Butterfly Conservation

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Hertfordshire and Middlesex Branch

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Latest Sightings for 2014

This page has been designed for mobile phone use and will be updated as regularly as possible. It will contain about thirty days of latest butterfly news. For all other links and information visit the main website at www.hertsmiddx-butterflies.org.uk

October 2014

Friday 24th October 2014
A pristine Red Admiral nectaring on castor oil plant flowers in our Pinner garden (overcast, no wind & fairly mild) - Tony and Gill Porter

At c. 3:00pm today (24.10.14) I saw a Red Admiral in my garden (postcode NW3) - presumably in search of rotting fruit. None in my garden, unfortunately, so it didn't settle and flew off - Mark Barclay

Thursday 23rd October 2014
Still 5 or 6 Clouded Yellows at the Symondshyde lane site at noon today when the sun appeared.
Robin Pearson

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards After a walk in sunshine but with no butterflies I wasn't very hopeful for today but ended up pleasantly surprised in consistent morning sunshine: Speckled Wood: 2 Red Admiral: 1 Common Blue: 1 and Small White: 1 - Pete Gore

Wednesday 22nd October 2014
Whilst walking around my local patch at Maple Cross today, 22 October, I was amazed to see a clouded yellow butterfly fly past. It settled and then sunned itself in a sheltered patch next to Franklins Wood which is adjacent to an arable field that has been left fallow and is full of clover - Christina Bessant

4 Red Admiral in Trent Park this morning - 1 Sect 1 at 10:48 hrs, 2 together nectaring on michaelmas daisies edge of Triangular Wood at 10:55 hrs and another in Sect 5 at 11:19 hrs, also a nice view of a female Bullfinch in blackthorn Sect 8 and Common Darter near the Oakwood entrance. - Robert Callf

Monday 20th October 2014
Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards Just enough sun for butterflies and I saw double the number seen on my last walk.Both of them were Speckled Woods on the Marshalling Yards,the second one flopping (minus a hind-wing),rather than landing, on the grass alongside me. There has been a further assault on the Marshalling Yards by car,this time smashing down the substantial fence that blocked access to the main Cavalry Tunnel before setting fire to the car in the tunnel itself.Various parts had been deposited in the River Crane beforehand.This effectively opens the tunnel for more such invasions although natural light is inadequate for safe/pleasant walking. - Pete Gore

Sunday 19th October 2014
Stocking Pelham one active Red Admiral - Andy Brown HMWT

On a lovely sunny, but breezy late Sunday morning, during river sampling for the Citizen Crane monitoring project, I saw a single Speckled Wood fly up and flutter by and a pair of Common Darters engrossed in egg laying on the river margin of the Yeading Brook, Bridgewater Fields, Ruislip Gardens, Middlesex. - Paul Busby

A few sightings for today Sunday 19th October 2014 - 1 Small Copper set-aside field N of Williams Wood (Trent Park tetrad - TQ2996); 1 Painted Lady at Vicarage Farm, Enfield at 11:25 hrs (Trent Park tetrad); 1 Peacock at Vicarage Farm, Enfield at 11:27 hrs (Trent Park tetrad) and 1 Red Admiral at Allotments, Vicarage Farm (TQ3097) - Robert Callf/Robin White

Friday 17th October 2014
Jane and I went over to Symondshyde to look at the Clouded Yellows today. There were a minimum of 10 flying when the sun came out as well as 1 Red Admiral and a Vapourer Moth. - Andrew Wood

Although today wasn't as warm and sunny as I'd hoped, the prospect of Clouded Yellows tempted me to Symondshyde this afternoon. In 2.5 hours I saw around 10 individuals across the site, with a maximum of 6 in view at any one time. My only other sighting was a single Peacock sunbathing on the gorse. - Paul Why

A couple of sightings to report in Trent Park today Friday 17th October 2014 - 1 Peacock by lower lake at 13:27 hrs and 1 female Common Blue watched settled for several minutes at 'Old Golf Course' 13:32 - 13:35 hrs (my latest record of this species locally!). - Robert Callf

