Have seen 10 species local to me so far in my west London suburbs walking area: Small, Green-veined & Large White, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Peacock, Comma & Small Tortoiseshell.
Most obvious omission seems to be Red Admiral. Remember last year saw none until nearly half way through the year when they became quite widespread. This suggests that locally at least little over-wintering & later sightings from migrants that then bred locally.
It's going to be frustrating not being able to visit the chalk around London/north Surrey over the next few weeks to see some of the specialities.
My first Orange Tip today (and Large Red Damselfly).
wrt Red Admirals - in last few years, and this one especially see them in Jan and Feb and then haven't seen one since - I wonder if these overwintering ones woke up but didn't have any food and thus didn't continue to survive ..
I guess there's not many of us on here, Dan, and our combined hours in the field are minimal, but having assumed butterfly emergence in the south-west was a good 2-3 weeks ahead of the north-east of England, it's interesting I saw both Specky Wood and Orange-Tip on the exact same day(s) as you in Washington, Tyne and Wear. I do know someone who had the former a week earlier in their garden by the North Sea coast.
I haven't seen Red Admiral though my partner saw one on her walk in the local country park yesterday but today while she worked from home I went on a local walk & while I was watching a Holly Blue another butterfly flew low across the path & settled.
I had my suspicion as to what it was & as I checked with my bins it was a fresh looking Painted Lady. One of my earliest. Assume it was a recent migrant though these days the waters are muddled by people raising them for children & then releasing them as they emerge as adults.
Re Painted Lady. I have had mid to late February records on St Agnes in recent winters. We've discussed whether they are freshly arrived or not, come to no definite conclusion, but the few last year in late Feb coincided with that extraordinary fortnight of warm southerlies that brought Crimson Speckled moth, Vagrant Emperors and a number of Hummingbird Hawk-moths to the south-west.
On my walk on the 12th April I had what I thought was a Painted Lady briefly in the lanes - large, pale, quick, right colour tones, but a car just happened to go past me at the same moment (one of the few!) and was unable to follow.
Had forgotten about it and kinda put it in the 'one that got away' category at the time.
Added number 7 this morning to the garden list with a female Green-veined White showing a lot of interest in some Garlic Mustard in the back garden; yesterday a female Orange Tip showed similar interest in one of these by the edge in the front.
After watching a Holly Blue & a male Orange Tip in the back garden I saw a "white" fly into the garden. I did have my reading glasses on. When it started taking a firm interest in the Alder Buckthorn I realised it must have been a female Brimstone.
Changing glasses + taking a closer look it was great to see her lay several eggs on various newly emerging shoots. I've only once before suspected Brimstone of breeding in the garden when a male flew out of it a few summers back.
One of the few positive sides of the lockdown is that those of us fortunate enough to have a garden are seeing so much more of the wildlife using it. Also the weather during this time period has been amazing with only 2 days when it wasn't sunny.
I'm hoping the sparrows & tits don't discover the caterpillars! After she laid the eggs she took an interest in the pond a couple of times, investigated other plants but obviously realised they weren't suitable & moved on, again returning to the correct plant.
Butterfly species no.8 for the garden year list with a prolonged visit from a Red Admiral this afternoon. Enjoyed some Choisya flowers.
Only saw my first for the year at the start of the week but have had 1 or 2 daily since. Quite a few people on Facebook groups had their first in the last week which suggests poor overwintering survival last winter (too wet for them?) but a recent immigration arrival.
Certainly quite a few people also getting Silver-Y's (not me!) & a few Dark Sword-grass caught in traps.