Norfolk’s Grizzled Skipper

No not a post about a grumpy seafarer, or the captain of my local football team after another defeat.  This is Norfolk’s rarest and smallest butterfly, the Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae)  Today was glorious weather so Tina and I traveled across to Breckland, in the south west of the county, to search for them at the only two sites they occur.

At last ! a Grizzled Skipper

We started at Foulden Common but after a couple of hours we only had the briefest of an in-flight sighting.  There were many Brimstones and Orange Tips but on the Skipper front things were not looking good.  They should have emerged by now, last year I saw them in April.  So after a picnic we decided to go to the cut-off channel at Stoke Ferry, 4 miles away.  Searching the chalk banks and eventually I spotted a fresh male.  It sat on a purple flower of bugle wings open, perfect, except I hadn’t turned my Camera on!!

Lovely under wing shot, something I haven’t managed in the past

Luckily I did manage to get some nice shots, but not on a flower.  These butterflies only have a wingspan of 23-29 mm (about 1 inch) and they fly fast and low to the ground so they are very difficult to spot and follow.  They are becoming increasingly rare across southern England.  Their caterpillars like to feed on wild strawberry and agrimony.

On my HOME page there is a portfolio with more info

Brimstone at Foulden enjoying a cowslip



28 thoughts on “Norfolk’s Grizzled Skipper

      1. Kiwi birds—variously described as flightless birds with hairy feathers; or long beak, full of s**t and can’t fly …

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Congratulations Bryan!! It’s a beautiful butterfly. I miss in Germany the biodiversity of butterflies. Some of them I saw many years ago. It is a delight for me to find them in blogs like yours!

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      1. Yes, yes, we have a dramatic decline in insects. I write it in my blog post “Fatale Folgen – Fatal consequences”. In last sommer I saw only butterflies, which like the nitrate-rich soils. But the main problem is the use of chemicals in the industrial agriculture. It’s so sad!!

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      2. These chemicals are a big problem, we are lucky in the UK we have a lot of nature reserves and conservation groups to try and save what we have left, but it is not enough.

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      1. Haha – My wife, Gail, would relate well to Tina! – although she never complains. Sometimes, before we go on an outing, I will inform her that I am not taking my camera – although I always have my cell phone if a good photo-opportunity arises.

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