If you like what you see here, why not book me to give an illustrated talk? All talks are digital presentations and suitable for a variety of organisations: RSPB groups Bird or natural History groups extending to Photographic clubs. Each presentation is concluded with an audio/visual finale, a very popular feature! I am currently working on some new titles which will be released in 2012. The list below features the currently available talks on the theme of birds, nature and where relevant, photography:
Life on Venus
A look at the varied forms of wildlife which may be found at Venus pool during the year. The talk concentrates on the key birds and also includes insects. Most of the dragonflies and damselflies seen here during the Summer are featured with tips on identification plus a few butterflies. Wild flowers include the amazing Green-winged Orchids now established in the meadow.The birds are the key players however and some of the amazing action provided by Kingfisher, Little Egret and the local Herons is captured. A seasonal approach shows the changing habitat and main periods of interest at various areas on the reserve. Warblers and Hirundines, passage Terns and a host of Waders passing through, all get a mention. The breeding birds are not forgotten and one or two local rarities are featured here too!
A Century at Venus Pool
Now revamped, this is not a History talk but a collection of my favourite images taken at the reserve. My VP list is now over 150 species and the 'Century'; refers to the 100+ species photographed as decent portraits or action shots and included in the talk. Also featured are some of the most unforgettable moments I've witnessed! The regular birds such as Tree Sparrow, Green Woodpecker breeding Little-ringed Plover don't get overlooked. Tips on where/when to see special birds feature throughout. Rarities such as Bittern, Garganey, Temminck's Stint and Avocet are seen together with passage waders including Whimbrel, Greenshank, Ruff and Pectoral Sandpiper. You will see Osprey fishing and quite a few other birds catching fish too!
Shropshire's Magnificent Peregrines
The Peregrine falcon is surely one of the most charismatic of birds. A supreme flier and aerial predator, the species is truly a local success story and now well established in good numbers within the County. This talk looks at the habitats chosen by Peregrines (including Shropshire's unique tree nesting pair!!) and progress through a typical breeding season. It features an insight into the secret life of this magnificent bird with images taken under schedule 1 license showing the development of young birds and the behaviour of the parents during this time. Finally, some dramatic shots of the first few flights after fledging. An overview of all the other British Raptors likely to be seen in the County plus tips on recognition complete the presentation.
A Shropshire Birders year
I keep a County yearlist every year and aim to see at least 160 species (with as many as possible photographed!) Find out how many differenet species were seen during a record breaking year of 2008! This talk is based around the highlights of the past few years including quite a few rarities (eg the Black necked Grebe pictured here), and some new records for the County! It takes you around many of the main birdwatching areas, the best times to go and what you might find there. From Gull watching and wildfowl in the Winter, to reserves and 'hotspots' in the North and South of the County, the talk is organised by the seasons and features the changing panorama of the countryside. Shropshire is certainly not one of the best Counties for migrants and rarities but be prepared for a few surprises.
Out and About in 2008 - A Special Year
2008 was a phenomenal year for me featuring opportunistic travels to all parts of the UK, record breaking numbers of local birds, rarities and one or two twitches. The excitement is condensed into a single presentation, the ups and downs, some exhilarating bird watching moments and an attempt to see 250 species in a year without really trying (much). From Desert Wheatear on Jan 1st to Hawfinch down within 20 metres at the end of December, this talk will pack in some high mileage! There will lots of familiar birds to see plus the excitement of a twitch or two including a certain White-crowned Sparrow on the day news broke! Rare Gulls including Ring-billed, Ross's and an inland Sabines Gull (pictured right) plus the Steppe-grey Shrike and Two-barred Crossbill 'double'. An obliging Red-footed Falcon and Semipalmated Sandpiper plus many more great birds! The end of 2008 was also special for a Waxwing invasion - what a nice way to end the year!
A look at the wildlife to be found at several key reserves and sites within the County of Shropshire. Birds are the main subjects with key butterflies and dragonflies plus a scattering of other interesting guests and a flower or two! A roller coaster ride, starting in the North of the County with Whixall Moss, Wood Lane, the Meres and Prees Heath. We then visit the South Shropshire Hills and in particular, the Longmynd, Catherton Common and Titterstone Clee. Chelmarsh and the Wrekin bring us back to central Shropshire before having a good look at the wildlife found at Venus Pool. The County holds singificant rare insects such as the Silver studded Blue butterfly and Keeled Skimmer Dragonfly, you will find out where and when to look. The bird life too is very diverse, discover where to see Red Kite, Dipper, Ring Ouzel, Wood Warbler, Waders and...... far too many others to mention here!
