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Butterfly Sightings 2015 - BC Upper Thames Branch

First Sightings    Sightings Archive   

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

BUTTERFLY SPECIES RECORDED TO DATE – as at 23/04/15
18

Click photo for larger image

Click photo for larger image

Click photo for larger image

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

Latest News &
Updates - 18th April
Upper Thames Branch is now on Twitter - we're @UpperThamesBC - see the new Twitter link in the main Branch Menu (left)!

Read Dennis Dell's 2014 Purple Emperor Report and
his excellent Purple Emperor Review for 2004-2013

Read David Hastings' 2014 Grizzled Skipper Report

Special Event: UTB's Farewell to Silverdale Cottage. Book now!

We urgently need someone to help with the transect at Shabbington Wood (Bernwood) - find out more here...

21/04 - Four of our UTB Key Species (see the "Champions" page of this website for more information), are now on the wing: Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper & Duke of Burgundy. Please send your sightings to the appropriate Species Champion. Thanks, Wendy

~ 23rd April 2015 ~

Richard Wheeler sent this update today: "Further to yesterday’s visit to Ardley Quarry (see report below), I made a fleeting visit to Yoesden Bank, Bucks this morning, 23rd April. It was sunny and c.12-14°C. I saw 3 Green Hairstreak, 2 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Large White."

Green Hairstreak
Photo © Richard Wheeler

Bryan Williams sent these sightings: "On Tuesday 21st April I visited Greenham Common, Berks. Despite being a sunny day the cold breeze kept the butterfly count down except in the more sheltered areas, but I did see two Grizzled Skippers, taking nectar from wild strawberry flowers, as well as 5 Brimstones (3 male, 2 female), 3 Peacocks and singles of Orange-tip (male) and Red Admiral.
On Wednesday 22nd April at Aston Rowant, Oxon I saw 5 Green Hairstreaks (4 of them on one cluster of Blackthorn next to the path). There were also Brimstones (15), Peacocks (6), Small Tortoiseshells (4) plus one Red Admiral and one Orange-tip (female)."

Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Bryan Williams
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Bryan Williams

Paul Busby sent this report: "I visted the Holtspur Bottom reserve in Bucks this afternoon, 22nd April, for about an hour on a cooler, cloudier, breezier day than recently but still managed to see 7 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacocks and 1M + 1F Orange-tip butterflies."

Tony Rayner reported the following: "Today (22nd April) we had our first Small Copper of the year in our Cholsey, Oxon meadow. Good numbers of Holly Blue, Orange-tip, Small White and Speckled Wood too."

Richard Wheeler sent the following: "I made a quick visit to Ardley Quarry, Oxon at lunchtime today (22/04/15) in search of Grizzled Skipper. I found two, together with 3 Large White, 3 Orange-tip, 5 Peacock and 3 Brimstone."

Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Richard Wheeler
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Richard Wheeler

David Hastings reported the following on 22nd April: "Sightings 18th April: At Aston Rowant (Beacon Hill), Oxon I saw one Orange-tip, about a dozen Green Hairstreaks, three Small Tortoiseshells and seven Peacocks. Then at Aston Upthorpe (Juniper Valley), Oxon I saw three Orange-tips, nine Brimstones, three Green-veined Whites, one Holly Blue, about a dozen each of Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks and two Commas."

Green Hairstreak
Photo © David Hastings
Holly Blue
Photo © David Hastings

~ 21st April 2015 ~

David Gantzell sent these sightings today: "Bourne End, Bucks, Tuesday 21st April: Taking a short walk along the Thames at Bourne End I counted four Holly Blue, just one Peacock and a single Orange-tip."

Andy Hoskins visited Finemere Wood, Bucks for the first time this year on 21st April. "It was between 3.15 to 4.15pm and I saw 9 Peacocks, 5 Orange-tip male, 3 Orange-tip female, 1 Comma, 3 Brimstone, 2 Large White, 6 Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Green-Veined White."

Orange-tip
Photo © Andy Hoskins
Comma
Photo © Andy Hoskins

Francis Gomme sent this update on 21st April: "Two, possibly three Dukes of Burgundy at Ivinghoe, Bucks this morning, 21st April, plus Grizzled Skippers and Green Hairstreaks."

