverside Industrial Estate, and a Small Tortoiseshell (not seen yesterday) landed on the path in front of me. Green-veined Whites settled on the side of the Downs Link Cyclepath proper, and their black spots were so large one of them could have been mistaken for a Large White which was also present, with the occasional Gatekeepers (visiting Marjoram) and at least two Meadow Browns. A Six-spotted Burnet Moth whirred around the Buddleia which was not an attraction for the butterflies. A Small White visited Fleabane.
Eight butterfly species

23 July 2015
Buddleia and Hemp Agrimony, (favourite butterfly nectar sources), were flowering abundantly on the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath to Steyning and back. But the Buddleia was more a home to Starlings and House Sparrows and it was  not visited by many butterflies. There was variety on the verges, but not teeming with scores rather than large numbers of butterflies. Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and Large Whites were all positively identified in Old Shoreham. Further north along the path I saw occasional Peacocks, Commas and Red Admirals, with Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns.

Marbled White

On the wild places to the west of Steyning I added Commas, Gatekeepers and Large Whites on the path up to the Butterfly Meadow. The long grass meadow hosted frequent Marbled Whites, but it was not until I found a single clump of Marjoram plants covered in 40+ butterflies did it begin to get interesting. I had never seen so many butterflies on a single clump of Marjoram before. They were divided into Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns in about equal numbers with one Ringlet and a Small Skipper. Then the clouds came over but I disturbed more Marbled Whites and another Small Skipper amongst the long grass.

In the shady part of the cyclepath in Bramber, I spotted a Speckled Wood. I made a detour to Dacre Gardens where there was a Red Admiral, Comma, Large Whites, a Gatekeeper and Meadow Browns by the path to Anchor Bottom. On Anchor Bottom I spent half an hour walking through the cow pats and Ragwort to the slope by the Elderflower trees. I saw just two butterflies, a strong flying Painted Lady and an unidentified vanessid.
Thirteen butterfly species

My Mill Hill transect gave me a second brood Brown Argus. The Marjoram and Hemp Agrimony at the top of the hill were covered in Peacocks, Red Admirals, a Painted Lady and a male and female Dark Green Fritillary. I have only recorded one DGF in the previous 4 years and wonder where they have come from. Moths: Lime-speck Pug larva (Eupithecia centaureata) on Knapweed , many Silver Ys and Six-spot Burnets, Small Purple and Gold, Straw-barred Pearl. My count: Brown Argus, Chalkhill Blue 31, Comma 1, Dark Green Fritillary 2, Essex Skipper, Gatekeeper 73, Green-veined White 3, Large Skipper, Large White, Marbled White 11, Meadow Brown 40, Painted Lady, Peacock 6, Red Admiral 8, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White 4. (Colin Knight)

21 July 2015

Six-spotted Burnet Moth
Speckled Wood
Comma Butterfly

On approaching Buckingham Cutting (south) I immediately spotted a Large White, Red Admiral and Comma Butterfly, followed in under a second by a Meadow Brown, and shortly afterwards on the meadow-like road verge by a Small Skipper. In less than a minute three Holly Blues flew by. The meadow area was inhabited by Six-spotted Burnet Moths and after a few minutes I spotted a Small Blue Butterfly. Amongst the Brambles a Speckled Wood arrived with a Gatekeeper and a Comma Butterfly. A Small White Butterfly was spotted over the Dovecote Estate.
I made a visit to Mill Hill, but this was curtailed by a combination of an overcast day and Strong Breeze (Force 6 gusting to Force 7). But not before I added a Chalkhill Blue, Peacock and Marbled White to the list for the day. And a Yellow Shell Moth.
Fourteen butterfly species and two macro moths (including two butterfly species not seen two days earlier)

19 July 2015

Large White
Dark Green Fritillary
Chalkhill Blue 

A pleasant sunny day prompted a visit to Mill Hill just after midday. Butterflies were common, more on the lower slopes as it was breezy and windswept on the top. In order of first seen:  Large Whites, Red Admiral (south of bridge to Mill Hill), frequent Meadow Browns, occasional Small Skippers, most frequent Gatekeeper, Small Heath (a few, one definite), Chalkhill Blue (males on the lower slopes only) 5+, Small White (at least one), Marbled White (only occasionally seen), Peacock Butterflies 10+, Comma (scrub only) 4+, Speckled Wood (top copse) 2, one Painted Lady (top meadow, north), one Small Tortoiseshell (around the Stinging Nettles near cattle trough), and finally, and spectacularly a pristine Dark Green Fritillary (Knapweed meadow south of the Reservoir). Large moths noted were a Silver Y Moth, frequent Six-spotted Burnet Moths for the first time this year, mostly over the lower slopes, Yellow Shell (in the scrub), and the micro-moth pyralid Pyrausta nigrata.
Fifteen butterfly species (most this year) and three macro moths

