Bedfordshire Sightings 2008

December 2008

21st: A Peacock flying on the heath at The Lodge (IW).
Another Peacock in a garden centre in Willington (MM).

November 2008

18th: A Red Admiral flying near Harrold bridge (RB).

4th: A Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell flying in the Lodge Gardens, Sandy. (DFD&IKD)

October 2008

29th: Red Admiral rescued from the inside of a window in Leighton Buzzard station and placed on a sunny wall where it remained sunbathing. (JK)
Another Red Admiral sunbathing on a Lodge wall. (DFD&IKD)

24th: Five Red Admirals and a Comma active at The Lodge. (DFD&IKD&LG)

21st: A very tatty Comma seen by the Wildlife Trust mid-week volunteer team on Cooper's Hill.

18th: Red Admiral in the churchyard of the Polish church, Bedford. (DG)

17th: A rather late, pristine, Meadow Brown seen on Pegsdon Hills. (SP)
Up to seven Red Admirals and a Comma in the memorial garden at The Lodge. (MD)

13th: Seven Peacocks found hibernating under the A1 bridge at The Riddy, Sandy. (RL)

12th: A Comma at Mowbury Hill LNR (KB).
A Small Tortoiseshell and a Red Admiral in Sharnbrook Colmworth Prk (PG)

11th: A Brimstone, Red Admiral, two Commas and several Large Whites seen in the Cranfield area. (DB).
A Red Admiral sunbathing in Priory Country Park. (KB)

10th: Comma-7, Brimstone-1, Speckled Wood-1, Small Tortoiseshell-1, and Red Admiral-11 reported from The Lodge grounds. (MW&NW)

9th: Up to five Commas, five Red Admirals, two Small Tortoiseshells, one Small Copper, one Brimstone, one Peacock and one Large White reported from the Lodge by an assortment of RSPB staff.

8th: A Comma at the IOCP office in Old Warden (RL).

6th: Six Comma on buddleia at the IOCP office in Old Warden (RL).
One Peacock, five Commas, four Red Admirals and one Large White at The Lodge. (DFD&IKD)

September 2008

27th: Comma-7, Brimstone-3, Large White-1, Common Blue-1, Speckled Wood-1, Small Tortoiseshell-1, Small White-1 and a Red Admiral in Harlington Hill chalk pit (PG).

22nd: Comma - 3, Speckled Wood - 4 at Duck End NR (JP).

21st: Small Tortoiseshell and a Meadow Brown at Backnoe End. (NW)

20th: Comma - 4, Red Admiral - 1 in a Luton garden (CLB & PLB)
About ten Small Coppers on the heathland clearing east of Rowney Warren car park (KB).

19th: In the Tartlet's close - Marston Thrift - Strawbery Hill area south of Cranfield were seen Large White - many!, Small White - several, Small Tortoiseshell - a few, Speckled Woods - several, Comma - several, Peacock - one, Common Blue - one male, Meadow Brown - two, Red Admiral - one. (DB)
Two Small Tortoiseshells in Bedford this afternoon and at least 9 in the Old Warden area enjoying the glorious sunshine earlier in the day.

17th: Several hibernating Peacocks reported from under the A1 bridge at The Riddy. (RL)

16th: Brimstone - 1, Large White - 3, Red Admiral - 1, Speckled Wood - 1 seen in Sherbourne Avenue, Luton. (BE & VE)
Large White - 9, Red Admiral - 10, Speckled Wood - 40 seen along the path from Streatley to Sharpenhoe Clappers. (BE & VE)

15th: Impressive numbers of Speckled Woods with 50+ estimated during a long walk around Clapham Wood and park areas (SW).
2 Chalkhill Blues (one male one female), 2 Common Blues, 1 Brown Argus, 3 Speckled Woods , 4 Meadow Browns and 4 Small Tortoiseshells at Sharpenhoe & Moleskin today (DC).

10 Small Tortoiseshells on a buddleiah in Sharnbrook (SR). Good to hear they are doing well somewhere!

14th: One each of Brimstone, Comma, Large White, Red Admiral and Small White seen in a Luton garden (CLB).
A male and female Brimstone, Comma - 2, Common Blue - 5, Meadow Brown - 10, Painted Lady - 1, Small Heath - 2, Small Tortoiseshell - 1 and Speckled Wood - 10 also seen on Pegsdon Hills. (EW & AW)
Brimstone - 1, Large White - 1, Small White - 2 flying around Mowsbury Hill LNR. Comma - 4 and Speckled Wood - 2 were also feeding on blackberries. (KB)
Four Small Tortoiseshells seen in the wildlife garden at Sandy Lodge with a very fresh looking Comma. (MM)
Two Small Tortoiseshells on a Luton garden buddleiah (MM).