James Ford sent this report on 20th April: "A beautifully warm day at Buttler's Hangings near West Wycombe, Bucks. The initial walk to the reserve threw up 20+ Peacocks, 7 Orange-tips, 5 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Large Whites and 27 Brimstones (mainly females) around the surrounding field edges. The site itself was bathed in sunshine and the following butterflies were seen 24 Peacocks, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 17 Brimstones, 6 Orange-tips, 2 Large Whites, 3 Green Hairstreaks and 3 Grizzled Skippers. A male Emperor Moth made an appearance also alongside a Ruby Tiger moth."

Colin Mather reported the following: "I spotted a Holly Blue in my garden in Sonning Common, Oxon this evening, Monday 20th April."

Holly Blue
Photo © Colin Mather

Neil Holman sent this report on 20th April: "I enjoyed a couple of hours at Incombe Hole, Ivinghoe, Bucks today (20th April). In glorious sunshine I was lucky enough to see the following; 1 x Comma; 20+ Peacock; 8 x Brimstone; 1 x Small Tortoiseshell; 3 x Grizzled Skippers; 1 x Green Hairstreak and one gorgeous Duke of Burgundy."

Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Neil Holman
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Neil Holman

Mary Payne reports seeing her first three Orange-tips of the year, all within close proximity of each other in Stoke Mandeville, Bucks on 20th April.

~ 18th April 2015 ~

Mick Jones sent this news today: "Working at Dancersend Nature Reserve, Bucks today (18th April) I saw Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Green-veined White, Orange-tip and Speckled Wood, but the highlight was my first Green Hairstreak of the year in a sheltered clearing. On my transect, which is more exposed, I only recorded one Peacock!"

Green Hairstreak
Photo © Mick Jones

John Lindley reported the following today: "On 18th April whilst out walking near the river at South Stoke, Oxon in strong sunshine with strong breezes, I saw this interesting behaviour next to an overgrown blackthorn hedge - a group of about 6 to 8 Peacocks (hard to count) spiralling up to a height of about 30 feet, then diving rapidly back to about head height and seeming to fly off in different directions, only to gather together again and repeat the process. I watched them do this 5 or 6 times before the dogs got bored and we moved on. I noticed large numbers of Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells flying around the large nettle beds in the area, hopefully a good sign for the next generation. Also on the wing were 10+ Brimstones, 4 male and 2 female Orange-tips, 2 Small Whites, 2 Green-veined Whites, 5-6 Commas and a courting pair of Speckled Woods. My hibernating hornets have finally vacated the shed and it was good to see a queen Hornet today busily chewing wood from one of my fence posts."

Francis Gomme sent these sightings today: "Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers plus Large Whites, Small Whites and Orange-tips at Grangelands, Bucks this morning, 18th April."

~ 17th April 2015 ~

Bryan Williams sent the following report: "Walking around the gravel pit at Spade Oak, Bucks today (17th April) I saw 12 Peacocks, 4 Commas, 7 Speckled Woods, my first of the year and all very fresh, 4 Green-veined Whites, 5 Orange-tips flying through the stand of wild cherry trees by the railway line and a single Small Tortoiseshell."

Holly Blue
Photo © Bryan Williams
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Bryan Williams
Speckled Wood
Photo © Bryan Williams

Francis Gomme reports seeing Green Hairstreaks at College Lake, Bucks this morning, 17th April.

Ben and Jenny Hobbs reported the following: "We walked to Juniper Valley (Aston Upthorpe, Oxon) on 15th April. Could not find any Grizzled Skipper, but did see a “blind” Peacock aberration, with only 2 spots. Also about a dozen Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Comma, 1 Orange-tip female and plenty of normal Peacock."

~ 15th April 2015 ~

Bryan Williams reported the following: "I visited Basildon Park, Berks (NT site) today (15th April) and walked round the boundary path; a large number of Brimstones (38) – eight of them female, 18 Peacocks, 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 3 Orange-tips – all male and a single Holly Blue. There were also a lot of bee flies (Bombylius major)."

Paul Bowyer sent this news on 15th April: "April 14th - My garden in Flackwell Heath, Bucks Large White, Holly Blue, Brimstone (male and female), Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.

Paul Busby reported these sightings on 15th April: "I saw a lot of butterflies late afternoon, although only 3 species on an hour's walk on a sunny blustery day at Steps Hill, Ivinghoe, Bucks. There were at least 27 Peacocks, 10 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Brimstones."

