Events

Special Events at the Grant Arms Hotel

Evening Talk: ALASKA – the wildlife of the Last Frontier by Paul Rogers - 8.30pmEvening Talk: ALASKA – the wildlife of the Last Frontier by Paul Rogers - 8.30pm

This talk will cover visits to Nome in the west in search of the scarce Bristle-thighed Curlew, Musk Oxen and Moose. Barrow is over 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle and the home of Snowy Owls, Phalaropes and other waders. The spectacular Resurrection Bay is the place for Tufted Puffins, Bald Eagles, Killer and Humpback Whales.

20th November 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: CANYONS AND CONDORS – the wildlife of the wild west by Paul RogersEvening Talk: CANYONS AND CONDORS – the wildlife of the wild west by Paul Rogers

In this talk, Paul will take a look at the success in saving the California Condor from extinction amidst the awe inspiring scenery of the Grand Canyon.  Monument Valley, features in many Hollywood Westerns but is also the haunt of many species adapted to a life in the deserts, including lizards, rattlesnakes and Roadrunners.

22nd November 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: It shouldn't happen to a wildlife presenter by Nigel Marven - 8.30pmEvening Talk: It shouldn't happen to a wildlife presenter by Nigel Marven - 8.30pm

Nigel worked at the BBC for well over a decade, producing many primetime wildlife films including Incredible Journeys and Life of Birds. He eventually left to join Granada Television, where he continued to produce cutting-edge wildlife films but also found a new role in front of the camera. Five years later, Nigel is now running his own production company, Image Impact, and making films that are screened all over the world. In this talk he will tell us about some of his "adventures" around the world making some of his well-known programmes.

27th November 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Speyside by John Miles - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Speyside by John Miles - 8.30pm

An illustrated evening talk by author JOHN MILES, one of our regular guest speakers on the wonderful and iconic wildlife and nature of Speyside.

7th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The Nile by John Miles - 8.30pmEvening Talk: The Nile by John Miles - 8.30pm

An illustrated evening talk by author JOHN MILES.  John first went to Egypt in 1979 and lead Nile cruises for the old Swan Hellenic in 1984 and 1994. He then worked in Egypt from 1997/98 and recently lead Nile cruises for Avian Adventures up to 2013. The Nile is a key factor for migration from Africa to Europe/Asia.

9th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Eagle Ecology & Predator Tourism by Ewan Miles - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Eagle Ecology & Predator Tourism by Ewan Miles - 8.30pm

As part of his group holiday of the area, staying here at the Grant Arms, Ewan Miles of Nature Scotland will delight us with this talk on the fascinating life of Eagles in the Hebrides and their soaring value to the rural communities.

11th December 2017

Free and open to all

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SPECIAL CHRISTMAS WILDLIFE QUIZ with GORDON HAMLETT SPECIAL CHRISTMAS WILDLIFE QUIZ with GORDON HAMLETT

As part of our Christmas in Wonderland Programme, our guest speaker Gordon Hamlett will be breaking the ice for guests with a fun and entertaining special Christmas and Wildlife Quiz.  Just for fun, but there is a prize for the winning team……!!

23rd December 2017

Free and open to all

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PAINTING DEMONSTRATION by CHRIS ROSE PAINTING DEMONSTRATION by CHRIS ROSE

As part of our Christmas in Wonderland Programme, we are delighted that internationally acclaimed wildlife artist Chris Rose who specialises in wildlife within the landscape will undertake a painting demonstration in the Osprey Suite after dinner.  His paintings are almost photographic in detail and in this demonstration, Chris will attempt to show you how a painting is built up from start to finish.

24th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Molotovs and Merlins by Gordon Hamlett Evening Talk: Molotovs and Merlins by Gordon Hamlett

As part of our Christmas in Wonderland Programme, Gordon Hamlett, author of the “Best Birdwatching Sites” guide for the Scottish Highlands, will take a light-hearted look at the trials and tribulations of researching and writing a bird watching guide.  

25th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Birding Africa From the Equator to the Cape by Alan Davies:Evening Talk: Birding Africa From the Equator to the Cape by Alan Davies:

As part of our Christmas in Wonderland Programme, Alan Davies of The Biggest Twitch will take you from the jungles of Uganda to the southernmost tip of Africa and even beyond out into the oceans. Birds and mammals abound on this fast-paced adventure. Lots of great stories and packed with photographs.

