I carry out a weekly butterfly count on the Royal Canal here in Maynooth as part of the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme which is co-ordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. There are about 150 volunteers all over the country and I’ve just sent in my data for 2012. I recorded 14 different species compared to 12 last year – Wood White and Small Copper were the new ones – but overall numbers were down (from 385 to 251) which is not surprising I guess given the bad summer. The picture is somewhat complicated though as some species had increased numbers while others were down. However, the really significant development was a near collapse of the colony of Common Blues which was my most numerous species last year. I took both of these photos this year though so there is hope for next year – the one on the right is a male and the female on the left is on its larval foodplant Bird’s-foot Trefoil.