This year from 14th
July – 5th
August take part in the Big Butterfly Count
a nationwide survey run by the charity Butterfly Conservation
. It was launched in 2010 and over 10,000 people took part, counting 210,000 butterflies and day flying moths, in 2011 more than 34,000 people took part.
Butterflies react quickly to change in their environment and are excellent biodiversity indicators making butterfly declines an early warning for other wildlife losses. This survey helps to identify trends in species as well as to understand the effect climate change has on wildlife and how to protect butterflies from extinction.
All you need to do is to count butterflies for 15 minutes preferably on a sunny day recording the maximum number of each species that you see at a single time and submit your sightings online before the end of August. You can submit separate sightings for different dates and places: parks, school grounds, gardens, fields and forests. This is a great family activity that you can do in the summer holidays, whilst you are on holiday or you could do it as a class activity at school if you have time before the end of term.
For more information have a look at the Big Butterfly Count website
there is also a handy Butterfly Chart to download and print which will help you to identify and record the species you spot.
We all love butterflies, they are unique little creatures of varying shapes and sizes with dazzling vivid colours, but our native butterflies need our help. Butterflies are far less common now than they were 50 years ago, much of their natural habitat, wildflower meadows, heath land, woodland and peat bogs has been lost to industrial and housing developments and intensive farming. Your garden, however large or small, could be a haven for butterflies, providing food and shelter; even a window box garden can help.
Red Admiral Butterfly
To attract butterflies into your garden you will need to provide nectar rich flowers throughout the butterfly season, as well as food plants for the butterfly caterpillars to eat, click here
for advice on which nectar rich plants to grow in Spring, Summer and Autumn and tips on gardening for butterflies.
Peacock Butterfly Caterpillar on Nettles
Love your environment
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