Events

Special Events at the Grant Arms Hotel

Evening Talk: Wildlife & Landscapes of the Falkland Islands by James Fenton - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Wildlife & Landscapes of the Falkland Islands by James Fenton - 8.30pm

The Falkland Islands, a remote archipelago in the South Atlantic, are home to abundant wildlife. They host five species of penguin, including the largest population of gentoos in the world, and huge colonies of black-browed albatross. Additionally, numerous sea birds surround their shores. Although similar in appearance to the moorland of Britain, the flora is in fact totally different, with unique habitats such as the two-metre high stands of tussac grass and domes of Astelia peat. A striking feature of the landscape is the extensive stone runs, which have all the appearanc of glaciers of rock.

This talk will give an overview of the animals, plants, landscape and land use of this very special Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. James Fenton has visited the islands several times, including spending two years as CEO of the wildlife charity Falklands Conservation.

 

17th January 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The Tale of Mr Little Owl by Gary Jones - 8.30pmEvening Talk: The Tale of Mr Little Owl by Gary Jones - 8.30pm

Wildlife Photographer and tour guide, Gary Jones will give a talk tonight as part of his group’s photography trip here.  This talk will look at a year in the life of a Male Little Owl that lives on a farm close by to where he lives in North East Wales.

21st January 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Tiger Tiger by Craig Jones - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Tiger Tiger by Craig Jones - 8.30pm

Ten years ago, I saw my first wild Tiger my first words where "Tiger Tiger" sitting in a small jeep on a dusty dirt track in India. A decade on and my heart still misses a beat when I see these amazing big cats in the wild. This talk covers my work during that time, the ups, downs and conservation work I’ve seen to save these amazing big cats. Many Tigers have been poached and gone missing also in that time. My presentation will bring nature’s most beautiful creature to those attending and I look forward to sharing the many years of experience I have in this part of India.

31st January 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Scilly Sojourns by Richard Pegler - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Scilly Sojourns by Richard Pegler - 8.30pm

In the British Isles, you can’t get much further from Speyside than the Isles of Scilly. The Scillies are renowned for the diversity of birds to be seen at migration time, but they are still a wonderful destination outside of these periods. Richard has been visiting the islands for the past five years and has come to love them almost as much as Speyside! His well-illustrated talk, whilst concentrating mainly on birds, will show some of many other delights of the islands.

13th February 2019

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 fifty 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.

18th February 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Why Feather Trumps Fur by Mike Dilger - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Why Feather Trumps Fur by Mike Dilger - 8.30pm

Why are there so many more birdwatchers out there than mammal spotters? In this irreverent lecture Mike reveals why birds, as a group, are always at the top of his ‘must see’ list, while mammals languish down the bottom with slugs and snails. Showcasing some of his best One Show wildlife films to prove his point, Mike’s mission is to make you all as obsessive about birds as him!

21st February 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Life Before the Lens by Iolo Williams - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Life Before the Lens by Iolo Williams - 8.30pm

Iolo Williams tells us about his early life as an RSPB Species Officer. He describes some of the great characters he met during his 15 years working for the charity and some of the operations that didn’t go quite as planned! Birds, great stories and plenty of laughter.

11th March 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: An Evening of Wildlife Photography by Nigel Spencer - 8.30pmEvening Talk: An Evening of Wildlife Photography by Nigel Spencer - 8.30pm

This popular talk is designed to showcase all sorts of different Species and habitats from some of the many places where Nigel has been fortunate enough to visit.  The show is a story of some of these visits, some for a couple of days to specific species such as Kingfishers and some longer-term projects such as photographing all the species of British Butterflies. From the South it includes Penguins through to Polar Bears in the North, and many more species besides.

18th March 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Winter Wildlife by Nigel Spencer - 8.30pmEvening Talk: Winter Wildlife by Nigel Spencer - 8.30pm

Different types of wildlife photography create challenges, and photography in the winter can be quite a challenge!  There are many things the photographer has to deal with from short days, through to keeping warm.  Other issues can be coping with the snow in terms of focusing, and high exposure compensation which causes a lower shutter speed.  But this is all part of the challenge, and I find that winter wildlife photography can be very rewarding.

21st March 2019

Free and open to all

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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. Featuring some clips from The One Show, Mike reveals what often goes on behind the scenes on location and spills the beans on everything you wanted to know about TV presenting but were afraid to ask…

25th March 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Wildlife of the Welsh Coast by Iolo Williams 8.30pmEvening Talk: Wildlife of the Welsh Coast by Iolo Williams 8.30pm

Iolo takes us through some of the iconic wildlife of the Welsh coast, from waders to adders and dolphins to gannets. Surprisingly, we’ll hear how most of the species are flourishing in Wales but the threats of climate change and pollution are ever present.

