| Upper Thames Branch|
Butterfly Sightings 2013 - BC Upper Thames Branch
This page is for recent
butterfly sightings in the BC Upper Thames Branch area, to show what's
BUTTERFLY SPECIES RECORDED
TO DATE – as at 09/12/13
~ Monday 9th December 2013 ~
Andy Bolton saw a Red Admiral flying and basking today across the road from Hosehill Lake Nature Reserve, Sheffield Bottom, Theale (Berks). Grid ref. SU650698 9/12/2013.
Tony Speight spotted a Brimstone flying about while out working today (9th December). "The location would generally be classed as the middle of nowhere, somewhere between Bledlow Ridge and Radnage, Bucks approx. grid reference SU777987."
~ Sunday 8th December 2013 ~
Mick Jones sent the following sighting: "We had a work party at Dancersend, Bucks today (Sunday 8th December) and during the early afternoon a pristine male Brimstone flew through the clearing where we were working. My latest butterfly sighting ever other than a Small Tortoiseshell which has just come to life in the porch of our house in Mursley (Bucks) - I am feeding it a sugar solution and planning to put it in the garage to hibernate properly."
~ Thursday 5th December 2013 ~
The following news came from Paul Bowyer today, 5th December: "I have just received a phone call from Bill Page, a Butterfly Conservation member who lives in central Oxford. He has just seen a live Clouded Yellow in his parked car. He seemed delighted and it made me smile."
Helen Hyre reports: "We had a Comma in the garden (Bierton, Bucks) at 12.30 yesterday, 30th November, basking in the sunshine. This is our latest Comma sighting ever; the next best was 17th November 2009. Some years, our latest sighting is in the middle of September".
~ Sunday 24th November 2013 ~
David Fuller sent this sighting: "I saw a Red Admiral flying about in very cold wind 7 degrees at Bourne End station in Bucks on Saturday 23rd November. Amazing - must have been disturbed!"
~ Tuesday 12th November 2013 ~
Peter Hutchins reported the following:
"Just a very quick note on a sighting earlier today, Tuesday 12th November.
A Small Tortoiseshell was seen on the wing at Fobney Island Wetland Nature
Reserve, Berks, this at 12:22 at c.SU 703 710."
~ Monday 11th November 2013 ~
Helen Hyre writes: "On Sunday 10th November I went for a local walk in the sunshine (Bierton, Bucks) hoping I would see the Vanessid which I saw on Friday, so I could ID it. It didn't oblige, but I did see a Brimstone flying round some trees."
Barry Stickland spotted a Red Admiral on 10th November (12.20pm) at Finchampstead, Berks close to the Hampshire border.
The following report from Brian Clews came via David Fuller: "My garden in Cookham, Berks – Brimstone, Mon 4th November and in a friend's garden in Bourne End, Bucks – 1 Red Admiral 7/11/13 on Mahonia."
Tony Rayner sent the following news: "I had one more sighting of the Small Copper in our meadow in Cholsey, Oxon on 4th November and it seems probable that this will prove to be the last for the year - amazingly late!"
~ Thursday 7th November 2013 ~
David Fuller reported the following: "In my garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 3rd and 4th November the Red Admiral seen a few days earlier had been joined by two others so that I had three together on our ripened black grapes so I'm hoping we get a bit of warm weather for them to stay."
David Gantzel sent this news on 5th November: "Hazlemere, Bucks: yesterday November 4th I unexpectedly disturbed a dark butterfly in the garden which flew next door without any time to identify positively. My instinct tells me it was Small Tortoiseshell. Never seen one in November though."
~ Sunday 3rd November 2013 ~
David Hastings reports finding this Comma today at Otmoor, Oxon, feeding on blackberries along the old roman road.
Peter Law sent this news today: "3rd Nov: Whilst out walking this afternoon along The Ridgeway above Letcombe Bassett, Oxon I saw a fresh looking Red Admiral. There has also been a Peacock in my Garsington, Oxon garden in the past week."
Jim Asher sent the following on 3rd November: "Thanks very much to everyone who came along to help at the Aston Upthorpe (Oxon) work party today. We made good progress, especially with the privet 'forest', and it certainly helped to have 17 people turn out. As the photo shows, sunshine (and a willing team) helps! A Red Admiral was spotted on the way out to Section 3 and a Comma on the way back - it seems that even the butterflies were enjoying the day!"
Tony Rayner sent this update: "It has happened again! Today (November 3rd) two Small Coppers in our Cholsey, Oxon meadow. We have never before seen them here in November."
~ Thursday 31st October 2013 ~
Martin Kincaid sent this news: "During a conservation work party at Kingsmead Wood, Milton Keynes (SP824338) on 30th October, we were all surprised to see this very late Clouded Yellow. It was flying along the edge of the wood but landed long enough for us to get a good view and for Harry Appleyard to get this nice photo. As you can see it was in pretty good condition. Earlier that morning we had also seen Commas and a Small Copper in the nearby Tattenhoe Park (SP833335). On Tuesday 29th October I also saw Red Admiral at two locations in Milton Keynes, Campbell Park and 2 at Willen Lake."
The following report from Dave Sneap came via Jim Asher: "On a visit to Otmoor R.S.P.B. reserve in Oxfordshire today, 30th October, whilst staying at my daughter's, I saw a Clouded Yellow butterfly."
Tony Rayner reported the following: "Another late record - 2 Small Coppers in our Cholsey (Oxon) meadow on 30th October - our latest ever sighting of this species."
~ Wednesday 30th October 2013 ~
David Gantzel sent these sightings today: "Brimstone - one male in my garden in Hazlemere, Bucks on Wednesday October 30th and Peacock - one, at College Lake Nature reserve, Bucks. Many dragonflies active as well."
Brenda Mobbs reported the following: "Just to let you know I saw a Brimstone today, 30th October, on the Brush Hill, Bucks Nature Reserve while I was counting the sheep."
Derek Brown reports that a walk down Webb's Lane in Beenham, Berks this morning (30th October) produced a couple of butterflies out in the sunshine. A Red Admiral (at SU597692) and more surprisingly a Clouded Yellow (at SU598695), the latter being Derek's first ever for the village.
~ Tuesday 29th October 2013 ~
Wendy Wilson reported the following: "This morning, 29th October, I went to our Butterfly Reserve at Holtspur Bottom near Beaconsfield, Bucks to see if it had suffered any damage in the gales, which it hadn't. While I was looking round I was amazed to see three very fresh looking Peacocks basking low down in the nettles near the entrance. In July we saw numerous Peacock caterpillars there, but had seen disappointingly few adults since then. The Peacock in the attached photo appears to have a minute micromoth on its wing, which I didn't notice when I took it. Maybe one of our moth experts can identify it. Also there was a Roesels bush cricket, another Holtspur resident."
Dennis Dell sent this sighting in today: "A bit late sending this, but a report for October 24th when it was sunny and warm. In two Aylesbury, Bucks gardens: Red Admiral feeding on rotting apple, still on the tree, and a Small Tortoiseshell in our garden flying briskly in the sun."
~ Saturday 26th October 2013 ~
David Fuller reports seeing a Red Admiral in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks on the 25th October and again on the 26th.
John Holdbrook sent this news: "Yesterday (Thursday Oct. 24th) which was warm and sunny, I went to Otmoor, Oxon and saw a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock both basking on the path and this Clouded Yellow which I followed until it settled in order to get a photo."
Brenda Mobbs reported the following: "Just thought I would let you know that last week - 17th October I saw a Brimstone on Penn Street Common and Windsor Hill, Bucks. Today (24th October) I saw a Red Admiral and a Comma in my garden in Holmer Green, Bucks.
Andy Hoskins found this Small Tortoiseshell on his kitchen table in Winslow, Bucks at 10pm on 23rd October.
David Hastings sent this news on 22nd October: "There hasn't been much to report recently, but I saw a Red Admiral in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon today. It was feeding on Choisia blossom."
~ Friday 18th October 2013 ~
Richard Wheeler reported the following: "I went for a lunchtime walk at a deserted Finemere Wood, Bucks on 17th October. The weather was warm (c.14°C) and intermittently sunny. I saw 3 Speckled Wood and 3 Brimstone (one of the latter – not the one in the attached photo unfortunately – had interesting two-tone wings, with forewings the yellow colour of a male’s and hindwings the much paler off-white of a female’s)."
Tony Rayner sent this update from Cholsey, Oxon: "I'm sure others are now seeing late butterflies in this spell of warm weather, but today (17th October) the Brown Argus was still present in our meadow as were 3 Small Coppers, a Small White, 2 Red Admirals, a male Brimstone and 2 Silver Y moths. Yesterday we had a late Large White too."
Mick & Wendy Campbell did a circular walk from Bledlow, Bucks taking in Rout's Green and Lodge Hill on 17th October: "The weather turned out to be quite warm and sunny and we recorded Small Tortoiseshell (1), Comma (4), Small White (2), Brimstone (6), Small Copper (2) and Speckled Wood (1). Back at home in Chearsley, Bucks a single Red Admiral and the following morning a Peacock which flew out from the eaves of the house where it's presumably roosting."
~ Wednesday 16th October 2013 ~
Tony Rayner reported the following: "I have seen one butterfly in our Cholsey, Oxon meadow today, 15th October, - a mint Brown Argus, easily the latest ever record for us of this species. The hint of blue on the upperside made me doubt my identification, but Richard Lewington confirms it."
~ Thursday 10th October 2013 ~
David Fuller reports seeing the following today, 10th October: "2 Speckled Wood near Maidenhead Weir (Berks) and a Red Admiral in my garden in Maidenhead."
~ Monday 7th October 2013 ~
Alan Brampton sent the following interesting sighting: "Richard Soulsby suggested that I wrote to you to record a sighting of a fresh-looking Gatekeeper at Linky Down (Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon) on Sunday 6th October. It flew, apparently up from the grass, soon after the sun had risen high enough that the steep north-facing valley was not in shade (about 10:15) and as it passed me I was expecting perhaps a Speckled Wood. However, it settled on the path in the sun and I got good views of it first through binoculars (about 10m away) and then with the naked eye at about 2m before it flew off. I saw the double white spot in the forewing "eye" very clearly and am very familiar with this species."
~ Sunday 6th October 2013 ~
Dave Wilton sent this report: "Before dawn on 4th October I was checking by torchlight a sugared fence-post in our garden at Westcott, Bucks, looking for inebriated moths, but instead found a freshly-emerged Comma next to its pupal case (seemed a bit late for a new emergence). By the time I returned with my camera later that morning the butterfly had moved on, so you'll just have to pretend that it is still there in the photo below! Today (6th October) we had welcome visits to the garden by Brimstone, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma."
Peter Law sent the following report: "Just a note to say that on Wednesday 2nd October a Brown Hairstreak was seen at Otmoor (Oxon) RSPB reserve, on brambles in the car park. This was pointed out to me by a birding friend who I was with at the time. I also saw several fresh Comma around that reserve today (6th October), a few faded Small Copper, several Small White and a worn Speckled Wood."
Andy Hoskins reports seeing a Peacock at noon today 6th October at the allotments just north of Winslow, Bucks.
Mick & Wendy Campbell went for a walk along The Ridgeway near Wantage, Oxon today, 6th October: "We did this walk last year around the same date to look for butterflies nectaring on the good quantities of flowering ivy lining the route. The weather was ideal today, about 19C and sunny. Red Admiral numbers have been disappointing this year and today we only recorded 3 (compared with 21 in 2012) but otherwise numbers were good with a total of 35 butterflies of 7 species: Red Admiral (3), Peacock (2), Small White (7), Comma (10), Speckled Wood (4), Small Tortoiseshell (6) and Brimstone (3)."
~ Thursday 3rd October 2013 ~
Tony Speight reported the following: "While working in Castlefield Wood, High Wycombe, Bucks today, 3rd October, I spotted a Painted Lady on the hillside. The first I’ve seen for months. I’ve actually seen more Clouded Yellows than Painted Ladies this year, which I think is a first me!"
Dave Wilton sent this report: "A search for Brown Hairstreak eggs yesterday (1st October) in Waddesdon, Bucks produced half a dozen near the Manor's garden centre, while another search today (2nd October) in the area around Grendon Underwood, Edgcott & Calvert, Bucks produced finds in expected spots as well as one that wasn't expected: a single egg in a roadside hedgerow at Calvert Green which is a new tetrad for the species (our third this season, joining two others found by Wendy Wilson south of Thame, Oxon). A quick look at the southern end of the Calvert Jubilee nature reserve didn't produce any further egg finds although Large White, Small Copper and Comma were active there in the dull but warm conditions. With so many developments planned in our region (HS2, housing, etc) it is important that we keep up with our critical species so if anyone feels like going out to search blackthorn for Brown Hairstreak eggs during the winter months your efforts will be much appreciated. A distribution map is now available on the website (see link above) and will be updated from time to time."
~ Monday 30th September 2013 ~
Terry and Judy Wood reported the following: "We live in North Northants and visited Waterperry gardens, Oxon (SP630 062) on Sunday, 29th September and also enjoying the flowers were 1 Red Admiral, 5 Small Tortoiseshell, over 20 Comma and 3 Small Copper (see attached photo). We also saw 1 Speckled Wood near the river."
Mick & Wendy Campbell walked into Waterperry Wood, Oxon from Hells Coppice (Bernwood Forest) on Sunday 29th September. "It was a sunny afternoon, about 19C, and along the road edge of Bernwood we spotted a female Brown Hairstreak flying and perching in an ash tree. Other species seen along the sheltered hedgeline and in Waterperry wood were Comma (6), Speckled Wood (13), Small Copper (1) and Small White (5)."
~ Saturday 28th September 2013 ~
John Lindley sent this report:
"26/09 - Still lots of Small Whites on the footpaths around
South Stoke, Oxon - I counted over 50 in 90 minutes. I also saw 5 Speckled Wood,
3 Red Admiral, 3 Comma, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 very fresh looking Meadow Brown and
1 Jersey Tiger moth. In the village of South Stoke I saw 20+ fully grown Buff Tip moth larvae feeding
in a small area of mixed hedgerow.
Dave Cleal reported the following: "On Thurs 26th September in Hitcham Park near Burnham, Bucks I had half a dozen Brimstone, a Red Admiral and a very fresh Comma. Later the same afternoon I had 2 Small Copper together along the Jubilee River opposite the disused Taplow Paper Mill."
~ Thursday 26th September 2013 ~
Mick Jones sent the following news today: "I was walking around Dancersend Reserve, Bucks for a management review on Monday 24th September and was surprised to see a Green-veined White nectaring on a Scabious flower and a single Meadow Brown flitting around the meadow area. I also saw Brimstone (6), Large White (5), Small White (2), Small Copper (2), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Peacock (1) and Speckled Wood (5)."
On Tuesday 24th September at Pitstone former quarry in Bucks, Helen Hyre writes: "I saw 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Small White, 4 Common Blue, 5 Meadow Brown (including 2 mating), 1 Peacock and 1 Small Heath. I was very surprised to see a Clouded Yellow flying at 2.25pm. At 2.40pm I watched 2 Clouded Yellows nectaring and flying. When they flew off behind me, I continued walking and after another couple of minutes another 2 Clouded Yellows flew up out of vegetation ahead of me. I watched them for a few minutes, flying and settling."
~ Wednesday 25th September 2013 ~
Dennis Dell sent this update: "24th September, Aylesbury, Bucks garden. Inevitably, the Choysia which I mentioned previously, attracts spiders, hoping to prey on the butterflies which settle on its vibrant yellow leaves. Today, I rescued a Comma, although the spider had already sunk her fangs into its victim. I thought it was a goner because, although still alive, it hardly moved after placing it on a safe leaf. Hours later it was no longer there, so maybe it did recover. Most of the Buddleias in the vicinity have gone over, so our Beijing, still in flower, becomes a magnet for the Vanessids. Today, there were as many Red Admirals and Commas as Small Tortoiseshells. Surprisingly, one very tatty Peacock also appeared, the previous having been seen during the 1st week in September. Small and Large Whites, a Brimstone, a Speckled Wood and a Hummingbird Hawk Moth were also nectaring on the Beijing. Silver Y moths were also present. Although the Beijing Buddleia is the clear favourite, the three different Aster varieties and the two ice plants are also being used. Including a Green-veined White a couple of days ago, a total of nine species have been seen this week in our tiny [70 square metres!] garden. After about 6 pm, the Vanessids like to sun themselves on the warm south-west facing wall of the house before retiring for the night. Interestingly, unlike the other species, the Whites are not bothered by lack of sunshine; they have been active during the previous two dull days."
David Gantzel sent this news: "Hazlemere, Bucks - one Small Tortoiseshell and two Large Whites still on buddleia, today September 24th."
Pat Clissold sent the following report: "I saw this female Brown Hairstreak on Sunday 22/09/2013 at the Gavray Drive Meadows site (Bicester, Oxon) at 14.30. It was warm and sunny. The grid reference is SP599219. As we are trying to save this site for butterflies it is very important to us to disseminate as widely as is possible the fact that there are many butterflies over there including Brown Hairstreaks. Please could readers also visit our Facebook page Save Gavray Wildlife Meadows For Bicester. You do not have to login or be a member to view its content. The Gavray site is in imminent danger of being built on and lost to butterflies for ever!"
Martin and Penny Wainwright sent the following: "Sunshine on 22 September brought a Red Admiral and a Brimstone to join the Speckled Woods which have been the only butterflies around in our garden at Thrupp, Oxon, for the last fortnight. A Peacock also appeared briefly from hibernation in the roofspace. The next day, cloudy weather returned and the butterflies disappeared. What to they do on their days off?"
~ Sunday 22nd September 2013 ~
Adam Hartley reported the following: "Another Clouded Yellow sighting: in Burgess Field NR, Oxon on 18th September."
Mick & Wendy Campbell saw the following in their garden in Chearsley, Bucks on 22nd September: Small Tortoiseshell (3), Red Admiral (1), Comma (1), Speckled Wood (1), Large White (2), Small White (6). Most of them were seen nectaring on the remaining few buddleia flowers, but none were on the ivy yet which is just starting to come into flower.
~ Friday 20th September 2013 ~
Tony Croft sent this news today: "Observed this morning (20th September) at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon were numerous Speckled Woods along with several Small Whites which were nectaring on a superb patch of Devil's-bit Scabious, a Small Copper and a female Brown Hairstreak still looking very beautiful."
~ Thursday 19th September 2013 ~
Dennis Dell sent the following report: "18th September, garden in Aylesbury, Bucks. I have mentioned before that everybody should have Choysia in their garden, not for its flowers, but for its striking bright yellow foliage. This is an irresistiable attraction for butterflies; they settle for long periods, soaking up the sun. Obviously, the reflection from the leaves gives them extra warmth. Today, in one of the brief spells of sunshine, a Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White and Small White settled at the same time for a few minutes."
~ Friday 6th September 2013 ~
Thanks very much to Lucy Tomkinson who reported this rare Wall Brown sighting and managed to get that all-important photograph! "I saw this butterfly out today, 5th September, at Tuckmill Meadow, BBOWT reserve, Oxfordshire (SU 2396 8994). I am pretty certain it's a Wall Brown butterfly and I have checked with my colleagues at BBOWT who also feel it is. I realise this is a very rare butterfly in this county with the last record in 2009."
Tom Stevenson sent this report: "For Ewelme Watercress Beds LNR, Oxon, today (5/9/2013) must count as a red letter day with three new butterflies for my 2013 transect surveys: Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady and Small Copper. Just in time with the forecast change in the weather."
Helen Hyre writes: "On 5th September at 5.40pm we had our first-ever sighting of a Small Heath in our garden in Bierton, Bucks."
Andy Hoskins sent this update:
"I called in at Yoesden Bank, Bucks on my way home from work last night,
Wednesday 4th September between 5.45 and 7pm. In the hedgerow above the bank
I saw a Holly Blue and Yoesden Bank itself was alive with Brown Argus (100s). I also
saw 20+ Adonis Blue males, 10+ Adonis females, 4-5 Common Blues (including one victim of
a Crab Spider not counted!), 2 very tatty Chalkhill Blues, 4 Small Heath, 9 Small White,
3 Large White and 10+ Meadow Brown.
Tim Watts sent the following news on 5th September: "Whilst birding on the summit of Quainton Hill, Bucks this week I have had 2 Painted Ladies flying fast/low over the tops."
Charlie Jackson reports that the final Clouded Yellow count at Pitstone Church End, Bucks was 4 on the 3rd September. There were none around yesterday, 4th.
Andy Hoskins sent this report: "On Tuesday 3rd September 6-6.45pm I visited Aston Rowant, Oxon. It was still and sunny 22c. I saw 10+ Brown Argus, 3 Adonis Blue (all males), 5 Common Blue males, 2 Chalkhill Blue males, 10+ Small White, 7 Meadow Brown and 3 Small Heath. No Silver-spotted Skipper were noted, though I didn't have so long to search."
~ Monday 2nd September 2013 ~
Charlie Jackson sent this news: "I came across a male Clouded Yellow at Pitstone Church End Quarry, Bucks on Sunday afternoon (1st September) which eventually settled long enough to take a few photos. Lots of Common Blues there though no Small Blues as I was hoping. Interesting to note how tiny the female Common Blues are in this second brood, often about half the size of the males. The females in the 1st brood were much larger and bluer, often larger than the males. I returned to Pitstone Church End Quarry this afternoon, 2nd September, and found at least 2 Clouded Yellows there. I have a suspicion that there was a third individual there although I never saw more than 2 together at one time. Both looked different from the individual I saw there yesterday as that was clean whereas the butterflies I saw today had wing damage."
Mick & Wendy Campbell went to Sliding Hill, Oxon SU670-915 (next to Swyncombe Downs) on 2nd September and recorded Clouded Yellow 1 and Silver-spotted Skipper 2. Also seen were Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper, Green-veined White, Small White, Brimstone and Speckled Wood (in the nearby wood).
The following report came from Steve & Gill Holliday: "1st September - At least 4 Clouded Yellows at Balscote Quarry, a small nature reserve in North Oxfordshire, owned and managed by Banbury Ornithological Society, after two on 31 August. Also Small White, Large White, Common Blue and Small Tortoiseshell on site."
Jim Asher reported the following: "Today (Sunday 1 Sept) I saw two Clouded Yellows - one near Drayton, Oxon (south of Abingdon - SU4793) in the late morning, and one at Carswell Marsh, Oxon (east of Faringdon - SU3298) this afternoon. Numbers of most other species were down, apart from the Whites. Perhaps the cool night and the fresher breezy conditions today deterred butterflies from flying. The forecast is to warm up again this week, so I expect that there may be a few more Clouded Yellow sightings."
Michael Robinson sent the following: "Today (1st September), there were at least 2 Clouded Yellow at SU745937 near Ibstone, Bucks. Also seen was a Gatekeeper in the woods north-west of Ibstone Common and a Small Copper on the north side of the common."
Mark Griffiths reported this unusual event: "Visiting Woodstock, Oxon on Saturday (31st August) we were having lunch when a black and white butterfly, vaguely like a White Admiral, appeared flying around the flower baskets. We saw it a few times, flying up and down the street, including when it was flying around the roof of the Town Hall. Clearly an exotic it must be an escapee from the Blenheim Palace butterfly house. Although I didn't get a close view, when we were about 10 feet away I was able to make a tentative identification. I've been in contact with Blenheim and they have supplied me with a list of species they have. After consultation with my wife (who has better eyesight!) we believe it was a male Blue Diadem butterfly, Hypolimnas misippus."
The following came from David Fuller: "Yesterday (31st August) at a friend's house in Woodcote, Oxon I had 8 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies together on one large Buddleia bush, the most that I have seen in a long time!"
David Hastings reported these sightings: "I had a very successful trip to Aston Rowant, Oxon on Aug 31st. Meadow Browns, Small Heaths and Common Blues were numerous on both north & south parts of the reserve. On the north side I saw around thirty Chalkhill Blues (most were pretty worn), 17 Adonis Blues (16 were males, and all were quite fresh), 24 Silver-spotted Skippers (16 females) and sixteen Clouded Yellows. Some of the Clouded Yellows stopped to take nectar. Other items of note were a very worn Essex Skipper and a number of very small Brown Arguses (about half normal size). On the south side there was one Chalkhill Blue, four Silver-spotted Skippers and one Clouded Yellow. I recorded 16 species altogether, which is quite respectable for the end of August!"
Chris Bottrell reported the following:
"Saturday 31st August: Late morning during a circuit of Otmoor,
Oxon in the company of Jackie Newcombe, a pair of Clouded Yellow gamboling across the bridleway
leading West out of Oddington. Then early afternoon a further singleton at the bottom of Long Meadow, near
the Spinney. Between these sightings along the Roman Road in the Ash a reasonable condition female
Brown Hairstreak and a worn male. Also in the lower vegetation Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillars
feeding on willowherb and a fleeting glimpse of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth as it nectared on a convolvulous
Nicholl Williams paid a short visit to Strawberry Bank near Lane End, Bucks on 31st August: "I think that there were several dozen Chalkhill Blues on the bank, but now their numbers are decreasing. I also called at Yoesden Bank above Radnage Church, Bucks and there are many more Adonis Blues than last year - I saw at least 6 and didn't have to look very hard!"
Andy Hoskins sent these recent butterfly
On Tuesday 27th August, around 1pm a Clouded Yellow flew past
the window of my office in Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, Bucks. Later that
day I visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon between 5pm and 6.30pm and saw
3 Small White, 1 Common Blue and 8 Speckled Wood.
Chris Naish went to Aston Upthorpe Downs (Juniper Valley), Oxon on 31st August: "I saw around 10 Clouded Yellows – three were beyond the valley in the fields up by Lowburry Hill. I also saw a number of Speckled Woods in the wooded approach to Juniper Valley, and in the valley lots of Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Large and Small Whites and Small Heaths, some Chalkhill Blues and single examples of Peacock, Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell."
~ Friday 30th August 2013 ~
Andy Banthorpe sent the following unusual August sighting: "I had a surprise today whilst driving near Farmoor in Oxfordshire (but VC22 Berks) today 30/08/13 as I had a male Orange-tip fly across the road in front of my van. It was by the B4044 Eynsham road in grid square SP4506. I'm aware that there have been a handful of 2nd generation Orange-tip records in the home counties this year."
This report from Roy Alliss came via Jim Asher today,
"Not sure how common the Clouded Yellow is but this is the first I have seen. It was flying along
the edge of a field of rape before landing on the leaf of a thistle in Shurlock Row,
Berks SU 828740."
Paul Lacey sent the following: "I saw a Small Copper yesterday, 28th August, when it alighted on the window of my bus which was waiting at the Garrison Church stop on Arborfield Garrison, Berks. It's a new species for me. It stayed until the bus went off."
Marc Botham reported the following: "I don’t send messages about butterflies usually but thought I’d get in on the Clouded Yellow action: there has been a single individual on my transect at little Wittenham Hill Farm, Oxon for the last 2 weeks and then today there were 4. It’s not especially good habitat so it was a welcome surprise."
Peter Law visited Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon on Wednesday afternoon, 28th August: "I went to look for second brood Adonis Blue and found 4 males in the same area as my first brood sighting on 27 June, ie half way along the hillside above the M40. Plenty of Silver-spotted Skipper and Common Blue were flying, but the most numerous species was perhaps Brown Argus. Chalkhill Blue numbers were in decline and most of the males seen were very ragged. Other species seen were many Meadow Brown, a few Small Tortoiseshell and fresh Small Copper and 3 Clouded Yellow."
This report from John Holdbrook came via Jim Asher: "I thought you might be interested that I saw this Small Blue on Monday August 26th. It was at the Eastern end Of Swyncombe Down, Oxon in a narrow strip of grassland just before the footpath enters Dean Wood to join the Ridgeway. I intend sending in some other sightings, but this seemed to be a very late Small Blue, so I thought I’d let you know. I searched but couldn’t see any more." John also reports that on Tuesday August 27th he went to Beacon Hill [Aston Rowant, Oxon]. "There were fairly large numbers of Large and Small Whites, Meadow Browns, Brown Argus, Common Blues, Silver-spotted Skippers and Chalkhill Blues [most rather tatty, but I saw one in good condition]. There were rather fewer Brimstones, Small Heaths and Small Tortoiseshells. I saw two Clouded Yellows, one lighter yellow than the other [male and female?] and either 2 male Adonis Blues or the same one twice!"
~ Tuesday 27th August 2013 ~
Nick Bowles mentioned that anyone joining this Thursday's tidy-up at Holtspur Bottom, Bucks (PLEASE come along to help if you can - see notice above) might like to look for a 'female' Chalkhill Blue that he spotted roosting on Saturday 24th August. "I pointed it out to Grahame Hawker, who had come to help clearing ragwort and as he watched with me 'she' opened her wings to reveal brown forewings and largely blue hind wings. Several others came to see this oddity but 'she' was scared away and lost to us all by a close approach before anyone else saw her with wings open. There's an image of a similar aberrant on the UK Butterflies website - see the photo by "robsol1982" dated 24-Jul-2011, third row down in the Chalkhill Blue aberrations photos."
David Hastings sent this report today:
"Seen at Radley Lakes, Oxon, 24th August: 2 Green-veined Whites,
3 Large Whites, 2 Small Whites, 4 Common Blues, 3 Small Tortoiseshells,
3 Speckled Woods and a Meadow Brown.
The following report from Anthony Cheke came via Jim Asher: "My partner Ruth Ashcroft and I saw a Clouded Yellow at Aston's Eyot, Oxon yesterday (26th August), grid ref SP 522050."
Peter Law sent these sightings today: "This afternoon (27th Aug) I visited Aston Upthorpe Downs SSSI, Oxon, prompted by a local report of 20+ Clouded Yellow there a day earlier. I counted c17-19 Clouded Yellow through the length of Juniper Valley, walking from the top downwards. Another observer I met, Mike Flemming, also saw 3 more in the eastward spur of the valley, so the numbers roughly matched that earlier report. Other species seen were plenty of Common Blue and Meadow Brown, good numbers of Chalkhill Blue and Small Heath, some Brown Argus, Gatekeeper, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock, various whites, a fresh Small Copper and a very ragged Small Skipper."
