London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London


RingletHarrowRinglet in Harrow garden, June 2017, photo: Leslie Williams.

Welcome to this London Natural History Society project working with other organisations and individuals in London. Thank you for all the records to date.

While the project is collating the records from the survey to date, recording is continuing into 2018. Weather during the springs of both 2017 and 2016 had considerable periods of either cold or wet weather which were not conducive to butterfly flight. Records of any butterflies, are welcome – and see also the box below. As before, records from less well visited locations help to build a picture of distribution.

And please send your records through your usual channels – or to the LNHS project.

Aims of the London butterfly atlas project
London Natural History Society (LNHS) aims to map the distribution of butterfly species in Greater London, updating ‘The Butterflies of the London Area’ of 1980-86.  Much has changed since to butterflies in London; while London itself has changed and is continuing to change.  Survey information will improve knowledge to help the conservation of butterflies, habitats and other wildlife in London.  The project is primarily concerned with the Greater London area – that of the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London. The aim is to map to the tetrad (2km x 2km) level.  The project is using records from 2015, with surveying during 2016, 2017 and into 2018. As this is a ‘dots-on-the-map’ survey, records are needed from suburban and urban areas, gardens, streets and as seen during commuting; and from green spaces.

Leslie Williams
Recorder: Lepidoptera (butterflies), London Natural History Society 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Priority species for additonal records

Orange Tip - Spring: April and May
Occurs in low numbers wandering along hedges, watercourses and other habitats. Seeks Ladies Smock and Hedge Garlic for egg laying; Cow Parsley for roosting; and shrubs for protection.  The males are unmistakable; the females are less conspicuous and fly less.

Brimstone - Spring mainly.  There can be a second generation in about August.
The fluorescent yellow of the male is easily recognisable.  Females are a whitish-green. At rest the intricate wing and vein pattern looks like a leaf.

Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral - Over-wintering adults may emerge in the spring; and subsequent generations may be seen at times during the spring, summer and autumn.

Red AdmiralRed Admiral, Grangewood Recreation Ground, Croydon. (Photo: Leslie Williams)Most butterfly records are of adults, while records of eggs and young stages are equally valuable.  Species that over-winter as adults may be encountered hibernating in sheds, out-buildings, or deep in vegetation.  Warm weather and sunlight may encourage these to fly. An example is the Red Admiral (illustrated here, though in August, at Grangewood Recreation Ground, Thornton Heath).  In London, sightings during the past five years have noted the Red Admiral and the Brimstone in each of the calendar months from January to December.



The project is photographing London’s butterflies and their environments. Photographs of butterfly habitat, or with iconic features and London landmarks are welcome. Please provide information with the photograph/s, including your name, contact details, date, location, species name and any other information that adds to the picture. All photographs used will be acknowledged.

Photographs in London are particularly sought of:

Small White - Summer
Adults feeding on Bramble in London.

Recording anywhere in Greater London

Records simply contain the details of: Species name; Date (preferably to the day); Location (a grid reference and/or any of the following: postcode, street name, place name); and your name. If you wish add numbers seen, habitat, behaviour, life-stage if eggs or caterpillars, and any other details. Record anywhere in Greater London:

  • Gardens and parks.
  • Commuter routes, town centres, residential roads, footpaths, local parks, churchyards, cemeteries, and local wildlife sites (SINCs): all the local places that make up London. 
  • Recreational paths: Thames Paths, Capital Ring, London Loop, and others.

This website has more information, with links to social media at:
and identification charts for common species:

Gaps: See the list and map of localities at the end of this update that have few records. The project has been visiting some of these – but as, typically, only a few species are recorded per visit, visits by different people and at different during the season helps to compile a fuller species list. Species priorities include those with single, short flight periods. Records of all species and from anywhere in London are welcome.

