Friday 22 September 2017 06:01:14 PM

Biodiversity Games – The Butterfly Chase!
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Biodiversity Games is a recording project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund which aims to get local people to connect with the biodiversity in their area, in particular butterflies.

The Small Toitoiseshell butterfly.

The Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.

In the peak of the butterfly season there will be two opportunities to  identifying and count these beautiful creatures in County Down. On Friday 2 August a butterfly count will take place at Murlough National Nature Reserve from 11am to 1pm. A second event will take place on Sunday 4 August, as part of the ‘Summer Fayre in the Park’, at Warrenpoint Park from 11am to 1pm.

All species observed during these events will be recorded and this information will be forwarded to the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) in Belfast. The events are organised in partnership with Butterfly Conservation and the ‘Big Butterfly Count’ which runs until Sunday 11 August.

The Big Butterfly Count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies.

Biodiversity Officer for Down and Newry & Mourne District Council, Danielle Begley said: “Everyone always thinks there were more butterflies when they were young, but how do we really know? The only way to tell is to count and record what we see and not just butterflies but birds, bats and beetles are all important too. If you cannot make it to one of the Biodiversity Games events, you can still have a go.”

Senior Regional Officer for Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland, Catherine Bertrand added: “You can count anywhere you like, in the garden, when walking the dog, at the seaside, up a mountain – just spend 15 minutes looking and record what you see.  A ‘no count’ is equally important as it tells us where butterflies are not, as much as where they are.”

Send in your sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or new this year is a FREE smartphone app for Big Butterfly Count. Now you can carry out and submit your count all in one go while out and about watching butterflies.

For further information contact Danielle Begley on 028 3031 3100 or email [email protected]newryandmourne.gov.uk

Details can also be found on the Council website www.downdc.gov.uk or on www.biodiversityni.com