Dudsbury Guide Camp working with Bournemouth Natural Science Society

In October 2016 Bournemouth Guides received £32,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project to investigate the 3000 year old hill fort called Dudsbury that their campsite is situated on at West Parley.

Led by the Girlguiding members the project focuses on the historical importance of their ancient Iron Age hill fort and also the changing camping experiences in living memory for the Girlguides over their 85 year history on the site.

A group of local Girlguides began their journey to gain personal badges and awards as they discover archaeological finds and how their fortified campsite links to other better known local sites of historic interest such as Hengistbury Head and Badbury Rings. The girls and young women will learn how to permanently record and communicate their findings for visitors along the Stour VGuide1alley Way at their currently uninterpreted site.

Dudsbury Camp was secured as a Girlguiding campsite in 1931 and to celebrate the occasion a pageant was staged with Girlguides forming tableaus to explain what was known about the history of the site. Bournemouth Guide Camp Association made the decision that re-staging the pageant with updated information and including the history of Girlguiding on the site would make a fitting end celebration to the project which will be in July 2017.

Discovering that some pottery remains were housed at the BNSS led Girlguiding members to contact the society for information and help with the project. Meeting with Bryan Popple at the Society in November 2016 the girls were introduced to the person and work of Heywood Sumner.

Guide2With the kind and considerable research that Bryan put in the girls were able to read correspondence from Heywood Sumner regarding his excavations at their hill fort and the impressive pictures and maps he drew of the site as it appeared in the 1920s. Handling the original pottery pieces that Heywood Sumner discovered was brought to life as the girls were able to see more complete artefacts from the collection at the Society. Of great interest was the beautiful hand drawn map showing Dudsbury’s location on the river Stour between the port at Hengistbury Head and the larger fort at Badbury Rings which was so much clearer than picking out the sites from a modern map.

The girls are currently using this information to design interpretation boards that will be erected on site, information for their new website and ideas for practical iron age workshops. It may be that Mr Heywood Sumner himself makes a posthumous guest appearance at the re-staged pageant… watch this space.

Debbie Thorpe
Division Commissioner Girlguiding Bournemouth South and Trustee Bournemouth Guide Camp Association

Winner of BNSS President’s Award 2016 Announced

Rod Cooper and Richard Hesketh

The Bournemouth Natural Science Society (BNSS) is thrilled to announce the winner of its inaugural President’s Award, which was presented at the Society’s AGM on Saturday 10th December 2016.

This new award has been created to recognise the individual who has contributed the most to the furtherance of science or has inspired to others to do so this year. The many amazing people who were nominated for the Award show that science is thriving in Bournemouth.

The winner for 2016, known to many in and around Bournemouth, is Richard Hesketh. Formerly a Ranger at Hengistbury Head, Richard is now Volunteer Co-ordinator with Bournemouth Parks Department. Described in his nomination as having charm, enthusiasm and as being the ‘genuine public face’ of the Bournemouth Parks Department, Richard is knowledgable ecologist, ardent ornithologist and passionate astronomer.

In 2007 Richard started the Monday Meanderers which quickly attracted a loyal following. These guided walks introduced the uniqueness of Bournemouth’s various parks and open spaces to the public, whose appreciation will help ensure their continued survival.

Rod Cooper, President of the BNSS said, “I’m delighted that the President’s Prize has had such a worthy winner in it’s inaugural year. For over a century the BNSS’s aim has been to inspire people to share our love of science and the natural world and Richard Hesketh is a fine example of that spirit.”

Richard receives one year’s free membership of the BNSS, a £50 book token, a certificate, a signed copy of ‘The Natural History of Bournemouth and the Surrounding Area’ and a private tour of the Museum.

The nominations were so strong that the President chose to introduce two additional commendations. Bob Mizon, for his astronomical work with local schools and as Chair of the Campaign for Dark Skies and Sarah Sumbler, Lead Technician at St. Peter’s Catholic Academy in Southbourne, for her enthusiastic work engaging young people in science. Both receive a commendation certificate and book.

Read about it in the Bournemouth Echo


A History of the BNSS Building

BNSS Building

It is appropriate that our historic collections of local artefacts, local wildlife and fossils (plus lots more!) should find home in one of Bournemouth’s historic buildings. Not only is “Bassendean” the home of the Bournemouth Natural Science Society, but it is a Grade II Listed Building. These two important institutions came together by chance and necessity in 1919; before then, each had a separate existence.

Bournemouth came into being when Lewis Tregonwell decided to settle here in1810. A few years earlier, as part of Christchurch, this once heathland wilderness was parcelled up and sold off. The road connecting Christchurch and Poole was then just a track. The land to the south was planted out with pines as a cash crop, called Hinton Wood/Eastern Plantation. As the nucleus of Bournemouth expanded, luxurious villas were built in clearings towards Boscombe. One of these houses became the property of John Cassels, a colourful figure who had made a small fortune in India and, with his wife and family, eventually made his home in Bournemouth. Here, he involved himself with the Board of Commissioners (a pre-Council body which developed Bournemouth), with Holy Trinity Church, and moved in circles with the great of Bournemouth. He called his villa “Bassendean”, a possible reference to his Scottish origins, and moved in around 24th July 1880, soon after its completion. For some reason he abandoned the house after three months and moved to Jersey. The house was put up for let, and from the estate agent’s description we learn that the place had four large reception rooms and a full-sized billiard room at ground level, and some 9 bedrooms, two bathrooms and toilets on the upper floor, and a basement for servants and services. It was built in the Italianate style, popularised after Osborne House but not common in Bournemouth. This is typified by rounded-topped windows usually in pairs and the dramatic inclusion of a belfry-like structure, here used for the water-supply.

For the next 40 years the place was occupied by several people, some notable. One of the first was Lt Col Henry Dorrien Streatfeild, of Chiddingstone, here for tragic reasons. Sometime later came the Hon Mrs Isabella Fiennes and her family (today related to Ralph, Ranulph and Joseph).

The Bournemouth Natural Science Society, too, had a mixed but distinguished career. The late 18th century/early 19th century saw a great public interest in the natural world: its place in the universe, its extended history, and the plants and animals that inhabited it. Every large town generated its own natural history and antiquarian society. Their universal aims were to study and attempt to understand the planet on which we live. They did research, they gave lectures, collected items of interest, and books for extended study. In Bournemouth, we chose the academic term of ‘natural science’ to embrace those studies beyond just the living world.

