Help track butterfly trend - The Evesham Observer

Help track butterfly trend

Evesham Editorial 20th Jul, 2019   0

CHRIS Packham is urging wildlife lovers across Worcestershire to take part in the world’s largest insect citizen science survey to help reveal if the UK is experiencing a once in a decade butterfly phenomenon.

Unusually high numbers of Painted Lady butterflies have been reported across Europe over the spring and early summer, with large numbers now spotted in the UK.

There have been around 15 sightings in the county so far, with Painted Lady butterflies seen near Feckenham and Droitwich as well as Upton upon Severn, Pershore and Worcester.

The butterfly is a common immigrant that migrates in varying numbers from the Continent to the UK each summer, where its caterpillars feed on thistles.




But around once every 10 years the UK experiences a Painted Lady ‘summer’ when millions of the butterflies arrive en masse.

Butterfly Conservation Vice-president and wildlife broadcaster, Chris Packham, is calling on nature lovers to take part in the Big Butterfly Count over the next three weeks to help reveal if we are experiencing a Painted Lady year.


The last mass immigration took place in 2009 when around 11 million Painted Ladies descended widely across the UK.

Chris said: “The Painted Lady migration is one of the wonders of the natural world. Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour these seemingly fragile creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year.

“Signs across Europe are looking very promising, meaning that 2019 could be a very good year for the Painted Lady.”

People are encouraged to take part in their gardens, a nearby park, or while out for a walk.

The Count runs from July 19 to August 11.

Submit your sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or via the free Big Butterfly Count app.

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