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For previous years' lists and commentaries, often incomplete, click 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 20102009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002; 2001. I seem to have lost the file for 2000.
Some of my friends also keep, or have kept, online year-lists. Tim Cowles, living in the Monts du Lyonnais, publishes his list HERE and Matthew Rowlings, who lives not far from me in Vevey, Switzerland, has his HERE. Another friend, Robin Fox, in Italy, keeps a regularly updated sightings diary HERE.
SCROLL DOWN for the 2022 CHECKLIST or use the menu below to jump to the COMMENTARY for each month.
  1. Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) - 1st January - Valais, Switzerland
  2. Clouded yellow (Colias crocea) - 1st January - Valais, Switzerland
  3. Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) - 5th February - Valais - Switzerland
  4. Queen of Spain fritillary (Issoria lathonia) - 5th February - Valais - Switzerland
  5. Large tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros) - 16th February - Valais - Switzerland
  6. Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) - 18th Febraruy - Valais - Switzerland
  7. Wall (Lasiommata megera) - 4th March - Valais - Switzerland
  8. Small white (Pieris rapae) - 4th March - Valais - Switzerland
  9. Nettle tree butterfly (Libythea celtis) - 5th March - North Italy
  10. Comma (Polygonia c-album) - 5th March - North Italy
  11. Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) - 5th March - North Italy
  12. Small copper (Lycaena phlaeas) - 5th March - North Italy
  13. Eastern Bath white (Pontia edusa) - 18th March - Valais, Switzerland
  14. Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) - 18th March - Valais, Switzerland
  15. Speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) - 18th March - Valais, Switzerland
  16. Green-veined white (Pieris napi) - 18th March - Valais, Switzerland
  17. Green hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) - 18th March - Valais, Switzerland
  18. Peacock (Aglais io) - 18th March - Valais, Switzerland

(Links in the commentary are to pictures of the particular butterflies referred to)

1st: HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2023 has begun well. With forecasts of up to 13°C in the Rhône Valley, and all-day sunshine, Minnie and I headed down to our favourite winter butterfly spots first thing in the morning. At about 11h00 a first butterfly flew - this rather tatty but very welcome red admiral. Shortly afterwards, another appeared, but didn't settle, and then as we stopped for a beer at a sunny hotspot, a clouded yellow drifted down the bank, stopping briefly. During the morning we saw a total of four red admirals and four clouded yellows. This is a different clouded yellow. Here and here are some fruit on the strawberry trees, and here is the brilliant January sunlight shining through a kind of outdoor stained glass window! We hoped to return early, so I could pop into the kennels at Bex - they had lent me a lead yesterday and I wanted to return it. But not far away, tragedy was striking. The trains stopped running because of a presumed suicide on the tracks the Sion side of Martigny. Minnie curled up and waited on her carry sack while I pondered whether to cycle from Martigny to Bex instead of catching the train. Fortunately, I didn't, as about forty minutes later a train was laid on from Martigny to Aigle. I caught this, then cycled back to Bex to return the lead. Both of us very tired by now, we finally returned to Leysin.
2nd: Striking morning skies gave way to cloud and ultimately rain. In the afternoon Minnie and I walked from Leysin to Aigle, via Veyges and Drapel. Here is Minnie coming into Fontanney near the end of our walk.
3rd: Cloudy and wet all day. Here is Leysin, clothed in cloud, in the evening. And here is the moon, with Mars, in a break in the cloud. Later, the moon had moved and Mars was even closer - then cloud came over again.
4th: Another mostly cloudy day. Here is a shot from our walk over the fields north-east of Leysin in the afternoon, and here the view from my balcony later.
5th: Cloudy and wet in the morning, giving way to broken cloud in the afternoon (and here).
6th: Mostly sunny and warm today. In the afternoon, I found a patch of blackthorn just outside Leysin with brown hairstreak eggs (and here). Some had hatched, implying they were last year's eggs, but most were intact and presumably this year's. At one place, much of the blackthorn had been hacked at and some was completely cut down. I checked some of the detached branches and found brown hairstreak eggs on them. I took some home to put in the fridge and will return for more. This is the cut branch I removed them from (by breaking off smaller twigs).
