| Upper Thames Branch|
Butterfly Sightings Archive - January to December 2015
~ 31st December 2015 ~
Maureen Cross sent this report today: "I’ve just looked at the web to see that butterflies have been out and about and thought I would add my sighting of a female Brimstone on 28th December 2015, fluttering amongst the snowdrops and crocus in bloom in Goring, South Oxon churchyard!"
~ 29th December 2015 ~
Pete Thompson reported the following: "Two butterflies seen this afternoon (29th December) at Wyfold (South Oxon), one Peacock (in my garden) and one Red Admiral (next door). This mild weather is ridiculous!"
Dave Ferguson sent the following news on 28th December: "At mid-day today, 28th December, a Small Tortoiseshell was flying around the ivy beside our kitchen window in Beaconsfield, Bucks. What with that and a Cowslip flowering in the garden it's a crazy winter."
~ 3rd December 2015 ~
Pete Thompson reported the following: "Yesterday afternoon (2nd December) I saw a single Peacock [butterfly] in my garden in Wyfold (South Oxon), after a sunny morning it had by then clouded over and the temperature was around 13C."
~ 20th November 2015 ~
Pete Thompson sent the following: "I spotted a Red Admiral today (18th November) in my garden in Wyfold (South Oxon), pretending to be a wind-tossed leaf, despite quite cool and very blustery conditions."
Dave Wilton, Brown Hairstreak Champion, sent the following news:
"Our first organised Brown Hairstreak egg transect of the season took place on Sunday 15th November
at Slade Camp on the edge of Shotover Country Park, Oxford. The nine of us who took part
managed to find 29 eggs in two hours. Although this was less than half the number recorded two years previously
(when we had our best ever result from the site), it was still a reasonable return considering the amount of blackthorn
management which has been carried out over the last 12 months.
~ 13th November 2015 ~
Keith O'Hagen sent this news on 11th November: "A Comma basking in the sun on some ivy this morning, 11th November, in my Milton Keynes (Bucks) garden, joined after a few minutes by a stunning Red Admiral."
~ 1st November 2015 ~
Helen Hyre sent the following on 1st November: "In sunny weather on 27th October, I saw a tatty Red Admiral and a slightly less tatty one, nectaring on verbena bonariensis in Bierton, Bucks. On 28th October, I saw a pristine Red Admiral. On 29th October in less sunny weather there was a Comma in our garden (in Bierton). On 1st November there was sun all day; the pristine Red Admiral returned, together with a male Brimstone."
~ 31st October 2015 ~
Dave Cleal sent this report on 31st October: "I was pleased to see a Red Admiral in our front garden this morning, 31st October, in Burnham, Bucks."
Robert Godden sent this news on 25th October: "It's a bit late but my first Graylings of the year were earlier than the one in the table of earliest sightings - they were both on July 1st at Wishmoor Cross and Surrey Hill (Berkshire). Also, my first Essex Skipper was on June 29th at Shepherd Meadows, Sandhurst, Berkshire."
~ 21st October 2015 ~
David Gantzel reported the following on 21st October: "We had a Red Admiral in our garden in Hazlemere, Bucks on October 20th."
~ 12th October 2015 ~
Paul Busby sent these sightings on 12th October: "I visited a sunny Aston Rowant, Oxon late afternoon today, 12th, for an hour's walk and saw a Small Copper, 2 Speckled Woods and 3 Meadow Brown."
John Clough sent the following on 8th October: "There were a few Meadow Browns flying in the sunny meadow at Homefield Wood, Bucks this morning - not bad for 8th October! There were also Speckled Woods amongst the trees."
~ 1st October 2015 ~
Dennis Dell reported the following on 30th September: "September 23rd - 30th, Aylesbury (Bucks) garden. Until the 26th, 5 to 6 Red Admirals had been visiting the garden, daily, nectaring on the Beijing Buddleia in the morning and the dwarf buddleia in the afternoon, as the sun moved round from the former to the latter. Then suddenly, from the 27th onwards, despite fine weather and plenty of blooms left on the buddleias, the Red Admirals disappeared. Presumably they decided to migrate southwards then? Can anyone else report a similar experience? Since then, I have had a lone Comma in the garden as well as a Speckled Wood and one Small White. Today (30th), a Peacock nectared on the aster with the Speckled Wood. Before today, the last Peacock was seen in the garden during the week August 16th until the 23rd!"
~ 29th September 2015 ~
The following report came from Ian Johnston: "On a visit to the Blue Lagoon, Milton Keynes on 29th September, I spotted 31 x Speckled Wood, 11 x Comma, 3 x Red Admiral, 1 x Small Copper, 1 x Large White."
Nick Bowles sent this report: "I took a walk in the Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks area today, 26th September, and was pleased to record several Chalkhill Blues and some other species. On Ivinghoe Beacon: Brimstone (1), Common Blue (1), Chalkhill Blue (3), Comma (1), Speckled Wood (3), Meadow Brown (3) and Small Heath (4). On Stepps Hill: Comma (1) Speckled Wood (3), Meadow Brown (1), unidentified white. In Inchcombe Hole: Common Blue (2), Chalkhill Blue (1), Brown Argus (1), Peacock (1), Speckled Wood (2), Meadow Brown (8). So, anyone who has failed to see Chalkie this season should find them at the most sheltered and south facing sites for a few more days – perhaps into October."
Paul Busby sent the following on 23rd September: "I saw 2 Speckled Wood butterflies at Waddeson Manor, Bucks during a sunny spell early afternoon, then late afternoon at a cloudy, blustery Aston Rowant, Oxon I saw 6 Meadow Browns."
~ 22nd September 2015 ~
David Hastings reported the following: "Late records from Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, on 19th September: one Large White, two Common Blues, one Brown Argus, one Red Admiral, one Comma, five Meadow Browns (including one male), four Small Heaths and four Speckled Woods."
~ 15th September 2015 ~
Paul Busby sent the following: "I visited Holtspur Bottom Reserve, Bucks this afternoon, 14th September, on a blustery day with sunny spells and saw 5 Meadow Brown, 3 Common Blue, a Speckled Wood and a worn Brown Argus. Then at Holtspur Bank I saw 2 Meadow Browns and a Speckled Wood."
Ben Hobbs sent this report: "Seen in our garden today, 13th September, in Cholsey, Oxon an Elephant Hawkmoth lava."
John Holdbrook sent this news on 12th September: "I visited Watlington Hill, Oxon on Monday September 7th mainly to see the Chiltern Gentians. In the field off the Ridgeway at the bottom I saw 2 Small Heaths and on the hill itself a number of mostly faded Meadow Browns, male and female Common Blues, several Brimstones, a Brown Argus and just one Silver-spotted Skipper resting in the grass."
Paul Busby sent this report: "I went for a sunny lunch-time walk at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on 11th September and saw at least 16 Speckled Woods, a single Meadow Brown, 4 Commas, a Peacock, a Red Admiral, a Small White, a Large White and both a male and female Brimstone."
Nick Board reported the following on 10th September: "There seem to be quite a few reports of Brimstone sightings but no photos since April, so I thought I'd send this one in of a male enjoying a quiet drink in the sunshine, taken in my garden in Chackmore, North Bucks last week."
~ 9th September 2015 ~
Jeremy Soane sent the following: "8th September - I was delighted to see at least 5 Small Heath butterflies (presumably second brood) flying around in the vicinity of the Copper Horse in the middle of Windsor Great Park, Berks, all in good condition. Additionally I spotted a single Meadow Brown and a Speckled Wood in the same general area."
David Gantzel sent these sightings: Sunday September 6th - Drayton Beauchamp and Wendover canal, Bucks 5 Speckled Wood, 1 Red Admiral and 1 male Brimstone. A few Large Whites also seen."
Louise Hawkins sent this report: Today, 6th September, I saw 3 Common Blues, 7 Speckled Woods, 5 Meadow Browns, 3 Small Whites, 12 Large Whites, 3 Red Admirals, 2 Painted Ladies & 3 Small Tortoiseshells all at College Lake, Bucks."
Maureen Cross reported the following: “Over the last couple of weeks I have tried several visits to Lardon Chase, Berks for Adonis Blue butterflies but it has always been too dull and none were flying. Then on Wednesday 2nd September the sun shone and I tried again with success as we found 4 male Adonis Blues and 1 female. Other butterflies seen were 28 Meadow Browns, 9 Chalkhill Blues, 3 Common Blues, 1 Small Heath, 1 Small White. Then the clouds rolled back over again!”
This news from Kevin Clarke came via Jim Asher and Nick Bowles: "This Monarch seen on the Berkshire Downs on 28th August; no further sightings since."
~ 1st September 2015 ~
David Hastings visited Lardon Chase, Berks on August 29th: "I saw two Brimstones, two Small Whites, one Holly Blue, twenty-four Chalkhill Blues, eight Common Blues, one Adonis Blue, one Small Copper, at least fifty Meadow Browns, three Small Heaths and four Speckled Woods."
Michael McNeill reported the following: "A much improved day prompted a visit to Oven Bottom in South Oxfordshire on 28th August. Despite a cool wind, many summer species were in evidence, particularly Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath and Meadow Brown. A long sunny spell produced one (possibly two) Clouded Yellow, one Painted Lady and two Small Tortoiseshell."
~ 27th August 2015 ~
Jonathan Crouch sent this report: "I had some very good sightings of Brown Hairstreaks along the Roman Road at RSPB Otmoor, Oxon on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd August. Four males in varying condition from rather faded & nipped to almost pristine and two females in quite good nick. Also good numbers of Common Blues compared to recent years and quite a few Brown Argus."
Ian Johnston sent the following: "On a visit to the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes on Saturday 22nd August I spotted 1 x Clouded Yellow, 50+ Common Blue, 8 x Meadow Brown, 5 x Gatekeeper, 4 x Speckled Wood, 3 x Brown Argus, 3 x Peacock, 3 x Large White, 2 x Small Copper, 2 x Small White, 1 x Painted Lady, 1 x Holly Blue, 1 x Small Tortoiseshell. Weather: Sunny, 28 degrees, light winds."
David Hastings sent this news: "I visited Yoesden Bank, Bucks on 22nd August. Notable species seen were about eight Chalkhill Blues, two Small Blues and three Adonis Blues (2 males, 1 female). Other species seen were Brimstone, Green-veined White, Large White, Common Blue, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary (a very tatty female), Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood. I also visited the north side of Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon. Here I saw three male Adonis Blues in their usual spot near the sunken footpath. Also six Silver-spotted Skippers and a Clouded Yellow. There were many Chalkhill Blues (males and females) and Common Blues, but few Brown Argus. Other species seen were Essex Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small Copper, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper."
John Holdbrook reported the following: "On August 22nd I went to the bottom of the Beacon Hill part of the Aston Rowant Reserve, Oxon. It made up for the last two weeks of poor weather. The commonest butterflies were Meadow Browns, Chalkhill Blues and Common Blues but there were a good number of Silver-spotted Skippers. I also saw a few Adonis Blues and there was a fly-past by a Clouded Yellow. Mostly nectaring on Marjoram were Brown Argus, 2 Small Coppers, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, a Small Skipper and a Painted Lady and I had a good view of another one later on the Ridgeway. There were a few Brimstones, a Speckled Wood in a small copse and I found a Dusky Sallow moth on a Knapweed flower."
Wendy Wilson sent this report on 15th August:
"Sadly the persistent rain on 14th August prevented the field trip to see
Brown Hairstreaks at Whitecross Green, Oxon, from going ahead. However seven
optimists gathered in the car-park, where we were delighted to find the first Brown Hairstreak egg of
the season on a blackthorn hedge there. There is another chance to see Brown Hairstreaks on 30th August
at Bernwood Forest (see events page)."
~ 20th August 2015 ~
Nick Bowles sent the following: "20.08.15 Scheduled ragwort pulling at our Holtspur Reserve in Bucks: very grateful thanks to the 27 people that attended, including the Thursday Green Team. We pulled most of the remaining ragwort from the Upper Field and Triangle Bank. We had been assisted by a small group pulling the previous day, so there wasn’t a great deal left to pull. It is now ready for Joe Hope’s sheep to come in ten days time. We also cleared some aggressive weed species from the most recent scrape, planted Horseshoe Vetch and Dark Mullein, fenced the scrapes against sheep (with new temporary fencing) collected seed for germination, re-hung two gates that had fallen slightly on their posts and after John Shaw used his brush cutter to clear the densest dogwood re-growth from Triangle Bank, the Thursday team raked it clear. That just left time to enjoy the various Small Coppers, Brown Argus, Common and Chalkhill Blues flying around the scrapes in the warm but cloudy conditions. There were also all the usual Browns and Whites but of the Nymphalid family only Comma was seen."
Phil Shaw sent this update on 20th August: "You may recall that towards the end of 2012 I had 8 species on the same buddleia in my garden near Banbury, Oxon at the same time. There has been nothing similar since until this weekend when it happened again, albeit with a different list of species. This time it was Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Peacock, Large White, Small White, Brimstone and (very briefly) a very battered Gatekeeper. There was a Meadow Brown fluttering around the garden but it did not alight on the buddleia bush."
Charles James sent this report: "A walk on Lowbury Hill, Berks on 16 August. Many Essex Skippers, Common Blues and a Small Copper abberation caeruleopunctata.
Martin Kincaid reported the following on the 18th August: "We have a possible second emergence of White Admiral up here in North Bucks. On 12th August, Tony Wood saw 2 White Admirals visiting bramble flowers by the car park at BBOWT's Little Linford Wood reserve. The one pictured (below) was slightly tatty but Tony says the other looked in near mint condition. On Sunday 16th August, I saw one White Admiral flying along the longest ride in the wood. Through binoculars, it looked to be in good condition. Here in Milton Keynes, White Admiral had a fairly strong but short-lived emergence coinciding with a hot spell in late June/early July. Could this be a partial second brood?"
Colin Williams sent this news: "I spent an enjoyable late afternoon and evening at Yoesden Bank, Bucks on 16/08 in perfect conditions for butterfly photography. By the time I left I had managed to photograph 5 species of blue: Holly, Common, Small, Chalkhill and Adonis! The image below of a female Chalkhill shows very unusual blue studs which I have never been aware of previously. The majority of butterflies were in the longer grass at the foot of the bank. Approx numbers were – 55 Chalkhill Blue, 7 Small Blue, 1 Adonis Blue and 85 Common Blue. Also single Small Heath and Painted Lady. The Great Green Bush-crickets are also still very much in evidence. A photographer I met on site had photographed two Adonis just before I arrived. On the 15/08 I visited Chimney Meadows, Oxon to carry out an evening bird transect. I was soon distracted by the numbers of roosting common blues in the long grass around the edge of the hay meadows. In a two hour visit to the reserve I very roughly estimated 600+!"
Tony Croft sent the following: "While carrying out the weekly transect at Rushbeds Wood, Bucks on the afternoon of 17th August I came across this female Brown Hairstreak. Other highlights were Small Copper, lots of Common Blues and nine Silver-washed Fritillaries."
Tom Stevenson reports seeing a Clouded Yellow in the Ewelme Watercress Beds LNR on 16th August.
Mark Braun sent this report: "My butterfly sighting for Aston Rowant, Oxon on 16th August are as follows: Silver-spotted Skipper x2, Chalkhill Blue 30+, Brown Argus 4, Brimstone 2, Common Blue 8, Small Copper 1, Green-veined White 14, Small Skipper 3, Gatekeeper 24, Meadow Brown 14, Small White 19."
Paul Busby reported the following: "Over an hour walk on a cloudy afternoon, 15th August at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon I saw a faded Comma, 2 worn Ringlets, 12+ Gatekeepers, 20+ Meadow Brown, 2 Speckled Wood, 8+ male and 1 female Common Blue and 2 fresh Peacocks."
Maureen Cross reported the following: "Saturday 15th August dawned bright and sunny on Lardon Chase, Berks for the second brood Adonis Field Meeting of the year. 21 members set out to hunt for our target butterfly but sadly in spite of so many searchers not one was seen. We saw Holly Blue, Common Blue, Small Blue and Chalkhill Blue but no Adonis. Our consolation was the 13 other butterfly species and 3 moths we discovered, with Chalkhill Blues being the most numerous, 54 were recorded by one member. The eagle eyes of Jim Asher discovered 3 Common Blue eggs one of which had recently been vacated. Jim also continued his search later in the day at Oven Bottom (see Jim's report below) and found one very fresh male Adonis, probably the first second brood recorded in UTB. This suggests that they are emerging later this year and hopefully will be on the wing from now on. Butterflies seen: Holly Blue, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, Small Blue, Small White Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Large White, Small Copper, Green-veined White, Small Heath. Moths seen: Silver Y, 2 micro moths."
Jim Asher sent the following: "After our field trip this morning, 15th August, at Lardon Chase where we did not see Adonis Blue, I went to Oven Bottom (about 1km west of Juniper Valley at Aston Upthorpe, Oxon), where I did manage to see one male Adonis Blue, about 50 Chalkhill Blue and four Clouded Yellows - a good afternoon, despite the cloud!"
Dave Miller sent this news: "A belated report for 7th August - I finished work a bit early and headed up to Aston Rowant, Oxon reaching the northern hillside around five. Despite sun all around, within ten minutes a large cloud settled itself right over the hill and persisted until I left at seven. In some ways this was an advantage, as it didn't really stop the butterflies from flying, it just slowed them down a bit! There were lots of Chalkhill Blues out, with quite a few females in there as well, though they are hard to spot and follow compared to the males. Common Blues were also around, though fewer in number than the Chalkhills, and surprisingly I saw only one Brown Argus. There were also Gatekeepers, Small Skippers, the odd Small Heath and good numbers of quite fresh Meadow Browns. The stars, however, were the Silver-spotted Skippers: there were lots of them today in every part of the hillside; I counted up to around 25-30 and gave up. Finally, one added bonus. I disturbed a female Clouded Yellow from the ground, and with it being cloudy at the time, it didn't fly far before settling again."
~ 14th August 2015 ~
Peter Law sent this report: "12th August: This afternoon I checked out the Small Blue site just to the north of Lowbury Hill on the South Oxon Downs, seeing around 8-9 individuals. In the sunshine a good selection of butterflies was flying along the hedgerow here, including many Common Blue and good numbers of Brown Argus and Small Copper. By contrast when I later walked down through the SSSI of Juniper Valley there was hardly a butterfly to be seen. Other species seen on my walk out and back from Blewbury were Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and singles of Red Admiral and Painted Lady. There were plentiful Chalkhill Blue in Oven Bottom SSSI and just 2 at the northern end of Juniper Valley."
Graham Elcombe sent the following: "11th August 2015, Homefield Wood: We saw three very fresh Brimstones today and also good numbers of Silver-washed Fritillaries, although many of them were looking rather worn. Whilst we were there the number of Silver-washeds fell by one! We saw one of two large hornets suddenly attack an elderly Silver-washed, bite off one wing as it struggled and then fly off with what was left of it in its jaws - something I had never seen before!"