13th: Small White - 2, Large White - 1, Red Admiral - 2 in a Bedford garden (KB).
14+ Small Tortoiseshells seen at Willington gravel pits (NW).

10th: At least 16 Small Coppers seen on the heath at The Lodge, Sandy, sumbathing or feeding on heather. (AB&MB)

6th: 61 Speckled Wood, 44 Green-veined White, 39 Small White and 5 Red Admirals and one Painted Lady on the Potton Wood transect. (IW).

3rd: One Small Tortoiseshell emerged from the final pupa (see August 31st below) and was released. The other 29 were all parasitized producing 54 fly grubs/pupae between them! (One even emerged from the larva that died during transformation). These have now been sent off to Oxford University for ID. (KB)

1st: Common Blue 10, Gatekeeper 4, Large White m, Meadow Brown 8, Red Admiral 1, Small Heath 4, Small Skipper 2, Speckled Wood 2 seen on a tour of Pegsdon Hills (BE,VE,ME & JE)

August 2008

Summary: Again, the weather played a negative role, with much of the month being damp and gloomy. Despite this a handful of Painted Ladies showed up, but the total reported has only reached eight. No Clouded Yellows reported yet. Most Red Admirals seen are probably therefore home-grown. Small, Large and Green-veined Whites have done well as the month progressed. The next brood of Speckled Woods is now picking up. Small Copper and Brown Argus seem to have been doing okay and Common Blue has done particularly well, with a very strong second brood. Holly Blue numbers in the second brood seem lower than the first. Chalkhills seem to have had a mediocre year judging by reports. The golden skippers, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper numbers dropping off quickly now, and Ringlet has run its course. The proportion of Essex Skippers (vs Small) reported seemed lower than normal this year? Not many Small Heath reported recently. Purple Hairstreaks did poorly by accounts, and White-letter numbers remained low. Silver-washed Fritillary was only reported from King's Wood, Heath and Reach - none seen in College/Home Woods or Chicksands Wood this year? New brood Peacocks were common, but have now mostly gone into hibernation. Brimstones were locally common suggesting they'd done okay too. Small Tortoisehell numbers remain worrying low (see possible cause below). Pleased to hear that Wall Brown is still hanging on in Rookery Pit South, though this is threatened with development.

31st: 30 Small Tortoiseshell larvae were collected from nettles in my Bedford back garden on the 23rd. By the 28th, 29 had pupated - one died during transformation, attended by a small spider. Over the last two days approx 46 fly grubs have emerged from about 24 of the pupae, and quickly pupated. They will be sent off to Oxford University for ID and inclusion in the research into the decline of Small Tortoiseshells, for which Sturmia bella, a relatively new-to-Britain parasitoid fly of Nymphalids is suspected. Fingers crossed for the remaining five pupae... (KB).
One Large White just emerged from a pupa by my back door. A Small White did the same yesterday. (KB).

28th: A lone Peacock spotted flying in Luton (CLB)

23rd: Green-veined White - 2 and Speckled Wood - 7 in Flitton Moor (JP).
One each of Comma, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood in Maulden Wood (JP).

22nd: Brimstone - 1, Brown Argus - 1, Comma - 2, Common Blue Male - 2, Gatekeeper - 1, Large White - 1, Peacock - 2, Red Admiral - 1, Small Copper - 1, Small White Pair - 1, in Dunstable Sewage Treatment Works. (AW)

Common Blue Female -2, Common Blue Male - 5, Gatekeeper - 6, Meadow Brown - 3, Peacock - 2, Red Admiral - 1, Small Heath - 1, Small White - 3, Wall Male - 1 all in Rookery Clay pit South. (AW). [This is the only 2nd brood Wall reported so far - KB]

18th: A rare case of multiple Painted Ladies. Three together in Wilden, with two Peacock and two Red Admiral. (SH). Comma-5, Gatekeeper-3, Green-veined White-1, Large White-5, Peacock-12, Red Admiral- 1, Small Tortoiseshell-1, Small White-10, Speckled Wood-2 at the Dunstable wader scrape (DA).

