Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is a butterfly species in decline. Once common, it has now vanished from much of central, southern and eastern England but remains fairly widespread (though for how much longer?) over Wales, Scotland and here in the South-West. We’ve seen them recently in a handful of sites along the coast and were delighted to find them in the Valency Valley on May 21. See them in the meadow just a little upstream from the steeping stones. Also keep an eye out for Common Blues and Large Skippers that have recently been seen hanging out in the same area.
Declining even more rapidly than the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is its close relative, the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. These haven’t been recoreded in the Valency Valley for several years and we’ve yet to see one this year. The Pearl-bordered Fritillary is typically on the wing a month earlier than its smaller relative so we fear the Valency may be yet another site to lose this species. However, National Trust butterfly expert, Mathew Oates recently identified a field further up the valley where he thinks they may be making their last stand.
Not so troubled is the Painted Lady which can now be seen in fields along our North Cornwall coastline.