Sightings - Herts & Middx Butterfly Conservation


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

Archive   2023  2022  2021  2020  2019  2018  2017 (Jan-Jun)  2017 (Jul-Dec) 2001-2016

Submission of records

Please include grid reference (6 digits preferred but 4 digits will do) or post code for your sightings. If you have the what3words app you can supply me with the 3 words denoting the site. Grid reference can be obtained using the Gridreferencefinder or Streetmap. If you need any guidance let me know. Most, if not all, sightings listed here with sufficient detail given, will be added to the branch database but see note below. Some sightings if deemed 'trivial' may not be posted here but will still be included on the database.

Wherever possible please use the iRecord website or app to submit your butterfly (not moth) records to reduce the possibility of transcription errors - please read the General Recording page for details. If you are using a spreadsheet please enter your records in the correct format - see following example; this will ease the amount of work for the county recorder.

For moths however, the much preferred method is to submit your moth records on a spreadsheet, if you can, in the format shown here. More information can be found on the Moths - Introduction page.

NOTE: To avoid any duplication, if you are submitting records via a spreadsheet to the Branch Recorder (Andrew Wood) and also have emailed me for the sightings page please let Andrew or me know. Records entered on the iRecord and iNaturalist databases, for example, will be picked up and verified by Andrew.

Photos are welcome and a selection will be posted on this webpage but please keep these to a reasonably small size. Provide a link if your photo is on an external application like Flickr. Alternatively post your photo on , or

Please email Peter Clarke ( to send in your news.


Date Description Recorder
27 Feb I had had on my radar Whitings Hill/Open Space in Barnet, a short distance from the previous Dollis Brook sightings even to point of knowing where to park but hadn't got around to visiting. However last week Rohan tried to survey the site but was defeated by torrential rain and mud but reported it had a lot of blackthorn. This was far too tempting so I visited today. The mud is horrendous but there is so much blackthorn, in fact too much and much of it is well budded and almost in flower! Over a period of 3½ hours I found 4 Brown Hairstreak eggs well distributed across the site so I suspect there were many more! Thanks to Rohan for reminding me of this site and for his and everyone else's tremendous finds this winter! This was definitely my last survey as the budding is really making it too difficult now to find eggs! Hopefully these sites will dry out a bit by the summer!
Liz Goodyear
26 Feb I returned to Garston Park in Watford today to make sure I hadn't missed any blackthorn on my previous visit! Next to a nice stand of blackthorn I realised there was some nice flowering elm low down and after some searching I finally found a hatched White-letter Hairstreak egg – I had forgotten how small they look when hatched!
Liz Goodyear
20 Feb One Brown Hairstreak egg found at King George's fields near Holywell