7th: Again sunny, so I headed off to the Rhône Valley. Butterflies were few: just four red admirals (and here). But I bumped into a friend who had seen a clouded yellow and a single, seemingly freshly emerged Queen of Spain. He showed me the spot but by that time it was getting cold and the sun was hidden behind thin cloud so nothing flew. Lizards were common throughout the day. Here are some olives ripening by the track.
8th: It snowed today, but with warm, wet ground, nothing settled. In the afternoon I collected some more brown hairstreak eggs from broken, cut branches, and brought them home to put in the fridge. Here and here are some eggs on healthy branches.
9th: I woke to snow on the ground this morning and it continued to snow for most of the day, with the snow now settling.
10th: After yesterday's snow, a beautiful day. Here is Minnie in Villars (where I work) in the afternoon, and here is the Grand Chamossaire viewed from this side.
11th: Morning sky today.
12th: Morning sky today. By the afternoon it was completely overcast. Here is Minnie making her way over crusty snow.
13th: Heavily overcast, with snow and some rain during the day. In the afternoon I had a chance to pop into Les Grangettes, at Villeneuve, where this pair of great crested grebes were engaging in a beautiful nuptial dance. Here are some sleeping goosander, and here a heraldic cormorant. The streams were thick with thousands of fish - rich pickings for the herons and other water birds. This goosander was swimming very low and flat - and fast - and spent most of his time apparently scooping the water for fish. I got back home as the last light struck the Grand Chamossaire.
14th: Morning sky. We spent much of the day in Gstaad, revisitng old haunts and taking a walk along the Yehudi Menuhin Philosophenweg to Saanen, returning on the other side of the river Saane.
15th: Minnie waiting for the vicar to turn up at church.
16th: Morning sky. It snowed most of the day. Here is Minnie on her afternoon walk.
17th: It snowed all day. Here and here are pictures from my balcony in the early evening.
18th: A pink glow over the snow in the morning didn't last. By late morning it was snowing, and was still snowing when we went for our evening walk.
19th: A beautiful, clear but very cold day. The snow was deep on our afternoon walk and though Minnie did her very best (and enjoyed it), it took a lot out of her. This is the view ahead along what used to be a track. I picked her up and carried her for some of the way!
20th: Cold and sunny. Here is an evening shot.
21st: Very cold but sunny. I tried the local ski de fond piste in the morning, then took Minnie to Montreux in the afternoon for a walk by the lake (and here). There were lots of great crested grebes (and here) but no black-necked, and a few goosanders. Before we returned, it had already started snowing gently and continued for the evening.
22nd: Very cold and overcast, with some snow.
23rd: The moon, Venus and Saturn just after sunset (Saturn just visible, to the right and down from Venus). Leysin later in the evening, on our dogwalk.
24th: Les Dents du Midi just after sunset. The moon and Venus. Orion rising above the church in the evening.
25th: Cold and mostly cloudy (and here).
26th: A very cold and colourless day. But Leysin always looks colourful at night.
27th: Although it hasn't snowed heavily for about ten days, it's been so cold the snow still hasn't fallen off the tree trunks. Here is Leysin in the evening, from my balcony.
28th: Still bitterly cold. We went to Villeneuve in the afternoon. Here is the famous tree in the lake. I saw two kingfishers in Les Grangettes, this one stopping (a long way off) for a photo. Here is a very smart goosander and here a snatched photo of a grey wagtail before a walker scared it off. There were amazing shoals of fish in some of the channels (and here). Here is Minnie on one of the frozen tracks.
29th: The sun rising behind trees on the mountaintop. It was a beautiful day, so Minnie and I headed to the vineyards, just in case a butterfly should fly. Even from the train, though, we could see there was no hope of anything flying. The valley floor was still thick with snow near Martigny. This is a picture from later in the day looking back down towards Martigny. Our top winter hotspot was mostly clear of snow but it was still bitterly cold and unsurprisingly nothing flew. Here is Orion above the mountains in the evening, viewed from my balcony.
30th: Morning and evening today. The white light on the mountains is the snow machine grooming the pistes.
31st: A brilliant day. It clouded over by the time I got back from teaching in Villars but magically, the Grand Chamossaire was caught in a noose of light (and here).

