| Upper Thames Branch|
Butterfly Sightings Archive - January to December 2014
~ 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:
~ Wednesday 10th December 2014 ~
Ched George reports seeing a Comma which was flying weakly in sunshine at Adwell, Oxon on December 6th.
Dave Wilton sent this Brown Hairstreak
distribution update on 8th December: "Since the last Brown Hairstreak update
we've continued to whittle away at the remaining unvisited tetrads and the numbers still needing to be
"re-egged" are now down to single figures (see link to map above). In addition, four new kilometre
squares have been added over the last few weeks with egg finds as follows:
~ Saturday 6th December 2014 ~
This news came from David Hastings: "A Red Admiral was sunning itself in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon, at about mid-day today (6th December). The air temperature was only 4 or 5 Celcius."
Jan Haseler sent this report: "We saw a Small Tortoiseshell on the afternoon of 3rd December at The Holies, Streatley, West Berks.
Nigel Partridge says that the sun came out in Loosley Row, Bucks for a while on 30th November and two Red Admirals were basking in it on their house walls.
~ Saturday 29th November 2014 ~
John Lindley sent this report: "Two Red Admirals in today's bright sunshine, 29th November. One flying along a hedge in Little Stoke, Oxon the second in my garden in South Stoke. Also in my garden, a couple of very late German Wasps buzzing around ivy flowers. I've got two Small Tortoiseshells and two Peacocks hibernating in one of my sheds."
Derek Wilkins sent the following: "Just a couple of sightings last week - both Red Admirals on a sheltered patch of ornamental variegated ivy near the Windsor Leisure Centre, Berks for a few minutes around 1pm on both 18th & 20th November in mild and sunny conditions. Hopefully not the last this year!"
~ Sunday 23rd November 2014 ~
John Lerpiniere reported the following today:
Judith Barnard sent this sighting: "A Peacock was on the wing at the Open University campus, Milton Keynes, at about 1pm on 19th November."
~ Tuesday 18th November 2014 ~
David Hastings sent this report: "There was a Red Admiral in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon this morning, 18th November. The air temperature at the time was only 8 deg C."
Pete Thompson reported the following: "I recently saw 3 Red Admirals sunning themselves on Ivy in a sun trap in the garden (Wyfold, South Oxon) and wondered where they go when it's frosty?"
Ben Hobbs sent this sighting: "On 10th November I found a couple of Large White caterpillars on the Nasturtiums in our garden in Cholsey, Oxfordshire. One of them is still munching away today, 15th November."
~ Sunday 9th November 2014 ~
Tony Rayner sent this update: "The butterfly season extends ever later. Today, 9th November, in our Cholsey, Oxon garden I saw one each of Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock. With the exception of the Red Admiral, these are the latest records I have ever had for the other 3 species."
John Lindley sent this news: "A Red Admiral and a Comma, both on Ivy flowers at Goring and Streatley Golf course (Berks/Oxon border) this morning, 9th November, in bright sunshine and about 11 dec C. Also a yellow butterfly in the distance flying strongly in a southerly direction into the light breeze. It was too far away to be sure, but it looked like a very late Clouded Yellow."
Jim Asher reports on the recent Aston Upthorpe work party: "Aston Upthorpe, Oxon - scrub clearance work party on Sunday 2nd November. The six of us who turned out did a surprising amount of work and, even more surprisingly, the weather behaved (not according to the forecast)! The area where they are sitting was covered in young blackthorns one hour earlier!"
Dave Wilton sent this Brown Hairstreak update on
"Brown Hairstreak egg-searching has continued to keep several of us occupied over the past few weeks
and, as you can see from the updated map (link above), the number of tetrads still requiring a visit has
been significantly reduced! Just eleven out of our 118 known tetrads still require a visit. Wendy Wilson
has once again found eggs to the south of Thame, proving that last year's unexpected find there wasn't just
a one-off. Steve Woolliams has discovered a number of eggs around Oxford on Prunus species other than
blackthorn, so where the normal food-plant is in short supply (likeliest in urban areas) it is always worth
checking closely-related species such as damson and cherry-plum. So far this winter we have added six new
kilometre squares to the distribution map although only one of them has resulted in a new tetrad:
Don't forget that our first group Brown Hairstreak egg-hunt is scheduled for Sunday 16th November at Slade Camp to the east of Oxford (see Events page for further details). I look forward to seeing some of you there."
Tony Rayner sent this sighting: "I was out walking on the morning of November 4th and saw a Painted Lady near Goring, Oxon. It was close to Upper Gatehampton Farm at SU618801 - no other butterflies seen in the 5 mile walk."
Nigel Partridge sent this report: "03-11-14, Loosley Row, Bucks: I found a full-grown Large White larva climbing up the side of our house last night, presumably looking for somewhere to pupate."
Chris Carter sent the following: "On the extraordinarily warm Friday 31 October, I could count six Small Tortoiseshells and four Red Admirals in our garden at Alvescot, Oxon; nothing else recorded. The photos show some of them feeding on Ageratina (Eupatorium) ligustrina, a very good butterfly shrub but sadly quite tender in Oxfordshire."
~ Monday 3rd November 2014 ~
Derek Wilkins sent these recent sightings:
"A quick summary of butterflies seen during last week's warm spell - all in my usual patch near
Windsor, Berks - the neglected field and adjacent paths, lanes and wooded
areas on the north bank of the Thames west of the railway bridge.
David Hastings sent this report: "Just a couple of late butterflies. There was a Red Admiral in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon on the morning of 1st November and later I found a Comma along the old roman road on Otmoor, Oxon."
Helen Hyre sent this news: "On 31st October at the Wendover Arm, Drayton Beauchamp, Bucks, Nigel and I saw a Speckled Wood and a Red Admiral. In Bierton, Bucks on 1st November we had a Small Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral in the garden."
David Fuller saw the following in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks: "On 31st October I had a male Brimstone, a Red Admiral (mint) and a late Holly Blue."
Chris Carter sent the following: "On Monday 20th October I was surprised to see a quite fresh male Common Blue in our orchard/meadow at Alvescot, Oxon. It was behaving more like a Holly Blue, flying around and settling on shrubs at about 2.5m, but I had a close view of it. Then on Wednesday 22nd October I had the briefest - but unmistakable - glimpse of a Clouded Yellow in the garden, our only sighting this year."
~ Wednesday 29th October 2014 ~
Louis Powell sent the following report: "We were delighted to see a Clouded Yellow as we were walking in warm sunshine along the Thames Path at Dorchester, Oxon on Tuesday 27th October!"
Tony Rayner says that on 28th October they had another Clouded Yellow in their Cholsey (Oxon) meadow. "It was a wonderful specimen that stayed for the best part of an hour. This is our third October record this year for the species. Also a flowering Viburnum bodnantense attracted at least 5 Red Admirals, 4 Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock."
Ian Johnston sent this news: "Seems like
the good weather has brought back the butterflies. On an afternoon spent at the
Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve in Milton Keynes on Monday 27th October,
I sighted 5 x Clouded Yellow, 2 x Red Admiral, 1 x Small Tortoiseshell, 1 x Brimstone!
One of the Clouded Yellow (see photo) was distinctive in that, in flight it appeared white instead of the usual
orange-yellow. I don't know whether this is an aberration, or whether it had just lost a lot of scales."
Tom Stevenson writes: "And still they come! This morning (28th October) round Ewelme Watercress Beds, Oxon a Red Admiral, a White (prob. Small) and 2 Clouded Yellows."
Steve Lockey sent the following: "Along the bridleway to Charlton-on-Otmoor, Oxon a Clouded Yellow flying low over the reeds then 1 hour later on the path to Noke a male Brimstone flew up ahead of me. This does seem rather late in the year but the sun was out and it was very mild for the time of year. Retrospective: 23rd October - Clouded Yellow resting on arable land on a windy, exposed hill-side at Garsington, Oxon."
Tony Croft reported these sightings: "On a walk round Rushbeds Wood, Bucks this afternoon (27th October) we were pleased to see a Peacock flying along one of the rides and then a Clouded Yellow in Lapland Farm meadow. This is only my second sighting of Clouded Yellow this year, the previous one being in August also at Lapland Farm."
David Fuller sent this report: "In my garden Maidenhead, Berks 22 degrees on 27th October: male Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral. May this good weather continue!"
David Hastings saw some butterflies in the Oxford University Parks, Oxon at lunchtime on 27th October: two Brimstones, four Red Admirals and one Small Tortoiseshell.
Will Atkinson sent the following: "I suppose Clouded Yellows have to be tough and long-lived to undertake long-distance migrations, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that there are a few around late in the year. I encountered this one today (27th October) on the Harwell Laboratories, Oxon site."
~ Saturday 25th October 2014 ~
Pete Thompson sent this report: "I was most surprised to see 5 Red Admirals in my garden in Wyfold, Berks on Tuesday 22nd October, congregating around a plum tree with rotting and over-ripe fruit. More than I’d seen in one place all summer."
Wendy Wilson sent this news: "On Wednesday 22nd October a flock of 30 sheep arrived at our butterfly reserve at Holtspur Bottom, Beaconsfield Bucks. Whilst there, I was delighted to see that a Small Tortoiseshell had survived the previous day's 'hurricane' in perfect condition and was basking on the nettles in the sunshine."
David Fuller sent the following: "On 20/10/14 at Dorney Common, Bucks SU943787 - Red Admiral. Then on 21/10/14 along the towpath by the River Thames, Maidenhead, Berks SU908833 - 2 Red Admirals together."
~ Tuesday 21st October 2014 ~
John Lindley reported the following: "In a garden in Goring, Oxon today, October 20th, at least 10 very fresh looking Red Admirals, plus two Commas and one Small White, all feeding on the flowers of a large clump of Ivy. There had just been a heavy rain shower, then the sun came out, and the butterflies were out and feeding even though everything was dripping wet!"
Tony Rayner sent this news: "I have seen just one butterfly today (20th October) in our Cholsey, Oxon meadow - I was not expecting to see another Clouded Yellow this year!"
Ian Johnston reported the following: "After spending the afternoon of Sunday 19th October at the Blue Lagoon nature reserve in Milton Keynes searching for butterflies, a solitary Clouded Yellow was my only sighting."
David Fuller had a Red Admiral in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 18th October.
~ Saturday 18th October 2014 ~
Martin Kincaid sent this sighting: "I saw a slightly battered Painted Lady today, 17th October, flying in warm sunshine at Manor Farm, Old Wolverton in Milton Keynes. Only the fourth Painted Lady I have seen this year."
Dennis Dell had the following in his garden in Aylesbury, Bucks on 16th October: Red Admiral, Small White, Comma. "The Comma was on the dwarf 'buzz' buddleia, which is still in flower!"
Chris and Pat Dennis sent this report: "Thought you would like to see this picture taken in a clover meadow on 16th October at SP8380-0942, it is the site of the derelict St Mary's Church Stoke Mandeville, Bucks. Unfortunately it is where the HS2 trains will be going through. Still it was a lovely surprise to see a Clouded Yellow this late in the year."
~ Wednesday 15th October 2014 ~
Ian Johnston sent this report: "On Saturday afternoon, 11th October 2014, at the MK Parks Trust site at Westcroft, Milton Keynes, I sighted: 2 x Brown Argus, 2 x Common Blue, 1 x Small Copper."
~ Saturday 11th October 2014 ~
Tony Rayner reported the following: "I've just seen a fresh Clouded Yellow in our meadow in Cholsey, Oxon today (11th October). Can't believe seeing one at this time of year! We also have fresh Small Coppers, Common Blues and Red Admirals at the moment."
Mick Jones sent this sighting: "I had a Small Copper of the form caeruleopunctata (Tutt) visiting my flower beds this morning, 11th October, in Mursley, North Bucks. I'm wondering if this form is being seen more frequently in our region than the books suggest."
~ Friday 10th October 2014 ~
Peter Law sent the following: "At Otmoor RSPB reserve, Oxon on the morning of 5th October I came across the white form of Clouded Yellow along the visitor trail between the two viewing screens. I have seen the variant in Cyprus where 5-10% of Clouded Yellows are of this form and in Portugal but never before in Great Britain. After other observers had moved on I put the perched butterfly up to remove all doubt as to the ID. Also seen was a late Small Copper."
Helen Hyre reports: "On 5th October we were at the Wendover Arm at Drayton Beauchamp (Bucks). Nigel saw a Common Blue - this is a month later than any we have seen in this location. I saw a pristine Red Admiral."
~ Saturday 4th October 2014 ~
Derek Wilkins sent this update: "I revisited the same field in Windsor, Berks again today (Thursday 2nd October) as I did on the 30th September (see report below) and about 2pm another Clouded Yellow (perhaps the same one?) flew swiftly past me! A nice "bonus" at the end of the season! Sadly today's visitor didn't linger! Also saw a few Small & Large Whites, a couple of Red Admirals & a Small Copper, also several Dragonflies one of which used me as a perch for several minutes!"
Dave Ferguson sent this report: "A walk today (2nd October) in the heathland area of Black Park, Bucks looking for Stonechats (unsuccessful) produced 3 Small Coppers and a Speckled Wood. A very fresh Red Admiral was in our garden in Beaconsfield, Bucks."
Tim Watts reported the following: "I saw a Clouded Yellow today on 2nd October at the base of Quainton Hill, Bucks - only the second one I've seen this year."
~ Wednesday 1st October 2014 ~
There are still quite a few butterflies around thanks to the warm weather we've been having.
Mick & I have recently done three short walks on different sections of The Ridgeway near Wantage, Oxon
looking in particular on the plentiful flowering ivy for nectaring butterflies - Wendy:
Helen Hyre reports: "On Sunday 28th September we were at Beacon Hill, Ellesborough, Bucks. I saw 6 Small Heath, a faded Brown Argus and 2 fresh Common Blue males. On Tuesday 30th September Nigel saw a Clouded Yellow at Windsor Road, Pitstone, Bucks. It was nectaring on dandelions near the housing estate but the area was mown today. On Wednesday 1st October I went to the former Pitstone quarry where I saw a fresh Small Copper and Common Blue male, a Peacock and a faded Meadow Brown."
Steve Lockey sent this report: "These sightings were on a Garsington, Oxon footpath walk and one from the garden on 30/9/14: 7 Red Admirals, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma, 1 Small Copper, Large & Small Whites and a Holly Blue (in the garden)."
Ian Johnston reported the following: "On an afternoon trip to the Blue Lagoon in Milton Keynes on Tuesday, 30th September, the following were sighted: 1 x very fresh male Common Blue, 1 x Clouded Yellow, 3 x Comma, 3 x Speckled Wood, 2 x Small Copper, 1 x Red Admiral, 1 x Peacock."
Derek Wilkins sent this sighting: "Windsor, Berks early afternoon Tuesday 30.9.14 I had a brief glimpse of a Clouded Yellow in the small neglected (thank goodness!) field on the north bank of the Thames just west of the railway bridge, flying very swiftly and not very close. Hung around and about 20 minutes later at 1.55pm it reappeared, managed to get close enough this time to see it was a male and very fresh. It didn't stay long but visited some Ragwort flowers (not much else around now) in between flying swiftly back and forth and then was gone. Only a handful of others about today - a few Small, Green-veined & Large Whites, a Speckled Wood and a female Brimstone, also still quite a few Dragonflies enjoying the late September warmth and sunshine!"
Dave Wilton sent this report: "Two species I'd given up on seeing here in the garden at Westcott, Bucks this year have both appeared over the last few days, thanks to ivy blossom. Small Copper made its appearance on 22nd September, while a Painted Lady has been present for a while each day since the 28th and I finally managed to get a picture of it today, 30th."
David Hastings sent the following: "I haven't seen anything worth reporting lately, but on the morning of 28th September I saw two Clouded Yellows at my allotment in Abingdon, Oxon. There were quite a few Large and Small Whites as well."
~ Sunday 28th September 2014 ~
28/09 - Dave Wilton sent the following Brown Hairstreak update: "The Brown Hairstreak flight season is not yet officially over because in the past we have had occasional reports into the first week of October. However, this has not been a vintage year for adult sightings locally. The most recent that we're aware of (on 18th September) may well prove to be the last but please don't let that stop you looking! Searching for eggs is well underway. We've covered quite a bit of territory already and, to date at least, have noticed no great difficulty in finding them. As usual, this suggests that the butterfly fared much better than our sightings of the adults would suggest. The current tetrad map is now available here (and see permanent link above), correct to 26th September, and will be updated as the winter progresses. Of course, one tetrad (SU 5692) is not depicted thereon because it is way too far south to include! We would as always welcome any help with searching blackthorn for eggs, especially in new areas around the periphery of the map. Our first organised egg-hunt will be at Slade Camp, Shotover, Oxford on Sunday 16th November and we hope to see some of you there. Details were given in the last newsletter and they also appear under the Events tab here on the website."
~ Thursday 25th September 2014 ~
Wendy Wilson sent this news: "On a walk around the Rycote estate near Thame, Oxon on 25th September I spotted 1 Red Admiral, 2 Green-veined Whites, 1 Small White and 3 Small Coppers (2 fresh and one tatty). They were all in a flowery field margin sheltered from the north wind by a disused railway embankment. I was really looking for Brown Hairstreak eggs but did not manage to find any, though first indications suggest they are having a good year elsewhere in our area."
Beccy Scrivens sent the following report on 22nd September: "I took part in the Big Butterfly Count this year (click here to see the results for 2014) and identified a few species including Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock. But on the 13th September I identified a Comma, which I have not seen many of in my garden (Eynsham, Oxfordshire) so I had to take a photo. I really enjoy taking photos of butterflies, but this one has to be my favourite one yet!"
Dennis Dell reported the following: "From our garden in Aylesbury, Bucks on 22nd September. Concerning nectaring, on this warm and sunny afternoon there was a distinct preference amongst the species: Large White and Red Admiral: buddleia; Small Copper: aster; Comma: ivy. Small White and Small Tortoiseshell were also seen, but no nectaring preferences were observed."
Helen Hyre walked footpaths west of Wing, Bucks in warm sunshine on Monday 22nd September and saw dragonflies and a rabbit, then eventually back near Wing a Comma, a Green-veined White and a Small Copper. In the churchyard a Large White was seen off by a Red Admiral and a Common Blue nectared on flowers.
David Fuller sent these recent sightings:
Nick Bowles reports seeing both Clouded Yellow and Brown Hairstreak in a private wood north of Aylesbury, Bucks on 18th September. Also Brimstone, Small and Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood and Small Heath.
~ Thursday 18th September 2014 ~
Judith Barnard sent this report: "Two Red Admirals, two Commas, one Small Tortoiseshell and one Painted Lady seen feeding on flowers on the Open University campus at Milton Keynes on 17th September."
~ Monday 15th September 2014 ~
Paul Busby sent this news: "Drove back from North Wales through damp and misty Warwickshire and Oxfordshire early afternoon on 15th September, arriving in Aston Rowant, Oxon in beautiful sunshine for 1.5 hour walk and was pleased to see the following: 13 Brown Argus plus one pair, mostly faded, 7 Meadow Brown, 2 Silver-spotted Skipper, 1 male Adonis Blue on the sunken path, 3 Speckled Wood, 2 f and 1m Common Blue, 1 Small Copper, 3 Small Heath, 1 Peacock, 2 Small White. Butterflies very active in the sunshine and the numbers above only reflect those that stopped still long enough to identify!"
David Fuller sent these sightings: "13th September, my garden in Maidenhead, Berks: for the last three days a male Common Blue butterfly - I've only seen two before in 28 years so a rare occurrence here! Also today (13th): Large White, Comma, Small White 3 and a Red Admiral (in mint condition)."
Dave Miller stopped briefly at Aston Rowant (N), Oxon late in the afternoon on Friday 12th September. "Along the bottom of the hillside in mostly cloudy but warm conditions, I found at least a dozen Brown Argus, a handful of Common Blues, a few Small Heaths and one female Adonis Blue. I suspect I'd have seen more if the sun had shone properly (which I think it did not long after I left!)."
Colin Williams sent the following: "I carried out my transects at Grangelands and The Rifle Range (Bucks) on 10th September and was delighted to finally see my first Clouded Yellow of the year on the last section of The Rifle Range transect – well overdue!"
Mark Searle sent this report: "7th September: my first visit to Aston Rowant Nature Reserve, Oxon on the edge of the Chilterns (with fine views over the M40!). After a cool cloudy start, the afternoon turned warm and sunny. Parked at Cowleaze Wood and dropped down to the base of Bald Hill, protected from the cool breeze in a warm herb rich spot. First sighting, a Silver-spotted Skipper looking a little weathered. Minutes later, Common Blues started emerging from the damp grass in the morning sun followed by Brown Argus and Small Heath. Wandered around to the base of the Hill near the Old Cricket Ground Plantation and in a sheltered spot discovered several Chalkhill Blues, faded females in particular. Continued along the Ridgeway, under the motorway, and on to Beacon Hill. Plenty of wild flowers still around in the Cuckoo Pen revealing Brimstone and Small, Large and Green-veined Whites. Sheltered North facing slope yielded a near pristine Small Copper, half a dozen Small Heath and an abundance of Meadow Browns, and the ubiquitous Speckled Woods on the woodland margins. Overall the numbers for the day were impressive: Silver Spotted-skipper (1), Common Blue (30+), Brown Argus (10+), Chalkhill Blue (6: 2M + 4F), Meadow Brown (40+), Brimstone (5), Whites (7), Comma (3), Small Copper (1), Small Heath (20+), Red Admiral (3), Speckled Wood (50+), Small Tortoiseshell (1); 15 varieties in total."
