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Millhopper's Reserve

Sightings 2021

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

NOTE - please read the latest Coronavirus update (Jan 2021) from Butterfly Conservation.

UKBMS recorders can now resume their activities for transects and the WCBS but please follow the guidelines set out by the government for staying safe outside your home

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

Please email Peter Clarke (peter.clarke4@ntlworld.com) to send in your news.

Please include grid reference (6 digits preferred but 4 digits will do) or post code for your sightings. 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.

You can use the iRecord app to submit your records. Alternatively, you can enter your records using a spreadsheet which can be downloaded here for butterflies or moths. More details can be found on the General Recording page for butterflies and Moth pages for moths.

NOTE: To avoid any duplication, if you are submitting records to the Branch Recorder (Andrew Wood) and also have any of them listed on the sightings page please let Andrew know.

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 Facebook.


Date Description Recorder
9 Apr Male Orange-tip - Stockers Lake. HMWT reserve Jill Saunders
9 Apr Hounslow. Despite a lengthy walk and some good sunshine only one butterfly identified but it made up for frustrations generally: after a short flight a Green Hairstreak landed on gorse at my feet. They've pruned the gorse down by the railway in the last two years but the butterfly was still able to disappear quite quickly into it. It's not quite an earliest ever for me for this species but only one day out and I hope a good sign for this year Peter Gore
8 Apr One Peacock and one Green-veined White near Hoe Lane in Ware and the same in Ware Park

Green-veined White Ware 8 Apr
Andrew Wood
8 Apr 1 Peacock at Vicarage Farm, Enfield (TQ3097) at 1225 BST Robert Callf
5 Apr 1 Small Tortoiseshell sheltering out of the wind at Vicarage Farm, Enfield (TQ3097) this afternoon at 1325 BST Robert Callf
4 Apr 3 Peacock at Parkside Farm/Res (TQ3098), 2 Peacock at Park Farm, Enfield (TQ2998) at 1345 BST. 1 Peacock at Duncan's Wd, Enfield (TQ2998) at 1400 BST. 1 Small White at Park Farm, Enfield (TQ2998) at 1405 BST - my first of the year. 1 male Brimstone at Rough Lot, Trent Park at 1431 BST. 1 Peacock at North Lawn at Trent Park at 1502 BST & 1 edge of Williams Wd, Trent Park at 1519 BST. 1 Small Tortoiseshell at Vicarage Farm, Enfield (TQ3097) at 1555 BST & 2 Peacock here at 1548 BST. 1 Peacock at Moat Wd, Trent Park at 1415 BST Robert Callf
4 Apr 1 Large Yellow Underwing caterpillar - St Faiths Close north, Hitchin; 1 Peacock - St Faiths Close south, Hitchin; 1 Brimstone - Purwell Meadows east, Hitchin (TL200298); 1 Comma - Walsworth Common, Hitchin (TL192303)

David Inward
4 Apr Starting at Merryhill fields finding Peacock x 6, Comma x 2. Onto Fishers field seeing Peacock x 3 & Comma x 1. Lastly at Water Lane, Watford came across Peacock x 2, Comma x 1 & Small Tortoiseshell x 6 David Gower
4 Apr Hounslow. Holly Blue: 1, Brimstone: 1, Small Tortoiseshell: 2, Comma: 1, Peacock: 10 Peter Gore
4 Apr Finally spring arrives. Amwell Nature Reserve, Ware: Peacock - 5, Small Tortoiseshell - 4, Orange-tip - 2 very fresh males, Small White
Wareside garden: Brimstone - 3, Peacock - 5, Small Tortoiseshell - 3
Phil & Oliver MacMurdie
4 Apr I did my first transect of 2021 around midday at Alexandra Park. I was a bit surprised to see a Small White. I tracked to make sure as it was alighting on Dandelions at the edge of the cricket pitch. Another first of the year for me Dee Cullen
3 Apr 1 Nut-tree Tussock at ASDA Southgate this afternoon Robert Callf
2 Apr St Albans - slightly surprising results from today's observations in my hibernation shed. It's been over 20 degrees for three consecutive days this week. At this time of year that is usually the cue for butterflies still in hibernation to emerge. Sure enough the number of Small Tortoiseshells still in the shed has fallen from 13 to 1 this week. But surprisingly the number of hibernating Peacocks has stayed constant at 2 Malcolm Hull
1 Apr Large Tortoiseshell in Sawbridgeworth

