This page, edited by Ken Owen, is for first/notable sightings. Please email @email with date, species, number, site, grid ref, your name and any comment.

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Also see: National 1st sightings & Archive 2015+

Dec 17 Red Admiral 1 Kennington TQ314770 Simon Saville
Dec 17 Red Admiral 1 Wandle Trail TQ281657 Ian Rowbotham
Late Surrey Red Admiral 2023
Nigel Jackman
Dec 11 Red Admiral 1 Richmond Park TQ199719 Nigel Jackman
Dec 11 Red Admiral 1 Richmond Park TQ188716 Steve Read
Dec 8 Peacock 1 Ewhurst TQ099400 Alice Breeveld
Dec 8 Red Admiral 1 Bookham TQ130546 Gary Margetts

November: Despite extremes of weather in recent weeks, in addition to species noted below, there have continued to be regular sightings of Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. In addition, Small White were seen on the 26th October in Copthorne, 28th in Clapham Junction and 30th in Vauxhall Park.

On 6th November, Red Admirals were reported in Richmond Park (3), Ash Green, Copthorne and Farnham, and Speckled Wood again in Richmond Park (2), Wimbledon, and Kingston.

By the 9th, it was Red Admirals only, noted in Normandy, Hankley Common and Worplesdon and again, on the 11th at Surbiton, Longdown, Wimbledon, Upper Hale and Sanderstead.  Sightings continued with four noted in Richmond Park on the 17th and one in Chessington on the 18th, one in Reigate on the 23rd and four more in Richmond Park. On the 24th the butterfly was seen in London Wetland Centre and Claygate and on the 25th at Polesden Lacey.

Occasionally, other species were seen, as noted below:

Nov 25 Small Tortoiseshell 1 Woking TQ007589 Youssef Einahas
Nov 24 Peacock 1 Arbrook Common TQ146632 Geoff Barter
Nov 24 Brimstone 1 Wetland Centre, Barnes TQ226769 Martin Honey
Surrey late Brimstone 231123 Dorking
Jenny Desoutter
Nov 23 Brimstone 1 Dorking TQ161502 Jenny Desoutter
Nov 23 Brimstone 1 Richmond Park TQ186728 T Wilson
Nov 23 Peacock 1 Abinger Hammer TQ095474 Trevor Collett
Surrey late Holly Blue Richmond Park 7 Nov
Nigel Jackman
Nov 13 Holly Blue 1 Richmond Park TQ186728 Nigel Jackman
Nov 7 Holly Blue 2 (m) Richmond Park TQ186728 Nigel Jackman
Nov 7 Holly Blue 1(f) Beddington TQ286660 Richard Thomas
Nov 1 Clouded Yellow 1 Ewhurst TQ100420 Alice Breeveld
Surrey Late Brwon Argus Denbies Vineyard
Oct 31 Brown Argus 1 Denbies Vineyard TQ158506 Jenny Desoutter
Oct 31 Brimstone 1 Guildford TQ020500 Gillian Elsom
Oct 24 Painted Lady 1 Coulsdon TQ290590 Peter Brown
Oct 22 Large White 1 Ash Green SU905494 Roger Deason
Oct 22 Peacock 1 Horley TQ272440 Michael Cuff
Oct 20 Small Copper 1 Ash Green SU905495 Roger Deason
Oct 20 Comma 1 Farnham SU832467 Libby Ralph
Surrey Oct 2023 Painted Lady Kew
The latest of a number of sightings this autumn across our area
Oct 14 Painted Lady 1 Kew Gardens TQ176838 Marian Thomas
Oct 10 Brown Argus 1 Beddington Park TQ296654 Ian Cunningham
Oct 10 Common Blue 2 Beddington Park TQ296654/ TQ298653 Ian Cunningham
Oct 8 Wall Brown male Denbies Hillside TQ135499 Jenny Sparks
Surrey Oct 2023 Painted Lady Beddington Farmlands
Oct 6 Painted Lady 1 Beddington TQ286665 Richard Thomas
Sep 28 Painted Lady 1 Godstone TQ355525 Gordon Hay
Surrey Small Coppers, two of many, Richmond Park
Sep 15 Small Copper 50+ Richmond Park TQ197723 Nigel Jackman
Surrey Two-spotted Meadow Brown Colin Kemp
Sep 14 Meadow Brown
2 spots
1 Bookham Common TQ124560 Colin Kemp
Surrey double-spotted Neadow Brown Sep 2023
A Meadow Brown with two spots is not that uncommon, but is found more frequently in the north of the UK
Sep 3

