Insect Festival 2015

The Museum Gardens in York was teeming with even more insects than usual last Sunday as it hosted the biennial Royal Entomological Society Insect Festival.

Insect Festival 2015 (Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

Insect Festival 2015 (Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

Unusual additions included the butterfly above and the fly below, aka the very talented (and just a tad barmy) author of SWAT!, Mike Barfield (with whom I went to the Hay Festival last year):

Mike Barfield, author of SWAT! (Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

Mike Barfield, author of SWAT! (Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

Mike and I were on hand at the Brambleby Books stall …

With Mike Barfield at the Brambleby Books stall

With Mike Barfield at the Brambleby Books stall

… to entertain visitors and sign copies of our respective minibeast-themed books. (Mine being, of course, Buzzing!) Here I am in action:

It was great to see young and old alike at the Festival lapping up the huge variety of exhibits and minibeast-themed activities on offer.

Introducing visitors to my Buzzing! book. (Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

Introducing visitors to my Buzzing! book. (Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

Hats off to the man who swore blind he did NOT like poetry, but allowed me 2 minutes of his time to change his mind. He left, a good 5 minutes later, laughing and with a signed copy of my Buzzing! poetry book in his hands.

Children perusing copies of my Buzzing! book at the Brambleby Books stall.  (Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

Children perusing copies of my Buzzing! book at the Brambleby Books stall.
(Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

This was the fourth time the Insect Festival has been held at the Museum Gardens in York – and the fourth time I’ve been there. (Find out what I got up to at the 2013 and 2009 Festivals.) According to the RES it was the most successful Festival yet, with more people attending than ever before. Let’s hope it will return to York again in two years’ time.

(Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

(Photo copyright: The Royal Entomological Society)

I took the opportunity, whilst I was there, to go along to the Buglife stall and sign up to become a Tansy Beetle Champion. If you live in and around York, would you like to become one too? You can find out more here.

Thank you to Nicola and Hugh Loxdale of Brambleby Books for all they did to make our stall run so well. And to all the other contributors and everyone at the RES and beyond who made the day such a success.

Nicola Loxdale, Director of my publishers Brambleby Books.

Nicola Loxdale, Director of my publishers Brambleby Books.

Anneliese Emmans Dean theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

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More big garden thrills

This time last week it was a Hummingbird hawkmoth and young robins that were providing big thrills in our small garden on the outskirts of York.

This week it’s a Hairy shieldbug (Dylocoris baccarum):

Hairy Shield 2SM

A Hairy shieldbug on one of our poppies, 15 June 2015. Dig those colours!

and a recently fledged blue tit harrying its parent for food:

Blue tits - 16.6.15 - SMppm

Blue tits on our aquilegia, 16 June 2015

There’ll be more about these blue tits in my next book, Flying High, which is the bird sequel to Buzzing! But you’ll have to wait till next year to read that …

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for big garden thrills where you are!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

 

Berberis sawfly larvae 2013

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve not seen any 2-spot ladybirds where I live (in York) this year, or any Painted lady butterflies. And I was beginning to think I wouldn’t be seeing any Berberis sawfly larvae this year either. However, on 14 July I finally noticed a little tell-tale nibbling on my Berberis bush. And on closer examination, turning over a leaf or two, I found your friend and mine, a very young Berberis sawfly larva.

Berberis sawfly larvae, York,  July 2013. Photo by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Berberis sawfly larva, York, July 2013. Photo by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Now, I say your friend and mine, but it may well be that you don’t consider him your friend at all. Not if he’s munching vast swathes of your Berberis bush. We’re lucky here as we only have small quantities of the larvae, so they don’t cause very much damage. Which means I can enjoy their company and admire their beauty!

True, they’re not fabulously beautiful early on, but a week later they’d grown considerably and were a lot more colourful, as you can just about glimpse below (but which you can see much better here).

Berberis sawfly larva, York, 21 July 2013

Berberis sawfly larva, York, 21 July 2013

This is the 8th year in a row that I’ve spotted Berberis sawfly larvae in my garden. If you want my whole Berberis sawfly larvae saga (including the sending of a sample to the Natural History Museum in London for their collection), then make yourself a cup of cocoa, sit back, click here and scroll through the archive of posts!

If you want to skip straight to my video of them laying their eggs,click here.

