Grizzled & Dingy Skippers plus Green Hairstreaks

Pyrgus malvae

Erynnis tages

Callophrys rubi

In Norfolk the Grizzled and Dingy Skippers are very rare butterflies.  The former can now only be found at two sites in the south west of the County in Breckland.  Foulden Common near Oxborough  and the Cut-off Channel at Stoke Ferry are the places to search but even here they can be difficult to locate and numbers low.  The Dingy Skipper (such an unfortunate name!) are also to be seen at these sites but are in other areas as well.



If spring weather is favourable then the Grizzles will emerge toward the end of April with the Dingies in mid May.  With luck both can be seen on the wing at the same time.  At Foulden I have located both species in the clearings on the right as you enter the Common.  For Stoke Ferry walk right from the car park along the channel to the area beyond the trees, then search both banks each side of the path where the food plant Wild Strawberry grows.



Both are small butterflies and fly low and fast to the ground.  This makes them difficult to see and track but the Dingy Skipper will attack other small butterflies and give away their presence.  Good photos are difficult to obtain but with patience you may get them perched off the ground, they are rarely seen nectaring.






The Green Hairstreak is more widespread but not always easy to find.  There used to be good number on the Gorse at Foulden but this no longer seems to be case.  For me the best place to see this beautiful but feisty butterfly is at Wiveton Downs near Blakeney on the Nth Norfolk coast.



When they are fully out in May several colonies of up to a dozen individuals can be seen.  The prime spot seems to be the sheltered northern slope by the Rowan trees and Hawthorn among the Bluebells.  Due to their colouration and small size they can be difficult to spot at first, however their tendency to attack anything that flies past soon gives them away and they tend to return to the same perch.



All three sites are great for other species.  At Wiveton the Wall Brown can be found.  This used to be quite common many years ago but numbers have crashed recently.  And what can be more delightful on a spring day than watching the wanderings of male Orange-tips hoping they will pose on a flower for an image.

Grizzled Skipper at the Cut-off Channel Norfolk May 2018
Grizzled Skipper underwing May ‘2018
Early June ’21 a surprisingly fresh Grizzled Skipper at Stoke Ferry. Very difficult to spot, the usual sighting is a tiny grey blur zig-zagging low and fast to the ground
June ’21 not so fresh but at least this Skipper had the decency to sit up off the ground for a few seconds
Dingy Skipper, Foulden Common, May 2020
Dingy Skippers can appear almost moth like at times
Green Hairstreak, Wiveton Downs Norfolk  April 2018
Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) Stoke Ferry Cut-off Channel, June’21
Taking watch from a Bluebell, Wiveton May ’21
Orange tip nectaring on gorse, Foulden
Wall brown at Wiveton
Small Copper form punctata, Foulden
Cley church from the top of Wiveton Downs

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