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.

Next Local Events -

Saturday 30th November
Suffolk Branch A.G.M & Members Event

Peter Eeles will be the guest speaker.  Peter runs the UK Butterflies website (www.ukbutterflies.co.uk).  In 2016 he was presented with the Marsh Award for the Promotion of Lepidoptera Conservation at Butterfly Conservation's AGM.
He is writing "Lifecycles of British and Irish Butterflies" to be published in October 2019.

Venue: Stowupland Village Hall
Grid Ref: TM 070600, Post Code: IP14 4BG
Time: 2.30 pm.
Please note the change in location and the afternoon start.

The AGM will be followed by the guest speaker, members' slides, light refreshments and the annual photo competition.  Further details will be announced in The Suffolk Argus and on the Branch website.

Enter our photographic competition - details here

End June Update- Suffolk Butterfly Recording 2019- "Black-Holes"

This is a map of the Suffolk recording area which shows the areas remaining as at end of June 2019 without any butterfly records i.e. "black-holes" that exist, these are shown by the dark-blue spots.

For a list of the Grid References of the tetrads click here to go to the Black Holes page

Based on the map the following tetrads in the table on the Black Holes page should be visited in order to increase county coverage.  2019 represents the final year of the current five-year recording period for the Butterflies of the New Millennium recording scheme so this is an incredibly important year

Not too late to look for butterflies in a Black Hole

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].

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) Report 2018 has been published.  Click here to download a copy in pdf format.

Over the past nine 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 2018 contact Twm Wade at the email address below.

We have 11 squares in need of a volunteerFor details of the squares click here for the WCBS page
OS Grid Reference Town/Parish Post Code
TL8164 Westley IP33 3RB
TL8381 Thetford (west) IP24 3ST
TL9248 Lavenham CO10 9PE
TL9462 Beyton IP30 9AH
TL9479 Coney Weston IP31 1HL
TL9577 Coney Weston IP31 1DL
TM0378 Redgrave IP22 1SA
TM1233 Brantham CO11 1PT
TM1944 Ipswich (Hospital and Copleston High School) IP4 5PD
TM3180 St James, South Elmham and Metfield IP19 0HT
TM3568 Peasenhall IP17 2NQ

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

BMS - Butterfly Monitoring Scheme
BTO - British Trust for Ornithology

UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme

Some interesting information here.  The 10 year trend shows a 31% decline in the Purple Emperor despite an increase in Suffolk.  The Marbled White has had a 111% increase but still not crossing the border into Suffolk.

Click here  to access the 2018 Summary of Changes table for the UK. The table includes trend estimates for 57 species regularly recorded in the UK and for which sufficient data is available.

Click here  to access the 2018 Country-level Summary of Changes tables for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The tables include trend estimates for all species regularly recorded in the respective countries and for which sufficient data is available

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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