The first stirrings of such a society in Bournemouth came in 1868, when the young town had a population less than 6000. The cliffs were found to yield fossils of tropical plants from 50 million years ago. A call was raised to form a society to care for these and establish a museum to keep them in the locality. One of the advocates was a close friend of Charles Darwin – Admiral Sir Bartholomew Sulivan. He lived just round the corner from where “Bassendean” was later to be built, and was an active promoter of the two societies that preceded the Bournemouth Society for Natural Science that was formed in1903. This latter organisation proved more viable and grew to 112 members in its first year. It was to inherit not only the original objectives, but also many of the various local collections made in the 19th century.

There was a periAlfred Russell Wallaceod when our membership reached over 600, and during our existence we have had as our members Alfred Russel Wallace (who, with Darwin, was the co-proposer of the Theory of Evolution), and many other world-renowned eminent naturalists who lived locally. Ten mayors of Bournemouth have been members, including Merton Russell Cotes and Percy Bright. And our annual Presidents have been a stellar array of scientific research.

We later called ourselves the Bournemouth Natural Science Society (BNSS), but it was to take longer to find a permanent home, starting first in the upper floor of a boot shop (122 Old Christchurch Road), Granville Chambers (Richmond Hill), then a space at the newly-built Municipal College at the Lansdowne. The aftermath of the First World War necessitated a new home and we took over “Bassendean”, just a quarter of a mile up the road. Thanks to the generosity of Sir George Meyrick and members (and with help from rentals), the BNSS moved in formally on 7th February 1920.

It needed some modification of the ground floor, but the present ‘Museum Room’ still gives the impression of the south-facing lounge and dining room from which it was formed. Upstairs, some of the former bedrooms are now occupied by the specialist collections; similarly, the Geology collection is now situated in part of the former servants’ quarters.

When the Society moved into “Bassendean”, the members realised they could display another dimension: the inside could hold the ‘dead museum’ of stuffed birds and butterflies, but in the acre of garden a ‘live museum’ of exotic plants could be created. Shrubs and trees like camellias, wych-hazel, and Gingko were planted and still give a riot of colour and interest. In recent decades – with less croquet – it has become a haven for wildlife with foxes, frogs, autumn ladies tresses, and numerous bird species. This has been encouraged with the digging of ponds, placing of bird boxes and bug-houses, and hedgehog-hibernation boxes. Our lawn may now look a mess – but you should see the woodpeckers, jays and squirrels working it for food! More further could be done such as bat-boxes, perhaps a butterfly farm, wild flower meadow…. Add to this a weather station, and we become a scientific oasis amongst a sea of flats and concrete. Join us in the exercise!

There is no doubt, that the Victorian naturalists caused great decimations with their collecting practices: we have an example of this displayed in the form of a Great Auk, rendered to extinction in 1844 because every collector and museum wanted one. (Actually, our bird is composite replica, but it does not stop us highlighting it as a cause célèbre: “Extinction is forever”)

Today, thanks to legislation, it is illegal to kill a wide range of animals, or collect eggs or pick plants. Present members of the Society also regard such practices as morally wrong and do not engage in taking specimens from the wild. The wide availability of cameras makes it unnecessary, anyway. However, we recognise the value of having specimens: as a teaching and study resource, an inspiration for art – and the sheer “Wow!” factor. Unlike many museums today, we would wish to display our specimens, share their beauty with the public. How often do you get to be that close to a Golden Eagle? We find we are now becoming a repository for earlier collections (often sadly because the collector has just deceased). Instead of valuable, unique specimens being confined to the scrapyard, we may be able to find a space amongst our crowded shelves (repeat, ‘may’).

History has shown that Bournemouth has lost the opportunity to retain objects because there was then no local repository. We have mentioned the Eocene plant fossils, but another case has been the loss of Bronze Age urns from Pokesdown. On the other hand, we received our lovely Egyptian mummy because in 1922 we had space to receive her. Similar local rescues, have included a collection of Barton Bed fossils (the second best in the world), and nationally, the archives of the Gilbert White Foundation. “Bassendean” is now a unique home to thousands of treasures from microscopic fossil nummulites to a blossoming Indian Bean Tree. It is all there to be shared with the residents and visitors of Bournemouth. A unique double-whammy of a museum.

Bassendean” was the former home of the Dorset Wildlife Trust during its early years. Since then the Society’s activities have brought together many local conservation groups, sharing events or their hiring our hall for special occasions. Being central to transport connections, the place has the potential to be a dynamic hub for existing groups, or the nurturing of new groups.

For much of our earlier existence, our collections were almost private, with just occasional airings to the public. Now, because of our charitable status, we are obliged to allow more accessibility. We are happy to do this and have recently received accreditation which gives us greater abilities. To provide this function of an historic collection within an historic building will nLantern Roofeed much work and we seek more volunteers to help and more funding to make the building properly functional.

Bassendean” is now 136 years old! Many Victorian buildings had conservancy-style roofs over their stairwell. At “Bassendean” this lantern roof differs by being central, allowing light to pass through a surrounding balcony at upper floor level, creating a light well to the entrance hall. The original effect on guests entering the building must have been stunning. It is a rare architectural feature that is worthy of restoring to its original function.

However, the Lantern has a wooden frame and despite carrying out repairs, exposure to weather has rotted the frame. It now leaks, putting our collections at risk of damage, and requires major repair. To help stop further damage from the weather, scaffolding has temporarily been placed over the top of the lantern.

The BNSS would like to restore the Lantern Roof to its original glory. To do this we have to raise £100,000 to fix the roof to its Grade II Listed standard, working with specialised architects and builders. We are looking into various funding streams and grants to do this, but to get the ball rolling we have started the #LanternRescue project. We are asking visitors and the local community to donate to this project and we are hoping to raise funds to support the project.

There will be a range of activities and events supporting #LanternRescue over the coming year, so keep your eyes open! You can also donate on our website. 

Thank you for your support.

Bournemouth’s “New” Museum!

The Bournemouth Natural Science Society receives Museum Accreditation.

