Look for butterflies in Dorset this bank holiday

Peacock butterfly - photo by Peter Eeles

Peacock butterfly - photo by Peter Eeles - Credit: Archant

Nearly a million butterflies have been officially recorded in Dorset over the last five years, Butterfly Conservation can reveal.

Orange tip butterfly - photo by Matt Berry

Orange tip butterfly - photo by Matt Berry - Credit: Archant

In 2010, more than 141,000 sightings were sent to the wildlife charity’s Dorset Branch, but last year that number jumped to more than 270,000.

Dorset is one of the best places in the UK to see butterflies, including rare species like the Lulworth Skipper, Marsh Fritillary and Adonis Blue.

Dorset County Butterfly Recorder Bill Shreeves, said: “This is great news and shows how healthy the butterfly population in Dorset is. We really are very lucky to have such an abundance of butterflies here, especially as almost three-quarters of UK butterfly species have decreased in population during the last decade.”

With butterfly season in full swing, the Branch now needs help from families across Dorset to fill in the gaps or ‘white holes’ where no butterfly sightings have been reported in the last five years.

This includes Halstock in West Dorset, Alton Common in Alton Pancras, Margaret Marsh near Shaftesbury, Hurn Forest near Bournemouth Airport and Morden just west of Lytchett Matravers.

Mr Shreeves said: “It’s really important that we have fresh records so Butterfly Conservation can continue to see how butterflies are faring here in Dorset. The named areas are places where we’ve not had any sightings - this doesn’t mean there are no butterflies present, just that no one has told us about any they might have seen.

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“It would be great if over the bank holiday families can get outside and take a walk at one of these sites and then tell us what butterflies they see. Brimstone, Orange-tip, Peacock, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood butterflies are all on the wing now and are very easy to identify.”

You can find out more about these butterflies by visiting www.butterfly-conservation.org and if you are able to get to the places mentioned, please visit the Dorset Branch website www.dorsetbutterflies.com to submit your sightings online.



Professor Philip Howse explores the brown butterfly family - Most brown butterflies belong to the family Satyridae. Satyrs were the half man and half goat creatures of Greek mythology.

• If you get any photos of butterflies this bank holiday, share them here.

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