Saturday, 10 August 2013

Final weekend for UK Butterfly Count

Tomorrow (Sunday 11th August) is the last day for counting butterflies for this year’s survey by Butterfly Conservation here in the UK. This weekend, if you are out in your garden, in a park or out on a walk anywhere, all they ask is you note down how many individual butterflies you can see at any one time during a period of 15 minutes.

Big Butterfly Count 2013, 20th July – 11th August


Last Saturday, a sunny pleasant day, I took my lunch outdoors with camera and phone. There were white butterflies about so I knew I would have some stats to select using the free smartphone app which is new for this year. It was fun to add sightings this way and you could expand each butterfly for more info which was useful too.

I’d say the free Big Butterfly Count App available for IOS and Android phones is perfect for those fairly new to butterfly ID’s like myself. I’d also say it is a brilliant way to get young people involved. Congrats to the Big Butterfly Count on using technology – I’m certain this will be a success! The deadline for submitting results is the end of August.

Ooops… remember that recommended rule on using technology… that well known one… save what you are working on! Ahem… I've just discovered I didn’t :-0. Okay, I didn’t see a large number of butterflies and I can remember what I saw (plus I took photos shown below). I should add here that I could have sent my results via my phone immediately after I had finished my count as the App had requested my location to use it. Ah well… please do learn from my mistake if you are out and about with your phone this weekend:-)


The 2013 Big Butterfly Count Results, from the shirls gardenwatch garden are...

2x Small Whites (Pieris rapae ) were spotted – carder bees were seen joining them :-)


1x Green-veined White (Pieris napi) in photo on right.
It’s easy to see how it can be mistaken for the Small White (on left) in the distance.
Not to scale here, but the Green-veined is slightly smaller.



2x Small Tortoiseshells (Aglais urticae) – such a pretty one to see in garden.


Wandering away (with cup of tea) from my back door camera spot, I spotted 1x Large White (Pieris brassicae) on another recently planted Erysimum Bowles' Mauve (no photo). After many years of enjoying this plant at a sunny front door spot I thought I’d try a few locations in my back garden that get a reasonable amount of sun. It appears to be a success and I am enjoying seeing more butterflies from my gardenwatching window now :-D


Finally, 2x garden blog posts in 2 days, after a lean period of posting, won’t be expected from anyone still following this blog must be a bit of a shock! Yes, you can pick yourself up from the floor now ;-)

Sorry I’m late with this mention on Butterfly Count. My final tally was just 6x Butterflies but I know every count no matter how small really does help with butterfly conservation so please do send them in :-)

If you missed yesterday’s blog post, it was on my newest garden visitor, a Prehistoric garden visitor . Mmm… I wonder how long butterflies have been around? Does anyone know?



This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in August 2013.

9 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I don't know how long butterflies have been in existence but I do know there aren't as many as there used to be. I don't see them as much now as I used to. Good for you for doing your count. There have been counts going on here too. I have never done one. It is usually so darned hot when they do them here. I hate to get out in the heat of summer for anything. I don't have one of those fancy phones so I don't have to worry about losing things there. They do sound like fun though.

Anna said...

Thanks for the timely reminder Shirl. Will try to do a count tomorrow. Some news here - we think that there are buzzards in the uncultivated area of land behind our house. Not sure how I feel about this but it's given us plenty to talk about :)

Midmarsh John said...

Didn't know about the flutter count Shirl so I'm glad I saw this in time. App downloaded so I'll see what's about on our next walkies.

Angie said...

What lovely pictures Shirley!
Done my bit last week - even had a new species visiting the garden this year, I couldn't believe my luck that it appeared as I was doing my count!

Sue Garrett said...

I intended doing the butterfly count but was overwhelmed by the numbers of whites and peacocks - I just couldn't count them.

There were just so many and they wouldn't keep still!

Shirley said...

Hello everyone, thanks for all your comments :-)

Lisa, yes, as you know the reason behind surveys like this here, in the US and in other parts of the world are because butterfly numbers are in serious decline. Ah… I sat in shady, cool doing my count but I might guess even shade isn’t’ cool in Indiana during August. Yes, there are many fun bird/wildlife apps I enjoy using :-D

Anna, although I was late with reminder delighted you caught this. Wow… your Buzzard news sounds like a very hot topic for your neighbours. Ultimately, they are just parents like all the smaller birds that visit our gardens and that’s the way I have tried to see Sparrowhawk visits to my garden – it took a long time to think like that though!

John, the count is annual one now, glad this post caught you too. I’m sure you enjoy many of the nature apps I do – and a few more ;-)

Angie, thank-you! Great, what a delight to have a special first time visitor for your count! We had a female reed bunting join our garden birds during the last 5 mins of the RSPB Bird count in January – that was exciting too :-D

Sue, what a brilliant position to be in – especially seeing lots of Peacocks. Butterflies are difficult to count when fluttering around together (not that I’ve seen as large a number as you are suggesting) it’s a pity you didn’t have someone with you to attempt an accurate count. I would probably have given a guess ;-)

Sue Garrett said...

There were two of us but we have a line of about six buddleias on the plot and we just couldn't keep up with them - having four side to each bush times six - and butterflies fluttering around our heads too. As well as trying to count the numerous white which were moving too quickly to tell whether they were large or small white.

I just wouldn't have known what to estimate.

It was a bit easier with the one skipper, one painted lady and one tortoiseshell but to just record them wouldn't have been a true reflection.

I did teach a plot neighbour some butterfly identification though and she has become really interested in watching them so I did my bit in a way!

Shirley said...

Hello again, Sue :-)

Wow… I was trying to imagine the numbers you were seeing that made it impossible to count and I understand now – your rows of buddleja! I forgot you said you had luck with propagating them. Well, you certainly have done your bit for butterfly conservation alright :-D

Great to hear that you’ve a plot neighbour interested now too – that’s a good result there too :-D

Angela Shaw said...

A lovely post and photos. I am an avid Swan Plant planter to cultivate Monarchs in my garden. It's so nice to have the butterflies floating around. On slug patrol this morning, a newly hatched Monarch was drying it's striking orange, black and white wings on my bright blue Cineraria :)