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First spotted locally on 15 June, Small skippers are now appearing in greater quantities though, from my observations, both Large and Small skipper numbers are well down on recent years. This may well be climate related but it’s also environmental. In two of the local areas I have previously seen skippers in abundance, humans have been tinkering. In one case, the edges of a field were cut back much more than in previous years, with grassy edges cut to the dirt and the scrub- and bramble-edged hedgerows heavily flailed. And in the other location, an old meadow, the long grasses were cut but the trimmings left to rot, a community orchard was planted where wildflowers and waxcap fungi previously thrived and, once again, the bramble-and-scrub edges have recently been decimated, despite this being bird-nesting season The good news is that I’ve found another good skipper field though, unfortunately, it has been earmarked for a housing development by the Welsh government (though locals are fighting to preserve their green fields). I fear for our butterflies, such vulnerable little creatures in an increasingly hostile world.

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