The Bournemouth Natural Science Society is thrilled to announce its successful application to the Museum Accreditation Scheme. Our Museum Committee has been working hard for a long time to get our documents in order and up to scratch and it is a credit to them that we are now an Accredited Museum.

BNSS Building

The origins of the BNSS actually started 150 years ago, with the 19th century passion for collecting natural objects. These early collections are now housed in the Society’s Victorian villa at 39 Christchurch Road which is open to the public on Tuesday mornings, between 10am and 12.30pm. From archaeology to zoology, the BNSS has something to inspire and amaze!

Accreditation is granted by the Arts Council England (ACE) to museums that meet the stringent requirements imposed by their Accreditation Standard. The BNSS joins the 1,800 other museums participating in the scheme, working to manage their collections effectively for the enjoyment an
d benefit of users.

The Museums Association’s 1998 definition of a museum is that ‘Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society’ and the BNSS is working to ensure we meet this definition.Museum Members with Accreditation Certificate

And the work doesn’t stop here! We are continuing to catalogue and photograph our collections and make them more accessible to the community. As well as our regular Tuesday morning sessions, we also run two open days during the year. The next one is coming up on Saturday 16th April, in collaboration with the Dorset Wildlife Trust. Our Young Explorers group meets once a month and we welcome educational visits from organisations and groups of all ages! Our Accreditation status is renewed every three years to ensure we are keeping up to standard.

Of course, none of this would be possible without our wonderful and dedicated volunteers and members, who give their time and enthusiasm to make the BNSS what it is. A huge thank you goes out to them for making this success happen.

If you would like to learn any more about the BNSS, visiting times, membership or volunteer opportunities, please contact Katherine West, Communications Officer at

Chris Packham joins the BNSS as new Patron!

The Bournemouth Natural Science Society is thrilled to welcome Chris Packham as its new Patron.


Chris Packham, the famous English naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author is joining forces with the Society to help promote and support our wonderful work within the community. Not a stranger to the BNSS, Chris has previously lent his support by writing the foreword to the Society’s published book The Natural History of Bournemouth and the Surrounding Area and attending some of our events.

The BNSS has a remarkable collection; a treasury of the world’s life and its history.  It is a place where you could lose yourself for days and still return for more fascination. But the greatest riches of the Society lie not in this repository, but in the extraordinary knowledge, the unconfined enthusiasm and the continued passion of its members and affiliates. Nowhere else on earth could an assemblage of naturalists, geologists, palaeontologists, historians, astronomers and archaeologists work together in one small building. You do not have to be an expert or knowledgeable, just love the natural world. The BNSS may be unique, and whatever your age, you will find it a haven of wonder. To be able to join them as Patron is thus a genuine honour.”  Chris Packham

We are delighted to have Chris support the Society as a Patron. His knowledge, enthusiasm and tireless work for the natural world will be a great asset for the Society and we are looking forward to working with Chris on a range of projects in the future. The BNSS is continually growing and looking to improve our services to the community; having Chris on board as a Patron will help us achieve even more.” Rod Cooper, President of the BNSS

I have known Chris Packham for many years as a conservationist, writer, naturalist and friend. Chris is, of course, well known as a presenter of Springwatch, where he imparts knowledge in an entertaining manner. He has the rare skill of being able to communicate a subject to a nine year old and an academic at the same time! More than his knowledge, more than his wit, he is a genuine nice bloke.”  Ian Julian, BNSS Member

The BNSS was formed in 1903 and aims to promote the study and enjoyment of the natural sciences and history. We run an extensive programme of events throughout the year, including weekly talks with expert speakers, summer field trips to local wildlife hotspots and a bi-annual Open Event for the local community to explore our collections.

We are a registered charity and rely on membership subscriptions and donations to be able to continue and improve our work. If you would like to learn more about the Society and our events, join as a member or make a donation, you can visit our website or check out our Facebook page and Twitter @bnss1

For more information, please contact Katherine West, Communications Officer on 07786080025 or

At the Edge – Astronomy talk

27th January 2015

This talk, prompted by Voyager 1 leaving the solar system, was given by the Lucie Green, a well-known astronomer and broadcaster.

The heliosphere is the volume within which the Sun’s magnetic field and the solar wind dominate the interplanetary medium. Lucie talked about many of the features on and near the Sun’s surface, including sun spots, the corona and magnetic field lines. We have a number of spacecraft studying the Sun, including in particular the ESO’s Ulysses, which has a polar orbit, and the STEREO pair of spacecraft. These give us unprecedented views of what’s going on there.

We had many video clips of activity, with explanations of how that fits with what’s going on in the Sun’s magnetic field. For example, the differences in outflow characteristics between solar minimum and solar maximum can be explained by looking at the magnetic field has increased complexity at maximum.
There has been lack of understanding of how charged particles can leave the Sun’s surface when they are following magnetic field lines which loop up and back down to the surface. Models explained how the magnetic field can make “chimneys” that the particles can flow up.

Further out, the heliosphere is shaped a bit like a wind sock as the Sun moves through then interstellar medium. Contrary to expectation there are a large number of magnetic field “bubbles” near the heliopause, which are explained by twisty bundles being forced up from the Sun and moving to the edge of the solar system. The field structure is so complex the field lines look rather like a ballerina’s fluffy tutu!

Lastly Lucie talked about the ESA Solar Orbiter which will be launched later this decade. It has 10 instruments on board, and its orbit will move out of the ecliptic to give some polar observations, as well as approaching the Sun inside Mercury’s orbit: at 600⁰C heat shielding is of paramount importance. It has been in development for many years, and we have high hopes for what it will tell us.

An excellent and well-attended lecture: a very technical subject that Lucie explained with great clarity.

