Prestwood Nature The Local Environment Group for the Prestwood Area

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Butterfly Transect

For details of the minor species and week by week breakdown of the counts,  follow the links below:     

Results of Butterfly Transect 2019

Results of Butterfly Transect 2018

Results of Butterfly Transect 2017

Results of Butterfly Transect 2016

Results of Butterfly Transect 2015

Results of Butterfly Transect 2014

Results of Butterfly Transect 2013

Results of Butterfly Transect 2012

Results of Butterfly Transect 2011

Results of Butterfly Transect 2010

Results of Butterfly Transect 2009

Results of Butterfly Transect 2008

Results of Butterfly Transect 2007

Results of Butterfly Transect 2006

The Butterfly Transect is a fixed route about 3 miles long which is walked each week from April to September by a team of volunteers who identify and count all the butterflies they see.  They are looking for 33 different species; not all are observed every year and others are only found on a few occasions.  

The Butterfly Transect was first started in 2006.  The results are submitted to and form part of the United Kingdom Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS).   Butterflies are uniquely placed amongst British terrestrial insects and other invertebrate groups to act as indicators of the state of the environment.  Our continued involvement with UKBMS is of great importance. The chart below shows the total numbers of butterflies counted each year.  2006 was a very hot summer which has set a record which has not yet been beaten.

John Obee has written a detailed description of the route which you can read by clicking here.  

In 2019 the total count was 2403, the fifth best year since recording began.  It could have been better if the weather had been more consistent.  Good weeks were interspersed with cool wet periods and we were only able to record butterflies on 19 of the 26 weeks.  

After a surge of peacocks in early April, spring was dominated by brimstones and orange-tips until the common blues emerged around 21 May. Overall numbers picked up in late June when the Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites emerged, joined by Ringlets right at the end of the month. Gatekeepers did not emerge until mid-July. The best week of the year was around 22 July when there were 16 species flying and overall numbers peaked at 540.

Species that did better than average in 2019 were mainly the "browns" - Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath. These are all species whose caterpillars feed on grasses and they have all been doing particularly well over the last 5 years.  In all, 28 different species of butterflies were recorded but, of these, 9 species accounted for 91% of the total  They are shown in the chart on the right.

Roll the mouse pointer over the charts to see the full-size versions of them.  Move the mouse away to hide the larger version.

Below is a photo gallery showing the major species of butterflies found on our transect. Click on the thumbnail pictures to see individual butterflies or press thebutton to run a slide show.

To the right are links showing detailed reports for each year.