Results of this summer's big butterfly count organised annually by Butterfly Conservation proved to be very disappointing. Admittedly, poor weather in some areas over the weekend may have played a part, nevertheless, despite the fact that a record number of people took part, the number of butterflies counted was the lowest ever.

From my observations this year I saw far fewer butterflies with only two species, namely the small white and red admiral showing in any numbers. Indeed, the red admiral enjoyed a good summer. Even the small tortoiseshell (pictured), once one of our most abundant species seems to be in freefall.

But, during a brief sunny spell in mid-October, I was amazed to spot a small white flying among heavy traffic, a most unusual sighting so late in the year and this species does not hibernate.

So much for butterflies but how about our birds? Well blackbirds have always been regular visitors to my lawn digging for worms but not this year. In fact I've not seen a blackbird for many months so I wonder if there is a problem. Song and mistle thrushes too are very scarce this year.

However, there is sadly a proliferation of parakeets in my area which worries me as they are early nesters and take over tree holes before woodpeckers, nuthatches and jackdaws begin to bred. Indeed, parakeets seem intent on taking over the world!