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).
 

Silver-spotted Skipper

 

 Silver-spotted Skipper
 Hesperia comma

 

 

 

 


Wingspan 30 -36 mm

 

Description

The distinctive underwings are the best way to identify this Skipper, they are Olive-Green and marked with conspicious silver patches. The upperwings are gold and brown. The male can be identified by a black sex band. 

Your photograph's

Flight Period

Late July / Early August to Early September 
 

Larval Food Plants

Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina)

 

Habitat Requirements

Chalk Downland, South facing slopes, which contains patches of sparce turf on thin soils.

 

Status

Resident: Restricted to a few south-east sites in the county.
 

Earliest Sightings
Earliest county record ? June 1974
 

Early Sightings
2013 3rd August DTE SP(E), Perham Ranges John & Julie Moon
2012 30th July Porton Down Stuart Corbett
2011 22nd July ATE Salisbury Plain (E) Steve Button
2010 27th July ATE Salisbury Plain (E) Steve Button
2009 30th July ATE Salisbury Plain (W) Stuart Corbett
2008 23rd July Porton Down Stuart Corbett
2007 5th August ATE Salisbury Plain (E) John Moon

Latest sightings
Latest county record 18th September 1828

Large Skipper

      

Large Skipper

Ocholdes venata

 

 

 

Winspan 33 - 35mm

Description

This bright golden Skipper is larger than the other gold skippers, and can be seen a week or two earlier. The male can be distinguish from the female by the conspicuous black sex band on the forewing.

Your photograph's

Flight Period
3rd week in May until late August

Larval food Plants
Various Grasses :including
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
False Broom (Brachypodium)
Purple Moor grass (

Habitat Requirements
Grassland: South facing slopes
Roadside verges
Woodland Clearings, edges and glades

Status
Common and Widespread

Earliest sightings
Historic earliest county record, 6th May 1893
Earliest county record 10th May 2012

Early Sightings
2013 8th June Cotley Hill Frank & Christine Crosier
2012 24th May West Yatton Down Hugo Brooke
2011 24th May Salisbury Plain Steve Button
2010 17th May Bentley Wood Caroline Kelly
2009 23rd May West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2008 21st May Cockey Down, Laverstock Piers Mobsby
2007 17th May West Yatton Down Maurice Avent


Latest sightings
Latest county record 20th August 2007

 
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