Butterfly Conservation, in association with Marks and Spencer, has launched a nationwide butterfly survey where members of the public are invited to count the number of butterflies they see in a 15 minute period in a suitable location, such as a garden, park, woodland or field, between 24th July and 1st August and submit their findings online. (See link to Big Butterfly Count website at end of blog posting). The survey has been launched in 2010 to mark the International Year of Biodiversity. Butterflies are very good biodiversity indicators because they are affected quickly by environmental changes. Signs of declines in butterfly species can, therefore, give early warning of possible future losses in other wildlife species. The count will also show how different butterfly species are doing so that action can be taken if necessary to avoid further losses or extinctions and will additionally help scientists to understand how climate change is affecting wildlife.
Desperate to get a break from domestic chores this afternoon and as it was warm and sunny I decided to count the number of butterflies in the garden for the specified 15 minutes, seeing the following butterflies:
1 Holly Blue
1 Large White
1 Small White
1 Speckled Wood
I may count again tomorrow as you can submit as many 15 minute counts as you like.
Here are a few photos of the two gatekeepers I saw.
The Big Butterfly Count website can be found at www.bigbutterflycount.org. Sorry I have tried to insert a link but for some reason it doesn't seem to work.