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Butterflies are captivatingly pretty insects and most people enjoy seeing them, despite many knowing little about them. Since records began, in 1946, 31 species of butterfly have been recorded in Wharfedale. Butterflies are a fantastic biodiversity indicator, and quite a few of the species that are now seen regularly were unheard of this far north when our records began. For anyone wanting to learn more about these beautiful insects Wharfedale Naturalists is a great place to start, with knowledgeable people who are willing to help.

Our Wharfedale Naturalists’ butterfly 

Recording your butterflies

When recording your butterflies it is helpful to submit data with the following columns:

Species name

Quantity seen (please estimate if can’t say exact numbers)

Stage, for example adult, larval, pupal

Location (please don’t use your address as the location (a street name is ok). The nearest town / village is fine with extra information if needed, e.g. Otley, Gallows Hill NR)

Grid reference (at least 4 figure, 6 figure preferred)

Date recorded

Name of recorder/s.


A photo can be sent to the Wharfedale Naturalists’ recorder if you are unsure of the identification. Binoculars are very useful for getting a clearer view of a butterfly. There are many good identification guides, including on-line versions.

Submitting your data so it’s useful at a Local and National level

Please only submit a record if you are sure of the identification. Records are to be sent to Nyree Fearnley ( Ideally, records are to be submitted on an excel spreadsheet. Our preferred recording spreadsheet, which contains all the relevant columns for the information required is here:

To facilitate inclusion in the national recording scheme Nyree and Paul will forward any records and contact information they receive to the Vice County recorder for Mid-west Yorkshire (VC64). Anonymized records will also be shared with the local Ecological Data Centres.


If you have entered your records via any on-line schemes, such as iRecord, please let us know so that we can ensure that the Vice County recorder does not receive them as duplicates.


We run at least one full day butterfly walk each year and a couple of half day walks focusing on species identification, where people of all abilities are very welcome. There will be experts on hand to share identification tips.

Useful information sources

Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland (Second Edition), R. Lewington

Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire – for species identification tips and distribution maps

Butterflies and Moths, North and East Yorkshire on facebook – a good way to connect with other local butterfly enthusiasts.

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