Hopes for ‘interesting data’ from this year’s butterfly count
The Big Butterfly Count 2020 begins from today (Friday, July 17) and members of the public are being encouraged to take part.
The count has been launched by wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation and TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham.
Good weather in the spring has seen the earliest average emergences of butterflies for the last 20 years and Butterfly Conservation has received thousands of extra enquiries about butterfly and moth sightings made by an ever more nature-loving public.
This UK-wide survey asks residents to spend 15 minutes in an outdoor space counting the amount and type of butterflies (and some day-flying moths) you see.
There were 11,057 counts submitted in Scotland for the Big Butterfly Count last year with overwhelmingly abundant numbers of Painted Lady butterflies spotted, up 7,541 per cent (141,649 spotted) from the previous year, while Green-veined White and Small Copper butterflies saw declines of 56 per cent and 60 per cent respectively.
Chris Packham said: “While so many of us have had a bit more time to appreciate the nature on our doorsteps during the lockdown period, and learning about the natural world has been a mindful distraction from uncertainty, this is a real chance to do something positive and contribute to conserving nature.
“Butterflies and moths are key indicators of the health of our environment and anyone can help contribute to our understanding of these incredible creatures by taking part in in the Big Butterfly Count.
“The sightings you submit will be used to map and measure populations and the geographic spread of species across the UK. We’re asking everyone who have been given a helping hand from nature this year to return the favour.”
Dr Zoë Randle, Senior Surveys Officer at Butterfly Conservation, added: “The very sunny spring weather meant that almost all butterfly species have emerged early this summer, so we’re hoping for some interesting data. As our weather patterns change it’s more important than ever for us to be able capture this information.
“We’ve seen an incredible amount of interest from people who have been out and about in their gardens and local areas spotting butterflies for the first time.
“From children learning about the lifecycle of a butterfly from a caterpillar found in their own back gardens to adults who have spotted a fluttering Red Admiral while exercising outside instead of at the gym. Nature has really shown its true value to us this year, but it is still under threat. Now, more than ever, we must all do our little bit to protect it.”
Visit here for more information or download the free Big Butterfly Count app to enter your findings.