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Butterfly Sightings 2015 - BC Upper Thames Branch

First Sightings    Sightings Archive   

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


Click photo for larger image

Click photo for larger image

Click photo for larger image

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

Latest News &
Updates - 26th March
Upper Thames Branch is now on Twitter - we're @UpperThamesBC - see the new Twitter link in the main Branch Menu (left)!

Saturday 28th March : UTB's Conservation Review Day - A chance for members to learn about our Conservation work and have an input into the conversations that shape our future plans.

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...

Friday 10th April Family Easter Egg hunt, Otmoor - Come and help us hunt for eggs, not chocolate eggs, butterfly eggs!

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

~ 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
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."

Photo © Nicholl Williams
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."

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.

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."

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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