Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count 2019

Butterfly Conservation Big Butterfly Count 2019

Butterfly Conservation are a registered charity, who work to protect British butterflies and moths.  Over the next few weeks, Butterfly Conservation are hoping that members of the public will take 15 minutes out of their day, to take note of the butterfly and moth species they see around them.  The charity hope that Butterfly Count participants will send them the details of their observations, as Butterfly Conservation use this valuable data to help them gauge the numbers of UK butterflies.  This information will in turn help the organisation to identify the butterfly species that are becoming more scarce and find out which butterflies and moths are succeeding.  The Big Butterfly Count helps Butterfly Conservation to be better informed and therefore more able to protect these beautiful creatures.

A pair of Large White Butterflies mating. These butterflies were resting on a rose leaf. I spotted them during my Butterfly Count.

Big Butterfly Count 2019 Dates

The Butterfly Conservation Big Butterfly Count runs from Friday 19th July 2019, until Sunday the 11th August 2019.

How to take a Butterfly and Moth Count

I love doing Butterfly and Moth Counts – watching butterflies and moths is such a fun and relaxing activity!  If you want to take part, you simply spend 15 minutes, (ideally on a sunny day – as you’re more likely to see butterflies in warm, sunny weather), counting butterflies and moths.  You can choose to take your Butterfly Count in your garden, at your allotment, or in the gardens of your school, college, or university, in a forest or woodland, at a park, or nature reserve, or even whilst you’re taking a walk!

The undersides of the Peacock Butterfly’s wings are very dark. This butterfly only has to close its wings and it can effectively disappear. The Peacock Butterfly’s dark coloured wings blend into the colours of the soil and fallen leaves.

Butterfly and Moth Identification

I’ve been head over heels with butterflies and moths since I was a very young child.  I get so much pleasure from both observing and helping butterflies and moths.  But don’t worry if you’re not a butterfly expert – you’ll find some very useful butterfly and moth identification charts that will make it super easy to record each butterfly or moth that you see during your count, on Butterfly Conservation’s website. There’s even a Big Butterfly Count app, which will help you to identify, count, and submit your results – you can find it at both the Apple and Android app stores.

A Gatekeeper Butterfly pictured as it feasts on Verbena bonariensis. This butterfly species is known by the scientific name of Pyronia tithonus.

Counting Butterflies and Moths

If you’re taking your Butterfly and Moth Count on a walk, then each time you see a butterfly or moth you record it – so if you see three Peacock Butterflies, you record these as three.  But it’s a little bit different if you’re taking your Butterfly and Moth Count in a static location, say for example, in your garden or at your allotment, where you’re stationary in one place.  So, for this type of stationary count, if you see three Peacock Butterflies at once, you record these as three, but if you see a single Peacock Butterfly three times, you record this as one Peacock Butterfly – this is to make the count more accurate – as you may be seeing the exact same butterfly time and time again!

A Peacock Butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io, is pictured as it feeds on the nectar produced by Buddleja ‘Ellen’s Blue’ flowers.

Results of my first 2019 Big Butterfly Count

I took my first Big Butterfly Count of 2019 in my garden.  I observed the butterflies and moths that came to feed from my Buddleja ‘Pink Delight’, Buddleja ‘Ellen’s Blue’, Centaurea cyanus, Chamomile ‘Bodegold’, lavender, and Verbena bonariensis plants.  These are all plants that I know to be popular with butterflies.

During my first Big Butterfly Count of 2019, I saw the following butterflies and moths:

  • 5 Large White Butterflies, which are also known by their scientific name of Pieris brassicae
  • 1 Peacock Butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Aglais io.
  • 1 Gatekeeper Butterfly, which is also know by its scientific name of Pyronia tithonus.
  • 1 Mint Moth, which is also known by its scientific name of Pyrausta aurata.

A Gatekeeper Butterfly, pictured resting on a wooden stake, during my Butterfly Count.

