Latest sightings in Lincolnshire


WA-LGPButterfly & Moth Sightings:

Many thousands of records are sent in each year, mostly by our Lincolnshire Members. We use this information to monitor how well different species are faring, and concentrate our effort on the butterflies and moths that need the most help.

We cannot realistically cover all those records here, and aim, therefore, to show first sightings, unusual sightings and indeed anything you feel might be of interest to others.

If you are in any doubt at all, send it in anyway! Please send your sightings for these pages to Lawrie Poole

County Butterfly Records:

 We are trying to streamline how we officially record all Lincolnshire butterfly sightings. Please click HERE to download a spreadsheet which you can use to put all your sightings on. This can be e-mailed to John Davison, our new Butterfly County Recorder, every so often through the main season. He will transfer your records to a Master Form which he will e-mail, periodically, to Butterfly Conservation HQ. This way, your records will contribute to the Butterfly Atlas, which is regularly updated.There are instructions with the form. John's e-mail address is:

Moth Sightings:

All moth sightings for North Lincs. (VC 54) can be reported to:
Colin Smith, 3 Dear Street, MARKET RASEN, Lincolnshire, LN8 3BH.

All moth sightings for South Lincs. (VC 53) can be reported to:
Martin Gray:

Information about what's 'on-the-wing' on our nature reserves is available on the Snakeholme PitSouthrey Wood and Twyford Wood pages. 

Latest Butterfly & Moth Sightings

March 2015 

Saturday, 28th. March from 2 p.m. till 5 p.m.
Do join us to hear Martin Davies talk about the "Butterflies of the Mediterranean."
Event will include: Raffle/Sales/Refreshments/Display/Chat! 

21st March:

  • E-mail from John Petyt: 'An interesting record for you of a White-pinion Spotted moth found resting on a tree trunkWPS-J.Petyt at Ashbyville reserve Scunthorpe. I found the moth on the 19th March - the usual flight period is May to early July!'
  • At his Swanpool home, Andy Sims had: ' ... 12 moths of 5 species last night:1 Oak Beauty; 2 Small Quaker; 5 Common Quaker; 1 Clouded Drab & 3 Hebrew Character'
  • Timothy Bagworth writes: ' ... I have finally trapped my first moth at my new home in SCB-P.LeeSpalding last night, a Clouded Drab!' Well done Tim, keep up the good work!
  • Phil Lee writes: 'I spent today with Charlie Barnes (Lincs beetle recorder) looking for beetles on the banks of the River Idle here in NW Lincs at Haxey Grange. We found the attached caterpillar under loose bark on a riverside Willow. I have gone through my books and it seems to fit well with Small Clouded Brindle, both in appearance and timing, habitat etc.


20th March: the day of the Eclipse & the Spring Equinox! Lots happening in the skies this week!

Also a day for garden sightings! Natalie & George Rutter saw a Peacock sunning itself in their Sloothby garden; Ian McGlynn saw a Brimstone in his at Bourne; Harry Turner saw a Brimstone in his Louth garden; Derek Fox had a Brimstone in his garden at Langworth; Lawrie Poole had a fine male Brimstone in his garden at Thorpe on the Hill and, finally, Mrs. Quesne saw 3 Small Tortoiseshells in her Spalding garden. They were together on the ground, spreading their wings absorbing the warmth. 

19th March: Richard Davidson sent in the following: 'The security light near the door into the Education Building at Whisby Nature Park often attracts interesting moths and last Thursday evening was no exception. Only two moths but ones I've not seen before, a Yellow Horned (a Birch specialist) and a Shoulder Stripe.

18th March:

  • The night of the very widespread Aurora Borealis. NL-Lancaster Uni
  • Phil Lee & Ted Sabin trapped at Haxey Turbary LWT reserve. ' ... When we arrived at 6pm it was overcast and a balmy 7 deg.C ( felt warm in shorts!). We lit the light at 18:50 and the skies immediately cleared and by 20:00 the temp had plummeted to 2 deg.C. In that short time we had 12 moths of 9 species:- 1 Agonopterix heracliana; 1 Diurnea fagella; 2 Chestnut; 1 Clouded Drab; 1 Common Quaker; 1 Dotted Border; 1 Hebrew Character; 3 March Moth; 1 Pine Beauty and 2 pairs of Tawny Owls nearby, which never stopped calling!'
  • Lawrie Poole, just for the record, had 2 Clouded Drab & 4 Common Quaker at Thorpe on the Hill. 

14th March:

  • Dave Wright e-mailed: ' ... despite the cold breeze along the coast today, managed to see my first butterflies of the year: 2  Small Tortoiseshells on the sheltered bank of Buck Beck in Cleethorpes.'
  • Chris Dobson from Langworth wrote: ' ... just getting going again but so far only had Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Clouded Drab.' 