~ Tuesday 9th September 2014 ~
Michael McNeill visited Greenham Common, West Berkshire on 9th September and recorded 1 Clouded Yellow in flight about half a mile due north of the fireplane.
John Lindley sent this report: "Whilst walking the dog along The Ridgeway, West Berks, just to the west of Goring and Streatley Golf Club, on 7th September I saw 20+ Speckled Woods, including one where the spots on the wings were a distinct bright orange colour instead of the normal white or pale yellow. Also 10+ Red Admirals, 1 Comma, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, a handful of Small Whites and 2 male Brimstones. Then back in the garden at South Stoke, Oxon 5 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock, 1 male Brimstone (all on Buddleia) and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth (on Valerian). The latter has been a regular visitor over the last few days."
Richard Wheeler reported the following: "I visited Gavray Drive Meadows, Oxon again at lunchtime on 07/09/14. The weather was fine and sunny (c.20°C) and I saw: 2 Brown Hairstreak, 5 Small Copper, 3 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral and 1 Small Heath. The Brown Hairstreaks were both females – one tatty, the other less so. They both spent some time quite low down, the one in the photo on overripe blackberries on a bush close to the blackthorn."
David Gantzel sent this update: "Sunday September 7th, Hazlemere, Bucks: Red Admiral still on our garden buddleia with half a dozen Large White and a Speckled Wood was the first time I have seen one in my garden - quite a surprise!"
Colin Williams reported the following: "On the afternoon of Saturday 6th September I led a BBOWT guided walk at Yoesden Bank, Bucks. In perfect weather the group recorded 3 male and 1 female Adonis Blue (all in pristine condition), 2 Brown Argus, 3 Common Blue and 4 Meadow Brown on the chalk grassland bank. In the 'hole in the woods' the display of Devils-bit Scabious was spectacular and was a magnet for several Red Admiral, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell. A fly-over Peregrine and two Spotted Flycatchers at Radnage Church were other highlights."
David Gower sent this news: "Sightings around The Ridgeway on the Herts/Bucks border between Aldbury Nowers and the road (leads onto Incombe Hole) on 6th September: 17 x Brown Argus, 7 x Small Heath, 6 x Common Blue, 7 x Meadow Brown, 1 x Speckled Wood."
David Gantzel saw the following on Saturday 6th September: "On our garden buddleia in Hazlemere, Bucks we had a Red Admiral and three Large Whites, but on an adjacent box hedge a pair of Large Whites in mating position. I have never seen Large Whites coupling as late as this."
~ Friday 5th September 2014 ~
John Holdbrook sent this news: "I went to Lardon Chase, West Berkshire yesterday (September 3rd) and saw good numbers of Meadow Browns and Small Heaths and a few Common Blues. I eventually saw a female Adonis Blue and 4 males. The three that settled were all fairly battered looking. There was also a Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell."
Marc Botham sent this exciting news:
"Yesterday, 3rd September, I was walking my Little Wittenham
(Oxon) hill farm transect when I stumbled across a female Brown Hairstreak in the field margin.
She was testing all the blackthorn suckers and the new growth at the edges of the hedgerow and seemed to be
ovipositing, though in those areas I checked afterwards I could not locate any eggs. She stayed around and
posed for me for quite a while and it was actually me that had to leave to get my transect finished. The
best view I've ever had of this species and a good distance away from nearest known sites!"
Richard Wheeler sent this report: "I spent an enjoyable hour with my children at Ardley Quarry, Oxon this afternoon (03/09/14). The weather was warm (c.20°C) and intermittently sunny. We saw: 4 Brimstone (3F, 1M), 7 Speckled Wood, 1 Comma, 2 Green-veined White, 8 Red Admiral, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 11 Common Blue, 8 Small Heath and 5 Brown Argus. In addition, my eldest son Sam discovered a beautiful female Great Crested Newt. We also made a brief stop at Gavray Drive Meadows, Oxon in search of Brown Hairstreak, but without luck!"
Dennis Dell visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on 3rd September: "During a sunny spell, from 11.30 until 12.30, four Brown Hairstreaks were spotted, probably all female, from those I managed to get in my binoculars. They were on two separate well known clumps of trees, consisting of Ashes and Oaks close together, which are usually reliable for betulae sightings. One word of warning to the uninitiated: Speckled Woods also like to take to the Ash trees, and the males can be only a bit bigger than betulae; when both are flying, the only way you can be fairly sure that you are seeing betulae is from the characteristic erratic, darting, flight behaviour, different from that of the slightly more sedate Speckled Wood. One specimen was seen to glide and, fortunately, it landed and I could see that it was a Speckled Wood. One female Brown Hairstreak landed in front of me on blackthorn and proceeded to oviposit."
John Holdbrook sent the following report: "On Tuesday September 2nd I went to the Beacon Hill side of Aston Rowant, Oxon. I saw 20 to 30 Meadow Browns and Brown Argus up to 10 Common Blues and Brimstones, 5 Silver-spotted Skippers and a Small Heath, a Small White and a Peacock. I then went to Watlington Hill, mainly to see the Chiltern Gentians, by which time it had clouded over. I saw 3 Small Heaths, a Small Blue and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth."
~ Tuesday 2nd September 2014 ~
John Whitworth sent the following report: "Sunday 31 August 11.45 am - Astonished to find a female Brown Hairstreak in my garden in Headington, Oxon, the first I have ever seen anywhere! It rested for half a minute or so on my ivy/pyracantha hedge. I rushed in for my camera, but it had gone when I returned. I have subsequently discovered that the temperature conditions (very warm and sunny for at least half an hour beforehand), time of day and of year are spot on. I've been watching the Barkham DVD, where he suggests that the females can travel quite large distances ... could it have been travelling from one colony to another? One of the most exciting wildlife finds of my life!"
David Hastings sent these recent sightings on
31st August: "At Otmoor, Oxon on 28th August I saw one
Brimstone, two Small Whites, five Green-veined Whites, one Brown Argus,
at least twelve Common Blues, two Red Admirals, one Painted Lady, two Peacocks,
five Small Tortoiseshells and thirteen Speckled Woods.
~ Tuesday 26th August 2014 ~
Rupert Pyrah reports seeing a Clouded Yellow on Greenham Common, Berks on Sunday morning, 24th August.
David Hastings sent these recent sightings:
"23rd August at Aston Rowant NNR (north), Oxon: three Silver-spotted Skippers,
one Brimstone, one Small White, one Green-veined White, two Small Coppers,
22+ Brown Argus, 18+ Common Blues, eight Chalkhill Blues, six Adonis Blues,
one Red Admiral, three Small Tortoiseshells, 25+ Meadow Browns and one Small Heath.
Dave Maunder sent this report: "A few recent butterfly sightings include:- at Aston Rowant Reserve, Oxon on Saturday 23rd August I saw Adonis Blue (5, all male); Chalkhill Blue (5); Common Blue (10); Brown Argus (7); Silver-spotted Skipper (1); Meadow Brown (20); Speckled Wood (2) and Green-veined White (1). Not bad as there wasn't much sun and very breezy most of the time we were there! Yesterday (24th August) we went to the 'seven sisters' hill near Eythrope, Bucks and were pleased to record at least 3 Clouded Yellows flying fast in the area. Other species seen were:- Common Blue (9); Brown Argus (5); Small Copper (2); Essex Skipper (3) - late sepcimens; Large White (1); Green-veined White (5); Small White (3) and Small Tortoiseshell (2)."
Martin Edwards reported the following: "On Saturday 23rd August I saw a single female Brown Hairstreak on blackthorn in one of the hedgerows splitting the large meadow of Rushbeds Wood, Bucks (I can supply a grid ref if needed). It spent a few minutes feeding, sunbathing and possibly ovipositing. I couldn’t see any eggs but it was crawling around higher than head-height so not easy to see."
Adam Bassett sent this news on 22nd August: "I spent half an hour at lunchtime today watching the butterflies in my garden (Marlow Bottom, Bucks) – the sun had created some activity. Best of all was the 24th species for the garden list with a smart looking Brown Argus which descended from the sky and landed in the middle of the lawn. A Silver-washed Fritillary was the first I’d seen for a week or two, otherwise just Large and Small Whites, Speckled Woods and a single Red Admiral."
Mark Griffiths went to Aston Rowant, Oxon on 20th August: "A bit windy, cool and cloudy but we did mange to find one Adonis Blue male, several Chalkhill Blues, a few Common Blues and Brown Argus, Meadow Browns, a couple of Speckled Woods, 3-4 Small Tortoiseshells, a couple of Peacocks and one worn Skipper. I didn't manage to get to see the underside so can't be certain if it was a Silver-spotted or a late Large Skipper."
~ Thursday 21st August 2014 ~
There have been three sightings of Swallowtail reported in the UTB area recently:
We suspect they are releases, especially the Scarce Swallowtail which is thought to be a very
rare immigrant to this country, so the species hasn't been added to the "First Sightings" table, but the
timing of several sightings over a week leaves room to assume migration is a possibility.
Chris Lamsdell recorded a Clouded Yellow at Wraysbury Gravel Pits, Berks on 21st August.
Michael McNeill says that his quick visit
to 3 sites on 19th & 20th August produced good numbers of Common Blue,
Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown plus:
Gareth Hughes sent the following on 19th August: "I was part of the “couple from Manchester” who happened to “luck” into the Brown Hairstreak butterfly walk at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on Friday 15th August (see report below). Wendy Wilson asked if I could send a picture or two to accompany her report. Our total count (we stayed after everyone else had departed and the sun got stronger and stronger) was at least seven individual female Brown Hairstreaks – one even at rest low in the grass!"
Nicholl Williams sent these reports:
"20th August, Yoesden Bank, Bucks: I went for my annual fix today and saw
5 male Adonis Blues in good condition. Earlier I went to my spot near Widmere Lane,
Bucks and saw a Painted Lady.
Warren Claydon reported the following: "Had my first Clouded Yellow today, 18th August, at Drovers Hill Farm, Lodge Hill, Bucks also 25+ Chalkhill Blues plus usual butterflies but still no Silver-spotted Skipper."
John Ward-Smith sent this news: "Today, 18th August, at Swinley Brick Pits, East Berkshire, a minimum of six Grayling were counted. The attached pictures show one which was attracted to an unusual resting position. Other species seen were Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown."
David Hastings visted Aston Upthorpe Downs (Juniper Valley), Oxon on 16th August: "I saw 17 species: one Essex Skipper, one Clouded Yellow, two Brimstones, two Large Whites, one Small White, four Green-veined Whites, one Small Copper, at least ten Brown Argus, at least thirty Common Blues, at least twelve Chalkhill Blues, one rather worn male Adonis Blue, one Peacock, eight Small Tortoiseshells, five Speckled Woods, two Gatekeepers, at least sixty Meadow Browns, and three Small Heaths."
~ Monday 18th August 2014 ~
Maureen Cross reports on the Adonis Blue Field Meeting held on 16th August: "Lardon Chase, West Berks, with its shelter from a northwest wind and some longish spells of sunshine was a pleasant place to be for the 8 members who came to the second Adonis Field Meeting of the year. The butterflies seem to think so too and 13 species were seen. Most memorable were of course the Adonis Blues, the numerous Small Tortoiseshells, the Common Blues and one very worn 2nd brood Small Blue. Butterflies seen: Adonis Blue 14, Common Blue 19, Chalkhill Blue 5, Brown Argus 11, Small Blue 1, Large White 3, Small White 4, Brimstone 1, Meadow Browns 50+, Small Heath 2, Speckled Wood 2, Small Tortoiseshell 24, Red Admiral 1. Moths seen: Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Shaded Broadbar and 3 others unidentified!
Adam Bassett sent this news: "Just to join in with people reporting Clouded Yellows, I had one this afternoon, 16th August, at Pump Lane, Marlow, Bucks near the vineyards."
Nicholl Williams sent the following: "I went to the field across from Widmere Lane, Bucks on 16th August. There are plenty of Common Blues and Brown Argus there. I also saw a single Small Heath, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and a couple of Meadows Browns. For the last couple of years this site has been rather poor, but with prolonged good weather things have markedly improved."
Wendy Wilson reports on Friday's Brown Hairstreak field meeting: "The morning of Friday 15th August was cool and overcast - unpromising conditions for spotting butterflies - but 18 optimists assembled at Whitecross Green BBOWT Reserve, Oxon. 9 of the 18 were UTB members and 10 were non-members from as far afield as Derbyshire and Manchester, who had come specially to see their very first Brown Hairstreak. I was not hopeful and it was a while before we saw any butterflies apart from some Common Blues roosting on seed-heads. Then, after much scanning of tree-tops with binoculars, we all saw at least one Purple Hairstreak and one Brown Hairstreak. Later almost everyone had a very good sighting of a female Brown Hairstreak basking for a while on an oak tree, though it was still cloudy. A few of us stayed to eat our packed lunches in the car-park. The sun came out at last and a lovely fresh female came down really close to us to bask on the blackthorn there. The couple from Manchester were delighted and got good photos. I also found a Brown Hairstreak egg, but it had some algae on it so we decided it was a last year's unhatched one. In all we saw 11 butterfly species. Many thanks to Tony Croft for his invaluable help as co-leader."
Peter Law sent this report: "14th Aug: This morning I visited Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon to look for second brood Adonis Blue. In partly overcast, breezy conditions I found 4 males on the lower slopes of Beacon Hill above the M40 motorway. Other butterflies noted were good numbers of Common Blue and Brown Argus, some faded Chalkhill Blue and Meadow Brown and a few Small Heath. I returned via my usual Silver-spotted Skipper location on the hillside, counting 9 of those along the line that I walked. Several each of Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood were seen closer to the car park."
~ Wednesday 13th August 2014 ~
UPDATE! Following Helen Claydon's sighting of a Camberwell Beauty on 26th July (see 1st August sightings below) Helen's neighbour, John Will, sent this remarkable photo of presumably the same Camberwell Beauty which had visited his garden the previous day!
Malcolm and Valerie Brownsword reported the following: "On our penultimate 2014 transect for BBOWT at Homefield Wood, Bucks this afternoon (13th August) my wife and I saw 16 butterfly species. In addition to single specimens of Small Skipper and Large Skipper, Clouded Yellow (in the meadow area), Brimstone, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White and Peacock we saw 3 Large Whites, 6 Small Whites, 3 Brown Argus, 12 Common Blues, 3 Speckled Woods, 5 Gatekeepers, 13 Meadow Browns and 12 Silver-washed Fritillaries, including a Valezina form. We also found a Roesel’s Bush Cricket in the meadow area, where I had previously found Speckled and Dark Bush Crickets."
Michael McNeill paid a quick visit to Juniper Valley, Aston Upthorpe, Oxfordshire on 13th August: "The visit produced two Clouded Yellows and a Painted Lady amongst other summer butterflies, in particular large numbers of Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue and Meadow Brown.
Paul Busby reported the following: "Despite a blustery day with occasional showers on Monday 11th August, I managed to see the following at the Holtspur Bottom Reserve, Bucks late morning: Red Admiral (1), very faded Small Skipper (1), Small Copper (2), faded Gatekeepers (2), Brown Argus (5), Comma - one fresh and one very faded on Ragwort, female Brimstone (1), Small White (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Chalkhill Blue (3), at least 24 Meadow Brown including a pair and at least 5 female and 30 male Common Blue. Then early afternoon at Holtspur Bank Local Nature Reserve I saw the following: Red Admiral, 2 Speckled woods, 2 Small White, Comma, 2 Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Brown Argus and at least 3 Common Blue before the rain set in."
David Gower sent this report: "On Friday 8th August I did a circular walk from Cropredy Village, Oxfordshire along the Oxford canal and back by road. I spotted 5 x Large White, 7 x Gatekeeper, 1 x Speckled Wood, 1 x Brown Argus, 1 x Small Copper, 2 x Small Tortoiseshell, 1 x Common Blue, 1 x Peacock. On Saturday 9th August: 3 x Speckled Wood, 1 x Clouded Yellow, 1 x Small Copper, 1 x Large White, 5 x Green-veined White, 4 x Common Blue (1 female), 2 x Small Tortoiseshell, 5 x Large White, 2 x Gatekeeper, 1 x Meadow Brown seen in and around a field along the main road between the marina and Brasenose Arms, Oxon."
~ Sunday 10th August 2014 ~
Colin Williams sent these sightings: "On a bright and breezy afternoon (9th August) I explored the western end of Greenham Common, Berks. The flowering Ling and Bell Heather looked stunning. Great for ripe blackberries as well! A four hour visit produced a minimum of 9 Grayling, 2 Small Heath, 1 Small Copper, many Common Blues and Meadow Browns. The site is fantastic for a variety of grasshoppers and bush-crickets and I had great fun trying to identify a number of species."
Peter Law sent this news: "Just a note to say that at Otmoor RSPB, Oxon this morning (9th August) at least 4 Clouded Yellow were seen at the viewing screens and along the visitor trail in between."
Tim Hearn visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks on Friday 8th August: "Common Blue and Meadow Brown were abundant. Also seen were Chalkhill Blue 30+, Adonis Blue 3, Small Tortoiseshell 4, Small Heath 2, Small Skipper 3 and one seriously tatty Marbled White."
Richard Wheeler reported the following: "I made trips to Gavray Drive Meadows (07/08/14) and Otmoor (08/08/14), Oxon, mainly in search of Brown Hairstreak. No luck at Gavray, where I saw: 5+ Gatekeeper; 3 Brown Argus (see pic); 3 Common Blue; 2 Small Copper and 1 Speckled Wood. Better luck at Otmoor, where we (my eldest son and I) had a good, if brief, sighting of 1 nectaring Brown Hairstreak. Other butterflies seen: 1 Brimstone, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Green-veined White, 2 Comma, 3 Meadow Brown, 8 Gatekeeper and 1 Common Blue. The butterflies were easily outnumbered by dragonflies."
Malcolm Brownsword sent this news: "On 7th August my wife and I visited Watlington Hill, Oxon. We took a clockwise route starting from the path to the left of the main entrance. In the large glades as we descended we saw large numbers of Brown Argus (100+) and Common Blue (200+). Two of the latter species had red parasitic mites attached to their bodies (see photo). There were also 40+ Chalkhill Blues, 4 Brimstones, 10+ Gatekeepers, 20+ Meadow Browns as well as about 6 well-worn Small/Essex Skippers and a single Small Copper. As we walked beyond the wooded area towards the summit we continued to see smaller numbers of the blues and after about 200 metres there were six Silver-spotted Skippers flying energetically over an area of about 10 square metres. When we got to the main area where I have seen this species in the past, we saw only one, but by this time it was 4.45pm and perhaps slightly cooler due to a slight wind. We then saw 2 pristine Painted Ladies. We had hoped to see a Clouded Yellow, but saw none."
Charles Sharp reported the following:
"I visited Aston Rowant (south side), Oxon on 30th July
where Common Blues outnumbered Chalkhill Blues.
Dave Cleal sent this report: "This slightly faded Small Copper was in Hitcham Park on the North side of Burnham Village, Bucks this morning (7th August). It just wouldn't open it's wings any more!"
Chris Miller sent the following report: "Fine specimen of Clouded Yellow very active on Tuesday morning (5th August) seen on the allotments at the bottom of Coombe Lane, Hughenden Valley, Bucks. Also a Silver-washed Fritillary on Naphill Common, Bucks (30th July). It was still a bit chilly at 10:30, which meant it stayed still for me to grab a picture with my phone."
~ Friday 8th August 2014 ~
Wendy Wilson sent this report: "This afternoon, 7th August, I took an enthusiastic party of 26 South Bucks U3A Science Group members round our Holtspur Bottom Reserve, Bucks. We spotted 13 species in all: Large White, Small White, Brimstone, Common Blue, Small Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, and Small Skipper. The high spot of our day was a very obliging mating pair of Chalkhill Blues which posed for long enough for everyone to have a good look and take photos. It is good to see they are breeding there for the fourth year running since their return in 2011."
Tim Watts reported the following: "Today 7/8/14 myself and Warren Claydon visited Lapland farm, Bucks. We saw 1 Clouded Yellow in the main meadow and after a long search, one female Brown Hairstreak, located with binoculars perched on the outer edge of a small Ash tree next to the railway line. It flew around when the rush of air from a passing train disturbed it but returned to the same spot. At the Lower meadows we saw 5-6 worn Silver-washed Fritillaries. Two days earlier we tried BBOWT Leaches farm reserve for Brown Hairstreak but no luck. They are there as a BBOWT worker took a nice photo of one nectaring on bramble."
Ian Johnston sent this report: "Sighting of a single Clouded Yellow today (6th August) at the Blue Lagoon nature reserve in Milton Keynes. The butterfly was resting on a grassy ride during a cloudy spell, before briefly nectaring on thistle and then flying off high and to the south. This is the 3rd sighting I have had of a Clouded Yellow at the Blue Lagoon, recently. The first on 23rd July, the second on 31st July, the third today 6th August."
Tom Stevenson says he was somewhat surprised to see a Clouded Yellow at Ewelme Watercress Beds LNR, Oxon on the morning of 6th August.
