Derbyshire News & Blogs
Leicestershire & Rutland News & Blogs
Nottinghamshire News
Past editions of East Midlands Butterfly, our twice-yearly newsletter:
AGM and Members' Day Reports
Archived Leicestershire & Rutland News & Blogs
Image of Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreak. By Philip Kirk. Calverton Pit Top.
Image of Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreak. By Philip Kirk. Calverton Pit Top.
Image of Clifden Nonpareil
Clifden Nonpareil - Calke Park 14th October - Iain McGowan.
Image of Jersey Tiger
Jersey Tiger Moth – Clowne – 9th September 2020 – per Marc Pearson.

Archived Branch News

Boost Garden Butterfly Numbers by up to 93% with One Simple Step, New Study Reveals

New six-year study proves that leaving areas of grass to grow long in gardens can increase butterfly numbers by up to 93%.

This the first scientific evidence that wildlife-friendly gardening practices, such as having long grass and flowering ivy, boost the numbers and types of butterflies, particularly in urban areas and near farmland.

And the Butterfly Conservation Volunteer Award 2023 goes to...

The award is for a volunteer who has given time to work with and involve their local community in the work that BC carries out.

Congratulations to Ken from all the East Midland members.

Congratulations to our Grizzled/Dingy Skipper Officer, Mark Searle.

Mark has won a very well deserved first place in the The UK Butterflies 2023 Photography Competition for his amazing photograph of a Grizzled Skipper butterfly taken in Nottinghamshire.

NB Not the one above (taken by Christine Maughan).

Conservation Work at Markham Vale
image of site before
image of site after

Volunteers Mark Radford and Sid Morris have been busy at Markham Vale North Tip, Derbyshire, controlling gorse encroaching onto the transect zones where Dingy Skipper, Common Blue and Small Heath were in danger of losing habitat.

Memorial to Adrian Russell
image of tree being planted

A disease-resistant elm “Ulmus New Horizon” being planted in Watermead Country Park by Leicester City Council in tribute to Adrian Russell. Members of the EMBC committee were present.

Wirksworth Youngsters Plant Dog Violets at the National Stone Centre

On a cool day in March, a group of 60 well wrapped-up Reception and Year 2 pupils from Wirksworth Church of England Infant School in Derbyshire attended the National Stone Centre (NSC) to plant dog violets.

Green Hairstreak
image of Green Hairstreak on hand

Photo taken on 9th June 2022 at Parkside Pastures, Bestwood CP (Notts) by Craig Levy. Green Hairstreak had not been seen here for several years

Common Blue Larva and Attendant Ant
Common Blue larva with ant attending

The latest brilliant photo from the wonderfully observant (and patient!) team of Nick and Samatha Brownlee.

Photo taken at Rainworth Heath, Nottinghamshire, March 2022.

Notts Butterfly Review 2021 by Steve Mathers

Butterfly Conservation is a partner in a new project with the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

DECIDE aims to encourage targeted recording of those areas where the data available is currently deficient, making the computer models that produce Species Distribution Maps, uncertain.

DECIDE currently focuses on butterflies and moths with maps showing where new records will have most influence on improving species distribution models for these groups. In other words, the maps show where your recording efforts will be most valuable.

Butterfly Conservation has developed a trial methodology to survey for Purple Hairstreaks
which are under recorded on conventional transects. Even if you don't plan to undertake a transect, this makes interesting reading and gives clues as to when and how you might find these elusive butterflies.

Green Hairstreak Species Action Plan.
Green Hairstreak SAP

Just launched (early April 2022). Thanks to Chris Jackson, Emma Gilbert, Melanie Penson and Steve Mathers for all their hard work with this.

Presentations from the 2021 AGM held in March 2022 at Ravenshead.
Grizzled Skippers

An update by Chris Jackson

Clearwing Project

East Midlands Clearwing & Forester Project by Melanie Penson

AGM and Members' Day

Sunday March 20th 2022
2021 AGM Minutes

Thank you to everyone who attended the Branch AGM on Sunday 20th March.

It was a very enjoyable meeting with excellent talks by Chris Jackson (Notts CC) on the Grizzled Skipper Project and Melanie Penson (Notts/Leics Conservation Officer) on the Clearwing and Forester Project. Thank you also to all those members who presented some very interesting pictures, especially to Christine Maughan who did a presentation on Garden Moths and treated us to some more of her excellent photographs.

