The first half of June sees a bit of a lull in the number of butterfly species on the wing.

Those that hibernated namely, brimstone; small tortoiseshell; peacock; comma and red admiral emerged in spring and laid eggs. Caterpillars mature into the next generation in late June and early July.

The white butterflies spent winter in the chrysalis stage flying in April and May and the next brood will appear shortly.

Now is the time for grassland butterflies including meadow brown; marbled white (really a member of the brown family); ringlet; gatekeeper and three species of skipper to grace our grassy places.

Skippers are little orangey brown jobs that  whizz and skip about at great speed in line astern low over the grass earning them my nickname of the 'red arrows' of the butterfly world.

They are thought to be the evolutionary link between butterflies and moths as they resemble the latter in shape and habits. Possessing large eyes and furry bodies with moth-like antennae, at rest they hold their wings in the bi-plane position, in other words, their forewings are partially raised and hind wings held horizontally.

When caterpillars pupate they do so in a chrysalis but, within a loose cocoon, again rather as moths do. Although classed as butterflies in all the guide books they really form a completely separate genus.

The photograph shows a small skipper imbibing nectar from a ragwort  flower.