Ian Johnston sent the following on 15th April: "I sighted the following at the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes, Bucks on 15/04/2015: 20+ Peacock, 11 x Brimstone (M&F), 7 x Small Tortoiseshells, 10 x Orange-tip (M&F), 3 x Small White (including a ‘mud-puddler’), 2 x Speckled Wood, 1 x Green-veined White. Weather – very warm, with cloudless skies."

Green-veined White
Photo © Ian Johnston
Orange-tip
Photo © Ian Johnston
Small White
Photo © Ian Johnston

David Fuller sent this update: "Today, 14th April, in my garden Maidenhead, Berks: male Holly Blue, Brimstone, Orange-tip male, Peacock 3, Comma and Small white. Then at Romney Island Windsor, Berks SU972781: Small Tortoiseshell 3, Peacock 5, Brimstone 1, Small White 1, Red Admiral 1 and Holly Blue 1 male."

David Hastings sent this report on 14th April: "I saw the following at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon today: at least 14 Brimstones (including one ovipositing female), two Small Tortoiseshells, at least eight Peacocks, two Green-veined Whites and an Orange-tip."

Steve Lockey sent this news on 14th April: "A Large White seen in the garden at Garsington, Oxon today 14/04/15.

Large White
Photo © Steve Lockey

Dave Cleal reported the following on 14th April: "9th April Small White in the garden, also 10+ Peacocks on Dorney Common, Bucks, 4 Brimstones and 2 Small Tortoiseshells. Speckled Wood in the garden today (14th April). I also saw a Holly Blue in Kintbury, Berks on Sunday 12th April."

~ 12th April 2015 ~

Nicholl Williams reported the following: "I went down to the field opposite Widmere Lane between Marlow and Lane End (Bucks) today, (12th April). I saw a few Commas, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks feeding on the Blackthorn blossom. I then went down to the bank near Lane End, and saw dozens of Small Tortoiseshells, a few Commas and lots of Peacocks. I took a few images, one of a Peacock being mobbed by a bee!"

Bee Fly
Photo © Nicholl Williams
Comma
Photo © Nicholl Williams
Peacock
Photo © Nicholl Williams

David Hastings sent the following: "Sightings today (12th April) at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon: one Green-veined White, one Peacock, seven Small Tortoiseshells."

Green-veined White
Photo © David Hastings

Chris Pickford sent these sightings: "Out today (12th April), looking at beeflies (100+) when I spotted a very handsome Green Hairstreak which landed on a primrose and displaced a beefly I was trying to photograph. Location was Harwell site, near Didcot, Oxon. Other species seen: Peacock (10), Comma (2), Small Tortoiseshell (2) Speckled Wood (1), Brimstone (25) and a Small White. No Orange-tips spotted here yet."

Green Hairstreak
Photo © Chris Pickford

Tony Croft sent this report: "Although it was pretty chilly and windy this morning, (12th April), I went to Aston Rowant, Oxon to see if Green Hairstreaks were around yet. I had several sightings including two in aerial combat over the hillside but mainly in and around the sheltered bramble scrub at the base of the hill."

Green Hairstreak
Photo © Tony Croft

John Lindley reported the following: "Walking along the river Thames at South Stoke, Oxon this morning (12th April), in bright sun but a very strong southerly wind, I was surprised to see a Clouded Yellow flying northwards at great speed - probably blown over from France by the strong breezes of the last couple of days. Also 2 Comma, 2 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and a Small White. Yesterday, on the Ridgeway just to the west of Goring and Streatley Golf Club (Berks/Oxon border), 3 Commas (including one very small specimen), 10+ Small Tortoiseshells including a group of 4 chasing each other around a flowering Blackthorn, 1 Peacock, 2 Small Whites and a male Brimstone."

~ 10th April 2015 ~

Ian Johnston sent this report today: "On a visit to Lodge Lake and part of the adjoining Loughton Brook in Milton Keynes on 9th April, I spotted 11 x Peacock, 7 x Small Tortoiseshell, 2 x Brimstone, 1 x Comma, 1 x Small White and 1 x male Orange-tip on the wing."

David Gantzel sent these sightings on 9th April: "A walk around the area now known as Widmer Fields between Hazlemere and Widmer End, Bucks on Thursday April 9th produced four Comma, two Small Tortoiseshell and three Peacock."

