Citizen science

Citizen science on the Thames Basin Heaths

Get involved!

Anyone can be a citizen scientist and it’s a great way to learn more about the wonderful plants and animals we share a planet with. The records you submit can help protect our amazing species and habitats too!

You may already be a citizen scientist if you join in with national campaigns like the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch or Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count. All the records gathered are incredibly important in helping to inform conservation efforts, identifying areas with rare species and highlighting increases and decreases in species.

Submitting records is easy, with smartphone apps doing most of the work – filling in the date, time and location. With a couple of clicks, you’ve made a valuable contribution to conservation! If you don’t have a smartphone, you can also log records from your laptop.

A photo is helpful to the person checking your record.

A bonus with the smartphone apps is that they often come with species ID guides to help you with your identification and are usually free.

A selection of citizen science apps

You can download free citizen science apps for lots of different species and get recording!


Can you help?

The next time you’re walking on the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, why not slow down and take a closer look at some of the smaller things and help us monitor our wonderful heathland species? Don’t forget to let us know what you find!

Could this be the moment you become a citizen scientist and help contribute to the places you love walking around? That would be amazing!

Summer of 2021

Click here for more on the silver-studded blue

We need your help!

The silver-studded blue is a little gem of a butterfly that can be found flying low over short heather from the end of May into August – with largest numbers seen in June and July. It’s a rare butterfly and needs careful conservation to help it thrive.

If you see a blue butterfly on heathland…

  1. Check that it’s a silver-studded blue (click here to find out more about ID)
  2. Take a photo if you can
  3. Use the iRecord Butterflies app to log your sighting
  4. Let us know via our social media channels or use #silverstuddedblue
  5. Make sure you help our ground-nesting birds by always keeping to main footpaths between March and September

Your sightings might locate a new colony (how exciting!!) and will help Butterfly Conservation and land managers to build up a picture of how the species is doing.

Have you seen a silver-studded blue?

A map highlighting where silver-studded blues have been spotted

Silver-studded blues are being spotted all over the Thames Basin Heaths – Have you submitted a sighting yet?


So far, silver-studded blues have been spotted at Hazeley Heath, Velmead, Long Valley, Wildmoor Heath, Broadmoor Bottom, Barossa, Ash Ranges, Yateley Common, Chobham Common, Horsell Common, Sunningdale, Turf Hill, Brentmoor Heath, Folly Bog, Caesar’s Camp (Aldershot), West End Common, Bullswater Common, Cobbetthill Common, Brookwood Heath and Whitmoor Common. Have you spotted one somewhere else? Let us know!

Additional butterfly-spotting challenge!

Excitingly, graylings – another of our rare heathland butterflies – are now flying. Have you seen one? Can you iRecord it and send us a photo too?

Graphic with images of grayling butterflies

Graylings are flying now – Please keep an eye out for them, iRecord your sighting and let us know!


Thank you for your help!

Education & Engagement Officer

Read more

Wildlife gallery: Silver-studded blue
Wildlife gallery: Grayling
On our blog: Silver-studded blue butterflies: Can you help?
On our blog: A closer look at the silver-studded blue
On our blog: 325 butterflies and counting!
Free craft download: Make your own silver-studded blue butterfly
Butterfly Conservation website: Silver-studded blue



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