~ 10th August 2015 ~
Paul Busby sent this report: "10th August - Mid-afternoon circular walk after showers on a blustery day at Aston Rowant, Oxon. In an hour and a half I managed to see 55+ Meadow Brown, 50+ male, one pair and 8 female Chalkhill Blues, 7+ male and 1 female Common Blue, 3+ Brown Argus, 7+ Small and 1 Large White, 10+ Gatekeeper, 3+ Small and 1 Essex Skipper, 2 Silver-spotted Skippers, 2 Marbled Whites, a Speckled Wood and a Small Heath."
Karen Saxl sent this update on the Didcot-Upton Sustrans route (Oxon) on 9th August: 25th July was a programmed walk – and went well – having said in my last post which was just before that I hadn’t seen any blues, the next day I started to see Common Blues again. In total I think we saw 13 species – including a few Marbled Whites as well as Brown Argus and Common Blues. I’d seen a Small Copper in the morning before hand but it wasn’t there in the afternoon, so I wasn’t able to fulfil a request for a Small Copper ... and as I usually only see a few during the year on that stretch I really hadn’t been in a position to make any promises. There were lots of ‘small skippers’ which all got identified as Essex Skippers – my usual experience though I have seen a very few Small Skippers this year and no sign of any Large Skippers. I haven’t actually managed to see any second brood Small Blues but I have found evidence of second brood. There's not much suitable kidney vetch to pick through at the moment so I've been quite successful in finding flower heads with eggs in them and some heads tend to have several eggs in them. I brought one that seemed to have 4 home with me to try and get a good look and verify that what I thought were eggs really were eggs and Phil Penson supplied the camera and focusing skill which got the photo of the 4 (see below) and Malcolm Brownsword did some cropping etc to provide the detailed view. I returned the eggs to the wild on Thursday evening but still had the remains of the kidney vetch head sitting on top of the computer cabinet and this morning I noticed that there was a small caterpillar on them – which is the third photo. Anyway it was taken out and coaxed onto a suitable kidney vetch flower head shortly after the photo was taken, so I guess there were actually 5 eggs on the head, which is probably an indication of just how little suitable kidney vetch is around at the moment. I have had some funny looks from people and enquiries as I stand on the embankments or lie on the top looking down picking my way through suitable heads for eggs but feel it was all worth it!"
Judy and Terry Wood sent the following news: "We made a late afternoon visit to Bradenham, Bucks on the 8th August and in the hour we had there we saw over 25 second generation Small Blues. As we only kept to the paths in the 1st field we reckon there were probably many more. Also seen were 12 Common Blue, over 30 Meadow Brown, 4 Gatekeeper, 4 Essex Skipper, single Brimstone, Speckled Wood and Marbled White along with Large, Small and Green-veined Whites."
Brenda Mobbs reports on the Field Meeting held at Holtspur Bottom, Bucks on 8th August: "Seventeen people were on the guided walk at Holtspur Bottom. Most were members of Upper Thames branch along with one member of Herts and Middx branch. It was a beautiful, sunny morning and the reserve looked at its best. We saw fifteen species in all – Brimstone, Comma, Meadow Brown, Large & Small White, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Blue and Chalkhill Blue (males and females), Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Brown Argus and a Peacock. It was pleasing to see so many Common Blues across the reserve as well as Chalkhill Blues near the Horseshoe Vetch. A very enjoyable morning."
Geoff Brown sent this report: "On 8th August I visited Aston Rowant nature reserve (Oxon) and saw: upwards of 20 Silver-spotted Skippers (including a mating pair), 4 Peacocks, 2 Brimstones, 100s of Chalkhill Blues, about 10 Common Blues, 1 Large White, 1 surprisingly fresh Dark Green Fritillary plus Gatekeepers, Small Skippers and Small Heaths."
John Holdbrook sent the following: "Yesterday, August 7th, I went to Watlington Hill, Oxon. The largest number of butterflies was by the path that goes up along the south side of the hill by a Hollow Way. Common Blues were very numerous and there were a lot of Gatekeepers. I also saw Brown Argus and a few Meadow Browns, Brimstones and Whites, the only two which settled were Small Whites. I saw just one Chalkhill Blue which was basking on the path. At the top of the hill I saw twenty-plus Silver-spotted Skippers and a very faded Dark Green Fritillary."
Tony Gillie sent this news: "Just to let you know Marion and I spotted our first Clouded Yellow at Otmoor, Oxon this afternoon, 7th August. I see that incredibly, the first UTB sighting of the year was in April!"
John Clough reported that Brown Argus are about in Homefield Wood, Bucks now, both in the meadow and beside the main ride (especially near the turning circle). This photo was taken on 6th August.
Steve Woolliams reported the following: "I saw two Silver-washed Fritillaries in a garden I was working in yesterday, 6th August, in Oxford city. My nephew, George, had his smartphone and managed to get this photo of one of them which was darker than the other more usual orange colour. I wondered if this was the valesina form? The garden was at Fielden Grove, near the Marston Road. The garden is one of many large gardens in the area making up a substantial area of mixed woodland and sunny glades, ideal habitat!"
Tim Watts sent this update: "Today 6/8/15 I visited Calvert BBOWT reserve, Bucks following up the superb info that Brown Hairstreak eggs had been found on the site in winter. I tried for the third time this year to locate an adult, although they've never been recorded in many, many years of surveying on site. After 3 hours of watching the tops of Ash trees and checking all Bramble flowers along the railway bank, and wildlife walk route, I was about to give up when I spotted a single Brown Hairstreak nectaring on a Bramble flower!! This is the first ever sighting of one on the reserve and an important record as it was on the proposed HS2 route, as is the Black Hairstreak colony. It flew high into an Ash tree at the base of the steps up to the railway bank, maybe this is the master tree? The Bramble it was on is the first clump on the left at the top of the steps up. A beautiful butterfly which completes the set of all five Hairstreaks seen and photographed on the reserve this year. Also seen were 2 Purple Hairstreak and 1 Silver-washed Fritillary."
Margaret Price sent this unusual report of an escapee from the Butterfly House at Blenheim Palace, Oxon: "On Saturday 1st August I thought I would have a quick look at one of my buddleia bushes – Loch Inch – before mowing the lawn in my garden in Woodstock, Oxon. Disappointment yet again with no butterflies but I noticed a ‘dead’ leaf on one of the flowering heads and went to pick it up but before I could it moved! I could then see it had legs and a proboscis! I ran indoors to fetch my camera and a jar to catch it in. I immediately e-mailed Dave Wilton, Mike Wilkins and Jim Asher hoping they might come up with an answer, and they did. It is a Kallima inachus, Leaf Butterfly which is found in the tropics. I had already wondered if it had escaped from the Butterfly House at Blenheim Palace and was proved correct when I made contact Monday morning. I was given two suggestions 1. to keep it and feed it on tropical fruits or 2. return it. I decided on the latter thinking that it would prefer to be in a tropical environment and with its friends so it was duly returned in the afternoon. Evolution is just amazing, I wonder how many hundreds of years it took for that particular species to decide that looking like a ‘dead’ leaf would improve it’s chances of survival!"
~ 5th August 2015 ~
Judy and Terry Wood visited Grangelands, Bucks for a couple of hours on the 2nd August: "We saw 7 Silver-spotted Skippers, 2 Dark Green Fritillary and over 100 Chalkhill Blues. Other species were Common Blue, Essex Skipper, Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Large, Green-veined and Small Whites, 14 very fresh Brimstone and a lone, very worn Marbled White."
Tim Watts sent this news on 3rd August:
Ian Johnston reported the following: "An afternoon visit to the Blue Lagoon, Milton Keynes on Sunday, 02/08/15 produced a good number of species including Brown Argus, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Brimstone, Large, Small and Essex Skipper, Large, Small, Green-veined White and Marbled White, Comma, Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Painted Lady, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and a single Purple Hairstreak. Six-spot Burnet moths also seen. Weather: 26 degrees, sunny and breezy."
Martin Wainwright sent this report on 2nd August: "This weekend there were 20 species on the wing in Thrupp, Oxon: Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady, Comma, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Holly Blue, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Small Copper, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper. I also saw a Small Copper by the Thames at Port Meadow. Happy times!"
Nicholl Williams sent this update: "I went down to the wood near Lane End, Bucks again today (2nd August) and saw much the same, except for a Valezina form of the Silver-washed Fritillary. I have also been to Yeosden Bank, Bucks. There are a few Chalkhill Blues now. Also saw a pristine Small Blue and Small Copper. There seem to be more Common Blues this year. Also there are plenty of Great Green Bush Crickets."
Ewan Urquhart sent this update: "At Otmoor, Oxon, between 1100-1430 today 2nd August: Brown Hairstreak 4, Common Blue 100+, Brown Argus 10+, Essex Skipper 10+, Peacock 1, Brimstone 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 1, Comma 1, Ringlet 2, Marbled White 1, plus uncountable Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns."
David Hastings sent this update on 2nd August:
Ewan Urquhart sent this report: "A visit to Otmoor RSPB Reserve, Oxon on the morning of 01 August resulted in encountering a major hatch of Common Blue between the first and second screen with an excess of 200 counted with every individual in pristine condition. Only 5 were females. Also seen were Small Copper 2; Brown Argus 1; Meadow Brown 50+; Gatekeeper 10+; Comma 1; Small White 3; Green-veined White 2."
Nicholl Williams sent the following: "I went down to the woods near Lane End, Bucks today, 1st August. I saw 8 Silver-washed Fritillaries, a few Common Blues, 2 Holly Blues, 2 Peacocks, many Gatekeepers and Small Skippers. On the way back I saw the outline of a Hairstreak against the light. I went around and then took some images and it turned out to be a White-letter Hairstreak."
James Ford sent this report: "31st July: On a windy morning I saw two Silver-spotted Skippers, a Holly Blue and a female Chalkhill Blue at Buttlers Hangings, Bucks. Also numerous Peacocks and Commas."
Helen Hyre sent the following on 2nd August:
"On 29th July I walked on footpaths through arable land north of Wingrave
(Bucks). There were some wide margins with lots of flowers. The wind was chilly but in sheltered places I saw
Small White, Large White, Essex Skipper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Small Tortoiseshell.
~ 2nd August 2015 ~
Charles James spent the morning of 31st July on Greenham Common, Berks and saw two Graylings, one very worn.
John Clough sent the following: "I saw a Clouded Yellow this afternoon, 31st July. It was feeding on white clover, settling only for a few seconds before moving on to the next blossom. It was at about Grid Ref SU805882, just to the SE of a little coppice called Kent's Wood, Bucks beside a field of Phacelia in full (blue) flower."
Peter Cuss visited Homefield Wood, Bucks on 31st July: "I saw White-letter Hairstreak, Dark Green Fritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary (including a valezina), Meadow brown, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Brimstone, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Large Skipper, Small Skipper and Marbled White."
Michael McNeill sent this news: "Moor Copse BBOWT Reserve, West Berkshire. 31st July 2015. Slightly improved conditions prompted a visit to Moor Copse in West Berkshire. There has been significant cutting of the flower meadows, resulting in a big reduction in butterfly numbers, except around the edges which are still active with Summer butterflies. However, I spent some time in the woodland areas and in four separate areas counted 14 Silver-washed Fritillary in total both male and female."
Dave Ferguson reports seeing a Silver-washed Fritillary on 31st July at Little Marlow GP, Bucks and comments that it's the first he's seen at this site.
Dave Cleal sent this report: "I had a walk for about 400 yds along the main ride in Homefield Wood, Bucks this afternoon, 31st July, from about 3.45pm for an hour. Silver-washed Fritillaries much in evidence - without double counting, easily 15. Two females were very obliging on the brambles by the turning up to the right, a Buddleia bush to the south of the ride had 4 on at one time. Biggest sighting for me were 2 White-letter Hairstreaks (I thought they were Purples until I got home and checked the guide book) feeding at the same time on the most obvious clump of Marjoram. One was a bit worn but first ever sighting of any species of Hairstreak for me, so a very pleasing day even though I didn't see any Purple Emperors. Supporting cast of 3 Common Blues, several fresh Commas & Peacocks, with many Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers & Whites."
Nick Bowles sent this Field Event report: "17 persons turned out to pull ragwort at Holtspur Bottom, Bucks today, 30th July. The amounts of ragwort are far smaller this year and so are the plants! The Common Ragwort (actually the less common type on our reserve) was perhaps the usual size but definitely scarce. The Hoary Ragwort is both more common at Holtspur and less poisonous, but so similar looking to the Common Ragwort species that we pull that too. Many of our neighbours have horses and Common Ragwort can poison horses, so it seems the chivalrous thing to do, to ease any fears. While most people pulled ragwort Andrew planted about 20 Dark Mullein (foodplant for the rare Striped Lychnis moth) and 6 Horseshoe Vetch plants for Chalkhill Blue and Dingy Skipper. Then, over a bite of lunch, Nigel pointed out the rarer blue butterflies of the reserve; Chalkhill Blue and Small Blue. We saw 3 male Chalkie simultaneously and 2 second brood Small Blue alongside 17 other butterfly species and three of day flying moths. All these flying among more flowers and less long grass than in previous years."
Rob Solomon sent this sighting: "Today, Weds 29th July I saw this Grayling butterfly amongst the first small heathland block within Englemere Pond nature reserve, Ascot, Berks (possibly a first for this site)."
Graham Elcombe sent this report: "29th July - Homefield Wood, Bucks (nr Medmenham). Despite cool and mostly cloudy weather this afternoon, we saw about 20 Silver-washed Fritillaries along about a quarter mile of the track. Other butterflies seen there were Common Blue, Peacock, Small Skipper, Marbled White (only one), Gatekeeper, Comma, Ringlet, Large and Small Whites. Then, in the 'meadow': Small Heath (1), Painted Lady (1), Meadow Browns, several more Silver-washed Fritillaries and a possible Holly Blue."
Wendy Wilson sent the following: "This morning (29th July) I was delighted to see two male Chalkhill Blues at our Butterfly Reserve at Holtspur Bottom near Beaconsfield Bucks. This is now the sixth year running that they have been seen on the reserve since they returned in 2010 after an absence of eight years. If you are attending the events on the reserve in August (see 'Events' page), you may spot them. Also there today were 14 other species including numerous Common Blues, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers (including a mating pair), a few Large and Small Whites, Peacocks, Commas, Ringlets, Marbled Whites and Small Coppers, a single Holly Blue, Brimstone, Brown Argus and Small Skipper."
Tom Carley reported the following: "When up visiting the in-laws at Maidenhead last weekend I made a couple of visits to Maidenhead Thicket, Berks. In addition to the more common butterflies (Comma, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Large, Small and Green-veined White, Holly Blue and Marbled White (which was on Pinkney’s Green)) on the 18th July my father-in-law and I had several Silver-washed Fritillaries and a single White Admiral plus Southern Hawker Dragonfly and probable Brown Hawker. On the 19th July my wife and I had double figures of Silver-washed Fritillary and 2 White-letter Hairstreaks."
~ 27th July 2015 ~
Tony Croft sent the following: "Although it was very overcast but mild at Whitecross Green, Oxon this afternoon 27th July, there was plenty of butterfly activity. Highlights were two Silver-washed Fritillaries, one Purple Hairstreak and a male Brown Hairstreak on ride-side willow."
Phil Foxon sent this report: "Good visit to Finemere Wood, Bucks yesterday afternoon (25/07/15). No Purple Emperors, but compensated by a Brown Hairstreak on the main ride (SP722 217)."
Martin Kincaid reported the following: "I visited Finemere Wood, Bucks on Saturday 25th July between 3.30 and 5pm. The first pleasant surprise was a Purple Hairstreak nectaring on brambles just before the main entrance to the wood. I'm not sure I've actually seen one at flowers before so I happily snapped away for a few minutes. I was really looking for Valezina Silver-washed Fritillaries today with several reported lately. Plenty of 'regular' Silver-washed Fritillaries flying about and eventually we spotted a Valezina bombing along the main ride, but she didn't settle today. However, the real surprise today was a Brown Hairstreak which we found on brambles in a very sunny patch along the main ride. This was a pristine male, presumably fresh today and untouched by yesterday's heavy rain and it posed beautifully for photos. I have never seen Brown Hairstreak in these woods before so this was a real treat. After a while the hairstreak flew up into oak leaves where it continued to show well. Earlier in the day, whilst working at Howe Park Wood SSSI, Milton Keynes, Bucks I saw 3 female Silver-washed Fritillary (one ovipositing), 1 Purple Hairstreak, 1 Painted Lady and 2 fresh Holly Blues."
Nigel Partridge sent this news: "Whilst out in the garden in Loosley Row, Bucks today, 25th July, checking to see what butterflies were about I spotted this White-letter Hairstreak feeding on the Echinops. A first for our garden!"
Dave Cleal sent the following: "Today, 23rd July, I was looking over the Eton Wick, Berks flood from the Jubilee River path and saw 2 Brown Argus on a Ragwort plant. Circa 8 Gatekeepers and a Comma with several 'White' butterflies were also in the vicinity. A bit later at the Springfield Landfill site south of Beaconsfield, Bucks I had another Painted Lady. This has been a regular spot to see them over the last 3 or 4 years."
Jan Haseler reported the following on 23rd July: "I was delighted to see my first-ever Moor Copse (Berks) White Admiral this afternoon in Hogmoor Copse. Another was seen a few weeks ago in the main ride of Park Wood. Can we hope that White Admiral is following Silver-washed Fritillary and colonising the reserve (or, in this case, re-colonising)."
Tim Watts sent this update: "On 22nd July I visited Finemere Wood, Bucks again. I saw a few high flight views of Purple Emperor, one of which landed 4mts from the ground on a Hazel bush, enabling me to get a better digi-scoped photo. Also a lot of Purple Hairstreak activity with the odd one perching low down, 2 White Admirals seen nectaring on brambles, both worn and fading. A Holly Blue nectaring amongst Silver-washed Fritillaries was a surprise bonus."
Chris Lamsdell reports seeing 8 Silver-washed Fritillary and a Holly Blue at Black Park on 21st July.
~ 21st July 2015 ~
Tony Watts reported the following today: "I've had a male Silver-washed Fritillary making regular visits to my garden in Chalfont St Giles, Bucks. I live near Pollards Wood and Hodgemoor Wood, so I assume it probably came from one of those."
Nick Bowles reports on the Field Meeting to Pitstone Hill: "6 members joined me to walk around Pitstone Hill, Bucks on 21st July and I was glad we had arranged a 10.00am start as cloud was building in the west (though it never clouded over completely before we left at about 12.30) and it was pretty windy on this exposed hillside. Moving from sheltered spot to sheltered spot, we managed to see the majority of the expected species (missing out on Small Heath and Brown Argus) and we also saw a day flying moth I don’t recall having seen before, Oncocera semirubella. Size isn’t everything, as this beautiful but very small moth proves (despite the poor photo!). Butterfly species seen were: Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper (commonest species), Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Ringlet and Wendy Wilson also saw a Holly Blue in the car park. Moths were: Burnet Companion, Cinnabar, Shaded Broad bar, Silver y Moth, Oncocera semirubella and one of the Plume moth species."