1st: Another brilliant day. In the afternoon we took a walk past the out-of-town brown hairstreak site, pausing to check on the eggs. Here is Minnie trotting home at the end of the trip. Sadly, it clouded over by the evening, so the comet wasn't visible (and it wasn't worth getting up early for it either, as cloud was forecast then too).
2nd: In the afternoon we caught the train down to the vineyards at Drapel and Fontanney. It was actually warm there and were it not for the wind we would have seen butterflies. I am sure butterflies were flying somewhere ... This is the view across the valley and here is a shot of the Château d'Aigle. Here is the view at sunset from my balcony. In the evening, walking back from teaching, I pointed my phone camera at where the comet should have been and took some photos. The moon is much to bright for anything clear to be seen, but on analysing the pictures afterwards with the star maps I found the comet was there - just!
3rd: Chesières at lunchtime. Sunset from Leysin in the evening.
4th: View from Leysin in the early afternoon. The lake at Montreux later on (and here, and here). Le Château de Chillon, with les Dents de Midi in the background. And back home in Leysin. It was warm in Montreux but I saw no butterflies, for from the train in the vineyards.
5th: Cloud brewing in the valley in early morning. It carried on rolling in and up until it obscured all the distant mountains. Despite this, the forecast was for sun on the south-facing slopes near Martigny, so Minnie and I headed off for the vineyards to look for small tortoiseshells and Queen of Spain fritillaries. A chill wind was blowing in the vineyards and in the morning, heavy cloud was constantly threatening to cover the sky (and here) - but it never did. Within minutes of arriving at my first hotspot, I had seen a small tortoiseshell and during the walk I saw a total of 10 (here, here and here are more small tortoiseshells). At first, it seemed as if it was too cold for Queens of Spain, but just before I left the first hotspot I saw the familiar flash of silver and watched a Queen disappear into the vineyards. They don't like the wind and this one clearly preferred to settle in the lee of stepped vines. Walking on, I saw another, without being able to get a photo, and then a third, which stopped briefly on the track for a picture. As we walked back, I saw a fourth Queen of Spain. Two red admirals put in an appearance as well, bringing the species total for 5th Feb to 3. As I left the site, in a now bitterly cold wind, this final small tortoiseshell paused on the sedum-covered rocks. We then returned to Leysin, where it was fully overcast and even lightly snowing.
6th: Mixed cloud and sun - but always cold. Here and here are Minnie on our afternoon walk. Leysin in the evening, with les Dents du Midi behind.
7th: Early morning, as I left for school. Bright sun all day today, though again cold.
8th: View walking back from school in the early evening. A different shot from the same place. Leo rising over Leysin in the evening.
9th: A beautiful day, though still very cold. Here is Minnie keeping up on the icy tracks. This walk took us past our out-of-town brown hairstreak stop, where I photographed several eggs (and here, and here, and here).
10th: Early evening (and here).
11th: Another trip to the valley, where it was bitterly cold but sunny. We saw at least half a dozen Queens of Spain (and here, and here) and a similar number of small tortoiseshells. Here are a pair of firebugs - lots of these about at the moment. The valley floor is now mostly free of snow (and here).
12th: Again, cold but sunny. For our afternoon walk, we took the train part-way down the hill, to walk near the vineyards above Aigle. Here is the view across the valley. As we reached Fontanney, a small tortoiseshell dashed out of the vineyards, settled briefly on a wall ahead of us, then flew off. Another small tortoiseshell appeared lower down. When we reached the valley floor, we walked north a little through the vineyards, seeing another two small tortoiseshells, before going back to the station and catching the train home.
13th: Much warmer today. In and around Leysin, small tortoiseshells were flying over any sunny bank. I stopped counting after I'd seen about 20 on my afternoon walk (from about 1260m to about 1400m). The snow has melted on south-facing tracks and slopes but is still present in the shade and where it has been pressed firm. Coltsfoot is already pushing through. Here is Minnie at a seat where we waited about half an hour to see if anything other than small tortoiseshells would fly by - nothing did - and here she is later on in the walk. This is a view of the Dents du Midi as the sun slipped behind the mountains, casting shadows in the haze.