Neil Holman reported the following on 9th April: "Today, 9th April, I went over to Rushbeds Wood, Bucks and over the lunchtime period in bright sunshine I was lucky enough to spot 2 Orange-tips, 5 Brimstones, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 5 Commas and in excess of 20 Peacocks. I then went onto Finemere Woods, Bucks and spotted another 2 Orange-tips, 7 Brimstones, 6 Small Tortoiseshells, 9 Peacocks and 6 Commas.
On Tuesday 7th April I visited College Wood, Nash (Bucks) and in the late afternoon sunshine I spotted a Red Admiral, 12 Commas, 30+ Peacocks and 4 Brimstones. I was amazed at the number of aerial confrontations between the small Commas and larger Peacocks, the Commas were so aggressive!"

Orange-tip
Photo © Neil Holman
Orange-tip
Photo © Neil Holman
Brimstone
Photo © Neil Holman

Nigel Cleere sent this news on 9th April: "I have just seen a Holly Blue in my garden at Upper Bucklebury, Berks (9th April). A few days ago (exact date not recorded) I had a Painted Lady in my garden."

Peter Law sent this report: "Myself and Ewan Urquhart found a Speckled Wood on Thursday morning, 9th April, at Standlake Common NR, Oxon. There were also many Brimstone flying here."

Speckled Wood
Photo © Peter Law

John Lerpiniere sent this sighting: "A Green-veined White at Fobney, Reading (SU703709) on 8th April."

Derek Brown reported the following on 9th April: "Finally getting some butterflies in our garden in Beenham, Berkshire. Now up to 7 species with our first Green-veined White on the morning of the 8th April."

Jeff Alderson reported the following on 9th April: "On 7th April in my garden on the edge of Oxford, OX4 4ED, I had several sightings of a Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell."

~ 9th April 2015 ~

Nigel Partridge reports seeing a Green-veined White in his garden in Loosley Row, Bucks) on 8th April.

Richard Wheeler reported the following on 8th April: "I visited Ardley Quarry, Oxon with my children this afternoon (08/04/15). The weather was sunny and warm (c.15°C) and we saw: 17 Peacock, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 8 Brimstone and 3 Comma; also, a handsome Bee Fly."

Bee Fly
Photo © Richard Wheeler

David Fuller sent these sightings on 8th April: "My garden in Maidenhead, Berks today: Comma, Peacock and Brimstone again and also at Eton school, Berks 2 Brimstones together. Then on the 8th April a Holly Blue male seen near my house."

Derek Wilkins reported the following on 7th April: "Monday 6th April out for about 4 hours this afternoon in my usual area north of the Thames near Windsor & Eton, Berks (west of the railway bridge) and saw my first 2 Small Whites of the season also the first female Brimstones of the year (2), they were outnumbered at least 10 to 1 by male Brimstones. Also 20 plus Peacocks, 10 plus Small Tortoiseshells & 3 Commas. Then on Tuesday 7th April out for about 5 hours in the same area - 2 more firsts for 2015 - 4 male Orange-tips & a brief glimpse of a Holly Blue. Also saw 2 Red Admirals, 1 Comma and similar if not slightly larger numbers of Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks & male Brimstones (no females today). A thoroughly enjoyable couple of Butterfly Walks - banishing the memories of cold and grey winter days, also had a fairly close view of a Kingfisher perched by the river on Monday - always a nice bonus!"

Colin Mather sent this news on 8th April: "Mating Brimstones in my garden at Sonning Common, Oxon and also saw one Comma, one Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock 6th April."

Brimstones pairing
Photo © Colin Mather

John Lindley sent these sightings on 7th April: "The following seen today in the warm sunshine in two large gardens in Goring on Thames, Oxon. 10+ Brimstone, including two females, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Peacock and my first Speckled Wood of the year (the latter in a sheltered "woodland" spot near the Oxford to Reading railway line). All the hibernating butterflies have now moved out of my sheds, but the Hornets are still there."

Wendy Wilson sent this report: "Lovely warm sunny day today, 7th April and seven species were on the wing around Langley and Iver, Buckinghamshire. Six of them - Brimstone, Orange-tip, Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood - were in St Mary's churchyard Langley Marish, which is an oasis in an urban area near Slough. The seventh species was a Small white. Elsewhere I found the greatest numbers nectaring on blackthorn and plum blossom; five Peacocks were on one bush on wasteland near Iver."