Charles James sent this report: "Today 21 July. Finally! Just the one female Purple Hairstreak at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon but it did pose for several minutes about 10ft off the ground. Also, one White Admiral. Silver-washed Fritillaries mating at Rushbeds Wood, Bucks."
Michael McNeill reported the following: "A visit to Lardon Chase, West Berkshire on a warm, but breezy day today (21/07/15) produced 112 Chalkhill Blue, nearly all male, in under an hour. On the return journey on a parallel path some distance away, 52 were seen. The adjacent north facing slope produced only 6. A few days earlier the nearby Holies site produced only 1. Out of interest these numbers on similar dates compare to 2014-150. 2013-50. 2012-200+. 2011-84. Other sightings included Common Blue 25+ and small numbers of Comma, Large White, Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Marbled White. My garden in Upper Basildon, West Berkshire, was today visited by a male and a female Silver-washed Fritillary. I await the visit of a White Admiral which has been a constant visitor for three years now."
Ian Johnston sent this report: "This morning, 21st July, at the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes, Bucks I had good views of two White-letter Hairstreak on the lane at the north of the reserve. Other sightings included a fresh Small Copper, a Painted Lady, a male Common Blue on the wing and a Small Blue!"
Peter Kendall sent the following: "While at Wishmoor Bottom (Berks) looking for birds today, 21st July, I saw a Grayling on a path about 400m on the Berkshire side of the Berks/Surrey boundary. No other interesting butterflies there today. This is the first Grayling I've seen in Berkshire this year - although I've seen them a few km away on Yateley Common for a week or so."
Abby Fettes sent this news on 21st July: "Richard Wheeler and I have just been for a warm (20 degrees) but breezy lunchtime walk from Finstock, Oxon along Patch Riding on the Cornbury Estate and saw dozens of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Ringlets, Large, Small and Essex Skippers, Large and Small Whites, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, several Commas and Marbled Whites, one Red Admiral and a lone Silver-washed Fritillary."
Jane Barnes sent this sightings report: "A visit to Bernwood, Bucks on Saturday 18th July between 2pm and 3.30pm produced many Silver-washed Fritillaries, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Comma and Large and Small Skippers. However the best was whilst viewing a Purple Hairstreak in an oak just before the second crossway with the pond. I had just lifted my bins to get a view of the purple Hairstreak when a female Purple emperor alights on a leaf and stayed for at least ten minutes! Very similar to Richard's sighting in terms of the area and butterflies (see report below) but we were there later than Richard."
Tim Watts visited Finemere Wood, Bucks again on 17th July:
"I had quite a lot of Purple Emperor flight views, mostly high up in two different areas. Eventually one
landed on a Hazel bush 5 mts up and I managed a digi-scoped photo. Also saw a Valezina form of
Silver-washed Fritillary again, this time it was nectaring on brambles on the first path on the left off
the main central ride. Purple Emperor and White Admiral also seen there. Some Purple Hairstreaks
were landing on bushes quite low down on the central ride and I only just missed a good photo opportunity when one
landed on the ground and opened its wings!
~ 19th July 2015 ~
Ian Johnston reported the following: "An afternoon visit to to the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes, Bucks on Sunday 19th July, gave good numbers of butterflies, including: Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Large, Small and Essex Skippers, Large and Small Whites, Marbled Whites, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Comma and two Purple Hairstreaks tussling around a medium size Oak on the green lane at the north of the reserve. Also spotted were Five-spot Burnet and Silver-Y moths. Weather: 24 degrees, mostly sunny, and very breezy."
Sue Bunker spotted this Silver-washed Fritillary f. Valezina at Finemere Woods, Bucks on Saturday 18th July.
Richard Wheeler sent this news: "My family and I visited Bernwood Forest, Bucks at lunchtime today (18/07/15). It was sunny and breezy with passing cloud (c.20°C). Notable species seen included 25+ Silver-washed Fritillary, 6 Purple Hairstreak and 1 Purple Emperor (but no White Admiral). The Fritillaries were especially active around the pond at the top end of the track and we had several lovely views of their distinctive looping courtship flight. The Purple Emperor landed in the same sallow as a settled Purple Hairstreak we were watching through binoculars, remaining perched c.10ft up for a couple of minutes before gliding off down the track."
Nick Board sent this news: "With the weather warm with bright intervals on 17th July, I was full of optimism. Although there were plenty of butterflies around, including an explosion of Large Whites, the Purple Emperor was a little elusive and I hope numbers are good this year. However, on a bridleway close to a private wood in North Bucks I came across two Purple Emperors taking salts and one seemed very interested in staying a while on my trousers (see below)!"
Nick Bowles sent this report:
"On the 17th July I went to College Lake, Bucks and wandering
about in the sun I saw Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White,
Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Ringlet but by far the best was a
single male Chalkhill Blue, flying around the largest patch of Horseshoe Vetch on the site. The ChalkHill Blue
flies into College Lake, from nearby colonies, in most years; but the numbers at surrounding colonies are currently
so small that this male almost certainly emerged on site. The first tentative hint of breeding at College Lake since 2001.
Neil Holman sent this report: "A trip to Aston Rowant (North), Oxon on 17th July in bright, gusty conditions produced 5 x Chalkhill Blues, a couple of Marbled Whites, a couple of Small and Large Skippers and a Gatekeeper in the sunken walk, while a trip across to Aston Rowant (South) produced 5 x Silver-spotted Skipper, 6 x Dark Green Fritillary, loads of Marbled White, Small Skipper and Large Skipper."
Nigel Kiteley visited Aston Rowant on 17th July: "I spent three hours at Aston Rowant amid windy conditions with a few sunny spells. I was very pleased to find a single Silver-Spotted Skipper and surprised to find only a single male Chalkhill Blue. Other species seen were 3 Dark Green Fritillaries, 1 Brimstone, 3 Large Whites and 6 Small Tortoiseshells, as well as several Marbled Whites, Small Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Gatekeepers, Small Heaths and Small Skippers (including a copulating pair)."
John Clough reported the following: "I saw a Purple Emperor laying eggs on sallows in Homefield Wood, Bucks between 1.00-1.30pm on 16th July. I saw the butterfly on one sallow, then it fluttered and glided around and flew off powerfully. Minutes later it reappeared and settled on another sallow nearby, and I managed to get a photo for the record."
Wendy Wilson sent the following: "Langley Park, Bucks today 16th July: On a smallish clump of thistles in full bloom along a sunny ride in Kings Wood in Langley Park I counted an amazing thirteen species. They were: 11 Meadow Brown, 10 Gatekeeper, 8 Large White, 6 Ringlet, 6 Large Skipper, 4 Essex Skipper, 3 Small White, 3 Small Skipper, 2 Peacock, 2 Comma, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Green-veined White and 1 Purple Hairstreak. Elsewhere in the park were two fresh-looking Small Coppers and, as I sat outside the snack-bar eating an ice cream, a Holly Blue came and fed on the drips as it melted."
Peter Sketch sent the following on 18th July: "Some records from the early evening of Sunday 12 July at Otmoor, Oxon. 3 Essex Skippers, 1 Large Skipper, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Painted Lady (moribund and very tatty), 5 Meadow Browns, 2 Gatekeepers, 1 Ringlet."
~ 18th July 2015 ~
James Ford reports seeing three Brown Hairstreaks at RSPB Otmoor, Oxon on 16th July - the first in the country.
Martin Kincaid sent this news on 15th July: "I saw one male Purple Emperor in Shenley Wood, Milton Keynes (Bucks) at approximately 16:10 today. It was flying high between oaks in the northernmost part of the wood - also just about the highest point in the wood. There were also 4 Silver-washed Fritillary along this (little visited) ride so I clearly need to keep an eye on it. Grid Ref = SP827364. I got binoculars on it as it went after a hairstreak! "
Tim Watts sent this report: "On 14th July I decided to try Finemere Wood, Bucks 3-5pm after a spell of persistent rain. Had short spells of sunshine but mostly cloudy. I was very pleased that despite conditions there was plenty of butterfly activity. I had 3 glimpses of Purple Emperor flying above Oaks when the sun was out but best views were when cloudy. One, I think male, landed at the top of an Oak and stayed on guard - I managed to get some long range photos of it by attaching a camera to my telescope. At 5pm a large Purple Emperor, probably female, was lower down in a different area amongst a Sallow tree. Altough it perched I failed to re-locate it. Also seen were many Silver-washed Fritillary including what I assume is the Valenzina form. 2 Purple Hairstreak and 3-5 White Admiral were active, a very enjoyable visit!"
Karen Saxl sent this update on 15th July:
"On 11th July Phil Penson and I
visited a private wood in Oxfordshire.
We were there for about 45 minutes in which time we saw over 2 dozen Silver-washed Fritillary and
1 White Admiral, along with a few Commas, a Peacock and buckets of Ringlets.
There were also Skippers and Meadow Browns around.
~ 14th July 2015 ~
Martin Kincaid visited Finemere Wood, Bucks to look for Purple Emperor on Sunday 12th July: "Together with Richard Perna, I waited in the turning circle for any sign of HIM. Conditions didn’t look great – cool, breezy with the odd shower – but at 12.30pm three male Purple Emperors appeared, sparring around sallows. They wouldn’t settle for any period of time but were very active. 3-4 Purple Hairstreaks were flying between these sallows and mature oaks on the other side of the ride. As we walked back along the main ride to the wood entrance, the weather improved briefly with one more Purple Emperor and several Silver-washed Fritillaries showing. About half way along the ride we found a grounded Purple Emperor feeding on fox droppings. He stayed still for over half an hour giving splendid views and photo opportunities to all comers. 18 species seen altogether including White Admiral and Essex Skipper."
Nick Bowles reports on the Purple Emperor field meeting in Bernwood, Bucks on Sunday 12th July: "24 persons joined me (a surprise, considering the weather forecast). There were several brief sightings of Purple Emperor, possibly 6 individuals altogether, but unfortunately none stopped to be photographed. Other species seen were: Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Ringlet, Red Admiral and I also saw a Comma in the car park. Moths were: Scarlet Tiger, Silver y Moth and Cinnabar larvae. Thanks to all attendees, especially those making the effort for the second day in a row."
David Hastings visited The Holies, Berks on 11th July: "Apart from the large numbers of Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Small Skippers I saw three Large Whites, one Comma, three Small Tortoiseshells, four Peacocks, one Silver-washed Fritillary, one Speckled Wood, seven Ringlets and eleven Gatekeepers. I also visited Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon on the 11th July where there were many Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, Ringlets and Small Skippers. Other species seen were six Large Skippers, one Large White, three Small Whites, two Green-veined Whites, one Brimstone, three Common Blues (very worn), three Chalkhill Blues, two Small Coppers (mating pair), six Commas, nine Small Tortoiseshells, one Peacock, three Dark Green Fritillaries, one Speckled Wood, five Small Heaths and four Gatekeepers."
Richard Wheeler sent this news on 12th July: "Just back after an enjoyable couple of days camping with my family near Uffington, Berks below the White Horse. Lots of butterflies about, including huge numbers of Ringlet and Large Skipper; good numbers of Marbled White and Small/Essex Skipper; fewer Meadow Brown; together with a handful of Large White, Small Tortoiseshell and a couple of fresh Gatekeeper. The highlight, though, was a pair of Dark Green Fritillary – the first one dashing about and having a go at every other butterfly it encountered, the second settling during overcast conditions. No Chalkhill Blue seen."
Sarah Kettlewell reported the following: "I found this moribund or recently dead male Purple Emperor beside the public footpath in Over Norton Park, Oxon, OX7 5PX (51.952599, -1.537463). It is the first time I have seen one on our farm."
Peter Law sent the following: "Large numbers of Essex Skipper are now flying in Burgess Field nature park, adjacent to Port Meadow, north Oxford. I visited there on 10th July. A day later in Finemere Wood, Bucks 2 White-letter Hairstreak were observed late morning by a group including myself who were watching 2 tree-top Purple Emperor.
~ 13th July 2015 ~
Robert Norris reported the following: "A two hour visit this afternoon to Little Linford Wood, Bucks on 10th July produced 16 species: White Admiral (male), Silver-washed Fritillary 2, Wood White 1, Painted Lady 1, Small Skipper - few, Large Skipper - few, Marbled White - few, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Ringlets, Speckled Woods - lots, Small Tortoiseshells, Commas, Large Whites, Small Whites, Green-veined Whites."
Barry Stickland sent this report: "Saw our first Purple Hairstreak (female) today, 10th July, in our garden. It was very close to the ground and stayed for quite some time. Here in South Finchampstead, Berks we have and are surrounded with mature oak trees, so hope to see some more soon."
Will Jobbins reported the following sighting: "On 10th July I found this Purple Emperor on the path at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Denham, at the northern tip of the grounds. Approx grid ref: 51°34'39.4"N 0°29'45.5"W. Time of day: Approx 8pm. it was fluttering its wings and sitting in direct sunlight. It was in immediate danger of being trodden on, so I carefully picked it up and moved it into undergrowth where it still had sunlight."
Richard Wheeler says he had a lovely visit to Bernwood Forest on 10th July: "It was sunny, warm weather (c.20°C). Plenty of butterflies about on the main ride, with Ringlet and Large Skipper particularly numerous. Highlights: 1 male Purple Emperor, 4 White Admiral and 6 Silver-washed Fritillary. The Purple Emperor alighted briefly on the main ride (at the bottom of the shallow ‘dip’ in the ride)."
Phil Foxon visited Charndon, Bucks on the morning of 10th July between 10:00hrs and 12:00hrs. "The location is SP671-249 on the Elm trees near the 30mph restriction sign where the White-letter Hairstreaks were very active. Sightings as follows:- 3 simultaneous (once), 2 simultaneous (5 times) and singles (21 times). The nearest approach to the ground was 4M, so no photo."
Bernwood and Waterperry Wood, 9th July: "Four Purple Emperors seen at various locations during our walk through Bernwood, Bucks plus a White Admiral aberration, probably ab. obliterae (see picture - thanks to Ewan Urquhart for taking the photo). Then in Waterperry Wood, Oxon with Dennis Dell and Malcolm Dennis we were treated to many male Purple Emperor aerial combats and chases over oak & ash territories at the north end of the wood, plus two females low down around sallows. 11 individuals here so a very pleasing total of 15 for the day." Wendy & Mick Campbell.
Nicholl Williams sent this news on 9th July: "I've been down to the woodland near Lane End, Bucks and have seen a few Silver-washed Fritillaries (the most being 6), lots of Skippers, Marbled Whites, a few Common Blues, 1 Brimstone, many Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Red Admiral, several Commas, many Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods and Ringlets."
Steve Lockey sent this report: "A two hour visit to Aston Rowant, Oxon on the sunny warm afternoon of 9th July produced good numbers of Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Ringlet & Small Heath. Also 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Large White, 4 Dark Green Fritillary & 2 Chalkhill Blues, plus singles of Painted Lady, Comma, Gatekeeper & Speckled Wood. Moths seen: Cistus Forester, Purple and Gold and Pyraustra despicata (Micro)."
Cliff Buckton sent the following: "I nearly fell off my chair while enjoying the sun this evening (9th July) in our garden in Denham, Bucks when a female Purple Emperor landed about 3 metres away! I rushed in for my camera and got a few photos before it flew off."
Tim Watts sent this update: "On 6th July I saw 2 White-letter Hairstreak at Charndon, Bucks. It took a long time but I eventually managed a digi-scoped photo of one near the top of a Maple tree. There were 3-4 Dark Green Fritillary on the adjacent sailing club grounds at Calvert. At Edgcott, Bucks 5 Black Hairstreak were around tops of large, old Blackthorn clumps. I used my telescope to confirm the id as they were high up - all the perched ones I saw were very worn and tatty. Also a Hummingbird hawkmoth nectaring on Honeysuckle at 5:50 a.m."
~ 8th July 2015 ~
Charles James sent this report: "Very blustery afternoon today, 8th July, at Rushbeds Wood (Bucks) and meadows. Huge numbers of many species including some White Admirals and one Clouded Yellow."
Andy Hoskins visited Finemere Wood, Bucks on 6th July: "The weather was mostly overcast with a few light showers, which didn't seem to deter any of these species. I saw many 10's of Meadow Browns and Ringlets, 11x Small Skippers, 20+ Large Skippers, 2x Small White, 3x White Admiral, 3 x Silver-Washed Fritillary, 2x Comma, 2x Marbled White."
Paul Busby reported the following sightings: "I visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon on 6th July on the way home from North wales and saw 3 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 1 White Admiral, a Gatekeeper, 2 Comma, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Large and a Small White, 2 Small and 12+ Large Skipper as well as 80+ Ringlet, 20+ Meadow Brown and 50+ Marbled White. Missed the Black Hairstreak seen by another group."
David Fuller sent this news: "In my garden in Maidenhead, Berks this evening 6th July, a male Gatekeeper plus two Small Tortoiseshell."
Adam Hartley sent this report: "A brief visit to Burgess Field NR next to Port Meadow in Oxford today, 6th July, yielded loads of Ringlets (30+), 15+ Meadow Browns, 10+ Marbled Whites, 5+ Gatekeepers, as well as half a dozen or so each of Small Skippers and Essex Skippers."
Bryan Williams sent the following Field Meeting report: "On Sunday 5th July ten of us visited Silchester Common, just over the border of Hampshire, on the field trip to look for Silver-studded Blues. We found two colonies, one with about twenty butterflies in flight and a second where we found eight. On the path to the heath we saw low numbers of Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small Skippers and singles of Essex Skipper, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper and Marbled White plus some Whites that didn’t settle. The weather was very cloudy clearing slowly during the late morning."
Huw Morgan reported the following: "Just to say I had a wonderful sighting last Saturday 4th July at Bernwood, Bucks. Just past the first crossroads down from the car park a pristine male Purple Emperor came and circled me, then stayed feeding from dog dirt for about 15 minutes. Sadly the only camera was a disposable, but if any decent photos come out, I will send it on. My best sighting ever, and one many people can only dream of - so fortunate."
Nick Bowles, Chalkhill Blue Species Champion, reported the following: "Inchcombe Hole (Ivinghoe Hills), Bucks, 4th July. Large Skipper & Small Skipper (but no Essex S confirmed (small-sized skippers were the commonest species)) Large White, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue (1 male) Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Dark Green Fritillary (4 in view simultaneously – at least 5 in the hole), Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Ringlet, Small Heath. This is my first Chalkie of the season and was lurking out of the strong wind near the bottom of the very steepest slope by some sheltering scrub. Only a brief view as it got into a chase with a Large Skipper and both blew up the slope about 20 times faster than I could climb! However, a timely reminder to me to ask that all sightings of this wonderful species are reported to me, please, as Chalkhill Blue champion."
