For several years, Steve May, one of our volunteers, recorded butterflies along the same section of path on a (roughly) weekly basis as part of Butterfly Conservation's national scheme. After a couple of years off, (and a good prod from Ranger Rob Martyr) we have started doing them again.
The procedure could not be more simple. We start at the Visitors' Centre, follow the Meadow Trail to the river and then join the Heronry Trail near the new dragonfly platform. The path then leads past the two hides to rejoin the Ouse Valley Way, ending at the south side of Island Pit. We record all the butterflies we see without leaving the trail.
This standardised procedure, where you cover the same route every time, at the same pace, is more useful than casual recording because you can use the data to compare year on year.
This spring we have already seen a lot of peacocks, tortoiseshells, commas and brimstones and we expect the first orange-tip butterflies this week.
The scheme us so easy to do, you could do one yourself along a favourite walk. The information is to be found on Butterfly Conservation's Website. We will be starting a similar survey at Barford Road Pocket Park too.