Wednesday, 22 July 2009
This butterfly landed on one of the courgettes last week and instead of taking flight as soon as I approached, it obligingly remained in situ while I fetched my camera and took photographs. When I looked in my reference books and online I finally identified it, I hope correctly, as a Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages) Apparently no British butterfly more closely resembles a moth than this one particularly when it is resting as its wings curve in a most unbutterfly-like way.
I had to smile at the description of its common habitats - chalk downland (our ground is fairly heavy with a good deal of clay); heathland (our garden could never be mistaken for this!);railway lines (there's a model railway layout in the loft . . . );disused quarries (definitely not); waste ground (that would be an unkind description even for our little plot). It likes areas of bare earth (we have a few of those, but they're more like bare mud) taller vegetation for roosting (ah, that's it then! Our courgettes are very tall!)
It seems that this little butterfly is in decline because of loss of habitat. Never mind, we'll keep growing courgettes and that way we'll do our bit for conservation.