Butterflies '04

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Red Admiral - Lowestoft - ©Andrew Easton

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JUST IMAGINE............

Apatura iris
Despite being practically extinct in Suffolk one was seen flying around an Oak Tree at Herringfleet on September 29.

LARGE TORTOISESHELL Nymphalis polychloros
In the Fritton - Herringfleet district large numbers were noted late March - early April.

HIGH BROWN FRITILLARY Argynnis adippe vulgoadippe
Seen on the wing by Fritton Lake on June 28th and at Belton on July 26th.

It's hard to imagine, hey! However, as unlikely as it may seem just over 50 years ago the above extracts would have been included on this page, had the technology been around of course. Think what it must have felt like heading out to Herringfleet knowing that there was good chance of finding Purple Emperor. Must have been a real buzz!!! The grim reality is they are gone! Not just from Herringfleet but the whole of Suffolk. In the case of Large Tortoiseshell.... well they've been lost from Britain. Yet around 50 years ago, "large numbers were noted late March - early April" at Fritton/Herringfleet. Now all that remains are the faded reports in the Lowestoft Field Club bulletins from which the above were taken. However, It's not all doom and gloom though!!!

Between 1995-2000 the largest ever survey of Britain's butterflies was carried out. The results were published in "The Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland" (Jim Asher, 2001). As part of this massive project recording in Suffolk was coordinated by Richard Stewart author of "The Millennium Atlas of Suffolk Butterflies" (2001). This served as an update to Howard Mendel and Steve Piotrowski's "The Butterflies of Suffolk" which was completed in 1985, allowing results over the 15 years to be compared. Although findings indicate two species have undergone 'serious decline' (Dingy Skipper and White-letter Hairstreak), 18 have shown 'no change' while, encouragingly, 7 have shown an 'increase in range' (Stewart, 2001).

At the end of 2005 the atlas maps for Suffolk are being updated so we've added some distribution maps of the Lizard area to this page. For the purpose of submitting records to the county recorder we've included a map based on 2km tetrad squares. The right hand maps are 1km squares which will give a clearer indication of species distribution within and around the Lizard area. From a local point of view four species will be of particular interest - Essex Skipper, Brown Argus, White Admiral and Speckled Wood. All four exhibited a marked increase in range between the two Suffolk surveys, particularly Speckled Wood which was pretty much confined to the Brecks in the mid-80's. Look at them now. Brilliant!!! From 1995-2000 this species was recorded north of Lake Lothing in five tetrads clustered around Gunton/Corton. Already this year they have been recorded in five new tetrads indicating that the species continues to go from strength to strength.

All butterfly records we receive this season will be fully acknowledged when forwarded on to the county recorder. By recording and submitting our Lizard Land butterfly records, we'll all be contributing to the database of the Suffolk Biological Records Centre, and onwards to the national records maintained by butterfly Conservation and the National Biological Network. These are collated and made available for research, conservation, education and environmental planning purposes. Maybe, just maybe the results will help prevent other species going the same way as Purple Emperor in our area.

We hope the addition of the maps will increase the interest of this page. If it's not too much trouble please could you send in reports with 6 figure OS grid references, this is important for submitting reports to the recorder and updating maps. Thanks to all those who contribute sightings.

LARGE SKIPPER Ochlodes venata

Large Sipper ©Andrew Easton

Beccles Common - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Several noted on the weekend of the 26th-27th around the marshes between Beccles and Oulton Broad as well as Henstead.

First recorded at Marsh Lane, Flixton on May 27. There were no further sightings until June 22 when two appeared in a Henstead garden. On the final weekend of June several were recorded at various sites between Beccles Common and Castle Marsh but numbers remain surprisingly low into the start of July. Due mainly to bad weather.

June / July 2004 will be remembered as being very overcast and wet so maybe we are seeing (or not seeing as is the case) the result of a poor breeding season last year.

Early July is the peak flight period for Large Skippers. The highest number recorded at any one site so far was 7 feeding on brambles at Flixton Decoy on July 1.

Flixton (Marsh Lane) - May 27th (1).
Henstead - June 22nd (2).

SMALL SKIPPER Thymelicus sylvestris

Lound  ©Andrew Easton

Lound - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

By early July we should be coming into the peak flight period (July-early August) for this species. So far we've only received 3 records which is not a reflection of observer coverage merely that there aren't any around. Once again poor weather seems the likely culprit.