Chris Naish reported the following: "I visited Lardon Chase, Berks yesterday (26th August) with my teenage son in mid-afternoon, more for a walk than prolonged butterfly searching, however we saw a number of Adonis Blues on the slopes. The added bonus was two Clouded Yellows – I went in chase of one while my son sat and watched amused and (as you could have guessed) a second one came along and pitched by him and conveniently stayed until I returned. We also saw some Common Blues, Meadow Browns and a Speckled Wood. In a quick visit to The Holies (across the road) we saw lots more Blues, Meadow Browns and two Small Coppers. I also went to the UTB field meeting on Sunday 25th August to Bernwood, Bucks where we saw around 19-20 species after a very grey and damp start. Highlights were Brown Hairstreaks and Purple Hairstreaks."
Michael McNeill sent this news: "Today (27th August) was intended as a cycle ride round Greenham Common, West Berkshire, but a brief stop for a picnic produced a Clouded Yellow in flight. We were actually more in Crookham Common than Greenham Common, close to a large dried up pond not far from the road which runs alongside the northern edge of the Commons. Other sightings, uncounted, were good numbers of Common Blue, Whites, some Small Heath and Small Tortoiseshell, but no Graylings, usually found in this area."
Dave Ferguson says a visit to
a butterfly-filled Yoesden Bank, Bucks this afternoon (27th August)
produced 100s of mostly tatty Chalkhill Blues, 29 male and 2 female Adonis Blues, Common Blues,
4 Brown Arguses, 1 Small Copper, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacocks, Small Whites,
Large Whites, Green-veined Whites, 1 male Clouded Yellow, Meadow Browns and 2 Small Heaths.
All the male Adonis Blues were nectaring on small scabious as was the Clouded Yellow. The photos below are
of a female Adonis Blue and a blurred but different view of the Clouded Yellow.
John Ward-Smith reported the following: "My motive in visiting Crowthorne Wood, a heathland site in Berkshire, today (27th August) was to do some dragonfly survey work; fourteen species was a good count for late August. However, it also proved to be a splendid day for butterfly records. Species seen included Clouded Yellow (3), Painted Lady (1), Grayling (4), Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, plus Peacock, Speckled Wood and Large & Small White. I managed a photo of the Painted Lady, attached."
Mick & Wendy Campbell paid their second visit of the year to the Devil’s Punchbowl, Oxon today, 27th August. "It was hot and sunny and the butterflies that were present were very active. We recorded 12 species, the highlight being 7 Clouded Yellows flying up and down in the gullies. Most numerous species were Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Small Heath (50+ of each seen). Others were Brown Argus (2), Peacock (2), Small Tortoiseshell (6), Gatekeeper (1), Chalkhill Blue (5), Brimstone (1), Large White (1) and Small White (1). On returning home we checked our garden (in Chearsley, Bucks) for butterflies and counted an astonishing 62 Small Tortoiseshells - 14 sunning themselves on the wall of the house and the rest spread around the buddleias."
David Gantzel sent this news: Hazlemere, Bucks on Monday August 26th - Clouded Yellow, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells still on Buddleia.
Colin Williams visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks on the evening of the 26th August in warm and sunny conditions. The slope was full of butterflies. Highlights included 2 Small Blue, 1 Small Heath, 4 Brown Argus, 16 Small Tortoiseshell as well as a number of Chalkhill Blue.
~ Monday 26th August 2013 ~
Maureen Cross recorded 46 Adonis Blues on her transect at Lardon Chase, Berks today (26th August). "It's the most I've seen there since 2006. Please send in your Adonis sightings to this Web page or me so we can see if they are doing as well on other sites. Thanks, Maureen (Adonis Blue Species Champion)."
Kathryn Graves reported the following: "Attached is a photo of one of three Clouded Yellows that I saw today, 26th August, at Berkhampstead Field in Chesham, Bucks. Grid Reference SP 964 030. In total we saw the following species: 4 Small Copper, 17 Common Blue, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Small White, 3 Clouded Yellow, 5 Meadow Browns, 1 Gatekeeper and 1 Large White."
Geoff & Alice Brown went to Lardon Chase, Berks on 25th August: "The sun came out in the afternoon, it was about 24C, everything had dried out from the morning's rain. We saw 30+ very smart Adonis Blue, (including several on some very fresh cowpats!) a faded Chalkhill Blue, a possible Brown Argus, lots of fresh Common Blue, a single Small Copper, a single Small Heath as well as a host of Small/Large White and Meadow Brown. Fantastic late summer butterflies!"
Dinesh Patel visited Aston Rowant, Oxon on Sunday afternoon, 25th August: "Saw numerous Meadow Browns, Common Blues, dozen Chalkhill Blues, Brown Argus, Small and Large White, several Brimstones, 3 Clouded Yellow, several Small Tortoiseshell, few Small Copper, over a dozen Silver-spotted Skipper."
Chris Sandham sent the following report on Sunday 25th August: "4pm in garden and paddocks in Ickford, Bucks. Bright and sunny. Huge flush of Small Tortoiseshells on Buddleias more than 50, Peacocks 10, Large White (20) and Small Whites (14+) Red Admirals (5), Painted Lady (4), Brimstones (3), Meadow Browns (10+) Speckled Wood (2). Tortoiseshells in beautiful condition with some big specimens. Possible fast flying Clouded Yellow passing."
Dave Ferguson saw 2 Clouded Yellows today (25th August), one at Shardeloes, Bucks and the other by the Amersham by-pass, Bucks (seen while driving).
Dave Miller sent this news on 24th August: "I arrived at Aston Rowant, Oxon with my smallest son around one, as sunshine gave way to bright and very warm overcast, and we set out across the top of the hillside on the northern side, returning along the bottom. The first point of interest was a large area of rampant ragwort and marjoram just below the viewpoint - it was full of Small Tortoiseshells (with a couple of Peacocks too) and made a splendid sight. There were lots of butterflies over the whole slope, as there were on my last visit four weeks ago, but the mix had changed somewhat. Not many male Chalkhill Blues were in evidence, although there were still plenty of females, but on the other hand, Brown Argus and Common Blues were everywhere, particularly the former. There were also very healthy numbers of Silver-spotted Skippers, mostly females (with some fresh examples) and mostly on the ground rather than on flowers. One other skipper was seen - I think it was a Small one, but it was very worn, including the underside of the antennae! The first Silver-spotted Skipper I saw was crawling through the grass, curving its abdomen around periodically, but as far as I could tell not actually laying. It was only when I looked at the photos later that in the very first one there is clearly an egg next to the butterfly (see photo). The highlight of the afternoon though was coming across a fresh shining Adonis Blue, basking wide open under the bright sky. I have never seen Adonis at Aston Rowant before, despite visiting here every year since 2008 at the right sort of time of year. The contrast with the Common Blues was so clear, it is hard to imagine the two being confused. Anything else? There were plenty of Meadow Browns, but no Gatekeepers now, a sprinkling of Small Heaths and my son spotted a Small Copper on the path being stalked by a harvestman (unsuccessfully as it turned out). Finally, there were male and female Brimstones, and Small, Green-veined & Large Whites. Fifteen species in all on the slopes, and Speckled Woods along the path back to the car made it sixteen."
~ Saturday 24th August 2013 ~
Richard Wheeler visited Lardon Chase, Berks today (23/08/13): "The weather was warm (c.22°C), muggy and breezy, and I saw 15+ Adonis Blue (including a mating pair), 4 tatty Chalkhill Blue and dozens of Common Blue. Other butterflies included 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Small Heath, plenty of Meadow Browns and Whites – and yet another Clouded Yellow (busy, but not so dashy as to be unapproachable!)."
Peter Law reported the following: "At Oven Bottom SSSI, nr Blewbury, Oxon this afternoon, 23rd August, there were very many Chalkhill Blue, with roughly equal proportions of males and females. Smaller numbers of Common Blue were also present and some Small Blue at the southern margin of the site. Other species seen were Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Brown Argus and a fly-by Clouded Yellow that kept on going and disappeared as they seem to do."
Mark Griffiths and his wife visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on 23rd August: "We saw several Peacocks, one Comma and one Small Tortoiseshell, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites plus Brimstones. One faded Large Skipper, several Common Blues, Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns. One Gatekeeper and one Ringlet. A battered Silver-washed Fritillary that was grey rather than brown looked like a var Valezina. My wife managed to spot a fresh looking female Brown Hairstreak (our first) flying around a sloe. It landed and we were able to watch it laying eggs. We also saw a rather tatty one nectaring on what I think was Angelica. We also saw two moths, a Gold Spot and a Straw Dot."
Peter Cuss says he had a couple of interesting sightings on 23rd August: "First in the garden of the Rainbow pub at Henley, Oxon a Hummingbird Hawk moth and then went to the BBOWT Warburg Reserve (Bix), Oxon and found a Clouded Yellow (I had three sightings while walking along the centre path, not sure if that was three individuals or the same one flying in circles!)."
Andrew Steele visited Otmoor, Oxon in cloudy but warm conditions on 22nd August where he saw 1 Brimstone, 5 Speckled Wood, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 20+ Small Copper, 10+ Brown Argus, 20 + Common Blue, 2 Peacock, 5 Small White, 6 Large White and 20+ Green-veined White, 7 Meadow Brown and 9 Gatekeeper 3. Andrew then visited Aston Rowant, Oxon reserve where he saw 1 Clouded Yellow 1 Brimstone, 3 Speckled Wood, 10+ Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Small Copper, 6 Peacock, 7 Small White and 10+ Green-veined White, 20+ Meadow Brown, 8+ Gatekeeper, 20+ Common Blue, 50+ Chalkhill Blue, 40+ Silver-spotted Skipper, 7 Small Heath and 20+ Brown Argus.
Ewan Urquhart sent this update:
"22/8 - I returned to the Roman Road at Otmoor RSPB, Oxon
today and from 1030-1230 saw a minimum of 9 Brown Hairstreaks, at least 4 were females and 3 were
males. Unlike on Sunday they were nectaring on a variety of plants, Wild Angelica, Common Thistle and
Blackberry flowers. Also seen along the Roman Road were Comma 4, Meadow Brown 6, Peacock 1,
Red Admiral 1, Brimstone 1, Large Skipper 1, Green-veined White 1, Large White 5,
Small White 1 and Speckled Wood 3.
Mark Griffiths recorded the following at Aston Rowant, Oxon, on 22nd August: "Brown Argus seemed to be everywhere, with good numbers of Chalkhill and Common Blue. There were also a few Small Coppers. Meadow Browns were also abundant, fair numbers of Small Heath with one Speckled Wood on the wooded approach to the chalk hills. Silver-spotted Skippers also seen and two very worn and pale Small Skippers. Two Small Tortoiseshells and one Painted Lady. Fair numbers of Large White and about 8 Brimstones clustered at the foot of the hill, together with two Small Whites. The stars were Clouded Yellows. I saw a normal coloured one about 7 times, twice landed and I think although it is very mobile there was probably more than one of the normal colour form. The additional surprise was a pale yellow one which I assume would be var helice."
Andy Hoskins sent this news:
"On Tuesday 20th August I visited Aston Rowant, Oxon
between 6 and 7pm. I saw 30+ Chalkhill Blues, all ragged, 3 Brown Argus,
15 Silver-spotted Skipper, 16 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Painted Lady,
30+ Common Blues, 6 Meadow Brown, 3 Peacocks. All were at the top end of the hill,
within 150 yards or so of the viewing platform.
Chris and Pat Dennis went to Grangelands, Bucks on 20-8-2013: "There were a lot of butterflies on the wing in the lovely warm sunshine - still a lot of Chalkhill Blues and Common Blues, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Silver-spotted Skippers and a very worn White-letter Hairstreak. Strangely, we then saw a second White-letter Hairstreak on the top of Whiteleaf Cross - we've never seen them before at either of these sites!"
Malcolm Brownsword sent the following news: "On my monthly BBOWT transect at Homefield Wood, Bucks on 21 August, I saw 12 species on transect and also a Purple Emperor only about 25 metres off-transect – just past the T-junction on the main ride approximately 250 metres along the main track from the parking area. This is less than 100 metres from the pile of logs on the right hand side where I saw one a year ago. From the size, I would say it was a female. A total of 13 Silver-washed Fritillaries were seen in 6 areas of the 11 sections of the transect. Four females were seen flying from tree to tree and one of them was observed to be laying an egg about 20 cm. from the ground on moss adhering to a tree – see attached image. After several weeks of flying, the males and females were a much darker brown colour than a few weeks ago and the females looked very like the Valezina form. None could be viewed from below, so the characteristic shade of pink of this form could not be seen. Also seen were 2 Large Skippers, 57 Brimstones, 3 Large Whites, 7 Small Whites, 1 Green-veined White, 12 Common Blues, 1 Peacock, 3 Commas, 3 Gatekeepers and 11 Meadow Browns. The majority of the Brimstones were at the side of the main track and were in pristine condition."
Peter Law was in Thatcham, Berks on 20th August and saw his first ever UTB area Clouded Yellow at Monkey Marsh Lock on the Kennet and Avon canal. "With so many being reported this year I would have been disappointed not to have got one in area. Then, like buses another Clouded Yellow came along this morning, 21st August, at Toot Baldon, Oxon close to where I live. In the afternoon I made it a sighting for each of the three counties with a third Clouded Yellow on the northern slopes of Quainton Hill, Bucks."
Graham and Bridget Elcombe reported the following:
"20th August: Waterperry Gardens (near Wheatley, Oxon) - Small Tortoiseshells
were to be seen in large numbers, all looking very fresh. We saw about ten at once on a Buddleia. Also
Brimstones, Commas, Peacocks and a great many Large and Small/Green-veined Whites
plus one Clouded Yellow!
Malcolm Brownsword returned to Lardon Chase, Berks on 19 August after attending the BC meeting there on 17 August. "Species and numbers seen were comparable, but notable was the presence of 10 Brown Argus, much larger numbers of Common and Chalkhill Blues, including a good number of females, and 4 Small Coppers. On the lower slopes in an area of scrub containing plenty of marjoram, there were approaching 100 Small Tortoiseshells. In the afternoon of 20 August I visited Watlington Hill, Oxon. Walking downhill from the car park down the shaded path on the left we encountered vast numbers of Common Blues and Brown Argus – perhaps 200+ and 50 respectively. In one area there were also about 50 Brimstones and small numbers of whites. A single Painted Lady was seen here, as well as 2 Small Tortoiseshells. During cloudy periods the decrease in numbers of flying butterflies was very noticeable and within a minute of the sun shining, large numbers were again seen flying. A few hundred metres further on a single Clouded Yellow flew past at high speed. On the higher ground a few hundred metres from the car park we saw 5 Silver-spotted Skippers. The temperature had now dropped a little and they settled on the ground for significant periods. Two Small Heaths were also seen."
Nigel Parsons sent the following on 21st August: "It looks like Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock are doing well in Aylesbury, Bucks! I checked out some buddleia bushes yesterday (20th August) at the Aylesbury Vale DC’s car park in Gatehouse Road and in a matter of about 15 minutes counted 225 Small Tortoiseshell, 52 Peacock and small numbers of Red Admiral, Large and Small Whites and Brimstone. This compares with a similar check I made on the 8th August when I counted 127 Peacock, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 23 Large White and again small numbers of Red Admiral, Small White and Brimstone. A truly amazing sight."
Nicholl Williams walked down to Strawberry Bank, Bucks on 20th August: "There are plenty of Chalkhill Blues on the bank. Also before I went down there is a large Buddleia bush with all sorts of butterflies over it: there was one Silver-washed Fritillary, 4 Brimstones, 6 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Peacocks. Other butterflies seen were Small Coppers and a very small Common Blue."
Nick Bowles sent this news: "On Saturday 17th August there were at least 3 Silver-washed Fritillary at Coombe Hill, Bucks on transect. On Monday 19th August Baccombe Hill (Wendover, Bucks) had at least 7 Silver-washed Fritillary – mostly in the quarry at the foot of the slope which has 15 buddleias growing in it these days. On 20th August I visited a private site near Dancers End, Bucks and saw another 3 Silver-washed Fritillary; I also saw 2 Clouded Yellow on this private land and a fresh autumn brood Comma plus about 10 Small Copper and a very tired Large Skipper. Also at least one Clouded Yellow at Aston Clinton Ragpits along with a handful of Chalkhill Blue males, several Brown Argus (unusual at this site) and 20+ fresh Peacock."
~ Monday 19th August 2013 ~
Tim and Anna Hearn visited Aston Rowant reserve, Oxon, on Sunday 18th August: "The weather was warm and sunny. Lots of butterflies around: Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Peacock, Small, Large and Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Dark Green Fritillary, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Skipper, Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Heath and Brown Argus. We then went on to Bernwood Forest, Bucks and added Purple Hairstreak and Silver-washed Fritillary to the day's list, but there was no sign of the hoped-for Brown Hairstreak, nor any late White Admirals."
David Hastings visited Lardon Chase, Berks on 18th August: "I saw fourteen species including 30 Adonis Blues (nearly all males), at least 60 Common Blues, at least 37 Chalkhill Blues, nine Brown Argus, five Small Coppers, eight Small Tortoiseshells and two Painted Ladies. Other species seen were Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Small Heath. I also visited Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon, where I saw sixteen species. The most abundant was the Common Blue with at least 65 seen, followed by thirty Meadow Browns and about twenty Chalkhill Blues. Other species of note were a Clouded Yellow and a Silver-washed Fritillary. Other species seen were Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Gatekeeper and Small Heath."
Richard Wheeler says he spent a lovely 2 hours with his children at Ardley Quarry, Oxon on Sunday afternoon (18/8/13): "The weather was warm (c.20°C) with some cloud. The highlight was undoubtedly the dashing appearance next to the railway tracks of a Clouded Yellow (see below); this after seeing three in Dorset last week. Other butterflies included: 6 Brimstone, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Brown Argus, 1 Gatekeeper, 1 Essex Skipper, 20 Meadow Brown, 47 Common Blue, 13 Small Heath, 1 Small Copper, 14 Peacock, 1 Comma and countless Large White and Small White."
Peter Law sent this news: "18th Aug: My first Sunday morning visit in a while to Otmoor RSPB reserve, Oxon produced a total of 16 butterfly species. It is a very good year for Brown Hairstreak along the Roman Road footpath, where myself and Ewan Urquhart saw several, both male and female today that allowed very close approach. Across the reserve as a whole I also noted Large, Small and Green-veined White, Brimstone, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Purple Hairstreak, Small Copper, Brown Argus and Common Blue."
Further to Peter Law's report above, Ewan Urquhart confirms that the number of Brown Hairstreaks he recorded along the Roman Road at Otmoor RSPB on the 18th August was a very pleasing eight, all nectaring on Wild Angelica within a space of a couple of hundred yards. Ewan says that some of the males were already a bit ragged but there was also a glorious pristine female.
Tim Watts sent this update: "I saw 6 Clouded Yellow this morning, 18th August, around the base of Quainton Hill, Bucks, 4 of them in the sheep field base of East slopes and 2 in rougher field base of North slopes. Whilst birdwatching I've noticed you can spot these and id. them for certain at a fair distance using binoculars. It's possible to scan an entire large field from one vantage point and accurately record how many, in fact due to the wide vista it eliminates the chance of double counting which could happen on a long walk through the field. Also a Painted Lady in our Whitchurch (Bucks) garden today."
Dave Wilton reported the following: "A short visit to private woods near Kingswood, Bucks this morning (Sunday 18th August) found at least 15 rather battered and bruised Silver-washed Fritillaries still active whenever the sun came out, including three f. valezina females. This chocolate-coloured form is now much more widespread locally than Jeremy Thomas would have us believe. In our garden at Westcott the Small Tortoiseshell has undergone a minor population explosion over the past week. 42 of them were counted on the buddleia at lunchtime today, outnumbering Peacocks by three to one. The latter have presumably started to enter hibernation now as their numbers are reducing. A Painted Lady and several Commas are also regulars at present but Red Admirals are noticeable by their absence (I'm lucky to see one per day in the garden)."
~ Saturday 17th August 2013 ~
Maureen Cross reports on the Lardon Chase (West Berks) Field Meeting held on Saturday 17th August: "In spite of the cloudy weather and no previous reports of Adonis Blue sightings, 8 Field Trippers managed to find 18 freshly emerged males and they all posed beautifully for the cameras. With 12 other butterfly and 2 moth species seen everyone appeared very content by the time dark clouds called a halt to the morning. Butterflies were: Adonis Blue, Holly Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large, Small & Green-veined Whites, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Small Heath. Moths: Yellow Shell and Silver Y."
Wendy Wilson reports on the Field Meeting held at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on August 16th: "Eight optimists gathered in pouring rain to look for Brown Hairstreaks at Whitecross Green Wood BBOWT reserve on Friday August 16th. The rain stopped as we set off but it remained cloudy all morning and it was a while before we saw any butterflies. Two boys, Henry (12) and George (11) on their first ever UTB walk, helped us spot interesting species including muntjacs, a large toad, a cricket, a harvestman and numerous froglets. As it brightened up, butterflies started to arrive. In order of appearance they were: Small White, Ringlet, Green-veined White, Common Blue (a blue form female), Small Skipper, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Large White, Brimstone. Eventually at about midday, sadly after 3 members had left, Tony Croft spotted a perfect female Brown Hairstreak posing obligingly half way up an ash tree. We had a good view of both top and under-sides through our binoculars."
Tim Watts sent this news: "On 16th August I had my 2nd Clouded Yellow at Quainton Hills, Bucks, this time at the base of the South slopes. On 17th August I had 2, possibly 3, on the edge of Calvert Landfill, Bucks and managed to get a photo that although not very good shows how well camouflaged they are at rest."
Dave Ferguson was out walking at Stampwell Farm, Seer Green, Bucks on 17th August when a female Clouded Yellow flew past and then conveniently landed on the cut grass which is a feature of this site.
Dennis Dell sent this report: "After the sun came out I spent 45 minutes at Leaches Farm, Bucks on Friday afternoon, 16th August. Leaches Farm is part of an expanse of rare floodplain meadows belonging to BBOWT alongside the A41 to the west of Kingswood. There are several adjoining meadows and noticeboards indicate clearly which fields may be accessed and at which time of the year. Some of the meadows are mown, but very wide margins are left and the wildflower variety is impressive. In 45 minutes this afternoon in mostly sunny conditions I counted 175 butterflies: Green-veined White , Small Tortoiseshell , Brimstone , Small White , Small Copper , Common Blue , Peacock , Meadow Brown , Gatekeeper , Small Skipper , Large White , Small Heath , Brown Argus ."
Margaret Cochrane reported the following: "Today, 15th August, I saw a Clouded Yellow on my calcareous bank at Fordwells near Leafield, Oxon in SP31. I have never seen a Clouded Yellow in this area before. It flew very energetically all the way round the field, but I did get two sightings of it settled. Just like the photo by Sophie Larkins on the website. I looked at the website and was pleased to see that there had been several sightings of Clouded Yellows. There must have been a migration on this warm southerly wind."
~ Wednesday 14th August 2013 ~
Michael McNeill reported the following: "Unfortunately I shall be away for Maureen’s Adonis Blue walk on Lardon Chase, West Berkshire, on Saturday, so I decided to spend a little time there today (14th August) to see what was around. I spotted 5 male and 1 female (including a mating pair) of Adonis Blue on the lower south facing bank. Also, there were very good numbers of Common Blue and Chalkhill Blue, as well as the occasional Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Peacock and a Silver Y. I was accompanied by Sophie Larkins (aged 12) who, much to her surprise and mine, spotted a Clouded Yellow a few yards from the car park entrance. She obtained some good photographs, one of which is attached. Unfortunately I missed it!"
This news came from Dave Wilton today, 14th August: "A short visit to the Lapland Farm Meadows BBOWT Reserve on the north side of Rushbeds Wood, Bucks in warm but cloudy conditions over lunchtime today produced the expected sightings of Brown Hairstreak, with a male high in an ash by the bridge over the railway and another male and a female found low down on one of the meadow hedgerows, the latter pair tolerating a close approach with the camera. Note that sunshine is not always helpful when looking for this butterfly - in overcast conditions they are more likely to be found sitting around on nectar sources. As the meadows had been mown, most butterfly activity was confined to the edges were I found good numbers of all three Whites, Peacock, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper, as well as Essex Skipper (1), Small Copper (2), Common Blue (3), Brown Argus (2), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Comma (5), Silver-washed Fritillary (2, including one f. valezina), Speckled Wood (3), Ringlet (1) & Small Heath (1). Moths included a Yellow Shell, two patrolling Vapourers and several Silver Ys."
Colin Williams visited Bacombe Hill, Bucks today (14th August) and enjoyed a good variety and abundance of butterflies. Sightings included single Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady, 30+ Chalkhill Blue and encouraging numbers of freshly-emerged Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone."
Mick & Wendy Campbell made a short visit to Waterperry Wood, Oxon today, 14th August: "Our last visit here on 11th August produced a single Purple Emperor but in one and a half hours today we saw none so it looks as though their season has finished in this wood at least. However, even in fairly dull weather there were still plenty of butterflies about and we recorded Silver-washed Fritillary (4, 3 tatty, 1 in fair condition), Common Blue (2 fresh), Meadow Brown, Small White, Gatekeeper, Peacock, Purple Hairstreak, Large White, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Comma, Large Skipper (very worn and looking more like a Small Skipper in size), Green-veined White. Walking back to the car, along a sheltered, south-facing field edge the highlight of our outing was Clouded Yellow (3), a pristine Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell (3) and Brown Argus (2), all feeding on teasels and ragwort flowers along the hedgeline."
Mike Taylor reports: "Friday 9th August, in my garden in Newbury, Berks: 1 probable Silver-washed Fritillary (quite a dull individual, but perhaps more likely than Dark Green) - for a minute only before it flew off next door. First for the garden. Also: Peacock - approx 6, Gatekeeper - 1, Large White - 2, Brimstone - approx 6 and Silver-Y Moth - 2."
The following report from John Clough came via Jim Asher: "Just a short note to let you know that I saw a Clouded Yellow near Hambledon Lock, Berks this afternoon, 11th August (grid ref 787848). As usual, it didn't settle, but I watched it for perhaps 30 seconds, and it was unmistakeable. There were a lot of Silver-washed Fritillaries in Homefield Wood, Bucks yesterday (10th August), and I saw perhaps 50. They are mostly quite tatty now."
Dave Wilton sent this news: "An hour spent along the footpath at the bottom of the hill at Grangelands near Princes Risborough, Bucks late this morning (Monday 12th August) produced good numbers of butterflies in the intermittent sunshine, including Small Skipper, Silver-spotted Skipper (photo below), Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue (40+), Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Silver-washed Fritillary, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper & Small Heath. After lunch and by then in indifferent weather (still warm but mostly overcast and increasingly breezy) I completed the transects at Finemere Wood, Bucks where the most notable thing was the number of Silver-washed Fritillaries, with 18 counted along the main ride and three more in Finemere Meadows, mostly feeding from teasels. Additional species for the day were Large Skipper, Essex Skipper, Clouded Yellow (which kindly posed for a photo in Finemere Meadows while sheltering from the wind!), Brimstone, Purple Hairstreak, Comma, Speckled Wood & Ringlet. The Clouded Yellow was my 40th butterfly species seen in Bucks this year - perhaps I'd now better make a serious effort to find the one for which I'm supposed to be Species Champion!"
Chris Bottrell took a trip down the M40 to visit Yoesden Bank, Bucks and Aston Rowant, Oxon on Sunday 11th August. "Of note lots of Chalkhill Blues at both sites and Silver-spotted Skippers in abundance at Aston Rowant on the first slopes coming down from the car park. At Yoesden I found the 'caeruleopunctata' aberration of Small Copper, identifiable by the small row of blue marks on the topside of the hind wing. Also at Yoesden a few Silver-washed Fritillary were still hanging on but the second brood Adonis weren't out. Whilst at Aston Rowant two Clouded Yellow bowled through and despite taking chase they did not present me with a photo opportunity."
Graham Elcombe reported the following: "11th August 2013 - One Clouded Yellow seen in a field at Mixbury (Oxon). It was in mint condition, and flying weakly, suggesting that it may have been recently emerged."
~ Sunday 11th August 2013 ~
David Hastings sent these sightings today:
Mick Jones reported the following on 11th August: "We had a work party today at Dancersend, Bucks. It was really superb for butterflies despite being overcast at times - nothing new, but still lots of Silver-washed Fritillaries flying and many Common Blues and Brown Argus. The star was this little caterpillar of the Satyr Pug moth (Eupithecia satyrata), found on a Field Scabious flower."
Ched George reports seeing 2 Clouded Yellow flying on Cobstone (Turville) Hill, Bucks this afternoon.
Neil Manthorpe sent this news today: "A single Painted Lady on a neighbour's lavender was a welcome sight in addition to the plentiful Small Whites that have been good to see during the warm weather in July and August."
Colin Williams visited Grangelands, Bucks on Saturday 10th August: "I enjoyed an excellent diversity of butterflies. The highlight was a White-letter Hairstreak found and photographed nectaring on marjoram. There were also quite a few freshly-emerged Common Blues and Small Heaths with 25+ and 10 counted respectively. Other counts included 130 Chalkhill Blue and 16 Silver-spotted Skipper."
Nigel Parsons sent the following on 10th August: "Just a quick update as regards the Chalkhill Blues at Holtspur Bottom, Bucks. Today, whilst doing another session of Ragwort removal I saw at least two males and latterly a male and female, at one point flying very closely together but they did not pair up. The female looked a bit worn so may already have been mated. It was then seen nectaring on an umbellifer."
