Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages)
High in the South Downs National Park a pair of Dingy Skippers' mate ...
Despite its unfortunate name, a freshly-emerged Dingy Skipper reveals a subtle pattern of browns and greys that is quite beautiful. This is our most widely-distributed skipper, despite its decline due to changes in farming practice. Colonies can still be found throughout the British Isles, including northern Scotland and Ireland where, although scarce, is found on outcrops of limestone. Its strongholds are in central and southern England where it lives in discrete colonies with little interchange between them.
Like all skippers, E. tages has an extremely fast flight that can be difficult to follow as it flits along, close to the ground. It is a warmth-loving species, and spends long periods basking on bare earth or a stone that has been baked by the sun. In the late afternoon, the butterflies gather to roost on dead flowers or grass heads, where they take on a moth-like pose, with wings wrapped around the flower head.