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards Thought we might have finished apart from occasional emerging from hibernation but today a solitary Speckled Wood was still lurking by the bridges over the stream and river,the only butterfly seen on a relatively sunny walk. The last seen previously were on Friday 10th October:2 each Speckled Wood and Common Blue (male) - Pete Gore

Thursday 16th October 2014
Four species of butterfly to report today Thursday 16th October 2014 at Trent Park: 1 Comma edge of Moat Wood at 10:37 hrs; 1 Red Admiral edge of Moat Wood at 10:40 hrs; 2 Small Copper nectaring on michaelmas daisies 'Old Golf Course' at 10:45 hrs; 1 Speckled Wood along bridle-path near Merryhills Brook at 11:30 hrs. - Robert Callf

Visited the Symondshyde Lane (Hammonds Lane on some maps) site at lunchtime today, still 9-10 Clouded Yellows flying in the warm sunshine, also Brimstone, Red Admiral and two reddish-brown medium-sized buttedflys I couldn't identify. - Robin Pearson

Just a Comma this afternoon at Norton Green, resting or basking on bramble - Peter Clarke

Two Death's Head Hawkmoth larvae eating jasmine leaves which are growing on a pergola structure outside our kitchen in a Hertfordshire garden - Anna Dockerty

Just to record that I observed a Clouded Yellow on Hampstead Heath going purposefully S over Parliament Hill (the only one that I observed at this site in 2014 despite many hours spent bird/butterfly watching there) on Saturday 11th October when I also observed Red Admirals doing the same. Frank Nugent

Tuesday 14th October 2014
1 x beautiful plume moth in bushey garden today - David Gower

The recent reports by Robin Pearson from the disused gravel pits bordered by Coopers Green Lane and Symondshyde Lane variously called Sutton's Farm or Coopers Green Lane gravel pits of several CLOUDED YELLOWS prompted a thorough search in the fine autumn sunshine on Saturday 11th. October 2014. The butterflies can be found just beyond the fence described by Robin on the 3rd. October in Symondshyde Lane. Clouded Yellows, both males and females were found nectaring on dandelions and daisy species in the absence of any flowering clover ranging from the gorse bushes near the fence all the way to the two pits and up to the edge of the escarpment on the right. I counted up to twenty carefully avoiding repeats and photographed different individuals into double figures. The site was later in the afternoon visited by Lee Evans who reported 32+. I think both estimates are on the conservative side and mark an irruption of the species at this location. The site has a few Common Blues also close to the fenceline.
One of Colin Holtby's photos can be viewed here
Chris Holtby (hopefully they survived the deluge yesterday)

Saturday 11th October 2014
Stocking Pelham on Saturday 11th - one probable small copper + 1 small tortoiseshell Andy Brown HMWT

The season continues here in Stanwell Moor. Today 11th, a calm sunny interlude at around midday drew me out onto my local patch again. Five species seen altogether, including a profusion of Red Admirals. I counted over a dozen in two separate patches of ivy, a mixture of bright new specimens and a few more tattered individuals. There was a single Comma in with them, and not far away I saw a Small White and three Speckled Woods still patrolling the path. Further on in the meadow next to the M25, moving along from flower to yellow flower and then plummeting to lie low when the sun went in, there was a male Clouded Yellow. Not quite a brand new one, but likely to be the offspring of those I saw here back in early August and a very welcome sight. Holly Blues last weekend, a Clouded Yellow today - whatever next?
Dave Miller

Ponders End garden, 1 Peacock on Buddleia today - Andrew Middleton

One Small Copper on thistle head at Uni-lawns Trent Park Friday 10th October 2014 at 14:30 hrs - looking rather worn - Robert Callf

Friday 10th October 2014
A Comma at Norton Green Friday afternoon - Peter Clarke

3 very smart, new red admirals on the wing at Hadham Hall this morning at 11.00a.m. - Jonathan Forgham

Thursday 9th October 2014
One Red Admiral at Grovelands Park, Southgate on Wednesday 8th October 2014 at 14:08 hrs. One Red Admiral at Northaw Great Wood on Thursday 9th October 2014 at 10:51 hrs. - Robert Callf

