Adur Valley Wildlife
Butterflies, Larger Moths and other Arthropods 2017
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


Reports 2018

18 November 2017
A return to Mill Hill in glorious clear blue skies on Friday produced 5 Clouded Yellow (3 males flying together), a slightly tatty Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell.

Report by Dave Cook on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

Adur Butterfly Flight Times

6 November 2017
A distinct chill (just above freezing) in the morning but weak sunshine in the afternoon which encouraged a Red Admiral Butterfly to leave the Ivy on the southern part of Mill Hill, and a Clouded Yellow to flutter rapidly over the lower slopes. I think the Clouded Yellow could have been a mating pair in flight? At least three Common Darters (dragonfly) showed.

At midday I headed off to Mill Hill where we counted at least 10 Clouded Yellow (some in fresh condition) several Red Admiral and a Large White, all photographed.

Blue Report by Dave Cook on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings
NB: This was the first recorded local Large White in November.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

1 November 2017
There was very little that moved and not much colour on Mill Hill: three Clouded Yellow Butterflies were spotted restlessly fluttering over the lower slopes. I caught a glimpse of one visiting a Wild Basil flower.

30 October 2017
Four good condition Red Admirals were seen on and over the concrete towpath by the houseboats in Shoreham.

27 October 2017

Common Blue Butterfly

Image: Comma, Common Blues on Marjoram, Clouded Yellow
Common Darter, Red Admiral

There were only four species of butterfly on Mill Hill in the afternoon sunshine, but then it was nearing the end of autumn. The first of five Red Admirals visited Ivy on the southern upper part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve, which had recently forage harvested (shorn of surface vegetation, grasses etc.). They were accompanied by a Comma Butterfly high up amongst the Old Man's Beard. Down on the lower slopes the unwelcome Privethad also been shorn (hopefully without damaging the butterfly plants) below the winding path; more than enough to enable passage. This reduced the remaining nectar for the few butterflies that were left. Within a few minutes the first two of at least three Clouded Yellows were restlessly fluttering around only seen to pause for a second, visiting Wild Basil and Rough Hawkbit

They were followed by a small brownish butterfly and five minutes afterwards at least three female Common Blues were seen visiting three Marjoram plants still flowering at the northern end of the lower slopes. The chocolate brown butterfly was thought to be female Common Blue and not a Brown Argus (although I did not get a look at it's underwing. so it could be a fifth species on the day). 

The Marjoram also attracted a Clouded Yellow for two seconds.. Common Darters (dragonfly) were frequently seen and outnumbered the total of all the butterflies added together. 
Four confirmed butterfly species

25 October 2017
After the gales, a brief period of weak sunshine cast long shadows in the late afternoon, and I was pleasantly surprised to see an active Clouded Yellow Butterfly immediately on the upper meadow (north of the top car park) of MiIl Hill.  Nectar plants were few and it was restless until it spent a second on the purple flower of one of the few remaining Greater Knapweed.

The photograph, by necessity, taken into the light, and there is no opportunity for a better angle, and I had to be quick to get a shot all. 

18 October 2017
In the rapidly fading light of a misty afternoon, ! quickly spotted a female Common Blue Butterfly on a Creeping Thistle flower in an upper rough meadow on Mill Hill. Although the small butterfly remained with its wings closed I was able to catch a tiny glimpse of a chocolate brown upper wing. 
Mill Hill Report

14 October 2017
Already looking for possibly the last butterfly of the year on Mill Hill, a large butterfly flew over me and  this was almost certainly a Red Admiral. A few minutes later in the top meadow (north of the upper car park), the same damaged Wall Brown of over a  week ago landed briefly in front of me.

12 October 2017
With the verges on both sides shorn of vegetation, if there was hardly anything of interest a week ago, there was absolutely nothing to make my cycle ride to the Cement Works worthwhile. I cycled to Woods Mill and that had mostly mud, fallen leaves and acorns. Common Darters (dragonfly) were frequent and a few Speckled Woods survived to flutter around under the trees.

5 October 2017
I was unhappy about my photographs the previous day, so I cycled up to Mill Hill in the early afternoon. I was lucky with the sun shining from between the Cumulus clouds in a blue sky.

Painted Lady, Small Copper
Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Wall Brown
Mill Hill Upper

An astonishing seven species of butterfly appeared in seven minutes in the meadow north of the upper car park. Instantly, I spotted a restless Clouded Yellow followed almost simultaneously by a territorial Small Copper chasing off a male Common Blue and the same badly damaged Wall Brown of yesterday. A few Common Darters (dragonfly) patrolled the tarmac path next to the rough meadow. After about three minutes a Large White Butterfly turned up attracted to Creeping Thistle (the favoured nectar flowers) followed immediately by a Small White. All the species so far had been single until I spotted the seventh butterfly with a pair of Meadow Browns. The butterflies squabbled over the available nectar plants with the Small Copper being the main antagonist despite being the smallest butterfly on show.

The three different Wall Browns in the top meadow on Mill Hill

This squabbling compounded the difficulties in photography with already restless butterflies easily disturbed by Common Carder Bees (bumblebee), numerous Crane-flies and other flies, as well as any hint of my long autumn shadow. So I spent some time chasing the butterflies around. Enough time for a majestic Painted Lady to suddenly appear. It did not seem to fly in but was hidden in the meadow and only came to life after the sun had been out for at least twenty minutes. Even the Small Copper deferred to this much larger pristine butterfly to visit the Creeping Thistle (favourite) and Field Scabious (twice, briefly). At least another male Common Blue squabbled with the first one seen and a lesser damaged Wall Brown put in an appearance. Lastly, a pristine Red Admiral landed immediately in front of me.

Common Blue, Small Copper, Meadow Browns
Wall Brown, Small White, Large White
Mill Hill Upper

I took a break to look at the Hemp Agrimony on the middle area where I spotted another Wall Brown and Meadow Brown on passage. I then went back to the top meadow top find the Meadow Browns copulating, two Wall Browns (including an intact specimen making three at the top meadow), the Painted Lady, Small Copper and the Common Blues were still around. .At the top of Chanctonbury Drive (north Shoreham) two pale Speckled Woods were active.
Ten butterfly species
Supplementary Images of the Day on facebook

4 October 2017

Red Admiral, Wall Brown
Small Copper

It was too breezy for flower photography and too cool for active butterflies on the top of Mill Hill. However, I did manage to spot a Small Copper Butterfly resting with its wings closed on a Greater Knapweed disc in the meadow north of the upper car park, followed by the first restless Wall Brown. The Wall Brown fluttered north over the rambles and thorn. I detoured off to the middle slopes for a few minutes disturbing a Meadow Brown and spotting another Wall Brown in flight. I returned to the upper meadow where I chanced upon a damaged Wall Brown that was still capable of rigorous rapid flight. This damage identified it as a third separate Wall Brown. And then a fresh Red Admiral landed on a Hogweed immediately in front of me.
Four confirmed species

3 October 2017
Awhite butterfly and a vanessid were seen near Shoreham Fort, probably a Large White and a Red Admiral.

2 October 2017

Common Blues 
Wall Brown

I cycled up to the top of Mill Hill only expecting to feel the bracing breeze under a dark cloudy sky. Too cool for active butterflies, too windy and dark to photograph the few remaining flowers, I nevertheless managed to disturb occasional butterflies in the meadow north of the upper car park. At least two bright Meadow Browns, two male Common Blues, and a Large White were inadvertently dislodged from their resting places. And a damaged Wall Brown was spotted at rest for a few seconds.
Four confirmed species

28 September 2017

Red Admiral, Small Copper on a Common Ragwort
Meadow Brown 
Mill Hill

An afternoon visit to Mill Hill gave me an opportunity to try out my new 105 mm macro lens on the the frequent remaining flowers and observe the frequent butterfliesthat still fluttered around if disturbed. A Large White was the first butterfly of the day on a Buddleia at the bottom of Mill Hill Road (north Shoreham). Red Admirals were counted at nine, with four each on two different Ivy bushes. Meadow Browns were frequently seen but not as many as two days ago, but this could have been because it was a cooler. Four Wall Browns chased each other and chased a Small Copper off a Common Ragwort. I only visited the northern part of the lower slopes where a Clouded Yellow and a Large White fluttered by and a few Treble-bar Moths rose when I nearly trod on them. .Common Blue Butterflies of both genders were frequently seen but were a bit flighty. Occasional Common Darters (dragonfly) appeared on over the lower and middle slopes and over the paths through the scrub.
Only seven species of butterfly and one macro moth

27 September 2017
A dark Speckled Wood Butterfly in my front garden engaged in a rather droopy and languid flight. A Red Admiral was seen later in Old Shoreham.

