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

Sightings 2016

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 (please check your links are correct before sending) - thank you

February 2016

Sunday 7th February 2016
A Red Admiral almost landed on me behind the cafe opposite The Holme in The Regent's Park at about 10:00 on Sunday 7th February 2016. - Frank Nugent

Thursday 4th February 2016
Pleased to see a smart male Brimstone float into our Hatfield garden today about 1.30 pm today. Did a brief circuit and vanished. Warm sunshine, temp 13C. This is my earliest ever sighting - John Moss

January 2016

Saturday 30th January 2016
I saw a flying Small Tortoiseshell at Mardley Heath today (TL245183). - Joe Gray (Herts County Bug Recorder)

Monday 25th January 2016
Very large Red Admiral in back garden lunch time today 25 1 2016. Edgware also a Fairly Large Bee at the same time. Lots of small moths been around last and this week. Very strange but interesting - John Rockett (reported via our FB page)

Wednesday 20th January 2016
On a walk today with the Chiltern Society, coming across Batchwood Golf Course on the north side of St Albans shortly after 12:00 midday a butterfly flew over. I'm pretty sure it was a red admiral, but it could possibly have been a peacock. Last night was the coldest our Weather Station has measured this winter, at -4.3°C! - Chris Newman

Saturday 17th January 2016
A Peacock was flying in my neighbour's house (Enfield Lock) last night - she put a photo on Facebook which is how I know. - Martin Shepherd

Monday 4th January 2016
While checking around the lights at work (BFI National Archive, Berkhamsted) looking for moths today (Monday 4th January 2016) I found a resting Speckled Wood. On taking it indoors it perked up and became lively. Another very worrying unseasonal record! Ian Gamble

December 2015

Tuesday 29th December 2015
I was working in Tring this morning and opposite the Natural History Museum there in an Ivy clad garden a Brimstone could be seen whirling around in a sheltered patch of sunshine. My latest ever butterfly! - David James

I was quite convinced I had gone mad today when a speckled wood flew past me, so I gave chase and confirmed my id. It was a fresh individual clearly confused by this unseasonal weather. Seen at Burston Rose Garden centre Chiswell Green - Richard Geary

Monday 28th December 2015
Saw a Small Tortoiseshell today flying beside Osprey Lake,Panshanger Park, Hertford - Allan Burrows

I have just seen a very fresh-looking Brimstone butterfly in our St Albans garden. It's 12.45hrs on a sunny but chilly day. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to take a photo. - David Curry

Saturday 19th December 2015
One Brimstone in our garden in Hertford this morning - Andrew Wood

Thursday 17th December 2015
I just saw a red admiral fly over my garden in Hertford! (sent at 09:33) Jenny Sherwen

Wednesday 16th December 2015
I saw a red admiral on my car bonnet yesterday in Thundridge Hertfordshire yesterday! Always reminds me of my dad but could not believe in December I was seeing one. Katie Sampford

Thursday 9th December 2015
Had a flypast from a red admiral this afternoon in the weak sunshine at the Pinetum at Bayfordbury. - Ian Flack

Friday 4th December 2015
Peter Elton photographed this Red Admiral near Pear Wood Stanmore today 4th Dec.
https://twitter.com/HarrowNCF
news via John Hollingdale

Wednesday 2nd December 2015
A Peacock butterfly was seen today at Stanmore Country Park by Steve Bolsover (news via John Hollingdale)

November 2015

Wednesday 25th November 2015
Holly Blue seen at Aylett's Nursery, St Albans on Sunday 8/11/15 - Frank Tuck

Wednesday 18th November 2015
Had a Red Admiral in the Harpenden garden late morning braving the blustery conditions - Robin Pearson

Sunday 15th November 2015
One Small Tortoiseshell sunning itself this afternoon at Folly Lane allotments, St Albans - Malcolm Hull

A female Brimstone fluttering around ivy in our back garden in Hertford, probably disturbed from hibernation by the winds - Andrew Wood

