Holkham is renowned for many things such as rare habitats and unique wildlife but did you know that here at Holkham, the monitoring of butterflies along a transect route has been carried out every year since 1976 and is one of the longest running in the country. The 3,400m long transect was designed to include a range of habitat types. Monitoring takes place every week between the beginning of April and the end of September.
The data that is collected is passed to Butterfly Conservation’s Monitoring Scheme and provides important knowledge for UK butterfly population trends. Butterflies are highly sensitive to environmental conditions making them good indicators of the state of the environment. Their rapid response to changes in the environment enables us to assess the impact from farming practices, climate change and habitat change.
Small Tortoise Shell Butterfly
While it has been a slow start to the year there are still plenty of peacocks, Walls and common blue about. In total 26 species have been recorded along the transect route, the highest number in Norfolk! Last year good numbers of small copper and dark green fritillary were seen.
Unfortunately butterflies across the UK are in serious decline either in distribution or population. Overall there has been a decline in three-quarters of butterfly species over the last 40 years. It is therefore very important that Holkham NNR maintains suitable high quality habitats.