Monday, 10 September 2012

Results of the Big Butterfly Count 2012.

I have just received an e-mail from the Butterfly Conservation with the results of the Big Butterfly Count which took place in the UK between the 14 July and 5 August. Bearing in mind what most wildlife watchers have observed this year I was not at all surprised to learn that 15 out of the 21 target species showed a year on year decline plus 11 species declined by more than a third compared to the 2011 counts all no doubt due to the impact of our wettest summer for over 100 years.

The Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) took the top spot with the numbers recorded rising by 186%. Other single-brooded grassland species whose caterpillars probably benefited from the lush growth of their food plants and slightly better weather conditions during their later flight periods were the Ringlet and Marbled White.
 Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus).

Two other brown butterflies, the Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood, whose caterpillars also feed on grasses but frequent hedgerows and woodland habitats unfortunately did not fare so well.
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus).

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria). Numbers decreased by 65%.

Another loser was the Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) with counts down by 53%.

Counts for the Red Admiral (Vanessa atlanta) were down 72% but in the past few days I have seen plenty of this colourful species on the wing.

One of the few successes was the Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae). This day flying grassland moth came in in 6th place and did well for the second year in succession.

 So who knows what the situation will be next year ... I guess it will all depend on the weather.   FAB.

12 comments:

  1. certainly makes sense with the amount of rain you've had this year. love those meadow browns and gatekeepers. :)

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  2. Lousy weather, killing everything. But, I love your butterflies,

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  3. One thing in their favour Frank is that species that survived do lay thousands of eggs, so hopefully they will all recover next year (Weather permitting.)

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  4. Thanks Theresa & Bob.

    Roy ... Thanks for that positive thought.

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  5. We had fewer butterflies here this summer that I've been able to tell and we've been through a severe drought. Carol

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  6. Love the Meadow Browns. Some of these I have never seen before. Excellent photos, FAB!!

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  7. I've been watching the butterflies go through my yard but they never sit still long enough for me to get a close look. Awesome photos.

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  8. Sadly my own observations match those of the survey. Let's hope that next year things pick up.

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  9. Red Admirals seem very scarce here this year. Peacocks seem to have made a late recovery though.

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  10. Hi Carol. We have both experienced the opposite ends of the weather ... both no doubt having similar effects on the wildlife.

    Thanks Mona. Always delighted to show you something new.

    Cheers Red. Most of the garden sighting here have also be fly overs!

    Hi Adam. I'm sure everyone will have their fingers crossed.

    Hi John. I guess the Peacocks have benefitted from their longer flight period and the recent warmer weather.

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  11. I didn't take part in the survey sadly but if I had I may well not have seen a single butterfly in 15 minutes! Its been a terrible year in my North East Wales patch. But funnily enough the most abundant over the last few weeks in my large untidy garden have been the Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood. Great photos Frank.

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  12. Hi Ann. Interestingly my count in the garden was ZERO but elsewhere on my birding patch was fortunately a different story.

    Yes, I have seen plenty of Gatekeepers & Speckled Wood over the past few weeks so the overall picture may not be so bad for some species.

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