Monday, 18 June 2012

May 2012

31 May 2012
Just north of Ropetackle at the first bend on to the tarmac cyclepath, I was surpised to note a couple ofSpeckled Woods and a Holly Blue over the Dog Rose and Brambles mix with Sycamore etc. A Large White was seen in  Shoreham and a vanessid on the towpath a few metres north of the Toll Bridge, almost certainly a Peacock. And a Green-veined White patrolled the Waterworks Road.
Five species without trying
30 May 2012
It was certainly pleasant enough (about 15 °C) to visit the downs but I was otherwise occupied and the onlybutterfly of note was a Holly Blue seen on the cottages side of the road as I cycled down St. Jullians Lane, Kingston Buci, opposite the entrance to Shoreham College.
29 May 2012
Speckled Wood Butterfly make a brief visit to the Marsh Marigolds in my front garden.
27 May 2012
Warm and sunny, and a bit too warm to spend too much time under the burning rays: warm enough for the butterflies to be fluttering around like a few Large Whites over the allotments (seen from a distance). At the top of the Pixie Path (hedge end SW of the bridge to MIll Hill) there were two Speckled Woods and a flightly Holly Blue(The north-south section of the PIxie Path was overgrown to the point of being virtually impassable without being stung by nettles. I arrived through the Dovecote Estate, north Shoreham.)
 Green Hairstreak on Horseshoe Vetch
 Adonis Blues
Dingy Skipper
On the lower slopes of Mill Hill I did not have the impression that the Adonis Blues were particularly common but the acre transect count still came to at least 128 (including five females). (Because of the heat the trek took over an hour instead of the usual 20 minutes.) At first the handful of pairs were only courting, but as I was about to leave I spotted a mating pair. Small Heath Butterflies were frequently seen (25+) amongst the short vegetation landing with their wings closed and sometimes at an oblique angle to the sun. Two small white butterflies patrolled the bottom hedge without landing to reveal its identity. I would think it is probably a Green-veined White. TheBrimstone Butterfly was positively huge as they sparred, the first of two. Fluttering amongst the undergrowth I noted my first of two Burnet Companion Moths on the day and the first I had seen this year. A few Treble-bar Moths were seen landing on the Brambles and this moth will land on Privet as well. At the northern end of the lower slopes frequent male Common Blues (12+) mixed with the Adonis Blues and there were probably some small females as well.
Just as I was about to leave I had a fleeting glance of an elusive Green Hairstreak. I returned via the lower slopes and then noted five Dingy Skippers at the southern end (area missed out at first). This area upped the Adonis Blues count including the mating pair. An then I spotted another Green Hairstreak which was very keen on visitingHorseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa. Finally, at the top of the steps at the southern end, a Comma Butterfly flew past.
Eleven butterfly species (equal most in a single day so far this year) and two macro moths
26 May 2012
A small white butterfly flew with a noticeable white edge to its wing tips. When in landed in a back garden in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham, it was confirmed as a Small White and not a Green-veined White.
23 May 2012
It was a sticky rather than a warm (20 °C) day around midday, and I thought I would try the lower slopes of Mill Hill again. I made a false start and I had to return home not before I had seen Large Whites over the Middle Road allotments in Shoreham, a Comma on the grass of Buckingham Park and later pair of  Speckled Woods at the top of The Drive with a the first of two Holly Blues. When  I finally got to the lower slopes of Mill Hill, I was greeted immediately by male Adonis Blues. On the transect acrethe count in 20 minutes was 32 (29 males 3 females including a courting pair) included one in a sorry state with wings that were not properly formed. Altogether I estimated about 60 because I stopped counting. They were complemented by frequent (12+) Small Heath Butterflies, a handful of Brimstones, a Peaock, two Common Blues and a few Treble-bar Moths. Two Green-veined Whites were seen over and around the Pixie Path at the southern Waterworks Road end.
Ten butterfly species
22 May 2012
On the first warm day of the yearHolly Blue Butterfly and a Large White were seen over the residential part of Shoreham as I cycled by. In the early evening whilst still warm, one more of each were seen, another Holly Blue by Shoreham Library.
20 May 2012
Again, too cool (14.2 °C) for butterflies and too breezy (Force 4 from the north) to photograph flowers close-up, overcast without any sun, the rain of the past few days had nevertheless stopped. Nevertheless, I made an afternoon trip to Mill Hill to check out the extent of the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa, which was not so extensive in previous years and nearly at its peak. Despite the cool conditions I did note a Holly Blue and a Red Admiral at the top of Chanctonbury Drive (SE of Mill Hill). On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, there were no sign of butterflies at first and eventually the first of 23+ Adonis Blues appeared and this included a fresh female, the first seen this year. Other butterflies seen on the lower slopes were a few Small Heath and just the one Dingy Skipper. A Small Purple-barred Moth, Phytometra viridaria, made a fleeting appearance.
 Adonis Blue 
 Small Heath
For the first time this year I travelled to the middle and upper part of Mill Hill, but there were no butterflies seen.
19 May 2012
At last, the sun appeared briefly in the early afternoon and with it a Holly Blue was seen by the houses on the same side of the road as the Toll Bridge in Old Shoreham. And there were a pair of Green-veined Whites over the Waterworks Road, and two more, later, near Cuckoo's Corner on the Coombes Road.
Green-veined Whites
13 May 2012
Holly Blue Butterfly fluttered over the Dovecote Estate, north Shoreham. At last the sun came out (13.0 °C at 1:00 pm, with a Moderate Breeze Force 4) and with the warmth encouraged the butterflies and for for the first time this year they were common (100+) on the lower slopes of Mill Hill But they were slow to appear at first, frequentDingy Skippers and a few bright blue male Adonis Blues were both very lively over the Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosa.
 Adonis Blue
Dingy Skipper 
Small Copper 
 Common Blue
A pristine Peacock Butterfly basked on a Cotoneaster. After twenty minutes the numbers increased and there were at least twenty Adonis BluesDingy Skipperseverywhere (60+), a few Green-veined WhitesBrimstone Butterflies of both genders (one female sparred with a Green-veined White), the first male of a few Common Blues of the year, my first of four Small Coppersoccasional Small Heaths, at least two Grizzled Skippers, a fleeting glimpse of a Wall Brown and a single Comma ButterflyMoths included a Treble-bar and the micro-moth Agapeta hamana.
Adur Skippers
Eleven butterfly species (the most in a single day so far this year)
Green Hairstreak Butterfly visited a Horseshoe Vetch flower on the lower slopes of Mill Hill, as well as taking an excellent photograph of the micro-moth Pancalia leuwenhoekella.
Hairstreak Report by Su Reed

