The return of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is something I look forward to every year. It’s our least common butterfly in the Forest of Dean, and isn’t widespread in the region, but conservation efforts designed to increase the amount of suitable habitat might one day help to change that.
I’ve made a few visits to a favourite spot for Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary in the Forest this week, but it’s taken until today to see any. It was a scorching afternoon, but the first half hour produced nothing but Common Blue and the odd Dingy Skipper. Just as I was about to move on to another site, a flash of orange passed in front of me – the first of maybe 10-15, all looking very fresh. This butterfly, like the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, gets its name from the series of “pearls” that run along the outside edge of the underside of the hindwing.
After so long away from home, it was nice to get out in the Forest of Dean this afternoon. The sun was shining and there were a good number of insects on the wing. This is one of three Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries seen today, along with Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods, Common Blue, Large Skipper. The highlight of the dragonflies today was a Golden-ringed. Woodlark still singing, Tree Pipits still displaying and a Cuckoo still calling. It’s almost like I was never away!