Butterfly brings flutter of hope

On a day that’s full of ecological doom and gloom in the news, here’s a ray of sunshine. This is the first dingy skipper we’ve seen at Wheatland Farm. They are one of Europe’s fastest declining butterflies, so it’s great to see one here. Dingy Skippers like birdsfoot trefoil in mid-height grassland, and our management regime offers lots of that.

Over- and under-grazing are both problems for this butterfly. So our pattern of mosaic mowing should be spot on for encouraging it. Dingy skippers emerge about now, and can have a second emergence in August. Of course, we don’t know whether this one emerged here or flew in, but if the latter lets hope it found what it’s looking for. We spotted it down by the wildlife pond in front of Balebarn Eco Lodge. There’s a sparsely vegetated bank there that insects like to bask on, so if you want to see one that’s got to be a good starting point.

It’s true, it’s not our most beautiful butterfly – it does rather live up to its name. But if you get up close, it’s actually quite pretty.

And that depressing ecological story? It’s the confirmation that up to a million species face extinction unless we take urgent action. That’s not news to scientists. Ecologists have been heralding the world’s 6th mass extinction for well over a decade now. Ultimately, it’s why we moved to Wheatland Farm, and why we do everything we can to manage our land for wildlife. Biodiversity has been Wheatland Farm’s top priority as well as the bottom line (both financially and metaphorically) since 2006. When you stay at the ecolodges, you are supporting our conservation work. Thank you!