26 September 2017

Common Blue Butterflies

It was time of the season (past the middle of autumn) when any fluttering was more likely to be a falling leaf blown about on the breeze than a butterfly. Meadow Browns were disturbed all over Mill Hill on a hazy humid afternoon. I spotted a Small Copper, a third brood Wall Brown, two flighty Clouded Yellows, mating Common Blue Butterflies, two Red Admirals on the Ivy, and a Peacock Butterfly. A Speckled Wood Butterfly patrolled the steps in amongst the scrub. In urban Shoreham, occasional Large Whites had replaced the Small Whites of which only one was seen.
Mill Hill Report
Ten butterfly species (personal tally only)

22 September 2017
This week's Mill Hill transect and I was grateful for the blue sky: Adonis Blue 7, Clouded Yellow 4, Common Blue, Meadow Brown 11, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Copper 4, Small Heath 3, Small White 4, Wall Brown . I saw four more Wall Brown after the transect was completed.

Report by Colin Knight on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

Small White Butterflies were frequently fluttering around in urban Shoreham. A Red Admiral flew over the open grass of Adur Recreation Ground, and a Speckled Wood made itself known in the spinney at the top of The Drive, north Shoreham.

19 September 2017
I spent a fabulous couple of hours at Mill Hill, and enjoyed the company of Dave Cook. Among the fresh butterflies seen were several Common Blues, Small Coppers, Brown Argus, four out of five Clouded Yellows, many Peacocks and a few third brood Wall Browns. A total surprise was a female Brown Hairstreak.

Report by Trevor Rapley on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

With an hour to kill and the sun in the sky, I headed to Mill Hill in the morning. There were still a few butterflies. Peacock, Common Blue, Adonis Blue (female), Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Small Copper and a Clouded Yellow.

Report by Jonathan Crawford on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

At Southwick Basin in the morning in bright sun apart from Small and Large Whites there were 10 Common Blue (4 female), 3 Clouded Yellow, 2 Red Admiral and 2 Small Copper in copulation.

Report by Lindsay Morris on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

18 September 2017
Small White Butterflies were frequently out but not in the numbers of the previous week. When the sun shone through the gaps in the clouds a few butterflies made some brief flights in search of nectar on the top of Mill Hill, notably a Clouded Yellow flitting from Hawkbit to Ragwort for a second on each. Three Small Heath Butterflies were seen. On the rough meadow at the top, occasional Meadow Browns were disturbed. There was a Small White Butterfly around the Blackthorn on the edge of the top copse by the tarmac path. On the middle slopes two male fresh Common Blues fluttered about, rarely settling. No butterflies were seen on Hemp Agrimony in the early afternoon.

Small Heath, Common Blue , Clouded Yellow

A Peacock Butterfly fluttered over my head at Old Shoreham near the Tollbridge. Further north up the Downs Link Cyclepath, a Southern Hawker (dragonfly) flew at head height and a Red Admiral left the path.
Eight butterfly species

12 September 2017
In a brief interlude between the squalls a Peacock Butterfly rose before me by the canal at Southwick.

9 September 2017
There were scores of Small Whites fluttering around with well over a hundred seen on passage in urban areas.

7 September 2017
Cloudy and dull and breezy and not butterflyweather, but within the Shoreham boundaries I noted Small Whites, at least one Large White and one Red Admiral and one Speckled Wood.

6 September 2017

Butterflies on Mill Hill
Photographs by Dave Cook

Quite a few fresh Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, around the Hemp Agrimony on the upper north side of Mill Hill. And on the lower slope three male Clouded Yellow plus one very fresh looking female amongst lots of Small Heath and now tired Adonis Blue. On the way back to the car I found one very fresh female Wall Brown in the grass and a very amiable Painted Lady.

Report by Dave Cook on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

Pyrausta despicata, Small Heath
 Meadow Brown 
Mill Hill Upper

Blustery with rain in the air, a cloudy afternoon was unfavourable for butterflies to be out and they weren't. Well, not many on the upper part of Mill Hill, just seven Small Heaths and seven Meadow Browns, one Large White, one Small White and the tiny pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta despicata on the area immediately north of the Reservoir. I disturbed another dozen Meadow Browns in a minute and another twenty on the middle slopes in three minutes. The large patches of Hemp Agrimony did not host any butterflies, but a Peacock Butterfly rose from the path in front of me. Unidentified white butterflies were frequently seen in Shoreham.
NB: Other visitors (Dave) to Mill Hill had spotted three Clouded Yellows and a fresh Wall Brown on Mill Hill.
Five butterfly species (personal tally only)

5 September 2017
I spotted a gap in the bad weather at noon and headed to Mill Hill: Adonis Blue 20, Brown Argus 2, Clouded Yellow, Meadow Brown 31, Red Admiral, Small Heath 18, Small White 2, Mother of Pearl moth (Pleuroptya ruralis).

Report by Colin Knight on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

1 September 2017
I made a brief sortie to the upper part of Mill Hill as the weather was pleasant and the white fluffy Cumulus clouds on the blue sky made conditions conducive to photography in the middle of the day. Butterflies were very frequently flying around and I chose the area immediately north of the Reservoir to record the species which were frequent Meadow Browns (20+) and frequent Small Heaths (15+), seen continuously as were the males of the occasional Adonis Blues (8+), more conspicuous than frequent with at least two chocolate brown females in fine condition.  A tatty brown female looked like a Chalkhill Blue.

Small White, Small Heath, Adonis Blue
Peacock, Meadow Browns
Mill Hill

On the middle slopes, Hemp Agrimony was an attractant for at least three Peacock Butterflies, two Red Admirals, a male Common Blue and occasional Meadow Browns. Common Ragwort and other flowers were visited by a big Large White and a handful of Small Whites.
Eight butterfly species

31 August 2017

Waiting at Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, on the downs west Steyning, for a Brown Hairstreak to come down from the trees was forlorn and unsuccessful. Waiting is not my normal observation method. Fallen leaves blown up could be mistaken for butterflies. There were a few Meadow Browns on the rough grassland and both Small Whites and Large Whites, a Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral on the hedgerow-lined Mill Road path (by Steyning Bowls Club) approaches to the conservation cattle pasture.
Five butterfly species

28 August 2017
With the marked difference between the flora on the top of Mill Hill and the Rifle Range, Steyning Downs visited yesterday, came a difference in the butterfliesseen. I only made a passage visit to the small area north of the Reservoir on Mill Hill where the frequent Meadow Browns were the same but not five Chalkhill Blues including an amorous pair, half a dozen or so male Adonis Blues, occasional Small Heaths (9+) and a one second glance of a Silver-spotted Skipper visiting a Lesser Knapweed. One Chalkhill Blue made a fleeting visit to a Round-headed Rampion. After a few minutes a male Common Blue fluttered on to a Bird's Foot Trefoil in the hazy warmth. The three whites were in flight all over the place: Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and Large Whites.

