Butterflies at Windmill Farm Nature Reserve

My main interest is birding; however I enjoy all the diverse flora and fauna that can be found on the Lizard. Summer is a relatively quiet time for bird rarities, but there is still plenty to see on the wing. This article highlights some of the fantastic butterflies that can be found on the Lizard. I am not a butterfly expert! All the pictures were taken at Windmill Farm National Nature Reserve; however, most of the species can be found all over the Lizard.

The first species contradicts my last statement as it is only found in a couple of places on the Lizard – Windmill Farm being one of them. This is the nationally rare and beautiful Marsh Fritillary, which can be seen in June and early July  they always lay their eggs on Devil’s-bit Scabious.


Marsh Fritillary 

Marsh Fritillary

Clouded Yellow 

Clouded Yellow

A lovely species that can still be seen now is the migrant Clouded Yellow – these lovely butterflies wander over from the continent in small numbers every year. Another beautiful species that can be seen in June/July and then again in late summer (2nd brood – many butterflies have two broods in a season) is the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

More common species that you may be familiar with that occur on the Lizard are shown below (several of these are still flying at the moment). Many of these will be migrants as well as locals!

Small Tortoiseshell



Red Admiral


Speckled Wood 


Common Blue


Common Blue 


Small Copper




Large Skipper 

Rarer species that can still be seen in late summer and into early autumn are the Ringlet and Grayling. I have never managed to get a picture of a Grayling with its wings open – there is a challenge for you all! 





If you are interested in butterflies and would like to know more, then contact the Cornwall Butterfly Conservation group.

Published: September 2014
Author and photos: Douglas Wright, Volunteer Warden, Windmill Farm