Meadow Brown
2 spots

1 Holmethorpe TQ288513 Gordon Hay
Ian Kehl
Surrey 2nd brood Adonis Blue
Aug 7 Adonis Blue, 2nd brood 10 Box Hill TQ187511 David Hasell

A relatively common Small Copper aberration worth looking out for is caeruleopunctata referring to the additional blue markings on the hind wings

Surrey Small Copper ab caeruleopunctata
Aug 7 Small Copper ab. caeruleopunctata 1 Mitcham Common TQ296677 Richard Thomas
Surrey Brown Hairstreak ab spinosea Bookham
Aug 2 Brown Hairstreak ab. spinosea 1 Bookham Commons TQ125559 Kirsty Gibbs

Big Butterfly Count, July 14 to Aug 6, gives an opportunity to record the Red Admiral. Large numbers are across our area, for example, 22 Oxted Downs (17th), 12 Box Hill (18th).

It is relatively unusual to see a Purple Hairstreak descend and then open its wings.

Surrey Purple Hairstreak before opening wings
Surrey Purple Hairstreak open wings female
Jul 26 Purple Hairstreak 1 Banstead Woods TQ235551 Nicola Sainsbury

Silver-spotted Skipper completes the list of regular Surrey & SW London species. In addition so far this year: one Camberwell Beauty, Duke of Burgundy, Marsh Fritillary, Black-veined White, making for 47 species in all.

Siver-spotted Skipper Surrey first 2023
Jul 19 Silver-spotted Skipper 1 Headley TQ1890500 Gary Margetts
Jul 10-11 Clouded Yellows Oxted Downs & Horley (2) Richard Stephens
Brown Hairstreak
Jul 7 Brown Hairstreak m West Molesey garden TQ130687 Emma West
Surrey Chalkhill Blue first 2023
Colin Kemp
Jul 5 Chalkhill Blue 3 Denbies Hillside TQ135499 Dave Miller
Colin Kemp
Surrey White Admiral ab Nigrina 2023
Jul 2

White Admiral 
ab. nigrina

1 Bookham Common TQ125564 Colin Kemp
Jun 30 Grayling              1 Chobham Common      TQ969664 Harry, Lin Matthews

1st recorded sighting: Cox's Walk, Sydenham Hill Wood, LNR (further sightings 12th/19th July)

