Small Skipper

 

Small Skipper
Thymelicus sylvestris

 

 
Wingspan: 27-34mm

Description
Almost identical to Essex Skipper, the Small Skipper has dull brown/orange tips to the antennae while the Essex Skipper has distinctive glossy black tips to its antennae. Small Skippers are also slightly more orange in appearance. Like other skippers they spend much of their time basking on grass stems.

Your Photograph's

Flight Period
The single flight period is normally from early June until mid/late August, peaking in July.

Larval Food plants
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) is the main food plant,but the following grasses have also been recorded.

Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
False Broom (Brachypodium)
Creeping Soft-grass (Holcus molli)
Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis)
Timothy (Phleum pratense)

Habitat Requirements
Unimproved, uncut grasslands in open sunny locations. Roadside verges and disused railways lines are also frequented where the larval food plant is abundant and grows tall.

Wiltshire Status
Resident, common/frequent and widespread, currently declining in abundance.


Wiltshire Sites
Most areas of tall, uncut grassland with nectar sources.

Earliest / Latest sightings

Earliest county record 29 May 2008 Breach Hill, ATE SP(W) (Tim P Mann).
 


Early Sightings
2013 29th June Cotley Hill Frank & Christine Crosier
2012 19th June Boscombe Down Tim Frawley, John England
2011 11th June Picket Wood Mike Fuller
2011 11th June Biss Wood Audrey Brown
2010 11th June Liddington near Swindon Stephen Edwards
2009 16th June Chittoe Penny Aeberhard
2008 29th May ATE SP(W) Tim Mann
2007 1st June Boscombe Down Jon Millo

 
Latest sighting
Latest county record 17th September 1985

Essex Skipper

 

 

Essex Skipper
Thymelicus lineola

 

Description
Wingspan: 26-30mm

 

Very similar to the Small Skipper, the Essex Skipper can be identified by its all black underside antennae tips. They both share the same habitats and are on the wing at similar times. The male can be separated from the female by the black sex brand on its upper forewings, which is a short line of specialised scent scales, parallel to the wing edge. Like other skippers they spend much of their time basking on grass stems.

Your Photograph's
 

Flight Period
The single flight period is from mid-June until end of August.

Larval Food plants
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) is the main food plant
May use other grasses such as Yorkshire fog, Creeping Soft-grass, Common Couch, Timothy and Tor-grass

Habitat Requirements
Unimproved grasslands in open sunny locations. Such as roadside verges and disused railways lines where the larval food plant is abundant.

Wiltshire Status
Resident, frequent/common, becoming more widespread in west and south-west in recent years.


Wiltshire Sites
Most tall, uncut grassland with nectar sources.

Earliest sightings
Earliest county record 1st June 2011 Cotley Hill, Heytesbury (Frank Lowe)
 

Early Sightings
2013 30th June Bentley Wood, Barnridge area Dave Lawman
2012 21st June Wadswick Common Richard Pooley
2011 1st June Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Frank Lowe
2010 12th June Cherhill Down Suart Gough
2009 29th June Everleigh Tony Baden Fuller
2008 9th June Summer Down  ATE SP(W) Tony Baden Fuller
2007 3rd June Haydown Hill  


Latest sightings
Latest county record 11 Sept 2008 Barbury Castle (Helen Senior).
 

Dingy Skipper

Dingy Skipper
Erynnis tages


Description
Wingspan 27-34mm


The Dingy Skipper is a small butterfly and a fast flier, which can make it difficult to follow as it flies close to the ground. The butterfly is Grey / Brown in colour but on a freshly emerged specimen an intricate wing pattern can be observed. This pattern fades over time and may explain its name.
It likes to bask in the sun and can often be found on bare earth or a stone that has been warmed by the sun. The butterflies will nectar on Bird's-foot Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Buttercup's and Hawkweeds. When resting, it wraps it wings around a flower head or stem in a moth like pose. Photo

Your Photograph's

Flight Period
The normal flight period is from mid-May until late June, but in early seasons it can be seen in Wiltshire from mid-April. In hot summers there is sometimes a partial second generation in August.

