5 reasons why you should join David Attenborough and the Big Butterfly Count

Have you seen the Common Blue butterfly?

The world’s biggest butterfly count has begun.

With three-quarters of our 59 native butterfly species declining in number – due to habitat loss, climate change and pollution – the Big Butterfly Count and David Attenborough are encouraging everyone to head out into their garden, local park or nature reserve to get counting.

Here’s why you should take part ….

It’s a good excuse to go outside (picnic or BBQ optional but highly recommended)

The idea is that you spend 15 minutes at your chosen outdoor location (whether that’s your garden, local park, beach or nature reserve) and note down how many butterflies you see. Then, upload your sightings onto the Big Butterfly Count website and the data will given to scientists studying the fate of our dear insects. Even if you don’t spot any butterflies, the information will still prove useful.

If you happen to be by the coast, keep a look out for the Common Blue butterfly. The Butterfly Conservation say that the species reached their lowest level on record in 2012, so they want to see if the the butterflies are faring any better this year.

Sir David Attenborough is involved

The respected broadcaster and naturalist is also the President of the Butterfly Conservation. He said: “The UK’s butterflies really need your help this summer. Three-quarters are in decline and one-third in danger of extinction.

“The ongoing and alarming loss of their habitat is a major and worrying factor in their falling numbers.

“By taking one simple step you can help to reverse this loss. Plant a few pots in your garden or on your window ledge with the right plants and you can provide butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects with a lifeline of food and shelter.”

It will get you planting

Give butterflies a helping hand and plant pots with nectar sources such as Catmint, Lavender, Cranesbill, Oregano and Echinacea.

You’ll get to know your butterflies

Do you know your Gatekeeper from a Painted Lady or a Six-spot Burnet? With 20 species of butterflies to spot, there’s no denying that you might need a helping hand. Download the ID chart from the Big Butterfly Count website or attend one of the their events taking place across the country, where experts will be available to give tips on identifying the species, as well as the best places to spot them. Butterfly experts will also be leading guided walks.

Your photography skills could pay off

Don’t just record your sightings of the Red Admiral, Holly Blue and Birmstone butterflies by ticking a box on your ID sheet, take a camera on your hunt as the Big Butterfly Count are also running a photography competition. The winner will receive £150 worth of Castle Camera vouchers.

The Big Butterfly Count runs until August 9th. To find out more information about events taking place, the photography competition, or to download your ID chart, visit bigbutterflycount.org

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