Surrey White Admiral first recording Sydenham Hill LNR
Jun 28 White Admiral 1 Sydenham Hill T1345727 Ernest Thomason/ Julian Allen
The Heart Moth is a rare priority species found in mature oak trees in Surrey in late June and July
Jun 27 Heart Moth 3 (m) Hatchlands TQ066521 Paul Wheeler
Surrey Purple Emperor 2023
A further sighting of a Purple Emperor, Bookham Common, 24th June, Colin Kemp
Jun 21 Purple Emperor 2 Bookham Common TQ124567 Colin Kemp
Surrey essex Skipper Raynes Park 2023
A useful photo of an Essex Skipper to help with identification; one of three at Cannon Hill Common, Raynes Park, 24th June, Richard Thomas
Jun 19 Essex Skipper 1 Chapel Bank TQ385609 David Lands
Surrey early Silver-washed Fritillary
Early Silver-washed Fritillary, Bookham Common, 20th June, Colin Kemp
Jun 17 Silver-washed Fritillary 1 Epsom Common TQ189603 Alison and Gareth Tilley
Jun 17 Gatekeeper 1 Priest Hill TQ229610 David Robinson
Jun 15 Ringlet 1 Epsom Common TQ186518 Richard Stephens
Jun 14 Small Skipper 1 Richmond Park TQ188716 Steve Read
Jun 13 White Admiral 1 Bookham Common TQ128567 Matthew Piggott
Jun 13 Dark Green Fritillary 1 Denbies Hillside TQ134499 Ian Kehl
Jun 13 White-letter Hairstreak 2 Tooting Common TQ288715 Alan Wilkinson
Surrey early Marbled White 2023
Early Marbled White, 11th June, Molesey Reservoirs, Mick Rock
Jun 9 Marbled White 1 Box Hill TQ187510 Bill Downey
Surrey Silver-studded Blue Fairmile Common
Jun 7 Silver-studded Blue 1 Fairmile Common TQ118617 Marian Thomas
Stephen Reisbach
Surrey Mating Black Hairstreaks Epsom Common 2023
Mating Black Hairstreak pair, Epsom Common, 15th June, David Hasell
Jun 7 Black Hairstreak 1 Epsom Common TQ189603 Sarah Clift
Jun 7 Purple Hairstreak 1 Forestdale TQ371626 Ian Cunningham
Surrey Small Blues behaving oddly Nigel Jackman
Small Blues on a bird dropping during the field trip to Howell Hill. Reminiscent of Chalkhill Blue behaviour.
Jun 3 Small Blues mineralising 4 Howell Hill TQ614523 Branch field trip
Jun 3 Clouded Yellow 1 Mitcham Common TQ296677 Richard Thomas
May 30 Large Skipper 1 Denbies Landbarn TQ137499 Bill Downey
May 30 Meadow Brown 1 Norbiton TQ200690 R Rice
Surrey Black-veined White Stephan Morris May 31 2023
One of several Black-veined Whites in New Addington, 31st May, Stephan Morris
May 28 Black-veined White 1 Hutchinson's Bank TQ382615 Ben Heath
Surrey Marsh and Glanville Fritillaries Hutchinson's Bank
Nigel Jackman, Branch field trip, 24th May, Hutchinson's Bank. Fraternising fritillaries, Glanville (foreground) and Marsh.
May 21 Glanville Fritillary 1 Hutchinson's Bank TQ381617 Kate Marler
May 18 Adonis Blue 2 Denbies Hillside TQ135500 Trevor Collett
Marsh Fritillary
May 18 Marsh Fritillary 3 Hutchinson's Bank TQ381616 Martin Wills
May 14 Common Blue 2 Denbies Hillside TQ136499 Branch field trip
May 13 Small Blue 2 Hutchinson's Bank TQ380617 Rose Fletcher
May 11 Brown Argus 1 Denbies Hillside TQ148500 Bill Downey
May 10 Wood White 2 Botany Bay SU982341 Pauline Richards
Early Surrey Small Heath 070523
Colin Kemp
May 7 Small Heath 5 Denbies Hillside TQ137500 Colin Kemp
David Hasell
Dingy Skipper Surrey 040523 Underside
In a season when, even in the early days of May, Dingy Skippers remain scarce, here is a reminder of their underside: Colin Kemp, Denbies, 3rd May
Duke of Burgundy Surrey 2023 Colin Kemp
Surrey Duke of Burgundy 2023 Colin Kemp
1st May Colin Kemp
Apr 29 Duke of Burgundy 1 Chapel Bank TQ385607 Kevin Turner
Grizzled Skipper Surrey 1st2023
Apr 29 Grizzled Skipper 1 Denbies TQ137500 David Hasell
Surrey First Small Copper 2023
Apr 25 Small Copper 1 Thursley Common SU912412 Arthur/Anne Norton
Apr 24 Dingy Skipper 1 Hutchinson's Bank TQ382614 Martin Wills
Apr 20 Painted Lady 1 Mitcham Common TQ295673 Ian Cunningham
Surrey Green Hairstreak 2023 M Thomas
Marian Thomas
Apr 17 Green Hairstreak 3 Fairmile Common TQ119618 Marian Thomas/ Stephen Reisbach
Apr 17 Green Hairstreak 1 Whistlers Steep TQ385542 Sonya Miller Smith

