How to spot a butterfly: 10 top tips
Butterfly Conservation’s Richard Fox shares his expert advice on how to see these lovely insects this summer.
1 Watch the forecast as most butterflies fly only on sunny, calm days, or on overcast days over 20°C.
2 Pick your site – flowery places with long grass are often good for butterflies; to see rarer species you need to go to the right habitats.
3 Think like a butterfly – most seek warm, sheltered, south-facing spots.
4 Pack binoculars for scanning the canopy, the tops of hedgerows and the middle of nettle and bramble patches.
5 Move slowly, as butterflies have keen eyesight, and watch your shadow so that it doesn’t fall on them.
6 Learn the plants on which the caterpillars and adults of each butterfly prefer to feed. Some species tend to stay close to their larval foodplants as adults.
7 Plan ahead to see a particular species as different butterflies fly at different times of the year.
8 Carry a field guide to help you identify the species you see.
9 Take a photograph for reference (especially if you've seen something unusual) and confirm the sighting when you get home.
10 Don't leave it too late to see a butterfly as sightings tail off in the late afternoon, even on warm, sunny days.
Find out more about the Big Butterfly Count.