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Butterfly Sightings 2016 - BC Upper Thames Branch

First Sightings    Sightings Archive    NEW!  Submission Guidelines for Butterfly Reports

This page is for recent butterfly sightings in the BC Upper Thames Branch area, to show what's
on the wing now. Please also remember to send all your records to Jim Asher, UTB Records Officer.
The first reported sighting of each butterfly species is shown in red text.
Email your sightings


Click photo for larger image

Click photo for larger image

Click photo for larger image

Green Hairstreak
Photo © David Hastings
Photo © Mary Payne
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Richard Wheeler

Latest News &
Updates - 28th April
White-letter Hairstreak Project 2016
Peter Cuss, UTB White-letter Hairstreak Species Champion, has set up an exciting new project to try and protect the White-letter Hairstreak from further decline in the UTB region. Peter needs our help to monitor known colonies, search for new ones and plant elms resistant to dutch elm disease. Click here for more details about the project and to see how you can get involved ...

Don't miss the first field events of the season:
Sunday 8th May, Homefield Wood - for early Spring butterflies
9th, 10th & 14th May - three meetings to look for Duke of Burgundy

The Brown Hairstreak Species Champion Report for the 2015 season is now available in the Champions section - click here.

NEW! Submission Guidelines for Butterfly Reports

~ 28th April 2016 ~

Neil Holman sent this report: "I went for a walk around Pitstone Quarry, Bucks during one of the warmer interludes this afternoon (Wed 27th April) and managed to spot a Dingy Skipper but just as I was about to take the photograph he decided to fly off, never to be seen again!"

Michael Hunt reports seeing his first Orange-tips of the year in Buckingham, Bucks on 23rd April. Also seen were several Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacocks.

~ 22nd April 2016 ~

Peter Kent reported the following: "A Holly Blue visited my garden in Wantage, Oxfordshire again on 21st April 2016. It settled long enough on some ivy for me to get a photograph."

Holly Blue
Photo © Peter Kent

These sightings came from Judy and Terry Wood: "We were very pleased to see 7 species of butterfly in our Little Chalfont, Bucks garden on the 20th AprilPeacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimstone (male), 2 x Orange-tip (male and female) and our 1st Holly Blue and Green-veined White of the year. We also saw 2 Holly Blues flying around a large Holly near Flaunden Church (Hertfordshire) later in the day."

David Fuller sent this update: "Today 20/04/16 in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks: my first Holly Blue, a male. Still present: Brimstone, Peacock and male and female Orange-tip, the female is roosting on Bowle's Mauve this evening. Odney Club Cookham, Berks: this is the private club of the John Lewis partnership PRIVATE SITE and I have permission to count the butterflies there. Holly Blue male, Peacock, Brimstone male and female, Comma, Orange-tip male and a Small White."

This report came from Neil Holman: "A trip today (20th April) to Incombe Hole, Pitstone in Bucks did not produce a great quantity of butterflies in the bright sunshine but we did manage to spot two Peacocks, one Speckled Wood, one Orange-Tip, five Brimstone and a lovely Grizzled Skipper. Well worth the trip!"

Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Neil Holman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Neil Holman

Malcolm Brownsword reported the following: "This morning (20th April) Val and I visited BBOWT’s Moor Copse reserve, Berks where we saw 11 Orange-tips (all male) and three Peacocks amongst the bluebells. After lunch we did our transect at BBOWT’s Hartslock reserve, Oxon and saw our first Green Hairstreak of the season, also one Brimstone, one Peacock and one Small Tortoiseshell."

Peter Kent sent this news: "Holly Blue sighted three times in my garden in Wantage, Oxfordshire on 20th April 2016."

John Holdbrook sent this report: "Yesterday [April 19th], I saw 3 Commas, several Brimstones, a Peacock, 3 Speckled Woods, 4 male and a female Orange-tip and a Holly Blue. This was while walking on a track beside the Oxford Ring-road at Heyford Hill."

Tim Hearn sent the following: "19/04/16 - Just seen my first Holly Blue of this year fluttering round the ivy in a garden in Amersham, Bucks."