Large Tortoiseshell Sawbridgeworth 1 Apr
Tina Carter
1 Apr 1 Peacock at Parkside Farm/Res., Enfield (TQ3098) at 1135 BST. 1 Peacock edge of Williams Wd, Trent Park at 1359 BST. 2 Comma together clashing edge of Williams Wd, Trent Park 1400 BST. 2 Peacock nectaring on blackthorn blossom at Vicarage Farm, Enfield (TQ3097) at 1435 BST Robert Callf
1 Apr Hounslow. Breezier and sunnier today: Brimstone: 1, Peacock: 14, Small Tortoiseshell: 1, Comma: 3, Small White: 1 Peter Gore
1 Apr St Albans - my first Holly Blue of the year in my garden at lunchtime. Also a Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on rosemary, aubretia and primroses

Small Tortoiseshell St Albans 1 Apr
Malcolm Hull


Date Description Recorder
31 Mar 3 Peacock & 2 Small Tortoiseshell at Vicarage Farm, Enfield (TQ3097) at about 1100 BST, 1 Comma at Park Farm, Enfield (TQ2998) at 1204 BST. 1 Peacock at 'Old Golf Course' Trent Park at 1335 BST Robert Callf
31 Mar Hounslow. Still warm but horribly humid and no sun. It would have felt very disappointing indeed after the last two days but all was redeemed by the late sighting of my first Orange-tip of the year. Only a little more than half sized but still enjoyable to see and watch: Peacock: 2, Orange-tip: 1 Peter Gore
30 Mar Barham Park: 1 Peacock and 2 Brimstone Shailesh Patel
30 Mar Speckled Wood was seen on the Belmont Trail between Christchurch Avenue and Belmont Circle in the area around Wealdstone Cemetery at the end of Byron Park at 11:15am

Speckled Wood Kenton - 30 Mar
Steve Shahbazian
30 Mar Wareside garden: Brimstone 6, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Peacock 5, Comma 1. Whilst on a walk, Wareside - fields (TL406151): Small Tortoiseshell 2, Peacock 4 Phil MacMurdie
30 Mar Hawkswick Lodge Fruit Farm, St Albans: 6 Peacocks, 1 Comma. Heartwood Forest in fields near Ayres End Lane: 4 Peacocks

Simon Mavin
30 Mar Over 20 Peacocks in Stevenage Old Town and fields West of A1(M) and several Brimstone. Also a Comma just past Meadway underpass and a Small Tortoiseshell. Also an unidentified White near Fishers Green Stefan Hunt
30 Mar A brief walk around all sections at Aldbury Nowers produced Brimstone x 12, Peacock x 4 & Small Tortoiseshell x 2 David Gower
30 Mar 1 Brimstone - St Faiths Close north, Hitchin; 1 Brimstone - Purwell Meadows east, Hitchin (TL200298) David Inward
30 Mar Hounslow. Butterflies began with a Holly Blue in my garden in morning sunshine. Thereafter if they didn't quite live up to this early promise there was nevertheless an advance on yesterday's figures and my first identified Small White nectaring on apple blossom: Holly Blue: 1, Peacock: 24, Brimstone: 7, Small Tortoiseshell: 2, Comma: 4, Small White: 1 Peter Gore
30 Mar 1 female Brimstone flew across Enfield Rd, EN2 at 1203 BST Robert Callf
30 Mar A quick walk down the garden (Townsend area, St Albans) at lunchtime only produced 2 Peacocks, but rather curiously, an Orange Underwing fluttered by and landed on the grass under an apple tree. Didn't hang around long enough to have his picture taken though. A first for this garden Robert Bull
30 Mar Heartwood Forest - on my lunchtime walk I saw 36 Peacocks, 34 Brimstones, mostly male but including 4 females and just 1 Small Tortoiseshell Malcolm Hull
29 Mar Barham Park: 2 Brimstone and 2 Small White Shailesh Patel
29 Mar RSPB Rye Meads: 12+ Peacock, 3 Brimstone, 2 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Small White (my own FOY), 1 Small Tortoiseshell (my own FOY)