18 July 2015
18 species of butterfly seen in the Lancing Ring area, but no Chalkhill Blues. Though I did get a surprise Dark Green Fritillary in the chalkpit (Steep Down is the nearest place I have seen them before). (Lindsay Morris)

16 July 2015


On Buckingham Cutting (south) there were occasional (10+) Meadow Browns, occasional Gatekeepers, and one Ringlet and Small Skipper, with at least two Speckled Woods in the shade. In Buckingham Park at the top I noted a few Large Whites and Speckled Woods.
Six butterfly species

15 July 2015
The towpath from Old Shoreham to Cuckoo's Corner produced frequent Gatekeepers and occasional Small Tortoiseshells and Small or Essex Skippers, plus Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Small Whites, and one Marbled White. A Ringlet was seen on the verges of the Coombes Road (north of Applesham, near first corner) for the first time on the edge of this country road. A Red Admiral was seen in Old Shoreham over the Downs Link Cyclepath.
Nine butterfly species

14 July 2015

On a cloudy humid day I made a trip to Mill Hill for the purpose of seeing if the Chalkhill Blues were yet in flight. I got lucky just as I had forgotten the quest, I spotted what appeared to be a fresh specimen amongst the undergrowth. Butterflies were again patchily distributed over Mill Hill with more of them on the upper part than the lower slopes. The cloudy day meant that that there were not so many in active flight, but I managed to see over fifty each of Gatekeepers and Marbled Whites, over thirty Meadow Browns, a few Small Skippers, one Small Tortoiseshell, and at least one splendid Large White Butterfly. There were also a few small pyralids Pyrausta despicata flitting over the lower slopes with at least one Small Heath Butterfly. The stripy caterpillars of the Cinnabar Moth were common (100+) on Ragwort on the upper part of Mill Hill, mostly near the Reservoir.
My first male Chalkhill Blue of the year was spotted on the lower slopes of Mill Hill at 1:43 pm. It flew off after 31 seconds and visited Self-heal, followed by Eyebright, and after four minutes flew strongly over the bottom hedge and disappeared from view entirely. 

This was a late first sighting of the year. Since I have been keeping a log since 2003, it was latest date of the first record (usually occurs in the first week of July) except for 2012 when poor weather prevented visits. 

On the cyclepath north of the Tollbridge a pair of probable Green-veined Whites sparred, or courted. I also spotted what I think was an Essex Skipper visiting Bramble.
Ten butterfly species

10 July 2015
I spotted a Small Skipper on the shingle beach and flowers seaward of Weald Dyke, Shoreham Beach.

7 July 2015

Within the Shoreham town boundaries the tally of butterflies were about ten Ringlets around Slonk Hill Farm Road (three north of the bridge, and seven on the southern bank), with a few Small Whites and a few Large Whites seen in Shoreham town. On Buckingham Cutting (south) I added a handful of Small Blues, a Small Skipper and half a dozen Meadow Browns all seen immediately and a Comma and Gatekeeper added after ten minutes. There was a Speckled Wood at the top of Buckingham Park.
Nine butterfly species

6 July 2015
Marbled Whites were common with over a hundred seen but patchily distributed over Mill Hill with 49 counted in the transect acre on the lower slopes. Meadow Browns 30+ (15 in transect acre),  Gatekeepers 25+ (9 in transect acre), Small Heaths (8+)  with a few Small Whites, a few Large Whites, two Brimstones over the lower slopes, at least three definite Small Skippers on the middle slopes, and one Painted Lady in the upper meadow was the tally on a pleasant day. The tenth species was my first ever confirmed Ringlet from Mill Hill Nature Reserve. (The Ringlet had been suspected in recent years but I was never sure.)
There were occasional micro-moths including the Small Purple-barred Moth Phytometra viridaria and the pyralid Pyrausta despicata over the lower slopes, and a Silver Y Moth amongst the overgrowth up the top of the hill.
Ten butterfly species and a macro-moth

4 July 2015
A few Red Admirals and Large Whites were seen in Shoreham in the sunshine.

3 July 2015

Marbled White

It was too hot and humid in the middle of the day for a visit to Mill Hill. The butterflies were lively and common, with Marbled Whites leading the way with 60+ (49 in the transect acre on the lower slopes), Meadow Browns 30+, Small Heaths 20+, my first two Gatekeepers of the year, at least two Brimstones, three Small Tortoiseshells, one surprise Holly Blue, one Common Blue, at least one Large White and a close-up look at a Small White, four Cinnabar Moths and two pyralids Pyrausta purpuralis. Then the heat and humidity got the better of me and I turned for home.
A Speckled Wood was seen in Shoreham and a Small Skipper and Meadow Browns in Old Shoreham.
Twelve butterfly species and a macro-moth.

