Butterfly Conservation --President Sir David Attenborough.

                             ABOUT BUTTERFLY CONSERVATION

Butterfly conservation was formed by a small group of dedicated naturalists in 1968 following the alarming decline of many beautiful butterfly species. Most butterfly species remain in decline. We aim to halt and reverse these declines. Our vision is of a world rich in butterflies for future generations to enjoy.

We are also committed to the conservation of moths, which are close relatives of the butterflies  many of which are also in decline.

Butterflies are beautiful and intrinsically valuable. Together with moths, their sensitivity to environmental change makes them valuable indicators of the health of the country side.

We have 16,000 members in the U.K. and 31 volunteer Branches  throughout the British Isles.

Butterfly Conservation operate 33 nature reserves and we are involved in 67 landscape-scale projects to conserve habitats. 

Butterflies are beautiful creatures

Top female orange tip butterfly -below small tortoiseshell Photograph by Dal.

 Courtesy of Evelyn Simak  CC BY-SA 2.0 License.


Strategic Aims of Butterfly Conservation

1--To take practicable action to conserve threatened butterflies and moths in the UK.

2-- To undertake and promote the scientific study of butterflies, moths, and methods needed to conserve their habitats, and base our work on the best available information.

3--To safeguard important sites and landscapes for butterflies and moths, including the acquisition and management of our own nature reserves.

4-- To promote the conservation of butterflies and moths as "quality of life" indicators and indicators of a healthy and biologically diverse environment to government and voluntary bodies, and the public.

5--To encourage the public enjoyment of butterflies and moths, and through them raise awareness of the environment and the need to develop sustain able lifestyles. 

Burnet moth is a day flying moth often seen in flower meadows

Local Branches---- Featuring the North East Branch of Butterfly Conservation

As previously mentioned the Butterfly Conservation as 31 Volunteer Branches through out the UK.. There are several of these in our region of Northern England. One such branch is the North East Branch of Butterfly Conservation. 

 If you are a butterfly  and/or moth enthusiasts or you just want to learn more about these fascinating creatures, this is a great site to visit .  The aim of this site is to provide information about the butterflies and moths of Northumberland, Durham, and north Teesside and about the activities of the Branch.

The north East of England has a diverse range of habitats, including extensive areas of upland moorland, coastal dunes, farmland, broad-leaved woodland, coniferous woodland and many interesting " brown field" sites that reflect the industrial history of the area. These different habitats support a wide range of fauna and flora and about thirty species of butterfly and many species of moth which may be seen in the area.

The site has a diverse range of pages all of which are of interest to those who are interested in butterflies and moths.  There are pages on up coming events, news, recording, recent sightings, habitat and sites, transects, downloads, gallery, grid references, links and updates. There are pages where the visitor  can get a great deal of information on the species that occur in the region.In short, this site is a must for butterfly and moth enthusiasts. { Click on Links, there you will find links to Butterfly Conservation and Branches}


Important Conservation.

Without the work,{ and dedication of its supporters,} of the   Butterfly Conservation many more species would almost certainly fall into decline.  More habitats would be lost or be threatened with land use change. By helping to conserve the habitats for butterflies and moths other wildlife benefits greatly. Native flora flourishes, which attracts other invertebrates which in turn attracts the birds and a healthy ecosystem is maintained. 

This site commends the work of the Butterfly Conservation  and recommends a visit to their sites

Enjoy Butterflies and Moths

Top comma butterfly- middle, gate keeper bottom moth on ragwort. photographs by Dal

May 2012-Weather baffles Butterflies

The weather here in the UK during the spring has been unusual to say the least and it has baffled butterfly species. Some species have been emerging earlier than usual while others have been delayed by a deluge of rain.

A warm March saw a number of spring specialists emerging very early, but these butterfly -friendly conditions were followed by the wettest April on record. The wet weather continued into May and delayed the typical emergence periods of many species. Cold , damp weather makes butterflies less active-reducing feeding and mating activity. if the wet conditions persist they could affect the breeding success of some species later in the year.

Butterfly Conservation records emergence dates each spring. This year the Small Blue was one of the species to benefit from the mild winter and warm March. The butterfly was seen on March 30th on the Isle of Wight-one of the earliest dates ever recorded for the species. The Small Blue typically emerges in mid-April in warmer years and early May when conditions are cooler.

The rapidly declining Wood White was seen on April 10th in Surrey-the species normally emerges in late April or May.  The threatened Pearl bordered Fritillary was also recorded earlier than usual. these early emergences soon slowed to a trickle as April became a record breaking washout.