Small Whites Rye Meads 29 Mar
Nicholas Barnett
29 Mar Wareside garden: Peacock - 3; Brimstone 2 - both males. Also a pristine Emperor Moth on the patio Phil MacMurdie
29 Mar A couple of Commas, a few Peacocks in Ashtree Woods, Stevenage and a Small Tortoiseshell in Fairlands Valley Park Ann Wan
29 Mar Walking from home in Bricket Wood I saw my 1st Peacock of the year, then my 2nd, more than a dozen altogether. I also saw my 1st definite Comma, and back in the village my 1st Red Admiral. Where I photographed the Comma (TL 131 015), I saw it jousting with at least two individual Peacocks, and twice saw a male Brimstone fly past in the same direction. What a change in the weather; my hands feel the cold badly, I've gone out for a walk nearly every day this year, but I think today was the first time I left home without wearing gloves; I saw a girl in a bikini frolicking in the River Colne!

Comma Bricket Wood Common 29 Mar
Chris Newman
29 Mar 2 Brimstones St Albans Everlasting Lane Play Area
3+ Commas Hawkswick Lodge Fruit Farm
2 Peacocks Hawkswick Lodge Fruit Farm
1 Small Tortoiseshell Edge of Batchwood Nr Access Road
Simon Mavin
29 Mar Pleased to see my first butterflies of the year. While sitting in Tunnel Gardens for half an hour at lunchtime I was visited by three Peacocks (at least two separate individuals as an ariel battle ensued), two Commas, and one Brimstone (TQ293914). One Peacock landed in my garden close to Tunnel Gardens and at the Sunshine Garden Centre (TQ295910) I saw one Brimstone Miles Attenborough
29 Mar 4 Peacock at Vicarage Farm, Enfield (TQ3097) including 2 together, 1 Peacock at Parkside Farm/Res, Enfield (TQ3098) at 1419 BST, 2 Peacock at Park Farm, Enfield (TQ2998), 1 Peacock edge of Williams Wd, Trent Park, 2 male Brimstone at Trent Park (1 Rough Lot, 1 edge of Williams Wd), 1 Comma at Rough Lot, Trent Park at 1533 BST Robert Callf
29 Mar 1 Brimstone - St Faiths Close north, Hitchin; 1 Brimstone - Purwell Meadows south end, Hitchin (TL202297); 1 Brimstone - Horse fields off Purwell Lane, Hitchin (TL203294); 3 Brimstone, 1 Peacock - east end of path alongside horse fields, Hitchin (TL203293); 1 Brimstone - Chaucer Way, Hitchin (TL201295) David Inward
29 Mar Hounslow. After several dreary days without butterflies, as expected today brought a complete change: Brimstone: 13 (all male), Small Tortoiseshell: 2 (1st), Red Admiral: 1 (1st) and Peacock: 13 (1st). An unidentified butterfly in the area I saw a Comma recently was likely a Comma and at least 4 unidentifed whites were probably Small Whites Peter Gore
29 Mar Despite not being able to go far at the moment owing to a damaged ankle, saw 2 Peacocks in the back garden (Townsend area, St Albans) this morning and another sunning itself on the patio this afternoon, plus a Brimstone whipped past in the teeth of a small gale Robert Bull
29 Mar Decided to enjoy the weather this afternoon. At Fishers Field nature reserve (Bushey) were Peacocks x 3 & at Water Lane(Watford) Peacocks x 11, Small Tortoiseshell x 5, Comma x 1 David Gower
29 Mar Highlight was a Green-veined White in the walled garden at Hanbury Manor near Thundridge. Good numbers of Brimstone and Peacock all around Hertford/Ware/Thundridge. A Comma and a Red Admiral in The Bourne at Ware and several Small Tortoiseshells nearby in Lower Bourne Gardens Andrew Wood
29 Mar Stevenage Old Town, 1 Brimstone and 1 Comma Stefan Hunt
29 Mar At last, a nice warm butterfly day in St Albans! On a lunchtime walk round my local nettlebeds and dandelion patches I saw 12 Peacocks, 6 Small Tortoiseshells and a male Brimstone at Folly Lane. Plus 2 Small Tortoiseshells and a male Brimstone at New England St

