Thursday, 31 March 2011

The MP for moths

No mothing last night because I was on the 8.03pm from King's Cross back home and I was dog-tired when I crept back in. Age... But I was in London for an interesting purpose, interviewing Madeleine Moon, the 'MP for moths', for a Radio 4 programme about our little flying friends which goes out at 11am on Friday 6th May. I'll tell you more later cos the day's duties beckon, but MM is a totally excellent promoter of the study of moths. She has hosted five Moth and Bat nights in Parliament where Butterfly Conservation regularly run a trap (thanks to them for the picture here), and raises the subject of moths at many opportunities. Tony Blair was startled on one occasion when she told the chamber about the Blair's Wainscot (one of an unmatched three moths named after a Dr Blair who trapped very knowledgeably in the 1940s on the Isle of Wight, an obvious landing point for species new to the UK). I don't know if the former PM ever wore a waistcoat and wondered briefly if she was commenting on this.

She is also intrigued by Large Yellow Underwings' counter-measures against bats' sonar (a misleading burst of chirrupy sounds) which may be useful one day in her work as a member of the Commons select committee on defence. More soon, though I must just add that her interest in the natural world is wide-ranging. Her husband is a noted ecologist and when she was Mayor of Bridgend, her constituency in south Wales, they were raising an abandoned blackbird chick which became so dependent on them that they had to take it to civic receptions.


Bennyboymothman said...

Great to see some more publicity for moths! well done. I look forward to hearing it on the 6th May, i've put it in my diary! although at 11am i'll probably be driving for work!

Martin said...

I hope it doesn't affect your concentration, Ben. But at least there's the 'listen-again' thing these days. It'd being fun to make - trapping in North Yorks in three weeks' time.

All v best