Larval Food plants
Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus pedunculatus)
Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa)

Habitat
This butterfly prefers warm open areas such as south-facing chalk downland, railway embankments and abandoned quarries. It can also be found in a few woodland clearings and rides.
Status
UK BAP Wilts BAP Declining
Local, frequent, seldom common

Wiltshire Sites
North

West Yatton Down
Pewsey Downs NNR
Calstone Downs
South
Most grazed grasslands
Boscombe Railway Cutting

Earliest sightings
Historical county record, 11th April 1893 (Marlborough College Nat. Hist. Soc.)
Modern county record, 14th April 2007

 

Early Sightings
2013 1st May West Yatton Down Maurice Avent, H Brooke
2012 21st April Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Barry Watts
2011 19th April Upton Cow Down Nick Wynn
2010 22nd April Boscombe Down Railway Cutting John England et al
2009 18th April Boscombe Down Railway Cutting Wayne Clinch
2008 27th April West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2007 14th April Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Nick Wynn
2007 14th April West Yatton Down Hugo Brooke


Latest sightings
Latest county record 9th September 1999

Grizzled Skipper

Grizzled Skipper
Pyrgus malvae

 

 

Wingspan 23 - 29mm


Description

The Grizzled Skipper is the first of the skippers to emerge. The butterfly is dark brown above, fringed with white, with a checkerboard pattern of white spots. Like the other skippers, this butterfly is a fast flier which can be difficult to follow due to its ability to vanish during its erratic flight. Both sexes can be found basking in the sun perched on bare earth or stones in a sheltered spot. It may occasionally nectar on spring flowers such as Buttercup or Bird’s-foot-trefoil.

Your photograph's

Flight Period
Normally from mid-April until the end of June.

Larval Food plants
Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria
Barren Strawberry (Potentilla sterilis))
Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans)
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta)
Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)
Dog-rose (Rosa canina)
Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)
Wood Avens (Geum urbanum)

Habitat Requirements
This butterfly occurs in a variety of habitats where warmth and shelter is available along with its larval food plant. Habitats including chalk downland, disused railway lines, woodland rides and woodland edges, unimproved grassland and waste ground. These habitats should also provide patches of bare ground where it can bask.

Status
UK BAP species
Wilts BAP species
Resident.
Widespread but scarce and local, declining both in abundance and distribution (north and west).Wiltshire Sites
Bentley Wood

Earliest sightings
Earliest county record 31 March 2003 Boscombe Down (Tony Horner)
 

Early Sightings
2013 1st May Upton Cow Down Geoff Hobson
2012 29th March Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Nick Wynn
2012 22nd April Whitesheet Hill, Mere Barry Watts
2011 19th April Park Bottom, Sheringham Nick Wynn
2010 19th April Porton Down Stuart Corbett, Charlie Hobbs
2009 13th April Waterhay (CWP) Richard Pooley
2008 22th April Middleton Down Piers Mobsby
2007 6th April Middleton Down Piers Mobsby

Latest county record, 15 July 1986 Picket Wood (Mike Fuller).
A singleton seen in a wood near Trowbridge on 1 Aug 1941 (Bowmont Weddell) was probably of a very rare partial 2nd generation
 

Green Hairstreak

Green Hairstreak
Callophrys rubi

Wingspan 27-34mm

 

Description
This small butterfly always rests with its wings closed and as a result you never see the brown upperwings. The underwings are an iridescent green with a trail of small white marks. The flight is fast and the butterfly is easily lost to view when flying over green vegetation.

Your photographs

Flight Period
Late April to early July

Larval Food plants
Rockrose (Helianthemum nummularium)
Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatis)
Gorse (Ulex europeaus)
Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
Dyer's Greenweed (Genista tinctoria).
Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus)

Habitat
Calcareous Grassland
Heathland
Moorland (Scotland)

Wiltshire Sites
Pewsey Down
West Yatton Down
Boscombe Down
Cotley Hill

Status
Resident: Frequent & Very Local

Earliest Sightings
Earliest county record 1st April 2012

 

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 1st April Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Frank & Christine Crosier
2011 8th April West Yatton Down Hugo Brooke, Maurice Avent
2010 17th April Pewsey Down Wayne Clinch
2009 16th April Cotley Hill, Heytesbury Nick Wynn
2008 26th April Sidbury Hill Mervyn Grist, Mike Wildish
2007 14th April 4 Sites  

Latest county record
3rd september 2010 Porton Down (Stuart Corbett)

Oange-tip

 

Orange Tip

 

(Anthocharis cardamines) 
 

 

   

Wingspan: 45-350mm

 

Description
This species is named after the male butterfly who has an orange colouring at the wing tip. Both male and female can be identified by the mottled greed pattern of the underside of the hindwing. Common thought the lowland of England and Wales and rarer in Scotland. Males are a common sight in spring flying along hedgerows and damp meadows in search of the more reclusive female which lacks the orange tip and is often mistaken for one of the other 'White' butterflies. Eggs laid on cuckoo flower or garlic mustard. Overwintering as a chrysalis and emerging some 10-11 months later.
 

