Conservation action is absolutely reliant on information about the distribution and abundance of butterflies and moths.
Butterfly Conservation uses a number of survey techniques to gather this information.
The Hibernating Herald project is finding out more about the overwintering distribution of Heralds in Scotland. We need your help to find new sites by checking dark corners of unheated outbuildings in your garden or looking in suitable dark places when you are out and about.
The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, run by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, has in recent years developed the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS) method to gauge the changing abundance of widespread species in the general countryside.
The Small Blue butterfly continues to be an important focus of survey and conservation work for the branch, with activities based mainly in coastal areas. This is a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan which has suffered a significant contraction in range over recent decades.
This butterfly is another UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species and Eastern Scotland probably holds the majority of sites with colonies. Consequently survey work, site monitoring and conservation activities remain important.
The Pearl-bordered Fritillary is a UKBAP Priority Species and is included on the Scottish Biodiversity List. It has recently been designated a Species Action Framework Species by SNH. Although still relatively widespread in the UK, most colonies are small and vulnerable to changing management It has declined rapidly across the UK, particularly in England, and Scotland is now the major stronghold but we believe it is still under-recorded with many sites having few recent records, hence the need for this survey.
UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (Butterfly Transects)
The Butterfly Transect is a walk along a set route that is divided into separate sections. In each of these sections the number of butterflies are counted along with the climatic conditions. Using this method comparisons can be made year-on-year and between transects. The UK has over 1500 recorded sites going back a far as 1976. Scotland has a growing number of transects, many of which are located here in the East Scotland branch.
The transect is an enjoyable way of getting to know a site well and all the butterflies in that site. A weekly commitment is usually required and usually groups of walkers share such a walk. The walk is done from April till September every year and the counts entered into free software called Transect Walker available from the UKBMS website.">