The EU Grassland Butterfly Indicator: 1990-2017

In collaboration with networks of fellow butterfly recorders and monitoring schemes across Europe, Butterfly Conservation Europe has just released the latest version of the EU Grassland Butterfly Indicator: 1990-2017. The data underpinning the indicator is gathered from 6,200 transects across 15 EU countries (including us!).  This represents an enormous amount recording activity and information e.g. everyone walking these transects across Europe in 2017 collectively walked 55,880 km recording butterflies – that’s 1.4 times around the Earth!

The key statistic from the report is that since 1990 we’ve lost 39% of our grassland butterflies.  Sadly, no-one has been surprised by these results but it is both a stark reminder of the challenges we face to protect these species and how sensitively butterflies reflect landscape-scale degradation. This indicator has now been adopted by European Commission and published by Eurostat as one of the core long-term indicators monitoring the EU’s progress on the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (pages 301 and 307 of the 2019 progress report).  Our recorders efforts in monitoring butterflies have always been important for informing how we protect and restore these species in Ireland, but due to the efforts of the Data Centre are now having an increasingly high profile in informing European efforts to halt and reverse these declines too.

You can download the full report by clicking on the below image.


2019 Newsletter

The weather in 2018 ended up being very kind to both recorders and our common and widespread butterfly species.  In total, we recorded 46,065 butterflies and collectively walked 2,628 km over 1,412 hours!  This represents the second best year on record for Irish butterflies with populations up by 29% on our 2008 baseline.  To find out more please click on image below for our 2019 Newsletter.


2019 Butterfly Events

There will be a limited series of butterfly talks and workshops across 2019. The workshop events cover all aspects of the project including species identification and approaches to surveying butterflies. The list below is still in development and more dates will be added soon, so come back often to check for updates!


Butterfly Atlas Talks


Armagh: 6th April, 10am-16pm (As part of the Northern Ireland Recorders Day). Peatlands Park Education Centre, Duncannon BT71 6NW.

Booking: Cathy Cochrane,

Tipperary: 13th May, 7:30pm-8:30pm. Cabragh Wetlands Centre, Thurles E41 T266.

Booking: Aine Lynch,


Butterfly Identification and Monitoring Workshops


Kerry: 11th May, 11am – 4pm. Dingle Oceanworld, Dingle, Co. Kerry V92 Y193.

Booking: Louise Overy,

Monaghan: 29th May, 10:30am – 4pm. Sliabh Beagh Hotel, Knockatallon, Co. Monaghan H18 H985.

Booking: Sandra McQuaid, Monaghan Co. Council, eventbrite


In parallel, our partners in the Butterfly Atlas 2021 Project are also running butterfly events across the island of Ireland.

Butterfly Conservation Ireland list of events in 2018

Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland list of events in 2018


2019 Annual Recorders’ Field Meeting 24-25th August

Shrill Carder Bumblebee (B. sylvarum). Photo: John Breen.

Given the success of our Great Yellow Bumblebee (B. distinguendus) hunt in 2017, we’re focussing on another of our endangered bumblebee species the Shrill Carder Bee (B. sylvarum) on the rich calcareous grasslands throughout the Burren. The goal of the weekend is to highlight the plight of this enigmatic bumblebee, help everyone develop their ’eye’ for the species and establish more transects targeting this species.  For those wishing to record butterflies too, the Burren even in late August will have plenty on the wing including Brown Hairstreak, Grayling and Dark Green Fritillary. Based in the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, on the Saturday morning we’ll have introductory talks on its biology and ecology by Michelle Larkin, a PhD. student who is rapidly becoming Ireland’s expert on the species, followed by walks in areas with a known population, and then a ‘team challenge’ to locate bees at particular sites. As always, you’re welcome to join us for a meal in the evening in the hotel and take the opportunity to socialise afterwards. The following Sunday morning will then be a general recording day for both bumblebees and butterflies finishing up at lunchtime. The meeting is free to attend but spaces will be limited, so if you’d like to provisionally book your place please register here. A more detailed itinerary will be made available for download closer to the event.


2018 Butterfly News & Events


2017 Butterfly News & Events


2016 Butterfly News & Events


2015 Butterfly News & Events