Sunday, 9 August 2015

#BigWildSleepout and Beasts of the Night

Another blog post written by Bug Mad Girl ...

Last night we did the RSPB's #BigWildSleepout and camped out in our back garden. It was very exciting as we got the tent ready to sleep in. Rosie, our puppy, was running around going crazy!

5 hanging out in the tent!
Then we went inside and made bird cake for the birds (to give them a treat), a moth lure and some cookies for us to eat in the tent! To make the moth lure we heated red wine with tons of sugar, then soaked tea towels in it. We hung them over tree branches and smeared mushed up banana over them. We were hoping to attract some moths with it, but I think we put them out too early in the evening as they ended up covered in wasps and flies and we had a garden full of wasps buzzing around everywhere.

Bird cake!

Making cookies!
Our moth lure covered in wasps! Oops!

When it got dark we went on a Beasts of the Night walk around Brush Hill that was organized by the Chiltern Society. When we got to the car park mum took me and Nanny Moth to see the violet helleborines, but they weren't very interesting. They seemed very excited that they had started to flower though! 
We had hot chocolate and marshmallows at the start of the walk and I climbed a huge tree while we waited for everybody to arrive. Then we set off through the woods for a bug hunt in the dark. I found spiders, millipedes, woodlice and a huge beetle that sat on my hand as we walked around. We had a bat detector with us and could hear and see the bats flying around. Our guide said they were pipistrelle bats.
Then we walked out onto the grassland area and there were two moth traps running. There were loads of moths flying around and we were dive bombed by lots of big yellow underwing moths.

There were lots of other things attracted to the light including beetles, ladybirds, grasshoppers, harvestmen, a glowworm and a hornet. It was brilliant fun!
When we got home we ate our cookies and checked the moth lure. Luckily the wasps were all gone and we'd even managed to attract some moths! There were 3 old lady moths sat on the lure as well as some yellow and straw underwings!
We went to bed and eventually went to sleep (when my brother stopped talking!) We were woken up in the morning by a crow cawing in a tree next to the tent and by Whistlejacket the red kite whistling in his tree.
Whistlejacket the alarm clock!

We checked the moth lure but the wasps were back already, even though it wasn't even 6 o'clock yet. We also emptied our moth trap and found a Jersey Tiger moth in it, which is quite an unusual find. That means there was a tiger out in the garden with us when we were camping .... scary!
Emptying the moth trap
Jersey tiger

We had a brilliant night !!!
Update 10/8/15: We've just heard from the county moth recorder that this Jersey Tiger is the first recorded in Bucks this year and only the 16th ever recorded in the county. Exciting stuff!


  1. Good to see you round the moth trap at Brush Hill, and well done with the Jersey Tiger. The large black ground beetle in your photo above has a pretty spectacular name: Abax parallelepipedus!

  2. Thanks Martin, it was great to see you too. Everybody loved the moth trap and being dive bombed by the yellow underwings! That's a very cool name for a beetle - I guess he must have parallel pipeduses then!

  3. Looks like you had a great night with a lot of great insects. Your so lucky to see a glow-worm and the Jersey tiger!