Count them before they flutter by

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It may seem a bit early in the year to start counting your garden butterflies, but Butterfly Conservation’s Garden Butterfly Survey runs all year. (www.gardenbutterflysurvey.org}, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services)

The Garden Butterfly Survey allows you to record and report the butterflies that visit your garden over the course of a year. Create a free account, submit your sightings and help us learn more about how butterflies are faring in UK gardens.

Please say what is fluttering behind your fence and to monitor butterfly populations. The more we learn, the better we can target conservation effort to help struggling species. Check your garden at least once a month in reasonable weather. You can submit records as often as you wish. When counting, please note the maximum number of each species present in the garden at the time. Butterflies can be very active so try not to count the same individual more than once.

Butterflies need friends. We need to care about them so that people will stand up for them when dangers threaten. Garden chemicals are in the news, particularly as regards Neonicitinoids, a class of pesticide which seems to be in so many horticultural and agricultural sprays these days.

The survey is just one initiative in collecting evidence of what is happening to our butterflies.

Yearly results will soon show trends, allowing us to follow the fortunes of these insects which are such an integral part of any summer. The battle is being fought on many other fronts. Together we can make a difference.