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

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

Tuesday 17th February 2015
Red Admiral on SW edge of Watery Grove at about 1330 hours - 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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