Ware High Street, at 8.50am a Red Admiral flying in front of shop windows - Liz Goodyear

Wednesday 8th October 2014
Still at least 6 Clouded Yellows at the Symondshyde Lane site, grid ref TL 198 104. - Robin Pearson

Tuesday 7th October 2014
News from Sunday 5th October at Wareside. 1 speckled wood, sunning itself on the autumn leaves, 1 small copper, 1 brown argus - looking remarkably fresh. Whizzed about the front garden before departing into the orchard. 2 red admiral on the ivy flowers, 3 large whites, 1 small white, 1 comma. also 2 vapourer moths. All in and around the garden or field opposite. Also at Widford, 1 speckled wood, at the cricket ground. 1 small copper also at the cricket ground. 2 red admiral on the ivy flowers also 1 vapourer moth - Phil Macmurdie

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards Sunshine but strong breezes today but still some butterflies around: Red Admiral: 1 Brimstone: 1 Speckled Wood: 2 Small Copper: 1 - Pete Gore

A few sightings for today Tuesday 7th October 2014 - 1 Red Admiral edge of Moat Wood, Trent Park at 11:15 hrs; 1 Comma edge of Williams Wood, Trent Park at 11:45 hrs; 2 Speckled Wood along bridle-path near Shaws Wood, Trent Park at 11:52 and 11:54 hrs - Robert Callf/Robin White

A sunny but cool morning, only about 12-13 Deg C, but we managed to see a Red Admiral and 3 Speckled Woods during a break at our working party around the square pond at Highgrove Woods, Eastcote, Middlesex - Paul Busby

Sunday 5th October 2014
Very sunny today (5th), but very much chillier than recently (only around 8 degrees at nine this morning). At lunchtime I walked around my local patch again, remembering that sunshine is probably more important than warmth for butterflies. I was rewarded with five Red Admirals, four or five Speckled Woods, a couple of Small Whites, a Comma and some excellent views of another (or perhaps the same) male Holly Blue. It was alternately taking minerals from horse dung on the path and basking on foliage low down. I observed it for half an hour and it was still there when I left.
Dave Miller

Still 8-10 Clouded Yellows at the Symondshyde Lane site (near Sandridge) also a few Common Blues.
Robin Pearson

Rescued 1 x peacock tangled up in spiders web in Bushey garden today. At Merryhill Fields 1 x small copper seen in exactly same area as last year. - David Gower

Pleasantly surprised to find a Red Admiral nectaring on Rudbeckia & Ivy flowers in my Hatfield garden today. First for some time. We used to get them regularly into Oct., but this is the first for 2-3 years - John Moss

Saturday 4th October 2014
Saw a single Speckled Wood butterfly on a 5 mile hike along the Yeading Brook, Ickenham Marsh Fields, Middlesex on Saturday afternoon, just after the sun came out after heavy rain showers - Paul Busby

Had 1 Small Cooper late Saturday afternoon after the rain at Tyttenhanger Gravel Pit - Andrew Steele

Stanwell Moor, 4th October: Between nine and ten this morning, before the clouds rolled in and the rain poured down, I saw four Red Admirals and two Speckled Woods making the most of the last drop of summer sun.
Dave Miller

Friday 3rd October 2014
Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards More sun so a few more butterfly sightings: Speckled Wood: 7 Common Blue: 1 Small Copper: 1 Small White:1 A misguided attempt at scrap metal recycling has led to the removal of the largest of the three burnt out vehicles from the centre of the site but only as far as the main entry path back to the tunnel.A trail of debris including doors and the engine can be seen. Probably fortunate they didn't reach the tunnel or the river but with the path blocked there can be no more joyriding car thieves entering this way.Walkers and bikers,like mice and water,will always find a way of getting to places they 'need' to go however... - Pete Gore

