Get Busying Spotting Butterflies

Read more about the importance of monitoring butterflies and how you can get involved.

Posted on 7th February 2024

During the last couple of years the team at Belhus Woods Country Park have been undertaking a survey to monitor butterfly species found in the park as part of the United Kingdom Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS).

The UKBMS is one of the longest running insect monitoring schemes in the world. Having begun in 1976 it is now recording data on over 2,000 sites a year.

You can use our Butterfly Spotter's guide to identify those you see.

Why Butterflies?

Butterflies are uniquely placed to act as indicators of the changing environment as their quick lifecycles are highly sensitive to changing conditions.

The data collected is used to track trends to support research and conservation in a variety of ways and full records can be read on the UKBMS website.

Join a Butterfly Survey

If you have lots of time and are really ready to commit, there are lots of ways you can get involved with the UKBMS.

You can also sign up for the Big Butterfly Count - which is more aimed at members of the public.

The Big Butterfly Count is a nationwide citizen science survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world's biggest survey of butterflies. Over 64,000 citizen scientists took part in 2022, submitting 96,257 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths from across the UK.

Join the count for 2024, running from Friday 12 July to Sunday 4 August. Watch this space for more information or sign up to receive their newsletters.

Read more about the National results for 2023.

Results at Belhus Woods

The good news is that from 2022 to 2023 the park witnessed increases in both population numbers and types of species.

Woodland butterflies tended to appear earliest (April in 2022 and May in 2023). Brimstones, whites and peacocks were the first to arrive both years.

In the meadow areas we hit peak numbers in June and July. Browns, blues, ringlets and gatekeepers formed the largest populations.

By far the most common butterfly at Belhus Woods was the meadow brown.

Meadow Brown butterfly
Meadow brown