Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Butterfly Conservation
Hertfordshire & Middlesex Branch
Saving butterflies, moths and our environment

Sightings 2015

Welcome to the Hertfordshire & Middlesex Branch sightings page for butterfly and moth news from around the area

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When sending in news from a site for the first time, a grid reference or post code would be appreciated. We endeavour to enter all records on the branch data base if sufficient location detail is given. Photos will only be posted in exceptional circumstances, please either use the branch facebook page or provide an online link - thank you

Can you help us to get older Records onto our Database? We have a card index of Herts and Middlesex butterfly records from 1987 to 1994 which we want to add to our database. We are looking for volunteers to help copy these into a spreadsheet. Please contact Andrew Wood (see committee page for email) if you would like to receive a scan of the cards for a species (including if you gave me your name at the Members' Day as I've misplaced the note of your names - sorry!) Each card has one or two columns of rather small writing on it and I reckon a column takes around 20 minutes to copy the details of the Recorder, Grid Square, Location, Date, Species, Number seen. Thanks - Andrew Wood

March 2015

Tuesday 31st March 2015 March 2015
On Tuesday 31st March, I saw my first comma settled on a fallen camellia bloom in Kings Langley about 12.30pm in sunshine. Elizabeth Debenham

I saw a comma butterfly at Ivel Springs, Baldock - David Inward

Friday 27th March 2015 March 2015
I saw two quite active Comma butterflies at Cheney Fields, Eastcote, Middlesex - Paul Busby

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards/Crane Pevensey 2 male Brimstones on the Marshalling Yards. A mix of cloud and sunshine.Cowslips blooming on Pevensey and a party of Mallards seem to have discovered the joys of echo by quacking loudly in the Crane's culvert under the Marshalling Yards. Still a slow start for butterflies though. - Pete Gore

I saw 1 Small Tortoiseshell at lunchtime today at Mymms Wash behind the South Mimms Services - Terry Wood

Monday 23rd March 2015
Two butterflies in Trent Park today Monday 23rd March 2015 - 1 Comma on south edge of Rough Lot at 11:43 hrs and 1 Red Admiral in set-aside field near Dew Pond at 12:22 hrs - Robert Callf/Robin White

I took a walk around Tyttenhanger gravel pits this morning and saw my first Comma of the year in the Garden Wood area. As I returned along the river Colne, ahead of me a butterfly flew across my path and then away across the river; I think it was probably a Small Tortoiseshell. - Terry Wood

Sunday 22nd March 2015
Today (22nd) was my first stroll around my local patch at Stanwell Moor this year in decent weather. I was rewarded with my first two sightings: an unexpected Small White, and a thoroughly expected Red Admiral. No Peacocks, Commas, Small Tortoiseshells or Brimstones yet, though.
http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/download/file.php?id=64666&mode=view
http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/phpBB/download/file.php?id=64667&mode=view
I should also report I saw a Peacock at Bedfont Lakes Country Park on 12th - Dave Miller

Friday 20th March 2015
One Small Tortoiseshell along Salmons Brook at Parkside Farm, Enfield Friday 20th March 2015 at 14:59 hrs. - Robert Callf

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards/Crane/Pevensey. A bright sunny afternoon followed a cloudy morning concealing the eclipse and I finished slightly frustrated with three times as many unidentified sightings as identified - the one butterfly I did have time to recognise was a Comma on the path which connects the Crane/Pevensey section of my walk to the Marshalling Yards.This is a favoured area for both Comma and Small Tortoiseshell with extensive nettle-beds on both sides. - Pete Gore

Wednesday 18th March 2015
A red admiral was settled inside a camelia bloom in my garden in Kings Langley on March 18th on a sunny lunchtime - Elizabeth Debenham

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards /Crane/Pevensey. Just two butterflies on today's walk,mostly in sunshine: a Comma on the Marshalling Yards and on the return journey across the Heath where the Gorse is in full bloom amongst the Heather my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year. The Willows are now in bloom and attracting sundry insects but not yet butterflies. - Pete Gore

Sunday 15th March 2015
My first butterfly of the year. Barley, near Royston on the 10 March 2015. Brimstone - Christopher Benton

Friday 13th March 2015
Saw a Small Tortoiseshell settled on the path near the lake in Grovelands Park, Southgate, N14 this afternoon Friday 13th March 2015 at 12:22 hrs. - Robert Callf

Thursday 12th March 2015
On 'Celandine Walk', by River Pinn between Pinner and Eastcote, (MR 113 892): Three Small Tortoiseshells, and one Comma, all in very good condition. - Graham Elcombe