13th March: 

  • Whilst looking for Beetles with Charlie Barnes, John Petyt, Keith Scarrott & John Davison came across an Orange UnderwingOU-J.Davisin on Yarborough Warren, Scunthorpe.
  • Hugh Middleton saw a Brimstone butterfly at Snakeholme Pit this afternoon.
  • Colin Watkin, at his Treswell home, near Rampton, trapped  2 Clouded Drab; 6 Hebrew Character, ' ... and a rather nice Shoulder Stripe.' He also had 4 Agonopterix agg. and an Acleris hastiana on a window on 11th March.

12th March: Michael Barke saw 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies in a Gainsborough garden, near an Oak wood.

11th March: Andy Sims at Swanpool had 7 moths of 4 species: 3 Common Quaker; 1 Clouded Drab; 2 Hebrew Character & 1 Early Grey.

10th March:

  • Colin Goulding saw a Small Tortoiseshell on Heather plants in his Saxilby garden, today, at about 3pm.ST-P&V Emmett
  • ST-R.FoxIan McGlynn wrote: ' ... season has started! I have just seen my first butterfly, in the garden (Bourne),  a Comma.  Mind you Jeannie saw another Small Tortoiseshell!'
  • Phil and Val Emmett sent in the following: ' ... you may be interested to know that we saw 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies (Aglais urticae) on the bank of the South Delph Drain, about 0.75km east from Five Mile Bridge, Fiskerton this afternoon as we walked along there.'
  • Richard Fox sent in this 'Tweet' today: 2 post-hibernation Scarce Tortoiseshell reported in Netherlands! Keep eyes peeled! Interesting observation bearing in mind the sightings several of us had last July. So let's keep a look out!Richard Lewington's Moths
  • Also on Twitter, Richard Lewington posted the image here of several drawings he has done of some of his favourite moths from 2014. What a brilliant illustrator he is.
  • Also today, our Twitter Followers totalled 200 - quite a nice milestone! Thanks to Katie Callaghan at BC HQ for sorting us out & getting us up & running last November.
  • Peter Cawdell  saw his first butterfly of the year: a male Brimstone on Glebe Park, Lincoln.
  • Michael Barke saw a Comma and a Peacock in a Gainsborough garden, near an Oak wood, and a Small Tortoiseshell in a Gainsborough town garden.


7th March:

  • With the feel of a Spring-like day and temperatures soaring(!) to 16+ deg C, Mark Richards spotted a Brimstone butterfly at Riseholme Hall.
  • Jeannie McGlynn had a Small Tortoiseshell in her Bourne garden.
  • 3 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were seen by Mrs. Quesne in her Spalding garden. They were settling, either on the ground, spreading their wings out, or wishfully thinking, on a Buddleia for nectar!
  • Patsy Jolly, from Thorpe on the Hill, saw a Brimstone in her garden - she thought it may have come out from the Ivy.
  • Pete Smith wrote in: ' ... Just had my first butterfly sightings of 2015 (I haven't been out much lately!) during a lovely visit to Potterhanworth Wood today. Unusually, my first butterfly of the year was a Red Admiral, flying along the main ride through theOB-B.Hedley wood. This was almost certainly a successful hibernator, as it is a little early to be anticipating migrants just yet. I also saw a couple of Brimstones and a Small Tortoiseshell.Spring is just around the corner!'  
  • Brian Hedley at Marton had a 15w Actinic over Skinner trap out and trapped six moths of five species: 2 Common Quaker; and singletons of Oak Beauty; Pale Brindled Beauty; Chestnut and Agonopterix ocellana. Brian also released a 'fluttering' Peacock butterfly from his garage.
  • Phil Lee had five moths at his Misterton home: 3 Common Quaker; a Dotted Border - this time it was actually in the trap! - and a Satellite, with the white markings.

Notice:  Peter Cawdell sent in the following: 
"We have had the new panel sign approved by the Forestry Commission and it isSWood NBoard now being produced. It will be erected at the start of 'our' Coppice area and will no doubt be appreciated by those visiting who have not been quite sure where the Coppice area actually is! I hope you agree it looks very good and the simple but informative wording should be a good advert for our Branch ... and all the hard work of our volunteers over many years."

6th March:

  • John Badley saw a Peacock butterfly today in his Frampton garden.
  •  Phil Lee from his Misterton home, on the edge of the Isle of Axholme, ' ... put the MV trap out in the garden last night, and had 6 moths of 6 species:- Common Quaker; Dotted Border (as usual just outside the trap!); Grey Shoulder-knot; Hebrew Character; Common Plume (like yours Graham) & a Beautiful Plume.'
  • Graham Taylor from Scotter, North of Gainsborough writes: ' ... as the ‘newbie’ to the group and a raw beginner I thought
  • HC-G.TaylorI’d share my first trapping attempts of the year, albeit that they appear to be nothing out of the ordinary. I put the trap, self-built incorporating a ‘Prolite’ 11W UV bulb, out in my back garden last night. I didn’t expect much, if anything, but was pleasantly surprised to find two moths: a Hebrew Character and a Common Plume moth, (Emmelina monodactyla)'
  • Lawrie Poole at Thorpe on the Hill trapped another singleton moth last night, this time a Satellite - with the orange-brown 'satellite' markings.

