Date

Ongoing, mainly April - September

Location

Anywhere in Northern Ireland

54.7877149, -6.4923145

Our conservation work depends on us knowing how butterfly populations are doing, and we are lucky to have over forty years' worth of data collected by volunteers to help us in our mission to conserve butterflies. Can you help us by counting the butterflies in your area?

Surveys are conducted along routes using certain methods, and in most cases they can be carried out each week between April and the end of September so that we can see how a range of species are doing. For rare species we also offer surveys that only need to be done over 4-6 weeks when the particular species is flying. Even if you can't commit to doing weekly surveys we'd still love to hear from you as you may be able to share the surveys with a small group of other local volunteers. The main types of surveys are:

UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme surveys (UKBMS): usually weekly surveys done between 1st April and 31st September, where the volunteer records butterflies along a set route which is typically 1-2km long. We have an existing network of survey sites to choose from, or we can work with volunteers to set up new routes in their area. Surveys can be done by individual volunteers who can commit to the 26 surveys per year, or as part of groups of volunteers who take it in turn to record. UKBMS also covers the single-species surveys of rare species, which only need to be carried out for about 4-6 weeks during the flight period of a certain butterfly species.

Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS): a survey of butterflies in the countryside carried out a minimum of twice per year, between July and August, with additional surveys in May and June welcome. The volunteer is sent the information about the recording route and asked to record the butterflies during good weather. The locations of these surveys are in under-recorded habitats including farmland, plantation woodland, uplands and urban greenspaces. This type of survey is more suited to those with some experience in recording butterflies.

These volunteer opportunities are open to anyone of all abilities. While some sites may not be fully accessible to wheelchair users or people with limited mobility, we can work with you to establish new butterfly monitoring routes in more accessible places.

Full training in butterfly identification and the techniques used to monitor butterflies will be given.

Contact Northern Ireland UKBMS Champion Stephen Craig on @email for more information about the UKBMS, or Rachael Conway rconway@butterfly-conservation.org for more information about WCBS.