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.

Work Parties : Volunteers needed urgently

Please help us catch up on the high volume of work missed over the pandemic . We have a good number of conservation work parties between now and the end of March mostly in the North York Moors area. Dates below with links for details

Sunday February 6th, Yatts Farm , Pickering. More details HERE

Saturday February 12th, Boltby Reservoir with Freshwater habitats. Details HERE

Saturday February 12th, Hawnby for Duke of Burgundy. More details HERE

Sunday February 13th, Yatts Farm Pickering. More details HERE

Sunday February 20th, Yatts farm Pickering. More details HERE

Sunday 27th February, Hawnby for Duke of Burgundy. More details HERE

Saturday 5th March ,Hawnby for Duke of Burgundy. More details HERE

Saturday 12th March, Hawnby for Duke of Burgundy. More details HERE

Sunday 13th March, Yatts Farm, Pickering. More details HERE

Sunday 20th March, Gundale, Pickering. More details HERE

Sunday 27th March, To be arranged

Upcoming Event : A thought provoking talk and presentation from Andy Suggitt

Online event at 19:30 on Monday 31 January 2022. Register for free HERE

Accelerating climate change is increasing the risk of extinction for cold- or wet-dwelling butterfly species, and it is thought that up to a sixth of all biota faces worldwide extinction by the end of the century. However, evidence from the last glacial maximum suggests that affected species might survive in refugia, areas with an atypical climate (or microclimate) that buffer species from the worst of these changes. In this talk, Andy will describe some early results from a national survey of four northern butterfly species thought to be possible beneficiaries of this so-called refugial effect.

Your Guide to the Website

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First Sightings

First Sightings 2022

The Red list of Butterfly species species has been updated High Brown Fritillary and Large Blue, which move to Endangered and Near Threatened respectively. Duke of Burgundy and Pearl-bordered Fritillary have also been assessed at lower risk this time, while remaining on the Red List, both moving from the Endangered category to Vulnerable. Other species have moved in the opposite direction. Large Heath and Grayling have moved from Vulnerable to Endangered, reflecting increased extinction risk for these butterflies. In addition, several species that were not deemed at risk in the 2010 assessment are now included in the Red List, such as Swallowtail, Silver-spotted Skipper, Small Heath, Adonis Blue and Chalk Hill Blue, which have all moved from Near Threatened to Vulnerable, and Wall, which has moved from Near Threatened to Endangered. More HERE


27 Jan - The Chequered Skipper is back! Full story HERE

For the first time since 1976, wildlife enthusiasts will be able to see the rare and beautiful Chequered Skipper butterfly in the wild in England this summer. Thanks to the expertise of Butterfly Conservation, changes in land management techniques from Forestry England, and hard-working volunteers from Butterfly Conservation, the butterfly which was previously extinct in England has been successfully breeding in a Northamptonshire forest. The population is now stable enough for members of the public wanting to glimpse the exciting butterfly to be able to visit. The exact location of the butterflies has previously been a closely guarded secret, but Butterfly Conservation are now pleased to be able to reveal that Forestry England's Fineshade Wood in Northamptonshire is the site of the reintroduced species.

27th Jan 'Sex lies and Butterflies': A beautiful film about Butterflies featuring the Painted Lady amongst a global array ( Spanish) A cure for a dismal January day!

24 January - Monarch Butterflies Count and The Bounciness of Butterflies

Over in America the annual Western Monarch count has a remarkable and surprising outcome. Read all about it HERE

17 January - The Purple Emperor: An Idiosyncratic species with Dennis Dell

If you missed the fantastic live talk by Dennis you can watch the recording below. Dennis describes how this species has expanded its range northwards to now knocking on Yorkshire's door, in fact its likely it is already here. Dennis explains how to understand its idiosyncrasies to give you the best chance of discovering this species.

Introducing our New Publications

The 2020 Annual Report is now available to members and your password will be emailed

The Yorkshire Branch Leaflet gives you an introduction to the work of the branch, the resources we can offer online and in print.

Yorkshire Branch Butterfly Conservation.pdf

The Yorkshire ID Pocket Guide is perfect to slip in your pocket when you out and about. Mail ann.davis@yorkshirebutterflies.org.uk for your printed copy

Butterfly_Yorkshire_Book_V2[1] (1).pdf

Butterfly Conservation Strategy

We cannot do this alone. Please join us and help build a world where butterflies and moths thrive and can be enjoyed by everyone, forever.

Butterfly Conservation chooses to be a leader in the fight for our natural world. To do that we need to build on our successes and be even more effective, to focus our resources to have a greater impact. We must build stronger collaborations, be part of nature’s recovery at a larger scale, and broaden our reach to ensure that everyone has access to and can enjoy the wonders of butterflies and moths. Our new strategy sets out three key goals to drive forward our work, making a pledge for the impact we will make on threatened species, doubling our impact on landscape restoration and involving people in transforming spaces for butterflies and moths

  1. Halve the number of the UK’s threatened species of butterflies and moths.

  2. Improve the condition of 100 of the most important landscapes for butterflies and moths

  3. Transform 100,000 wild spaces in the UK for people, butterflies and moths

Calling all butterfly recorders: The DECIDE Project needs your help

PLEASE Give it a go: Send feedback: Lets improve the next version together

This interesting citizen science project is developing a tool for recorders to use to find out where biological records are needed most to improve species distribution models. In turn this will enable data users such as land managers, planners and policy makers to make better decisions. The tool has been co-created with the recording community. The DECIDE team would really appreciate it if you give your feedback. Try it out : https://decide.ceh.ac.uk/info/decide_info as they develop it further.

The map opposite is a typical screen grab of what it displays . Areas where the model is least confident and there are few records are shown as yellow shading while areas where it is more certain are shown as blue. As you can see in this area of NE Leeds quite a number of areas have been highlighted deep yellow. If you press 'Get suggestions' it drops markers . In choosing these locations it also take account public access and footpaths which are also displayed as we don't want you to trespass! If you click a marker it gives you info about habitats at that location and the models prediction. Although some points might be just another cornfield others are uncertain and all can help remove uncertainty.