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Hertfordshire & Middlesex Branch
Saving butterflies, moths and our environment

Sightings 2017

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

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From January 2017, the mobile phone sightings page has been removed - it was a time consuming exercise keeping it updated and data statistics showed that few visitors used it. Apologies to those people that did!

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February 2017

Tuesday 21st February 2017
Male Brimstone on the wing Hemel Hempstead this morning - David Hutchinson

Monday 20th February 2017
I thought you might be interested in the following observation from this morning, Monday 20th February: 4 male Brimstone butterflies plus one probable female at the Purwell Ninesprings reserve in Hitchin - Alan Garner

10.20 - 2 Brimstone seen on trees behind Roy Chapman garage, Tring High Street - Chris Hilling

Brimstone spotted in Chiswell Green Garden at midday today - Nigel Floyd

3 Male Brimstone seen in Letchworth Town Centre approx 11.00 - 11.30. One at Mrs Howard Memorial Hall Norton Way South SG6 1NX; another in grounds of Free Church directly opposite and the third outside Council Offices in Gernon Rd SG6 3JF - Patricia Clegg

Butterflies I have seen today 20/02/2017, my first of the year, on warm spring-like morning: 1 male Brimstone and 1 unidentified blackish butterfly - St Faiths Close, Hitchin - David Inward

On my travels this morning, I saw 2 brimstones and 1 red admiral in Lemsford village then 1 brimstone near Blackmore End and another 1 in Kimpton! - Jenny Sherwen

A mild day or two to tempt me out of hibernation and set the moth trap up in my Harpenden garden. Quite a good start to the year last night (19th Feb) with a March Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty and 2 Acleris cristana. Spring is sprung! - David Hunt

1100 First Brimstone seen flying strongly Berkhamsted Common /Frithsden Beeches - Mike Spittles

Brimstone and Small Tortoishell in the Hitchin garden this morning - Martin Banthorpe

Male Brimstone in the Harpenden garden just now (11:49). And now a Red Admiral (12:03), my first two butterflies of the year! - Robin Pearson

1 Brimstone here in Berkhamsted this morning - Michael Anderson

Friday 17th February 2017
Stanwell Moor: The weather was fine and sunny - probably warmer than yesterday in fact. I was lucky enough to have a day off work and decided to look around my local patch to see if an old adage was right: one fine day to wake them up and a second fine day to make them fly. It certainly seemed to be true and my season was quickly off to a cracking start with a nice Red Admiral basking on the brambles. Shortly afterwards I spotted a Comma low down on some ivy - unusual for me to see a Comma before any Peacocks. Further on again, two more butterflies: another Red Admiral on some metal piping, and behind it a female Brimstone fluttering around. The latter came to ground a little way off, just within the range of the zoom. Unusual again to see a female before a male, especially so early in the year. I carried on to the area I have dubbed Comma Corner, and appropriately at the apex of the eponymous spot sat another Comma. It didn't stay long as it soon set off after another of the species and I lost track of them both. Six butterflies: three species. The season doesn't start better than this!
Dave Miller

A Red Admiral flying through a garden in Northchurch near Berkhamsted, grid ref SP 978 091 (tetrad SP90 U) at 15:44 hours - Colin Everett

1 Brimstone seen flying strongly this morning at Alpine Meadow (SP 989103) near Berkhamsted - Michael Anderson

Thursday 16th February 2017
Enfield Island Village: Red Admiral at 11:12 basking in brief bit of sunshine on house front just off Martini Drive - Martin Shepherd

Tuesday 14th February 2017
Red Admiral today in Panshanger Park by Panshanger Oak - Simon Knott

Monday 13th February 2017
Two butterflies in Tring today. One unknown species of Nymphalid flew across the road near Tesco and the second was settled in my garden (the other side of Tring) and that was very definitely a Small Tortoiseshell - Nick Bowles

I failed to catch it on camera, but a Red Admiral fluttered against a sunny window in Kings Langley around noon on Monday - Elizabeth Debenham

Wednesday 8th February 2017
1 male Pale Brindled Beauty at ASDA Southgate on Tuesday 7th February 2017 - the first for this site and me - Robert Callf

Tuesday 7th February 2017
Red Admiral seen flying in my Freezywater, Enfield garden - Brian Dawton.

Sunday 5th February 2017
St Albans - checked out the Small Tortoiseshells hibernating in my shed. Total number visible is now 26 compared to 31 at the end of November. Quite a bit of movement over the last 2 months, with most of those relocating just a short distance to darker positions. The one exception is now outside the shed in the porch, where it is quite light, but never in direct sun. No signs of any dead butterflies and it may be the 5 which I can no longer see have just moved to darker spots where I can't record them - Malcolm Hull

January 2017

Tuesday 24th January 2017
I spotted a Red Admiral basking in the sunshine in the centre of Balls Wood on 24th Jan. Probably disturbed by the works going on near the rides - Andy Brown HMWT

Spotted a Red Admiral in the garden today, in Tring. Just as the Small Tortoiseshell had two weeks back it settled on the windowsill; and then flew to a flowering viburnum - Nick Bowles (Picture on FB Page)

Saturday 21st January 2017
Anna Hull reports a Red Admiral from Grosvenor Square W1. Another example of this species seeking refuge from cold weather in the London heat island.- Malcolm Hull

Sunday 15th January 2017
An unusual sighting today 15 January 2017 was a Red Admiral flying at terminal 3 London Heathrow Airport at 1415 hrs in the rain. I am unsure if it came from an aircraft or was disturbed from its roost - Andrew Bashford