Malcolm Brownsword sent this update: "Earlier today, 6th August, I did a repeat of my previously reported trip to Oven Bottom and Juniper Valley, Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon on 28 July, this time with members of Abingdon Naturalists’ Society. The highlight of this trip was undoubtedly eight sightings of Clouded Yellows, 7 at Oven Bottom and one at Juniper valley. At one stage we could see 4 at the same time. Also seen were tens of Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Brown Argus, Chalkhill Blue and Common Blue and about 15 Small Skippers. In general, more species were seen at Oven Bottom than Juniper Valley. We also saw smaller numbers of Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Red Admiral and Peacock with single sightings of Small Copper and Small Heath. Parasitic red mites were noticed on several of the Meadow Browns."
Tim Watts saw 2 Painted Lady flying fast and low over the summit of Quainton Hill, Bucks on 6th August: "They were both flying North and I think it's likely they're incoming migrants. Yesterday we had our first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year in our Whitchurch, Bucks garden."
Nicholl Williams sent this report: "I have been around recently and seen all the usual butterflies. However, I went to Radnage Church, Bucks before going to Yoesden Bank and saw a pristine Painted Lady."
Dave Cleal sent this news on 5th August: "I've just seen 2 Clouded Yellows along the footpath from Lily Lee Farm to Berghers Hill, Bucks SU 925884 on Woburn Common. The field has quite a wide Clover margin. Having noticed one it was joined by the other and they briefly flew in tight circles around each other, before heading off in different directions. Neither settled so no photo opportunities."
Judith Barnard reports seeing two Holly Blues on the Open University campus, Oxford on 4th August.
Dave Ferguson saw 5 Clouded Yellows flying around two large clover fields on the East side of Beaconsfield, Bucks on the afternoon of 4th August.
David Fuller reported these sightings: "A very cool, cloudy day with little sun at Homefield Wood, Bucks on 4th August (SU814866) produced Gatekeeper 12, Peacock 2, Meadow Brown 1, Small White 1, Green-veined White 1 and Silver-washed Fritillary 4 males."
Anne Booth sent the following: "We visited Watlington Hill, Oxon on 30th July after a gap of about 30 years! We hoped to see Silver-spotted Skipper for the first time and were thrilled to see them just a few yards walk from the wood onto the hillside. I managed to take this pair further in near the top of the Hill."
David Hastings sent this report:
"Belated sightings at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (south side) on
26th July: one Large Skipper, at least twenty Small Skippers,
at least twenty-five Silver-spotted Skippers, one Green-veined White, three Large Whites,
four Brimstones, six Common Blues, at least thirty Chalkhill Blues, six
Brown Argus, two Peacocks, at least fifty Meadow Browns, at least twenty-five
Gatekeepers, eleven Marbled Whites, and nine Small Heaths.
~ Wednesday 6th August 2014 ~
Rupert Perkins sent this report:
"Following sightings from my annual trip over from Wales on 4th August:-
Michael McNeill sent these sightings for
3rd August: "I visited two areas, primarily for selected species, but both provided
very good numbers of Summer butterflies, in particular Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue
and Meadow Brown plus occasional Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper
Tony Croft reported the following: "I visited Rushbeds Wood and Lapland Farm meadows in Bucks this afternoon and saw my first Clouded Yellow for several years. In the wood there were a few Silver-Washed Fritillaries including a Valezina female. Finally I went to a nearby railway bridge which spans a deep cutting and where there is an ash tree whose top is at eye level from the bridge. I saw this male Brown Hairstreak seemingly waiting patiently for a female to arrive."
John Lindley sent this news: "On the afternoon of August 2nd, between the showers, I watched some interesting behaviour from a Comma on a Buddleia in my garden in South Stoke, Oxon. It ignored the Small Whites and Green-veined Whites that were sharing the bush, but it repeatedly chased away Peacocks, Red Admirals and Meadow Browns, before returning to the bush. It kept this up for about 30 minutes, by which time it must have seen off about 15 other butterflies, before a heavy shower drove it away."
Dave Maunder sent the following on 2nd August: "I thought you may be interested in an unusual pairing of Meadow Brown with Small Tortoiseshell that my wife Jo found on the 26th June, in the Bucks section of Wilsone reservoir! Never seen anything like this before, and sorry it's taken a while to send this."
~ Friday 1st August 2014 ~
This exciting report from Helen Claydon came via Jim Asher:
"On 26th July at approximately 10.30am I saw in the back garden a
Camberwell Beauty. I live in the small hamlet of
Green Hailey, Bucks in the Chilterns just above Princes Risborough and about half a mile from Whiteleaf cross.
Unfortunately it didn't stay around for long, just sniffed the petunias and flew off over the house. I had
to rush indoors and look up my butterfly book! I feel quite chuffed to have seen such a rare and beautiful butterfly."
Chris Lamsdell saw 2 Clouded Yellows at Wraysbury Gravel Pits, Berks today, 1st August.
John Lindley sent this news: "First thing this morning, 1st August, whilst working in a "wild" garden in Streatley, Berks I saw 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries visiting the Buddleias from the adjacent woodland, also 1 fresh looking male Large Skipper, 2 Essex Skippers, 1 female Brimstone, several Small Whites, 1 Green-veined White, 2 Peacocks, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Ringlet and several Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. Then, whilst walking the dog on the footpaths around South Stoke, Oxon 30+ Small/Essex Skippers (Essex outnumbering Small by about 2 to 1 based on the ones I identified), 2 Large Whites, 10+ Small Whites, 2 female Common Blues, 2 Peacock, 10+ very fresh Small Tortoiseshell (all in 1 small area by the river Thames), 20+ Meadow Browns and similar numbers of Gatekeepers. Later this afternoon I visited Otmoor, Oxon and explored along the Roman Road. It was pouring with rain when I got there and remained very overcast afterwards, so butterfly numbers were low, but I did see a handful of Green-veined Whites, 1 Comma, 1 very worn Brown Argus, 1 male Common Blue and 1 very sedentary and photogenic Brown Hairstreak - it was nectaring on an umbellifer and stayed there for at least 15 minutes."
Tim Hearn visited Aston Rowant NNR (Oxon) south side on 31st July between 6am and 10am on a warm, sunny morning with a slight breeze. "The main difference in the 7 days since I last visited was that Common Blue were more in evidence (30+) as were Silver-spotted Skipper (50+). Also sighted were Chalkhill Blue 40+ with more females amongst them than last week, Marbled White 2, Meadow Brown 50+, Gatekeeper 13, Small Skipper 20+, Essex Skipper 2 confirmed and singletons of Small Heath and Dark Green Fritillary."
Jan Haseler reported the following:
"I saw 2 fresh male Adonis Blues this afternoon (Thursday 31st July)
while walking the Lardon Chase, West Berks transect. That was my
earliest-ever 2nd generation sighting. I would be interested to hear how this compares with previous years."
Martin Robinson spotted a Clouded Yellow on 30th July at Homefield Wood, Bucks. "It was very active and in great condition."
Tony Croft sent this report: "While working at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (now open to the public again) on 30th July we came across a female Purple Emperor inspecting a bramble leaf. It was very approachable and I managed to attract it onto my rather sweaty hand. It stayed there for about ten minutes before flitting to an adjacent bramble bush. The next day at Whitecross I saw this female Brown Hairstreak feeding on bramble flowers (see photo)."
John Ward-Smith sent the following: "Today, 30th July, in Swinley Forest (at approx grid ref SU 886 657), near Bracknell in Berks, I came across a Purple Emperor walking across the sandy ground, still damp from recent downpours, presumably extracting nutrients. Its proboscis is clear in the attached photo, which also shows its wings were heavily damaged. I also saw a Grayling near Mill Pond, on the path back towards the Look Out Discovery Centre. I am not sure I have seen Grayling in Swinley Forest before, though most years I come across them locally in Crowthorne Woods, Wildmoor and Swinley Brick Pits. Other sightings today: Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Peacock, Common Blue, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood."
Colin Williams sent this update:
Karen Saxl sent this update from the old Didcot-Upton (Oxon) railway embankment on 30th July: "I saw my first Clouded Yellow today – probably should have seen it on Sunday when someone told me there was something yellow flitting around on the ramps but I dismissed it as probably a moth – will know better next time. Same place as I was seeing Clouded Yellow last year so obviously suits them. Marbled Whites almost gone – as are Ringlets – Small Skippers have done very well but now it seems to be the turn of the Common Blues, though for numbers it’s probably the Gatekeepers at the moment. Second brood Common Blues seem to be doing much better than the first, with good numbers all the way along from Didcot – but biggest concentration is the stretch just south of Upton. I went out for a run very early this morning – so was out at about 0600 – still saw Common Blue, Marbled White and Meadow Brown perched in the grass. There are a few Red Admiral along the stretch – one tends to dive-bomb me just as I head out onto the route at the bottom of my road – have seen 2 Small Copper, few Brown Argus as well as Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshells and Whites of all variety – not many Brimstones at the moment. Looking forward to the second brood of Small Blues – think I might have seen one today but it was too quick for me to make a positive ID."
Nick Board took a trip for the first time to Grangelands, Bucks on 29th July: "I saw several Chalkhill Blues and Common Blues, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver-spotted Skippers and Small Skippers."
Neil Holman reported the following: "My wife and I tried to go to Whitecross Green Wood on Monday 28th July but it was closed for maintenance so we went across to Bernwood Meadows, Bucks. The weather was hot and sunny and we saw a number of Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, 1 Common Blue, 1 Purple Hairstreak and our first ever Brown Hairstreak. In total we saw 3 Brown Hairstreak and the one in the attached photographs posed in a couple of positions for some twenty minutes. What an absolute privilege! It was found in the hedgerow about halfway down the meadow on the left hand side as you walk towards the woods beyond."
Tim Wilcox was down from Manchester visiting
relatives for a few days and saw the following:
~ Thursday 31st July 2014 ~
Jim Asher, our Chairman and Records Officer, sent this request:
"The weekend of 26th/27th July was interesting for migrant species - I saw Painted Lady in several places, including
two in my garden in Marcham, Oxon, but more exciting was to have two sightings
of Clouded Yellow: one on Saturday (26th July) on the vegetated east
side of Milton roundabout (with the A34) flying between flowers - which I saw while waiting for the
lights to change. The other one was in a field off a side road to Eaton Hastings, between Faringdon and
Buscot on Sunday afternoon. It flew briskly past me, heading northwards. Keep an eye out, there may be
Warren Claydon sent this news: "I did an hour round the top of Lodge Hill, Bucks on 29th July and had the following: 15+ Chalkhill Blues, 25+ Common Blues, 6 Brown Argus, 2 Small Copper, 30+ Meadow Brown, 10+ Small Heath and a few Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper and Red Admiral."
Michael McNeill sent this report: "Following the successful visit to Moor Copse in West Berkshire on 26th July, I again visited there on 29th July, this time with camera, to see the Silver-washed Fritillary. I counted 6 including a Valezina amongst a number of other woodland butterflies. My back garden in Upper Basildon, West Berkshire continues to support a White Admiral and has now been visited by 1 Silver-washed Fritillary and 1 Painted Lady. Finally, a visit to Juniper Valley at Aston Tirrold, Oxfordshire, where I was pleased to see a Clouded Yellow flying fast up and down the valley for over 20 minutes. It settled once, close by, to confirm identification, but not long enough for a photograph. Other butterflies included good numbers of Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Small Skippers, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Green-veined White, Large White, (all in double figures), 3 Comma, 4 Gatekeeper, 1 Brown Argus and 1 Marbled White."
Mick & Wendy Campbell have been visiting a number of woods
recently looking for late Purple Emperors: "At Bernwood, Bucks on 26th July we were delighted
to find Clouded Yellow (2), Painted Lady (1) and 3 female Purple Emperors, two of them looking tired and
faded but the third looked very fresh. She was flying in and out of a big sallow and then landed several times
in a small neighbouring oak tree to drink from a sap run. Other species seen were: Silver-washed Fritillary,
Brimstone, Peacock, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Green-veined White,
Large Skipper, Purple Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Brown Argus, Marbled White,
Large White and Comma.
John & Shirley Rust sent this sighting: "We saw our first Clouded Yellow of the year on 29th July, on the footpath SU 610806 which runs at the rear of Goring Cemetery, south Oxon on the B4526 road, also numerous Common Blues etc on Sunday 27th July afternoon (actually not our 1st as we saw one in Guernsey during May.)"
Malcolm Brownsword visited Oven Bottom and Juniper Valley, Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon on 28th July: "I saw a total of 18 butterfly species, the most notable being a Clouded Yellow and my first Painted Lady of the year. We also saw a Small Tortoiseshell, a Green-veined White, a Brimstone, 2 Red Admirals, a Small Copper, 5 Peacocks, 3 Commas, a Small Heath, 10+ Common Blue, 50+ Small Skippers, 10 Brown Argus, a Large White, 50+ Marbled Whites, 9 Ringlets, 20 Meadow Browns and 50+ Gatekeepers. On walking past the cattle trough at the foot of Juniper valley we saw a Small Skipper, a Meadow Brown, a Marbled White and a Gatekeeper floating, as if dead, on the thick scum on the surface of the water. The female Meadow Brown had a red parasitic mite on its body. Removal of the four revealed that two were still alive."
Chris Bottrell sent this report: "28th July: I had the day off today so headed for Greenham Common, Berks. 4 hours spent exploring the corners of the now BBOWT managed site. Highlight butterfly-wise, 6 Grayling blending in with the gravel around the centre of the site and 3 male Clouded Yellow, again favouring the sparse vegetation."
Tony Croft sent the following: "I went to Otmoor, Oxon on the afternoon of 28th July to look for Brown Hairstreaks. I walked along the Roman road continuation of Otmoor Lane where there was so much activity last year and saw one high in an ash tree in the company of a couple of Purple Hairstreaks."
Alison Lowe reported the following: "A friend and I were walking the Wychwood Way on the morning of Friday 25 July from East End to Coombe, West Oxfordshire, through Able Wood and across the Evenlode at Grintley Bridge. In Able Wood at SP403148 there was a small clearing with bramble, where we saw a single Silver-washed Fritillary circling and settling. Half an hour later while crossing the Evenlode at Grintley Bridge SP408151 we saw what I am pretty certain was a female Purple Emperor flying around the tops of tall trees, possibly sallow and settling from time to time. Its large size and the distribution of markings seemed to me to rule out White Admiral. I am not from the area, being used to the butterflies of north Northamptonshire, but I hope these sightings may be of interest."
~ Sunday 27th July 2014 ~
Warren Claydon had a warm morning at Lodge Hill, Bucks today, 27th July. "Still 2 Dark Green Fritillaries at Drovers Hill Farm flower meadow and also 1 Small Copper, 4 Brimstones, Small, Essex and Large Skippers, Large and Small White, 3 Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath."
Barry Stickland reported the following: "This afternoon (27th July) sitting in our garden in South Finchampstead, Berks we saw our first Painted Lady and Purple Hairstreak of the year."
Rob Thomas sent this news: "On 27 July at 11.30am in the sunshine I was walking up the eastern slipway to the disused railway line at East Hagbourne, Oxon and amongst the usual abundance of butterflies was excited to spot my first Clouded Yellow for many many years on one of the buddleia bushes there. I watched it for a few minutes before it took flight having seen another Clouded Yellow and they both flew off together at speed. Both specimens were in excellent condition."
Abby Fettes sent this report: "At about 10am on a sunny Saturday morning (26th July) I went walking at Blenheim Palace, Oxon and within minutes of setting off from Combe Gate I saw 8+ Silver-washed Fritillaries, 20+ Common Blues, 20+ Gatekeepers, a few tatty Ringlets and Meadow Browns, a handful of Peacocks, Essex Skippers, Large Skippers, Large, Small and Marbled Whites and a lone Speckled Wood and Brimstone."
Jan Haseler sent this summary of the walk held at Moor Copse, Berks on 26th July: "Mint flowers were a magnet for butterflies on the field trip at BBOWT’s Moor Copse reserve near Pangbourne on Saturday 26th July. The group were able to get good views of about 10 Silver-washed Fritillaries, including both males and females and a single dusky valezina specimen. Other species in the woods included Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood and Green-veined White, while Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Small and Essex Skipper, Common Blue and Red Admiral were seen in the meadows."
Peter Law sent this report: "26th July: This morning at Otmoor RSPB, Oxon myself and two birding friends saw 3 Clouded Yellow on "Ashgrave" in front of the hide. We then went to the "Roman Road" area of the reserve where we found 2 Brown Hairstreak and 1 Purple Hairstreak high in one of the Ash trees. I then came across another Brown Hairstreak (pictured) nectaring on thistles by the bridle path here. This was possibly injured and was completely unbothered by the small group of admirers that it attracted. For the record, a Purple Emperor and a Silver-washed Fritillary were both seen in this location by another Oxon birder on 14 July. In the afternoon I visited Lodge Hill, near Bledlow Ridge, Bucks where I saw 2 more Clouded Yellow below the south-eastern slopes. Lots of fresh Common Blue and Gatekeeper were flying here, with some Brown Argus, Small Copper, Small Heath and Brimstone. The more faded species at this site comprised many Small Skipper and Meadow Brown, a few Marbled White and singles of Ringlet and Large Skipper. Various Whites and Vanessids were seen at both these sites today."
Nick Bowles sent the following news for 25th & 26th July: "I had 17 species at both Pitstone and Coombe Hill, Bucks with a mere 14 at Baccombe. As consolation was Painted Lady at Baccombe and I didn’t visit the forest of buddleia in the ex-quarry at the foot of Baccombe – so I expect species I didn’t see such as Large White, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Silver-washed Fritillary would all be there too. In my opinion all three were worth a visit and especially Pitstone for the larger number of butterflies on the wing there."
Chris Lamsdell saw a Clouded Yellow at Wraysbury Gravel Pits (Berks/Bucks border) on 26th July.
Tim & Colleen Watts walked the slopes above the church at Ellesborough, Bucks on 25th July: "We were delighted to see many Chalkhill Blues, with pairs seen mating. We also saw at least 3 Silver-spotted Skipper and 2 Brown Argus."
David Fuller and Brian Clews went to Ashley Hill, Berks SU828814 on 25th July: "We saw Peacock 5, Brimstone 1, Ringlet 4, Gatekeeper 4, Meadow Brown 4, Silver-washed Fritillary 2 male and a female and Large Skipper 3."
~ Friday 25th July 2014 ~
Rob Thomas sent this news: "On 25th July at 1pm I walked up one ramp onto the disused railway line at East Hagbourne, Oxon and back down the other. In the hot sunshine the following species were spotted: Gatekeeper (53), Ringlet (4), Meadow Brown (13), Marbled White (15), Speckled Wood (6), Small Skipper (44), Common Blue (12), Peacock (14), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Red Admiral (1), Comma (1), Whites: mostly Large and Small (19), but the highlight for me was my first Painted Lady of the summer and a pristine one at that."
Will and Linda Atkinson sent the following: "We visited Oakley Wood, Bucks in yesterday afternoon's very hot weather (24th July). Lots of butterfly activity, but the highlight was a Clouded Yellow beating up the main ride at very high speed. Other species seen were Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Brimstone, Peacock, Silver-Washed Fritillary, Small Skipper, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Marbled White, Small Heath, Comma and Large Skipper."
Chris Lamsdell went to Homefield Wood on 24th July and recorded White-letter Hairstreak 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 8 and Common Blue 8.
Paul Brewster sent this report: "Here is my report from my first ever visit (from Cheshire) to Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon a fantastic place which I will return to soon. Visit date Weds 23rd July, weather at first not promising, overcast with a light breeze, later very sunny & hot! On the Beacon Hill part of the NR I recorded double figures of Silver-spotted Skippers, as many as 20 individuals may have been seen, also Small Skipper (30+), Marbled White (c.4), Brown Argus (1), Common Blue (4), Meadow Brown (50+), Ringlet (2), Small Copper (1), Chalkhill Blue (30+), Brimstone (2), Large White (1+), Small White (10+), Green-veined White (2), Gatekeeper (20+) and Peacock (3) (also male Vapourer Moth seen). On the Bald Hill part of the reserve the species were much the same but I added Small Heath (3) to the list. At least 20 more Silver-spotted Skippers were seen as well as another 15+ Chalkhill Blues. Great sightings & lots of photos."
David Fuller sent the following: "A good day for butterflies in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 23rd July: Comma 2 together, Red Admiral, Brimstone 2 males together, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Green-veined White 2, Small White 1, Large White 1 and Gatekeeper male. Then on 25th July at Maidenhead Thicket, Berks SU850816 with Brian Clews: Gatekeeper 14, Small Skipper 5, Meadow Brown 4, Essex Skipper 1, Ringlet 5, Green-veined White 8, Large Skipper 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 4, Peacock 2, Brimstone 4, Holly Blue male and Small White 2."
Malcolm Brownsword reports on the field meeting to Homefield Wood on 23rd July: "A party of ten were pleased to see a total of 19 species of butterfly. The most notable butterfly sightings were of tens of Silver-washed Fritillaries (including one definite Valezina and one probable) and one Purple Hairstreak and one White-letter Hairstreak. The Valezinas were seen at the side of the ride leading to the meadow area approaching from the north. Both were flying in a shady area. We also found a total of about 10 Striped Lychnis moth caterpillars on three Mullein plants on the right hand side of the main ride from the parking area. One of these was shedding its old skin. Tens of Peacocks and Brimstones were seen and smaller numbers of Small, Large and Green-veined Whites, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper, Large and Small Skipper and Marbled White were also seen, in addition to three Common Blues and two Commas. Also single specimens of Small Copper and Holly Blue."
