Cool for Kids

Count the butterflies in your garden!

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 / 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 / Gehakkelde aurelia / Robert-le-Diable / Polygonia c-album


Map / Landkaartje / Carte géographique / Araschnia levana

Meadow brown

Meadow brown / Bruin zandoogje / Myrtil / Maniola jurtina


Gatekeeper / Oranje zandoogje / Amaryllis / Pyronia tithonus


Ringlet / Koevinkje / Tristan / Aphantopus hyperantus

Speckled wood

Speckled wood / Bont zandoogje / Tircis / Pararge aegeria


Brimstone / Citroenvlinder / Citron / Gonepteryx rhamni


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 / Koninginnepage / Machaon / Papilio machaon

Many thanks to Matt Rowlings of 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.

95 replies »

    • 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.


  1. 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 2 people

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 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 2 people

    • 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.


  3. 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 2 people

    • 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!


  4. 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 2 people

  5. 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 2 people

    • 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

  6. 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 2 people

    • 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.


      • 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.


    • do you see butterflies much around where you are, Sharon? am lucky if I see 1 a day. So lovely, Denzil! how many did you see?

      btw, Denzil – am planning on a vacation & saw that some hotels offer free or discounted rooms to travel bloggers – food for thought for you to perhaps want to include a non-Belgium tab?


    • 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.


  7. 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 2 people

    • 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 🙋🏻💐


  8. 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 2 people

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


    • 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.


  9. 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 2 people

    • 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

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