~ 6th July 2015 ~
David Hastings sent these sightings:
Chris Hazell sent this report: "I paid a visit to Black Park, near Iver, Bucks yesterday afternoon, 4th July, which was reasonably successful. Species seen: Silver-Washed Fritillary 6, White Admiral 1, Ringlet 20+, plus lots of Large/Small Skippers and Meadow Browns. No sign though of any Purple Emperors despite a diligent search."
Nick Bowles reported the following: "On Friday 3rd July I visited our reserve at Holtspur Bottom (just outside Beaconsfield, Bucks) and was very pleasantly surprised to see that although it is yellow with flowers they are not ragwort but an amazing amount of St. Johns Wort and Ladies Bedstraw. It was also astounding that so much Yellow Rattle and Kidney Vetch have appeared this year and that there is so little grass. The turf is far shorter than recently and that (plus the expansion of Kidney Vetch) goes some way to explaining that the commonest ‘blue’ was Small Blue. There are small amounts of Common Ragwort in flower now and larger amounts of Hoary Ragwort developing; but at present it seems there is less than in the last two years. Even so we have arranged Ragwort pulling sessions on: Thurs 30th July, Thurs 6th August & Thurs 20th August (details are on the Events page). Species seen: Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Common Blue, Small Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Meadow brown, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Ringlet, Burnet companion moth and Silver Y moth."
Julia Huggins reports on the Field Meeting to Bowdown:
"4th July. Despite a cool, overcast morning I was accompanied by eight people
ready for a challenge on the walk in Bowdown Woods, Berks. Our target
species was the White Admiral but after 40 minutes of walking we were ready to welcome the sight of anything
other than numerous Ringlets! Thankfully the weather began to clear and some sunny intervals brought the
butterflies out and we were rewarded with seeing five White Admirals in total. We were also thrilled to
see at least one Dark Green Fritillary and a Painted Lady. In addition, we saw a good number of
Silver-washed Fritillary and then too many to count of Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Small and Large Skippers
and all the other usual suspects - 14 species in all. A good day.
Angus Mylles sent the following: "Saturday 4th July 15:45- 16:25. Weather sunny. Called into the Tiddington Services, Oxon on the M40 and on the banked area to the rear of the car park saw 30+ Marbled Whites, 20+ Ringlets, 30+ Meadow Browns and 15+ Small Skippers together with 1 Cinnabar Moth."
George Warner reported the following: "In my garden in Upper Basildon, Berks today, 4th July: 1 Large Skipper, 1 Essex Skipper, several Whites not stopping to be identified, 1 Ringlet and many Meadow Browns. Yesterday, 3rd July, on footpaths around East Ilsley, Berks: 2 Large Skippers, 10 Small Tortoiseshells, 100+ Meadow Browns, 20+ Marbled Whites and 20+ Ringlets."
Helen Hyre sent this news: "At Aston Clinton HWRC, Bucks on Friday 4th July, I saw 2 Marbled White flying."
~ 4th July 2015 ~
Wendy Wilson sent the following: "4th July - I arrived in the Strawberry Wood area of Black Park, Iver Heath, Bucks at 9am today and immediately spotted a Silver-washed Fritillary, followed later in the morning by at least six more. I also saw two White Admirals - my first of the season. I spent a lot of time scanning the Purple Emperors' favourite trees but without success. A large dragonfly kept flying around the top of two, but nothing jumped up to challenge it. After lunch I went to the south of the park where I found two more Silver-washed Fritillaries. Other species seen in the park today were Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood and Large & Small Skippers. 3rd July - I saw my first Essex Skippers of the year, one in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks and the other in Gerrards Cross, Bucks. There were probably more but I was not able to examine the antennae of the many skippers there as they were so active."
Peter Law reported the following: "Today, 3rd July, at Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon I counted 7 Dark Green Fritillary while walking from the car park, down the hillside above the sunken trail and then into the gulley at the end of that trail. I also saw my year's first Small Skipper here in good numbers and there were a lot of new brood Small Tortoiseshell. Other butterflies seen were plentiful Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Marbled White, a few Small Heath and Speckled Wood and singles of Brimstone, Peacock and Common Blue. I then went on to Chazey Heath, Oxon to check out the White-letter Hairstreak site, seeing 4-5 in the tops of the Elm trees. Other species seen there but not earlier were Comma and Holly Blue."
Peter Cuss sent these sightings: "03/07/15 and another early start (armed with binoculars and mountain bike!) in search of White-letter Hairstreak. I saw 2 on a good sized elm on the track to Whittles farm, Oxon (OS 672 784) and 3 at Purley, Berks on an elm on the A329 next to the Oxford Road/Knowsley Road bus stop(OS 665 757)."
Nick Board sent the following on 3rd July: "I was out and about in the Calvert area (Bucks) and decided to see if I could see the White-letter Hairstreaks which Tim Watts had reported on recently around Charndon. As I arrived 5-6 were spiralling around the top of some small Elms and I managed to get a photo of one of them to confirm identification although the quality is poor.....next time!"
Nigel Partridge sent this news: "We had the first Small Skipper in our garden (Loosley Row, Bucks) since 2010 on 29th June, whilst today, 2nd July, produced the first Large Skipper of the year. In the attached photo the latter is feeding on Calamintha nepeta."
David Hastings saw the following at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon on the afternoon of 2nd July: "Small Skipper (7), Large White (1), Green-veined White (2), Comma (2), Ringlet (8+), Meadow Brown (21+) and Marbled White (11+). Although warm it was mostly cloudy so not much was actually flying."
David Gantzel sent this report: "I brief walk at Oakley Wood (Bernwood Forest, Bucks) on Thursday afternoon, 2nd July, with non-butterfly friends produced: Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers and singletons of Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary & White Admiral. I spoke to a man who had a large camera who told me Purple Emperor had not been seen so far."
Martin Kincaid sent the following news: "I saw my first Gatekeeper of the year at 8.30 this morning, 2nd July, when the sun was still shining brightly. This was in the woodland area at Campbell Park, Central Milton Keynes. Looked very fresh so possibly emerged today."
Tim Watts sent this update: "On 1st July I saw at least 3 White-letter Hairstreak at Charndon, Bucks. I arrived at 7:50 a.m and saw 3 battling above small Ash tree. After a while this ceased in this spot and they moved 20mts along the hedge where 1 individual guarded a 2mt square area, 4mts up from the ground in centre of a Field Maple tree - this also happened on the previous day. I've spent many hours observing them over the last 2 days and learnt a lot! Very hard to say how many in total as odd sightings of singles on roadside, in field and above various trees. What I found very interesting was many times a single flew over my head after battling on Maple and then onto and around a large Oak. As it got hotter at least 3 were staying on and around Oak, so this species needs to be considered if you see a small Hairstreak on or high around Oak!! On Calvert BBOWT reserve 2-3 Dark Green Fritillary were on an open area and on a wildlife walk track by the railway 1 Painted Lady and 3 Black Hairstreak battling and landing on path side Apple tree next to Blackthorn stands."
Judith Barnard sent the following report: "On 30th June at Rushbeds and Lapland's farm meadow, Bucks we spotted 2 Black Hairstreaks, hundreds of Meadow Brown, Marbled Whites and Small & Large Skipper, 6 Silver-washed Fritillaries, Speckled Woods and 2 Common Blue."
~ 1st July 2015 ~
This news came from Dennis Dell, Species Champion for the Purple Emperor: "A male Purple Emperor was seen in Black Park, Bucks on the 14th June and another near Rushbeds Wood, Bucks on the 15th June. I have spoken to both observers and I have no doubt that they saw Purple Emperor. As we had such a cold Spring these early sightings came as quite a surprise but it's impossible to rule out the possibility that these were the result of releases. No further sightings were reported to me until 30th June when Mick & Wendy Campbell sat and watched the ash tree territory at the top of Little Wood, Oxon for 3 hours, getting their first definite sighting of a Purple Emperor after an hour and a half, followed by several more sightings of 'HIM' during the time they were there. Further sightings from other sites are now coming in, so the season is now properly under way and I would be grateful if you could send all your sightings to me or this website. Thanks, Dennis."
Nick Board visited Calvert BBOWT reserve, Bucks on 1st July: "There were many Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets. Also Silver-washed Fritillary and several Dark Green Fritillaries. A fleeting glance at what I think was a White-letter Hairstreak but unconfirmed."
David Hastings sent this news: "I found a Gatekeeper in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon at 7.30pm this evening, 1st July."
Tony Croft sent the following today: "The highlights of the Rushbeds Wood, Bucks transect this afternoon, 1st July, in the somewhat searing heat were five Silver-Washed Fritillaries, one surprising Dark Green Fritillary, one White Admiral and a lovely fresh looking Gatekeeper."
Andy Barnsley sent this report: "30th June: 3 Black Hairstreak (M40 compensation area), plus many Marbled White, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper and 13 Small Tortoiseshell. Also, at various stages along the ride to the M40 6 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Comma, 2 Red Admiral, plus many Large Skipper, Ringlet and Meadow Brown. 1 possible White Admiral but it shot off into wood before I confirmed the ID."
Peter Cuss made an early start on 30th June looking for White-letter Hairstreak: "I found 2 White-letter Hairstreaks at Maidenhead Thicket, Berks. After that I headed off to one of the sites I had earmarked for searching and found a new colony (well, new to me!). 5 was the most I saw at any one time but I suspect there was a lot more than that. Looking through the binoculars I could see them at the top of the elm in little spiralling flights in twos and threes. The site is situated on the road between Broadplat and Badgemore, Oxon near Henley on three large roadside elms at the entrance to New Farm (OS 735 835)."
Martin Kincaid sent this report on 30th June: "The last day of June and finally the Black Hairstreak condescends to appear in Milton Keynes! I visited Howe Park Wood SSSI (MK, Bucks) this morning from 11am until 12.50pm. After just over 10 mins a single Black Hairstreak spun up from blackthorn and into a mature ash tree just set back from the main blackthorn thicket. I got two more views in the next 45 minutes, I think of the same individual. I then walked through the woodland seeing, amongst the usual species, some fresh Commas and another Black Hairstreak. Yesterday (29th June), Adrian Cadman and myself spent half an hour watching 4-5 White-letter Hairstreaks jinking around elms in New Bradwell Cemetery, Milton Keynes. "
~ 29th June 2015 ~
This report came from Chris Hazell: "On Saturday morning 27th June I spent a few hours at Otmoor RSPB, Oxon and saw 4 Black Hairsteaks. Also several Large Skippers. Later I paid a visit to Aston Rowant, Oxon and saw 2 Dark-Green Fritillaries and 10+ Marbled White."
Tim Watts sent this update: "Today 29th June I saw 4 White-letter Hairstreak at a location new to me, they were battling and resting on a small Ash tree, next to Elms along the roadside next to Charndon playing field at the west end of Calvert sailing lake, Bucks. I clinched the id by using my telescope when they landed. I saw singles away from this Ash, in the playing field and further up the road so there may be more. 1 Dark Green Fritillary seen here and 5-6 earlier on an open area nearby. I also glimpsed two presumed White-letter Hairstreak above the small Elms in the traditional spot right next to the Calvert BBOWT reserve."
Jane Barnes reported the following: "A walk after the rain (13:15) on Sunday 28th June through Rushbeds Wood (Bucks) produced 1 Silver-washed fritillary and numerous Ringlets and a few Meadow Browns. The highlight however was the BBOWT meadow with good numbers of Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns plus a couple of Large Skippers. Finemere Wood, Bucks produced a few Large Skippers, Ringlets and Meadow Browns also but it had become cloudy by this time."
Paul Busby sent this news: "Whilst camping at Chalfont Heights Scout Camp (TQ 0090), Bucks on 28th June I was surprised to see a Marbled White settle in our woodland clearing. I also saw a Meadow Brown and a Speckled Wood."
Ian Johnston sent this report: "On a morning visit to the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes on Saturday, 27/06/2015, I sighted: 100+ Ringlet, 100+ Meadow Brown, 78 x Marbled White, 41 x Large Skipper, 8 x Small Tortoiseshell, 6 x Common Blue, 5 x Small Heath, 2 x Small Skipper, 2 x Large White, 1 x Red Admiral, 1 x Small Blue (also dozens of Burnet Companion and Latticed Heath moths). Weather: 20 degrees, mostly sunny."
Tim Watts sent the following report: "Today, 27th June, I spotted a Purple Hairstreak in a small Ash tree on the Calvert BBOWT reserve, Bucks. It stayed perched for 15 minutes and I took some digi-scoped photos of it. 1 Black Hairstreak and 1 Red Admiral in the same spot on the east bank by the railway line (HS2 route). 1 Dark Green Fritillary bombing around the car park/main entrance area on the reserve and 3 on an open area of the Sailing lake grounds. I also spotted a 'hairstreak' above Ash at Charndon playing field at far end of sailing lake - there are a lot of Elm trees bordering the field and roadside and I suspect it may have been a White-letter Hairstreak."
Wendy Wilson sent this Field Meeting report: "The six members who came to the field meeting on 27th June at Iver in Bucks were delighted to see six freshly emerged White-letter Hairstreaks on two clumps of elm trees to the north of the village. They have been seen there in the past but not since 2011. We also saw 13 other butterfly species, Large and Small Skippers, Large and Small Whites, Small Copper, Peacock (larvae), Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood and 3 moth species, Burnet Companion, Yellow Shell and Cinnabar (adult and larvae). The lovely weather made it a most enjoyable event."
Peter Cuss reported the following: "I saw two White-letter Hairstreak at the Pack Saddle Pub site today (26/6/15, Oxon - SU 695 770). I have been looking on a daily basis since mid June so think they must be freshly emerged! These two seemed to be favouring an elm slightly further down the hedgerow than previous years( the original one is looking a bit sick now). They wouldn't come down and pose for the camera so only managed to get a rather rubbish long distance shot!!"
~ 25th June 2015 ~
Nick Board sent the following on 25th June: "I was enjoying the company of a few Black Hairstreaks this morning between Calvert and Finmere Wood, Bucks when the reality of the situation suddenly struck home. Within half a mile beyond the Blackthorn this steel faced, half constructed monstrosity seemed to constantly rear its ugly head and, with HS2 coming, how long will it be before this colony can no longer exist? Sobering thought!"
Charles James reported these sightings on 25th June: "Black Hairstreaks seen at Bernwood Forest, Bucks and Whitecross Green Woods. Enthusiasts from Birmingham, Coventry and Dorset (who spotted the female laying lots of eggs). Also Marbled Whites, Painted Lady, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Common Blues (all worn), Large Skippers, Green-veined Whites."
Martin Townsend reports seeing a single male Silver-washed Fritillary in Moor Copse BBOWT Reserve, Berks on 24th June."
Michael McNeill sent this report on 24th June: "A stroll through the meadows at Moor Copse, West Berkshire, on a warm sunny day, produced good numbers of summer butterflies including Meadow Brown (50+), Marbled White (50+), Ringlet 8, Common Blue 8, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Speckled Wood 1, Large Skipper 15, Small Skipper 3 and 6-spot Burnet moth 8."
Dave Cleal sent this news on 24th June: "Another Painted Lady report. Two seen on the track to Cookham from Summerlease Gravel Pit, Maidenhead, Berks."
Alan Wilkinson reported the following on 24th June: "My sightings from a visit to Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon today between 12 and 3: 12+ Black Hairstreaks in 3 locations, White Admiral 1, Marbled White 6+, Large Skipper 6+, Common Blue 4, Meadow Brown (common), Speckled Wood and a Beautiful Damselfly."
Adrian Cadman sent this report on 24th June: "I popped along to Bradwell, Bucks this afternoon (16:00) and was delighted to see at least 2 White-letter Hairstreaks chasing around the tops of the elms during the brief sunny interludes. Even though it was warm, flying was soon curtailed when the sun went in."
Tony Croft sent the following on 24th June: "Becky Woodell and I had a walk through Rushbeds Wood, Bucks today and amongst the many butterflies we saw were several Black Hairstreaks and our first Silver-Washed Fritillary of the year."
Michael McNeill reported these sightings on 23rd June: "A pleasant surprise in my garden today in Upper Basildon, West Berkshire, when just after lunch I noticed five Small Tortoiseshells on my Erisymum and on closer inspection a very fresh Dark Green Fritillary. The underwings were particularly well marked, but unfortunately, by the time I had retrieved my camera, it had moved on!"
Alan Neale sent this report: "Today, 23rd June, I saw Marbled Whites and Large Skippers at Park Howe wood, Milton Keynes, Bucks."
Dave Wilton sent the following: "While attempting the Coombe Hill, Bucks butterfly transect this afternoon (Monday 22nd June) in rather marginal conditions, I came across this fresh male Dark Green Fritillary. The lack of sunshine at the time I saw it did at least mean that it remained co-operative towards the camera for several minutes and wasn’t charging around as they usually do this early in the season!"
Ched George visited Bradenham Butterfly Bank, Bucks on Friday June 19th: "I recorded my first Dark Green Fritillary of the year along with a few Common Blue, Small Blue, Marbled White and Meadow Browns, plus 1 male Brimstone and a Large Skipper."
David Fuller sent the following news: "On 17th June at Knowl Hill Common, Berks SU824795 (a new site for me) I recorded: Small Heath 13, Meadow Brown 23, Small Tortoiseshell 3, Small Copper 3, Brown Argus 1, Common Blue 2, Large Skipper 2 and moths: Silver Y 1, Burnet Companion 4, Straw Dot 1, Agapeta zoegana 1, Forester Moth 67. A good afternoon!"
~ 21st June 2015 ~
David Hastings reported the following: "Seen today (21st June) at Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon were at least thirteen Large Skippers, four Common Blues, seven Black Hairstreaks, four Marbled Whites, at least fifteen Meadow Browns, one Ringlet and three Speckled Woods. I also visited Otmoor, Oxon where I saw six Large Skippers, three Green-veined Whites, five Black Hairstreaks, four Meadow Browns and six Speckled Woods."
Miles Attenborough sent this sighting: "Saturday 20th June. Visited Finemere Wood, Bucks in cloudy conditions between 9.00 and 11.00 and met a fellow enthusiast who kindly showed me two Black Hairstreak pupae. I also saw 3 Meadow Browns. Then I visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon in cloudy conditions from 11.30 till 1.30 despite the poor weather the very short bursts of sun allowed glimpses of 2 Black Hairstreak flitting in the tree tops and 5 Black Hairstreaks in the trees above brambles. Also 1 Cinnabar Moth and 4 Meadow Browns. Then visited Bernwood Forest M40 enclosure (Bucks) between 3.00 and 4.30 in worsening weather saw 2 Black Hairsteaks, 2 Marbled White, 4 Meadow Browns, 2 Large Skippers."
Dave Cleal reported the following: "Just a quick report - a Painted Lady feeding on clover at Dorney Lakes, Bucks on 20th June."
Warren Claydon sent this report: "Had 5 Black Hairstreaks at Calvert BBOWT Reserve, Bucks on 19th June also on the sailing lake Marbled White, Small Skipper, 2 Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, 12 Large Skipper, 4 Meadow Brown, 20 Common Blue, Brimstone, Painted Lady, 10 Speckled Wood and 4 Small Heath."