Malcolm Hull
26 Mar St Albans Shed - Butterflies still in hibernation = Peacock 2, Small Tortoiseshell 13. There has been a further small emergence of both species in the last week, but 70% of the overwintering individuals have yet to emerge, with Peacocks (67% emerged) still well in advance of Small Tortoiseshells (25% emerged). This rate of emergence is similar to other normal years in the recent past. The warm weather forecast at the start of next week may speed up their emergence Malcolm Hull
25 Mar 1 Brimstone - St Faiths Close south, Hitchin David Inward
23 Mar My first identifiable butterfly for the year this afternoon - 1 Peacock settled at Vicarage Farm, Enfield (TQ3097) at 1417 hr Robert Callf
22 Mar First butterfly of the year in my garden in Muswell Hill! Peacock landed on the trampoline and basked in the sun for 5 minutes before flying off

Peacock Muswell Hill 22 Mar
Matt Lilley
22 Mar At Fishers field nature reserve spotted 1 x Peacock this afternoon David Gower
22 Mar A walk up to Balls Wood and through Goldings Wood saw me recording 8 Brimstones, 3 Commas and 1 Peacock

Andrew Wood
22 Mar My first Comma (2) and Peacock of the year seen at Bayfordbury (TL315103) Ian Flack
22 Mar I saw 4 Brimstones which was a good start to my sightings year! The first was near Highgate Golf Club entrance near Stormont Road, N6; the second on the Parkland Walk Muswell Hill; third on the old race track in Alexandra Park, and the fourth in the scrub by the sports pavilion car park in Alexandra Park Dee Cullen
22 Mar On this morning's South Mimms walk I saw a very newly emerged Orange-tip along Mimms Lane (TL211011). Then I saw a Peacock sunning itself on the footpath through the fields (TL220012) towards Frowyke Crescent. Finally a male Brimstone flew in front of me across Blanche Lane (TL220007)

Orange-tip Mimms Lane 22 Mar
Terry Wood
21 Mar Pristine Small White seen in my Ware garden Liz Goodyear
21 Mar I had my first butterfly sighting of the year this morning, a male Brimstone by the Mimmshall Brook, South Mimms (TL230017) Terry Wood
19 Mar St Albans - disturbed a hibernating Angle Shades moth caterpillar while digging in my garden

Angle Shades larva St Albans_19 Mar
Malcolm Hull
19 Mar I had my first butterfly sighting of the year, a male Brimstone in our front garden in Bricket Wood. Our son also saw what must have been a Peacock nearby Chris Newman
19 Mar Today saw that open-a-bottle moment that confirms the arrival of spring, when a male Brimstone flies in a westerly direction across our lawn in Harpenden. This routinely happens just after 11am on the first sunny day around mid-March - as it did yet again this year. Always just one on the first day, always coming from the east Alan Jackson
19 Mar Hounslow. Four butterflies: 2 Commas and a Brimstone in the Pevensey area, one more Brimstone in the vicinity of the former golf course Peter Gore
19 Mar 1 Brimstone - St Faiths Close north, Hitchin David Inward
19 Mar 1 male Brimstone in Bengeo, Hertford Andrew Wood
19 Mar Male Brimstone in the warm sunshine at Bayfordbury (TL315103) Ian Flack
9 Mar 1 Brimstone - St Faiths Close south, Hitchin David Inward
9 Mar Hounslow. Two sightings of male Brimstones are the first butterflies identified this year on my usual walk. These were both seen flying amongst trees and shrubs on the heath alongside the former golf course Peter Gore
9 Mar 1 Peacock and 2 Comma. Barham Park, Sudbury Shailesh Patel
9 Mar Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral in Ware Cemetery and another Small Tortoiseshell in The Bourne, Ware