26th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: North Wales – So Much More Than Sheep! by Ruth Miller Evening Talk: North Wales – So Much More Than Sheep! by Ruth Miller

As part of our Christmas in Wonderland Programme, Ruth Miller of The Biggest Twitch will focus on their home patch, North Wales, which has so much to offer from high mountains down to stunning beaches, so many habitats each with exciting birds to discover! North Wales is just three hours from London but as you will see a world of birds awaits to be enjoyed.  

27th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Jewels in The Gambia by Ashley Grove Evening Talk: Jewels in The Gambia by Ashley Grove

The Gambia is one of the best known and most loved of worldwide Birdwatching destinations. With close to 600 species of birds, most of which are colourful and approachable. I've led Photography tours here since 2011 and consequently have a great collection of images that grows with each new visit. The lecture, like the tour starts at the coast, leading you up the river and back again, discovering in the wonders of The Gambia all the way. With the tour concentrating on the Kingfishers, Bee-eaters & Rollers, these are well covered, but the magnificent supporting cast of multicoloured extras, make this a worthwhile evening’s entertainment

28th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Two Scottish Islands - Handa Island and The Isle Of May by Graham Lenton Evening Talk: Two Scottish Islands - Handa Island and The Isle Of May by Graham Lenton

Handa is a beautiful island off the north-west coast of the Highland area of Scotland boasts up to 150,000 seabirds. Its location seems to have its own weather pattern and the island is uninhabited apart from a seasonal warden and reserve volunteers. It is accessed by a ten-minute ferry from the hamlet of Tarbet and its white sandy shores and clear blue waters make it appear almost tropical. The seabird colonies of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars are easily viewed from the top of the island where sea cliffs of the Torridonian sandstone reach over 300ft (100metres).  Off the east coast of Scotland is the Jewel of the Forth, the Isle of May; an island 300 million years old along with Bass Rock, North Berwick Law and Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat. Here throughout the Spring seabirds arrive and nest to produce a veritable feast for the ornithologist and natural history enthusiast. Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Arctic terns abound.  It's a stopping off site for migrant birds between wintering and breeding grounds too and researchers on the island ring or tag the birds as they wend their way to and fro.

29th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Adventures in Antartica by Nigel Redman - 8.30pm Evening Talk: Adventures in Antartica by Nigel Redman - 8.30pm

Antarctica is sometimes known as the seventh continent, mainly because it’s the last one that most people get to visit. Although firmly on the map as a specialist tourist destination these past two decades, the only realistic way to visit this remote continent is on a cruise ship. Based on his experience as ship’s ornithologist on an expedition ship, Nigel will guide us around South Georgia and the Antarctic peninsula. This Southern Ocean adventure encompasses the fabulous mountain scenery of South Georgia with its many glaciers tumbling straight into the sea, mighty icebergs in the Antarctic peninsula, and a feast of marine mammals and birds, especially penguins.

30th December 2017

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Wonderful Winter Wildlife by Ashley Grove:  Evening Talk: Wonderful Winter Wildlife by Ashley Grove:

Whatever the British winter throws at us, we always have some incredible wildlife around us to help us through to the warmer months. The British Isles plays host to many birds during this season, with huge numbers of wildfowl arriving and wading birds putting on spectacular shows with flocks of thousands filling the skies around the coast. The winter Thrush’s, Waxwings and other visitors add colour to chilly days and we can attract these and other visitors to the garden as the temperatures drop outside. This talk will hopefully give a solution the winter blues and encourage you out and about to explore what special wildlife we have close by.

1st January 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Round the Horn: Africa’s Endemic Hotspot by Nigel Redman - 8.30pm Evening Talk: Round the Horn: Africa’s Endemic Hotspot by Nigel Redman - 8.30pm

The Horn of Africa is an extraordinarily rich area for birds with more than 1000 species of birds recorded and no fewer than 80 species that are endemic or near endemic to the region. The area is dominated by Africa’s most extensive highland plateau which is bisected by the Great Rift Valley, and vast inhospitable deserts that are home to a great diversity of larks and a number of other species that are rarely seen by birders. In this talk, Nigel will guide us around this fascinating area, visiting well-trodden sites in Ethiopia, as well as the much less well known countries of Eritrea, Djibouti and Somaliland.