Jim Asher sent this news: "I saw this Painted Lady today (19th June) at Aston Upthorpe, Oxon – part of an invasion force?"
Judith Barnard sent the following: "Saw Large Skipper, Large White, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood in Kingston, Milton Keynes (Bucks) on 19th June. Also saw a Small Egret. Also Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown in Park Howe wood and Speckled Wood seen in Shenley Wood, both in Milton Keynes."
Tim Watts sent the following news: "After 3 unsuccessful attempts in previous days I got 2 Black Hairstreak on Calvert BBOWT reserve, Bucks on 18/06/15. Also saw my first Painted Lady and 2 Cinnabar moths."
~ 18th June 2015 ~
Malcolm and Valerie Brownsword visited the BBOWT reserve Aston Clinton Rag Pits near Wendover, Bucks on June 18th. "We went mainly to see the orchids and saw 2 Common Blues, 1 Meadow Brown and 3 Painted Ladies. Could this be the start of the promised ‘invasion’ of the latter species?"
David White reported the following: "On a visit to Warburg Reserve, Oxon today, 17th June, we were pleased to find Green Hairstreak, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Comma, Marbled Whites and Small Heath."
Ian Stevenson sent this news: "Just wanted to let you know that today (17/06/2015) a team from BBOWT saw our first Silver-studded Blue of the year at Wildmoor Heath, Berks. It was a lovely fresh male. This was on the first of our ‘timed counts’ for the species, which makes me think we should start a bit earlier next year. A quiet butterfly day overall despite the sun so non-butterfly sightings included a Nightjar, Adders, Grass snake, Dartford Warblers and lots of Keeled skimmers."
Andy Smith sent this report: "I visited Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon yesterday (16/06/15) and found a pair of Black Hairstreaks in the entrance bushes to the pond area."
Neil Holman sent the following report: "During a visit to Buttlers Hangings, West Wycombe, Bucks on Tuesday 16th June in late morning bright sunshine we managed to spot the following; 4 x Brimstone; 2 x Large Skipper; 2 x Small Tortoiseshell; 3 x Dark Green Fritillary; 7 x Marbled White; 15 x Meadow Brown; 3 x Small Heath and 4 x Ringlet."
~ 17th June 2015 ~
Ian Johnston paid an afternoon visit to the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes on 16th June: "I sighted: 1 x Marbled White (my first of the season), 7 x Meadow Brown, 6 x Speckled Wood, 4 x Large Skipper, 2 x Red Admiral, 9 x Small Blue, dozens of Common Blue, 1 x Peacock, 1 x Large White. Also spotted were 2 x Latticed Heath moths, 1 x Common Carpet, 1 x Cinnabar, 1 x Mint moth and dozens of Burnet Companions. Weather 22 degrees, partial cloud. One of the Common Blues, a female, appears to be an aberration (see photo)."
Karen Saxl sent this update for the railway embankment from Didcot to Upton, Oxon: "Managed to get out about 1700 this evening (16th June) to see what was about - some Large Skippers, some Common Blues, one Painted Lady that seems to have taken up residence near some benches and a good number of Marbled Whites (one place where there was a moment of walking through a cloud of butterflies), but the find of the day was my first Ringlet of the year - fresh out of the box again. Small Blues seem to be suffering a bit this year from the winds. Seeing more at the Upton end of the route and didn't make it that far today - but still seeing a few - hoping that the wind may drop for a while and I'll see a few more around soon. It is starting to feel a bit more summery - about time too as it's less than a week to the solstice!"
Tony & Marion Gillie saw two Black Hairstreak on the morning of 16th June in the M40 compensation area, Bucks.
Stuart Hodges, Black Hairstreak Champion, sent this update on 17th June: "The Black Hairstreak was seen at two sites on Monday 15th June - the M40 Compensation area and Whitecross Green Wood - two butterflies at each site. It was also recorded at two other sites on Tuesday 16th. We expect numbers to peak by next week".
Dennis Dell sent this news on 15th June: "My garden in Aylesbury, Bucks today: Bowles Mauve is proving a very attractive nectar source. Bees, a Hummingbird Hawk moth, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone were all feeding on this plant."
Steve Lockey recorded 10 species of butterfly and 3 species of moth in Garsington, Oxon on 15th June: Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Brimstone, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper and Brown Argus. Moths were: Yellow Shell, Straw Dot, Silver-ground Carpet.
Francis Gomme sent this report on 15th June: "We have just returned from Italy but immediately before our departure (Saturday 6th June) I saw my first Small Skipper of the year in a meadow we manage between Princes Risborough and Whiteleaf, Bucks. A typical date in a warmer spring but perhaps a little early this year!"
Jim Asher reported the following: "On an indifferent day today (14th June) with not much flying, I saw my first Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns and one Large Skipper at Cothill, Oxon. Also three nests of advanced Peacock larvae. Is summer trying to break through?"
Angus Mylles sent the following: "Please find attached a poor photo of a Ringlet seen this afternoon, 14th June, by my wife Judy and myself on Yoesden Bank, Bucks."
~ 12th June 2015 ~
Graham Elcombe sent this report: "11th June - I went to Radnage and Yoesden Bank, Bucks today and saw many Adonis Blues and also (but fewer) Common Blues, Small Blues and a Brown Argus. Other butterflies seen: Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Large White, Small Heath, Marbled White (only one) and a fresh looking Red Admiral in Radnage Churchyard."
Colin Mather sent this news: "Down at my local green in Sonning Common, Oxon this evening 11th June I saw six Common Blue in an area of 4 square meters and two in another area also one Peacock and one very tatty Small Tortoiseshell."
David Gantzel reported the following: "June 11th - Bradenham, Bucks - Small Blue in good numbers, Painted Lady one, Small Tortoiseshell one, Meadow Brown one, Yellow Shell Moth. Smalldean N/R, Bucks - Several Common Blue and one Meadow Brown, Burnet Companion Moth."
Richard Wheeler sent these sightings: "I visited a hot and sunny Finemere Wood, Bucks this afternoon (11/06/15), and saw: 3 Orange Tip, 2 Brimstone, 6 Common Blue, 1 Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock, 4 Speckled Wood and 2 Grizzled Skipper (the first I’ve seen here). I also saw several moths (including 3 Burnet Companion), a Broad-bodied Chaser and a Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens)."
Nicholl Williams paid a quick visit to Burghfield Gravel pit, Berks on 9th June and saw plenty of Meadow Browns and Common Blues."
John Holdbrook reported as follows: "I walked round Hackpen Hill and the Devil’s Punchbowl near Wantage, Oxon on Sunday June 7th. 5-Spot Burnets were extremely common, I’m assuming they were the Narrow-bordered species. There were large numbers of Small Heaths and Common Blues and I saw three Forester moths and a Dingy Skipper. Near the car parking area on the Ridgeway I saw a Small Blue on something a dog owner should have removed!"
Mike Flemming sent this news:
"I went to 'The Holies', near Streatley, Berks to look for Adonis Blues
on Friday 5th June, having failed to see any at Lough Down on the previous day.
Several specimens were in well-worn condition but courtship was still actively in progress and I also watched
females egg-laying on Horseshoe Vetch. Some of the males were unusual - pale colour with marginal black spots on
the upperside hind-wings, looking very similar to Chalkhill Blues but with the iridescence of Adonis.
From the reading I have done, it seems possible that these could be the hybrid known as 'Polonus'."
Paul Bowyer sent this Field Meeting report: "Saturday June 6th - 9 people attended our trip to Bradenham, Bucks on a cool blustery day. Our target species was the Small Blue which we saw immediately we stepped into the first of 3 flower rich fields. The butterflies were roosting close to the ground because of the wind but we could see that there were very good numbers. The vegetation of the first field features the larval foodplants for a number of the blue family including Kidney Vetch, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch and Rockrose. Other butterfly species were difficult to find. Common Blue featured strongly but only a couple of Brimstones, one Dingy Skipper and one Small Heath were seen in the first field. In the second field where wild flowers are fewer we didn't notice any but we saw 4 species of orchid. The third field has rougher vegetation and we found a Grizzled Skipper, more Small and Common Blues, two Painted Ladies and two Green Hairstreaks."
Paul Busby sent the following:
"Visited North Wales this long weekend. On the way up on Thursday 4th June I visited
Aston Rowant, Oxon for 2 hours late morning and saw a Dingy Skipper, 3 m Brimstones,
3 Burnet Companion moths, 5 Adonis Blue, 4 Small Heath, 25+ Common Blue and 25+ Brown Argus.
Followed by an hour at Ardley Quarry, Oxon after lunch and saw a Holly Blue,
m Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Small Copper, 2 Peacocks, a Grizzled Skipper, 4 Small Heath,
5 m and 1f Common Blue, 5 Cinnabar moths and at least 8m and 1f Brimstones.
~ 8th June 2015 ~
Steve Lockey reported the following: "A walk around Garsington, Oxon on a cool afternoon (8th June) with occasional glimpses of the sun produced Small Whites and singles of Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Common Blue, Brown Argus (a first for me in the village), and a Painted Lady briefly on the churchyard wall."
Michael McNeill sent this report: "I visited The Holies and Lardon Chase, West Berkshire, on 7th June to attempt to find find any Adonis Blues, but, apart from one possibility in the Holies, I cannot really confirm either way. Other sightings included: The Holies - 2 Painted Lady, 15 Common Blue, 8 Small Heath, 4 Brimstone, 4 Large White, 4 Meadow Brown and 3 Silver-Y moth. Lardon Chase produced 10 Common Blue, 4 Small Blue, 4 Brimstone, 2 Large White and 4 Meadow Brown."
Nigel Partridge had a Painted Lady in his garden in Loosley Row, Bucks on 7th June.
Nicholl Williams reported the following: "I went to Radnage, Bucks after working on Sunday 7th June to go to Yoesden Bank. On the way from Stokenchurch to Radnage I saw a Painted Lady on the roadside. Then when I went to Yoesden Bank I saw plenty of Adonis Blues, a few Common Blues and 1 Small Blue. There was also a damaged Brimstone flying around. I then went to the field opposite Widmere Lane, Bucks. This field is covered with Oxeye Daisies and a few Common Blues. About 10 days ago I went to the woods near Lane End and saw a few Orange-tips feeding on white flowers."
David Hastings sent these sightings: "On 6th June at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon, I saw five Brimstones, one Common Blue, three Brown Argus, one Small Copper, one Red Admiral, two Small Heaths and one Speckled Wood. I also saw a Painted Lady in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon. On 7th June near Goring railway bridge, Oxon, I saw one Large White, two Green-veined Whites, one Orange-tip, two Common Blues and one Red Admiral. Then at Lardon Chase, Berks, I saw one Large White, six Common Blues, ten Small Blues, one Small Copper and six Meadow Browns. Finally at Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon, I saw two Grizzled Skippers, two Dingy Skippers, one Large White, one Green-veined White, one Small White, three Orange-tips, at least eighteen Brimstones, at least thirty Common Blues, three Small Blues, two Brown Argus, two Small Tortoiseshells, two Peacocks, two Painted Ladies, one Speckled Wood and at least sixteen Small Heaths. Finally there was a Holly Blue in my garden. That's a total of 19 species!"
Rob Thomas sent the following report: "Late on the afternoon of 7th June I visited the Sustrans disused railway between Didcot and Upton, Oxon. It was still fairly breezy but I was hoping to see the first Marbled White of the season, albeit suspected it might be a bit early given the chilly May. However, as soon as I reached the slip ways to the Hagbournes I spotted two pristine Marbled Whites flying and nectaring. The slip ways were warmer and sheltered from the wind, although later I spotted a third specimen on the main track albeit hunkered down in the long grass. The other butterflies on the wing were Common Blue (x5), Painted Lady (x2) and a Small Blue, Large White and Small White."
John Lindley sent this news: "I went to Lardon Chase, Berks today (7th June) and despite the good conditions (sunny, little breeze) butterfly numbers were disappointing. I saw one Adonis Blue, about 10 Common Blues (mostly looking tatty), 2 Small Blues, one Speckled Wood at the Car Park, 7 Meadow Brown (all male), 2 Small Heath and my first Marbled White of the year. There was a single female Brimstone laying eggs in the hedge at the bottom of the site, but no other whites, and no Vanessids at all."
Tim Watts reported the following: "Despite very high winds I visited Yoesden bank, Bucks with Colleen on 6th June to show her the Adonis Blue. Luckily the wind didn't deter the butterflies too much and we saw 10+ Adonis males and 3-4 females. There seemed to be more females than a few days ago, all crawling around low in grass, one detected sweat salt on our hands and stopped for a drink! I wanted to show Colleen the Small Blues that were here a few days ago but none seen, maybe the wind was just too much for them and they stayed low and hidden?"
Chris Hazell sent this report: "I paid an early afternoon visit to Yoesden Bank, Bucks this morning Saturday 6th June in sunny but very windy conditions. The wind was a real a problem and made viewing difficult. However a very enjoyable few hours produced the following: 10 Adonis Blues (8 males and 2 females), 6 Small Blues, 100's Common Blue, 4 Dingy Skipper and 4 Small Heath."
Karen Saxl sent the following: "News from the Railway Embankment Didcot to Upton, Oxon - 6th June. Seeing a good number of Common Blues – despite windy conditions – and the odd Small Blue. Saw a Painted Lady along the embankment yesterday evening – my 5th of the day having decided to get off the train at Appleford and cycle to Didcot on my way home ... and seeing 4 along a stretch by a ditch – it wasn’t until I spotted the third that I was able to make a confirmed sighting as I wasn’t expecting to see them – guess they must just be on their way in. Highlight of this morning was my first Marbled White sighting – at the ramps between East and West Hagbourne – followed by my second Marbled White heading back towards Hagbourne Cemetry. Few years ago it was a good 2 weeks before my second sighting – so not sure if the rest will be ready to come out yet – not much of the knapweed out yet but plenty of ox-eye daisies and the vetches are all doing well this year – probably why I’m seeing as many Common Blues as I am. Sort of feels like summer has arrived though the wind is still deterring most of the butterflies and it’s a bit cold when the sun goes in."
~ 5th June 2015 ~
Michael McNeill sent this report: 5th June. Whilst chasing a Holly Blue in my garden in Upper Basildon, West Berkshire this afternoon, I spotted two Painted Lady butterflies nectaring on my Erysimum. They were content to stay on or around the plant for up to three hours!"
Pete Thompson reports seeing a Meadow Brown at Lardon Chase, Berks while carrying out the transect, yesterday (4th June).
Ian Johnston reported the following: "On a morning visit around the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve in Milton Keynes, Bucks I sighted 7 x Small Blue (including an egg-laying female), 23 Dingy Skipper, 40+ Common Blue, 3 x Brown Argus, 2 x Large White, 2 x Brimstone, I x male Orange-tip, 1 x Grizzled Skipper (and 14 Burnet Companion moths). Weather: Very warm and Sunny."
Tim Watts sent the following: "4th June - Myself and Warren Claydon had a fantastic visit to Yoesden Bank, Bucks today, many Adonis Blue and Small Blue on the wing. Adonis males were very active, I saw my first ever female but just failed to get a photo. A male made up for this when it landed on my finger and fed on my sweat salt! The sun was so bright most of the photos on my compact camera were overexposed and 'blowing out' the beautiful blue of the upperside, so a tip I would use again was to use the camera on shutter speed priority, set on 1,000th or 2,000th sec, lowish 200 I.S.0, macro setting and deliberately shade the butterfly with your body. Maybe not be the best way but that's how I got this photo of the male with wings open!"
John Holdbrook went to Swyncombe Down, Oxon on June 4th: "The hillside area was disappointing given that it was warm and sunny and despite searching I saw only a few Brimstones and Common Blues. I walked on to the eastern area where there is a grassy strip before the wood and the Ridgeway. Here I saw at least 8 Small Blues just beside the footpath along a stretch of a few hundred metres. There were more Brimstones and Common Blues so I saw in total about 20 of each as well as a male Orange Tip."
Richard Wheeler sent the following report: "I visited a hot and sunny Ardley Quarry, Oxon early this afternoon (04/06/15). Ten species seen: 1 Small Heath, 5 Brimstone, 9 Common Blue, 2 Green Hairstreak (the first I’ve managed to find here), 1 Small White, 1 (rather brown) Grizzled Skipper, 2 Peacock, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Orange Tip and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Also seen: 1 Silver ground carpet moth, 3 Cinnabar moth, 3 Latticed Heath moth and 1 Broad-bodied Chaser."
Cliff Buckton reported the following: "There was a Painted Lady in our garden near Denham, Bucks this morning, 4th June, our first record of it."
Tony Rayner sent this news: "After a long spell with nothing new seen, today (4th June) found a newly emerged Large Skipper in our Cholsey, Oxon meadow.
Bryan Williams sent this report: "I visited the Millennium Arboretum in Wokingham, Berks today (3rd June) and with a little sun finally emerging saw my first Large Skipper of the year as well as Common Blues (2), Speckled Wood (3), Small White (4) and Brimstone (2) along with a number of day flying moths; Mother Shipton (2), Burnet Companion (7), Silver Y (1) and a single Forrester."
~ 1st June 2015 ~
Stuart Hodges, Black Hairstreak Species Champion, sent the following news: "I went out today, 1st June, to look for Black Hairstreak pupae and after about 45 minutes in Finemere Wood, Bucks I was successful. This is the first we have found since 2010, but little time has been spent looking for them. I will be pleased to receive reports of site visits to look for the Black Hairstreak, although I think the cool weather for the last two to three weeks will have delayed its emergence - the hot weather forecast to be with us by the weekend may well bring them out."
Maureen Cross sent this report of the Adonis Blue Field Meeting on 30th May: "18 Members met on Lardon Chase, West Berks for the first Adonis Blue Field Meeting of 2015. Butterflies were very elusive in the cool and cloudy weather but thinning patches of cloud brought short periods of warmth and we did eventually discover 9 species of butterfly, the most plentiful of which was the Common Blue. Our search for the Adonis started at 10.30 and by 12.30 I was beginning to admit that this would be my first ever Adonis meeting when we failed to find a single Adonis! As many of the group left for home the sun suddenly came out, the temperature rose and within ten minutes the few remaining members were rewarded with just one pristine male Adonis Blue which posed beautifully for the photographers. Butterflies seen: Common Blue 19, Small Blue 3, Dingy Skipper 1, Meadow Brown 1, Small Heath 5, Small White 1, Brimstone 1, Orange-tip 1, Adonis Blue 1. Moths seen: Cinnabar 1."
David Hastings visited the north side of Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon on Saturday afternoon (30th May) and saw Dingy Skipper (1), Large White (1), Brimstone (5 males), Common Blues (20+ males, 3 females), Brown Argus (20+), Adonis Blues (7 males), Small Copper (1), Green Hairstreak (2) and Red Admiral (1).