16th (approx): A late report that a Clouded Yellow had been seen at about this date at Sharpenhoe Clappers (AR).

15th: Two Small Blues reported from Ampthill Park. (SP) [This is a very unusual location, but we get odd (particularly 2nd brood) report from the Greensand Ridge every few years. Anyone any idea why? - KB]

12th: Gatekeeper-5, Green-veined White-4, Large White-6 and Meadow Brown-2 in Duck End NR. (DW).

10th: A rare sighting of a Painted Lady on Totternhoe Knolls. (EW)

7th: A strong emergence of Common Blues with about 30 seen in Clapham Park Wood. One Holly Blue also seen. About 50 Small/Essex Skippers briefly netted to confirm ID over the last week. Only two were found to be Essex Skippers (AM).

Comma-2, Gatekeeper-6, Meadow Brown-6, Peacock-2, Red Admiral-1, unidentified Whites -4, Speckled Wood-3 at Duck End NR. (JP)

Gatekeeper-30, Holly Blue-2, Large Skipper-2, Meadow Brown-30, Small Copper-1, Small Skipper-9, Small Tortoiseshell-1, Small White-1 near the foor of Warden Hill. (BE&VE).

6th: One White Admiral seen in College Wood (AM).
A good day on the Old Warden Tunnel transect this afternoon, with 80 butterflies in total. A fresh Marbled White and a fresh Large Skipper were interesting as they should normally be finishing about now. 28 Peacocks were seen, the most abundant species, but oddly, no Brimstones. Three Common Blues were a welcome sight. (KB)
Two more sightings of Silver-washed Fritillary in King's Wood, Heath and Reach, one male and one female. Let's hope they meet! (RD&LC)

3rd: A Silver-washed Fritillary seen in the boulder clay rides of King's Wood, Heath and Reach, about 200m from the spot of Friday's sightings. (RD)

2nd: A visit to try to spot Purple Emperor or Silver-washed Fritillary in King's Wood, Heath and Reach was unsuccessful, even having wandered the boulder clay rides for about 2 hours. Seen were Ringlet - 9, Meadow Brown - 11, Gatekeeper - 9, Peacock - 6, Large Skipper - 1, Large White - 4, Speckled Wood - 1, Red Admiral - 1, Green-veined White - 3, Purple Hairstreak - 8, Common Blue - 1, Brown Argus - 1. (KB)

1st: Another Purple Emperor spotted and photgraphed, this time in King's Wood, Heath and Reach, together with two Silver-washed Fritillaries! (AW)

July 2008

Summary: As is usual butterfly numbers in July were much higher than June, but some species were a bit later in showing than typical - Chalkhill Blue being an example, which was a couple of weeks later than normal and Purple Hairstreak seems to have been a bit late too. White-letter numbers seemingly fairly typical, i.e. few. Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown showed well as usual, with Marbled White appearing across the county, but seemingly in lower numbers than usual. Skippers probably weren't as abundant as usual either, but we'll find out when the records are totalled. Fresh Peacocks and Brimstones appearing at the month end as normal, but Small Tortoiseshell again having a poor year, but ocassionally reported in double figures in local hot-spots. White Admiral and Comma probably fairly typical season, but again we'll have to wait for the records to be counted to confim. Second-brood Whites seemingly doing okay. The real excitement were the four (one on 1st August) reports of Purple Emperor, suggesting that they are possibly resident in more than one location in the county. No sign of Silver-washed Fritillary by month-end which is unusual for recent years. Only two Painted Ladies by month end, no Clouded Yellows and only a handful of Red Admiral suggests that it isn't going to be a migrant's year unless something dramatic happens with the weather...

30th: Another Painted Lady reported. (JF) (Not yet received the location details - KB).
White-letter Hairstreak - 3, Purple Hairstreak - 4, Comma - 15, Peacock - 31, Brimstone - 1, Red Admiral - 2 in Chicksands Wood (AW) 28th: A Dark Green Fritillary was a good sighting at Bison Hill today, along with a good selection of other species: Green-veined White 4, Comma 3, Brimstone Female 5, Brimstone Male 2, Meadow Brown 59, Red Admiral 1, Small/Green-veined White 82, Ringlet 12, Small White 8, Gatekeeper 67, Marbled White 31, Chalk-hill Blue Male 8, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Small/Essex Skipper 14, Large White 8, Large Skipper Female 1, Peacock 8, Small Skipper 2. (WP)

