An irregular blog of photos taken by me of insects and other natural history subjects on my travels around Yorkshire, Britain and Europe. Hopefully you'll find them useful in putting a name to your own specimens but always check your identifications with an expert.


Walton Colliery LNR, near Wakefield 13/07/14

I lead a BDS/Friends of Walton Colliery LNR walk today. 16 attendees recorded 10 species despite the blustery wind. The find of the day, for me at least, was this stunning Puss Moth caterpillar.

Puss Moth Cerura vinula 

Chimney Sweeper, Yorkshire 14/06/14

An uncommon yet widespread daytime flying moth in Yorkshire is the Chimney Sweeper Odezia atrata. It inhabits grassy meadows and is locally distributed throughout most of Britain but is fairly common near me. The single generation flies in June and July, the larvae feeding mainly on the flowers of Pignut Conopodium majus.

Prince of Wales Park, Eldwick, 21/04/14

A very quick, late morning trip to the park produced two Tawny Mining Bees Andrena fulva, a single Ashy Mining Bee Andrena cineraria as well as an unidentified Nomada sp. and quite a few Dyseriocrania subpurpurella micro moths.

Unidentified Nomada, probably N.flava

Northern Coleopterists' Dissection Workshop

Saturday 5th April - Manchester Museum 10.15am - 4.00pm

10.15 - 11.00 Welcome and tea/coffee
11.00 - 13.00 Dissection Workshop - Tools, techniques and practical demonstrations
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 16.00 Group practice and discussion

Eight people attended this workshop in addition to Mike Denton and Darren Mann, who undertook the practical demonstration and assisted respectively, along with Dmitri Logunov who hosted the event.

Mike briefly outlined the equipment and materials needed to perform dissection on specimens stored in alcohol or which had been sufficiently 'relaxed'. He then performed a series of dissections on male and female beetles before a general discussion and informal question and answer session ensued. 

Darren also demonstrated how to clear dissected samples in potassium hydroxide before neutralising in acid alcohol (70% propanol alcohol with a drop of acetic acid in it) and then placing in diluted alcohol (70%). The attendees then had three quarters of an hour to practise dissection techniques themselves before lunch. By 2pm we had all reconvened in the lecture room to continue practising on specimens supplied by Darren and other attendees. Several participants even began working on our own specimens, some of which were then referred to Mike or Darren to confirm identification or suggest literature to refer to once they'd returned home.

All the attendees appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed the day and left with new found confidence and skills to perform dissections themselves. Profound thanks goes to Mike, Darren and Dmitri for providing their time, experience and encouragement for the workshop.