Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Sightings of Butterflies in Suffolk - 2012

Butterfly Conservation is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of butterflies and moths.

The Branch is always grateful for butterfly records and a recording form can be downloaded from the conservation section of this website. We would be particularly grateful for records away from the coast and information on the following species: Dingy Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Silver-studded Blue, Wall Brown,
White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Grayling and Small Heath.

However we are always interested in sightings of any butterflies in any location in Suffolk.
You can email them to sightings@suffolkbutterflies.org.uk and they will appear below within a few days.

Please include the date, how many of each butterfly species seen, location with an ordnance survey grid reference if possible, and your name (if you want to).  If you would like to contribute to the annual survey please read the notes on the Recording page.

Regular recorders are urged to use the website to inform others of interesting sightings, but please do continue to send all your records to the county recorder at the end of the season as usual.

Date  Butterflies seen (and other relevant information) Location Grid Reference Name
25 Nov Male Brimstone - 1.  I was delighted and very surprised to see an immaculate male Brimstone Butterfly in my garden this morning (25th November 2012). The weather was bright but very windy. Whitby Road, Ipswich TM179455 Paul Kitchener
21 Nov Red Admiral - 1.  I am member of the Warwickshire Butterfly conservation branch.  I am just recording a sighting of a Red Admiral butterfly at Woodbrige on Novemeber 21st, (next to the abbey) around 11:30 am in poor weather! Woodbridge TM267493 Stephen Rossington
30 Oct Red Admiral - 1 Ixworth TL923696 Mike Dean
14 Oct Red Admiral - 1 Ipswich TM134428 Richard Perryman
13 Oct Large White - 2, Small White - 1, Green-veined White - 1 Felixstowe TM327366 Richard Perryman
8 Oct Red Admiral-2, Comma-1, Large White-1 Ipswich TM134428 Richard Perryman
6 Oct 5 x Small White, 1 x Large White, 1 x Comma, 2 x Red Admiral, 5 x Small Tortoishell on a fine warm day for the time of the year RSPB Lakenheath Fen TL718862 Ray Walker
4 Oct Red Admiral-2, Comma-1, Large White-1 Ipswich TM134428 Richard Perryman
3 Oct 4 Red Admirals, 1 Small White, 1 Small Tortoishell, 4 Small Copper and a battered Common Blue Near St Edmunds Way Thetford TL845808 Sharon Hearle
1 Oct 6 commas feeding on buddleia, 3 small coppers feeding on lavendar and 2 red admirals feeding on ivy Nacton Curchyard TM217396 Robert Brown
29 Sep Comma-8 (feeding on blackberries), Small Copper-3, Red Admiral-3, Green-veined White-2, Speckled Wood-1 Minsmere TM472668 Richard Perryman
22 Sep Red Admiral (23), Comma (11), Large White (15), Small White (5), Small Copper (3), Speckled Wood (2), Painted Lady (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1). Chelmondiston/Pin Mill TM199377 Bill Stone
22 Sep Red Admiral (6), Large White (5), Small White (5), Comma (7), Holly Blue (1), Small Copper (2). Holywells Park, Ipswich TM174434 Bill Stone
18 Sep Saw today many Red Admirals (100 plus) in a lane close to my house, these were nectaring in bushes (see photo) also a couple of Comma`s Brandon TL789865 Tony Lord
15 Sep Comma (20+ mostly on Blackberry fruit), Red Admiral (5), Small Copper (10), Small White (50+, also some apparent immigration from sea), Large White (15), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Holly Blue (3), Speckled Wood (1). Bawdsey Manor TM333376 Bill Stone