Andrew Wood
9 Mar My first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell at Fairlands Valley Park near the football ground car park. It was barely above 10c but strong sunshine Peter Clarke
9 Mar First butterfly of the year for me, a Comma in my St Albans garden (Townsend area) Robert Bull


Date Description Recorder
27 Feb Surprising me by appearing in the garden in Tring, a Red Admiral joined the Brimstones and Small Tortoiseshells Nick Bowles
27 Feb Brimstone - Dickens Close, St Albans. Peacock - Dickens Close, St Albans on 5 February Simon Mavin
27 Feb 1 Brimstone - St Faiths Close south, Hitchin David Inward
27 Feb Whilst my first butterfly of the year was actually an unidentified dark butterfly seen elsewhere yesterday, the first one in my Hounslow garden presented no identification problems, a male Brimstone seen in morning sunshine Peter Gore
27 Feb First butterfly of the year for me, a male Brimstone through my Harpenden garden Robin Pearson
26 Feb Small Tortoiseshell at Bayfordbury (TL315102) Ian Flack
26 Feb Small Tortoiseshell, St Pauls Walden (TL193218)
Peacock, Whitwell (TL183211)
Brimstone, male, Whitwell (TL183212)
Martin Ketcher
26 Feb I unmistakably sighted a Red Admiral on the wing this afternoon at 4.30pm whilst I was pushing my kids on the swings in the children's playground in Falkland Place, Kentish Town, London! (TQ290852) Nicholas Barnett
26 Feb Small Tortoiseshell briefly along The Byeway, Rickmansworth (TQ063938) Martin Searle
26 Feb St Albans - Peacock at New England St sunbathing and patrolling at the nettlebeds at lunchtime. Small Tortoiseshell also sunbathing in nettles at Folly Lane this afternoon. And two reports of Brimstones in Abbey View Rd gardens on Tuesday and Thursday this week. Meanwhile in my hibernation shed, 3 out of 6 Peacocks (50%) have departed. But only 2 out of 16 Small Tortoiseshells (12%) had left on my weekly count this morning Malcolm Hull
24 Feb Brimstone at Austage End Amanda Proud
24 Feb Brimstone at Ley Green Martin Ketcher
24 Feb My first sighting for 2021. Wareside - Male Brimstone in the garden Phil MacMurdie
24 Feb 1 Brimstone - St Faiths Close north, Hitchin David Inward
24 Feb A good walk in the Ware area revealed 2 Brimstones, 2 Peacocks (in both cases at separate sites and 1 Peacock and 1 Small Tortoiseshell within a metre of each other. Apart from one flying Brimstone, all were warming up in the spring like conditions

Andrew Wood
24 Feb Peacock, Cooters End Lane, Harpenden: my first butterfly of the year. Later this morning 3 male Brimstones on the Lea Valley Walk between East Hyde and Westfield Road, Harpenden Alan Jackson
24 Feb I saw my first butterfly of the year, a Brimstone on a railway embankment in Hitchin (TL 20229 28795) Phil Barron
24 Feb My butterfly year started at 09:45 this morning when a male Brimstone dropped into by Ware garden briefly before flying off Liz Goodyear
23 Feb 12.30pm: Brimstone: Gutteridge Wood and Meadows Nature Reserve: TQ094841 Nicholas Barnett
21 Feb Uxbridge. I saw my first Peacock of the year this afternoon. It was on the ground close to my garage door. I think it had been hibernating in my garage and had been able to get out as I had left the door open. The butterfly was in a good condition. Heather Danpure
21 Feb I saw a male Brimstone at 13:30 in my Bishop's Stortford garden - enjoying the sun on some ivy near my pond Phil Butson
21 Feb A Comma just flew past my study window and into the ivy opposite (also occupied by a winter-visiting Redwing). I did remember to pinch myself!
Bernard's Heath, St Albans. 2.50pm. Outside temperature a balmy 13C
David Utting
20 Feb I was at Sherrardspark Wood (TL 23282 14514) and saw a Brimstone flying at 12:15. Pristine example William Bishop
20 Feb Just to report a pair of Brimstone sighted this morning in Tring Ralph Darvill
20 Feb Season has started in Bengeo garden with Brimstone

