Butterflies and Moths

Due to grassland, woodland edges, and urban garden habitats, Aston’s Eyot is a good place to see butterflies and moths.

A good place to see most species is along Plantation Path after midday, where the edge of the plantation creates a sunny sheltered spot. The huge nettlebeds support the caterpillars of butterflies as well as many moths. Below, you’ll see a long list of confirmed species that have been spotted on the eyot. If you’d like to contribute to our observations, then please email us at info@friendsofastonseyot.org. You can use our butterfly and moth checksheet (PDF, 41KB) to help you.

Aston’s Eyot butterfly and moth list

  • Small SkipperThymelicus sylvestris: butterflies thought in the past to be this species all turn out to be the very similar Essex Skippers – but it may occur as it has recently been seen on Christ Church Meadow.
  • Essex SkipperThymelicus lineola: mostly seen July & August.
  • Large SkipperOchlodes venata: flies June-August.
  • Dingy SkipperErynnis tages: occurred in the past when there was more rough grass with Birds-foot trefoil.
  • Clouded YellowColias croceus: rare migrant from continental Europe; seen August 2013 and July 2020.
  • BrimstoneGonepteryx rhamni: hibernators fly late March & April, followed by the next generation from May through the summer.
  • Large WhitePieris brassicae: seen April-September – supplemented by migrants in spring.
  • Small WhitePieris rapae: on the wing March-October, the classic ‘cabbage white’.
  • Green-veined WhitePieris napi: mostly seen May-August.
  • Orange TipAnthocharis cardamines: hibernators emerge in April, followed by a brood in May-June.
  • Brown HairstreakThecla betulae: overwintering eggs are regularly found on Blackthorn; it should be on the wing in August & September, but it is hard to spot.
  • Purple HairstreakFavonius quercus: not yet recorded, but worth looking for on Oak tree crowns in July.
  • Small CopperLycaena phlaeas: can be seen from March to October; somewhat irregular on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Brown ArgusAricia agestis: not reported after 1994 until 2018 when it reappeared, but only singles seen in that year and 2020. Flies in May-June & August. NB: needs photo to confirm, as very similar to female Common Blue.
  • Common BluePolyommatus icarus: a post-hibernation emergence in April is followed by a new generation in June-July; small numbers on Aston’s Eyot/Kidneys.
  • Holly BlueCelastrina argiolus: The first brood flies in April-May, the second in July-August.
  • Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta: overwintering adults fly in late March/April, main emergence in late summer.
  • Painted LadyVanessa cardui: migrant from the continent, infrequent on Aston’s Eyot though more often seen in local gardens.
  • Small TortoiseshellAglais urticae: overwintering adults fly in late March/April, main emergences in June & August-September.
  • PeacockInachis io: overwintering adults fly in late March/April, main emergence in late summer.
  • CommaPolygonia c-album: overwintering adults fly in late March/April, main emergence from June onwards.
  • Speckled WoodPararge aegeria: has a long season, can be seen from April through to October or even November.
  • Marbled WhiteMelanargia galathea serena: not seen since 1987 until 2011; initially Kidneys, spread to restored meadows on AE; small numbers only.
  • Gatekeeper / Hedge BrownPyronia tithonus: mostly on the wing in July & August.
  • Meadow BrownManiola jurtina: mostly seen June-September.
  • Small HeathCoenonympha pamphilus: only recorded in July 2011.
  • RingletAphantopus hyperantus: on the wing in July & August.

(List last revised 25.03.2022)

Seen something interesting?

From the arrival of the first winter migrant birds, to something that leaves you stumped, please get in touch – and remember, a photo always helps!