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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

Big Butterfly Count photo prizes

From 19 July to 10 August, while the Big Butterfly Count is on, Butterfly Conservation are running a photo competition hosted on Flickr. There will be prizes for the top three butterfly images posted to the Flikr group, which must be of one (or more!) of the 21 Big Butterfly Count species.

Prizes for the competition have kindly been supplied by Marks & Spencer and are as follows:

1st Prize - £125 worth of M&S Vouchers + Goodies
2nd Prize - £75 worth of M&S Vouchers + Goodies
3rd Prize - £50 worth of M&S Vouchers + Goodies

Go to: www.flickr.com/groups/bigbutterflycount2014 to enter.

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.

Join the Big Butterfly Count

It's that time of year again, when we ask you to go out and record butterflies somewhere over a 15-minute period.

Logo for the Big Butterfly Count

This is a fantastic citizen science initiative: over 46,000 people took part in 2013, counting 830,000 individual butterflies - let's see if we can better that this year!

You can find full details PLUS a FREE identification chart and a smartphone app at http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/

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].

Silver-washed Fritillary Courtship

Doug Hounsome has sent us a video of two Silver-washed Fritillaries mating - not something often filmed. Click here to watch it on You Tube.

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)