The Apollo Missions Science Packages – Astronomy talk

The Apollo Missions Science Packages

25th November 2014

This talk was given by the Keith Wright, who was an engineer working on all the science packages that were included in the Apollo missions.
Keith started by reviewing his career, stating with making model rockets at school, and on through working on “Blue Streak” to Apollo in 1966. He then joined ESA in 1972.
We looked at the various packages that were attacked to the lunar lander, starting with Apollo 11 which had laser ranging reflector, a passive seismometer and a dust analyser. After that we looked at the instruments that were additional to what was brought by earlier landings, though many of the experiments were repeated.
Apollo 12 had a magnetometer, a solar wind detector, an ion detector and an atmospheric pressure meter. All these were connected to a central station. As Keith discussed each bit of equipment, he also told stories about training the astronauts, problems, etc., e.g. tripping over cables on the Moon.
Apollo 14 had an active seismometer with a small mortar and astronaut operated thumper, and a charged particle detector. Apollo 15 included a heat flow detector, but it proved very difficult to drill into the surface to install it, so only one of the two sensors was installed. Apollo 16 had no new items, and Apollo 17 had a gravimeter and an atmospheric composition spectrometer.
Keith concluded by telling us how much our understanding of the Moon has been added to by the information these experiments gave us. For example, the internal structure of the moon is now known to be very different from what we thought it was before all the seismology experiments.
An excellent talk on a subject which the audience found most interesting.

The Story of Radio Astronomy – Astronomy talk

The Story of Radio Astronomy

25th October 2014

This talk was given by the Chairman, and covered various subjects. Firstly we looked at the electromagnetic spectrum and what we can observe from the ground, with optical and radio “windows”.
History started with the 19th century, moved on to Jansky’s detection of the centre of the Milky Way and Reber’s home made dish. The war interfered with developments in this field, but radar expertise was one of the drivers behind J Stanley Hey setting up the Cambridge group, and Bernard Lovell setting up the Jodrell Bank observatory.
We then looked at various types of telescope and how things have developed since then, using ever more effective forms of interferometry, culminating in the LOFAR observatory and the square kilometre array.
The subject then switched to what people are looking at today, included the Cosmic Microwave background (CMB) radiation, Pulsars, Quasars, radio galaxies and Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs).
Finally we looked at the 21 cm hydrogen line, and a lot of the things studying this “cold hydrogen” line can tell us.

A to Z of the Solar System – Astronomy Talk

 A to Z of the Solar System

16th September 2014
Bob Mizon came once again to entertain us with his whimsical list of objects in the solar system, running of course from A to Z.
You might expect “A” for “Asteroid”, “B” for “Bolide” etc., but no… “A” was for “Aurora”, as might be expected, but “B” was for “Binary Asteroid”, with Bob showing pictures of asteroid Ida with its tiny moon Dactyl and an aerial picture of a double crater in Canada.
Similarly other unexpected items included “F” for “Fallacy” where Bob pointed out common beliefs that are erroneous, and “M” for “Mont Blanc” where an observatory was constructed that failed to work from day 1 because of clouds and snow.
Bob revealed he was very grateful that one of the Kuiper belt dwarf planets has been called “Quaoar”, otherwise he’d have been stuck for a “Q”.
It was an amusing and very informative look around the solar system, and Bob as usual excelled himself.
After the break, Bob gave us a run around what’s in the sky at night at the moment, using the free planetarium software “Stellarium” to illustrate his points.

The Herschels – Astronomy talk

The Herschels

16th August 2014

We were very pleased to welcome back Allan Chapman who talked about William and Caroline Herschel and to a lesser extent William’s son John.
William Herschel was from Hanover, which had the same king as the United Kingdom, George II. He came needing to make money and was an extremely successful businessman. At that time science was not a funded activity, and if you wanted to study, e.g., astronomy, you paid for it yourself.
Both he and Caroline had formidable intellects, and he was also a most accomplished musician. Initially he earned money from music as an impresario, but soon moved on to making his own telescopes, which he sold for substantial sums.
He produced papers on the structure of the “universe”, i.e. the shape of the Milky Way, and was the discoverer of Uranus in 1781. His telescopes became bigger and bigger, moving up from a (length of) 7’ to 20’ to eventually 40’, which was somewhat unwieldy and with an 18.5” mirror probably not the best optically either.
As a serious scientist who wanted to understand the theory behind what he was looking at, he was well regarded and became an honorary fellow of the Royal Society in 1835.
Caroline is best known for having found up to 8 comets by “sweeping” the sky.
John was an extremely gifted linguist as well as a brilliant mathematician. His main achievement was charting the southern skies, which he did from the Cape of Good Hope.

Comets – Astronomy Talk


15th July 2014

This talk was given by the Chairman.
The talk started with the question: what are comets? Usually called dirty snowballs, the examples looked at their structure including their albedo, nucleus and tails.
They originate far out in the solar system, and the talk looked at the solar system’s formation and the subsequent location of comets beyond the planetary realm. They are now found in the Kuiper belt, the Scattered Disc, and especially in the Oort cloud
We looked at what we see nearer to home, including Centaurs between Jupiter and Neptune. Most inner solar system comets are divided into 2 families, short-period and longperiod. There are also some main belt comets in the out reaches of the asteroid belt with fairly circular orbits.
We then looked at a bit of history, at myths and legends, which are mostly of woe, including Europe and China. Aristotle’s view of their origin and refutations of this were covered as well.
Some say the water on Earth comes from comets, but it’s perhaps more likely it comes from icy asteroids, based on isotopic ratios of hydrogen and deuterium.
As an origin of life the panspermia theory promotes comets as the vectors: the Wickramasinghe/Hoyle theory.
Lastly we looked at collisions with Earth and the energy yields from those, including Chicxulub and Tunguska. We looked at ways to divert a comet. Lastly it seems there may well be many invisible ex-comets with very low albedos, which could strike the Earth with no notice!

Mothing at Pig Bush, New Forest.

21st June 2014.


MACROS. 27 Species identified.

1. Petrophora chlorosata. Brown Silver-line. X2.

2. Noctua comes. Lesser Yellow Underwing. X1. ( at treacle)

3. Lycophotia porphyrea. True Lover’s Knot. X5.

4. Idaea straminata. Plain Wave. X1.

5. Ochropleura plecta. Flame Shoulder. X1.

6. Melanchra pisi. Broom moth.X3.

7. Spilosoma luteum. Buff Ermine. X1.

8. Peribatodes rhomboidaria. Willow Beauty. X2.

9. Hypomecis roboraria. Great Oak Beauty. ( caught in wood )

10. Phlogophora meticulosa. Angle Shades. X1. ( at treacle)

11. Dipterygia scabriuscula. X5. (all at treacle)

12. Lacanobia olearacea. Bright-line Brown -eye. X1.

13. Habrosyne pyritoides. Buff Arches. X2.

14. Diacrisia sannio. Clouded Buff. male.X1. ( disturbed from bush)

15. Polia nebulosa. Grey Arches. X1.

16. Cybosia mesomella. Four-dotted Footman. X3.

17.Euproctis similis. Yellow-tail. X1.

