Share your Painted Lady story, join a documentary

YOUR HELP IS NEEDED: Video footage, photos and stories of the Painted Lady butterfly arriving in the UK are urgently being sought for a one-off documentary for BBC Four all about the migration of the Painted Lady butterfly, currently being produced by an ITN Productions company based in London. It will be presented by Martha Kearney of BBC Radio 4’s lunchtime news programme, The World at One.

Working with Butterfly Conservation UK, the production team are really keen to get as many people as possible out with cameras looking for this butterfly – right now! They are trying to live track it through the UK and their deadline for us is July 11th. They would love to include our sightings in their documentary 🙂

If you haven’t got a video camera, photos will do, if you haven’t got a camera – your phone images will do nicely, thank-you very much 😉 They are simply welcoming all footage and stories of the Painted Lady butterfly as shared by enthusiasts. Please don’t be put off sending clips if you think the quality isn’t good enough – it’s the real life, unprofessional captures of the moment they are looking for 🙂

Painted Lady video footage captured in garden, August 2015.
Your footage doesn’t need to be edited like this, nor does it need to be in HD.
The production team would love footage straight from your camera as is 🙂

If you are camera shy like me, then ask a family member to tell your stories of where you were when you saw your Painted Lady sighting. You can also share that you went out looking and didn’t find any sightings where you might have expected to. This is about your experience, looking for and seeing the Painted Lady butterfly.

After a surprise email earlier this week, I had a lovely chat with on the phone with ITN Assistant Producer, Olivia and was instantly able to tell the high level of enthusiasm there is behind the making of this programme and getting us all involved. Hence this blog – I’d love to help them get their footage and stories.

It’s the story behind your Painted Lady butterfly photo the team want to hear.
The story of the image above is of the buddleja bought to attract butterflies
to my front garden after 1st Comma butterfly visitor, days after my Dad died.

Regular blog visitors will know how I love to tell stories of nature from my garden here. For this blog I’m not going to chat anymore, other than to say we had a surprise Painted Lady butterfly sighting back on June 5th. So far this year, we haven’t seen many butterflies up this way at all. I doubt I’ll have any sightings here by the end of the day on Monday, but you never know.

Ha-ha, Olivia knows I’m reluctant to chat in front of the camera, but you never know 😉 If the garden gets a ‘Kaleidoscope’ of Painted Lady butterflies I would feel seriously obliged to! Here’s some info to help you decide…



ITN Productions and Butterfly Conservation UK invite all you avid butterfly spotters out there to help tell the story one of nature’s most unlikely and epic migrations – The Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) migration.

Every year this beautiful butterfly completes an astonishing 4,500 mile journey from Morocco to the UK. It is reaching our shores NOW and we would love you to share your spotting experiences of this delicate creature with us. So have your mobile phone at the ready, grab what video footage you can of them and turn the camera on yourself to share your story. No need to make it look professional, your phone and you is all you need!

Please get in touch with us to let us know you’re taking part and we can provide you with specific details of what we need from you, what we’re looking for and where to send your photos and footage. Email: paintedlady@itn.co.uk.


Facebook, Painted Lady, ITN Productions

So, if I wasn’t camera shy, I could put this photo up full screen on my PC monitor, sit in front of it with my video camera on a tripod and chat about how I
checked my plants for Painted Lady butterflies over the weekend 🙂

”Filming – we’d like this to be as rough and unprofessional as possible so don’t worry if you haven’t got high quality equipment or a tripod, just grab your phone and camera and start filming! Please try to film landscape on your phone. No need to act like a presenter, just explain to us what you’re doing, where you are, why you’re there, whether you’ve spotted a Painted Lady or if you’re seen one in that area before. Tell us your personal Painted Lady story! If you don’t manage to see anything but have recent photos or other footage of the Painted Lady then film yourself telling us about that, with the pictures in the shot in some way, instead – covering the same topics as before.”

The Painted Lady Team

”Sending us your material – Once you’ve gathered any recent photos/footage and done your filming then click here to upload your files to us: https://itn.cimediacloud.com/file-request/15M6PVUX Even if you’ve sent us any photos previously, please upload them again. PLEASE NAME YOUR FILES WITH YOUR FULL NAME SO WE CAN IDENTIFY YOUR CLIPS AND THEN EMAIL US AN EXACT DESCRIPTION OF WHAT YOU HAVE SENT US, TO: paintedlady@itn.co.uk“

The Painted Lady Team

”Release forms – we require you to sign some release forms (attached) to say you are happy to contribute to the programme and for us to potentially use any photos and footage you send us. Please have a read and fill out/sign these forms and scan them back to us as soon as possible this week. “

The Painted Lady Team

This Painted Lady butterfly enjoyed the sunshine undisturbed by me taking photos. In cases like this you could get someone to take a photo or video
with the butterfly behind you and you could describe what you see 🙂

I’d love to reach as many people as possible that might consider joining in with this documentary. I have enjoyed watching many other bloggers’ videos so I’m hoping some will be interested. Please pass around the word 😉

I can’t show the release forms mentioned above but please email paintedlady@itn.co.uk with any questions you have and how to get them. You will find Olivia at that address too, she suggested you mentioned I sent you and she could talk you through any queries you might have 🙂

Wishing you all a great weekend. Enjoy watching butterflies wherever you are in the world. Please share your weekend stories here too. Fingers crossed that many of you here in the UK see the Painted Lady butterfly and are able to share your stories with this documentary. It definitely sounds fun to join in with 🙂

Skype with Martha Kearney, previously mentioned, is no longer happening.
This post was published by Shirley for
shirls gardenwatch in July 2016.

4 thoughts on “Share your Painted Lady story, join a documentary

  1. Good morning, Sue 🙂 Aw, so that’s your area of Yorkshire not seeing the Painted Lady butterfly yet. I thought there would be a great chance at your allotment with all the plants for pollinators there. Maybe they will arrive over the weekend. I was going to email you on this as I thought you and Martyn might enjoy taking part with photos or video 🙂

  2. Good Evening, Lisa, 🙂 it is exciting for anyone who has sightings to share, Sadly, rain and winds weren’t good for any butterfly visitors here and it’s probably too early for the Painted Lady up my way anyway. I finally got my Monarda planted so I was ready for them 🙂

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