Friday 13th November 2015
Having thought I had seen my last butterfly of the year, I could not believe it today when whilst at work as a teacher in a school at Bushey, I looked out of the window and saw a Red Admiral. With a squally wind, dark scudding clouds and a temperature I suspect was barely into double figures the last thing I was expecting to see was a butterfly. However, what I initially thought could be a leaf swirling around in the wind was clearly a butterfly flying in spite of the elements. Perhaps it had been dislodged from a quiet place of hibernation, I don't know but it was still a remarkable sight. - Roger Newbold

Thursday 12th November 2015
At Rye Meads today I saw a Peacock and a comma enjoying the sun - until it went in! I also saw a dragonfly - possible migrant hawker? Andy Brown

Recorded a comma butterfly in a garden in Little Hadham this morning. Clear and still, temp 15C. - Jono Forgham

One Red Admiral on my Harpenden garden Ivy today during a spell of sunshine
https://www.flickr.com/photos/99486228@N06/22363877403/
Robin Pearson

Sunday 8th November 2015
One Red Admiral flying around Hertford North Station on Sunday 8th, in very dull but mild conditions - Andrew Wood

Sunday 1st November 2015
Holly Blue in my Hemel Hempstead garden while I cut my grass! - Ashley Cox

We were thrilled to see a bright Comma fluttering in warm sunshine in our Hatfield garden outside our patio doors today. This is the latest record for any butterfly here - John Moss

Butterfly I have seen today (01 Nov 2015): 1 red admiral - Walsworth Common, Hitchin TL19263038 - David Inward

Brimstone at Home Covert Hatfield Aerodrome today 13.00 - Rupert Pyrah

1 Red Admiral seen at Heartwood forest today east side of the road approx grid ref TL181110. Also had a Brimstone in my St. Albans garden at lunchtime - Andrew Steele

A male Brimstone, 3 Red Admirals and a Comma on my Harpenden garden Ivy today - Robin Pearson

Harpenden Common (St Johns Wood area): 1 female Brimstone fluttering around a bramble bush and then settling on a leaf to bask. Very relaxed! - David Hunt

October 2015

Saturday 31st October 2015
Red Admiral and Comma seen at car park near Letchworth Swimming Pool at approx 11.00 on 31st October - Patricia Clegg

King George V Reservoir, Enfield: 3 Red Admiral and 1 Small Tortoiseshell - Andrew Middleton

Two Red Admirals in my garden today. - Robin Pearson

Friday 30th October 2015
Today next to Patmore Heath I saw a comma or Red Admiral flying purposefully towards the heath. Andy Brown

Wednesday 28th October 2015
A sunny spell at lunchtime today brought out three Red Admirals and a Comma to my Harpenden garden Ivy. - Robin Pearson

Tuesday 27th October 2015
A Red Admiral was feeding on our Killarney strawberry tree yesterday (27 Oct) at Thorley Park, Bishop's Stortford - Chris Dee

On a warm and sunny afternoon, spotted a Red Admiral flying across a fairway at Little Hay golf course near Bovingdon. - Brendan Sheridan

Had a very tatty Speckled Wood in the Harpenden garden today, along with a Red Admiral and a Comma. - Robin Pearson

2 perfect condition Red Admirals at East End Green [TL295108] today. Flying around each other up and down the village green and sunbathing on the grass - Christopher Benton.

