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Butterfly spotters wanted in the North East

The Dingy Skipper Credit: Durham Wildlife Trust

Could you help find a rare and threatened butterfly in the North East?

The Butterfly Conservation and the Durham Wildlife Trust survey are looking for volunteers to help try and spot the Dingy Skipper.

What is the Dingy Skipper?

  • A small, inconspicuous, brown and grey butterfly, the Dingy Skipper has declined nationally by 42% in recent decades.
  • The butterfly receives no legal protection in England and this has contributed to a number of important sites being lost in the North-East.
  • County Durham still holds some strongholds for the butterfly because its larval food-plant, bird’s-foot trefoil, occurs on many of the unimproved grassland and brownfield sites in the county.
  • The main threat is from development of the sites for agriculture, quarrying, industry and housing or neglect, all of which means that the butterfly has vanished from many areas.

“We would like people to join us the hunt for this sometimes difficult to find butterfly.

Many of the areas where the Dingy Skipper was once found in the county have changed enormously since recorders last focused on this species.

“It is also often a species that is quite easily overlooked as it can blend in well with its sounding environment, which makes seeing this champion at the art of camouflage all the more satisfying. Our workshops will help surveyors to locate them."

– Mark Dinning, from the Trust

Durham Wildlife Trust will be running survey training courses based around the Dingy Skipper on Thursday May 5th at its Low Barns reserve near Witton le Wear and on Sunday May 15th at Rainton Meadows - its headquarters near Houghton le Spring.

The survey will take place in May and June