Join Sir David in the Big Butterfly Count

A marbled white butterfly

A marbled white butterfly

The count is being backed by celebrities, including naturalist David Attenborough, and depends on people devoting 15 minutes to counting butterfly species.

The TV nature expert hopes to see a rise in butterfly levels compared to past year. Now he's encouraging everyone else to do the same, and spend 15 minutes outside keeping count of the butterflies they see. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world's biggest survey of butterflies.

I have been privileged to have witnessed some truly breath-taking wildlife spectacles in far-flung locations but some of my most memorable experiences have happened when I have been simply sitting and watching the wildlife that lives where I do'.

"Spending time with nature offers us all precious breathing space away from the stresses and strains of modern life".

Now conditions we've experience, a cold winter followed by a hot spring and summer, are ideal for butterflies to flourish, but their numbers could tank if these conditions reach drought levels and caterpillars run out of plants to eat.

To take part in the Count, find a sunny spot anywhere in the United Kingdom and spend 15 minutes counting the butterflies you see and then submit sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or via the free Big Butterfly Count app.

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Sir David has also stressed the importance of the country's bee decline, and has urged anyone who finds a struggling insect give them sugar water to revive them back to health.

Despite the largest number of people taking part in the survey a year ago the average number of butterflies seen per 15 minute count was the lowest recorded since the survey started.

To participate, find a sunny spot anywhere in the United Kingdom and spend 15 minutes counting the butterflies you see. In short, if the number of butterflies is declining, it is a warning sign for other losses to come.

"That's why counting butterflies can be described as taking the pulse of nature", it said, adding that the current count will also assist the organisation in identifying trends in species that will help them plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.

Participants are being asked to look out for 17 particular species - including holly blue, common white, common blue and red admirals - for the next three weeks, from today until August 12th.

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