Sunday, 6 July 2014

Golden Skippers !!!

I have seen lots of Skippers these last few weeks, but for an unknown reason, I  have never really taking much notice of these very small, moth like butterflies.

That is until recently, after investing in a very good Butterfly field guide, I cannot let a Butterfly pass now without trying to positively identify it.

The Skippers in question, are known loosely as " Golden Skippers" and within this grouping are, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, and the Silver Spotted Skipper.

The Lulworth and Silver Spotted Skipper are rather more scarce, the Lulworth confined to the South East Dorset area, the 'Silver Spotted Skipper' confined to a few areas in  Southern England on Chalk downlands.

But, there's a good chance of seeing the other three, 
Although the Small and Essex Skippers are very similar to my untrained eye.

So these are what I have seen so far, hopefully with the right identification.

 The Large Skipper, this was one of the first of the  Golden Skippers I saw, this was back in June, at Lullingstone Country Park, quite easy to identify with the golden checkered effect on the wings, flight time between June and July, also slightly larger than both the Small and Essex skippers.

And another from Rainham Marshes. RSPB

The Small Skipper shown below flew into the picture frame as I was photographing Dark Green Fritillaries.
Quite small with a much plainer wing colour, you can make out the dark line or male sex branding on the wings. Also the colour of the underside of the antennae is brown or orange, difficult to see in the field and this seems to be the critical identifying factor 
between the Small and the Essex Skipper.  

Lastly the Essex skipper, appropriately seen at Rainham, Essex.
I found it quite difficult to identify in the field, I could see lots of  Skippers flying around in the long grass, my strategy was to take quite a few pictures of the Skippers and hope that after scrutinizing later, that I had an Essex Skipper. 

This one was on the location map outside the Ken Barrett hide,
black tips to the antennae, short branding line running parallel to the wing edge.

The male branding line looks good for  this Essex Skipper, fine, short, running parallel to wing edge, antennae  tips black.

you can clearly see the black antennae tips in the photograph,
 not so easy in the field.

As it turned out, all my pictures seemed to be of the Essex Skippers and none of the Small Skippers.

Quite pleased with those , Hope I got the identification right.

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