1 July 2015
My Mill Hill transect in the morning was bursting with Marbled Whites and the first Gatekeepers: Adonis Blue, Brimstone, Gatekeeper 6, Marbled White 74, Meadow Brown 10, Red Admiral 2, Small Heath 19, Whites 2, moths: Cinnabar, Common Purple and Gold 4, Marbled Orchard Tortrix, Satin Grass-veneer, Straw-barred Pearl, Yellow Shell plus a Mullein Moth caterpillar. (Colin Knight Report)

A Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood were seen in the twitten between Corbyn Crescent and Adelaide Square, Shoreham.

29 June 2015
On a sunny Moderately Breezy (Force 4) day, I cycled up to Mill Hill, locked my bicycle and walked to the lower slopes. Butterflies were very frequent and lively led by the omnipresent Small Heaths 20+, exceeded in numbers by Marbled Whites 30+, and accompanied by Meadow Browns 20+, a few male Common Blues, a Brimstone Butterfly, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Cinnabar Moth, a Mother Shipton Moth and the pyralids Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta nigrata and a small brown/fawn moth.

On the middle slopes I added more Marbled Whites (7+) and Small Heaths (9+), two more Cinnabar Moths, a Brimstone Butterfly, a Small Tortoiseshell and four Small Skippers.
Seven butterfly species and two macro-moths

28 June 2015
The languid fluttering of my first three Ringlet Butterflies of the year was confirmed by a photograph on the verges of the Steyning Line Cyclepath in the meadow-like verges south of the Cement Works. They were accompanied by at least one Meadow Brown Butterfly and at least one Burnet Companion Moth.

On an overcast warm (Humidex 20.9° C, Air Temp 17.2° C) it actually began to rain in Upper Beeding and on the Annington Levels where a handful of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies settled on the new towpath (north of the South Downs Way Bridge, running alongside the western bank avoiding Botolphs) and other footpaths. A Large White Butterfly was noted in Shoreham. I also noted a few skippers, thought to be Small Skippers. These were again first of the year sightings, but by then it was raining steadily and on the three occasions they were seen they disappeared amongst the long grass very rapidly.
Five butterfly species

24 June 2015
As anticipated the first Marbled Whites of the year came out in the sun on the lower slopes of Mill Hill amongst the Tor Grass and Brambles. At least seven were seen simultaneously. Small Heath Butterflies were omnipresent with 22 counted in the transect acre. Meadow Browns were occasional with about nine. The blues were represented by four Common Blues including a large male which could have been mistaken for an Adonis. There were occasional micro-moths including the pyralids Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta despicata.
On the Pixie Path, I spotted a few Speckled Woods and at the top of Chanctonbury Drive a Red Admiral.
Six butterfly species

21 June 2015
On a breezy overcast day I cycled from the Fly-over Boot Sale to Anchor Bottom and back along the Downs Link (Steyning Line Cyclepath). The only butterflies seen were a Speckled Wood in the shade at Upper Beeding and two Meadow Browns and two Small Heaths at Anchor Bottom.

19 June 2015
Intermittently cloudy with a blue sky. Unfortunately it was more cloudy than not when I visited Mill Hill around the middle of the day.  At the top of the southern steps I disturbed a Cinnabar Moth which flew away and disappeared.
A much shredded male Adonis Blue appeared immediately on the lower slopes. All three males seen were badly damaged, in contrast to a generally fresher 13 (11+2) Common Blues in the transect acre. Quickly, I spotted my first five Meadow Browns on the lower slopes. Small Heaths seemed to be everywhere and a constant presence, but the transect count only came to 18, with two pristine Small Tortoiseshells, two yellow Brimstone Butterflies  and a Treble-bar Moth.

Common Blue 
Common Blue 

For the first time this year, I climbed the northern steps and disturbed a probable Peacock Butterfly. By this time it was cloudy and the all the butterflies were dormant apart from those I disturbed another Small Heath, a large Meadow Brown, and spotted a resting female Common Blue. On the top overgrown meadow (now looking like a neglected cow pasture) two Common Blues quarrelled. Passage was difficult and I expect there were many more. On the breeze-blown hill there were two more Small Tortoiseshells, two Red Admirals and two Large White Butterflies.
Nine butterfly species and two macro-moths

18 June 2015
My Mill Hill transect yielded Adonis Blue 14, Grizzled Skipper, Large Skipper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown 4, Painted Lady 3, Red Admiral, Small Heath 22, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Cinnabar, Straw-barred Pearl and an unidentified green larva. It’s a second bad year in succession for the Adonis Blue, the worst since I started recording in 2011. The second brood should be better. Small Heath are having another good year, they have been steady since 2011. The Grizzled Skipper is very late, this is week 12 of the transect year and the latest I have previously recorded one is week 9. (Posted by Colin Knight on Sussex Postcards)

Two Red Admiral Butterflies flew in off the sea.

