Recording butterflies in your garden

Small Tortoiseshell with open wings on bright yellow flower.
Small Tortoiseshell on French Marigold. Photo: Lyn Pullen

As members of Butterfly Conservation will have read in their ‘Butterfly’ magazine, the system for garden butterfly records has changed, because of the retirement of Dr Margaret Vickery from the brilliant work she had undertaken voluntarily for many years. Within Dorset we still have Adrian Neil willing to pull together paper records, so it is up to you how you record the butterflies in your garden, and you do not have to be a member of Butterfly Conservation to do this. Your options are:

1.       Continue to note your garden records on one of the forms which has been used for years – a copy is available here for your to print out. Fill it in as you see your first butterfly of each species, and send it to Adrian Neil at the end of the season either by post, or, if you can scan it into your computer, attached to an email.
2.       Use the new national on-line recording site: Garden Butterfly Survey. There are full instructions on how to register and enter your records. This is different to the old system in that you are able to record as many sightings as you wish, not just the first of each species, and you can also record the number of each species you saw.

3 Red Admirals on michaelmas daisy

Red Admirals on Michaelmas Daisy. Photo: Lyn Pullen

It is entirely up to you which system you use, but please do not duplicate records, or we gain a false impression of the numbers of butterflies in your garden.

If you use the paper method to send in first sightings, you can always enter others on the recording form on this website. For example, you might note the first Red Admiral you see on the paper form, but if later in the year you see ten at once, you may like to put this on the website.

All your records are of great value to us, so the main thing is that you keep them coming!

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