18. Mythimna impura. Smoky Wainscot. X1.

19. Clerodes lichenaria. Brussels Lace. X1.

20. Apamea monoglypha. Dark Arches. X1. ( at treacle)

21. Agrotis clavis. Heart and Club.X1. (at treacle)

22. Comibaena bajularia Blotched Emerald. X1.

23. Biston betularia. Peppered moth. X1.

24. Sphinx ligustri. Privet Hawk. X1.

25. Laothoe populi. Poplar Hawk. X1.

26. Lomaspilis marginata. Clouded Border. X1.

27. Hada plebeja. Shears. X1.

MICROS. 6 Species identified.

1. Pampelia palumbella. X2.

2. Donacaula forficella. X1.

3. Elophila nymphaeata. X2.

4. Aphomia sociella. Bee moth. X1.

5. Crambus pascuella. X1. ( found near treacle !?)

6. Glyphipterix thrasonella. X1.

Mothing at Pig Bush, New Forest

15th June 2014.


MACROS. 24 Species identified.

1. Rivula sericealis. Straw Dot. X1.

2. Dipterygia scabriuscula. Bird’s Wing. X5 ( all at treacle)

3. Opisthographis luteolata. Brimstone. X1.

4. Plagodis dolabraria. Scorched Wing. X5.

5. Apamea monolglypha. Dark Arches. X1. (at treacle)

6. Ourapteryx sambucaria. Swallow-tailed. X1.

7. Melanchra pisi. Broom. X4.

8. Thyatira batis. Peach Blossom.X2. (at treacle)

9. Peribatodes rhomboidaria. Willow Beauty. X1.

10. Protodeltote pygarga. Marbled White Spot.X1.

11. Lycophotia porphyrea. True Lover’s Knot. X2.

12. Macrothylacia rubi. Fox moth (female) X1.

13. Eupithecia nanata. Narrow-winged Pug. X1.

14. Notodonta ziczac. Pebble Prominent. X1.

15. Petrophora chlorosata. Brown Silver-line. X2.

16. Comibaena bajularia. Blotched Emerald.X2.

17. Cybosia mesomella. Four-dotted Footman. X1.

18. Hypomecis roboraria. Great Oak Beauty.X3.

19. Phlogophora meticulosa.Angle Shades.X3.

20. Spilosoma luteum. Buff Ermine.X2.

21. Laothoe populi. Poplar Hawk.X1.

22. Phalera bucephala. Buff-tip.X2.

23. Sphinx ligustri. Privet Hawk. X1.

24. Noctua pronuba. Large Yellow Underwing.X1.

MICROS. 2 species identified.

1. Pandemis cerasana. Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix. X1.

2. Pempelia palumbella. X1.


3 male Glow-worms. presumably Lampyris noctiluca.

And a large number of unidentified Water Boatmen – Notonectidae and Caddisflies – Trichoptera.

Botany Field Meeting

12 June 2014, Boscombe Overcliff

Leader: Ted Pratt

Map reference: OL22 / SZ 107 912 (East Cliff Road car park)

From the car park we walked east

12 members and 1 non-member attended.

17 species were recorded at Boscombe Overcliff as detailed below:


Avena fatua Wild-oat
Dactylis glomerata Cock’s-foot
Agrostis capillaris Common Bent
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog
Anisantha sterilis Barren Brome
Bromus hordeaceus ssp hordeaceus Common Soft-brome
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal-grass
Festuca rubra Red Fescue
Hordeum murinum Wall Barley
Lolium perenne Perennial Rye-grass
Cynosurus cristatus Crested Dog’s-tail
Aira caryophyllea Silver Hair-grass
Vulpia bromoides Squirreltail Fescue
Briza maxima Greater Quaking-grass
Leymus arenarius Lyme-grass
Agrostis stolonifera Creeping Bent
Cynosurus echinatus Rough Dog’s-tail


12 species were recorded at Tuckton riverside as detailed below:

Glyceria maxima Reed Sweet-grass
Deschampsia cespitosa ssp cespitosa Tufted Hair-grass
Alopecurus pratensis Meadow Foxtail
Phleum pratense Timothy
Carex riparia Greater Pond-sedge
Poa annua Annual Meadow-grass
Poa trivialis Rough Meadow-grass
Trisetum flavescens Yellow Oat-grass
Juncus inflexus Hard Rush
Carex hirta Hairy Sedge
Carex otrubae False Fox-sedge
Juncus conglomeratus Compact Rush

Dowloadable PDF

Insect Report 2013


January29th. Some more insects in winter.

A talk by the societies chairman about how many of our local insects spend the winter months, including those that hibernate and others that are very active at this time of year.

February 16th. A simplified introduction to Entomology.

A simple view, of the complex study ,of the many different groups of insects that are in existence.

Looking in some detail at their lives, similarities and differences that make them what they are, a fascinating variety of creatures.

March 5th. Some more Insects at Martin Down.

A second look at some of the huge range of insects that can be found, at what is probably one of the best nature reserves in the country.

April 2nd. A look at some of our beautiful micro moths.

A selection of some of our prettier micro moths, in close up, showing how attractive they can be and what interesting life histories they have.

June 18th. How to rear insects and spiders in captivity.

Mark has reared insects and spiders for about 47 years and this is a talk showing some of the trials, failures and successes he has had throughout this time, keeping these creatures.

June 19th. Entomology study group.

This has now become an annual event during the societies version of the National Insect week, which is a close encounter with whatever livestock Mark has at this time of the year. This year a mixture of Stick insects, a Mantis, several large Spiders and various Lepidoptera.

August 10th. My Life as a Naturalist Part2.

A continuation of the Presidents address given on March 9th. As mark continues his life story as a naturalist from 1982, when he moved south to Dorset, up to the present time.

October 22nd. Interesting Autumnal insects of Dorset.

Another look at some of the insects and their relations that are active from late summer to the start of winter.

From the Holly Blue to the November Moth.


We had a good turn out of 26 people, however season was very late and cold , so very few species of butterfly were seen, Buckthorns were scarcely breaking bud and no sign of Brimstones or there eggs.

