The Big Butterfly Count for 2017 is underway, and everyone’s help is needed to measure and estimate how many butterflies are out there. More than 36,000 people took part last year. It runs this year between 14 the July and 6th August.
UK Butterfly Numbers are Declining
Because they react quickly to changing environments, butterflies are very good indicators of how the natural environment is changing. When their numbers start declining, there’s a good reason, and it can be a sign that other forms of wildlife are also in danger.
The Big Butterfly Count is a survey run by Butterfly Conservation. It helps us understand the effects of climate change as well as helping to figure out how we can protect butterflies and other wildlife from extinction.
Imagine a world without butterflies. I’ve seen very few this year compared to previous years. Granted, we had to cut down the buddleia which attracted so many, but even out in the fields when I’m walking the dog, there’s a noticeable absence.
I’m no good at identifying butterflies, apart from Cabbage Whites maybe, and Peacocks.
Thankfully, The Big Butterfly Count has an app (iOS and Android) you can download that contains pictures to help with identification. It’s also much easier to submit counts using the app, otherwise you need to keep a manual record then go to the website to log numbers.
Alternatively, there’s a chart if you don’t want to use an app to count. I used the chart to identify the one in my picture (above) as a Gatekeeper.
How to Take Part in the Big Butterfly Count
It takes just 15 minutes to take part. Choose a pleasant, sunny spot to sit, which could be a local park, field or forest, or your garden. Stay put in your spot for the 15 minutes and notice how many butterflies you see.
To avoid counting the same butterfly more than once, if you see one butterfly on its own you’d record 1 as the total for that particular species. If you see a group together of the same species, record the number in the group. Submit your sightings, even if you saw no butterflies at all. It’s important that zero sightings are noted as well as species numbers.
Download iOS app here.
Download Android app here.
You can do as many counts as you like. Happy counting, and happy snapping at the same time!