Spotting and identifying Britain's butterflies - By Matthew Oates
Matthew Oates is the National Trust's, and one of Britain's, leading experts. He fell in love with butterflies, and particularly the purple emperor, at an early age, and has been following them all around Britain ever since.
This isn't just a guide to British butterflies, it is a lot more. There is a history of British lepidoptery, including some great snippets such as the shop opened in 1879 on the Strand by Messrs Watkins and Doncaster selling equipment for collecting butterflies, moths and eggs (The business is still going but not on the Strand); The building of the railways meant that collectors could travel much more widely round Britain, and especially to the New Forest which was seen as the hot spot; The Entomologists Weekly Intelligencer - One of six magazines devoted to butterflies that appeared in the 1850s & 1860s - Surely a candidate for Have I got News For You? Curiously I Heslop is listed as the 'Last of the great butterfly collectors', he died in 1970.
There is a very good chapter on butterfly photography. Oates advises that the easiest butterflies to photograph are Marbled white, Ringlet, Chalkhill and Adonis blues, Peacocks and Small tortoiseshell, whereas the most difficult to capture with a camera are Speckled wood, Clouded yellow, Dark-green fritillary, the tree top hairstreaks and Matthew's favourite Purple emperor.
Marbled white butterfly - One of the easiest to photograph
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