A balmy afternoon on Nomansland Common produced 2 Brimstone, 1 male and 1 female, but no Small Coppers, unfortunately - David Hunt

One sighting from a sunny Sunday walk, a fresh Comma in the fields at Wareside. Moths are still about, had 10 species in the trap over the weekend - Phil Macmurdie

Monday 26th October 2015
Watton-at-Stone: 1 Small White and 1 Peacock in field margins just SW of Watton-at-Stone (TL2918) - Aaron Clements-Partridge

Seen 11 individual butterflies of 4 species this afternoon, Monday 26th October 2015 as follows - 5 Comma (4 at Trent Park -2 nectaring on michaelmas daisies set-aside field near Triangular Wood, 1 nectaring on ivy flowers, Snakes Lane near Hockey Centre at 14:00 hrs, 1 nectaring on michaelmas daisies near Water Garden at 14:27 hrs, 1 at Park Farm at 15:19 hrs); 1 Peacock nectaring on michaelmas daisies, set-aside field near Triangular Wood, Trent Park at 13:25 hrs; 2 Red Admiral nectaring on ivy flowers, Snakes Lane near Hockey Centre, Trent Park at 14:00 hrs; 3 Small Copper at Trent Park (2 near Sports Field, 1 at 'Old Golf Course'). - Robert Callf

Red Admiral on my Harpenden garden Ivy flowers this morning, looks quite fresh.
https://flic.kr/p/zji7hX
Robin Pearson

Sunday 25th October 2015
A Peacock today at the birding pit at Tyttenhanger GP - Rupert Pyrah

A relatively warm lunchtime visit to Nomansland Common produced 1, rather torpid, Small Copper female basking in the hazy sunshine. The hornet nest I have been watching has been partially dug out, presumably by a badger, although judging by the comings and goings, the lower storeys of the nest still survive - David Hunt

Just avoided the frost in St Albans last night, but too cool for butterflies to be active today. Inspected my shed and found 15 hibernating Small Tortoiseshells plus one Peacock. Visited Nomansland Common and found just a single Small Copper, which gratefully accepted the offer of resting on my hand for 10 minutes to warm up - Malcolm Hull

Tuesday 20th October 2015
Male Brimstone enjoying the sun today fluttering around some variegated yellow privet in my St Albans garden the colour match was brilliant - Mandy Floyd

On the 20th at Tewinbury a small white + a comma - Andy Brown

A mild and sunny lunchtime stroll on Nomansland Common produced 1 male Brimstone and 5 Small Copper, including a mating pair. The three remaining Coppers were busily laying eggs on sheep's sorrel. Nice to see that they had survived the cold and inclement weather of the past few days. - David Hunt

A Clouded yellow today at Waterford heath in the sunshine - Steve Kiln

'A good burst of early afternoon sun at last! I had not seen a butterfly since the 9th but today a Comma and Red Admiral in the northern part of Norton Green. - Peter Clarke

Wednesday 14th October 2015
One Red Admiral near Firing Range at Vicarage Farm, Enfield this morning at 10:12 hrs Wednesday 14th October 2015, also three Comma (2 at Park Farm nectaring on bramble blossom at 11:35 hrs, 1 nectaring on Ivy at Water Garden, Trent Park at 12:23 hrs). - Robert Callf

A sunny but rather chilly morning search of Nomansland Common revealed nothing until about 11.00am when first one, then another Small Copper emerged from their overnight roosting places deep in the long grass and, in a rather languid fashion, flew off to nearby ragwort flowers for breakfast. Over the next 45 minutes I counted 8 Small Copper, 7 being females still replete with eggs (I think they will need to get a move on if they are to lay all their eggs). Amongst the 8 Small Coppers were 2 ab. caeruleopunctata. A Small White and a Comma, both basking in the weak sunshine, were also seen - David Hunt

Tuesday 13th October 2015
Two Red Admirals nectaring on Ivy at Snakes Lane near Hockey Centre, Trent Park (TQ 288 969) Tuesday 13th October 2015, also one Comma nectaring on Bramble blossom at Park Farm, Enfield. - Robert Callf

Bit of a surprise in my Ware garden was that at 09:45 this morning in dull weather and reading only 9 degrees Centigrade on my car thermometer, I had a Humming-bird Hawk-moth flying around my flowering lavender - it keeps flowering! - Liz Goodyear

Monday 12th October 2015
Had a Comma and a fresh-looking Rad Admiral in the garden (Harpenden) today. - Robin Pearson

An afternoon ramble on Nomansland Common produced 17 Small Copper, including some very fresh-looking specimens and one with the left forewing rather more yellow than the usual coppery hue; and 1 extremely faded and almost scale-less Speckled Wood enjoying the autumn rays - David Hunt

Sunday 11th October 2015
A couple of butterflies on Sunday 11th October 2015 - 1 Comma nectaring on bramble at Park Farm, Enfield at 10:39 hrs; 1 Speckled Wood edge of Williams Wood, Trent Park at 12:09 hrs - Robert Callf/Robin White.

