What happens on a moth course at Bushy Park?

Course participants at Bushy Park in 2014

Course participants at Bushy Park in 2014

What happens? Lots of things! We’ll be opening a moth trap, sorting moths into their correct families, studying the niceties of species identification, exploring woodland, meadows and hedgerows for moths by day and by night, joining in with quizzes and exercises, and much more. If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about how moths live, what role they play in habitats and food chains, and how to observe them for yourself, this is your chance.

This course runs on Saturday 14 May 2016 at Bushy Park in west London. It starts at 2pm with classroom and field sessions, and then in the evening we’ll head out with moth traps to put our skills into practice. Click here for full details and to book a place.

Six-spot Burnet on Field Scabious in the flower meadow at Bushy Park

The course is based in a part of Bushy Park that is not normally open to the public, and allows access to flower-rich meadows, woodlands and wetlands. We’ll use a mix of classroom presentations, activities and fieldwork to help you get to know more about moths and what makes them special. You don’t need to know anything about moths already, beginners are welcome, and if you’ve already started taking an interest in moths the course will help you develop your knowledge further. Contact FSC to book your place, and come prepared to be amazed by moths.

[This was originally posted in 2015, and has been updated for the 2016 course.]


to Otmoor for insects


Saturday afternoon was spent in brilliant sunshine at the RSPB’s Otmoor reserve, for a BENHS field trip. Great to feel the warmth of the sun after the grey summer. The evening’s mothing was cooler – see photo of moth-trap in the mist.

Some leisurely bug-hunting produced a range of craneflies, snail-killing flies and other odds and ends. One of the really good things about going on group field trips is that you can see so much more thanks to others sharing their interests and knowledge, and my colleagues pointed out birds including lots of Snipe, a Barn Owl, Marsh Harrier and Cetti’s Warbler. A small number of moths braved the evening chill, including reedbed resident the Large Wainscot (photo).

The meeting was led by Paul Waring, whose enthusiasm is matched only by his expertise. Although we didn’t catch many moths, and those we did were nothing unusual, Paul still managed to give the impression that he was immensely pleased to see each species and each person he encountered. There’s a lot to be said for enthusiasm.

A final surprise when packing up the following morning was a bat roosting in an outbuilding – it hadn’t been there the evening before so must have flown in while we were mothing. Not yet sure of the species, but always a thrill to see.