Monday 25 July 2016
If you needed any excuse to get out in the lovely summer weather, how about taking part in the world's biggest butterfly survey?
The Big Butterfly Count is underway at the moment and everyone can join in. It is really simple - all you have to do is count the number of butterflies you see of different species during a 15 minute period and send in your results via the Big Butterfly Count website
At this time of year lots of butterflies are about, and they're particularly active on sunny days. You can count them in your garden, in the park, or on a countryside walk. Here in the Chilterns the open downland on hillsides is a marvellous place to see butterflies which are making the most of the wild flowers in bloom. There are some lovely chalk downland sites to visit - here you'll find a list of some of the best. You can also take a stroll though woodland and count what you see there.
The Big Butterfly Count is taking place until August 7th. Last year over 50,000 people took park and submitted sightings of over half a million butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, the national charity running the survey, says that the results provide an excellent indicator of the health of our environment, as butterfly populations are very quick to react to changes. Declines in butterflies can be an early warning that other wildlife is in trouble too.
On the survey website you'll find a downloadable guide to identifying butterflies. You can do as many counts as you like, in different places or in the same place on different days. It's a great opportunity to do your bit for wildlife and simply enjoy one of the highlights of summer.