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 -

All of our events for 2024 are available on the Events Page - click here

Sunday 21st July 2024 GARDEN OPEN DAY
Wildlife Garden Open Day
An invitation from Lucie Pascoe, the daughter of the late 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)
Location reference;  Map grid ref. TM452591,  Post Code: IP15 5QE
Time; 10.30 am to 4.00 pm
Contact; Peter Maddison   01473 736607

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.

Summer 2024 volume 90 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 Summer 2023 Volume 87 are available to download in pdf format from our archive.

Older copies of the Argus (from volume 1) can be found on the Suffolk Biodiversity Information website click here

Help Our Moths - Reduce Light Pollution

What is light pollution?
Light pollution is the excessive use of outdoor Artificial Light At Night – often referred to as ALAN.  It includes direct lighting from artificial light sources and the resulting skyglow.
Light pollution is not just bad for stargazers, it’s harmful to our health and that of our wildlife, including insects, mammals and the ecosystems they are a part of.

How does light pollution impact moths?
Most of the UK’s moth species are nocturnal and fly at night.  Some moths are naturally drawn to sources of light, but artificial lights can disorient them.  They may spend a lot of time travelling to artificial lights or circling them, leaving them too exhausted to find food or to breed.  Moths drawn to artificial lights are also more vulnerable to predation.
It’s also not just the adult moths which are affected.  Some moth caterpillars are attracted to artificial light, which could take them away from food sources, leave them more vulnerable to predators and impact their development.

Download the free guide on how to reduce light pollution

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 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.

NEW - The full report for 2022 can be downloaded click here. (Previuosly only a summsry table was available)

More information is available from the UKBMS website click here

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 early 1970s.

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 (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.

For 2021 you can download the changes summary for the UK (click here) and for individual contries (click here)

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
TL7866 Risby IP28 6RD
TL7951 Thurston End, Hawkedon IP19 4LQ
TL8183 Santon Downham IP27 0AF
TL8566 Fornham St Martin,
Bury St Edmunds North
IP31 1SN
TL9462 Beyton IP30 9AH
TL9577 Coney Weston IP31 1DL
TM4069 Darsham IP17 3PH
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

Suffolk Argus Index

You can download every edition of the Argus from Spring 2011 (see below).

If you are interested in a particular topic there is now an index. 

This can be downloaded as a
PDF file (PDF click here) or .docx file (Microsoft Word) (.docx click here). 

This has been produced for us by a member Paul Douch who is a professional indexer (contact waveneyindexing@outlook.com )

Revised Red List of British Butterflies

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 species as
Regionally Extinct - 4 butterflies
Endangered - 8 (14%)
Vulnerable - 16 (28%)
Near Threatened - 5 (9%)
Least 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 - Small Blue

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 Moth Records

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 click here

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.

Free Download: Alan Titchmarsh's Pit Stop for Pollinator Guide The free guide includes:
How to create 'Pit Stops for Pollinators'
What 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 Pollinators'
More ways that you can help protect these precious species

Pit Stops for Pollinators | Butterfly Conservation (butterfly-conservation.org)

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.

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.


The County Butterfly Recorder for Suffolk is James Corton.

James 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 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].

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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