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Butterfly Sightings 2014 - 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

Photo © Peter Law
Marbled White
Photo © David Hastings
Silver-studded Blue
Photo © Ian Stevenson

Latest News &
Updates - 9th April
Butterfly Atlas Recording in UTB : 2010-2014
22nd March - We're in the final year of the 2010-2014 recording period for the Butterfly Atlas. Every record helps us map where our butterflies are and may put a new dot on our distribution maps! Click here to see where we need your help ...

Read David Hasting's Grizzled Skipper Report for 2013 - click here ..

Find out all about our Holtspur Bottom Reserve -
see the new link in the Branch Menu (left).

UTB's Early Spring Events Programme is now on-line -
non-members are welcome to attend our events ...

14/4 - We now have 3 of our UTB Key Species on the wing: Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper & Grizzled Skipper. See the "Champions" section of the website for more information. Please report any sightings to this website or the respective Species Champion. Thanks, Wendy.

~ Wednesday 16th April 2014 ~

Mary Payne reported these sightings today: "On April 15th, I saw three Orange-tips, one in Roblin Close HP21 and two others along Old Stoke Road, Stoke Mandeville, HP22 in Bucks. On 16th April I saw 1 Orange-tip, 2 Brimstones, 4 Peacocks and 15 Small Tortoiseshells while walking a 15-minute circuit of a small field next to Oxford Road, Stone, Bucks HP17. 6 of the 15 Tortoiseshells were mating pairs (I am assuming that the multiple-sightings were all individual insects). I imagine this field is attractive because it is full of nettles. This year is looking promising!"

Richard Wheeler sent this news: "I visited Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks today (16/04/14) with my children, in search of Hairstreaks and Skippers. The weather was bright and sunny, c.15°c with a light but cool breeze. We saw: 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 27 Brimstone (incl. 4 F), 5 Orange-tip, 10 Peacock, 3 Speckled Wood and 2 Green Hairstreak."

Mick & Wendy Campbell paid their first visit of the year to the Devil's Punchbowl, near Wantage, Oxon today, 16th April: "Our main aim was to check for Green Hairstreaks as there's usually a good colony here. It's still early in their season but we did manage to find 4 flying in the shelter of the nettles, as there was a rather cool wind blowing. There were plenty of Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks flying around the huge nettle patches. Also seen were singletons of Brimstone and Green-veined White. Wood Tiger moth larvae were spread across the hillside along with a smaller number of Garden Tiger larvae and larvae of either the 5 or 6-Spot Burnet moth. Most surprising sighting of the day was of a bright green lizard which we assumed must be a Sand Lizard - we're positive it was not a Common Lizard. However, knowing that the usual habitat of the rare Sand Lizard is sandy heathland (the Devil's Punchbowl is chalk downland) we are now left wondering!"

Today, Wednesday 16th April, Helen Hyre visited Stewkley churchyard in Bucks and saw: 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Small White, 1 Green-Veined White and 2 Peacock.

Keith Clack spent his lunch hour at St Cross Churchyard, Oxford on 16th April and recorded: 3 Speckled Wood, 4 Orange-tip, 2 Brimstone, 1 Large White, 1 Peacock and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Also, in Savill Road on the way to the churchyard 1 Holly Blue.

David Gantzel saw a Peacock, a male Brimstone and a male Orange-tip in his garden in Hazlemere, Bucks on April 15th.

Nicholl Williams went to Burghfield Sailing Club, Berks today: "I saw many Peacocks and Orange-tips, Green-veined Whites, Large Whites, 6 Brimstones, 2 Speckled Woods. A couple of photos below, plus one of a Bee Fly."

