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

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

Starting Mon 10th January 2022


Once again, because our AGM could not take place as planned in a village hall, the photographic competition is being held on-line.  This is for members of Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation (SBBC)

Each person can submit up to three entries by attaching to an email and sending (from Mon 10 Jan 2022) to photocomp@suffolkbutterflies.org.uk
For each photo please provide your name, species name, location and date taken.

Entries can be submitted from Mon 10 Jan 2022 to Fri 11 Feb 2022
Photographs can be of any UK Butterfly or Moths, at any stage of the life-cycle, taken during 2021 in East Anglia, ie Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk

For full details and rules click here to see the Competition page

Votes by members of Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservationcan be made from Mon 14 Feb 2022 to Fri 4 Mar 2022 .
Winners will be announced  week commencing Mon 7 Mar 2022

Click here to see the entries and results of the 2021 competition

Next Local Events -

Events for 2022 will be available in early February 2022.

Suffolk Argus
The Suffolk Argus is the newsletter of Suffolk Butterfly Conservation and is produced three times a year. 
It contains news and articles about the butterflies of Suffolk.

Autumn 2021 volume 82 has just been published
You can read the this edition by clicking here

Archive - You can view previous editions in the archive.  This has every edition from Spring 2011.

To view the archive click here

All copies of the Suffolk Argus from Spring 2011 Volume 50 to Spring 2021 Volume 80 are available to download in pdf format from our archive.

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.

The Wider Countryside Butterfly Scheme (WCBS) Summary 2020 has been published.  Click here to download a copy in pdf format.

Over the past years volunteers have monitored butterflies in a selection of 1 km squares.  In July and August 2017, on two walks along fixed routes, 774 squares were surveyed nationally, 39 squares in Suffolk.  The Report is an interesting read showing not only the results of butterfly species numbers and analysis, but also a guide to some day-flying moths which recorders are encouraged to include.  If you have not previously been part of the scheme but would like to become involved in contact Twm Wade at the email address below.

We have 9 squares in need of a volunteerFor details of the squares click here for the WCBS page
OS Grid Reference Town/Parish Post Code
TL8381 Thetford (west) IP24 3ST
TL8482 Thetford (west) IP24 3QP
TL9047 Acton, Lavenham CO10 0BL
TL9462 Beyton IP30 9AH
TL9577 Coney Weston IP31 1DL
TM3180 St James, South Elmham and Metfield IP19 0HT
TM3388 Bungay NR35 1PE
Email our WCBS co-ordinator, Twm Wade to volunteer for one of these squares

Download reports by clicking on the following years
2015    2016    2017    2018    2019    2020 summary

BMS - Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
BTO - British Trust for Ornithology

The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS)

Various documents relating to 2020 can be accessed via the UKBMS website - click here to go to their statistics page
Previous years' reports can also be accessed from here

The Summary of Changes for 2020 can be downloaded from our site - click here

The UKBMS report for 2019 is now available.  Click here to download from our website or click here to download a higher resoltion version from the UKBMS website

In the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), annual data on the population status of butterflies is derived from a wide-scale program of site-based monitoring and sampling in randomly selected 1km squares.

The sampling framework comprises: (1) Weekly butterfly transects (Pollard walks); (2) Reduced effort surveys of habitat specialist species (including timed counts of adults, single species transects, and egg and larval counts); and (3) the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS).

The resulting UKBMS dataset is one of the most important resources for understanding changes in insect populations and answering policy questions relating to status and trends in biodiversity.

The data is used in the recently published National Statistics UK Biodiversity indicators.  This release and publication report on UK progress towards meeting the biodiversity goals and targets ‘the Aichi targets’ agreed in 2010.  Key results Since 1976 show that the unsmoothed habitat specialist butterflies index has fallen by 59%.  Over the same period, the unsmoothed index for species of the wider countryside has fallen by 20%. Click here to download a copy.

The UKBMS scheme has monitored changes in the abundance of butterflies throughout the United Kingdom since 1976. Forty years later, trends in butterfly populations were compiled from a network of over 4,000 locations across all years, with nearly 2,500 sample locations monitored in 2015. The UKBMS is based on a well-established and enjoyable recording method listed above and has produced important insights into almost all aspects of butterfly ecology.

Theberton Wood

England’s plans for the extraction of timber at Theberton Wood were explained in an article by Steve Whall, Forester for Forest England, in an article published in the Spring 2021 edition of The Suffolk Argus.

Click here to read the article on pages 10-12

In brief, after a meeting of concerned parties, it was arranged that in the late Spring / early Summer of 2021 the following work would take place.

Removal of intruding vegetation, including Salix species, from woodland roadway/ stacking area/turnaround and surrounding ditches. This work is to be co-ordinated with Butterfly Conservation and volunteers (as previous) to ensure maintenance of purple emperor population.  Late-Spring/Early-Summer 2021

Subsequent conversations between Rob Parker, Julian Dowding and Sam Felton resulted in a site meeting with a FE representative. An agreement was reached by Sam, that, with volunteers’ help, he would endeavour to rescue any vulnerable Purple Emperor (pupae).

On Tuesday 29th June Forest England worked in the wood, but those who had assembled to rescue pupae were prevented by FE from entering the site of operation owing to COVID-19 regulations.   Since then, an assessment of the effect of the work on butterfly pupae is being made.

Naturally there is concern for the manner in which future operations in the wood are handled by FE.