Meadow Brown

At the top of Anchor Bottom (Beeding Hill gate) I walked south-west until it got too steep and there were occasional Adonis Blues including an amorous pair (the Adonis Blue female was much darker than the Chalkhill Blue), as well as the inevitable Meadow Browns. I cycled back along the Coombes Road but no significant butterflies were spotted in the early afternoon.
Eight butterfly species
Adur Skippers

27 August 2017
White butterflies of the three common species were in flight in the sunshine: Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and Large Whites. On the verges of the Downs Link from Erringham Gap to Castle Lane Bramber, I spotted a male Common Blue and a Red Admiral. At Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, on the downs west Steyning, I spotted (entirely on my own) my third Brown Hairstreak (butterfly) of the day as it fluttered down to land on a Blackthorn sapling to lay a egg in the middle of the day, They were very difficult to spot and because they climbed down the stem immediately I found them impossible to photograph successfully. Other butterflies present were frequent Meadow Browns and at least one Brown Argus, Brimstone and Speckled Wood. .In Shoreham I cycled past a Holly Blue.
Eleven butterfly species

25 August 2017
It was a pleasant autumn day with the sun casting strong shadows in the late afternoon. A Speckled Wood and two Holly Blues were seen at Buckingham Cutting (south). Nothing special about these half expected finds, but the surprising thing was one of the Holly Blues was extremely tiny and no bigger than a Small Blue high up in the hedgerow. White butterflies were frequently in town and outskirts seen with one Small White but the others unidentified as they were restless and seen at too great a distance to discern their features. On the Pixie Path by Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, I spotted eight fair condition Meadow Browns and two more Holly Blues, with one smaller than usual.

Chalkhill Blues on Cotoneaster

On Mill Hill Hill Cutting (SW) there were no butterflies to spot for a few minutes but after twenty or so minutes, I managed to discover five separate female Chalkhill Blues laying eggs amongst the Horseshoe Vetch. They were joined by three males, one instantly recognisable and the other two badly worn. Quite often the female Chalkhill Blues landed on Cotoneaster.
Five butterfly species definitely

24 August 2017
On a cloudy day, I made late morning visit to Mill Hill before the intermittent weak sun had woken up the butterflies. I still managed to disturb several hundred. The tally for the half transect (the Privet prevented the whole acre transect) on the lower slopes was an unprecedented 153 Adonis Blues (including 17 females), 11 Chalkhill Blues (including one female), a few Common Blues (including one female), an estimated 75+ Meadow Browns, an estimated 30+ Small Heaths, a few each of Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and Large Whites, at least four restless Clouded Yellows, a Treble-bar Moth, a Blood-Vein Moth and frequent faded pyralid moths Pyrausta purpuralis.  A few of the Meadow Browns visited the Devil's Bit Scabious now in flower at the northern end of the lower slopes. Some of the Meadow Browns looked fresh, but none of the Adonis Blues did and one in ten was frayed at the edges.

Meadow Brown, Pyrausta purpuralis, Painted Lady
Adonis Blue, Adonis Blue , Chalkhill Blue

It was where the vegetation had grown where the top plateau abuts the Reservoir compound  that I counted nine more male Adonis Blues, one Chalkhill Blue and over a dozen Meadow Browns. On the middle slopes there were eight more Adonis Blues and a Chalkhill Blue, another twenty or so Meadow Browns, the same number of Small Heaths and a few Common Blues. One particularly large Green-veined White visited of of the few remaining Marjoram in flower. As I rested on the seat, a yellow Brimstone Butterfly flew past. The tiny micro-moth Pyrausta despicata was also spotted. Fatigue set in and I only made a less than cursory visit to the meadow north of the upper car park as I expected just more of the same. I did chance upon a faded Painted Lady visiting a Greater Knapweed in flower.
Eleven butterfly species and two macro moths

20 August 2017
On a cloudy day, I cycled the Downs Link Path from Erringham Gap north to the bottom of Anchor Bottom (Dacre Gardens entrance). Butterflies were common on Anchor Bottom but spread thinly like the flowers. Meadow Browns were everywhere and I estimated well over a hundred in the 80 minutes I spent on two acres of the "conservation" lightly grazed rough pasture. I lost count of male Adonis Blues at fifty, and spotted a worn Chalkhill Blue on a Carline Thistle. A few Common Blues squabbled with the Adonis. Small Heath Butterflies were sparse but there were handful over the two acres. Two Clouded Yellows  fluttered over the butterfly bank. And a Small White was seen by the dead Elderflower. At the Dacre Garden entrance a very tatty Comma Butterfly flew around where a Common Darter (dragonfly) landed on the concrete path.
Eight butterfly species

18 August 2017

Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar

It was blowing a Near Gale and it was just not worth the trip to Southwick Hill, not even for an Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar crawling out of a Rabbit latrine. The large field north of Slonk Hill Farm Road was ungrazed and full of male Common Blues, Meadow Browns and Small Heath Butterflies when seen from the bridlepath. The difficult bridlepath route to Southwick Hill (via Stonechat Junction) added occasional Small Whites, a Holly Blue, a Wall Brown, a Speckled Wood and a Comma Butterfly.
Eight butterfly species

17 August 2017
After the early morning rain it was gusting to Gale Force 8 and on the top of Mill Hill, it felt constant from due west nearly blowing me off my feet. For the record on the meadow north of the top car park, there were frequent male Common Blues (30+), frequent Meadow Browns (25+),  a few Small Whites, two Wall Browns, occasional male Adonis Blues (5+) and a handful of Small Heaths.

 Common Blue

The small area north of the Reservoir as rather exposed on the plateau area where I spotted more Small Heaths and the only male Chalkhill Blue on passage, and disturbed more than a dozen Meadow Browns amongst the taller and thicker vegetation in a minute.
Seven butterfly species

15 August 2017
As I was not happy with the pictures yesterday, I returned to the top of Mill Hill but the southerly breeze was much too strong (Force 6) for photography. There were still plenty of Meadow Browns with more than forty in ten minutes, and occasional pristine male Chalkhill Blues and good condition male Adonis Blues, a few poor condition Common Blues and a few Small Heaths and big Large Whites all in the small area north of the Reservoir. Later on the sunny day I saw a Small White.
Seven butterfly species

14 August 2017
After two weeks off because of rain, breezes and other inclement weather, I cycled up to Mill Hill in warm humid conditions in the afternoon. Butterflies were common enough but not very varied. I parked my ebike just north of the Reservoir and I was immediately struck by butterflies quarrelling in the breeze. A male Adonis Blue chased a good condition male Chalkhill Blue where the plateau merged into the longer vegetation above the ridge, with a few Meadow Browns. It was good sign and I counted nine Chalkhill Blues in a minute.

Small Heath, Chalkhill Blue, Meadow Brown
Adonis Blues, Pyralid Moths
Mill Hill

Alas, there was so much Privet on the southern end of the lower slopes it was impassable in places and not conducive to spotting butterflies. When I eventually managed to fight my way through to open ground Meadow Browns were everywhere, well over a hundred, exceeding the total of blues altogether which comprised nearly fifty Adonis Blues, just under forty Chalkhill Blues, and frequent Common Blues. A few females of all three species were seen. Small Heaths were frequent as well and there must have been more than twenty on the lower slopes. At least six Clouded Yellows fluttered past and that was it apart from a few Large Whites and over the southern steps a tatty Speckled Wood showed. A few Treble-bar Moths were spotted. Occasional tiny pyralid moths Pyrausta purpuralis and Pyrausta nigrata flitted amongst the short vegetation.