Peacock
Photo © Wendy Wilson
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Wendy Wilson
Speckled Wood
Photo © Wendy Wilson

Tony Rayner reported the following on 7th April: "Both today and yesterday our Cholsey (Oxon) patch seemed awash with early butterfly species in the following order of abundance - Small Tortoiseshell; Peacock, Brimstone (all male); Comma and Small White. Today on the outskirts of Hampstead Norreys, Berks my first and only Orange-tip of the year."

David Gantzel sent this report on 7th April: "Easter Monday April 6th Hazlemere, Bucks. Male Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock all in my garden."

Pam Hughes writes that she saw her first Peacock butterfly on 6th April and also 2 Brimstones enjoying the sunshine in Bicester, Oxon.

Miles Attenborough reported the following on 7th April: "Saturday the 4th April Bray Pit Nature Reserve, Berks Grid Ref: SU 906 787 - 2 Brimstones."

Brimstone
Photo © Miles Attenborough

~ 6th April 2015 ~

David Hastings sent these sightings today: "I visited Stratfield Brake, Oxon today, 6th April, where I saw three Peacocks and four Small Tortoiseshells. At Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon I saw three Brimstones, two Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma. Finally in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon, I saw my first Small White of the year, also two Peacocks, three Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma."

Small White
Photo © David Hastings
Comma
Photo © David Hastings

Nick Board reported the following: "I came across these two (see photo) in my garden today in Chackmore, North Bucks. The Small Tortoiseshell followed the Peacock around the garden for about 5 minutes settling from time to time next to each other in the warm sunshine. A case of mistaken identity I feel!!"

Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Nick Board

This report from Cliff Grove came via Paul Bowyer: "Monday 6th April, Jubilee River Path, Dorney (Bucks): Orange-tip, Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell."

John Ward-Smith sent these sightings: "The beautiful weather today, 6th April, saw five species on the wing in our garden in Bracknell, Berkshire: Holly Blue, Peacock x 3, Comma x 2, Brimstone and Small White."

David Fuller sent this report: "Today, 6th April, in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks: Comma; Peacock at last, not one but three; male and female Brimstone and a Small White again - this time it landed for a while so I could I.D. it as a male."

John Lindley reported the following today: "Good numbers of butterflies today, 6th April, at Goring and Streatley Golf Club (Berks/Oxon border): 30+ Brimstones, including 5 females, also 20+ Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacock and 1 very battered looking Red Admiral."

Michael McNeill sent this news today: "Apart from the usual suspects which first appeared from 5th March in single numbers, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Peacock and Comma, a warm sunny day today, 6th April, in my garden in Upper Basildon, West Berkshire, produced my first male Orange Tip of the year as well as 6 Brimstone, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Peacock and 2 Comma, accompanied by my first Bluebell of the Spring."

Peter Cuss sent the following on 6th April: "Walking today near Holmes Farm, Oxon (OS 159, 655 785) saw my first Orange-tip of the season as well as Peacocks (8), Small White (2), Comma (2) and several Brimstones."

Tony Croft sent these sightings today, 6th April: "I've just carried out my first transect of the season at Rushbeds Wood, Bucks in the warm sunshine and had a pretty good result. Brimstone 15; Peacock 33; Comma 10; Small Tortoiseshell 6 and one beautiful male Orange-tip."

Nicholl Williams sent this report on 6th April: "I went to Spade Oak (Bourne End, Bucks) and then nearby Crowne Plaza in Marlow, Bucks today and saw plenty of Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks. Also 1 Comma and 1 Small White.

Comma
Photo © Nicholl Williams
Small White
Photo © Nicholl Williams

Bryan Williams reported the following today, 6th April: "A lovely sunny morning, I visited the Millennium Arboretum in Wokingham, Berks and saw six Peacocks, two Commas, a male Brimstone and a Small Tortoiseshell and returning home (in Wokingham) saw a Holly Blue in my garden."

~ 31st March 2015 ~

Steve Lockey's short walk through Rushbeds Wood, Bucks at midday on 30th March produced 2 Brimstone males flying down the walks and a Comma sunning itself.

~ 25th March 2015 ~

David Fuller sent this news: "The Comma was in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks again on Sunday afternoon, 22nd March. Then on 23/03/15 I had a male Brimstone - my first of the year - and a Small White. This is also my first of the year and is one week earlier than last year's sighting in my garden."