Brown Hairstreak egg Holywell 20 Feb
Rohan Harris
19 Feb Eugene Dillon-Hooper reports a sighting of a Small Tortoiseshell in the Enfield area late morning
(Robert Callf)
19 Feb Two Brown Hairstreak eggs found at Croxley Common Moor
Rohan Harris
19 Feb Following on from recent Brown Hairstreak egg finds in the Stanmore area I decided to revisit an area of blackthorn off Old Redding near the Harrow View point first seen in January 2022. It is a public footpath with prunus along the hedge line – in total I found 8 Brown Hairstreak eggs but to my surprise I looked at two probable Cherry Plum bushes that were already flowering and found 2 eggs despite the flowers! Another blackthorn twig had 3 eggs very close to each other
Liz Goodyear
18 Feb One Brown Hairstreak egg found at Hampstead Heath
Rohan Harris
18 Feb Painted Lady - fresh individual on plum flowers by Sivyer's lake at end of Hazelwood Drive, Sunbury-on-Thames at 12.30 pm. Seen by three people
Phil Cribb
16 Feb One Brown Hairstreak egg found at Moat Mount Open Space, near Barnet
Rohan Harris
15 Feb Having visited Totteridge now four times, the last on Tuesday when it rained - I could only find 4 more Brown Hairstreak eggs but all in slightly different areas, I decided to go somewhere new! I started from Quinta Park in Barnet and followed the Folly Brook Loop walk to Totteridge Fields. Over a 3½ hour period I found 3 Brown Hairstreak eggs which would be a new 2k so although only 3 its 3 more than had been found there!!! I was hopeful that Totteridge Fields LWT Reserve would come up trumps but the blackthorn is not the type of blackthorn I like and a lot had been cut so a wasted walk! However the fields between Totteridge Common and Barnet (Mays Lane) are lined with blackthorn and there must be more eggs to be found? Be warned the mud is dreadful in places!
Liz Goodyear
15 Feb Hounslow. The butterfly year here began early with a male Brimstone on the heath near the railway. It was shortly followed, albeit in the next tetrad along, by what was probably a Comma and then much later a likely Peacock was seen to fly on the far side of Pevensey Road meadows. This could well have emerged from someone's garden shed in the back gardens and it certainly showed more interest in matters the other side of the fences there than in the wide open spaces of the meadows, thus making it impossible for me to confirm that guess either. Nothing else seen so just one definite so far but clearly likely that the hibernating species are around in small numbers for now.
Still working on doing things differently. This was the normal walk of just over 12 miles modified to include extra time on the Marshalling Yard (which is now officially labelled as such and as a nature reserve - good news for sure even if I wasn't rewarded by the butterflies.
Peter Gore
15 Feb Five Brown Hairstreak eggs found at Edgwarebury Park
Rohan Harris
15 Feb Tricia Gibbons saw first Brimstone butterfly of 2024 in St Albans garden - so beautiful
(Malcolm Hull)
15 Feb I just had a Brimstone in my St Albans garden. I think that’s the earliest for me
Chris Hocking
12 Feb I returned to Totteridge - it was far too sunny to see eggs properly and terribly muddy! I ended up with a total of 10 Brown Hairstreak eggs, 6 in the same area as Wednesday's eggs finds near Folly Brook but also 3 in different areas of the scrub and a 4th close to where the very first egg in 2020 was found in the main area
Liz Goodyear
11 Feb Red Admiral in my Northaw garden
Sam Fuller
8 Feb One Brown Hairstreak egg found at Hampstead Heath

Brown Hairstreak egg Hampstead Heath 8 Feb
Rohan Harris
8 Feb Two Brown Hairstreak eggs found at West Hendon Playing Fields
Rohan Harris
7 Feb I have spent the last two days searching the main fields at Totteridge and found 20 Brown Hairstreak eggs in total. Yesterday it was a matter of finding 4 quite quickly and then waiting for at least another 1½ hours before the next eggs were found, today it was a bit easier. However, the more interesting was that today I finished by crossing the Folly Brook where in previous years much searching for eggs has been conducted with no success and 3 Brown Hairstreak eggs were found quite quickly – I will need to return as there is still a lot of blackthorn to check here!
Liz Goodyear
6 Feb Six Brown Hairstreak eggs found at Brockley Hill
Rohan Harris
5 Feb One Brown Hairstreak egg found at Composers Park, Elstree
Rohan Harris
4 Feb Ian Watts and myself decided to look at Merry Hill in Bushey following on from our close but not close enough Brown Hairstreak egg find last week. There is a lot of blackthorn although some looked unsuitable - some areas ticked all the right boxes, oak, ash, bramble and nectar! In the end we found 14 Brown Hairstreak eggs although nothing for the last hour!!! We think the site, or at least where the eggs were found is about 1½ km inside the Hertfordshire border so we now wonder where else they can be found!
Liz Goodyear
Ian Watts
2 Feb So close but so far!! Following on from Rohan Harris’ recent very successful Brown Hairstreak egg finds at Stanmore Country Park, Ian Watts and myself decided to try and find an egg in Hertfordshire today so we followed the London Loop from Aldenham Country Park towards Stanmore Common. Needless to say the first decent blackthorn we found was where a ditch forms the boundary between Greater London and Hertfordshire. We found two Brown Hairstreak eggs one was 25 yards from the county border and the second was even closer at 10 yards! After that on our very muddy route back via Elstree, there was more blackthorn along the London Loop (which we didn't search) but after we turned off back towards Elstree we found very little!

