Butterfly spotted in Derbyshire for the first time in a century

an orange white and black peacock butterfly sits on top of a yellow flower with its wings spread

Mon 15 Apr 2024

Our Parks team work with many voluntary organisations, including East Midlands Butterfly Conservation. EMBC has 350 volunteers who carry out transects (surveys) every year to record butterfly activity across 140 sites in Derbyshire including this year the rewilding at Allestree Park

Monday 1 April marked the beginning of the new transect season! This is the perfect time to record how many butterflies and what type of butterflies are present in a certain area at a certain time of year. This helps us to track what species are spreading northwards due to climate change and also enables us to assess the population changes as well.

It was a slow start to the year as, due to a lot of rain and not much sun, the local butterflies were not out in very good numbers. However in the first 3 months of 2024 there have been over 450 butterflies seen in the County which is only 20% of the butterflies that had been recorded in Derbyshire during the first 3 months of 2021.



A Large Tortoise Shell Butterfly. Photo by Robert Wardell.

Despite the slow start to the year, as the sun started to show itself, three new butterfly species were spotted at the beginning of March. These included two sightings of the Speckled Wood, an Orange Tip and a Green Veined White. Apart from those three new species, we had 154 reported sightings of a variety of butterfly across Derbyshire during the month.

an orange tipped butterfly. the rest of it is black and white

An Orange Tip butterfly. Seen by Eric Easom.

The Small White butterfly was spotted recently as well as Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and also Commas. As it has only been a few weeks since the butterfly transect began, we have yet to see all the butterfly species that may be present in our parks this year. It is expected that we could possibly see more Holly Blues, Large Whites, and Red Admirals very soon.

an orange and black comma butterfly flying past some small white flowers

Comma Butterfly. Spotted by Stephen Bacon.

Meanwhile in the Peak District of Derbyshire the rare Green Hairstreak butterfly has been seen in one of the dales – this butterfly is absent from Derby and South Derbyshire so a visit to Lathkill Dale Nation Nature Reserve in the next month is necessary to see this special Upland butterfly. 

If you’re feeling inspired to get out and see what you can spot, you can learn more about our different parks and the wildlife that lives there. Find out more about Butterfly Conservation on the East Midlands Butterfly Conservation website.

Thank you to Ken Orpe for his assistance with this years Butterfly transect.