Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Thursday 1 August 2013

Big Butterfly Count 1st August 2013

Today I did another of my 15 minute counts for the  Big Butterfly Count
I have already done three elsewhere in the wood and meadow but today I counted in the garden.

From the website

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. Almost 27,000 people took part in 2012, counting 223,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK
Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses.
That’s why counting butterflies can be described as taking the pulse of nature.

The count will also assist us in identifying trends in species that will help us plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.

How to take part

Simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the big butterfly count. We have chosen this time of year because most butterflies are at the adult stage of their life cycle, so more likely to be seen. Records are welcome from anywhere: from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.
If you are counting from a fixed position in your garden, count the maximum number of each species that you can see at a single time. For example, if you see three Red Admirals together on a buddleia bush then record it as 3, but if you only see one at a time then record it as 1 (even if you saw one on several occasions) – this is so that you don’t count the same butterfly more than once . If you are doing your count on a walk, then simply total up the number of each butterfly species that you see during the 15 minutes.
I did today's count  on  the butterfly/bee bed under the washing line. It is a strip about 6 feet long and 2 foot wide crammed with oregano, mint and borage plants.


I lay on the grass ( so as to take better pictures) and in 15 minutes I saw (at one glance)

Large Cabbage White 8
Small Cabbage White 9
Comma 5
Peacock 3
Small Tortoiseshell 4
Red Admiral 2

 and I saw 22 of these little beauties all at once! They are Gatekeeper butterflies

and I saw so many bumblebees!

The oregano, mint  and borage flowers were humming with them. I cannot describe adequately the scent and the sound of so many bees humming away in the sunshine on the warmed herb flowers.

I am truly blessed to live here and see these sights.

Anyone else joining in with this? What have you seen?


  1. No, I haven't joined in mainly because I mostly have cabbage whites in my garden. Think I have seen I Tortoiseshell? and 1 Peacock!

    1. I think they still want to know, even if that is all you see :-)

  2. I cannot possibly count all the butterflies and bees on my giant butterfly bush - it's swarming! but it's absolutely beautiful and I felt very blessed indeed on my Lammas to see the butterflies in such numbers.

    1. I have several buddlia bushes where I have yet to count but mine, too are swarming with butterflies and bees :-)

  3. I have planted lavender for two years in a row. Right before it blossoms, and usually during the bloom, our plants are covered with beautiful bees humming away. It's just awesome. We have one butterfly bush and it draws such lovely creatures too.

    1. Lavender, Buddlia and oregano seem the most attractive plants for both bees and butterflies :) Our garden is full of them :)

  4. I too joined in the Big Butterfly Count my 15 minutes were in a neglected orchard

    1. I loooked at your site and the orchard is lovely :)


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