Posted 7th Jun 2018 by Peter Byrne
Nature enthusiasts are being called upon to count one of the rarest UK butterflies
The Wood White is only found at 50 sites across the country, including Monkwood near Worcester, where the butterfly has only recently been reintroduced after it had disappeared from the county in 2008.
Now, Butterfly Conservation (BC) and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust (WWT) are calling on the public to count as many Wood Whites as they can spot at the ancient woodland reserve on Sunday 24 June.
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 managed by BC and WWT and has featured in a three-year project that is looking to boost the number of Wood White butterflies across the West Midlands.
The 'Making a Stand for the Wood White' project launched in 2016 following a £98,400 grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and support from the Seven Waste Environmental Fund and the Forestry Commission.
The smallest of the UK's white butterflies, the Wood White only has an average wingspan of 44mm and can be seen at Monkwood from the end of May and throughout June. During the warmer years, there will be a partial second brood which emerges around the end of July or the first week of August.
Rhona said: "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".