2nd January 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Black, White, Grey and Gold In Finland by Graham Lenton Evening Talk: Black, White, Grey and Gold In Finland by Graham Lenton

If you wish to see and photograph rare birds, then Finland is the place to go. A winter visit to photograph Golden eagles and owls was amazing. The snow scenery on the Russian border was spectacular and the eagles, some resident and others migratory, were abundant. Hawk and great grey owls were extremely hungry and coming down to feed on the deep snow. At minus 30 degrees Celsius and only five hours of light, restraints were placed on the day to say the least.   A return visit in April proved equally rewarding. It is surprisingly cold in Finland in springtime. You still need at least six layers of clothes to fight the daytime and night temperatures. It is only just above zero during the day and minus eight or ten in the night hides, if you wish to photograph Capercaillie or Black grouse on their leks.  When you travel to the east, to the Russian border, you can be sure to encounter deep snow and heavy snow showers even in May. Finland has a mouth-watering list of birds beyond the grouse and eagles –  Great grey, Ural, Tengmalm’s, Hawk and Short-eared owls are in abundance and hosts of Bramblings, Bullfinches, Crested, Willow and Siberian Tits, Waxwings, Common and Siberian jays and the more common passerines plus Hazel grouse, Osprey hunting, Cranes, Bean and Pink footed geese, Rough-legged buzzards, Hen and Marsh harriers, Smew, Goldeneye, Whooper swans, Slavonian grebe and Black-bellied dipper. Over all ninety species were seen, plus moose, mountain hare, reindeer and red squirrel.  A veritable feast for birders and wildlife enthusiasts. You will enjoy this talk if you like the very cold and hear about some unusual birds and are interested in those that lek.  

3rd January 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Polar Wildlife by James FentonEvening Talk: Polar Wildlife by James Fenton

This illustrated talk is an introduction to the animals and plants of the Arctic and Antarctic, and will explain why the ecology of the two poles is so different.

James Fenton has experience of both the north and the south, having worked as an ecologist for the British Antarctic Survey, led ski-touring trips in the Arctic and lectured extensively on expedition cruise ships. He is author of A Field Guide to Ice and joint author of the book Svalbard: Portrait of an Arctic Summer.

13th January 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Skomer Island – from a Warden’s perspective by Ed Stubbings - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Skomer Island – from a Warden’s perspective by Ed Stubbings - 8.30pm

Skomer Island, off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, is home to the largest colony of Manx Shearwaters on earth as well as vast numbers of other seabirds including Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Storm Petrels. The rich seas around it’s coastline are a Marine Conservation Zone and its plateau holds breeding Curlew and Short-eared Owl. The island’s precipitous cliffs are also home to Peregrines, Buzzards, Ravens and Chough. See Skomer through the seasons as seen by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales Wardens Bee and Ed and learn about its amazing wildlife and history.

18th January 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The Manx Shearwater by Ed Stubbings - 8.30pmEvening Talk: The Manx Shearwater by Ed Stubbings - 8.30pm

The Manx Shearwater is one of the worlds most travelled birds but at the same time if any bird can truly be called a ‘British’ bird it is the Manx Shearwater. Skomer Island, off the coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales, is home to 316,000 pairs of these long-lived birds, protecting around half of the worlds ‘Manxies’. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Oxford University and other organisations have been studying the ecology of these fascinating birds on the island for almost half a century. This talk will summarise the basic history and lifestyle of the species and bring you up to date with some of the latest findings from some world leading research into seabird movements and ecology.

20th January 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Tales of Damsels and Dragons by Richard PeglerEvening Talk: Tales of Damsels and Dragons by Richard Pegler

This talk by wildlife blogger and photographer Richard Pegler describes the lives of Damselflies and Dragonflies, their unusual structure, and how to find, identify and photograph them.

29th January 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Land Of The Snow Leopard -Tracking A Himalayan Legend by Craig JonesEvening Talk: Land Of The Snow Leopard -Tracking A Himalayan Legend by Craig Jones

Trekking in the Indian Himalayas in search of the Snow Leopard. This talk by Wildlife Photographer and Tour Guide Craig Jones will take you on that journey in search of the Grey Ghost. "My incredible expedition took me to one of the most wonderful and impressive places on Earth – “The roof of the world” as it’s known. It had been over fifteen months almost of planning to make sure everything that could be planned went well. Precarious climbs, steep falls, bone chilling cold, wonderful local people and heart-warming sights, just some of the words that come to mind from this incredible trip to the Indian Himalayas searching for the elusive Snow Leopard. I was working with the best team on the ground there, providing me with years of experience and logistical support. My talk and presentation will take you on that same journey from the local people, wildlife and landscapes that all form part of this incredible place on earth that is home to the elusive snow leopard"

1st February 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: China's Wildlife at the Roof of the World by Eric McCabe - 8.30pmEvening Talk: China's Wildlife at the Roof of the World by Eric McCabe - 8.30pm

In this talk, Eric takes us on a trip to China to the little-visited high Tibetan plateau.

Endemic herbivores graze the sparse grass. Both mammalian and bird predators are in surprising number too. Definitely different (but rewarding) and the most physically demanding trip we have undertaken.

