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Holtspur Bottom Butterfly Reserve

Butterflies you may see here

Chalkhill Blue butterfly by Jim Asher

A male Chalkhill Blue butterfly. After being absent from Holtspur Valley for many years, it has been seen on the reserve every year since 2011. Females have also been seen laying eggs, and we hope that a colony will become established here. Their larval foodplant (i.e. the only plant that their caterpillars eat) is Horseshoe vetch (Hippocrepis comosa). With luck (because they're usually only present in small numbers) they can be seen at Holtspur Bottom from June onwards.

pdf iconYou can download a free butterfly ID guide here to help you to identify the butterflies you see on our reserve.

The following table shows which butterflies you might see on the reserve and when. In some years we also get migrant butterflies, like Clouded Yellow or Painted Lady, but since these butterflies aren't usually seen at Holtspur Bottom, they don't appear in the table.

The months are meant as a guide only, and what you see on any particular day will depend on a number of factors, particularly the weather! Bear in mind that although some butterflies may be seen at any time of the year, you're unlikely to see many, if any butterflies between November and March.

The table may also help you to distinguish between similar butterflies you see. For example, if you think you saw a Chalkhill Blue in early May, think again: it was almost certainly a Common Blue! Bear in mind that you may also encounter day-flying moths on the reserve, some of which look superficially similar to some of the butterflies!

Clicking on the name of the butterfly will take you to the national Butterfly Conservation website, for a full description.

o : you may disturb an over-wintering adult
x : start or end of main flight period(s)
X : main flight period. You are most likely to see this butterfly
(Source: The Butterflies of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Jim Asher, 1994)


January onwards                        
Comma o o x X X x X X x x o o
Peacock o o x X X x x X x x x o
Red Admiral o o o x X X x X X x x o
Small Tortoiseshell o o x X X x X x X x x x
Brimstone o o x X X x X X x x x o
March / April onwards  
Large White x X x X X x x
Small White x x X x X X x x
Green-veined White x X x X X x
Orange Tip x X X x x
Holly Blue x X X x x X x
Green Hairstreak x X X
Large Skipper x X x
Small Copper X X x X x x
Speckled Wood x x X X X X X x
May onwards  
Brown Argus x X x X x
Common Blue x x X x X x x
Meadow Brown x x X X x
Small Heath x x X x X x
Small Skipper x X X x
June onwards  
Gatekeeper x X X x
Marbled White x X x
Purple Hairstreak x X x
Ringlet x X x
Small Blue x X x X x
Essex Skipper x X x
Chalkhill Blue           X X x        
  J F M A M J J A S O N D

If you would like more detailed information about which butterflies have been seen at Holtspur Bottom and when, you may wish to look at the records held by the United Kingdom Butterfly Monitoring Scheme for this site. You can also see details of the regular transect walked at Holtspur Bottom to formally record the butterflies on this site throughout the season.


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