Tim Hearn visited Aston Rowant, Oxon, south side between 6am and 10am on 23rd July. "Misty and cool at first, then sunny and hot. Common Blue 1, Marbled White 13, Meadow Brown 50+, Gatekeeper 50+, Chalkhill Blue, mostly male, 27, Small Skipper 9, Comma 1, Silver-spotted Skipper 5, Ringlet 1."
Paul Busby sent this news: "I visited Aston Rowant, Oxon for a 1.5 hour stroll on 23rd July and saw a Comma, a Small Copper, 3 Peacock, 2 Brown Argus, 4 m Brimstone, 2 Small White, 12 Marbled White, 10+ Small Skippers, 20+ Gatekeepers, 40+ Meadow Brown and 50+ Chalkhill Blue. Then eating dinner at Spade Oak, Well End, Buckinghamshire saw a further 3 Peacocks and 2 Small Whites."
David Rounding sent this report from Oxford: "My cat brought in a Peacock butterfly on 22nd July 2000 hrs. Fortunately she is amazingly gentle and I released the butterfly entirely unharmed! Can’t remember if I’ve ever seen one before, but I looked it up and that’s what it was – beautiful butterfly!"
Richard Wheeler sent this report: "Plenty of butterflies about at a hot (c.25°C) Ardley Quarry, Oxon on 20th July: 2 Large Skipper, 28 Small Skipper, 9 Essex Skipper, 48 Gatekeeper, 2 Ringlet, 84 Meadow Brown, 18 Marbled White, 7 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma, 24 Peacock, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Large White, 2 Green-veined White, 7 Brimstone (1F) and 2 Common Blue."
~ Tuesday 22nd July 2014 ~
John Holdbrook sent these sightings: "I spent some time on Swyncombe Down [Oxfordshire] on 22nd July where there were large numbers of Chalkhill Blues, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Small Skippers. I saw quite a few Marbled Whites, some a bit faded, Brimstones, Gatekeepers and Large and Small Whites. I managed to get a clear enough view of 4 Silver-spotted Skippers to identify them. There were probably a lot more but they were flying too actively to see clearly enough."
Nicholl Williams sent this news: "I went to Strawberry Bank (near Lane End, Bucks) today 22nd July. I think that I caught a quick glimpse of a single Purple Emperor and saw several Chalkhill Blues over the whole downland area. There were more Common Blues around also. There were many more Peacocks. The Silver-washed Fritillaries and Commas are still abundant, with a few Brimstones again."
David Gantzel reported the following: "I went to Widmer Fields (between Hazlemere and Widmer End in Bucks) for my annual Big Butterfly Count on Tuesday 22nd July 3.30pm. Sunny but not many butterflies: 1 Large White, 3 Ringlet, 14 Meadow Brown, 8 Gatekeeper, 2 Marbled White, 2 Peacock, 3 Comma. Very few butterflies in my garden in Hazlemere, Bucks but a White Admiral and lots of Silver-washed Fritillaries at Oakley Wood, Bucks last week."
Michael McNeill sent these sightings:
"22nd July 2014 - Lardon Chase, West Berkshire. I visited Lardon Chase
this morning to see how the Chalkhill Blues were progressing and counted in excess of 150 in under
an hour. Also present were Meadow Brown 50+, 9 Gatekeeper, 6 Marbled White,
6 Common Blue, 1 Small Copper, 1 Painted Lady, 5 Peacock, 3 Brimstone,
1 fast flying Fritillary (Silver Washed or Dark Green, I could not tell), 9 Gatekeeper and a
number of Whites.
Chris Lamsdell reports seeing White-letter Hairstreak (2) and Silver-washed Fritillary (6) in Homefield Wood, Bucks on 21st July.
Barry Stickland sent this news: "Sitting in our garden (21st July) in south Finchampstead, Berks next to the Buddleja we saw many Peacocks, several Commas and one Silver-washed Fritillary."
John Holdbrook sent the following report:
"On the Thames Path between Sandford and Iffley Locks, Oxon on
Sunday July 20th I saw my first Small Copper of this year [have the
numbers been lower this year?]. There was a very large number of Small Skippers, especially on
Fleabane flowers, Peacocks, Meadow Browns, Whites which didn’t settle for a positive identification
and a Comma. I also saw Banded Demoiselles and a Red-eyed Damselfly.
Brenda Mobbs reports on the Field Meeting at Bradenham on 19th July: "It was a cloudy damp morning when 6 members started to walk to the meadows at Bradenham, Bucks. The target species was the Dark Green Fritillary and we were doubtful that we would see one. However we were rewarded with two. Certainly not in the numbers of last year but they emerged early this year. It was, however, a very successful walk as we saw 14 other species. They were: Common Blue (1), Essex Skipper (5), Gatekeeper (38), Green-veined White (1), Large Skipper (8), Large White (1), Marbled White (36), Meadow Brown (42), Peacock (4), Ringlet (14), Small Blue (6), Small Heath (3), Small Skipper (7), Small Tortoiseshell (4). As you can see we were richly rewarded for venturing out in rather unpromising weather!"
Sue and Neil Killoran sent this report: "On the afternoon 18th July we visited Bernwood Forest, Bucks and the edge of Bernwood Meadows, where we saw the following in hot and sunny conditions: 3 Purple Emperors (two of which were mating and a first sighting for us), White Admiral, Brimstones, Peacocks, Silver-washed Fritillaries, Gatekeepers, Small Skippers, Large Skippers, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, Ringlets, Speckled Wood, Comma, Green-veined Whites and possible sightings of Hairstreaks but we could not identify these clearly."
~ Monday 21st July 2014 ~
Tony Croft reported the following: "I saw my first Brown Hairstreak of the season this afternoon, 21st July, at Rushbeds Wood, Bucks. It was high in an ash tree so didn’t present any decent photo opportunities.
Martin Phipps sent this extraordinary Purple Emperor sighting: "On Saturday 19th July my wife saw what she thought to be a White Admiral on our garden buddleia in Chinnor, Oxon. I was away so wasn't able to see it. However on Sunday 20th my wife called me when she was hanging out the washing and told me it was back. I raced home from Bernwood (Bucks) where I was looking for Purple Emperors, to no avail, only to discover that the White Admiral was in fact a female Purple Emperor! It stayed a good 3 hours nectaring - see photos. How amazing is that!! What was it doing in my garden!"
Jonathan Mercer had a walk at Linkey Down (Aston Rowant, Oxon) at lunchtime on 20th July - sunny intervals and warm. "I found 1 Silver-spotted Skipper after quite a lot of searching - I imagine it's still early for these. Good numbers of Chalkhill Blues - 100+. Also 1 Brown Argus, 1 Dark Green Fritillary, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 5 Small Skippers, 50+ Meadow Browns, 3 Marbled Whites, 5 Small Heath."
~ Saturday 19th July 2014 ~
Richard Wheeler sent the following: "My friends Abby Fettes, Phil Shaw and I paid a lunchtime visit to Wychwood NNR, Oxon near Leafield today (18/07/14). The weather was hot and sunny (c.25°C). In 45 minutes we stopped at two roadside sites (roughly SP333183) and one in the wood itself and found: 8+ Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Brimstone, 4 Gatekeeper, 10+ Large Skipper, 3 Small Skipper, 5 Peacock, 10+ Ringlet, 10+ Small White, 4 Marbled White, 2 Large White, 2 Green-veined White, 4 Meadow Brown and 1 Small Tortoisehell. Silver-washed Fritillary were present at all three stopping places, suggesting good populations here."
Tim Watts sent this update today:
On 16/7/14 I had one brief view of 2 White-letter Hairstreak tumbling
above the Elms at Calvert BBOWT (Bucks) car park and a glimpse of possible
Purple Emperor in same area. At Finemere Wood, Bucks I watched from
8:30-11.00am but only one brief view of a Purple Emperor in flight.
Ewan Urquhart sent these reports:
On 17th July I visited the southern side of Aston Rowant NNR,
Oxon principally around Bald Hill where I saw the following in sunny conditions:
Silver-spotted Skipper 47; Small Skipper 100+; Chalkhill Blue 1 male;
Dark Green Fritillary 3; Peacock 3; Red Admiral 1; Large White 1; Meadow Brown
50+; Marbled White 25+; Ringlet 1; Gatekeeper 3; Small Heath 11; also
61 Six-spot Burnet Moth and 1 Cinnabar Moth.
This news came from Dave Cleal: "On 17th July I had 2 possibly 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries and a White Admiral in Woolmans Wood, Hedsor, east Of Bourne End in Bucks. SU 9186."
David Fuller went to the Warburg Reserve nr Henley, Oxon SU718880 on 17th July and recorded: Meadow Brown 21, Marbled White 12, Silver-washed Fritillary 3 males, White Admiral 1, Large Skipper 2, Small Skipper 5, Green-veined White 2, Gatekeeper 2 females, Brimstone 2 males and Common Blue 2 males.
Warren Claydon sent the following: "I spent a couple of hours in the Calvert BBOWT (Bucks) car park on 17th July, 2-4 pm. I had a Purple Emperor over twice and at least 3 White-letter Hairstreaks and a Silver-washed Fritillary. Also had 3 Dark Green Fritillaries on the sailing lake."
Richard Wheeler sent the following: "Inspired by Tim Watts’s dispatches, I visited Calvert Jubilee, Bucks at lunchtime today (17/07/14, sunny, c.24°C) to look for White-letter Hairstreak. I spent 1hr watching the Elms, and had 4 fleeting glimpses of spiralling pairs of small butterflies: 3 originating from the Ash left of the Elms; 1 from the Elms. Despite my best efforts with binoculars, I couldn’t be certain what manner of Hairstreak they were (assuming they were Hairstreaks). However, while scanning the trees, a Purple Emperor made a single gliding pass heading south over the car park directly overhead, c.15ft up. I also did a quick lap of the reserve, finding: 2 Dark Green Fritillary (near entrance), 15 Gatekeeper, 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Large Skipper, 3 Large White, 16 Meadow Brown, 2 Ringlet, 1 Peacock, 4 Marbled White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 12 Common Blue (incl. 2F) – the first I’ve seen since June 1."
Ewan Urquhart sent this update: "At Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon on 16th July between 1230-1430hrs on a warm cloudy afternoon I saw the following: Chalkhill Blue 74 [comprising 69m and 5f]; Common Blue 2; Brown Argus 1; Silver-spotted Skipper 7; Small Skipper 100+; Dark Green Fritillary 3 [including female egg laying]; Peacock 1; Red Admiral 1; Meadow Brown 100+; Marbled White 30+; Gatekeeper 4; Small Tortoiseshell 23; Small White 3; Large White 1; Brimstone 1; Small Heath 1; also 12 Six-spot Burnet Moth."
Dave Cleal sent this report: "16th July: Had a day in our suburban garden in Burnham, Bucks making a new flowerbed and planting some Lavender, very hot work! The proceedings were lightened by the presence of up to 3 Gatekeepers, regularly patrolling our hedge (third year in a row they've been here) a Holly Blue nectering on brambles, a fresh Peacock, a Comma and what was possibly a movement of Large Whites, 7 seen, all moving south."
Ched George sent this news: "David Fuller and I spent an hour at lunchtime today (16th July) on Cobstone Hill, Bucks to check for Chalkhill Blues. The sky soon clouded over. The only blue seen was a fresh Common Blue. There were about a dozen Marbled Whites, plenty of Meadow Browns and some Gatekeepers. Quite a few Small/Essex Skippers. We did find 1 Green-veined White and 3 Small Tortoiseshells, but that's the lot! I'm pleased to report that a lot of the lower scrub has been removed."
Colin Williams reported the following: "On my daily evening walk around my local meadow (Oxford Preservation Trust’s Heyford Meadow in Sandford-on-Thames) on 15th July I was amazed to find a large number of Essex Skippers. A 15 minute wander around the meadow revealed 60 freshly-emerged individuals roosting in the tall grasses. I was able to examine them all very closely and no Small Skippers were found. They appeared to favour roosting in groups of 10 or so in the densest patches of grass."
Peter Law reported the following: "I checked out the Chazey Heath, Oxon White-letter Hairstreak site of recent years for a second time this afternoon (15th July), having first done so a week ago (8 July). I didn't see any White-letter Hairstreak on either occasion. Last week I saw two Hairstreaks along the lane behind the Pack Saddle pub, one of which was definitely Purple Hairstreak and the other I couldn't PI. There are mature oaks in the tree line with the younger Elms, and I have record shots of the Purple Hairstreak."
~ Friday 18th July 2014 ~
Warren Claydon sent this report on 15th July: "Had a nice showing of 6 Dark Green Fritillaries at Drovers Hill farm, Bucks. Lodge Hill, Bucks also good numbers of Small Skipper, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and a few Large Skipper and Small Heath. Will be watching a bit closer this year in the hope that Silver-spotted Skippers make a return as I didn't see them last year."
Dave Ferguson reported the following: "A short walk in Strawberry Wood, Black Park, Bucks at mid-day (15th July) produced 1 White Admiral, 1 Purple Hairstreak and 8 Silver-washed Fritillaries, including this valezina, the first I have seen in decades of looking."
Ched George sent this report: "14th July. Again I visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks at the wrong end of the day, 4.30-5.15pm. Breezy but some sun. A brisk search of the bank produced 30 male Chalkhill Blue and 46 Marbled White for comparison guide of sorts. In the woodland clearing were 2 male and a female Silver-washed Fritillary, plus 2 Peacock, 4-5 Comma and a Roe buck. I did see a Large Skipper and a few Small/Essex Skippers, but did not try to count the other Browns. Yesterday (13th July) we were treated to a Silver-washed Fritillary, probably female, flying in our Radnage, Bucks garden around 5pm!"
Peter Law reported the following: "14th July: Today near Farmoor, Oxon I came across 3-5 Silver-washed Fritillary in the woods along Lower Whitley Farm Lane. This is just south of the reservoir and a regular Oxon site for the species. From there I followed part of the Farmoor Countryside Walk as far as Pinkhill Meadow, seeing another 14 species. These were Brimstone (3), Red Admiral (4), Peacock (5+), Comma (4+), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Large White (2), Green-veined White (1) and my first UTB Small Copper of the year. Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper and Small White were all flying in good numbers, together with a few Ringlet and Marbled White."
Martin Kincaid sent this news: "I paid a visit this morning (14th July) to Blue Lagoon Local Nature Reserve in Bletchley, Bucks. I was checking on the long established White-letter Hairstreak colony which is centred on a very large (60+ feet) English Elm on the NW boundary of the site (SP 866328). In very bright sunshine, I managed to see 3-4 White-letter Hairstreak. They were mostly in the crown of the elm tree but were making occasional sorties into the surrounding ash. Unfortunately, none of them visited the copious bramble flowers nearby. In between sightings, I was very happy to see my first two Holly Blues of the year, also in the ash trees. Other species noted were: Large, Essex and Small Skipper, Small, Large and Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Comma, Peacock, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood = 16 in total."
Chris Carter sent this unusual report: "Photos attached of a gynandromorphous (I think that's the term) Meadow Brown in our orchard/meadow at Alvescot, Oxon on Friday 11 July. It (he? she?) wouldn't oblige by showing the male underside but judging by the female side it would have looked quite normal. The wings seem perfectly symmetrical in dimensions, which I think would not normally be the case between male and female individuals. Frohawk says this is very rare in Meadow Brown; does anybody know what modern records show? On 14th May, in company with Peter Hugo from Gloucestershire Branch, we saw a gynandromorphous Brimstone not far from home; but of course Brimstones never settle with wings open so no photo was possible, but there was no mistaking it in flight!"
David Hastings sent these sightings:
"Seen at Homefield Wood, Bucks on 12th July were at least thirty
Small Skippers, five Large Skippers, two Brimstones, two Large Whites,
two Red Admirals, two Peacocks, five Commas, two Dark Green Fritillaries, at
least fifteen Silver-washed Fritillaries, at least thirteen Marbled Whites, two Gatekeepers,
at least twenty Meadow Browns and at least fifty Ringlets.
~ Thursday 17th July 2014 ~
Dennis Dell reports on the Purple Emperor field meeting
in Bernwood Forest on July 12th and 13th:
Tim Watts reported the following: "On 12/7/14 Michael Hunt and I had a long watch on the Calvert Jubillee BBOWT reserve, Bucks. We had a glimpse of possible Purple Emperor in the tree tops by the entrance gate and very brief view of White-letter Hairstreak flying in the same area. Also a lone Purple Hairstreak around the same trees. 2 worn Dark Green Fritillary were seen on the open area and 2-3 Silver-washed Fritillary nectaring on brambles at the top of the steps on the railway bank. At Finemere Wood, Bucks at 4:17 I saw 3 Purple Emperor in flight together, based on size this was a female with 2 males, single males seen later. 4 White Admiral also seen together low down, with 2 moving to silver birch tree and seen mating. Several Purple Hairstreaks flitting around the tops of Oaks as well."
Richard Wheeler sent this report: "Just back after a happy couple of nights camping below the White Horse at Uffington, Berks on 12/07/14. It was hot and sunny (c.23°+), and the hillside was teeming with butterflies. While there (but mainly 12/07) we saw: hundreds of Marbled White, Ringlet and Large Skipper; large numbers of Meadow Brown (though probably outnumbered 3:1 by both Ringlet and Marbled White); 100+ Small Tortoiseshell (including c.100 in one thistle patch next to Uffington Castle hill fort); 50+ Large Skipper; 1 Essex Skipper; 1 Red Admiral; 1 Peacock; 8 Gatekeeper; 1 Comma; 1 Small Heath; 8+ Chalkhill Blue (mostly in the ‘Shepherd’s Steps’ gully SU301867); 3 Large White and 3+ Dark Green Fritillary. I spent a joyous half hour standing at the bottom of the steep, grassy slope at the top of the camping field (SU30188681) watching a patrolling Dark Green Fritillary skimming with barely a wing beat over the grass, impossibly buoyant in the hot air. These glides were punctuated by rocketing vertical duets with rivals or potential mates; and with darts straight at my face which always ended with the butterfly turning away at the last possible moment!"
Ched George visited Black Park, Bucks on 12th July with Ruislip NHS. "Several Silver-washed Fritillary including courtship flights and a female ovipositing on conifer trunk, plus 2 White Admiral and at least 1 Purple Hairstreak. Also 1 Silver-washed Fritillary at Leygroves wood, Cadmore End, Bucks last Thursday. Last of all, I'm proud to say we had a female Silver-washed Fritillary in our garden in Radnage, Bucks at 3.45pm this afternoon. A first garden record!"
Nick Bowles sent the following:
"Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary both flying at Coombe Hill, Bucks
on transect this morning (12th July). The image below shows one of about 10 eggs that
the female Silver-washed Fritillary laid. It was in a hard spot to focus the camera as she laid the egg in
a tangle of hairy ivy growth. About 4 times she laid eggs in a shallow crack in a very shady
position. At Aston Clinton Ragpits, Bucks there was a hint of Dark Green Fritillary
whizzing through at some 30m distance from me, and another person there said he had seen one.
I also had my first Chalkhill Blue of the season here."
Mick Jones sent this news: "I had a good wander around Dancersend Reserve, Bucks today (12th July) and walked my transect. 11 Silver-washed Fritillaries seen in the woodland rides and clearings. 5 Dark Green Fritillaries seen, including two on the reserve Extension area where we are carrying out chalk grassland restoration on old arable fields. Also seen: lots of Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Small Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell; a few Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Large Skipper; single Brimstone, Large White and Small White."
Ewan Urquhart reported the following: !A visit to Aston Rowant (Linkey Down and Bald Hill), Oxon today (12th July) between 1000-1330hrs produced the following: Dark Green Fritillary 17 with some females egg laying; possible Silver-washed Fritillary 1; Red Admiral 1; Meadow Brown 159; Ringlet 18; Marbled White 109; Gatekeeper 19; Brimstone 1; Large White 15; Small White 6; Small Heath 50+; Small Tortoiseshell 9; Large Skipper 5; Small Skipper 135+; Common Blue 1 also Six-spot Burnet Moth 36; Silver Y Moth 1. It was great to see such a profusion of butterflies!"
~ Sunday 13th July 2014 ~
Peter Law reported the following: "12th July: This afternoon I visited Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon to look for Silver-spotted Skipper, finding just one (pictured). This was about two-thirds of the way along the hillside above the M40 motorway (walking from the car park), the area where I expect to see them first each year. The huge number of Small Skipper everywhere was very noticeable. Lots of Chalkhill Blue were flying as is to be expected at this site. A worn Dark Green Fritillary was patrolling the gully at the end of the sunken way, seeing off any other butterfly that crossed its path. Other butterflies seen were Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Small Tortoiseshell, a few Small White, just 2 Small Heath and a single Brimstone."
Tim Watts sent this exciting news on 11th July: "Today I sat in the Calvert Jubilee BBOWT, Bucks car park for 4 hrs!! with telescope and digital camera trained on the tops of adjacent small Elms in an attempt to get photos of the White-letter Hairstreaks we'd seen the day before. It was a dull day but at 10:30 three were up battling - a few odd sightings throughout the watch but I failed to get photos. However, at 11:43 I caught a glimpse of movement of something larger in an adjacent Ash tree. I scanned it with binoculars and nearly fell of my seat when I located a Purple Emperor perched on the outer edge! This is a first for the site and a welcome addition to the list of butterfly species found here, it may help in opposition of proposed HS2 route affecting the reserve. Amazingly it stayed perched in the same spot for 3hrs 33 minutes! It then flew off along the tree line towards the North end of the reserve. Also 1 Purple Hairstreak seen around the same tree."