27th: The first report of a Painted Lady "this week", in Sandy. (JA). (Date not yet confirmed - KB)
Large Skipper - 5, Small Heath - 2, Meadow Brown - 15, Small/Green-veined White - 1, Ringlet - 20, Gatekeeper - 25, Marbled White - 40, Chalk-hill Blue - 2, Small/Essex Skipper - 30, Brimstone - 5, Large White - 15, Common Blue - 1, Peacock- 4 at Bison Hill (AW)

26th: Four White-letter Hairstreaks on creeping thistles in Home Wood, Northill. (KB)

21st: At last, the first Chalkhill Blues have begun to appear, with a handful on show at Totternhoe Quarry (ET).
Also the first confirmed report of Purple Hairstreak, (though unconfirmed sightings have been reported for a while), from West Wood, along with Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Comma, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, White Admiral (8+), Brimstone (1 m), Ringlet, Marbled White, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral (TS&DF)

15th: Today in Chicksands wood (TL0939) were 2 fresh White-letter Hairstreak, 1 tatty White Admiral, 4 Comma, 14 Large Skipper, 60 Ringlet, 1 Large White, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Small/Essex Skippers, 1 Gatekeeper and 1 Marbled White. In TL1040 were 1 Red Admiral, 2 Meadow Brown, 58 Ringlet, 2 Small/Essex Skippers, 1 Green-veined White, 4 Speckled Wood, 2 Comma and 1 Small Skipper. No Purple Emperor or Silver-washed Fritillary seen. (KB).

13th: A second Purple Emperor, this time a fresh-looking female, seen in Chicksands Wood, on sallows on the wide ride east of the southern monument. She was watched from 11:50 to 12:20 but was not seen to lay (IW). (No meeting place for males has yet been located in the wood, but there may be one somewhere...)
A third Purple Emperor, a male, was photographed in a garden in Harlington!!! (SB&MB). [I have seen the excellent picture - KB]. Wonder where it came from...?

12th: Large Skipper 1, Meadow Brown 20, Ringlet 3, Gatekeeper 6, Marbled White 2, seen in Clophill (MM).

11th: Meadow Brown 5, Ringlet 3, Marbled White 1 at Wadelows NR (JP).

10th: The first confirmed White-letter Hairstreak, in Maulden Wood (SR).

8th: Speckled Wood - 10, Comma - 1, Ringlet - 212, Large Skipper - 2, Meadow Brown - 8, Small Skipper - 2, Marbled White - 1, Small Tortoiseshell - 1, Green-veined White - 1, White Admiral - 2, Red Admiral - 1 seen in Chicksands Wood. No White-letter Hairstreaks, Purple Emperor or Silver-washed Fritillary seen (KB).
A White Admiral seen by the Wildlife Trust mid-week volunteers at Flitwick Moor, last reported there in 2000. Plenty of honeysuckle around, so they could breed there (GH).
Large Skipper 2, Small Heath 8, Meadow Brown 28, Red Admiral 1, Speckled Wood 5, Large White 1, Ringlet 47, Marbled White 9 flying today in Maulden Wood/Heath (BE&VE)

5th: Plenty of Skippers, all those ID'd being Small Skippers. Dark Green Fritillary: 50+ on the Eastern slope, many seen feeding on Knapweed. Brimstone: 1 Male patrolling a bramble patch. Whites: Several. Marbled White: 100+ on the Eastern slope. The odd 1 or 2 on the windward westward slope. Many times flying between grass blades and crash landing in wind gusts. Also feeding on Knapweed. Meadow Brown: Plenty. Ringlet: Plenty. Small Heath: Several. Speckled Wood - 3 or 4, mostly elderly faded ones (MR).
One Small Copper on Rowney Warren (KB).

