The UK is home to 24 million gardens and Butterfly Conservation working alongside B&Q want to help people get the most out of them by welcoming nature into their gardens. Continue reading
Tuesday February 7th, Lankham Bottom Butterfly Reserve: a beautiful almost spring-like day and possibly the earliest recorded date for Marsh Fritillary larvae on this site sunning themselves in a cluster on the southwest facing slopes of the reserve. Continue reading
If you like getting things in order, and you are reasonably computer literate, could you help Dorset Branch of Butterfly Conservation by becoming our photo librarian? Continue reading
Reserves manager Nigel Spring requests your help to monitor our ponies at Alners Gorse and Rooksmoor in north Dorset. Continue reading
Could you help Butterfly Conservation by giving some volunteer time at their HQ near Lulworth in Dorset?
It’s a friendly place, with tea and biscuits always on tap, and you could have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something to help butterflies and moths, even if indirectly. Continue reading
The Dorset Branch education stall has recently spent four days at Moors Valley Country Park, for their ‘Butterfly, Moth and Minibeast Festival”.
More than 1200 people attended, mostly families. The star attractions were living examples including Orange Tip eggs, caterpillars and chrysalis. December moth caterpillars, all hairy and camouflaged against hawthorn twigs, were admired. Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars, chrysalis and an emerging adult came from Moors Valley. A selection of moths were on show, all described by the 10 expert volunteers.
The Buttterfly Conservation’s national Munching Caterpillars initiative also joined us, with Catherine Mason keeping young people busy potting plants to take home.
On the next weekend Winterborne Whitechurch Farm Open Day saw the stall have another 200 plus visitors looking at Poplar Hawk moths and their caterpillars, plus red, white and black Knot Grass caterpillars.
Most amazing was an Orange tip caterpillar changing into a chrysalis as we watched. Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars were also making this wonderful change.
This farm has been surveyed by Butterfly Conservation volunteers and has 31 species of butterfly on its ‘managed for conservation’ areas. Eighty moths have also been seen on the farm, and our display included Privet Hawk Moth, Lobster Moth and the stunning Green silver lines. Our picture displays showed the link between food production and conservation.
You too can volunteer for stall help, it is wonderful to look up and see 4 pairs of eyes riveted on you!
Contact Bridget via our Contact Form.
Georgie Laing has pulled together the information gathered in 2013 on how the sides of the Weymouth Relief Road, built in 2012 for the Olympics, are doing.
This area was deliberately not grassed, but seeded with butterfly-attracting wild flowers, which certainly seem to be doing their job.
A riot of colour now greets travelers when the yellow blanket of kidney vetch blooms on the cuttings and bridleway on the ridgeway. This is important as the caterpillar food plant of the Small Blue.
For the last two years Butterfly conservation volunteers have been monitoring the site to record the species of butterflies.
2013 proved to be a good year:
- 25 visits were made
- 20 species recorded
- 621 individual records
- 8 new species were recorded:
- Large Skipper
- Clouded Yellow
- Green-veined White
- Adonis Blue
3 species showed large increases from last year
- Small White (144 recorded)
- Common Blue (213 recorded)
- Small Tortoiseshell (79 recorded)
Species list for 2013
- Large Skipper (new 2013)
- Clouded yellow (new 2013)
- Brimstone (new 2013)
- Large White
- Small White
- Green-veined White (new 2013)
- Orange-tip (new 2013)
- Small Copper (new 2013)
- Small Blue
- Brown Argus
- Common Blue
- Adonis Blue (new 2013)
- Red Admiral
- Painted lady
- Small Tortoiseshell
- Peacock (new 2013)
- Marbled White
- Meadow Brown
- Ringlet (2012 only)
We would like to continue the monitoring in 2014 and are hoping to design a formal butterfly monitoring (transect) walk. More volunteers are needed.
If you would like to help or would like a more detailed report of the records please contact Georgie Laing via our Contact Form.
Many thanks all of you who contributed butterfly records to the website in 2013.
You sent us 2,948 records, totalling 22,720 butterflies!
These will be added to those that come in via other methods to form a vital count of Dorset’s butterflies.
We couldn’t have done it without you!
A team of 10 BC volunteers spent a beautiful still autumn day on Sunday November 17th at Lankham Bottom Reserve continuing the clearance work on the gorse and bramble scrub at the top of the south-facing slope.
The bushes have been extending inexorably over the downland for over 40 years (according to local sources) but with all the efforts of volunteers and contractors in recent seasons, the large blocks of scrub are being broken up.
This will provide not only a greater area of valuable habitat for butterflies, moths and other wildlife that favour open grassland, but also more agricultural land for our tenant’s cattle to graze.
The next scheduled event at Lankham Bottom is on Sunday January 19. See the Events page for more information.
Could you volunteer to help us with the butterfly records that come in via our website?
Our new recording form on the website this year has meant we are receiving many more records than previously, and they all have to be checked before they are added to our database. The job is presently being done by one person, but we need a small team to share it between them.
You would need to:
a) Have your own computer and be computer literate.
b) Be able to reliably give some time each day to this task, during the weeks you are on duty – it takes up to 1 hour per day in June/July/Aug, but almost none in the winter. How the work is split between the team members can be worked out to their mutual satisfaction.
c) Be ready to communicate (tactfully!) with recorders by e-mail when the record they have sent in appears to have an error.
d) Know a bit about butterflies. In-depth knowledge is not needed: there will be initial training and then people to support you, and you will learn as you go along.
e) Be systematic: our system allows making non-public notes to yourself, and you need to keep track of any records which you have queried so you can chase up any lack of response.
f) Be comfortable with moving text around on the records to enhance the public view of them.
g) Have a working knowledge of grid references or be willing to learn – it’s not difficult and the process of grid ref checking is partly automated.
You will get in return:
a) The pleasure of helping us grow our butterfly sightings database, which provides essential information for ensuring butterflies flourish across Dorset.
b) The camaraderie of working as part of a team.
c) Interesting contact with many other butterfly-minded people.
d) The satisfaction of seeing data come in and go out, and knowing you have helped it on its way.
If you are interested, please contact Bill Shreeves at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01747 852587.