Butterfly Monitoring

Butterfly Monitoring on Hampstead Heath

Butterfly monitoring has been carried out annually on the Heath for the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS) since in 1977. However, most of this transect is through woodland and scrub areas and has become gradually overshaded with time, making it less suitable for butterflies. In 2019, we set up a pilot butterfly transect taking in a variety of habitats, including the Heath’s wildflower meadow areas, which were seeded in 2015. It is hoped that this transect will give a more comprehensive record of the Heath’s butterfly species. Our Wildlife Monitors carry out weekly transects from March to October noting the species and numbers of butterflies seen in each habitat section. The data collected by volunteers helps to inform how the habitats on the Heath are managed for butterflies and other pollinating insects. The pilot year of the transect was a success. Monitoring volunteers have noted 19 species of butterflies along the transect route, and counted a higher abundance of meadow species than on the older transect, such as Small Heath and Painted Lady. We will be rolling out this transect as part of the UKBMS in future survey seasons. To get involved in our Wildlife Monitoring projects click here.