Grizzled Skipper Project

9th October, 2016

For several years now ConSoc has been involved in the Grizzled Skipper project and this year is no different! The project is run by the Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group (NABG) to help protect and expand the range of the Grizzled Skipper, and every year volunteers cut back scrub and create small scrapes to allow the butterfly to lay its eggs.

So, on Sunday, a group of us went along with Chris Jackson (NBAG) with our tools to the first location, a grassy path overgrown with vegetation. The project targets eighteen sites, mainly old railways and former quarries,  and undertakes habitat management and enhancement works on each of the sites to ensure that vital areas of grassland do not become lost and overgrown with scrub, and that suitable habitat for the egg-laying exists.

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A successful day was had by all, and we managed to clear a large area for the butterfly. As a result of this project, the site has improved and now in a much better condition for supporting Grizzled Skippers, allowing populations to become more robust, and creating wildlife corridors between other sites.

22nd Jan 2017

The first Grizzled Skipper work party of 2017 saw a net turn out of 25, with six consoc members present.

Simon and the minibus left Brackenhurst at 0900 sharp and made a city pickup before heading down Rushcliffe way to East Leake by 1000 to work on a stretch of railway embankment. It was a windless day with a light dusting of frost, so we carried the kit down the rail line to the site and got going as soon as possible to keep warm.
We had two fires lit for burning brash and the work party was split into small groups to clear either clear light brash on the south facing bank, or cut away scallops of Hawthorn shrub on the north facing bank.
Brush cutters were also used on site further down the line, one operated by Consoc’s own Rob Warren.
After a lunch break around the fire we all joined in an effort to rake away and burn as much of the brash and grass as possible to remove the nutrients from the area.
The species specific work was, of course, for the Grizzled Skipper butterfly, a Notts BAG species, who’s larval foodplants include Creeping Cinquefoil and Bird’s Foot Trefoil among others. These plants are colonisers of bare ground in low nutirent areas, so we were clearing away organic matter to encourage their growth on the gravelly embankments.

It was a hard day’s work but we covered a lot of ground and hopefully the summer surveys will show a population spread as a result!
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