5th February 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk:My Diseases and Other Animals by Mike Dilger - 8.30pmEvening Talk:My Diseases and Other Animals by Mike Dilger - 8.30pm

My Diseases and Other Animals is a whistle-stop tour around the world in 50 minutes. This illuminating, fun and yet informative lecture, recounts Mike’s travels over three continents while working as a research biologist in the world’s tropical forests. In addition to spending long periods in the back-of-beyond, which included encounters with both remote tribes and rare wildlife, he also managed to accumulate an impressive array of diseases such as malaria, leishmaniasis & ringworm - earning him the nick-name of ‘Britain’s most diseased man’. However his talk is much more than just about bilharzia and botflies, as Mike also talks passionately about a number of the very real and current problems in conserving some of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots.

12th February 2018

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Evening Talk: Trials & Tribulations of a Natural History Presenter by Mike Dilger - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Trials & Tribulations of a Natural History Presenter by Mike Dilger - 8.30pm

The Trials and Tribulations of a Natural History Presenter is an illuminating and sideways look at what it takes to produce cheap and cheerful wildlife television. Mike spends the first half of the talk answering two questions: how he got into wildlife and how he got into television, before then featuring some clips from The One Show. Along the way, Mike reveals what goes on behind the scenes on location - in a nutshell the talk is everything you wanted to know about TV presenting but were afraid to ask!

13th February 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Otter to Orca an A-Z of a summer of Shetland wildlife by Tim StentonEvening Talk: Otter to Orca an A-Z of a summer of Shetland wildlife by Tim Stenton

A photographer, author, biologist and wildlife guide, Tim has spent the last few summers on the beautiful Shetland Islands. Drawing on his extensive collection of images and videos he will take us on a journey from otter to orca taking in the mammals, birds and plants of the islands.

19th February 2018

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Evening Talk: Creating and filming your own wildlife haven by Kate MacRaeEvening Talk: Creating and filming your own wildlife haven by Kate MacRae

Kate MacRae, also known as ‘WildlifeKate’ has been passionate about wildlife for as long as she can remember. This passion, combined with a love of technology has led her to set up nearly 20 cameras in her garden and over 30 in a private 7-acre site called Yew View, that she manages for wildlife. She has appeared on BBC Springwatch, Autumnwatch, Countryfile and Gardeners’ World, sharing her passion for wildlife with a wider audience. Kate is also the UK Ambassador for Bushnell, working extensively with trail cameras. Kate will be setting a range of cameras up in our locality and sharing her captures and tips with us.  Kate’s talk will show us not only how she has set up her cameras but also show us how easy it is to do ourselves. It will also feature some of the fascinating footage she has captured, including intimate views of badgers inside a sett she created, that was featured in the latest BBC Autumnwatch series.

22nd February 2018

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Evening Talk: My Life with Wildlife by Iolo WilliamsEvening Talk: My Life with Wildlife by Iolo Williams

Join us for this fascinating insight into the life of wildlife presenter, Iolo Williams.  Iolo started working for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1985.  His role as Species Officer for Wales entailed monitoring rare birds such as red kites, black grouse and chough, advising key landowners such as the Forestry Commission and National Trust, and investigating crimes against wild birds. The latter, in particular, brought him to the attention of the media and, threatened by a desk-bound management job in 1998, he left the RSPB to work in television and radio. Since then, he has presented wildlife and open air programmes in English and Welsh on BBC and S4C, including reports for Spring Watch and Autumn Watch.

5th March 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Title TBC by Dr Mark EatonEvening Talk: Title TBC by Dr Mark Eaton

Mark is the Principal Conservation Scientist for the RSPB, responsible for overseeing the RSPB's involvement in the monitoring of birds in the UK and overseas. 

9th April 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Title TBC by Mike DilgerEvening Talk: Title TBC by Mike Dilger

As part of his Celebrity Guided Week, Mike will give us an illustrated and entertaining talk which will be open to all.

11th April 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Title TBC by Dr Mark EatonEvening Talk: Title TBC by Dr Mark Eaton

Mark is the Principal Conservation Scientist for the RSPB, responsible for overseeing the RSPB's involvement in the monitoring of birds in the UK and overseas. 

