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Butterfly Sightings 2015 - BC Upper Thames Branch

First Sightings    Sightings Archive   

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

Wood Whites courting
Photo © John Lindley
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Charles James
Silver-washed Fritillary ovipositing
Photo © Steve Larkins

Latest News &
Updates - 18th February

Important New Event! Thursday 26th February 10.00am - An invitation to a Hairstreak egg search at Calvert Jubilee! Details here ...

Saturday 28th February, Bernwood Meadows - Join us for our next Brown Hairstreak egg hunt

Sunday 1st March, Work Party at Holtspur Bottom

Important New Event! Friday 6th March - Come and help one of our most threatened species - the Duke of Burgundy. Details here ...

Click here for Julia Huggins' White Admiral Reports for 2013 & 2014

Brown Hairstreak Distribution Map as at 03/12/14 (400Kb file)

~ 25th February 2015 ~

Peter Laws sent this note: "Just to say I disturbed a rather sluggish and floppy Peacock butterfly in my garden in Garsington, Oxon on 18th February. There must have been a hibernator somewhere within the structure of my park home, as I recall a flying Peacock late into last autumn. It still looked in good condition on re-emerging if the two were indeed the same individual."

~ 18th February 2015 ~

Derek Wilkins sent the following report: "Wednesday 18th February - Saw my first butterfly of the year today, just after 11am on the northern side of Alexandra Gardens in Windsor, Berks - a Small Tortoiseshell was flying briskly around despite the cool breeze and a temperature of only about 7C. It settled briefly to bask in the sunshine and looked in good condition, then flew around again before I lost sight of it amongst the shrubs. I was already enjoying the sunshine and the first butterfly made me feel even better!!"

Tony Rayner sent this news: "My first butterfly sighting of the year - a Small Tortoiseshell in our Cholsey, Oxon meadow today, February 18th."

David Fuller saw his second Red Admiral of the year whilst visiting the snowdrops at Stubbings Churchyard near Maidenhead, Berks SU846816 on 17th February.

~ 14th February 2015 ~

The following report came via Wendy Wilson: "Deborah Elliott of Chalfont St Peter sent me this unusual picture of a Peacock spotted and photographed on 12th February by her friend Annik Coatalen Heal at her home in Knotty Green, Beaconsfield, Bucks. It caught her eye as rear sections of both wings are white apart from some black lines. I wonder if anyone has seen anything similar."

Photo © Annik Coatalen Heal

Neil Holman sent the following: "Walking back home in bright early afternoon sunshine on 8th February I spotted my first butterfly of the year in Chandos Road, Buckingham, Bucks and it was a Small Tortoiseshell. What a delight so early in the season!"

~ 9th February 2015 ~

Paul Bowyer sent this news today: "The first sighting of the year for my 10K square on Sunday 8th February. A Red Admiral seen by Cliff Grove in his garden in Cippenham, Slough, Berkshire."

~ 12th January 2015 ~

Keith O'Hagen has seen his first butterfly of the year: "11th January - Just had a Peacock butterfly in my Milton Keynes garden, on the ivy. My first of 2015!"

The following sighting from Ann Barrett came via Nick Bowles: "I saw a Brimstone butterfly today 09 Jan 2015 at 11.30 am in a garden in the centre of Lower Brailes, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX155HS."

Dave Wilton sent this Brown Hairstreak update: "Our searches for Brown Hairstreak eggs have been continuing although activities were curtailed somewhat over the holiday period. Attempts to re-egg the seven remaining tetrads which have yet to produce any sightings this winter have unfortunately not yet met with any success. However, Wendy Wilson and I have managed to find eggs in a few kilometre squares which were last searched in 2009 so they have provided a useful update to our records. Furthermore, today (12th January) Steve Woolliams discovered a single egg in SP4612, to the west of Yarnton, Oxon, which provides us with our fifth completely new tetrad for this season.

Back on 14th December twelve of us met at Rushbeds Wood, Bucks where 61 eggs were found, a very welcome result considering that half of the wood-edge had been flailed as part of an on-going re-fencing project. An unusual find there was of five together on one blackthorn fork.