Jim Asher sent this report: "The final Aston Upthorpe work party of the season took place on Sunday 22nd March - it was very helpful to enable us to complete the work on ‘Section 7’ this season. We look forward to seeing if the butterflies appreciate it! Thank you all for turning out and for your work on other work parties this season too. (See photos are on our Facebook page.)
Later that afternoon on a short walk from Marcham (Oxon) to Frilford, Denise and I saw 7 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Peacocks on a field edge sheltered by a tall hedgerow - it was warm enough (down in the Vale at least)."

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Jim Asher
Peacock
Photo © Jim Asher

Nicholl Williams saw the following on 22nd March: "I saw a few butterflies today outside the Crowne Plaza in Marlow, Bucks: "One Peacock, several Commas and Small Tortoiseshells."

Comma
Photo © Nicholl Williams
Peacock
Photo © Nicholl Williams
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Nicholl Williams

David Gantzel sent this sighting on 22nd March: "A male Brimstone in Hazlemere, Bucks on Friday March 20th."

Neil Holman reported the following on 22nd March: "During an early afternoon walk in bright sunshine around College Wood just outside Nash in North Bucks on Friday 20th March my wife and I spotted four Commas and then when we arrived home in Buckingham we were greeted by a Small Tortoiseshell in our front garden. Let's hope it's the start of a super butterfly season!"

~ 20th March 2015 ~

Wendy Wilson sent this news: "I went to Otmoor, Oxon RSPB reserve this morning (20th March) to view the solar eclipse as we were under a thick blanket of cloud at home. I'm glad I did as a man in the car-park had set up his scope and kindly let me view and photograph it in his camera screen. While walking on the Oddington side of the reserve afterwards, I found two Brown Hairstreak eggs and spotted my first Comma and Brimstone of the year."

Comma
Photo © Wendy Wilson

Nicholl Williams reports seeing two Small Tortoiseshells at Spade Oak, Bourne End, Bucks on 20th March.

David Fuller sent the following sightings: "In my garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 18th March two Red Admiral nectaring together. I've now seen 6 different Red Admirals this spring. Also a Comma in my garden this afternoon, 20th March."

~ 17th March 2015 ~

David Hastings saw three Peacocks and one Small Tortoiseshell in the Oxford University Parks, Oxon on 12th March.

Peacock
Photo © David Hastings

Dave Cleal reports that on Saturday 7th March he had 2 Red Admirals in Woolman's Wood, Wooburn Common, Bucks.

~ 13th March 2015 ~

Keith O'Hagen sent this report: "I had a Peacock butterfly enjoying the sun and Crocus in my Milton Keynes garden this afternoon, 12th March."

David Fuller sent these sightings: "2 Red Admiral along River Thames towpath in Berks SU906836, on 11th March and a Small Tortoiseshell resting on sailing boat sunning itself at Queen Mother Reservoir nr Datchet, Berks SU016775 on 12th March .

Mary Payne reported the following: "On March 10th I spotted 2 Small Tortoiseshells - either fighting or mating - and a Peacock in Buckland Village, Bucks."

Judith Barnard sent this sighting on 10th March: "I spotted a Comma today in Willen, Milton Keynes (SP877411) at 13.00."

David Hastings sent this news on 9th March: "I saw a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock in the Oxford University Parks, Oxon at lunchtime on 6th March, and at least four Brimstones at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon on 7th March."

John Amatt reported the following on 9th March: "My first butterfly of the year - a male Brimstone at Hodgemoor Woods, Bucks last Thursday lunchtime, 5th March. I was surprised and cheered to see it, when everything was looking so brown. Although spring has sprung since. I see the crocus, daffs and tree blossoms all started to come out this weekend."

Derek Wilkins was out again in Saturday's fine weather (7th March): "I saw the first Brimstone at 11.30am and in the next 2 hours lost count of how many more along the lane leading to the Swan Rescue Centre and nearby meadows (just north of the Thames near Windsor & Eton, Berks). On several occasions I could see 4 or 5 at once - the ivy covered trees & shrubs on the north side of the lane must be a good area for hibernating as I've seen good numbers early in previous years. About 12.30pm saw a Red Admiral in the same spot as Friday's sighting. Then just after 2pm saw two more "firsts" for 2015 - a Comma near the railway bridge that crosses the lane. Five minutes later I spotted a Peacock basking on the warm brickwork of the same bridge! There were still a few Brimstones about but none after 2.30 - all of today's were males as were Friday's. Altogether a very enjoyable day with the added bonus of warmth too!"