14 Sep Red Admiral 50+ (nectaring on Ivy flowers on Oak trees), Large White 5, Small White 5, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Comma 2 Chelmondiston TM205372 Bill Stone
9 Sep Red Admiral (5), Painted Lady (1), Large White (5), Small White (10+), Small Copper (5), Small Heath (3), Common Blue (3), Meadow Brown (5), sadly no Walls seen here Aldeburgh Sailors Path TM438581 Bill Stone
9 Sep Comma (2), Red Admiral (10+), Painted Lady (3), Small Tortoiseshell (10+), Large White (10+), Small White (10+), Speckled Wood (3). Aldeburgh allotments TM458564 Bill Stone
8 Sep Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Comma Reydon   M Pearson
7 Sep Painted Lady Ipswich, Melton, Hadleigh   Matt Berry
4 Sep Lots of Speckled Woods pus Graylings, a Gatekeeper and a Comma Dunwich Forest TM459696 Geraldine Smith
3 Sep Red Admiral 5, Painted Lady 2, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Small White 2, Large White 2 Ipswich TM134428 Richard Perryman
2 Sep Wall (1 very tatty male), Red Admiral (25), Painted Lady (2), Large White (5), Small White (20), Green-veined White, Peacock (1), Speckled Wood (6), Comma (1), Common Blue (6m), Small Heath (3), Meadow Brown (5). Oxley Marshes, Hollesley TM368439 Bill Stone
1 Sep Red Admiral 7, Small White 5, Green-veined White 2, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Meadow Brown 2, Comma 1 Alton Water, Alton Hall Meadows TM148359 Bill Stone
31 Aug Red Admiral 9, Painted Lady 1, Large White 4, Small White 3, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 1, Comma 3 Chelmondiston TM203368 Bill Stone
31 Aug Two Red Admirals in the garden today on a vibernum at 8.30am Ipswich TM160461 Charlotte Evans
30 Aug Holly Blue (1), Common Blue (3m), Red Admiral (3), Large White (2), Green-veined White, Meadow Brown (2) and Speckled Wood (10) Holywells Park, Ipswich TM175435 Bill Stone
28 Aug Red Admiral 15, Small Tortoiseshell 2 on two Buddleia bushes Ipswich TM134428 Richard Perryman
28 Aug Large White (5), Small White (3), Peacock (1), Red Admiral (15), Meadow Brown (3), Holly Blue (2), Speckled Wood (30+ with good numbers along the canal) and Brimstone (2, along Brimstone Alley) Holywells Park, Ipswich TM175435 Bill Stone
27 Aug Large White (2), Red Admiral (11), Peacock (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Speckled Wood (12), Holly Blue (1) Holbrook Park/ Great Birch Wood TM155382 Bill Stone
23 Aug Large White (5), Green-veined White (3), Red Admiral (7), Speckled Wood (10), Holly Blue (3), Meadow Brown (5), Gatekeeper (2), Comma (2) and Peacock (1) Holywells Park, Ipswich TM175435 Bill Stone
19 Aug White Admiral (x3, are numbers increasing?), Purple Hairstreak (x2), Brimstone (x1) and really nice to see many Peacocks after such a disastrous summer. Plus all the others that would be expected at this time of year Bradfield Wood TL933575 Michael Girling
10 Aug Purple Hairstreak 6; Comma 3; Painted Lady 1; Peacock 1; Small Copper 15; Gatekeeper 50+; Meadow Brown 20; Green-veined White 3; Aldeburgh old railway path TM461586 Richard Perryman
9 Aug Wall 1 Shingle Street near allotments TM367427  
9 Aug Wall 10 Bawdsey - coastal path opposite lagoons TM357402  
8 Aug Silver-washed Fritillary 2; White Admiral 6; Purple hairstreak; Brimstone plus eight other species Bradfield Wood TL933575  
17 July Large White 2; Small White 1 Ipswich TM134428 Richard Perryman
7 Jun Painted Lady - 1 Landguard Point TM2831 Julie Hogg
7 Jun Green Hairstreak - 2, Commom Blue (Male) - 1. Sizewell Beach TM4763 Julie Hogg
5 Jun Small White.  Moths; Cinnabar Moth - 1, Drinker Moth caterpillar - 1. Hen Reedbeds SWT TM4777 Julie Hogg