8th April 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Forests as old as time: Birds and wildlife of Malaysia by Graham LentonEvening Talk: Forests as old as time: Birds and wildlife of Malaysia by Graham Lenton

Peninsula Malaysia has some of the oldest rainforests in the world. This talk focusses on visiting the most remote and interesting national parks in this tropical country.  Taman Negara the most famous of parks in the Peninsula feasts on exotic species while Royal Belum State Park in the north boasts all ten species of hornbill plus a host of other species. On the east coast tropical beaches and islands are the habitats of leatherback turtles and coral reefs, while a swamp area in the centre of the country is home to indigenous fishermen, the Orang asli.  The talk finishes with past and recent research on the colonisation of Barn owls on the peninsula and how the owls are currently being used as rat controllers in oil palm plantations.

29th April 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: All the K's: The birds of New Zealand by Graham LentonEvening Talk: All the K's: The birds of New Zealand by Graham Lenton

Kiwis, kakas, keas, kakopos and kokakos all live in this haven for wildlife, not forgetting Kereru, Kaki, Kuaka, Kahu, Karearea, Karora and Kotare.  This talk visits the beautiful islands of New Zealand and their natural wildlife sanctuaries, including photos of the gannet colonies of Kidnappers Point on North Island. Kapiti Island, a small nature reserve off the coast north-west near Wellington, has many endemic birds including stitchbird, takahe, kaka, kokako and saddleback. A pelagic trip off Kaikoura reveals five species of albatross together with other petrels and sea birds and later, further south, the Northern Royal albatross nesting colony and Yellow eyed- penguins at Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula.  The southern-most Stewart Island, where rare endemics are still tame and approachable, is also discussed, and how can I forget the wonderful and rare kakapo and the iconic kiwi, plus the wild west coast with its Southern Alps and spectacular glaciers and where wekas, keas and spotted cormorants are found.

2nd May 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Birds in Ancient Egypt by John WyattEvening Talk: Birds in Ancient Egypt by John Wyatt

John Wyatt was co-author with Dominic Couzens, one of our previous speakers, and publisher of the original Teach Yourself Bird Sounds cassette series. He is now the World’s only full-time Ornitho-Egyptologist and for the last 15 years has been researching the birds of Ancient Egypt from the art, sculptures, literature, bone remains, mummies and hieroglyphs of 2,500 –6,000 years ago. This colourful and fascinating talk looks at the intricate detective work behind the discovery of, to date, some 248 species, at the species themselves, and also, in simple terms, at the associated findings of the effects of the massive climate and habitat changes of that time on species distributions and migrations.  There are many lessons to be learned for the present from that ancient past.

4th May 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: India: Birds, Tigers & the Taj Mahal by Chris HallEvening Talk: India: Birds, Tigers & the Taj Mahal by Chris Hall

This talk includes birds, mammals and other wildlife, along with the local people and cultural sites, during two wildlife tours to India, visiting Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in the north, and Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the south.

8th May 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Birding through a Lens by Jim AlmondEvening Talk: Birding through a Lens by Jim Almond

Apart from my trusty pair of binoculars and scope, I always carry my camera with me on my birding travels throughout the UK. This talk takes a look at what's involved in bird photography, numerous localities and of course, plenty of interesting birds! Bird groups should not be put off by the title as the bulk of the talk deals with good birds, using these as a foil to describe some of the principles behind successful photography (fieldcraft etc). The use of the camera to create artistic images - making the most of the conditions (e.g. low light and rain) Sections on garden birds, landscapes and habitats add to the overall appeal plus of course birds in flight and in unusual poses! Using my quest for better and better images as a theme, the talk will also feature some of my most memorable birding moments - a visual birding extravaganza!

20th May 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: France: North and South by Mike ReadEvening Talk: France: North and South by Mike Read

This talk begins with a journey around parts of the Brittany and Normandy coastline.  We visit freshwater marshes, intertidal bays and coastal cliffs in search of the various kinds of wildlife that can be seen in Northern France.  This is followed by a visit to one of Europe's best-known river deltas, the Camargue at the mouth of the mighty Rhone.  These wetlands are famous for their white horses, black bulls and showy pink Greater Flamingos.  Needless to say, there are many more species that we encounter in these internationally important wetlands and there are other important habitats nearby.  This includes la Crau where Short-toed Eagles, Little Bustards and Stone Curlews can be found.  Finally, we head across to the French Pyrenees where Golden Eagles and Griffon Vultures soar over magnificent peaks.  Beautiful 'Alpine' meadows are full of wonderful and colourful wild flowers while higher, grassy areas are home to Isards and Alpine Marmots.  Magnificent!

22nd May 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Butterflies, Dragons and Damsels of Shropshire by Jim AlmondEvening Talk: Butterflies, Dragons and Damsels of Shropshire by Jim Almond

Visitors to my blog or Shropshire Odonata pages cannot fail to be aware that for two or three months of the Summer, I spend a lot of time chasing insects! Concentrating on Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies, this talk is a colourful presentation of the best moments watching these amazing insects within Shropshire. The emphasis is on their lifestyle, flight periods and the habitats they are found in (including gardens) plus tips on identification. The importance of fieldcraft and the best approach to watching them, with tips on photography is covered. The talk is geared for a 'general' audience with an interest in nature and will feature in excess of 60 species (not bad for Shropshire!) The talk ends as usual with a new audio-visual finale.

