08 December 2010
© Peter Eeles
Citation: Eeles, P. (2010). A Review of: A Butterfly Year (DVD) [Online]. Available from http://www.dispar.org/reference.php?id=66 [Accessed January 23, 2018].
by Paul Wetton
From the author:
I spent six months in 2010, travelling from the south coast of England to western Scotland, capturing the fifty eight breeding butterfly species of mainland Britain on film. This personal account shows these fascinating and colourful insects, all filmed on location in Britain, using a broadcast quality digital video format.
The first film begins with a journey to the East Rutland site of Ketton Quarry in late April, searching for Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreak. We take a look at twenty eight butterfly species in this film, ending in mid June at Strumpshaw Fen, in the Norfolk Broads, watching Britainís largest butterfly, the fabulous brightly coloured Swallowtail. (Running time: 1 Hour 16 minutes).
In the second film the journey continues, heading north into Cumbria for specialities such as the Northern Brown Argus, High Brown Fritillary, Large Heath and the rare and elusive Mountain Ringlet. In this film we encounter the remaining thirty species of butterfly to be found regularly in mainland Britain, ending with a species that travels from as far afield as north Africa each year to reach our shores, the bright black and yellow migrant Clouded Yellow. (Running time: 1 Hour 15 minutes).
This DVD set (there are 2 DVDs) is Paul Wetton's story of how he saw all of the mainland British butterflies in 2010 (58 species in total). The only absentee, of course, is Réal's Wood White (which is only found in Ireland). The approach taken makes for an easy viewing since the content is not some dry cataloguing based on species family or habitat, but on Paul's journey through the year. As such, it's easy to pick up from where you left off should you want to watch the extensive footage (over 2.5 hours) in a series of viewings.
I've reviewed a few DVDs of British butterflies over the years and, I have to say, in terms of the quality of the footage, this production is definitely the best and is what sets this DVD apart from the others. In addition, some of the footage is quite unique - such as an episode where a couple of Purple Hairstreak seem to be clashing over a particular oak bud. Very strange! The footage is complemented with Paul's own narrative which gives the whole DVD a nice personal touch.
In summary, A Butterfly Year raises the bar in terms of high quality video footage of my favourite subject - the butterflies of the British Isles. Complemented with the author's own commentary and original observations, this is a visual feast for nature lovers everywhere. And at this time of year, it makes the perfect Xmas present!
Click here to order the DVD.