Moths and Butterflies

A few days ago, Claire Beale (one of the Trust rangers) managed to capture this stunning photograph of a Mother Shipton day-flying moth (Callistege mi), which had alighted on a Mouse-ear Hawkweed flower on North Down.

Claire has kindly provided this additional information.  Mother Shipton is a medium sized day-flying moth which has one generation, on the wing from May to early July.  The moth is named after Old Mother Shipton, a 16th century Yorkshire prophetess, soothsayer and herbalist who achieved legendary status in folklore.  Descriptions and depictions suggest she had a long-crooked nose and a big-pointed chin.  The markings on each of the moth’s forewings were thought to resemble her face!  This particular moth is found on open grassy habitats, including downlands and flower-rich meadows.  The moth’s caterpillars eat Clovers, Black Medick, Bird’s-foot Trefoil and various grasses.

Claire has also seen plenty of Small Blue butterflies (Cupido minimus).  The photograph was taken alongside Fairfield hedge, where the presence of a fresh bird dropping resulted in lots of Small Blues fluttering around it.  Seven can be seen in the photo, some head on.  The butterflies are gathering salts and minerals to pass on to female butterflies which helps with egg development.

We are always on the look-out for photos of butterflies and moths seen on Magog Down.  You can send them to us by using the Submit Your photo page or as an email attachment to  Please include your name, email address, a description of the image and the date taken.