Photo © Nicholl Williams
Green-veined White
Photo © Nicholl Williams
Bee Fly
Photo © Nicholl Williams

Peter Law sent the following: "15th April: This afternoon, on my third visit in six days to Linkey Down, Oxon I found two Green Hairstreak. One was between the first and second gates on the path downhill, and the other just inside the gate from the layby. A lot more of the hawthorn scrub further down the hill, where I always used to find them, has been removed again this year. Does anyone know why? I then crossed the M40 motorway to Aston Rowant NNR (N), where I met Tony Croft. Together we observed several more Green Hairstreak in the area where he previously reported them. Other butterflies seen today were Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Orange-tip and Small White."

Green Hairstreak
Photo © Peter Law

Mick Jones sent this news: "On Monday 14th April I walked the disused rail line from Salden Wood bridge (in Bucks) westwards to the aqueduct. I had no luck with early Grizzled or Dingy Skippers, but did see Brimstone (4), Green-veined White (2), Orange-tip (5), Small Tortoiseshell (6), Peacock (30+), Comma (2) and Speckled Wood (3). Photo of obliging male Orange-tip and female Green-veined White attached."

Orange-tip & Green-veined White
Photo © Mick Jones

Paul Busby visited Dancers End nature reserve in Bucks for the first time on Monday morning, 14th April and saw 6 Peacocks, 1 Brimstone and 3 Orange-tip butterflies, then onto College Lake, Bucks on a breezy afternoon and saw a further 6 Peacocks, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Brimstone and 3 Orange-tip butterflies. Enjoyed both reserves and would definitely visit again."

David Fuller sent these recent sightings:
"14/04/14: My garden in Maidenhead, Berks - Comma 1, Peacock 2 and Orange-tip female 1.
 15/04/14: My garden - Small White 1, Peacock 2, Orange-tip 2 males together and Holly Blue male. Also today along the tow path at Maidenhead I saw 2 Green-veined White, my first of the year, and Peacock 1. At Bourne End centre Peacock 1."

Dave Turnbull visited Pitstone, Bucks on 14th April: "There was a cool wind cutting across the quarry but in a sheltered corner there were two possibly three Grizzled Skippers."

Neil Holman reported the following on 14th April: "During a walk in the sunshine in College Wood, North Bucks late this morning (Friday 11th) I spotted 6 Orange-tips, 12 Brimstones, 2 Green-veined Whites and 12 Peacocks and during another walk in the sunshine along the disused railway at Salden, North Bucks I spotted 3 Speckled Woods, 3 Commas, 10 Orange-tips, 11 Brimstones and 15 Peacocks. A very successful day!"

~ Sunday 13th April 2014 ~

David Hastings had these sightings today, 13th April: "I had a walk along the old railway at Churn, Oxon, this morning and saw at least ten Small Tortoiseshells and two Peacocks. I also visited Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon where I saw two Orange-tips, seven Brimstones, six Small Tortoiseshells, eleven Peacocks and a Comma. Finally, there was a Speckled Wood in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon."

David Fuller reported the following: "My garden in Maidenhead, Berks today, 13th April: Orange-tip both male and female - first female this year for me, Peacock 3 together, Brimstone male and a Holly Blue male, my first of the year."

Brian Clews reported the following sightings in Berkshire on 13th April: "Male Brimstone own garden, Cookham Rise; male Brimstone Long Lane Cookham; male Brimstone Maidenhead Magnet Centre and a male Orange-tip Furze Platt."

Colin Williams says he spent most of today (Sunday 13th April) at Hartslock BBOWT NR, Oxon. "As well as the expected species I also found my first Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper (singles of each) of the year. They were basking in the mid-afternoon sun on the lower scrubby slopes."

Andy Hoskins visited the railway cutting at Salden Wood, Bucks today, 13th April, 11-11.45am: "In about 800 mts west from the railway bridge I saw 14 Peacocks, 2 Orange-tips and a Speckled Wood."

Photo © Andy Hoskins
Photo © Andy Hoskins

~ Saturday 12th April 2014 ~

Andy Bolton reported the following today: "Beside the river Kennet off Hambridge road, Thatcham, Berks grid ref. SU489672 on 11/04/2014 Small Tortoiseshell (3)."

