In May, after seven years of research and writing, 'The Butterflies of Sussex' written by Michael Blencowe and Neil Hulme was published. Sussex is an important county for butterflies and is home to a sizeable slice of the 58 species which live in the UK. Between 2010 and 2014 volunteers took part in the Sussex Butterfly Atlas Survey. Over that five year period a dedicated army of notebook-wielding foot-soldiers roamed Sussex reporting Brimstones on their buddleia in Brighton and Silver-Washed Fritillaries on sunlit woodland footpaths in south-west Firle. From my home headquarters the whole project felt like a military operation. Maps were spread across my desk, target areas were identified and conquered squares were triumphantly crossed off. Gradually our current knowledge of our county’s butterflies became clearer.
We couldn’t have chosen a more exciting period for our survey. In a changing world, both physically and climatically, Sussex’s butterflies have had to contend with habitat loss, wet summers and warm winters. Some species have managed to adapt while others have required increased conservation efforts as their numbers fell. On top of this we’ve seen unprecedented invasions of Long-Tailed Blues and Continental Swallowtails from Europe.
‘The Butterflies of Sussex’ is packed with stunning photos and contains commentaries on all the butterflies found in our county with information on where and how to find them. There are features on identification, photography, climate and the history of butterfly recording in Sussex. There’s also a comprehensive guide to the top butterfly sites in Sussex. It’s a cracking good read!
The ‘Butterflies of Sussex’ is available to purchase at https://www.naturebureau.co.uk/bookshop/the-butterflies-of-sussex-detail