14th: Another warm, sunny day in the mountains, though the valley was bathed in haze (here is the view from the top of Leysin) Again, small tortoiseshells flew over all sunny slopes, though nothing else did. I didn't teach until 18h00, when the sky was still light - though the setting sun was casting reddish glints on the mountains.
15th: Another warm day in Leysin, with small tortoiseshells flying over sunny slopes. Here is the Grand Chamossaire, photographed on our afternoon walk.
16th: My birthday. I couldn't get out in the morning but headed east along the Rhône Valley in the afternoon, in search of large tortoiseshells. I wasn't disappointed. When I reached my target spot - a sunny track with sallows, by a stream - I found to my delight a beautiful large tortoiseshell sunning itself on the ground, near the water. I saw another large tortoiseshell about 4km away, as we walked back to the train. Small tortoiseshells were very common throughout the afternoon - generally closing their wings soon after landing because of the warmth. A few Queen of Spain fritillaries were on the wing. In the morning, alpine choughs were enjoying grazing on the newly exposed (after the snow) surfaces around Leysin (and here).
17th: Cloudy most of the day. Exceptionally, I didn't take any pictures at all today!
18th: I had a feeling brimstones would be out in the valley today, and I was right. They were all males, and all roding without apparently stopping, so by way of proof all I have is a few point-and-shoot flight shots. I saw four individuals in total. This the kind of habitat where I saw three of them. As well as these welcome newcomers, I saw four large tortoiseshells (and here), half a dozen or more Queen of Spain fritillaries and loads of small tortoiseshells (and here, and here). Many of the tortoiseshells had apparent bites taken out of their hindwings - quite possibly as a result of attacks from the numerous lizards lying in wait around every corner!
19th: A day of mixed weather, but the odd small tortoiseshell was still on the wing around Leysin when the sun was shining.
20th: Return of warm sunshine. Plenty of small tortoiseshells were flying over sunny slopes and tracks around Leysin. Here are the Dents du Midi at sunset, and here Leysin after dark with Leo over the Grand Chamossaire.
21st: Les dents du Midi in late afternoon. I was in Villars most of the day, where plenty of small tortoiseshells were flying in the sun.
22nd: Still warm and sunny.
23rd: Beautiful cloud formations in the evening.
24th: From the train down to Villars in the late morning, I saw a brimstone flying at about 1000m. Heavy cloud had set in by the evening.
25th: It rained lightly during the night and was cool and cloudy this morning. Nevertheless, I still saw a couple of small tortoiseshells during the odd clear patch in the day.  Here are the Dents du Midi in the afternoon, bathed in cloud.
26th: The cold has returned. Light snow fell today, with strong winds later, and the temperature never rose above 0°C. I took the day off and visited the Papiliorama. Although it was more crowded than I have ever known it, I got plenty of good photos, including one species, Heliconius atthis, that I hadn't seen before. Unfortunately, I didn't get an upperside of this butterfly. Also new to me was Morpho achilles. Other species I photographed included males and females of Catonephele numilia (underside of male, underside of female), Cethosia biblis, Euploea core (and here, for a male upperside, showing the sex brand), Heliconius hecale, Heliconius hewitsoni, Papilio thoas, Consul fabius, Danaus plexippus, Hamadryas laodamia, Archeoprepona amphimachus, Hebomoia glacippe (that is a female in classic rejection posture) and  Papilio nireus. There were many more species flying around that I didn't photograph (or didn't process the photos) as I already had so many pictures of them. One Heliconius charithonius was fluttering around a passion vine as if she wanted to lay eggs, so I watched her closely - and she did. Here she is laying, and here is the freshly laid egg. On examining the vine, I found she or another had in fact laid lots of eggs over many tendrils (and here, and here). This is a caterpillar of Papilio thoas and this a brown caterpillar of Caligo eurylochus (with two more green form caterpillars snuggled up to it!) and this is the green form of the same species. Finally, here is Lyle's flying fox taking 40 winks in the canopy.
27th: Bright and sunny but bitterly cold (though the snow on the trees there came from snow machines!). Here is a view in the afternoon.
28th: Bitterly cold again. This is the view over the valley at about 17h45.

