Some time ago now I discovered this fabulous website which covers all of the butterflies found in Switzerland.  I then read that the website authors, Vincent and Michel Baudraz, have also produced a book, though only in French, which helps novices like me to identify the different species.  It’s not foolproof of course, as you sometimes need to see the both the upperside and underside to get an absolute fix on which one it might be.

Anyway, I ordered a copy and it arrived just after I returned from holiday.  So, to test it out, I went out along the path behind our chalet one evening last week to take a few photos.  On returning, I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy the book was to use* and that I had managed to photograph 9 different types of butterfly in just an hour and a half.

*Essentially the identification part of the book works by asking you if the butterfly conforms to certain broad criteria (white, yellow, blue, predominantly red or orange, etc) and depending upon your answer, you’re pointed to another section, which asks more detailed questions.  This is repeated until you narrow it down to the exact butterfly.  Each section is accompanied by wonderfully accurate drawings to help you identify which section to go to next.   Towards the back of the book there are again beautifully detailed drawings of each one, showing both the male and female, upper and lower wings, to help you confirm your identification.


20 thoughts on “Butterflies

  1. What a labour of love producing that book must have been! It can’t have sold many copies I imagine, but for those who want a copy it’s spot on!

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    • Yes, indeed. The website also shows the distribution of each across Switzerland. So you can also find out if it’s restricted to certain areas & quite rare. I’ve booked to go on a Guided walk with one of the authors in July so, if the weather is kind, that should be interesting and worthy of a post. 🙂

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      • Ah the joys of retirement! I’m guessing that you are retired? Being able to follow a curiosity just for fun – be careful before you know it you will be an expert in butterflies!

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        • Yes, I am retired. 🙂 The butterflies, flowers and birds are a side-product of going for walks in the mountains. It adds a bit more interest and I love it when I see something ‘new’. However, I doubt I’ll ever become an expert in any area, even with my new butterfly book. The blues and orangey/browns are especially hard to pin down. It is good to learn about these things though and I almost sounded like an expert yesterday when I said to my wife while out walking, “Oh yes, that’s a St Bruno’s Lily” and “That’s a Black-veined White”. (It’s a lot easier when they look like their name!) 🙂

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        • I’m sure your mrs was in awe of your brilliance! But it does make for conversation – as the decades go by it does help to have new things to talk about!


      • Oh fingers crossed for a change in the forecast… We’re having great butterfly weather here.. They seem to love it! There has been much flitting in our garden! Red Admiral was having a lovely time yesterday; the cabbage whites positively dancing! We often get a little orange tip too, and very occasionally, a little blue one… Sorry for the lack of name! Need to do your course, clearly! 👍

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        • Oh good grief yes! The weather is very Mediterranean at the moment! Definitely echoes of 1976… although we’re both too young to remember that, aren’t we! 😉 The reservoirs in the North West are running dry! Hosepipe ban in force up there.. from 5th August. We’re just being careful in the Mids… Will take a closer look at our little blue next time he visits… Thanks for advice 👍

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        • If only I were too young back then! I was living in London, fresh out of uni, during that heatwave. The tube trains were stifling when they stopped mid station! I heard about the NW hosepipe ban on the radio this morning. We have no such worries here, with constantly running water pipes dotted about the place – some in the villages and some in the mountains. It must come from natural springs.

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        • It was memorable, I’d just finished my O Levels and was seriously considering working towards a career in art… I remember being very confused by the changes coming in music… but it was exciting! Feels like yesterday! 👍

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