17 June 2015

Small Blue Butterfly
Burnet Companion Moth
Small Blue Butterfly

On a sunny day, I cycled along the linear copse path from Slonk Hill Drive to Buckingham Cutting (south) where I spotted a Speckled Wood Butterfly in the shade, and at Buckingham Cutting a dozen or so Small Blue Butterflies were fluttering around the Kidney Vetch now flowering. After a few minutes I managed to disturb a male Common Blue Butterfly, two unsettled Burnet Companion Moths and as I was about to leave after over five minutes a Cinnabar Moth flew rapidly out of the Cotoneaster. There were frequent small moths in the meadow-like road verge.

15 June 2015
An unidentified blue butterfly (most likely a Holly Blue), a Small Tortoiseshell (over the towpath south of Botolphs) and a Red Admiral Butterfly were seen on the Steyning Line Cyclepath.

7 June 2015
With large white Cirrus clouds ambling across the blue sky, the weather alternated between sunshine and shade, with shade winning out 70/30.

Painted Lady
Painted Lady
Adonis Blue
Larvae of the Mullein Moth

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, Adonis Blues dominated and exceeded all the other butterfly species in numbers. As usual the bright blue males were most easily seen and out of a total one acre transect count of 44, 39 were males with only five females seen. Other butterflies present were 13 Small Heaths, at least six Brimstones (including three males sparring together), one probable Grizzled Skipper, two male Common Blues, a probable Yellow Shell Moth and lastly a faded Painted Lady. I ventured up to the breeze swept top plateau where I spotted a male Common Blue Butterfly, and disturbed two or three Wall Browns. Around the hedge north of the bridge to Mill Hill, I spotted a probable Holly Blue. Large Whites were seen in Shoreham.  On the southern steps I spotted a distinctive caterpillar on Great Mullein leaves. Predictably, I identified it as the unmistakable larvae of the Mullein Moth.
Nine butterfly species and a macro moth imago

6 June 2015
My first Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, of the year flew straight into the carnot wall on the south side of Shoreham Fort. This was the same location that this moth was seen last year and the moth flew rapidly along the high flint wall, not seeming to be able to get past it. On a sunny day in a Strong Breeze (Force 6) gusting to Gale Force 7 there were a couple of Small White Butterflies and three male Common Blues blown around the beach flowers.

Small Blue Butterfly

A Holly Blue Butterfly was spotted in Buckingham Park. A few more Common Spotted Orchids appeared in flower on the southern back of Buckingham Cutting, north Shoreham where there were the first signs of flowering Kidney Vetch. Butterflies present were a male Common Blue, a Speckled Wood and a pair of Red Admirals. The breeze was making spotting anything a little tricky. I caught a glimpse of my first definite Burnet Companion Moth of the year.

Such were the frustrations of the wind, that I was about to leave when I glimpsed the gentle fluttering of my first Small Blue Butterfly of the year. I chased it around and when it settled on the patch of Cotoneaster.
Six butterfly species and two macro-moths

3 June 2015
After the gales had receded, a Large White and a Holly Blue were seen in the residential Shoreham area.

Wall Brown27 May 2015
An impromptu visit to Lancing Ring up the bridlepath from the Sussex Pad was not expecting much of interest. Large Whites and Small Whites were seen in Shoreham, and a Speckled Wood in the shade at the bottom of the bridlepath. On McIntyre's Field I disturbed a couple of the Carpet Moths but no butterflies were flying on a sunny afternoon. I did not see any butterflies as I cycled around the southern ridge of the chalk pit. It was not until I reached a car park that I disturbed two Wall Browns. The meadows on Lancing Ring Nature Reserve were not very productive either with just one male Common Blue seen. A Brimstone and a further two Wall Browns were seen on the path by the Ring and another Wall Brown was photographed by the dewpond.
Six butterfly species

28 May 2015
I did my weekly Mill Hill transect with the following results: Adonis Blue 15, Brimstone 1, Common Blue 1, Green Hairstreak 1, Grizzled Skipper, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 1, Small Heath 3, Wall 1, Cinnabar 1, Violet Cosmet 1, Common Yellow Conch 1. (Colin Knight Sussex Butterfly Conservation

