Rare butterfly species back from the brink following successful reintroduction.
This summer, wildlife enthusiasts will be able to see the Chequered Skipper butterfly in the wild for the first time in more than 40 years.
Extinct in England since 1976, the butterfly has been successfully breeding in a hidden forest, thanks to the expertise of Butterfly Conservation and changes in land management techniques by Forestry England.
The exact location of the butterflies had been a closely guarded secret, but the population is now stable enough for members of the public wanting to glimpse the butterfly to visit Fineshade Wood in Northamptonshire.
The reintroduction of the Chequered Skipper to England was part of an ambitious conservation project, Back from the Brink. Butterflies were collected in Belgium in 2018 and 2019 and released at the Northamptonshire site by experts from Butterfly Conservation.
Since then, more butterflies have been released into Fineshade Wood and have successfully bred. It’s hoped the continuation of this project will build a large, resilient and sustainable population of Chequered Skipper across the Rockingham Forest landscape.
The best time to see the Chequered Skipper butterfly is in June when the adult butterflies can be seen flying. These small, fast-flying butterflies can be difficult to spot but are most likely to be seen perching in sheltered positions either next to wood edges or amongst light scrub or bracken.
For more information about the Chequered Skipper, visit Chequered Skipper | Butterfly Conservation (butterfly-conservation.org)
Main image: Male Checkered Skipper butterfly © Dave James / Butterfly Conservation