Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Welcome to the Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation
Butterfly Conservation is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of butterflies and moths

Purple Emperor in Suffolk

There have been confirmed sightings and on more than one occasion in Bonny Wood, Bradfield Wood, Ramsey Wood and the introduced colony in Theberton Wood.  There was one sighting on the outskirts if Ipswich in Kesgrave.

If you see any in these locations or especially other woods please let us know.

For more details of the history of the Purple Emperor in Suffolk see our Recording page here - The Purple Project

Distribution Maps for Suffolk Butterflies

The Suffolk Butterfly Recorder, Bill Stone, has prepared distribution maps for 2011 - 2015 for all the butterflies that can be found in Suffolk.  For anyone who has the maps produced 15 years ago* they show significant differences for some species.  For example the Wall is now almost entirely restricted to the coast and the Silver-washed Fritillary was not present in Suffolk.

Click here for the new Distribution Maps

*The Millennium Atlas of Suffolk Butterflies, 2001, by Richard Stewart. Published by Suffolk Naturalists'Society. 5 from SNS [You can order from the Museum by phone, 01473 433547].

Membership Secretary Required For Suffolk Branch BC

Membership Secretary
We also have a vacancy for the position of Membership Secretary.  Sue Sidle has most ably held this post for the last 9 years and we thank her very much for her hard work.  She has offered to help anyone who comes forward to take on the role.  The key tasks are keeping an up do date list of the membership (the details of which are forwarded to the Membership Secretary each month by Head Office) and sending a welcome pack and information to new members. Anyone who is interested in taking on this role please contact the Chair Peter Maddison.

Note that the Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation is entirely run by volunteers.  This means that the money we receive for membership subscriptions can all be used to help in conservation in Suffolk e.g. the work on Purdis Heath to increase the numbers of Silver-studded Blue.  If you enjoy the sight of butterflies each summer then a few hours of your time fulfilling one of the above roles will help to ensure their survival.

Next Local Events -

Sunday 31st July     GARDEN OPEN DAY
Wildlife Garden Open Day
An invitation from BC member Mrs Trudie Willis, to visit her 10 acre garden, including a Buddleia and Honeysuckle collection.
Meet: Park at Prior's Oak, Leiston Road, Aldeburgh (B1122 Leiston to Aldeburgh Road)
Map Ref: TM452591
Time: 10.30 am start
Contact: Peter Maddison 01473 736607

The Events page has a full list and details of the 2016 events

Pakenham Wood – Work in Progress

Silver-washed Fritillary is now on the wing, and people will be thinking about visiting the right woods.   This note is to forewarn would-be visitors to Pakenham Wood that the site on the public footpath has been seriously churned up as the result of a felling operation to remove conifers – during one of the wettest Junes on record.

The whole of the area is a quagmire and even in Wellingtons is an unpleasant experience.  Furthermore, most of the thistle and some of the bramble no longer exists.  The forest improvement plan has removed a proportion of the conifers, and will benefit the wood (and the butterflies) in the long term. 

The owners are very conservation focussed and understand our concern for the butterfly populations.  Fortunately, the bulk of the breeding habitat, deeper into the wood, remains undamaged.  Happily, despite the work, the Silver-washed Fritillaries and the White Admirals are both being seen in good numbers and reported both along the footpath by visitors and in the private parts of the wood by the landowners and their team.  Purple Hairstreak is flying too, and it seems that the butterfly populations have not been harmed by the forest work.  

It is nice to discover that the farmers are indeed interested in the welfare of their butterflies.

Silver-washed Fritillaries are flying in good numbers in Wolves Wood and Bradfield Wood amongst others so there are alternative places to see them.

Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS)

The WCBS is a national scheme which complements the transects of the UK BMS with mini transects walked in squares randomly selected by the BTO computer.  Volunteers from Butterfly Conservation and the BTO need to walk just twice per year in July and August (with an optional spring walk if you wish).  This means that the commitment is not heavy.