We saw enough to keep people happy though and I think everyone enjoyed the day.


Dingy Skipper. -Erynnis tages.

Grizzled Skipper.-Pyrgus malvae.

Small Heath. – Cooenonympha pamphilus.


Garden Tiger young larva. – Arctia caja.

Small Eggar young larvae in cocoon. Eriogaster lanestris.

Scarlet Tiger larvae. Callimorpha dominula.

Small White Wave adult. – Asthena albulata.


Spindle Ermine. – Yponomeuta cagnagella.

Mother of Pearl larva. – Pleuropya ruralis.


Scorpion fly. – Panorpa communis.

Bloody nosed beetle. – Timarcha tenebricosa.

Saint Mark’s Fly. Many. – Bibio marci.

Cardinal beetle. – Pyrochroa coccinea.

Chrysomelid sp. beetle.

14 spot ladybird. – Propylea quattuordecimpunctata.


Common Lizard. – Lacerta vivipara.

Young Slow-worm. – Anguis fragilis.

Adder. – Vipera berus.

Toad tadpoles under cattle grid. – Bufo bufo.

11 Roman Snails. – Helix pomatia.





1. Garden Tiger. – Arctia caja. X1.

2. Common Rustic. – Mesapamea secalis. X9. Many forms/vars.

3. Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing. – Noctua janthe. X2.

4. Silver y.- Autographa gamma. X1.

5. Dun-bar. – Cosmia trapezina. X2.

6. Bright-line Brown-eye. – Lacanobia oleracea. X1.

7. Uncertain. – Hoplodrina alsines. X1.

8. Double-striped Pug.- Gymnoscelis rufifasciata. X2.

9. Shuttle-shaped Dart. – Agrotis puta puta. X1.

10. Riband Wave. – Idaea aversata. X1.

11. Large Yellow Underwing. – Noctua pronuba. X9.

12. Dark Arches. – Apamea monoglypha. X4.

13. Svensson’s Copper Underwing.- Amphipyra berbera svenssoni. X1.

14.Grey / Dark Dagger. – Acronicta psi/tridens. X1.

15. Dark Sword-grass. – Agrotis ipsilon. X1.


16. Carcina quercana. X2.

17. Teleoides vulgella. X2.

18. Emmelina monodactyla. X1.

19. Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix. – Pandemis corylana. X1.

20. Blastobasis adustella. X2.

21. Blastobasis lacticolella. X2.

22. Beautiful Plume. -Amblyptilia acanthadactyla. X1.

23.Bryotropha terrella. X1 .

24. Ypsolopha sylvella.

25. Apple Leaf Miner. – Lyonetia clerkella. X3.

26. Variegated Golden Tortrix. – Archips Cartagena. X1.

27. Agriphila geniculea. X1.

Insects Report 2012


January 10th. Insects in winter. Mark Spencer.

February 21st. New forest insects. Paul Brock.

March 31st. Insects of the Sumatran rainforest. Jonathon McGowan.

April 24th. Spiders and their lives. Simon Moore.

June 26th. Some invertebrates of India. Jonathon McGowan.

June 30th. Some insects at Martin Down. Mark Spencer.

August 4th. Insects and their relationships to food plants and environment. Mark Spencer.

September 18th. Some more exotic insects and their life cycles. Mark Spencer.

October 2nd. Insects in Autumn. Mark Spencer.

November 3rd. The Aurelian Legacy. Dr. Michael Salmon.

December 8th. Butterfly and Moth wing patterns. Professor Philip Howse.


May 17th. Martin Down. Joint with Butterfly Conservation. Leaders Arthur Bryant and Mark Spencer.

Quite a large group arrived and optimistically headed over the open down with winter and rainproof clothing against the biting cold of the summer weather ! We saw a grand total of 4 butterflies – 2 Dingy Skippers ,1 Grizzled Skipper and a Small Heath, were all that could be coaxed into some slight activity. One tiny web of Small Eggar moth larvae were found , as well as a few clusters of Lackey moth caterpillars and a number of Spindle Ermine moth webs. A young tiger moth larva, thought to be a possible Wood Tiger but later proved to be a Garden Tiger larva was found feeding on Gorse at base of Rifle range.. The Buckthorns were nearly all still in tight bud, due to the cold season, so unsurprisingly, despite a long search, no signs were found of any Brimstone butterfly eggs or larvae, which are normally common at this site and time of the year.

On the other side of the A354 in Vernditch Chase we did find a few larvae of the Scarlet Tiger moth saw a few Adelid moths flying with their enormous antennae and more Roman snails than ever before 12 in fact ! a small whitish grey micro was seen and photographed by Steve’s wife, identification was difficult as usual but I’m fairly sure it was Cnephasia conspersana, but I’m open to arguement if we have an expert out

there !We also met a Scorpion fly and a bright red and black froghopper , and a very young Slow worm.

We would normally hope to see about 12 to 15 species of butterfly at this site in mid May, but 2012 was to be one of the worst summers I have yet to experience, as far as the weather and butterflies were concerned !

Species of interest seen ;-


Dingy Skipper. – Erynnis tages (Linn.)

Grizzled Skipper. – Pyrgus malvae. (Linn.)

Small Heath. – Coenympha pamphilus. (Linn.)


Lackey. – Malacosoma neustria. (Linn.)

Spindle Ermine. – Yponomeuta cognatella.

Garden Tiger . – Arctia caja. (Linn.)

Small Eggar. – Eriogaster lanestris. (Linn.)

Scarlet Tiger. – Callimorpha dominula. (Linn.)

Longhorn moth. probably – Adela reaumurella.

Micro moth. – Cnephasia conspersana.


Froghopper. – Cercopsis vulnerata.

Scorpion Fly. – Panopa species.

Slow worm. – Anguis fragilis fragilis.

Adder. – Vipera berus berus.

Roman Snail. – Helix pomatia.

June 29th Dunyeats Hill Broadstone. Leaders Keith Clements and Mark Spencer.

This is Keith’s home territory and he has done long term study of the Reptiles here, he is known at the BNSS for his keen interest in Oology or the study of Bird’s eggs, he is also very knowledgeable on Ants and spiders.

This was, as far as I know, the first field trip for the BNSS on this site, certainly that I had been on and yet again the glorious weather nearly caused the cancellation of this event, as it rained quite heavily for a while in the early morning up to half an hour before the meeting time. Still a group of stalwarts ( 8 in all ) turned up and we had a very interesting and successful field trip.