Silver-spotted Skipper visiting Dwarf Thistle on Mill Hill

On the middle slopes and upper meadows there were very frequent Meadow Browns, frequent Adonis Blues, Chalkhill Blues, Common Blues and Small Heaths. The Hemp Agrimony hosted one Small Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral. The  short turf of the upper plateau added a Brown Argus. I packed my camera away to unlock my bike to go home. It was then I spotted my first Silver Spotted Skipper of the year visiting a Dwarf Thistle right next to my ebike!  There was still time for a pyralid moth Pyrausta despicata to make an appearance. I did not spot a single Gatekeeper for sure.
Eleven butterfly species and one macro moth

Adur Skippers

10 August 2017

Hoverfly Volucella zonaria, Common Ragwort and Mint Moth
Meadow Browns
Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, Steyning

MeadowBrowns (30+) were all over the Spring Head Shaw, Rifle Range, on the downs west Steyning, as I ventured to the northern row of mixed trees where I added three Gatekeepers, a few dark Speckled Woods, and a Holly Blue. It was cool day with rain in the air so I was lucky if any butterflies were in flight. There were a few Large Whites in flight near the allotments. I was more fortunate with hoverflies as I spotted my first impressive Volucella zonaria hoverfly of the year, shortly followed by my first Volucella inanis. The small pyralid moth Pyrausta aurata visited the sparse growths of Marjoram and Common Ragwort.
Steyning Downland Scheme]
Four butterfly species on a cool day

8 August 2017
With a breeze (Force 4) blowing from the north and black clouds over the sea,  I was not even thinking about butterflies until I surprised a Painted Lady by the south-facing carnot walls of Shoreham Fort,  It fluttered rapidly away. A male Common Blue fluttered around the remaining flowers south of the Coastwatch Station, Shoreham Beach.

6 August 2017
As far as I am aware this is the first positive record of a Brown Hairstreak from any part of Mill Hill. This one was discovered by Etienne Fournier near the copse and north of the top car park

NB: An unconfirmed fleeting view of this elusive butterfly has been seen by myself on Mill Hill as well as one personally photographed record in north Shoreham in 2010.

Brown Hairstreak
Photograph by Etienne Fournier

1 August 2017
Cumulus clouds were thinly spaced across the blue sky and the sun was out more often than it was in. This made for more active butterflies chasing each other and generally more visible, but not much more in total numbers seen in the early afternoon. A few Speckled Woods and a Holly Blue were seen over the southern steps down to the lower slopes where blue butterflies just about exceeded the orange ones. On the one acre transect area of the lower slopes I counted 41 Chalkhill Blues (including five females*), 15 male Adonis Blues, an estimated 20 Common Blues, a few Brown Argus, an estimated 25 Meadow Browns, an estimated 12 Gatekeepers, about a dozen Small Heath Butterflies mostly in pairs, at least one Large White, three (one large white one) large Brimstone Butterflies, another Speckled Wood, one tattered Wall Brown, three strong flying Clouded Yellows, two second brood Dingy Skippers, two Treble Bar Moths and a few 6-spotted Burnet Moths.
(* the females were all seen walking over Horseshoe Vetch.)

Peacock, Dingy Skipper, Speckled Wood
Adonis Blue, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown

I returned by the ridge route and over the middle slopes, adding four Red Admirals on Buddleia, five Peacock Butterflies, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Painted Lady on Marjoram. The Marjoram patches on the middle slopes of Mill Hill were also attractive to more Meadow Browns (20+) and Gatekeepers (20+), one good condition Wall Brown, another big yellow Brimstone Butterfly, unidentified Whites^, two more Clouded Yellows, and a score or more Common Blues that stopped for only a seconds.
(^ one could have been a Green-veined White.)
The top meadows on Mill Hill were only transversed on passage and given only a cursory view. I quickly disturbed a dozen or more Common Blues, more Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, and one pristine Brown Argus. A few pairs of Small Heaths were present over the top plateau. There were five male Chalkhill Blues immediately north of the Reservoir.
A Small White Butterfly was seen by Middle Road Allotments.
Nineteen butterfly species (a good tally and best of the year) and three macro moths

31 July 2017
At the top of Chanctonbury Drive, north Shoreham, I noted a few Speckled Woods, a few Meadow Browns, a Holly Blue and a Small White Butterfly.

Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Chalkhill Blues, Meadow Brown
Wall Brown, Red Admiral, Adonis Blue, Painted Lady

A large cloud blocked out the sun and sent a large shadow over the lower slopes of Mill Hill. This tends to send the butterflies into hiding and then they were only seen if actively disturbed. This gives disappointing numbers of butterflies at the peak time for numbers in the whole of the year. I battled though the Privet on the lower slopes and I only recorded 53 male Chalkhill Blues plus one mating female on a 90% coverage of my transect acre. I was surprised to record my first eleven second brood male Adonis Blues. A Wall Brown visited a Dwarf Thistle. Small Heath Butterflies courted in the breeze. A Clouded Yellow fluttered rapidly over the lower slopes without pausing. Meadow Browns numbered nearly as many as the Chalkhill Blues on the lower slopes and more on the whole of Mill Hill as I only saw one additional Chalkhill Blue above the ridge. Gatekeepers were very frequently seen and the most numerous (80+ altogether seen) on both the lower slopes and the middle slopes where they were attracted to Marjoram, which also enticed a Small Tortoiseshell (one of two) to visit for nectar. Buddleia proved attractive to occasional  Red Admirals, a Peacock and a Painted Lady.  Male Common Blues  were occasionally seen on the lower slops but frequent on the top of the hill, especially so in the meadow north of the car park where I also spotted a Small Copper, a Brown Argus, and a Large White. 6-spotted Burnet Moths and Silver Y Moths occasionally attracted my attention as well as a definite small pyralid moth Pyrausta purpuralis  on Marjoram.
Eighteen butterfly species (a good tally and best of the year) and two macro moths

Chalkhill Blue Numbers

These are not cumultatve totals but the most seen in a period of under half an hour at peak times
per transect acre on Mill Hill

Adonis Blues reached 205 per acre on 20/09/12

30 July 2017
With a constant breeze (Force 6) under a cloudy sky, it was not a time to go outside the boundaries of Shoreham. So I didn't, I just made a quick cycle up Mill Hill Road to the outskirts of north Shoreham spotting a Large White Butterfly at the top of Chanctonbury Drive and a Holly Blue and a faded Wall Brown on the Pixie Path. I climbed over the prostrate chestnut fencing to make my way to the Mill Hill Cutting (SW) where I spotted my first female Chalkhill Blue of the year amongst about a dozen males and a Silver Y Moth.

Silver Y Moth, Wall Brown
Chalkhill Blues

Later, the sun made a brief appearance and I changed my mind cycling along the Downs Link Path as far the Cement Works before  the sun went behind a cloud and I turned back prematurely. In the shady part of the path by the Cement Works spotted four Red Admirals which are hardly noteworthy, and then most impressively a massive Emperor Dragonfly patrolled the path incessantly. Past experience has indicated that they rarely settle. A Gatekeeper Butterfly fluttered over the path and a Meadow Brown and a few male Common Blues were seen over the meadow-like verges.
Seven butterfly species and one macro moth

Female Chalkhill Blue and female Adonis Blue
One guideline is that the pale scales on the hind wings, between the red dots and the white fringe, are blue in a female Adonis Blue, and white in a female Chalkhill Blue.
Identifying Similar Butterflies

27 July 2017
Under a cloudy sky and a constant breeze (Force 5) and the added gusts made photographing very tricky on the Downs Link Path between Old Shoreham to just north of Erringham Gap.

Red Admiral,  female Common Blue
Gatekeeper, Green-veined Whites x 2
Downs Link Cyclepath between Old Shoreham and Erringham Gap

It was even more tricky with the butterflies blown about in the breeze: a few each of Red Admirals, Gatekeepers, Green-veined Whites, Meadow Browns, female Common Blues, one Small (or Essex) Skipper and one Silver Y Moth in much less than a hour before I felt the first spots of rain.