~ 30th May 2015 ~
Karen Saxl (Small Blue Species Champion) sent the following update for the Railway embankments – Didcot to Upton, Oxon on 30th May: "I saw my first Common Blues today … and my first Red Admiral – straight out of the box – though the Red Admiral was actually on a path of the line. Suffering a bit from the continual windy conditions so not really seeing much by way of butterflies – just a few Small Blues for the most part, some Whites and Brimstones, when I do manage to make it out. Having spent a large part of the winter looking through blackthorn for Brown Hairstreak eggs I now seem to have transferred this to looking through heads of kidney vetch – which are very plentiful at some points – for Small Blue eggs ... found my first one this morning. Also saw a Small Blue exhibiting egg laying behaviour but think that the kidney vetch head wasn’t quite right and also that I disturbed her at the wrong moment as couldn’t see an egg when I checked. And I got spotted doing it by another UTB member who called down as I was inspecting some kidney vetch heads 'you aren’t Karen Saxl are you?' had seen the posting/first sighting and had correctly assumed that my odd behaviour was related to lepidoptera. Will need to take a camera with me at some point – keep spotting what I think are tiger moth caterpillars of varying sizes in the grass but can’t manage to identify them … sure they must be garden tiger but doesn’t quite fit with the pictures I can find."
Tim Watts sent this report: "Today 29th May at Calvert BBOWT reserve, Bucks there were more than usual Common Blues resting on low hawthorn sprigs in the open area, with many mating pairs seen. During the week also seen were 1 Small Heath, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and 2-3 Green Hairstreaks."
Martin Kincaid (Green Hairstreak Species Champion) sent the following news: "With some free time yesterday (28th May) I decided to devote some time looking for my favourite species, Green Hairstreak. I picked a good day. I started out at 10.30am at Pitstone Hill, Bucks which has always been my most reliable site for this species. Searching the foot of the hill I eventually found six of them, most still in good condition. It was great to watch them tilting their wings to make the most of the patchy sunshine. Also seen here: 8 Dingy Skipper, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Common Blue, 1 Holly Blue, 1 Speckled Wood and 2 beautiful, fresh Brown Argus – my first of the year. Out of nowhere, a downpour brought my visit to a hasty end. Next I visited College Lake, Bucks. First butterfly I saw was a Green Hairstreak as I walked along the path beside the wildflower meadows. Common Blues were out in force with at least 40 on the wing and I soon saw my first Small Blues of the year. If you visit the Octagon Hide here, Small Blues can be seen over the Kidney Vetch just outside the hide. I saw about a dozen in total. Leaving the hide, I immediately spotted a second Green Hairstreak right outside! 3 GH in total. Other butterflies seen: 3 Small Heath, 1 Dingy Skipper, 1 female Orange-tip, 1 Small White. Finally back to Milton Keynes, Bucks and Blue Lagoon Local Nature Reserve. Once a decent site for Green Hairstreak but I hadn’t seen any for 5-6 years. Well they took some finding, but eventually I spotted 2. These were close to the edge of the lake, not a site where I traditionally saw them. Elsewhere I found 2 Small Blue, 3 Grizzled Skipper and single Peacock, Comma, Brimstone and Speckled Wood. Best of all no less than 12 Dingy Skippers, which were flying widely across the site. Dingy Skipper seems to be having a good season in Milton Keynes. As well as the Blue Lagoon population, I have seen my first DS at Howe Park Wood SSSI on Friday 15th May and Harry Appleyard saw one at Tattenhoe Park on 27th May (see photo). Hopefully the early signs of range expansion here in Milton Keynes. Please continue to send your Green Hairstreak records to me."
David Fuller sent this sighting: "26th May. My garden in Maidenhead, Berks: a Painted Lady - always nice to see in your own garden!"
~ 28th May 2015 ~
Wendy Wilson reported the following: "There appears to be a sudden influx of Large Whites often heading north. I saw several yesterday, 27th May, at various different places around Denham and Iver, Bucks. Three of them were nectaring by the edge of the wood at Denham Garden Village where I also spotted Small White, Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Holly Blue, Common Blue, Peacock and a Burnet Companion moth. Beside Iver Cemetery were my first Small Copper and Yellow Shell moth of the year."
Peter Law saw the following: "There were 3 male Adonis Blue on the wing today, 27th May, at Aston Rowant NNR (N), Oxon from 12:30pm. These were on the hillside above the far end of the sunken way trail from the car park. I was on site from just after 9am and other butterflies seen were: very many Common Blue and Brown Argus, 4 Green Hairstreak, 2 Small Heath and singles of Small Copper, Dingy Skipper, Brimstone and Peacock."
Brendan Sheridan sent this report:
"I encountered this sight (see photo) on a visit to Pitstone, Bucks this
morning, 27th May, looking for Small Blues. The butterflies were certainly
enjoying themselves! All species shown, Small Blue, Common Blue and Dingy Skipper plus Small Heath
were present in good numbers."
Allen Beechey reported the following: "I took advantage of the good weather this lunchtime (27th May) to traverse the slopes of Yoesden Bank, Bucks. In breezy and, unfortunately, increasingly cloudy conditions I saw the following: 1 Orange-tip (male), 7 Brimstone (inc 1 female), 1 Peacock, 1 Large white (female), 2 Small Heath, 2 Dingy Skipper, 2 Green Hairstreak, 26 Common Blue (incl. 4 females), 2 Small Blue and the highlight was 1 fresh male Adonis Blue."
Michael McNeill sent the following: 27th May - A brief visit to Lardon Chase, West Berkshire, on a sunny and warm day. First sighted by Edmund, an enthusiastic 5 year old, we spotted a male Adonis Blue in excellent condition. My first this year."
Malcolm Brownsword sent this news: "On 26th May I planned to do my BBOWT transect at Homefield Wood provided that the weather conditions improved. This was the last day of my allotted 7 day period and the Accuweather.com forecast was for 18 degrees C to be reached by about 1.30 pm. At about 10.30 pm it was sunny but only about 14 degrees C. At this low temperature I saw only one butterfly in my garden - a female Holly Blue (see photo). At Homefield Wood, Bucks in the afternoon my transect produced just 2 Brimstones, 1 Common Blue, 1 Green-veined White, 1 Small White and a pair of mating Large Whites."
~ 26th May 2015 ~
Steve Lockey sent the following report: "26th May, Aston Rowant, Oxon - Breezy and warm out of the wind. Green Hairstreak, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper - 4, Small White, Brimstone - 3. Also reasonable amounts of Common Blue and Brown Argus."
David Gantzel sent this news: "Monday May 25th. I paid a short visit to Prestwood (Bucks) nature reserve and saw Orange-tips, Brimstones, 2 male Common Blue and 1 Grizzled Skipper. On Friday May 22nd I had my first ever Green-veined White in my garden in Hazlemere, Bucks."
Chris Carter sent this update: "More on Holly Blues:- on Saturday 23rd May I was working in my vegetable plot when a Holly Blue flew around near me with the look of seeking an egg-laying site, and duly settled and laid an egg on the developing flowerhead of my overgrown Parsley at Alvescot, west Oxfordshire. I know that various foodplants are recorded but all are shrubs (if you include Bramble) and Umbelliferae seem well wide of the mark. They do however develop quite chunky seeds in time which might appeal to the Holly Blue's tendency to berries and seedpods. How much do we really know? Photos show the egg and the parsley row."
Dave Miller reported the following: "I visited the north side of Aston Rowant, Oxon on the afternoon of 22nd May. There was weak but warm sunshine and sticking to the path along the bottom of the slope, I came across good numbers of Brown Argus and Common Blues, pretty well all newly emerged and with the former outnumbering the latter by about three to one. A highlight was a mating pair of Brown Argus. Also seen: Brimstones, Peacocks and perhaps ten Dingy Skippers in the small portion of the hill I covered. There was also a single female Orange-tip."
~ 24th May 2015 ~
John Lindley sent this news: "23rd May - I'm still seeing good numbers of Orange-tips, with 10 plus mostly very fresh looking males, and a couple of females, along the river just north of South Stoke, Oxon. Also 2 male Brimstone, several Green-veined White and one Peacock. No Small Tortoiseshell, but lots of larval nests in the nettles. I had two Pine Hawkmoths around one of my security lights in the late evening."
Michael McNeill reported the following on 24th May: "A visit to Hartslock, South Oxfordshire, on 21st May produced 9 Green Hairstreak, 3 Common Blue, 2 Dingy Skipper and 2 male Brimstone. More productive was a visit to Lardon Chase, West Berkshire, on 23rd May where an hour's walk produced 32 Common Blue including 4 female, 7 Small Blue, 1 Dingy Skipper, 5 Brimstone including 2 female, 2 male Orange-tip and 3 Large White. Unfortunately no Adonis Blues were evident. Today, 24th May, I saw in my garden in West Berkshire my first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year. All days were somewhat overcast."
Tim Hearn made a short visit to the Holtspur Bottom reserve, Bucks on Thursday 21st May. "It was a hot, sunny afternoon with butterflies on the wing but not hanging around to be photographed! There were good numbers of Brimstone and Common Blue, 2 each of Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Small Copper and a single Small Blue on the path that runs alongside the reserve."
Chris Pickford sent this report on 23rd May: "Good to see reasonable numbers of Small Blues flying on the Chilton-Didcot (Oxon) railway embankment this week. Despite the best efforts of man, the colony survives!"
~ 22nd May 2015 ~
Chris Carter sent this report: "On the evening of 21st May I came across a pair of mated Holly Blues on an Agapanthus in our garden at Alvescot, west Oxfordshire. I have the impression that the Holly Blue is on something of a high with us this year."
Neil Holman sent these sightings: "A late morning visit in bright sunshine to Wicken Woods on the Northants/Bucks border on 21st May yielded the following sightings in the Bucks side of the main track through the woods; 6 x lovely Wood White; 2 x Large White; 1 x Green-veined White; 4 x Orange-tip; 7 x Common Blue; 4 x Peacock and 2 x Speckled Wood. During an afternoon walk around Hillesden, just outside Buckingham, Bucks the following butterflies were spotted; 2 x Dingy Skipper; 4 x Brimstone; 2 x Large White; 6 x Orange-tip; 1x Green-veined White; 3 x Small Copper; 12 x Common Blue; 1 x Red Admiral; 1 x Small Tortoiseshell and 2 x Peacock."
Ian Johnston reported the following: "On a brief, late afternoon trip to the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes, Bucks on Thursday 21st May I sighted 4 x Small Blue, 12 x Dingy Skippers, 5 x Common Blue, 2 x Orange-tip, 2 x Peacock, 2 x Brimstone, 1 x Small Tortoiseshell. Weather: warm and sunny."
Andy Bolton sent the following on 21st May: "Some belated sightings from last week: 12/05/15 Shalford Bridge Gravel Pit, nr. Woolhampton, Berks beside permissive footpath. Grid ref SU 571655. Orange-tip 5, Brimstone 3, Grizzled Skipper 1, Green-veined White 1, Small Copper 1, Brown Argus 1, Common Blue 1, Peacock 1 and Cinnabar moth 2."
~ 19th May 2015 ~
Gerry Kendall sent the following Field Meeting report: "There was intermittent sun and some wind for the Field Trip at Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon on 17th May. Nevertheless, the seventeen participants found all four of our targets: Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Small Blue. There were another ten species to give a reasonably satisfactory total for the day. Perhaps the biggest surprise was a Painted Lady which paused long enough to be admired on its migration north. The full list of species was: Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Green-veined White, Orange-tip, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Blue, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Painted lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Small Heath."
Robin Carr sent the following Field Meeting report: "The butterflies seen during the field trip to Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks on Saturday 16th May by 22+ people were: Duke of Burgundy 14, Brimstone 3, Orange-tip 2, Green Hairstreak 7, Dingy Skipper 14, Grizzled Skipper 4, Holly Blue 1, Peacock 1, Small Heath 2, Speckled Wood 1 and Small Tortoiseshell 1."
David Hastings reported the following: "I attended the field meeting at Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks on Saturday 16th May. Species seen by me were Dingy Skipper (11), Grizzled Skipper (1), Duke of Burgundy (8), Brimstone (5), Orange-tip (1), Green-veined White (several), Large White (1), Green Hairstreak (7), Holly Blue (3), Small Tortoiseshell (2) and Small Heath (1). In the afternoon I visited Pitstone, Bucks, where I saw Dingy Skipper (15), Grizzled Skipper (1), Brimstone (4), Green Hairstreak (8), Small Blue (50+), Common Blue (4), Peacock (1) and Small Heath (5)."
Chris Carter sent this news: "On Saturday 16th May at about 3.30pm a large sandy-brown butterfly flew fast and purposefully northwards against a stiff headwind over the adjacent paddock and across our garden in Alvescot, west Oxfordshire. It exactly followed the height and course of the great Painted Lady arrival of 2009 when I counted dozens in a short period. I can't claim irrefutably that it was a Painted Lady but really it can't have been anything else. Is this a harbinger of more to come, I wonder? No more seen so far."
Derek Wilkins sent this update: "Out for about 2 hours on Saturday 16th May from 2.30pm - pleasantly warm but breezy at my usual patch on the north side of the Thames near Windsor & Eton, Berks. Saw good numbers of Peacocks, Brimstones & Small Tortoiseshells, smaller numbers of Large, Small and Green-veined Whites and Orange-tips plus several Small Coppers, 2 Commas and my first Painted Lady of 2015 - 10 species in total - not bad for a rather breezy couple of hours! By the way, I saw my first Common Blue of 2015 (a male) on Monday 4th May about 2pm - thought it was another Holly Blue at first but got close enough to identify it positively - seen in the large meadow north of the lane to the Swan Rescue Centre just west of the railway viaduct."
Chris Naish sent the following news: "A bit of a late report as I’ve been away, but I saw a Dingy Skipper on a lunchtime walk around the Harwell, Oxon site on Wednesday 13th May. It was at the back of the site where the old pre-fab estate used to be."
~ 16th May 2015 ~
Dennis Dell sent this report today: "I was at Beacon Hill and Steps Hill, Bucks on the 12th May from 3pm until 4.20; the weather was fine, sunny, breezy, 20 degrees. Dukes of Burgundy  were seen at most of the usual hotspots in the sheltered scrubby areas lower down on Beacon and Steps Hills. Other species: Brimstone , Green Hairstreak , Orange-tip , Dingy Skipper , Peacock , Holly Blue , Large White , Small White , Small Heath , Grizzled Skipper ."
John Holdbrook reported the following: "I went to Swyncombe Down, Oxon on Wednesday May 13th and saw a number of Brimstones and Peacocks, a Green Hairstreak, a Small Copper and 3 Dingy Skippers. There were also a number of Whites which I was unable to identify exactly."
Dave Turnbull sent this news: "An hour and a quarter visit to Pitstone, Bucks today (13th May) revealed many Dingy Skippers, Grizzled Skippers 10+, about 7/8 Green Hairstreaks, newly hatched Small Blues in double figures but one somewhat worn, a Brown Argus, 2 Small Coppers, 3 Common Blues, a Small Heath, a Holly Blue, Brimstone, Peacocks and a Cinnabar moth."
Tim Alps sent this report on 13th May: "I thought I should report seeing 2 Small Blues at Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks this morning, 13th May, as I haven't seen them here before. They were at the same spot where the Dukes of Burgundy can be found near the cattle grid. I should also mention that I saw my first Small Blue of the year at Pitstone, Bucks on May 4th."
Karen Saxl reported the following on 13th May: "Feeling really joyful as I have just seen my first 2 Small Blues of the year – perched in grass on the embankments near the Hagbournes, Oxon. Also saw a Holly Blue at Hagbourne cemetery and a number of Orange-tips and some Green-veined Whites. The grass doesn’t really seem as tall as I remember it being at this time of year, but the kidney vetch is just starting to take off though I suspect that the two Small Blues are probably going to spend most of the next couple of days buried deep in the grass keeping dry."
~ 12th May 2015 ~
Ian Johnston sent this news: "I sighted the following at the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes, on 11th May 2015: 5 x Dingy Skipper, 2 x Grizzled Skipper, 1 x Common Blue, 1 x Holly Blue, 7 x Orange-tip, 6 x Brimstone, 5 x Large White, 4 x Green-veined White, 3 x Peacock, 1 x Small Tortoiseshell. Weather: mostly sunny, warm, breezy."
This report came from Mark and Caroline Searle today: "On Sunday 10th May we visited Ivinghoe Beacon and Income Hole in the Chilterns, Bucks on a warm sunny day where we spotted large numbers of late spring butterflies with the particular highlight being 9 Duke of Burgundy both at Income Hole and at various sheltered spots along the fence line heading north east towards the Beacon. Dingy Skippers (50+) were in abundance, along with Grizzled Skippers (23), Brown Argus (13), particularly at the sheltered eastern end of Income Hole, Small Heath (2), Brimstone (6), Peacock (6) Green Hairstreak (2), Small Copper (1), Large White (2) and Small White (2) were also seen. Later in the afternoon around 5pm we ventured over the county border to Aldbury Nowers Nature Reserve and found more Dingy (8) and Grizzled Skippers (3), Brown Argus (2), Small Heath (2), Brimstone (5), Orange Tips (3) and one Green Veined White. A very productive day."
Neil Holman reported the following sightings:
"I managed to make two trips today, 11th May. The first was to
Pitstone, Bucks behind the church, where in warm but changeable weather I spotted
15 x Dingy Skipper, 3 x Grizzled Skipper, 2 x Brimstone, 2 x Orange-tip,
7 x Green Hairstreak, 1 x Small Copper, 1 x Holly Blue, 1 x Peacock and
5 x lovely Small Blue.
Judith Barnard sent this news: "Two Holly Blues, a Speckled Wood, a Large White and a male Brimstone spotted in Willen, Milton Keynes, Bucks today, 11th May."
Miles Attenborough reported the following: "I spent this morning, 10th May, at Steps Hill and Incombe Hole, Bucks and saw 1 Small Heath, 7 Dingy Skippers, 5 Grizzled Skippers, 2 Duke of Burgundy, 3 Brown Argus, 5 male Brimstone. Mostly on the sheltered lower slopes of Incombe Hole as a bit breezy."
Paul Busby sent this report on 10th May: "On a 2 mile walk around College Lake, Bucks nature reserve on a blustery Saturday afternoon (9th May), I saw one butterfly, a Green Hairstreak on a Hawthorne hedge tempted out by a brief sunny spell. Lovely circular walk this afternoon, (10th May), down Incombe Hole, Bucks and around Steps Hill, I was pleased to see at least 7 Duke of Burgundy butterflies at different locations as well as 2 Grizzled Skippers, 3 Peacocks, 1 Large White, a Burnet Companion Moth, at least 6 Dingy Skippers and at least 12 Brimstones (mostly males)."
Keith O'Hagen sent this news: "10th May - Just had a Comma in my Milton Keynes, Bucks garden. My first this year."
Nick Bowles reported the following on 9th May: "A walk for new members around the two reserves in the Holtspur Valley, Bucks (outside Beaconsfield) today (09.05.15) revealed the following species: Dingy Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Small Yellow Underwing and Pyrausta aurata."