Chris Bottrell sent this report: "Spent an hour (14:30-15:30) today, Sat 10th August, just outside the village in Merton Wood, Oxon. Planted on the site of the village's old decommissioned sewage treatment works as a millennium wood by the Woodland Trust in 2001-2. This is now turning into a really nice site and delighted to find among all the expected species at least 2 Brown Hairstreak. Just goes to show, plant some Blackthorn (and possibly some Ash behind it) anywhere around here and the wildlife will move in..."
Tim Watts sent this news on 10th August: "We've had a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in our Whitchurch, Bucks garden twice in the last week, it visited on Honeysuckle, Jasmine and pink Phlox. On 8th August very pleased to see a Clouded Yellow bombing low over the top of Quainton Hill, Bucks and on the same date we also had our first garden Painted Lady on Buddleia."
Paul Bowyer reports on the field trip at Boveney, Bucks on 10th August: "Today's field event at Boveney proved a lonesome affair. A year almost to the day when I attended the canoeing on the Olympic rowing lake I saw a Clouded Yellow on the lake's shore nectaring on fleabane. Also seen were Gatekeeper, Small White, Large White, Green-veined white, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Silver-Y."
John Holdbrook went to Swyncombe Down, Oxon on Tuesday August 6th. "I saw all three common Whites (Small, Green-veined & Large), Brimstones, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Ringlets, Marbled Whites, Speckled Woods, Chalkhill Blues, Brown Argus, Peacocks, Small Coppers, Small Skippers and Silver-spotted Skippers [which I wasn’t expecting]. Also 3 moths: Silver Y, Dusky Sallow and Common Marbled Carpet. I haven’t seen such sheer numbers of butterflies for years, with the larger species flying out around me as I walked. On the 7th August I walked round Brasenose Wood, Oxon and some of the adjoining fields. I found the three Whites, Brimstones, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Speckled Woods, Peacocks, Red Admirals and nectaring on a patch of Saw-wort up to 5 Silver-washed Fritillaries and a Holly Blue all of which let me approach them quite closely."
~ Saturday 10th August 2013 ~
The following report from Beryl Skinner came via Jim Asher on 9th August: "Two Silver-washed Fritillary feeding on buddleia in our garden in Finchampstead, Berks on the 4th August - they have been back again this week when the sun has been out."
Adrian Collier sent the following report on 9th August: "Walking along the footpath from South Weston, Oxon towards Model Farm I saw a butterfly, which was more golden yellow than a Brimstone. Returning today and having a chance to look more carefully at it and checking with my butterfly book I am satisfied it was a Clouded Yellow. I reckon there were probably 5 or 6 along the path. Grid reference 976 696. Best approach is following the south westerly footpath from South Weston, turning south over the stream and continuing south rather than to the west where the right of way goes."
Mark Griffiths sent this news: "Some records from Otmoor, Oxon for 8/8/2013. About 10 Brimstones, numerous Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns. Peacocks were also out in force, plus two Red Admirals about 5 Commas and one Small Tortoiseshell. Also two Brown Argus - dark spot on the forewing and no blue I could see but a fair bit lighter and bigger than I usually see them. Didn't find any Brown Hairstreaks but did see one Clouded Yellow hurrying through."
John Stacey visited Greenham Common, Berks on Friday 9th August. "Two Clouded Yellows, plenty of Common Blues, Gatekeeper and Meadow Browns. A few Small Heaths and one Small Copper."
Chris Sandham sent this report for 8th August: "Bernwood, Bucks and meadow edges. Thurs 5pm Cloud/part sun, light breeze. An hour's walk. Silver-washed Fritillary (6) in good condition on wood edge. Meadow Browns (30+). Large Whites and Small Whites, Marbled White (1), v. active group of Common Blues F and M (7), Ringlets (5) well worn. Speckled Wood (2), Gatekeeper (9), Small Skipper (1). No sign of Purple Emperor or White Admiral. Also wonderful sighting of Fallow Stag, large antlers and with 6 Hinds."
This report came from David Fearn:
John Shaw sent this news on 8th August: "During our weekly green Thursday work party we saw a Clouded Yellow at Castlefield & Rowliff Wood High Wycombe, Bucks. A site first as far as we know!"
Rupert Perkins sent the following: "August 8th - 26 species in a day! Aston Rowant, Oxon - Silver-spotted Skipper and Chalkhill Blue in large numbers (100s) and quite a few Brown Argus (5 to 10), but sadly still few Common Blues. Painted Lady with plentiful Whites and Peacocks on the Buddleia near the reserve entrance. Bernwood Meadows, Bucks - three Brown Hairstreak, thought all to be males, sipping sap on the Ash tree in the SW corner of the first field. Also 20+ Silver-washed Fritillary and quite a few Purple Hairstreak as well as 5 Marbled White still. Great day!"
Wendy Wilson saw five male Chalkhill Blues at our Holtspur Reserve in Bucks this morning, 8th August. "Three were on the west scrape - one was quite tatty and may well have been the original one I saw on July 24 - the other two were on the left at the top of the slope up from where we park. Nice to have them back for the third year running. I spent the rest of the morning scouring the clumps of horseshoe vetch in vain for a female - as did one of the males. A couple of female Common Blues and two Brown Argus raised my hopes momentarily."
Mike Collard reported the following on 8th August: "It really has been fantastic recently; in addition to the Dark Green Fritillary a couple of weeks ago, today we have had our first ever Small Copper and Silver-washed Fritillary in our Prestwood, Bucks garden, both within an hour."
~ Wednesday 7th August 2013 ~
Neil Wood sent these sightings: "Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon today (7th August). Late morning 1 male Brown Hairstreak then a fresh female at the end of the small clearing opposite the car park. Also 1 Purple Emperor (almost landed on me) 3 White Admiral 20+ Silver-washed Fritillary, 1 Marbled White, 1 Brown Argus and 3 Purple Hairstreak. Aston Rowant, Oxon early afternoon. 1 Clouded Yellow. Hillside alive with butterflies with scores of Chalkhill Blue and many Silver-spotted Skipper."
Richard Wheeler spent an hour at Sydlings Copse, Oxon today (07/08/13) with his children: "The weather was warm and cloudy (c.20°C) and we counted: 8 Peacock, 12 Gatekeeper, 13 Brown Argus, 3 tatty Ringlet, 9 Common Blue, 7 Small/Essex Skipper (of which 3 were definitely Essex) and countless Meadow Brown and Whites (only a couple were Green-veined Whites, the rest were Large Whites and Small Whites). Plenty of moths about, including many Silver Y and a Golden Longhorn Moth (Nemophora metallica)."
Tim and Veronica Edmonds sent this report today, 7th August: "Just seen this female Silver-washed Fritillary on our buddleia - first time ever in our garden in High Wycombe, Bucks. In trying to confirm our identification we came across your Butterfly Conservation website and thought you might be interested. We've also got loads of Peacocks this year."
Peter Law reported the following: "7th August: This afternoon I visited Otmoor, Oxfordshire to look for Brown Hairstreak. After my 2012 experience of 5 weeks searching several sites for just one brief flight view, I was very pleased to find 3 Brown Hairstreak at the first attempt in 2013. These were a female and a separate fly past along the Roman Road, and a male nectaring on brambles at the eastern end of the bridleway. Amongst the many other butterflies on the wing, the numbers of fresh Brimstone and Peacock stood out. Other species seen were Large White, Small White, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, one Large Skipper and a very worn Ringlet."
Mick & Wendy Campbell visited Waterperry Wood, Oxon again today, 7th August: "The weather was mixed, varying between cloudy/cool/breezy and full sun/hot. Our main aim was to check if Purple Emperor was still on the wing. We spent several hours searching and managed to record 3 Purple Emperors two of which were females in sallow (one had very worn, thin wings and one was still in reasonable condition) and a third which we saw gliding above the oaks on the southern edge of the wood. Other notable species were one White Admiral, a Painted Lady and Silver-washed Fritillaries (an estimated 26 - very active throughout the wood and 3 of which were f. Valezina). Also seen in the wood were Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Marbled White, Red Admiral, Purple Hairstreak, Peacock, Small Copper, Common Blue, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Comma, Brown Argus, bringing our total for the day to 22 species."
Anne O'Leary sent the following report: "I spotted a Peacock yesterday, 6th August, in my garden in Marlow, Bucks SL7 3LW. Then today (7th) there were about 8 of them fluttering around the buddleia bush, but by 3.15pm when I checked the bush again, there must have been about 20 Peacocks plus two Painted Ladies and several Large Whites! They are so pretty I just wanted to report them as I read somewhere that butterflies had had a bad year. Hope it helps!"
Adam Hartley sent this news: "I had a very brief visit by a Clouded Yellow in my central Oxford garden on Saturday 3rd August though it flew off before I could get any photos. There are currently also two Holly Blues in residence."
~ Tuesday 6th August 2013 ~
The following came from David Fearn today: "Otmoor, Oxon, RSPB Roman Road 9-11.20am 16°C - Meadow Brown, Green-veined White, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Large White, Large Skipper, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Copper. Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon, 11.30am-1pm 18°C - Green-veined White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Large White, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Skipper, Brown Hairstreak. The Brown Hairstreak was seen at the top of a Blackthorn bush on rhs of main ride 40 yards before main junction (only 20 yards from where I last saw one in 2011!).
Dave Cleal sent these sightings: "Today (6th Aug) I walked along the permissive path at Copy Green on Widmere Lane, between Marlow and Lane End, Bucks. The path enters a young small plantation and along the edges of the path were lots of flowering plants especially Thyme which attracted lots of butterflies. Gatekeepers outnumbered everything else by some way (probably over a hundred) but there were several Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Large and Small/Essex Skippers & many Whites mostly Large Whites. 1 female Common Blue. I also visited Moor End in Frieth, Bucks - on the open common there was patch of yellow flowers which attracted a host of butterflies again mainly Gatekeepers & Browns, also 2 Peacock, 3 Common Blue males, several Skippers and my first Small Copper this year."
Nicholl Williams went to Strawberry Bank, Bucks on 6th August: "I went down early as I had a friend coming so I was there at 9.30am. When I passed the meadow on the left I looked at the thistles and saw masses of Silver-washed Fritillaries, 2 Small Coppers, a few Small Skippers, a couple of Brimstones, 1 Comma and 1 Peacock. This is a very good place to take photos if anyone wants to come early. The butterflies are very relaxed at this time."
Jim Asher sent this follow-up to the field trip held at Aston Rowant, Oxon on 4th August (see Richard Soulsby's report below): "I have attached a photo of the aberrant Chalkhill Blue I found at Aston Rowant on Sunday. It does not seem to match any of the pictures in Russworm although it looks like some of the unnamed aberrations on the UK Butterflies website. Also one of three Clouded Yellows I saw doing the Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon transect on Saturday morning (3rd), when I also saw three Dark Green Fritillaries ... and a baker's dozen of Chalkill Blues on a fresh dropping. Quite a weekend!"
David Gantzel visited Widmer Fields, Bucks on August 6th: "A slow walk around the main field produced 15 Meadow Brown, 2 Marbled White, 1 Large White, 7 Small White, 16 Gatekeeper, 1 Peacock, 1 Comma, 1 Large Skipper, 7 Small Skipper, 1 Speckled Wood and 7 Small Copper."
Martin Kincaid sent the following: "Myself and Sandra Kirby walked the Stonepit Field (SP844422) transect today (6th August) in Great Linford, Milton Keynes and the clear highlight was a Clouded Yellow flying strongly across the meadow. Also of note were a couple of fresh-looking Brown Argus. Other species: Large, Small and Essex Skippers; Large, Small, Green-veined Whites; Common Blue; Small Copper; Peacock; Comma; Gatekeeper; Meadow Brown."
This report came via Mary Elford on 2nd August: "I’ve just had a phone call from someone I know who lives quite close to the centre of Witney, Oxon (OX28 3JF) to say that she saw a White Admiral nectaring on globe thistle in her garden this morning. A friend of hers came round with a field guide and identified it for her."
~ Monday 5th August 2013 ~
David Hastings visited Greenham Common, Berks, on the morning of 4th August. "The heathy area to the west of the car park was the most productive area, with eleven Grayling and lots of Common Blues, Brown Argus, Small Coppers and Gatekeepers. Most of them stayed well down in the vegetation to escape the wind. I also visited Bowdown Wood, Berks on the 4th, where I saw Large Whites, Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Peacocks, Silver-washed Fritillaries, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Ringlets."
Adam Bassett sent this shot of a female Silver-washed Fritillary on his garden buddleia in Marlow Bottom, Bucks. "I’ve seen a female around for some time, so this might be that individual or there could be a few about. I’ve not seen a male yet this year, though as the buddleia is only just coming out that might change."
Paul Warham watched a Clouded Yellow for a few minutes nectaring in Windsor Great Park, Berks yesterday (4th August).
Richard Soulsby reports on the Field Trip to Aston Rowant (North) NNR on 4th August: "The hills were alive with the sight of butterflies! Twenty-four participants (including a family from Wiltshire Branch) were treated to the Aston Rowant Nature Reserve smothered in flowers and butterflies. The weather was "ideal" in the sense that it was warm enough to bring the butterflies out in good numbers, but cool enough that they settled for the benefit of photographers. A great start was provided by a buddleia on the approach track covered in nectaring Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, Peacocks and two Silver-washed Fritillaries, plus (later) a Small Tortoiseshell. On the reserve proper we found the target species, Silver-spotted Skipper, all over the hillside with 100+ males and females, as well as eggs. But these were outnumbered maybe two to one by the Chalkhill Blues, both males and (fewer) females. One male was an unusual aberration with no spots on the underside, and one female had blue fore-wings. Meadow Browns were also common and we saw smaller numbers of Small and Essex Skippers, Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Small Copper, Common Blue, Brown Argus and singletons of Dark Green Fritillary, Large Skipper, Marbled White and Ringlet as well as further Peacocks, Silver-washed Fritillaries and the three common Whites. Moths included Silver Y, Six-spot Burnet and Dusky Sallow. A memorable morning."
Karen Saxl saw her second ever Clouded Yellow today, 4th August, along the old railway line at Hagbourne, Oxon. "I've also seen my first second-brood Small Blues at Upton and Hagbourne – one each so far – hope that I might be able to get out a bit more next week to see how they are actually doing. Common Blue numbers are quite good (today included one mating pair which took off several times courtesy of a passing Labrador) and there were 2 Holly Blues this morning as well – plenty of Peacocks around – mainly on the few buddleia that are growing on the embankments. Marbled whites have disappeared for another year so a bit sad about that but never mind. I saw 18 species this morning which feels quite good – and 212 butterflies - and it was even spitting with rain a little some of the time."
This news came via Alan Gudge: "I am reporting some interesting sightings by Richard Hicks whose garden adjoins Moorend Common SSSI in Bucks. On 23rd July at 10am Richard saw a Purple Emperor female in his garden and the following day another on the north side of the common. These are the first sightings I am aware of on Moorend Common for a couple of years so are very good news. He also saw Purple Hairstreaks in oaks by power lines in North Meadow of the common, which had been disturbed by a party of long-tailed tits. Then on 27th July he had 2 Purple Hairstreaks in his garden appearing to be drinking dew from his lettuces - see photo!"
Brenda Mobbs reported the following on 4th August: "I have just realised that I forgot to let you know that on 26th July I went to Penn Wood, Bucks. I saw all the "usual suspects" including a White Admiral in a different part of the wood from before. I also saw three Silver-washed Fritillaries, quite near the cattle pens. I am not sure whether it is a first for the wood or not but it was a first for me."
Chris Naish sent the following: "I went to Oakley Wood, Bernwood, Bucks on Saturday 3rd August at 09:30 to try for a last sight of an Emperor – no luck (apart from a dead one on the main path) but saw lots of Silver-washed Fritillaries and my only White Admiral so far this year on brambles by the main path, near to the turn off for the Compensation area. In the Compensation area there were many Peacocks, Skippers, Large and Small Whites, Green-veined Whites, Ringlets, some Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, a single Red Admiral, a couple of Commas and on the short grass area a Brown Argus, some Common Blues and a possible Small Copper. No sight of any Hairstreaks though. In my garden in south Abingdon, Oxon this morning (4th August) I saw a Holly Blue and a Silver-washed Fritillary, along with 10+ Peacocks, Large/Small Whites and a single Red Admiral, no Small Tortoiseshells – they seem rare this year?"
The following news came via Wendy Wilson: "On Wednesday 17th July, Park Ranger Matt May saw a male Purple Emperor basking on a litter bin close to the narrow pointed end of the lake in Black Park, Bucks. The weather was hot and he said the contents of the litter bin were 'pretty disgusting'. The lake is about half a mile from the Strawberry Wood area of the park where people usually see them."
~ Saturday 3rd August 2013 ~
Chris Bottrell sent this report: "Friday 2nd August - Once the weather cheered up, a couple of hours (11:00-13:00) on Greenham Common, Berks provided a count of 18 Grayling, mostly along the gravel remains of the runways but also nectaring on the Heather. Saturday 3rd August - Early morning at Otmoor, Oxon at about 08:30 in the Roman Road, a freshly emerged male Brown Hairstreak warming itself in the patches of early sunshine. Then about mid-day, a Painted Lady, making the most of some fortunately overlooked Ragwort."
Becky Woodell sent these sightings: "I paid a visit to Leaches Farm, Bucks today, 3rd August, and although the meadows have all been mown there is a good edge unmown around each one. The weather was warm and sunny. I saw 15 species, the best being just before I got back to the road when I found a single Clouded Yellow flying rapidly a bit above the cut meadow. It settled briefly, with wings closed, but long enough to confirm identity. Other species seen were: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brimstone, Common Blue, Small Copper, Peacock, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Ringlet and a Silver-Y moth."
Penny and Martin Wainwright reported today that they have Peacocks, Commas and all three Whites in great numbers on their buddleia in Thrupp, Oxon, along with Meadow Browns and Hedge Brown/Gatekeepers on the lawn and hedge - 20 or more of each species. But their main dilemma is deciding on priorities between larvae of the whites and their Brussels sprouts and Purple-sprouting. Efforts continue to reach a compromise! They also much enjoy reading about others' Hairstreaks and Blues, and plan to get out more.
This news came from Nigel Parsons: "Just a quick note to let you know that during my lunch break between sessions of Ragwort pulling at the Holtspur Bottom Reserve, Bucks today (3rd August) I saw two male Chalkhill Blues on the scrape nearest the new bench. I didn’t see any females but as I will be there again today I will keep a look out."
Jon Mercer (Wilts BC) sent this report: "A 45-min walk at Linkey Down, Oxon (Aston Rowant NNR S) at lunchtime today, 3rd August, in intermittent sunshine - 16 Silver-spotted Skippers, 60+ Chalkhill Blues, 2 Brown Argus, 2 Essex Skippers, 1 Marbled White, 50+ Meadow Browns."
Dennis Dell visited Rushbeds Wood, Bucks on 2nd August: "After receiving a report from Michael Reed of Purple Emperors on an oak sap run at Rushbeds Wood, I thought I would see if they were still there today (2nd). Sure enough there were two females enjoying themselves there plus a Red Admiral and hornets. Another female was seen near to the Lapland Farm field gate."
Robert Ellisdon sent the following: "Today (2nd August) at about 3.30 pm, I saw a var valesina Silver-washed Fritillary female on the hills above Princes Risborough, Bucks about halfway along the path between the top of Whiteleaf Cross and the carpark at the top of Peters Lane."
The following report from Stephen Rawlinson (BC EM Branch) came via Dave Wilton: "On an already hot and sunny morning, at 08.15 today (1st August) I saw a male Brown Hairstreak at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon. It was high in the oak at the far end of the small clearing opposite the car park. It crawled out from behind a leaf, stayed motionless for several minutes, opened its wings for a while, then flew to another part of the tree at the same level and was lost to sight."
Derek Brown visited Greenham Common, Berks on Thursday morning, 1st August: "I saw several Grayling, 1 at SU496647; 4 at SU502648; and 4 at SU503648. The latter included a courting pair (initially a trio). They sat for several minutes facing each other and touching antennae. Occasionally the male (who tended to keep above the female) would partially open his wings and rapidly flutter these at the female. She would often respond by opening her wings briefly a few times. He would then follow her to a new area and they would repeat the process often walking down amongst the gorse and heather. This went on for 20 minutes or so. Eventually they went so deep into the undergrowth, perhaps to finally mate, that I lost them. They did however allow a few rather blurry pictures of the rarely glimpsed upper surface. Also seen amongst the numerous commoner species was a single Dark Green Fritillary and a couple of Brown Argus (my first of the year) in the grassy area near to the control tower."
~ Wednesday 31st July 2013 ~
Mick Jones reported the following: "During a work party today (31st July) pulling ragwort on private land adjacent to Dancersend Reserve, Bucks I saw 3 male Chalkhill Blues, 3 Dark Green Fritillaries, a number of Small Coppers and lots of Common Blues."
Becky Woodell saw a Brown Hairstreak male while doing the M40 Compensation area (Bernwood, Bucks) transect this afternoon, 31st July. "It was sitting on a bramble flower. Conditions were not ideal, but transectable - temp 23C, Wind 4, mostly cloudy. I also saw my first second brood Common Blues, two of them."
Kathryn Graves spotted this Dark Green Fritillary at the Aston Clinton Ragpits, Bucks in the early evening of the 27th July just before the rain. "We also saw a Ringlet, a male Brimstone, two male Chalkhill Blues, an Essex Skipper and 3 Marbled Whites. The grid reference for the site is: SP887 107."
~ Monday 29th July 2013 ~
David Hastings sent this news: "On 27th July I was surprised to find a Purple Hairstreak in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon. The nearest Oak tree to my garden is about 250 yards away. For some reason it was prepared to fly that far just to take some nectar from Dogwood flowers. I had a total of ten species in the garden on the 27th. On 28th July I visited Aston Rowant (S), Oxon, where I counted at least 27 Silver-spotted Skippers and 40 Chalkhill Blues, plus 16 other species. I also visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon/Bucks on the 28th, where I saw at least 25 Large Skippers, 22 Peacocks, 20 Silver-washed Fritillaries, five Purple Hairstreaks, five White Admirals and a Purple Emperor, plus twelve other species."
Chris Hazell paid a visit to Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon on Sunday afternoon 28th July between 1.30 - 4.00pm. "Species seen were:- Silver-spotted Skipper 50+, Chalkhill Blue 200+, Common Blue 6, Brown Argus 1, Small Copper 3, Dark Green Fritillary 2, Small Skipper 20+, Gatekeeper 10, plus dozens of whites and hundreds of Meadow Browns."
Nigel Partridge sent this report: "In our garden at Loosley Row, Bucks most of the butterflies are doing well at the moment with above average numbers of Small Whites, Large Whites, Green-veined Whites, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers and Gatekeepers. A Small Copper was a new species for the year this afternoon (28-07-13). What we are missing is Red Admirals, our average is around 15 per year but none so far for 2013."
Richard Wheeler reported the following: "Just back after a night camping below the White Horse near Uffington, Oxon (27/07/13). Weather on Saturday warm and cloudy (c.24°C). Huge numbers of butterflies about, including dozens of Chalkhill Blue, both in the grassland bordering the campsite and on the hill itself. At one end of the campsite was a clump of Marjoram whose flowers were crowded with the highest concentration of butterflies I’ve ever seen: c.100 nectaring within an area no more than 2m x 1m - Chalkhill Blue, Large, Small and Essex Skipper, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Ringlet, Large and Small White and Small Tortoiseshell, all jostling for space on the flower heads. As I approached, a pheasant burst from its hiding place in the Marjoram, exploding butterflies in all directions – an unforgettable sight!"
John Lindley went to Greenham Common, Berks on Sunday morning, 28th July: "I saw 3 Graylings in quite a small area, about 400 metres west of the control tower and just on the southern edge of the gravel path. Not much else on the wing - a couple of Meadow Browns, 1 Peacock and a few whites."
Peter Cuss had a female Silver-washed Fritillary in his garden in Caversham, Berks on Sunday morning, 28th July, a first for his garden.
Wendy Wilson reports on the field meeting held at Langley Park, Bucks on 27th July: "Fortunately the forecast thunderstorms and torrential rain did not arrive and we had a lovely sunny morning for our joint meeting with Bucks Country Parks at Langley Park in South Bucks. Park Ranger, Matt May, accompanied us on our walk which greatly added to its success. 17 people of all ages took part and between us we spotted 17 butterfly species: Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, Common Blue, Small Copper, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper. There were several Six-spot Burnet moths and sharp-eyed Maureen found a Small Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar in the grass. Meadow Browns and Skippers were the commonest species, Marbled Whites and Common Blues the most enjoyed and the rare sighting of a Purple Hairstreak low down on the bracken the most special. Many thanks to UTB members Mark, Peter and Tess who helped people to spot and identify the butterflies."
Nina Krauzewicz sent the following report on 27th July: "I had a Dark Green Fritillary on my garden buddleia bush today in Caversham, Berks. Also there were at least 7 Peacocks, a Small Tortoiseshell and numerous Large Whites all supping at the same time. Then a Holly Blue down in the garden. It was a great day."
Mary Payne says she went back to Peterley Manor Farm, Prestwood, Bucks on Friday 26th July: "I couldn't find a single Peacock pupa, which was disappointing, but there were loads more caterpillars, some so tiny they must have hatched that morning. I also saw what I can only describe as a cascade of whites, about twenty of them, dancing together. I've never seen that before. I think they were Large Whites, but wasn't able to get near enough to check. There are many wild areas at the farm and I saw lots of Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks in various locations."
~ Saturday 27th July 2013 ~
John Lindley sent these sightings today:
Dave Wilton sent this report: "In our garden at Westcott, Bucks the earliest of our buddleias is now fully in bloom and as a consequence butterfly numbers here have increased dramatically over the past few days. Unlike last year when the bush had few visitors until the second week of August, this morning (Saturday 27th July) I managed to count Small Skipper (1), Brimstone (1), Large White (4), Small White (1), Green-veined White (1), Red Admiral (2), Small Tortoiseshell (9), Peacock (20), Comma (4), Marbled White (1), Meadow Brown (6) & Gatekeeper (3) feeding from it. Back on Wednesday (24th July), one of the buddleia's first visitors was a most unexpected Dark Green Fritillary, of which I managed to get a distant record shot just before it zoomed off over the fence into our neighbour's garden. The White-letter Hairstreak mentioned in my previous report put in another appearance yesterday afternoon (26th July) when it was seen flying around elm growing next to our lime."
The following report came from Beryl Skinner: "26th July in Finchampstead, Berks RG40 4RA: one White Admiral and ten plus Purple Hairstreak, one Small Skipper. All in our garden (loads of Peacocks on the buddleia which is nice to see this year)."
Dave Miller sent this news on 26th July: "An early escape from work allowed me to head off up the M40 to Aston Rowant, Oxon. I arrived on the slope to the north of the motorway at around four or so, and was quickly surrounded by butterflies. I don't think I could ever conduct a formal transect count because I'd lose track of them so easily, especially with these numbers. Where to start? The first thing that specifically caught my eye was a Large Skipper chasing a Meadow Brown chasing a Small Tortoiseshell. Then there was a Dark Green Fritillary (one of five or six seen) being hassled by another couple of Meadow Browns. Then I noticed nearly every marjoram flower had either a Chalkhill Blue or a Small/Essex Skipper on it - and the ragwort sported Gatekeepers and the occasional Small Copper. And that doesn't even take account of the Marbled Whites, many other white butterflies, a Brimstone or two, Peacocks, Small Heaths and one or two very tatty Common Blues. Burnet moths abounded, Silver Y moths whizzed about madly, and many other smaller moths were around too. It was an amazing sight. However, what I came to see was the Silver-spotted Skipper. In recent summers, I've visited on cool days with intermittent sunshine. This makes the SSS easy to find, as they bask on the bare patches of ground: rabbit scrapes and sheep paths, mostly. They are also less likely to burst into flight. Today was different - they were extremely active. I don't think I've ever seen them with quite so many other Skippers around either, and the species are very different in the air. The SSS look almost green in the sun, and move in such irregular patterns they are almost impossible to follow in flight. You have to keep your eyes peeled and trust to luck. Fortunately, there were plenty flying - a rough estimate of those I saw would be 30 or more across the whole hillside, including several females. They were sparser in numbers away from the ends of the slope, which curiously is where there were more of the other Skippers."
Janice Robertson reported the following: "On 26th July on the lower slopes and gullies around Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks there were dozens, if not hundreds, of Chalkhill Blues. Also several Dark Green Fritillaries and Small Heaths, among others."
David Gantzel sent this report on 26th July: "A large buddleia in my garden in Hazlemere, Bucks today attracted 5 Peacocks, one Small Tortoiseshell, one Comma, three Large White. One Meadow Brown and one Gatekeeper were also in the garden."
Martin and Penny Wainwright reported on 26th July that they have second generation Brimstones in their garden at Thrupp, Oxon, along with ten other butterfly species: lots of Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, almost as many Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Hedge Browns and Speckled Woods, at least three Peacocks, a Red Admiral and a very lively Comma. Within 200 yards on the path to Shipton-on-Cherwell there are also Small Tortoiseshells, Large and Small Skippers, Marbled White and Common Blue. Heaven!
Malcolm Brownsword reported the following on 26th July:
"We had good views of a grounded male Purple Emperor in the car park at Oakley Wood (Bernwood), Bucks
this morning. We also had 2 further sightings, the second (could not tell the sex, but definitely
Purple Emperor) about 200 metres past ‘Piccadilly Circus.’ The third sighting, of a male, was probably
the first one seen again 45 minutes later in the car park.
In addition, on my short walk in sunny conditions at 23C I also saw one White Admiral,
20+ Silver-washed Fritillaries, 10+ Marbled Whites, 20+ Large Skippers,
20+ Small/Essex Skippers, 20+ Ringlets, 20+ Meadow Browns, 20+ Gatekeepers,
5 Green-veined Whites, 10 Small White, 10+ Large Whites, 2 Commas and 5 Peacocks.
Derek Brown sent the following on 26th July: "Cathy and I visited Moor Copse, Berkshire this morning for an hour in an attempt to see Michael McNeill's Purple Emperor, unfortunately without any luck. However among 12+ Silver-washed Fritillaries we did see one female valezina."