Green-veined White

The first Green-veined White Butterfly sported some distinct black markings that at a quick glance could have been penned it as a Large White.

25 July 2017
On a cloudy day I visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill where I fought my way through the Privet to complete a 90% transect registering a count of 21 male Chalkhill Blues and if I was to include the southern part of the top of the hill they were exceeded by both Common Blues and Meadow Browns, and these were exceeded by 6-spotted Burnet Moths.

Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Common Blue 
Chalkhill Blue 
Mill Hill

The lower slopes also hosted at least one Large White Butterfly, a pristine Small Tortoiseshell, frequent Small Heath Butterflies, and a  Treble-bar Moth. I returned by the ridge route and noted a Peacock Butterfly over the path through the scrub and the distinctive hoverfly Chrysotoxum bicinctum by the Reservoir. Gatekeepers were frequently seen by the bushes on Mill Hill. A Speckled Wood was spotted at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, north Shoreham.
Nine butterfly species and two macro moths

23 July 2017
Although it was cloudy and it had been damp, I was still surprised the Flyover Car Boot Sale was cancelled. Instead, I cycled non-stop from Erringham Gap to Anchor Bottom (Dacre Gardens entrance) along the Downs Link Path, spotting a couple of Large White Butterflies and a Red Admiral on the way.

Chalkhill Blue 

On Anchor Bottom (south north facing slope to the central now dead Elder trees, and adjacent south-facing slope) I spotted frequent Meadow Browns (25+) and Common Blues (12+ including a bluish female), occasional Gatekeepers, but only one male Chalkhill Blue. A few 6-spotted Burnet Moths were seen in flight. Colin Knight reported Clouded Yellows.
I paused a few times on the return journey over the Downs Link Path but there was rain in the air and no more butterflies showed.
Six butterfly species and one macro moth (my tally only)

17 July 2017
Butterflies were fluttering all over Mill Hill with just some of the expected species. On the top part male Common Blues exceeded a hundred with a Brown Argus, very frequent Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, a few Small Skippers, a few each of Marbled Whites, Large Whites and Small Whites, at least one Brimstone, Red Admiral, a Peacock and Silver Y Moths before a dozen or so male Chalkhill Blues put in an appearance. On the middle slopes there were more Common Blues (including a female), Chalkhill Blues (8+), Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, Marbled Whites, Large Whites, and 6-spotted Burnet Moths. It was here I spotted my first ever pyralid micro-moth Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata on Mill Hill, visiting Marjoram. In the dense scrub there was a Comma and a Speckled Wood.

Brown Argus

In the energy sapping humidity, I nearly did not venture down to the lower slopes, half covered in Privet  I was glad I made the effort as I simultaneously saw some large Brimstones, and much smaller first Clouded Yellow of the year over the Wild Basil. Chalkhill Blues (30+) were flighty, widespread and all males on the half transect, chased by Common Blues, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, Marbled Whites, some huge Large Whites, Brown Argus, Small Heaths (12+) and a few more Peacocks and Red Admirals, Small Skippers and more 6-spotted Burnet Moths.
Sixteen butterfly species and two macro-moths

16 July 2017
An unplanned cycle trip to Woods Mill (via Erringham Gap and Downs Link Cyclepath to Bramber and the A283 (Henfield Road) and back for a total distance of 8 miles) was both disappointing and rewarding. I noted in the change of summer flowers on the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath (Old Shoreham to the South Downs Way Bridge). It was cloudy in the middle of the day and butterflies were merely frequent Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, occasional Large Whites, Small Whites, Marbled Whites and at least one Peacock, and a 6-spotted Burnet Moth on the verges of the cyclepath. Add a shredded Ringlet at the Woods Mill farm meadow, and a Small Skipper on the Restricted Byway over Windmill Hill near Upper Beeding.
Eight butterfly species and one macro moth

14 July 2017

Small Skipper visiting a Spear Thistle

It was cloudy but fine, but not warm enough for many butterflies to be active but I did spot a Small Skippervisiting a Spear Thistle and a Large White fluttering around a patch of Greater Willowherb on the harbour canal bank at Fishersgate. . When I returned home a tatty Peacock Butterfly flew in through the open front door.
Adur Skippers

Chalkhill Blue10 July 2017
On the southern part of Mill Hill, I noted quite a few Meadow Browns, a Comma and Silver Y Moths. On the steps down to the lower slopes a Speckled Wood showed in the shade before I was distracted by a Peacock and my first Painted Lady of the year. Scores of butterflies fluttered around on Mill Hill including my first dozen or so of the first male Chalkhill Blues of the year over the lower slopes. On a warm sunny afternoon, all the butterflies were extremely lively especially over the large patch of Wild Basil at the northern end of lower slopes where they were joined and disturbed by frequent Small Heaths, Gatekeepers, male Common Blues and Marbled Whites., a couple of Brimstones, a Red Admiral, a Small White, and a Large White. I only visited the northern end of the lower slopes for under an hour. From the path I also spotted lots more Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites, Gatekeepers and 6-spotted Burnet Moths as I returned hurriedly. I did manage to add a brownish Small Skipper to the list amongst the Greater Knapweed and many grasses south of the Reservoir.
Thirteen confirmed butterfly species (the most this year) and two macro moths

9 July 2017
On another warm sunny day, occasional butterflies could be seen over the vegetated shingle on Shoreham Fort Beach  Most of them were Large Whites around the Sea Kale, but I spotted at least two male Common Blues, a Meadow Brown and a Small Skipper.

6 July 2017
On the bicycle disaster day (a major puncture) had me otherwise preoccupied I noted frequent Meadow Browns and Large Whites all over the Adur Levels and occasional Gatekeepers, a few Ringlets (Tottington Wood) at least one Marbled White (Henfield Road), one Essex (or Small) Skipper (Tottington Wood meadow), my first of the year Silver-washed Fritillary at Tottington Wood, and one Red Admiral (Woods Mill) and occasional Speckled Woods (Tottington Wood).
Nine confirmed butterfly species

5 July 2017
Meadow Browns (50+) were all over Mill Hill and Marbled Whites (25+) were frequent too, but there were not many butterflies for summer and not many species, frequent fresh Gatekeepers, an occasional Small Heath a few Large Whites and Small Whites. Looking out for blues, I disturbed a Treble-bar Moth and a Silver Y Moth, spotted a 6-spotted Burnet Moth. (There was a possible Wall Brown over New Erringham pasture near the bridge, and large orange butterfly on the lower slopes of Mill Hill which could have been a fritillary? Hindsight: more likely to be a Painted Lady. No skipperswere seen.)
Six confirmed butterfly species and three macro moths

4 July 2017

Meadow Brown, Ringlet
Buckingham Cutting (south)

On the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting I noted occasional Meadow Browns, Ringlets, and Marbled Whites, at least one Large White and a 6-spotted Burnet Moth. A Peacock Butterfly was spotted over Ropetackle.
Five butterfly species and one macro moth

2 July 2017

Small Skipper                                                                          Marbled White

At the height of summer, the sun shined in the middle of the day and the butterflies were very frequently seen on the verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the fields south of Bramber. I cycled back to Shoreham along the Coombes Road. The verges hosted frequent Meadow Browns, Small Skippers, Marbled Whites and Large Whites with occasional Small Whites, at least one Ringlet, one fresh Small Tortoiseshell, one or two 6-spotted Burnet Moths, and a few Gatekeepers.A Red Admiral was seen near Annington Sewer, a Comma and a Peacock near Ladywells.
Eleven butterfly species and one macro moth

