Friday, 19 April 2013

My First Pinning

Both Laura and I are new to the project this year, so we're both in need of being brought up to speed on the way things work!

To help us we went out on a training excursion to an allotment site in Shirehampton for a full dry run of the methodology towards the end of last week.  We didn't have high hopes of seeing many flowers or pollinators when we left as the forecast predicted rain, and it didn't disappoint! We pulled up into the allotment car park under a grey and drizzly sky; and, after a lunch full of procrastination (did you know the difference between currants, raisins and sultanas? Well, we do now!), we got out and started our practice survey in the rain.  After about 30 minutes of surveying James Ewing, an undergraduate media studies student from the University of Cumbria, arrived and brought the sunshine with him. He is now our official good luck charm and is welcome to join us anytime! Within seconds the insects were out and about, giving us something to catch and James something to film*.

James takes some photographs of the insects we caught.
Before long the heavens decided to open again, but we had what we needed and headed back to the University with our unexpected bounty.  This gave me the opportunity to have my first go at pinning insects, and Laura the chance to brush up on her skills.  After being introduced to the various types of pins, including the micro pins (Laura told me some 'interesting' stories about these!), I pinned my first two specimens.  Here are the results:

My first attempt at pinning! The hoverfly is slightly wonky, but otherwise rather good if I do say so myself.
There is definitely a knack to it and a steady hand helps (I lost track of how many micro pins shot out from my tweezers), but practice makes perfect and by the end of the six months I’m sure I will be an expert!

*James is currently working on his final year dissertation and is creating a short film about urban wildlife in Bristol.  Watch the blog in the coming weeks for more information about this.

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