~ 7th March 2015 ~

The warmer weather brought our first two butterflies of the year to our garden in Chearsley, Bucks today (7th). Mick spotted a male Brimstone in flight and then a Red Admiral sunbathing on the soil of a flower border. Time to dig out the recording book, binoculars and walking boots! Read more news on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you see. Wendy

Jim Asher sent this news: "I received the following report from Geoff Ryder: 'I'm sure there will be lots more sightings today (7th March) but I had my first Brimstone of the year in my garden at Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire - would you believe the same day as last year!'
Jim added that he also saw his first Brimstone in his garden in Marcham, Oxon today (7th)."

John Warren sent this report: "On 7th March I saw the following: Blake's Lock Reading, Berks - 1 Small Tortoiseshell, Donegal Close Reading - 1 Brimstone, Henley Road and Almond Drive area, Reading - 2 Small Tortoiseshell courtship flight; Caversham Lakes AKA Henley Road, GP - 2 Peacocks."

David Gantzel saw a male Brimstone in Stoke Mandeville, Bucks today Saturday March 7th.

John Lindley sent these sightings on 7th March: "Three species on the wing in today's warm sunshine in South Stoke, Oxon: three Brimstomes (all male), one Small Tortoiseshell and one Red Admiral. Also a few early Mason Bees and a Queen German Wasp."

Derek Wilkins says that the last couple of days have been quite good: "On Thursday 5th March I saw my 3rd species of 2015 - at 11.45am the first Brimstone of the season appeared and as I got closer another joined it (both males) and they fluttered around together for a minute or so before flying off in different directions. Location - north of the Thames near Windsor, Berks, a sheltered spot just off the lane that leads from Eton to the Swan Rescue Centre a few yards west of the railway bridge. Then on Friday 6th March just before midday I saw the first of several Brimstones (at least 5 over the next half hour) all flying along the sunny side of the lane that leads from Eton to the Swan Rescue Centre (west of the railway bridge). About an hour later I saw a Red Admiral in the same spot as last Friday (the sheltered glade near the Swan Rescue Centre) - got really close and it was in even better condition than last week's. As I headed for home just after 2pm another Red Admiral flew swiftly past me and 15 minutes later near the Windsor Leisure Centre a Small Tortoiseshell flew by a couple of feet away. A very enjoyable butterfly walk!"

~ 3rd March 2015 ~

Mary Payne sent this sighting: "Today, March 3rd, I spotted a Brimstone on the main road through Western Turville, Bucks. Spring is coming!"

Abby Fettes reported the following: "This morning, 3rd March, I spotted a Brimstone whizzing past my window tempted out by the sunshine at West Oxfordshire District Council Offices in Witney (436141, 210801) and my colleague Phil Shaw then saw it fluttering around the car park. I don’t think it would have hung around for long though as it is only 5 degrees here this morning."

~ 28th February 2015 ~

This news came from Huw Morgan on 28th February: "On 17th January - I was astonished to see a Comma in my back garden in Kidlington, Oxon. Admittedly it is south facing and enclosed, but the thermometer was indicating 5 degrees. It spent a few minutes flying round, and then rested on the wall in the sunlight."

Derek Wilkins saw his second butterfly of the year yesterday (Friday 27th February), just before midday. "It was a Red Admiral and, apart from a couple of very small nicks to the left hind wing, it was in very good condition. Watched it for about 15 minutes basking in the strong sunshine and from time to time flying swiftly around - it even landed on me briefly! Location - a sheltered sunny glade on the north side of the Thames near Windsor, Berks close to the Swan Rescue Centre. The shelter from the mature trees and hedges makes it a good spot for early and late sightings! Popped back around 1pm and it was still there enjoying the fine day, as I was, even though it was only around 9 degrees."

Dave Wilton reported the following: "On the mild morning of 25th February a male Brimstone was tempted out of hibernation for a short while in my garden at Westcott, Bucks."

~ 25th February 2015 ~

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

~ 18th February 2015 ~

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

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

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

~ 14th February 2015 ~

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

Peacock
Photo © Annik Coatalen Heal

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

~ 9th February 2015 ~

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

~ 12th January 2015 ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ 8th January 2015 ~

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


~ Wednesday 31st December 2014 ~

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

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

~ Friday 19th December 2014 ~

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

~ Thursday 18th December 2014 ~

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

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


[Sightings for 2014 have been archived.]

  » Sightings Archive

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