Welcome to Butterfly Conservation in Somerset and Bristol
RESULTS OF THE BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT
The Small Tortoiseshell suffered its worst summer in the history of the Big Butterfly Count with sightings falling by 32% compared to last year. The population of this once common species has collapsed by 75% since the 1970s. Reasons for the ongoing decline are being investigated with climate change, pollution and parasites all possible culprits.
Populations of Red Admiral and Comma were also well down, by 73% and 40% respectively compared to the high numbers seen in the same period last year, and Gatekeeper fell by 54%.
But many other common species were seen in improved numbers in response to the glorious summer weather, accounting. The three white butterflies each recorded large increases compared to last year, accounting for more than half of the 964,000 butterflies and moths recorded. The Small White was the most abundant Big Butterfly Count species this summer with numbers up 161% compared to the same period last year. Large White came second up 104% compared to 2017’s count and Green-veined White was up 78% on the same period last year. The whites have had a few lean years so their increased numbers this summer may be due to reduced levels of predation by parasitic wasps or that they benefited from the warm spring and summer.
The Count’s blue butterfly species both enjoyed a good summer. The Holly Blue recorded its highest ever numbers in the history of the project and was up 122% compared to 2017. The Common Blue was up 51% on the same period last year and had its best results since 2010.
An average of just 11 butterflies of the 19 target species were seen per Count this year, a figure only marginally higher than last year - the lowest in the Count’s history. These low numbers are thought to be a result of some species emerging earlier than usual in response to the heatwave which meant numbers were declining before the Count started.
Big Butterfly Count 2018 – top 10 species ranking
Small White 273,650 seen
Large White 210,665
Meadow Brown 51,899
Common Blue 50,118
Green-veined White 49,515
Speckled Wood 35,294
Red Admiral 33,508
Small Tortoiseshell 23,210
Full results can be found at www.bigbutterflycount.org
The Big Butterfly Count is sponsored by B&Q.
MUNCHING CATERPILLAR COMES TO BRISTOL
The Project is now in its second year in Bristol and we are making plans to ensure its long term future with the inner-city schools. There is a short report from Matt on the Project page
BUTTERFLY WALKS IN SOMERSET & BRISTOL
Our Butterfly Walks booklet, compiled by Hilary Raeburn, has been a great success and, whether or not you go on our guded walks, it provides details of many of other sites well worth visiting in your own time. The page reproduced here gives an idea of how helpful it can be in investigating new places. For further information, including how to get your own copy, please click on the Walks Booklet tab at the foot of this page.