Monday 9th January 2017
St Albans - surprised to find a Small Tortoiseshell fast asleep and clinging to the outside of my back door this morning. For some reason it must have decided to abandon its more secure hibernation position in the nearby shed - Malcolm Hull

Thursday 5th January 2017
Watching lunchtime news (05.01.17) and a Small Tortoiseshell flew across in front of window, looped about and settled on the window sill for ten minutes then flew off on its (chilly) way. Frost hasn't lifted here all day, in areas in shade in Tring - Nick Bowles

December 2016

Thursday 22nd December 2016
Saw a red admiral in bencroft wood on 22nd December - Steve Kiln

Monday 19th December 2016
One red admiral spotted today Dec 19th on the upper section of the Amwell Loop just downstream of tumbling bay weir NGR TL 36419 14162 - Phil Belfield

Wednesday 14th December 2016
One Red Admiral seen at Westway Shopping, Greenford - Shailesh Patel

A male Brimstone stood out like a beacon on some dead vegetation in the sunshine on the northern edge of Burleigh Meadow at around 1:30 pm. As I was about to take a photo it flew off but returned to the same area within a few minutes. Probably my first ever record of a butterfly on the wing in December. - Peter Clarke

I saw a Red Admiral today in my neighbour's garden here at Miswell lane, Tring. Very pleasant sun and warmth at the time - Nick Bowles

Red Admiral still present today in the sun at the car park, Panshanger Park - Simon Knott

Taken today in Letchworth GC. Can't remember ever seeing a Brimstone in December before? News via Branch FB page including photograph - Simon Crockford

Brent Reservoir: male Brimstone, Red Admiral - Roy Beddard and Steve Leeke (news via London Birders)

Friday 9th December 2016
Great news is that thanks to Surrey branch member Stephen Reisbach, we have a positive record of Brown Hairstreak in Middlesex. A small number of eggs of this nationally rare, and unrecorded for almost 20 years in our area, species have been located in the Middlesex part of Richmond borough. There have been records of it spreading northwards through South West London and it looks as if one brave female has crossed the Thames to the north side. If you are in Richmond, the southern part of Hounslow or Spelthorne please take a look at local Blackthorns (sloes) and see if you can find the bright white pin head sized eggs laid near twig or thorn junctions. Any records please let us know. There is a moth the Blue Bordered carpet that lays white oval eggs on Blackthorn and is a confusion species but if in any doubt please let us know The local council ecologist is aware of this finding and we are assured that maintenance will not be done that could damage the blackthorn and the eggs. See our Facebook page for photos - Andrew Wood

No butterflies I'm afraid, but 2 December Moth males, a Light Brown Apple Moth and a Red-green Carpet in my trap last night - David Hunt

Red Admiral in St James' Park today at 14:15 - Frank Nugent

Thursday 1st December 2016
I saw a red admiral on Patmore Heath - Jenny Sherwen

Red Admiral in sun today at Panshanger Park next to car park. - Simon Knott

November 2016

Sunday 27th November 2016
St Albans - Small White caterpillar pupating in my kitchen. It arrived on Black Kale from my nearby allotment. At that stage it was hiding underneath the Kale leaf, resting lengthways along the midrib, which appeared to have been eating. It was quite still after several frosty days and had attached itself firmly to the leaf with silk Once indoors it soon revived and has actively chewed its way through the Kale during the week, growing several mm longer. At present the head and top end have turned into a pupa, whereas the other end is still like a caterpillar, which wriggled when I touched it. Once pupation has finished I will put it outside undercover so it will be dormant until the Spring - Malcolm Hull

Friday 25th November 2016
Saw a red admiral and a peacock flying within 5 minutes of each other in a sunny corner at Bayfordbury - Ian Flack

1 Red Admiral in fields off Widbury Hill, Ware this morning - Andrew Wood

Tuesday 22nd November 2016
1 Red-green Carpet at ASDA Southgate on Tuesday 22nd November 2016 - Robert Callf.

Thursday 17th November 2016
1 Feathered Thorn at ASDA Southgate on Thursday 17th November 2016 - Robert Callf.

Wednesday 16th November 2016
I saw a Red Admiral 16/11/2016 by Carpenders Park station on S Oxhey side - Joan Thompson

Sunday 13th November 2016
Saw a large butterfly, probably a Red Admiral, although not confirmed, flying around the canopy of a Sweet Chestnut in Rough Lot, Trent Park at 13:36 hrs on Sunday 13th November 2016. - Robert Callf.

A single Red Admiral today (13.11), at midday in Tring's central (St. Peter and St. Paul) churchyard - Nick Bowles

Stanwell, Staines-upon-Thames, Middlesex, Red Admiral on a window - Patricia Hearsum

Friday 11th November 2016
Marylebone Lane W1 - Surprised to see a Red Admiral fly past my third floor office window at lunchtime today. Bright sunny conditions and it flew off to the north - Malcolm Hull

Wednesday 2nd November 2016
A brimstone passed by in the Pinetum at Bayfordbury on Wednesday 2 November. Ian Flack

I saw a Red Admiral at Ellenbrook Fields on the 2nd November - Dan Cooper

1 Red Admiral in flight and settled near Dew Pond, Trent Park (TQ 293 972) this morning at 10:20 hrs - Robert Callf

Whilst I stood in the sun outside my back door about 12.30, soaking up vitamin D, a Red Admiral almost flew into me & disappeared over my head. A very pleasant surprise for November - John Moss

Tuesday 1st November 2016
One Red Admiral flying on Tuesday the 1st November near the St Albans hospital. TL143082 - David Anderson
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