Friday 31 July 2015

More skippers!

The sun shone finally after a wet and cool week. We popped in the wildlife garden in the afternoon. The knapweed, a favourite feeding plant for the skippers is now flowering in the meadow. Both species were very active, a male Large Skipper fed on the flowers, showing its long tongue.
A male Small Skippers followed a female fluttering behind her, but then appeared to lose interest, quickly losing her and perching, maybe she was already mated? The female settle to feed almost next to him and I just managed to take a photo with both in the frame: the male is in the foreground.
 We watched possibly the same female later as she was searching for suitable oviposition sites, which in the case of Small Skippers is Yorkshire Fog grass.  She settled and started a curious dance on the long grass stems, her swollen abdomen curved and everted, its tip touching the stem, and she moved circling around and up like moonwalking. We didn't actually see any eggs (they must be tiny!), but this confirms that the garden has a breeding population.
This gif showis a short sequence of egg laying behaviour:

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