25 May 2015
A humid and cloudy afternoon cycle ride by cyclepath to Steyning only produced a few Speckled Woodsin the shade near the Cement Works followed by a Holly Blue. Early in Shoreham town I noted both Small Whites and Large Whites.
All four butterfly species were not recorded the previous day

24 May 2015

Mother Shipton Moth
Lower slopes of Mill Hill
Adonis Blue 

A Buzzard descended from the low-flying clouds and a Kestrel hovered over the lower slopes of Mill Hill. There were more butterfly watchers than actual butterflies, but I did manage a glimpse of my first Small Heath Butterfly of the year as well as my first Mother Shipton Moth. The overcast conditions made for a paucity of butterflies in flight, but there were plenty (15+) of human feet to disturb 15+ Adonis Blues, including a mating pair, two or more male Common Blues, at least one very faded Dingy Skipper and at least three Brimstone Butterflies. The first butterfly I spotted was a bright Peacock and later a surprise Red Admiral showed briefly. The Horseshoe Vetch was at its peak (98%).
Seven butterfly species and one macro moth

21 May 2015

Brown Argus
Adonis Blue
Cinnabar Moth
Adonis Blue 

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the Horseshoe Vetch was virtually at its peak (90%). That made up for the relative paucity of butterflies but they did include my first female Adonis Blues with three of the dozen or so males seemed more intent of sparring amongst themselves and quarrelling with a lone Brown Argus and a single male Common Blue. A Brimstone Butterfly patrolled the bottom hedgerow. Dingy Skippers were frequently seen with about a dozen actually noted but a Grizzled Skipper could not be confirmed. A Green Hairstreak flitted amongst the Brambles. There was handful of Peacock Butterflies and one was so badly damaged it looked like a Comma in silhouette of its underside. A single Cinnabar Moth was spotted on two occasions. And a Large Red Damselfly.
At the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of Mill Hill Nature Reserve) a Holly Blue and two Large White Butterflies appeared.
Nine butterfly species (my tally)

Colin Knight added a Silver Y Moth and a Small Heath Butterfly to the list, found on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
Jan Charteris photographed the small moth Scoparia pyralella, sometimes called a Meadow Grey, (I had noted this moth before in 2007.), and a Mother Shipton Moth found on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.

20 May 2015
Two Large Whites and a Holly Blue seen in Shoreham on an overcast day.

17 May 2015

Brown Argus
Green Hairstreak
Common Blue
Adonis Blue

A Kestrel soared over Mill Hill just after midday. Weak sunshine on a breezy afternoon brought out frequent butterflies including the bright blue of my first male Adonis Blue of the year. It was the first of about a half a dozen and there were a few male Common Blues also seen for the first time of the year. These Common Blues sparred with the first of the year Brown Argus which were very distinctive perched on the taller herbs. Both strong-flying Brimstone Butterflies and ground flitting Dingy Skippers were frequently seen, occasional Green Hairstreaks, two Peacock Butterflies with one each of a Grizzled Skipper and Wall Brown. Large moths were represented by my first Silver Y and an elusive and bright coloured Cinnabar Moth.
At the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of Mill Hill Nature Reserve) two Speckled Woods, two Holly Blues and a Large White Butterfly appeared.
Twelve butterfly species and two larger moths

17 people turned out to hunt for the Mill Hill May "Big 5" (Adonis Blue, Green Hairstreak, Wall and Dingy and Grizzled Skipper) on Sunday. Previous year Mill Hill May BC events seem to have coincided with unseasonal wintery type days! This looked to be heading the same way as we gathered at the top of the hill in a seriously nippy wind and jackets went on and hoods went up. It looked like the big 5 was in fact a big overpromise! However, as we got to the bottom of the slope the sun broke through and Ellie spotted the first butterfly - a lovely Green Hairstreak which perched obligingly for everyone to see and photograph. We saw 12 species including all the big 5, although not everyone managed to see the Wall. I was one of the unlucky ones and although I was supposed to have been the leader in fact I wasn't first onto any of them. Luckily we had some sharp eyed under 16's in Ellie, Rosie and James who spared my blushes.
I was also delighted to hear the nightingale on the site and a cuckoo calling away in the valley below.
We didn't do a count but the full list was Adonis Blue (10s), Common Blue (1), Green Hairstreak (10?), Small Heath (1-2), Dingy Skipper (low 10s), Grizzled Skipper (C5 - 10), Brimstone (1 - patrolling backwards and forwards), Small White (1), Peacock (1 - 2), Wall (2), Comma* (1), Red Admiral (1). There could also have been Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars which I didn't see so it may have been 13 species. These are my guesses at numbers based on what I saw! Ellie, Rosie and James probably saw loads more!   (*  ??)
Some Peacock caterpillars and a female Adonis Blue which he patiently photographed as it emerged with crumpled wings and crawled to nectar on flowers for the first time.
Thanks to everyone for coming along and contributing to a great butterfly hunting team effort. If anyone has any other photos please send them to the sightings page! (Chris Corrigan) Butterfly Conservation Sussex

