The adjectives small and large are, of course, relative: of the three butterflies featured in today’s post, the large (skipper) is actually the smallest, but it’s larger than the Small skipper to which the adjective in its name refers. So, having explained that, let’s take a look at these three latest beauties to grace my (reasonably) local airways.
I wrote (reasonably) local because these first two butterflies were seen on my journeys up the Welsh Valleys to Aberbargoed Grasslands NNR. The Small heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) (above) is now only occasionally seen in my coastal area – I found one in Cardiff Bay last summer but that was, sadly, a rarity.
The Small pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria selene), of which I saw seven on Tuesday’s trip to Aberbargoed, is a bright orange beauty that thrives in the National Nature Reserve’s wet grassland environment, though, even there, the numbers are usually quite low. Sadly, the British population of this butterfly is suffering a long-term decline, and the changing climate isn’t helping matters.
I found my first Large skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) in the same local field where I spotted my first last year, and I’ve only seen one so far but, hopefully, they’ll soon be adorning the grassy fields in better numbers.