There are a few fresh Small Tortoiseshells, and plenty of Red Admirals on the wing just now.  I even had a Painted Lady on my buddleia this morning.  Numbers are sadly low though.  My transect counts are certainly going to be the worst in the 13 years I have been walking it.  Probably other transect walkers and garden butterfly watchers are finding the same.  Second generation Common Blues appear to be at a very low ebb, and the Small Coppers I saw yesterday had taken such a beating in the recent localized downpours that they were very short on scales.  One of them looked almost albino - or see through, anyway.  On the positive side, Graylings and Walls are also flying, although sightings of Walls are mostly from the Shingle Street/Bawdsey stretch of the coast and the immediate inland vicinity.  Back in West Suffolk though, two seen near Sedge Fen are proof that they still have a toehold on that side of the county.  All the same, many of you engaged in the Wall survey have nothing but nil returns to file.  In the shelter of selected woodlands, Silver-washed fritillary had an excellent season, and flew for 7 weeks from 30th June until 18th August.  By 18th August, most of those seen in 3 separate woods were worn or faded.  I write in the past tense, but perhaps you know better?  After the weather disruptions we have had this year, we may yet have an Indian Summer to keep those Red Admirals on the wing until Christmas. 


In a season when everyone keeps asking me "Where have all the Butterflies gone?", it is nice to have a bit of encouraging news.  Yesterday (18 Aug) someone said "It is nice to have Peacocks on my buddleia again", and 5 minutes later, I saw a fresh male Common Blue.  Something seems to be happening at last.  So, this morning with a blue sky and a forecast of a hot day, it seemed worth checking to see whether Silver-washed Fritillaries were still flying.  I had heard from others who had seen them as late as 9th August.  As I got into the car, I noticed a fresh Small Tortoiseshell on the buddleja in my front garden - a good omen.  By 10:10, we were in the glade on the public footpath through Pakenham Wood, and we walked straight into a flurry of silver-washed Fritillaries.  There were 4 in the air, and close by, I could see 8 taking nectar at two separate clumps of knapweed.  The thistles had dried out, and the bramble blossom was over; fortunately the knapweed was plentiful and in the sun. I had hoped for one or two stragglers, so to find so many was a nice surprise.  There was a high proportion of females, but both sexes were were worn and had lost their bright orange hue.  The White Admirals seemed to be over, but there were plenty of other butterflies in the sunny glade, including fresh Peacocks.  A walk around the outside of the wood brought a sighting of one female flying low in the shade, apparently searching for violets, and two more at the end of the wood where they had found some sheltered bramble still retaining some blossom.

An interesting observation of another female back at the glade, found it moving across the still moist muddy track.  It kept settling on almost dry patches, and probing the ground with its proboscis.  Mud-puddling is often said to be an all-male preserve; with this female it was an individual pursuit, not a communal exercise.

Obviously another outing was called for in the afternoon; I went to look at 2 more SWF woods.  The first, a private wood near Stowmarket was almost as rewarding; I found at least 5 SWF flying in their favourite glade.  These were also past their best, but still had plenty of vigour.  Their bramble and thistle had also dried up, but in this case there was no knapweed alternative to be found.  Interestingly, another worn female was seen probing the almost-dry bare earth - just as at Pakenham.  It is very pleasing to find two of our SWF colonies doing so well.

Another stop at Northfield Wood found no SWF, but the consolation prize was a single White-letter Hairstreak at waist level, feeding on a thistle on the shady side of the ride.  This brought my species count to 17 for the day; not bad for a season without butterflies, although I admit that the numbers were mostly low.

I returned home to another piece of good news - Two Walls had just been seen close to Sedge Fen - the first in West Suffolk after an absence of two years.

Rob Parker.



Red Admirals on Ivy
Red Admirals on Ivy - September 2012.  Photo - Tony Lord


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