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Welcome to Butterfly Conservation Dorset

Dorset is one of the best areas in the UK for butterflies and moths, and we are a very active Branch of Butterfly Conservation. This website is designed to help you join our activities and enjoy our butterflies and moths, whether in reality or via the internet.   Find out more

Battered Butterflies

Robin George has sent us a photo of a Small Tortoiseshell that is so worn, you wouldn't think it could fly: see the Gallery page.

Plus a Red Admiral from Matt Phipps.

Do you have any shots of very worn butterflies? Send to news@dorsetbutterflies.com.

Clouded Yellows in higher numbers than Painted Ladies

Clouded Yellow

Clouded Yellow. Photo: Mark Pike.

Clouded Yellows and Painted Ladies are both butterflies which do not (with a few possible exceptions) breed in this country: they are migrants. Our Recent Sightings page shows that since the 22 July there have been 43 records of Clouded Yellows, totalling 152 butterflies, with as many as 40 being seen at one time. Painted Ladies, by comparison, have only gained 13 records, totalling 16 butterflies.

Brown Hairstreak Blog

That most intelligent of creatures, the Brown Hairstreak [there's a Monty Python reference in that sentence for those of you old enough to recognise it] has actually got its own blog: http://betulae.blogspot.co.uk/

Two Hairstreaks in one shot

Mark Pike has caught an amazing shot of a Brown Hairstreak and a Purple Hairstreak on the same twig. See our Galley page to admire it.

Butterfly aberrations

Meadow Brown with very pale hindwings

Meadow Brown aberration. Photo: Chris Rowland.

Some butterflies have markings different to those normal for their species, with some aberrations even being repeated, so they are given names of their own. We've recently been sent photos of aberrations for an Essex Skipper, a Meadow Brown, a Silver-washed Fritillary and a Painted Lady - see the Gallery page, but please note that photos do not stay up for ever: we maintain a number we hope is interesting but which does not take too long to load as a web page.

Purple Hairstreaks

Purple Hairstreak head-on view

Purple Hairstreak. Photo: Malcolm Levitt. You can see a larger version in our Gallery.

These difficult-to-see butterflies are being spotted by lots of you - we've had 21 records sent in by mid July, with 22 butterflies being seen at Piddles Wood, in North Dorset, and 29 at Upton Country Park. They are small butterflies which live in oak trees - usually seen as "silver specks tumbling in the sky above the treetops" [J. Thomas].

Are Essex Skippers really starting to decline in Dorset?

Read Bill Shreeves article on our News page.

How many White Holes can you fill in 2014?

2014 is our last chance to record butterflies in this five-year recording cycle. We did very well plugging the gaps - 'white holes' - last year, but there is still quite a bit to do. Full details here - and do use the Google Earth facility if you can, it's brilliant!


Full events programme

What does Butterfly Conservation do?

Butterfly Conservation is a national organisation with 32 branches, of which Dorset is one. We also have the headquarters of the national society in Dorset, near Lulworth. The branches and the national organisation work together to help butterflies and moths.

75% of the 60 British butterflies have declined over the last ten years, while 66% of common moths have declined over the last forty. 62 moth species became extinct in the twentieth century. There are successes as well, but these are outnumbered by the failures.

Our efforts include both direct conservation work, including monitoring butterflies and moths, as well as raising awareness of the problems butterflies and moths face and the possible solutions. click here for more detail about our work.

Please come and help us, either directly or by joining the organisation, or both. Our butterflies and moths are beautiful creatures and an essential part of the foodchain: if they are not here for our grandchildren to enjoy, the world will be a sadder place.

If you have any butterfly or moth related news or photos, email: news@dorsetbutterflies.com

JOIN Butterfly Conservation to help us save butterflies, moths and their habitats: Join Now

DONATE to help us with our work to save butterflies and moths - click: Donate

(Donations received via this national Butterfly Conservation site link will come to Dorset Branch)