Cool for Kids Miscellenea Parks & Gardens

Count the butterflies in your garden!

Children might especially enjoy taking part in this weekend's Garden Butterfly Count

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.

Red admiral
Red admiral / Atalanta / Vulcain / Vanessa atalanta
Peacock
Peacock / Dagpauwoog / Paon du jour / Aglais io
Small tortoiseshell
Small tortoiseshell / Kleine vos / Petite tortue / Aglais urticae
painted lady
Painted lady / Distelvlinder / Belle dame / Vanessa cardui
Comma
Comma / Gehakkelde aurelia / Robert-le-Diable / Polygonia c-album
Map
Map / Landkaartje / Carte géographique / Araschnia levana
Meadow brown
Meadow brown / Bruin zandoogje / Myrtil / Maniola jurtina
Gatekeeper
Gatekeeper / Oranje zandoogje / Amaryllis / Pyronia tithonus
Ringlet
Ringlet / Koevinkje / Tristan / Aphantopus hyperantus
Speckled wood
Speckled wood / Bont zandoogje / Tircis / Pararge aegeria
Brimstone
Brimstone / Citroenvlinder / Citron / Gonepteryx rhamni
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Large white / Groot koolwitje / Piéride du chou / Pieris brassicae
Small white
Small white / Klein koolwitje / Piéride de la rave / Pieris rapae
Holly blue
Holly blue / Boomblauwtje / Azuré des nerpruns / Celastrina argiolus
Silver washed fritillary 2
Silver-washed fritillary / Keizersmantel / Tabac d’Espagne / Argynnis paphia
Swallowtail
Swallowtail / Koninginnepage / Machaon / Papilio machaon

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.

86 comments on “Count the butterflies in your garden!

  1. Thanks for this post. I’d love to count butterflies too, but I couldn’t name all the species you mentioned here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matt’s photos really are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the pictures Denzil. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful photos. I use to see butterflies all summer long and enjoyed watching them in the garden move from flower to flower. For the past couple of years, I probably average no more than six per season. Sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this is a common experience Judy and extremely sad. At first sight, it would be easy to think that global warming could only benefit butterflies, but research is showing that the opposite is happening. They are unable to cope with the wide fluctuations and changing climate patterns. Migratory species seem to be most severely affected.

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  5. Very informative and a great initiative. I forwarded your blog to my parents. Some of these names are great. I love the map species – landkaartje. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes that’s one of my favourites too Liesbet. Its underside looks even more like a landkaartje than its upperside.

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  6. It’s so cool seeing some familiar “faces” (the red admiral and the fritillary in particular) even though I’m far away, across the pond! Excellent information too – I know there’s a “count your birds” day kind of thing over here, but I’ll have to peek and see if there’s a butterfly version in New Hampshire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I came across this Traci: http://www.naba.org/counts/us_mx_map.html Looks like there could be a couple in NH.
      What a lovely part of the US you live in then! I visited Peterborough and Keene a few years ago. Beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s awesome, Denzil! There’s definitely one in Northern NH (according to the map), and one in my hometown area of Massachusetts (where my mom still lives). Thanks for sussing this out! And yes, I’m beyond lucky to live here – gorgeous weather at least three days a year (the rest of the time, blizzards or heat waves – LOL). Seriously, while I have some serious wanderlust, I can’t imagine calling any place else home.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful! For some years now, the butterflies have disappeared from my garden. (I live in Los Angeles.) While the bees have reappeared, a butterfly has yet to pay a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so disappointing isn’t it Rosaliene. Experts are warning of extinction of some butterfly species due to the combined effects of air pollution, overuse of insecticides and climate change. All of which we can do something about.

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  8. Happy counting! Thanks for the information 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s quite a fantastic display of nature’s gorgeousness! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was so amazed and inspired having known that butterflies have different species that can be identified, i will be sending some photos sir. Great job!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, but I can only help with European butterflies; if they come from anywhere else they are a big mystery to me!

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  11. kevinmayne

    Right – you’re on! Count planned, but sunny spells looking rarer than the butterflies 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Om my God!! This is so beautiful post to read and see the lovely butterflies 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Strangely we have seen more butterflies this year than ever before in our garden! We actually commented the either day we don’t know where they have all come from!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I use to see butterflies all summer long and enjoyed watching them in the garden move from flower to flower.love all the colorful pictures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. How much fun! Thanks for information. I will check some butterflies in my garden. I wonder what I can find 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow, I love butterflies, but never really knew the names of different species. This is all super good information with the names and everything. Once I visited a butterfly park in Rhodes in Greece, but it was too hot for them and they were just resting with their wings hidden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the compliments Tiina. Yes it’s interesting that even butterflies find it too hot sometimes, which does not auger well with global warming continuing.

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  17. This was so nice..got to enhance my knowledge on these beautiful creatures so much, next time shall definitely look out for them in garden more closely:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you found the article interesting and inspiring. Let me know how many species you identify in your garden!

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  18. raisingyourpetsnaturally

    Wow! Some amazing butterflies. What a great thing to do with the family. I’m sorry to say that our garden/yard doesn’t seem to attract many butterflies. Bees, yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Who doesn’t love butterflies, but i had no clue about sucha a varied family..it’s amazing to see nature is really beautifully made..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even the common ones are so wonderfully patterned aren’t they! One (the Map) looks completely different depending on whether it hatches in the spring or in the summer!

