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.

In partnership with the Woodmeadow trust take a look at our fantastic upcoming members day as part of 'The Yorkshire Nature Fair' which will be held at Three Hagges Woodmeadow, Escrick. Join us for a fabulous day of talks, walks, stands and so much more see here

The 2021 Yorkshire Butterflies and Moths Annual report is now ready HERE with a fresh new look :-

Also our latest Argus newsletter is now available HERE

Argus Newsletter Spring 2022 April 11.pdf

Your Guide to the Website

Menu Headings


First Sightings

First Sightings 2022

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


28th May Migration Update; Many different migrant species are arriving into the UK in a mini invasion including Red Admiral, Silver Y , Striped Hawk moth and of course, Painted Lady. Some are looking surprising fresh considering their long journey. Painted Ladies proved to be the most numerous butterfly on the 3 Hagges transect this afternoon with 3 recorded but the winds are just about to switch around to the north. See below for wonderful graphic of their migration . Download HERE

May 27th The first Large Heath was spotted today on Thorne Moors by Martin Warne. This species has moved from vunerable to endangered with publication of the new 2022 red list but continues to thrive at Thorne.

May 26th Half of British butterfly species on new Red List

Butterfly Conservation released the new Red List which sadly shows ever more UK species are threatened with extinction. 24 species of butterfly are now listed as threatened – including 8 that are Endangered – representing a substantial increase compared with the previous assessment. There is some hope for species that have been the focus of intense conservation work.

In Yorkshire things are not quite as grim as the headlines might suggest with both our rarest species Duke of Burgundy and Pearl-bordered Fritillary moving from endangered to vulnerable status due in good measure from conservation work done here in Yorkshire. On the negative Wall has moved to endangered after suffering dramatic losses in the wet summers of 2007-8. Prior to this it was not an uncommon garden insect while now it is largely confined to higher ground and the coast. The suspected cause is nitrogen disposition from pollutants of agriculture and transport which are also having a serious public health effect and increasingly being addressed by government. Grayling has also moved from vunerable to endangered likely for the same reasons as Wall and is largely restricted to the coast and steel works slag heaps. Small Heath moves to vunerable due to nitrogen and habitat loss from development of brownfields but continues to thrive on reserves and has seen a large increase in abundance recently and is encountered more often. Large Heath has become endangered loosing ground with drainage of uplands particularly in Scotland and parts of the North York Moors but still thrives in very large numbers on the rewetted peatlands at Thorne Moors NNR where it continues to spread. Dark green Fritillary despite recent increases in abundance and spread in Yorkshire on sites under conservation goes from least concern to near threatened due to habitat loses particularly of high quality grasslands in the south of england. White-letter Hairstreak moves from endangered to vunerable after previously a rapid decrease due to Dutch Elm desease is now stable along with appreciation that Elms, particularly Wych are not uncommon in Yorkshire's many river valleys and can be seen more commonly with targetted recording. Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary moves from near threatned to vunerable due to loss of habitat from intensification of agriculture. FULL REPORT HERE