Red Admiral (spotted most often last year)_Mark Searle, Butterfly Conservation
A red admiral, which was spotted most often in last year's count. Picture: Mark Searle, Butterfly Conservation (Mark Searle, Butterfly Conservation)

It’s time to go butterfly spotting for this year’s Big Butterfly Count: let’s hope the sun shines so the butterflies and moths are fluttering!

The Big Butterfly Count is the annual “citizen science” activity by the Butterfly Conservation charity. They ask that you count butterflies and day-flying moths anytime from tomorrow (Friday 12 July) until Sunday 4 August.

Watching butterflies is not only a fascinating experience: as I reported on 23 May this year, new scientific research revealed that counting butterflies reduces anxiety, enhances mental wellbeing and boosts the feeling of connectedness with nature.

The Red Admiral was for the first time the species seen most often in the Big Butterfly Count last year, matching my own observations. It is increasing in the UK as a result of climate change.

The gatekeeper was next, and the large white and small white took the third and fourth spots. The count revealed the holly blue had a good summer last year, with numbers up 66% on 2022. The holly blues I saw peaked in late August/early September, well after the Big Butterfly Count, so it’s tempting to think the increase in numbers could be even more positive for the species.

To take part in the Big Butterfly Count this year, simply choose a sunny spot and record the species and numbers of butterflies and moths you see during a 15-minute period, then enter the results on the website: There’s a free downloadable guide to help you identify the butterflies you spot.

Alternatively you can use the free Big Butterfly Count app for smartphones. With this you can count them on the move and submit your results all in one go.

The results enable scientists to see which species are faring well and which are in decline, which also reveals how climate change is affecting their habitats. Butterflies and moths are vital parts of the ecosystem, both as pollinators and as food for other creatures.

Records are welcome from anywhere: parks, school grounds, gardens, fields and forests. You can repeat the count on as many occasions and in as many locations as you wish. Butterfly Conservation asks you to enter a result even if you don’t see any butterflies, so they know where butterflies are not being seen, which may indicate a problem.

Butterfly Conservation provides a list of target butterfly and moth species they would like counted. It explains that restricting the list reduces counting errors so they have a clearer view of actual butterfly numbers across the country.

For full details on taking part, visit the Big Butterfly Count website: The site includes an interesting map where you can see the numbers and species recorded so far.


There will be lots to keep all the family amused at the Lakeview Community Fun Day this Saturday, 13 July, with free entry. The event is open from 11am to 4pm.

A wide variety of activities are planned, including food and drink stalls, ice cream van, BBQ, crafts stalls, drumming workshops, a hairdresser and games including “beat the goalie”. Children’s’ entertainment includes face painting and a bouncy castle. There will also be a prize draw to win prizes generously donated by local businesses.

The Lakeview Community Fun Day will take place in Goldsworth Park at the Lakeview Community Centre in Tracious Close and the neighbouring outdoor area (postcode GU21 3AG).