Big Butterfly Count

The charity Butterfly Conservation is holding its annual Big Butterfly Count – the biggest butterfly survey in the world.


Hummingbird Hawk-Moth. The Old Forge, July 2014

Starting today and running until 10th August, this is an easy and fun opportunity to help butterfly and moth conservation in the UK.


If you’d like to take part, simply wait for a sunny spell and spend 15 minutes either on a walk or sitting in a garden, wood or park with a mug of tea (not compulsory) and count any butterflies and moths you see.


Tortoiseshell, The Priory yesterday

You can download a smart phone app for the count from Butterfly Conservation or be retro-groovy and just jot down what you see on a sheet of paper.  (But you’ll need to re-join the real world to enter your results online).  You can do as many counts as you like, on different days and from different locations.

Marbled White, July 2012

Marbled White, July 2012

Please do take part.  The information you provide will help chart population trends and might even save certain species from extinction.

Meadow Brown, The Priory yesterday

Meadow Brown, The Priory yesterday

There is further information, an ID chart and that app (iOS or Android) at the Big Butterfly Count websiteAnd if you could re-blog, tweet, like this on Facebook, tell your family and friends and help promote the count in any other way that would be great.  Obviously, the more people taking part, the better.

Butterfly Conservation are also running an online raffle.  Tickets are £1 with a top prize of £500.  Further details – here.

18 thoughts on “Big Butterfly Count

  1. There wouldn’t have been much point doing it in my garden this year. Despite growing stuff butterflies should love and which the bees certainly do, I have only seen one peacock butterfly and a couple of cabbage whites all summer. I think they have all flown south! However I can claim to seeing a humming bird hawk moth once when I was in Bognor Regis! I didn’t manage to photograph it so you will just have to believe me!


    • Well, certainly the past couple of weeks have been pretty rubbish especially as this time last year it was still hot and dry. But up until I went away recently, it was looking like a really good year for butterflies. Ho hum. There’s always next year. D


  2. Thank you for the reminder. I’m hoping to get a quiet spell so I can take part. I was getting a bit worried about the bees and butterflies the other day because the plot despite it being packed with flowers was quiet on the wildlife front. (I’m ignoring the rodent which has taken a liking to my courgettes). But this weekend all that changed and it’s now teeming so I must take a pen and paper with me on my next visit. Jealous of your photos too. We had a few hummingbird hawk-moths last year but not a hope of getting a shot. We do have a fancier camera now so maybe, fingers crossed, they’ll visit our garden again. Lou


    • Hummingbird’s are nippy aren’t they and tricky to photo. I’m back at the Old Forge today and will keep my eyes peeled again. And I had the same thought about the lack of butterflies a week or so ago and then suddenly, they are everywhere – which made illustrating this post easier. Dave


  3. Beautiful photographs, I never realised you got Hummingbird Hawk Moths in the U.K. I love Citizen Science projects and think that is an invaluable tool for tracking trends on a wide scale. Amelia


    • Thank you Amelia. And yes we do get HBHM’s. Though I’ve probably only seen about a dozen in my lifetime (& one of those was in Croatia). I always keep a look-out at the Old Forge at this time of year – they love the lavender and Verbena bonariensis. Dave


  4. We took part in the Big Butterfly Count for the first time at Sissinghurst last year and it was such a fun thing to do. Our ranger, Peter came to help us and I was amazed at how many butterflies we counted. You can read the blog I wrote about it (Aug 24th 2013) if you’re interested. I must make the time to take part in the count again this year, it will be interesting to see if numbers are up or down. Helen


  5. I, too, am envious of your photos, because I am pants at capturing little fluttery things on camera. Buzzy things, too. Probably due to my lack of patience. And the fact that my camera always tends to be inconveniently elsewhere. But I will attempt to count them. If the sun ever comes out to play again… Aren’t moths wonderfully strange looking creatures.


    • I’ve planted two whole beds of Verbena bonariensis, Janet which made taking the tortoiseshell and meadow brown photos a piece of cake – not much patience required as the were plenty of subjects. The Old Forge also has plenty of lady’s bedstraw which I believe hummingbird hawk-moth larvae feed on – I shall need to introduce some to the Priory meadow too. Dave


        • Can you hover, Janet? A rare gift and very useful. Lady’s bedstraw has to be yellow otherwise it would be white bedstraw. Sorry – I took a facetious pill earlier. Do you not like it? We have drifts of it at the Old Forge and I think it looks rather lovely. But you needn’t agree.. D


    • I’ve never seen one at the Priory and only usually see one or two at the Old Forge each summer. The one above was quite early in the morning and the light wasn’t great. I was hoping it would be back later in full sun – I wanted to capture the wings properly. But no luck.


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