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards/Crane/Pevensey A lengthy walk today, all of it in sunshine. My first Brimstone of the year near a much-favoured spot on the Marshalling Yards followed by a second,also male, on the River Crane section of the Crane/Pevensey loop I walk. This section has seen fairly substantial clearance of scrub and the installation of a small footbridge across the Pevensey drainage channel where it flows into the Crane.If sustained this will make it easier to walk and perhaps a little bit more open for butterflies. One other sighting on the Marshalling Yards is my first unidentified of the year -most likely a Comma. - Pete Gore

Peacock left its hibernation quarters in the space above my dustbin cupboard earlier today. This afternoon, I saw a Comma basking on a piece of rock by the brook at Shackledell Grassland only a metre or two away from my Peacock sighting last week. Most of the grassland was mechanically cut down to ground level in the winter so it will be interesting to see what will turn up later in the year. A Small Tortoiseshell (with most of one of its hindwings missing) was basking on the grass in Fairlands Valley Park just south of Six Hills Way. Still waiting for my first Brimstone! - Peter Clarke

A few sightings for today Thursday 12th March 2015 - 1 Peacock edge of Shaws Wood, Trent Park at 13:36 hrs; 1 Small Tortoiseshell near Shaws Cottages, Trent Park at 13:37 hrs; 1 Small Tortoiseshell near Dew Pond, Trent Park at 13:44 hrs and probably a different one edge of Williams Wood at 13:46 hrs; 1 Comma nectaring on emerging Giant Hogweed along Leeging Beech Gutter near 'Three-bridges' Trent Park at 13:58 hrs - my first of the year - Robert Callf

Wednesday 11th March 2015
Three butterflies to report today Wednesday 11th March 2015 - 2 Small Tortoiseshell near Shaws Cottages, Trent Park (south facing side) at 10:35 hrs and 1 Red Admiral at 'Old Golf Course' Trent Park at 11:10 hrs - Robert Callf/Robin White.

2 small tortoisehells at Marsworth Reservoir this morning and one at Aldbury Nowers later on this morning. - Paul Thrush

2 small tortoishells seen today (11/03/2015) at grassy area at entrance to Lanterns Lane wood, Gresley Way, Stevenage - David Inward

Tuesday 10th March 2015
News from Diane Andrews, 3 Small Tortoiseshell at Brunswick Park, East Barnet.

Small Tortoishell at Old Hale Way allotment site and Brimstone Hitchin garden, both 10 March 2015 - Nigel Agar

Saw my first Speckled Wood of the year And first ever for March at Western corner of Startops Reservoir Tring at about Ipm today. Another was half way along the North East side of Wilstone Reservoir about an hour later. It was sunny with a temperature of about 13 degrees C. - Graham Beevor

Sunny afternoon and blue skies and I saw a Red Admiral basking and circling around a new clearing of Highgrove Wood, Eastcote (TQ14882) and then briefly a Small Tortoiseshell by the paddling pool flower bed in Warrender Park, Eastcote, Middlesex (TQ104878). - Paul Busby

2 small tortoiseshell butterflies seen today, Walsworth Common, Hitchin TL1971130219. sunny warm dry. - David Inward

Rather surprisingly, given the weather, just 2 Small tortoiseshell chasing along the gardens in Kingsway Ware. Laurence Drummond

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards Despite many hours spent walking in sunny weather,including even on Saturday 7th March when the temperature reached 15 or so, butterflies have eluded me until today with a Red Admiral on the Marshalling Yards and, on the return journey across the Heath via the railway path,a brief glimpse of my first Comma of the year.I'm surprised to be still waiting for Brimstone and Peacock. - Pete Gore

We had our first Brimstone of the year at Thorley Wash today! It was a pale female - Jenny Sherwen

Tuesday afternoon, Fir & Pond Woods NR...a comma sunning itself by the path at the top of the meadow. - David Gompertz

In Stocking Pelham today a Red Admiral enjoying the sunshine - Andy Brown HMWT

Saw a Peacock at Vicarage Farm, Enfield this morning Tuesday 10th March 2015 at 11:52 hrs. - Robert Callf

I took a lunchtime walk today in Wash Lane Common (behind South Mimms Services) and watched my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year fly past me - Terry Wood

My garden in Hitchin produced on 7th March at 10.45 am a pristine Yellow Brimstone - really deep yellow. Early on 10th 9.50 am although only 6 deg. Small Tortoiseshell flew from sunny house wall to front garden and up the road ! Val Fullforth

