The status of the Small Blue in the UK has been elevated to High Priority as colonies up and down the UK are declining fast. Cumbria is no exception. At one time there were colonies in the Eden Valley and in Westmorland, both now long gone. The butterfly is well suited to brownfield former industrial sites which at one time abounded in West Cumberland. West Cumberland is now the only area where Small Blue can be found in England north of a line drawn between Gloucester in the south-west to the south of the River Thames estuary. The Small Blue colonies in West Cumberland are coming under intense development pressure and unless we are successful in persuading developers or local planning authorities to set aside some habitat then the future of this species in Cumbria looks bleak.
Where to look
The south side of Maryport harbour NY029363, also on the north side of the River Derwent estuary at Workington amongst the Wind Turbines NX996303. Look where the larval foodplant, Kidney Vetch grows in abundance.
When to look
End of the first week in May until near the end of June, a small second brood often occurs in late July/early August.