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

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

Next Local Events -

The Events page has a full list and details of the 2016 events - the first is in May

A Donation Can be Worth 10 times the Amount via The Match Pot Funding.

What’s the Match Pot appeal about?

Landfill site operators pay Landfill Tax when they bury waste – some of this tax is available to fund environmental projects by applying to the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).  To obtain funding from the LCF, Butterfly Conservation has to make a 10% contribution raised from independent sources – this is where the Match Pot appeal comes in.

Every pound you donate to the appeal can potentially unlock 10 of funding from the LCF.  Giving wildlife a chance is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
1. You donate to the Match Pot appeal.
2.  Butterfly Conservation can apply for up to 10 times the amount of your donation from the LCF.
3.  Work to restore and create vital habitats is carried out, butterfly and moth numbers increase and a healthier environment is created for everyone!

Landscape-scale conservation projects really work and have already yielded great results.  Targeting habitat restoration on networks of sites across a landscape allows existing populations to expand and encourages greater connectivity so that butterflies can move and colonise new areas.  It’s not too late to reverse declines and secure a future for butterflies and moths if we join together and take action now.

Click here to increase your donation by 10x

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

Purdis Heath Work Parties

If you would like to help with the conservation of Purdis Heath to help the Silver-studded Blue there are work parties on the first Satuday of each month

 Helen Saunders for details

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 three squares in need of a volunteer
OS Grid Reference,  Town/Parish,  Post Code
TL8381  Thetford (west)  IP24 3ST
TL8482  Thetford (west)  IP24 3QP
TM5195  Flixton, Lowestoft  NR32 5PB

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

Download the 2014 report
BMS - Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
BTO - British Trust for Ornithology

New Chair for Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation

After 10 years Mike Dean has stepped down as Chair of SBBC.  The new Chair is Peter Maddison who was elected at the AGM.

Mike - "I am very sad to be leaving the Suffolk Branch committee as Chair after so many years 'at the helm' but I really do believe a fresh look with a new Chair will set Suffolk up for the years ahead.
I will miss working with the committee, who are a super bunch of folk, but I wish them all well as things go forward under the expert guidance of our new Chair, Peter Maddison.
Thank you, everyone!"

Peter - "Three years arranging the Events Programme and seven years editing the Suffolk Argus have given me good incite into the Branch, I hope, and plenty to think about when I considered being nominated for Chair! 
I'm delighted to have the support of the AGM and look forward to the busy years ahead. 
We will miss Mike Dean and his jocular style but I know that he will remain in close contact with the Branch and I wish him well in his role as Vice Chairman of Butterfly Conservation."

Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae) in Suffolk ?

We have been receiving sightings of the Brown Hairsteak in Suffolk.  According to the literature, including The Butterflies of Suffolk by Mendel and Piotrowski (1986), this butterfly was recorded in Suffolk in the early 1900s but then a gap of nearly 50 years until two sightings in the 1940s at Stanton and Bently Woods.  They wrote 'there is a slim chance that it may again be discovered in some forgotten corner'.  It would seem that 70 years later this may have happened.

Bill Stone (Suffolk Butterfly Recorder) writes
As a County Butterfly Recorder one of the privileges attached to the role is to be able to reveal the sighting of a rare butterfly or, the occurrence of a new species or, perhaps the most important, the reoccurrence of a species thought lost to the county.  The Brown Hairstreak is a species that falls in the latter category.  Recently, information was passed to me which strongly suggested that Brown Hairstreak was flying in the county.  But, and of particular note, that this species had been present in Suffolk for a number of years.  Disappointingly, those with knowledge of these Suffolk Brown Hairstreaks had not felt that they could share this either with me as current County Recorder or with Rob Parker my predecessor.

That aside, the butterfly's presence has now been reliably confirmed again in Suffolk and we should now welcome and celebrate that this species is flying, albeit in small numbers in our county.  In the last few weeks the species has been recorded by way of photographed adults and of the presence of laid eggs on mature and established Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) stands within the Orwell Country Park, Ipswich and along Belstead Meadows.  In addition, a number of references to the Brown Hairstreak being found in the Ipswich area have been published online via social media along with site details.  The butterfly is also believed to be present at a number of locations, in suitable Blackthorn habitat in the Copdock, Capel and Bentley areas.  However, these sightings still need to be substantiated and evidenced.

It is unclear at present if these Brown Hairstreaks are the result of a deliberate introduction, by way of their presence on planted Blackthorn or the natural remnants of a population thought lost.  So, in respect of accurately recording Suffolk's Brown Hairstreak then I would ask the following:  

Firstly, to those who have been aware of Brown Hairstreak before now then I would ask you to send me your records with as many details as possible.  This will help me to add records relating to previous years and establish the butterfly in our county data set.

Secondly, I would encourage recorders to now look for the butterfly in the areas identified above and report any sightings or evidence of the butterfly's presence. But, please respect these locations, keep to footpaths and keep your disturbance to an absolute minimum.

However, given that we are now at the end of the Brown Hairstreaks flight season the best way of recording is to search in the winter months for eggs laid on Blackthorn.   A female Brown Hairstreak will lay her tiny sea-urchin type white eggs singly on the twigs of blackthorn, normally no higher than about six feet.  Normally, the eggs are laid close to new growth (1-2 years), near a bud or developing spine. (See the photo).  The eggs then pass the winter in this state, with the larva hatching the following spring by way of it cutting a hole in the top of the egg.  Please let me know of any eggs located and counted.

See the sightings page for Sep 9th and 11th (click here)

If you see or have seen a Brown Hairstreak at any stage of the lifecycle please email sightings@suffolkbutterflies.org.uk

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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