12th April 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Go Birding by John MilesEvening Talk: Go Birding by John Miles

John has contributed to Bird Watching magazine since 1990 and now has a monthly feature in the 'Go Birding' slot covering much of the North of England and Scotland with even Norfolk appearing from time to time. This covers short articles on where to go birding often as circular walks or drives and has allowed John to wonder at will such as this talk. {may be even some locations close to the hotel!}

19th April 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: My Life with Wildlife by Iolo WilliamsEvening Talk: My Life with Wildlife by Iolo Williams

Join us for this fascinating insight into the life of wildlife presenter, Iolo Williams.  Iolo started working for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1985.  His role as Species Officer for Wales entailed monitoring rare birds such as red kites, black grouse and chough, advising key landowners such as the Forestry Commission and National Trust, and investigating crimes against wild birds. The latter, in particular, brought him to the attention of the media and, threatened by a desk-bound management job in 1998, he left the RSPB to work in television and radio. Since then, he has presented wildlife and open air programmes in English and Welsh on BBC and S4C, including reports for Spring Watch and Autumn Watch.

23rd April 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Scilly Pelagic Magic by Jim Almond - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Scilly Pelagic Magic by Jim Almond - 8.30pm

I'm now officially a 'veteran' of pelagic trips from St Mary's on the Isle of Scilly! With 18 trips under my belt (13 of them during the August seabird passage season) I have plenty of images and stories to tell from my time on MC Sapphire! A heavy sea in a small boat is not to everyone's liking so sit back, relax and enjoy! From the ever-present Gulls, Fulmars and Gannets, the interest notches up a gear with Skuas, Petrels and Shearwaters. It's not just about the birds either with Dolphins and Sunfish on offer plus some of the Blue Sharks landed for tagging studies. Find out how the birds are attracted, the magic of 'chum' (without the smell) and some of my most exhilarating birding moments ever, including an epic encounter with a Fea's Petrel.

25th April 2018

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Evening Talk: Golden Birding Moments by Jim AlmondEvening Talk: Golden Birding Moments by Jim Almond

A compilation from some of my best birding moments and favourite locations which will suit any audience. Starting with a 'golden theme', great winter birds then moving on to locations including Vancouver Island, New England, Scotland and the Farne islands, all featuring new images. Genera features include Falcons, Grebes, Herons, Crossbills, Gulls and Waxwings. A section on photography and the most unpredictable and exciting form of birding - pelagic trips. Finally, Short-eared Owls and Hen Harriers with a haunting musical finale to bring the talk to a close.

26th April 2018

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Evening Talk: Birding with your eyes shut by Ben Darvill - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Birding with your eyes shut by Ben Darvill - 8.30pm

Shut your eyes, open your ears and listen. The spring chorus is one of nature's greatest gifts. Learn how to recognise the different species and you'll be amazed how it transforms your birding. Pick up some tips, then why not join Ben on a walk to practice your skills?

Ben is the BTO’s Development & Engagement Manager (Scotland).  He is a conservationist at heart, but also a field naturalist and scientist.  A keen birder, he also volunteers for the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme and of course for BTO.

30th April 2018

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Evening Talk: All Bustards Great And Small by Alan Davie & Ruth MillerEvening Talk: All Bustards Great And Small by Alan Davie & Ruth Miller

This talk by Alan Davies and Ruth Miller of The Biggest Twitch will be on birding in Exremadura covering their many visits to this bird rich area of Spain including lots of photos.

1st May 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The Raptor-monitoring Season Through the Lens by Ben Darvill - 8.30pmEvening Talk: The Raptor-monitoring Season Through the Lens by Ben Darvill - 8.30pm

Join Ben for a visual feast exploring the lives of commoner birds of prey through the raptor-monitoring season. High quality drone footage, photos and video will provide a unique and intimate insight into the lives of both raptors and raptor-fieldworkers. Find out what is involved, what we can learn, but above all soak up some stunning images from a unique perspective.

Ben is the BTO’s Development & Engagement Manager (Scotland).  He is a conservationist at heart, but also a field naturalist and scientist.  A keen birder, he also volunteers for the Scottish Raptor Monitoring Scheme and of course for BTO.

3rd May 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: On the Trail of the Crane  - A journey through Europe by Ralph ToddEvening Talk: On the Trail of the Crane - A journey through Europe by Ralph Todd

We have now seen 11 of the 15 species of crane worldwide. Our fascination was inspired by the Eurasian Crane, first seen in 1982 at Lac du Der, Northern France.  In this talk we take an in depth look at the Eurasian (common) Crane which breeds in Northern Scandinavia. We follow its migration route from Extremadura, Spain, through Northern France into Sweden where they congregate for their courtship ritual and dances. Finally, into Finland where its success depends on the vast wilderness areas. Also touch we touch on the history and future of Cranes in England and cover the recent re-introduction programme which has seen cranes breeding in Somerset for the first time in over 400 years. We hope to show that by following the fortunes of just one species we can enjoy other wildlife, mainly birds, and some pleasant places to stay on route.

