The First Small Skippers on the Horsefield
Despite it being an overcast and cloudy day, the wind had dropped and it was warm with the very occasional glimmer of sun. I knew that small skippers were out and I wanted to see if I could find any on my edgeland patch so decided it was worth popping over.
Ten minutes from leaving home I was photographing my first one. In fact, they were present on good numbers and, despite being tiny, were really easy to photograph; much less flighty that many. Perhaps it was the duller, cooler weather. Interestingly there were no large skippers about at all; there had been loads earlier. My only theory is that the first brood has mated and laid eggs and died.
The grasses are really coming into their own now and look superb as wave forms undulate across the field in the breeze. The barley in the two approach fields is growing well and will soon be ripening. Hogweed is now dying off as have the elderflowers; the white froth of spring and early summer is passed. However, large patches of knapweed had grown up in the meadow and are in bud and there are swathes of purple vetch. I was surprised, too to see blackthorn bushes laded with sloes, unripe still but this year's sloe gin on the hoof!!
There were plenty of other butterflies on the wing, too, with good numbers of ringlet and meadow brown, a couple of large whites and three small tortoiseshells.
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