Paul Busby reported the following: "Despite a blustery, cloudy day with occasional drizzle on 11th July, I saw a White Admiral, a Silver-washed Fritillary, a Green-veined White, at least one Ringlet, 25+ Meadow Brown, 12+ Gatekeeper and 6+ Small Skipper at Strawberry Wood, Black Park, Bucks mostly by the wood edge and large clearing with a patch of brambles. Then at St Marys Church, Denham Village, Bucks I saw 3 fresh Peacocks, 1 Comma, 1 Small white, 3+ Ringlets, 20+ Meadow Brown, 12+ Gatekeeper and 3+ Small Skipper."
Dave Ferguson sent this unusual sighting: "3 Green-veined Whites spent at least 10 minutes chasing a female Brimstone in Strawberry Wood, Black Park, Bucks on 9th July. I wonder why? I also saw 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries but no White Admirals or Purple Emperors."
~ Friday 11th July 2014 ~
Phil Shaw sent the following today, 11th July: "I have spent a very enjoyable quarter of an hour for each of the last three lunchtimes walking the newly established reserve at Milking Lane Nature Reserve, NW Witney, Oxon that the Wychwood Project has created just NW of Witney Oxon. I have seen Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Large Skipper, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Small/Large Whites. It has some excellent nectaring spots where 30+ butterflies can be seen at any one time and a variety of hedgerow and grassland habitats - as well as the emerging woodland that they are seeking to create."
Tim Watts sent this news on 10th July: "Today Warren Claydon and I found 4 White-letter Hairstreak on the Calvert Jubilee BBOWT reserve, Bucks. They were on the small Elms to the left of the entrance gate viewed from the small car park, battling at tops of Elms then resting. We had decent views with binoculars. They were discovered in this same spot a few years back but not seen since. The adjacent road and verges are to be altered as part of HS2 plans so I hope this colony can be saved. Also on the reserve we saw two rare sightings for the site, a Dark Green Fritillary and a surprise White Admiral. Earlier at Finemere Wood, Bucks we saw 2 male Purple Emperor, 1 White Admiral and several Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Hairstreaks."
Chris Lamsdell went to Black Park, Bucks on 9th July: "I saw Purple Hairstreak 1, White Admiral 1 and Silver-washed Fritillary 5. White Admiral seem to be poor here this year - certainly not as obvious as in past years."
Graham Smith sent the following report: "8 Commas along the footpath at Mop End, Bucks that runs behind the National Grid works 8th July. Also noted Small Skipper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Tortoiseshell, Large White. I was mainly bird-watching but enjoyed seeing the butterflies. I don't have a very good camera for close-ups."
Dennis Dell sent this interesting report on 8th July: "Location: south eastern corner of Salcey Forest within VC24 [Bucks vice county]. Weather mainly fine, with some cloud cover, temperature 20 degrees. With Doug Goddard of the Northants/Beds section. From 10.45 to 13.00, seven Purple Emperors seen, mainly high in the trees. Before we met, Doug had seen two, one grounded. Other species: Comma, Silver Washed Fritillary, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Ringlet, Large Skipper, Large White, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood."
Ched George was pleased to find a Dark Green Fritillary at the BBOWT Gomm Valley Reserve in Bucks on 7th July.
David Hastings reported the following: "I saw the following at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (north side) on 6th July: at least twenty Small Skippers, two Essex Skippers, one Green-veined White, eight Chalkhill Blues, one Red Admiral, nine Small Tortoiseshells, three Commas, six Dark Green Fritillaries, two Gatekeepers, at least twenty Meadow Browns, three Ringlets, at least 35 Marbled Whites and five Small Heaths. At Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on the same day I saw ten Small Skippers, two Large Skippers, one Large White, two Purple Emperors, one Red Admiral, four White Admirals, two Small Tortoiseshells, one Comma, at least sixteen Silver-washed Fritillaries, at least forty Ringlets, at least thirty-five Meadow Browns, seven Gatekeepers and at least forty Marbled Whites."
Rob Thomas sent this update: "On 6th July at 3pm I walked from Upton, Oxon along the disused railway line to the first East Hagbourne slip way. Despite the breezy conditions we saw plenty of butterflies: Ringlet (50), Marbled White (40), Small Tortoiseshell (15), Small Skipper (10), Gatekeeper (5), Meadow Brown (4), Small White (2), Large Skipper (2), Comma (1), Red Admiral (1). We also found an unhatched Six-spot Burnet moth pupa and noticed that the colony of Peacock caterpillars that I had last looked at almost fully grown just walking back to East Hagbourne had gone to pupate only to find another colony a few yards further on only half grown."
~ Monday 7th July 2014 ~
Paul Busby visited Aston Rowant, Oxon today (7th July) on the way home for an hour's walk after a long drive on a cloudy, breezy day and was pleased to see his first 2 Chalkhill Blues of the year, 17 fresh Small Tortoiseshells, 22 Marbled Whites, 1 Small White, 9 Small Skippers, 5 Ringlets, a Comma and at least 30 Meadow Browns.
Peter Cuss sent these sightings: "Visited Dysons Wood Lane, Oxon today (7/7/14, OS 175 699 782) and recorded Comma (4), Small Tortoiseshell (5), Red Admiral, Gatekeeper (5), Marbled White, Small, Large and Green-veined Whites, Large Skipper, numerous Meadow Browns and Ringlets and a large group of Peacock caterpillars on nettles. Nothing unusual but I have been searching a lot of the footpaths and bridleways on my 'patch' which are probably not well recorded."
Ewan Urquhart sent this news: "I went to Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon today, 7th July from 1245-1545. Weather was warm and mainly sunny and I saw the following during my visit: Chalkhill Blue 22 [including a strange gathering of 6 in a tight cluster at the bottom of a clump of grass]; Common Blue 2; Small Skipper 115+; Large Skipper 1; Marbled White 93; Meadow Brown 66; Small Heath 6; Gatekeeper 1; Small Tortoiseshell 18; Large White 1 and a Six Spot Burnet Moth."
Chris Lamsdell saw a Painted Lady in Homefield Wood, Bucks on 4th July. Also, in Bernwood Forest, Bucks on 7th July only 2 White Admiral and this Green-veined White with slightly crumpled wings.
Bryan Williams sent this field meeting report: "On Sunday 6th July, eight of us visited Silchester Common just south of the Berkshire border to look for Silver-studded Blues. The weather was a little better than expected and we were greeted in the car park on Pamber Lane by a Purple Hairstreak and three Small Tortoiseshells, before heading to the Common. Once there we found eight female and two male Silver-studded Blues, most of them past their best. We also saw a single Grayling along with small numbers of Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Large Skippers and a single Silver Y moth."
Ian Stevenson sent this news today: "I've just noticed your request for info about Silver-studded Blues. I can tell you that it is shaping up to be a good year, with many individuals seen at Broadmoor, Berks and even more spread across nearby Wildmoor in newly mown heather squares created to encourage them. I have been told by John Lerpiniere that the first butterfly was seen on June 20th."
Chris Hazell paid a visit to Bradenham Banks in Bucks on the afternoon of 6th July. "The weather was warm with sunny intervals. Species seen were as follows: Dark-Green Fritillary 40+. Marbled White 200+. Ringlet 50+, Meadow Brown 200+. Small Skipper 20+, Essex Skipper 10+, Gatekeeper 6."
Nicholl Williams went down to Strawberry Bank, near Lane End, Bucks on 6th July: "The whole area is now full of Fritillaries. Many Silver-washed Fritillaries in good condition and also several Dark Green Fritillaries. There is also a smattering of Gatekeepers and lots of Marbled Whites. As at present there is a shortage of blues."
Peter Law sent this report:
"On 5th July I made a late afternoon visit to
Burgess Field Nature Park in north Oxford to check out the Essex Skipper
colony. Lots were flying, along with some Small Skipper, many Marbled White and other high
summer butterflies such as Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral.
Jan Haseler sent the following report: "On the south side of Padworth Common, Berks today (Sun 6th July), we saw a Grayling, with a few Small Heaths in the field to the south. At Hundred Acre Piece, near Mortimer, Berks we saw another Grayling, plus White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary and more Ringlets than I have ever seen before!"
Peter Cuss went looking for White-letter Hairstreak on 6th July near the Packsaddle Pub on the A4074 (Berks/Oxon border). "I saw them here several years ago and wanted to see if they where still there. Happy to say they are, saw 2 at the top of an elm but they wouldn't pose for the camera!"
Wendy Wilson reports on the weekend's field meeting at Black Park, Bucks: "Saturday 5th July saw the first rainfall after a week of glorious sunshine. However, all was not lost as nine of us met at Black Park, Iver Heath, Bucks and set off for the long walk up to the Strawberry Wood area. We only had a few spots of rain and even had a bit of sunshine. Butterflies were flying around. We saw two of our three target species - 2 White Admirals and at least 5 Silver-washed Fritillaries - but no Purple Emperors. Other species seen were numerous Ringlets, a few Meadow Browns, Large and Small Skippers, Gatekeepers and a couple of Purple Hairstreaks."
~ Saturday 5th July 2014 ~
Dave Cleal sent the following today, 5th July: "Just thought I'd pass on this photo I took on my phone of these mating Ringlets at Littleworth Common, Bucks. They settled on this fencing panel having flown (conjoined) from vegetation on the other side of the path."
Tim Watts went to Calvert Greatmoor lake, Bucks on 4th July: "There were 3-4 Dark Green Fritillaries on an open area with thistles, with a lot of quite high altitude battles between them - it's one of the hardest butterflies to get a photo of! I decided to just wait in a spot where one was regularly patrolling and eventually got photos of a worn specimen that kept returning to the same few thistles. So far this year I have seen amongst others, Black Hairstreak and Green Hairstreak and I'm looking for White-letter now and Purple Hairstreak is expected, all on the reserve and on the HS2 route."
David Fuller sent these sightings: "Today 04/07/14 - Coldharbour near Hungerford, Berks SU344670: Small Skipper 1, Ringlet 3, Marbled White 6. Combe Gibbet near Inkpen, Berks SU370621: Small Tortoiseshell 5, Meadow Brown 16, Ringlet 12, Marbled White 11, Dark Green Fritillary 2 (record sent to Species Champion). All viewing done in very difficult windy conditions!"
Richard Wheeler sent this report: "My friend Abby Fettes and I visited Wytham Woods, Oxford this afternoon, 4th July, (having got our permit!). It was rather blowy, with some cloud. However, as well as enjoying the landscape and woods – and wonderful views over Oxford – we saw large numbers of Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Large Skipper (the latter engaged in some spectacular dog-fights), 6 Gatekeeper, 7 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Small Skipper, 1 Speckled Wood and 1 Red Admiral, together with 3 Six-spot Burnet and a Lesser Stag Beetle perched on a gate post. We also had fleeting glimpses of 3+ probable fritillaries dashing between the wood edge and the grassland beyond – though frustratingly, we didn’t get a close enough look to confirm whether Dark Green or Silver-washed."
Ewan Urquhart sent the following reports:
"Success late morning, 3rd July, at Bernwood Forest,
Bucks. Two, possibly three Purple Emperors coming down briefly to the track through the forest.
They were very restless and did not remain long before going back into the trees. One was seen feeding high
in an Ash together with a Purple Hairstreak. At least 3 White Admirals,
7 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 1 Red Admiral, 5 Purple Hairstreak and numerous
Ringlets were seen whilst waiting for the Purple Emperors. Also seen were 2 Brown Hawker
and 1 Southern Hawker dragonflies.
~ Friday 4th July 2014 ~
Steve Lockey visited Finemere Wood, Bucks on Thursday, 3rd July and saw: Large & Small Skippers, Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Purple Hairstreak x 2 and Silver-washed Fritillary x 6.
Charlie Jackson sent the following: "I found this interesting aberrant Silver-washed Fritillary at Finemere, Bucks on the late afternoon of 2 July. It was very small and heavily marked and with a darker background colour than normal Silver-washed Fritillaries. Also it was acting differently, seeming to prefer the umbellifers rather than the Bramble flowers the other Fritillaries were gathering round. It folded its wings when it landed whereas the normal Fritillaries always had their wings open."
Nick Matthews sent this news on 3rd July: "I had my first ever sighting of a Marbled White - near Ashdown House, Berks (OS Grid Ref: 174:SU282820)." At least 20 Marbled Whites on the grassland of King Alfred's Castle, an old hill fort about 200 metres from Ashdown House."
Dave Cleal reported the following: "I went around Woolman's Wood, Bucks (SU9186) today, 2nd July. 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, 3 White Admirals & 5 Red Admirals were the highlights, with numerous Meadow Brown and many Ringlets. An amazing amount of bramble acting as the understory here, throughout large parts of the wood. Yesterday, 1st July, in the south east corner of Dorney Common (on the Bucks/Berks border) I had 5 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Red Admirals and a Small Skipper."
Tony Croft went to Aston Rowant, Oxon on Wednesday afternoon, 2nd July to see what was around: "As well as Small Skippers, Marbled Whites and Common Blues there was this solitary Chalkhill Blue."
Peter Law saw his first Bernwood Forest (Bucks) Purple Emperors of the year this morning, 2nd July. "They were both on the hard track through Oakley Wood. These were a female just past the meadow before the crossroads at 11:30, then a male (pictured) near the car park at 12:45."
Nick Board sent the following: "This photo was taken on 2nd July at a private wood in the north of Bucks at about 10.00am. This Purple Emperor seemed particularly interested in tasting the perspiration on my hand as an alternative to the usual favourites found on the path through the wood!"
~ Tuesday 1st July 2014 ~
Dave Wilton sent this report: "Our garden lime tree at Westcott, Bucks is currently in flower and attracting the usual varied collection of insects. Today (Tuesday 1st July) these were mostly bees and hoverflies but butterflies noted at the top of it at 5pm included Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown and a very welcome fresh-looking White-letter Hairstreak. An awful picture of the latter, taken at maximum zoom and heavily cropped, appears below but at least you can make out what it is! I'd had occasional sightings around the village over the last eight or so years but then last year there were three separate appearances at tree-top height in the garden during the last week of July. This record for the second year running hopefully means that the garden elms next to the lime now support a small colony! Going back to last week, on Tuesday 24th June I carried out a butterfly transect in some private woods near Grendon Underwood, Bucks and amongst the butterflies seen was a mated pair of Silver-washed Fritillaries and a very late Grizzled Skipper."
David Fuller went to Maidenhead Thicket, Berks on 1st July and recorded: Marbled White 8, Ringlets 16, Large White 1, Speckled Wood 7, Meadow Brown 4 and Silver-washed Fritillary male.
Michael McNeill reported the following on 30th June: "Hoping to pick up a Purple Emperor after last year's successful sighting in this area, Steve Larkins and I visited Moor Copse nr. Englefield, West Berkshire. Alas, no Purple Emperor, but good sightings of Silver-washed Fritillary with at least 5, plus Ringlet 50+, Meadow Brown 50+, Large Skipper 25+, Marbled White 50+, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Red Admiral 1, Large White 2, Common Blue 2, Comma 3, and Speckled Wood 1."
Neil Holman sent the following update: "A brief late morning walk on Monday 30th June around Hillesden, North Bucks in bright sunshine produced the following; 6 Large Skipper, 3 Common Blue, 30+ Small Tortoiseshell, 8 Marbled White, 9 Meadow Brown, 20+ Ringlet and 1 Gatekeeper."
Chris Lamsdell went to Black Park, Bucks on 30th June and recorded White Admiral - 2 and Silver-washed Fritillary - 8.
George Warner sent this report: "I recorded numerous butterflies on a walk in the morning of Sunday 29th June from the Ridgeway carpark above West Ilsley, Berks East to the A 34, Northeast into the valley and back via the A34 junction just South of Chilton: 100 Ringlets, 146 Small Tortoiseshells (especially on clumps of thistles), 28 Marbled Whites, 24 Meadow Browns, 22 Large Skippers, 7 Small Heaths, 3 Small Skippers, 2 Speckled Woods, 2 Brimstones and a Common Blue. More or less sunny all the way!"
Maureen Cross sent the following: "Saturday 28th June - first sighting of Chalkhill Blue on Lardon Chase, Berks. Other butterflies seen were Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, Ringlets and Large Skipper. Also, on Lough Down Small Heaths, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Small Tortoiseshell."
~ Monday 30th June 2014 ~
David Fuller sent this update: "River Thames tow path Maidenhead, Berks, 30th June: Red Admiral 2, Comma 3, Small Tortoiseshell 4, Green-veined White 2, Meadow Brown 30+. Also Banded Demoiselle 40+, Red-eyed Damselfly 1. A good dog walk!"
Tim Watts reported the following today: "On 25th June I saw a Dark Green Fritillary on open ground at Calvert sailing lake, Bucks, the first one I think that has been recorded here. It landed on thistle flowers a few times but didn't like the look of my camera!! On 26/6/14 - Scarlet Tiger moth found resting in our Whitchurch, Bucks garden, only our 2nd record ever here. On 29/6/14 - Burnet moth, Marbled White, Ringlet at Calvert Jubilee, Bucks."
Ewan Urquhart sent this report on 29th June: "I saw the following between 1030-1230 on a sunny late morning in Bernwood Forest, Bucks: 2 White Admiral; 1 Red Admiral; 17 Silver-washed Fritillary; 2 Comma; 2 Speckled Wood; 80+ Ringlet; 20+ Meadow Brown; 2 Large White; 1 Small Tortoiseshell; 40+ Large Skipper. Also 3 Brown Hawker dragonfly; 2 Ruddy Darter; 2 Broad-bodied Chaser."
Wendy Wilson reported the following: "Walking along the bridleway which skirts the SE boundary of Gerrards Cross Golf Course, Bucks today, 29th June, I recorded 55 Meadow Brown, 18 Ringlet, 13 Large Skipper, 9 Small Skipper, 2 Essex Skipper, 1 Large White, 6 Marbled White, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Comma and, best of all, 1 Purple Emperor at a new site in tall oaks on the brow of the hill. If you live near here it is worth looking for Purple Emperors in any of the small woods both sides of the M25 which were once part of a large wooded area between the Misbourne and Colne rivers north of Denham, Bucks."
Karen Saxl sent this news from the Hagbournes, Oxon on 29th June: "Saw my first Gatekeeper yesterday morning (28th June) along with about 120 Ringlets and a couple of hundred Marbled Whites. Marbled Whites are having a much better year this year – so late emerging last year and if you blinked you missed them. On Tuesday I saw nearly 600 butterflies in the half mile stretch of the old Didcot-Newbury line that I look at regularly. The Marbled Whites just make me laugh with the way, if it is a sunny evening, they congregate in multiple levels on particular plants – not uncommon to find 10 on the same stem! Not seeing many Common Blues this year – there’s one I see reasonably regularly but it was looking very tatty last time. Small Tortoiseshells seem to be doing well - not quite the numbers of Marbled Whites but up into double digits. Saw my first Green-veined White in a while this lunchtime."
~ Saturday 28th June 2014 ~
David Hastings sent this news today: "I've been in Bulgaria for a week, hence the lack of reports. It is an excellent place for butterflies - I recorded over 80 species including Freyer's Purple Emperor, Camberwell Beauty and Apollo. Back to more local sightings, I saw the following at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon this afternoon (28th June): six Large Skippers, at least six Small Skippers, one Large White, two Green-veined Whites, three Commas, at least 50 Marbled Whites, four Small Heaths, 10+ Meadow Browns, 30+ Ringlets and one Speckled Wood."
Paul Busby sent the following: "I visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on my way home at about 5pm on 27th June and saw 3 White Admirals, 2 Commas, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 40+ Marbled White, 20+ Large Skipper and 100+ Ringlet & Meadow Brown."
Nicholl Williams sent this report on 27th June: "I went down quickly to Hawks Wood on the way to Strawberry Bank, Bucks and saw plenty of Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Small Tortoiseshells and Ringlets. I also saw a couple of Fritillaries flying around and later I found a Silver-washed Fritillary basking in the sun."
Helen Hyre reported the following: "On a local walk in Bierton (Bucks) on Friday 27th June I found a field ungrazed for a few weeks. On thistle clumps I saw at least 45 Small Tortoiseshell. Back at home, there were 2 Small Tortoiseshells so tatty that I was amazed they could fly, let alone have a vigorous dispute! There were several pristine specimens too".
Neil Holman sent this news: "Another morning trip today (Tuesday 24th June) to Finemere Woods, Bucks in hot sunshine exceeded my expectations as the following sightings were achieved: 3 White Admiral, 3 Red Admiral, 7 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Comma, 3 Silver-washed Fritillary, 11 Speckled Wood, 3 Marbled White, 9 Meadow Brown, 11 Ringlet and last but not least 1 Purple Emperor. This butterfly was patrolling the main ride, settling on the ground and also on the walking boots of a fellow butterfly enthusiast and my own boots as well to provide some excellent photo opportunities! What an absolute delight!"
~ Thursday 26th June 2014 ~
Paul Bowyer sent the following: "Thursday 26th June. I was out walking in my 10km square today and in the least productive of its tetrads I saw my first Essex Skipper of the season near Sainsbury's in Taplow, Bucks. Another surprise was a Silver-washed Fritillary at Salt Hill Park in Slough, Berks where the local authority have refreshingly left quite a large area to go wild."
David Fuller had the following in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 26th June: Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Comma. "Also, at the Davies Bros Nursery, Burnham, Bucks I saw 3 Small Tortoiseshell together."
