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 2006

Results of Butterfly Transect 2007

Results of Butterfly Transect 2008

Results of Butterfly Transect 2009

Results of Butterfly Transect 2010

Results of Butterfly Transect 2011

Results of Butterfly Transect 2012

Results of Butterfly Transect 2013

Results of Butterfly Transect 2014

Results of Butterfly Transect 2015

Results of Butterfly Transect 2016

Results of Butterfly Transect 2017

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 2017 the total of individuals seen flying was 2004, slightly above average, and a marked improvement on last year.  The number of different species was also slightly above average.  Brown argus was low last year and did not recover - we did not see one this year; nor did we see any fritillaries.  But other uncommon butterflies were still around - small copper, small heath, dingy skipper and green hairstreak.  We even added a new species to the Transect - a purple hairstreak seen late in September when there were few other butterflies flying.  It flew up from low vegetation in Meadsgarden Field into the top of an oak at the edge of Meadsgarden Wood (a new site for this species).  2017 was a good year for this butterfly nationally.

Roll the mouse pointer over the chart on the left to see the full-size version.  Move the mouse away to hide it.

Analysis of the numbers shows that over 80% of the butterflies counted are represented by just 8 species.  

The second chart plots the total numbers of each species that were recorded each year from 2015 to 2017. To see the chart more clearly, move the mouse pointer over it and a larger version will pop up showing the figures for each year since 2006.   Move the mouse away and the larger version will disappear.   

The links below give the week-by-week breakdown of the figures for each year and our most common butterflies are shown in the photo gallery.