This weekend – August 5-6 2017 – in Belgium and in other European countries, a census of garden butterflies is taking place. It’s the opportunity to count the number of butterflies in your garden and submit the numbers to the relevant authorities. The aim is to investigate trends in butterfly species and help guide butterfly conservation efforts.
Taking part is easy — simply count the butterflies you see in your garden during any 15-minute period this weekend. Counts are best undertaken on a dry, sunny day. This is a great idea for children too!
You then submit your results online. This is where it gets a little complicated. Belgium being Belgium, there is no single or central website. If you live in Flanders, you need to go to the Natuurpunt website and enter your results in Flemish here; in Wallonia you go to the Natagara website and enter your results in French here.
As you’ve realized, these sites are only available in Dutch or French, which makes it difficult for anyone who is unfamiliar with the Dutch or French names of butterflies.
So I am providing photos of the 16 most common garden butterflies you could expect to see in your garden, with English, Dutch, French and scientific names. So when you go online you can easily tick the correct boxes.
Many thanks to Matt Rowlings of EuroButterflies.com for giving me permission to use his photographs. All the above 16 photos are his (the featured image is from Pixabay). Matt’s site is also highly informative, so if you need more information on a particular butterfly, it’s a great place to start.
If you see a butterfly you can’t identify, you can always take its picture and send it to me and I will do my best to identify it.
I hope you enjoy your butterfly counting weekend, and as I said earlier, it’s a great opportunity to introduce your children to butterfly identification and conservation.
Here is a lovely book to read if you’re interested in butterflies: The Butterfly Isles by Patrick Barkham.