July 2011 Archives
Have you ever wanted to be a wildlife explorer, sallying forth to discover new things about wildlife? Well Butterfly Conservation is giving you the chance to do just this without even leaving your garden or neighbourhood. They are organising the 'Big Butterfly Count' from the 16 to 31 July.
This is the second of what the organisers hope will become an annual fixture in the nature conservation calendar. They need people to spend just 15 minutes in a sunny spot recording and counting all the butterflies and moths that they see. You can do this anywhere, such as in your garden, school grounds, local park, or a nature reserve or woodland. You can do as many separate counts in as many different places as you want. As well as butterflies you can record any moths you see. Daytime flying moths include six-spot burnet, silver y and the spectacular humming-bird hawkmoth. There is a website (see below) to enter the information you gather on line.
Last year the three most abundant butterfly species in England were gatekeeper (or hedge brown) small white and large white. Others in the top ten included common blue, peacock, red admiral and comma. The comma is doing well just now, as are the speckled wood and small tortoiseshell. This is good news for the first two species as they had been declining in recent years. This year's results will continue the process of providing an invaluable insight into the state of Britain's butterflies now, and over time successive counts will enable scientists to build up a picture of the trends, good and bad, affecting butterfly populations, abundance and distribution.
One of the reasons for organising the count is that Britain's 58 butterfly species are very sensitive to change, making them good indicators of the general health of the environment. High numbers are expected this year because of the fine weather in April which gave a good start to the breeding cycle. If the spring weather is bad next year the opposite may occur. Repeating the count over a number of years enables these peaks and troughs to be evened out and a true picture to be built up. Currently it is known that four butterfly and 62 moth species have become extinct here in the last 100 years, and that 50% of our butterflies and 70% of our (2,500) moth species are declining.
The whole event is supported by David Attenborough, Butterfly Conservation's President and Alan Titchmarsh ther Vice-President. Financial support comes from M and S. To find out all the details, and download a free butterfly identification chart, go to http://www.bigbutterflycount.org.
Tomorrow will see the launch of 'Bikefilm by name, Bikefilm by nature'.
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love riding my bike. It has to be one of life's simplest and greatest pleasures.
My twitter name is @bikefilm. For a while now I have been wondering how to bring these two things together.
How far would it be possible to make a movie using only bikes?
Last year we shot our no-budget film 'Turbulence' almost entirely within walking distance of my house and the Hare and Hounds. It worked brilliantly, certainly for people. But when it comes to moving equipment, you need wheels.
So tomorrow, I will be doing just that. Moving equipment using only my bike.