John Holdbrook walked round Bernwood Meadow, Bucks on Friday afternoon [April 11th]: "I saw at least 5 male Orange-tips [others may have been re-sightings] and one female. There were also a lot of Peacocks and some Brimstones."

~ Thursday 10th April 2014 ~

David Hastings says he had a walk in the University Parks, Oxford at lunchtime today (10th April). "I saw three Brimstones, one Orange-tip, one Small White, nine Peacocks and six Small Tortoiseshells. Across the river in Marston Meadows I saw five Peacocks, seven Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma."

David Fuller reported the following today, 10th April: "My garden in Maidenhead, Berks yesterday, 9th April: Small White 1, Peacock 1, Orange-tip male first of the year for me. Wokingham (Berks) Town centre yesterday: Peacock 2. Today 10/04/14: my garden Maidenhead Peacock."

These sightings from Brian Clews came via David Fuller: "Holly Blue on 10th April, Bray Gravel Pit, Berks; Orange-tip on 8th April my garden in Cookham Rise, Berks and a 2nd one at Bray GP 10/4; Comma also 8th April in my garden in Cookham Rise."

Tony Croft sent the following report today: "We went for a walk this afternoon at Aston Rowant, Oxon on the hillside to the north of the M40. In the cool sunshine we saw Brimstones, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and flitting in and out of bramble scrub at the bottom of the hill three Green Hairstreaks.

Michael McNeill had these garden sightings on 10th April: "A warm (15C) mostly sunny day in my garden in Upper Basildon, Berks produced the usual candidates for the time of year, 3 Brimstone inc 1 female, 2 Peacocks and 1 Comma. Also, for the first time this year 5 Orange-tip inc 1 female and a Holly Blue. Surprisingly no Small Tortoiseshells have been seen since 7th March when 2 were spotted."

Peacock on Erysimum
Photo © Michael McNeill
Orange-tip on Pulmonaria
Photo © Michael McNeill

~ Wednesday 9th April 2014 ~

Dennis Dell sent the following today, 9th April: "Here are todays' sightings from Aylesbury Park Golf Course, Bucks [including rough grassland around the golf course]: 11.15 to 12.15, sunny, slight breeze, about 13 degrees. Peacock 15, Small Tortoiseshell 14, Small White 2, Brimstone 5 and Speckled Wood 1."

Neil Holman reported the following on 8th April: "Whilst walking along the currently disused railway track in the late afternoon sun at Salden, Bucks eight miles from Buckingham, I spotted and photographed my first Speckled Wood of the year. I also spotted two male Orange-tips and managed to photograph one of them. I also saw three Small Tortoiseshells, one Brimstone, one Comma and at least twenty Peacocks. A very enjoyable afternoon."

Speckled Wood
Photo © Neil Holman
Photo © Neil Holman
Photo © Neil Holman

~ Thursday 3rd April 2014 ~

Jasper Hubert sent the following sighting: "I recorded an Orange-tip butterfly on the afternoon of 1st April at Silwood Park, near Ascot, Berkshire."

Adam Bassett reported the following on 1st April "Along with everyone else it seems, I too saw a male Orange-tip today at Little Marlow GP in S. Bucks. It's also great to see Small Tortoiseshells around in good numbers. Seen at most of the sites I visited in the Marlow area today."

~ Tuesday 1st April 2014 ~

Tom Stevenson did his first transect survey of the season at Ewelme Watercress Beds LNR, Oxon: 14 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Peacock and 1 each of Brimstone (male) and Orange-tip (male).

David Fuller sent this update: "Today 01/04/14 in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks: Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, male Brimstone, Small White my first of the year."

John and Shirley Rust sent this report today: "Have just seen our first Orange-tip of the year, in our Benson, Oxon garden, temp around 18C."

Richard Soulsby reported the following today: "At last! My first non-overwintering butterfly of the year - an Orange-tip, plus numerous Brimstones, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells seen in the warm sunshine this afternoon in the Ewelme (Oxon) area."

