The Big Butterfly Count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping assess the health of the environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies. Over 36,000 people took part in 2016, counting almost 400,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK (see the 2016 results). Big Butterfly Count 2017 will take place from Friday 14th July to Sunday 6th August and it is easy to get involved.
To take part simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather at some point before the end of the 6th of August. This time of year was chosen because most butterflies are at the adult stage of their lifecycle, so more likely to be seen. Records are welcome from anywhere: from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.
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.
You can submit separate records for different dates at the same place, and for different places that you visit. Remember that your count is useful even if you do not see any butterflies or moths. You can send in your sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or by using our FREE Big Butterfly Count smartphone apps available for iOS and Android.
Download this handy identification chart to help you work out which butterflies you have seen.
Find out more here: www.bigbutterflycount.org