Welcome to the Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation
Butterfly Conservation is a
registered charity dedicated to the conservation of butterflies and
Join Butterfly Conservation -
click here to
go to the National Butterfly Conservation website to join.
Next Local Events -
The events for 2024 will be available in Febuary
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 2023 volume 88 has just been
You can read
the this edition by clicking here
- 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 Summer 2023 Volume 87 are
available to download in pdf format from our archive.
Older copies of the Argus (from volume 1)
ca be found on the Suffolk Biodiversity Information
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.
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
If you would like to borrow a trap and find more about the moths
in your garden please contact Trevor Goodfellow at
The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS)
There have been serious declines in
butterfly numbra since 1976 when monitoring started. In general
the decline has been about 80% although it has stabilised in recent
years. So we now have a stable low population.
report for 2022 can be downloaded
More information is available from the UKBMS
Trends for UK butterfly
species vary, with about a third of the species assessed in the UK
showing a significant long-term decline in abundance (33%), compared
to 29% showing a significant long-term increase.
However, over the last decade the majority of species have been
stable, with 4 species (7%) showing a statistically significant
increase and no species showing a significant decline. Whilst it
is encouraging that declines have stabilised compared to several
decades ago, we note that abundance indices remain at a lower level
for many species; in particular some habitat specialist species have
not recovered to the higher numbers that were typically found in the
Overall, 2022 was an average year for butterflies,
ranking 27th in the 47-year series. None of the 58 species
assessed had their best year or worst year on record at UK level.
·However, Purple Emperor and Large Blue both had their 2nd best year
on record, and Chequered Skipper and Dark Green Fritillary had their
third best year on record.
The biggest ‘losers’ of 2022
were Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (2nd worst year or record) and
Small Copper (3rd worst year on record). A further large annual
decline for Small Tortoiseshell resulted in the 4th worst year on
record for this species, continuing the significant long-term decline
of this common and widespread species (down by 80% since 1976).
Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey
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
Click here to download a copy in pdf format.
For 2021 you can download the changes summary for
the UK (click
here) and for individual contries
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 volunteer. For details
of the squares click here for the WCBS page
Email our WCBS co-ordinator,
to volunteer for one of these squares
Thurston End, Hawkedon
Fornham St Martin,
Bury St Edmunds North
reports by clicking on the following years
BMS - Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
- British Trust for Ornithology
Suffolk Argus Index
You can download every edition of the Argus from Spring 2011 (see
If you are
interested in a particular topic there is now an index.
This can be downloaded as a PDF
(PDF click here) or RTF file
(rich text format) (RTF
This has been produced for us by a
member Paul Douch who is a professional indexer (contact
Revised Red List of British
A revised Red List
of British Butterflies was publihed in May 2022. The UK wide
list can be seen here;
Red List of Butterflies.
The Red List categorises
Regionally Extinct - 4 butterflies
Endangered - 8
Vulnerable - 16 (28%)
Near Threatened - 5 (9%)
Concern - 29 (50%)
In Suffolk we have the following species
which are not of Least Concern;
Endangered - Wall Brown, Grayling
Vulnerable - Small Heath, White admiral, Brown Hairstreak,
White-letter Hairstreak, Silver-studded Blue
Near Threatened -
All of these have been reported to our sightings
page in 2022 (Click here) but the Wall Brown and Grayling do seem to
be becoming fewer in number and in fewer locations.
Photo of Wall Brown by Robert Quadling and Grayling by David Gill
Locations with Few Butterfly and
Every year the Suffolk Buttertfly
Recorder produces a map showing where we have few records of
butterflies, we call them Black Holes, but this map does not show
exact locations. There is now a national scheme, called DECIDE,
which maps these onto Ordnance Survey maps so it is easy to see where
to go to fill in the black holes.
Black Holes for 2021
Areas with few records generated by MyDecide
If you would like to take part in the initial trial of MyDecide there
are full details on our Recording page
Pit Stops for Pollinators
We know that our wildlife is in crisis, and 76% of butterflies
have declined in abundance since 1976. But the good news is that
there is something we can all do. By creating a pit stop for
pollinators you can help provide butterflies and moths with the plants
they need for survival. And it doesn’t matter how big that pit
stop is – even a small plant pot on a doorstep or balcony could help
insects get from one area of habitat to the next. And the bonus
is – you can have lots of beautiful butterflies and moths in your
garden, day and night. Whether you live in a city or village we
can all contribute to support our local insects.
Download: Alan Titchmarsh's Pit Stop for Pollinator Guide The free
How to create 'Pit Stops for Pollinators'
to plant for an insect-friendly garden
What species to spot once
your pit stop is up and running
How to maintain 'Pit Stops for
More ways that you can help protect these precious
Pit Stops for Pollinators | Butterfly Conservation
The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS)
UKBMS report for 2020 is now available.
Click here to download from our website or
click here to download from the UKBMS
website where previous years reports can also be downloaded,
Various documents relating to 2020 can be accessed
via the UKBMS website -
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 -
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-six 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
Forest 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.
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.
The Wildlife Garden at Aldeburgh
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
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
The book can be purchased, price £7.50, from
Dial Lane Books, Ipswich
Browsers Bookshop, Woodbridge
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.
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.
The County Butterfly Recorder for
Suffolk is James Corton.
can be contacted at
Website for Suffolk Moths
Butterfly Conservation is for moths as well as butterflies.
There is a 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 site here
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.
see the maps click here
2019 is the final year of
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].
|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
us on Twitter.
But still send your sightings to
When to See Butterflies.
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
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
The Branch is always grateful for butterfly records and a
recording form can be downloaded from the recording
page of this
We would be particularly grateful for records away from the
coast and information on the following species:
Green Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, White Letter Hairstreak,
Silver-studded Blue, Wall Brown, White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Grayling and Small
email your sightings to us at
Recent Sightings can be viewed here
Conservation and Recording
- about the Brimstone and Buckthorn project
Help us to record Brimstone
butterflies in Suffolk
- links to more
Translocation to Blaxhall Common -
Ecological Survey of Selected
Silver-studded Blue Sites in 2009
Silver-Washed Fritillary - link
for more information
Fritillary returns to Suffolk
Purple Emperor -
link for more information
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