7th May 2018

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Evening Talk: Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud by Mike ReadEvening Talk: Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud by Mike Read

New Zealand is a wonderful place to visit for a wildlife holiday or to photograph the locations and wildlife.  This talk takes the form of a tour that Mike co-led to this island nation.  It visits coastal locations for Albatrosses and other seabirds right through to atmospheric forests of Southern Beech, Kauri and Tree Ferns.  There are glaciers to be seen in the Southern Alps and we visit the lower slopes of Aoraki or Mount Cooke.  Many endemic species have come close to extinction (including Black Stilt which has a population of just 120 in the wild) due to introduced predators.  Many of the rarities will be mentioned during this talk which is given alongside Mike’s stunning images.

9th May 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Natural History of Baja California and Southern California by Ralph ToddEvening Talk: Natural History of Baja California and Southern California by Ralph Todd

A journey around the deserts of Joshua Tree National Monument and Anza Borrego where flowers and birds abound. The Salton Sea in winter holds huge numbers of wildfowl. Baja California, possibly the best whale watching in the world – plus much else besides.

10th May 2018

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Evening Talk: Fair Isle and its Birds by Professor David ParkinEvening Talk: Fair Isle and its Birds by Professor David Parkin

Lying midway between Orkney and Shetland, Fair Isle is one of the most remote inhabited islands in our archipelago, and has been home to one of a network of Bird Observatories since the 1950s.  This lecture will describe the island and its recent history, and will show something of the observatory, its facilities and work recording the birds that live on or migrate through the island.  Its importance for seabirds and the routine monitoring of their populations will be described.  However, to many birders, Fair Isle is synonymous with exotic vagrants, and so some of the regular and not-so-regular birds will be described.

14th May 2018

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Evening Talk: The struggle to save the Spoon-billed Sandpiper by Professor David ParkinEvening Talk: The struggle to save the Spoon-billed Sandpiper by Professor David Parkin

This stunning and charismatic little bird is teetering on the edge of extinction.  Because such a remarkable member of our fauna cannot (nay, must not) be lost to future generations, a multi-national team has been working across its range to identify some of the causes of its catastrophic decline.  Armed with this information, there has been a range of efforts to halt further losses. This lecture will describe the technological developments involved in these researches and show that, although its future is not assured, there is real hope for the future of one of the world’s most extraordinary animals.

17th May 2018

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Evening Talk: Title TBC by Chris RoseEvening Talk: Title TBC by Chris Rose

As part of his ART WEEK with us, internationally renowned Wildlife Artist Chris Rose will give and illustrated evening talk which will be open to everyone.

21st May 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Shetland to Scilly, Birds of the British Isles by Ashley GroveEvening Talk: Shetland to Scilly, Birds of the British Isles by Ashley Grove

This is my most popular lecture and as the title suggests takes the audience on a journey all the way from Shetland, right down to The Isles of Scilly. Basically, a good excuse to show you some of Britain's wonderful bird life.  Over 130 species make an appearance during the lecture, which is rounded off by a montage of more images to music.

23rd May 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Title TBC by Chris RoseEvening Talk: Title TBC by Chris Rose

As part of his ART WEEK with us, internationally renowned Wildlife Artist Chris Rose will give and illustrated evening talk which will be open to everyone.

24th May 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Counting over one million albatross nests: sun, sand, blisters, killer mice, plastic and birds!  by Stephanie WinnardEvening Talk: Counting over one million albatross nests: sun, sand, blisters, killer mice, plastic and birds! by Stephanie Winnard

Midway Atoll, is located (as the name suggests) midway between North America and Asia, and is home to 3 million seabirds. Over 2 million of these are albatross, including the oldest known bird in the world- Wisdom the 65 year old Laysan albatross. Every year a team of volunteers undertakes the mammoth task of counting every nest on the island to monitor the population. Steph Winnard tells us about her recent trip to take part in the count, and details the wonderful animals that call Midway home, as well as discussing the threats posed from the Great Pacific garbage patch, and albatross eating mice.

Stephanie is a conservationist with a particular interest in seabirds and marine biology. She worked for the British Antarctic Survey on South Georgia for 2.5 years at two research stations, monitoring bird and mammal species, in particular four albatross species, gentoo penguins and Antarctic fur seals.  She currently works for the RSPB as project officer for the Albatross Task Force. 