A visit to Trent Park this afternoon Friday 3rd October 2014 produced the following sightings - 1 female Clouded Yellow near Triangular Wood at 12:49 hrs; 1 Peacock in Sect 8 'New Fields' at 12:52 hrs; 1 Red Admiral in Sect 8 'New Fields' at 12:52 hrs; 1 Speckled Wood in Sect 5 'New Fields' at 13:05 hrs; 3 Small Copper (1 in Sect 4 'New Fields' at 13:13 hrs, 2 near Sports Field at 13:15 and 13:18 hrs); 1 Speckled Wood near Sports Field at 13:16 hrs. The days when there was a regular grass cutting and baling regime seem a long time ago. - Robert Callf

A visit to Trent Park this afternoon Friday 3rd October 2014 produced the following sightings - 1 female Clouded Yellow near Triangular Wood at 12:49 hrs; 1 Peacock in Sect 8 'New Fields' at 12:52 hrs; 1 Red Admiral in Sect 8 'New Fields' at 12:52 hrs; 1 Speckled Wood in Sect 5 'New Fields' at 13:05 hrs; 3 Small Copper (1 in Sect 4 'New Fields' at 13:13 hrs, 2 near Sports Field at 13:15 and 13:18 hrs); 1 Speckled Wood near Sports Field at 13:16 hrs. The days when there was a regular grass cutting and baling regime seem a long time ago. - Robert Callf

Glorious warm sunshine on what may well be the last day of summer: I made a circuit of my local patch at Stanwell Moor this afternoon. Altogether, I must have seen six Red Admirals, six Speckled Woods, two Large Whites, two Small Heaths, two Holly Blues, a Small White and a Green-veined White. One Holly Blue was nectaring on a thistle and even opened up a little, showing that it was brand new.
Dave Miller

A Holly Blue seen over Kitchling Lane at Norton Green at around 2pm today. PS Most of the cuttings in the meadow at the common have now been removed! - Peter Clarke

A few butterflies in the Autumn sun, I saw a male Common Blue in the Walled Garden of Eastcote House Gardens, Middlesex and 3 Speckled Woods in the nearby Dovecote Copse near the River Pinn. Then in the overgrown wildflower meadow in Warrender Park, Eastcote, I saw another solitary ragged male Common Blue and at the entrance to the adjacent Highgrove Wood, I saw another Speckled Wood. - Paul Busby

At Sutton's Farm GPs (near Sandridge) today I had at least 12 sightings of CLOUDED YELLOW, males and females, with up to four on view together at one time. Note: This area is bounded by Woodcock Hill, Coopers Green Lane and Symondshyde Lane and is officially private but people use it to exercise theirs dogs. There is a small pull-in 100yds up Symsdondshyde Lane where the fence has been broken down, most the Clouded Yellows were just a few yards in from there. - Robin Pearson

A faded Painted lady in Cutforth Road, Sawbridgeworth on the 2nd October - Laurence Drummond

Thursday 2nd October 2014
A few sightings for today Thursday 2nd October 2014 - 3 Red Admiral at Vicarage Farm, Enfield; 1 male Common Blue settled on thistle set-aside field N of Williams Wood, Trent Park, 10:55 hrs - in fresh condition; 1 Red Admiral at Park Farm, Enfield at 12:34 hrs; 1 male Clouded Yellow at Park Farm, Enfield, 12:36 hrs - in the same area as yesterday. - Robert Callf

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards. First walk in October and off to a good start in bright sunshine: Common Blue: 4 Speckled Wood: 9 Small Copper:3 Small White:1 Red Admiral: 2 One Other possible Red Admiral/Peacock and 2-3 small Whites also seen. Tuesday 30th September 2014 - Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards. Highlight on this day was a Hop Dog,a delightful name for a beautiful creature which grows up to become the rather less impressive Pale Tussock Moth.Evolution has equipped the Hop Dog with camouflage (green), unpalatability (covered in green hair),'weaponry' (a 'horn' and four tufts) and mimicry (when the caterpillar moves it displays a wasp-like black band between each tuft.I gather they tend to survive well. I've seen wild hops somewhere on my local travels but I'd imagine on the Marshalling yards it had fed on Birch.I spotted it briefly looking conspicuous on the footpath in front of me,probably ready to pupate. Butterflies: Speckled Wood: 8 Common Blue: 5 Small Copper: 2. Sunday 28th September - Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards(part)/Crane. Speckled Wood: 11 Small White:2 Small Copper:1 Common Blue:3 Brown Argus: 1( old,tatty,faded with no hint of blue but didn't see underwings.) - Pete Gore