Results of my second Big Butterfly Count of 2019

I took my second Big Butterfly Count of 2019 in the same area of my garden.  I observed the butterflies and moths that came to feed from my Buddleja ‘Pink Delight’, Buddleja ‘Ellen’s Blue’, Centaurea cyanus, Chamomile ‘Bodegold’, lavender, and Verbena bonariensis plants.

During my second Big Butterfly Count of 2019, I saw the following butterflies and moths:

  • 3 Large White Butterflies, which are also known by their scientific name of Pieris brassicae
  • 2 Comma Butterflies, which are also known by their scientific name of Polygonia c-album.
  • 1 Speckled Wood Butterfly, which is also known by its scientific name of Pararge aegeria.
  • 1 Gatekeeper Butterfly, which is also know by its scientific name of Pyronia tithonus.

I have already submitted my findings to Butterfly Conservation, it was very easy, simple and straight forward to do.  Using the Smartphone App, it only took a moment of my time to send Butterfly Conservation the details of my Big Butterfly Count.

If you’re interested, you can see another of my 2019 Big Butterfly Counts in another article I wrote about the Big Butterfly Count.

A Speckled Wood Butterfly, pictured drinking in the moisture from a wet area of ground. I took this photograph, during my Butterfly Count.

A pair of Large White Butterflies mating. These butterflies were resting on a rose leaf. I spotted them during my Butterfly Count.

How to Submit the results of your Butterfly Count

It’s wonderful to spend time counting butterflies and immersing yourself in nature.  If you’re taking part in your own Big Butterfly Count, please don’t forget to submit your recordings to Butterfly Conservation’s website,   Butterfly Conservation will use your butterfly recordings to monitor and understand how the UK’s butterflies are faring in the hot, dry weather they are experiencing this summer.  Butterfly Conservation will use this information to evaluate the growth or decline of our butterflies, and find ways to help create a brighter future for butterflies.

Butterfly conservation ask that anyone who wishes to take part, records their sightings and sends the results in to their butterfly and moth experts, who will study the findings to evaluate the growth or decline of our British butterflies and moths.

The Mint Moth is known by its scientific name of Pyrausta aurata. This Mint Moth is pictured feeding from a Chamomile ‘Bodegold’ flower. Sometimes pictures can be deceiving – this is a tiny moth, nectaring from a tiny flower!

Ways to help butterflies, moths, and other insects

I love butterflies and moths!  If you love butterflies and moths too, there are many ways you can help them, here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Avoid using any pesticides or insecticides; these kill butterflies, caterpillars, and other insects.
  • To have butterflies we need caterpillars!  Try growing caterpillar food plants in your garden or allotment.  Nettles are a great food plant for Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Painted Ladies, and Red Admiral caterpillars.
  • Grow nectar rich flowering plants with simple, single flowers where the plant’s nectar and pollen is available to insects.  Here are a few ideas to get you started: Agastache ‘Blackadder’, Buddleja, open centred Dahlias, Verbena bonariensis, lavenders, Sedums, Hebes, Hedera Helix (Ivy), Knautia macedonica, Knautia avens, and Scabious.  These are all great plants for bees and butterflies.

Plant the best plants for butterflies, moths, bees, and other insects

If you’re interested in this topic, I’ve compiled a list of a wide range of different plants that provide nectar and pollen for butterflies, moths, bees, and other insects.  I’ve included photographs and details of how to cultivate each of these butterfly and bee plants, here’s a link.

Dear Readers, I’m posting this Big Butterfly Count post early, in the hope that it will enable you to take a Big Butterfly Count this summer.  I hope you enjoy taking your Butterfly Count as much as I enjoyed taking mine.  Have a great weekend!

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

You can see all of the posts I have written about my Big Butterfly Counts, if you click here.

To see the results of my 2016 Big Butterfly Count by a group of Buddleja davidii plants, please click here.

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

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

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