1st March: Alan Dale from Low Hameringham had 2 Agonopterix heracliana ... on the garage window! In ones & twos (apart from Isle of Axeholme group, who seem to be doing rather better!), we are reeling them in!


February 2015 

27th February: Another ... just a single moth! This time from Colin Watkin at his Treswell (nr. Rampton) home: a single Hebrew Character. Colin's comment: ' ... it must be hot in the Isle of Axholme!' 

27th February: Just a single moth - first of the year too - for Lawrie Poole at Thorpe on the Hill: a Dark Chestnut; ' ... a nice, patterned, chocolate colour and quite shiny.' 

26th February: Brian Hedley from Marton: ' ... had my actinic trap out in the garden all last night and not a single moth noted!'

26th February: Andy Sims had his light out at his Swanpool home and caught: 1 Spring Usher; 1 Dotted Border & 1 Chestnut.


26th February: Matt Blissett, Ted Sabin and Phil Lee (the Axholme Three!) ran 2MV and 1 actinic lights last night for a couple of hours in Epworth Turbary and had a total of 47 moths. Results were:- Micros:- 14 Tortricodes alternella; 1 Agonopterix alstromeriana (new for year). Macros:- 7 Chestnut; 4 Dotted Border; 6 March Moth; 14 Pale Brindled Beauty (1 monacharia) & 1 Satellite (new for year). On the other hand, Brian Hedley, at his Marton home: ' ... had my actinic trap out in garden all last night and not a single moth noted!' 

19th February:
 Ted Sabin and Phil Lee ran an MV & an Actinic lamp for a couple of hours in Langholme Wood LWT NR last night inRS-G-P.Lee the Isle of Axholme. It was a bumper night with moths arriving in squadrons from all directions. The results were:- Micros:- 20+ Tortricodes alternella; 2 Acleris ferrugana/notana Macros:- 10+ March Moth; 20+ Dotted Border; 20+ Pale-brindled Beauty (3 monacharia); 1 Common Quaker; 3 Chestnut; 1 Spring Usher; 1 Red Sword-grass Butterflies:- 1 Comma!
Phil writes: ' ... the Red Sword-grass flew into my face and then dropped onto the sheet (probably stunned by my beauty!) The Comma butterfly was on a Birch trunk.

18th February: Pam Loxley saw a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly in her Barrow-upon-Humber garden in the afternoon: '...  so Spring must be on the way!'

17th February: Pam Loxley of Barrow-upon-Humber ' ... had a Small White butterfly flying around my kitchen.  I am guessing that itSW-P.Loxley SW-Barrowcame into the house as a caterpillar rather than in its present form as I have never seen one this early before. The butterfly really wasn`t as yellow as it looks in the photo.' The books say: that after a mild winter, the first adults are seen as early as February, although April is more usual. The MET Office are saying that we have just had the sunniest winter on record. (Incidentally, the Loxleys entitled the photo on the left 'The Epitome of Optimism!')


15th February: At Messingham Sand Quarry LWT NR,  Matt Blissett, Ted Sabin and Phil Lee (John Davison & John Petyt came later)Acleris l-Phil Lee
spent two and a half chilly hours at Messingham Sand Quarry LWT NR running 2 MV lights and 1 Actinic. Phil writes: ' ... we had 9 macros and one micro: a Chestnut found by torch on Oak trunk; a Pale-brindled Beauty came to light; 3 Spring Usher - 1 to light and 2 netted flying over or around light; 4 Dotted Border, 3 of which came towards the light but then sat on twig ends close by and 1 found on Hawthorn twig well away from light. The micro was an Acleris logiana (now seems to be found in most local Birch woods) found by torch on a Birch trunk.' John Davison tells us that interestingly, the Acleris logiana is a new MSQ reserve record, and the Pale-brindled Beauty, Spring Usher & Dotted Border had not been recorded there since 1985. 

DB-C.Watkin14th February: Colin Watkin had the first moths of the year in his Treswell (nr Rampton) garden. Colin writes: ' ... If you are a beginner to moth trapping, then don't assume that all moths fly into the trap! A Dotted Border settled on the shed wall and a Grey Shoulder-knot was on the wooden door frame. Only a Red-green Carpet was in the trap. So look around on vegetation, tree trunks, walls, posts etc. Yesterday, I watched a Wren struggling to eat a large juicy green caterpillar. Kept bashing it on the head to kill it. Suspect that was an Angle Shades.'

