Talks and informal lectures

I can give talks on a range of subjects concerned with butterflies, moths and birds. I am an Emeritus Professor of the University of Manchester, so I'm an experienced lecturer. I have all the background science, but appreciate that audiences require an entertaining as well as informative presentation. I have my own laptop and projector, requiring only a screen or a white wall. The talks are illustrated mostly with pictures shown on this site. See my homepage for e-mail contact to make a booking.

Talks currently available are listed below. They all last for about 45 minutes and I am happy to take questions afterwards.

Why do ants get the blues?

The story of the Large Blue butterfly, covering its life history and the discovery of its interaction with ants, the circumstances of its extinction and an account of its succesful reintroduction. Similarities with and differences from the Silver-studded Blue are also covered.

Butterflies and global warming

Global warming has resulted in a mean temperature rise of approximately 1 degree Centigrade over recent decades. This has had profound effects on the distributions of several species of butterflies in the UK. Some of these have shown expanding populations, but there are hidden dangers.

Butterflies of the North-West UK

An illustrated talk on the prime localities of the North-West to see butterflies. Sites that can be reached on an easy day-trip from Manchester are described, along with specific details and appropriate seasonal timings to see their characterisitc butterflies. This talk can be given to an audience interested in, but not particularly knowledgable about butterflies.

The Brown Argus in Derbyshire

The Brown Argus is one of our smaller butterflies. Its populations in the Derbyshire Dales are unique, in that their genetic make-up is distinct from more southern populations and from Northern Brown Argus; it is almost certainly a hybrid created some time after the last ice age and isolation in the Dales has preserved its unique genetics.

Photographing butterflies and moths

The availablity of digital cameras - not only sophisticated DSLRs, but also compact models - has revolutionised the photography of insects. This talk covers selection of optimal cameras and lenses for butterflies and moths and special approaches for moths captured in light traps and photographed before release. Computer processing of images is also covered.

The birds of East Africa

This is an illustrated excursion through the Kruger National Park, Arusha, the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater. It concentrates on the wonderful birds to be found there, but the odd mammal rears its beautiful head too.