~ 18th April 2016 ~

David Hastings sent this news on 16th April: "I saw a pristine male Large White in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon this afternoon. Rather unexpected considering the recent cold & wet weather."

Large White
Photo © David Hastings

The following sighting came from Paul Bowyer: "On Wednesday 13th April I saw my first Holly Blue of the year in our back garden in Flackwell Heath, Bucks."

Mike Flemming sent this report: "My first sighting this year of a Holly Blue in my Abingdon, Oxon garden, at lunchtime on Wednesday, 13th April. Afterwards, the same afternoon, I visited Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, where several male Brimstones were on the wing and feeding at Bugle flowers. 2-3 male Orange-tips patrolling the quarry face, several Peacocks and a few Commas."

Photo © Mike Flemming

This update came from Wendy Wilson: "St Mary's churchyard in Langley, Bucks is a delightful oasis in an urban area and is always good for spring butterflies. It certainly didn't disappoint today, 13th April. A Peacock greeted me as I arrived, then as I walked past an old yew tree I disturbed a flock of seven Ring-necked Parakeets which in turn disturbed 2 Holly Blues. Also there were at least 5 Speckled Woods, 2 Commas and a Brimstone."

Speckled Wood
Photo © Wendy Wilson
Photo © Wendy Wilson

Derek Brown reported this sighting: "We had our first Holly Blue for the season in our garden at Beenham, Berks this morning (13th April)."

David Fuller sent the following news: "Today, 12th April, in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks I had a male and female Brimstone, Comma 2, Peacock 1, Small White male first of the year, both male and female Orange-tip first of the year and first time I have seen the female before the male!"

Wendy Wilson reported the following: "My heart sank as I entered the parish churchyard at Iver, Bucks on April 12th as three men from Iver Parish Council were mowing the grass. However, all was not lost; one of the men told me he had just seen 'two tiny little blue butterflies zooming round a holly tree' and a bigger butterfly which 'was a very bright yellow'. These excellent descriptions were enough for me to record 2 Holly Blues and a male Brimstone. I also saw a Small Tortoiseshell there and across the road in Swan Meadow were 2 Peacocks."

~ 7th April 2016 ~

David Fuller sent the following: "My garden in Maidenhead, Berks today, 6th April, Brimstone 1 male, Peacock 2 together chasing each other, Comma 2 chasing each other and Small Tortoiseshell 1 first of the year for me."

Graham Elcombe sent these reports: "5th April - West of Latimer, Bucks, on the footpath above the Chess Valley (995 988), 5 Peacocks, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Brimstone and (seen fleetingly, but 95% certain), 1 Comma.
3rd April - Homefield Wood (nr Marlow, Bucks), at least 5 Brimstones - two on the track, and three in the 'Meadow'."

David Hastings sent this news: "I managed a lunchtime visit to Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon today, 5th April, where I saw 3+ Brimstones, 1 male Orange-tip, 3 Commas and 4+ Peacocks. The Orange-tip was small - only about three-quarters normal size."

Photo © David Hastings
Photo © David Hastings

This report from Brian & Uli Wright came via Jim Asher: "Thought you may like to know we saw our first Orange-tip today , 4th April at HP7 9EZ Amersham, Bucks at 1340!"

~ 2nd April 2016 ~

David Fuller saw the following: "Sightings today, 2nd April, in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks: 2 male Brimstone plus a Peacock; towpath along the River Thames, Berks SU907836 5 different male Brimstone; Cores End, Bucks SU876880 male Brimstone."

The following report came from Mike Flemming: "During a visit to Dry Sandford Pit BBOWT reserve, Cothill, Oxon today (2nd April), I saw five species: Brimstone, male (several), Orange-tip, male (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Comma (~4), Peacock (~4). The Orange-tip was a surprise, flying near the entrance gate but he rapidly disappeared into shrubbery and did not re-appear. Hopefully there will be loads more soon!"

