|Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) Gedling June 1973, Stenus bimaculatus Shelford December 2012|
Here we are in 2013 and a milestone awaits, I hopefully make 50. That means that I have been collecting and studying insects for exactly 40 years. How do I know, well a data label sits on a tatty Meadow Brown "Gedling, Notts, June 1973" My first insect collected when I was 9 years old, and I've still got it. I can remember an afternoon out with my Dad over on the Gedling Colliery spoil heap (we call 'em slag heaps here in Notts), there were hundreds of Browns around in those days and my dad took a couple of Browns and protected them by folding a slither of paper into a triangle. Once home I tried to pin them out on a sheet of balsa using one of my mums dress making pins. What a mess. However, the tatty specimen illustrated started me on a lifelong hobby. I no longer take butterflies but rather take photographs of them. However I still insect hunt now 40 years later. The picture of the Staphylinid beetle Stenus guttala found in flood refuse by the River Trent marks 40 years worth of collecting.