Brown Hairstreak eggs x 5
Rushbeds Wood, 14/12/14
Photo © Phil Penson

Our eleventh annual New Year's Day egg hunt at Otmoor, Oxon was attended by 18 participants, including a cameraman from BBC South Today (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH7fauuyPKM&feature=youtu.be). Previous years have produced two counts of more than 100 eggs there but this time we could only find 42. Still, we have had lower totals (24 in 2009 and just 19 in 2012) and there is now so much more suitable blackthorn in the compounds behind our target hedge that all is not lost! Over the past few years Otmoor has actually become one of the most reliable sites for adult Brown Hairstreak sightings, in particular along the continuation of Otmoor Lane behind the car-park.

Nick Bowles being interviewed for BBC South Today
at Otmoor on 1st January
Photo © Wendy Wilson

Two further group egg searches have now been arranged, as follows:

Saturday 7th February at Long Crendon, Bucks (10am start).
Saturday 28th February at Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (the usual 10.30am start).

For further details please go to the Events page. We would very much welcome assistance at both, so please do come if you can - no previous experience necessary! Finally, this 18-minute video clip on the life history of the Brown Hairstreak is well worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WaVzHLn_QA."

John Lindley sent the following report:
"On Monday 5th January in a garden in Lower Basildon, Berks
whilst cutting back overgrown climbers I came across a hibernating Brimstone. We stopped clearing and left it in peace. In a large shed in the same garden, 2 hibernating Peacocks and 1 Small Tortoiseshell.
In my own sheds in South Stoke, Oxon I've got 2 Peacocks, 2 Small Tortoiseshells and one Hornet (the latter wedged into an angle between 3 intersecting wooden struts).
Today 9th January, in a very brief spell of sunshine and mild 13 deg C, a butterfly on the wing in my garden around Mahonia flowers - I'm 90% certain it was a Red Admiral, it didn't look dark enough to be a Peacock."

David Fuller recorded his first butterfly of the year on 8th January: "This morning,Thursday 8th January, Alexandra found a Red Admiral caught in a spider's web which I rescued and put in the conservatory to warm up in the strong sun. When I released it it flew strongly away."

~ 8th January 2015 ~

Dave Turnbull reported the first butterfly of the year: "While on a trip 'across the border into Bucks' at about 11.30am on 5th January I saw a Red Admiral struggling in a muddy puddle. I rescued it but it was unable to maintain height as it could only flap its wings slowly as it was about 5 or 6 degrees. This was in Hockeridge woods just outside Ashley Green, Bucks."

~ Wednesday 31st December 2014 ~

Phil Shaw reported the following on 23rd December: "I was attending the Christingle service in Shutford church, north Oxfordshire on 21/12/2014 and sat in a pew next to a poem that has been placed inside the church called “Church Butterfly”. Right on cue a Peacock started fluttering around the church and flew for the whole service. Possibly a contender for last sighting of the year?"

John Lerpiniere sent the following on 21st December: "At Hosehill LNR, Theale, Berks a Small Tortoiseshell flew out across the lake 11am Saturday 20th December."

~ Friday 19th December 2014 ~

Helen Hyre writes: "Today, Friday 19th December, we had a Red Admiral in our garden in Bierton, Bucks at lunchtime. We have had a record year. Our first garden butterfly was on 11th January."

~ Thursday 18th December 2014 ~

John Lindley sent this sighting today: "Yesterday morning, 17th December, in a brief sunny spell on a very mild day, a Red Admiral on the wing around a house in Goring, Oxon. Today (even milder), when the sun came out briefly, another Red Admiral basking on a south facing wall in South Stoke, Oxon. Remarkable that they're not in full hibernation given the cool weather over the previous days."

David Fuller reports a Red Admiral in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 9th December. David also passed on two other recent sightings:
"My friend G Studd who lives in Holmer Green, Bucks has had a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly hibernating in his spare bedroom since 12/12/14.
Also, a Small Tortoiseshell on 06/12/14 in Michael Horton's garden in Buckingham, Bucks."

[Sightings for 2014 have been archived.]

  » Sightings Archive

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