Here are 2021's earliest sightings of resident and common migrant butterflies, as reported to Butterfly Conservation.

These first sightings are gathered as the butterfly season progresses so as to provide up-to-date information about species emergence. They are not reviewed retrospectively by reference to transect data or distribution records and therefore represent what we believed to be the first report of a species at the time rather than a comprehensive analysis of the actual first dates recorded in a particular year.

View previous years (2011-2020) sightings as a download.

Last update: 4 August 2021

Vernacular name Scientific name Date Location
Swallowtail  Papilio machaon 19 May Norfolk
Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages 17 April Dorset & Somerset
Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae 11 April Sussex
Chequered Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon 16 May Argyll
Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola 24 June London
Small Skipper  Thymelicus sylvestris 8 June Somerset
Lulworth Skipper  Thymelicus acteon 4 May Dorset
Silver-spotted Skipper  Hesperia comma 13 July Sussex
Large Skipper  Ochlodes sylvanus 29 May Dorset
Wood White  Leptidea sinapis 18 April Devon
Cryptic Wood White  Leptidea juvernica 25 April Co. Armagh
Orange-tip  Anthocharis cardamines 11 March Kent
Large White  Pieris brassicae 7 March Derbyshire
Small White  Pieris rapae 22 Jan Wiltshire
Green-veined White  Pieris napi 23 March Derbyshire
Clouded Yellow Colias croceus 19 March Dorset
Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni 21 Jan Derbyshire
Wall  Lasiommata megera 30 March Derbyshire & Somerset
Speckled Wood  Pararge aegeria 6 Feb Cornwall
Large Heath  Coenonympha tullia 3 June Co. Armagh
Small Heath  Coenonympha pamphilus 30 March Somerset
Mountain Ringlet Erebia epiphron 1 June Cumbria
Scotch Argus Erebia aethiops 16 July Highland
Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus 13 June Derbyshire
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina 25 May Somerset
Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus 23 June Cambridgeshire
Marbled White Melanargia galathea 11 June Dorset
Grayling Hipparchia semele 11 June Conwy
Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria euphrosyne 17 April Devon
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene 20 April Devon
Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia 14 June Sussex
Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja 6 June Ceredigion
High Brown Fritillary Argynnis adippe 7 June Devon
White Admiral Limenitis camilla 12 June Hampshire
Purple Emperor Apatura iris 29 June Sussex
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta 7 Jan Devon
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui 21 Feb Cornwall
Peacock Aglais io 6 Jan Derbyshire
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae 1 Jan Derbyshire
Comma Polygonia c-album 3 Jan Derbyshire
Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia 28 April Devon
Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxia 30 April Isle of Wight
Heath Fritillary Melitaea athalia 24 May Cornwall
Duke of Burgundy  Hamearis lucina 18 April Hampshire
Small Copper  Lycaena phlaeas 29 March Suffolk
Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae 20 July Dorset
Purple Hairstreak Favonius quercus 5 June Essex
Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi 1 April Sussex
White-letter Hairstreak Satyrium w-album 13 June London
Black Hairstreak Satyrium pruni 6 June Cambridgeshire
Small Blue  Cupido minimus 26 April Dorset
Holly Blue  Celastrina argiolus 27 Feb Wiltshire
Large Blue  Maculinea arion 7 June Somerset
Silver-studded Blue  Plebejus argus 2 June Conwy
Brown Argus  Aricia agestis 23 April Wiltshire
Northern Brown Argus  Aricia artaxerxes 11 May Lancashire
Common Blue  Polyommatus icarus 20 April Somerset
Adonis Blue  Polyommatus bellargus 5 May Dorset
Chalk Hill Blue  Polyommatus coridon 5 July Cambridgeshire