4th: A male Purple Emperor watched for 2-3 minutes on the main ride of Chicksands Wood (AH).
A lone Marbled White in Priory Country Park (DK).
A Marbled White wandered across Cooper's Hill (LB).
Meadow Brown 4, Speckled Wood 1, Red Admiral 1, Ringlet 100, Gatekeeper 1, Marbled White 30, Small/Essex Skipper 6, Large White 3, Essex Skipper 2, Small Skipper 4, Small Blue 4 all seen at Totternhoe Quarry (AW)

1st: A suspected Large Tortoiseshell reported from near Marston Thrift, if correct, most likely a release/escape. Also seen in the same area were Speckled Woods 3 or 4. Ringlets in abundance, Meadow Browns in great abundance, Gatekeepers, Large Whites 2, Small White, Red Admirals 2, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Small Heath, Large Skippers many, the first Essex Skipper (many "little" skippers but only one positively identified), Marbled whites many. (DB)

Meadow Brown - 3, Speckled Wood - 4, Large White - 1, Ringlet - 8, Brimstone- Female 2, Meadow Brown - 1, Speckled Wood - 2, Common Blue- Male 1, Ringlet - 2, seen around the foot of Galley and Warden Hills (BE&VE).
Dark Green Fritillary - 23, Marbled White - 20, Meadow Brown - 15, Ringlet - 5, Small Heath - 4, Common Blue - 2, Large White - 1, Red Admiral - 1 seen in very blustery conditions on Sharpenhoe Clappers (KB).

June 2008

Summary: Poor breeding last season combined with another unsettled year has meant an unusually deep June dip, with days when barely a butterfly was seen. Things began to improve however towards the end of the month when Ringlet again showed well, with increasing numbers of Meadow Brown and Marbled White for company. Speckled Wood fair in woodlands. Dark Green Fritillary seems to be doing quite well at Sharpenhoe Clappers, but none reported from anywhere else yet. The lack of any Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow suggests that the small number of Red Admirals around are probably mostly home-bred.The golden skippers are generally in smaller number than usual, as are the blues and whites. A few fresh Commas appeared at the month end. No confirmed White-letter Hairstreaks yet?

29th: The first sighting of White Admiral in Home Wood, Northill. Hairstreaks also spotted in Elm, next to an Oak, not identified to species. Two fresh hutchinsoni Commas doing a passable impression of fritillaries (KB).
Lots of Dark Green Fritillaries and Marbled Whites seen at Sharpenhoe Clappers on the BC field trip (JB).
Another Gatekeeper, in Linslade New Woods (JK).

28th: The first Gatekeeper seen at Marston Vale Millennium Country Park, along with the first report of Small Skipper (JOS & SP)

22nd: On the BNHS field trip one Black Hairstreak seen in Marston Thrift. Another was reported to us by LC at the end of the trip. A visit to Wootton Wood (Private) afterwards lead to another probably sighting.

14th: Only two butterflies seen (Small Heath and Speckled Wood) while looking for Black Hairstreaks, of which none were found. Later in the day just one Large White and one Meadow Brown seen. Only four butterflies during a decent day in June is remarkably poor (KB).
16 Speckled Wood, 1 male Brimstone, 2 Red Admiral and 1 Peacock were flying in Chicksands Wood (BE&VE)

13th: Two Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Speckled Woods, Large Skippers and the first report of a Marbled White at Bromham Lake LNR (AM).

11th: Ringlet confirmed at Old Warden Tunnel, where it had been suspected two days earlier, with five Speckled Wood, one Peacock and a Red Admiral. About eight Speckled Wood and one Holly Blue were all that were seen in Chicksands Wood. Very few butterflies or longhorn beetles around at the moment (KB).

10th: One Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Heath and several Speckled Woods and two Large Skippers at Bromham Lake LNR (AM).
On the Potton Wood transect only one species was seen (22 Speckled Woods) almost unprecedented to see only one species on a June transect (IW).

9th: In Kensworth Quarry was the first reported Meadow Brown. A total of 43 Small Blues were also seen, split over two areas (PG & SH).
One Small Copper seen on Rowney Warren and a Red Admiral in Warden Little Wood (KB)
Several Small Heaths, two Large Skippers and two Red Admirals at Brown's Wood, Clapham (AM)

8th: Many Speckled Wood and two Red Admirals in Chicksands Wood. Many Speckled Woods and Small Heaths, several Common Blues and Large Skippers and a Brimstone at Bromham Lake LNR. (AM)

7th: After a very unsettled couple of weeks its good to receive a butterfly report again(!) and of a new species, a male Large Skipper at Brogborough Lake (AS).
Two Comma larvae pupating on nettle at Priory Country Park (KB).