~ 8th May 2015 ~
Andy Bolton sent this news today: "Seen yesterday 07/05/15 on brownfield land within a few yards of the east entrance to New Greenham Park (Berks) business area off the A339. Grid ref SU 503638. Dingy Skipper 2, Grizzled Skipper 1, Brimstone 1, Mother Shipton 1. This is a tetrad on the southerly edge of the Greenham Common area and may be a new location for these species."
Neil Holman sent this report: "I took a late morning trip on 7th May in changeable weather condtions to Calvert Jubilee Nature Reserve, Bucks where I spotted 10 x Dingy Skippers, 3 x Grizzled Skippers, 3 x Orange-tips, a Peacock, a Speckled Wood and my first two Common Blues of the year."
Dave Wilton reported the following: "A look at accessible areas close to the newly-constructed incinerator at Greatmoor, Bucks on bank holiday Monday (4th May) produced a handful of sightings of Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper & Brown Argus as well as the usual suspects."
Colin Mather sent this news today: "Hope the weather improves soon but last Monday 4th May I took these photos (below) in my garden in Sonnning Common, Oxon: Large White, Holly Blue, 2 Green-veined Whites pairing and flying joined together. Also saw in total 2 Orange-tip male & female, 1 Comma, 1 Speckled Wood, 2 Brimstones, 2 Large White, Holly Blue male & female."
~ 5th May 2015 ~
David Hastings reported the following: "On Monday (4th May) I visited Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon, where I saw I saw four Grizzled Skippers, at least four Orange-tips, at least eighteen Brimstones, at least twenty Green-veined Whites, one Green Hairstreak, two Small Coppers, one Holly Blue, five Small Tortoiseshells and at least ten Peacocks. I also visited Cholsey Marsh, Oxon, where I saw one Orange-tip, two Brimstones, four Green-veined Whites, two Small Tortoiseshells and four Peacocks."
Paul Bowyer sent these sightings: "Monday May 4th. An hour break in the cloud produced 10 species in the Bulstrode area in Bucks just to the north of the M40. Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Small Copper, Small Heath, Large White, Brimstone, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma."
Charles Sharp sent this update on 4th May: "Visited Aston Upthorpe, Oxon again on Bank Holiday Monday, 4th May, and found Grizzled Skipper and Small Copper. Thanks to David Hastings for showing me the way."
James Ford sent the following: "Buttlers Hangings, Bucks, 4th May. Lovely warm morning. 10 Dingy Skippers, 3 Grizzled Skippers, 2 Green Hairstreaks, 4 Orange-tips, 3 Peacocks, 12 Brimstones, 3 Small Tortoiseshell and a single Small Heath. A Mother Shipton moth too."
Luci Mintz sent this report on 4th May: "Here is a sighting for you for 1st May 2015. Not a rare breed but still my first one sent to you so hopefully more to come: a Holly Blue found in Winkfield Row, Berks next to Warfield Park, RG427TE."
~ 1st May 2015 ~
Nicholl Williams sent this news today: "I went down to Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks on 1st May and the weather wasn't the best. I saw several Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers. I also saw a few Green Hairstreaks and one Large White. A single Holly Blue flew by."
Keith O'Hagen sent the following: "A couple of male Orange-tip butterflies at Caldecotte Lake, Milton Keynes, Bucks this morning, 1st May and this afternoon in my MK garden, a male Holly Blue on the ivy."
David Fuller reported these sightings: "29th April - SU850830 Pinkneys Green near Maidenhead, Berks. A new site for me; Orange-tip male 3, Small White 1, Brimstone 1 male, Peacock 1 and Green-veined White 4 new for the year for me."
John Lindley sent this report on 29th April: "I've been meaning to send the attached photos, showing the variation in markings between individual Green-veined White males. I took these at Moor Copse, Berks on 20th April. In fact, the variation is greater than shown in the pictures - some males had virtually no black at all on their upper wings. There were good numbers of Orange-tips at the same site, including this male (below), which was notable for its extremely small size, it was the same size as a Common Blue! All the others that I saw were of "normal" size. I wonder whether any of our experts have views on this? I was wondering whether an occasional larva might pupate before going through all its instars?"
Charles Sharp sent the following on 28th April: "Visited Aston Upthorpe, Oxon for the first time: No Grizzled Skipper, but an obliging Green Hairstreak and Brimstones having fun!"
~ 27th April 2015 ~
Tim Watts sent this news today: "It's looking very likely we will get hit by a big Painted Lady invasion! From bird sites, thousands are pouring through Scilly Isles and Portland Bill. I'm already seeing a fair few around Bucks, but it would be nice to get them in the garden again this year."
Paul Busby sent this report: "Today, 27th April, I visited Ardley Quarry, Oxon and Aston Rowant, Oxon on my way home from Wales. At Ardley Quarry during a brief sunny spell I saw 2 Grizzled Skippers, a Peacock, a male Orange-tip, a Green-veined White and a Cinnabar moth, whilst later along the Green Sunken Lane at Aston Rowant, bit breezy, cloudy and cool and I saw only 2 Peacocks."
Mary Payne reported the following: "On 25th April around Watermead, Bucks HP19 0FY: 4 Orange-tip, 4 Speckled Wood, 1 Peacock, 1 Green-veined White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, several Small Whites."
David Hastings sent this update: "I visited Ardley Quarry, Oxon on 25th April, where I failed to find any Grizzled Skippers! I did see three Orange-tips (2 m, 1 f), five Brimstones (3 m, 2 f), one Large White, two Green-veined Whites, one Holly Blue, one Green Hairstreak, three Peacocks and three Speckled Woods."
~ 25th April 2015 ~
Andy Hoskins reported the following on 24th April: "Today (24th April) I visited Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks (1.00-2.15pm) and saw 1 Duke of Burgundy and 3 Green Hairstreak. I then visited Pitstone, Bucks and saw 3 Peacocks, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 1 Dingy Skipper and 1 Green Hairstreak."
Derek Wilkins sent this report on 24th April: "Out every day this week and plenty of butterflies. Yesterday, Thursday 23rd April, was the best day - I saw 10 species including my first (at last!) Speckled Wood of the year - rather later than usual. Started & ended around my usual patch but in between walked upstream along the Thames to Boveney village - large numbers of Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Brimstones (about 50/50 male to female). There were good numbers of Orange-tips & Holly Blues, smaller numbers of Large, Small & Green-veined Whites and just 2 Commas. Finally as I neared home I saw the first (& only) Speckled Wood enjoying the dappled sunlight on the edge of some woodland just west of the Swan Rescue Centre (just north of the Thames near Windsor & Eton, Berks). Another excellent Butterfly Walk!!"
Helen Hyre sent the following on 24th April: "On 16th April I had a walk across pasture at Hulcott near Aylesbury, Bucks. The sun had gone in and there was a cold wind. In a 10cm deep depression I saw this Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell sitting close to each other."
~ 23rd April 2015 ~
Richard Wheeler sent this update today: "Further to yesterday’s visit to Ardley Quarry (see report below), I made a fleeting visit to Yoesden Bank, Bucks this morning, 23rd April. It was sunny and c.12-14°C. I saw 3 Green Hairstreak, 2 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Large White."
Bryan Williams sent these sightings:
"On Tuesday 21st April I visited Greenham Common,
Berks. Despite being a sunny day the cold breeze kept the butterfly count down except in the
more sheltered areas, but I did see two Grizzled Skippers, taking nectar from wild strawberry
flowers, as well as 5 Brimstones (3 male, 2 female), 3 Peacocks and singles of
Orange-tip (male) and Red Admiral.
Paul Busby sent this report: "I visted the Holtspur Bottom reserve in Bucks this afternoon, 22nd April, for about an hour on a cooler, cloudier, breezier day than recently but still managed to see 7 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacocks and 1M + 1F Orange-tip butterflies."
Tony Rayner reported the following: "Today (22nd April) we had our first Small Copper of the year in our Cholsey, Oxon meadow. Good numbers of Holly Blue, Orange-tip, Small White and Speckled Wood too."
Richard Wheeler sent the following: "I made a quick visit to Ardley Quarry, Oxon at lunchtime today (22/04/15) in search of Grizzled Skipper. I found two, together with 3 Large White, 3 Orange-tip, 5 Peacock and 3 Brimstone."
David Hastings reported the following on 22nd April: "Sightings 18th April: At Aston Rowant (Beacon Hill), Oxon I saw one Orange-tip, about a dozen Green Hairstreaks, three Small Tortoiseshells and seven Peacocks. Then at Aston Upthorpe (Juniper Valley), Oxon I saw three Orange-tips, nine Brimstones, three Green-veined Whites, one Holly Blue, about a dozen each of Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks and two Commas."
~ 21st April 2015 ~
David Gantzell sent these sightings today: "Bourne End, Bucks, Tuesday 21st April: Taking a short walk along the Thames at Bourne End I counted four Holly Blue, just one Peacock and a single Orange-tip."
Andy Hoskins visited Finemere Wood, Bucks for the first time this year on 21st April. "It was between 3.15 to 4.15pm and I saw 9 Peacocks, 5 Orange-tip male, 3 Orange-tip female, 1 Comma, 3 Brimstone, 2 Large White, 6 Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Green-Veined White."
Francis Gomme sent this update on 21st April: "Two, possibly three Dukes of Burgundy at Ivinghoe, Bucks this morning, 21st April, plus Grizzled Skippers and Green Hairstreaks."
James Ford sent this report on 20th April: "A beautifully warm day at Buttler's Hangings near West Wycombe, Bucks. The initial walk to the reserve threw up 20+ Peacocks, 7 Orange-tips, 5 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Large Whites and 27 Brimstones (mainly females) around the surrounding field edges. The site itself was bathed in sunshine and the following butterflies were seen 24 Peacocks, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 17 Brimstones, 6 Orange-tips, 2 Large Whites, 3 Green Hairstreaks and 3 Grizzled Skippers. A male Emperor Moth made an appearance also alongside a Ruby Tiger moth."
Colin Mather reported the following: "I spotted a Holly Blue in my garden in Sonning Common, Oxon this evening, Monday 20th April."
Neil Holman sent this report on 20th April: "I enjoyed a couple of hours at Incombe Hole, Ivinghoe, Bucks today (20th April). In glorious sunshine I was lucky enough to see the following; 1 x Comma; 20+ Peacock; 8 x Brimstone; 1 x Small Tortoiseshell; 3 x Grizzled Skippers; 1 x Green Hairstreak and one gorgeous Duke of Burgundy."
Mary Payne reports seeing her first three Orange-tips of the year, all within close proximity of each other in Stoke Mandeville, Bucks on 20th April.
~ 18th April 2015 ~
Mick Jones sent this news today: "Working at Dancersend Nature Reserve, Bucks today (18th April) I saw Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Green-veined White, Orange-tip and Speckled Wood, but the highlight was my first Green Hairstreak of the year in a sheltered clearing. On my transect, which is more exposed, I only recorded one Peacock!"
John Lindley reported the following today: "On 18th April whilst out walking near the river at South Stoke, Oxon in strong sunshine with strong breezes, I saw this interesting behaviour next to an overgrown blackthorn hedge - a group of about 6 to 8 Peacocks (hard to count) spiralling up to a height of about 30 feet, then diving rapidly back to about head height and seeming to fly off in different directions, only to gather together again and repeat the process. I watched them do this 5 or 6 times before the dogs got bored and we moved on. I noticed large numbers of Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells flying around the large nettle beds in the area, hopefully a good sign for the next generation. Also on the wing were 10+ Brimstones, 4 male and 2 female Orange-tips, 2 Small Whites, 2 Green-veined Whites, 5-6 Commas and a courting pair of Speckled Woods. My hibernating hornets have finally vacated the shed and it was good to see a queen Hornet today busily chewing wood from one of my fence posts."
Francis Gomme sent these sightings today: "Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers plus Large Whites, Small Whites and Orange-tips at Grangelands, Bucks this morning, 18th April."
~ 17th April 2015 ~
Bryan Williams sent the following report: "Walking around the gravel pit at Spade Oak, Bucks today (17th April) I saw 12 Peacocks, 4 Commas, 7 Speckled Woods, my first of the year and all very fresh, 4 Green-veined Whites, 5 Orange-tips flying through the stand of wild cherry trees by the railway line and a single Small Tortoiseshell."
Francis Gomme reports seeing Green Hairstreaks at College Lake, Bucks this morning, 17th April.
Ben and Jenny Hobbs reported the following: "We walked to Juniper Valley (Aston Upthorpe, Oxon) on 15th April. Could not find any Grizzled Skipper, but did see a “blind” Peacock aberration, with only 2 spots. Also about a dozen Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Comma, 1 Orange-tip female and plenty of normal Peacock."
~ 15th April 2015 ~
Bryan Williams reported the following: "I visited Basildon Park, Berks (NT site) today (15th April) and walked round the boundary path; a large number of Brimstones (38) – eight of them female, 18 Peacocks, 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 3 Orange-tips – all male and a single Holly Blue. There were also a lot of bee flies (Bombylius major)."
Paul Bowyer sent this news on 15th April: "April 14th - My garden in Flackwell Heath, Bucks Large White, Holly Blue, Brimstone (male and female), Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.
Paul Busby reported these sightings on 15th April: "I saw a lot of butterflies late afternoon, although only 3 species on an hour's walk on a sunny blustery day at Steps Hill, Ivinghoe, Bucks. There were at least 27 Peacocks, 10 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Brimstones."
Ian Johnston sent the following on 15th April: "I sighted the following at the Blue Lagoon Nature Reserve, Milton Keynes, Bucks on 15/04/2015: 20+ Peacock, 11 x Brimstone (M&F), 7 x Small Tortoiseshells, 10 x Orange-tip (M&F), 3 x Small White (including a ‘mud-puddler’), 2 x Speckled Wood, 1 x Green-veined White. Weather – very warm, with cloudless skies."
David Fuller sent this update: "Today, 14th April, in my garden Maidenhead, Berks: male Holly Blue, Brimstone, Orange-tip male, Peacock 3, Comma and Small white. Then at Romney Island Windsor, Berks SU972781: Small Tortoiseshell 3, Peacock 5, Brimstone 1, Small White 1, Red Admiral 1 and Holly Blue 1 male."
David Hastings sent this report on 14th April: "I saw the following at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon today: at least 14 Brimstones (including one ovipositing female), two Small Tortoiseshells, at least eight Peacocks, two Green-veined Whites and an Orange-tip."
Steve Lockey sent this news on 14th April: "A Large White seen in the garden at Garsington, Oxon today 14/04/15.
Dave Cleal reported the following on 14th April: "9th April Small White in the garden, also 10+ Peacocks on Dorney Common, Bucks, 4 Brimstones and 2 Small Tortoiseshells. Speckled Wood in the garden today (14th April). I also saw a Holly Blue in Kintbury, Berks on Sunday 12th April."
~ 12th April 2015 ~
Nicholl Williams reported the following: "I went down to the field opposite Widmere Lane between Marlow and Lane End (Bucks) today, (12th April). I saw a few Commas, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks feeding on the Blackthorn blossom. I then went down to the bank near Lane End, and saw dozens of Small Tortoiseshells, a few Commas and lots of Peacocks. I took a few images, one of a Peacock being mobbed by a bee!"
David Hastings sent the following: "Sightings today (12th April) at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon: one Green-veined White, one Peacock, seven Small Tortoiseshells."
Chris Pickford sent these sightings: "Out today (12th April), looking at beeflies (100+) when I spotted a very handsome Green Hairstreak which landed on a primrose and displaced a beefly I was trying to photograph. Location was Harwell site, near Didcot, Oxon. Other species seen: Peacock (10), Comma (2), Small Tortoiseshell (2) Speckled Wood (1), Brimstone (25) and a Small White. No Orange-tips spotted here yet."
Tony Croft sent this report: "Although it was pretty chilly and windy this morning, (12th April), I went to Aston Rowant, Oxon to see if Green Hairstreaks were around yet. I had several sightings including two in aerial combat over the hillside but mainly in and around the sheltered bramble scrub at the base of the hill."
John Lindley reported the following: "Walking along the river Thames at South Stoke, Oxon this morning (12th April), in bright sun but a very strong southerly wind, I was surprised to see a Clouded Yellow flying northwards at great speed - probably blown over from France by the strong breezes of the last couple of days. Also 2 Comma, 2 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell and a Small White. Yesterday, on the Ridgeway just to the west of Goring and Streatley Golf Club (Berks/Oxon border), 3 Commas (including one very small specimen), 10+ Small Tortoiseshells including a group of 4 chasing each other around a flowering Blackthorn, 1 Peacock, 2 Small Whites and a male Brimstone."
~ 10th April 2015 ~
Ian Johnston sent this report today: "On a visit to Lodge Lake and part of the adjoining Loughton Brook in Milton Keynes on 9th April, I spotted 11 x Peacock, 7 x Small Tortoiseshell, 2 x Brimstone, 1 x Comma, 1 x Small White and 1 x male Orange-tip on the wing."
David Gantzel sent these sightings on 9th April: "A walk around the area now known as Widmer Fields between Hazlemere and Widmer End, Bucks on Thursday April 9th produced four Comma, two Small Tortoiseshell and three Peacock."
Neil Holman reported the following on 9th April:
"Today, 9th April, I went over to Rushbeds Wood, Bucks
and over the lunchtime period in bright sunshine I was lucky enough to spot 2 Orange-tips,
5 Brimstones, 4 Small Tortoiseshells, 5 Commas and in excess of 20 Peacocks.
I then went onto Finemere Woods, Bucks and spotted another 2 Orange-tips,
7 Brimstones, 6 Small Tortoiseshells, 9 Peacocks and 6 Commas.
Nigel Cleere sent this news on 9th April: "I have just seen a Holly Blue in my garden at Upper Bucklebury, Berks (9th April). A few days ago (exact date not recorded) I had a Painted Lady in my garden."
Peter Law sent this report: "Myself and Ewan Urquhart found a Speckled Wood on Thursday morning, 9th April, at Standlake Common NR, Oxon. There were also many Brimstone flying here."
John Lerpiniere sent this sighting: "A Green-veined White at Fobney, Reading (SU703709) on 8th April."
Derek Brown reported the following on 9th April: "Finally getting some butterflies in our garden in Beenham, Berkshire. Now up to 7 species with our first Green-veined White on the morning of the 8th April."
Jeff Alderson reported the following on 9th April: "On 7th April in my garden on the edge of Oxford, OX4 4ED, I had several sightings of a Peacock and a Small Tortoiseshell."
~ 9th April 2015 ~
Nigel Partridge reports seeing a Green-veined White in his garden in Loosley Row, Bucks) on 8th April.
Richard Wheeler reported the following on 8th April: "I visited Ardley Quarry, Oxon with my children this afternoon (08/04/15). The weather was sunny and warm (c.15°C) and we saw: 17 Peacock, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 8 Brimstone and 3 Comma; also, a handsome Bee Fly."