13 May 2015
While it was sunny, Mill Hill gave me 24 Dingy Skippers, 4 Small Heath, 3 Wall, 3 Common Blue, a Clouded Yellow (possibly 2), Brimstones, but unlike others present I couldn't find Grizzled Skipper or Green Hairstreak. Ah, the ones that get away... Nightingale was a lovely backdrop of sound too. (Lindsay Morris)  Butterfly Conservation

At Mill Hill I found Adonis Blue (first in Sussex this year), Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Peacock, Wall, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone Butterfly, Cinnabar, Hook-streak Grass-veneer, Lesser Treble-bar and a large black Adder. (Colin Knight Butterfly Conservation

12 May 2015

Painted Lady
Orange Tip Butterfly

A cycle ride to Botolphs and back along and back along the Downs Link Cyclepath on a breezy overcast afternoon rewarded me with my first close-up Holly Blue Butterfly in flight this year, followed by an unexpected first Painted Lady just north of the Old Erringham layby. As the afternoon wore on, the sun came out producing long shadows and encouraging my first Orange Tips of the year to show. Unusually, I found two white female butterflies before the bright orange on two males confirmed my identification. There was one Large White Butterfly along the hedge, but for most of the afternoon the conditions were inimical for butterflies in flight.

10 May 2015
It was overcast around midday when I cycled up to the lower slopes of Mill Hill, to try out my newish camera on any butterflies that might be around. Alas as expected the dull conditions did not encourage any butterflies and my twenty minute one acre transect walk produced just four skippers and two of these were Dingy Skippers more intent on courting than settling for a photograph. A yellow male Brimstone Butterfly patrolled the bottom hedgerow. Two moths were disturbed: a Treble Bar and colourful Cinnabar Moth. A feint glimmer of sunshine and I took the opportunity to practice using my Nikons on the stationary wild plants, typically the now flowering Horseshoe Vetch, as the light had improved.

Green Hairstreak
Dingy Skipper
Grizzled Skipper
Treble Bar Moth

A Kestrel soared over the blue sky and more Dingy Skippers appeared and I saw at least twenty, but some may be the same ones so there were at least a dozen, possibly many more visiting Horseshoe Vetch and landing on Bramble leaves after their amorous encounters. Two pristine Peacock Butterflies flew in tandem and landed on a Hawthorn flower. A gigantic white butterfly flew over my head and searched for her Brimstone partner. More yellow Brimstones appeared: four were seen simultaneously in flight. A sudden glimpse of green against the yellow flowers was the first of the Green Hairstreaks of the day, probably about five individuals with two more seen by other visitors. A flurry of activity produced a Grizzled Skipper and another skipper in a brief flirtation. There were occasional crane-flies, Honey Bees, bumblebees, a small brown moth, frequent pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta nigrata, small running spiders, one Crab Spider, very small bees and flies. No blue butterflies were seen. No Pancalia micro-moths were located on daisies. The ground hugging Milkwort outnumbered the last of the Dog Violets. As I was about to leave the lower slopes of Mill Hill I spotted a Wall Brown Butterfly with closed wings.

A cycle ride along the western towpath to Cuckoo’s Corner added just a Small White Butterfly.

Seven butterfly species.

7 May 2015
Mill Hill transect on Thursday morning showed the first Common Blues reported in Sussex this year: Brimstone 3, Common Blue 2, Dingy Skipper 13, Green Hairstreak 3, Green-veined White 2, Grizzled Skipper 2, Peacock 1, Small Heath 1. Later I saw plenty more Dingies and Green Hairstreaks nectaring on Horseshoe Vetch. Moths seen: Pyrausta nigrata, P. purpuralis and Violet Cosmets on Daisies.

Report by Colin Knight on Postcards from Sussex
I spotted my first Holly Blue Butterfly of the year from the top of the number 2 bus as it went through Bramber village.
1 May 2015
Grizzled Skipper on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.

