Today was officially the last day of the Big Butterfly Count week but you can still take part until the end of August. (Findings count from any time in July and August and you can submit records for different dates and different places, so there’s still time to have a go.) Remember that your count is useful even if you do not see any butterflies or moths so still enter your results.
How to take part
Simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather. This time of year most butterflies are at the adult stage of their lifecycle, so more likely to be seen. Records are welcome from anywhere: from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.
If you are counting from a fixed position in your garden, count the maximum number of each species that you can see at a single time. If you are doing your count on a walk, then simply total up the number of each butterfly species that you see during 15 minutes.
I remember lots of butterflies on the garden Buddleia as a child – but my nieces had a go in Granny’s garden on Saturday and saw Red Admirals, Common Blue and a Comma but all in all they counted relatively few considering it’s been a better year for butterflies than last. I guess this is why the big butterfly count is important. And tempting as it was to put the total butterflies seen – sticking to the 15 minute rule gives a more helpful result and an indicator of the health of our butterflies.
We downloaded the handy identification chart from the big butterfly count website, which made it easy for the girls to put ticks on the pictures of the butterflies they saw. On our maximum count we had a grand total of 9 White butterflies and 1 Peacock (not too bad when I think I’ve hardly seen any in my own garden – but I think the girls were hoping for more).
You can send in your sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or use the FREE smartphone app for Big Butterfly Count.
On my return home I decided to celebrate our butterfly friends with a butterfly beer!
They came from my local deli. The Butterfly Series is brewed by Allendale Brewery and a percentage of their sales goes to help conservatio projects and charities. I chose an ‘Orange Tip’ Amber Ale (my favourite although they also do a Red Admiral and a Death’s Head Hawkmoth). It tasted great, a really nice, light and hoppy ale with a slight fizz great to enjoy while relaxing in the garden.