12th February: There has been some 'Twitter' chat recently about how UK butterflies overwinter. A bit of counting up revealed theSW-LGP following figures: 9 UK butterflies overwinter as an egg; 31 as a larva; 11 as a chrysalis and 6 as an actual butterfly (this includes the Clouded Yellow and Red Admiral - both of which hibernate in small numbers.) The Speckled Wood overwinters as either a larva or a chrysalis which leads to the more complicated sequence of adult broods and emergence dates. 
There seem to be anomalies. The Green Hairstreak overwinters as a chrysalis; whilst the other 4 Hairstreaks (Brown, Purple, White-lettered & Black) overwinter in the egg form. The Blues are even more varied. The Silver-studded and Chalkhill overwinter as eggs; Small, Common, Adonis and Large overwinter as larva and the Holly Blue as a chrysalis. Interesting stuff!  

8th February: A sunny day, and slightly higher temperatures resulted in Lesley & Howard Robinson at their Scunthorpe home seeing 'SPW_Dr M. Warren ... our first butterfly of the year this afternoon in the garden - a Peacock.'

8th February: There is not much to report at the moment, so how about this stunning, Shining Purple Wing butterfly to brighten up the proceedings! It comes from Costa Rica, and was posted recently on the 'Twitter' account of Dr. Martin Warren, our Butterfly Conservation Chief Executive.



January 2015 

DHH-P.Aldridge31st January: Martin Gray e-mailed an amazing story. Peter Aldridge from Algarkirk, near Boston found a largeDHH-P.Aldridge caterpillar on 20th November 2014. He reared it, bred it through, and it finally emerged as an adult moth on 13th January this year: a beautiful Death's Head Hawkmoth!


25th January: Phil Lee was at Haxey Turbary LWT reserve and found 8 moths: 2 Chestnut, 5 Pale Brindled Beauty and 1 micro: an Acleris hastiana. Sarah & Karen Hand tell us that the Acleris h. hibernates as an adult and is fairly common in the winter months. It is such a variable moth and there are many different colour forms.

21st January: Matt Blissett photographed this Drinker Moth caterpillar at Scotton today - "it had probably moved up out of the frost."Drinker Moth caterpillar - Matt Blissett


18th January: Richard Davidson spotted a Small Tortoiseshell in the Butterfly Garden at Chambers Farm Wood. It was around mid-day time, when it was a little warmer in the sunshine. 



17th January: Alan Dale wrote in from his home in Low Hameringham: ' ... first of the year, first for the garden, first ever! For severalWinter Moth (f)-A.Dale years I've lamped Hawthorn and Blackthorn hedges hoping to find a flightless female. That's the sort of statement that could land one in trouble! Around mid-day, on a sunlit garage wall, under a Horse Chestnut tree and within 4 metres of a Blackthorn hedge, there she was. What I fondly imagine to be a female Winter Moth. A bit late in the season for her to be out and about and surprisingly active -  but, attracting no male company when left out at night. Male numbers peaked in early December.'




12th January: Harry Turner, at his Louth home, saw a Peacock butterfly ' ... flying strongly in the garden'. (Quite an overcastPBB-R.Harvey morning with temperatures just into double figures.)

8th January: Colin Green reported: ' ... this afternoon in my garden in North Hykeham, was a Peacock butterfly.'

6th January: Roy Harvey, at his Barnetby home, ' ... had this Pale Brindled Beauty on our kitchen window last night.'

2014MET Chart 

6th January: Here is an update, showing for the full year of 2014 the MET Office's Temperature Anomalies Chart, month by month. It shows the deviations of the 2014 monthly average temperatures from the 1961-1990 averages. Dr. Martin Warren, our BC CEO, first spotted this chart a couple of months ago. With the full year now published, it shows just one month, August, when the average temperature was less than the standard. Even for December, the average temperature was up by nearly a degree from the standard. As has been said before, no wonder we had good sightings for 2014!


4th January: Tim Bagworth at his new Spalding home has kicked off the New Year with a sighting of a Large Pale Clothes Moth. Look out for your woolly jumpers Tim! 


2nd January: Phil Lee saw the first Lincs. butterfly of the year and sent in this comment: ' ... saw a Peacock butterfly today 'fighting theAS-A.Sims wind' at Bird's Wood LWT NR near Westwoodside, my earliest ever butterfly sighting, hope this is a good omen for the year!' (Nationally, a Peacock was seen in Norfolk on 1st January, and Red Admirals were seen in Devon and Surrey also on 1st January - from BC's First Sightings page.)

1st January: Andy Sims at Swanpool saw the first Lincs. moth of the year: ' ... I was surprised to find this Angle Shades on the wall by our outside light this morning.'

See some of the more noteworthy sightings from 2014