Big Butterfly Count 2016 in the Sunshine

This year Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count starts on the 15th July 2016, and runs until the 7th August 2016.  During this time, if you want to take part, you simply spend 15 minutes, in the sunshine, counting butterflies and day-flying moths.  You can choose to take your Big Butterfly Count in your garden, or a friend’s garden, or a garden open to the public, in a forest, at a park, in a field, meadow or nature reserve, or whilst you’re taking a walk.  The Big Butterfly Count is a lovely, relaxing activity that everyone can enjoy.  The results from the count will help Butterfly Conservation to effectively study and monitor the successes and failures of butterflies throughout the UK.  Butterfly Conservation will use the important information collated during the Big Butterfly Count to help improve the future of our butterflies.

This is a Large White butterfly, also known by its scientific name of Pieris brassicae, it's feeding on Buddleja davidii. The Large White butterfly, is commonly seen in the UK. This butterfly is most certainly the variety that I have spotted most often this year.
This is a Large White butterfly, also known by its scientific name of Pieris brassicae, it’s feeding on Buddleja davidii. The Large White butterfly, is commonly seen in the UK. This butterfly is most certainly the variety that I have spotted most often this year.

This summer I have been more concerned than ever for butterflies, our British summer has been a wash out at times, we’ve experienced prolonged periods of very heavy rain, low light levels and temperatures – bad conditions for butterflies who require sunshine and warmth.  So as the weather warmed up and the sun shone, I was keen to get out to take part in a butterfly count to help Butterfly Conservation with their records.

A Gatekeeper butterfly, also known by its scientific name of Pyronia tithonus, feeding of Buddleja davidii.
A Gatekeeper butterfly, also known by its scientific name of Pyronia tithonus, feeding of Buddleja davidii.

I took my butterfly count in an urban area, next to a car park, an area of which had been colonised by Buddleja davidii, which is also known as the butterfly bush – as it is so popular with butterflies.  I counted butterflies for 15 minutes, during this time I saw the following butterflies, some of which you can see in my photographs:

  • 1 Red Admiral Butterfly
  • 2 Peacock Butterflies
  • 4 Large White Butterflies
  • 1 Gatekeeper Butterfly
Here a Peacock butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is feeding on Buddleja davidii.
Here a Peacock butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is feeding on Buddleja davidii.

It’s wonderful to spend time counting butterflies and immersing yourself in nature.  If you’re taking part in your own Big Butterfly Count, don’t forget to submit your recordings to Butterfly Conservation’s website, where you’ll also find useful butterfly and moth identification charts.  Butterfly Conservation will use your butterfly recordings to monitor and understand how the UK’s butterflies are faring in the difficult conditions they are experiencing this summer, and use the information to find ways to help create a brighter future for butterflies.

A Red Admiral butterfly, also known by its scientific name of Vanessa atalanta, is feasting on Buddleja.
A Red Admiral butterfly, also known by its scientific name of Vanessa atalanta, is feasting on Buddleja.
Here a Peacock butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is feeding on Buddleja davidii. In contrast to its colourful forewings, the underside of the Peacock butterfly's wing is dark. The dark colour of the butterfly's underwings provides camouflage when the butterfly is resting, allowing the butterfly to hide easily. This camouflage helps the Peacock Butterfly quickly protect itself from predators, such as birds and cats - by remaining still and closing its wings it can sometimes avoid at attack.
Here a Peacock butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is feeding on Buddleja davidii. In contrast to its colourful forewings, the underside of the Peacock butterfly’s wing is dark. The dark colour of the butterfly’s underwings provides camouflage when the butterfly is resting, allowing the butterfly to hide easily. This camouflage helps the Peacock Butterfly quickly protect itself from predators, such as birds and cats – by remaining still and closing its wings it can sometimes avoid at attack.
Here a Peacock butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is feeding on Buddleja davidii.
Here a Peacock butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is feeding on Buddleja davidii.
Here a Peacock butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is feeding on Buddleja davidii.
Here a Peacock butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is feeding on Buddleja davidii.

Other articles that may interest you…………….

For information on long-flowering container plants that will attract butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects to your garden, please click here.

To see the top 20 shortlisted plants, including the finalists, and the winner of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2016, please click here.

To see the results of my Big Butterfly Count at Pewley Down in 2015, please click here.

To see the results of my other Big Butterfly Count in 2015, please click here.

For information about dwarf Buddlejas and other popular butterfly plants, please click here.

For information on how you can help hedgehogs and encourage them to visit your garden, please click here.

For tips and ideas of slug proof plants, please click here.

For ideas of beautiful, important and historic gardens to visit in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex, please click here.

For a 2016 calendar of specialist plant fairs, festivals, sales and swaps, please click here.

For gardening advice from mid-July to mid-August, please click here.

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