A very big thank you also, to all those committee members who helped on the day, Gary did a wonderful job in the 'kitchen'. Melanie made £67 on the tombola and Max was brilliant on the projector. I cannot thank those members who helped on the day enough.

Although not present, we had some very good updates from County Recorders and it was a very enjoyable day.

Our thoughts were with Pat Orpe (Derbyshire Assistant Recorder) after her recent fall and Adrian Russell (Leicestershire Moth Recorder) with serious health problem. Also Mick Ball (Derbyshire Moth Recorder) after his recent stay in hospital.

Jane Broomhead

Help Record Green Hairstreak in Notts

We are asking butterfly watchers to help us evaluate the status of this species over the coming seasons

Recording Green Hairstreak
Nottinghamshire Purple Emperor in January 2022
PUE larva

This photo was taken in late January 2022 in central Notts. Purple Emperors lay their eggs on the leaves of willow trees, commonly Goat Willow and the tiny caterpillar which hatches about 10 days later nibbles the edge of the leaf in characteristic fashion, then change into their second skin about early November, when they develop the pair of 'horns'. A short time later they move from the leaf to the crotch of a small branch where they spin a light pad of silk and spend the winter well camouflaged.

Wall Brown Still Fuels Ken's 40-Year Recording Career

When Ken Orpe first visited Friargate in May 1981 – an old railway site in the centre of Derby that had been allowed to ‘rewild’ (in today’s vernacular) after Beeching’s axe in the 1960s – the first butterfly he logged was a Wall Brown.............. Read on

Concerns for the West Coast Monarch
Ellwood Main
The three pictures above, were taken on Wednesday 1st December 2021 at Ellwood Monarch Grove just outside Santa Barbara, California, USA by Ellie Broomhead.

The Monarch is one of my favourite butterflies and the life cycle of the West Coast Monarch is fascinating. Over the past few years their plight has become dire with their over-wintering eucalyptus groves being eroded by gales, building and fires. Today, my daughter, who lives near the Grove, was talking to a butterfly expert taking photographs on the site and he said last year there were no swathes of the butterflies visible at Ellwood, but today there was one and many butterflies flying round the tops of the trees. Let's hope it survives as there is nothing more beautiful than seeing these butterflies warming themselves in mid-March before leaving for their summer holiday in the Rocky Mountains.

Jane Broomhead EMBC Branch Organiser

Amazing photos of Purple Emperor from egg to one-week old!
These photos were all taken by Samantha Brownley in the Sherwood Forest area in 2021. They show an egg of Purple Emperor about to hatch, the actual hatch, the one-day old larva and a one-week old first instar.
Big Count at National Stone Centre

On Sunday 25th July 2021, East Midlands Butterfly Conservation joined forces with the National Stone Centre, near Wirksworth, to help mark this year’s Big Butterfly Count (16th July – 8th August).

The two organisations welcomed visitors to this attractive and varied site that usually focuses largely on geology, but on this occasion switched attention to butterflies. And they and the families that turned up to enjoy the bright and (occasionally) sunny conditions were not disappointed with an impressive 16 species noted in just a few hours.

Branch Organiser, Jane Broomhead was able to stage her first sales display for a long time, while Derbyshire Recorder, Ken Orpe welcomed visitors – many of them families with youngsters – and organised a small body of experienced guides to take the visitors around, to find and help identify the butterflies.

A wealth of wild flowers poked their heads out from the rich grassland, one habitat the butterflies clearly enjoyed, while the sparser quarry areas nevertheless still held a good range of species.

On the edge of one of these more open areas, the day’s main highlight was discovered and observed by a few lucky visitors as a White-letter Hairstreak flitted around brambles before settling on the flower heads of marjoram plants.

Fresh Commas, Small Coppers, Common Blue, Small Skippers and Small Heath added colour, a few Red Admirals and Peacocks had emerged, Large Skippers and Small Tortoiseshells were seen, and most plentiful of all were Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeepers among the grassy areas, while good numbers of Large, Small and Green-veined Whites sped across the site. The day-flying Shaded Broad-bar and Six-spot Burnet moths were also noted.