Your photographs 

Flight Period
The flight period is from early April to mid July.

 
Larval Food plants
Caterpillar food in the main is the flowers and seedpods of tall Crucifers – Lady Smock/Cuckooflower (cardamine pratensis) and Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolate). Garden plants such as Aubrieta, Forget-me-not and honesty attract this butterfly.

Habitat
Damp pastures and meadows, damp woodland edges, glades, riverbanks, ditches, dykes, fens,railway cuttings and country lanes.

Wiltshire Status
Resident, Common & widespread

Wiltshire Sites
Clattinger Farm

Earliest sightings
Earliest county record 11th March 2007, Newton Tony, (Daphne Graiff)

 

Early Sightings
       
2013      
2012 22rd March Nunton near Salisbury Shirley Spencer
2011 23th March Woodfalls Hazel Lewis
2010 8th April West Yatton Down Maurice Avent, Hugo Brooke
2010 8th April Chittoe Bill Crowther
2009 30th March Downton Hazel & Malcolm Lewis
2008 16th March Alderbury Gerald Nicholls
2007 11th March Newton Tony Daphne Graiff

Latest county record
4th July 2008  

Purple Emperor

    Purple Emperor
     (Apatura iris)

 

 

 

 

 

Wingspan 70-92mm
Average Male 75mm, Female 84mm

Description
This magnificent, enigmatic butterfly is one of the most sought after UK species. Its large size and purple sheen of the male is well worth any effort made to seek it. The female lacks the iridescence of the male but the white band is broader. The undersides of both sexes are a mix of browns grey orange and white.

Your photograph's

Flight Period
The last days of June to Early August

Larval Food plants
Goat Willow (sallow) Salix caprea,
Grey Willow (Salix cinerea)

Habitat
Large broadleaved woods and forests

Status
Resident: Elusive, very local, in woodland only.


Wiltshire Sites
Savernake forest
Bentley Wood
Everleigh Ashes
 

Earliest Sightings
Historic:  Earliest county record: 10th June 1893
Modern: Earliest county record: 23rd June 2007 & 2010

 

Early Sightings
2013 10th July Bentley Wood (Notebook) Via David Law
2012 5th July Bentley Wood Richard Banbury
2011 26th June Bentley Wood Ben Cooke
2011 26th June Grovely Wood Steve Button
2011 26th June Clarendon Forest Palace Granville Pictor
2010 23rd June Black Dog Wood Steve Button
2009 28th June Bentley Wood Mike Gibbons
2008 28th June Bentley Wood Mike Duffy
2007 23rd June Bentley Wood David Ransom

Latest county record
6th September 1956


 

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper
Pyronia tythonus

 




Wingspan: 40-47 mm
 
Description


This species, also called Hedge Brown, is most often confused with the larger Meadow Brown, but its wings have a much larger area of orange, with broad grey-brown borders, and a diagnostic eyespot with two white pupils near the tip of the forewings above and below (Meadow Brown's only has one pupil). Flits about hedges and scrub and also grassland in their vicinity, often in very large numbers at the peak of its flight period.

Your Photos

 
Flight Period

The flight period is from early July – August, not often seen in September.

Larval Food plants
A wide range of wild grasses, eg. Bents (Agrostis spp.), Fescues (Festuca spp.), Meadow Grasses (Poa spp.), and Couch (Agropyron repens).

Habitat
Hedgerows, scrub, country lanes, woodland rides etc.

 
Wiltshire Status
Resident: Common & Widespread

 
Wiltshire Sites

All over the county, even in urban areas where there are some overgrown wild places.