David Fearn sent this report for 25th July: Hook Norton Cutting, Oxon Meadow area (08.30-10.00) 18°C, overcast: Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Light Emerald Moth. Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (North side) 11.30-1.30 (19° overcast - 26° sunny): 16 species seen: Large White, Green-veined White, Small White, Brown Argus (1 seen only), Chalkhill Blue (very numerous, esp. halfway down the main slope), Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Dark Green Fritillary (3 or 4 in sheltered meadow area at top of hill through the gates beyond the sloping downs area), Marbled White, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Essex Skipper, Small Skipper (both small skippers numerous though didn't always stop to check which one!), Silver-spotted Skipper (quite numerous on the main slope)."
David Hastings visited Homefield Wood, Bucks, on 24th July: "I saw good numbers of Small and Large Whites, Large Skippers, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Peacocks, Commas, Brimstones and Silver-washed Fritillaries. I counted at least forty SWFs. I also saw small numbers of Red Admirals, Gatekeepers, Marbled Whites and Small and Essex Skippers."
Richard Wheeler sent the following: "My children and I spent an enjoyable 2hrs at Bernwood Forest, Bucks on Wednesday morning (24/07/13). Despite some cloud and breeze, and it being less hot than recently (20-22°C), the woods and meadow were teeming with butterflies: 25+ Silver-washed Fritillary, 5 White Admiral (including some wonderful close encounters), 5 Purple Hairstreak, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Speckled Wood, 6 fresh Brimstone and good numbers of Large White, Small White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Large Skipper and Small Skipper."
~ Tuesday 23rd July 2013 ~
Mike Collard sent this news today: "We have never had a Fritillary sp. in our Prestwood, Bucks garden, but today there was a Dark Green Fritillary for a few minutes; the camera came out and it was gone...! Not sure whether this is a normal garden species but we were pleased."
Michael McNeill reported the following: "An early morning visit to Moor Copse/Park Wood, Berkshire, to see Silver-washed Fritillaries. The cloud cover and threatening rain kept the butterflies well hidden until a flicker of sunlight produced one hiding high in a tree. Approaching the tree for a potential photograph I was surprised to spot a Purple Emperor perched on a bush, which proceeded to drop to my foot for a minute or two. In the same area in all 6 Silver-washed Fritillaries, mainly female, were seen, ref SU637742. Moving on to the bridleway which runs between Mapledurham and Whitchurch in South Oxfordshire (SU671771 - 662776) and the fields immediately behind, searching for Dark Green Fritillaries. Only 6 were seen in rapid flight, but I was amazed at the density and variety of other summer butterflies (16 varieties in all) in countless numbers."
Paul Bowyer sent this news: "Tuesday 23rd July in my garden in Flackwell Heath, Bucks. My first sighting of a second brood Holly Blue with Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Comma."
This report came from Dave Wilton: "At 7pm this evening (Tuesday 23rd July), while enjoying yet another al fresco meal on our garden patio in Westcott, Bucks, I noticed a small butterfly making occasional trips around the top of our Lime tree which is currently in flower. It took a good 15 minutes to connect with it using binoculars but I eventually had excellent views of a White-letter Hairstreak, a new addition to the garden list. There is Elm next to the Lime and plenty more of it in hedgerows a couple of hundred metres away where I have recorded the butterfly in previous years although not since 2009. It is good to know that the butterfly is still hanging on locally."
John Lindley reports good numbers of butterflies in his garden in South Stoke, Oxon at lunch time today, 23rd July. 3 Peacock, 1 Comma (Hutchinsonii), 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral, 10+ each of Green-veined and Small Whites, 2 Large White, 1 Brimstone (Male), 10+ Meadow Brown, 8 Gatekeeper, 1 Marbled White, 3 Essex Skipper (all male) and 1 Holly Blue (Male).
Kathryn Graves sent the following report: "I wondered whether you might be interested in this photo I took today of an Essex Skipper in Chesham, Bucks as I believe they are an under-recorded species. Two Essex Skippers were very active on a small bed of wildflowers along the edge of Moor Road that has been created this year by Chesham in Bloom. The grid reference for this site is: SP 963 007."
David Hastings had a bumper morning at Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon, on 21st July, where he saw the following: one Large Skipper, 12+ Small Skippers, one Brimstone, 25+ Large Whites, two Small Whites, three Green-veined Whites, a dozen Chalkhill Blues, one Common Blue, one Small Copper, three Red Admirals, one Peacock (also a group of larvae), one Small Tortoiseshell, one Comma, one Dark Green Fritillary, 100+ Meadow Browns, 40+ Ringlets, eight Gatekeepers, 11+ Marbled Whites and at least a dozen Small Heaths. In David's garden in north Abingdon, Oxon, on 22nd July he saw two Holly Blues.
~ Monday 22nd July 2013 ~
Martin and Penny Wainwright freed the year's first Red Admiral on 22 July from their greenhouse at Thrupp, Oxon, where they are kept permanently busy trying to persuade Ringlets, Green-veined Whites and other rash butterflies to go back outside rather than expire from heat. By coincidence, a neighbour showed them a recently-vacated Red Admiral chrysalis on a window frame earlier in the day.
Andy Hoskins sent this report: "Have visited Buttler's Hangings, Bucks this evening (22nd July) 6-6:25pm, 32c in the valley. I saw 7 Chalkhill Blues, 15 Marbled White, 3 Gatekeepers, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 12 Meadow Brown, 6 Large Skipper, 2 Small Skipper, 3 Small White, 3 ragged Dark Green Fritillary."
Peter Law visited Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon this morning (22 July): "I had heard a first report of Silver-spotted Skipper at the weekend and found 4 on the hillside above the M40. Good numbers of Chalkhill Blue were also flying, as expected."
Nick Bowles reported the following: "I visited private woods in North Bucks on 21st July to carry out a transect and saw Purple Emperor 10, Silver-washed Fritillary 16, White Admiral 4 and a probable Dark Green Fritillary – but it shot past and kept going, so only 80% certain. All these seen whilst simultaneously trying to sort out literally hundreds of Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Skippers and Whites for the transect. Two of the Purple Emperors were in the grass and 1 was a female testing sallow leaves with her feet at about 2m above ground. I also saw 3 other PE here chasing at about 3m above ground straight down the ride. Silver-washed Fritillary were seen patrolling and once a group of 4 tumbled past. Considering the numbers of PE I expected more White Admiral. A fantastic walk which recorded over 1000 butterflies (though I started with no sun at all and by the end the Ringlet had gone into hiding in the shade) and of 18 species."
~ Sunday 21st July 2013 ~
The following came from Martin & Penny Wainwright: "Thanks to reports here on the Butterfly Sightings page of Purple Emperor encounters, Penny & I paid our first visit to Bernwood Forest, Bucks on Sunday 21 July and were handsomely rewarded. Two Purple Emperors were flying high above oaks just off the main track and we spent quarter of an hour watching four White Admirals on honeysuckle along a side path to the left, near a wooden observation tower (sadly not for public use). Silver-washed Fritillaries abounded, with at least 20 sightings, and there were dozens of Large and Small Skippers, Speckled Woods, Commas, Meadow Browns, Hedge Browns, Ringlets and Small and Green-veined Whites. The biggest entomological species, however, was the Human Butterfly Enthusiast, of whom there were a great many, some expert, others novices but all sharing info and sightings. Lovely to see so many people enjoying an amazing place. One enthusiast also showed us a photo he'd taken of a striking moth - Vapourer? - in Bernwood Meadow which was flickering with butterflies too."
Dennis Dell reports on the extra Bernwood Forest Field Meeting held on July 20th: "10.30 to 13.00. Mainly cloudy with a few sunny intervals; 20 to 22 degrees, light breeze. Twelve members turned up for the third Purple Emperor [PE] field meeting here. The first two, on the 6th and 7th July, yielded no PEs........it was too early. The season did not get going properly until a few days later. We therefore decided to have a third meeting on 20th July. Twelve PEs were seen, spread along the main track from the Oakley car park to about 300m before the turning circle. They were all flying rapidly in amongst the trees at a few metres height; no territorial behaviour and no low level ride skimming flights or landing: quite different behaviour from one week ago when the six I saw here were all engaged in low level flights. A thirteenth was seen in Yorks Wood by two participants who had split off from the main party. This specimen flew to the top of an Oak and remained there for at least 20 minutes. Other species seen: Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Purple Hairstreak, Marbled White, Small White, Small and Large Skippers, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Large White, White Admiral."
John Lindley had a busy day on 21st July at some of his local sites: "First, in the morning (bright but overcast, about 22C) to the "new" Dark Green Fritillary site near Mapledurham in South Oxfordshire - what a great find! I only had time to explore one small corner of the field, but I saw over 40 Dark Green Fritillaries, mostly females. There must be hundreds across the whole area. Also present were Large, Small and Essex Skippers, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, about a dozen Small Tortoiseshells, two very fresh Peacocks, one Red Admiral, one Comma and 50 plus of Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites. There were a few Chalkhill Blues and just as I was leaving a Speckled Wood right at the gate. 15 species within 100 metres in 1/2 hour - very impressive. Then in the afternoon (sunny, 25c) off to Chazey Heath, Oxon to look for White-Letter Hairstreaks - one sighting up at the top of some Elm Scrub and also one Holly Blue, good numbers of Large and Small Whites plus one female Brimstone and Marbled Whites, Ringlets, Meadow Browns and one Small Heath. Lots of Small Skippers but no Essex Skippers. Then lastly to Moor Copse, Berks where I saw 20 plus Silver-washed Fritillaries, 5 Commas, more browns, good numbers of Green-veined Whites and 10 plus Purple Hairstreaks high up in the Oaks. 22 Species in one day!"
Chris Naish sent this report: "As it didn’t get sunny here until after mid-day I decided to try Little Wittenham Woods, Oxon rather then trekking up to Oakley Forest from Abingdon. I saw large numbers of Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns plus 10+ Ringlets, 10+ Large Whites/Small Whites, 2 Green-veined Whites, Gatekeepers, 2 Commas, 5 Peacocks, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Brimstones and a Large Skipper."
Neil Manthorpe reported the following: "A visit to Keep Hill Woods in High Wycombe, Bucks in the early afternoon of 20th July - a 15 minute spell at the picnic area for the Big Butterfly Count paid off with the following - 2 Silver-washed Fritillary, 1 Large White, 1 Small White, 1 Marbled White, 4 Specked Wood, 1 Large Skipper, 7 Ringlet and 4 Meadow Brown."
Andy Bolton sent this news: "Seen at a recent visit to The Rowbarge, Woolhampton, Berks: Comma 1, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Scarlet Tiger moth2. SU572664 on 12/07/13. Scarlet Tigers particularly exciting, seen on flowers in pub garden, what a beauty!"
~ Friday 19th July 2013 ~
Dave Cleal had a stroll through the grassy fields on the hill opposite the Red Lion in Bradenham, Bucks on Friday the 19th July. "I had 10 sightings of Dark Green Fritillary including one that stopped on a flower for a few seconds just inches from me. Also pretty sure I had a Silver-washed Fritillary in the wood at the top of the path. Marbled Whites were everywhere, probably in excess of a hundred. Small Skippers were much in evidence, circa 30, outnumbering Large Skippers, though few allowed views close enough to confirm. Forgot to mention previously that I saw 4 or 5 Purple Hairstreaks at Littleworth Common, Bucks last Wednesday."
Rob Shaw reported the following today, 19th July:
"I was down on a farm in
Brimpton, West Berks and saw the following: 10+ Small Tortoiseshells,
3 Red Admirals, 1 Gatekeeper, 10+ Ringlets and many many Meadow Browns in the
uncut pasture, more hundreds than tens.
Chris Lamsdell sent these sightings: "15/7 Iver, Bucks (TQ038820) - Purple Hairstreak 1, Marbled White 5. 17/7 Homefield Wood - Purple Emperor 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 8, Dark Green Fritillary 1. 18/7 Bernwood Forest - Purple Emperor 1, White Admiral 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 15, Purple Hairstreak 1."
Adam Hartley sent this news from his local patch: "There were plenty of butterflies in Burgess Field NR, next to Port Meadow, Oxford on Tuesday 16th July: 6+ Marbled Whites, lots of Ringlets and Meadow Browns and literally dozens of Essex Skippers. This last species must have just come out as they were everywhere you looked."
Tim Watts sent this update: "I visited Finemere Wood, Bucks again yesterday 18/7/13, as I wanted some more pics of Purple Emperors but not on dog deposits! Here are two of them - one is of a male that dropped onto the track quite early, about 8:45 and the other photo is a male guarding it's patch from a bush."
Graham Taylor sent this report: "A walk around Wytham Woods, Oxon (private site: entry by permit only) today (18/07/13) turned up 2 male Purple Emperor on the Singing Way: one seen briefly flying high up in the canopy, a second resting and patrolling a stretch of dusty track at ground level for at least 45 minutes. This second individual lacked completely the usual transverse white stripes (ab. lugenda). I also saw at least 10 Dark Green Fritillary, observed on three separate patches of grassland (Upper Seeds, Rough Common, Radbrook Common), and in excess of 40 Silver-washed Fritillary along Broad Oak Ride and the Singing Way. Comma were the most numerous of the nymphalids, abundant throughout the woods, with a cluster of 5 probing together at a badger latrine! There were very large numbers of Marbled White on the grassland areas. Other species seen included: Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Essex Skipper, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Large White, Peacock and Red Admiral."
Chris Hazell had a fantastic morning at Finemere Wood, Bucks on 18th July: "Between 9am and 11.30am I saw 10 Purple Emperors including 5 feeding on the ground giving wonderful prolonged views. Also seen were 6 White Admirals, 4 Purple Hairstreaks, 40+ Silver-washed Fritillaries, 10+ Marbled White, plus lots of Ringlets, Small and Large Skippers and hundreds of Meadow Browns."
Chris & Pat Dennis went to Bernwood Forest, Bucks on 18th July: "We saw an Essex Skipper, two White Admirals five Purple Hairstreaks, two Purple Emperors, quite a few Silver-washed Fritillaries, a lot of Marbled Whites, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers and a few Small Skippers."
Ian Alston sent the following reports:
~ Thursday 18th July 2013 ~
Andy Hoskins stopped at Buttler's Hangings, Bucks on his way home from work Wednesday evening, 17th July: "It was 30.5C at 5.45-6.15pm. I saw 2 Dark Green Fritillary, 2 Gatekeepers, 50+ Meadow Brown, 50+ Marbled White, 1 Ringlet, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Large Skipper, 2 Small Skipper and 1 Brimstone."
Malcolm Brownsword reported the following: "This morning (Wed 17 July) eleven members of the Upper Thames branch visited Homefield Wood, Bucks. Within minutes of arrival at the parking area we saw a White Admiral and several Silver-washed Fritillaries, the first of 30–40 sightings of the latter. Also seen were tens of Marbled Whites in the meadow area, about 10 Commas (see image), two Dark Green Fritillaries, tens of Meadow Browns, a few Large & Small Skippers and one definite Essex Skipper. Small numbers of Large, Small and Green-veined Whites and singles of Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Brimstone were seen, as well as 2 Speckled Woods and a few Ringlets. Our searches for Purple and White-letter Hairstreaks were fruitless. Considering that my last transect here three weeks ago produced a few specimens of only three species, our total of 17 species was considered to be quite satisfying."
Colleen Watts sent this report: "Tim & I were out in Finemere, Bucks on 17th July hunting Purple Emperors. I left him to watch the dogs muck alone and wandered off to find myself this lovely Meadow Brown. Saw a few Purple Emperors and got a few pictures but this was the best of the day considering Tim didn't take any!"
Nicholl Williams went to Strawberry Bank & Moor Wood, Bucks on 17th July: "I saw more Dark Green Fritillaries, also the numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries has massively increased. I went further down the track through the wood looking for Purple Emperors and had multiple sightings of them gliding down the glades. One was very close and I could see the purple sheen."
Martin Kincaid sent the following: "On 16th July I visited College Wood, near Nash, Bucks to record the butterflies and was mightily impressed to pick up 19 species. These included Silver-washed Fritillary (2), White Admiral (5) and my first Purple Hairstreaks of the year. However, find of the day were two Purple Emperors duelling high over the oak canopy well into the wood at SP792331. I watched them soaring over and chasing one another 3 or 4 times over a 10 minute period before activity ceased. This was at about 3.15pm so quite late in the day. Other species recorded were: Large Skipper; Small Skipper; Large, Green-veined & Small Whites; Common Blue (tatty); Comma; Small Tortoiseshell; Red Admiral; Painted Lady; Ringlet; Speckled Wood; Gatekeeper; Meadow Brown; Marbled White. On Monday 15th July I also saw 1 Silver-washed Fritillary at Howe Park Wood SSSI, Bucks a first for me at this site, although it is found in low numbers in the other woods around Milton Keynes."
~ Wednesday 17th July 2013 ~
Richard Wheeler visited Bernwood Forest, Bucks this morning (17/07/13) from 10:00 – 11:30 am. Weather hot, sunny and still. I had a couple of good sightings of a male Purple Emperor. Just after I’d parked up, one circled the car park before landing for perhaps 1 minute on the low grass bank at the edge of the car park (see pic). Back at the car park more than an hour later, another (or the same one?) came circling down and landed briefly on the inner verge of the car park. I saw what I imagine was the same one again a few minutes later, flying high among the tree tops. Other butterflies seen included: 4 Comma, 2 Red Admiral (the first I’ve seen for months), 3 White Admiral, 15+ Silver-washed Fritillary, several Speckled Wood, Small Skipper, Large White and Marbled White and good numbers of Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Large Skipper."
Michael McNeill sent this news: "Once again, thanks, this time to Gavin Bennett, for letting me know where I could find Silver-studded Blues in my local area. I visited Wildmore Heath in Berkshire and saw 3 males collecting nectar mainly on heather. I was surprised at the lack of bright blue studs on this insect, as I could only see one on the photograph."
David Fearn sent this report: "Bernwood Forest 16/07/13, 08:45 - 11.45. Temperature 19°C at 8.45. Ringlet - very many (prob most I have seen in one day), White Admiral - at least 4, car park, main track, and gravel path left at 1st crossroads, Silver-washed Fritillary - at least 5, Meadow Brown - many, Large Skipper - numerous, Speckled Wood - numerous, Purple Emperor - 5 seen: 1st sighting @ 09.10 1 flying at head height along gravel path left at 1st crossroads, then settling on gravel; another at top of oak on corner of 1st crossroads; one more in Sallows between carpark and 1st crossroads; then 2 more at head-height in oak in front of car in carpark, then seen together feeding on bleached dog faeces in carpark, 11.15 until departure. Comma - 3, Large White - at least 3, Marbled White - 1, Purple Hairstreak - 1, by track just down from 1st crossroads, resting in Hazel at eye level. Small Skipper - quite frequent, though not as many as Large Skipper. Also 1 Red Admiral seen on Banbury Road towards Central Oxford at lunchtime; Small Tortoiseshell in garden back at home in Bodicote, Oxon later pm."
Dave Cleal sent this news on 16th July: "I had a walk through Hodgemoor Wood, Bucks (between Beaconsfield and Amersham). In the wood I had 7 White Admiral sightings. The 2 grass fields on the south side were alive with Meadow Browns & Ringlets with 3 Marbled White, 5 Comma & 1 Small Tortoiseshell. 2 Small Skippers were all I could identify out of the several flying around."
This report came from Andy Hoskins yesterday: "This evening Tuesday 16th July I visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks between 6.00 and 7.00pm in hazy heat 29c. I counted 36 Chalkhill Blues (and there must have been many more across the site), 15 Marbled White, 3 Small Skipper, 1 Speckled Wood, 100+ Meadow Browns, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 5 Large Skipper, one of which was carrying 4 or 5 red mites (Trombidium breei)."
Ewan Urquhart & Peter Law sent the following on 16th July: "Went to Chazey Heath, Oxon looking for White-letter Hairstreaks and found 2. Also observed 1 Peacock; 2 Small Tortoiseshell; 4 Marbled White; 10+ Gatekeeper; 10+ Ringlet; 10+ Meadow Brown and 5 Small Skipper. Then went on to Bradenham Banks, Bucks and counted 50+ Dark Green Fritillary; 12 Small Blue with huge numbers of Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and smaller numbers of both Large Skipper and Small Skipper."
John Edwards visited Black Park, Bucks on 15th July: "I recorded a total of 25 Silver-washed Fritillary and 5 White Admiral in and around Strawberry Hill Wood. On 16th July I visited Homefield Wood, near Marlow, Bucks and had 19 Silver-washed Fritillary and 21 Comma along the main track. I think this is a particularly high count for the latter species. Later in the day, at Aston Rowant, Oxon I saw my first Chalkhill Blue of the year and a single Dark Green Fritillary."
John Shaw sent this news: "During a work party this afternoon, 16th July, with 26 French Exchange students at Castlefield Wood, High Wycombe, Bucks we saw numerous: Ringlets, Marbled White, several Large Whites, Speckled Wood, Large Skippers but the highlight was a mating pair of Silver-washed Fritillary and two other patrolling males. This is the first time in at least the last 5 years and quite probably much longer that this butterfly has been seen at this site. This follows an extensive path & ride widening programme combined with some thinning."
Michael McNeill reported the following: "Many thanks to Peter Cuss who identified, in his earlier report, sightings of Dark Green Fritillary near Mapledurham in South Oxfordshire and for providing grid references which made locating the site so easy. On arrival I immediately saw 3 Dark Green Fritillaries, one of which was happy to pose for the camera. Apart from a number of other meadow butterflies, I was pleased to see a dozen or so Chalkhill Blues feasting on horse droppings. My first Dark Green Fritillaries in Berks/Oxon. Moving on to Moor Copse in Berkshire, there were 6 Silver-washed Fritillaries plus large numbers of Meadow Brown, Skippers, Marbled Whites, Ringlets and occasional Burnet moths and Small Tortoiseshell. Finally, a quick dash up to Lardon Chase, also Berkshire, where the numbers of Chalkhill Blue were amazing. I actually counted this time, but had to stop at 250. In addition there were large numbers of Meadow Brown, Marbled White and some Burnet moths and Small Tortoiseshell."
15th July - Tim Watts visited Finemere Wood, Bucks over the last couple of days and took these Purple Emperor photos. 3-5 were seen in flight and landing.
Dennis Dell sent this news: "Finemere Wood, Bucks 15th July, 10am to 1pm, hot and sunny. The first thing to note is how many people were there: about 10 enthusiasts were grouped along the main track. I suppose Finemere Wood is perfect for photographing Purple Emperor during the season, because along about 400m of track there is plenty of dog poo and iris lands quite frequently. I was with a BBOWT staff member who wanted to assess the management of the Sallows with me. I had obtained, through a complicated process, a tin of 'surstrommung', which is a marinated Swedish fish which had been allowed to decompose a bit and then it is seealed in tins: a Swedish delicacy. The smell on opening the tin was excrutiating and I had hoped that it would be a good iris bait. I placed the fish at intervals along the main track, but all it attracted was flies! As soon as we stepped out of the BBOWT jeep by the wood entrance at 10 am, an iris alighted on the ground by the front wheels: we knew we were in for a good morning! In 45 minutes, between the entrance and just before the turning circle, 9 individuals were seen, mostly flying at low level and landing. Some activity in the big Sallows was noted, as well as an elegant flight across the tops of the corsican pines. We walked up to the top of the wood opposite Finemere Hill House, where the Ashes have been used as territories in past years. Nothing was seen, apart from a fleeting glimpse, which could not be confirmed. On our return along the main track, between 12.15 and 12.45, another four sightings were made including a male [see photo], which had alighted a few feet from the ground on a hazel bush in complete shade, with his wings open."
Peter Law sent the following: "This morning (15th July) in York's Wood (Bernwood), Bucks I had a lengthy encounter with a Purple Emperor, along the path that skirts Bernwood Meadows. This is the first one I have ever seen in that area of Bernwood Forest. A little further on a White Admiral posed nicely for the camera."
Adam Hartley sent this report: "During a brief visit I found a single White-letter Hairstreak at Chazey Heath, Oxon on Sunday morning, 14th July, near the entrance to the Mapledurham Golf Course. Also lots of Meadow Browns, a few Ringlets, a Gatekeeper and several Marbled Whites."
Ben Carpenter visited the Holies and Lardon Chase, Berks on Friday 12th July and found the following: "At the Holies: 1 Chalkhill Blue, 85 Meadow Brown, 34 Marbled White, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small Skipper, 1 Ringlet, 2 Small heath, 1 Speckled Wood and 2 Mecyna flavalis moths. At Lardon Chase: 72 Chalkhill Blue (with a what appeared to be a newly emerged one being devoured by a robberfly), 123 Meadow Brown, 23 Marbled White, 2 Small Skipper, 1 Large White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell."
~ Tuesday 16th July 2013 ~
Martin Wainwright reports that Small Skippers in double figures have joined butterflies enjoying the stunning weather at Thrupp, Oxon, on July 14. Others seen all day in good numbers were Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Hedge Brown, Ringlet, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White and Green-veined White.
Jim Asher saw his first Gatekeepers of the year on 14th July. "I was doing my 1km WCS square between Abingdon Mill and Drayton, Oxon (photo attached). In total, I saw about six - all males - and mostly staying in the shade (where I should have been (29C)). Butterfly numbers seem generally to be on the rise with the hot weather - I hope it lasts!"
Chris Hazell went to Black Park, Bucks on 14th July between 2pm and 4.30pm. "I was amazed by the number of Silver-Washed Fritillary on the wing. I estimated at least 30 individuals. Also 6+ White Admirals, plus hundreds of Meadow Browns and smaller numbers of Large Skippers, Small Skippers and Ringlets."
Andy Hoskins reported the following: "On Sunday morning 14th July I visited Bernwood/Oakley Wood, Bucks 10.30-12.30pm. Straight away I saw a Purple Emperor by the car park, being watched by a small group. I saw a further 3 Purple Emperor, 2 Comma, 4 White Admiral, 10-12 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Purple Hairstreak, 1 Small White, 50+ Large Skippers, 5 Small Skippers, 50+ Meadow Browns, 10+ Ringlets, 3 Marbled White. In the afternoon 4.00-6.45pm (28c at 4.00pm) I visited Finemere Wood, Bucks. I saw 1 Purple Emperor which flew down the main ride and stayed on the ground on the path close to the main Finemere Wood notice board. I also saw 8 Silver-washed Fritillary, (one of which stayed on the ground very close to me, feeding on buttercups that had been crushed underfoot), 6 White Admiral, 3 Speckled Wood, 8 Small Tortoiseshell, 6 Comma, 20+ Ringlet, 20+ Meadow Brown, 20+ Large Skipper, 5 Small Skipper."
Ian Alston sent this report for Sunday 14th July: "My wife and I went to Waterperry Wood, Oxon with the intention of finding the Purple Emperor and Silver-washed Fritillary which didn't show last Saturday. Today there were countless Silver-washed Fritillaries and several White Admirals and we did see one Purple Emperor which landed on my wife's hat. Encouraged by our success we went into Bernwood, Bucks from the south entrance and immediately saw another three Purple Emperors. Two of them came down to feed on a doggy deposit and also my shoe. I managed to get one on to my finger and he loved feeding on my sweaty hand as he stayed there for over 10 minutes. In all we saw Purple Emperors on six occasions. Other notable finds were the first Gatekeeper and a Comma feeding with the PE."
John Lindley noticed the following during his game at Goring and Streatley Golf Club, Berks on the morning of 14th July: "Lots of Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites, everywhere on the course. Several Speckled Woods and 4-5 Gatekeepers along the hedgerows and 3 Dark Green Fritillaries in one of the flower conservation areas (there are probably more there, but I didn't have time to look properly). Up at the top, next to Lardon Chase, there were a handful of male Chalkhill Blues and one Clouded Yellow, flying rapidly northwards into the breeze. Two male Brimstones, several Small Whites and 5-6 Small Tortoiseshells flying around the clubhouse at lunchtime."
Nigel Partridge sent this report: "We had a fantastic time at Bradenham Banks, Bucks on 14th July. We saw Small Blues and 100+ Dark Green Fritillaries. There were also hundreds of Marbled Whites. Other species seen were Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper, Comma, Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Gatekeeper, Large White and Small Heath."
Rob Shaw sent these sightings: "14/7/13, Horse Hay Quarry, Oxon GR: SP455275. Species Seen: 1 x Small Copper, 15+ x Meadow Brown, 2 x Green-veined White, 8+ x Ringlet, 1 x Gatekeeper, 4 x Small Tortoiseshell, 15-20+ Marbled White, 1 x Essex Skipper, 1 x Large Skipper, 1 x Painted Lady and 2 x Six-spot Burnet Moth. Also went on a walk along the public footpath from Gagingwell to Cleaveley, West Oxon along some set aside "wild flower field borders" starting at GR SP4037 2524 going to GR SP3957 2411 and saw the following species: 2 x Small White, 3 x Large White, 2 x Marbled White, 10+ x Ringlet, 10+ x Meadow Brown and 3 x Small Tortoiseshell."
David Hastings sent the following:
"On 13th July I visited Otmoor, Oxon
where the most numerous species was the Meadow Brown (45+ seen). I also saw a few
Large Skippers, Small Skippers, Speckled Woods and Ringlets and singleton
Green-veined White, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Marbled White.
I then visited Bernwood Forest, Bucks where three Purple Emperors
gave good views. I also saw two White Admirals, at least twenty Silver-washed Fritillaries
and quite a lot of Ringlets and Meadow Browns. I also checked Bernwood Meadows where
there were lots of Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Marbled Whites.
Chris Lamsdell went to Black Park, Bucks on 13th July and recorded Silver-washed Fritillary 12, White Admiral 3 and Large White 3. Then on another visit there on 15th July he saw White Admiral 7 and Silver-washed Fritillary 10.