1 July 2017 
Under a cloudy afternoon sky, on the cyclepath from Old Shoreham to just south of the Cement Works, there was only occasional butterflies. With the summer flowers came my first Gatekeeper Butterfly of the year visiting Melilot, a few Large Whites, a few Meadow Browns including at least one fresh specimen, and a languid fluttering brown butterfly was identified as a faded Ringlet. Cinnabar Moth caterpillars crawled over the budding Common Ragwort. 
WildFlower Report

Four butterfly species


26 June 2017
I was surprised that a good condition Comma Butterfly visited my front garden in the late morning.

Comma, Six-spotted Burnet Moth
Marbled White, Ringlet

A pleasant sunny day with a Gentle Breeze (Force 1-3) meant a visit to Shoreham Beach around the middle of the day. I was rewarded with my first handful of Small Skippers fluttering around the shingle plants without settling. These were my first of the year and in atypical habitat for this small widespread butterfly. Skippers are easily overlooked or mistaken for a moth. Large White Butterflies fluttered around the Sea Kale. Widewater Flood Plain hosted my first Six-spotted Burnet Moths of the year, the first seen visited the fading Thrift, and then a newly budding Common Ragwort, but then seven were seen on a single Viper's Bugloss spike.
On the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting, frequent butterflies were all lively and unsettled, with half a dozen or more each of Ringlets, Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns in the afternoon. (There were no Small Blues, Speckled Woods or other butterflies seen on Buckingham Cutting.)
Six butterfly species and one macro moth

19 June 2017
The chalk downs above Shoreham were swathed in the yellow of Bird's Foot Trefoil, on the middle slopes of Mill Hill and New Erringham pasture to the east of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. A Rook soared like a Buzzard in the mostly blue sky on the warmest air temperature of the year reaching 25.6 °C at 10:00 am and 26.1 ° C at 11:00 am when I was on Mill Hill.

Butterflies were very frequently seen but not much variety, twenty five or so Meadow Browns amongst the long vegetation on the top part of Mill Hill south of the Reservoir with many more well hidden with at least one, probably more, Silver Y Moths. On the Privet covered lower slopes, the lively Marbled White Butterflies (18+) merged well with the flowerheads of the invasive Privet bushes, Small Heath Butterflies (18+) courted in the gaps between the bushes with a few male Common Blues, a few more Meadow Browns, and one Small Tortoiseshell on my less than one acre transect walk. Frequent tiny pyralid moths Pyrausta puperalis, flitted amongst the low herbs. There were at least a dozen Meadow Browns, half a dozen Small Heaths, and another four Marbled Whites on my passage return over the middle and top part of Mill Hill north of the Reservoir. Add to my tally a Brimstone, Comma and three more Small Tortoiseshells on the fringes of the scrub.
Seven butterfly species and one macro moth in the morning

18 June 2017
At least two Meadow Browns and one Small White Butterfly were seen over the Car Boot Sale field, Old Erringham. On a warm sunny morning my first two Ringlets of the year were seen on the western shadier verges of the Downs Link Cyclepath just north of Erringham Gap. Add in a few more Meadow Browns and a probable Green-veined White and that was it on a passage journey with a brief pause ot look at the Pyramidal Orchids.
Four butterfly species in the morning
15 June 2017
On another breezy afternoon, there was a Meadow Brown on the southern bank of Slonk Hill Cutting and a Burnet Companions Moth on Buckingham Cutting and that was all of interest.

14 June 2017

Burnet Moth caterpillar, Small Blue
Marbled White, Holly Blue
Buckingham Cutting (south)

Two Speckled Woods courted at the top of Buckingham Park in the shade of the trees. In a humid afternoon on the southern bank of Buckingham Cutting with tricky bright light I struggled to take any pictures. Holly Blues were fluttering around the Bramble and the was even one on the roadside meadow. My first Small Blue Butterfly of the year would settle on my camera strap and enticed on to my finger, but it would not transfer to a Greater Bird's Foot Trefoil (in the absence of any Kidney Vetch). My first of the year Marbled White was lively and when it did settle on a Red Clover, it was immediately chased off by a Meadow Brown. My second Large White Butterfly of the year fluttered by.
Five butterfly species in the afternoon

13 June 2017

At last the breeze was gentle (Force 3) on a sunny humid day. On the approaches to Mill Hill, I recorded a few Speckled Woods, a few Holly Blues; and a Meadow Brown on Mill Hill Cutting (SW). At the top of Chanctonbury Drive  I spotted what was probably my first Large White of the year. On the southern top part of Mill Hill I stumbled across a Small Tortoiseshell, a pale green Brimstone and a male Common Blue Butterfly in the late morning. On the lower slopes the flowering Privet had grown up so much that I did not complete my normal transect walk and just made a cursory unhurried visit. Brimstone Butterflies patrolled as usual and one pair was courting. Frequent Small Heath Butterflies were harder to spot because of the excessive Privet, with occasional larger Meadow Browns and some blue butterflies. There were a handful of battered and ragged blue butterflies. I have a tendency to think that at least four were the surviving remnants of the first batch of male Adonis Blues. I disturbed about seven Cinnabar Moths which was an unprecedented number in a hour. A pale Silver Y Moth settled in front of me. The pyralid micro-mothPyrausta despicata was spotted occasionally on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
Eight butterfly species (my tally) and two macro-moths in the late morning.

Meadow Brown on Greater Knapweed11 June 2017
Still windsurfer weather (Force 5) and only a handful of butterflies showed on the verges of the cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works. A male Meadow Brown, two male Common Blue Butterflies  and two unidentified medium-sized brownish butterflies blown about in the breeze was my tally in the late morning.

10 June 2017
Still breezy (Force 4) and just a handful of Red Admirals fluttering around in Old Shoreham, a Green-veined White over Frampton's Field, two Wall Browns over the towpath between the Toll Bridge and Cuckoo's Corner, and a Meadow Brown in the field of Yellow Flag Iris next to Ladywell's Stream visited yesterday. There was a Snout Hypena proboscidalis moth disturbed on an overgrown impassable path FP3138 from Old Shoreham to Mill Hill. Azure Damselflies were out in the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.

9 June 2017
A whole week of persistently breezy weather continued with a steady Fresh Breeze (Force 5). In afield of Yellow Flag Iris and Stinging Nettles, next to Ladywell's Stream (just north of Cuckoo's Corner) I disturbed a Meadow Brown Butterfly and a Brown Argus. They were the only butterflies seen in the afternoon and both first of the year finds for me.

3 June 2017
My Mill Hill transect  produced Adonis Blue 28, Brimstone 2, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Heath 19, Small Tortoiseshell 3. Moths: Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae) 3, Burnet Companion (Euclidia glyphica), Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis), Hook-streak Grass veneer (Crambus lathoniellus), Lesser Treble-bar (Aplocera efformata).

Report by Colin Knight on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

31 May 2017
A male Common Blue Butterfly was seen amongst the vegetation on the verges of the cyclepath between Erringham Gap and the Cement Works. A Mother Shipton Moth visited Yellow Rattle and was attractive to look at but would not keep still in the warm sunshine in the afternoon. A Small White Butterfly was also spotted.
On the north-facing southern bank of Anchor Bottom (entered via the Dacre Gardens entrance) there was a Yellow Shell Moth and twomale Common Blues. On the south-facing northern bank I stumbled across 13 Adonis Blues of which five were females. An unidentified vanessid flew rapidly overhead.

26 May 2017
A male Common Blue Butterfly was seen amongst the flowering vegetation at the eastern end of Shoreham Beach in the warm sunshine.

25 May 2017
Frequent Holly Blues were seen on passage and a few Speckled Woods as well. A pair of Mother Shipton Moths were seen at Buckingham Cutting (south).