May 2008

Summary: The month started well with fine sunny weather and a steady stream of butterfly reports, but, as for the last two years, May turned increasingly unsettled, and reports almost completely dried up by the end, unlike the weather. It would seem that Dingy Skipper has had a good year and Holly Blue must be near the top of its cycle, being well reported. Ed Turner (of Dukes vs Blues project) says that despite the weather Duke of Burgundy has actually done reasonably well, and he has found eggs. Wall is still clinging on in the clay pits of Marston Vale (where threatened by an Eco-Town). Orange Tip was doing fairly well until the weather turned. Judging by reports few other species have done well, with other spring specialists or first broods generally not very abundant. Brown Argus and Commmon Blue for example have barely been mentioned. A couple of Red Admiral were seen in the last week of May, possibly as the result of a weak migration. No Painted Ladies reported yet. Fingers crossed for better weather in June...

31st: A Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White and a Large White where the only butterflies seen on a grey day in Maulden Wood (KB).

24th: A Red Admiral was seen in Chicksands Wood (the start of a migration?) along with 3 Speckled Wood, 2 Green-veined Whites, 1 Large White and a Peacock. Only three butterflies seen on the Old Warden Tunnel transect - Brimstone, Large White and Speckled Wood (KB).

20th: One each of Grizzled Skipper, Small White, Peacock, Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Green-veined White seen on a brown-field site near Brogborough, earmarked for development in the "eco-town". Also a fully-grown Oak Eggar larva. (KB)
Two fresh male Common Blues sunning themselves together at Coronation Pit. (KB)

18th: Several Duke of Burgundy, Dingy Skippers and Small Blues were the highlight of today's BC field-trip to Totternhoe Quarry. (JB).

14th: 1 Dingy Skipper & 3 Green Hairstreaks at Sharpenhoe & Moleskin and at Whipsnade Downs (Bison Hill) were 4 Duke of Burgundy, 3 Green Hairstreaks and 2 Grizzled Skippers plus Brimstone, Small White, Green Veined White, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell. (DC).
5 Dingy Skippers on Pegsdon Hills and one in Hoo Bit. 10 Dingy Skippers, 11 Green Hairstreaks and 22 Small Heaths seen at Knocking Hoe. (LG&AM).;

13th: During a 2 hours session training volunteers at Marston Vale Millennium County Park were seen: Dingy Skipper - 28, Grizzled Skipper - 9, Common Blue - 5, Holly Blue - 1, Speckled Wood - 4, Small Heath - 4, Orange Tip - 4, Green Hairstreak - 1 (SH).
The first Small Blue, a lone male, seen at Totternhoe Quarry, along with several Duke of Burgundy including a mating pair, 7 Dingy Skipper, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Holly Blue, 1 Small Heath, 3 Peacock, 2 Brimstone and 1 Orange Tip. (KB)

12th: A Small Copper at Steppingley Hospital (SR).
Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers in Coronation Pit (SW).

11th: The first confirmed Wall Brown in Coronation Pit (RN). A couple have been suspected in recent days elsewhere in Marston Vale.
A Wall Brown was also unexpectedly seen at Totternhoe Quarry (ET).
On the BNHS field trip to Pegsdon Hills were 3 Orange Tip plus 2 eggs on garlic mustard, 1 Holly Blue, 6 Brimstone, 1 Small White, 3 Dingy Skippers, 15 Green Hairstreak, 4 Small Heath, 2 Peacock. The first Brown Argus was reported to the party by our Chairman (SP) who was also sighted, but it couldn't be re-found (PG).

10th: Finally Dingy Skippers have been reported (surely there must have been an earlier sighting?) at Totternhoe Quarry (HG) and Pegsdon Hills (PG).
The first Small Heath in the company of a Grizzled Skipper at Rookery Pit, and a third-party report of a Dingy Skipper (GW).
Two Small Heaths also seen on On Pegsdon Hills with 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Dingy Skipper, 1 Large White, 2 Brimstone, 1 Orange Tip, 1 Peacock and 6 unidentified whites (PG).
Green Hairstreak seen laying on Bird's-foot Trefoil near Heath and Reach (KB).

8th: The first Small Copper at The Lodge. (IKD & DFD).

6th: After searching about six known or potential Grizzled Skipper sites finally found several at a known brownfield site in Lidlington, earmarked for housing in the "Eco-town". A possible Wall Brown seen too fleetingly to confirm in a disused clay pit in the Vale. Plenty of Orange Tips around today, plus a few Holly Blue, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, one Small Tortoiseshell, one Comma and plenty of Peacocks around too. Strangely no Dingy Skippers seen yet. Grizzleds harder to find than usual (KB).

