Sunday, 20 July 2014

Counting Butterflies

When I was little I loved seeing the butterflies in our garden. We have two fairly large Buddleia trees which were covered in the pretty things.  My favourite was the Painted Lady and other visitors included Peacocks, Whites, Tortoiseshells and Blues.

Butterflies are a good indicator of what is going on in the environment and if butterflies are declining then its likely that other wildlife will also be affected.  There's been quite a bit of the news in recent years about bees being threatened by changes to the environment and in fact certain pesticides that are thought to negatively affect bees have now been banned.  I don't know if pesticides affect butterflies too but I wouldn't be surprised if they are a factor.

There is a project currently taking place called The Big Butterfly Count, where the public are asked to take part in a survey and count the number of butterflies they see in 15 minutes.  We did two lots of 15 minutes yesterday and saw five Peacocks and two Whites in those time frames which we recorded via the The Big Butterfly Count App on my phone.  I did 15 minutes early afternoon and then my daughter counted another 15 minutes later in the afternoon.   If you want to take part, the survey is open until 10th August and I think it's a great way to get kids involved and interested in nature.

I've noticed an increase in butterflies this year in our garden and I wonder if that's a similar story around the UK or just because we have the right sort of shrubs to attract them.  We'll have to wait and see what the results say when they are published.

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