30 April 2015
An all too brief lunchtime visit to the sunny, sheltered bottom of Mill Hill produced 6 Grizzled Skippers, 8 Dingy Skippers, 4 Green Hairstreaks, Small Heath and Wall amongst 8 species of butterfly. Horseshoe Vetch just coming into flower - (Lindsay Morris) Butterfly Conservation

28 April 2015
On another breezy (steady Force 6) afternoon, a good condition Small Tortoiseshell was blown into the Sea Purslane next to the towpath to Cuckoo' Corner on a low neap tide. There were a few Small Whites and on the Coombes Road I spotted a Large White in inimical conditions for butterflies.

25 April 2015
I stopped off at Mill Hill for an hour early this afternoon more in hope than expectation as it was cloudy and quite windy. However, the sun did break through occasionally resulting in some butterfly activity on the lower slopes (where it was sheltered). My final count was Peacock (2), Large White (1), Small White (3), Grizzled Skipper (2), Dingy Skipper (2), Green Hairstreak (1) and Small Heath (1). (Chris Hooker)  Butterfly Conservation

24 April 2015
On a wind-chill breezy afternoon a Small Tortoiseshell rose from a patch of Ground Ivy on the southern upper part of Mill Hill by (west of) the Reservoir (the only part of the hill visited). A Peacock and Speckled Wood, both fresh, were seen on the Pixie Path (route from the Waterworks Road.)

23 April 2015
Immediately on entering the cyclepath in Old Shoreham, a pair of Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies chased each other around. This species was absent yesterday as was a  Green-veined White that appeared  less than a minute later. The third species not included with the eleven of the previous day was the first of a handful of Small Whites on the western towpath towards Coombes. A Large White was seen over the verges of the Coombes Road and another pair of Small Tortoiseshells.
Four species, three not seen the previous day

22 April 2015
With a fresh breeze (Force 5 gusting Force 7) blowing steadily from the north-east (ENE 72°) the sheltered slopes of Mill Hill were a pleasant (> 15.1°C) place to visit. And for the first time this year the species tally of butterflies went into double figures with ten definites recorded and one probable recorded. The edge of the copse at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of Mill Hill) hosted a Large White, a Speckled Wood and two Red Admirals (first confirmed this year).

The lower slopes of Mill Hill were showing the beginnings of spring flowers with hundreds of Dog Violets scattered over the short vegetation proving attractive to a dozen or so active Peacock Butterflies. A Brimstone Butterfly sallied by, following the bottom straggly hedgerow. An orange butterfly fluttered from the scrub and it was probably a Comma Butterfly. But generally the small species had to be searched for. I got lucky with a brief look at my first Green Hairstreak of the year on a Bramble leaf, before another butterfly of the same species distracted its attention.

Dingy Skipper
Large Red Damselfly

A freshly emerged Dingy Skipper was chanced upon unexpectedly on some Ground Ivy and promptly flew off, where a single Grizzled Skipper made a repeated visit. A Clouded Yellow Butterfly was constantly active, flying at 12 mph or more over the more open slopes, rarely settling and only at a distance.

Small pyralid micro-moths Pyrausta nigrata were frequently (30+) seen and one other small moth recognised was a Small Purple-barred Moth, Phytometra viridaria.  Last, but not least, Wall Brown rose from the southern slopes after I left after over an hour.

The first Large Red Damselfly of the year was seen at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, north Shoreham.

Ten definite butterfly species and one probable

Holly Blue Butterflies were seen in my garden in Connaught Avenue, Shoreham. These were the first local reports of the year.

Holly Blue Report by Jan Finch
21 April 2015
Completely unplanned, my second visit to Mill Hill in as many days was rewarded by a completely unexpected Clouded Yellow Butterfly flying over the lower slopes. They have never been seen so early before and the only other early one was seen in 2007. Two Grizzled Skippers also made their first appearance of the year on the lower slopes with scores of the pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta nigrata visiting the abundant Dog Violets and the occasional Sweet Violet. Other butterflies in flight in the late afternoon on the downs were frequent Peacocks, and at least one Brimstone.  Both Small Whites and Large Whites were seen in Old Shoreham near the River Adur.
Six butterfly species

20 April 2015
I recorded by first Large White Butterfly of the year in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham, and more of them over the top of Chanctonbury Drive, north Shoreham, with my first Speckled Wood. On a breeze swept Mill Hill there were occasional Peacock & Brimstone Butterflies, a few Small Whites and Large Whites, and one Small Tortoiseshell. The relatively sheltered lower slopes hosted most of the butterflies and were covered in thousands of Dog Violets. The first handful of Milkwort flowers could be seen amongst the short vegetation where my first, of two, pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta nigrata flitted about. Just the two budding Horseshoe Vetch flowers could be seen with their accompanying pollen beetles. There was another micro-moth amongst the Stinging Nettles next to the southern steps. A Common Bee-fly visited Dog Violets over the southern slopes where small spiders could be seen out of the corner of my eye amongst the dense intertwining leaves of the ground hugging vegetation. A small reddish bee visited the patches of Ground Ivy. One of the Peacock Butterflies was so badly damaged that its silhouette of its underwing looked like a Comma Butterfly.
Seven butterfly species

19 April 2015
Two Small White Butterflies and a Peacock Butterfly were spotted over the western towpath north of the Flyover.

