Monday, 4 May 2015

Dingy Skippers in Hertfordshire

Should your heart’s desire be a Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages), you’ll be hard-pressed to find one in Hertfordshire, unless you visit one or two key sites. Although distributed throughout Britain and Ireland, colonies are often small and localised, and numbers generally have declined rapidly in recent years. In Hertfordshire, it’s as rare as the Green Hairstreaks (Callophrys rubi), according to the results of the 2014 transect survey. There are small populations at Aldbury Nowers (6 recorded in 2013; 12 recorded in 2014); Shrubhill Common (4 recorded in 2014) and Tring Park (1 recorded in 2014).

Last year, I noted 3 possibly 4 Dingy Skippers at Bovingdon Brickworks (BMT), which is pretty good going given the other county records. Adults emerge the first week of May so I optimistically visited the Brickworks at the end of last week. No luck. But, today, I was really chuffed to find 2, although keeping track of them and getting even one photograph proved tricky. Best effort below - hopefully there will be other opportunities in the coming weeks.

[More on the Dingy Skippers, including a mating pair, HERE]

Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages), Bovingdon Brickworks, 4 May 2015

There’s no sign yet of last year’s Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) colony. The only other butterflies I saw today were 3 Small White (Pieris rapae), 5 Peacock (Aglais io) and 1 Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae). Not great going for warm conditions (15°C) with sunny spells.

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