These are the Skipper family of Butterflies that Lorraine and I have spotted so far in either our Garden or the bank at the back of the garden since we began back in late July 2000. Where possible we try to image the different sexes if there is an obvious difference between them.
They are presented in the order in which we usually first see them.
Lorraine and I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures - even though they are probably not the best ever taken of Butterflies!
Large Skipper Butterfly
The Large Skipper is quite widespread across England and Wales and into the southern border of Scotland. Grasses are its main food plant as if likes grasslands, pastures, open woodlands and road side verges amongst many habitats. There is one brood per year with adults emerging around late May into July but petering out by early august. The Large Skipper has a chequered pattern on its wings and the Male has a dark line running centrally in the upper wing whilst the Female has no such dark line. Despite its name the Large Skipper, like all Skippers, are quite small butterflies and unlike most butterflies the upper and lower wings overlap.
Small Skipper Butterfly
The Small Skipper is almost as widespread as the Large Skipper but seems to be absent in and around Cumbria and Snowden and is mostly absent from Scotland. It mainly habits grasslands and roadside verges and it likes one main grass as it’s food plant, the Yorkshire Fog grass although we have noticed it feeding on our Valerium! It is quite small and has one main brood per year with most emerging during July and lasting until at least August. The Small Skipper is mostly orange in colour with dark brown and white fringing to its wings and the Male has a dark line along the centre of its upper wing which is thinner in the Female. On first glance the Small Skipper and Essex Skipper both look the same but on examination of the antennae the underside of the tip is orange in the Small Skipper and black on the Essex Skipper.
Essex Skipper Butterfly
The Essex Skipper is not as widespread as its almost identical relative, the Small Skipper, the distribution is eastwards of a diagonal line from the Humber Bridge down to the Severn estuary although it’s believed the Essex is steadily expanding into new territories. Unlike the Small Skipper the Essex does not appear to like the Yorkshire Fog grass as a food plant but rather prefers Cock’s Foot grass and Common Couch grass. It has one brood usually emerging just after the Small Skipper in July and continuing through August. The principal difference between it and the Small Skipper can be found in the Small Skipper section.