Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Butterfly Transects

You may have heard the term "Butterfly Transect" or its originator "Pollard Walks".

Please scroll down or use the section links below to find out more about this very important work of Butterfly Conservation.

What is a Butterfly Transect ?

How do I start one ?

Where do I get reference information from ?

Transects within the West Midlands region

Which Species can I record ?


What is a Butterfly Transect?

A Butterfly Transect is a method standardised over 25 years ago by Ernie Pollard to measure numbers of butterflies along a set route. This method uses known variables, such as sun light and temperature, which affect numbers. The route is a constant one divided into sections, usually of different habitat type. Butterflies are counted in each section within 2.5m each side of your walk. The total for each species in each section is then entered on a form or into the software (see below).

Primarily it was intended that butterflies are recorded with this method, but now people are starting to record the day flying moths too. (see species list).

Data is collected for 26 weeks of the year and fed into freely available software from Butterfly Conservation (see links page) called Transect Walker.

Walking a transect is an engaging and useful method of monitoring a site.

If you would like to set up your own transect or be part of a team for an existing transect please contact John Tilt (contact information) by post, email or phone. More details below.


How to start a new Transect

The following needs to be done to start a transect:

 Find a site – this can be a nature reserve or your local patch where you walk your dog

 Define a sensible route up to about 1 hours walk and divide the route into up to 15 sections.

 You can consult many of the experts in the region to help with this if you need.

 Then let John Tilt (contact information) know that you are setting up a transect.

 Finally enjoy the walk!


Where to get reference information

There are many web-pages now available that reference Butterfly Transects. Simply do a search for “Butterfly Transect” on any of the Internet search engines.

Butterfly Conservation has information on Transects on its web-site and a summary guide can be found by following the link below.

Butterfly Conservation Transect Summary sheet (PDF)

More details on the Transects can be found here:

Butterfly Conservation Transects Page

The Butterfly Transect was originally set up 25 years ago in a scheme call the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (BMS). Details of this can be found at:

Butterfly Monitoring Scheme

An online discussion group has been setup for people to discuss issues relating to transects at:

Yahoo Groups

Search for "UKTransect" from this page and follow the site's instructions to join the group.


Transects in the West Midlands region

At the moment the region consists of the following counties:

 Staffordshire
 Shropshire
 West Midlands
 Worcestershire
 Herefordshire
 Gloucestershire

Warwickshire has its own co-ordinator - Keith Warmington.

Below is a table of the current data held from the Transects over the past 25 years. Currently about 40 transects return data out of the 102 originally started. The table shows the number of Transects walked per county.

As can be seen, Staffordshire has the smallest number of transects and it is hoped that this will increase in the future.

The analysis and annual review of the Transect data for 2002 is available to view.


Which Species are Recorded ?

All the butterfly species can be recorded in this way ranging from common species such as Orange-tip and Gatekeeper to rare species such as High Brown Fritillary and Large Heath.

Presently there are not very many records for the day-flying moths within the Transect walks, but it is hoped that this will increase in the future. Below is a list of the species currently within the scheme:

Argent & Sable
Beautiful Yellow Underwing
Black Mountain Moth
Black-veined Moth
Bright Wave
Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
Broad-bordered White Underwing
Burnet Companion
Chalk Carpet
Chimney Sweeper
Cistus Forester
Clouded Buff
Common Heath
Drab Looper
Five-spot Burnet
Humming-bird Hawk-moth
Jersey Tiger
Lace Border
Latticed Heath
Least Minor
Little Thorn
Marbled Clover
Mother Shipton
Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnet
Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
Netted Mountain Moth
Rannoch Looper
Scarce Forester
Scarce Vapourer
Scarlet Tiger
Scotch Burnet
Shoulder-striped Clover
Silver Y
Six-spot Burnet
Slender Scotch Burnet
Small Argent & Sable
Small Dark Yellow Underwing
Small Purple-barred
Small Yellow Underwing
Speckled Yellow
Straw Belle
The Cinnabar
The Forester
The Vapourer
Transparent Burnet
Wood Tiger
Yellow Belle


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