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Butterflies, moths and bats are all being counted as part of huge Citizen Science projects following events held by the council over the last week in Newry and Mourne District.

More than 30 people attended the Butterfly event held in the sunny gardens of Slieve Gullion courtyard on Saturday last, the first day of the Big Butterfly Count which is carried out each year by Butterfly Conservation.  To date more than 10,000 15 minute counts have been recorded across the UK and the counts here in Newry are making a huge contribution to this.  The Gullion Event also featured the opening of Moth traps that had been loaned out to local families to monitor the moth populations in their gardens.  A single moth trap in a suburban Newry garden was found to contain over 30 species of moths.

Other citizen science projects being supported by the council include the All Ireland Daubenton’s bat survey and on Monday twenty volunteers received specialised training in the use of bat detectors and ID techniques to survey the wonderful water bat, which can be seen at this time of year skimming our rivers and lakes “fishing” for insects with its gigantic feet. Potential volunteers attended this event from as far afield as Banbridge and County Louth but the competition is hotting up to put County Down on top nationally for the number of returned surveys carried out.

“Unless we record where our wildlife is, we cannot look after it” Abby McSherry, biodiversity officer with Newry and Mourne District council, said

“It is so simple to record what you see, especially these days when free phone apps and other on-line recording methods make it quick and easy.  The recording done by a complete beginner is as important as surveys carried out by researchers…we can all be citizen scientists” she continued.

To find out more about taking part in the Big Butterfly Count go to www.Bigbutterflycount.org and click Join In.. What better excuse do you need to sit in the sun for 15 minutes?.  You’re not being lazy you contributing to scientific recording!

 

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