Welcome to the Yorkshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation

Butterflies are not only beautiful and fascinating creatures but are also highly responsive to the environment. David Attenborough described them as 'A thermometer of the health of our natural world' Almost every species of butterfly is in decline and a quarter are facing extinction. We have lost more than 97% of our traditional meadows and woodland in recent times so it is crucial we raise awareness about the threats facing our butterflies, moths, their habitats and our natural environment. Yorkshire Branch work in partnership with land owners, local authorities, conservation bodies, businesses and the local community to achieve this.

Here in Yorkshire the Duke of Burgundy and Pearl Bordered Fritillary are particularly vulnerable due to habitat loss and increasingly susceptible to extinction. Yorkshire also has the only remaining colony of the Dark Bordered Beauty Moth in England, on Strensall Common and is on the brink of extinction.

Become a member today and help us save butterflies, moths and their habitats. There are many rewarding roles volunteering in recording and conservation just take a look at our Branch leaflet HERE . We have a real challenge when 60% of children in the UK have never seen a Peacock butterfly according to a YouGov Survey and 78% of parents are concerned that children don’t spend enough time interacting with nature. Founded in 1981 Yorkshire branch wil be 40 years old this year and has more than 1800 members.

The 1st Yorkshire Nature Fair proves quite a success

3rd July Today Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire with the Woodmeadow Trust launched the first ever Yorkshire Nature Fair at 3 Hagges Wood-meadow, and by all accounts it went down very well with all who attended. Organised by the Woodmeadow trust it ran flawlessly and a big thank you to Emma Daniels and Ros Forbes Adams and all their team for bringing our joint idea to reality; superbly well organised. However It was such a pity that Ros was unable to attend due to Covid. The weather was kind and although a little dull there was still plenty of butterflies to be seen with Painted Ladies dashing through on their way northwards to large numbers of local Ringlets and Small Skippers. It was quite an occasion with a very good turn out for each of the talks through the day well attended including, above, Prof Alistair Fitter enthusiatic called for more butterfly and moth records and transect walkers in particular. It was the first time for nearly 3 years our members had a chance to come together and we had visitors from throughout Yorkshire and most would definately come again. It was not only a day for serious nature lovers in the marque but it was a great day for local children able to come face to face with moths of every colour caught in 15 traps that run the night before but also live caterpillars and pupa. With a pair of gazebo's and six vounteers manning the BCY stand it was busy all day and chidren were very much drawn to the live insect displays.

Your Guide to the Website

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First Sightings

DECIDE is calling all Butterfly recorders. They have a new project running this summer exploring ways to provide personalised, relevant feedback to recorders

More info & sign up: https://decide.ceh.ac.uk/app/newsletter

News

July 2nd Peter Stoppard spotted this pair of Silver-washed Fritillary at Lindrick dale.

2nd July A new project this summer by BC and the University of Derby to understand how taking part in the Big Butterfly Count might improve our wellbeing and connection to Nature. Participants are invited to take a online survey before they take part in the Big Butterfly Count, a second in August and a third in September. Each survey only takes approximately 5-10 minutes and will ask questions about your wellbeing, relationship with nature, and engagement with butterflies and nature. TAKE PART HERE

1st July A insightful report in the authorative 'Nature' journal about Recorder decision-making when recording species and observations into recorder motivations. Nearly 80% of all data collected is unstructured; collected by diverse methods that are not documented with the data. Insufficient understanding of the data collection processes presents a major barrier to the use of citizen science data in biodiversity research. Respondents were most often motivated by improving species knowledge and supporting conservation, but there were no linkages between motivations and data collection methods. By contrast, variables related to experience and knowledge, such as membership of a natural history society, were linked with a greater propensity to conduct planned searches, during which typically all species were reported. More HERE

30 June Marbled White explosion? After finding a Marbled White on my tiny home meadow in agricultural Cawood I looked at the latest transect results so far this year. They show numbers this year are currently runing 2-3 times higher than last year which was also a good year. It is likely we are seeing a good deal of dispersal of this beautiful butterfly so please do keep an eye out and send your reports. Elephant Hawk Moths also seem to be having an exceptional year coming in 10's to moth traps! The first Silver-washed Fritillary seen at Bishop Wood, Selby.

29th June The first Essex Skipper spotted at Oakhill LNR at Goole by Peter Hinks; 4 days behind the average emergence date over the last 5 years. All our Yorkshire species have now emerged.

24th June The first Purple Hairstreaks were seen by Les Driffield on his wenthillside this eveningspot on the average emergence date.

23rd June First Gatekeeper spotted at the canal turn, Oulton, Leeds , 4 days later than the 5 year average. The first Silver-washed Fritillary was seen at Brockadale and its earliest ever record for Yorkshire and 10 days earlier than the average.

23nd June Lots of reports of Humingbird Hawk moths presently reaching way up into the dales. Picture below taken by Rachel Tilburn in her garden at Ingleton

22rd June The European Commission is today proposing the first-ever legislation that explicitly targets the restoration of Europe's nature, to repair the 80% of European habitats that are in poor condition, and to bring back nature to all ecosystems, from forest and agricultural land to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems. Under this proposal for a Nature Restoration Law, legally binding targets for nature restoration in different ecosystems will apply to every Member State, complementing existing laws. The aim is to cover at least 20% of the EU's land and sea areas by 2030 with nature restoration measures

20th June 21st The first Grayling has been seen at South Gare on Teeside somewhat earlier than normal and the first White-letter hairstreak rather late and 8 days behind average.

15th June Spring 2022 Yorkshire's Butterly trends 'Sneak Peak' Taken from 20 of Yorkshire's monitored sites we have results up till 1st week of June. The comparison is with 2021 and, overall, numbers are about the same, even with the way better weather of 2022. Most spectacular is Holy Blue which sees a 22 fold increase in abundance and from being present on just 1 site last year has returned to 10. The fall in numbers over the last 2 years, confirms we are now in the 'up' part of this insect's cycle with its parasite. Almost as spectacular is Red Admiral recording 9 times more abundant after the wave of migrants in May. It was almost entirely absent last spring. The contrasting and consistent story across most sites is the decline in Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock by approximately half. Peacock abounded in 2020 giving good numbers coming from hibernation last Spring but they fared very badly in reproducing in the very poor weather, so lower numbers went into hibernation last autumn. Amongst the whites, Small White shows a strong increase, and Brimstone has done better. Speckled Wood have also done quite well. Wall, Common Blue, Small Heath and Brown Argus have peaked earlier in the better weather this year and account for most of the improvement at this point in time. More 'Sneak Peaks' will be shared through summer

Decision-making of citizen scientists when recording species observations

Citizen scientists play an increasingly important role in biodiversity monitoring. Most of the data, however, are unstructured—collected by diverse methods that are not documented with the data. Insufficient understanding of the data collection processes presents a major barrier to the use of citizen science data in biodiversity research. Respondents were most often motivated by improving species knowledge and supporting conservation, but there were no linkages between motivations and data collection methods. By contrast, variables related to experience and knowledge, such as membership of a natural history society, were linked with a greater propensity to conduct planned searches, during which typically all species were reported. Our findings have implications for how citizen science data are analysed in statistical models; highlight the importance of natural history societies

Motivations of respondents to collect species observation data. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of each item. Items are ordered in the plot by the % responding ‘important’ or ‘very important’.

Survey patterns: (a) the proportion of species observation data that are made by an active/planned search compared with observations that were opportunistic; (b) species that are reported during an active/planned search; (c) triggers of an opportunistic observation; (d) locations/habitats in which people actively look for species.