And if you’d like a Berberis sawfly larvae poem, then why not try my Buzzing! book, which is shortlisted for this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize!

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

All the fun of the Insect Festival!

Well, my Insect Festival 2013 began on Saturday morning at the Radio York studios where I was reviewing the papers and also assisting Festival organiser Luke Tilley tell listeners about the insect joys in store. Luke chose to do this by bringing in crickets for us all to sample. I say ‘us  all’. In fact, I chickened out. Or rather, cricketted out. But here are BBC presenter Julia Booth and her production assistant Jack gallantly tucking in to grilled (or were they baked?)  crickets in a cajun sauce:

BBC Radio York presenter Julia Booth with assistant Jack eating crickets in cajun sauce!

BBC Radio York presenter Julia Booth with assistant Jack eating crickets in cajun sauce!

The Insect Festival itself was the next day, a blistering hot Sunday, in the Museum Gardens in York. And it was teeming with people of all ages.

I was signing copies of my Buzzing! book on the Brambleby Books stand …

Signing copies of my Buzzing! book at the Brambleby Books stand at the Insect Festival, York, 7 July  2013

Signing copies of my Buzzing! book at the Brambleby Books stand at the Insect Festival, York, 7 July 2013 (Photo by Christina Surdhar)

… and had the pleasure of meeting all sorts of interesting people:

At the other end of the Brambleby Books stand was the very talented Mike Barfield, signing copies of his wonderful book SWAT! How he survived the heat dressed in his fly outfit is beyond me …

Mike Barfield, author of SWAT! at the Insect Festival 2013

Mike Barfield, author of SWAT! at the Insect Festival 2013

Not only did children enjoy being swatted by him, they were also fascinated by the fly-themed origami creations he was handing out:

Decoding Mike Barfield's SWAT! origami handouts at the 2013 Insect Festival

Decoding Mike Barfield’s SWAT! origami handouts at the 2013 Insect Festival

Hats off to Luke Tilley and the Royal Entomological Society for such an enjoyable and educational Insect Festival. Here’s to the next one, in 2015!

Hugh Loxdale, Luke Tilley, Mike Barfield and my publisher Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books enjoying the Insect Festival 2013

Former RES President Hugh Loxdale, Festival Organiser Luke Tilley, author Mike Barfield and our publisher Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books enjoying the Insect Festival 2013

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

Insect Festival comes to York!

Come along to the action-packed jamboree that is the Insect Festival, being held this Sunday 7 July at the Museum Gardens in York. There’s masses to see and do. Take a look at the programme here.

Festival Organiser Luke Tilley and I will be talking about the Festival on Radio York at around 8.30am this  Saturday, so tune in then to find out more!

At the Festival itself I’ll be signing copies of my Buzzing! book – at the Brambleby Books stand (no. 10, on the ground floor). Hope to see you there!

Insect Festival 2013 Poster_web

Buzzing! Book Signing at the Insect Festival

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life

Buzzing! – ‘A triumphal stride’

Well now, another review of my Buzzing! book has come to my attention. It was published in the Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists’ Society (AES) last autumn, and describes Buzzing! as ‘an excellent insect poetry book’, providing a ‘triumphal stride’ towards encouraging all children to become entomologists!

Take a look at the review, by AES Honorary Secretary Dafydd Lewis, below, or download the review as a pdf by clicking on the following link: AES Buzzing! review

Buzzing! review in Bulletin of the AES

Review of Buzzing! in the Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists’ Society

The AES have invited me to perform poems from my Buzzing! book at an event they are holding at the Natural History Museum in London on 25 May.  I look forward to meeting some keen young entomologists there!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to have a read of Buzzing! yourself, you can buy copies here.

www.theBigBuzz.biz – Anneliese Emmans Dean – Bringing poetry to life

Berberis sawfly larvae 2012

They’re back! For the seventh year in a row, I have Berberis sawfly larvae nibbling at my Berberis bush – as you can see here.

Berberis sawfly larva on my Berberis bush, York, 14 July 2012

Berberis sawfly larva on my Berberis bush, York, 14 July 2012

For the full Berberis sawfly larvae saga, click here and scroll through the posts.

Or, to begin at the beginning,  click here.

Anneliese Emmans Deanwww.theBigBuzz.biz