Somerset & Bristol Butterfly Conservation branch committee are particularly concerned about the decline of four species of butterfly from our region.
The Marsh Fritillary and Wood White have already gone, the Duke of Burgundy is on the verge of disappearing and the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary has already been lost from some sites, including our own Mount Fancy Farm BC Reserve.
As a branch, we are keen to try to prevent any further decline, or loss of these species and to see if it is possible to re-establish the Marsh Fritillary and the Wood White in the Blackdown Hills. John Andrews, the Chair of Somerset & Bristol branch put a proposal forward to Butterfly Conservation head office and we are pleased to say that it was approved.
Somerset and Bristol BC branch, in collaboration with the Devon BC branch will be funding this project, which will initially be referred to as ‘The Blackdowns Butterfly Project’.
The focus in the first year will be on the Marsh Fritillary and the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary when we are employing a specialist to carry out an inventory of sites previously populated by these two species and also look at the habitat of potential sites. It will be followed by surveying and recording of butterflies during the flight season. This part of the project will need help from volunteers.
We hope that the results from the initial research & surveys will provide the foundation for a future conservation project to reverse the decline of these butterfly species in the Blackdown Hills AONB.