Photographer Mike Yip releases his newest book Vancouver Island Butterflies on Nov. 7.

Photographer Mike Yip releases his newest book Vancouver Island Butterflies on Nov. 7.

Chance encounter leads to new hobby

New book explores the 70 different butterfly species that are found on Vancouver Island.

It was a chance encounter with an animal that would forever alter the course of Mike Yip’s life.

“In 2004 I spotted this weird looking duck,” Yip told the News Bulletin.

At the time, Yip was enjoying life as a retired teacher, when  he came across the odd looking duck.

“I tried to take some pictures [of the duck] with my old Pentax Spotmatic, which was just film and none of the pictures turned out,” he said. “So, I had to get a proper camera.”

Since then, Yip has become a professional photographer and the author of multiple books on birds.

On Friday (Nov. 7), Yip will release his latest book, Vancouver Island Butterflies.

The book provides scientific information about the 70 different butterfly species that can be found on the Island and also includes over 60 photographs, mostly taken by Yip.

“It’s designed for the public,” Yip said about the book. “I am not a scientist or a scientific person.”

According to Yip, Vancouver Island is home to approximately 70 different kinds of butterflies, some of which are in decline and haven’t been seen in decades.

“Nobody knows much about the butterfly and that is one of the problems,” Yip said. “There population is declining rapidly, part of it is because nobody knows anything about them.”

Yip, who has written a number of books on birds, decided to create a book on butterflies after he realized many of the species were endangered.

“At first I wanted to take pictures for my own pleasure and learn about butterflies for my own knowledge,” he said. “But then once I realized that many of the species are in endangered and a lot of the populations are declining, I thought ‘well I better do something. I better do something to create more publicity and create public awareness.’”

Vancouver Island Butterflies, which has information provided by Vancouver Island botanist James Miskelly, took two years to create and saw Yip travel thousands of kilometres throughout the Pacific region to photograph more than 50 different butterfly species.

“The beauty with butterflies is they only fly when the weather is good,” Yip said about photographing butterflies. “So you only have to get out there when the weather is nice.”

As a photographer, Yip is the kind of person who shoots first and asks questions later.

“I shoot and then look it up,” Yip said.

According to Yip, there are a few spots that are ideal for butterfly spotting in the Harbour City. One of those locations is the Nanaimo River Estuary, which is occupied by the Purplish Copper butterfly.

“They are probably one of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures on earth,” Yip said about butterflies. “Once you start discovering them, you realize that it is like a natural treasure right here in front of our eyes.”

Vancouver Island Butterflies will be available at most major book stores in Nanaimo, including Chapters at the Woodgrove Centre.

For more information please visit

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod


Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Nanaimo Track and Field Club athletes are off to a fast start this season after no competition last season due to the pandemic. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo athletes back on track, starting with club competitions

Nanaimo Track and Field Club registration filled up

A conceptual rendering of a commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith image)
Commercial plaza in north end of Ladysmith passes public hearing

Councillors debate proposed land use at 1130 Rocky Creek Rd.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read