Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Grizzled Skipper in north-east Wales

June 6, 2012:
The Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) reaches its natural northern British limit in north-east Wales where a very small population near Wrexham is probably the most northerly of all. This rather unlikely locality comprises a small area of neutral grassland on a ‘brown field’ site adjacent to an industrial estate. It is no larger than a football field and is where in the past the Grizzled Skipper has been occasionally recorded in very small numbers.

Today, in far from ideal overcast conditions with spotting rain, a newly emerged skipper was flying with several Small Heaths and a few Common Blues. Unfortunately the grass here is now becoming long and rank and unless controlled it may lead to the eradication of the butterfly as its larval food plant, Wild Strawberry, will be unable to compete with the excessive growth.

Small Heath

The nearby industrial site

Small grassland area where the Skipper occurs

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