John Lindley reported the following: "A lovely spring day today, 2nd April, in the gardens and footpaths around South Stoke, Oxon yielded six species: 5 Brimstones (all male), 5 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacocks and singles of Red Admiral, Comma and Speckled Wood."

David Hastings sent this news: "In the University Parks, Oxford, Oxon today, 31st March, I saw three Brimstones and two Small Tortoiseshells."

Photo © David Hastings

Robert Norris reported the following: "The warm weather today, 31st March, brought out a few butterflies with Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone and Small White all seen at Lathbury near Newport Pagnell, Bucks."

This report came from Wendy Wilson on 30th March: "My first Orange-tip of the year flew out of the wild bit at the end of my Chalfont St Peter, Bucks garden this morning, surprisingly it was a female. I had spotted eggs and larvae on some garlic mustard there last year but never managed to find a pupa. I think it had just emerged as its flight was weak and erratic with frequent brief stops before disappearing over the fence as I went to get my camera."

Peter Kent sent this sighting: "A Brimstone flew round my garden in Wantage, Oxon several times on 25th March without settling."

Bob Tunnicliffe sent the following on 2nd April: "On March 17th Trish and I saw our first butterflies of the year: a Green-veined White (on Vinca) in our (sun-trap) front garden in Stony Stratford, Bucks and 2 Brimstones, also in Stony Stratford."

~ 26th March 2016 ~

John Holdbrook sent the following: "On Monday March 21st I saw a Small Tortoiseshell on a bank at South Hinksey, Oxon. I also saw a Brimstone at the top of Shotover Hill, Oxford on the 25th March."

Judy and Terry Wood sent this report: "The sun and warmth on the 25th March brought out the butterflies in the garden at Little Chalfont, Bucks for our 1st sightings of the year with 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 male Brimstones and 2 Commas with the latter tussling and spiralling."

Photo © Judy and Terry Wood

Peter Thompson reported the following: "On 25th March (Good Friday), the weather seemed good enough to chance my arm at an early 'Week 0' transect at Lardon Chase, Berkshire, at least partly to see if there were any management changes since last summer. While there was nothing moving actually on the transect, I saw my first Brimstone and Comma of the year, and also a Peacock, 'off transect’. There were very few nectar sources visible, just a few daisies and the odd violet, plus a clump of primroses beneath some hawthorn bushes, so I’m not surprised there was little to be seen; any sensible butterfly on the wing would have been much better off in one of the nearby gardens!"

David Gantzel sent this news: "Friday March 25th - male Brimstone in my garden in Hazlemere, Bucks."

David Fuller saw the following: "In my garden in Maidenhead, Berks today, 25th March, I had a male Brimstone, a Comma (1st of the year for me) and a Peacock (also 1st of the year for me)."

This report came from Wendy Wilson: "March 25th - I saw my first butterflies this morning, all in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks. They were: a Small Tortoiseshell and a Brimstone in my garden, two Small Tortoiseshells in the allotments, a Comma in Millennium Wood and a Peacock on wild plum blossom on Austenwood Common. March 25th is the latest date for my first butterfly sighting since 2008."

Ian Johnston visited the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes, Bucks on 25th March: "I spotted 5 x Brimstone - all males. No other species seen."

~ 24th March 2016 ~

Don Stone reports seeing a Brimstone in his garden at Lee Common, Bucks on 22nd March.

Nicholl Williams sent this news: "I haven't been able to go out spotting butterflies recently, but I saw a Brimstone flying over the roundabout outside Tesco on the Junction 3 (Loudwater, Bucks) of the M40 today, 22nd March. Looking forward to the season getting going well!"

David Fuller reported the following: "Maidenhead, Berks I had a male Brimstone in my garden in today, 22nd March. First for the year for me."

David Hastings spent half an hour in the Oxford University Parks, Oxon at lunchtime on 21st March, where he saw at least three Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock."

Michael Hunt reported the following: "On 21st March in the morning, first sightings of Brimstone and Comma here in Buckingham, Bucks."