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  20. Nicole Anderson

    What a fantastic, fun and educational activity to get children involved in. I loved all the photos of the different types of butterflies you included here and I hope that as many people as possible actively take part during the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I would love to count butterflies but it is impossible for me to remember their names. I loved that orange and black butterfly. In Dubai, we have butterfly garden which opens in Winters and I enjoy looking at these beautiful creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it takes a bit of practice to distinguish between some of them. I find the blue butterflies (I only showed one of them) the hardest to identify as many look quite similar (blue!).

      Liked by 1 person

  22. This is very generous of you, Denzil, to provide the sites where butterflies can be reported and the types of butterflies everyone might see. What is that beautiful jade green beauty at the top of the post?

    We get monarchs where we live (Southern California, USA) and a few other common butterflies – we planted a butterfly and hummingbird garden a few years ago and now have regular visitors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Sharon I would love to see monarchs, particularly when in their migratory clouds. And hummingbirds in the garden; I can only imagine how exciting they would be to see.

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      • We don’t see clouds of monarchs here, just a few loners or a married couple, at least not where I live. But when we visited Point Pelee, the southernmost tip of Canada that dips into Lake Erie, we stood looking at the magnificent tall trees with their autumn leaves fluttering in the breeze. And then the leaves flew away in masses of monarchs, thousands and thousands. We’d had no idea that the butterflies migrated to this point every year. That was more than 40 years ago. However, I just looked at the website and saw no mention of the butterfly migration so perhaps this event is no longer one that happens. Their loss is tragic in every sense.

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  23. Very informative post, I don’t live in Belgium but I can imagine this to be so great and helpful effort. The pictures by Matt are so pretty! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gorgeous photos aren’t they Aditi! I think many countries have simmilar schemes: maybe there’s one in Australia?

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  24. I am impressed by all of the wide variant of butterflies with all the colors that you have here. I had no clue they had such a day to count them but it does make sense for conservation efforts for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankfully today was a sunny day so the butterflies were on display! Mind you, I think everyone is agreeing that they don’t see as many as they used to in years gone by.

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  25. I didn’t know they did census for butterflies but that does make sense. I like the peacock butterfly the best!
    ~http://viabella-thebeautifullife.blogspot.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Oh my gosh oh u are so needed right and I’ve spotted at least two of these beautiful butterflies in my garden already, this weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Hello Denzil,
    What a beautiful post and such a lovely concept. So much variety in butterflies over there.
    I hope they are all plentiful and all who partook enjoyed ‘counting butterflies’. Have a lovely week 💐🙋🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Di. Yes Sunday was sunny so the butterflies were out flying. I don’t get a lot in my garden but it will be interesting to see the national results. Hope the packing is going well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds lovely, Denzil. They must have known they were on show…🦋

        And thank you for asking. Yes, we can’t do much more now until the last minute. Waiting for the visa paperwork now…
        Wishing you a happy new week up there 🙋🏻💐

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  28. Your header photograph is amazing – just superb

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Looks like an amazing event! I went to Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans last month and enjoyed it! Butterflies are so beautiful to look at!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are aren’t they Ana, and particularly in a butterfly garden where you can see them close-up. You have a nice travel blog; ever been to Belgium?

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  30. Wow, what an ingenious idea and a wonderful way to embrace and enjoy nature. We saw lots of butterflies on our travels but I never tried to count them! Beautiful photos here. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Kristine Nicole Alessandra

    Your photos are beautiful! I love taking pictures of butterflies too, however, most of them are blurry. I guess I need to adjust my shutter speed. These pictures make me want to take a trip to a butterfly garden and snap photos of these beautiful creatures too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for fluttering by Kristine. And for complimenting me on the photos, but as I mentioned, they are not mine but Matt’s from EuroButterflies.com. However, I am glad they are inspiring you to take your own butterfly snaps. 🙂

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  32. Never knew there were so many different kinds of butterflies. So much variety also, the organisms on this planet are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I LOVE this.

    Last week in my gardens I came upon a hummingbird moth. They are fond of my tall phlox.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I live in the city, so sadly no garden to count butterflies in it 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think urban planners have a great responsibility to make city parks and gardens more bee- and butterfly-friendly, also so that city dwellers like you can enjoy them.

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  35. So happy to know Denzil that there are lots of Butterflies thriving where you are.. I have not seen many at all this year here in the UK.. At least not in our part of the countryside..
    So loved all of your photo’s just wonderful..
    I have several butterfly friendly shrubs and flowers in my garden.. Last year I saw many butterflies on them.. Sadly this year apart from about a dozen not many at all..
    Wishing you well Denzil
    🙂 Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well it will be interesting to see the results of the survey Sue. I have the impression that numbers are down this year too. On my walks, spotting a number of butterflies on a bush seems to be a noteworthy observation rather than a common one. And of course, we all remember when we were children and seeing Buddleia and Sedum bushes literally covered with butterflies!

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes my own Buddleia a few years ago was covered in butterflies.. I only have seen the odd cabbage white.. And around a dozen sightings of Red Admirals this year and the red admiral could well have been the same one who kept visiting my garden..

        Liked by 1 person

  36. Elizabeth O

    Wow!! Such a beautiful butterflies. This will be a great activities for kids, so they know about the nature of butterflies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right Elizabeth. I’m actually reading a really good book at the moment about the tangible benefits to children of spending regular time in nature.

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