If you didn’t know already, the Big Butterfly Count is once again running this month until the 12th August.
I have noticed a lot more butterflies (particularly whites) flying around this summer compared to last year, so thought the count would be a great way of noting and identifying what I see. I chose to do my fifteen minute count on a walk around my local cemetery, which I have written about numerous times! It is a lovely old grade II listed site, which is no longer used for new burials but is open all year round for visitors to walk around the 12+ hectares and admire the wildflower areas which are there to “maintain and protect a decreasing inner-city habitat and monitor native flora and fauna within the cemetery”. I therefore thought that this would be an ideal area for counting butterflies!
The idea behind the survey is that you count the highest number of one species you see at the same time (if you are in one spot like a garden) or if on a walk like I was, then to add up the number of each butterfly species that you see during the 15 minutes. I started by heading towards a large patch of lavender as I knew there would be several there and as anticipated there were quite a few, but not as many as the bees – of which there must have been at least 70! It was a wonderful sight to see, after having seen so many struggling in the heat this year.
Anyway, the first butterfly I saw was a pretty little Common Blue, followed quickly by many Whites (my ID skills led me to settle on 14x Large and 8x Small). These were mainly in pairs. I then walked back via a shaded area to see what else I could count and I managed to spot 6x Speckled Wood butterflies and a further two orangey-brown medium butterflies fluttering in a spiral together, but they were too quick to identify so I did not log those.
It is a really enjoyable activity to do on your own or with others, whether it be during your lunch break, on the way to work and when you are out and about at the weekend. City or countryside, it doesn’t matter – all you need is the free app or the handy identification chart and something to note down your sightings to log online. If you would like to take part, you can find out more about the project here. In the meantime, why not check out my post about last year’s results!