Allen Beechey sent this news today, 1st April: "On 29th March a Large White paid a brief visit to my garden on Hilltop in Chesham, Bucks. Other butterflies seen that day included 1 Brimstone, 2 Peacock and 3 Small Tortoiseshell. This afternoon, 1/4/14 I saw my first Orange-tip (male) flitting along a roadside hedge near Askett, Bucks and a male Brimstone in Chinnor, Oxon. Spring is definitely here at last!!"

Paul Busby sent this report: "Made a stop on the way home from North Wales to London and saw 2 m Brimstones and 2 Peacocks down the green lane at Aston Rowant, Oxon plus a Small Tortoiseshell flying by at the top of Beacon Hill, Bucks on a blustery warm day, about 17 Deg C."

Mark Griffiths had his first Orange-tip in his Garsington, Oxford garden today, 31st March. Also, on 30th March he saw 10 Peacocks, 6 Brimstones and 2 Small Tortoiseshells at Otmoor, Oxon.

Wendy Wilson reported the following: "A Holly Blue took me by surprise as it appeared out of the ivy next door and flew in front of me as I mowed the lawn in my garden at Gerrard's Cross, Bucks this morning, 31st March. No other butterflies were around and now it's clouded over."

~ Sunday 30th March 2014 ~

David Hastings sent these sightings today: "On Saturday 29th March I saw Brimstones, a Comma and two Peacocks in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon and at least half a dozen each of Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks on my allotment in north Abingdon. On Sunday 30th March I saw the same species, with the addition of two Small Whites on the allotment. I also saw a Comma and four Peacocks at Radley Lakes, Oxon."

Small White
Photo © David Hastings

David Fuller reported the following: "Yesterday 29/03/14 in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks I saw Brimstone 3 male + 1 female, Comma 2, Peacock 4 and Small Tortoiseshell 1. Along the towpath in Maidenhead, Brimstone, 2 males. Then today 30/03/14 Woodcote, Oxon Brimstone, 2 males."

Richard Wheeler visited Ardley Quarry, Oxon today (30/03/14): "The weather was warm with hazy sun (c.17°C). Sightings: 9 Brimstone, 10 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Peacock, 1 Comma and 1 unidentified White."

~ Saturday 29th March 2014 ~

Tony Rayner reported the following today, 29th March: "Today in our Cholsey, Oxon garden a male Orange-tip, 2 Commas, 2 Brimstones, 8 Peacocks and 2 Small Tortoiseshells. The Orange-tip may well prove to be our earliest ever record for the species."

Mick & Wendy Campbell made a short visit to the Salden disused railway line, Bucks this afternoon, Saturday 29th March: "As we approached the bridge where we park the car we counted 9 Peacocks sunning themselves on the warm tarmac of the road, flying up out of the way as we approached! The track itself was sheltered from the cool wind and was a good temperature. Our Peacock count was increased to a total of 27 and we also saw 6 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Commas. We saw no Orange-tips but more surprisingly there were no Brimstones present although another couple of walkers we met had seen one."

~ Monday 17th March 2014 ~

Charles James sent his first report to the website: "Nothing very special to report but quite detailed images (see below): Sunday 16 March on the blackthorn at Otmoor RSPB reserve, Oxon."

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Charles James
Photo © Charles James

David Hastings had a walk in the Oxford University Parks at lunchtime today, 17th March, and saw two Commas, one Peacock and one Small Tortoiseshell.

Wendy Wilson saw another Small White in Chalfont Park, Bucks on 16th March.

Dave Ferguson reported the following: "A Small Tortoiseshell was nectaring on an early flowering rhododendron in the garden at Beaconsfield, Bucks this morning (16th March). In the afternoon I saw 3 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Peacocks at Springfield Farm, Bucks."

Small Tortoiseshell
on rhododendron
Photo © Dave Ferguson

Michael Pitt-Payne sent this news on 16th March: "I saw a couple of Small Tortoiseshells and a Brimstone flying in the churchyard of St John's Church, Stone in Bucks this afternoon. Also, I took another picture in the garden (also in Stone, Bucks) this morning which shows a Comma on the flower of a Daffodil which is rather striking."