28th May 2018

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Evening Talk: Saving the albatross on the High Seas by Stephanie WinnardEvening Talk: Saving the albatross on the High Seas by Stephanie Winnard

Albatrosses are one of the most endangered families of birds in the world, with 15 of 22 species at risk of extinction. They forage across the oceans, sometimes flying 3000 km for a single meal, often following fishing boats where a free meal is too appealing an opportunity to pass up. Sadly for 100,000 birds a year that meal is their last. Steph Winnard is part of the BirdLife International Marine Programme who work to reduce albatross deaths in fisheries around the world. In this talk she details the advances being made in protecting albatross through tracking their movements around the globe, teaching fishermen methods to avoid killing birds, and monitoring vessels from space.

Stephanie is a conservationist with a particular interest in seabirds and marine biology. She worked for the British Antarctic Survey on South Georgia for 2.5 years at two research stations, monitoring bird and mammal species, in particular four albatross species, gentoo penguins and Antarctic fur seals.  She currently works for the RSPB as project officer for the Albatross Task Force. 

31st May 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Birds of the Seychelles by Dr Graham Lenton - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Birds of the Seychelles by Dr Graham Lenton - 8.30pm

The Seychelles offers a wide range of habitats in which to watch birds. This talk focuses on the rare endemics and how they have been conserved from virtual extinction, in some cases, to sustainable populations (e.g. Seychelles warbler from 26 birds in 1959 to 3000 in 2007). Many of the endemics are numbered in the tens and hundreds and yet are maintaining viable populations in well organised conservation projects on the isolated islands that occur in the Seychelles.

5th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The spirit of Shackleton - South Georgia wildlife by Dr Graham Lenton - 8.30pmEvening Talk: The spirit of Shackleton - South Georgia wildlife by Dr Graham Lenton - 8.30pm

Ernest Shackleton’s attempt to cross Antarctica via the South Pole in 1914 ended in disaster when his ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice.  His crew reached Elephant Island in lifeboats but Shackleton left them there for four months as he set out for South Georgia in order to sound the alarm and hopefully rescue them. This is the story of his exploits and a visit to the remote island of South Georgia where king penguin colonies reach up to 200,000 individuals. Wildlife abounds on this mountainous island, with peaks up to 10,000 feet and old whaling stations rust after 50 years of abandonment. The talk concentrates on a visit by the speaker to South Georgia where colonies of Chinstrap, Macaroni, King and Gentoo penguins were seen, together with nesting wandering albatrosses, petrels, prions, shags, gulls and terns. The old whaling station of Grytviken is visited and part of the final walk by Shackleton over the island to Stromness whaling station was also taken. Finally, an historic and rare landing on Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s 22 men had been left, made a memorable and emotional finish to the trip and talk.

7th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: How to be an Urban Birder by David LindoEvening Talk: How to be an Urban Birder by David Lindo

Have you ever wondered how birding in a city park can be comparable to stalking a remote headland? Ever thought about looking cool whilst birding but weren't sure how? And have you ever strolled down a busy street with binoculars proudly swinging from your neck? Allow David Lindo to walk you through the ins and outs of watching birds in built up areas. It's easier than you think.

8th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Swifts - Fantastic Birds that YOU can help! by Edward Mayer - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Swifts - Fantastic Birds that YOU can help! by Edward Mayer - 8.30pm

Swifts, those spectacular sickle-shaped birds that dash screaming in flocks through our skies above our homes and gardens, are in sad and sudden decline. They nest in eaves and gables, having lost their ancient forest nest places long ago, but re-roofing, insulation and new building designs have driven them out. Insecticides and wetter cooler summers haven't helped them either. But we can! Simple steps taken in our homes and gardens and neighbourhoods can help Swifts survive and thrive. This talk will tell you lots you might not know about Swifts, and most of all, will tell you how you can help them!

11th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Helping combat wildlife crime: the role of Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) by Rob Sheldon - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Helping combat wildlife crime: the role of Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) by Rob Sheldon - 8.30pm

Birders Against Wildlife Crime (BAWC) is an independent, volunteer-led, campaign group set up in 2014 by a group of experienced birders and conservationists who are appalled at the number of crimes being committed against wildlife. Our aim is to fight back, by 1) making the processes of Recognising, Recording, and Reporting wildlife crime as easy as possible (an initiative we term ‘the Three Rs’), 2) putting ‘eyes in the field’ and 3) highlighting how much wildlife crime takes place and what ‘the public’ really think about it. This talk will outline some of the successes and problems over the last few years and suggest how wildlife enthusiasts can help tackle wildlife crime.