Quotes from Butterfly Conservation:

18 April 2015
This afternoon I joined Andrew Burns on the lower slopes of Mill Hill at Shoreham. The skippers are only just getting going, so it's still quite hard working spotting them. After much searching the final score was Grizzled 7, Dingy 2. (Neil Hulme)

Mill Hill lower slopes and Waterworks Road below. Ten butterfly species including 3 Grizzled Skippers, Green Hairstreak, Orange Tip. Also an Adder. Purple & Gold and Cinnabar identified amongst several day flying moths. More Peacocks than anything else, a lot less Small Tortoiseshell than last week. (Lindsay Morris)

18 April 2015
The pair of Green-veined Whites a couple of days ago were not confirmed, but it seemed most likely. The butterflies both had a heavy black border to their upper wings, but they would only settle at a distance on a breezy day.

16 April 2015
On two occasions in Old Shoreham, on the east side of the Toll Bridge, it looked like the first two Green-veined Whites of the year, with a faded Small Tortoiseshell near the Railway Viaduct.

Quotes from Butterfly Conservation:

16 April 2015
I did my Mill Hill transect this afternoon, recording 25 deg C at the bottom of the hill. I found my first Green Hairstreak of the year and several Grizzled Skippers, one of which roosted at 4:30 pm. I saw the same moths I reported Tuesday: Violet Cosmet, Straw-barred Pearl, Wavy-barred Sable & Common Purple and Gold plus a Little Roller. (Colin Knight

14 April 2015
I checked out Mill Hill this afternoon and found my first Grizzled Skipper of the year laying an egg. I also found four moths: Violet Cosmet (Pancalia leuwenhoekella), Straw-barred Pearl (Pyrausta despicata), Wavy-barred Sable (Pyrausta nigrata) & Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis). (Colin Knight

12 April 2015
I did my second transect at Mill Hill and saw just one Peacock, one Brimstone and one Small Tortoiseshell, though more showed as the temperature rose in the afternoon. I was pleased to find a new micro-moth, a Little Roller (Ancylis comptana). John pointed out a Wavy-barred Sable (Pyrausta nigrata) and Ian found a Brimstone Moth and a Straw-barred Pearl (Pyrausta despicata). (Colin Knight
9 April 2015
A Peacock Butterfly in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road and a Small Tortoiseshell near the Toll Bridge were probably the same butterflies seen previously.

8 April 2015
My first Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly of the year was spotted at the eastern end of the Toll Bridge. The faded butterfly landed on an Alexander. Fresh and bright Brimstone Butterflies were spotted in Old Shoreham and at Cuckoo's Corner and a few Peacock Butterflies were seen, notable one which rested on a blue tarpaulin covering a boat within the Ricardo complex, as seen from the towpath.

7 April 2015
My first Small White Butterfly of the year fluttered over the gate to the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.  This was followed by three bright Peacock Butterflies fluttering at height (4 metres over the shrubbery) in the nearby Butterfly Copse (Path 3138 steps to Frampton's Field). There was no chance of any photographs.

6 April 2015
My first positively identified butterfly of the year was a Brimstone by the railway track west of Lancing station as the train whizzed past. The second was a faded Peacock Butterfly in the sun over Shoreham Beach Green by the beach huts.

7 March 2015
As the sun made a brief and weak appearance I saw my first two butterflies of the year. Alas, both of them flew away so rapidly, I did not have a chance to identify either of them. The first one was seen over the Dovecote Estate and the second over the lower slopes of Mill Hill. (I thought the first was most probably a Red Admiral and the second on Mill Hill looked like a Wall Brown, but it was much too early for them.)

26 January 2015
A Red Admiral was seen fluttering around in my garden on the Dovecote Estate (Chanctonbury Drive) in north Shoreham.

Report by Rosalyn Hamblett
Adur Valley & Downs facebook
 4 January 2015
First butterfly seen of the new year? It was seen at the Cat and Canary Pub Downslink car park, Henfield, a Peacock fluttering around the parked cars.
Report by Helen Swyer
Adur Valley & Downs facebook
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

Adur Butterflies 2014


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):


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

SquinancywortLady's BedstrawVervainEyebrightWild BasilLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes 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