Photo © Michael Pitt-Payne

This update came from David Fuller yesterday: "Today 16/03/14 in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks: 4 male Brimstone all in the garden together, Comma 1 and Peacock 1."

Nicholl Williams sent this report: "I saw 2 Small Tortoiseshells last Wednesday 12/03/14 at Spade Oak in Bourne End, Bucks, one was feeding on the pussy willow flowers."

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Nicholl Williams

~ Saturday 15th March 2014 ~

Darren Seaman says that a lovely afternoon walk through Howe Park Wood in Milton Keynes, Bucks on Saturday 15th March, produced his first Commas of the year, up to 8 were seen, also 5 Brimstone, 2 Peacock and several Small Tortoiseshell.

David Hastings sent these sightings: "Today (15th March) I saw at least three Small Tortoiseshells and a Green-veined White at my allotment in north-west Abingdon, Oxon. At Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon I saw at one Brimstone, two Commas, four Peacocks and at least six Small Tortoiseshells. At Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon I saw three Small Tortoiseshells."
Head Office has confirmed that David's Green-veined White is also the first nationally! Wendy

Photo © David Hastings

Wendy Wilson reported the following today: "Yesterday, 14th March, whilst butterflying in and around Asheridge in Bucks, a Small Tortoiseshell flew towards me and settled on a stone. Immediately it did so a robin shot out of the hedge and ate it. The bird then returned to its look-out post on a twig and waited for the next meal to come its way. Good numbers of Peacocks, Commas and Small Tortoiseshells are enjoying wild cherry tree blossom around South Bucks at the moment - the white ones not the pink ornamental ones. Today, 15th March, I spotted my first Small White in Langley Churchyard near Slough, Berks.

Michael Pitt-Payne sent this report today: "Last Sunday 9th March we had Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells, Commas and a Peacock in the garden (Stone, Bucks). The plants they are going for are the Daphne Mezereum bushes which are in full bloom and providing a wonderful nectar source - this morning (15th March) I counted 9 Small Tortoiseshells and 4 Commas all there together. The attached picture taken last Sunday afternoon brings the daffodils and butterfly together."

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Michael Pitt-Payne
Comma on
Daphne Mezereum
Photo © Michael Pitt-Payne
Small Tortoiseshell on
Daphne Mezereum
Photo © Michael Pitt-Payne

~ Friday 14th March 2014 ~

John Warren sent the following report: "At Jealotts' Hill Community Landshare, Berkshire (SU 881 737) on 13th March I saw 2 or possibly 3 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies."

David Fuller recorded a Peacock in Aston near Henley on Thames (but in Berks) on 13th March.

Judith Barnard spotted a Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell in Willen, Milton Keynes on 13th March.

David Gantzel sent this update: "I've had yet another butterfly in my garden in Hazlemere, Bucks - one Small Tortoiseshell on Wednesday March 12th!"

This sighting came via David Hastings: "Leo Bateman reports seeing a Painted Lady along the Lockinge to Ginge [Oxon] road on an unseasonably warm 20th February."
Although this is an early first sighting of Painted Lady in UTB this year, surprisingly it's not the first nationally as one was reported to Head Office from Ceredigion, mid-west Wales on 7th February! Wendy

~ Wednesday 12th March 2014 ~

David Fuller recorded the following in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks on Sunday 9th March: 4 male Brimstone plus 1 female all at the same time, 2 Comma, 3 Peacock and 1 Small Tortoiseshell.

~ Sunday 9th March 2014 ~

Mike Manners reported the following: "Today (Sunday 9th March) we had a male Brimstone visit our garden in Woodley, Reading (Berks) a number of times. It did not hang around long and appeared to be patrolling a large number of gardens in the area. We had a pair of Commas and a Peacock take up residence on the warm stone of our patio. They were there for most of the morning basking in the sun and chasing each other around the garden. They very much stayed in our garden and did not stray far for very long."

