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Big Butterfly Count 2017

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Sir David Attenborough and the Big Butterfly Count 2017
Sir David Attenborough and the Big Butterfly Count 2017 identification chart. Picture; Butterfly Conservation

Count finishes on August 6 – hurry!

There seems to have been a marked drop in the number and types of butterflies this year and according to other gardeners around the country on Twitter, my garden is not alone.

It’s a worrying trend and it’s vital that we keep account of numbers every year – that’s why taking part in the Big Butterfly Count is so important.

It is a nationwide survey which ends this Sunday, August 6, although you have until the end of the month to submit your figures.

It will only take 15 minutes and will help Butterfly Conservation to assess the health of the environment. SInce its launch in 2010, it has become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies.

More than 36,000 people took part in 2016, counting almost 400,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths.

Biodiversity indicators

Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses.

Your count can be done anywhere: from parks and gardens to fields and forests.

Speckled wood butterfly
Speckled wood butterfly – a newcomer this year despite the fall in the overall numbers seen in my garden

If you are counting from a fixed position, 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 bush then record it as three, but if you only see one at a time then record it as one (even if you saw one on several occasions).

If you are doing your count on a walk, simply total up the number of each butterfly species that you see during the 15 minutes. You can download an identification chart to help you.

Even if you don’t see any butterflies or moths, your account is still vital.

Sir David Attenborough, President of Butterfly Conservation, Alan Titchmarsh, and Joanna Lumley are backers of the project.

Send in your sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or by using the free Big Butterfly Count smartphone apps available for iOS and Android.

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