Headshot of Dr Andy Barker

A new series of online courses aimed at those interested in identifying butterflies has been launched by the Butterfly Conservation. 


Starting on July 28th, the Butterfly Conservation will begin the four-part training series to coincide with the Big Butterfly Count – the world’s largest citizen science survey.

Together the four sessions will cover the 59 native and regular migrant species, as well as two less common migrant species (Large Tortoiseshell & Long-tailed Blue), giving a total of 61 species.

The sessions will focus on identification features, including how to identify butterflies from their markings, flight times and behaviour, plus where to find them and what the caterpillars feed on.

The first session will take place next week on Tuesday, July 28th at 9am and will focus on identifying Whites and Skippers, plus the Swallowtail. In total it will cover 17 of the species found in the UK. 

The second session, taking place on Thursday, July 30th at 9am, will focus on identifying species in the family Lycaenidae, which comprises the Blues, Hairstreaks and Small Copper. In total it will cover 16 species.

Spaces are limited and can be booked on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each individual session costs £10.

Click here to book the Whites & Skippers ID course
Click here to book the Blues & Hairstreaks ID course 

The courses will be led by Dr Andy Barker, a Butterfly Conservation trustee and active member of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Branch.

Each session will last up to one and a half hours and include a question and answer session at the end.

They are suitable for all abilities, whether you’re a complete beginner or an existing butterfly enthusiast simply looking to pick up extra tips to help you identify the species you see.

In order to get the most out of the course it is recommended that you have a copy of either the Field Studies Council butterfly ID chart, or your favourite field guide to butterflies, and of course your Big Butterfly Count ID chart. This will allow you to see the features of each butterfly referred to during the session.

The final two sessions will take place on August 3rd (Vanessids & Fritillaries) and August 5th (Browns). Details on how to sign up for the final two sessions will be released at a later date.

How to sign up

Speaker profile:
Dr Andy Barker is a Butterfly Conservation trustee and active member of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Branch, with extensive experience of working with and training volunteers. 
Dr Barker was born and brought up on a working farm in north Hertfordshire, which is where his life-long passion for butterflies, moths, and conservation began.
He has been actively involved with Butterfly Conservation at local, regional and national level since 1985. His particular interests include butterfly surveys, monitoring and management of chalk grasslands.
Earlier this year he retired from his position as Senior Tutor in Geology at the University of Southampton.