White wings return to Worcestershire

Thursday 21st September 2017

Wood white in Monkwood (c) Mike WilliamsWood white in Monkwood (c) Mike Williams

One of the UK’s rarest butterflies is making a comeback in Worcestershire after disappearing from the county nearly ten years ago.

The wood white is found on just 50 sites across the country but this now includes an ancient woodland nature reserve near Worcester.

Monkwood is jointly owned by Butterfly Conservation (BC) and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust (WWT) and was one of two locations across the West Midlands that saw the butterfly reintroduced last summer.

The move was part of a three-year project called ‘Making a Stand for the Wood White’, which launched following a £98,400 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and support from the Seven Waste Environmental Fund and the Forestry Commission.

Wood white surveying (c) Mike WilliamsBC’s Project Officer, Rhona Goddard, said: “We’re only a year on from the reintroduction but the number of butterflies seen this year has exceeded all of our expectations and I want to thank everyone involved, especially WWT. On just one summers day we counted as many as 70 wood white butterflies and we can confirm that we’ve seen females laying eggs, which is really exciting news for the future of this species at Monkwood.

“It will be a few years before we can say the butterfly is fully established at the site again, so we need to carry on with the conservation work we have been doing and we especially need people’s help over the autumn and winter.”

The wood white prefers wide, sunny clearings to mate and breed successfully and the caterpillar needs plenty of plants to feed on, like bird's-foot trefoil and meadow vetchling.

The public are invited to get involved in conservation work to maintain this butterfly’s habitat at Monkwood from 10am on Sunday 1 October.

Similar events are also taking place on Sunday 5 November and Sunday 3 December and all details can be found at www.butterfly-conservation.org

For more information on volunteering at Monkwood, please contact Rhona Goddard on 07903 038261 or email rgoddard@butterfly-conservation.org

Keep up to date with the Trust on Twitter @WorcsWT or with Butterfly Conservation @savebutterflies and the West Midlands branch of Butterfly Conservation @WestMidlands_BC

Tagged with: Species, Monkwood, Wood white butterfly