The book provides an invaluable appendix detailing whereabouts in the UK you might expect to spot one: Alice Holt in Hampshire is a favourite site, and there’s another hotspot north-east of Oxford, around Bicester. To lure one down, don’t forget to take some fish paste well past its sell-by date.
Having spent his life pursuing these exquisite but elusive insects, Oates is the perfect guide to “one of the most alluring, if confusing and deceptive, elements of British wildlife”. His puckish wit and playfulness makes the book a delight to read. At one point he notes casually and without much further explanation: “I am probably the only person to have observed Apatura iris from the bath.”