Our first insects were Shield Bugs feeding and mating on a Dock plant in large numbers. A dying Violet Ground beetle was seen on the path, then I netted a small greenish moth, which has proved a challenge to identify, after numerous alternatives were discussed, including vars. of Small Grass Emerald and even a green form of the Barred Red, but it may just be a worn specimen of the Common Emerald, the puzzle continues ! There are many tins and pieces of roof felt on the site for studies of reptiles we of course checked as many as we could find, amongst all 3 snake species, Common Lizards and Slow-worms we also found several ant species, a Dusky Cockroach and a Pill Millepede. one larva of the Beautiful Yellow Underwing was netted from the undergrowth, along with several Grasshoppers. a few Silver Y moths were seen flying and most spectacular of all, a male Clouded Buff moth, many seeing this species for the first time. A July belle proved difficult to photograph as it insisted on sitting with wings over the back, but a male Common Heath proved to be more helpful. we saw many Wood Ant nests and were shown a slave making ant colony or two. We found a female Velvet ant cow killer !! ( a parasitic wasp in fact ) and a number of brown China-mark moths flying a round a pond with a sizeable population of Sundews present, both broad and narrow leaved forms. A few newly emerged Damselflies were seen and captured for close inspection, all seemed to be Common Blue Damsels. As we returned by a roundabout route we found a bagworm moth cocoon and at the back of peoples gardens found a number of Burnet moth caterpillars and cocoons before returning to our cars. All in all a very interesting and successful field trip despite the weather and the shortage of butterflies !


Small Heath. Coenympha pamphilus. (Linn.)


Common Emerald ( perhaps ?) Hemithea aestivaria ?

Clouded Buff. Diacrisia sannio.

Silver Y. Autographa gamma.

Beautiful Yellow Underwing (larva). Anarta myrtilli.

July belle. Scotopteryx luridata

Common Heath. Ematurga atomaria.

Burnet. ( probably 6-spot) larvae/cocoons. Zygaena filipendulae.

Mother of Pearl. Pleuroptya ruralis.

Brown China-mark. Elophilia nymphaeata.

Bagworm cocoon. Psyche caste.


Dock shield bugs. Coreus marginatus.

Tawny cockroach. Ectobius pallidus.

Heath Grasshopper nymphs. Chorthippus vegans.

Violet ground beetle. .Carabus violaceous.

Velvet ant-cow killer . Myrmilla calva

Black Ant. Formica fusca.

Slave making ant. Formica sanguine.

Wood ant. Formica rufa.

Common Blue Damsel fly. Enallagma cyathigerum.

A Giant Cranefly. Tipula maxima.

A metallic green flower beetle. Oedemera nobilis.

Drone fly. Eristalis tenax.

A hoverfly. Xanthogramma ornatum.

A Tree Crab Spider. Thomisidae species.

A Pill Millipede. Glomeris marginata.


Adder. Vipera berus berus.

Smooth Snake. Coronella austriaca austriaca.

Grass Snake. Natrix natrix natrix.

Common Lizard. Lacerta vivipara.

Slow Worm. Angius fragilis fragilis.

Common Toad. Bufo bufo bufo.

Common Frog. Rana temporaria temporaria.


With considerable reluctance , I must admit, I arrived at about 10.55 a.m. it was raining as I arrived and I gave a hopeless shrug to Jonathon as we surveyed yet another potentially ruined field trip. this time only 5 of us braved the August wet, as we decided whether to go back home or to risk a walk, it rained still more heavily ! We sheltered back into our cars and watched sadly as the rain poured yet again. After a few minutes it stopped and we all decided to march on regardless having come so far and see if any wildlife would show itself.

We were certainly glad we were so optimistic, apparently the wildlife was so desperate to use every bit of sunlight to the full, that we saw an awful lot !

Just out of the car Jonathon spotted a moth, a Scarce Footman, then a couple of Gatekeepers and we hadn’t yet left the car park. We headed for Vernditch first, as this would offer some shelter if (or more likely when ) it rained again ! Meadow Browns followed, then some Cinnabar moth caterpillars on Ragwort, as a Ringlet and a Large White floated by as it kept getting better. Jonathon found a bush cricket killed by an Ectopic fungus stuck to a leaf ( normally common in tropical rainforest conditions !) A few glorious Scarlet Tiger moths took to the wing and we found a spectacular, wasp mimicking ,longhorn beetle. We soon saw the first of many Silver Washed fritillaries and just after sheltering from another shower, a lovely White Admiral..

As we checked the Skipper butterflies for identification purposes, a heavily pregnant Common lizard was discovered sunbathing and even a Purple Hairstreak honoured us with a visit to low herbage, albeit briefly.

In the usual area, the inevitable Roman snail showed up, though not as many as our earlier visit.

An Adder was found and closely studied and photographed, a number of Roesel’s Crickets were identified and even the Dark green Fritillary was still on the wing ! Feeling happy, lucky and positive I couldn’t resist searching the Wild Privet sprigs and soon came up with the first of 3 Privet Hawk moth eggs to be found by myself and Jonathon! We went back to our cars for lunch and then did a quick walk over the downland side where we added the Chalkhill Blue and quite a few more Dark Green Fritillaries, for a very enjoyable and successful day, thank goodness for optimism !


Gatekeeper. Pyronia tithonius. (Linn.)

Meadow Brown. Maniola jurtina. (Linn.)

Ringlet. Aphantopus hyperantus. (Linn.)

Small Heath. Coenympha pamphilus. (Linn.)

Essex Skipper. Thymelicus lineola. ( Ochsenheimer. )

Small Skipper. Thymelicus sylvestris. (Poda.)

Large Skipper. Ochlodes venata. (Bremer and Grey.)

Large White. Pieris brassicae. (Linn.)

Green-veined White. Pieris napi. (Linn.)

Marbled White. Melanargia galathea. (Linn.)

Dark Green Fritillary. Argynnis aglaja. (Linn.)

Silver-washed Fritillary. Argynnis paphia. (Linn.)

White Admiral. Ladoga camilla. (Linn.)

Purple Hairstreak. Quercusia quercus.

Chalk-hill Blue. Lysandra coridon. (Poda.)