~ Saturday 13th July 2013 ~
6/7 - Request from Julia Huggins, our White Admiral Species Champion: "Now that our summer butterflies are slowly emerging can I ask for any White Admiral sightings not reported via this website or through transect activity, to be emailed to me direct for my stats? I am keen to understand activity norms and therefore would really appreciate knowing the location, time and general weather conditions of sightings plus the number seen. Thanks. Julia"
Peter Cuss sent the following report: "I walked into a field today and was surprised to see a large number of Dark Green Fritillary. 30 was the most I counted in one go by turning through 360 degrees and counting but the total must have been far in excess of that, often with small clouds of up to eight flying up out of the grass. The location is on the bridleway that runs between Mapledurham towards Whitchurch on the Oxon/Berks border (OS SU666-777) and turn through the metal gate onto a footpath that is on the right."
Mark Griffiths went to Bernwood Forest, Bucks late morning today, 13th July: "One (possibly two) Purple Emperors were seen within about 5 mins near to the car park. Also seen numerous Ringlets, lots of Meadow Browns and Skippers (none landed to check if large or small!). Good number of Marbled Whites and 40-50 Silver-washed Fritillaries. A few Large Whites and one Small Tortoiseshell."
David Gantzel reported these sightings: "Widmer Fields, Bucks is an area between Hazlemere and Widmer End and now in public ownership with plans for 40 acre nature reserve. Saturday July 13th there were lots of Large Skippers and Small Skippers, fairly good numbers of Meadow Brown and Ringlet. 7 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Comma, 2 Speckled Wood, 3 Large White."
George Warner sent this news: "Today, July 13th, in about a 90 minute circuit of footpaths between the villages of East and West Hendred, Oxon, I saw 26 Small Tortoiseshells, 5 Meadow Browns, 44 Ringlets, 2 Small Whites, 2 Marbled Whites, 5 Large Skippers, a Comma and my first Gatekeeper of the year."
John Lindley reported the following: "First thing this morning, 13th July, I saw a very fresh looking Privet Hawk Moth on a wall on Goring High Street, Oxon. Then, off to Aston Rowant, Oxon (South Side) to look for Dark Green Fritillaries. By 9:30AM it was already warm and the 20 plus Dark Greens that I saw were all too flighty to settle for photographs. Also present were literally hundreds of Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Small Heaths, as well as 5-6 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Red Admiral, 30 plus Ringlets and 20 plus Large Skippers. There were a few battered looking Common Blues about and 10 plus Speckled Woods in the woody glades and along the road. Then, later in the afternoon, I was surprised to see a single Dark Green Fritillary on Ferry Road in the middle of South Stoke, Oxon."
Andy Hoskins visited Bernwood and the M40 compensation area in Bucks today, 10.15-12.30pm: "It was very hot, 29.5c at 12.30pm. I saw 1 x Comma, 1 Purple Emperor (making a swift swoop along the path then up into the trees for shade I think), 1 Purple Hairstreak, 30+ Large Skippers, 1 Essex Skipper, 10+ Small Skippers, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 20+ Silver-washed Fritillaries (many pairing up and mating in the hazel bushes on the path down to the M40) and lots of Ringlets and Meadow Browns (beyond counting)."
Gavin Bennett went to Bernwood forest, Bucks this morning and had 2 Purple Emperor, 1 White Admiral and countless Silver-washed Fritillaries.
This report came from Mary Payne:
"Sunday 7th July - The Woolpack pub, Stoke Mandeville Village,
Bucks Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimstone.
~ Friday 12th July 2013 ~
Steve Croxford visited Finemere Wood, Bucks today: "Highlights were 3 Purple Emperors, two males (one which briefly touched down on the track) and one female. Also one Black Hairstreak."
This news came from Dave Cleal: "On 12th July with J.Newcombe at Homefield Wood, Bucks we saw several of both Large & Small Skippers on the wing especially around the Orchid field. Over a dozen Marbled Whites here as well but just one Gatekeeper. Silver-washed Fritillaries put on a good show with repeated sightings along the main ride and one on the edge of the Orchid field. 1 Brimstone. Best sighting was a Purple Emperor that landed low down on a young oak giving great views and then flew in circles around us nearly landing on me! We had a second sighting another couple of hundred yards along."
Malcolm Brownsword sent the following: "This morning, 12 July I saw the following during my BBOWT transect at Hartslock, Oxon: 2 Small Skippers, 1 Large Skipper, 1 Brimstone, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Speckled Woods, 159 Marbled Whites, 68 Meadow Browns, 17 Ringlets, 34 Small Heaths and surprisingly, 5 Dark Green Fritillaries were recorded, 2 of which were male and a female seen at close range (see attached image). There were more Marbled Whites, Small Heaths, Ringlets and Meadow Browns in the extension to the reserve (still privately owned but managed by BBOWT) than in the main reserve, and the vast majority of Six-spot Burnet moths (260+) seen were also in the extension. This may well be due to the sheep grazing regime which has increased the number of flowering plants over the last 2-3 years."
Ewan Urquhart went to Bernwood Forest, Bucks today 12 July between 1200-1600 and found the following: "Purple Emperor 3 - with one landing within inches of my foot and then later cruising up and down the track whilst the other two were only seen aloft in Oaks; Silver-washed Fritillary 35; White Admiral 9; Marbled White 11; Ringlet 214; Meadow Brown 54; Comma 4; Large White 14; Small White 5; Speckled Wood 17; Small Tortoiseshell 1; Large Skipper 47; Peter Law also found a Black Hairstreak about 50 yards along the main track from the Oakley Wood car park."
Andy Hoskins sent these sightings today: "This evening Friday 12th July I visited Buttler's Hangings, Bucks 5.45-6.30pm and saw 10 Dark Green Fritillary, 50+ Meadow Brown, 30+ Marbled White, 2 Common Blues, 8 Small Skippers, 20+ Large Skippers, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Ringlet."
Ian Alston sent the following report: "Today I went on a field meeting to a private wood in Bucks and luckily it was a lovely day compared to last year when it chucked it down. We saw thousands, literally, of Meadow Browns which came up in clouds as we were walking along. This contradicts my previous report which said that Ringlets outnumbered Meadow Browns by 10 to 1. Here it was the other way around. Unfortunately we didn't see the Purple Emperor but we did see many White Admirals (c30) and many Silver-washed Fritillaries which were far more obliging for the photographers. 2 or 3 Small Heaths and a few Large Skippers and Marbled Whites were seen and a single Comma. I got a picture of a couple of mating Ringlets which were being hassled by another male. A case of 'Two's company'. On the way home I visited Rushbeds Wood, Bucks for a quick 20 minute look and saw several Silver-washed Fritillaries."
This news came from John Edwards today: "Yesterday (July 11th) I visited Bradenham Banks, Bucks for the first time. I was amazed by the amount of Dark Green Fritillary on the wing and estimate possibly as many as 250 present. I walked the cross path and upper path and every two paces there was one. If taken over the whole area of the bank I think that this estimate is probably correct. A wonderful sight. Lots of Marbled White, Small Skipper and Large Skipper amongst the other species present but the Small Blue appears to be over here."
Neil Manthorpe sent this report on 12th July: "I visit Keep Hill Woods, High Wycombe, Bucks regularly on dog walks - the picnic area was good for butterflies last year, but it has been very slow in 2013. Today has been the first day this year that there have been more than a couple of butterflies in flight: 1 Small Skipper, 2 Commas, 10 Ringlets, 2 Meadow Browns, together with 1 Speckled Wood in a sunny patch on the path from Daws Hill Lane. There were more Speckled Woods last Sunday."
Gavin Bennett sent the following report: "Yesterday 11th July, 6 Dark Green Fritillaries at Sydlings Copse, Oxon along with 100+ Marbled Whites and my first half dozen Gatekeepers of the year. Today 12th July, 3 Silver-studded Blues (2 male 1 female) at Wildmoor heath, Berks. At Moor copse, Berks: at least 8 Silver-washed Fritillaries plus Beautiful Demoiselle and numerous Scarlet Tiger Moths along the river."
Mick Jones was working at Dancersend Reserve, Bucks yesterday (11th July): "I found both large fritillaries flying with territories almost overlapping: 2 Dark Green Fritillaries flying over the meadow plots and 4 Silver-washed Fritillaries flying along the woodland edge and rides. It was very windy and they hardly settled at all so not brilliant photos of a female (I think) DGF and a male SWF."
~ Thursday 11th July 2013 ~
Dave Miller visited Black Park, Bucks on 9th July: "Hot and sunny again, and almost nothing was seen flying until I reached the confines of Strawberry Wood, a mile from the car park. Immediately, I saw two White Admirals which were paying regular visits to a bramble patch before disappearing off to glide amongst the trees again. I looked around elsewhere, and would estimate a minimum of two, perhaps three more individuals out elsewhere in the wood. It was a little while before a Silver-washed Fritillary appeared, and there were several false starts as Commas dashed around in orange bursts. However, a Silver-washed Fritillary did make an appearance, and I believe a second was flying before I left. Interestingly, both these and the White Admirals were largely seeking the shade, even when nectaring, and photography in the chosen dappled conditions was not easy. There were many Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Speckled Woods, Large Skippers and the aforementioned Commas. I also saw female Brimstones, a sizeable Large White (which cl-bucks has depicted), a couple of Small Tortoiseshells and I glimpsed two separate Purple Hairstreaks up in the numerous oak trees hereabouts. Setting off back through the gate into the area where cattle are grazing, the corner nearest the Wood is really a small extension of the wood itself, with small oak and birch trees and low growing brambles - but with quite an open feel as it blended into heathland with gorse. Under the shade of the trees, I watched two White Admirals swoop and glide at low levels: every time they met - which was often - they would chase, each looping over the other in turn before finally spiralling high into the air only to separate, glide off separately and then repeat the whole thing a few minutes later. Very entertaining."
Wendy Wilson says there was a
good turnout at the Holtspur Ragwort Pulling party this morning (11th July):
"We got a lot done and are most grateful to the Wycombe Green Team and to pupils of Penn School for their
valuable help. More needs to be done, so do join us on July 25th if you can. Whilst there I
spotted my first Essex Skipper of the year. The meadows were
positively alive with butterflies, but we were too busy to do a count; anyway this was done at the
6th July field event (see Brenda's report below). Down on the nettle patch afterwards, Mark Duckworth
noticed a Small Tortoiseshell, a Red Admiral and a Comma all laying eggs. We
were able to see the eggs of all three after they'd flown off.
Tony Speight sent the following news: "While visiting Sands Bank, High Wycombe, Bucks on 10th July to carry out a transect I went for a wander into the woodland to see if there was anything nectaring on the bramble and found Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown and Silver-washed Fritillary (a possible first for the site). On the grassland there was the addition of Marbled White (100+), Meadow Brown (100+), Ringlet (36), Brimstone (2), Common Blue (4), Small/Essex Skipper (3) and an unknown Fritillary. Hoping for an ID on the Fritillary I went back Thursday (11th July) and after following it around the bank for quite a while I managed to get a photo and can now confirm a female Dark Green Fritillary."
The following update came from Andy Hoskins:
Richard Wheeler reported the following: "On 09/07/13 I ‘found’ a little site while driving along the B4026 between Charlbury and Chipping Norton, Oxon. There is a small gravelled layby at approx. SP 331255, and just back from the road is a rectangular scrap of uncultivated grassland (set aside?) which I’ve driven past before and thought promising. Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath were all present – a handful of each enjoying the sun and solitude. I spent a couple of hours at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon this lunchtime (11/07/13). Weather sunny and warm (c.20°C) with slight breeze. Highlights included 1 Black Hairstreak (low down on Blackthorn close to car park), 6 White Admiral and 10 Silver-washed Fritillary. Other butterflies included large numbers of Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Large Skipper, 5 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Small Skipper, 3 Large White, 2 Speckled Wood and one each of Small Heath and Small White. Plenty of dragonflies about, including several large and spectacular Emperors."
Ian Alston sent this news: "On Tuesday 9th July I saw some Fritillaries at Sydlings Copse, Oxon. I went again today and can confirm that they are Dark Green Fritillaries. There were many more to be seen, possibly 20 or 30. One did settle for a few seconds enabling me to identify it and get a couple of shots."
Julian Korn sent the following reports:
"On Tuesday 9th July I visited Oakley/Shabbington Wood and
Bernwood meadows, Bucks between 1pm and 4pm. It was very hot. There were numerous
Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Large Skippers. I saw
2 Large Whites, 4 Marbled Whites, 5 Silver-washed Fritillaries,
1 Common Blue, 3 Commas and 2 White Admirals all along the main ride ending
up in the compensation area where I saw 1 Black Hairstreak.In the meadow I saw, again,
numerous Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Large Skippers with 1 rather worn Small Copper.
The White Admirals were magnificent and can be seen, if you wait long enough, on the left of the main
ride walking from the car park immediately after the open but newly fenced area at the bottom of the dip
just after a footpath post (about 615113 on the Explorer map). No sign yet of Purple Emperors.
~ Wednesday 10th July 2013 ~
Martin and Penny Wainwright found several Peacock caterpillars on nettles at the RSPB Otmoor (Oxon) reserve on the morning of July 10th, with Meadow Browns and Ringlets abundant and a couple of Marbled Whites. In the afternoon on the footpath between Thrupp, Oxon and Shipton-on-Cherwell, Marbled Whites were all over the place - well over 40 individuals. This is the first time we have seen them here this summer. Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers, Small and Green-veined Whites were also present in large numbers; at least 20 of each."
Over the last few days Mick & Wendy Campbell have
visited 3 sites looking mainly for Fritillaries and Purple Emperors:
Adam Bassett was at home in Marlow Bottom, Bucks on Tuesday 9th July, as his little boy was off school: "I spent some time in the garden and had my first Silver-washed Fritillary of the year over the borders – an annual event here in small numbers. A Marbled White also visited the Red Valerian, another scarce but annual visitor."
Karen Saxl sent this news from the disused railway line at Hagbourne (Oxon) on 9th July: "Well, it has been a while since I reported in – the first brood of Small Blues seems to be over – has been a few days since I saw one. However, the Marbled Whites are around with a vengeance – I counted over 200 this evening – over double last night’s count and 20 times the count a week ago – really relaxing to walk through the grass looking for them perched on grass heads and flower heads. There are Meadow Browns, Large Skippers, Ringlets – around 10-20 of each, usually a Gatekeeper, Small Tortoiseshell and I have seen a Painted Lady twice this week. There was a butterfly cloud moment when a group of cyclists went past me at the top of an embankment (slightly off piste for the sustrans route) and about 20 Marbled Whites all materialised out of the undergrowth – magic!"
Chris Lamsdell paid two visits to Black Park, Bucks recently: 9th July: Silver-washed Fritillary - 1, Comma - 3, White Admiral - 2, Large Skipper - 4, Meadow Brown - many ca 30; 10th July: Silver-washed Fritillary - 7, White Admiral - 5."
Dave Ferguson reported the following: "Yesterday afternoon (8th July) a walk in Strawberry Wood, Black Park, Bucks produced 4 male Silver-washed Fritillaries, 4 White Admirals, 2 Commas, 1 Brimstone, 1 Small White, 6 Large Skippers, Speckled Woods, Ringlets and Meadow Browns. At one point one of the Fritillaries was chased by a Comma and a Speckled Wood. Then a short walk this afternoon (9th July) near Springfield Farm Landfill, Bucks produced 11 Small Tortoiseshells in 20 minutes. I attach a photo of 2 which were in aerial combat."
John Harris and Andy Barnsley (from
North Warwickshire) sent this report: "On 8th July
we visited Bernwood Forest, Bucks
and saw Wood White 1, White Admiral 1, Marbled White 1 SP62198-10893,
White Admiral 1 SP61207-11496, a Silver-washed Fritillary 1 SP62111-10927 and also
a Beautiful Demoiselle. At the M40 Compensation area: Black Hairstreak 1 and 6 Marbled White.
Brenda Mobbs reports on the Holtspur Bottom field meeting held on 6th July: "Fourteen people came to Holtspur Bottom on a beautiful morning. Paul Bowyer showed everyone some of the moths from the Moth Trapping on the previous evening. There were over a 100 species trapped. The reserve looked at its best and the new notice boards, refurbished by Mark Duckworth with help from Wendy Wilson were admired. The new scallops have produced lots of wildflowers which is encouraging. We saw the following species: Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Small White, Large White, Ringlet, Large Skipper, Comma, Marbled White, Brimstone, Small Skipper, Common Blue and Small Blue. Fourteen species in total. We also saw Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars."
Bryan Williams sent the following: "Last Friday (5th July) I visited Aston Rowant, Oxon where there were several periods of cloud cover as the clouds formed a line along the scarp slopes. I saw 4 Adonis Blues at the foot of the hill, 3 Dark Green Fritillaries by the gully as well as Brimstones (2), Green-veined White (1), Small Heath (87), Meadow Brown (86), Common Blue (21) Large Skipper (1), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Brown Argus (3), Marbled White (6) and one Speckled Wood in the thicket by the car park. I then went on to Watlington Hill, Oxon and saw Meadow Brown (57), Small Heath (24), Common Blue (4) Large Skipper (9), one Brown Argus and one Speckled Wood."
~ Monday 8th July 2013 ~
John Warren reported the following on 8th July: "5 Meadow Browns and 5 Ringlets from The Chiltern Way, Bucks in SU8186. 10+ Meadow Browns from The Chiltern Way in SU8386. 1 Marbled White, 5+ Speckled Wood, 1 Small Tortoiseshell in Homefield Wood SSSI, Bucks."
Adrian Cadman sent this update today: "When the sun eventually appeared this morning, 8th July, I wandered over to the local roadside elms (SP841418 ish) on the New Bradwell to Newport Pagnell road in north Milton Keynes to see how the newly emerged White-letter Hairstreaks were faring. The answer was very well. In fact a mating pair was seen along with at least 2 other individuals, 1 of them in a section of elm where I haven't noticed any before."
Chris Lamsdell sent these reports: 7 July: Broadmore Bottom, Berks - just a couple of Silver-studded Blues - more on Chobham Common. 8 July: Bradenham, Bucks - c80 Dark Green Fritillaries, 20 + Marbled Whites, lots of Meadow Browns, couple of Common Blues, Small Skipper - not checked for specific species - would not rest anywhere: Harding's Row NR (Iver Heath), Bucks - Marbled White, Small Skippers c5 - not checked for specific species - would not rest anywhere."
Martin Kincaid reported some sightings from Milton Keynes, Bucks on 8th July: "I am pleased to report that the Black Hairstreak flies again in Milton Keynes. Having made 4 unsuccessful visits, I finally spotted 2 at Howe Park Wood SSSI yesterday at around 10.30am. They were on blackthorn at the northern end of the wood, close to the car park. The first one settled long enough for me to see it clearly through binoculars and it looked to be in mint condition. The second one I just saw in flight twice. As if that wasn’t enough, I have today found a single Black Hairstreak at a ‘new’ site, Oxley Mead – another SSSI on the western flank of Milton Keynes adjacent to the North Bucks Way. This site looks perfect for several hairstreak species, with mature blackthorn hedges surrounding the meadow, lots of healthy looking wych elm and mature oak and ash trees dotted along its length. The bad news is that there is no public access to this site – I had to get permission from the current owner, Persimmon Homes. But delighted to know the butterfly is there. The other pleasing thing I have noticed lately is this year’s emergence of Small Tortoiseshell. On Friday 5th July I counted 21 Small Tortoiseshells at Caldecotte Lake and later that same day I saw 14 at Stony Stratford. I can’t remember the last time I saw them in double figures. Has anyone else noticed similar numbers? Of course, these are all recently emerged adults so it will be interesting to see how their numbers hold up in the coming weeks."
Rupert Perkins sent these sightings: "Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon, Sunday 7th July 10:30 to 15:00. Weather very hot (30C approx) and sunny, occasional gust of cooler light wind. Only 3 brief sightings of Black Hairstreak despite a very thorough search. Newly emerged White Admiral (picture below), two seen in aerial territorial fight but otherwise mostly perched in an oak tree sipping honeydew. Also Silver-washed Fritillary (5), Marbled White (estimated 50), Ringlet (estimated 100), Meadow Brown (estimated 50), Large Skipper (estimated 50), Comma var. Hutchinsoni (1), Large White (1), Small White (2). Others reported Small Skipper, but all those I checked were Large."
Dave Cleal went to Springfield Landfill site in Wooburn Common, Bucks on 6th July: "I saw 4 Small Heaths, 4 Large Skippers, over a dozen Small Tortoiseshells, circa 40 Ringlets and similar number of Meadow Browns including over 20 feeding on a small patch of flowering thistles along with several of the Small Tortoiseshells and Burnet Moths (probably about 10 on site) - they all took off at one moment forming a small cloud!! One Painted Lady was very pleasing."
David Hastings sent the following: "On Saturday 6th July I visited Decoy Heath and Paice's Wood in Berkshire. Apart from Ringlets, Large Skippers, Meadow Browns and Speckled Woods the only notable species was a single Silver-washed Fritillary at Paices's Wood. Also on the 6th I visited my allotment in north Abingdon, Oxon and found around a dozen Small Tortoiseshells and a lot of Peacock caterpillars in a nettle patch. I visited the southern part of Aston Rowant, Oxon on 7th July. Meadow Browns and Small Heaths were very numerous, probably at least 75 of each. Also numerous were Dark Green Fritillaries, of which I saw at least 25 and probably more. There were a few Common Blues still on the wing, but not many Ringlets or Marbled Whites. I saw one Small Skipper. Also on the 7th I made a brief visit to Watlington Hill, Oxon. Again there were lots of Meadow Browns and Small Heaths, but only one Dark Green Fritillary and one Comma of the pale underwing form hutchinsoni."
Richard Wheeler says he's
visited three sites over the last three days: "I feel I’ve seen more butterflies in that time
than in the whole of last year! Weather each day was hot and sunny (c.25°C).
Chris Bottrell sent this news: "During my butterfly survey today (7th July) for BBOWT at Calvert Jubilee, Bucks, not only another Dark Green Fritillary but also my first Gatekeeper of the year!"
Mark Griffiths sent this report on 7th July: "Went up to Aston Rowant, Oxon today and saw 1 Dark Green Fritillary (may be more but only one in sight at any time), large numbers of Small Heath and Meadow Brown, fair numbers of Marbled White and Common Blue, plus two Brown Argus. One Skipper (didn't get close enough to see which, one Brimstone and one White, looked like a Green-veined White). Lots of Speckled Woods in the approach. Also a few bright blue butterflies, frequently being chased by male Common Blues which looked duller and more purple in comparison. From the black lines going through the white wing margins I would say they were late Adonis Blues."
7/7 - Dennis Dell reports on the Purple Emperor
field meeting, 6th/7th July, Oakley and Shabbington Woods, and the visit to the M40 compensation
area: "Weather perfect, 100% sunshine, 24-28 degrees, no wind. It may be a late season,
or it may be a poor season, and I think we can decide by mid-July. The numbers of the common species were
low, and the total number of butterflies seen over the two days was also low: 142. No Purple Emperors
were seen, but we are not surprised: even at Bookham Common Surrey, the place which always reports the
first sightings, none have been seen up until yesterday. Meadow Brown , Ringlet ,
Speckled Wood , Large Skipper , Silver-washed Fritillary , Marbled White ,
Common Blue , Comma , White Admiral , Black Hairstreak [8, all
in compensation area], Small Tortoiseshell , Green-veined White , Red Admiral ,
Small Skipper , Large White . Moths: Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnet,
Scarlet Tiger, Light Emerald."
Adrian Cadman sent the following: "I've been visiting the roadside elms along the New Bradwell to Newport Pagnell road in north Milton Keynes for a couple of weeks now. This morning, 7th July, at 9:30 2 fresh White-letter Hairstreaks were sunning themselves between brief flights chasing various sorts of bees, flies etc. Recently emerged Marbled Whites, Small Skippers and plenty of Ringlets were also in evidence this weekend."
~ Saturday 6th July 2013 ~
Dave Ferguson went to Strawberry Wood, Black Park, Bucks this afternoon (6th July). "I saw 2 White Admirals, 8 Meadow Browns, 8 Speckled Woods, 7 Ringlets, 1f Brimstone, 1 Large White and 1 Large Skipper."
Chris Hazell sent the following: "I went to Bradenham Bank, Bucks today between 11am and 1pm. What amazed me most was the incredible number of Dark Green Fritillaries on the wing. My conservative estimate was 100+. Also seen where 100+ Marbled White, plus lots of Meadow Brown and Ringlets, 4 Small Blue, 6 Large Skipper and 10 Small Skipper."
Peter Law sent this report today: "6th July: This afternoon I revisited Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon to look for Dark Green Fritillary, finding 5. The first was at the top of the hill near the entrance gate and the others were in and around the gully at the end of the sunken path that runs along the bottom of the hill. I watched these spiralling to great heights in territorial contests, but they rarely settled in the hot sun. Other species seen were my season's first Marbled Whites and Small Skipper, my first Ringlets at this site, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, a single Painted Lady and Speckled Woods on the walk back up the sunken path to the car park."
Dave Morris saw a White Admiral at Chiltern Woodland Burial Park, nr Seer Green, Bucks this afternoon. "Seen with Tori Summerell & Mr & Mrs Wells (who will have to forgive me for not knowing their full names!!). Also seen, Small Skipper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown & Speckled Wood."
Peter Cuss reports that a Meadow Brown emerged today, 6th July, from the unidentified chrysalis that he found on 26th June (see Peter's report below).
Chris Lamsdell sent the following on 5th July: "In Bernwood Forest, Bucks today I saw 4, possibly more, Black Hairstreak but certainly not the 50 of last Sunday, so perhaps numbers are already on the wane and we'll have a quick season this year? White Admiral seen near car park."
Mick & Wendy Campbell met Ian Alston at Hell Coppice, Bernwood Forest, Bucks on 5th July: "Ian had just been into York's Wood and had seen a Black Hairstreak (see photo below). We all then went to Waterperry Wood, Oxon to see what was about and managed to find our first, very fresh, White Admiral of the year. It looked as though it had just emerged as it flew very weakly and settled again in a nearby birch tree where Ian managed to get a long-distance photo of it. Other species seen were Small Tortoiseshell (3), Common Blue (1), Ringlet (1), Meadow Brown (2), Brimstone (1), Large Skipper (3) and finally a Silver-washed Fritillary."
Dennis Dell sent this attractive photo of two Small Tortoiseshells on Carnations in his garden in Aylesbury, Bucks on 5th July.
Ewan Urquhart reported the following: "I revisited Bernwood Forest, Bucks and the M40 Compensation Area on 5th July from 1130-1430. In the Compensation Area unlike last Sunday the Black Hairstreaks were much more widely scattered and not so numerous. I counted 10 in all with at least two nectaring on privet flowers, one in pristine condition the other with a large chunk taken out of the lower wings. Other butterflies seen in the Compensation Area were 2 Small Copper; 3 Small Tortoiseshell; 8 Marbled White; 31 Meadow Brown; 4 Ringlet; 7 Speckled Wood; 2 Large White; 4 Small White; 2 Common Blue and 2 Large Skipper. Walking through Bernwood Forest to the Compensation Area I saw 1 Silver-washed Fritillary; 1 Red Admiral; 9 Speckled Wood; 3 Large White and 14 Meadow Brown."
~ Thursday 4th July 2013 ~
Andy Hoskins visited Buttler's Hangings, Bucks this evening, 4th July, between 6.30 and 7.15pm, sunny, 23c. "I saw 11x Dark Green Fritillary, 2x Common Blue, 1x Peacock, 2x Small Tortoiseshell, 1 x Ringlet, 20+ Meadow Brown, 30+ Marbled White, 1x Dingy Skipper, 3x Large Skipper, 2x Small Heath."
Dennis Dell went to Bradenham Bank, Bucks today, 4th July: "The highlight was 6 Dark Green Fritillaries together on dog poo - the photo is from too far away, but they flew off as I got closer! Also seen were Meadow Brown , Marbled White , Common Blue , Ringlet , Dark Green Fritillary [very fresh 31], Small Blue [9, quite worn], Brimstone , Small Heath [4, worn], Large Skipper ."
Richard Wheeler spent an hour at Finemere Woods, Bucks at lunchtime today (04/07/13). "The weather was cloudy and blustery but warm – c.20°C. Not huge numbers of butterflies about (except Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood, which were both numerous). However, I did see a Silver-washed Fritillary on the main track and an interesting Meadow Brown aberration (see grabbed pic) – it reminded me of the Dingy Skipper aberration seen by Pete Eeles in May."
Michael McNeill reported the following: "Although cooler and more cloud cover than over the weekend, visits to Moor Copse and Lardon Chase in West Berkshire proved worthwhile. Moor Copse produced 4 Large Skippers, 2 Marbled White, 1 Common Blue, 1 Six-spot Burnet Moth, 3 Speckled Wood and good numbers of Meadow Brown (25) plus a few Small Heaths. Better luck at Lardon Chase, where 60+ Meadow Brown were seen, plus 20+ Small Heath, 10 Marbled White, 2 Common Blue and 3 Small Tortoiseshell in rapid flight."
Dave Miller sent this report: "I visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon at around 1630 on 30th June. I managed to see at least five separate Black Hairstreaks, but they largely stayed high up or remained deep in the foliage of the blackthorn. I watched one individual walk and crawl a fair distance in amongst the twigs and leaves. Aside from the Hairstreaks, I saw five or six Speckled Woods, perhaps a dozen Large Skippers, four Common Blues, three Meadow Browns, two Small Whites, a single new Ringlet, two very worn Brimstones and an equally worn but still energetic Peacock."
Andy Hoskins visited Finemere Wood, Bucks on his way home on Wednesday evening 3rd July, 5.30-7.00pm. "It was a bit dull and cloudy though warm (18.5c). I saw 8 Speckled Wood, 3 Meadow Brown, a Hornet Clearwing moth and 3 Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet moths, (2 mating and I suspect the female had only just emerged judging by the empty pupal case on the left)."