5th: One Green Hairstreak and Grizzled Skipper, 13 Brimstones, 6 Peacocks 2 Holly Blue, 2 Orange Tip and 1 Small White on Bison Hill. The first Duke of Burgundy was also seen. (PG).
At Glebe Meadows, Arlesey 8 Orange Tip, 1 Peacock, 2 Small White, 1 Green-veined White (PG).

4th: A Holly Blue on Cooper's Hill (KB).
Orange Tip near Dunstable STW and Peacock in Luton garden (CLB)

3rd: Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Orange Tip in Shillington (PB&GB).
Just one Grizzled Skipper at Marston Vale Millennium Country Park (KB).

April 2008

Summary: The generally cool first half of the month has meant a fairly slow start to the emergence season, with no Dingy Skipper or Duke of Burgundy reported by month-end and only a couple of Grizzled Skippers and one Green Hairstreak reported. Speckled Wood has been quite thin on the ground, but we can expect numbers to build through the season. Orange Tip is beginning to show in reasonable numbers which, given the wet spring last year is pleasing. Holly Blue widely reported in ones and twos. Only a few Large Whites reported, but unidentified (small/green-veined) Whites around in fair numbers, which too should build. Overwintering Red Admirals have run their course, with none reported since 3rd April. Peacocks are doing well. Comma and Small Tortoiseshell generally few in number. Brimstone showing well on warm days.

28th: A Speckled Wood at Duck End NR (DW).

27th: A male Orange Tip and a Peacock in the wildlife garden at Priory Country Park. (KB).

26th: The first Grizzled Skippers were seen. One near the visitor centre in Marston Vale Millennium Country Park (KB) and another on Sharnbrook Summit (CB).
Also the first Green Hairstreak at Whipsnade Downs. (GH).
Male and Female Orange Tips, Peacocks, Speckled Woods, a Small Tortoiseshell and several unidentified whites flying at Duck End NR (DW).

22nd: The first confirmed Large Whites reported, from Flitwick Moor (A&MB) and Barton (AR).
Speckled Wood-2, Small Tortoiseshell-2, Peacock-4 and Green-veined White-1 all flying today at Duck End Nature Reserve (A&MB), and a female Brimstone (KB).
Brimstone-3, Green-veined White-3, Orange Tip-1, Speckled Wood-1 and Peacock-6 all flying at Flitwick Moor (A&MB).
Brimstone-2, Peacock-5 and Comma-1 on the Old Warden Tunnel transect. (No Speckled Wood this week) (KB).

21st: Small White, Peacock and Brimstone seen at Duck End NR (A&MB).

15th: The first Speckled Wood on the Old Warden Tunnel transect (KB).
Another male Orange Tip in the company of a Peacock at Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club (PR).

13th: The first confirmed Small White, seen in an Ampthill garden (DW).

12th: A small blue butterfly seen flying through a Linslade garden. Given the time of year (Common Blue doesn't start flying until mid-May) this was most probably the first Holly Blue (MS).
One Peacock and Comma at Priory Country Park this morning (KB).

10th: Two unidentified whites in an Ampthill garden (DW).
Three or four Peacocks at Duck End NR (DW & JP).

8th: Three Peacocks in the Maulden Heath area and three on the Old Warden Tunnel transect (KB).

4th: A good day in the Marston Thrift area with 14 sightings of Brimstone, 18 of Peacock, 5 of Comma and 1 Small Tortoiseshell. Also one Peacock and Brimstone in Cranfield. (A&CB)
A Peacock in an Ampthill garden (DW).
A Brimstone at Carthagena golf course near Potton (ST).

3rd: A Red Admiral seen by a golfer at Carthagena golf course. (per ST).

March 2008

Summary: The wait is finally over, for butterflies and for us. Winter is finally loosening its grip and the adult-overwintering species are quick to take advantage of any dry mild spell. Brimstones, which had a good year last year and are the easiest to spot, have been the most reported so far. Emergences from pupae are now just starting, the first two confirmed being an Orange Tip and a Green-veined White, whose numbers should build over the next 5-6 weeks to peak in early May. Speckled Woods should be seen soon, weather permitting...