Judith Barnard sent this news: "On 24th June, Marbled Whites (5+) were spotted on waste land at the Open University, Milton Keynes along with a Swallow-tailed Moth (it was day flying so looked initially like a Large White!)."
Stuart Hodges was out looking for Black Hairstreak near the disused railway at Steeple Claydon, Bucks on 24th June. "I was much confused because I saw a Hairstreak which settled in the Blackthorn in shadow and it took me five minutes to find it with the binoculars, only to find it was a Purple Hairstreak! I did manage to see a Black Hairstreak as well (see photo)."
Michael McNeill sent these reports:
24th June - Butterfly Valley nr Aston Upthorpe/Aston Tirrold, Oxfordshire.
I visited Butterfly Valley hoping, rather optimistically, to see if the Clouded Yellows had returned after
last year's good sightings in this area. Alas nothing, but the trip was not wasted with good sightings of
Small Tortoiseshell 25+, Meadow Brown 25+, Marbled White 20+, Ringlet 25+,
Common Blue 10, Red Admiral 2, Large Skipper 12, Small Heath 5, Brimstone 3
and Cinnabar Moth 6.
Ewan Urquhart reported the following: "On 24th June I went with a colleague to the M40 Conservation area (Bernwood, Bucks) where we saw between 1100-1400hrs after the sun came out 2 Black Hairstreak, 1 Purple Emperor, 6 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma and good numbers of Marbled White, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Large Skipper. Also a Brown Hawker Dragonfly and a female or immature Ruddy Darter. In Bernwood Forest between 1430-1500hrs: 1 Purple Emperor, 10 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Red Admiral and small numbers of Ringlet, Marbled WhIte, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Large Skipper. Also 1 Emperor Dragonfly, 1 Brown Hawker and 1m Broad-bodied Chaser."
Nick Board sent this news: "I visited the Wood White colony in the private wood at Leckhampstead, Bucks/Northants border (permit required), on Monday 23rd June and was pleased to see several on the wing including these two who were "doing their bit" to secure the future of the species!"
Neil Holman sent this report on 24th June: "A late afternoon trip in dull sunshine to the main ride at Finemere Wood, Bucks on 19th June produced the following sightings; 3 White Admiral, 2 Small Skipper, 3 Large Skipper, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Comma, 4 Silver-washed Fritillary, 3 Speckled Wood and 3 Ringlet."
~ Monday 23rd June 2014 ~
Dave Cleal sent this report:
"Today, 23rd June, I visited Buttler's Hangings, Bucks
and saw the usual suspects,
Marbled White, Meadow Brown & Ringlet also a Common Blue. Also 3 or 4
Dark Green Fritillaries, one that was very confiding on the field strip below the reserve.
It let me take photos both on my phone and compact camera.
Paul Busby sent this report:
"I had an hour stopover/break travelling to and from from North Wales.
Adam Bassett says he's had a rather nice fresh male Silver-washed Fritillary visiting his garden to nectar over the past 2 days (22nd and 23rd June), at Marlow Bottom, Bucks.
Wendy Wilson reported the following: "White Admirals are out at Black Park, in the Strawberry Wood area near Iver Heath, Bucks. I saw 2 freshly emerged ones there on Sunday, 22nd June. I also saw 9 Large Skipper, 1 Brimstone, 3 Silver-washed Fritillary, 12 Meadow Brown, 11 Ringlet and 3 Speckled Wood, but no sign of Purple Emperors on the oaks yet. Later in the meadows at Ankerwycke Farm, Wraysbury Bucks I saw 54 Meadow Brown, 5 fresh new Comma, 2 Ringlet and 1 each of Brimstone, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Large White, but there were no Skippers at all. I am wondering if the serious flooding there destroyed the over-wintering larvae."
Dave Maunder sent this news: "My wife and I were walking down the track to Finemere Woods, Bucks this afternoon, 22nd June and I spotted this rather special aberration of a Small Tortoiseshell on the ground - luckily Jo had her camera ready and got a series of shots before it flew off! Other species seen were:- Silver-washed Fritillary (2); White Admiral (2); Red Admiral (1); Comma (2); Small Tortoiseshell (14); Green-veined White (1); Marbled White (3); Meadow Brown (8); Ringlet (20+); Speckled Wood (6); Common Blue (1); Large Skipper (10); Small Skipper (2)."
Tony Croft sent this report: "I carried out my weekly transect at Rushbeds Wood, Bucks this morning (22nd June) and was really surprised by the explosion of Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Ringlets in the last week and a half. We have just returned from Northumberland where there were, as yet, very few butterflies despite the warm sunny weather but a profusion of Northern Eggar moths flying over the heather moorland. Also at Rushbeds I saw my first White Admirals and Silver-Washed Fritillaries including the one pictured below."
Chris Naish reported the following: "I went to the Devil’s Punchbowl, West of Wantage, Oxon today (22nd June) around mid-day to try to see Dark Green Fritillaries. I walked down from the top along the valley and saw large numbers of Marbled White, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Heath along with smaller numbers of Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and a single Red Admiral. On the way back up the valley, the sun came out more strongly and the hill side facing south had 20 plus Dark Green Fritillaries, although none would pitch so I couldn’t get a photo. At one stage 3 were flying close to me."
Peter Cuss reported the following: "I made a visit on 21st June to the field off the footpath between Mapledurham and Whitchurch, Oxon that had such good numbers of Dark Green Fritillary last year (thought I would keep an eye to see how they fare this year). Managed to see about a dozen. Also good numbers of Small Heath, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet."
~ Saturday 21st June 2014 ~
John Lindley reported the following: "After the Black Hairstreak Field day today, 21st June, I took advice from Stuart Hodges and headed to a local copse to look for more Black Hairstreaks. I saw two Black Hairstreaks (both very worn). Also 1 Comma, 8 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 2 White Admiral, 100+ Meadow Brown, 20+ Ringlet, 5 Marbled White, 10 Speckled Wood, 1 worn Brimstone and 20+ Large Skipper. Then later in the afternoon in my garden in South Stoke, Oxon 5 Meadow Brown, 1 Marbled White, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Painted Lady, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Small Skippers plus 2 Hummingbird Hawkmoths, all on Valerian and Lavender and tonight a male Stag Beetle and a Pine Hawkmoth around one of my security lights. I've seen at least one Pine Hawkmoth most nights/mornings for the last 10 days or so, occasionally 2 and once 3. There must be a breeding population in the mature Scots Pine trees at the north end of the village."
Malcolm Brownsword sent this news:
"Last night (20th June) at 8.30 pm, I walked along the ‘Sustrans’ disused
railway track, now a track for cyclists and pedestrians, between West Hagbourne and Upton,
Oxon. About half way between the two villages I saw about 30 roosting Marbled Whites, including 7
or 8 pairs. All were on the the south-facing embankment (doubtless still warm on this warm evening)
and all were on either Knapweed, about 2cm. below the flower bud, or on a dog rose flower.
Richard Wheeler reported the following: "I spent a happy couple of hours with my family at Finemere Wood, Bucks after lunch today (21/06/14). The weather was sunny, c.20°C with a light breeze. The highlight was an exquisite, freshly emerged White Admiral, which we watched nectaring on the main ride. Other butterflies seen: 5 Silver-washed Fritillary (incl. 1 F), 7 Speckled Wood, 20+ Large Skipper, 10+ Marbled White, 20+ Meadow Brown, 20+ Ringlet, 1 Common Blue, 6 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Small Heath, 1 Small Skipper, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Comma and a couple of unidentified whites. We didn’t find any Black Hairstreak at Finemere; however, on the way home we stopped briefly at a lane-side site recently identified by Stuart Hodges and found 1 Black Hairstreak here, nectaring low down on bramble flowers (my closest contact with a BH to date and a real thrill – see photo). Other butterflies here included several Meadow Brown and Large Skipper, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Brimstone."
Adrian Cadman sent this report: "I thought I'd check out the local elms this morning, 21st June, and to my complete surprise found a couple of White-letter Hairstreak flitting around the top of the lovely elms in New Bradwell, Bucks. Not seen them here in June before!"
~ Friday 20th June 2014 ~
Steve Croxford reports seeing a single male Purple Emperor in the usual territory at the big Ash at the top of Little Wood, Oxon on 20th June. "It made half a dozen flights in the 15 minutes I was there and I could see it settled upon the Ash branches that stick out a little on the right hand side of the big tree."
~ Thursday 19th June 2014 ~
Dave Miller had a late afternoon visit to Strawberry Wood (Black Park, Bucks) today, 19th June: "The overcast conditions only suited Meadow Browns and Ringlets, each of which I probably counted around ten. I saw one Large Skipper and also my first Small Skipper of the year. And that was all - I had to leave as the sun came out at around six, unfortunately."
Peter Law sent this report: "19th June: A burst of late afternoon sunshine at Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon today (19th June) brought out one Dark Green Fritillary in the gulley at the end of the sunken way (pictured). Other species seen but not counted around the foot of the hillside above the M40 were a few faded Adonis Blue, some equally faded Brown Argus, Common Blue including a female with a good blue flush (pictured), Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Large Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell. Speckled Wood and Red Admiral were both seen in the woods near the car park."
Karen Saxl sent this news from the Hagbournes in Oxon: "Marbled White numbers have built up over the last week and I managed to get out twice today, 18th June, morning and evening and both counts were over 100. There are still a few Small Blues around (one egg-laying - I crawled a couple of feet down the embankment to check on the kidney vetch head and there was an egg there) - the Ringlets also seem to be hatching – saw one this morning that was newly hatched and still had crumpled wings – checked on my way back and wings were less crumpled but it was gone by this afternoon. Think the new batch of Small Tortoiseshells must also be emerging as I saw 4 on the local nature reserve on my way back this evening. Large Skippers are also around along with the Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Speckled Woods (even spotted one in the garden on Saturday – small garden, quite shaded but the only garden for 100m that is so it was obviously quite an adventurous member of the species. There is also one Red Admiral that I occasionally see on the path into West Hagbourne. So far I’ve only spotted one Brown Argus - not quite walking through clouds of butterflies yet but starting to get there."
Neil Holman sent this update: "A late morning trip in bright sunshine today, 18th June, to the large meadow behind Cherwell Services, Oxon at junction 10 on the M40 (ref SU555283) produced the following sightings; 2 Small Skipper, 6 Large Skipper, 2 Common Blue, 11 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock, 3 Speckled Wood, 30+ Marbled White, 30+ Meadow Brown and 50+ Ringlet."
Mike Wilkins sent the following: "I did the M40 Compensation area (Bucks) transect today, 18th June, 13:00-13:50, end temp 21.2C. The score was: Large Skipper 5, Black Hairstreak 3, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Speckled Wood 1, Marbled White 10, Meadow Brown 6, Ringlet 2. I met three men from Warwickshire just outside the reserve and showed them the site. They had seen about six Black Hairstreak when I saw them later. It was a 'first' for one of them. All the Black Hairstreak were nectaring on privet flowers. Later on I also saw my first Red Admiral."
Neil Holman's trip to Finemere Wood, Bucks over the lunchtime period on 17th June in hot sunshine yielded the following: 3 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Black Hairstreak, 12 Speckled Wood, 8 Large Skipper, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 12 Meadow Brown, 11 Ringlet and 2 Marbled White."
Steve Croxford sent the following news: "In warm sunshine I took a walk around Rushbeds Wood, Bucks and the surrounding meadows on Tuesday 17th June. Highlights of the walk were two Black Hairstreak near the railway line in the meadows and my first Silver-washed Fritillary seen in one of the clearings near the currently closed car park. Also first for me this year were quite a few Marbled Whites and the odd Ringlet. There were also Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone and a single Red Admiral."
Richard Wheeler sent this news: "I visited Gavray Drive Meadows in Bicester, Oxon on my way home from work this afternoon (17/06/14), spending 1 hr there between 5-6pm. Weather was sunny and breezy with passing cloud. Following my first sighting of a Brown Hairstreak here last year, I found 1 Black Hairstreak. I watched it through binoculars for perhaps a minute, perched amongst blackthorn c.8-9 ft up. I also saw 30+ Large Skipper, 20+ Ringlet, 4 Meadow Brown, 1 Marbled White, 1 Small Heath, 1 Brimstone, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Speckled Wood."
Peter Ogden reports on last Sunday's Holtspur Field Meeting in Bucks: "Tess and I led the walk through the Holtspur reserve last Sunday morning, 15th June. Although overcast and not very warm 15 folks (including little Ellie) arrived on time. We found eleven species, Small Tortoiseshell (3), Meadow Brown (35), Marbled White (2), Large Skipper (4), Ringlet (3), Speckled Wood (3), Common Blue (7), Small Blue (2), Small White (1) together with Peacock and Brimstone caterpillars. Bee and Pyramidal Orchids were also seen and two Botanists were surveying the flora."
Neil Holman sent this report: "During a trip to Buttler's Hangings, Bucks on the morning of 12th June in bright sunshine I was lucky enough to spot the following; 1 Green Hairstreak, 3 Common Blue, 7 Small Tortoiseshell, 9 Dark Green Fritillary, 15 Marbled White, 12 Meadow Brown, 5 Ringlet and 3 Small Heath. I then went to try and find Bradenham Wood, Bucks and got as far as the meadow just inside the first gate where I spotted 1 Dark Green Fritillary, 20 Meadow Brown, 3 Marbled White and upwards of 50 Small Blue."
~ Monday 16th June 2014 ~
Colin Williams sent this report: "I combined some overdue botanical monitoring with looking for Black Hairstreaks at BBOWT’s Upper Ray Meadow (Bucks/Oxon border) sites yesterday (Sunday 15th June). In 20 minutes searching I found two at BBOWT’s Cow Leys NR. I also found 4 in 30 minutes searching just west of our Leaches Meadow site. These were in blackthorn. I also noted that one spent 20 minutes perched high up in a riverside willow tree."
David Hastings sent the following report: "Despite the cloudy weather I visited Bernwood Forest, Bucks today (15th June). In the M40 comp area I saw seven Large Skippers, about six Black Hairstreaks, one Small Tortoiseshell, four Speckled Woods, one Meadow Brown and three Marbled Whites. Moths seen were two Bloodvein and a Burnished Brass. In the wood itself I didn't see a great deal: twelve Large Skippers, one Red Admiral and one Speckled Wood. At Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon I saw at least fourteen Large Skippers, two Black Hairstreaks, one White Admiral, three Speckled Woods, five Meadow Browns, three Ringlets and one Marbled White."
Will Atkinson says he had a very rewarding excursion to Wicken Wood (on the Bucks/Northants border) on Saturday 14th June: "There where dozens of Wood Whites displaying aspects of their life cycle. We saw lots of their charming courtship display and managed to shoot a bit of video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouCnxmKRCBg). We also witnessed egglaying and an unfortunate adult in the grip of a crab spider, perfectly camouflaged in a bramble flower. Other sightings were several Large Skippers and my first Ringlets of the season."
~ Saturday 14th June 2014 ~
David Hastings saw the following at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, today (14th June): "Four Large Skippers, four Brimstones, four Common Blues, nine Small Tortoiseshells, one Red Admiral, at least five Meadow Browns, at least four Ringlets, at least nineteen Marbled Whites, five Small Heaths and two Speckled Woods."
Jon Mercer sent these sightings: "10+ Black Hairstreaks near the pond at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon this afternoon (14th June), also good numbers of Large Skippers, a Brimstone, 2 Ringlets and the usual Meadow Browns."
Brenda Mobbs sent the following: "I popped into Penn Wood, Bucks yesterday (Friday 13th June) for about 20 minutes and saw my first Ringlets (2) of the year, along with 7 Meadow Browns, 6 Large Skippers and 3 Speckled Woods."
Ewan Urquhart reported the following: "Today, 13th June, I went to the M40 Compensation area, Bucks from 1200-1615hrs. The weather was warm and mainly sunny. It was noticeable that the hairstreaks became inactive in the hottest part of the day from early afternoon 1300 until approx 1500hrs when they became active once again. I saw the following over 4hrs 15mins - 30 Black Hairstreak; 14 Large Skipper; 2 Common Blue; 4 Speckled Wood; 7 Meadow Brown; 3 Marbled White; 10 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Brimstone. In Bernwood Forest I saw very little apart from 1 possible Silver-washed Fritillary; 1 Red Admiral and 6 Speckled Wood."
Tim Watts sent this report: "Today, 12th June, Warren Claydon and I found 3 Black Hairstreak on the Blackthorn clumps on the east railway bank of the Calvert Jubilee BBOWT reserve, Bucks."
Steve Lockey went for a short walk from Garsington Church, Oxon on 12th June and saw: Common Blue x 6, Small Copper x 3, Meadow Brown x 3, Speckled Wood x 3, Red Admiral x 1, Large White x 1 and Large Skipper x 3. Also a 5-spot Burnet moth and a Barred Straw moth.
David Gantzel reported the following: "Today (Thursday June 12th) I took a short walk around part of the Grange Action Trust fields between Hazlemere and Widmer End, Bucks. Surprisingly quiet: 4 Large Skippers, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Speckled Wood."
Richard Wheeler made a short visit to Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on Thursday morning (12/06/14): "The weather was warm and sunny (c.20°C). I saw 10+ Meadow Brown, 30+ Large Skipper, 1 Large White, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Common Blue and 1 very fresh Ringlet. Also a couple of possible glimpses of Black Hairstreak, but not definitive to claim as sightings. I also had the pleasure of walking along behind an oblivious fox for a while. He ambled along perhaps 10m in front of me, like a dog I might have been taking for a walk, before pottering off down one of the paths branching off the main ride."
Neil Holman sent this news on 12th June: "During a short visit to Wicken Woods (Bucks and Northants boundary) late morning on Sunday 8th June I managed to spot 1 Red Admiral, 1 Large Skipper and at least 20 Wood White."
~ Wednesday 11th June 2014 ~
Ewan Urquhart sent this report: "On a warm afternoon with frequent sunny spells a visit to Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon between 1530-1700 hrs today 11th June produced the following: 18 Adonis Blue; 17 Common Blue; 12 Brown Argus; 6 Small Heath; 3 Meadow Brown; 1 Ringlet; 1 Brimstone; 3 Speckled Wood."
James Ford reported the following: "A nice warm and slightly breezy morning at Buttler's Hangings, High Wycome, Bucks today, 11th June, with the following butterflies noted: 2 Meadow Browns, 1 Marbled White, 4 Small Heaths, 2 Large Skippers, 4 Small Tortoiseshells and 8 Dark Green Fritillaries."
~ Tuesday 10th June 2014 ~
On 10th June Helen Hyre wrote: "I had been tidying in my garden in Bierton, Bucks today and was packing up at 17.50. A Red Admiral decided my sack was an ideal spot to enjoy some late sunshine."
Tony Croft sent the following report: "At Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon this afternoon, 10th June, I saw several Black Hairstreaks including the attached (see photo), but I also went to monitor the progress of the Brown Hairstreak larva that I’ve been keeping an eye on. I’m pleased to say that it has now achieved what I think is full size and with any luck will pupate shortly."
Marion Gillie reported this first sighting: "Tony and I saw our first Dark Green Fritillary today at 12pm, on Hackpen Hill (Devil's Punchbowl), Oxon. It was nectaring on thistles and we saw it close up first (SU356 846) which is when I was certain that it was a Dark Green Fritillary, the hind wings were unmistakable, and then it whizzed off. Here is a photo, not brilliant as it was taken from a bit of a distance!"
Adam Reid reports seeing a Clouded Yellow on Friday 6th June on the Ashgrave footpath at Otmoor RSPB nature reserve, Oxon. "I was actually cutting the route for the Otmoor Challenge (half marathon) at the time, so I hope it found some refuge in nearby habitat!"
~ Monday 9th June 2014 ~
Peter Law reported the following: "9th June: Following up a first local report of the species on Sunday, I visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon this afternoon to look for Black Hairstreak. Other observers today erred on the side of caution in the visitor's book at 4 butterflies. But I will stick my neck out and say there were up to 8 present in 2 locations. Other butterflies seen by me were Large Skipper (10+), Speckled Wood (2), Common Blue (2) and Large White (1)."
Tony Speight sent this news: "Today, 9th June, while at Sands Bank LNR, High Wycombe, Bucks I saw 2 Dingy Skippers (very worn), 4 Brimstone, a Green Hairstreak, 4 Common Blue, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Peacock, a Meadow Brown and a Ringlet. An unusual mix of Spring and Summer butterflies for this particular site. I also visited Castlefield and Rowliff Wood, High Wycombe and saw a Brimstone, 3 Common Blue, a Painted Lady and 2 Speckled Wood."
Andy Collins reported the following: "I was carrying out a butterfly survey today (9/6/14) with my colleague Leo Keedy on the Upper Ray Meadows (Bucks/Oxon border) and we came across a freshly emerged Black Hairstreak just outside Long Herdon Meadow (SSSI). We had very clear views of it flitting in and out of a blackthorn hedge around 12.30pm."
Joe Harris sent this sighting: "Just to let you know we saw a Painted Lady on the RSPB Otmoor reserve, Oxon today. It was the first we’d seen this year so thought it might be of note."
David Hastings saw the following on 8th June:
Nicholl Williams sent this news: "I went to a field opposite Widmere Lane, Bucks today after work (Sunday 08/06/14) and saw 6 Small Tortoiseshells, 6 Meadow Browns, 2 Common Blues, 1 Brown Argus and 2 Small Heaths."
Dennis Dell reported the following: "On Sunday, 8th June at 16:05, I saw a Black Hairstreak high up on bramble in a private wood in Bucks. The privet is just coming into flower there."