Monday 9th March 2015
Only a male Brimstone so far in the garden (Hemel Hempstead) - Malcolm Newland

Finally the sun is (was) out.... Saturday 7th March 1 brimstone - tescos in Ware, 2 brimstones - Wareside - one male one female. Also had a mint moth (Pyrausta aurata) in the kitchen - Which makes up for the lack outside.. - Phil Macmurdie

Sunday 8th March 2015
In Stocking Pelham today one Peacock and one small tortoiseshell - Andy Brown HMWT

I saw a peacock butterfly in my garden in Hertford yesterday and a comma in Colney Heath today - Jenny Sherwen

Saturday 7th March 2015
There is more news on the Facebook page under 'It is a Brimstone day'

Male brimstones at several locations and a single peacock in Sherrardspark Wood - Ian Flack

Sawbridgeworth - one Brimstone and one small Tortoiseshell - my first Butterflies of the season! - Andy Brown HMWT

News from Diane Andrews......First butterfly of the year in her north London garden, a male Brimstone. In the afternoon, a Comma at Alexandra Palace

A few sightings to report today Saturday 7th March 2015 - 1 Peacock S edge of Rough Lot, Trent Park at 12:18 hrs; 2 Small Tortoiseshell together nectaring on emerging Giant Hogweed along Leeging Beech Gutter near 'Three-bridges' Trent Park at 12:58 hrs; also a probable Peacock seen in flight at Vicarage Farm - Robert Callf/Robin White.

I saw my first butterflies of the year. 1 Brimstone at the entrance to The Priory, Bridge Street, Hitchin TL18392883 over a patch of coltsfoot by a pond. 1 Brimstone and an unidentified blackish butterfly on the road verge Cambridge Road, Hitchin, east of Meadowbank TL19612991, over a patch of lesser celandine and daisies. It was sunny and warm but windy, so there may have been quite a few around. - David Inward

I went on a nature walk "First Signs of Spring" at Cranford Country Park, Middlesex lovely warm Spring day and we were rewarded with the following sightings: 2 male Brimstones along an ivy covered perimeter wall backing onto the M4 (TQ-099782), then a Comma along a hedgerow (TQ099774) and finally another male Brimstone flying across the bankside of the River Crane (TQ102778). - Paul Busby

My first butterfly of the year: a male Brimstone in my Harpenden garden. It's already been followed by three more. A total of five male Brimstones in our part of Harpenden today, plus my first Small Tortoiseshell of the year. For good measure, another male Brimstone at the allotment at Coldharbour (also in Harpenden). - Alan Jackson

Sighting of female brimstone along Batchwood Drive St Albans today - Andy Steele

I just thought I would let you know that today (Sat 8th) I saw a male brimstone at Northolt Station (TQ132 845) in some scrub alongside the railway track - David Coollng

A Peacock in Belmont Road, Hemel Hempstead on Friday 6th March and a Red Admiral along the New River in Hornsey on March 7th - Andrew Wood

And they are off! 16 degrees in St Albans at lunchtime and today's sightings did not disappoint. 5 Small Tortoiseshells and 1 Brimstone in St Albans, 2 Brimstones in Chiswell Green, 4 Brimstones and 4 Comma at Bricket Wood Common. Wet conditions on the Common limited management works this winter, but the pond has been cleared and brambles/scrub removed from parts of the clearing. Sallows, Alder Buckthorn and Gorse has been retained in areas that have been cut - Malcolm Hull

Saw 2 Brimstone today in private woods at Southern Green, Rushden - John Dingemans

Beautiful fresh Brimstone circling my Hatfield garden today. First this year - John Moss

They are out again. Three peacocks and a brimstone at Waterford heath and back in our garden in Bengeo 3 tortoiseshells, a peacock and a brimstone - Steve Kiln

First sighting today (7th Mar) of male Brimstone in garden in Hitchin - Martin Banthorpe

First garden (Harpenden) butterfly of the year for me this morning - a male Brimstone. - Robin Pearson

Friday 6th March 2015
At Stanmore Country Park today, 6th.March I saw two Brimstone Butterflies along the ride by marker post No19 - Peter Elton

Peacock at Shackledell Grassland by the brook earlier today at around 2 pm. By the way, the Red Admiral I saw by Watery Grove was on 18th Feb - Peter Clarke

A Small Tortoishell in my garden (on crocus) midday today, 6th March. Location: Ruislip, postal code HA4. - Philip Toms

Thursday 5th March 2015
A Small Tortoiseshell in my front garden (on crocuses) in Letchworth Garden City. This is my first sighting this year and spotted as I was reading the new Butterfly Conservation Magazine! - Jill Sawyer

