More than 830,000 butterflies and day-flying moths were recorded as part of Butterfly Conservation’s annual Big Butterfly Count. Spotters throughout the UK counted four-times as many butterflies across July and August than they did last year.
One of our wildlife experts, Matthew Oates, provided his thoughts on the results of the survey:
“46,000 people counted butterflies and day-flying moths for Butterfly Conservation’s annual Big Butterfly Count! That speaks volumes: it says how deeply people value these magical creatures, and also suggests that they are not that hard to identify (at least the 21 commoner species covered by the count, which is of course the summertime equivalent of RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch).
“And it’s a good news story, for most of our high summer butterfly species have bounced back wonderfully after a run of poor summers and the nightmare rains of 2012. It just shows that butterflies are living miracles, surviving rotten summers, somehow, and responding wondrously to a few precious weeks of good weather. It seems that we generally under-estimate their powers of recovery, either that or they continuously find new ways of amazing us, or both. Given the right weather and better habitat conditions our lives could be blessed by an abundance of many of our commoner species.
“It’s been a particularly good year for the two Cabbage Whites, the Large White and Small White. Perhaps the tiny parasitic wasps that frequently parasitize their caterpillars took more of a pounding from the weather last year than the actual caterpillars, allowing their hosts a year off and a veritable annus mirabilis?”