Borrow a Moth Trap

Are you intrigued by moths but haven’t delved into a moth trap?   Moth Traps are relatively expensive items and most people only want to use one once or twice a year to find out what moths are flying in their garden.

The Branch has purchased an MV Robinson moth trap and an Actinic Skinner moth trap for the members of Suffolk Branch to use during this summer season.  If you have limited experience, or are a beginners in the moth world, you can borrow a trap for a period of up to one month for use at your own location.

An identification guide is included and there will be help in identification if needed.  You can then help the survey of moths in Suffolk by entering the moth records into the Suffolk Moth Group Online Recorder (see www.suffolkmoths.co.uk ).

If you would like to borrow a trap and find more about the moths in your garden please contact Trevor Goodfellow at 

The Wildlife Garden at Aldeburgh

This book is the story of a remarkable and enduring transformation.  When Trudie Willis and her husband David moved to Priors Oak, alongside the Aldeburgh to Leiston road, they were faced with unpromising sandy soil.  Now the garden has grown to ten acres of ferility and abundance.  It offers a wide range of attractions, from the more formal areas to productive vegetable beds, with donkeys and tortoises along the way.  At the far end, an extensive wildlife garden has yielded a long, varied and increasing list of species.  For many years, Trudie has opened her garden to visitors, suppoting a wide range of charities and raising well over 50,000.

The text and general photos are by Richard Stewart, with many extracts from Trudie's own garden notes.  Richard was the former Suffolk Butterfly Recorder.

Liz Cutting has provided the species photos and she also worked with Richard on his last book 'The Butterflies of Christchurch Park'.  Her photographs have appeared in many publications and she is one of Suffolk's leading dormouse experts.

The book can be purchased, price 7.50, from these bookshops
Aldeburgh Bookshop
Dial Lane Books, Ipswich
Browsers Bookshop, Woodbridge
Woodbridge Emporium
Victoria Nurseries, Ipswich

from the author at 112 Westerfild Road, Ipswich, IP4 2XW. 

Also at one of the garden open days - details at Priors Oak Butterfly Garden (google.com)
One of these open days is on Sunday 1st August when Butterfly Conservation will be present.
See Butterflies at Priors Oak - Priors Oak Butterfly Garden (google.com) for photographs from previous years.

All profits will go to the work of Butterfly Conservation in Suffolk.


Results of the 2021 competition.  A new competition will be run in January 2022.

The Suffolk Branch Photographic Competition, held in Feb/Mar this year was a success with 80 photographs submitted by our members.  Unfortunately, Covid restrictions dictated the cancellation of the 2020 AGM, so our members didn't get to view the entries as usual in person.  We trust that this online alternative was a more than suitable alternative. 

A large number of the entries received votes and we are pleased to announce that the results are

First - Entry 66; Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Kessingland, Suffolk; 25 Jun 2020 - photo by David Borderick

Second (joint) - Entry 15; Common Blues, Abberton Reservoir, Essex; 13-Jul-2020 - photo by Paul Claridge
Second (joint) - Entry 35;Wall Brown Carlton Marshes, Suffolk; 25th May 2020  - photo by Robert Quadling

Third - ENTRY 8; Swallowtail; Wheatfen NR (Ted Ellis Trust), Norfolk; 29 May 2020 - photo by David Pitt

The standard of entries was very high, making it a closely run vote. Thank you to everyone who took part. We look forward to your photographs from 2021 when our competition returns next time.

Click here for the full details



The new County Butterfly Recorder for Suffolk is James Corton.  He takes over from Bill Stone. 

The post is a Suffolk Naturalists’ Society position but works closely with Suffolk Butterfly Conservation.

COVID restrictions mens they have been unable to meet so they are going to start a series of Zoom calls in order to make progress with getting James familiar with the various databases and recording schemes.  Bill will support James until he feels confident to assume the role fully and Bill will also help him with the 2021 report

The Recorder’s role is to encourage accurate recording of butterflies in Suffolk, to verify and keep county butterfly records and to produce an annual butterfly report for publication in the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society Transactions and the Suffolk Branch of BC Argus.  In order to promote butterfly recording the Recorder has to be able to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, wildlife groups, individuals, and an enthusiastic group of butterfly recorders (approximately 70 individuals) within the county.

James can be contacted at

New website for Suffolk Moths

Butterfly Conservation is for moths as well as butterflies.  There is now a new website with comprehensive information about the moths of Suffolk with photographs, distribution maps and latest sighting dates.  You can submit your own moth sightings as well.

Have a look at the new site here www.suffolkmoths.co.uk

Distribution Maps for 2014 to 2018

The latest distribution maps for Suffolk butterflies have now been produced by Bill Stone the Suffolk Butterfly Recorder.  The maps are based on results received during 2014 to 2018 from several sources including those shown on the Sightings Page of this website.  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.

To see the maps click here

2019 is the final year of the Butterflies for the New Millennium (BNM) recording scheme so every sighting received will contribute to the new Butterfly Atlas which will be produced by Butterfly Conservation.

You can see the UK distibution maps for the most recent five-year survey of the Butterflies for the New Millennium (BNM) recording scheme (2010-2014).  Click here to download the Atlas of UK Butterflies 2010-2014 in pdf format (11 MB).

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

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. 

Download in pdf format the full 'State of UK Butterflies 2015' report 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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