Dingy Skipper at Allt Rhongyr in the upper Tawe valley!

Pete and Ginny Clarke visited our upland grassland reserve Allt Rhongyr to see the spring flowers which show themselves around mid-May (cowslips, lousewort) and they were greeted with a fantastic surprise!

A Dingy Skipper was spotted fluttering about at the old hill fort! According to the Biodiversity Information Service (BIS) the nearest recent record for this UK priority species was at Brynamman, in 2020 about 8 miles away. However, there are a few older sightings around the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Dingy Skippers are a small butterfly with a darting flight and although they are found in Britain and Ireland, sightings are becoming increasingly rare. When the weather is nice and the sun is shining, Dingy Skippers will bask on the bare ground, however, in grey weather and at night, the Dingy Skipper will perch moth-like on dead flowerheads.

The Dingy Skipper will emerge in May and can have a second brood in August if the weather is good. They prefers open habitats, including chalk grassland, heathland, woodland clearings, coastal dunes, old quarries and waste ground and the larvae prefer to eat birds-foot trefoil, (plentiful at Allt Rhongyr), and horseshoe vetch on calcareous soils.

The earthworks “fort” is the furthest point from the roadside parking reached by walking over the top part of the reserve. It’s usually a windy spot but with great all round views. A visit can now be supplemented with a trip to the café in the gentler surrounds of Craig y Nos Country Park down below. Craig-y-nos Country Park - Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales.

Stephanie Coates, Wildlife Trust Officer

Dingy Skipper perching (c) Amy Lewis
Dingy Skipper by Pete and Ginny Clarke