The Isabella Plantation, an ornamental woodland garden set within Richmond Park, packed full of exotic trees and colourful shrubs from the other side of the world, isn't the first place you might expect to find me looking for moths.
It's significance to me is more one of sentiment. In times long past, Richmond Park was always the top location choice for a family picnic, and all the youngsters would usually end up in the Isabella Plantation; feeding oversized chunks of bread to Mandarins, rolling around in mud or playing cowboys and indians among the Rhododendron bushes - we were 19 years old.
My Dad and I returned to the Plantation for a stroll last Wednesday, whilst having a brief catch-up in London. Being back there for the first time in many years felt unusual, not least because I now carried a butterfly net in hand, and judged every woodland glade based on their entomological value. Alas, I haven't really grown (or matured!) much since then, but the Rhododendron bushes certainly looked a lot less like potential armed fortresses than they would have done to 10 year old me.
In terms of moths, every other birch sapling held the leaf mines of Eriocrania semipurpurella, and I managed to tap Pammene splendidulana off a big veteran oak - a tortrix I have little previous experience with that took a bit of head scratching before finally coming to a correct identification.