David Hastings sent these sightings for 9th March: "I saw eight Brimstones (6 males, 2 females), one Comma and one Peacock at Otmoor, Oxon. In and around my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon I saw two Brimstones (both males), three Commas, four Peacocks and three Small Tortoiseshells."

Richard Wheeler says he spent an hour at Ardley Quarry, Oxon today (09/03/14) with his family: "The weather was sunny and warm (c.16°C) and we saw 3 Brimstone, 2 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Comma. The verges on the drive there were teeming with Brimstones!"

Photo © Richard Wheeler

David Gantzel saw three Brimstones (2 males 1 female) and one Peacock at Hazlemere, Bucks on Sunday March 9th.

Jim Asher reported the following: "Today's sightings (9th March) were the first of the year for me - I have four sightings of Small Tortoiseshell, two Red Admiral, one Peacock, one Comma and four Brimstones - all in the garden (Marcham, Oxon). Also, five sightings of Brimstone between Marcham and Oxford. Quite a day - it's amazing what sun and warmth will bring out!"

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Jim Asher

Paul Lacey sent this news today: "What a weekend - and the difference some sunshine makes! Yesterday, 8th March, I saw a Small Tortoisehell flying and today, 9th March, there were 2 of them flying around each other. Also today the Peacock that has spent the Winter on the inside of my garden shed emerged into the light whilst I was out there. All through the Winter whenever I went in the shed it would open its wings to show the 'eyes', presumably to scare an intruder, so I was surprised it had the energy or even knew I was there. All sightings in my garden on the top of Woosehill in Wokingham, Berks."

Emma Ing sent the following today: "Cumnor, Oxon - my first Brimstone today, 9th March, seen flying over the garden, then two Small Tortoiseshells ... the butterfly year has started!"

Mick & Wendy Campbell went for a walk in Wendover Woods, Bucks, today (9th March): "During the drive from Chearsley to Wendover we counted 9 Brimstones (all male) and a further 12 Brimstones (all male again) during our walk. Other butterflies seen were: 2 Small Tortoiseshells - 1 flying and 1 seen basking on a sunny verge near some fresh young nettles and 3 Peacocks two of which were nectaring with many bees on the highly scented blossom of a tree."

~ Saturday 8th March 2014 ~

Brenda Mobbs saw three Commas in Penn Wood, Bucks on Saturday 8th March.

David Hastings reported the following: "I saw eight Brimstones, a Comma and a Small Tortoiseshell at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, around mid-day today (8th March). I also saw two Small Tortoiseshells in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon.

Photo © David Hastings

John Ward-Smith sent these butterfly sightings from East Berkshire: "Yesterday, 7th March, at a work party in Swinley Forest, Bracknell, a Brimstone and a Peacock. Today, 8th March, in my Bracknell garden, again a Brimstone and a Peacock."

Allen Craig had a sighting of a Small Tortoiseshell near Buscot Church, Oxon on the banks of the Thames this morning, 8th March.

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Allen Craig

~ Friday 7th March 2014 ~

Judith Barnard spotted two male Brimstones today, 7th March, in Kingston, Milton Keynes.

Dave Wilton visited Marston Meadows, Oxford today, 7th March: "I was inspecting water levels in advance of the planned Brown Hairstreak egg search at Marston Meadows on Sunday 16th March (which has unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the conditions) and while I was there I saw a Brimstone and a Comma active in the sunshine."

David Gantzel reports seeing male Brimstones at Hazlemere and Hughenden (Bucks) today, Friday March 7th.

Neil Manthorpe sent this report on 7th March: "The warm, dry weather must mean that Spring has arrived and with it the first butterflies on my home patch (the Daws Hill area of High Wycombe, Bucks) - two Brimstones, one male and one female, and one Peacock - while walking the dog at lunchtime."

