The butterfly is counting on us.

Surveys help monitor the presence of insects such as the large skipper
Surveys help monitor the presence of insects such as the large skipper

A Large Skipper is one of the latest northwards expanding butterflies to have reached our area.

Just as some species are doing well, others seem to be declining.

Helping monitor these trends is the annual Big Butterfly Count.

This from Butterfly Conservation: “The Big Butterfly Count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies.

“Over 44,000 people took part in 2014, counting almost 560,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK.

“Why count butterflies?

“Well, butterflies are very good at reacting very quickly to a change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators.

“Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses.

“That’s why counting butterflies can be described as taking the pulse of nature.

“The count will also assist us in identifying trends in species that will help us plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.

“Simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the Big Butterfly Count (July 17 to August 9).

“We have chosen this time of year 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 and should be submitted to the Big Butterfly Count website.”

Can you think of an easier way to aid scientific resarch than sitting in your garden counting butterflies for a few minutes

By George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management