Butterfly Conservation, in association with Marks and Spencer, are again running their annual Big Butterfly Count. This is a UK nationwide butterfly (and daytime moth) survey aimed at assessing the state of the environment. Butterflies react rapidly to environmental change and thus are excellent biodiversity indicators. Declines in butterflies can give early warning of other potential wildlife losses.
Anyone can take part you just need to watch your garden, park, woodland or anywhere suitable for 15 minutes making a note of any butterflies or day flying moths seen and enter your results at www.bigbutterflycount.org.
This year the survey runs from 14th July to 5th August so you've still got time to take part! The Count was launched in 2010 when 10,000 participants saw 210,000 flutters and day flying moths and in 2011 34,300 participated seeing 322,330 butterflies and moths. Its great fun especially if you have children.
I did my first count last Thursday and saw absolutely no butterflies at all the only insects around were two white-tailed bumble bees and one common carder bee. I repeated the count on Friday and this time managed to see just one butterfly - a Small White. This year is the poorest year I can remember for garden butterflies. I have only seen 5 species all year - Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Holly Blue and Small White. No Peacocks, Large or Green Veined Whites, Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells,Commas, Gatekeepers or Meadow Browns have yet to put in an appearance.
Changing the subject entirely, I drove past the Fairy Door on Friday and it looks as though the gnomes are celebrating the Olympics too!