Earliest Sightings

Earliest county record
11th June 2011 Hazelbury Common (Alan Carpenter)



Early Sightings
2013      
2012 17th June Westbury Jennifer Yeadon
2011 11th June Hazelbury Common Alan Carpenter
2010 2nd July Swindon Geoff Bown
2009 13th July Throop Hill Viscount Head
2008 3rd July Biss Wood Audrey Brown
2007 19th June Biss Wood Audrey Brown


Earliest county record
21 September  1986

Marbled White

Marbled White
Melanargia galathea

 

 

 

Description

Wingspan: 53 - 58 mm

The black and white chequered wing pattern makes this butterfly very distinctive, quite different from all other Browns and with far more black than on any White butterfly. Characteristic black eyespots near the outer edges of the underwings show the family affinity to the Browns. Normally flies slowly low above the ground, though occasionally can fly high and fast when going longer distances.

Your Photos

 
Flight Period

The flight period is from mid June – mid- August.

Larval Food plants
Red Fescue (Festuca rubra) is the main food plant
Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina) .

Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus)
Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum)

Habitat
Tall unimproved grassland on a variety of soils, mainly calcareous or neutral
where a sward of tall grasses including Red Fescue is not grazed or cut frequently

Wiltshire Status
Resident: common & widespread


Wiltshire Sites

All over the county but especially the downs, the Plain and other open grassland areas.

Earliest sightings
Earliest county Record 1st June 2007 Boscombe Down (Tony Horner)
 
 
Early Sightings
2013      
2012 15th June West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2011 2nd June Boscombe Down Tim Frawley
2010 10th June Boscombe Down Tim Frawley, David Widgington
2009 3rd June Oliver's Castle, Devizes Philip Cleverly
2008 4th June Boscombe Down Tony Horner
2007 1st June Boscombe Down Tony Horner


Latest county Record
5th September 1985

Silver-studded Blue

Silver-studded Blue

(Plebejus argus)

 
 

 

 

 

 

Description
Wingspan: 29-31mm

This is the smallest of the bright blue butterflies and one of the most attractive. The underwings are silvery with the distintive orange band on the hindwing. Bordering this band is a row of black spots which contain the blue studs the give the butterfly its name. The upperside of the maleis a deep blue bordered with black which is fringed with white. The female upperwings resemble those of a Brown Argus, whilst her underwings are noticeably browner than that of the males.

Flight Period
Late June to Early August

Larval Food Plants
In Wiltshire the only colonies are on heathland and in this habitat  the caterpillar's foodplants are :-

Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix)
Bell Heather (Erica cinerea)

Habitat Requirements
Heathland, a rare habitat in Wiltshire with a few fragments in the far south east corner.

Wilshire Status
Resident, rare and extremely local.

Wiltshire Sites
Lanford Common
Pound Bottom

Early Sightings

Earliest county record

5th June 1893

 

Early Sightings
2013 6th July Landford Bog WWT reserve Bob Spedding
2012 1st July Langford Bog, WWT Reserve Gordon Mackie, Peter Shallcross
2011 26th June Langford Bog, WWT Reserve Gordon Mackie, Peter Shallcross
2010 19th June Hamptworth Estate Steve Button
2009 24th June Hamptworth Estate Gordon  Mackie
2008 23rd July Pound Bottom Arthur Bryant
2007   No Records  

Latest county record
28th August 1981
 

 

Chalkhill Blue

 

Chalkhill Blue

(Lysandra coridon) 

 


 

Wingspan  38mm 

Description

 

The Chalkhill Blue is one of the larger blue butterflies to be found in the UK, The males have silvery blue upperwings with a thick black border on the forewings, the underwings of the male are light grey brown (appearing almost white in the sun) and are heavily spotted. The females have brown upperwings and fawn underwings.

Your photographs


Flight Period
July to Mid September

Larval Food plants
Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa)

Habitat Requirements
Chalk Downland

Status
Resident, Widespread
Local, frequent / common

Wiltshire Sites
 
Pewsey Down
West Yatton Down
Barbury Castle

Earliest sightings

Earliest county record
30 May 1984 Morgan's Hill

 

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 19th July West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2011 4th July DTE SP(W) West of the Warren Nigel Cope
2010 3rd July Snail Down Beryl Foote
2009 16th July Bratton Castle Mike Fuller
2008 22nd July Clearbury Down Gordon  Mackie
2007 9th July West Yatton Down Maurice Avent

Latest county record
1st  November 1972