David Fuller sent these sightings on 8th April: "My garden in Maidenhead, Berks today: Comma, Peacock and Brimstone again and also at Eton school, Berks 2 Brimstones together. Then on the 8th April a Holly Blue male seen near my house."
Derek Wilkins reported the following on 7th April: "Monday 6th April out for about 4 hours this afternoon in my usual area north of the Thames near Windsor & Eton, Berks (west of the railway bridge) and saw my first 2 Small Whites of the season also the first female Brimstones of the year (2), they were outnumbered at least 10 to 1 by male Brimstones. Also 20 plus Peacocks, 10 plus Small Tortoiseshells & 3 Commas. Then on Tuesday 7th April out for about 5 hours in the same area - 2 more firsts for 2015 - 4 male Orange-tips & a brief glimpse of a Holly Blue. Also saw 2 Red Admirals, 1 Comma and similar if not slightly larger numbers of Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks & male Brimstones (no females today). A thoroughly enjoyable couple of Butterfly Walks - banishing the memories of cold and grey winter days, also had a fairly close view of a Kingfisher perched by the river on Monday - always a nice bonus!"
Colin Mather sent this news on 8th April: "Mating Brimstones in my garden at Sonning Common, Oxon and also saw one Comma, one Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock 6th April."
John Lindley sent these sightings on 7th April: "The following seen today in the warm sunshine in two large gardens in Goring on Thames, Oxon. 10+ Brimstone, including two females, 4 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Peacock and my first Speckled Wood of the year (the latter in a sheltered "woodland" spot near the Oxford to Reading railway line). All the hibernating butterflies have now moved out of my sheds, but the Hornets are still there."
Wendy Wilson sent this report: "Lovely warm sunny day today, 7th April and seven species were on the wing around Langley and Iver, Buckinghamshire. Six of them - Brimstone, Orange-tip, Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood - were in St Mary's churchyard Langley Marish, which is an oasis in an urban area near Slough. The seventh species was a Small white. Elsewhere I found the greatest numbers nectaring on blackthorn and plum blossom; five Peacocks were on one bush on wasteland near Iver."
Tony Rayner reported the following on 7th April: "Both today and yesterday our Cholsey (Oxon) patch seemed awash with early butterfly species in the following order of abundance - Small Tortoiseshell; Peacock, Brimstone (all male); Comma and Small White. Today on the outskirts of Hampstead Norreys, Berks my first and only Orange-tip of the year."
David Gantzel sent this report on 7th April: "Easter Monday April 6th Hazlemere, Bucks. Male Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock all in my garden."
Pam Hughes writes that she saw her first Peacock butterfly on 6th April and also 2 Brimstones enjoying the sunshine in Bicester, Oxon.
Miles Attenborough reported the following on 7th April: "Saturday the 4th April Bray Pit Nature Reserve, Berks Grid Ref: SU 906 787 - 2 Brimstones."
~ 6th April 2015 ~
David Hastings sent these sightings today: "I visited Stratfield Brake, Oxon today, 6th April, where I saw three Peacocks and four Small Tortoiseshells. At Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon I saw three Brimstones, two Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma. Finally in my garden in north Abingdon, Oxon, I saw my first Small White of the year, also two Peacocks, three Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma."
Nick Board reported the following: "I came across these two (see photo) in my garden today in Chackmore, North Bucks. The Small Tortoiseshell followed the Peacock around the garden for about 5 minutes settling from time to time next to each other in the warm sunshine. A case of mistaken identity I feel!!"
This report from Cliff Grove came via Paul Bowyer: "Monday 6th April, Jubilee River Path, Dorney (Bucks): Orange-tip, Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell."
John Ward-Smith sent these sightings: "The beautiful weather today, 6th April, saw five species on the wing in our garden in Bracknell, Berkshire: Holly Blue, Peacock x 3, Comma x 2, Brimstone and Small White."
David Fuller sent this report: "Today, 6th April, in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks: Comma; Peacock at last, not one but three; male and female Brimstone and a Small White again - this time it landed for a while so I could I.D. it as a male."
John Lindley reported the following today: "Good numbers of butterflies today, 6th April, at Goring and Streatley Golf Club (Berks/Oxon border): 30+ Brimstones, including 5 females, also 20+ Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacock and 1 very battered looking Red Admiral."
Michael McNeill sent this news today: "Apart from the usual suspects which first appeared from 5th March in single numbers, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Peacock and Comma, a warm sunny day today, 6th April, in my garden in Upper Basildon, West Berkshire, produced my first male Orange Tip of the year as well as 6 Brimstone, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Peacock and 2 Comma, accompanied by my first Bluebell of the Spring."
Peter Cuss sent the following on 6th April: "Walking today near Holmes Farm, Oxon (OS 159, 655 785) saw my first Orange-tip of the season as well as Peacocks (8), Small White (2), Comma (2) and several Brimstones."
Tony Croft sent these sightings today, 6th April: "I've just carried out my first transect of the season at Rushbeds Wood, Bucks in the warm sunshine and had a pretty good result. Brimstone 15; Peacock 33; Comma 10; Small Tortoiseshell 6 and one beautiful male Orange-tip."
Nicholl Williams sent this report on 6th April: "I went to Spade Oak (Bourne End, Bucks) and then nearby Crowne Plaza in Marlow, Bucks today and saw plenty of Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks. Also 1 Comma and 1 Small White.
Bryan Williams reported the following today, 6th April: "A lovely sunny morning, I visited the Millennium Arboretum in Wokingham, Berks and saw six Peacocks, two Commas, a male Brimstone and a Small Tortoiseshell and returning home (in Wokingham) saw a Holly Blue in my garden."
~ 31st March 2015 ~
Steve Lockey's short walk through Rushbeds Wood, Bucks at midday on 30th March produced 2 Brimstone males flying down the walks and a Comma sunning itself.
~ 25th March 2015 ~
David Fuller sent this news: "The Comma was in my garden in Maidenhead, Berks again on Sunday afternoon, 22nd March. Then on 23/03/15 I had a male Brimstone - my first of the year - and a Small White. This is also my first of the year and is one week earlier than last year's sighting in my garden."
Jim Asher sent this report:
"The final Aston Upthorpe work party of the season took place on
Sunday 22nd March - it was very helpful to enable us to complete
the work on ‘Section 7’ this season. We look forward to seeing if the butterflies appreciate it!
Thank you all for turning out and for your work on other work parties this season too. (See photos
are on our Facebook page.)
Nicholl Williams saw the following on 22nd March: "I saw a few butterflies today outside the Crowne Plaza in Marlow, Bucks: "One Peacock, several Commas and Small Tortoiseshells."
David Gantzel sent this sighting on 22nd March: "A male Brimstone in Hazlemere, Bucks on Friday March 20th."
Neil Holman reported the following on 22nd March: "During an early afternoon walk in bright sunshine around College Wood just outside Nash in North Bucks on Friday 20th March my wife and I spotted four Commas and then when we arrived home in Buckingham we were greeted by a Small Tortoiseshell in our front garden. Let's hope it's the start of a super butterfly season!"
~ 20th March 2015 ~
Wendy Wilson sent this news: "I went to Otmoor, Oxon RSPB reserve this morning (20th March) to view the solar eclipse as we were under a thick blanket of cloud at home. I'm glad I did as a man in the car-park had set up his scope and kindly let me view and photograph it in his camera screen. While walking on the Oddington side of the reserve afterwards, I found two Brown Hairstreak eggs and spotted my first Comma and Brimstone of the year."
Nicholl Williams reports seeing two Small Tortoiseshells at Spade Oak, Bourne End, Bucks on 20th March.
David Fuller sent the following sightings: "In my garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 18th March two Red Admiral nectaring together. I've now seen 6 different Red Admirals this spring. Also a Comma in my garden this afternoon, 20th March."
~ 17th March 2015 ~
David Hastings saw three Peacocks and one Small Tortoiseshell in the Oxford University Parks, Oxon on 12th March.
Dave Cleal reports that on Saturday 7th March he had 2 Red Admirals in Woolman's Wood, Wooburn Common, Bucks.
~ 13th March 2015 ~
Keith O'Hagen sent this report: "I had a Peacock butterfly enjoying the sun and Crocus in my Milton Keynes garden this afternoon, 12th March."
David Fuller sent these sightings: "2 Red Admiral along River Thames towpath in Berks SU906836, on 11th March and a Small Tortoiseshell resting on sailing boat sunning itself at Queen Mother Reservoir nr Datchet, Berks SU016775 on 12th March .
Mary Payne reported the following: "On March 10th I spotted 2 Small Tortoiseshells - either fighting or mating - and a Peacock in Buckland Village, Bucks."
Judith Barnard sent this sighting on 10th March: "I spotted a Comma today in Willen, Milton Keynes (SP877411) at 13.00."
David Hastings sent this news on 9th March: "I saw a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock in the Oxford University Parks, Oxon at lunchtime on 6th March, and at least four Brimstones at Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon on 7th March."
John Amatt reported the following on 9th March: "My first butterfly of the year - a male Brimstone at Hodgemoor Woods, Bucks last Thursday lunchtime, 5th March. I was surprised and cheered to see it, when everything was looking so brown. Although spring has sprung since. I see the crocus, daffs and tree blossoms all started to come out this weekend."
Derek Wilkins was out again in Saturday's fine weather (7th March): "I saw the first Brimstone at 11.30am and in the next 2 hours lost count of how many more along the lane leading to the Swan Rescue Centre and nearby meadows (just north of the Thames near Windsor & Eton, Berks). On several occasions I could see 4 or 5 at once - the ivy covered trees & shrubs on the north side of the lane must be a good area for hibernating as I've seen good numbers early in previous years. About 12.30pm saw a Red Admiral in the same spot as Friday's sighting. Then just after 2pm saw two more "firsts" for 2015 - a Comma near the railway bridge that crosses the lane. Five minutes later I spotted a Peacock basking on the warm brickwork of the same bridge! There were still a few Brimstones about but none after 2.30 - all of today's were males as were Friday's. Altogether a very enjoyable day with the added bonus of warmth too!"
~ 7th March 2015 ~
The warmer weather brought our first two butterflies of the year to our garden in Chearsley, Bucks today (7th). Mick spotted a male Brimstone in flight and then a Red Admiral sunbathing on the soil of a flower border. Time to dig out the recording book, binoculars and walking boots! Read more news on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you see. Wendy
Jim Asher sent this news:
"I received the following report from Geoff Ryder: 'I'm sure there will be lots more sightings today
(7th March) but I had my first Brimstone of the year in my garden
at Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire - would you believe the same day
as last year!'
John Warren sent this report: "On 7th March I saw the following: Blake's Lock Reading, Berks - 1 Small Tortoiseshell, Donegal Close Reading - 1 Brimstone, Henley Road and Almond Drive area, Reading - 2 Small Tortoiseshell courtship flight; Caversham Lakes AKA Henley Road, GP - 2 Peacocks."
David Gantzel saw a male Brimstone in Stoke Mandeville, Bucks today Saturday March 7th.
John Lindley sent these sightings on 7th March: "Three species on the wing in today's warm sunshine in South Stoke, Oxon: three Brimstomes (all male), one Small Tortoiseshell and one Red Admiral. Also a few early Mason Bees and a Queen German Wasp."
Derek Wilkins says that the last couple of days have been quite good: "On Thursday 5th March I saw my 3rd species of 2015 - at 11.45am the first Brimstone of the season appeared and as I got closer another joined it (both males) and they fluttered around together for a minute or so before flying off in different directions. Location - north of the Thames near Windsor, Berks, a sheltered spot just off the lane that leads from Eton to the Swan Rescue Centre a few yards west of the railway bridge. Then on Friday 6th March just before midday I saw the first of several Brimstones (at least 5 over the next half hour) all flying along the sunny side of the lane that leads from Eton to the Swan Rescue Centre (west of the railway bridge). About an hour later I saw a Red Admiral in the same spot as last Friday (the sheltered glade near the Swan Rescue Centre) - got really close and it was in even better condition than last week's. As I headed for home just after 2pm another Red Admiral flew swiftly past me and 15 minutes later near the Windsor Leisure Centre a Small Tortoiseshell flew by a couple of feet away. A very enjoyable butterfly walk!"
~ 3rd March 2015 ~
Mary Payne sent this sighting: "Today, March 3rd, I spotted a Brimstone on the main road through Western Turville, Bucks. Spring is coming!"
Abby Fettes reported the following: "This morning, 3rd March, I spotted a Brimstone whizzing past my window tempted out by the sunshine at West Oxfordshire District Council Offices in Witney (436141, 210801) and my colleague Phil Shaw then saw it fluttering around the car park. I don’t think it would have hung around for long though as it is only 5 degrees here this morning."
~ 28th February 2015 ~
This news came from Huw Morgan on 28th February: "On 17th January - I was astonished to see a Comma in my back garden in Kidlington, Oxon. Admittedly it is south facing and enclosed, but the thermometer was indicating 5 degrees. It spent a few minutes flying round, and then rested on the wall in the sunlight."
Derek Wilkins saw his second butterfly of the year yesterday (Friday 27th February), just before midday. "It was a Red Admiral and, apart from a couple of very small nicks to the left hind wing, it was in very good condition. Watched it for about 15 minutes basking in the strong sunshine and from time to time flying swiftly around - it even landed on me briefly! Location - a sheltered sunny glade on the north side of the Thames near Windsor, Berks close to the Swan Rescue Centre. The shelter from the mature trees and hedges makes it a good spot for early and late sightings! Popped back around 1pm and it was still there enjoying the fine day, as I was, even though it was only around 9 degrees."
Dave Wilton reported the following: "On the mild morning of 25th February a male Brimstone was tempted out of hibernation for a short while in my garden at Westcott, Bucks."
~ 25th February 2015 ~
Peter Law sent this note: "Just to say I disturbed a rather sluggish and floppy Peacock butterfly in my garden in Garsington, Oxon on 18th February. There must have been a hibernator somewhere within the structure of my park home, as I recall a flying Peacock late into last autumn. It still looked in good condition on re-emerging if the two were indeed the same individual."
~ 18th February 2015 ~
Derek Wilkins sent the following report: "Wednesday 18th February - Saw my first butterfly of the year today, just after 11am on the northern side of Alexandra Gardens in Windsor, Berks - a Small Tortoiseshell was flying briskly around despite the cool breeze and a temperature of only about 7C. It settled briefly to bask in the sunshine and looked in good condition, then flew around again before I lost sight of it amongst the shrubs. I was already enjoying the sunshine and the first butterfly made me feel even better!!"
Tony Rayner sent this news: "My first butterfly sighting of the year - a Small Tortoiseshell in our Cholsey, Oxon meadow today, February 18th."
David Fuller saw his second Red Admiral of the year whilst visiting the snowdrops at Stubbings Churchyard near Maidenhead, Berks SU846816 on 17th February.
~ 14th February 2015 ~
The following report came via Wendy Wilson: "Deborah Elliott of Chalfont St Peter sent me this unusual picture of a Peacock spotted and photographed on 12th February by her friend Annik Coatalen Heal at her home in Knotty Green, Beaconsfield, Bucks. It caught her eye as rear sections of both wings are white apart from some black lines. I wonder if anyone has seen anything similar."
Neil Holman sent the following: "Walking back home in bright early afternoon sunshine on 8th February I spotted my first butterfly of the year in Chandos Road, Buckingham, Bucks and it was a Small Tortoiseshell. What a delight so early in the season!"
~ 9th February 2015 ~
Paul Bowyer sent this news today: "The first sighting of the year for my 10K square on Sunday 8th February. A Red Admiral seen by Cliff Grove in his garden in Cippenham, Slough, Berkshire."
~ 12th January 2015 ~
Keith O'Hagen has seen his first butterfly of the year: "11th January - Just had a Peacock butterfly in my Milton Keynes garden, on the ivy. My first of 2015!"
The following sighting from Ann Barrett came via Nick Bowles: "I saw a Brimstone butterfly today 09 Jan 2015 at 11.30 am in a garden in the centre of Lower Brailes, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX155HS."
Dave Wilton sent this Brown Hairstreak update:
"Our searches for Brown Hairstreak eggs have been continuing although activities were curtailed
somewhat over the holiday period. Attempts to re-egg the seven remaining tetrads which have yet to
produce any sightings this winter have unfortunately not yet met with any success. However,
Wendy Wilson and I have managed to find eggs in a few kilometre squares which were last searched in
2009 so they have provided a useful update to our records. Furthermore, today (12th January)
Steve Woolliams discovered a single egg in SP4612, to the west of Yarnton, Oxon, which provides us
with our fifth completely new tetrad for this season.
Our eleventh annual New Year's Day egg hunt at Otmoor, Oxon was attended by 18 participants, including a cameraman from BBC South Today (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH7fauuyPKM&feature=youtu.be). Previous years have produced two counts of more than 100 eggs there but this time we could only find 42. Still, we have had lower totals (24 in 2009 and just 19 in 2012) and there is now so much more suitable blackthorn in the compounds behind our target hedge that all is not lost! Over the past few years Otmoor has actually become one of the most reliable sites for adult Brown Hairstreak sightings, in particular along the continuation of Otmoor Lane behind the car-park.
Two further group egg searches have now been arranged, as follows:
John Lindley sent the following report:
David Fuller recorded his first butterfly of the year on 8th January: "This morning,Thursday 8th January, Alexandra found a Red Admiral caught in a spider's web which I rescued and put in the conservatory to warm up in the strong sun. When I released it it flew strongly away."
~ 8th January 2015 ~
Dave Turnbull reported the first butterfly of the year: "While on a trip 'across the border into Bucks' at about 11.30am on 5th January I saw a Red Admiral struggling in a muddy puddle. I rescued it but it was unable to maintain height as it could only flap its wings slowly as it was about 5 or 6 degrees. This was in Hockeridge woods just outside Ashley Green, Bucks."
~ Wednesday 31st December 2014 ~
Phil Shaw reported the following on 23rd December: "I was attending the Christingle service in Shutford church, north Oxfordshire on 21/12/2014 and sat in a pew next to a poem that has been placed inside the church called “Church Butterfly”. Right on cue a Peacock started fluttering around the church and flew for the whole service. Possibly a contender for last sighting of the year?"
John Lerpiniere sent the following on 21st December: "At Hosehill LNR, Theale, Berks a Small Tortoiseshell flew out across the lake 11am Saturday 20th December."
~ Friday 19th December 2014 ~
Helen Hyre writes: "Today, Friday 19th December, we had a Red Admiral in our garden in Bierton, Bucks at lunchtime. We have had a record year. Our first garden butterfly was on 11th January."
~ Thursday 18th December 2014 ~
John Lindley sent this sighting today: "Yesterday morning, 17th December, in a brief sunny spell on a very mild day, a Red Admiral on the wing around a house in Goring, Oxon. Today (even milder), when the sun came out briefly, another Red Admiral basking on a south facing wall in South Stoke, Oxon. Remarkable that they're not in full hibernation given the cool weather over the previous days."
David Fuller reports a Red Admiral
in his garden in Maidenhead, Berks on 9th December.
David also passed on two other recent sightings:
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