UK Native Butterflies in Decline

posted in: Gardening | 13

UK native butterflies in decline?  Indeed they are! It’s the annual butterfly count here in the UK from 16th July- 7th August and I’m taking part again this year.  Last year I also blogged about this Scottish wildlife event as our native butterfly and moth numbers are in decline in the UK. This survey is in it’s 2nd year. Furthermore our contributions will make a big difference to conservationists in their understanding of these beautiful  invertebrates. Records show already that the Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) is really struggling and has had a terrible year.  While the Common Blue (Polyommatus icrushas) is having a great summer.

UK Native Butterflies in Decline Common blue - - 846509
Did you know that our UK native butterflies are in decline? Common Blue on wildflowers Attribution: Andrew Smith [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
UK Native Butterflies in Decline Meadow Brown butterfly on Ragwort - - 913260
UK Native Butterflies in Decline – Meadow Brown Attribution: David Hawgood[CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

UK Native Butterflies in Decline

If you too would like to join in with us the details are here at the Big Butterfly Count Website.  Just find a sunny place to sit for 15 minutes in a garden, woodland, field or park from 16th July – 7th August and record what you see.  Then you can submit your sightings online up until the end of August.  It’s really easy to take part in the worlds biggest weekly butterfly count and great fun as well.

Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
~ Hans Christian Anderson

Shaded Broad-bar Scotopteryx chenopodiata

 Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata)


It’s not only butterflies that can be found during the day.  While out walking along the lade I managed to take a quick photograph of this moth that I disturbed along the little path that is edged with long grass.  It’s a day time flying moth called a Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata).  Even though this moth isn’t on the species watch list for the Butterfly count I’ll still be letting them know about this sighting.

Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. She also writes and shares her nature images on

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13 Responses

  1. ann

    Who wouldn't love to sit in the garden for a few minutes counting butterflies? So far I have seen only two varieties here in my northern Colorado garden: the giant yellow tiger swallow tail —never seen so many as I have this year– and the little white cabbage butterfly who had better not be laying eggs on my cabbages! Good luck.

  2. One

    Your butterflies and moths are beautiful. I might have seen the first one around.

    Butterfly Count? First time I'm hearing this. There are many butterflies here…

  3. Andrea

    Hello Rosie, even if we have different butterfly species that first one has a semblance to one of ours, however ours has the head and legs decoy at its end, i think they are called hairstreak. Your photo is so clear and vivid, very lovely.

  4. Curbstone Valley Farm

    I'm not sure if there's a butterfly count here, there probably is, I'll have to look that up. We did just have a bee count though a couple of weekends ago. I'm happy to say we had quite a few native bees to report (obviously our honeybees were busy too). I'm quite taken with how much your Common Blue looks like a number of the blues here, especially the lupine blue I saw in the garden earlier this year, even though they're in a different genus (our blues are mostly Plebejus genus).

  5. The Sage Butterfly

    These butterflies are beautiful! It is so interesting to see what butterflies you have in the UK compared to here in the USA. I hope your count is high!

  6. Jayne

    I love the blue one — I never saw one when I lived in England. I'm sure the NABA has a count, but I haven't participated yet. I've partipated in a couple of bird counts, but that's all.

  7. Bom

    No butterfly count over here that I know of. It's definitely a worthwhile endeavor and it is so wonderful that you are a part of it and spreading word.

  8. Melanie

    I don't know if we have a butterfly count here. This year we are inundated with moths from the tent caterpillars. This means we will have even more tent caterpillars next year. I hope your butterfly count is diverse and high.

  9. Your Gardening Friend

    What a GORGEOUS butterfly – the common blue. It's such a beautiful blue [and fuzzy]. I don't know if I've ever seen one before, in person or in photograph.

    I don't normally consider moths "beautiful", but this photo makes me think twice.

  10. debsgarden

    The blue butterfly in your photo is amazing. I hope these and other butterflies will have the resilience to overcome whatever environmental hazards threaten them.