First recorded at North Quay Retail Park, Lowestoft on June 23rd. Then at Carlton Marshes on June 26th.

ESSEX SKIPPER Thymelicus lineola

Mutford - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

First recorded at Fritton on July 5th. On July 9th there was a synchronized emergence of Small and Essex Skippers at Herringfleet Hills. Amongst 25-30 Small at least 6 Essex were present.

BRIMSTONE Gonepteryx rhamni

Brimstone ©Derek Beamish
Corton - September 2005 - ©Derek Beamish

Burgh Castle - 17th (1).
Hopton - March 18th (1).
Gapton Marshes, Bradwell - March 18th (2).
Mutford - April 3rd (1), 29th (1).
Flixton Decoy - April 3rd (1).
Browston - May 1st (1).
Henstead - May 15th (1).
Hopton Holiday Village - June 22nd (1).
Corton new sewage works - September 4th (2).

The slopes around Corton new sewage works and the disused railtrack have been the best site in recent years for this species which is always scarce in this part of Suffolk.





LARGE WHITE Pieris brassicae

Large White ©Andrew Easton

Belton - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Kessingland - April 30th (1).
Burgh Castle - May 1st (1).
- May 26th, noted arriving in off the sea throughout the day.
North Quay Retail Park - May 25th (3).
Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track
- May 25th (1).
- May 28th (1).

On July 17th a considerable immigration was noted at Gunton Warren; and on the same date between 11:00-14:00 a steady NW movement of Large (and Small) Whites was noted at Benacre Broad. Much increased numbers of this species and Small White were also noted inland at Fritton and Herringfleet, and many wer passing over at quite a height as well.

Continuing immigration of large numbers of Large Whites was noted at Hopton on July 18th and 19th.

Corton - October 16th (2).
Gunton - October 22nd (2).



SMALL WHITE Pieris napi

Small White  - ©Andrew Easton
Small White - Kirkley - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track - March 18th (1), April 12th (2), 27th (6).
Hopton (Warren Lane) - April 16th (1).
Henstead - April 21st (1), 29th (5+), May 15th (1), 21st (1), October 4th (1).
Mutford - April 29th.
Burgh Castle - May 1st (12+).
Gorleston (James Paget Hospital) - May 1st (1).
Carlton Marshes - May 25th (3).

On July 17th this species was present throughout the area in much increased numbers.





ORANGE-TIP Anthocharis cardamines

Orange-tip ©Andrew Easton

Male - Lound water works - May 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Castle Marshes, North Cove - April 22nd (5), May 29th (2), June 2nd (1).
- April 29th (2), May 5th (1), 6th (2), 11th (2), 15th (3+), 19th (1), 21st (2+), 25th (3), 27th (4), June 2nd (2+), 7th (1 - latest ever at this site in 20 years was June 8th).
Kessingland sewage works
- April 27th (2).
Corton disused railway track
- April 30th (1), June 12th (female).
St. Olaves - April 30th (2), May 8th (4), 15th (4+), June 3rd (1).
Carlton Marshes
- May 1st (8), 9th (7).
Lound water works -
May 2nd (1), 8th (1), 15th (3+), 30th (1).
Waveney Forest - May 2nd (3).
Fisher Row
- May 5th (4).
Oulton Broad
- May 9th (3).
- May 22nd (2).
North Cove - May 22nd (2).
Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track - May 15th (2), 25th (2).
Lowestoft (York Road) - May 25th (1).
Gunton Woods - May 30th (1).
Lowestoft (Kirkley Cemetery) - May 30th (1).
Gisleham - June 3rd.

Late Orange-tips were on the wing at Rackham's Corner along the A12 on the 19th and Henstead on the 20th (both males).

Thanks to everyone who sent in reports of this species at short notice.


Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track - April 12th (1), 27th (4), May 25th (3).
- April 23rd (1), May 2nd (2), 3rd (2+), 11th (3+), 15th (4+), 21st (3+), June 7th (1).
Mutford - April 29th.
Gorleston (James Paget Hospital) - May 1st (1).
Fisher Row - May 5th (3).
Gunton Hall - May 8th (1).
Blundeston Marshes - May 8th (3).
North Cove
- May 22nd (1).
Waveney Forest
- May 30th.

