Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group

24-08-2016: Kingston University’s 2016 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 changes in populations of butterflies and moths as these species react very quickly to change in their environment. This makes them excellent indicators of environmental health.

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

Sightings are still being logged for this year’s count until the end of August. Until the publication of the national results we’ve looked at all of our data and published our results below. 

Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers, we manged to conduct at least one big butterfly count at every Kingston University site, and by providing set survey locations based on the best habitats on some of our sites, we managed to increase the survey locations to 20 points. 
The KH LRC team - one of many from different departments
who helped us survey all our sites
Some sites were surveyed more than others, as we wanted to look at the number of species recorded at our sites; we combined the survey data for all sites, so that the maximum count of any species recorded on any one survey was logged. 

This allowed us to better interrogate how butterflies use the areas around our sites, and may indicate areas where we can try to make improvements for pollinators. But our results are only a snap shot of what’s happening on our sites. We can only reliably provide evidence for presence, as the number of surveys across areas were not standardised. 

Despite worries of it possibly being a worse year for butterflies due to the poor start to this summer, we actually found 1 more species then the 2015 count, and counted 171+ butterflies and months compares with 160 in 2015 (see the featured post for last years results). However we did undertake a few more counts compared to 2015 which may explain the difference in numbers.

In summary we had 27 participants undertaking 35 surveys across 20 locations. Thanks to repeat surveys on some sites, we were able to record butterflies at nearly every location despite 5 of our 34 surveys having no butterflies seen.The only location we didn’t spot butterflies this year was the forensic garden in Penrhyn Road.

Long terms surveys of sites can often tell us more about a site, and also find more species. If you are interested in undertaking longer surveys on one of our sites, please get in touch.

While we didn’t run a photo competition this year during the count, we did have surveyors send in photos of the butterflies and wildlife spotted. 

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. 

So sign up now for 2017

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