23rd May 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Lammergeiers of the Spanish Pyrenees by Ashley GroveEvening Talk: Lammergeiers of the Spanish Pyrenees by Ashley Grove

Lammergeier's, otherwise known as the Bearded Vulture, have to be on most bird watchers list of must see in your lifetime birds and this lecture doesn't disappoint in showing just why that is.  This species fills a unique niche in the food chain, and is without doubt a truly fascinating bird, with its 9ft wing span, stunning plumage and almost dragon like features, it's no wonder they are such an attraction to us all.  The talk explains about their life history, where they can be found and shows the other species that share its world, including Golden Eagle, Griffon and Monk Vulture along with various smaller birds.  The lecture also has some movie footage of Lammergeier and Golden Eagle and includes some highlights of a second Spanish site ideal for watching Golden Eagle and Vultures.

3rd June 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: A Beginners Guide to Birdwatching by Ashley GroveEvening Talk: A Beginners Guide to Birdwatching by Ashley Grove

One for those who want to brush up on their common bird song and identification skills, or just want to learn more about their garden and local birds. The talk starts with some tips on the right equipment needed to get started and how to encourage birds and other wildlife into your garden, what food attracts which birds etc.  Some of our commoner birds can look very similar when you are just getting started, so the differences are explained and you even get to listen to their different songs to help the identification process.  By the end of the lecture you'll know your Song Thrushes from your Mistle Thrushes, your Chiffchaffs from your Willow Warblers and be better equipped to identify your garden visitors.

6th June 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Policing Wildlife Crime in Scotland: how legislation has become much more workable and where it still falls short by Alan StewartEvening Talk: Policing Wildlife Crime in Scotland: how legislation has become much more workable and where it still falls short by Alan Stewart

In this talk, Alan, who is an ex wildlife crime Officer for Tayside Police and the National Wildlife Crime Unit, will explain the difficulties that police officers had in trying to enforce wildlife legislation prior to 2004, how it was totally unfit for purpose, how police wildlife crime officers and others were able to influence change, and where improvements are still required.  

17th June 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: How to spend £300,000 in Argentina by Mike DilgerEvening Talk: How to spend £300,000 in Argentina by Mike Dilger

At Birdfair 2018, the Great British public raised over £300,000 to support the creation of Argentina’s newest national park - Mar Chiquita in the Province of Cordoba. This reserve is the largest inland salt sea in South America and plays host in the winter to all three species of South American Flamingo, in addition to hundreds of other species. Mike Dilger travelled out there in 2019 to find out where all your money went!

1st July 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: The Long Spring: Tracking the arrival of spring through Europe by Laurence RoseEvening Talk: The Long Spring: Tracking the arrival of spring through Europe by Laurence Rose

During the spring of 2016 Laurence carried out a series of journeys that took him from the tip of North Africa, across the Mediterranean, through Spain, France, the UK, Sweden, Finland and Norway.  This talk explores the diversity of our home continent, its special places, stunning wildlife, and their place in the cultural life of Europe.  He also reflects on his own 35-year career in European conservation, and where we go next.

16th September 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk:Sea eagle, crane and corncrake: Three Scottish totemsEvening Talk:Sea eagle, crane and corncrake: Three Scottish totems

Laurence’s next book takes a dozen species and through a series of essays paints vivid word portraits.  Each essay takes a single species with a powerful conservation story to tell, and many have extraordinary back stories.  Together they tell of a complex cultural relationship between people and wildlife in Britain.  The white-tailed or sea eagle was the inspiration for the book - during 5,000 years of interaction with people it has come to epitomise that complexity.  Laurence’s fieldwork and literature research then uncovered a wealth of stories that needed to be told, and the corncrake and the crane are two more Scottish examples.

19th September 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: 21st Century Obs - Bird Observatories in the Modern Era by Mark PearsonEvening Talk: 21st Century Obs - Bird Observatories in the Modern Era by Mark Pearson

What is a bird observatory, what do they do, and how important are they in the 21st century? Mark explores the subject with some contrasting examples from home and abroad, and shines a light on the incredible work happening around the world.....

 

11th November 2019

Free and open to all

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Evening Talk: Filey Bay & Bempton Cliffs - Seabird Nirvana by Mark PearsonEvening Talk: Filey Bay & Bempton Cliffs - Seabird Nirvana by Mark Pearson

Yorkshire's most iconic and breath-taking panorama also just happens to the best bay for birds on the entire east coast. Home not only to a glittering cast of breeding seabirds (Gannets & Puffins included), but also to a mouth-watering roll-call of passage and wintering goodies, including skuas, divers, shearwaters, sea-ducks, waders and more. Join Mark for a special version of his acclaimed Birdfair talk through four seasons in one bay!

14th November 2019

Free and open to all

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VALENTINES BREAK Mon 11th - Fri 15th February 2019

Celebrate Valentines by treating your loved one to a wildlife filled break and a romantic dinner.  Includes a progranmme of walks and trips with local wildlife guides and our Guest Speaker.  From £356pp DB&B for 4 nights


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All special events, suggested itineraries and programmes are subject to availability and liable to change without notice.