Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Big Butterfly Count 2013

Small Tortoieshell on Marjoram

There has been much in the media lately about the plight of Britain's butterflies; the idyllic picture of flowery meadows a-flutter is sadly no longer reality.

Red Admiral on Buddleia

After last year's record wet summer and the long harsh winter, it is good to see butterflies back in good numbers . . . but is this true of all or just some species and habitats?

Gatekeeper on Whitecurrant leaf

To find out what is going on across the UK, Butterfly Conservation is holding a Big Butterfly Count. If you have a Smart Phone or Tablet you can download a free App to make recording and submitting your survey really easy. 

Large White on Buddleia

I've just done a count in our garden (it only takes 15 minutes) here are the results:

4 x Large White
1 x Small White
2 x Green-veined White
2 x Meadow Brown
1 x Gatekeeper
11 x Peacock
2 x Small Tortoiseshell
1 x Red Admiral
2 x Comma 

Of course Buddleia is great for attracting a crowd of butterflies and nettles are the food plant of a few species BUT there is more you need to do to help our native butterflies – here are my tips for attracting more butterflies to your garden:

- don't use pesticides or fungicides

- leave messy areas, not just nettles! rough grass is important for the life cycle of many species.

- grow native British wildflowers and shrubs

- grow lots of herbs and let them flower

If you haven't already done so, please take 15 minutes this week to do the Big Butterfly Count.


PS the photos were all taken in our garden during my 15 minute survey, with my iPhone.


  1. I really MUST do my survey although today will be a very poor day, thanks to the overcast weather.
    You must have asked all of your butterflies very nicely if they could pose for you photos. I think butteflies have been extra flitty this year - probably something to do with the joys of a good summer!

    1. Maybe they were fooled by the fact I was using my iPhone and not a camera?

  2. I'll do mine tomorrow hopefully, was going to do it this afternoon but it's raining now!

    1. Hope you managed to do the survey in the sunshine.

  3. I will do this just as soon as the rain stops. I noticed only yesterday how many butterflies there were in the tiny new dye garden I planted along the edge of our short drive. Thank you for the reminder Celia :)

    1. I like the idea of your dye garden, flowering herbs definitely attract them in ours.

  4. The only one of note to be seen in my garden was my very first Comma. I was so thrilled.

    I will try to do the survey, I always enjoy the bird survey too.

    Don't you have a good variety of flutters?

    1. Commas are one of my favourites! I learnt that the caterpillars feed on hop leaves - we have hops growing along our wall.
      Was disappointed the Speckled Wood, Ringlet and Holly Blues didn't put in an appearance while I was doing the survey.

  5. That Gatekeeper is certainly a pretty little thing!

    1. Isn't it! They used to be so common but now not often spotted.

  6. What a great variety of butterflies you have in your garden. I've really enjoyed doing the Big Butterfly Count and the phone app really does make it so easy to do. I've nearly done one a day!

    1. The App is superb! Have you looked at the interactive map on the web site? I didn't think of doing more counts - I assume they are in different places?

  7. I was fascinated to see which butterflies are in your garden. I've done the count and it was interesting to compare with the last count I did a couple of years ago. I saw Painted Ladies then, but unfortunately haven't seen any this year although there have been plenty of other butterflies here this summer.

  8. Judging by the huge number of caterpillars munching their way through my brocolli butterflies are thriving in my garden this year!

  9. We did ours on Tuesday when the warmth seemed to have really brought those second broods out into the open. Our numbers are similar to yours although we only had 6 Peacocks - definitely the most prolific species around. No Commas here sadly but for the first time we had Ringlets and a Small Skipper. Last night was the first of the three National Moth Nights for the year but it was a wash out here so we're hoping for better results tonight. It's warm enough here for some good results I think. That Small Tortoiseshell on the marjoram is a gorgeous photo too Celia. Has lovely ethereal, summery haze look to it


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