13th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Migration at Batumi in Georgia by Rob Sheldon - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Migration at Batumi in Georgia by Rob Sheldon - 8.30pm

The Batumi bottleneck in Georgia is one of the most spectacular raptor migration spots in the world with more than a million birds of prey traversing the area each autumn. Standardised counts have been undertaken for 10 years that highlights the importance of this region for more than 30 different species of raptor. This talk will also look at the wider ornithological interest of this wonderful birdwatching destination. 

16th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Norfolk Through the Lens of a Naturalist by Moss Taylor - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Norfolk Through the Lens of a Naturalist by Moss Taylor - 8.30pm

‘Norfolk Through the Lens of a Naturalist’ is one of Moss Taylor’s most popular talks, being suitable for both keen birdwatchers and those interested in the countryside in general. The talk takes the audience through the changing scenes of the four seasons, visiting familiar parts of Norfolk, such as Broadland and Blakeney Point, as well as heathland and parkland in north Norfolk. During the presentation, he will use his own photographs to illustrate and talk about some of the flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, mammals, and of course, birds that are likely to be encountered. 

18th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The Amazing Journey from Egg to Nestling by Moss Taylor - 8.30pmEvening Talk: The Amazing Journey from Egg to Nestling by Moss Taylor - 8.30pm

‘The Amazing Journey from Egg to Nestling’ is Moss’s latest illustrated talk covering the remarkable changes that occur within an egg from before the time of laying to the escape of the nestling from the confines of its shell-encased first home. Although it is based on the research carried out by Professor Tim Birkhead as described in his delightful and highly readable book The Most Perfect Thing, it also includes observations made by Moss during his more than sixty years of birdwatching.

21st June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The Wildlife and Country of Madagascar by John Young - 8.30pmEvening Talk: The Wildlife and Country of Madagascar by John Young - 8.30pm

 Madagascar is not just a good animated film but a country that has a diversity of some incredible wildlife most of it found nowhere else on Earth. This talk provides an introduction to the amazing wildlife that can be found in the country and covers some of the conservation challenges being faced.  

25th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Quest for the Fosa by John Young - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Quest for the Fosa by John Young - 8.30pm

A second visit to Madagascar to look for the largest of the endemic civet like carnivores, the fosa. Along the way our travels will take us in search of the elusive aye aye and the giant jumping rat.

28th June 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The Philippines: Paradise Lost by Simon Harrap - 8.30pmEvening Talk: The Philippines: Paradise Lost by Simon Harrap - 8.30pm

The Philippines are a biological treasure house. This cluster of more than 7000 islands extends for nearly 2000 kilometres across the warm tropical waters of the Pacific between Taiwan and Borneo. Most of the land area of the Philippines is divided amongst the eleven larger islands, with two-thirds accounted for by the two largest, Luzon and Mindanao. These rugged, mountainous islands have enjoyed a long and complex period of isolation which has resulted in an evolutionary explosion with considerable variation from one island to another. There are almost 4000 species of trees, over 160 species of mammals and over 240 species of reptiles. Nearly 600 species of bird have been recorded, of which around 400 are resident and well over 200 are endemic - they are found nowhere else in the world. Sadly, the marvellous flora and fauna of the Philippines are amongst the most threatened on the planet, threatened by deforestation, hunting and a rapidly increasing human population. During this talk we will explore this rich avifauna, from the impressive Philippine (or ‘Monkey-eating’) Eagle through pheasants, kingfishers, owls, parrots and pittas to beautiful sunbirds and babblers.

2nd July 2018

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Scotland’s Alpine Flowers by Simon Harrap - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Scotland’s Alpine Flowers by Simon Harrap - 8.30pm

Scotland supports a wealth of alpine flowers unmatched anywhere else in the British Isles. Much of Scotland's uplands are unsuitable, however, due to the underlying geology, while the peaks and plateaus that do have suitable soils are mostly still subject to the depredations of innumerable sheep and deer. All this make the quest for Scotland’s alpine a real treasure hunt. The ability to undertake long, uphill walks and a head for heights are essential, but the rewards are great; fascinating and jewel-like plants set in grand, beautiful landscapes. From Ben Lawers north through the Cairngorms to Skye and Assynt, we will discover saxifrages, pearlworts and willows, as well as great rarities, including Diapensia, Alpine Catchfly and Iceland Purslane.

5th July 2018

Free and open to all

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Celebrity Guided Week with Nigel Marven 25th Nov-1st Dec 2017

Join us and Naturalist and Wildlife TV Producer & Presenter NIGEL MARVEN to look for some of Scotland’s iconic wildlife. Includes 6 nights Full Board accommodation, 5 fully guided day trips, a talk and film by Nigel, free wine with dinner and much more.


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