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Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Painted Lady (Mike Duffy)

Two weeks ago, Robert Fuge, Joan Thompson, Sue Bryan, Paul Jeffery and I recorded 'unbelievable' numbers of PAINTED LADY butterflies migrating north across the Atlas Mountain region in Northern Morocco (North Africa). The migrating insects spanned at least 100 kilometres of road and involved many 'millions' of insects (thousands were getting run over by vehicles).

This past weekend saw many of these same insects arriving in the UK and the Butterfly Conservation Website is inviting all of you to take part in a nationwide survey this coming weekend (see note below) (Lee Evans)

*Butterfly Conservation’s UK-wide count of Painted Lady’s - 30th May 2009 *I

n the UK millions of Painted Lady butterflies have arrived in recent daysand more are likely to arrive with sunny weather and favourable windsforecast over the coming weekend.

There is a unique opportunity to get better information on the nature andscale of this spectacular and unprecedented migration by taking part in aUK-wide count.

Butterfly Conservation are inviting interested recorders tocarry out a two hour sample count from 11:00 -13:00 (UK time) on Saturday30th May. This will enable objective comparison with all other sitesrecorded in the same way.The data can be entered online at Butterfly Conservation’s website.

Simply record the total number that you see flying through your set searcharea over the full two hours of observation (including the 10% or more thatare likely to stop briefly to feed before carrying on migrating). Yoursearch area will either be your garden or over a 20 wide strip ofcountryside (10m either side of where you stand stationary for the twohours). Pick somewhere with a good view and do not record beyond 20m.If you do not see any add a zero count - negative records are equallyimportant.In the notes box of the sightings form – add in this information, with a newline for each (1) confirm that you carried out a full sample count by addingin the time “11:00-13:00”. (2) add ‘OK’ to confirm that the weather wassuitable for butterfly flight (3) add your count area – either as ‘Mygarden” or “20m wide strip” for all other counts in suitable open terrainand (4) add the direction of migration eg “NW” for flying north-west.

Please continue to enter all other counts separately on the same website,including any counts made from 11:00-13:00 if the weather was not suitablefor butterfly migration (cold, very windy) and counts made over differenttime periods and recording bands.A small number of sites are needed for more intensive recording. If you areinterested in taking part over a longer time period (6 hours or more) pleaseemail with the subject header Painted LadyCount.

Good luck and fingers crossed that the weather is suitable for what shouldbe a fascinating day!Tom BreretonRichard FoxButterfly Conservation