Brimstone Bengeo 20 Feb
Simon Knott
19 Feb Found a single White-letter Hairstreak egg at Bragbury End, on the A602 verge this morning (TL2721). It looked as if it could be hatching soon and the elm was just flowering. Although there was plenty of searchable quality elm, it took at least 10 minutes to find this single egg Liz Goodyear
10 Feb Found my first White-letter Hairstreak egg of 2021 on elm close to the old church in Thundridge. The elm is hardly noticeable - except when smothered in seed discs which is how I found it last year! Liz Goodyear
3 Feb St Albans - a Peacock fluttered round my front garden at lunchtime, landing on my neighbours house

Peacock St Albans 3 Feb
Malcolm Hull


Date Description Recorder
21 Jan Peacock in St Albans garden

Peacock St Albans 21 Jan
Alla Mashanova
20 Jan 1 Chestnut at ASDA Southgate Robert Callf
12 Jan Male Spring Usher at Forty Hall CP, Enfield early afternoon Robert Callf
10 Jan Ickenham - a brief search of Blackthorn revealed one Brown Hairstreak egg Malcolm Hull
8 Jan St Albans - 15 Small Tortoiseshells and 5 Peacocks, hibernating in my shed. Numbers have held steady since the end of the summer, with no signs of predation by spiders, which I have noticed in several previous years. This afternoon in Greenwood Park I searched some of the Blackthorn for Brown Hairstreak eggs as part of my local exercise walk. I did not find any, but noted that the park contains both ash trees at the edges of the wood and much suckering Blackthorn and looks to be a promising site Malcolm Hull

First sightings 2021
Peacock21 Jan
Brimstone20 Feb
Comma21 Feb
Small Tortoiseshell24 Feb
Red Admiral26 Feb
Small White21 Mar
Orange-tip22 Mar
Green-veined White29 Mar
Holly Blue30 Mar
Speckled Wood30 Mar
Large Tortoiseshell1 Apr
Green Hairstreak9 Apr
Branch first and last sightings page

First sightings 2020
Peacock3 Jan
Comma7 Jan
Holly Blue8 Jan
Small Tortoiseshell9 Jan
Red Admiral9 Jan
Large White10 Jan
Brimstone1 Feb
Small White22 Mar
Orange-tip25 Mar
Speckled Wood4 Apr
Green-veined White4 Apr
Painted Lady14 Apr
Grizzled Skipper16 Apr
Green Hairstreak21 Apr
Small Copper22 Apr
Small Blue24 Apr
Brown Argus24 Apr
Dingy Skipper26 Apr
Small Heath26 Apr
Common Blue6 May
Adonis Blue8 May
Large Skipper17 May
Meadow Brown25 May
White-letter Hairstreak30 May
Dark Green Fritillary30 May
Camberwell Beauty30 May
Silver-washed Fritillary2 Jun
Marbled White8 Jun
Small Skipper8 Jun
White Admiral9 Jun
Ringlet9 Jun
Purple Hairstreak9 Jun
Essex Skipper11 Jun
Gatekeeper13 Jun
Purple Emperor20 Jun
Chalkhill Blue22 Jun
Clouded Yellow12 Jul
Brown Hairstreak18 Jul
Branch first and last sightings page
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