Sunday 12 July 2015

Skippers Unlimited

Very stiff today after my cricketing trials yesterday, and so it was a rather hobbling runner who set off for Beacon Hill nature reserve on a warm afternoon where things had been freshened up by a few splashes of rain in the morning. By 4pm, the sun was out and large white butterflies had taken to the air again, so I was hopeful of getting to see some interesting sights.

First up, along the cycle path, was seeing my first big blue hawker of the year buzzing around; not sure if it was a migrant or a southern, but I saw another one later on the reserve itself, flitting about like a mad thing in angry zig zags.

The various species of thistle and knapweed are in full bloom at the moment, providing a rich source of food for bees and butterflies; today meadow brown butterflies and 6 spot burnet moths were enjoying the nectar on offer while virtually every species of bumblebee was on view. What was really noticeable however was the large number of small skippers on view. As well as the thistles, they were absolutely rampant for the blue vetch species found growing at the west end of the reserve.

As for ragwort, as ever my predictions were wrong...cinnabar caterpillars are munching on them already!


All images and text copyright CreamCrackeredNature 12.07.15

All drake mallards are in eclipse now and no ducklings seen

Lovely comma on Clay Lane Bridge

Small skipper on thistle

6 spot burnet

Cinnbard caterpillar on ragwort

Small skipper makes friends with a burnet moth

Butterfly and moth

Find the skippers!

Here's one!


  1. Skippers in profusion ... great to see.

  2. Lovely to see so many skippers.................thistle are a great nectar source for many bees butterflies etc.
    I was lucky to see a marbled white on thistle while walking my dog. Every time I tried to capture it with my camera it flew away. Never seen one before.............beautiful.

    Like the image of the drakes..............very peaceful.

  3. Beautiful pictures Si. Not sure where I stand on ragwort. So very poisonous to animals and yet 'needed' by this cinnabar. What do you feel about it?

    I would be interested to hear. My friend lost her two donkeys to it.

  4. I have seen all the same things on the same plants this weekend, the burnet moth does like the Tufted Vetch (blue vetch) the colour combination looks wonderful.
    Amanda xx

  5. Thanks everyone! Back to rotten weather today, I'm at work though so not missing anything.

    Ragwort is an odd one, and I think the threat of it is probably little known to folk who don't keep "large animals", but it must surely serve a function in the ecosystem

  6. lovely to see so many butterflies, I very rarely see skippers of any type...

  7. Do they never find their way up to Scotland?

  8. Lovely pics, Si. I've seen loads of butterflies around recently too, but they have hardly been still for a moment!

  9. Great to see so many Skippers I thought there was one in the garden last week but by the time I got outside it had disappeared. Not seen any Cinnabar moth caterpillars yet but Ragwort is now flowering in the garden so live in hope!

  10. Had a good look at a swallow tailed moth tonight as it battered my kitchen window. They are very late this year I think!

    As ever, so kind of you all to drop by.