31st: A Comma and a Peacock in an Ampthill garden. (DW)

30th: The first reported "hatchings" of the year - a male Orange Tip seen at Flitwick Moor, along with a Comma, a Brimstone and three Peacocks (A&MB).
The first Green-veined White was seen, also in Flitwick, but this time a garden, along with a Peacock and a Brimstone (CC).
Two Peacocks were disputing territory and a Brimstone in a Blunham garden (TS).
Three Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock at the Dunstable wetland centre (AW).
A Brimstone in a Leighton Buzzard garden (AW).
Two Peacock, two Brimstones and a Comma in Priory Country Park, and a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock on Cooper's Hill (KB). A Brimstone in Stopsley. (CLB)
A Brimstone and a Peacock in Toddington, and another in Fancott Woods. (SB&BN)
An unidentified "white" (either Small or Green-veined) was briefly spotted at Cooper's Hill (GB).

27th: Two Commas, and one Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell in Claphampark Wood. (AM).
A Peacock in the New Mills area (TS).
A Comma and Brimstone spotted in Maulden (JP).

14th: Must have been a nice day...
Comma, Peacock, Brimstone and Red Admiral all seen at the Lodge gardens at lunchtime. (IKD,DFD,LD,AH).
Two Comma and a male Brimstone near Cottage Farm (DB).
A Brimstone in Potton at lunchtime (JW).
A Brimstone near Cople flying by the roadside (A&MB)

7th: One Small Tortoiseshell in a Blunham garden this morning (TS).

6th: One strongly flying Peacock seen in a Willington garden (GP).

February 2008

Summary: The warm spell from about the 5th to 12th tricked a few of all five overwintering species out of hibernation. Hopefully they all found refuge when winter re-asserted itself for the rest of the month, when only two Red Admirals were spotted.

27th: One tatty Red Admiral seen nectaring on Pieris at the Lodge (IKD,DFD).

26th: One Red Admiral being blown around Henlow Millennium Meadows. (RL)

12th: Five Brimstones flying in Luton (DM).

11th: Four Brimstones and a possible Red Admiral were seen in the Totternhoe area (GB). A Peacock was flying around the allotments in Biggleswade (RL).

10th: A possible Small Tortoiseshell flying at Rammamere Heath (EM). A Brimstone in Beeston (C-AR) and another in Stopsley (PLB&CLB).

9th: The first report of a Small Tortoiseshell, sunning itself in Biggleswade (RL). Another (or the same?) Comma in Maulden Woods (SC).

8th: The first report of a Comma, flying around on Maulden Heath (SR).

7th: Nothing reported!

6th: A Peacock in Willington (RE) and a Brimstone at Pegsdon (SW) enjoying the sunshine.

5th: The first Brimstones of the year seen at Rushymeade, Pulloxhill. A female was seen first shortly followed by a male, struggling in the breeze (JP). A Peacock seen near Sandy (ML).

January 2008

Summary: January was generally wet and mild with no heavy frosts, but not particularly sunny. Few butterflies seem to have been tricked by the false spring with only a handful of two species seen.

29th: Another Peacock was flying at midday on Pegsdon Hills (RD), and a second about 30 minutes later in the Sandy Smith NR (LM).

25th: The first Peacock of the year was sunning itself on a wall at The Lodge at lunchtime. (JOS, MD).

24th: A Red Admiral was fluttering around the quarry at The Lodge in sunshine. (NF).

20th: At last, a butterfly to report! A Red Admiral in Potton (TP).

10th: Ten days into the new year and still no reports...

1st: A mild day, but no reports (yet)...

Late 2007

Sorry to those that wanted more frequent updates here during the autumn, but the wet summer had taken its toll and it was very quiet. The BNHS newsgroup carried a few reports and is recommended reading for those wanting up-to-the-minute news.

The "final" sightings (always a dangerous statement as someone always has a later one...) through the last four months were:

20/12/07 Peacock
13/12/07 Red Admiral
20/10/07 Small Copper
17/10/07 Speckled Wood
14/10/07 Small Tortoiseshell
14/10/07 Holly Blue, presumably 3rd brood
14/10/07 Comma
10/10/07 Small White
08/10/07 Brimstone
04/10/07 Painted Lady
29/09/07 Clouded Yellow
25/09/07 Green-veined White
23/09/07 Small Heath
23/09/07 Meadow Brown
23/09/07 Common Blue
22/09/07 Brown Argus
13/09/07 Gatekeeper
07/09/07 Chalkhill Blue

These are based on the records received by 31/12/2007. If you have any records for anytime in 2007 that haven't already been submitted to Peter or Keith, then we'd be delighted to receive them, preferably before the end of January 2008. Thank you.