Colin Kemp's discovery of a colony of Holly Blues in St Martin's Churchyard, Dorking allows for an early season reminder of how to distinguish between male and  female. On the uppersides of the wing wing, the female has broad black borders which are absent in the male.

Surrey Holly Blue 2023 C Kemp
Surrey Holly Blue (f) 2023 Colin Kemp
Apr 17 Holly Blue 10 St Martin's, Dorking TQ165494 Colin Kemp
Surrey early Green-veined White, Merton, 2023
Early Green-veined White, 7th April, Merton, Richard Thomas
Surrey early Speckled Wood 2023
Early Speckled Wood, 7th April, Merton, Richard Thomas
Apr 5 Green-veined White 1 Rotherhithe TQ361799 John/Janet Cadera
Apr 4 Large White 1 Hog's Mill Trail TQ207664 Peter Short
Apr 2 Speckled Wood 1 Tytings Farm TQ028487 Emily Rowles
Surrey Orange-tip 2023
Mar 27 Orange-tip 1 Dorking TQ165505 Jenny Desoutter

One of four Comma butterflies seen, the first photograph received, the others were noted at Wimbledon, Thornton Heath and Egham and are almost six weeks later than our first

Surrey Comma G Margetts
Mar 27 Comma 1 Headley Warren TQ191539 Gary Margetts
Surrey Camberwell Beauty A Bolton
James Herd
Mar 27 Camberwell Beauty 1 Wisley Common TQ075587 Adam Bolton
James Herd
Mar 23 Small White 1 Richmond Park TQ100741 Eleanor Hays

Following several weeks of cold grey weather, temperatures at last began to rise in the middle of the month with Brimstones seen across our area on 16th -  in Sheen, Oxshot, Blackwater and Lingfield

Mar 16 Holly Blue 1 Pirbright SU930530 Katherine Ramsay

There were numerous sightings of Brimstone on the 14th and 15th of February, for example, in Pirbright, Guildford, Dorking and Banstead

Please ensure you place all your sightings on i-record.

Surrey Brimstone Feb 23 Colin Kemp
East Horsley, 15 Feb, Colin Kemp
Feb 15 Comma 1 Rotherhithe TQ361799 Audrey Reid
Feb 14 Hummingbird Hawk Moth 1 Gatwick TQ278423 Andrew Bashford
Feb 10 Hummingbird Hawk Moth 1 Sheen TQ204746 Peter Burrows-Smith

Spring slowly makes it's approach and it is worth being on the lookout for butterflies anywhere in a sheltered sunny spot. Red Admirals, for example,  were seen (3rd Feb), two in Barnes, four in Richmond Park and one in Croydon, all in the Greater London area. The first photograph of the year came three days later, (6th Feb, Beddington Farmlands), when there were also sightings of Red Admirals in Surrey, at Wisley and Reigate.

Surrey Red Admiral Feb 2023
Beddington Farmlands, 6 Feb, Richard Thomas
Feb 3 Small Tortoiseshell 1 Richmond Park TQ194713 Steve Read
Feb 1 Peacock 1 Hill Park, Tatsfield TQ422560 Jim Yeeles
Jan 6 Red Admiral 1 Haslemere SU890327 C Mullender
Jan 6 Red Admiral 1 Redhill TQ279504 Ken Owen
Jan 5 Peacock 1 Warlingham TQ355580 Louise Kahan
Jan 5 Brimstone 1 Brambledown TQ188576 Keith Lelliott