Watch out for woodland wings

Tuesday 5th June 2018

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

Nature enthusiasts are being asked to help count one of the rarest butterflies in the UK at its only home in Worcestershire.

The wood white is found at just 50 sites across the country, including Monkwood near Worcester, where the butterfly was recently reintroduced after disappearing from the county in 2008.

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation (BC) and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust (WWT) are asking the public to help count how many wood whites they can see at the ancient woodland reserve on Sunday 24 June from 11am.

BC’s Wood White Project Officer, Rhona Goddard, said: “This guided butterfly walk will give us a chance to monitor the wood white’s progress in Worcestershire.

“We’re hopeful this could be their best year yet, as a few weeks ago around 100 butterflies were seen in just one day, compared to about 20 butterflies at the same location the year before.”

Monkwood is jointly managed by BC and WWT and has been part of a three-year project to boost the number of wood white butterflies across the West Midlands.

The ‘Making a Stand for the Wood White’ project was launched in 2016 thanks to a £98,400 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and support from the Seven Waste Environmental Fund and the Forestry Commission.

The wood white is the smallest of the UK’s white butterflies with an average wingspan of 44mm and can be seen at Monkwood from the end of May and throughout June. In warm years, a partial second brood can emerge around the end of July or the first week of August.

Rhona added: “Once we have completed all our summer surveys, this information will help us to see if the reintroduction was a success or not and in a few years’ time we should know if the population has become established at Monkwood.”

Dom Cragg, WWT conservation officer, said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who have supported this project through surveying and practical conservation work.”

To find out more about the event, visit: www.butterfly-conservation.org/Monkwood or email wmbutterflies@gmail.com.

For more information about volunteering at Monkwood visit our volunteering pages.