Wednesday 1st October 2014
Hobby Horse Wood (next to Balls Wood) today 3 Speckled Wood - Andy Brown HMWT

Visited Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park this afternoon, warm and sunny intervals. Pleased to see at least 5 Common Blue, 3 Speckled Woods and 2 Small Whites on the first day of October. Also surprised to see the first "Spring" crocuses of the year - Paul Busby

A very brief look around my local patch in Stanwell Moor on the morning of Sunday 28th: One new third brood Holly Blue, a Peacock, a Small White, three Red Admirals and six or seven Speckled Woods.
Dave Miller

Some sightings to report for today Wednesday 1st October 2014 - 1 Red Admiral near Hadley Road at Vicarage Farm, Enfield 11:00 hrs; 1 Clouded Yellow at Park Farm, Enfield (TQ2998) at 11:30 - 11:34 hrs; 1 Speckled Wood along Jubilee Path at Park Farm, Enfield at 11:56 hrs; 1 Large White at Ferny Hill Farm, Enfield at 12:10 hrs and 1 Small Copper at 'Old Golf Course' Trent Park 12:43 hrs. - Robert Callf

September 2014

Tuesday 30th September 2014
Tuesday 30th September. Did my final transect of The Warren for the season. Only one butterfly recorded (Large White, 1st this year) with a few moths & lots of Common Darter dragonflies. Most thorn & common furze scrub now cut and removed. Hedge margins cut back on 3 sides. All ranker grass & nettle areas mown, with arisings stacked in 2 huge heaps. Looks very barren, with hardly any wildlife & no sign of rabbits for once. Still some flora in flower, especially Dwarf Furze, Heather & Tormentil. The drastic treatment was essential & should lead to healthy regeneration next year. If the planned light summer grazing is introduced, open grassland should be sustained. Next year will reveal how the invertebrate population is affected - John Moss

Seen a Red Admiral flying along Bramley Parade, Oakwood, N14 this afternoon Tuesday 30th September 2014 at 14:35 hrs. - Robert Callf

Short stroll around Highgrove Woods, Eastcote, Middlesex on a sunny warm afternoon and I saw 3 Speckled Wood and a Large White. A Southern Hawker dragonfly was patrolling the pond and a pair of Common darted egg laying - Paul Busby

Sunday 28th September 2014
Nomansland Common, nr Sandridge - Ten of us assembled for the final Herts field trip of the summer season. The weather was warm & sunny and we were greeted with the exciting news that Jackie (who had arrived early for a picnic) had just spotted a Clouded Yellow. Entering the Common we immediately saw a Small Copper nectaring on Ragwort. Close examination through binoculars revealed there were actually four Small Coppers on the same plant. The site looked in great condition with widespread rabbit grazing allowing sheeps sorrell (the larval foodplant) to flourish. Nectar was less abundant than previous years with most of the Ragwort pulled up & much of the site having recently received its annual mow. Nectaring and sunbathing were the two main activities of the Small Coppers, with Heather (Ling) being the most popular nectar source. We also saw a couple of attempted courtships, though neither were successful & a couple of females sitting on sorrell, though no egg laying was observed. In total we saw 45 Small Coppers in 90 minutes, some appearing very fresh and other a bit faded. The only other butterflies seen at the site today were Peacock (1), Speckled Wood (1) & either a Small or Green-veined White plus a Blood-vein moth - Malcolm Hull

On Thursday 25th September, after a Conservation working party on Long Meadow and River Pinn, Eastcote, Middlesex, I saw a Red Admiral on flowering ivy at the entrance of Dovecote Copse, Eastcote House Gardens and a tiny Common Blue in the Walled Garden. Back home, I saw a Speckled Wood and 2 Large White caterpillars. Then today, walking through St Martins Churchyard, Ruislip, I saw 2 Large Whites and a Speckled Wood. - Paul Busby

On Sunday 28th in Stocking Pelham, - GV White, Large White and humming-bird Hawk moth nectaring - Andy Brown HMWT

Indentified a Green-veined White along Merryhills Brook at Vicarage Farm, Enfield this morning Sunday 28th September 2014 at 10:30 hrs, also a Speckled Wood here - Robert Callf/Robin White.

