Tuesday 13 September 2022

The Third Brood.

 The 3rd brood for the Wall Brown started this year on the 24th August, the earliest start of this brood that I am aware of in Sussex.

I noticed at the start of this week that some were already looking past their best so I decided to walk my 4 mile survey circuit to do a count. In past years I have only done a 3rd brood count once, but with it being a perfect day (at least when I started the count), I was confident that I would see quite a few butterflies.

Along the top of the valley I saw good numbers and it was looking very good for an excellent count. As I reached the furthest point however, the cloud built up and many butterflies went to ground and it wasn't until I was almost at the end of the circuit that the sun came back out and the butterflies woke up. Despite this I still counted 51 Wall Brown on the circuit, all but 3 of them were males. One female was an absolute beauty and she also, unusually for this species, allowed a few photos to be taken of her. Not sitting on a nice background, but this is what this species often rests on.

Female Wall Brown.

After finishing the count I then spent some time in the area that I monitor Wall Brown larvae over the winter and I was pleased to see at least 20 more Wall Brown that also included several egg laying females. At one point I was watching one of the females deep in a tussock lay an egg and just a short while later another female came into the same tussock and laid an egg about 2 inches away from the 
first one. 

Wall Brown egg.

During the survey I was also very surprised to see a Small Blue. This species finished its 2nd brood several weeks ago so this is thought to be from a very partial 3rd brood which is certainly unusual. During the walk I actually saw 13 different species, which is pretty impressive this late in the season. This included Adonis Blue, the Small Blue, Clouded Yellow and a very fresh Speckled Wood that I was pretty sure had only just emerged.

3rd brood Small Blue.

I also saw what could well be my final Lace Border of the year. This year I think I have seen a minimum of 52 individuals of these extreme rarities from the 2 Sussex sites. 

At the end of last week I managed to photograph a Clouded Yellow in my local meadow, a species I haven't photographed for about 3 years. In the heat of the day they just never settle so a cloudy cooler day helped no end.

Clouded Yellow.

On Sunday a visit to an old favourite Dragonfly haunt produced several Willow Emerald and a female Migrant Hawker. Other delights in the past few days have been a Weasel and Stoat and a probable Honey Buzzard along with thousands of hirundines as they prepare to migrate back to Africa.

Female Willow Emerald

Female Migrant Hawker.


  1. Hola Bob. Espectaculares fotos. Saludos

  2. Really interesting to read about your third broods of Wall Browns and Small Blues. I didn't know that either species had three broods in the UK.
    It sounds as though you have had a lot of interesting sightings recently.

    1. Hi Nick. The Small Blue is almost certainly my first ever 3rd brood of that species, but the Wall Brown has always produced a 3rd brood of some type. When I first started studying the species 12 years ago most years it was just a partial brood. However, in recent years the 3rd brood is nearly, and sometimes as big as the 1st brood.