The UK Butterflies Team
I've always been interested in nature, and butterflies in particular - fostered by a childhood spent in rural Gloucestershire. Long summer days were spent roaming the Cotswold Hills in the area around Cheltenham and I remember with great fondness my encounters with Duke of Burgundy, Chalkhill Blue, Marsh Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Small Blue, Grayling, Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper and a host of other species - all within a 10 minute walk from my home. Not too far away I could also find Adonis Blue, Silver-washed Fritillary and White-letter Hairstreak. Those sites, unfortunately, are mostly long gone. My interest was put on the back-burner as I focused on studies at university and, later, my family. This interest was then re-awoken in 2001 when a work colleague showed me his web photo album full of amazing butterfly images. Within a week I'd purchased my first digital camera and I was hooked, again.
In 2002 I created the UK Butterflies website in order to simply show my album of photos on the web. This has led to passion for fostering an interest in our ever-declining fauna and flora. In 2004 I set out on a mission to photograph all of the butterfly species (and all stages) in the British Isles and soon realised that a lot of the information I was after was difficult to find - especially reliable information on good sites to visit. As I toured the country I'd share information with other enthusiasts and this seemed to be the only way of getting the information I needed. I marked up a road atlas with sites, and the species found there. As the atlas fell to pieces with constant use, I quickly realised that the best solution was to store this information in a database. What's more, I also felt that the information would be useful to other enthusiasts, and made much of this information available over the web (although information on fragile sites, or sites with endangered species, were omitted, responsibility being one of the themes under which the website is run). The rest, as they say, is history. The UK Butterflies website now includes detailed information on sites, species, flight times and much much more.
More recently, the website has also grown into a community project with forums, photo galleries and blogs where members can connect with one another. In 2007 UK Butterflies really came to life by not only providing monthly and annual photo competitions that are run over the web, but by physically getting the membership together through an annual photography workshop and by attending the major entomological fairs and relevant butterfly conservation events around the country. All profits from these events go to the Butterfly Conservation charity with which the website is associated.
I also support conservation activities in whatever way I can. I became a member of Butterfly Conservation in 2002, and took over the running of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch website in 2004, a responsibility I handed over in 2007. I was branch Chairman from 2010 to 2013 and have since taken on my previous role of webmaster. I've also helped Butterfly Conservation in the past with some of their national IT-related projects. I can be contacted at email@example.com.
I now live in the Swiss Alps, but my passion for butterflies began in Suffolk, in the UK, which was, in times past, a rich hunting ground for butterfly collectors. Times have changed. In my lifetime the heathlands and hedgerows of Suffolk have been steadily reclaimed and the countryside described by the writers of old has become more and more inhospitable to butterflies. There are some success stories - the white admiral has returned, and the brown argus and speckled wood have moved east again from their strongholds in the west of the county. Suffolk is still a beautiful county but all in all the story has been a sad one, and one repeated all over the country.
Many individuals and bodies fight for the preservation of habitats in Suffolk and everywhere there are still habitats to preserve. But there is only real hope if the value of what remains is generally recognised - if ordinary people gain pleasure from taking time in the wild and resisting the temptation to let it be replaced with the tame. It is not enough realised how almost every act of taming threatens the species which have evolved to survive in an interlocking web of copses, hedgerows, heathlands and wetlands. Every road that increases our access to the countryside divides and conquers the land it crosses. Every prairie farm is tippex on the ecological map. Every bit of crafted landscaping has a sinister, hollow ring beside the wilderness it replaces.
Finding, identifying and watching butterflies is an enthralling hobby. Anyone can become an expert on their own patch in a summer. If you haven't done so already, buy a book and get out there! When you find what is there, protect it, so generations to come will be able to gain the same pleasure.
I'm generally known on the UK Butterflies website for assisting with identification of European butterflies species in the various forums. In addition to supporting the UK Butterflies website, I also run my own website at www.guypadfield.com. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I live in small village in west Hampshire, where my family has lived for at least two centuries and, like many of my ancestors, I am now a Parish Councillor. I have had many interests over the years, from keeping tropical fish (an obsession that eventually lead to owning a shop with over 80 tanks), to a ten year cycle racing career, from which I was forced to retire in 2001 due to a full trophy cabinet!!! I still keep fish in the way of a 5000 gallon Koi pond but, despite continuing requests from old team mates, I rarely get on a bike now. I spend my free time now doing quite a bit of falconry and a lot of photography - always accompanied by my wife/best mate and none-too-shabby photographer, Lisa.
I use a Canon 40D and own various Canon EF and Sigma EX lenses. I mostly do Macro work using a Sigma F/2.8 Macro lens. My interest with Butterflies, not surprisingly, started with photography but lead to a deep and passionate interest. For 26 weeks of the year I do a transect walk at my local site, and from April till September, whatever the weather, I go out to do some Butterfly photography.
I generally co-ordinate all photography-related aspects of the UK Butterflies web site, including the monthly photo competitions that are run in the photography forum. I can be contacted at email@example.com.
I was born and raised in Sussex, and presently live in Crawley. I am a member of the Sussex Branch of Butterfly Conservation and am active on several Sussex and Surrey nature reserves throughout the year.
My interest in the natural world in general and butterflies in particular began as a small boy but, in my late teens, it was a fascination with aircraft that was to dominate the next 25 years of my life and take me all over the world. The new millennium ushered in a change of direction, and my childhood interests were rekindled, mainly due to the advent of the affordable digital camera and the fact that I was fortunate enough to be able to retire from full-time work before my 50th birthday.
My first butterfly photo was taken in the spring of 2002, but things really took-off at the beginning of 2005 when I got my own dedicated camera. I presently shoot with a Canon Power Shot G10 compact which is perfect for my needs. I am out most days during each butterfly season and am fortunate to have an understanding wife. Originally, my ultimate aim was to compile a comprehensive gallery of images of all the species in the British Isles. As this challenge has progressed, my focus has widened to observing and photo-documenting the early stages of selected butterfly species, from egg to adult, with particular emphasis on the pupal stage and the hours before the adult butterfly emerges.
I am a strong advocate for just sitting and observing butterfly behaviour, in the hope of understanding and, therefore, appreciating them better.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.