Mick & Wendy Campbell saw two Brimstones (1 male & 1 female) in their garden in Chearsley, Bucks today.

~ Wednesday 5th March 2014 ~

David Hastings reports seeing a Brimstone and four Small Tortoiseshells in the University Parks, Oxford, Oxon at lunchtime on 5th March. "The Small Tortoiseshells were feeding on Mahonia flowers."

Derek Wilkins reported the following on 4th March: "First butterflies of the year seen on Wednesday 26th February - 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral (around midday) & 2 Peacocks (about 2pm) in mainly sunny but breezy conditions (9-10C.) on the north side of the Thames near Windsor, Berks (the floods having retreated from most of the footpaths & lanes at last!). All flying swiftly in the breezy conditions but the Red Admiral paused several times to bask on dry leaves and looked in perfect condition!"

Chris Lamsdell saw a Red Admiral on 2nd March at Iver Heath, Bucks.

~ Sunday 2nd March 2014 ~

Wendy Wilson visited Langley Park in Bucks yesterday morning, 1st March: "A Small Tortoiseshell flew round me at great speed before settling to bask on dead leaves, so I was able to get a picture (below). Something appears to be attached to its thorax but I can't figure out what. I also found 12 Purple Hairstreak eggs on oak trees in different parts of the park, including two groups of three eggs. This is quite unusual as they are usually laid singly. Several dog-walkers stopped to peer through my lens at them with great interest."
(I suspect the 'attachment' to the Small Tortoiseshell's thorax is a bit of the pupal case - does anyone else have another suggestion? Wendy Campbell.)

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Wendy Wilson
Purple Hairstreak eggs
Photo © Wendy Wilson

~ Wednesday 26th February 2014 ~

Dave Ferguson reports that a walk in fields at the edge of Beaconsfield, Bucks on Monday morning (24th February) produced a Comma.

Photo © Dave Ferguson

~ Sunday 23rd February 2014 ~

David Fuller sent this report today: "My first butterfly of the year was a Red Admiral on Friday, 21st February, in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks."

~ Saturday 22nd February 2014 ~

Nigel Partridge reported the following: "We had a Red Admiral in our garden today (22-02-14, Loosley Row, Bucks). It was resting on the snowdrops in the sun."

Mike Manners sent this report today: "First Brimstone and first Comma seen today in my garden in Woodley, Reading (Berks). The Brimstone was basking amongst the yellow leaves of a variegated ivy and very difficult to spot. The Comma was basking on a sunny fence. Unfortunately I was too late to picture the Brimstone but I did manage to get a shot of the Comma."

Photo © Mike Manners

Adam Bassett sent the following update today: "And now my third of the year with a Small Tortoiseshell disturbed from vegetation next to a tennis court in High Wycombe, Bucks this morning, 22nd February."

~ Friday 21st February 2014 ~

Adam Bassett says his first 2 butterflies of the year were both from his garden in Marlow Bottom, Bucks – a Peacock on the 15th February and a Brimstone on the 20th.

~ Monday 17th February 2014 ~

Mark Griffiths reported this sighting on 16th February: "We had a lovely male Brimstone flying around an ivy covered wall just opposite our house in Garsington, Oxford."

Wendy Wilson sent the following news: "On Sunday 16th February, Mark Duckworth and I spent the morning preparing the ground for the new information board at UTB's Holtspur Bottom Reserve. Afterwards we walked round the reserve and were delighted to see a Peacock - the second species seen there this year (see Brenda's Brimstone report below). Mark spotted it first as it flew in front of us from Lower Meadow and headed straight for one of the scallops in the wooded bit along the public footpath. These scallops were cut by UTB volunteers at a work-party organised by Nick Bowles last year. The shelter they provide is much appreciated by our butterflies as we see more in the scallops than along the rest of the hedge. Our last winter work-party is on Sunday March 2nd (see Events page). On my way home I found 2 Purple Hairstreak eggs on the magnificent oak tree in Iver Heath, Bucks churchyard."