~ Wednesday 3rd July 2013 ~
Nicholl Williams sent this report: "I've been out today (Wednesday 3rd July) onto Strawberry Bank, Bucks and saw several Marbled Whites, 4 in the air at once, Small Heaths and a single Dark Green Fritillary."
Andy Hoskins visited Buttler's Hangings, Bucks 5.45 to 6.30pm on 2nd July. "It was cooler and very breezy, with damp in the air, but I did see 6 Meadow Brown, 3 Marbled White and 1 male Common Blue."
Dave Ferguson sent the following: "A visit to Sydlings Copse, Oxon on the afternoon of 1st July produced 1 Dark Green Fritillary, 1 Red Admiral, 34 Marbled Whites, 18 Ringlets, 20 Meadow Browns, 2 Speckled Woods, 2 Common Blues, 1 Small White and 2 Burnet Companions."
Tony Croft went to Rushbeds Wood, Bucks on Monday afternoon, 1st July: "I went primarily to look for Black Hairstreaks and saw two individuals in the drover's road. On the way I stopped at the ride crossroads by the deerstalker's seat to study the ash trees for any treetop activity. After a few minutes I briefly saw a Purple Emperor gliding around the top of one and this was repeated a few minutes later after which it disappeared into an adjacent oak. The weather was overcast with a temperature of 18C."
David Fearn sent these recent reports:
"29th June, Hook Norton, Oxon Cutting Meadow (field at parking area south
of main NR entrance), warm afternoon: Large White, Orange-tip, Brimstone, Common Blue,
Marbled White (1 seen), Large Skipper, Meadow Brown (very common) & Speckled Wood.
Ched George reports seeing large numbers of Dark Green Fritillary males at Bradenham, Bucks on 1st July along with a few fresh Ringlet, Marbled White, Large Skippers and the usual Meadow Browns. "It was quite windy with not much sun, but warm enough to keep everything flying. There was not much in the way of Field Scabious and Knapweeds to nectar on so lots were feeding on Dogwood flowers. Maybe Holtspur and Gomm valley will produce some Dark Green Fritillary records this year."
~ Tuesday 2nd July 2013 ~
Andy Hoskins reported the following: "Here are my sightings for the last few days. Saturday 29th June I visited Finemere Wood, Bucks between 3.15 and 4.30pm. I saw 1x Peacock, 3x Brimstone, 2x Small Heath, 8x Meadow Brown. This evening Monday 1st July I stopped at Buttlers Hangings, Bucks on my way home from work, 5.45-6.15pm and saw 3 Meadow Brown, 8 x Marbled White, 1 female Common Blue, 1 x Dark Green Fritillary, 3 x Small Heath."
This news came from Wendy Wilson: "Yesterday 1st July, behind the Church in Denham Village, Bucks, I saw my first Small Skipper nectaring on knapweed (see photo). 11 Small Tortoiseshells and a nest of about 50 of their larvae were there too. Other species there included 22 Meadow Brown, 4 Ringlet, 2 Marbled White, 2 Large Skipper and a Small Copper. Small Tortoiseshells seem to be doing well this year, I've been seeing them in lots of different places around Bucks."
Ian Stevenson reported the following: "Just to let you know, I found a pristine female Silver-studded Blue at BBOWT's Broadmoor Bottom, Berks site today 01/07/2013 at 10:00am and even more excitingly 6 Males at BBOWT's Wildmoor Heath site too where we have done a lot of work to improve the habitat for this species."
This sighting came via Adam Hartley from Ross Crates on 1st July: "Just to let you know that I saw a Clouded Yellow butterfly this morning, on the track down to Denman's farm between Cumnor and Farmoor, Oxon."
Mike Jackson spent 2 warm and sunny hours at Pitstone fen, Bucks on Sunday 30th June. "I saw >20 Small Blues, 10 Speckled Woods, >5 Large Skippers, 4 Common Blue, 2 Large White, 2 Ringlets, 2 Meadow Browns, 1 Small Heath and 1 Small Tortoiseshell."
~ Sunday 30th June 2013 ~
Ewan Urquhart went to the Bernwood M40 Compensation Area today (30th June) from 1200-1500: "It was sunny, hot and the wind was around force three from the southwest. During that time I had in excess of 50 sightings of Black Hairstreaks (I gave up counting).It is very difficult to assess just how many separate individuals there were but there must have been around 20. They seemed to be everywhere along the entire length of the compensation area mainly next to the fence by the M40 and amazingly were the commonest butterfly of all the species observed today and were seen resting on Blackthorn, Ash, Hawthorn, Blackberry and Privet (with some nectaring on the privet flowers) and one was seen by a fellow observer to be egg laying on Blackthorn (he even got it on video!) They allowed very close approach as can be seen from the photos but rarely remained settled for more than a few minutes in any one spot. It's good to see so many after such a poor 2012. Although mainly concentrating on the Black Hairstreaks other species seen were 4 Common Blue (all males), 10+ Speckled Wood, 2 Meadow Brown, 4 Large Skipper and 2 Small White."
Adam Hartley and a friend from Cornwall managed to see plenty of Black Hairstreaks on 30th June at the M40 Compensation Area. "I'm sure you'll get lots of reports as there were loads of people there, but for the record: en route in Bernwood Forest lots of Speckled Wood, a Ringlet and several Large Skippers, in the area itself again lots of Speckled Woods, a Meadow Brown and a few Large Skippers, 1 Small White, 2 Common Blue. Several dozen sightings of Black Hairstreaks - very hard to put numbers on how many individuals but good numbers which would be well into double figures."
Will and Linda Atkinson reported the following: "Inspired by Michael Darby’s successful visit to the M40 Compensation Area we went looking for Black Hairstreak on Saturday (29th June). We soon located one near the entrance high in a Blackthorn, which obligingly flew down to head height to lay at least one egg between the tufts of lichen (photos attached). In total we saw 5 in about an hour’s search, but none so cooperative as the first. Other butterflies seen on the track from the car park were numerous Speckled Wood, 2 x Red Admiral, 2 x Large Skipper and 1 x Brimstone."
Clive Burrows saw 10 Black Hairstreaks at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on Saturday 29th June during a two hour visit. A freshly emerged female was engaged with a male as it was drying.
Michael Darby sent these pictures of the Black Hairstreak he saw last Thursday (27th June) at Bernwood M40 compensation area (see report below).
David Hastings sent these reports:
Stuart Hodges sent the following today, 30th June: "This is a Small Tortoiseshell caterpillar found on Saturday on nettles at Steeple Claydon, Bucks that is not going to make it through to a butterfly because it's been taken over by a Calcid Wasp called Cotesia Vanessa. Five or six little maggots will have come out of this caterpillar. They then weave this woolly substance and turn into pupae hidden inside it. In about a month's time they will emerge as small flies."
Richard Wheeler paid fleeting visits of half an hour each to Gavray Drive Meadows and Ardley Quarry (both in Oxon) this afternoon (30/06/13). "The weather was warm and breezy (c.20°C+). 12 different butterflies seen. At Gavray Drive: 12 Large Skipper, 5 Meadow Brown, 3 Speckled Wood, 2 Brimstone, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Small Copper, 1 Ringlet – but no Black Hairstreak. At Ardley Quarry: 6 Common Blue, 3 Brown Argus, 2 Marbled White, 2 Small Heath, 2 Brimstone, 1 Large Skipper, 1 Large White, 1 Small Copper, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Meadow Brown and 1 Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly."
Tony Rayner sent this report on 29th June: "In what appears to be the worst year ever for butterflies, how marvellous to find no fewer than 13 Small Tortoiseshells in our Cholsey, Oxon garden today. I don't recall ever seeing so many! Also today we had our first Marbled White and there were masses of Hawkmoths in our traps, at least 30, most of which were Small Elephant Hawks."
~ Friday 28th June 2013 ~
David and Pippa Lloyd sent this news: "Thurs 27th June 1100. Green Hairstreak on gorse at Wildmoor Heath, Berks (BBOWT reserve), on Edgbarrow Heath to north of bridleway. Green underwing showed well as I was close to the insect."
Andy Hoskins reported the following: "I visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks on Tuesday 25th June, between 6.00 and 7.00pm and saw 5 Meadow Brown, 4 well worn Adonis Blue, 1 Common Blue, 1 tatty Small Blue and 6 Small Heath."
~ Thursday 27th June 2013 ~
Peter Law sent the following: "During a four-hour visit to Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon today (27th June), I saw: 65+ Small Heath, c20 Brown Argus, 15+ male Common Blue and 2 females, 3 male Adonis Blue, a faded Green Hairstreak (my latest ever record), 7 Meadow Brown, 2 Speckled Wood and 1 each of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock. I was hoping to see Dark Green Fritillary but none were flying yet."
Michael Darby went to the Bernwood M40 compensation area today, 27th June: "8 Black Hairstreaks sighted between 10am and 1pm in warm slightly breezy conditions with the sun slowly burning through the cloud cover. 2 near the entrance gate but had to wait quite a while for them. 6 at the far end of the area, 2 of which were on the inside boundary right in the corner with the other 4 next to the motorway and much easier to spot as well as landing quite low down enabling good photos. Lots of pictures which I'll send Sunday as I'm away from a computer at the present."
Peter Cuss found this pupa
in some grass he had cut on his allotment on 26th June in Caversham, Berks and wondered if it
might be a Small Heath? He also spotted two Scarlet Tiger moths.
Mick Jones says he was mowing trails at Dancersend Waterworks, Bucks yesterday (26th June) and saw quite a few species, if not large numbers. "Ringlet and Large Skipper were firsts for me this year. Large Skipper (1), Dingy Skipper (2), Brimstone (1 male), Large White (1), Green-veined White (2), Orange-tip (2 males; 1 female), Common Blue (7), Small Copper (2), Red Admiral (1), Peacock (1), Speckled Wood (1), Meadow Brown (2), Ringlet (2), Silver Y (5), Burnet Companion (4)."
Richard Wheeler sent this news: "I spent a couple of hours at Finemere Wood, Bucks lunchtime on 25/06/13. The weather was warm but cloudy (c.17°C). Butterflies seen: 13 Speckled Wood, 10 Small Heath, 7 Meadow Brown, 4 M Orange-tip, 2 Brimstone (M & F), 1 Large Skipper, 1 F Common Blue, 1 Peacock, 1 Large White – but no Black Hairstreak. Moths seen included: 7 Burnet Companion, 3 Cinnabar, 1 Silver-ground Carpet and 1 Straw Dot. I also came across a handsome Black-headed Cardinal Beetle (see pic). The main ride is currently teeming with Common Spotted orchids. I visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon at lunchtime yesterday (26/06/13). The weather was similar to the previous day. Aside from good numbers of Speckled Wood there were disappointingly few butterflies about. I saw: 22 Speckled Wood, 6 Large Skipper (see pic), 5 Meadow Brown, 2 Common Blue, 2 Large White – but again no Black Hairstreak. Moths seen included: 4 Burnet Companion, 1 Green Oak Tortrix (see pic), 1 Silver-ground Carpet and 1 Grass Rivulet."
Chris Lamsdell visited Broadmore Bottom, Berks on 25th June: "No Silver-studded Blue but I did see one Green Hairstreak."
Ewan Urquhart was at Radley, Oxon on 25th June: "I saw the following: Clouded Yellow 1 (image below), Common Blue 1m, Peacock 3, Meadow Brown 2, Small Tortoiseshell 1 and Large White 1.
I also saw a probable Black Hairstreak at Otmoor, Oxon on Tuesday afternoon, 25th June, flying over the Blackthorn by the track from the Car Park. Unfortunately it did not stop. However, on 26th June I watched at least four Black Hairstreaks at Waterperry Wood, Oxon between 1340-1640. Seen on and off with binoculars throughout the period but noticeably they were only active when the sun was out. Several interactions between two individuals over the period, then one perched fairly low down and side on so I could clearly see through the binoculars the brown underwing colouration and broad orange sub terminal band with black spots. Regrettably none came low enough to get a good photo. Also seen 19 Speckled Wood; 2 Meadow Brown and 2 Large Skipper."
Mick Jones reported the following: "I've been visiting Salden Railway Cutting, Bucks fairly regularly without any sightings of Wood White or Grizzled Skipper. My latest visit was on 24th June in rather poor conditions, but I counted 28 Chimney Sweeper moths, 3 Burnet Companions, 3 Green-veined Whites, 3 Speckled Woods, 3 Unidentified Whites (not Wood White), 2 Common Blues, 2 Brimstones, 1 Meadow Brown and 1 Peacock. On Tuesday morning, 25th June, I walked the butterfly transect at Dancersend Extension, Bucks. Numbers low - mostly Meadow Browns and Common Blues - but I saw a Dark Green Fritillary. This was on the area of arable fields BBOWT is reverting to chalk grassland. It was quartering a patch that we sowed with wildflower seed harvested from nearby in the Chilterns 10 years ago."
~ Monday 24th June 2013 ~
Brenda Mobbs went to Chalfont Grove, Bucks early afternoon on 19th June: "I saw one Clouded Yellow as well as 3 Small Coppers, 10 Large Skippers, 2 Meadow Browns, 2 Small Heaths and a Common Blue. I was very surprised to see the Clouded Yellow."
Wendy Wilson reported the following: "At Otmoor, Oxon on Tuesday afternoon 18th June, Shelagh Harlow and I were checking the Brown Hairstreak larvae and found two in the car-park. They were not yet fully grown, being 10 and 12 mm long; usually they are pupae by now. While we were there, Shelagh spotted a final instar Magpie Moth caterpillar on the blackthorn. It has attractive markings (see photo) and was a first for both of us. It too should be a pupa by now according to the book. Also, on my way to Otmoor, I stopped off at Great Haseley and saw my first Yellow Shell moth of the season."
~ Saturday 22nd June 2013 ~
Chris Bottrell reported the following news: "Saturday 22nd June 12:05. During a butterfly survey at Calvert Jubilee, Bucks for BBOWT I found a Dark Green Fritillary (confirmed by Ched George). First one I have ever seen there. Conditions 15C, 60% sunshine, windy (gusting 5+). Location SP 68649 24934."
~ Friday 21st June 2013 ~
Black Hairstreaks have been seen at two different sites today,
Mary Payne sent the following news today: "I saw a number of Common Blues at Pulpit Hill, Princes Risborough, Bucks SP832050 on June 18th, also a single Small Heath."
Helen Hyre sent this interesting sighting: "On 18th June I walked along the southern section of Westfield Road, Pitstone, Bucks looking for butterflies. It was overcast and mild. I saw 20 Small Blue, 1 Small Heath and this unusual Common Blue aberration which looked more like a Chalkhill Blue!"
~ Wednesday 19th June 2013 ~
Steve Croxford sent this news on 19th June: "I've struggled over the last few days to find many butterflies, certainly I haven't seen any Black Hairstreak. I did however see a Clouded Yellow in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, Oxon around lunch time today. I wonder if it has come up from the continent with this warm weather. The only other butterflies seen were a few unidentified whites."
Chris Coppock reported the following: "As last year, I did a 2-hr perambulation (12.10-14.10) of Wicken Wood on the Bucks/Northants border today, 19th June. Weather was warm and humid with cloud thinning from 6/8 to 2/8 so plenty of hazy sunshine. I counted 60 Wood Whites, and saw others just outside the wood on field headlands or road verges. The count is imprecise as despite its reputation this butterfly is quite mobile, individuals patrolling considerable lengths of ride. Other butterflies present were: Common Blue, Peacock, Orange-tip, Speckled Wood, Small White. Moths included Silver-Y and Blood-vein."
Mike Flemming sent this report: "Small Blues were present in exceptionally good numbers at a site in West Berkshire today, 19th June but overall, butterflies seemed somewhat scarce, except for the Small Blues and Small Heaths, although I did see a couple of very fresh-looking Large Skippers."
Richard Wheeler spent an hour at Westcott railway cutting, Bucks at lunchtime today (19/06/13): "The weather was hot, muggy and still (c.20+°C). I saw: 10+ Small Heath (including at least 5 in a couple of the adjoining fields), 10+ Common Blue, 7 Dingy Skipper, 5 Grizzled Skipper, 1 M Brimstone, 1 M Orange-tip and 2 Small White. Moths seen included: 1 Silver-ground Carpet, 6 Lesser Treble-bar, 2 Burnet Companion and 2 Silver Y."
On 18 June, at Thrupp, Oxfordshire, Martin Wainwright watched two Speckled Woods dancing together above the lawn but didn't have his camera handy. The next day, 19 June, a Speckled Wood obligingly came into the greenhouse (along with a Small White). Outdoors there was a Brimstone and an Orange-tip.
Dave Ferguson sent the following report: "On an overcast, humid morning at Yoesden Bank, Bucks today (18th June) I saw 27 Common Blues, 8 Small Blues, 1 male Adonis Blue, 9 Small Heaths, 2 male Meadow Browns, 1 Small White, 1 Dingy Skipper, 3 Burnet Companion moths and 2 Silver Y moths. Of the 6 female Common Blues I saw, all but one were at the extreme blue end of the range."
Jim Asher says that he saw his first Large Skipper of the year on Saturday afternoon (15 June) near Cothill, Oxon and his second on Sunday morning (16 June) at a site in west Berkshire.
~ Monday 17th June 2013 ~
Chris Hazell went for an early afternoon walk to Aston Rowant NR, Oxon on (16th June): "I went mainly to photograph Orchids and was surprised to find one fresh Painted Lady on the main SW facing slope. Not much else butterfly wise due to inclement weather, Common Blue 20+, Small Heath 6, Brown Argus 1."
The following report from Simon Fenner came via Jim Asher: "Took the opportunity to explore Yoesden Bank, Bucks on Saturday morning 15th June while in the area visiting relatives and collecting daughter from Uni. Quite breezy, but sufficient sunny intervals for some action. Found a number of Small Blues at the bottom of the bank in the long grass, probably half a dozen of each sex. Also plenty of Common Blues of both sexes. Exploring the Chinnor end by the hedge, saw my first Meadow Brown of the year but it was very twitchy and the breeze took it far out of my sight. Finally saw a couple of more electric blue blurs which I took to be Adonis Blue males and eventually managed a positive ID before it starting pouring and I beat a retreat. Very enjoyable hour or so in spite of breeze and moderate sun."
~ Saturday 15th June 2013 ~
Dave Miller sent the following today: "A rather belated report from last week (6th June) when the weather was better! After a visit to Totternhoe just over the border into Bedfordshire, I headed along the bottom of the Chilterns to Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks, somewhere I'd not been before. I walked from the car park towards the high point, but was distracted by a series of sheltered ditches or gullies to the left. Following these down, I came to areas much hotter than the general hillside and alive with butterflies. There were the first Brown Argus I have seen this year, Common Blues, Small Heaths and Dingy Skippers, all chasing around in hyperactivity. I homed in on what I took to be a faded Dingy Skipper and discovered it to be an even more faded Duke of Burgundy. Elsewhere on the hill, there were Brimstones, a couple of Orange-tips and a few Whites."
Jan Haseler reported the following: "A flowery restored former gravel pit near Ufton Nervet, Berks had 3 Grizzled Skipper, 6 Common Blue, 2 Brown Argus and 2 Peacock, plus a selection of day-flying moths on Friday 14th June."
Peter Law sent this report: "14 June: This afternoon at Dry Sandford Pit BBOWT, Oxon while searching for damselflies, I came across my first Large Skipper of the year. Other butterflies seen were several Brimstone, 4 Common Blue, 1 Small Heath and a few Whites. Also on the 14th, singles of Speckled Wood and Orange-tip at nearby Parsonage Moor."
~ Tuesday 11th June 2013 ~
Mary Payne reported the following sightings around Bucks recently: "We saw an Orange-tip in Prestwood on Sunday 9th June and I spotted another today, 11th June in Buckland Village (SP8812). Also on Sunday, we saw a number of Common Blues on plants at Pulpit Hill, Princes Risborough. They were not warm enough to fly, so it was a good photo opportunity!"
On Monday evening, 10th June, Andy Hoskins visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks between 5.50pm and 6.50pm. "It was mostly overcast and cool, hence a lower count compared to the end of last week, and noticeably no Dingy Skippers. I did see 3 Small Blue, 5 Common Blue, 2 Adonis Blue and 3 Small Heath."
David Gower went to Pitstone, Bucks at around 4pm on Sunday 9th June and noted 32 x Small Blue, 22 x Common Blue, 14 x Small Heath, 1 x Large White, 1 x Dingy Skipper, 1 x Burnet Companion moth, 1 x Pyrausta aurata moth.
~ Sunday 9th June 2013 ~
Chris Hazell reported the following: "I visted Yoesden Bank near Radnage, Bucks from 4-6pm this afternoon 9th June and saw the following species:- Adonis Blue - 2 males (both looked very fresh as if they had just emerged), Small Blue 50+, Common Blue 50+, Small Heath 30+, Dingy Skipper 30+, Green Hairstreak 2, Brimstone 4."
Karen Saxl was surprised to see her first Marbled White of the year on Sunday afternoon 9th June at about 4pm. "I noticed something white flying at the top of the embankment of the Hagbourne (Oxon) sustrans ramps and scampered up wondering if I’d be able to identify it as Small or Green-veined White only to find it wasn’t either but instead a Marbled White! The markings were quite a pale brown but it was definitely a Marbled White so I felt the effort of climbing was worth it. I also counted 28 Small Blues in the same area with a further 4 at Upton. The Common Blues are definitely building up in numbers after last year’s dearth – saw 4 in total today – including one female with very blue wings and two males – didn’t manage to see what the fourth was."
David Hastings saw the following at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon on 8th June: "One Speckled Wood, two Brown Argus, one Green-veined White, 6 male & 1 female Common Blues, seven Small Heaths, one Brimstone and one Painted Lady. I've attached a pic of the Painted Lady. That's the first one I've seen at Dry Sandford Pit since the great invasion in 2009!"
Richard Wheeler went for a family walk at Ardley Quarry, Oxon on the afternoon of 8th June: "The weather was reasonable (sunny with passing clouds, c.17°C, breezy). In 1½ hours we saw 8 Common Blue (including 1F), 6 Grizzled Skipper, 10 Small Heath, 1 Brown Argus (see pic), 1 Speckled Wood, 1 male Brimstone and 3 unidentified Whites. We also saw 1 Lesser Treble-bar moth."
This news came from Andy Hoskins:
"I made a couple more visits to Yoesden Bank, Bucks recently in the hope of seeing Adonis Blue there:
Chris Bottrell decided to go and do some chalk sites on Thursday 6th June: "I started at the disused railway line, West Hagborne, Oxon (bridge over Foxglove Lane) to Upton, Oxon (10:30 - 11:30). A bit cloudy to start with but the sun eventually burned through and woke up the embankment: Large White (1), Small Blue (23) and day-flying moths Opsibotys fuscalis (1), Common Heath Moth (1f). Then at Yoesden Bank, Bucks (16:45 - 17:15): Just did the bank. Extremely lively as the day had warmed up nicely and the sun was directly on the bank: Dingy Skipper (8), Brimstone (3), Large White (1), Small White (2), Green-veined White (3), Orange-tip (2m, 4f), Small Copper (1), Small Blue (42), Common Blue (18m, 1f), Peacock (2), Small Heath (49). Also moths: Grass Rivulet (2), Mother Shipton (1), Burnet Companion (2). No Adonis Blues found."
Karen Saxl sent this update on 6th June: "In past week the Small Blue colony at Hagbourne, Oxon has been doing well – best count was a week ago (Friday 31 May) – with 85 perched away making the most of the evening sunshine, though generally it is around the 40 mark. The wind seems to have a big impact – if the grass is blowing too much then they seem to bury themselves deep inside and the count goes down to 20 – I know they are still there because on one windy occasion a dog came up behind me and 4 flew up out of the undergrowth just in time to escape a shower! Upton is much smaller with counts ranging between 4 and 12. I’m also starting to see some Common Blues – think it was August last year before I saw one! – not many but they are definitely there – and I’d given up this evening when I spotted 2 just before I got back into Didcot. The birds-foot trefoil seems to be coming out now – whereas it didn’t really seem to come out much at all last year – think it went dry at just the wrong moment last year. The knapweed is getting close to coming out so hoping it won’t be too long before the Marbled Whites emerge. I also went over to the Devil’s Punchbowl, Oxon yesterday – loads of Small Heaths, a Common Blue and one Green Hairstreak – it was quite windy so they were probably all sheltered in amongst the nettles on the slopes. There were lots of Small Blues up by the carpark and I think I may have seen a Dingy Skipper."
Richard Wheeler spent a couple of hours at Yoesden Bank, Bucks over lunchtime on 6th June: "The weather was glorious (sunny, cloudless, relatively still, c.17°C). Four species of butterfly were present in good numbers: Small Heath and Common Blue (25+ each); Dingy Skipper and Small Blue (15+ each). Alas, no Adonis seen. Other butterflies included: 9 Brimstone (incl. 6F), 3 Large White and one each of Small Copper, Orange-tip (M) and Peacock. There were also plenty of moths about, including Burnet Companion, Mother Shipton and a Pyrausta sp. (aurata or purpuralis). Regarding Small Blues, on the other side of the 2nd gate after the churchyard, I was ‘ambushed’ by three Small Blues that were absolutely determined to land on me (see pic) – ‘mobbed’ would be too strong a word, but while I crouched down they made repeated attempts to settle on me, with my hands and walking shoes especially popular! I guess they were after salts?"
Peter Law visited Lardon Chase, Berks on the afternoon of 6th June: "I saw 8 Adonis Blue amongst 35+ male and 6 female Common Blue. Other species seen were 6 Small Heath, a female Brimstone and a few unspecified Whites. A little earlier, along the Thames towing path between Pangbourne and Beale Park (Berks), I came across 2 Holly Blue."
Brenda Mobbs went for a walk with some friends in the Bradenham, Bucks area on 5th June: "It was a beautiful day, if a little windy. We had walked around 100 yards when we saw the target species for the day - Small Blue. Over the next three and a half hours and across the fields from Bradenham towards Small Dean Lane we saw the following species: Small Blue - 88, Grizzled Skipper - 2, Brimstone - 17, Large White - 2, Green-veined White - 2, Orange-tip - 4, Green Hairstreak - 7, Dingy Skipper - 13, Common Blue - 2, Peacock - 6, Speckled Wood - 1 and Small Heath - 39. Twelve species. A very enjoyable and successful day!"
Welcome to Robert Shaw who sent the following on 7th June: "Butterfly sightings for 26/05/13 at Worton Woods, West Oxfordshire SP431-278. Species seen: Orange-tip - 1, Large White - 2, Painted Lady - 1.
~ Wednesday 5th June 2013 ~
The following report from Colin Sturges came via Liz Goodyear (Herts & Middx Branch): "Just had to report clouds, (well dozens anyway) of Small Blue in the tall grass and hawthorn at the eastern edge of Church End Quarry, Pitstone, Bucks this evening, 5th June. Counted 11 catching the last of the sun in one small clump of grass - I think you can see 8 of them in the photo below!"
Graham Elcombe reported the following: This afternoon, 5th June, at Chess Valley, Bucks five Small Tortoiseshells on nettles, all looking fairly fresh, in the Chess Valley between Latimer and Chenies and in the same area, five Peacocks, all looking fairly tatty."
Dave Turnbull visited Pitstone, Bucks on Tuesday afternoon, 4th June: "I went to check on the Small Blues. Although very windy,it was warm, but I soon gave up trying to count them. Small Blues in their hundreds and will peak in about a week's time. Small Heaths 30+, Dingy skippers 30+, Brimstones about 6, Common Blues 20+, Small Whites about 6 and a freshly emerged Cinnabar moth."
This news just arrived from Chris Bottrell: "Sorry for the late posting. On 1st June during a butterfly survey at Sydlings Copse, Oxon my first Brown Argus (6) of the year. Then on the 2nd June between 10:15 to 12:45 in Wicken Wood, Bucks: Wood White (16), Brimstone (1), Large White (4), Small White (3), Green-veined White (13), Orange-tip (4m,1f), Common Blue (2m - First of year), Peacock (3), Speckled Wood (7). The Wood Whites where all males that had recently emerged and appeared to be dispersing to establish territories. On the way backed I stopped off at the disused railway cutting near Salden Wood, Bucks. Between the two bridges, 13:30 to 15:00, I recorded: Dingy Skipper (14), Grizzled Skipper (2), Wood White (1 + 1 possible), Brimstone (7), Large White (3), Green-veined White (6), Orange-tip (12m, 3f), Small Copper (3), Common Blue (3m), Peacock (6), Speckled Wood (2), Small Heath (2). Moths included: Burnet Companion (1), Small Yellow Underwing (8), Cinnabar (3), Mother Shipton (2)".
Michael McNeill sent this report for 4th June: "After Maureen Cross’s request (see Maureen's report posted on 2nd June below) to report Adonis Blue sightings, I visited Lardon Chase, Berks again this morning with the sole intention of recording that species. Despite a slight easterly wind, temperatures remained in the high teens and 15 male Adonis Blues were quickly spotted plus 1 female. They were mostly in the same area on the lower bank about half way across the site and, allowing for an element of double counting, I would put the number at 8–10. Not wishing to ignore other species, I recorded 10 Small Blues, 20+ Common Blue, 1 Brimstone, 1 Holly Blue, 5 Small Heath, 1 Orange-tip and several Whites. A couple of hours very well spent."
Duncan Stubbs (member of Hertfordshire and Middlesex BC) visited Aston Rowant Nature Reserve on 4th June: "I was hoping to see Adonis Blue. No luck, but was blessed with seeing the following: Brown Argus (20+), Common Blue (20 ish), Small Heath (lots, upwards of 35+), Grizzled Skipper (5), Dingy Skipper (1), Small Copper (2), Small White (3), Orange-tip (4), Brimstone (3 sightings, may have seen same one twice), Peacock (1), Small Tortoiseshell (2) and finally a solitary, somewhat ragged Green Hairstreak."