The Common Blue and Brown Argus, which are seen in mid April in warm years, were not reported until early May. And the Marsh Fritillary and Adonis Blue, which both emerged in the final week of April in 2011 were not seen until the second week of May this year.

The threatened Small Pearl -Borderd Fritillary and the Granville Fritillary also seem to have returned to the more normal emergence dates after very several early years. the wild weather experienced during the first quarter of 2012 could have a dramatic effect on butterflies as the year unfolds.  Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation Surveys Manager, explained--" Overall, butterflies have experienced an unusual spring so far- the mild winter and very warm March led to some extremely early emergences, but the cold, wet, cool April delayed the emergence of other species. The worry about this April is that butterflies that did emerge will have poor breeding success due to the bad weather. Unless conditions improve in the next few weeks their opportunities to breed will be very limited and, therefore, we may see population crashes later in the year or next spring. Time will tell. Last year we had a hot spring and a poor summer, so let's hope the summer is better"


For more on Butterfly conservation in the UK. Click on the links banner scroll down to Butterfly Conservation click, this gives a direct link to Butterfly Conservation web site Home page. 

Butterfly Conservation update March 2014

Farmland butterflies have recovered from the large falls in numbers during the very wet summer of 2012,.There follows extracts from a report by Jessica Aldred written for the Guardian. The warm and sunny summer of 2013 enabled British farmland butterflies to bounce back a new survey has found. results from the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey { WCBS}, shows that the majority of farmland species have recovered after the worst year on record for butterflies in 2012, when 52 of the 56,British species monitored suffered declines as a result of the miserably wet weather.

Individual species that recorded an increase in 2013 included the Brimstone,Common Blue,Small and large skipper and Small Tortoise shell.

The annual survey, conducted by a coalition of conservation agencies aiming to assess the health of butterflies in the wider countryside, counted butterflies in more than 850 areas of one sq,kms, in Engkand ,Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland.during July and August.

Recorders saw an average of 85 butterflies of five species per survey over a two month period.Almost double the numbers recorded in 2012. After a harsh winter and late spring, the summer of 2013,was among the ten warmest summers since records began,with 588 hours of sunshine,making it the seventh sunniest summer. a prolonged heat wave in the middle of July saw temperatures regularly passing 30 degrees. In contrast ,2012,was the UK's second wettest year on record, with down pours and flooding.

Wet and windy  weather disrupts breeding, with butterflies sometimes dying before they can reproduce, greater incidents of egg mortality and susceptibility of pathogens,especially fungi.Hot-summers providing there is no drought that affects food sources-are ideal  for the insects to breed, " Butterflies are cold blooded so a hot summers day heats them up well,and gives them lots of energy to fly around, and creates lots of good nectar sources for feeding", explained WCBS co-ordinator Dr.Zoe Randle. " Farmland butterflies really thrived last year primarily due to the fantastic summer weather which provided ideal conditions with several recording their best ever WCBS results."

The Small tortoise shell which has suffered an ongoing decline, recorded its best summer since the start of the survey which began in 2009. More than 6,383 individuals were counted, with butterfly seen in 80% of squares compared with compared with just 40% in 2012. In 2012 the numbers of Common blue plummeted by 60%, but the species enjoyed a good year in 2013 with an average of five fold increase in abundance per  square surveyed. The Small copper and brimstone also thrived, and were both more widespread and abundant than in the previous year. The large white and Small white butterflies commonly known as the 'Cabbage whites',were also recorded in large numbers,with more than twice the number of large whites counted per square,and five times the number of Small whites than in 2013 than 2012.

For the fifth year running, the Meadow brown was the most widespread and abundant species, the survey found. The butterfly was recorded in more than 90% of squares with 8,000 more butterflies found than in 2012.

The Holly blue and Red Admiral were among the species that did not fare well, with a fall in numbers for both species compared to 2012.

According to Government figures, butterflies of the wider countryside on farmland have fallen by 49% since 1990, reaching an historical low point in 2012. While that numbers have been fluctuating  from year to year their overall change in their population since 2007 is assessed as deteriorating.

According to conservationists, the best farmland habitat  for butterflies are unimproved grassland containing a range of native grasses and wild flowers, with good breeding areas provided by hedges and field margins,set -aside fields and farm woodlands.

The WCBS, is run by Butterfly Conservation, The BTO, and the Center of Ecology and Hydrology as part of the United Kingdom Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.

Species with the highest levels of occupancy and abundance, are Small tortoiseshell. Small white,Large white,Common blue.

In terms of occupancy these three species fared the worst are the Red Admiral, Holly blue and Gatekeeper {who's numbers are also down}.

With thanks to Focusing on Wildlife. 

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Thank you for visiting.