23 May 2017
A Holly Blue was seen in residential Shoreham, a handful of Small Whites around the outskirts of town, a strong flying vanessid thought to be (75% chance) a Small Tortoiseshell on the towpath near Cuckoo's Corner, a Red Admiral at Cuckoo's Corner with a fresh Speckled Wood.
Five butterfly species

22 May 2017
On a humid sunny afternoon the first butterfly seen was a Holly Blue in Buckingham Avenue when the sun was behind one of he few cirrus clouds. This was the only butterfly seen on the road approaches to Mill Hill.

Adonis Blues 

On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, I tried to count the Adonis Blues in the designated one acre transect area (which now takes me half an hour to traverse if I do not pause) but at the count of 91 (including seven females), the numbers were too many together at the northern end to get an accurate count but estimated at 125 in the acre (10% females). They were accompanied by frequent 12+ Common Blues which almost all appeared to be males.  A few Adonis Bluesmated. Others were chased by the frequent amorous Small Heaths. Brimstone Butterflies  (8+) were incessantly on patrol, although one did visit a Bramble flower.

Adonis Blues
Cinnabar Moth, Common Blue, Small Heath

Two Dingy Skippers courted and a third one was seen alone. They were drabber than a Mother Shipton Moth of the same size and similar behaviour. A Peacock Butterfly flew overhead and was seen to be intact when it later landed. The most distinctive find were three Cinnabar Moths which quickly disappeared into hiding. Altogether there was not much variety which included a single Green-veined White. I only visited the lower slopes of Mill Hill, but access was over the top southern part and it looked as though there may have been a late in the day emergence of Common Blues as they were occasionally disturbed on passage with a Treble-bar Moth. Gerry Slack photographed a Grizzled Skipper.
Eight butterfly species (my tally) and three macro-moths in the afternoon.

21 May 2017
A casual passage journey on the cyclepath back from the Erringham Gap and I spotted my first Small White Butterfly of the year visiting Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum. I followed this with an unplanned detour through Old Shoreham up The Street and Mill Hill Road where at the northern part of Chanctonbury Drive, a Green-veined White and a Speckled Wood were spotted fluttering around the instant I got there.

Small White Butterfly, Holly Blue
Adonis Blue 

As a weak sun was shining, I made a quick visit to the upper part of Mill Hill, where a female Adonis Blue landed on the path in front of me just above the ridge. Occasional Brimstones were the most prevalent butterfly in the late morning fluttering strongly around the scrub, where I was surprised to see a lively female Holly Blue. Small Heath Butterflies  fluttered around in the shorn vegetation.
Seven butterfly species (my tally) in the late morning

Other butterfly visitors commented on the dearth of butterflies on the top of Mill Hill although they could add two Small Coppers and some Common Blues to my tally.

16 May 2017
Mill Hill was covered in glorious swathes of the yellow of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, flowering the slopes, mostly the steep slopes and lower slopes but also some quite large patches on the upper part of the hill.

Butterflies were common (over a hundred) for the first time this year with male Adonis Bluesleading the way with sixty plus and a few flighty females. About twenty male Common Blues were seen for the first time this year with frequent Brimstone Butterflies, frequent Small Heaths, just two Grizzled Skippers, and one of each of Dingy Skipper, a worn Peacock, Speckled Wood, a first of the year probable Wall Brown, Red Admiral, and a Green-veined White.

Small Heath, Peacock, Adonis Blue
Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Adonis Blue

Adonis Blue 

That made for eleven different species, the most this year in over an hour on Mill Hill, and it was only sunny for some of the time and one cloud let loose a few drops of rain. I also spotted a Treble-bar Moth and my first of the year pyralid micro-moth Pyrausta nigrata. Graeme Rolf also spotted two Green Hairstreaks and three Cinnabar Moths.
Eleven butterfly species (personal tally) on Mill Hill in the afternoon

9 May 2017

Adonis Blue
Mill Hill

Summer seemed to have put in its first appearance with the glorious blue of my first male Adonis Blue Butterfly of the year. It appeared on the lower slopes of Mill Hill at 3:00 pm with the sun still behind the fluffy cirrus clouds. It was the first of about ten, nine in perfect condition, but one slightly torn and ragged.

Swathes of the bright yellow flowers of the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, covered the slopes. This vitally important butterfly food plant was virtually at is peak flowering. Two Green-veined Whites, three bright yellow Brimstones, a worn Peacock Butterfly and the first of the dozen or more Small Heaths showed after five minutes or so. A flash of bright crimson was my first Cinnabar Moth of the year. My first damselfly of the year, a Large Red Damselfly, flitted around the short vegetation.

Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper
Adonis BlueLarge Red Damselfly
Mill Hill

I had to wait around for an hour before a spell of sunshine enticed a veritable flurry of activity and the appearance of the skippers, including my first of only a few (maybe just one or two seen several times) Dingy Skippers of the year. Grizzled Skippers were  discovered mating on a Bramble shoot. A flash of orange was a surprise Small Copper Butterfly which was another first for two years. A Red Admiral was seen at the top of the southern steps as I left after an hour and half.
Nine butterfly species on Mill Hill in the afternoon

5 May 2017
On the opposite side of the road, it looks through my upstairs window as though it was my first Large White Butterfly of the year.

4 May 2017
Too breezy for photography, too cool for butterflies, and my days are numbered for scrambling about on steep hillsides. I stayed long enough to record three Peacock Butterflies on the edges of the scrub on the middle slopes, three Grizzled Skippers on the lower slopes followed by my first Small Heath Butterfly of the year. The Small Heath always keeps its wings closed when settled (as it appears to the human eye) and usually aligns to the sun and photographer at an oblique angle.

30 April 2017
At Mill Hill, to help find some roosting Grizzled Skippers. By now everything was asleep, but a careful search of the scrub revealed 5 snoozing Grizzled Skippers, 2 dozing Dingy Skippers, 3 sleepy Small Heaths and a comatose Brown Argus (which may be a national first for the year).

Report by Neil Hulme on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

I walked Mill Hill late morning in the fading 'grey' sun and in the sheltered areas out of the cool easterly breeze at the bottom of the steep slope, I counted at least 12 Grizzled Skippers, 10 Dingy Skippers, 3 Small Coppers, 4 Small Heath and one very fresh and surprisingly sprightly Adonis Blue that wouldn't pose long enough for a picture.

Report by David Cook on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

19 April 2017
On the lower slopes of Mill Hill two Peacock Butterflies and two Grizzled Skippers were reluctant to settle within camera range. I spotted a worn small pyralid moth Pyrausta despicata, and frequent micro-moths Pancalia leuwenhoekella and many small spiders running in the short vegetation. Pyrausta nigrata was not seen.

18 April 2017
Breezy and cloudy, I cycled the downs route against a Force 4 passing Mill Hill and north of Beeding Hill down the narrow bridleway to Tottington Wood. The bridlepath was a difficult passage for cycling, but rewarded with a dozen Speckled Wood Butterflies, a Green-veined White and a Comma.  In Tottington Wood, a damaged Red Admiral landed in the shade of the trees.  On the Downs Link Cyclepath back to Old Shoreham, a female Orange Tip Butterfly was positively identified.
Five butterfly species in the afternoon

15 April 2017
It was cold and cloudy at Mill Hill this morning with nothing flying but eventually the sun came out for a few minutes and I managed a picture of a Green Hairstreak. The wings look slightly crumpled so maybe they weren't quite dry (though it was able to fly).

Report by John Williams on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings
14 April 2017
Noticing it was warm and with half an hour to kill before lunch I popped up to Mill Hill. I had been on the slope less than 15 seconds when a Small Heath settled on the grass beside me. There were also plenty of Grizzled Skippers. This was the first sighting of a Small Heath for Sussex.
Report by Jonathan Crawford on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings

12 April 2017
Butterflies were frequently seen on the weak sunshine despite the breeze. White butterflies were seen on the verges of the cyclepath at Old Shoreham. These were the first of year and mostly they were too flighty to be identified. Eventually, one of a pair settled by a stream near Botolphs and was recognised clearly as a Green-veined White. By the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, an emergence of a dozen Speckled Woods, joined a few Peacock Butterflies, a Brimstone Butterfly, and a few whites, probably Green-veined. A Comma Butterfly made an appearance by Frampton's Field.

