The Big Butterfly Count

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Now in its 6th year running, If you haven’t heard of the Big Butterfly Count, it’s exactly as it sounds – a large scale butterfly count! The aim is to encourage people around the country to count butterflies in their local area over July and August and submit the results. The end results (total numbers) can be compared to previous years to give an idea of how butterfly species in the UK are doing and highlight any trends (such as continuous decline).

Spot the Butterfly

Anyone can take part in the Big Butterfly Count, all you need to do is count butterflies (and moths) for 15 minutes (preferably on a sunny day) and submit the results via the website or smartphone app.

Last weekend, whilst volunteering with The London Wildlife Trust, I took the opportunity to take part in the Big Butterfly Count myself. Our count covered Sydenham wood in South East London and totalled 12 species over 2 separate counts (a comprehensive list of which can be found below). Whilst initially struggling to spot butterflies, you soon get the hang of it and spot more and more, although it can be difficult to ensure you’re not counting the same individual twice

A Gatekeeper butterfly in Sydenham Wood, London.
A Gatekeeper butterfly resting on a thistle in Sydenham Wood, London.

The count runs from the 15th July to the 7th August so there’s still plenty of time to get out there and count.
Download the app or use the identification card shown below (the FSC butterfly guide is also a wonderful resource for butterfly enthusiasts and novices alike at only £3) to go out and count some butterflies Рyou may be surprised at how many species you can find

!Butterfly Identification Sheet

Sydenham Wood Butterfly (and Moth) Count:

  • Green-veined White
  • Gatekeeper
  • Meadow Brown
  • Ringlet
  • Large White
  • Speckled Wood
  • Comma
  • Large Skipper
  • Essex Skipper
  • Holly Blue
  • Small Skipper
  • Silver Y (Moth)

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