Where are our beautiful butterflies disappearing to? In the last decade, three quarters of the UK's population has been lost. The Butterfly Conservation are doing all they can to stop further decline; through surveys and extensive monitoring, they are able to gather vital statistics and environmental data that not only keep an eye on numbers, but also helps determine what is causing the decrease, and ways to improve the situation.
This is no easy task, however, and they need us to lend a helping hand. That's why they are asking as many people in the UK as possible to take part in the Big Butterfly Count. Although there is a serious goal in mind, it is simple and fun activity that give you the chance to enjoy the outdoors and see some beautiful creatures.
Up until the 11th August, they are asking you to spend fifteen minutes of your day counting butterflies. It is best to do it on bright sunny days, as that is when they are most likely to be out. You can pick any location, whether it be your garden, a park, or school. Simply print off a species identification sheet and record how many you see (use separate sheets for different days and locations).
Once you have your total, you can then submit the data online.
For a chance to win some fab prizes, you can also enter the butterfly photography competition. Take your camera along with, take a few snapshots, and submit as many as you like. The winners will receive Marks & Spencer vouchers and a years membership with the Butterfly Conservation.
The Lucky Caterpillar
Since the competition began, I have spotted three butterflies: a Red Admiral on my tree, a Small Tortoiseshell sitting on the driveway, and a Large White flying down the street. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me on any of these occasions. The other day, however, I did manage to capture a shot of a lucky caterpillar that was dropped into my back garden by an overhead bird. I have no idea which species it will turn into, but somehow I don't think it will count for the competition. I'll keep an eye out though.