Early Garden Sightings of Butterflies in 2023


The first garden butterfly of 2023 was a red admiral spotted on the 14th February and photographed on the 19th (Photo 1).

Photo 1: Red Admiral photographed on 19th February 2023

The second butterfly of the year was a holly blue, spotted on a sunny afternoon at the end of March. When I added this observation to Nature's Calendar (Figure 1), I was asked to confirm whether I had actually seen a holly blue and to provide a photo if possible.

Figure 1: Nature's Calendar Record of the First 2023 Butterfly

 This was a reasonable request because these butterflies are not usually seen until April. Unfortunately, I was unable to provide a photo since the butterfly had flown past me and then disappeared without landing for its photo shoot. As I explained in my record (Figure 1), it was definitely a small blue butterfly, we get holly blues in the garden every year, it was only 2-3 weeks early and, in any case, it is much too early for the similar looking common blue which appears from mid-May onwards.

A few days ago (4th April), I spotted a comma sunbathing on the south-facing wall of the house (Photo 2).

Photo 2: Comma (4/4/23)

which decamped briefly to these pansies for another photo opportunity (Photo 3 and Photo 4) before disappearing over the rooftop.

Photo 3: Comma in Rear Garden (4/4/23)

Photo 4: Comma in Rear Garden (4/4/23)

Finally, today (6th April) we saw a white butterfly (no photo) fly through the garden and out over the rooftop. It could have been a Small White or a Large White or, possibly, a female Orangetip. All three appear in April and have been regular visitors to the garden in previous years.

As far as we are aware, only single specimens of these butterflies have been observed in 2023.


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