1st: The month began very cold. Here is Minnie waiting for the train in the morning - on my backpack, as the ground was so cold.
2nd: Bright sunshine today, but still very cold. Beautiful, hazy clouds hung over the valley (and here, and here). On our afternoon walk I looked for brown hairstreak eggs again (and here, and here). Lesser periwinkles are showing through around the woodland edges.
3rd: Morning view of Les Dents du Midi. Bubbling cloud in the valley later in the day.
4th: Sunshine was forecast for the Rhône Valley, so I thought the first commas and peacocks might now beon the wing. When I got there, it turned out to be very cold, but this didn’t stop small tortoiseshells, Queen of Spain fritillaries and clouded yellows flying from the very beginning of our walk. During the day, small tortoiseshells were by far the commonest species and I must have seen many dozens of individuals. Here is a male wooing (unsuccessfully) the female under the rock. Queens were the next most common. I saw in total probably four clouded yellows, as well as two large tortoiseshells (neither of which stopped for a picture). Surprisingly, no peacocks, commas or even brimstones took to the wing, but even more surprisingly, I did see two male walls (here is the other one) - much earlier than I normally see them. Finally, right at the end of the walk, and despite a rather chilly wind, I saw at least one female small white (I’m not sure if this is the same individual - I saw it about 200m away). That brings my Swiss list for the year up to 8 species. I have never before seen this number in the country by 4th March. The Potentilla foodplant for grizzled skippers is coming up thickly so this species shouldn't be too far behind. To top a good day, this red kite did a close fly-by (and here).
5th: Sun forecast for Domodossola, so we caught the 07h04 train down the mountain and headed off to Italy for the day, in the hope of nettle tree butterflies and maybe even some early Lycaenids. We arrived at Domodossola at 09h54, but it took about an hour to get to the nettle tree site because the bottom gears on my bike failed and I had to walk all the steep uphill bits! Nevertheless, we were in good time, as very little was flying by 11h00. At first, indeed, it seemed we would only see small tortoiseshells and even these were thin on the ground. But as the day hotted up plenty of other species appeared. Most importantly, the nettle tree butterflies came out to play. At this site, the nettle trees themselves are downhill (a very steep hill) on the sunny side of the track, so it’s difficult to get a shot of the upperside of a basking butterfly. Nevertheless, I did get some nice views of this one and caught a bit of the upperside of this one. Here is a rather poor underside picture, shot at great risk to personal safety! During the day I saw perhaps a dozen individuals. I also saw probably half a dozen large tortoiseshells - maybe more - but these were all swooping and gliding along the track and around the trees and I never saw one stop. Parts of the walk here are very crumbly and steep, and Minnie did well to keep on the track! By about 13h00, brimstones were frequent, though before this I saw none. I saw two commas - new for the year - and a single male orange tip, which paused briefly at mud before continuing on his way. At my Lycaenid patch (where early green hairstreaks, chequered blues and small coppers fly) there were no blues or coppers but I did see my first wall of the day there. I saw a further two or three walls later in the walk. At about 14h00 we cycled back down towards Domodossola, taking a detour to the wasteland/park by the river. Everything was very dry and the river itself was almost a trickle in a desert but we did find three small coppers (here is another individual) and a single red admiral, bringing the species total for the day to 10 and for the year so far to 12.
6th: In deep shade, there is still some snow in Leysin.
7th: Another day when I didn't take a single picture (except this very distant, fuzzy shot of a red kite over Leysin: there were half a dozen flying together and I wanted to be sure they weren't the first black kites coming in). I saw half a dozen small tortoiseshells on my afternoon walk.
8th: Snow fell last night but quickly melted today. Small tortoiseshells flew in Leysin..
9th: Despite the recent snow and low temperatures, small tortoiseshells are still flying (and here). A fox in early evening. The moon rising behind trees and cloud (and here, and here).
10th: Evening view over Leysin.
11th: More snow fell last night, but I think alternating with rain. We woke to white, but it was slushy to walk in.
