Sir David Attenborough calls on public to count butterflies" width="976" height="549">
Spending time with nature offers a respite from the modern life, Sir David Attenborough has said, as he called on the the public to take part in the world's biggest butterfly count. The naturalist says watching butterflies in his garden "never fails to bring me great pleasure".The exercise involves spending 15 minutes counting butterflies and submitting the sightings online.The majority of butterfly species have been in decline for the past 40 years.However, this year, weather conditions in the UK - a cold winter followed by settled weather during a late spring and summer - have created the right conditions for butterflies to flourish.
Species expected to do particularly well include the holly blue, common white, common blue and red admirals.
This year could be a good one for the red admiral butterfly
However if the hot conditions create a drought, the results could be "catastrophic" as plants wither and insects die through lack of food, said the charity Butterfly Conservation, which organises the count.This happened in 1976 when the butterfly population collapsed after the hot summer.
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As part of the Big Butterfly Count, Butterfly Conservation is asking the public to spot and record 17 species of butterfly for the next three weeks.In addition to contributing to conservation knowledge, mental health charity Mind says spending time in nature can help alleviate problems such as depression and anxiety.
The Big Butterfly Count takes place between 20 July and 12 August
Sir David said: "Spending time with nature offers us all precious breathing space away from the stresses and strains of modern life, it enables us to experience joy and wonder, to slow down and to appreciate the wildlife that lives side by side with us."I have been privileged to have witnessed some truly breath-taking wildlife spectacles in far-flung locations but some of my most memorable experiences have happened when I've been simply sitting and watching the wildlife that lives where I do."
David Attenborough
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