It's peak butterfly season, the sun is shining and daylight hours are long. It's a great time of year to get outdoors and enjoy nature. This weekend is your last chance to take part in the Big Butterfly Count, so don't forget to print your free chart or download the app and tell us what you see. If you've already submitted a count you can always count again. We recommend taking a trip to your local woods to look for woodland species or why not add some late summer nectar to your flowerbeds and count butterflies from your own garden?
Butterfly Watching In The Woods
If you go down to the woods today you might be surprised to find hundreds of butterflies.
The Speckled Wood is bucking all the butterfly trends. Statistics have shown an extraordinary 71% increase in distribution and 84% increase in abundance in the last 40 years, as more than three-quarters of other UK species struggle.
This chocolate brown butterfly has 'speckled' markings that range from bright white to creamy yellow, depending on the season and area in which a colony occurs.
As the name suggests, the Speckled Wood is found in the dappled shade of wooded areas, feeding on honeydew from the treetops. Their colonies are biggest in summer, with populations sometimes reaching several hundred in one woodland.
Our woods are vital for many butterfly and moth species as well as being beautiful places to explore and discover nature, so why not head out for the Big Butterfly Count and see what you can spot?
It's not just Speckled Wood butterflies that can be found in woodland habitat. If you are visiting your local woods to take part in the Big Butterfly Count, then keep your eyes peeled for the Ringlet, Brimstone, Comma and Holly Blue.
You are most likely to find butterflies at woodland edges, in clearings and sunny rides. The flowers that provide nectar for butterflies will only grow in areas that get some sunlight.
When trees are not coppiced, woodlands become too dark and overgrown to provide good butterfly habitat. Your Big Butterfly Count records are vital because they help us demonstrate the importance of woodland management.
Did you take our advice in May and plant a pot for pollinators? The ten plants we recommended should be flowering now, attracting butterflies to your containers for you to count.
More than 15 different species of butterfly have been known to visit private gardens and many of these are 'on the wing' in August. If you are keen to share your outdoor space with more butterflies, it's not too late to add some nectar-rich plants.
The Secret Gardener takes a look at what's available in garden centres this month for some last-minute, low maintenance, butterfly-friendly gardening.