Mutford Wood - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

GREEN HAIRSTREAK Callophrys rubi

Green Hairstreak ©Andrew Easton

Beccles Common - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Two seen at Beccles Common on June 26th were at the later end of the flight period which sometimes extends into early July (peaks from May-June). Both were seen feeding on brambles in an area of gorse at TM 435 909 parallel to the A146. This is the only traditional site in the area.

Singles were noted at Gunton in recent years but despite searching a colony has yet to be discovered so these sightings could relate to wandering individuals although the habitat is suitable.

A small colony has recently been lost in the heart of Lowestoft. There have been no sightings at North Quay Retail Park since May 9th, 2003 when 3 were around gorse opposite the Lowestoft Cemetery south gate. Up until then they had been recorded annually since 2000. Like the Common Blue colony there have never been large numbers, with 5 being the maximum.

The best site used to be the wasteland opposite the cemetery before industrial units were built, greatly reducing the area, but it was also not uncommon to see them on the corner of the Peto Way roundabout where there was a great little area of acidic wasteland at the SE edge of Barnard's Meadow. Unfortunately this has also now been built on. The railway embankments between the Retail Park and Oulton Broad look to have potential so we hope they are clinging on.

As with most Hairstreaks they are surely overlooked.

Thanks to Michael Bellwood for supplying information on the North Quay colony.

Green spots on the tetrad map represent records during the Millennium Survey (1995-2000). The Gunton and North Quay Retail Park, Lowestoft records are new tetrads post-Millennium Survey and are indicated in blue although as mentioned above it seems unlikely they are still present at the Lowestoft site.

Previous recent 1km records:
1. Belton Common - June 1996.
2. Gunton disused railtrack
- May 2004 & Gunton Warren - May 2003.
3. North Quay Retail Park - 2000-2003.

PURPLE HAIRSTREAK Quercusia quercus

Purple Hairstreak  - ©Andrew Easton

First seen at Gunton near Tesco's superstore on July 15th.

Also noted in Corton Woods on August 25th and in Gunton Woods on the 26th.

Benacre Woods - August 12th (2).





Lound Waterworks - July 2002 - ©Andrew Easton


Haddiscoe - July 2003 - ©Chris Allen

The individual pictured was photographed just outside our area in July 18th, 2003 serving as a reminder that this attractive, but unobtrusive, species may still be surviving somewhere near Lowestoft. A reasonable number of Elms are still to be found in the Gunton area, where the species has been recorded in late 1970's / early 1980's.

Keep an eye on brambles close to elms.

On July 29th confirmation that this species is still indeed lurking in the Gunton area came in the form of one found and videod on Ragwort flowers on the North Denes camp site by Links Road.

SMALL COPPER Lycaena phlaeas

Small Copper ©Andrew Easton

Herringfleet - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Carlton Marshes - May 29th (1).
Waveney Forest
- May 30th.
Belton Common - June 8th.
Lowestoft Railtrack - June 14th.
Herringfleet Hills - July 18th.
Gunton - July 19th.

Lound water works - Juy 20th (15).
Henstead - September 28th (1).

Gunton Beach - October 1st (2).



BROWN ARGUS Aricia agestis

Brown Argus ©Andrew Easton

Two worn individuals were noted at Belton Common on June 11th. Belton Common (Howard's Common OS TG473 023) has long been a stronghold for the species in our area. During the 1995-2000 survey Brown Argus were widespread throughout the Lizard area. Another good site was Bloodmans Corner, Lound water works. Elsewhere they were recorded from numerous sites in lesser numbers.

In recent years they have become scarcer so it will be interesting to see where they turn up in 2005. At Corton new sewage works on June 19th, some female Common Blues were doing there best to look like Brown Argus but on each occasion a spot just above the head on the forewing was present. The picture to the left shows the absence of this spot which is a key i.d. feature.

Three newly emerged individuals were at Lound water works on July 20th along with several Small Coppers.

Belton Common - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

COMMON BLUE Polyommatus icarus

Common Blue ©Andrew Easton

Corton - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

First recorded at North North Quay Retail Park -on May 25th (1).

Also noted at the following sites Waveney Forest, Lowestoft disused railtrack, Corton sewage works, Belle Vue Park, Beccles Common.

Recorded for the first time in Sparrow's Nest Gardens where a small colony seems to have established on the slope near the bowling green.


