Updated 13 April 2014
It's been a big week for butterflies. As reported on this blog on Wednesday the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme 2013 data was released a few days ago. Today the new iRecord Butterflies app is available from iTunes and the Google store.
The new app, which is free to download, guides you through the identification of any butterfly that you see in the UK. You can compare your own photo with those from the app’s extensive image library, filter species by colour, pattern and size, and see distribution maps and identification tips for each butterfly species.
I've been testing the app over the last few weeks (my most recent record a Small tortoiseshell spotted in the lane next to work on Wednesday...see the photo evidence below) and can confirm it's very easy to use. It's a fantastic addition to the iRecord app range which includes Ladybirds (launched last year) and the forthcoming Orthoptera (Grasshoppers and Crickets) app.
The main advantage of the iRecord apps over other similar products is that it provides a direct way of submitting data to the national butterfly recording schemes run by Butterfly Conservation, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the British Trust for Ornithology.
Every record you make with the app will help provide, in the words of Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation, "The essential foundation for much-needed conservation work to help the UK’s declining butterflies."
Many people have had a hand in the app's development including staff at Butterfly Conservation, scientists working within the Biological Records Centre (BRC) at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), and the developer team at Nature Locator and Natural Apptitude. CEH provided funding for the project and have linked it to the iRecord system for sharing wildlife observations, developed by Biodiverse IT and the BRC.
Tomorrow is the weekend and it's forecast to be sunny in many areas of the UK, fantastic conditions for recording butterflies. Download iRecord butterflies now and give it a try!
Update 1 - 13 April 2014
It's 6pm at the end of the first weekend since the iRecord Butterlies app went on general release. I've just glanced at the Butterfly App Info Centre on the iRecord website. In just over 48 hours 774 records of 20 species have been submitted and numbers are increasing every time I check. Great work by all of you who've been out recording over the last two days. 80 photos have accompanied these sightings.
However...team 'Butterfly' still have some way to go to get past the Ladybird recorders. Since the iRecord Ladybirds App was launched last year 6720 records of 31 species have been submitted, plus a fantastic total of 5013 photos (approximately 3 photos for every 4 records). More details are on the Ladybird App Info Centre.
One preliminary conclusion? It may be easier to photograph a ladybird than a butterfly!
Good luck with your recording!
Butterfly Conservation - Butterfly recording gets smart