Wayne Bull sent this report: "Sunday 8th June I spent the morning at Whitecross Green BBOWT reserve (Oxon) in the hope of seeing some Black Hairstreaks. Not long after arriving at the pond area I spotted 1 feeding on Dogwood flowers. Another was then seen perched on blackthorn. 5+ were seen at time of leaving. Also 20+ Large Skipper, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood."
John Lindley reported the following: "I went to Wicken Wood, Bucks/Northants border today, 8th June, to see the Wood Whites and immediately spotted 4 in the car park drinking from a puddle. I probably only got about 500 metres along the path, but there were large numbers everywhere - usually 5 to 10 in sight at any one time. Most were feeding on the Bramble flowers or resting on vertical plant stems, but there was also a lot of courtship going on. I tried to count but gave up after 100, so there were probably 50 to 60 individuals allowing for double counting. I also saw 10 Speckled Wood and 1 Large Skipper (Male) in the wood and 2 Brimstones (1 Male, 1 Female) and 1 Common Blue (Male) at the car park."
Rob Thomas sent this news: "A week on from my first report I again walked along the disused railway line from East Hagbourne to Upton, Oxon at 11.00am on Sunday 8th June. It was fairly warm with sunny periods but a stiff breeze meant that most of the butterflies were sighted at rest on grasses and the abundance of wild flowers as opposed to on the wing. The following species were seen: 6 Speckled Wood, 5 Small Blue, 5 Common Blue, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Marbled White, 1 Large Skipper, 1 Dingy Skipper, 1 Brimstone and 1 Large White."
Ben Hobbs reported the following: "At Cholsey Churchyard, Oxon on Sunday 8th June I was surprised to see a new-hatch Small Tortoiseshell, on Oxeye daisies."
Pete Thompson had a Clouded Yellow in his garden at Wyfold, Berks on 8th June.
Chris Hazell sent the following: "I visited Yoesden Bank near Radnage, Bucks on Sunday afternoon, 8th June, between 4.30 and 6.30pm. The weather was warm and sunny with a cool breeze. Species seen were: Adonis Blue 26 (20 males), Small Blue 20+, Common Blue 30+, Brown Argus 6, Brimstone 8 and Meadow Brown 2. The slope looked stunning with 100's of Common Spotted and Fragrant Orchids and a few Bee Orchids."
David Fuller had the following in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks on Saturday 07/06/14: "Meadow Brown male trapped in our conservatory - first of the year for me. Then on Sunday 08/06/14 I also had Red Admiral and a Brimstone female."
The following report came via Martin Kincaid on 9th June: "Just heard that four Wood Whites were recorded by Tony Wood at BBOWT’s Little Linford Wood reserve, Bucks on Sunday 1st June. There were further sightings of the species through the week. Great news as until last year we thought we had lost Wood White from these woods."
~ Saturday 7th June 2014 ~
Andy Hoskins sent this report: "This evening 6th June I visited Aston Rowant (Oxon) north side in bright sun (but a cool breeze), between 6.00 and 7.00pm. I saw 8x Common Blue (inc. 1 female), 10x Brown Argus, 6x Small Heath and 1x Speckled Wood."
Karen Saxl sent this news from the old Didcot-Newbury Railway line in Oxon: "I saw my first Marbled White today, 5th June. When I spotted some knapweed out at the weekend I knew it couldn’t be too far off – just hope that I don’t have to wait as long this year as I did last for my second sighting – think it was nearly a month. The Small Blues seem to be doing well at the Hagbourne Ramp and the Upton Ramp and there are a few Common Blues around … along with Holly Blue and Speckled Woods in places where the bushes have grown up along the embankment. Tonight’s count of Small Blues was 6 – yesterday’s was only 1 but then it was a dull day and I was a bit late getting out. The highest count so far was a couple of weeks ago."
Dave Wilton reported the following: "While out and about doing other things I made a quick pit-stop at Yoesden Bank near Radnage, Bucks this afternoon (Thursday 5th June) to get my annual "fix" of Adonis Blues at their only known site in Bucks. In half an hour of zig-zagging through their favoured area I counted 14 males and five females, most of them just sitting around because of the strong wind. Other butterfly species recorded were Dingy Skipper (3), Brimstone (2), Green Hairstreak (1, very faded), Common Blue (5), Small Blue (8), Speckled Wood (1), Meadow Brown (1) & Small Heath (1)."
~ Wednesday 4th June 2014 ~
Andy Hoskins went to Yoesden Bank, Bucks on Tuesday evening, 3rd June, between 5.30 and 6.00pm: "There was a cool breeze and intermittent sunshine but I saw 1 x Brimstone, 3 x Small Heath, 2 x Common Blue and 6 x Adonis Blue."
Nigel Partridge sent this news on 3rd June: "The Red Valerian in our garden (Loosley Row, Bucks) had visits today from 2 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 1 Painted Lady. The latter being the first since the invasion of 2009."
Peter Cuss sent this interesting report on 3rd June:
"I found a couple of Comma caterpillars feeding on my gooseberry bushes. I have never heard of this
being one of their food plants, is it unusual?"
Graham Taylor sent the following: "Single Green Hairstreaks seen at two sites in Wytham Woods, Oxon on Monday afternoon, 2nd June (Upper Seeds and Rough Common). Also, Small Copper (1), Common Blue, Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, plus numerous day-flying moths, esp. Small Yellow Underwing."
Maureen Cross sent this Field Meeting report: "On Saturday 1st June the sun finally shone for the Adonis Field Meeting on Lardon Chase, Berks. 28 members turned out to enjoy the hill and its butterflies. 8 Adonis Blues were seen and photographed, much to the pleasure of a few spotters for whom it was their first ever Adonis. Butterflies totalled 13 species: Common Blue 12, Adonis Blue 8, Small Blue 10 plus 1 egg, Brown Argus 1, Small Heath 5, Small Copper 1, Large White 1, Green Hairstreak 1, Grizzled Skipper 1, Dingy Skipper 1, Brimstone 4, Small Copper 1, Meadow Brown 1. Moths 4: Silver Y 1, Mother Shipton 1, Burnet Companion 3, Heart and Dart 1 and many unidentified grass moths. Thanks to everyone who turned up and helped to provide a good comprehensive list of sightings."
David Fuller reported the following: "I've just returned from a week in the Outer Hebrides, a superb place for birds. In my garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 1st June: Painted Lady, my first of the year, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Brimstone female."
Nigel Parsons spent a couple of hours at Holtspur Bottom, Bucks on 1st June: "It was sunny, warm and looking great – especially the scrapes where horseshoe and kidney vetch were in full bloom and providing a superb splash of colour. I was pleased to find several Small Blue, including a mating pair. Quite a few other butterflies (and moths) about including Brimstone 5M/2F, Orange-tip 2M/1F, Common Blue 5, Small White 5, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 1, Speckled Wood 1 – also the first Meadow Brown I have seen this year. I am looking forward to seeing how the newly created scrape will develop."
Andy Hoskins reported the following: "Unable to go butterfly-ing in May, I had high hopes for 1st June and was not disappointed. I visited Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks from 11-12 noon and saw 5x Small Heath, 8x Brown Argus, 10+x Common Blue, 1x very ragged Duke of Burgundy, 3x Green Hairstreak, 2x Speckled Wood, 3 Brimstone and 2 Dingy Skipper. I then moved on to Pitstone, Bucks and saw 10+x Small Blue, 1x Grizzled Skipper, 7x Common Blue, 2x Brimstone. After lunch I went over to Wicken Wood on the Bucks/Northants border and never left the car park. There were 5 Wood White (+1 dead on the ground) all enjoying the muddy puddles, and 1x Large Skipper on the grass verge. 12 species in total."
Richard Wheeler sent this news: "I spent a blissful couple of hours at Yoesden Bank, Bucks with my family today (01/06/14). The weather was sunny and warm (c.20°C) and the bank was teeming with butterflies, including wonderful numbers of blues. In 2 hours we saw: 14 Brimstone (incl. 4 female), 5 Green Hairstreak, 3 Dingy Skipper, 2 Grizzled Skipper (incl. one that climbed onto my son’s hand – see pic), 50+ Small Blue, 20+ Adonis Blue (incl. several female – see pics), 40+ Common Blue (incl. 2 female), 1 Large White, 1 Peacock, 10+ Small Heath, 3 Speckled Wood, 1 Large Skipper (very fresh), 1 Small Copper and 1 Meadow Brown (also fresh – see pic). The Adonis and Small Blues were mainly towards the top of the slope, along the path; the Common Blues mainly at the bottom of the slope. There were also dozens of moths about, including plenty of Burnet Companion."
Rob Thomas sent the following: "I walked along the disused railway embankment between East Hagbourne and Upton, Oxon at 11.30am on Sunday 1st June. It was a calm sunny day and I was delighted to see 1 Small White, 1 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Small Blues, 5 Speckled Wood, 3 Brimstone, 2 Common Blue but the highlight of the walk was my first ever sighting of a Green Hairstreak. The first one was brief but unmistakable but then a couple of hundred yards further on I spotted a second one and watched it for around 15 minutes close up laying eggs on birds foot trefoil. To put the icing on the cake I then spotted a pristine Cinnabar moth."
Pete Thompson reports seeing his first Meadow Brown of the season near South Stoke, Oxon on 1st June while attempting to plug gaps in his 10Km square.
David Hastings sent these reports:
"I visited Wicken Wood (Bucks/Northants) on 31st May
and recorded about twenty Wood Whites and two Speckled Woods. The Wood Whites were mostly
nectaring on bramble blossom. Also on the 31st I visited the Salden railway cutting in Bucks.
No Wood Whites or Skippers but I did see two Speckled Woods, one Green-veined White, three Small Whites
and nine Common Blue, as well as quite a lot of Chimney Sweeper moths.
Neil Holman went to Yoesden Bank, Radnage (Bucks) late morning on Friday 30th May: "My visit in overcast conditions proved very enjoyable as I was able to see 18 Adonis Blue, 2 Small Blue, 1 Meadow Brown and 4 Common Blue."
~ Saturday 31st May 2014 ~
Brenda Mobbs reports on the UTB Field Meeting at Bradenham, Bucks on 31st May: "On a bright and sunny morning 18 adults, two children and a baby enjoyed a very successful walk at Bradenham. The target species, the Small Blue was seen in the car-park before we started. As we entered the first field we saw Small Blues everywhere. Surprisingly this was the only species for a while. (500+) Other species seen were Small Copper (1), Common Blue (100+), Speckled Wood (1), Brimstone (8), Grizzled Skipper (2), Dingy Skipper (5), Green Hairstreak (3), Brown Argus (2), Painted Lady (1), Orange-tip (1) and a Peacock. We also saw a number of moths including Burnet Companion, Silver Y, Mother Shipton, White Plume and mint moths (Pyraustas)."
Mick Jones says he's called in twice recently to check butterflies at Salden railway cutting in Bucks on 25th and 29th May. "I'm afraid there are still no Wood Whites to be seen, but still nice views of Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers, plenty of Common Blues and Small Whites in particular. Today I was rewarded by an emergence of Chimney Sweeper moths. I saw two on my first walk westwards along the cutting, but by the time I walked back I was able to count 16. There was also a very obliging Wavy-barred Sable (Pyrausta nigrata). Our time monitoring at this site may now be limited. Some clearance has started in preparation for re-opening the line and new signs have been erected threatening a £1000 fine for trespass!"
~ Tuesday 27th May 2014 ~
Martin Kincaid paid another visit to Wicken Wood (Bucks/Northants border) on Sunday 25th May to see how the Wood Whites were doing: "I found a total of 25, most of them along the main surfaced track which divides Wicken and Leckhampstead Woods. They were more photogenic than on my previous visit and were more intent on feeding than anything else. What was interesting was the great variety of plants they were visiting for nectar: duberry, ragged robin, bugle, germander speedwell, common vetch and stitchwort. One mating pair and also several feeding at a muddy puddle. In the turning circle there were 5 Common Blues, including a mating pair. Also seen Large White, Green-veined White, female Orange-tip, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood."
David Hastings visited several sites on 25th May: "At Otmoor, Oxon I saw two Orange-tips, three Brimstones, three Red Admirals and two Speckled Woods. At Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon I saw one Dingy Skipper, one Orange-tip, two Brimstones, one Small White, one Large White, five Common Blues, one Small Copper, two Peacocks, one Painted Lady, and four Speckled Woods. On the moth side, I saw one Mother Shipton and several Burnet Companions. At Bernwood Meadows, Bucks I saw two Orange-tips, ten Common Blues, three Small Coppers and one Brown Argus. Also several Burnet Companions."
Dave Ferguson sent this news: "A surprise was a Small Blue on 25th May at Springfield Farm Landfill, Bucks. It spent most of its time chasing a male Common Blue, one of three I saw. I couldn't see any kidney-vetch."
Ched George went to Yoesden Bank, Bucks on 25th May: "I visited partly to search for Early Gentian but had no luck. It was sunny but rather windy, so I did not do a thorough search. Sue and I saw at least 4 male and 1 female Adonis Blue, 16 Small Blue, 5 Dingy Skipper, 2 Grizzled Skipper, a male Brimstone, 2 male and a female Orange-tip and a Green-veined White."
Gerry Kendall reports that the weather was sunny but windy for the Field Trip at Aston Upthorpe Downs (Oxon) on 25th May: "Butterflies understandably had a preference for hunkering down in sheltered areas. Just over 100 individuals of 15 butterfly species was a good result for the day and a tribute to the sharp eyes and expertise of the party. Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper, with Small Blue were target species. A very early Large Skipper was a bonus. The full list was: Large Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, Orange-tip, Small Copper, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Small Heath."
Phil Foxon sent this report: "Wicken Wood today, 25th May at 13:00hrs: Wood White (newly emerged) 15+, Green-veined White and Common Blue."
Mark Griffiths sent the following: "I took a trip up to Aston Rowant, Oxon today, 25th May. Probably the commonest butterfly was the Brown Argus, large numbers of them, followed by Common Blue. Then about 10 Dingy Skipper, 2 Speckled Woods, 4 Small Heath, 1 Small Copper, 1 Large White and 2 Brimstones. The most interesting find was on the return, in the gully before you get back to the woodland path, there were two Adonis Blues."
Paul Busby stopped off at Ardley Quarry, Oxon on Friday 23rd May - a cloudy, breezy day: "I saw 1 m Brimstone, 1 m Common Blue and 3 Grizzled Skippers, as well as 2 Cinnabar and 2 Treble Bar Moths before it started drizzling."
Pat Clissold says she saw this Holly Blue butterfly in her garden in Bicester, Oxon (OX26) on 16th May at 11am when it had just turned warm.
~ Saturday 24th May 2014 ~
Tony Croft sent this news on 23rd May: "I managed to find a Brown Hairstreak caterpillar about 20cm from the triplet of eggs which I monitored over last winter at Whitecross Green, Oxon. It’s about 1cm in length which I think is just over half the size it should attain all being well. The surrounding leaves look well munched!"
Liz Wilkinson reported the following: "I've never associated Small Blue with Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks before - 3 seen today, 21st May. Also 50 plus Duke of Burgundy - a five fold increase on any previous visit!"
Nick Bowles sent this news on 21st May: "Cycling across Pitstone Hill, Bucks at 18.30 this evening in warm sunshine I saw a Painted Lady fly past at about shoulder height and head out north from near the summit. Typical migration behaviour. I wonder if this will be the start of a wave of immigrants – unfortunately the weather might be changing and switching to colder and wetter which will probably stop it. Of course, this could just be a released butterfly now that home breeding kits for Painted Lady are so popular."
Margaret Cochrane reported the following: "Today, 21st May, Ruth Jennings-day and I saw our first Red Admiral this year. It was on the muddy track leading to the Foxholes nature reserve (BBOWT), nearest village Bruern west Oxon."
Richard Wheeler sent the following: "I spent half an hour at Hook Norton railway cutting, Oxon on 21st May. The weather was warm and sunny (c.20°C) and I saw: 1 Common Blue, 2 Brown Argus, 1 Orange-tip, 3 Brimstone, 1 Peacock, 1 Large White and 1 Green-veined White. There were plenty of moths about, including: 4 Common Heath, 2 Cinnabar and a Silver-ground Carpet."
Ben Carpenter visited the Holies and Lardon Chase, Berks on 21st May and saw the following: "At The Holies, Adonis Blue (15), Dingy Skipper (16), Common Blue (3), Small Heath (1), Peacock (1), Grizzled Skipper (1), Green Hairstreak (2). Not so much at Lardon Chase with the following seen: Common Blue (8), Brimstone (1), Adonis Blue (1)."
Becky Woodell sent the following report on 22nd May: "On 19th May Alan Showler and I went to Wicken Wood (on the Bucks/Northants border) in warm, sunny weather. Butterflies seen were at least sixteen Wood Whites including two females, five Green-veined Whites, five Orange-tips and a number of Orange-tip eggs, two Small Whites, one Large White, two Brimstones, three Common Blues and one Red Admiral. One White Ermine moth was seen. In the afternoon we went to Salden cutting, Bucks also in warm sunny conditions and saw two Dingy Skippers, two Grizzled Skippers, three Green-veined Whites six Large Whites, one Small White, four unidentified whites (none were Wood Whites), five Brimstones, two Small Coppers, fifteen Common Blues and one Peacock. Also identified were the following moths at Salden: two Burnet Companions, one Common Heath, one Mother Shipton."
~ Monday 19th May 2014 ~
Mick Jones went to Salden railway cutting in Bucks today having heard about Wood Whites flying elsewhere in N. Bucks. No Wood Whites seen, sadly, but a good list made on a walk from Salden Wood westwards to the aquaduct, then eastwards to the start of the sidings. Dingy Skipper (6), Grizzled Skipper (1), Brimstone (5), Large White (3), Small White (5), Green-veined White (9), Orange-tip (12), unidentified White (but not WW) (5), Small Copper (3), Common Blue (13), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Peacock (5) and Speckled Wood (2). Moths seen were Burnet Companion (3), Cinnabar (4)."
Neil Holman sent the following: "I went on a walk this afternoon, Monday 19th May on the main bridleway through Wicken Wood which straddles the Bucks and Northants county boundaries just outside Buckingham. Towards the end of the walk, in the Bucks part of the wood, there is a lovely clearing where I spotted 5 Common Blue and 3 Wood White (photo attached). More Wood Whites and a couple of Green-veined Whites were observed on the return walk. A very enjoyable first venture to this site."
Richard Wheeler sent this report on 19th May: "My friends Abby Fettes, Phil Shaw and I paid a lunchtime visit to the little Blenheim Farm nature reserve in Charlbury, Oxon today 19th May (SP365195). The weather was sunny and fine (c.23°C) and we found a very respectable 8/9 species: 6 Orange-tip (incl. 1F), 1 Peacock, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Common Blue, 1 Brown Argus, 2 Large White, 6 Brimstone, 2 Speckled Wood (and a probable Small Copper, which frustratingly vanished before we could be certain!) We also saw several moths (including Shaded Broad-bar) and a number of damselfly/ dragonfly (including a Large Red Damselfly and 2 Broad-bodied Chaser)."
Michael McNeill went to Lardon Chase, Berks on 19th May: "After a week in the Outer Hebrides with horizontal rain and 40 mph winds it was wonderful to walk Lardon Chase in warm sunshine in the optimistic hope of catching an early Adonis Blue. No luck, unfortunately, but I picked up 24 Common Blue, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Small Copper, 1 Dingy Skipper, 1 Small Blue, 3 Orange-tips, 2 Brimstones and 3 Whites."
Ewan Urquhart saw the following at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon on 19th May: Green Hairstreak 2; Common Blue 38; Brown Argus 13; Dingy Skipper 8; Grizzled Skipper 1; Brimstone 13; Large White 3; Small White 3; Small Heath 13; Orange-tip 9."
David Gower sent these sightings for 18th May: "After visiting Aldbury Nowers, I spotted on The Ridgeway from there up to Incombe Hole, Bucks: 1 x Brimstone, 8 x Common Blue, 2 x Brown Argus, 8 x Green Hairstreak, 1 x Dingy Skipper, 3 x Grizzled Skipper, 1 x Burnet Companion, 2 x Small Heath, 1 x Mint Moth. At Incombe Hole: 4 x Brimstone (m), 1 x Peacock, 12 x Common Blue, 4 x Brown Argus, 5 x Grizzled Skipper, 3 x Dingy Skipper, 1 x Orange Tip, 1 x Speckled Wood. Stepps Hill: 9 x Brimstone (1 Female), 4 x Peacock, 3 x Grizzled Skipper, 2 x Common Blue, 1 x Brown Argus, 1 x Dingy Skipper, 1 x Small Heath, 1 x Duke Of Burgundy. Lastly, at Ivinghoe Beacon: 11 x Brimstone (1f), 3 x Peacock, 13 x Common Blue, 7 x Brown Argus, 2 x Grizzled Skipper, 10 x Dingy Skipper, 2 x Orange Tip, 1 x Speckled Wood, 1 x Small White, 1 x Small Heath, 7 x Green Hairstreak and excited to see 19 x Duke of Burgundy!"
