Welcome to Butterfly Conservation in Somerset and Bristol


SEDGEMOOR CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS have arranged to bring a Work Party to Westbury Beacon on SUNDAY 6 NOVEMBER. Start 1030 hrs. The main task is to clear gorse and open up the transect route. Work will be led by John Davis, BC's Senior Reserves Manager

From the A371, turn up Westfield Lane just beyond Rodney Stoke, signed Priddy. Drive uphill past Westbury Quarry. At brow of hill there is a layby beside a small covered reservoir on the right and a gate on your left with a track that leads to the reserve gate and then on to the tumulus.

There will be tools but if you have them bring loppers and a suitable saw, plus a thermos and lunch. If you are able to come, please contact Spencer on 01749 674478


Common butterflies saw their numbers collapse over the summer. Despite weather conditions that usually help them to thrive, the majority of species studied as part of the scheme saw their populations fall with some producing their worst numbers since the Big Butterfly Count began.

Widespread species such as the Gatekeeper, Comma and Small Copper experienced their worst summers in the project’s history and were down 40%, 46% and 30% respectively compared to last year. The Small Tortoiseshell saw a 47% drop in numbers and Peacock slumped by 42% with both species recording their second worst years. These figures were even lower than those experienced during the cold and wet summer of 2012.

The reasons why butterflies have struggled despite favourable summer weather conditions are as yet unclear. When we have cold, wet summers, as in 2012, we expect butterfly populations to plummet but that wasn’t the case this year. 

The importance of Big Butterfly Count is that it takes place every year over a long period; the longer it goes on the more we can learn about the causes that are driving the declines and, in some cases, increases of our butterflies. In fact, the Count showed that both the Red Admiral and Green-veined White bucked the negative trend. The Red Admiral was up 70% compared to 2015, had the largest year-on year-increase of any species and achieved its second highest abundance since the Count began. The Green-veined White was up by 58% compared to last year and was the only one of the common white butterfly species to experience a substantial rise in numbers. The most commonly seen species was the Large White, up 2% from last year and topping the Count for the first time.

More than 36,000 people took part in this year’s Count, recording around 390,000 butterflies during the three-week mid-summer recording period. Results can be found at http://www.bigbutterflycount.org . The Big Butterfly Count is sponsored by Waitrose and John Lewis.

Big Butterfly Count 2016 – top 10 species ranking

  1. Large White                 62,890 seen
  2. Small White                 61,955
  3. Meadow Brown           57,281
  4. Gatekeeper                 47,597
  5. Ringlet                         26,968
  6. Red Admiral                26,568
  7. Peacock                      18,508
  8. Green-veined White    16,879
  9. Small Tortoiseshell      12,335
  10. Speckled Wood          10,271


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