By in Animals

Counting butterflies

Last year I first heard about the ‘Big Butterfly Count’ organised by the charity ‘Butterfly Conservation’ and made a rather half-hearted attempt, but this year I decided I would make more of an effort. All you have to do is choose a nice day (butterflies don’t fly if it is very dull and wet or windy) and spend 15 minutes counting butterflies.

What confused me at first is that there are two ways to do this, but it basically depends on whether or not you are moving. If you are just sitting in your garden, you count the greatest number of any species that you see at one time (this is so you don’t just count the same individual several times). Meanwhile if you on a walk, you just count all the ones you see on the assumption they will be different ones (unless you walk very slowly of course!)

At first I found it very difficult because butterflies tend to be hard to spot when at rest, you only notice them when they fly away, and then of course it’s too late to get a good look at them! But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly I learned to identify a few common ones and then to recognise those again even if I just glimpsed one fluttering past. A camera is a great help, especially if you can manage to zoom in on one without getting so close you scare it off, and a photo is so much easier than trying to remember exactly what patterns and colours each type has. I’ve already learned another 4 species to add to the 5 or 6 I knew already, and just today I’ve seen another new one. You can do the count as many times as you like, on different days in the same place or different places; I’ve already submitted 3 records and have another set from this morning. Is anyone else counting butterflies?

All rights reserved. © Text and image copyright Fleur 2015.

Image Credit » copyright Fleur 2015

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WorDazza wrote on July 22, 2015, 12:26 PM

I see you are still posting here. I've decided to dip my toe back in the water for a bit over here.
I would join in the butterfly count but sadly there aren't too many of them in an air-conditioned, soul-destroying office emoticon :sad:

Kasman wrote on July 22, 2015, 5:14 PM

I haven't heard of this but it sounds both a good idea and a very pleasant way to pass a nice walk.

Fleur wrote on July 22, 2015, 5:17 PM

You only need to spend 15 minutes, can't you get out in the garden or pop to a park or something?

WorDazza wrote on July 22, 2015, 5:20 PM

Not sure I'm prepared to brave the chav-fest that is the park near where I work!! I suspect the butterflies will also have similar concerns.

wolfgirl569 wrote on July 22, 2015, 5:21 PM

I am just happy to watch them when I do see one. But we dont see very many here anymore