Paul Bowyer sent this report of the field trip to Grangelands Nature Reserve in Bucks on on Sunday 18th May: "A bright sunny day with Roger Kemp, a butterfly expert who has been visiting this area for 40+ years. It was if he was showing us around his back garden. Butterflies identified were Speckled Wood (2), Common Blue (41) all but 1 were male, Brimstone (24) the vast majority were female. Orange-tip(7), Dingy Skipper (21), Holly Blue (2), Small Copper (2), Green Hairstreak (6), Brown Argus (1), Grizzled Skipper (1), Small Heath (10), Green-veined White (1), Peacock (1), Comma (1). Moths identied were Pyrausta aurata (6), Common Carpet (1), Straw Dot (1), Cinnabar (1), Treble-bar (3) and Burnet Companion (2)."
David Hastings reported the following: "I visited Lardon Chase, Berks today (18th May) and saw two Dingy Skippers, four Brimstones, two Orange-tips, five Common Blues and three Small Blues, plus one Silver Y moth. At Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon I saw five Grizzled Skippers, fourteen Dingy Skippers, at least fourteen Brimstones, six Orange-tips, one Large White, one Small White, nine Common Blues, six Small Coppers, three Peacocks, and one Small Tortoiseshell plus at least five Cinnabar moths."
Neil Manthorpe sent this news: "Nothing spectacular to report, but nice views of Speckled Wood and Small White in Keep Hill Wood, High Wycombe (Bucks) today, 18th May. The picnic area is looking good for a wider variety of butterflies come the summer months."
Martin Kincaid paid a visit to Wicken and Leckhampstead Woods on the Northants/Bucks border on Saturday 17th May. This is usually a reliable site for Wood White. Nothing for 20 minutes but once I found one they began to appear. Altogether I counted 11 in just under an hour. Those of you who are familiar with these woods will know that you don’t always know which county you are in, but I am confident that three of the Wood Whites were in Bucks! This is surely our most infuriating butterfly – I tried and failed to get decent photos. I followed one individual for about a quarter of mile waiting for it to settle. It never did! Otherwise all four common whites, 3 Peacock and a solitary Speckled Wood were the only butterflies about. I also heard a Grasshopper Warbler singing from dense scrub."
Mick Jones sent this report: "Small Blues were first seen at Dancersend Waterworks (Bucks) on 14th May. On 17th May, on a 15 minute visit, I saw 6 Small Blues along with Dingy Skippers, Common Blues, Small Coppers, a Green Hairstreak, Brimstones, Green-veined Whites, Orange-tips, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and a Speckled Wood. Access to this area of the Dancersend Reserve is by permit only."
Paul Busby sent the following report: "I visited Holtspur Bottom Reserve in Bucks for the first time on Saturday afternoon, 17th May. Despite being cloudy, it was very warm with a few sunny spells. I saw at least 6 male Brimstones, 6 Small Tortoiseshells, 5 Peacocks, 2 male Common Blue, at least 3 male Orange-tip, a Dingy Skipper and the last butterfly of the day, about 5pm was a Small Blue. Also saw a Mother Shipton, Burnet Companion and a Pyrausta Aurata moth, as well as lots of white moths, but not sure what they were."
Robin Carr reports on Saturday's Ivinghoe Beacon field meeting: "22 people saw the following butterflies at Ivinghoe Beacon on 17th May: Duke of Burgundy 33, Brimstone 10, Small Heath 1, Small Copper 1, Dingy Skipper 16, Green Hairstreak 8, Orange-tip 4, Grizzled Skipper 2, Brown Argus 5, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Common Blue 1, Speckled Wood 1. Day flying moth Mother Shipton 1."
Richard Wheeler says he paid a fleeting half-hour visit to Gavray Drive Meadows, Bicester (Oxon) at lunchtime on the 17th May primarily to look for Green Hairstreak. "The weather was fine and sunny, c.20°C. Sadly no Green Hairstreaks found but instead one each of: Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Small White and Orange-tip."
John Holdbrook sent these sightings: "I went to Swyncombe Down, Oxon on Wednesday 14th May and saw Green Hairstreaks, 2 Dingy Skippers, 1 Grizzled Skipper and a Small Heath. There were also Orange-tips, Brimstones and 1 Peacock. At Grangelands, Bucks on Friday 16th May there were quite a few Common Blues, Brimstones and Dingy Skippers. I also saw 3 Small Heaths, 2 Green Hairstreaks and a Grizzled Skipper."
Neil Holman had a very enjoyable walk around the Small Blue site at Pitstone, Bucks on the morning of 14th May: "The bright sunshine yielded the following sightings: 6 Dingy Skipper, 5 Grizzled Skipper, 4 Brimstone, 3 Orange-tip, 6 Green Hairstreak, 14 Small Blue, 3 Common Blue and 3 Small Heath."
~ Friday 16th May 2014 ~
Andy Bolton reported the following: "SU555655 - Bridleway off Brimpton Road, Brimpton, Berks 16/05/2014: Orange-tip 1, Peacock 1, Green-veined White 2."
Mary Payne visited the Pulpit Hill reserve, nr Princes Risborough, Bucks on 14th May: "Never having seen a Green Hairstreak before, I was very excited to have my first encounter with one at Pulpit Hill. I also saw numerous Peacocks, 4 Brimstones 'dancing', Brown Argus, Common Blue, Orange-tip and many moths, most of them tiny. On May 9th at Dancer's End reserve I saw Peacocks, Brimstones, Speckled Woods and Orange-tips and a Shoulder-stripe moth.
Dave Turnbull spent a couple of hours in Pitstone, Bucks on May 15th: "The Small Blues are slowly picking up in numbers, I guess about 50 seen and the Kidney vetch is just starting to flower in places. Good numbers of Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers but again large numbers of Green Hairstreaks. They are having their best year yet in the quarry. Common Blues, Brimstones, 2 Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock were seen too."
Marek Szczepanek sent the following records on 15th May: "On 14th May I spent a few hours at Ivinghoe Beacon (Stepps Hill), Bucks and saw Small Heath 1, Grizzled Skipper 3, Brown Argus 5, Common Blue 1, Peacock 3, Green Hairstreak 6, Duke of Burgundy 1, Dingy Skipper 10+, Brimstone 20+, Orange-tip 1 and Small Tortoiseshell 3."
Neil Holman sent this report: "A walk around the perimeter of Hillesden House and church, Buckingham, Bucks on the morning of Tuesday 6th May revealed 7 Small Copper while an afternoon visit to BBOWT Calvert Jubilee, Bucks revealed 18 Dingy Skipper, 15 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Common Blue, 6 Brimstone and 1 Peacock."
George Rogers sent this news on the 15th May: "Belatedly, but I now realise this is earlier than on the website. 4th May at Hartslock BBOWT NR some Small Heaths seen while doing transects for BBOWT."
~ Wednesday 14th May 2014 ~
Jan Haseler reported these sightings: "In the field next to Padworth Village Hall, Berks today (Wed 14 May): 1 Small Heath, 1 Grizzled Skipper and 5 Brown Argus."
Charles James sent the following today: "The Holly Blue that has been buzzing my garden in Cumnor Hill, Oxon for days eventually rested (see photo)."
Richard Soulsby sent this news on 13th May: "A slightly unusual, but very welcome, visitor to my garden in Benson (Oxon) this afternoon, 13th May, a pristine male Brown Argus. This is only the second Brown Argus I've seen in the garden since 1997. The spots on the underside of the hindwing seem to have reduced or absent black centres compared with the typical pattern, so the diagnostic colon (:) marking is obscured."
Mick Jones reported the following: "Despite a really chilly wind at the Dancersend Reserve in Bucks on 12th May I saw my first Brown Argus and Common Blues of the year today along with a few Small Coppers. I know they've already been seen elsewhere, but we are at the highest point in the county!"
Emma Ing sent this report on 12th May: "A sunny, if windy, day and two first-of-the-year for me...four Small Coppers nectaring on buttercups near Cumnor Cricket pitch (Oxon) and two Painted Ladies near Besselsleigh Woods, Oxon."
~ Tuesday 6th May 2014 ~
Nicholl Williams sent these sightings today: "Recently I haven't had much time to go looking for butterflies. Today, 6th May, I went to the Burghfield Sailing Club, Berks area again. I heard 2 Nightingales singing and saw 100s of Beautiful Demoiselles. There were a few Orange-tips, Brimstones, Green-veined Whites and Peacocks. The weather wasn't the greatest!"
Dave Ferguson sent this news today: "A surprise at Springfield Farm Landfill, Bucks this afternoon, 6th May, was a very fresh Painted Lady. There was a supporing cast of about 15 Peacocks."
Rob Solomon sent this report: "Seen today (6th May): two Green Hairstreaks battling for territory at Englemere pond nature reserve, Bracknell, Berks."
Mick Jones had a walk along the Salden rail cutting in Bucks on Monday 5th May late afternoon: "I walked from the Salden Wood bridge westwards to the old aqueduct. There wasn't a lot of good sun, but I saw the following: Dingy Skipper (1), Grizzled Skipper (2), Brimstone (3), Green-veined White (2), Orange-tip (12), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Peacock (18) and Speckled Wood (4)."
Dennis Dell went to Steps Hill yesterday: "5th May, 11.15 to 12.45, Steps Hill Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks. Hazy sunshine, with sun breaking through at intervals, 16 to 17 degrees, sometimes breezy. Being a fine bank holiday, it was very busy there. Several photographers, and two National Trust staff carrying out a survey were encountered. Duke of Burgundy , occupying the usual hotspots, in sheltered scrub areas, in hollows and gullies; Green Hairstreak , Dingy Skipper , Green-veined White , Brimstone , Small Copper , Peacock , Orange-tip , Grizzled Skipper ."
Dave Turnbull visited Pitstone quarry, Bucks on the morning of 5th May for a couple of hours: "There was a cool breeze but I was expecting to see Small Blues especially as the first one was sighted two weeks ago. Just before leaving I managed to find just two, close to each other, but my surprise was the number of Green Hairstreaks there. Some of the flowering Hawthorns had two or three individuals and in all I probably had 40 or so sightings from about 20 individuals. A few were egg laying at ground level. Their markings were variable too with one having the typical hairstreak 'w' wing marking which was new to me and another with larger bold white dashes. Dingy Skippers numbered about the same. Brimstones and a solitary Cinnabar moth added to the list."
Brenda Mobbs sent the following: "Today, 5th May, Marion & Tony Gillie & Brenda Mobbs saw a Small Heath below Park Wood near Smalldean Lane, Bucks along with 8 Green Hairstreaks, 6 Dingy Skippers and 3 Grizzled Skippers."
Neil Holman sent these sightings: "Wednesday 23rd April at Incombe Hole, Ivinghoe, Bucks (at the bottom of Steps Hill) where the weather was warm with the occasional bright sunny intervals; 2 Duke of Burgundy (unfortunately would not stay still long enough for a photograph); 2 Grizzled Skipper; 5 Dingy Skipper; 1 Small Copper; 6 Peacocks and 3 Brimstone. Then another trip to Incombe Hole late morning on 5th May in hazy sunshine revealed the following sightings; 2 Small Heath, 3 Brown Argus, 3 Duke of Burgundy, 6 Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, 10 Green Hairstreak, 10 Brimstone, 4 Orange-tip and 2 Green-veined White."
Jan Haseler sent this report: "Seen on Sunday 4th May - Restored gravel pit near Ufton Nervet, Berks: 11 Grizzled Skippers, 1 Dingy Skipper, 1 Brown Argus. Business park near Aldermaston, Berks: 3 Dingy Skippers, 2 Brown Argus, Small Copper, Small Yellow Underwing moth."
Wendy Wilson reported the following:
"On Saturday, 3rd May, Mark Duckworth and I were delighted to spot
25 Brimstone eggs on eight small buckthorn bushes at Holtspur Bottom Butterfly Reserve,
Beaconsfield, Bucks. As we only planted the bushes six weeks ago, to replace some lost during the winter,
and they are all under two feet tall, the females did amazingly well to find them amongst all the other
vegetation. There were at least ten Brimstones flying around so there will doubtless be more eggs. Whilst
there we saw seven other species including 2 Green Hairstreaks and 3 Dingy Skippers.
~ Friday 2nd May 2014 ~
Wendy Wilson sent this update today: "You will be pleased to hear that the two Purple Hairstreak larvae I told you about in my 21st April report have now pupated successfully. They have hidden themselves on some compost under a clump of moss at the bottom of my insect cage. The two photos show their top and under-sides. I'm guessing they are both males, but I'm no expert."
Paul Busby sent the following: "I had a lovely sunny afternoon completing a circular walk in Bucks from Steps Hill car park, down into Incombe Hole and along Steps Hill. Great day for butterflies and day flying moths. I was pleased to see my first ever 6 Green Hairstreaks, including a pair dualling and landing on elderflower trees, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 6 Dingy Skippers, 5 Green-veined Whites starting to pair up, 3 m Orange-tips, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 8 Peacocks, 2 Speckled Woods and at least 20 Brimstones, mostly males but saw 2 pairs as well. Also saw a Brimstone Moth and at least 12 Wavy-barred Sable (Pyrausta nigrata) and 2 Common Purple and Gold (Pyrausta purpuralis) moths."
Richard Wheeler visited Ardley Quarry near Bicester, Oxon at lunchtime on 30th April: "It was warm and sunny, c.16°c and I saw 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Peacock, 5 Brimstone, 4 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Speckled Wood and several whites, two of which were Green-veined Whites. Many of the butterflies, including the Skippers, were encountered on the sunny bank next to the railway line at SP537271."
David Fuller reported the following: "My garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 28th April: both male and female Orange-tip; male Brimstone and a Small White. Then on 30th April in my garden: Orange-tip 2 males; Brimstone male and along the towpath in Maidenhead - Orange-tip male and Brimstone male."
~ Saturday 26th April 2014 ~
Charlie Jackson sent the following report: "There were 3 Duke of Burgundy butterflies on Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks on the evening of 24th April. Also a Grizzled Skipper there. It was cool and cloudy but as soon as the sun came out they were flying around."
David Fuller sent this update: "On 24/04/14 Braywick Nature Reserve Maidenhead, Berks: Orange-tip male, Brimstone male and Green-veined White. Also, in my garden in Maidenhead: Brimstone male, Orange-tip male, Peacock 2 and Green-veined White 1."
Mick & Wendy Campbell visited Strawberry Bank, Bucks on 24th April. The warmth of the sun encouraged 8 species to be active: Peacock (4), Brimstone (7), Orange-tip (7), Dingy Skipper (1), Grizzled Skipper (1), Green Hairstreak (2), Comma (1) and Small White (2).
~ Wednesday 23rd April 2014 ~
Tony Croft has been monitoring a triplet of Brown Hairstreak eggs at Whitecross Green, Oxon for some months now. "I was pleased to see them all not only survive the winter but successfully hatch. Still a long way to go though!"
David Fuller's morning dog walk today, 23rd April along the towpath at Maidenhead, Berks produced 4 male and 2 female Orange-tip all on the wing together. In his garden in Maidenhead a male Holly Blue and a Green-veined White.
Ched George sent this news on 22nd April: "A Holly Blue was flying in Radnage churchyard, Bucks, at 9.15am yesterday April 21st. Later in the day I recorded a Grizzled Skipper and 2 Dingy Skippers at Saunderton, Bucks. The first Duke of Burgundy emerged at the Introduction site yesterday."
Charles James sent this report on 22nd April: "A very pleasant walk through Wytham Woods, Oxon on 15th April and the butterflies appeared after 12pm, including Speckled Wood and Green-veined White. Male and female Orange-tips visited our garden (off Cumnor Hill, Oxon) on 21st April. The male never settled but the female did. The Peacocks are everywhere this year."
David Fuller reported these sightings on 21st April: "Today in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks - Male Orange-tip, Peacock & Small White. Then along the towpath, River Thames Maidenhead - Orange-tip and Green-veined White."
Charlie Jackson says he spent an interesting couple of hours at Pitstone Church End (Quarry area), Bucks on Monday 21st April: "I found a few Dingy Skippers, 1 Green Hairstreak and a Grizzled Skipper, but the biggest surprise was a very fresh Small Blue. Several Brimstones, a Comma and a few Orange-tips, Peacocks and a Small Tortoiseshell were there as well."
Neil Holman reported these sightings on 21st April: "A lovely walk along Incombe Hole at the bottom of Steps Hill, Ivinghoe, Bucks late this morning, 21st April, in glorious sunshine revealed the following sightings: 1 Small Copper, 3 Dingy Skipper, 4 Grizzled Skipper, 8 Green Hairstreaks, 6 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 19 Brimstone and 1 Green-veined White. Also spotted were 2 Wavy Barred Sable moths (Pyrausta nigrata) and 2 Red Twin-Spot Carpet Moths."
Wendy Wilson sent this interesting report: "Shelagh Harlow and I have been monitoring the Brown Hairstreak eggs tagged by UTB members on New Year's Day. Most of them have now hatched and so far we have spotted eleven larvae. Whilst there on 8th April, I spotted this Oak Eggar larva (kindly identified by Dave Wilton) basking in the sun:
"During the winter I gathered eight oak twigs blown down by gales in Langley and Black Parks, Bucks, which had Purple Hairstreak eggs on them. I kept the twigs in water in a cold shed, tying them on to fresh oak twigs with sprouting buds on them in the spring. On 2nd April five had hatched and I was lucky enough to spot one burrowing into a bud. 15 days later it had emerged from the bud and measured 9mm, so I was able to take a photo (below). It is superbly camouflaged, resting on the top right hand bud - no wonder I've never managed to spot one in the wild! Lower right are the remains of the bud it had lived in when it first hatched. 19 days after hatching I now have two larvae, both measuring 13mm (see other photo). They rest all day and feed at night, preferring the flowers to the leaves at the moment."
Tony Rayner sent the following report on 21st April: "A few Peacocks, Orange-tips and Green-veined Whites today (21st April) in our Cholsey garden/meadow in Oxon and then my wife spotted our first Small Copper of the year. We usually do see an early one."
Neil Holman reported the following sightings on 21st April: "A visit on 14th April in the late morning sunshine to College Wood, North Bucks produced 1 Green-veined White, 3 Brimstones (M), 9 Orange-tips (8 M & 1F) and 8 Peacocks and a short visit to Salden disused railway, Bucks revealed 1 Brimstone (M), 14 Orange-tips (M), 12 Peacocks and 6 Speckled Woods. A late afternoon visit to BBOWT Calvert Jubilee produced 5 Peacocks and a Common Heath moth.
~ Sunday 20th April 2014 ~
David Fuller sent this update today: "My garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 18/04/14 - Speckled Wood, my first in my garden this year."
James Ford reported the following sightings on 19th April: "Whilst taking a walk on Wednesday 16th April at Buttlers Hangings, Bucks, I spotted the following butterflies: 20–30 Brimstones, 16 Orange-tips, 7 Small Tortoiseshells, 12 Peacocks and 1 Green Hairsteak. The Green Hairstreak was in the bushes in front and to the left of the bench."
~ Friday 18th April 2014 ~
David Hastings sent this news today: "I visited a rather chilly Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon this morning, 18th April, where I saw 7 Green Hairstreaks, three Peacocks and one Small Tortoiseshell. I looked for Skippers but couldn't find any. For the benefit of the Species Champion, one of the Green Hairstreaks was seen on Linkey Down near the second gate on the path downhill (approx SU727963). Four were seen on Beacon Hill downhill from the second gate on the main path from the car park (approx SU727970), and the other two were at the bottom of the slope (SU725969 and SU727968 approx)."
David & Sally Irven reported the following: "We had a long walk around the area today, 18th April, and saw 6 Grizzled Skipper, 10 Green Hairstreaks and 3 Duke of Burgundy in the valley at the bottom of Steps Hill, Bucks during a brief warm sunny spell."
John Lindley sent these sightings today, 18th April: "A good start to the day with a fresh looking male Holly Blue in my garden in South Stoke, Oxon. off to Hartslock, Oxon in the afternoon - lots of Orange-tips, one Speckled Wood and one Green-veined White on the bridleway, and in the reserve itself 6 Peacock, 10+ Small Tortoiseshell, several unidentified Skippers plus 3 confirmed Dingy Skipper and 1 Grizzled Skipper and 3 Green Hairstreak. Strangely no Brimstones anywhere today."
David Hastings sent the following on 17th April: "I visited Otmoor, Oxon this morning where I saw one Brimstone, at least twelve Orange-tips, two Green-veined Whites, three Small Tortoiseshells and at least twelve Peacocks. One of the female Orange-tips was aberrant, with some orange on her left forewing (see photo below). I also visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon, where I saw eight Peacocks, one Comma and two Speckled Woods."
Nicholl Williams went to Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks on 16th April: "I saw 6 Green Hairstreaks, 6 Brimstones, 10 Peacocks, 2 Commas and 2 Small Tortoiseshells."
Michael McNeill sent this report: "A warm sunny day on 16th April prompted a visit to Freemans Marsh and Hungerford Marsh and the Kennet and Avon Canal at Hungerford, West Berkshire. Butterflies were plentiful, including 15 Small Tortoiseshell, 10 Orange Tip, 5 Green-veined White, 5 Peacock and 1 Comma. Moving down the Canal East of Newbury produced 30+ Orange Tip (mainly male), 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Green-veined White and 3 Peacock. Oddly no Brimstone on any of the sites."
Ched George reported the following on 18th April: "On the 13th April I had my first Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreak of the year at Bradenham, Bucks."
~ 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."
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."
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."
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:
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."
~ 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."
~ 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."
~ 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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
~ 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."
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."
~ 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."
~ 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!"
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!"
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.
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.
~ 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."
~ 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.
~ 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."
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."
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."
~ 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."
~ 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."
~ 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."
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