Brimstone Butterfly
Speckled Wood

I made an impromptu decision to cycle along the Downs Link Cyclepath to Upper Beeding where it was too breezy for many butterflies. Streamside at Botolphs a few restless male Orange Tips made an appearance with the aforementioned Green-veined Whites and Red Admirals by the river towpath.
Seven butterfly species in the afternoon

9 April 2017

Adonis Blue larva with ant
Photograph by Su Reed

I accidentally caught an Adonis Blue, Polyommatus bellargus, larva complete with it's attendant ant! while trying to scoop up the spider!  I was amazed, what a find! I knew they were there, and I knew others had seen them but I never expected to find one myself.

Report and Commentary by Su Reed
According to Butterfly Conservation :-
The green larvae are well camouflaged and are nearly always attended by ants, which are attracted by secretions from special 'honey' glands and pores. Any ant species appears suitable, but the most common are the red ant Myrmica sabuleti and the small black ant Lasius alienus. The ants protect the larvae from predators and parasitoids, and even bury the larvae (in groups of up to eight) in loose earth cells at night.'
Adonis Blue (UK Butterflies)

7 April 2017

Grizzled Skippers

A pair of Holly Blue Butterflies fluttering high in the trees at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, north Shoreham, were my first of the year. This is on the way to Mill Hill, where the highlight on the lower slopes was another first of the year: a pair of mating Grizzled Skippers on a dead Carline Thistle plant. On the lower slopes at least two species of micro-moth flitted around in amongst the short herbs, including occasional Violet Cosmet Moths, Pancalia leuwenhoekella.
Adur Skippers

6 April 2017
At least 2 Grizzled Skippers have emerged on Mill Hill. 3 Brimstone, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and several Peacock in half hour walk at lunchtime today.

David Cook on Butterfly Conservation,Sussex,Sightings

6 April 2017

Orange Tip Butterfly  on Green Alkanet

From a field north of Ladywell's Stream on the Coombes Road, I spotted my first male Orange Tip Butterfly of the year fluttering endlessly for fifteen minutes without pausing together with a Brimstone, Peacock and two Small Tortoiseshells that all landed very briefly. Luckily an Orange Tip did visit Green Alkanet flowering at Cuckoo's Corner. Its food plants Lady's Smock (or Cuckoo Flower) had already been on flower for a week, and the first Garlic Mustard flowers showed on the verges of the country road. Another Peacock Butterfly was seen on cycle passage by the Tollbridge, Old Shoreham.
In the linear copse at the top of The Drive, (north Shoreham) I spotted my first two Speckled Woods of the year, another Peacock Butterfly, and a Red Admiral. Perhaps, my biggest surprise of the day was a Comma Butterfly spotted at the top of Buckingham Park, as it is not a place I would look for them and it was only seen in passing.
Adur Butterfly Flight Times
Seven butterfly species in the afternoon

2 April 2017
I went back to Mill Hill with Chris Corrigan. There were plenty of micro moths including a number of Small Purple and Gold. I also saw a Toad and a couple of Common Lizards. There were butterflies about including Brimstone, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Speckled Woods and a single Red Admiral. About ten minutes after I had abandoned all hope, I caught sight of a Grizzled Skipperout of the corner of my, sitting on vetch. It was amazingly vivid so had probably just emerged. Unfortunately in the fumble for my camera I took my eye off butterfly and it was gone. Half an hour of searching failed to find it again. Fortunately, some time later Chris spotted a second one just six feet in front of the spot Neil had deemed propitious. This was the earliest sighting of a Grizzled Skipper in England for 2017.

Report by Jonathan Crawford on Butterfly Conservation Sussex Sightings
30 March 2017

Small Tortoiseshell
Bramber (south)

27 March 2017

Brimstone Butterfly
Peacock Butterfly, Comma
Waterworks Road

With the sun shining under a blue sky and the highest air temperature this year recorded by the Met Office at 15.5 °C, butterflies were frequently in flight. My first bright yellow Brimstone Butterfly of the year fluttered around a large garden hedge at the western end of residential Rosslyn Road in Shoreham. I was already on my way on my deliberate trip to the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham, where I expected to see the signs of spring. Butterflies immediately fluttered above my head seeing the shadows cast before the actual butterflies of a faded first of a handful of mostly fair condition strong flying Peacock Butterflies, just the one smaller than usual Small Tortoiseshell, and a half dozen patrolling Brimstone Butterflies, that briefly visited flowering Dandelions. This was all within a few minutes on passage, but I decided to hang around to see if the Small Tortoiseshell would settle for a publishable photograph. Six times I spotted a flash of orange, but these were all different Comma Butterflies. A few Common Wasps, Honey Bees, small hoverflies and Squash Bugs, Coreus, were noted as well as a small Nursery Web Spider.

15 March 2017
By the towpath by the houseboats a butterfly fluttered over my head in the sunshine. It appeared as shadow and I had to wait a few minutes out for some more movement. Then three butterflies moved quickly in succession chasing each other off the resting places. Three of us were watching and we all saw three butterflies simultaneously. One was a Red Admiral and the other two were a first of the year Small Tortoiseshell and a first Peacock Butterfly.

Encouraged by these surprise butterflies, I cycled to Mill Hill, where a Peacock Butterfly put in appearance over the pasture north of the Bridge, east of the road followed by a Comma Butterfly. Only a few Sweet Violets were scattered over the lower slopes of Mill Hill, so I ventured not much further than the southern steps, but I spotted a handful of Peacock Butterflies in as many minutes.

9 March 2017

In the weak but welcome first sunshine of the year a Red Admiral pipped a Comma as my first butterfly of the year by about five seconds. Both butterflies made their appearance at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (Dovecote Estate) amongst the undergrowth beneath the trees (SE of the bridge to Mill Hill). This semi-wild area hosted flowering Sweet Violets which were visited by my first Honey Bee and my first of the small hoverflies of 2017.
The sun came out and the air temperature measured 14° C at its highest at 4:00 pm.

11 January 2017
A Red Admiral Butterfly emerged from hibernation in a Lancing conservatory.

Report by Janet Levett
on Wildlife of Lancing, Sompting & Surrounds facebook
Adur Butterfly Flight Times

Adur Butterflies 2016

Adur Flight Times

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

Adur Nature Notes 2015

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2004 Index pageMill Hill Wildlife Reports 2008 (Link)Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pagesLink to the Adur 2010 Nature Notes pagesLink to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pages

Notes:At the current rate of decline, Chalkhill Blue Butterflies would disappear from Mill Hill in about 20 years

Adur Butterflies
Blue Butterflies of Shoreham

Prevalence Definitions (does not apply to birds):

TBI: To be identified


ABUNDANT 1000- 10,000
VERY COMMON = 500-1000
COMMON 100-500
FREQUENT 10 - 50
RARE = ONLY 1  or

Scarce 4-10 per year
Very Scarce 1-3 per year
Rare   less one than every year
Very Rare   1-3 records in total since 2000

Condition of Butterflies
Fine: good condition
Tattered;  Torn and battered

Adur Butterflies

MultiMap Aerial Photograph of the Adur Levels and the Downs

British Lepidoptera on  flickr

UK Butterflies Sightings

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2011 web pages



Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2009 web pages

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2008 web pages

Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2007 web pages

Link to Adur Nature Notes 2005  Index page
Link to the Adur Nature Notes 2006 web pages