Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean








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5 October 2010

The fire burnt off all the sweet chestnut we had cleared.



Grid Ref SO588087

The main task today was to clear the sweet chestnut which had swamped a butterfly ride so that the butterflies could use it to move between the trees. Heather is starting to grow well in this area so we wanted to give it more open space to grow. We also cleared a large area of bracken and bramble.

These photographs were taken on the site during the summer near to the Titanic Iron Works ruins.


Dingy skipper

Dingy Skipper

(Erynnis tages)

Like all skippers, the Dingy Skipper has an extremely fast flight that can be difficult to follow as it flits along, close to the ground. The butterfly is a warmth-loving species, and spends long periods basking on bare earth or a stone that has been baked by the sun.

The butterfly prefers to nectar on yellow flowers and has a preference for flowers of Bird's-foot Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Buttercup and Hawkweeds. 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.



Grizzled skipper



Grizzled Skipper

(Pyrgus malvae)

This is a warmth-loving butterfly, and both sexes bask in the sun for long periods, typically on a stone, leaf or bare earth. This is an active butterfly which will fly at most times the day, and even into the evening, if conditions are warm enough.

The butterfly uses several nectar sources, favourites being Bird’s-foot Trefoil and Buttercup. The male is somewhat territorial and will chase any butterfly, irrespective of size, from its area. Females entering the territory are courted for a short period and, if the female is receptive, pairing occurs. The butterfly can be found roosting on heads of flowers and grasses during cool weather and at night.



Clearing the stream


Iron works

This is a Golden Ring dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) which we found on some rotting wood. It is quite large (about 3 inches long) and had only just ceased living. The caterpillar grub next to it is more probably a moth grub.

Golden Ring dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii)

They are often seen flying leisurely over mountain streams or a river; they also occasional show up at a pond. They are also typically seen flying over heath land. Their bright yellow and black stripes make them easy to identify, even from a fair distance away. They feed mainly on insects ranging from small prey such as midges to flies, butterflies and even bumble bees. This strikingly-coloured insect is incredibly aerobatic and they sometimes fly very high up into the sky. [5]


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