HOLLY BLUE Celastrina argiolu

Holly Blue ©Andrew Easton

Lound water works - May 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Castle Marshes, North Cove
- April 22nd (5), May 29th (2), June 2nd (1).
- April 29th (2), May 5th (1), 6th (2), 11th (2), 15th (3+), 19th (1), 21st (2+), 25th (3), 27th (4), June 2nd (2+), 7th (1, spring brood virtually finished).
Kessingland sewage works
- April 27th (2).
Corton disused railway track
- April 30th (1).
St. Olaves - April 30th (2), May 8th (4), 15th (4+), June 3rd (1).
Carlton Marshes
- May 1st (8), 9th (7).
Lound water works -
May 2nd (1), 8th (1), 15th (3+), 30th (1).
Waveney Forest - May 2nd (3).
Fisher Row
- May 5th (4).
Oulton Broad
- May 9th (3).
- May 22nd (2).
North Cove - May 22nd (2).
Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track - May 15th (2), 25th (2).
Lowestoft (York Road) - May 25th (1).
Gunton Woods - May 30th (1).
Lowestoft (Kirkley Cemetery) - May 30th (1).
Gisleham - June 3rd.

It's been a very good year for this species so far. Also recorded at Back Lane, Burgh Castle, Hopton Holiday Village, Gisleham, Barnby, Beccles Common.

CLOUDED YELLOW Colias crocea

Clouded Yellow ©Robert Wilton

One flew south past the Jubilee Way petrol station, near the High Street in north Lowestoft, on August 26th.




Corton new sewage works - August 2002 - ©Robert Wilton

RED ADMIRAL Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral ©Andrew Easton

Beccles Common - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Kessingland - March 16th (1), May 27th (1), June 9th (1).
Henstead - June 2nd (1), September 13th (11), October 3rd (4), 16th (4).
Gisleham - June 3rd.
Hopton Holiday Village - September 7th (22).

Lots appeared on the last weekend in June, then numbers tailed off again.

Late Augut and early September then saw another peak.

Corton disused railtrack - October 1st (2).
Kessingland - October 2nd (2).
Corton Woods - October 9th, 16th.

Ness Point - October 22nd (3 heading south westwards).
Gunton Warren - November 5th (2 heading south westwards, apparently migrants in off the sea).
Lowestoft North Denes - November 7th (One heading westwards).

Corton Church - November 8th (3).

WHITE ADMIRAL Limenitis camilla

White Admiral ©Andrew Easton

Mutford Wood - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

These are brilliant butterflies! Five were in the south-west corner of the Forest on June 29th. One was seen briefly at the same location on July 3rd.

Three were seen at North Cove on July 1 with a further 1 at a nearby private site.

Other sites where they have been recorded in recent years include Belton Common, Fritton Lake, Herringfleet and one or two sites in the North Cove area.

Several sites look very good for the species along the Waveney Valley so we hope more sites will be discovered this month.

On July 10th 11 were seen at Mutford Wood. They were along the southern edge of the wood feeding low on Brambles. One was flying around our feet for a couple of minutes before getting a whiff of our feet and promptly heading of into the canopy!!!

Two were almost certainly seen at Flixton Decoy on July 10th. A follow up visit then produced two definite ones at a slightly different spot at the same site on the 13th.

PAINTED LADY Cynthia cardui

Painted Lady - July 2003 - ©Andrew Easton
Lowestoft - July 2003 - ©Andrew Easton

Mutford - May 11th.
Kessingland - May 27th (1), October 2nd (1).
Flixton (Marsh Lane) - May 27th (12).
- May 28th (1).
Lowestoft North Denes - June 13th (1).
Kirkley Fen - September 4th (1).
Henstead - September 25th (1), October 15th(1), 16th (1), 20th (1).

Very few records so far this year. Presumably the long lasting drought in Iberia and North Africa has killed off the vegetation the earlier broods would feed off before spreading northwards into the rest of Europe.

Gunton Warren - November 5th (one fresh individual).




Small Tortoiseshell - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Breydon South Wall - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

The pleasant spring temperatures enjoyed during March 16th - 18th lured many butterflies out of hibernation including a Small Tortoiseshell at Henstead.