Rhona Goddard, BC Midlands Regional Officer has arranged four visits to the East Midlands to look at key sites listed on the STW funding bid. Her first two visits have been to central and southern Notts and the picture below shows site owners/managers, our conservation officer, county recorders and transect members, at a central Notts site on 10th June 2021.

image of people present at visit to site in central Notts
L to R: NSDC Ranger, Lynn Preece Newark & Sherwood DC, Rhona Goddard Regional Officer, Melanie Penson Notts/Leics Conservation Officer, Helen Mitchem Project Officer Minor2Major, Amy Chandler Forestry England.

The idea is for Rhona to get to know our area, the diversity of the sites we have and to dispel the myth that the EM is lacking in butterflies and moths. If Rhona feels work can be done in conjunction with those who know the sites then she is happy to try to help. The prority species are Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Small Heath and some moths.

July visits are scheduled for Derbyshire, including our wonderful Hoe Grange Quarry and Leicestershire sites will be visited during August/September.

image of Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreak; Calverton pit top by Philip Kirk
Book Review - Aberrations in British Butterflies

The first volume in a series on aberrations of British Butterflies has been published beginning with the Comma and Ringlet and is reviewed here by Melanie Penson.

Please see below an example of the new signs designed by our Newsletter Editor, Eliot Taylor, which will be soon in place at The Scone & Devon Park, Newark, Vicar Water at Clipstone and Sherwood Heath at Ollerton roundabout. The Branch wishes to thank Eliot for creating these really fantastic signs. We also wish to thank Lynn Preece at Newark & Sherwood District Council for her enthusiasm and support for the Branch.

The lovely Jane and Melanie have been busy today at Sconce and Devon Park in Newark, planting Bird’s-foot Trefoil on the historic Sconce.


We are pleased to announce that the new Nottinghamshire Recorder will be Steve Mathers. The whole of the committee has extended a very warm welcome to Steve, who will be spending the next few weeks sorting through the Notts Records with Suzanne. We are also pleased that Suzanne will be staying on the EM committee. All Nottinghamshire recorders can contact Steve on:

With the new butterfly season fast approaching, would all recorders, especially transects recorders, WCBS recorders or member who are wishing to set up their own transect, please contact their County Recorders to show they are happy to continue recording during the 2021 season. Ken is most anxious to reach No 1 in the transect branch list and the East Midlands Branch is nearly there.

2020 Annual General "Meeting"

Not a normal year and not a normal AGM.

This has the branch officer's reports and shows the significant amount of work undertaken for and on behalf of the branch during 2020.

Find a Purple Emperor larva

Matthew Oates (author of His Imperial Majesty) has sent some tips, via our own Purple Emperor guru, Dennis Dell, about how to seek out and find over-wintering caterpillars.

Purple Emperor (Iris)

Dennis Dell, the East Midlands Champion for the iconic Purple Emperor would welcome any records for the butterfly in any of the 4 Counties in our Branch. These would be sightings at any location or photographs if possible. Please email these to Dennis at

A BIG THANK YOU to Shipley Birdwatchers Group...

...who have recently donated £50 to EMBC. During these difficult times any donations would be very welcome. We hope that Chris along with EMBC members and Notts BAG will be back with work parties for the Grizzled Skipper over the coming winter. Any donations we receive will help towards local conservation activities.

Retirement of Bill Bacon

Our former chairman Bill Bacon, has decided to step down from the committee and his role as Grizzled Skipper Project Officer after many decades of hard work for the Branch.

17th August 2020

A Thank You From The Committee

The East Midlands Branch Committee wishes to say thank you to all those members....

2019 Nottinghamshire Transect Summary

County Recorder Suzanne Halfacre has put together a summary of the 31 butterfly transects undertaken in Nottinghamshire in 2019.

Numbers of butterflies and species is given for each site, followed by the top 5 species recorded.

A lot of hard work must have gone into collating this data - Thanks Sue

The Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey Annual Newsletter 2019 Season is now available.

The East Midlands Branch Spring 2020 Newsletter is now available but will not be mailed out as paper copy because of the coronavirus pandemic.

You should have received this by email if you have set your preferences up to do so. You can change what communications you want and how you receive them HERE

Despite the widespread loss of mature elms, White-letter Hairstreaks are still found in the wider countryside, making use of the suckering regrowth in the hedgerows. This one was photographed by James Playle, ovipositing between Colston Bassett and Langar on June 25th 2020.

Image of White-letter Hairstreak
White-letter Hairstreak by James Playle.