Big Butterfly Count at Bookham Common

Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count 2020

I adore spending time immersed in nature, studying plants and butterflies.  Today I wanted to tell you about the Big Butterfly Counts I’ve taken at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count runs from Friday the 17th July 2020 until Sunday 9th August 2020 – so you still have plenty of time to join in and enjoy taking your own Butterfly Count!  A Butterfly Count lasts for 15 minutes, it’s a fun, relaxing and easy thing to do.  The best thing is, you don’t need to know anything about butterflies to take part in this lovely activity.  You could take a Butterfly Count in your lunch break or take a number of counts and spend an entire day watching butterflies!

These Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) flowers attracted a range of woodland butterflies, during our Big Butterfly Count.

How to take a Butterfly and Moth Count

It only takes 15 minutes to take a Butterfly Count.  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 whilst you’re taking a walk!

Butterfly and Moth Identification

Don’t worry if you’re not a butterfly expert – you’ll find easy to use butterfly and moth identification charts on Butterfly Conservation’s website.  There’s 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.

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!  If you don’t see any butterflies or moths at all, it’s still important to record this result.

You can take as many Butterfly Counts as you want.  What could be more relaxing than spending a day counting butterflies and looking for day flying moths?

I saw these butterflies during my first Big Butterfly Count at Bookham Common

I took this Big Butterfly Count at Bookham Common, in Surrey.  Bookham Common is a wonderful place to visit.  This ancient common land features ponds, woodland and grasslands; visitors can admire some magnificent oak (Quercus) trees and many native trees and plants.  Disabled visitors will find the main paths are pretty solid, but don’t be tempted to veer from the main cinder paths, as these aren’t so easy to navigate.

At Bookham Common, I observed the butterflies and moths that came to feed from Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) flowers.  When I took this Butterfly Count, I misidentified the female Silver Washed Fritillary Butterflies I saw, thinking they were Dark Green Fritillaries; thankfully my friend Mick Rock has now kindly corrected me.  During this Big Butterfly Count, I saw the following butterflies and moths:

  • 6 Silver-washed Fritillaries (Argynnis paphia).
  • 1 Meadow Brown Butterfly (Maniola jurta).
  • 1 White Admiral Butterfly (Limenitis camilla).
  • 1 Ringlet Butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus).
  • 1 Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus).
  • 1 Purple Hairstreak Butterfly (Favonius quercus).

Can you spot the butterfly?

A female Purple Hairstreak Butterfly (Favonius quercus) resting on a bramble (Rubus fruticosus) leaf at Bookham Common.

A Purple Hairstreak Butterfly (Favonius quercus) resting on a bramble (Rubus fruticosus) leaf at Bookham Common.

A closer look at Purple Hairstreak Butterfly (Favonius quercus) resting on a bramble (Rubus fruticosus) leaf at Bookham Common.

A Silver-Washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) feeding from Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) flowers, at Bookham Common.

A Silver-Washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) feeding from Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) flowers, at Bookham Common.

A White Admiral Butterfly (Limenitis arthemis) at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

I spotted this Silver-Washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) at Bookham Common.

I saw these butterflies during my second Big Butterfly Count at Bookham Common

I took this Big Butterfly Count at Bookham Common, in Surrey.  I observed the butterflies and moths that came to feed from Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) and Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) flowers.

When I took this Butterfly Count, I misidentified the female Silver Washed Fritillary Butterflies I saw, thinking they were Dark Green Fritillaries; thankfully my friend Mick Rock has now kindly corrected me.  During this Big Butterfly Count, I saw the following butterflies and moths:

  • 9 Silver-washed Fritillaries (Argynnis paphia).
  • 2 Meadow Brown Butterflies (Maniola jurta).
  • 2 Gatekeeper Butterflies (Pyronia tithonus).
  • 1 Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria).
  • 1 Meadow Brown Butterfly (Maniola jurta).

Fritillaries feasting on Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa), at Bookham Common.

A Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) feasting on some lovely Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) flowers, at Bookham Common.

Female Silver Washed Fritillaries (Argynnis paphia) flying around Bookham Common.

A Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) feasting on Greater Burdock (Arctius lappa) flowers, at Bookham Common.

A Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria) resting on Rubus frucicosus, at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

Meadow Brown Butterflies (Maniola jurtina) feasting on a Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) flower, at Bookham Common.

This Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia tithonus) is pictured at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

A Female Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) feasting on Greater Burdock (Arctius lappa) flowers, at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

A Meadow Brown Butterfly (Maniola jurtina) feasting on the Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) flowers, at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

This image shows the butterfly’s proboscis probing into a Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) flower to feed on the plant’s nectar. Pictured at Bookham Common.

This Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia tithonus) is pictured at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

A Female Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) feasting on a Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) flower, at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

These Fritillaries were enjoying basking in the sunshine, as they fed from Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) flowers, at Bookham Common.

A Silver Washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) feasting on a Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra) flower, at Bookham Common, in Surrey.

Female Silver Washed Fritillaries (Argynnis paphia) feasting on the nectar of Greater Burdock (Arctium lappa) flowers, at Bookham Common.

How to Submit the results of your Butterfly Count

If you’re taking part in your own Big Butterfly Count, please don’t forget to submit your results to Butterfly Conservation’s website.  Butterfly Conservation will use your butterfly recordings to discover how the UK’s butterflies are faring this summer.  This is important information that can help Butterfly Conservation’s experts develop methods to help create a brighter future for butterflies.

Butterfly Conservation ask that anyone who wishes to take part in this year’s Butterfly Count, 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.

Other articles that may interest you…………

You can see the results of all of my Butterfly Counts, here.

For information on how to plant a meadow or flowering lawn, please click here.

Read about more brilliant plants for bees and butterflies, in this article.

Even more ideas of plants for pollinators can be found here.

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