Join like-minded people with an interest in field recording for a day identifying and surveying for ants in an informal environment at Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve. This is an urban wet woodland nature reserve surrounded by intersecting railway lines and managed by London Wildlife Trust. Naturalists of all levels (from beginner to expert) will be able to share their experiences with peers and help one another improve knowledge and build confidence in biological recording.

With the guidance of our ant expert, we will use a variety of techniques to collect ant specimens, which will be preserved on the day for identification at subsequent Volunteer ID Days. These specimens will help us to build up a species list for the site, before becoming part of a teaching collection used for our other courses and volunteer days.

Sampling ants will involve hand collecting and the use of a pooter, as well as sorting leaf litter and baiting. We will also set a small series of ‘wet’ pitfall traps to collect any surface-roaming ants.

There will also be opportunities to collect other invertebrate groups depending on the interests of attendees.

All records collected will be added to iRecord in order to share our findings with the site managers, Local Environmental Record Centre and relevant national recording schemes and societies.

What will the day involve?

  • Practical experience using a variety of methods to survey and sample ants (guidance will be provided)
  • Practical experience in collecting and preserving specimens
  • A chance to meet fellow like-minded people from a range of different disciplines
  • Access to field equipment with support and guidance from a member of the FSC BioLinks project team

It’s free to join in, however, you must be at least 18 years old and study space is limited so booking is essential.

You’ll have access to tea and coffee making facilities but please bring your own cup, lunch, and any other refreshments you may require!

Please note that this event will involve individuals collecting, preserving and killing invertebrate specimens for identification purposes in order to assist us in generating a site species list.

Tutor: Mike Fox

Mike Fox is the ant record manager for the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS). He has studied ants for many years and is a national expert in identifying the 60 odd different British species of ants. He verifies ant records for the online naturalists' recording website iRecord. He writes regularly for the BWARS newsletter and has been published in the peer reviewed BENHS journal.

Covid Measures

In order to keep our customers and staff safe we ask that anyone attending our centres:

  • wears a face covering when in shared indoor space (unless exempt).
  • maintains social distancing.
  • cleans their hands regularly.
  • takes a Covid-19 test before they arrive.

Example Timetable

  • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00 am.
  • Refreshments will be available from 9.45 am.
  • The Field Recorder Day will end at 4:00 pm.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Practical experience using a variety of methods to survey ants (guidance will be provided)
  • Practical experience in collecting and preserving specimens
  • A chance to meet fellow like-minded people from a range of different disciplines
  • Access to field equipment with support and guidance from a member of the FSC BioLinks project team

Bursaries and Subsidies

FSC BioLinks

FSC BioLinks is an exciting project for FSC in the South East and West Midlands, bringing together existing volunteers with skills in biological recording and identification, and new volunteers.

This project provides subsidised training courses, learning opportunities and digital tools focussed on invertebrate identification for anyone involved or interested in biological recording, to build and strengthen the community.

Invertebrates provide us with many useful ecosystem services, like pollination and decomposition, which we cannot survive without but their numbers are declining. Few people know how to identify or record invertebrates meaning there is a lack of data.

We are delighted to have been awarded a grant of £1.23 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this project.

Before You Attend

Getting to Gunnersbury Triangle

Bollo Lane, Chiswick, W4 5LN

By Rail: The entrance is across the road from Chiswick Park Station (District line).

By Bus: Bus number 440 also stops by the entrance, while services 27, 237, 267, 391 and H91 stop on nearby Chiswick High Road.

By Car: There is neighbouring street parking available.

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch
  • Suitable clothing for the weather and appropriate footwear for walking. Please note that this is a wet woodland reserve.
  • Any personal field equipment you have such as a hand lens and pooter (equipment will be provided for those that need it).
  • Your own cup for teas and coffees

Please note that this event will involve individuals collecting, preserving and killing invertebrate specimens for identification purposes in order to assist us in generating a site species list.

This BioLinks course has aspects that will be taught outdoors with walking to field sites over uneven ground. No special preparation is required providing you are used to gentle exercise. If you have any concerns or questions about access or the activities involved, please get in touch.

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical requirements please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

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