Not only did I see my first dragonflies of the year yesterday at Lavernock Nature Reserve but I also spotted my first Dingy skippers (Erynnis tages).
At least four of these inconspicuous little butterflies were feeding on their favourite food plant, Common bird’s-foot trefoil, or basking on the compacted earth of the tracks through the reserve, as is their wont.
Their preferences for bird’s-foot trefoil and patches of bare ground are why these butterflies are often found on chalk and limestone grasslands, on brownfield sites and in disused quarries, amongst sand dunes and along open pathways adjacent to woodland.
Sun, shelter and good food – it’s not much to ask for. But, sadly, the Dingy skipper is one of many declining species of butterfly in Britain, probably due to the way land is managed and to the intensification of agriculture. So, I feel very privileged to be able to observe and enjoy these lovely little skippers so close to home.