Yesterday was the start of the 2016 Big Butterfly Count. One of my favourite “citizen science” projects; we’ve been doing this in the Too Lazy garden for a few years now. All you have to do is sit for 15 minutes and count the butterflies you see (only record the maximum number of a species you can see at any one time, so you don’t count the same individuals twice). You can do as many counts as you like in as many locations over the 3 week period the count runs.
So this afternoon I sat in the garden and counted the butterflies. Not a huge number; it was a bit of a dull day as so often seems to happen when the Butterfly Count is on. But I did see 5 individuals of three species – Large White, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Best of all I saw a pair of Ringlets mating. This bodes well for future little Ringlets (would that make them Ringletlets?) in our garden.
The meadow brown just whizzed through the garden and the Large Whites were way too flighty to get photos as usual. They may be one of the commonest species, but I find them the hardest to photograph.
So maybe not a spectacular start, but then the count isn’t about recording the highest numbers of butterflies. It’s about gathering long term data to assess the health of the UK’s butterfly populations. So my 5 butterflies still provide useful data.
More information on the Big Butterfly Count at: http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/