A Video Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Ireland

Butterflies are undoubtedly the most popular of all the many insect species present in Britain and Ireland. Their often bright colours and day-flying habits make them a conspicuous and much-loved part of our gardens and countryside.

Of the more than 2,000 species of British lepidoptera, only 59 are butterflies. This small number lends them to detailed study, and their popularity has resulted in a number of attempts to produce comprehensive videos and DVDs of all the species. This recent two-DVD set has been produced by BirdGuides. It covers each species in detail, with footage and stills of adult insects as well as the eggs, larvae and pupae, plus distribution maps, tips on identification and even an interview with a leading naturalist.

The video footage is excellent and the photos faultless. The commentary is of TV documentary standard and full of up-to-date and interesting information.

I did not realise the extent to which the Red Admiral has colonised during the last 10 years. It is no longer just a summer visitor, but now a regular breeding resident. Another fascinating snippet comes with the Wood White, which is not just a single species but now comprises a complex of no fewer than three.

I looked hard for negatives but failed to find any. There’s no irritating background music, too closely cropped images or patronising dialogue – the DVD is simply excellent.

If you love butterflies and have ever thought of buying a video guide, look no further. I have no reservations about recommending this guide and at £30, £1 of which goes to Butterfly Conservation, it’s good value for money.
  • A Video Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Ireland narrated by Nick Baker (BirdGuides DVD, London, 2012).
  • 3 hours running time.
  • £30.