Wedneday 4th March 2015
Robin White saw a Red Admiral settled along Leeging Beech Gutter near Water Garden, Trent Park Tuesday 3rd March 2015 late morning news via Robert Callf

Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Had my first butterfly sighting of the year today Tuesday 3rd March 2015 - 1 Peacock flew past me near Shaws Cottages, Trent Park at 13:30 hrs - Robert Callf

Monday 2nd March 2015
A large Red admiral, in good condition, gliding around gardens in Ware park road Hertford, along the unmade part where the Rib meets the Lee - Laurence Drummond

February 2015

Friday 27th February 2015
I saw 2 Small Tortoiseshells 100m apart in Tring at about 13.00. One was taking moisture from some mud for about 30 minutes. I can't recall seeing nymphalids do that, from mud? - Nick Bowles

This morning I visited Myddleton House in Enfield to see the famous display of Snowdrops. I was thrilled to see my first Butterfly of the year - a Red Admiral sunning itself on one of the Snowdrop flowers!- Terry Wood

Wednesday 25 February. Saw my first butterfly of the year: a brimstone in the Pinetum at Bayfordbury - Ian Flack

Wednesday 25th February 2015
My first Butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral out of hibernation. Basking in the sun on the grass at Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living, 17th February at 2.30.till 3.46pm. - Jacqueline George

Wednesday 18th February 2015
I saw a Red Admiral in Barnard Park, Islington on a flowering Hebe. It was a gloriously sunny day. - Jo Murray

Nice red admiral in horse pastures at Gosmore /nursing home environs - Stuart Pittman

Red Admiral on SW edge of Watery Grove at about 1330 hours (corrected date 07/03/15) - Peter Clarke

Hounslow Heath/Marshalling Yards After several butterfly-less walks in reasonably good conditions (8th,9th and 15th) today was perhaps 1 degree warmer and brought out my first butterfly of the year, a Red Admiral sunbathing on the riverside path just after I emerged from the Cavalry Tunnel on my return journey. It stayed for some time,eventually flying high and strongly up-river past me. Another sighting, much smaller, flew butterfly-like across my path as I approached the heather alongside the railway. Given the time of year I assume this was most likely a moth but despite searching and waiting a little while I was unable to see it again or get sufficient information to try to identify it. - Pete Gore

Tuesday 17th February 2015
1 Peacock Butterfly on farm track at Southern Green, near Buntingford. Just to follow that I had a Small Tortoiseshell in my garden at Southern Green. - John Dingemans

I saw my first butterfly of the year today. A Peacock in Tring cemetery - Nick Bowles

Tuesday 10th February 2015
16.15 today, a Small Tortoiseshell, hunkered down along the side of a step between floor 7 and 8 at Tower heights Hoddesdon, maybe woken by yesterdays warmth and now trying to get back into hibernation! Laurence Drummond

Monday 9th February 2015
Peacocks, we had two in our Ashwell garden today Surprised to see them so early - Richard Holdsworth

I saw a small tortoiseshell flying, and subsequently settling, on Bricket Wood Common - Chris Newman

Sunday 8th February 2015
Went to Norton Green this afternoon searching for Red Admirals and Purple Emperor larvae (on 2 sallows around Watery Grove). I did not find either but I was very pleased to see a Small Tortoiseshell basking in the sun on the south-facing bank in the northern section by the travellers' site. Although the air temperature was generally about 7 degrees the bank afforded some shelter from the north-westerly winds. Peter Clarke

First butterfly for me this year, a Peacock today (8th Feb) in Gunnels Wood Road Stevenage-near junction with Six Hills Way - Phil Bishop

Monday 2nd February 2015
Red Admiral flying in sun at lunchtime in the grounds of Bio Products Laboratory, Elstree - Anna Hull

January 2015

Monday 26th January 2015
A male Brimstone butterfly in Park Wood 15th January, flying around in coppice area - Dr Colin Bowlt

Deep joy yesterday: whilst tidying up the garden I came across two Orange-tip pupae (a few photos on the facebook page). Last year I had observed half a dozen OT larvae grow up to full size on a single Garlic mustard plant that had self-seeded in my garden and I searched diligently around the area for the pupae but without success, until yesterday. Tidying up around the base of a shrub (Spiraea japonica) over a meter away from the site of the Garlic mustard, what looked like a green leaf emerging caught my eye enough to give it a second look. It only took a couple of seconds for me to realise that I had found the OT pupa I had been looking for. A more intense search of the shrub only revealed one more pupa, about 20cm away. Both pupae were of the green variety, rather than the more common brown. I just hope that they don't fall prey to the robins and wrens that are nesting in a nearby hedge; it would be great to have the opportunity to photograph the next stage of their development. - Bob Clift