Saturday 27th September 2014
In a couple of very sunny hours out in the garden in Tring, today, I saw 8 butterflies. They were a Brimstone, a Large and a Small White, A Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Speckled Wood. I never saw two of anything and all the whites were male so probably the same ones going round and round the gardens; and the Brimstone seen 3 times were/was a female; so probably the same one. Couldn't sex the others but only ever one at a time and probably the same ones. Eight butterflies and eight species. - Nick Bowles

On Saturday 27th in Stocking Pelham - a couple of whites, a small copper and a possible small tortoiseshell - Andy Brown HMWT

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards Yet another cloudy, humid day with just enough changes in butterflies to suggest I'm not merely repeating the same individuals.Today's highlights included a Comma nectaring on Aster,a Small Heath in the Marshalling Yards and a Clouded Yellow as I was heading for the tunnel homewards.This obliged by flying strongly in the usual fashion but then settling to nectar on a dandelion giving me time to look closely at the underwings.I momentarily thought the day's sightings were getting progressively more abnormal when a diminutive brown and white butterfly flew past me on the Heath but when it settled this turned out to be a Speckled Wood about half the size of the smallest I've seen before. Here are the details:Comma:1 Speckled Wood: 15 Common Blue: 2 Small Heath: 1 Clouded Yellow: 1 - Pete Gore

Went to Trent Park 'New Fields' specifically looking for late Small Heath today Saturday 27th September 2014 and managed to find one (a rather worn individual) in Sect 6 at 14:27 hrs - only four days earlier than my latest ever date! Also two Small Copper near the Sports Field 14:07 - 14:08 hrs and one Red Admiral near Oakwood entrance at 14:38 hrs. Friday 26th September 2014 - 2 Speckled Wood near Shaws Wood, Trent Park at 13:30 hrs; 1 Small Copper at 'Old Golf Course' Trent Park at 14:17 hrs; 1 Large White edge of Moat Wood, Trent Park at 14:30 hrs; 1 Small Tortoiseshell at Hog Hill, Vicarage Farm at 15:51 hrs and 2 Small Copper at Vicarage Farm at 15:51 and 16:09 hrs. - Robert Callf

Friday 26th September 2014
Nomansland Common, nr Sandridge - 16 Small Coppers plus Small Heath, Common Blue & Speckled Wood. JOIN ME for a stroll round the site this Sunday, 28th Sept - our last field trip of the flight season, starting from the car park at 2pm. For full details select Walks & Talks from the menu on the left - Malcolm Hull

One Speckled Wood in Oakwood Park this morning Friday 26th September 2014 at 08:30 hrs. - Robert Callf

Firstly, on my last report for Bedfont Lakes, I incorrectly said that this was on 25th September - it was in fact 24th... Today (26th), I visited my local patch (Stanwell Moor) at around 4pm. The sun had been out for about an hour and it was nudging 21 degrees. The tally for the walk was 17 Speckled Woods, 4 Red Admirals, 2 Small Heaths, 2 Peacocks, one Green-veined White and one Large White. This is the highest count of Speckled Woods I have made here in one circuit since I started walking around this route in 2007. I assume the Peacocks had been disturbed from hibernation by the warm weather as I haven't seen one for some time.
Dave Miller

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards Similar to Thursday although walked a little later: Speckled Wood: 14 Common Blue:4 (all female unless 1 was a very faded male) Small Copper: 1 - Pete Gore

For all other links and information visit the main website at www.hertsmiddx-butterflies.org.uk