Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

17-08-2015: Kingston University’s Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly Count (BBC) is a national survey run by Butterfly Conservation. It aims to assess the health of the environment using population changes in butterflies and moths species as indicators of environmental health. They are good indicators as they respond quickly to changes in environmental conditions.

 “Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses” 

Kingston University took part last year and nearly managed to cover most of our sites. This year, with the dedication of 32 volunteer surveyors undertaking 32 surveys during the official survey period; we smashed it :)

160 individual butterflies and moths were counted, amounting to 20 different species found across all of our sites. 

Survey results table:
Kingston Hill came top of the 2015 KU BBC survey with 8 butterfly species spotted this year. The Large White was the commonest species seen across our sites.

Surveys such as this are useful as they are quick standardised surveys involving lots of people who may not have time to commit to a longer survey – take a look at this link where you can see how engaged your local area has been in this year’s count

Screen shot of the Kingston area showing how our surveys have helped form a bigger Kingston Picture.
Long terms surveys of sites can often tell us more about a site, and also find more species. During the 2015 BBC we only found 7 species at Tolworth court, but our transect surveys of the site which are conducted from April to Sept found 14 different species. 

If you are interested in undertaking longer surveys get in touch to help out with the Tolworth Court Butterfly Transect, or check out these links to local butterfly groups who may be undertaking more long terms surveys in your local area. 

Photo competition:

This year we decided to run a photo competition for the best team photo/butterfly photo submitted. A few of the teams sent in photos – but for many of us, the butterflies were a little too fast to capture on camera. 

Based on how hard they are to capture we judged the following photo to be the best, butterfly photo

And the following shot to be the best team photo – exhibiting that age old issue of trying to figure out which species they saw!
Both teams hale from the LRC at Kingston Hill, each team wins one jar of Kingston University's "Fed by Learning" honey to share.

Some of the images from KU's BBC 2015
I would really like to say thank you for all of your hard work this year. 

We’re aiming to replicate this next year; it will be interesting to see how the results table changes over the two years if we can achieve this. 

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