From the Cumbrian fells to the Broads of his native Norfolk, Patrick Barkham, acclaimed author of The Butterfly Isles, has travelled the country to present this personal and definitive guide to British Butterflies.
All 59 species have been beautifully captured on film in their natural habitat. Detailed descriptions and close-up comparisons with similar species provide comprehensive coverage of each butterfly. Rare vagrants are also featured, as are those species which have sadly become extinct in Britain.
Fascinating background histories and early names of many of the butterflies are described, and the status of each species is illustrated by comparative maps showing distribution changes over the last 30 years. Interviews with leading experts provide additional insights.
With a running time of almost five hours and made to the highest broadcast standards, this easy-to-navigate DVD is a uniquely complete and authoritative guide to Britain's butterflies.
(Please note that the images below are hugely compressed, to suit the web, and are not representative of the quality of the footage on the DVD.)
Following on from his very successful book, The Butterfly Isles, Patrick Barkham takes us on a tour of all of the butterfly species found in the British Isles, as well as those that are extinct or rare migrants. I knew almost immediately that I was going to enjoy this 2-disc DVD set, since Patrick starts by introducing us to a bygone era where collecting was the norm, but treats the subject of collecting in a very sensitive, yet informative, manner.
Anyone that has read Patrick's book will know what a great storyteller he is, and this comes across in the DVD also, where his commentary turns what could have been a fairly arduous watch (the DVD has almost 5 hours of footage in total) into a very enjoyable experience. Patrick achieves this by liberally sprinkling a description of each species with snippets of entomological history, drawing on the wealth of literature that is part of our butterfly heritage. I feel this aspect of the DVD really sets it apart from similar productions and it's clear that Patrick has done his homework.
Another aspect of the DVD that I really enjoyed was the coverage given to habitat, with extensive footage of some well-known sites. This is complemented by discussions with well-known butterfly experts, including Matthew Oates (discussing the Purple Emperor at Fermyn Woods), Jeremy Thomas and Dave Simcox (discussing the Large Blue at Collard Hill) and Neil Hulme (discussing several species while sat atop the Sussex downs).
Jeremy Thomas and Patrick
The DVD is organised by species family and each species description contains, where relevant, diagnostics for helping distinguish similar species. Each description concludes by showing distribution maps from the 1970s and 2000s, which really hammers home just how dramatically the distribution of some species has changed over this 30-year period.
Each species description is comprehensively described and, as previously mentioned, brought to life through Patrick's engaging style. The associated footage is also extremely well-executed with some superb shots, even of some of our rarer species. And if you want to draw your own conclusions, then take a look at the YouTube videos below which are extracts from the DVD set. In my opinion, the DVD is a wonderful addition to any nature lover's DVD collection and is highly recommended.