Speckled Wood. Pararge aegeria. (Linn.)

MOTHS. 7 Species.

Scarlet Tiger. Callimorpha dominula.(Linn.)

Six-spot Burnet. Zygaena filipendulae.

Five-spot Burnet. Zygaena trifolii.

July Belle. Scotopteryx luridata.

Scarce Footman. Eilema complana.

Cinnabar. larvae. Tyria jacobaea.

Privet Hawk. ovae. Sphinx ligustri.


Longhorn Beetle. (Wasp mimic ) Strangalia maculata.

Roesel’s Bush Cricket. Metrioptera roeselii.

Roman Snail. Helix pomatia.

Adder. Viperus berus berus.

Common Lizard. Lacerta viviparia.

STUDY GROUP. Thursday June 28th..

I held one of my,” meet the livestock “study groups which was attended by only 4 other members ( probably due to some mix up with the date in the programme ?!) a good time was had by all as they met with some exotic caterpillars, stick insects and spiders at close quarters. We also had the rare opportunity to see both the adult moth and a well grown larva of the Puss Moth. Cerura vinula at the same time, due to early and late emergence of this species this year.


The year @ the BNSS Entomologically in general, has been a very busy and interesting one.

Martin and Steve have progressed with photographing the collections of set specimens, so that we have digital records of them, hopefully soon to be available on our website that Ben has been very busy with, amongst his many other tasks ! Thanks in particular to Nick, Ian, Jonathon and some others we are getting much more photographic records of the material we discover and study on our field trips and this will also with luck and hard work soon be accessible on our web pages.

Despite problems with our insurance we still managed to put on a good show of live insects for the public at our open days, for which I also thanks Keith and his grandson Andrew for both their help and assistance on the long sessions and for some extra livestock to show !

I can say that without doubt, that 2012 was the worst year for weather (April to August ) I have ever seen in my lifetime and many butterfly species have suffered because of it, one can only hope that they have survived and will recover in 2013, weather permitting ?!? Amazingly despite the weather one can see from the records that we did have some great finds and as always ,the people, the characters, the experiences, the gains in knowledge, the jokes and tales and the wildlife, made it a great year to remember !


Insect Report 2011


I am pleased to report that quite a lot has been achieved with Entomology at the BNSS during the last 12 months.

Ben Limburn has done an immense amount of work to help preserve the large collections, from the ravages of pests such as the Museum Beetle, by tirelessly rotating them into the Society’s deep freezer. He has also been very busy organising and tidying masses of material in the Society’s attic space, trying to prevent this material from never seeing the light of day.

Thanks also to the massive works by both Steve Limburn and Martin Western who have been cataloguing and photographing our collections, so that they can be digitised and thus be preserved in a different and more accessible form for the future.

I have also been busy digitising the best of some of our insect slides, especially those of the late Margaret Brooks.

Hopefully all, or some of this material will soon become accessible to people on our web site and may encourage more of them to come and see the original specimens.


23rd June, 2011. Joint field trip with Ornithology section to Vernditch and Martin Down. 

(same as report for ornithology but with addition of one Light Emerald moth –Campaea margaritata)

30th July, 2011. Joint field trip with the BBCS to Bourne Bottom. 

Main target species: Grayling butterfly.

A small group of us gathered on the heath at the end of Bloxworth Road after a wet morning it was cool and cloudy it did note bode well for butterflies.

However we soon saw our first Grayling, later seeing many more, most of which were males and very fresh, suggesting that they were recently emerged.

Butterflies seen;-

Gatekeeper  – Pyronia tithonus.

Grayling – Hipparchia semele.

Small Skipper – Thymelicus sylvestris.

Small Copper – Lycaena phlaeas.

Large White – Pieris brassicae.

Small White. – Pieris rapae.

Brimstone.- Gonepteryx rhamni.

Comma – Polygonia c-album.

Speckled Wood – Parage aegeria.

It was a very poor day for dragonflies especially as this is a very good site for them , we only saw a single male Blue Tailed Damselfly – Ishnura elegans and a quick glimpse of what I think was an Emperor Dragonfly – Aeshna affinis as we were leaving.

Another insect of note was a dramatic black and yellow species of Sawfly, as yet unidentified.

10th August, 2011. Joint field trip with BBCS to Martin Down.

Target species Silver Spotted Skipper –Hesperia comma.

A large group of us (20 plus) gathered at the village end of the site to search for what is now a quite scarce and local species of butterfly (and somewhat evasive!) We were treated to a lovely day with high numbers of butterflies (mostly “the Browns”) and a good range of species. Several species of Blues testing our identification skills! Most of us were lucky enough to see the Silver Spotted Skipper, though not until sometime after lunch and only 2 to 3 individuals were seen in total.

20 species of butterflies were seen and a few Six -Spot Burnet moths – Zygaena filipendulae were still on the wing and a single Yellow Tailed moth – Euproctis similes at rest on a Hawthorn leaf .

Butterflies seen ;-

Meadow Brown.- Maniola jurtina.

Gatekeeper.- Pyronia tithonus.

Speckled Wood.- Parage aegeria.

Small Heath.- Coenonympha pamphilus.

Large White.-Pieris brassicae.

Small White –Pieris rapae.

Green Veined White – Pieris napi.

Brimstone.- Gonepteryx rhamni.

Red Admiral.- Vanessa atalanta.

Small Tortoiseshell.- Aglais urticae.

Comma.-Polygonia c-album.

Dark Green Fritillary.- Argynnis aglaja.

Common Blue.– Polyommatus icarus.

Adonis blue.-Lysandra bellargus.

Chalk-hill Blue.-Lysandra coridon.

Holly Blue.-Celastrina argiolus.

Brown Argus.-Aricia agestis.

Small copper.-Lycaena phlaeas.

Small Skipper.-Thymelicus sylvestris.

Silver Spotted Skipper.-Hesperia comma.

Throughout the year we have had a range of talks on British and exotic insects, members had another chance to meet my live insects and spiders on June 22nd and again alongside the public on the Open weekend September 10th and 11th. We had the opportunity to see the catch from a live moth trapping thanks to James Fradgeley. Although a poor night for moths, the few of us who bothered to turn up were given a superb personal tour of James’ garden.

Here’s hoping for an even better 2012.