Saturday, 11 July 2015

Essex Skipper

The Walthamstow Marsh side of the patch might be subject to misuse by ravers, p***-artists and bbq-ers of late, but there are still little wonders hanging on south of the patch. 

Spurred on by Jonathan's post on his blog (therandombirder), I went out on a micro patch twitch for Essex Skipper

Small and Essex Skippers are so similar. Books and photos will explain the differences but when presented with a flurry of skippers on a sticky summer day, telling them apart is a not so simple. Both of these skippers are extremely fast flying butterflies and never stay still for long, which makes the job of separation very difficult. 

The most reliable method of identifying Small and Essex is to look below the antennal tips. This area will be jet black on Essex Skipper, and orange or brown on Small Skipper. 

Also, the small black streak on the upperside of the forewings, known as the scent line, is much bolder in the Small Skipper and lies at a slight angle to the front edge of the wing. The Essex Skipper has a finer line, which is parallel to the front edge of the forewing.

Simples... (yeah, right)

There were two in the pig pen area, behind the pond, favouring the thistles.

GH - @leevalleybirder

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