links from Moths and the Media talk

Here are the links to many of the websites referred to in the “Moths and the Media” talk I gave in Newbury on 19 May 2009, for Butterfly Conservation and BBOWT, and again for Moths Count at the South Wales Moth Recorders’ Gathering, September 2009.

Many of the links, including most of the ‘serious’ mothing identification sites and online resources for moth recorders, have already been listed in my previous post on this subject and aren’t repeated here. The ones that are new:

Additional mothing sites

Online mapping and grid references

  • Where’s the path – OS maps and Google aerial photos side-by-side (this site has recently moved URL)
  • Grab a grid reference – excellent innovation from Keith Balmer for Bedfordshire Natural History Society, displays grid reference squares at various resolutions over Google maps and aerials (works throughout UK)

Moth-related blogs (a small and fairly random selection from among many)

Moth miscellany

funding for work experience with invertebrates and mammals

The People’s Trust for Endangered Species is awarding funding for students/recent graduates who wish to gain experience by taking up an internship with conservation or research organisations – details available here.

For work with invertebrates, two internships are available this year, deadline for applications is 15 June 2009. Mammal internships have been allocated for 2009 but will be available again in 2010 (I see that there are seven mammal internships available, which is a bit unbalanced given the relative number of species to choose from, but far be it from me to criticise funding for worthwhile causes!).

(I’m indebted to the Amateur Entomologists’ Society for information on these awards, via the AES Twitter feed.)

Award for David Lonsdale

I’m delighted to hear that David Lonsdale has been awarded this year’s Marsh Award for Insect Conservation. Many years ago I volunteered as Conservation Officer for the Amateur Entomologists’ Society, under David’s guidance, and have fond memories of his friendly supervision, his expert and detailed knowledge, and his untiring dedication to the cause of conserving invertebrates. Strong memories also of his beady eye for any deviations from good English and scientific accuracy!

David is still active within the AES, editing their Invertebrate Conservation News among other activities, and also supports the Ancient Tree Forum and Buglife, among others. He (along with Reg Fry) was instrumental in getting the first book published on insect conservation in the UK, the AES’s “Habitat Conservation for Invertebrates – A Neglected Green Issue” (1991).

This award for David is thoroughly well-deserved, congratulations, and long may his inspiring work continue.

moths and … contemporary music

In a former life I spent ten years as a professional musician (trombonist and composer), specialising in the further outreaches of contemporary classical music. The kind of stuff that gets dismissed as “squeeky-gate”. It’s what I’ve enjoyed listening to since I was a teenager.

My ‘favourite composer’ all this time has been Harrison Birtwistle, who writes music that is joyously, gratuitously dissonant and beautiful. As well as performing his music whenever I got the chance, I was a full-on fan, collecting his printed music and getting him to sign it for me.

There is definitely an elemental feel to his music, some of which is explicitly based around the idea of landscapes (Silbury Air being a prime example), and it has always felt in keeping with my love for the natural world. But I didn’t realise until I read it in last Saturday’s Guardian that I share another interest with Birtwistle, namely a fascination with moths. Apparently, Birtwistle has collected moths since he was 13:

Moths are magical – you can never see them until you trap them. I have an idea to write a requiem for all the species of moth that are extinct, using their Latin names.

From almost anyone else that would sound an unpromising idea for a piece of music, but I bet Birtwistle could make something of it. Can’t wait to find out what.

[Photograph of Silbury Hill by Greg O’Beirne]