Ryton Wood Meadows - Butterflies
In 1990 a section of transect was set up in the northern area of the site (part of the Ryton Wood and Pool Transect). In 1991 a further section was added along part of the northern edge of Ryton Wood (part of the Ryton North Transect). The reserve is now completely covered by butterfly and day-flying moth transects.
Part of our reserve will also include a small part of Ryton Wood. To ensure all the reserve is fully surveyed a further section of Ryton Wood to the East of our reserve was started in 2003. To add to the day-flying moth records, Mike Astley, Alan Prior and other regular mothers commenced moth trapping on the reserve.
The Grizzled Skipper occur in small numbers on the reserve but with recent improvements in habitat management and habitat creation, it is hoped that the numbers of this key species will increase over the next few years. Adult butterflies tend to be seen most often in the eastern and north-eastern part of the reserve.
In Warwickshire, the Grizzled Skipper can be found in a variety of habitats including disused railway lines, woodland rides and waste ground. In order to breed, the Grizzled Skipper requires patches of bare ground, an abundance of larval food plant and spring flowers. It does not occur in the north of the county and is present on only a handful of sites in the region.
Dingy Skipper also occur in small numbers on the reserve. As with the Grizzled Skipper, it is hoped that the recent improvements in habitat management and habitat creation will increase the abundance of Dingy Skipper on the reserve over the next few years.
In Warwickshire, the Dingy Skipper is found across a variety of habitats but its key localities are on Brownfield sites such as the quarry complexes in the North Warwickshire area. It can also be found on waste ground and disused railways or as in the case at Ryton Meadows, ex-gravel extraction / landfill.
Numbers of Green Hairstreak can vary greatly from year to year on our reserve. The core of the colony on our reserve seems to be centred on the area of meadow and hedgerow adjacent to the Police Training Centre football pitch (now disused) on the north-eastern edge of the reserve.
In Warwickshire, the Green Hairstreak is found on Calcareous grassland, scrubby grassland, woodland rides and clearings, heathland, old quarries and railway cuttings, but has a very restricted range in the region, being present on only a handful of sites. Such small colonies are very sensitive to habitat change/ loss due to poor land management or 'development' projects.
More Butterflies of Ryton Wood Meadows Reserve
Some of the more common species which you are likely to see on our reserve
include Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Copper and Brown Argus.
Occasionally, migrants have been seen on our reserve. These include Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow.
Habitat Management and Creation for the Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper
In an attempt to enhance breeding habitat for the Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) at Ryton Wood Meadows Reserve, a low dry stone wall was laid to create egg-laying habitat in a herb-rich grassland. During subsequent egg searches, it became apparent that the butterflies preferred to lay eggs on the leaves of Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) which were growing over stones in the wall. The relatively high egg density found one year after the wall construction suggests that this habitat is now more suitable than a nearby, traditionally used, coppice ditch habitat.
Grizzled Skipper Habitat Report
Creation of a dry stone wall to create egg laying habitat for Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae at Ryton Wood Meadows Butterfly Conservation Reserve, Warwickshire, England by Mike Slater.
Published in Conservation Evidence (2007) 4, 35–40 (270kb)
Following this success, another project has been commenced to create improved habitat for the Dingy Skipper. 1358 pieces of broken slabs have been placed in the Birds-foot Trefoil rich meadow 1 to create abundant egg laying sites for the Dingy Skipper.
Dingy Skipper - Ova Deposition Report 2008 (397kb)