Adam Hartley writes: "A flying visit to Wicken Wood on the Bucks/Northants border on Monday 3rd June in the afternoon found four Wood Whites together along the main path. There may well have been others but we hadn't time to check".
Nicholl Williams went to Burghfield Gravel Pits, Berks on 3rd June: "I saw a few Orange-tips, Green-veined Whites and Peacocks. Also a few Holly Blues. There are also many Demoiselle Flies, one seen chasing a Holly Blue."
Andy Hoskins reported the following: "I visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks again on the evening of 3rd June, 5.45 to 6.45pm. I saw well over 30 Common Blues of which only 2 were females, (1 paired), 1 Small Blue, 10+ Dingy Skipper, and 30+ Small Heath. Then on Tuesday evening 4th June I stopped at Buttler's Hangings, Bucks between 5.40pm and 6.20pm. In the lower scrub area I saw 6 Orange-tip and 1 Peacock. On the top area I saw 5 Dingy Skipper, 3 Common Blue (M), 1 Small White, 1 Large White, 6 Small Heath, 1 Brimstone."
~ Sunday 2nd June 2013 ~
Michael McNeill sent the following: "A trip on 2nd June, for 90 minutes, to Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks – warm and sunny 16C, but with patchy cloud early. Good sightings of Duke of Burgundy (16), also 8 Dingy Skipper, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Brimstone, 2 Green Hairstreak, 1 pristine Speckled Wood, 1 Small Heath and a few Whites. Moving on to nearby College Lakes, good numbers of Common Blue (10), 2 Small Blue, 2 Dingy Skippers and 1 Green Hairstreak."
Andy Hoskins visited Lardon Chase, Berks between 12.15 and 2.00pm today: "I saw 20+ Common Blue, including 3 females that were very 'blue', 3 Orange-tip, 6 Small Heath, 1 Brimstone, 5 Small Blue and 4 Adonis Blue."
Dennis Dell reported the following: "It's interesting to look at the Duke of Burgundy sightings at Ivinghoe Beacon lower slopes and Steps Hill: between the 5th and 16th of May, during six visits by various members, there were never more than 2 sightings on each day. Since then, it has looked liked this: 19th May 16, 20th 4, 25th 15, and 8 on the 26th. So it would suggest the peak was during the 3rd week of May, which is later than average. Today, 2nd June, in fine weather [sunny, 18 degrees], between and 1.45 and 3.30, I saw 8, most of which looked quite fresh, so I think the season has a week or two to go. Other species seen: Orange-tip 3, Brimstone 5, Green Hairstreak 3, Common Blue 2, Dingy Skipper 7, Small Heath 8, Green-veined White 1, Grizzled Skipper 2, Large White 1, Peacock 1."
David Hastings sent these sightings today: "I visited Hackpen Hill, Oxon on the 1st June and found at least 16 Small Blues along the footpath heading east from the car park. In Crowhole Bottom and the Devil's Punchbowl I saw at least ten Dingy Skippers, one male Common Blue, twenty+ Small Heaths and one Peacock. I also saw three Wood Tiger moths. On 2nd June I visited Lardon Chase, Berks where I saw one Dingy Skipper, one Large White, one Green-veined White, one female Brimstone, at least 34 male and 5 female Common Blues, four male Small Blues and four Small Heaths."
Maureen Cross (Adonis Blue Champion) sent this request: "After a phone call from Michael McNeill telling me of his first Adonis Blue at Lardon Chase, Berks I decided to pay the site a visit today 2nd June and was well rewarded with 12 Adonis Blues (2 of which were females). Other butterflies seen were 25+ Common Blues, 3 Green Hairstreaks, 6 Small Blues, 1 Brown Argus, 5 Brimstones, 2 Small Heaths and 1 Small White. I was delighted to find that the Adonis had survived the cold wet winter, especially as so few were seen last year, so please let me know via this website if and where you see any."
Huw Morgan sent the following report: "My first sightings for the website: a very enjoyable few hours doing the Aston Upthorpe, Oxon triangular walk from the grain silo yesterday (1st June). Butterflies seen were: Brimstone x 20 (mostly females pretending to be Large whites), Large White x 1, Small White x 10, Green-veined White x 1, Orange-tip x 1, Holly Blue x 2, Small Blue x 2 (up on the Ridgeway), Dingy Skipper x 5 (including mating pair), Green Hairstreak x 6 (mainly on the Ridgeway), Peacock x 5 (plus three batches of caterpillars), Red Admiral x 1, Small Heath x 5 and Small Copper x 1."
Mark Griffiths visited the Devil's Punchbowl, Oxon on 2nd June: "Just outside of the car park for The Ridgeway, apart from a Brimstone and Large White we were surprised to see about 20 Small Blue mainly on the mud of drying puddles. On the Devil's Punchbowl itself, we saw about a dozen Wood Tiger moths, one Pyrausta nigrata, about 6 Green Hairstreak, two male Common Blues, about 6-7 Small Heath, 20-30 Dingy Skipper."
Gerry and Penny Kendall report: "Stimulated by Jim Asher's map of underrecorded atlas squares (latest 'UTB News' May 2013, page 10) we went to the Chalgrove area (Oxon), picking a couple of places off the map. Near Rofford Farm (SU6298) we saw seven species: Brimstone, Large White, Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Peacock, Comma & Speckled Wood. Northeast of the airfield was less successful, but still we saw three species: Brimstone, Small White & Green-veined White. There are lots more white squares still!"
Keith O'Hagen says he had a fantastic morning at Incombe Hole today, 2nd June and saw the following butterflies: Green-veined White, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Duke of Burgundy, Small Heath, Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper.
Welcome to John Lindley who sent his first report on 1st June: "Just joined BC so thought I'd get going with some recording. At Aston Upthorpe, Oxon on a sunny but breezy afternoon, I saw 10+ very battered looking Peacocks, 2 male Orange-tips (both looking fresh), one Holly Blue, 3 Brimstone males, and 10+ Green-veined Whites, all on the path from the grain dryer to Juniper Valley. In Juniper valley, 2 Small Coppers, 10+ Small Heath, 3 Dingy Skipper and 5 Cinnabar Moths. No Small Blues but I don't think I was looking in the right area."
Stuart Hodges sent the following: "It seems that the Small Tortoiseshell has not suffered too badly from last year's bad weather and our late Spring. Our Reserve at Holtspur, Bucks has a good number of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on the nettles in the area of the car park. A paddock near Steeple Claydon (Bucks) has 13 groups of caterpillars mostly 2nd instar on about 20 patches of Nettles - this has increased from just 1 in 2012, 16 in 2011, 17 in 2010, and 13 in 2009. However, by this time in 2011 adults were emerging and the grass in this paddock is due to be mown for Silage!"
~ Saturday 1st June 2013 ~
Michael McNeill sent this news today: "1st June – warm and sunny but with a cooling northerly breeze. At Lardon Chase, Berks I was pleased to find my first Adonis Blue of the season plus good numbers of Common Blue, 6 Small Blue, 3 Small Heath and a few Whites."
Welcome to Rob Thomas who sent in his first sightings report today: "I've recently joined the organisation and having enjoyed reading the reported sightings I have just returned from a walk and would like to post the following: I walked along the disused railway embankment between the two East Hagbourne (Oxon) slipways late afternoon today (1 June). Starting at the most westerly Hagbourne slipway there were 30+ Small Blue butterflies and 1 Common Blue (male). Walking along the embankment itself I only saw 1 Green-veined White and 1 Large White although it was a bit windy. At the slipway near Didcot there was 1 Dingy Skipper and 1 Small White."
Andy Hoskins reported the following: "Herewith my sightings from Saturday 1st June 12.30 to 1pm at Wicken Wood, Bucks: 5x Small White, 1x Peacock, 2 x Wood White. The photos aren't much good, but hopefully confirm the Wood White."
Malcolm Brownsword sent this report: "On 31st May at about 11.45am I walked along the ‘Sustrans’ track between East and West Hagbourne, Oxon past the point where Karen Saxl saw Small Blues on the evening of 21 May and 25 May (see sightings for those dates). In only a few minutes I saw 13 Small Blues on the large patches of Kidney Vetch. I also saw a Dingy Skipper and an Orange-tip."
Nick Board and Dennis Dell visited Wicken Wood on the Bucks/Northants border on 31st May. "We were delighted to see our first Wood Whites of the year, albeit a good four weeks later than usual. In all, we saw six males in the sunshine all along the main path (on both sides of the county border) but no sightings through any of the glades. We could only think that this was due to the fact that the glades were significantly wetter than the main path area where the overnight rain had drained away."
~ Friday 31st May 2013 ~
Andy Hoskins sent the following report: "Friday evening May 31st 6pm-7pm I visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks. I counted at least 16 Small Heath, over 20 Common Blues (1 female, rest male), 1 Small Blue, 1 Brimstone female, 12 Dingy Skipper (9 Female, 3 Male) and many Mother Shipton moths."
Paul Huckle went to Swyncombe Downs, Oxon today (31st May) and saw one sparkling fresh Brown Argus.
Nick Bowles reports his first Brown Argus of the season was on Sunday 26th May when he saw 2 at different parts of Coombe Hill, Wendover in Bucks.
~ Tuesday 28th May 2013 ~
Maureen Cross led the Field Meeting at Lardon Chase, West Berks on Saturday 25th May: "Not quite the cloudless blue sky that was forecast but, after the prevous day's cold rain, Saturday 25th May dawned sunny and bright giving hope to the nine field trippers who turned up hopefully to see Adonis Blue on Lardon Chase, but owing to the cold late spring none had yet emerged. Nevertheless we eventually dicovered 9 species of butterfly, as follows: Common Blue 11; Dingy Skipper 1; Grizzled Skipper 1; Small White 5; Green-veined White 1; Orange-tip 3; Small Heath 2; Brimstone 2; Small Blue 2. Patches of Horseshoe Vetch were in flower, ready for the arrival of the Adonis, but of last year's abundant Kidney Vetch there was little sign which doesn't bode well for the Small Blues."
Dave Turnbull sent these sightings:
Martin Wainwright has been out looking for
butterflies over the last few days:
Tim and Anna Hearn visited Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks on Sunday 26th May. 2-4pm. Full sunshine. Brimstone (6), Small Heath (8), Dingy Skipper (10 min), Speckled Wood (1), Orange-tip (3), Peacock (2), Holly Blue (1), Large White (3), Green Hairstreak (20+), Duke of Burgundy (8).
Chris Pickford says despite the wind he spotted eight Small Blues on the afternoon of Monday 27th May at Upton (Oxon).
~ Sunday 26th May 2013 ~
Ian Gamble visited the old chalk pit at Pitstone, Bucks this afternoon, Sunday 26th May: "There was bright sunlight throughout my visit. Small Blues were out in numbers 30+ being seen also Dingy Skipper 15+, Grizzled Skipper 3, Common Blue 1, Green Hairstreak 5, Small Heath 5, Brimstone 2, Large White 2, Orange-tip 2, Peacock 1 and several smaller whites either Green-veined or Small."
Pete Eeles says he managed to get out for a couple of hours around lunchtime today, 26th May: "I was immediately greeted by my first Small Heath of the year as I stepped out of the car at Greenham Common, Berks, which was a welcome sight. I knew that most species would be buzzing about with little opportunity for photos at this time of day, although I did manage to see the 3 species I was expecting - including Dingy Skipper (22), Grizzled Skipper (8) and Green Hairstreak (4). I also saw a single Peacock and a female Orange-tip. Having recently read Mike Slater's excellent "Field Class Lesson 4 - Finding Dingy Skipper Eggs" (download available on this page: http://www.warwickshire-butterflies.org.uk/downloads.asp), I decided to take a look at some likely spots, since I've never seen the egg before. I first looked for a hollow, then for some bare ground inside the hollow, then for some Birds-foot Trefoil hanging over the bare ground and, blow me down, I immediately found my first Dingy Skipper egg! I was hooked, and looked for more, but found none in another 30 minutes of searching. Beginner's luck I guess! I'll definitely be taking another look at some point, and marked the egg I found since it was still pale green and not the distinctive orange that it becomes after about 5 days."
Malcolm Brownsword did his BBOWT transect at Homefield Wood, Bucks this morning, 26th May: "I saw the following: 8 species in the meadow area – 3 Small Heaths, 2 Peacocks, 6 Dingy Skippers, 1 Brimstone, 1 Orange-tip, 1 Green Hairstreak (image attached), 1 Small Copper and 1 Common Blue. In other parts of the transect, 5 more Brimstones, 6 more Orange-tips and 2 more Peacocks were seen, as well as 4 Green-veined Whites and 1 Red Admiral."
Dave Wilton and Mick & Wendy Campbell met at Salden disused railway line in Bucks today, 26th May in search of Wood White. "Unfortunately we were unsuccessful but did manage to record the following: Dingy Skipper (12), Brimstone (10), Large White (2), Orange-tip (6), Peacock (6), Speckled Wood (1), Green-veined White (2), Holly Blue (1) and moths: Common Heath (2), Ancylis badiana (3), Cydia ulicetana (2), Common Carpet (1), Common Wave (1), Cinnabar (4), Small Yellow Underwing (6), Burnet Companion (8) & Mother Shipton (1).
Chris Lamsdell went to Yoesden Bank today, 26th May and saw: Brimstone - 12, Dingy Skipper - 20 +, Common Blue - 1, Small Blue - 2, Green Hairstreak - 5, Small Heath - 10 and Orange-tip - 2.
David Hastings reported the following today: "I visited Otmoor, Oxon on 25th May, were I saw at least fourteen Green-veined Whites and two Orange-tips. One of the female Green-veined Whites was heavily marked. I also visited Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon on the 25th, where I saw at least ten Green-veined Whites, four Orange-tips, two Holly Blues, at least six Brimstones, two Peacocks, two Large Whites, one Small Heath and one Speckled Wood."
David Gower sent the following sightings for 25th May: "At Steps Hill 1 x Peacock, 2 x Brimstone (male) and 2 x Dingy Skipper. Onto Incombe Hole: 5 x Brimstone (male), 6 x Dingy Skipper, 2 x Small Heath, 1 x Large White, 3 x Grizzled Skipper, 1 x Orange-tip, 1 x Duke of Burgundy and moths: 1 x Small Yellow Underwing, 1 x Comon Carpet moth and 1 x Pyrausta purpuralis. Ivinghoe Beacon: 1 x Duke of Burgundy, 4 x Brimstone (males), 11 x Dingy Skipper, 2 x Green Hairstreak and 1 x Common Carpet moth."
Mick & Wendy Campbell went to the Devil's Punchbowl, Oxon on 25th May: "We went to see how the Green Hairstreak colony was doing and, despite the cool, wet spring weather, we found good numbers there. They were already spreading out over the bank but we were still able to count over 50 individuals flying in chains over the elderflower bushes and nettles. Also on the wing and newly emerged were Wood Tiger moths (22 counted) and we also found 4 well-grown Garden Tiger larvae running through the grass. Other species included Dingy Skipper (19), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Small Heath (5). A short distance along the Ridgeway we also saw singletons of Brimstone, Peacock, Small White and Orange-tip."
Chris Lamsdell sent these sightings on 25th May: "A visit to Wicken Wood on the Bucks/Northants border produced a Wood White - alas in the Northants side of the wood only! None seen at College Wood, Bucks. At Pitstone, Bucks: Small Blue c45, Dingy Skipper - min 10, Grizzled Skipper min 8."
Ched George reported the following: "At Ivinghoe, Bucks 23rd May, 4.30pm-5pm, some sun: 4 Dingy Skippers, 1 Peacock, 1 male Brimstone. Homefield Wood, Bucks, 25th May: 4 Dingy Skippers, 3 Small Heath, Orange-tips including 2 eggs; 2 Peacocks, male and female Brimstone and Green-veined Whites. Yoesden Bank, Bucks 25th May: 6pm-6.30pm, 17 Dingy Skippers including a pair. all fresh; 9 Small Heath, 1 Comma, 1 Peacock, 1 Orange-tip male, 1 Green-veined White, 1 Burnet Companion moth and 1 Mother Shipton."
Karen Saxl sent this update of her latest visits to the railway embankment near Didcot, Oxon on 25th May: "I managed to get along the old railway line – now sustrans route from Didcot to Upton - twice today. This morning I managed to get to both the Upton ramps and the Hagbourne Ramps. There were at least 6 Small Blues at Upton and 10 at Hagbourne (including a pair who were getting very close on some birds-foot trefoil). When I went this evening there were at least 32 at Hagbourne – but didn’t have the time to go to Upton. They tend to be easier to spot in the evenings perched amongst the long grass and less flighty so you can really count exactly how many are there. Also saw a Holly Blue this morning but that was along the hedgerows this morning … and there were various whites about – Small, Green-veined, Orange-tip and Brimstone … but didn’t visit the right area for Peacocks."
Dave Wilton sent this news on 25th May: "On my way to a Bucks Invertebrate Group meeting at Ivinghoe this afternoon I called for about 15 minutes at Pitstone to have a quick search for Small Blue. In that time I counted six of them, along with Grizzled Skipper (2), Dingy Skipper (16, including two mated pairs) & Green Hairstreak (3). At Ivinghoe we saw all of the expected butterfly species, including Duke of Burgundy (at least 15 spread over the Beacon and Steps Hill), Small Heath (2 in Incombe Hole) and a lonely Small Tortoiseshell right on top of the Beacon."
~ Thursday 23rd May 2013 ~
Andy Hoskins visited a couple of sites recently: "On Tuesday 21st May I went to Yoesden Bank, Bucks between 5.45pm and 6.30pm on a dull still evening and saw 1 Small Heath. On Wednesday 22nd May, I visited Buttlers Hangings, Bucks - it was sunny, 16c, breezy, 5.45pm to 6.30pm - and saw 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Small Heath and at least 10 (definite separate counts and many other sightings) Dingy Skipper, including 3 males buzzing a female."
Karen Saxl sent this update: "East Hagbourne Cutting, Oxon: The count of Small Blues today, 22nd May, was 12 – the east side of the embankment is sheltered from the wind but still enjoys the evening sunshine so they were all along the sides sunning themselves. There were a couple of groups of 4+ so guess that was the males being hopeful around the females … and I think there was one couple that were even doing their bit for the next generation!"
~ Tuesday 21st May 2013 ~
Karen Saxl says she saw her first Small Blues this evening, 21st May: "It was just after 6pm on the old railway embankments just South of East Hagbourne, Oxon where I was doing some uphill runs in an attempt to loosen up the tendons after breaking the ankle in December. One just sunning him/herself amongst long grass – later spotted a second just perched on the grass. First was very dark so probably newly hatched. So a week later than last year - maybe everything is starting to catch up. The kidney vetch is starting to do well … and I’m seeing bits of birds-foot trefoil coming out so maybe I’ll see a Common Blue soon. Also had a Holly Blue fly across my path just South of Hagbourne cemetery. But no whites this evening."
Paul Bowyer reports on the field meeting to Calvert Jubilee on Sunday 19th May: "We caught a few hours of sunshine. In that time we saw Orange-tip (1), Grizzled Skipper (8), Dingy Skipper (15), Peacock (3), Green Hairstreak (1), Brimstone (1), Green-veined White (1) and 3 other unidentified Whites. Moths seen were Common Heath (4), Common Carpet (1), Cinnabar (3), Pyrausta aurata (2) and Pyrausta despicata (2)."
~ Monday 20th May 2013 ~
Chris Lamsdell sent this report today: "On 16th May at Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks I saw Duke of Burgundy - 4, Dingy Skipper - 3, Grizzled Skipper - 2, Green Hairstreak - 3, Orange-tip - 2, Brimstone - 3. At Pitstone, Bucks: Grizzled Skipper - 5, Dingy Skipper - 7, Green Hairstreak - 4, Brimstone - 3 and a Red Admiral."
~ Sunday 19th May 2013 ~
Andy Hoskins visited Lardon Chase, Berks today, 19th May: "I spent about 3 hours there and saw 2 Small Copper, 1 Small Heath, 3 Brimstones and 2 paired Green-veined White, which had fluttered up about 15 feet and settled in the top of a Hawthorn. I moved on to Hartslock, Oxon where I saw 3 Orange-tip, 3 Brimstone, 4 Green Hairstreak, 3 Small Heath and 1 Dingy Skipper."
Ian Gamble sent this news today: "The sun finally broke through the cloud cover about 14.00 hrs. on Sunday afternoon the 19th May and so I made a visit to Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks. It proved to be the best butterfly day of the year. I saw at least 16 Dukes of Burgundy including several females, 6 Dingy Skippers, 4 Green Hairstreaks, 4 Brimstones and one each of Green-veined White, male Orange-tip, Large White and Peacock."
Chris Naish reported the following: "I spotted a small blue butterfly in my garden in South Abingdon, Oxon today – I believe it’s a Holly Blue – the upper wings, when open, were a bright, light blue but the wings were always closed when stationary."
Peter Law sent the following report: "Sunday 19 May: When the sun broke through this afternoon I made a visit to Swyncombe Down, Oxon. A season's first Small Copper was a good start, but after that things were still pretty quiet. I saw singles of Holly Blue, Large White, Green Hairstreak and Speckled Wood; Brimstone (10+) and a few Small White."
Dave Ferguson went to Stoke Common, Bucks today, 19th May: "The only butterflies I saw were a Speckled Wood and a Green-veined White. At Stampwell Farm (3 km E of Beaconsfield, Bucks) this morning the only butterfly I saw was a Small Heath."
Pete Eeles said he managed to get a couple of hours in at Greenham Common, Berks at around 11am on Saturday 18th May: "The intermittent sun was just perfect for photography with any butterfly trying its best to catch what little sun there was. My target was Dingy Skipper, since I've yet to catch up with them this year. I saw my first about 10 yards from where I parked, and quite a few more throughout the morning. As many others have commented, a freshly-emerged Dingy Skipper is anything but dingy! They're always quite variable in terms of the ground colour, but I wasn't prepared for what I saw - something I first witnessed a few years ago at a private site near Stockbridge Down - an almost-white Dingy Skipper, and my first aberration of the year. Its appearance was most striking when sat next to a female Dingy Skipper that it was courting. Dingy Skipper were by far the most numerous butterflies (25+ seen), with a few Grizzled Skipper (12 seen) also flying. Green Hairstreak was noticeable by its absence."
~ Friday 17th May 2013 ~
David Fuller went to Braywick Nature Reserve in Berks (SU898800) on 16/05/13 and recorded: Orange-tip 4 males, Holly Blue 2 males, Large White and Small White 2.
~ Thursday 16th May 2013 ~
Dave Turnbull sent this report: "I visited Pitstone, Bucks today, 16th May, where I saw Brimstones, Red Admiral, Peacock, Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers and a freshly emerged Small Blue. I also met someone there who had seen 4 Green Hairstreaks."
Richard Wheeler spent a couple of hours at Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks over lunchtime today, 16th May. "The weather was warm (c.14°C) with clouds but a fair amount of sun in between. There weren’t great numbers of butterflies about, but I saw: 2 Duke of Burgundy, 5 Green Hairstreak, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Dingy Skipper, 3 Brimstone (1F), 1 Large White, 1 Peacock and 2 Speckled Wood."
~ Monday 13th May 2013 ~
Gerry Kendall reports that the weather was better than the forecast but far from ideal for the Field Trip at Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon on Sunday 12th May: "For much of the walk we had very little success, but at the end, in a nettle patch, there was a small flurry of activity including a sight of Grizzled Skipper, so we found one at least of the target species. The moral? Nil desperandum - and never mind the nettles (as long as you have stout boots and thick trousers)! Species seen were: Grizzled Skipper, Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.
Mick Jones reported the following on 12th May: "I was involved in a work party today at Dancersend, Bucks but managed to see 2 Dingy Skippers during one of the sunny periods."
Here are Andy Hoskins' sightings for the
last few days:
David Hastings was also at Aston Upthorpe Downs on 12th May: "I could only find a few butterflies: three Grizzled Skippers, two Orange-tips, one Green-veined White, one Peacock and one Small Tortoiseshell."
Robin Carr reports on the field meeting to Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks on Saturday 11th May: "Eight people set forth in freezing winds and mainly cloudy skies looking for Duke of Burgundies. Against all the odds 1 Duke of Burgundy was found when the sun shone for a few seconds perching on a bush giving very good views for everyone. It was the only butterfly seen on the whole walk which just about finished before the rain!"
~ Saturday 11th May 2013 ~
Bryan Williams sent this report on 10th May: "I visited Hartslock, Oxon on Tuesday 7th May and found 12 Dingy Skippers, both on the Orchid Hill and on the grass slope further into the reserve and 3 Green Hairstreaks as well as several Brimstones and Orange-tips, 2 Holly Blues and a single Speckled Wood by the gate. In the afternoon I went on to Greenham Common, Berks and after an hour had seen only one Peacock and a few Brimstones and Orange-tips."
~ Wednesday 8th May 2013 ~
David Fearn spent a pleasant morning at Hartslock, Oxon on Tuesday 7th May: "I was hoping for Green Hairstreak but didn't spot any (though one was reported to me while I was there). However, there were a few other good things about: Orange-tip - good numbers, Dingy Skipper - 5 seen, Brimstone - good numbers, Small Heath - 2 seen, one near the Pasque Flowers (in full bloom for anyone interested) and 1 towards bottom of Orchids field. Sighting seems a bit early to me, but definite. Also Peacock, Holly Blue, Grizzled Skipper - 1 seen at bottom of Orchids field and Large White."
Chris Bottrell sent this report on 7th May: "Just back from a day out at Ivinghoe Beacon. In a 4 hour wander (10:00 - 14:00) around the beacon I clocked: Dingy Skipper (11), Grizzled Skipper (6), Brimstone (17), Large White (1), Small White (1), Orange-tip (2m, 4f), Green Hairstreak (18), Holly Blue (1), Duke of Burgundy (1), Peacock (6), Speckled Wood (2). On returning to the car park I met a photographer desperate to photograph a Duke so I took him back to the spot where I had found the one individual. It was still there but what was apparent was the increase in the number of Dingy, Grizzled and Green Hairstreaks. They were everywhere. One Grizzled must have just hatched as it could only just fly. I almost trod on it. However it's next flight took it to a well received dandelion flower which it proceeded to gorge on."
On 7th May Adam Hartley reported that he's had two Holly Blues in his garden in Oxford on a daily basis over the last few days.
Mick Jones was running a work party at Dancersend, Bucks on 7th May: "I managed a walk around the Waterworks before people arrived, then squeezed in a walk around the northern part after the session ended. My tally was: 13 male Orange-tips and 2 females, 13 male Brimstones and 7 females, 8 Peacocks, 4 Green-veined Whites, 3 unidentified whites and 1 Small Copper (a first for me this year - photo below)."
Andy Hoskins recorded the following butterflies during the last
Peter Law paid his second visit to Linkey Down, Oxon (Aston Rowant NNR S) on Tuesday 7 May to see how Green Hairstreak numbers were coming along. "I found 5 of those, just 2 more than on my previous visit here 5 days ago. Also seen were my year's first Grizzled Skipper, 1 Small White and 2 female Brimstone. I then walked around the Bald Hill area of the reserve, coming across 3 more Brimstone and nothing else."
Mick & Wendy Campbell went to check what butterflies were flying at Strawberry Bank, Bucks on 7th May: "It was a very sunny, warm afternoon and our target species of Dingy Skipper (2), Grizzled Skipper (3) and Green Hairstreak (2) were all on the wing although we did have to hunt around for them. The two Green Hairstreak were extremely active, presumably both males as they were spinning round and round each other at a terrific speed. After what must have been 5 minutes one male managed to chase the other off and finally perched on a hawthorn leaf to give us good views. Also seen were Peacock (5), Orange-tip (4), Brimstone (6), Speckled Wood (1), Small White (5, including 4 flying together in a chain) and Comma (1)."
Dave Miller visited Pitstone Hill, Bucks on 6th May: "Walking from the NT car park right across the lower slope on the northwest side of the hill over to Aldbury Nowers, I saw very little. There were a few Brimstones and Whites, but the only thing of note were two Green Hairstreaks. They were probably females, as they were fluttering low on the ground over the slopes and not perching in the scrub as males are wont to do. After spending a productive hour or so with the Grizzled Skippers in the Herts reserve at Aldbury (reported on their site), I saw another Green Hairstreak crossing the county boundary from Bucks into Herts. A record for both counties??"
Nick Bowles reported the following on 6th May: "Over the weekend I saw 2 Grizzled Skippers and 2 Dingy Skippers, 3 Green Hairstreaks, Peacock and Brimstone, Orange-tip, Small White and Green-veined White on transect at Coombe Hill, Bucks plus Brimstone, Orange-tip, Large White and Small White at Aston Clinton Ragpits, Bucks. I also saw masses of Orange-tip and one Large White among Small and Green-veined Whites and my first Speckled Wood at a private wood in N Bucks. Bizarrely I saw only 1 Brimstone all day Sunday and yet I saw about 12 in the stiff wind on Saturday and over 20 today."
Martin & Penny Wainwright have seen the following in Thrupp, Oxon since the Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 4th May: "Orange-tip (more than ten), Brimstone (four), Green-veined White (six), Peacock (six), Small Tortoiseshell (two), Comma (one) and Holly Blue (one). We contributed three Peacocks ourselves by releasing them from a shed where they had been hibernating. I'd clocked one dozing away but didn't realise that there were two more."