- March 15th (1) awoke from hibernation, but did not actively fly until 16th, 23rd (1), 31st (1); April 2nd (3-4), 5th (1), 21st (2), May 15th (1), 21st (1), 27th (1).
- March 16th (1).
- March 18th (several), 23rd (2).
Flixton - March 18th (several).
Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track - March 18th (12), April 12th (8), 27th (3).
Gunton - 31st (1).
Lowestoft (Hervey Street) - April 1st (3).
Breydon south wall - April 2nd (7).
Carlton Marshes - April 3rd (7), 9th (2).
Hopton - April 3rd (8), 16th (1).

Seen at many locations at the end of June / early July.

Corton Church - November 8th (1).

PEACOCK Inachis io

Flixton - March 18th (2).
Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track
- March 18th (1), April 12th (2).
Henstead - March 23rd (1), 31st (1); April 2nd (2), 10th (3), 16th (1), 17th (2), 21st (3), May 3rd (1), 15th (1), 21st (1), 27th (1), June 2nd (1), 7th (1).
Breydon south wall
- April 2nd (1), 16th (2), May 22nd (1).
Carlton Marshes
- April 3rd (4), May 15th (1), 29th (1).
Mutford - April 3rd (1).
Hopton (Warren Lane) - April 16th (1).

This year can only be decribed as dire for this species.

COMMA Polygonia c-album

Comma ©Andrew Easton

Corton - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

Kessingland - March 18th.
Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track
- March 18th (6), April 12th (3), 27th (1).
Corton Woods - March 23rd (1), October 9th (1).
Henstead - March 23rd (1), April 16th (1), October 3rd (2), 16th (2).
Gunton - March 31st (3+), October 22nd (1).
Carlton Marshes
- April 3rd (1).
Hopton - April 3rd (1), 12th (1).
Corton disused railway track - April 30th (1), May 2nd (1), October 16th (1).
Benacre - October 2nd.

Many on the wing from the second week of July.

SPECKLED WOOD Pararge aegeria

Speckled Wood ©Andrew Easton

Hopton (Warren Lane) - April 16th (1).
Kessingland sewage works - April 22nd (1), 23rd (2), 24th (1), 30th (2).
Carlton Marshes - April 24th (2).
Lowestoft Cemetery/Cycle Track
- April 27th (3), May 25th (2).
Kessingland (High Path) - April 30th (2).
Henstead - May 1st (1), 3rd (2), 5th (1), 11th (2), 13th (1), 27th (1), September 27th (1).
Corton disused railway track - May 1st (1), 2nd (4).
Gorleston (James Paget Hospital) - May 1st (1).
Corton old sewage works - May 5th (7).
Fisher Row - May 5th (1).
Waveney Forest
- May 8th (2).
Blundeston Marshes - May 8th (4).
Lound water works - May 15th (1).
Waveney Forest - June 11th (2).
Herringfleet Hills - September 2nd (12).
Gunton - October 4th (2), 22nd (3).
Corton Woods - October 9th (1).

Records indicate a considerable expansion over the last 5 years. Like many butterflies the peak period when they'll be on the wing is the start of July so the 1km map should continue to fill.

Gapton Marshes - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

WALL BROWN Lasiommata megera

Wall Brown ©Andrew Easton

Herringfleet - May 22nd (2).
Carlton Marshes
- May 28th (3), 29th (7).
Waveney Forest - June 11th (1).

Carlton Marshes - May 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

SMALL HEATH Coenonympha pamphilus

Small Heath ©Andrew Easton

Breydon South Wall - May 22nd (1).
Belton Common - June 8th.
Kessingland - August 20th.
Herringfleet Hills - September 2nd (2).
Gunton Warren - October 9th (1).

Breydon South Wall - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

GRAYLING Hipparchia semele

Grayling ©Andrew Easton

Noted in August at Kessingland Beach and at the south end of Benace Pits.




Benacre Pits - August 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

MEADOW BROWN Maniola jurtina

Meadow Brown ©Andrew Easton

First recorded along Lake Lothing on June 14th (1). By the second week of July fairly widespread and common in places.

Henstead - June 23rd (4).




Breydon South Wall - June 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

GATEKEEPER Pyronia tithonus

Gatekeeper ©Andrew Easton

Mutford - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

First recorded at Hopton on July 5th. Appeared in low numbers in the second weekend of July.





RINGLET Aphantopus hyperantus

©Andrew Easton

Flixton - July 2005 - ©Andrew Easton

First recorded at Carlton Marshes on June 23rd. The at Henstead on June 27th.

Out in good numbers at Mutford Big Wood on July 10th.