Liz Goodyear
Ian Watts
2 Feb Two new Brown Hairstreak eggs found at Fryent Country Park. Two also found at Welsh Harp Reservoir.
Rohan Harris
1 Feb 1 Peacock seen in flight & settled on base of Hornbeam, edge of Williams Wd/Trent Park [TQ294973] at 1325 GMT - my earliest ever, I don't think I have ever seen one in January
Robert Callf
1 Feb Nine Brown Hairstreak eggs found at Stanmore Country Park
Rohan Harris


Date Description Recorder
29 Jan Saw my first butterfly of the year: a Red Admiral flying in the sunshine in the Pinetum at Bayfordbury
Ian Flack
23 Jan Had a Peacock in my back garden in Bengeo
Steve Kiln
28 Jan Three Brown Hairstreak eggs found at Fryent Country Park
Rohan Harris
27 Jan 17 Brown Hairstreak eggs on the North West side of Fryent Country Park. Also 7 Brown Hairstreak eggs found at Stanmore Country Park
Rohan Harris
26 Jan Six more Brown Hairstreak eggs found at areas not previously searched on the East side of Fryent Country Park.
Rohan Harris
25 Jan Tony Hukin saw a Brimstone at Oughtonhead Common, Hitchin at around 1pm
(Peter Clarke)
25 Jan Took a walk around my local fields in Ware this morning and finally found a White-letter Hairstreak egg on the elms by the playing field (usually much easier to find). Of note was that some of the elm flower buds were starting to burst. On blackthorn 5 Blue-bordered Carpet along Wood Lane and a further egg along the hedge near Hollycross Road. Had an odd egg which was on an oak leaf bud, where a Purple Hairstreak egg would be found – but it was ridged. Looked like a Green-brindled Crescent but wrong larval food plant and laying location???
Liz Goodyear
22 Jan A single Red Admiral flying north along Stansted road Bishops Stortford at Fullers court lunch time TL492212.
Laurence Drummond
23 Jan Searched six field enclosures at the East side of Fryent Park. Brown Hairstreak eggs found in every field but one. Total of 13 eggs found.
Rohan Harris
21 Jan Short visit to Fryent Country Park, found four Brown Hairstreak eggs three of which were in a field enclosure not previously searched
Rohan Harris
20 Jan A longer visit to Fryent Country Park, searched four field enclosures and found 27 Brown Hairstreak eggs
Rohan Harris
14 Jan Branch Event
Brown Hairstreak egg search at Stafford Road Open Space, Ruislip

Volunteers joined a small handful of regulars at the Stafford Road Open Space in Ruislip to help with the annual egg survey for the Brown Hairstreak. Postponed from the original date because of potential snow, the new date proved to be a very fine day to be out searching. Most of the volunteers were new to the task but it took barely a minute to find the first egg and show exactly what it was that we were looking for. In fact, the first Blackthorn bush that was searched contained 10 eggs and, spreading out, the volunteers soon got into their stride with egg finds coming thick and fast. In the public Open Space area, it seemed that almost all of the Blackthorn contained at least an egg or two and every attendee had success finding eggs.
In only a couple of hours or so of searching, a total of 103 Brown Hairstreak eggs (plus one Purple Hairstreak egg) were found, an excellent result that is consistent with the record number of adult sightings last summer. The Ruislip site seems to be going from strength to strength.
Alongside the volunteer egg search, Malcolm Hull, Liz Goodyear and Nick Furtek met with Ricky, an enthusiastic representative of TfL, to search for eggs on the adjacent TfL owned land that is not accessible to the general public. A total of 15 Brown Hairstreak eggs were found, reinforcing how much this beautiful butterfly species is now part of the wider Ickenham and Ruislip landscape.
Ian Watts
16 Jan Three Brown Hairstreak eggs on a quick visit to the southern area of Fryent Country Park to the East of Fryent Way. NW9 9SE
Rohan Harris
10 Jan A Peacock was flying in the sunshine along the trees in Panshanger Park
William Bishop
9 Jan I was pleasantly surprised to see a Red Admiral in flight & settled on ivy-clad tree near Archer's Wd/Forty Hall CP, Enfield [TQ333992] this afternoon between 1317 & 1320 GMT
Robert Callf
2 Jan We spotted a Red Admiral flying around our next-door neighbour's house in Bengeo late this morning in the rain, but before the wind got up
Andrew Wood

First Sightings
Red Admiral2 Jan
Peacock10 Jan
Brimstone25 Jan
Painted Lady18 Feb
Small Tortoiseshell19 Feb
Branch first and last sightings page


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