12th: Rather grey and dreary first thing in the morning and although it cleared up a bit it didn't look like a butterfly Sunday. I decided to go to the eastern end of the Rhône Valley and look for dippers at a site where they are easy to photograph. By the time we got there, however, it was properly sunny (and here) and despite a cold wind butterflies were on the wing. Commonest were small tortoiseshells and brimstones (the latter never stopping any length of time for a decent photo) but there were also Queens of Spain and this single large tortoiseshell. The dippers didn't disappoint either. Here is one by the edge of the stream and here one out in the middle. This is the same individual as the last, blinking and showing the white feathers on the eyelid.
13th: Worked most of the day but had time for a short walk near Leysin in the afternoon. It was sunny and I wondered if any new species would be on the wing up here. Small tortoiseshells were still common but were now joined by lots of male brimstones - all constantly in flight. This single large tortoiseshell is my first for the year at this altitude (about 1300m). At one point a tiny pine ladybird, Exochomus quadripustulatus, landed on my hand (and here). Here is a view into the distance, showing the snow retreating up the mountains. We had a violent thunderstorm in the evening.Here is Leysin by night, lit by a wall of sheet lightning (off to the right).
14th: A grim and grey day after the storms (and here).
15th:  A beautiful morning, remaining beautiful all day. Small tortoiseshells flew.
16th:  A beautiful day, but cold. Only small tortoiseshells flew in Leysin (and here). Here is a lizard in Leysin (at about 1300m).
17th: Clusters of firebugs on a tree in Leysin (and here).
18th: Warm and sunny in the Rhône Valley, with cloud rolling in by mid-afternoon. I arrived at about 10h40 and immediately saw small tortoiseshells, large tortoiseshells, Queens of Spain, clouded yellows, brimstones, small whites, orange tips and a single Eastern Bath white. Large tortoiseshells were mostly rather worn and everything was restless and active because of the heat. Surprisingly, however, the brimstones stopped quite frequently. Here and here are two more, this time on flowers. Reaching my main site, I quickly put up a skipper but it flew straight over a hedge and I didn't see it again. It was probably a grizzled skipper. Large tortoiseshells were common, so I often saw two or three together, and Queens of Spain (and here) were very common. On one hillside, scattered with their foodplant, there were always half a dozen or so in view, drifting, occasionally settling, probably laying eggs. Here is a speckled wood. Clouded yellows were common here and I saw a single swallowtail, though it didn't settle. Moving on, I found commas, brimstones, Queens, small and large tortoiseshells, orange tips and whites flying around sallow near a small stream. Here is my first green-veined white of the year. There were no Camberwell beauties on the wing yet, nor holly blues, surprisingly. As I walked back again, my first green hairstreak of the year motored past me without stopping. The bushes are still bare and there were no obvious places for green hairstreaks to set up territories. Shortly after this, I spotted an Eastern Bath white briefly at rest. Continuing the walk back towards the station, I next spotted a couple of walls and not long after that a peacock, my first of this species for the year. Here is a lizard, looking well fed  - perhaps on the many butterflies that have been flying this year (a lot of butterflies have chunks out of their wings ...). The full list for the day: Swallowtail, small white, green-veined white, Eastern Bath white, orange tip, clouded yellow, brimstone, green hairstreak, small tortoiseshell, peacock, large tortoiseshell, comma, Queen of Spain, wall, speckled wood. 15 species - not bad for 18th March! Finally, if you have a 3D viewer, here is a side-by-side 3D shot of Minnie by the Rhône. If you haven't got a 3D viewer, it's just two photos of her!
19th: A grey day with some rain.
20th: Minnie studiously ignoring a curious kitten.
21st: The many small tortoiseshells still flying around Leysin were joined today by a peacock.
22nd: A warm, sunny day in the mountains. Here is the first Queen of Spain I've seen at altitude this year (in Leysin, at about 1300m).
23rd: Much cooler today, and overcast (and here).
24th: Overcast again, with plenty of rain for most of the day.
25th: Rain and snow sweeping along the valley. Here is Leysin by night.
26th: High winds and snow during the day, clearing to blue skies by late afternoon.
27th: Back to winter in Leysin! Here is Minnie on her afternoon walk around the block.
28th: Red-crested pochards on the lake. Here is a male and here a happy couple. Here is one with a goosander - both preening on a rocky spit.
29th: Precipitation sweeping along the valley.