We have eight squares in need of a volunteer
OS Grid Reference,  Town/Parish,  Post Code
TL7573  Icklingham  IP286PZ
TL7882  Wangford  IP27 0ST
TL8183  Santon Downham  IP270AF
TL8381  Thetford (west)  IP24 3ST
TL8482  Thetford (west)  IP24 3QP
TL9462  Beyton  IP30 9AH
TM0969  Wickham Skeith  IP23 8LX
TM4069  Darsham  IP17 3PH

Email our WCBS co-ordinator, Twm Wade to volunteer for one of these squares

Download the 2015 report
BMS - Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
BTO - British Trust for Ornithology

40 year slump for UK Butterflies

More than three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies have declined in the last 40 years with some common species suffering significant slumps, a major scientific study has revealed.  A number of widespread species such as the Wall, Essex Skipper and Small Heath now rank amongst the most severely declining butterflies in the UK. 

The findings also reveal that intensive conservation efforts have started to turn around the fortunes of some of the UK’s most endangered butterflies. During the last 10 years the numbers of the threatened Duke of Burgundy have increased by 67% and the Pearl-bordered Fritillary has experienced a 45% rise in abundance.  Dingy Skipper and Silver-studded Blue have shown 21% and 19% increases in occurrence respectively and even the UK’s most endangered butterfly, the High Brown Fritillary, has been relatively stable in the last decade.

But despite breakthroughs with some threatened butterflies the report revealed that other species continue to struggle.  The long-term decline of the Wood White, White Admiral and Marsh Fritillary show few signs of stopping. 

Read the full report here

Join Butterfly Conservation
- click here to go to the National Butterfly Conservation website to join.

2016 Photographic Competition

At the 2016 AGM there will be a photo competition for photos and videos taken in the UK or abroad by a member of SBBC.
There are three classes
1. Still photo taken in the UK
2. Still photo taken outside the UK
3. A video or digital slide show.

More details here

Do we have your email address?
It will help us to communicate changes to events (as above) if we have your email address.
Please email your name to using your normal email address and email address as the subject.  This can then be added to our membership list.
Follow us on Twitter. 
But still send your sightings to

When to See Butterflies. 

Suffolk Butterflies page lists the butterflies that can be seen in Suffolk, shows when you can expect to see them and the foodplants upon which their caterpillars feed.
We can also help if you would like advice about making your garden more attractive to butterflies

See the News page for dates of First Sightings

Like much of the UK, Suffolk's countryside and wildlife are under increasing pressure.  It's a situation that is unlikely to improve in the forseeable future and there's never been a more urgent need to understand and conserve our butterfly fauna.  The county has a gently undulating landscape of surprising contrasts, defying the stereotype of "flat East Anglia and its arable prairies".  The unspoilt coast, intimate river valleys and, especially, the Sandlings heaths and Brecks ensure that Suffolk retains a more varied butterfly fauna than might be expected.

Some recommended books are listed here

 Butterfly Records.

The Branch is always grateful for butterfly records and a recording form can be downloaded from the
recording page of this website.
We would be particularly grateful for records away from the coast and information on the following species:

Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak, Silver-studded Blue, Wall Brown, White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Grayling and Small Heath.

email your sightings to us at

Recent Sightings can be viewed here

Conservation and Recording

Brimstone - about the Brimstone and Buckthorn project
Help us to record Brimstone butterflies in Suffolk

Silver-studded Blue - links to more information
Translocation to Blaxhall Common - 2012 Update
Ecological Survey of Selected Silver-studded Blue Sites in 2009

Silver-Washed Fritillary - link for more information
Silver-washed Fritillary returns to Suffolk

Purple Emperor - link for more information

Ipswich Heaths Project - a new project, aimed at restoring lowland heathland habitat of 300 hectares on 14 sites in Ipswich, has been awarded a Wren Biodiversity Action Fund grant of over 100,000.  More details here

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Registered Office: Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QP
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