Saturday, 12 September 2015

Big Butterfly Count 2015

What with my new garden having little by way of flowers or larval food plants and therefore something of a green desert, and the generally cool, windy, showery weather we've had this summer, I wasn't expecting to record many butterflies for Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count. Sadly, I was right.

The idea is to count butterflies (and some of the day flying moths) and record the maximum number of each species during a 15 minute period.  Presumably the short period is to reduce the risk of double (or multiple) counting. Result for the first several attempts = none. Then I decided that a given session should start with me seeing a butterfly, then watching for another 15 minutes to see if another one turned up. I achieved a few records by doing this over a couple of days at the end of July.

Then I got really busy with preparations for the Cardigan Belly Dance Festival. I had another go during lunch break during the festival workshops at Small World Theatre on the last day of the Big Butterfly Count. It was lovely and sunny, and there's a small patch of lovely plants in front of the kitchen area (including lavender and cardoons). Not a single butterfly visited while I was watching! Then I was having so many problems with my computer/browser (I ended up on the Norton helpline until the early hours at one point) that logging my results completely slipped my mind. When I finally remembered and went in to do it, the results page was closed. So here, for what it's worth, are my results:
Wall Lasiommata megera

1 Peacock Inachis Io
1 Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae
1 Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta
1 Small White Pieries rapae
2 Large White Pieris brassicae
1 Wall Lasiommata megera

The two Large Whites were together. The Wall is a UK BAP research species and I think I only saw one once back at the farm. I called in there the other day, when it was lovely, warm and sunny, to drop off and pick up a few things. The Buddleias were smothered in butterflies, all jostling each other for space on the flower heads. There was even a blue butterfly flitting around some ivy. I would have needed my clicker to count them all. (I wonder where it is; I haven't found it in my unpacking yet.) I didn't have my camera on me, either. Just my luck!

Perhaps by next year, the several small Buddleias I have in pots will be planted out, ready to flower and become covered in butterflies on a sunny day!

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