Brent Reservoir, 1 Large White - Shailesh Patel

A few butterflies still around at Nicholls farm, Redbourn today. I saw a small white in the back garden and a Comma in a horse paddock. Peter Tallantire

News from Friday 9th Oct. A fresh-looking Speckled Wood seen on ivy foliage in our Pinner garden - Tony Porter

Friday 9th October 2015
I guess I was wrong, still 2 Small Heath at Trent Park (1 Sect 1 at 13:08 hrs, 1 Sect 6 at 13:37 hrs) this afternoon Friday 9th October 2015, also this afternoon between 13:00 - 14:00 hrs - 3 Comma (1 Sect 1 at 13:06 hrs, 1 nectaring on michaelmas daisies near Triangular Wood at 13:17 hrs, 1 nectaring on michaelmas daisies Sect 8 at 13:43 hrs); 2 Red Admiral (1 Sect 1 at 13:10 hrs, 1 nectaring on michaelmas daisies near Triangular Wood at 13:16 hrs); 3 Small Copper (2 near Sports Field 13:26 - 13:28 hrs, 1 Sect 6 at 13:36 hrs); Silver Y set aside field near Triangular Wood. - Robert Callf

Thursday 8th October 2015
Red Underwing moth last night in Stocking Pelham - Andy Brown

Two butterflies to report today Thursday 8th October 2015 - 1 Comma at Park Farm, Enfield at 10:32 hrs and 1 Peacock settled on grass at Vicarage Farm, Enfield at 12:36 hrs - Robert Callf/Robin White.

A mono-specific morning on Nomansland Common with 13 Small Copper sited, 4 on the north side nectaring on and around heather and the remainder on the south side where they were feasting on ragwort and yarrow flowers. 1 Grey Shoulder-knot moth sitting on bark of an oak tree - David Hunt

Sunday 4th October 2015
Folly Lane St Albans - disturbed a very fresh Red Admiral from my Blackberry hedge, where I suspect it had been feeding overnight. After a short flight it settled on flowering Ivy. 4 Small Whites and a faded Small Copper all feeding on Verbena Bonariensis. Comma was the only other species spotted at this site this morning - Malcolm Hull

Still one Small Heath Sect 8 'New Fields' Trent Park at 12:59 hrs - I guess this will probably be the last date here? 1 Comma Sect 8 12:59 hrs, 5 Small Copper at Trent Park (2 Sect 5 at 13:15 hrs, 2 near Sports Field at 13:20 hrs, 1 nectaring on michaelmas daisies near Triangular Wood at 13:30 hrs). - Robert Callf

Butterfly I have seen today (04 Oct 2015): 1 red admiral - Highover Way, Hitchin TL19693045 - David Inward

Saturday 3rd October 2015
Still one Small Heath in Sect 8 at 13:30 hrs Saturday 3rd October 2015 (a new latest date for Trent Park!), also in Trent Park - 3 Comma (all nectaring on michaelmas daisies - 1 Sect 8 at 13:29 hrs, 1 Sect 3 at 13:57 hrs, 1 near Triangular Wood at 14:06 hrs); 1 Small Copper nectaring on ragwort near Sports Field at 14:00 hrs. Yesterday Friday 2nd October 2015 - 1 Comma nectaring on michaelmas daisies edge of Water Garden, Trent Park at 14:50 hrs. - Robert Callf