Flow Of Records: Records can be sent to the email at the end of this briefing; or to Leslie Williams; or entered online on the GiGL (Greenspace Information for Greater London) site; on iRecord, or via Butterfly Conservation branches, or via the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme for transect walks, or on paper.

Hertfordshire and Middlesex atlas: Hertfordshire and Middlesex Butterfly Conservation, and the Hertfordshire Natural History Society have produced a new atlas of butterflies. Details are available on the website of the Hertfordshire Natural History Society.

Data protection: The General Data Protection Act comes into effect from 25 May 2018. The London Natural History Society (LNHS) will be providing a Privacy Notice on their website. It is likely that most of the LNHS activities may be covered by the ‘legitimate interest’ provision. Please note that if you submit biological records (species records), that the LNHS may share those records with other organizations who have similar objectives of scientific recording and/or species conservation. Please also note that if you have received this ‘Butterflies of London Project’ update via electronic media, then the LNHS holds your email or other contact details. (We won’t share your contact details without your permission). You have the right to see a copy of that personal data that is held. You can also request to unsubscribe from receiving further copies of the ‘Update’, or from receiving any information directly, or request to have your contact details deleted. For further information please contact the LNHS or the Recorder at the contact details above.

Priority tetrads for surveying


Tetrads for which there are no or sometimes only a few 2016-2017 or recent records. Other areas for which more records are welcome are the areas of the London Boroughs of Newham, Barking and Dagenham, Waltham Forest, Redbridge; and Havering. ‘Essex in London’ tetrads are not highlighted on the map above.





Bromley Borough and area particularly the North-East,




East and South.




Longlands, New Eltham, Lamorbey


44 72


Sidcup, Albany Park


46 72




40 70


Elmstead, Chislehurst West


42 70


St Mary Cray / St Paul’s Cray


46 68


Cray Valley, Cray Park, Hockenden


48 68




50 68


Bromley Common, Southborough


42 66


Ramsden, Derry Downs


46 66




48 66


Hayes Common, Keston


40 64




42 64


Farthing Street


42 62


Green Street Green


44 62




44 60


Norsted Lane


46 60


Biggin Hill (town)


40 58


Aperfield, Berry’s Green


42 58


Cudham, Horns Green


44 58


South Street, Westerham Hill


42 56


Cudham Frith


44 56


South London




Newington, Walworth


32 78


Bermondsey, Rotherhithe


34 78


Herne Hill, North Dulwich, East Dulwich


32 74


Norwood, Gipsy Hill


32 70


Thornton Heath, Upper Norwood


32 68


Streatham Hill, Tulse Hill


30 72


The West End and nearby




South Kensington, Brompton, Knightsbridge


26 78


West Kilburn, Maida Vale


24 82


Notting Hill, Bayswater, Westbourne, Green


24 80


The South-West




Wallington, South Beddington, Woodcote Green


28 62


Carshalton Beeches


26 62


Wimbledon Park, Southfields


24 72


West Sutton to Sutton Common


24 64


Cheam, Belmont


24 62


New Malden


20 68


Norbiton, Kingston


18 68


To the South of Richmond Park


18 70


Marble Hill, Ham


16 72


Hampton Hill, Fullwell, Teddington


14 70


Areas around Heathrow including Harmondsworth and








West Bedfont


06 74


Harrmondsworth /Heathrow West




Harmondsworth East / Sipson / Heathrow


06 76


West Drayton / Heathrow


04 78


Essex / North-East London: Boroughs of Waltham Forest, Newham, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, and Havering.



Urban, suburban and rural.
Rainham Marshes are covered.






Stanmore – Northern parts near the M1


16 94


Grim’s Dyke Golf Course


12 92


William Girling Reservoir, King George Reservoir


36 94


Upper Edmonton, Lower Edmonton


34 92


Bayhurst Wood Country Park, Mad Bess Wood


06 88




10 70


Forster Memorial Park, Higher Green Cemetery, Catford


38 72


Grove Park, Mottingham


40 72