~ 19th March 2016 ~

Bryan Williams sent this news on 17th March: "I visited the Virginia Water heather garden, just inside the Berkshire border with Surrey and saw one Comma, my first butterfly of the year, it was cool, but sunny. Also there were several queen bumblebees, Buff-tailed, White-tailed and Early bumblebees all seen."

Photo © Bryan Williams

Clare Harvey reported this sighting: "Monday 14th March - a Comma in our horse paddock near Denchworth Wantage (Oxon). Warm sunny dry day."

Malcolm Brownsword reported the following: "At 11.45 this morning (17 March) I saw my first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell, in my West Hagbourne, Oxon garden."

Nicholl Williams sent these two Bucks sightings: "The season is about to start. I saw a Small Tortoiseshell at Lane End on 14th March and then saw another one at Spade Oak Lake."

Michael Hunt had his first sighting of Small Tortoiseshell on 11th March in his garden in Buckingham, Bucks.

Mick & Wendy Campbell saw their first butterfly of the season on 11th March - a Small Tortoiseshell flying in a warm, sheltered field corner in Ibstone, Bucks.

~ 14th February 2016 ~

Richard Wheeler reported the following on 11th February: "I was driving through Banbury, Oxon at lunchtime today (11/02/16) when a Small Tortoiseshell gamely bobbed past overhead – yes, the sun was shining, but the car thermometer was reading 6.5°C!"

~ 5th February 2016 ~

Chris Carter sent the following: "I had a brief but unmistakable sighting of a male Brimstone in our garden at Alvescot, west Oxfordshire on Thursday 4th February, our first butterfly of the year. Pleasant sunshine but not overly warm at the time. The very mild winter has meant that a lot of the nectar-bearing winter shrubs that might have sustained our Brimstone have already been and gone. Crocus tommasinianus is out now in profusion but produces mainly pollen, great for bees but it's too early and there are almost none of them around either. I guess it will all work out somehow."

~ 31st January 2016 ~

David Hastings reported his first butterfly sighting of the year: "I saw a Small Tortoiseshell at my allotment in NW Abingdon, Oxon on 30th January. It was nectaring on a daisy flower. The air temperature was about 9C. I took the picture with the camera in my mobile phone."

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © David Hastings

~ 29th January 2016 ~

Pete Thompson saw his first butterfly of the year on 28th January: "After a frosty and sunny start, and before the clouds gathered, I saw a Small Tortoiseshell in my garden this afternoon (28th January) at Wyfold, S Oxfordshire."

~ 24th January 2016 ~

Derek Brown reported the following: "We saw a Small Tortoiseshell on Saturday 23rd January. However this was indoors at Berkshire Auction Rooms in Midgham and must have been disturbed from hibernation, so I guess this doesn't really count as a first sighting."

~ 13th January 2016 ~

Ched George sent this butterfly report to start the new year off: "I was sawing wood in my back garden in Radnage, Bucks on 8th January when a Peacock fluttered around me and disappeared into the tall leylandii behind me."

~ 31st December 2015 ~

Maureen Cross sent this report today: "I’ve just looked at the web to see that butterflies have been out and about and thought I would add my sighting of a female Brimstone on 28th December 2015, fluttering amongst the snowdrops and crocus in bloom in Goring, South Oxon churchyard!"

~ 29th December 2015 ~

Pete Thompson reported the following: "Two butterflies seen this afternoon (29th December) at Wyfold (South Oxon), one Peacock (in my garden) and one Red Admiral (next door). This mild weather is ridiculous!"

Dave Ferguson sent the following news on 28th December: "At mid-day today, 28th December, a Small Tortoiseshell was flying around the ivy beside our kitchen window in Beaconsfield, Bucks. What with that and a Cowslip flowering in the garden it's a crazy winter."

~ 3rd December 2015 ~

Pete Thompson reported the following: "Yesterday afternoon (2nd December) I saw a single Peacock [butterfly] in my garden in Wyfold (South Oxon), after a sunny morning it had by then clouded over and the temperature was around 13C."

[Sightings for 2015 have been archived.]

  » Sightings Archive

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