Take a final flutter to Sharpenhoe

Sir David Attenborough launches the Big Butterfly Count, at London Zoo. Wednesday 11 July 2012. UK
Sir David Attenborough launches the Big Butterfly Count, at London Zoo. Wednesday 11 July 2012. UK

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation is inviting nature lovers to take part in the final weekend of the world’s largest butterfly survey.

A butterfly walk is taking place on Saturday August 9 at Sharpenhoe Clappers, a stunning National Trust Reserve which forms part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Butterfly-lovers can look for Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Commas and other Big Butterfly Count species.

Butterfly Conservation’s President, Sir David Attenborough, said: “Butterflies fought back last year after a terrible 2012 but despite this, butterfly numbers were still below average. Three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies are in decline and one-third are in danger of extinction.

“This is bad news for butterflies and it is bad news for the UK’s birds, bees, bats and other wildlife. This is because butterflies are a key indicator species of the health of our environment – if they are struggling, then many other species are struggling also.

“Every single person taking part in the Big Butterfly Count this summer can produce a statistic that is of real value as their records help build a picture of how butterflies are faring and how we can best conserve them.”

The event will begin from 10.30am at the National Trust car park on Sharpenhoe Road, between Streatley and Sharpenhoe.

David Chandler from the Butterfly Conservation said: “This is the perfect opportunity to take part in some final counts.

“It’s a beautiful place to see butterflies, with breath-taking views and we’ve already spotted plenty of the Big Butterfly Count species here, like the Marbled White.”

No need to book, you can just turn up on the day

“I’ll also be on the lookout for the Chalk Hill Blue butterfly, which has a breeding colony on the chalk downland of the reserve.”

Unlike the two blue butterflies on this year’s Big Butterfly Count ID chart - the Common Blue and Holly Blue - the Chalk Hill Blue is larger in size and the males are paler, with almost silvery coloured upper wings.

If you’d like to attend the Sharpenhoe Clappers event, please just turn up on the day or for more information, email David Chandler: branch-liason@bedsnorthants-butterflies.org.uk