Butterfly monitoring - help needed!

Did you know that Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath is one of the best sites for butterflies in London, with some 30 species recorded in past two years?

Butterflies are uniquely placed amongst British terrestrial insect and other invertebrate groups to act as indicators of the state of the environment, allowing the assessment of the impact of climate change and the progress of government policy initiatives to conserve biodiversity.

Not only are butterflies biologically suitable as indicator species, having rapid lifecycles and, in many cases, high sensitivity to environmental conditions, but the recording and monitoring volunteer networks and datasets built up by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology enable accurate assessment of their trends.

Monitoring on the Commons

Formal monitoring of butterflies across the Commons is undertaken as part of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.  There are two butterfly transects - fixed walks covering different parts of the Commons - and these are surveyed weekly in good weather between April and September, with the data recorded on the nationwide database.

Can you help?

The transects are walked solely by volunteers and the current group of volunteers could really use some more help.   Some knowledge of butterflies would, of course, be very useful however the main requirement is being able to commit to carrying out the transect walks fairly regularly.  As the transects should only be walked in good weather, some flexibility on timing is also needed.

There are a few “rules” that need to be followed when walking the transects but training and guidance will be provided.

If you have any interest or further questions please contact Simon Riley, email simonriley41@virginmedia.com.