Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Butterfly Conservation's UK-Wide Painted Lady Count

Butterfly Conservation's UK-wide count of Painted Lady's - 30th May 2009

In the UK millions of Painted Lady butterflies have arrived in recent days and more are likely to arrive with sunny weather and favourable winds forecast over the coming weekend.

There is a unique opportunity to get better information on the nature and scale of this spectacular and unprecedented migration by taking part in a UK-wide count. Butterfly Conservation are inviting interested recorders to carry out a two hour sample count from 11:00 -13:00 (UK time) on Saturday 30th May. This will enable objective compassion with all other sites recorded in the same way.

The data can be entered online at Butterfly Conservation's website.

Simply record the total number that you see flying through your set search area over the full two hours of observation (including the 10% or more that are likely to stop briefly to feed before carrying on migrating). Your search area will either be your garden or over a 20 wide strip of countryside (10m either side of where you stand stationary for the two hours). Pick somewhere with a good view and do not record beyond 20m.

In the comments box of the sightings form – add in this information, with a new line for each (1) confirm that you carried out a full sample count by adding in the time "11:00-13:00". (2) add `OK' to confirm that the weather was suitable for butterfly flight (3) add your count area – either as `My garden" or "20m wide strip" for all other counts in suitable open terrain and (4) add the direction of migration eg "NW" for flying north-west.

Please continue to enter all other counts separately on the same website, including any counts made from 11:00-13:00 if the weather was not suitable for butterfly migration (cold, very windy) and counts made over different time periods and recording bands.

A small number of sites are needed for more intensive recording. If you are interested in taking part over a longer time period (6 hours or more) please email

with the subject header Painted Lady Count.

Good luck and fingers crossed that the weather is suitable for what should be a fascinating day!

Please forward to whoever you think may be interested.

Tom Brereton
Richard Fox
Butterfly Conservation