~ Monday 6th May 2013 ~
Chris Bottrell sent this report today: "A late morning to mid afternoon Bank Holiday Monday bash around some BBOWT Oxfordshire sites new to me in hope of Green Hairstreak. Hitchcopse Pit, it's surrounding wood and promising looking gorse: Brimstone (3), Green-veined White (2), Orange-tip (1m,1f), Peacock (3). A circuit of Dry Sandford Pit: Brimstone (2), Large White (1), Green-veined White (2), Orange-tip (4m,2f), Comma (1), Peacock (1). And finally a look at Lashford Lane Fen: Brimstone (3), Green-veined White (2), Orange-tip (12m, 5f), Holly Blue (1), Peacock (2) and my first Speckled Wood (1) of the season. Then back home a couple of Holly Blues chasing each other around the back garden here in Merton (Oxon)."
Mike Jackson visited Whitecross Green Wood (BBOWT site) on the border of Bucks and Oxon today, 6th May. "I saw 1 Brimstone, 2 Large White, 6 Small White (one appeared to have second brood markings but I couldn't get a photo), 4 male Orange-tips and 8 Peacocks."
Keith O'Hagen sent this news today: "Had 2 butterflies in my garden in Milton Keynes throughout the day. First one a Large White, seen about five times today, and a single sighting of a Speckled Wood. Also, an Orange-tip at my local lake in Milton Keynes, Caldecotte."
Richard Wheeler says he spent a blissful 2 hours with his family at Finemere Wood, Bucks over lunchtime today (06/05/13). "The weather was glorious – windless, warm (16+°c) and sunny. Together we saw more than 40 butterflies, including: 6 Brimstone (all M), 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 8 Peacock, 2 Green-veined White, 14 Orange-tip (incl. 3 F), 2 Speckled Wood, 1 probable Comma, together with 9+ unidentified whites."
Tony Rayner reported the following: "First thing this morning (6th May) there was a Small Copper in our Cholsey (Oxon) meadow. At the moment we have 3 acres of Cowslips!"
Charlie Jackson spent the morning on Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks on 5th May: "A great day for butterflies when the sun eventually came out. I recorded 12 species all told including 1 Duke of Burgundy, 4 Grizzled Skippers, 4 Green Hairstreaks, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Holly Blue and an early Common Blue. The Duke looked very fresh - probably the first one out. Then today, 6th May, I saw Dingy Skippers at Pitstone Church, Bucks."
~ Sunday 5th May 2013 ~
At Steps Hill, Bucks, David Gower saw 4 x Peacock & 1 x Brimstone (male). Around the Ivinghoe Beacon area 1 x Speckled Wood, 3 x Brimstone (male), 1 x Peacock, 1 x Green Hairstreak, 1 x Large White. At Incombe Hole 4 x Green Hairstreak, 3 x Peacock, 2 x Small White, 1 x Large White, 1 x Grizzled Skipper, 1 x Green-veined White, 4 x Orange-tip (male), 1 Comma, 2 x Brimstone (male), 2 x Pyrausta purpuralis moths on dandelions."
Mick Jones visited Salden disused railway cutting (in Bucks) today just after midday, walking west from Salden Wood to where the footpath crosses. "No Grizzled Skipper yet, but quite a few butterflies seen: 14 male Orange-tips and 1 female, 15 Peacocks, 6 male Brimstones and 1 female, 3 Green-veined Whites, 3 unidentified whites, 2 Speckled Woods and 1 Comma."
Chris Bottrell sent the following report: "To add to the Grizzled Skipper sightings. On Sunday 5th May at BBOWT Calvert Jubilee (Bucks) a singleton found in about 45 mins of searching from about 13:30 in the area to the left of the concrete path running from the car park to the top hide. Appeared to be nectaring on rabbit droppings?!"
Paul Bowyer took the first field meeting of the year today, Sunday May 5th, at Homefield Wood, Bucks: "A very pleasing trip with the following sightings: Orange-tip (6) and 3 eggs, Green-veined White (5), Speckled Wood (1), Peacock (7), Brimstone (3), Red Admiral (1), Grizzled Skipper (2) and Green Hairstreak (1). Day flying moths seen were Burnet Companion (1), Mother Shipton (1) and micro Grapholita jungiella (1)."
Dave Wilton sent this news today: "I visited several sites in the Chilterns around High Wycombe, Bucks this afternoon, trying (unsuccessfully!) to get Emperor Moth records. There were few active butterflies at any of the sites but I did see a pristine Dingy Skipper at Buttler's Hangings which was in fact the only thing I recorded there."
Tony Croft was doing a transect at Rushbeds Wood, Bucks this afternoon and saw his first Speckled Wood of the season and a pair of mating Orange-tips on Lady's Smock.
~ Saturday 4th May 2013 ~
Mike Jackson visited Finemere Wood, Bucks today, 4th May: "Sightings included 11 Orange-tip male, 2 Green-veined White, 4 Peacock, 1 Grizzled Skipper and 1 Speckled Wood."
Paul Bowyer walked from Bradenham Church north (in Bucks) to Smalldean Lane and back on Friday 3rd May. "At the Bradenham end I saw Peacock (7), Brimstone (5), Grizzled Skipper (2), Orange-tip (2) and Green Hairstreak (1). At Park Wood I saw Brimstone (7), Peacock (1) and Green-veined White (1). At Smalldean Lane I saw Peacock (2) and Green Hairstreak (3). On the way back along the lower path I saw Orange-tip (1), Peacock (5), Green-veined White (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Common Carpet moth (2). I shall repeat a similar walk in June."
~ Friday 3rd May 2013 ~
Wendy Wilson sent this news today: "Whilst working on the information boards, which Mark Duckworth has renovated, at UTB's Holtspur Bottom Butterfly Reserve in Bucks, Mark and I were delighted to see 2 Green Hairstreaks as we don't get many around here. Also there were Orange-tip, Small White, Holly Blue, Peacock, Comma and at least a dozen Brimstones (male and female). There was one fewer when we left though, as a bird swooped down in front of us as we ate our sandwiches and caught one as it flew past, dropping a wing at our feet. The cowslips in the lower field are looking lovely and the violets have been particularly good this year - maybe Dark Green Fritillaries will be back this year."
Ben Hobbs visited Hartslock, Oxon (BBOWT site near Goring/Gatehampton) on Thursday 2nd May: "We saw 1 Orange-tip male and 1 female, plus 3 Green Hairstreak, also Brimstones, Peacocks, and 1 Small Tortoiseshell."
David Fuller was walking along the River Thames towpath in Maidenhead, Berks on 2nd May and saw: Orange-tip male and female, Speckled Wood and Peacock 3. Also, in his garden in Maidenhead: Holly Blue male and Small White (2 together). Then today, 3rd May in his garden: Brimstone both male and female, Orange-tip both male and female, Peacock, Holly Blue male, Comma and Small White."
Peter Law sent the following report: "Thursday 2 May: Today's lovely sunshine inspired me to check out Linkey Down, Oxon (Aston Rowant NNR S) for Green Hairstreak. I was rewarded with 2 flying butterflies and a third newly emerged and drying its wings in the late afternoon sun. These seemed to display an affinity with some conifers near the wooden bench besides the downhill path. The area a little further uphill where I would normally expect my year's first sighting was cut severely pre-season. Also seen were singles of Small White, Orange-tip, Peacock and Brimstone."
Mike Wilkins reports seeing his first Green-veined White of the year in Steventon, Oxon on 1st May. Otherwise, only Small Whites and one Peacock on May Day.
~ Wednesday 1st May 2013 ~
Tony Rayner sent the following report: "We had the first Speckled Wood yesterday (30th April) in our Cholsey, Oxon garden and today (1st May) there were 6 species including at least 4 Orange-tips (3M & 1F)."
Mick Jones was checking the trails at BBOWT Dancersend Reserve in Bucks this afternoon (1st May) in sunny conditions, but still with a biting easterly wind. "I lost count of Brimstones and Peacocks (over 10 of each), but also saw a Comma, a Green-veined White and my first male Orange-tip for the year nectaring on violets in quite thick vegetation."
David Fuller recorded Holly Blue male, Comma, Peacock 2, Brimstone male and Small White 3 in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks today and also a Holly Blue near Boulters Lock, Berks.
Richard Wheeler went to the Westcott railway cutting in Bucks at midday today, 1st May: "It was sunny, warm (c.14°c) and still. During my hour there I saw 6 Peacock, 3 Orange-tip (all male), 1 Small White, 1 Large White, 1 Brimstone and, just as I was about to leave, 1 Grizzled Skipper. I also saw 2 Common Heath moths."
Mick & Wendy Campbell visited Salden disused railway, Bucks this afternoon: "Although it was warm and sunny there was a cool wind coming from the east and, in contrast to Richard's visit to Westcott railway cutting (above), there was no sign of any Grizzled Skippers. However, we were pleased to see 32 butterflies of 6 species: Brimstone (11), Orange-tip (5 - 4m, 1f), Comma (3), Peacock (11), Green-veined White (1) and Holly Blue (1). Also a Common Lizard with its tail missing!"
~ Tuesday 30th April 2013 ~
Derek Brown reported the following: "I spent hour or so at Hartslock, Oxon this morning (30th April) and saw 4x Peacock and singles of Green Hairstreak and Grizzled Skipper, which was a bit disappointing for this time of year."
Bryan Williams sent the following report: "I visited Greenham Common on 25th April, it was sunny, but windy. I saw only one Comma and five Peacocks."
Odney Island, Cookham (Berks), David Fuller saw 2 male Orange-tip and a Peacock on 29th April. Then today, 30th April, in his garden in Maidenhead he had singletons of Peacock, Comma & Brimstone (male) plus 3 Small White.
~ Friday 26th April 2013 ~
Dave Wilton, Brown Hairstreak Champion sent this review of the 2012 egg hunting season: "The first of our monitored Brown Hairstreak eggs at Otmoor hatched on 24th April. With the cycle having begun again for 2013, I thought it might be worth giving a quick run-down of our achievements this Winter. Eggs seemed to be a little bit harder to locate than in previous seasons but, thanks to our intrepid band of searchers, we still managed to find evidence of the butterfly in 13 new kilometre squares, two of them near Waddesdon, three close to Bicester, four around Weston-on-the-Green and four more in Oxford. Our population is now known to cover 344 kilometre squares and over the past six seasons we have obtained at least a single egg record from all 344 of them. Those kilometre squares translate into 111 tetrads (see map), each one of which was visited this Winter. Eggs were successfully found within 102 of them, the other nine edge-of-range tetrads proving unproductive although just because we couldn't find eggs doesn't mean there weren't any there! Our regular egg transects were completed at seven sites, producing mixed results. Those at Shotover (Slade Camp), Bernwood Meadows and Rushbeds Wood showed an increase over the previous year's results while those at Marston Meadows, Otmoor and Lapland Farm showed a decrease. Shotover Plain was at least consistent in bringing in a zero return for the second year running! Finally, some of you may recall that my garden in Westcott, Bucks was visited by a female Brown Hairstreak on 25th August last year and she left behind an egg laid, rather surprisingly, on a sloe berry. It was later sleeved to protect it from the local bird population and when checked again just over a week ago the sloe (now shrivelled to half of its former size) had fallen off the branch but the egg itself had clearly survived the Winter."
~ Thursday 25th April 2013 ~
Tony Rayner sent this news: "At last we have a few butterflies! On 25th April we had our first Orange-tip (male) and a Holly Blue in our Cholsey (Oxon) garden. Also 2 Early Thorn moths in the moth trap."
Ched George visited Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks at 4pm today: "It yielded a solitary Peacock. Conditions were warm and sunny, probably 20 degrees C."
Ben Hobbs reported the following: "One (only) male Orange-tip at Moore Copse, Berks (BBOWT) this afternoon, possible female also, not confirmed. More than a dozen Peacock and a few Small Tortoiseshell and Commas, plus 2 or 3 Small White. More than 20 Peacock at Cholsey Marsh, Oxon (BBOWT)."
This report came from Wendy Wilson: "I saw my first Speckled Wood today 25th April, at Caps Wood, Tatling End, Gerrards Cross (Bucks). Also today on the footpaths alongside Southlands Quarry, New Denham were 4 Small White, 1 Brimstone, 6 Peacock, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Holly Blue and 1 Comma. On Tuesday 23rd I watched 4 Small Tortoiseshells fighting each other for a single female at Ashley Green; after about ten minutes all were exhausted and the winner settled down with his prize (see photo)."
David Fuller sent this update: "Sightings around Berkshire for 25th April, 3 of them new for me this year: Woolmans Wood, Hedsor SU912869 - Holly Blue male, Speckled Wood. My garden Maidenhead: Comma, Peacock 2, Brimstone male and female together, Orange-tip male, Small White male, male Holly Blue. Maidenhead Thicket SU849804: Brimstone 3 male together, Peacock, Orange-tip male."
~ Wednesday 24th April 2013 ~
Tony Speight sent this news today:
"This morning (24th April) on Sands Bank, High Wycombe
(Bucks) in conditions that weren't really the best for butterflies (quite a cold westerly wind,
temperature about 12 degrees and at best hazy sunshine). No surprise that numbers were low but I was
expecting to see more than one butterfly and I wasn't expecting my only sighting to be a
Richard Wheeler paid a fleeting visit to Ardley Quarry, Oxon this afternoon (24/04/13). "The sporadic sunshine yielded 1 Comma, 2 Small White and 5 Peacock."
Dave Wilton sent the following report: "It was nice to have some warm sunshine in which to complete the butterfly transects at Finemere Wood, Bucks on Tuesday, 23rd April. Over thirty were seen, with the expected supply of over-wintered Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock & Comma being joined by Orange-tip (two males, my first newly-emerged species of the year). An added bonus back at Westcott was a Small White active in the garden."
~ Tuesday 23rd April 2013 ~
David Gantzel reported the following recent sightings in Bucks: "Brimstones: One male at Lane End on April 20th, two males at Prestwood, one male Great Kingshill, two males Widmer End and a male and a female at Hazlemere, all seen today, Tuesday April 23rd. Also one Peacock seen in Hazlemere today."
David Hastings went to Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon this morning, 23rd April, and saw a Green-veined White, one Comma, three Peacocks and three male Brimstones.
David Fuller sent these reports: "22/4 - My first Holly Blue this year was a male at SU908847 along the River Thames towpath towards Cookham, Berks. I also saw a Peacock there and another in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks. Then on 23rd April I had visits in my garden from a Comma, 2 Peacocks and 2 male Brimstones."
~ Sunday 21st April 2013 ~
David Hastings saw the following in Oxfordshire over the weekend: "On Saturday 20th April I visited Farmoor Reservoir, where I saw half a dozen male Brimstones along the riverbank. Then at Dry Sandford Pit I saw one female and at least five male Brimstones, a Comma, a Small Tortoiseshell and at least seven Peacocks. In addition a Small White appeared in my garden in north Abingdon. On Sunday 21st April I visited Churn, where I saw three Peacocks and two Small Tortoiseshells. Finally, at Aston Upthorpe Downs (really on the bridleway leading to Juniper Valley) I saw at least thirteen Peacocks, two Small Tortoiseshells and two Commas."
In David Fuller's garden in Maidenhead, Berks today (21st): Male and female Brimstone, Comma and Peacock.
Michael McNeill reported the following today: "At last a warm sunny day and good sightings from my garden in Upper Basildon, West Berks. 3 Brimstone, including 1 female, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 1 Comma. Also 1 female Orange-tip at Pangbourne Meadows. 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 3 Peacocks at Moor Green Lakes adopting an aggressive attitude towards any smaller insects within range!"
Mick & Wendy Campbell saw the following during a walk from Bledlow to Lodge Hill via Routs Green, Bucks today: "Brimstone (6), Peacock (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Comma (1). A cold wind across the Chiltern Hills was keeping the air temperature down to 14C for most of our walk."
Wendy Wilson sent this news: "A lovely sunny weekend, 20th/21st April, to enjoy at last. Around Iver and Iver Heath, Bucks I recorded 28 Peacock, 13 Comma, 8 Brimstone, 3 Small Tortoiseshell and my first Small White and Orange-tip of the year. The Orange-tip was a male on the M25 embankment near Iver. Most were fighting aggressively for territories, but I managed to photograph these three nectaring on the few flowers available."
Paul Bowyer sent the following: "On Saturday 20th April at Cocksherd Wood Britwell, Slough (Berks): Large White, Peacock and Comma. Then at The Millie, Haymill Slough: Peacock (10), Comma (7), Brimstone (2), Small Tortoiseshell (6), Small White.
~ Saturday 20th April 2013 ~
Steve Croxford sent this news: "Today, Saturday the 20th April, I saw my first Holly Blues of the year at my parents garden in Chinnor, Oxon. Also seen were a Peacock and several Brimstone."
David Fuller sent the following report: "A female Pied Flycatcher got me out of the garden to Dinton Pastures, Berks (SU784720) and I saw a Comma and male Brimstone there on 19th April. I also had a male Brimstone in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks."
Helen Hyre saw her first Comma of the season on a gusty afternoon at Ascott House (NT), Wing, Bucks on 17th April.
~ Wednesday 17th April 2013 ~
Nicholl Williams sent these sightings: "Today I walked down towards strawberry bank through Moor Wood, Bucks. The blossom there hasn't really started. I saw 1 Brimstone, 2 Commas and 7 Peacocks. Not really much at this time."
David Fuller had the following butterflies in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks today: Peacock 2 spiraling together, Comma 1 and Brimstone 1 male.
Mick Campbell saw a Small White in his garden in Chearsley, Bucks today, 17th April, during a sunny spell. It landed in a flower border long enough to get a close-up view but then flew off over the fence and didn't return.
John Ward-Smith sent the following report: "16th April - At last I have had a couple of butterflies – a Comma and a Peacock – in my Bracknell, Berkshire garden. In bright afternoon sunshine, T=17C, they struggled against a strong wind."
~ Tuesday 16th April 2013 ~
David Fuller had both Comma and Peacock again today in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks.
~ Monday 15th April 2013 ~
Helen Hyre says she saw 2 Small Tortoiseshells flirting in her garden in Bierton, Bucks this afternoon.
Sarah Bryan reported these sightings around Bucks:
Dave Morris sent this sighting today: "I thought I'd report the one and only butterfly I've seen so far this year, in my Seer Green (Bucks) garden yesterday, a Brimstone."
Doug Kennedy reported the following on 15th April: "Today I walked Eastwards along the Thame from Cuddington, Bucks for a mile or so and saw: 2 x Small Tortoiseshell, 1 x Brimstone and 2 x Peacock. I was hoping to see some Orange-tips but there was no sign. There is a place further along the river where they tend to appear in numbers and I'll go there later in the week. I saw a couple of Brimstones in my garden during bright weather towards the beginning of the month."
~ Sunday 14th April 2013 ~
Dennis Dell sent these sightings today: "On rough grassland between Fairford Leys, Aylesbury and Golf course: Small Tortoiseshell , Peacock . On Golf Course: Comma , Peacock . Also a Brimstone  in my garden in Aylesbury."
David Hastings reported the following: "I visited Otmoor, Oxon today (14th April), where I saw two Brimstones, two Peacocks and a Comma. I also visited Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon but there wasn't much sun by then and I only saw one Brimstone and one Peacock there."
David Fuller sent this report today: "As I was in the Scottish highlands birding in the first week in March I missed the few warm days so my butterfly season got off to a slow start, but today in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks: Comma 2, Peacock 2, Brimstone both male and female. Also of interest a Brambling male, Bullfinch female, Blackcap male, Siskin 3 males and 1 female all on the feeders, plus 3 species of Bumblebee. What a great time!"
Jim Asher went for a 5km walk around Marcham, Oxon this morning: "During a couple of spells of sun, I saw a total of 6 Brimstones (all males), a Small Tortoishell and a Peacock. My best day of the year so far! Spring may be on its way..."
This news came from Tom Stevenson: "At long last my first transect survey at Ewelme Watercress Beds, Oxon and better than I expected with Brimstone (2), Small Tortoiseshell (6) and Peacock(2)."
Helen Hyre saw the following today: "Sunday 14th April (morning) Brimstone in my garden in Bierton, Bucks (second Brimstone of 2013). Then at 2.20pm, first Small Tortoiseshell in my garden, although there was one a week ago about 2 metres beyond our garden fence."
Karen Saxl sent these sightings today: "12.30-12.45 Just got back from a short cycle-ride/walk down the Sustrans route South of Didcot, Oxon and path into West Hagbourne – Near West Hagbourne I saw 2 male Brimstone – 1 Peacock. On the way down, just by East Hagbourne Cemetry I saw 1 Small Tortoiseshell and on the way back I saw 3 nectaring on colts foot. Earlier in the day (10.45) I’d seen 2 Brimstones (again, think they were both male, but sightings were more fleeting) on a footpath just East of Didcot. To date all sightings have been Brimstones on the odd sunny day so has been good to see the species count go up a bit. Does this mean Spring is finally here?"
~ Friday 12th April 2013 ~
Peter Law sent his first sighting of the season: "As the day warmed up last Saturday 6th April, I thought it likely that I would find my year's first butterflies and so paid a visit to Bagley Wood, Oxford. I often have early sightings here and was rewarded with 5 male Brimstone and a rather sluggish Red Admiral viewed from access points to this private site. This was almost 4 weeks later in the season than my first Brimstones of 2012."
~ Wednesday 10th April 2013 ~
Dave Maunder sent the following reports from around Bucks: "On Saturday 6th April I saw my first Brimstones (4) of the year and a Small Tortoiseshell in Aylesbury. I also saw my first Comma of the year at Finemere Woods turning circle on 8th. Then today, 10th April, in Aylesbury I recorded:- Brimstone (1); Comma (3) and Small Tortoiseshell (13) - so has spring really started?"
~ Sunday 7th April 2013 ~
Helen Hyre sent this news from Bierton, Bucks: "On Saturday 6th April at 12.57pm I saw my first butterfly of the year (yes, really!). A male Brimstone, stunningly bright. Brimstone has been the first in the garden for several years but this is 2-4 weeks later than 'normal'".
~ Saturday 16th March 2013 ~
Paul Furtek sent this report on 30th March: "As the weather was slightly warmer this morning (above zero!) I decided to brave my attic. To my surprise, I was greeted by the sight of a newly hatched Small Tortoiseshell which had obviously hibernated over the winter. Not surprisingly, it didn't seem too keen to fly away when I opened the window!"
~ Saturday 16th March 2013 ~
The following came via Jim Asher from Phil Shaw:
"I was just browsing your web page having been advised of it by my colleague Richard Wheeler who
often contributes to it and thought I would pass on an unusual occurrence (for me) that happened
last year. On September 10th 2012 (a very hot day) I had 8 species of
butterfly on the same buddleia bush in my back garden in Shutford, west of
Banbury Oxon. They were Brimstone, Small White, Large White, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Comma,
Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. Is this a record for one plant??"
Tom Stevenson sent the following report: "I don’t remember having seen a Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on snowdrop before – photographed at Ewelme Watercress Beds (Oxon) nature reserve on Thursday, 14th March. Perhaps I will keep a list – coltsfoot and snowdrop so far this year."
~ Saturday 9th March 2013 ~
David Gantzel sent this report on 8th March: "One male and one female Brimstone in my garden in Hazlemere, Bucks on Tuesday March 5th."
~ Wednesday 6th March 2013 ~
Dave Maunder says his son saw a male Brimstone at his school in Aylesbury, Bucks on 6th March.
Tony Rayner sent this report today: "Tuesday 5th March - at last some butterflies. Single male Brimstones seen at Greenham Common (Berks), Tidmarsh (Berks), Moulsford (Oxon) and back home in Cholsey (Oxon). Several Woodlarks singing at Greenham."
John Holdbrook reported the following sightings: "A Small Tortoiseshell at top of Beacon Hill, Bucks above M40 on Monday March 4th; a Comma at Otmoor (Oxon) and a Brimstone at Sydling’s Copse (Oxon) both on Tuesday March 5th."
David and Pippa Lloyd saw 1 male Brimstone at Harvest Ride/County Lane roundabout, in Warfield, Berks at 1.30pm in bright sunshine on 5th March.
Martin Banthorpe sent this news: "One Brimstone seen in the garden of Hughenden Manor, Bucks during a visit there on 5th March."
Mick Jones reports seeing 3 Brimstones flying around gardens in the centre of Mursley, Bucks on 5th March.
Tom Stevenson sent this report on 5th March: "Today I saw a Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell down my allotment in Benson (Oxon) then 3 Brimstones, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock on the Ewelme Watercress beds nature reserve."
~ Tuesday 5th March 2013 ~
Mike Flemming reported the following: "Isn't it amazing what a day of warm sun can do after all the dull coldness of recent weeks? I saw a Brimstone in my Abingdon, Oxon garden at lunch time today, so set out immediately for Dry Sandford Pit, with its splendid sun-trap along the old quarry face. I was not disappointed! Five species were present and all photographed: Brimstone, Comma, Peacock (several), Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. The Brimstone did not seem at all concerned about providing a perch for a solitary bee (a notable inhabitant at this site). In addition, three Buzzards were mewing overhead and Primroses were in flower - a really splendid location on a great day! What a pity that rain is forecast for the rest of the week."
Bryan Williams saw his first butterfly of the year today. "It was a Comma at the Millennium Arboretum in Wokingham, Berks this afternoon (5th March)."
Mark Griffiths sent this news today: "The warmer weather tempted out a male Brimstone here in Garsington, Oxford - spent most of its time flying around the ivy-covered wall opposite our house."
Nicholl Williams sent this report today: "I saw a Brimstone in Cliveden and then another in Lane End, Bucks. I then went to Spade Oak outside Marlow, Bucks and saw a Comma and a Small Tortoiseshell, which I took a rather poor photo."
Dennis Dell says his sightings today in Fairford Leys, Aylesbury, Bucks were a Brimstone [male] and a Small Tortoiseshell.
Mick & Wendy Campbell recorded their first butterflies of the year today: "Driving back from Maidenhead this morning we saw 3 Brimstones - one in Bourne End, Bucks and 2 in Long Crendon (Bucks) where we also saw 2 unidentified nymphalidae flying over the hedges (possibly a Comma and a Small Tortoiseshell). Another Brimstone flew through our garden when we got home and then later in the afternoon we saw a Small Tortoiseshell during a walk along the Salden disused railway line in Bucks."
Mary Payne sent the following report: "No wonder so many butterflies wanted to come out today (5th March). I've been out walking and I got so hot that I had to take off my coat! I was delighted to spot several Brimstones whizzing about, plus one Comma and one Peacock all in the vicinity of Buckland Village, Bucks SP8812."
Nigel Partridge reports seeing a Brimstone and a Comma in his garden in Loosley Row, Bucks this morning, 05-03-13.
Abby Fettes saw a Brimstone enjoying the sunshine in her garden in Witney, Oxon today.
Richard Wheeler reported the following: "Glorious day here today (5th March) in Witney, Oxon and I've just seen my first butterfly of the year: a Brimstone bobbing along outside the council offices (Woodgreen)."
This early sighting came from Richard Comont: "I saw a male Orange-tip in my back garden in Sutton Courtenay, Oxon (SU504941), on 27th February. It flew across the garden, basked briefly on the fence, and then flew off. No sign of any more since!"
~ Monday 4th March 2013 ~
Dennis Dell reports seeing a Small Tortoiseshell at Fairford Leys, Aylesbury on this lovely spring day (4th March).
~ Sunday 24th February 2013 ~
Roger Newman reported the following: "I saw my first Red Admiral on Tuesday 19th Feb while on a Chiltern Society work party in a clearing in coniferous woodland at Weedonhill Wood, Bucks (Forestry Commission) west of Amersham at SU945994."
~ Tuesday 19th February 2013 ~
Graham Elcombe saw his first butterfly of the year this afternoon, 19th February: "It was a Comma in good condition, at Chenies, Bucks."
Dave Wilton sent this news: "At about 1pm today here at Westcott, Bucks I was just thinking that it was a typical "Brimstone Day" when a male Brimstone duly appeared from out of the dense honeysuckle by our kitchen window and went off on a local sortie in the sunshine. The outside air temperature was only 8C but with no wind it would have been somewhat warmer close to the south-facing wall of the house."
Tony Croft reported the following: "My garden in Easington, Bucks was visited by two butterflies today (19th February) in the brilliant sunshine. The first was a Small Tortoiseshell on a clump of yellow crocuses and then a Comma basking on the house wall."
~ Saturday 2nd February 2013 ~
Tony Rayner says he was surprised to see a Small Tortoiseshell flying around the edge of his Cholsey (Oxon) meadow yesterday, 1st February.
~ Tuesday 15th January 2013 ~
Dave Maunder says his wife Jo found a Red Admiral on their windowsill in Aylesbury, Bucks on a cool, dull afternoon last Wednesday, 9th January.
~ Friday 11th January 2013 ~
Steve Croxford sent this report: "I saw a these two Peacocks enjoying today's sun on the edge of Waddesdon Manor, Bucks this afternoon, 9th January."
Darren Seaman sent the following on 9th January: "Just seen a Red Admiral land on my van while in Chorleywood, Bucks. Not quick enough with the camera though."
~ Tuesday 8th January 2013 ~
Michael Swaine reported the following:
"I'm not sure if this counts as a sighting or not - but on 7th January I
found a very dopey Small Tortoiseshell on the landing of a block of flats in
Tarragon Drive, Oxford. How it got there I have no idea, but it
was very much alive. The temperature outside was about 8 degrees, somewhat warmer inside."
Mike Flemming sent this sighting: "A Red Admiral flew past the window in my Abingdon (Oxon) garden at about 1pm today (6th January). I rushed out with a camera but it disappeared into some Ivy and I did not disturb it. My first butterfly of the year and, hopefully, the first of many!"
~ Thursday 3rd January 2013 ~
Alison Lawrance sent the following: "Just to report that on New Year's Day whilst visiting friends in Wargrave, Berks I saw a Peacock butterfly - no picture unfortunately as it didn't settle for long."
~ Tuesday 1st January 2013 ~
Well done to Tom Stevenson for this early sighting: "Thought I would try and get in the “hall of fame” with a record of a Brimstone here in Benson, Oxon today (1st January) – amazing what a little bit of sunshine does!"
[Sightings for 2012 have been archived.]
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