Sunday 11th January 2015
A Red Admiral flying in the sun around noon today on The Warren, Hartham Common, Hertford - Andrew Wood

Friday 9th January 2015
Red admiral on Friday 9th 10.40 AM. Fir & Pond Woods NR at the lower edge of Pond Wood by the meadow. Great views - David Gompertz

Wednesday 7th January 2015
Reporting from Middle Temple Garden EC4Y 7AT. One Peacock butterfly seen today 7th January 2015 picture attached (see Facebook page). It was indeed a grey day and a light wind which picked up as the day went on. The temperature here in central London was about 9 degrees. Interestingly the silvery material in shot is scrap of tin foil so one assumes the butterfly had worked out that its beneficial reflective properties. But Tom (photographer) would agree that it may be disturbance out of hibernation- a useful reminder not to overdo the tidying. - Kate Jenrick Head Gardener Middle Temple

December 2014

Tuesday 30th December 2014
I have read up and I gather it is not at all uncommon, but for me it was a first - a Red Admiral flying up to me as I used our outside gas barbecue at 19:55 on 22nd December 2014. It settled near the garden lighting on a fig tree branch near some ivy and I took a photo on my iPhone. It was a still but quite cold evening in our sheltered south facing South Hampstead garden - Dr Asheesh K Das

Saturday 27th December 2014
Todays Brown Hairstreak egghunt on Walthamstow Marshes was organised to try and confirm the presence of the species at this site. The location is right on the border of Middx and Essex, the adult sighting reported last August being about 500 meters into Essex. 6 of us searched for just under two hours in ideal conditions. Both the quality and quantity of the foodplant (Blackthorn) was excellent. Surprisingly some of the Blackthorn was already in flower, but not enough to hinder our task. Unfortunately no butterfly eggs were found, though we did locate a couple of moth eggs. The site is an SSSI which lies in the Lea Valley close to the southern end of Epping Forest. There have been a few intermitent records of Brown Hairstreak from the Forest in recent times. The Forest was a renowned location for Brown Hairstreak in Victorian times, although it is widely believed to have died out in the area at the end of the nineteenth century - Malcolm Hull

Thursday 25th December 2014
I was a bit surprised to see a Red Admiral butterfly at Bentley Priory, Stanmore on the 25th December - Phil (photo on the facebook page)

A Peacock fluttering outside a window in Hatfield on 23rd December. - Allan Burrows

Sunday 21st December 2014
A Brown Hairstreak egg hunt is being held on the 27th December at Walthamstow Marshes - full details on Cambs & Essex Branch website - Please let Rob Smith know if you want to come along.

A Small Tortoiseshell, very beautiful, came into our home in Bishops Stortford today. The kids opened the window, and an hour or two later, the butterfly was cavorting around the ceiling lamp. And it didn't want to leave - I did finally convince it to leave my finger and go outside! - Shoshana Hantman

Friday 19th December 2014
Friday 19th in front garden Bengeo - one red admiral - Steve Kiln

Saw a Red Admiral in the sunshine at Bow, East London - Roger Osborne (news via C & E Branch)

Thursday 18th December 2014
A dead Red Admiral on the pavement in North Watford at the junction of St Albans Road and Bushey Mill Lane, in 1-km grid square TQ 10 98. - Colin Everett

Monday 15th December 2014
I was surprised to see a Red Admiral fluttering around some new bike sheds at the University of Hertfordshire (AL10 9AB) on Monday 15th.. It was much smaller than other Red Admirals I have seen this year! Unfortunately it flew off before I had time to get a picture. - Daniel Cooper

Sunday 7th December 2014
While searching for firewood in my St Albans shed, I spotted 13 Small Tortoiseshells & 6 Peacocks all successfully hibernating. I also recorded one dead specimen of each species. There appeared to have been quite a few changing their positions since I last had a good look at them in August. Some of the Small Tortoiseshells have been in hibernation since the second week of July. Malcolm Hull

Saturday 6th December 2014
I've taken up your challenge of a Dec sighting, though I can't be sure on the precise ID! A large dark butterfly flew across in front of me this morning across a paddock at Nicholls Farm. It was either a Peacock or Red Admiral (I strongly suspect the former, but can't be 100% sure). Either way, I was surprised to see it with the frost on the ground, despite the sunshine. Peter Tallentire
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