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Big Butterfly Count 2019

Launching today is a great citizen science project, The big butterfly count. This is a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has now become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies. Over 100,000 people took part in 2018, submitting 97,133 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths from across the UK. I think it could be even bigger this year and it’s SO easy (and fun!) to take part!  The lovely Nick Baker explains how in this video……

Why do we count butterflies?

Butterflies are excellent biodiversity indicators as they react quickly to changes in their environment. Butterfly declines are an often an early warning for other wildlife losses Surveys such as this also assist us in identifying trends in species that will help plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on our wildlife. #gallery-20639-19 { margin: auto; } #gallery-20639-19 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-20639-19 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-20639-19 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

How can I take part?

All you have to do is find somewhere to base your survey. It could be your garden, a local park, field, woodland… in fact anywhere outside that you choose that you think butterflies might like to be!  Then, imply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the big butterfly count period from 19th July – 11th August.

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. For example, if you see three Red Admirals together on a buddleia bush then record it as 3, but if you only see one at a time then record it as 1 (even if you saw one on several occasions) – this is so that you don’t count the same butterfly more than once . If you are doing your count on a walk, then simply total up the number of each butterfly species that you see during the 15 minutes.

Download the identification chart to help you work out which butterflies you have seen. This great guide also helps you learn to recognise our most common British species of butterfly (and a few moths!)

You can submit  records for different dates at the same place, and for different places that you visit. so keep popping out and think about doing the survey whenever you are out and about in suitable locations between now and August 11th. It is a fantastic activity to do with children as well… I’ll certainly be doing it with any kids I spend time with this summer! Don’t forget that the count is useful even if you do not see any butterflies or moths, so still submit a zero response.

You can send in your sightings online at or by using the FREE big butterfly count smartphone apps available for iOS and Android.

I will be tweeting any results I submit throughout this period and will write a blog at the end of the season. I’m also going to set myself the challenge of photographing all the species I see! I wonder how many I can

I can’t wait…..


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