A fresh Comma seen flying across Pinn Meadows, Ruislip after a pond working party then 2 Speckled Woods in my Eastcote garden after an absence of a few weeks - Paul Busby

Nomansland Common - 29 Small Coppers, meadow brown, speckled wood and large white - Malcolm Hull

Friday 2nd October 2015
Some sightings for Friday 2nd October 2015 at Trent Park from 11:50 - 13:00 hrs - 2 Speckled Wood (1 near Oakwood entrance 11:59 hrs, 1 near Triangular Wood 12:39 hrs); 2 Small Heath Sect 8 'New Fields' 12:03 - 12:08 hrs; 4 Small Copper (1 Sect 5 12:22 hrs, 2 near Sports Field 12:29 - 12:30 hrs, 1 near Triangular Wood 12:39 hrs); 1 male Brimstone settled near Oakwood Lodge, Snakes Lane at 13:00 hrs. - Robert Callf

Small Tortoiseshells in St Leonards Road, Bengeo (video on Branch Facebook page) and Ware Cemetery, Commas at Chadwell Bank and Wulfrath Road, Ware, Brimstone at Chadwell Bank, Green-veined White at Broadmeads, Ware and Small Whites at Broadmeads, Cromwell Road Allotments, Hertford and Ware Park Quarry. - Andrew Wood

Nomansland Common north side: 1 Meadow Brown; 1 Small Heath; 1 Speckled Wood; 8 Small Copper (mostly females briefly nectaring on a heather patch and then flying off for tens of metres, presumably to oviposit in the patches of sheep's sorrel growing in the bunny lawn. A good few hornets about but only one nest located. Nomansland Common south side: 1 Small Copper female nectaring on hawkweed. Heartswood Forest: 0 butterflies seen - David Hunt

Thursday 1st October 2015
One female Large White at Lakeside, EN2 Thursday 1st October 2015 at 15:25 hrs. - Robert Callf

Small Whites at Kimpton churchyard and outside Hatfield Galleria. A Speckled Wood also at the Galleria - Andrew Wood

Some sightings for Thursday 1st October 2015 - 2 Comma nectaring on michaelmas daisies edge of Williams Wood, Trent Park 11:58 hrs; 2 Small Heath - 1 Sect 8 at 13:03 hrs and 1 near Sports Field at 13:32 hrs - equals my latest ever date and of course I will be trying again tomorrow to extend this; 4+ Small Copper - 2 Sect 5 at 13:18 hrs, 2 near Sports Field, Trent Park; 1 male Meadow Brown near Sports Field, Trent Park 13:25 hrs - my latest ever date for this species! 1 Speckled Wood near Triangular Wood, Trent Park at 13:38 hrs. - Robert Callf

One hour stroll around Frogmore Gravel Pit early this afternoon yielded 2 Small Coppers including one ab. caeruleopunctata ('blue badges'), a solitary Small Heath, Small White and Comma. - Peter Clarke

Good variety of butterflies at Harmondsworth Moor, still with plants in flower, this sunny but blustery afternoon. I saw a Brown Argus, a Comma, at least one Small Tortoiseshell, a Small Copper and 3 Small Whites - Paul Busby

An afternoon visit to a sunny Harpenden Common yielded just 1 Speckled Wood. Nectar sources such as hawkweed and clover flowers regenerating after the annual cut, and a strongly fermenting fall of apples in the old orchard adjacent to the St Johns Wood section, had no takers - David Hunt

Recent butterflies on the ivy flowers, mainly red admiral and comma + the odd white As a foot note - we saw second brood orange tip this year and found some late caterpillars on some regenerating hedge mustard. The last caterpillar pupated last weekend along with the large whites. We had approx. 2 dozen eating the hedge mustard leaves, which then dispersed up the walls etc. We kept 5, four successfully pupated, one was parasitized, much to the consternation of my 5 year old. Interestingly, of the others we found on walls etc, 4 out of 5 were also parasitized. So our strike rate was good. - Phil Macmurdie
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