Dave Wilton sent this sighting: "A Small Tortoiseshell was active in our Westcott, Bucks garden for a couple of hours today (Sunday 16th February), alternating between feeding on crocus flowers and sunning itself on the nearby fence, even though the temperature was only about 7C. It is good to see that something has managed to survive the recent stormy weather."

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Dave Wilton

Dave Ferguson sent this news: "A Red Admiral was flying in Cliveden gardens (Bucks) this morning (16th February) near the house. My first butterfly of the year."

Barry Stickland reported the following: "Just to let you know that we have had a female Brimstone in our garden at Finchampstead, Berks on 15th February, 1.20 pm. A bit windy but very sunny and seemed quite active."

~ Friday 14th February 2014 ~

Tony Rayner reported the following on 12th February: "At mid-day on February 10th a Small Tortoiseshell was found in our Cholsey (Oxon) garden feeding on crocus that opened in a rare spell of sunshine. Sadly this is the only lepidoptera seen this year, if one discounts a few Peacocks found in the house and outbuildings."

~ Monday 3rd February 2014 ~

At our Holtspur Reserve Work Party on Sunday, 2nd February, a male Brimstone was seen enjoying the sunshine. Click here to read the full report.

Sarah Lunt sent the following report: "I thought you might like to know that we found a Red Admiral in our garden today, Sunday 2nd February, sitting in the lower branches of a conifer. We live in Goring on Thames, South Oxfordshire. I was surprised to see it as it has been so cold and windy today and it wasn't sitting in the sun. I gave it some honey to drink in the hope that it might give it enough energy to find some shelter again."
Sarah followed up this report with a PS on Tuesday:"There has been a Red Admiral (possibly the same one?!) on a brick column outside our front door since Sunday. It's hanging upside-down and hasn't moved, so I'm presuming that it's happy where it is (it's a shaded, partly covered spot)."

Red Admiral
Photo © Sarah Lunt

~ Thursday 23rd January 2014 ~

Julian Korn sent this report on 23rd January: "I went for a walk (it was more like cross-country skiing so slippery was it) in the Hambleden Valley on Monday 13th January. It was a warm sunny day. At about 12.45 I disturbed a Small Tortoiseshell sunning itself on a path in Great Wood, Bucks."

~ Saturday 18th January 2014 ~

Karen Clausen, Loosley Row, Bucks reported the following on 16th January: "After opening my windows yesterday (15th January), when I returned later to close them I found a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly sitting on the windowsill. I didn't see it fly in so it may be possible it was already indoors and I hadn't spotted it. But I did see it fly out."

~ Wednesday 15th January 2014 ~

Martin Kincaid sent the following news on 15th January: “Whilst running a volunteer work party last Saturday (11th January) at Elfield Nature Park, Milton Keynes, I was pleasantly surprised to see my first butterfly of the year – a perfect male Brimstone. I was concerned that we may have disturbed its hibernation but as we were just removing dead gorse and thick bramble from a sunny bank, I think that is unlikely. It seemed very active – too fast for our camera phones! – and flew around for a good ten minutes or more before disappearing into woodland. There is plenty of ivy in the wood so hopefully it eventually settled down for a well earned rest.”

~ Saturday 11th January 2014 ~

Philip & Frances Skinner reported the following sighting today: "We had a Small Tortoiseshell, sunning itself on the Icknield Way in East Hendred, Oxon SU460878, at 14:00 on Saturday 11th January."

Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Philip Skinner

~ Thursday 9th January 2014 ~

The following report from Janice Robertson came via Jim Asher today: "I photographed my first butterfly of the year, a Peacock, on 2nd January near Ravenstone Mill, Bucks SP854487."

Photo © Janice Robertson

~ Thursday 2nd January 2014 ~

Chris Lamsdell reported the first butterfly of the year today, 2nd January: "Actually Denise was the observer, but a Peacock seen at Iver Heath, Bucks today."

[Sightings for 2013 have been archived.]

  » Sightings Archive

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