12 May 2012
In the weak sunshine (12.4 °C), a small collection of butterflies showed on the outskirts of Old Shoreham, including a few Small Whites and a few Large Whites, aGreen-veined White, only my second Holly Blue of the year, a pristine Peacock and a Speckled Wood. My first Odonata of the year, a Large Red Damselfly showed amongst the Stinging Nettles in the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road.
Six butterfly species
11 May 2012
Too cool (13.9 °C) for butterflies and too breezy (Force 4 from the north) to photograph flowers close-up, the rain of the past few days had nevertheless stopped in a white fluffy Cumulus blue and white sky. Nevertheless a Small White fluttered over the cyclepath just south of the Cement Works, a Peacock Butterfly fluttered over Anchor Bottom, the first male Orange-tip of the day fluttered around the back of the gardens of the houses in Dacre Gardens (Upper Beeding), and a tattered Small Tortoiseshellwas spotted over the Wild Carrot and Stinging Nettles between the South Downs Way Bridge and Botolphs. Near the end of the afternoon, the weak sun shined and a few more butterflies made an appearance notably a Large White at Botolphs and another one the junction to Applesham Farm on the Coombes Road, and  two male Orange-tips and a Speckled Wood over the east verge of the Coombes Road by Ladywells.
Six species
I headed to Mill Hill to do my butterfly transect. The Adonis Blue made his appearance for the first time this year. I also saw a Green HairstreakPeacocksSmall Whites and Small Coppers mating, Dingy Skippers all over the bottom of the hill, a male Brimstone and Small Heaths. A flight of four Peacocks few past me as I ate my sandwich, I assume these were three males pursuing a female. The Dingy Skippers were busy chasing any butterfly that flew near their territory, including Peacocksmany times their size.

7 May 2012
A quick late afternoon dash to Mill Hill provided the first butterflies of any kind this Bank Holiday! In an hour or so we saw about 20 Dingy Skippers, 5-10 Grizzled Skippers, 1 Peacock, 3 Green Hairstreaks and two lovely fresh Wall Brown Butterflies (first of the year). Small Copper and Small Heath also seen (but not by us).
Report by Chris and Tom Corrigan on Sussex Butterfly Reports
Adur Butterflies: First Dates
30 April 2012
A bright turquoise-blue sky showed in the north and east on a breezy unpromising day, but the sun and some of butterflies came out in the afternoon. I checked out the lower slopes of Mill Hill where my first of 14 Dingy Skippers flitted between the thousands of Horseshoe Vetch, Hippocrepis comosaflowers. The small day-flying pyralidmoth Pyrausta nigrata flitted occasionally between the Horseshoe Vetch. I also spotted by first Small Heath Butterfly of 2012. At the top of the Mill Hill around theAlexanders on the east side of the road just north of the hedge by the house, a male Orange-tip Butterfly fluttered around without pausing. At the top of Chanctonbury Drive, I noted a Speckled Wood and a Small White. A Large White fluttered in and out of a hedge next to Erringham Road.
Six species
Adur Skippers
I did my weekly transect at Mill Hill as it was a blue sky day. There were several Green Hairstreaks at the north end of the lower slopes, plus many Dingy Skippers and some Grizzled Skippers.

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