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!
At the end of January, the RSPB held their 39th Big Garden Birdwatch, and for the third year running I took part. Although my watch wasn’t particularly inspiring, 420,489 results were submitted across the UK and a fantastic 6,764,475 birds were counted in total!
The overall results have been published and the 2018 top 10 garden birds are:
- House sparrow (non-mover)
- Starling (non-mover)
- Blue tit (up one place)
- Blackbird (down one place)
- Woodpigeon (non-mover)
- Goldfinch (non-mover)
- Great tit (up one place)
- Robin (down one place)
- Long-tailed tit (up one place)
- Chaffinch (down one place)
This is another great year of results for the RSPB to use along with previous data to determine which species need help, and which species are thriving.
Next year will be the Big Garden Birdwatch’s 40th anniversary, so I am hoping for big things and another big count!
Last weekend was the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and I chose Saturday to do my count. Unintentionally, I always seem to pick the day with the worst weather and this year was no exception – drizzly and windy! As planned though, this year’s count was done in my grandma’s garden (2016 was at my mum’s and last year was at my in-law’s) as I am very interested to see the results from different locations.
© the Green & the Wild
My grandma has been putting food out over winter, so after ensuring there was plenty on the grass and in the feeder, I sat in her conservatory between 11:30am – 12:30pm expecting to at least see my grandma’s regular garden visitors (2 woodpigeons and 2 magpies), but all I counted in the whole hour was a fleeting visit from a single blackbird and one woodpigeon!
As it is just as important to record no birds as it is many birds, I wasn’t disappointed but my grandma was keen for me to see the regulars, so later that afternoon once the weather had cleared up, we had another ‘birdwatch’ and would you believe it, within five minutes the lawn was crowded with two blackbirds, one of the two regular magpies and three woodpigeons, one of which was a juvenile which I found very sweet as the whole family was out for dinner together!
Did you take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this year? If so, please share with us what you counted and of course, don’t forget to submit your results!
It’s January… the month of predicted snow showers and welcoming hygge… but also time to get your binoculars out and fill up your bird feeders, as the Big Garden Birdwatch is once again upon us!
That’s right, the RSPB is holding their annual birdwatch from 27th – 29th of this month and they want you to get involved. You can request a FREE pack on their website now and that’s it, you will be set to take part in the world’s largest garden wildlife survey! On your chosen day, simply get comfy in your garden, a room with a good view outside, your local park or green space and count the birds that you see in a single hour, making sure you jot down the maximum number of each species you see at any one time. Once the hour is up, you will then have to log your results on the Big Garden Birdwatch website or post your paper form (within three weeks) for the RSPB to collate and analyse!
By taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, you will play a vital role in the health of the UK’s wildlife and even help “change the fortunes of an entire species“. There’s nothing to lose! Last year around 500,000 people took part in the birdwatch and I think we can beat that amazing figure this year – so join me in being a citizen scientist and request your pack today!
“Gardens can prove a real life-saver for birds at this time of year, especially when it is frosty or snowy“, so if you are eager to count lots of birds during the survey and need some inspiration on how to attract them into your garden during the cold months (as well as all year round), check out the RSPB’s gardening tips!
Tomorrow is the start of this year’s ‘Big Butterfly Count‘ – a nationwide survey (and the world’s largest butterfly survey) held by the British charity, Butterfly Conservation and Waitrose, to gain an understanding of the health of our environment. Counting butterflies helps determine natural health as they “react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators“. If we begin to see a reduction in butterfly numbers and/or species, it could warn us of other wildlife declines.
To take part, you simply have to count the butterflies that you see in any location within a 15 minute time period. Like the Big Garden Birdwatch, if you are counting in a single area, you should count the maximum number of each species that you can see at a single time. However, if you decide to count the butterflies you see on a 15 minute walk for example, then you can add up the number of each species that you come across.
Your results, even if you see no butterflies, will not only support the environmental health assessment, but also help the charity identify species’ trends and consequently develop protection plans.
To help you with your 15 minute butterfly count, you can download a useful identification chart from the Butterfly Conservation! Once your sightings have been tallied up, you then simply have to submit your results online or via the free Big Butterfly Count app.
The Big Butterfly Count runs from Friday 14 July to Sunday 6 August, so if you find yourself with a spare 15 minutes, do something wild, get counting and have fun!
© Peacock Butterfly