North Norfolk here I come
A premier location featuring some of the UK's most well known birding sites. A seasonal look at the main reserves, the birds you are likely to see and some of the highlights of my visits to the area. The best known reserves such as Cley Marshes and Titchwell reveal their secrets but there are many other areas worth visiting! Holkham Pines, Kelling Heath, Salthouse plus other areas at the the right time of year hold some quality birds! You can expext to see the Norfolk 'regulars': Wintering Pink footed and Brent Geese, Bearded Tit, Marsh Harrier plus an amazing tally of waders with portraits of Sanderling, Spotted Redshank etc with tips on identification. A few of the less commonly seen passage waders such as Curlew Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper are featured and amazing moments with raptors such as Short-eared Owl and Hobby....Expect plenty of quality birds!!
Birding through a lens
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 (fieldctraft etc). The use of the camera to create artistic images - making the most of the conditions (eg 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!
Nature in focus
Covering a wide variety of wildlife found in the UK, this talk covers birds insects, mammals, a charismatic spider, plus a plant or two. Whilst it was originally designed with photography clubs in mind and does cover some technical matters (equipment and technique etc), it will appeal to a broad range of audiences. Places visited include the Farne Islands, Gigrin farm, Scotland and the Dee Estuary. A wide variety of wildlife images from these locations plus many more are used to illustatrate what makes a picture 'tick'. Enjoy Waxwings, Kingfishers and Peregrines plus a host of Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies. Some highlights from a twitch or two will undoubtedly keep the birders happy but there is something for everyone here!
A Winter weekend in Vancouver
Well, a bit longer than that actually! This talk covers the events of a trip to the Vancouver area and Vancouver island in Feb/Mar 2008. Whilst this is the wrong time of year for seeing migrants, it was a golden opportunity to see resident birds and plenty of wildfowl. Coastal birds featured include Black Turnstone and Black Oystercatcher with Harlequin Duck, inland birds such as Ringed-neck Duck, Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser. Common raptors seen include Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagle. The amazing Anna's Hummingbird (pictured right) overwinters here and other specialities featured are American Dipper, Northern Flicker and Pileated Woodpecker. I was on a lecture tour and these are the moments I managed to spend birding in this fantastic west coast area of Canada!
Close to the edge with wild Peregrines
A follow up talk on this most charismatic bird of prey and is recommended after first enjoying 'Shropshire's Magnificent Peregrines'. Using images (taken under schedule 1 licence) the focus is on the 2010 - 2013 breeding seasons capturing the development of chicks from day 1 to fledging. Three families of Peregrines in particular are followed through the trials and tribulations of the breeding season, there are some intimate and exciting moments. It features a look at ringing activities and how this will hopefully tell us more about their movements following fledging.
Another year birding in Shropshire
Following up on the popularity of 'A Shropshire Birder's Year' this is another look at birds and birding within the County of Shropshire. The same seasonal approach but with a different range of birds commonly found including yet more rarities and excitement! Geese and Winter wildfowl start the year off before Spring arrivals and another breeding season. More local rarities including Dotterel and Wryneck plus an engaging pair of Blue-headed Wagtails. Terns featured strongly in 2010 and seven species will be on show including the infamous Venus Pool Whiskered Tern. A spectacular finale will feature the December Waxwing invasion! Birding in Shropshire can be hard work but it can certainly produce some really good birds!
Many birds fall into the 'is it or isn't it' category and this talk looks at a good number of birds which can be easily misidentified or 'mixed up' with similar species. Using images to note the key identification criteria, in theory at least, it should be possible to correctly identify those problem birds, with some - even from a distance. Black or Bar-tailed Godwits, Spotted or Common Redshank, Whimbrel or Curlew, Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff, Arctic or Common Tern, Common/Spotted/Green/Wood Sandpipers, Common or Jack Snipe etc. A few Gulls featured may help to dispel their mystery? There will be a few more problem birds and many more identity problems to solve....
Springtime in New England
For most of May 2012, I was on a tour of New England. This talk looks at the whole trip from getting the camera gear safely through customs, the odd mishap... to the birds and other highlights of the three states visited! Over 130 species of birds were seen including a good number of Warblers, Herons and most of these were photographed. Nature reserves, forests, the coast and gardens were the main habitats visited. Some of the native plants and creatures will also be featured. It was a truly memorable trip at absolutely the best time of year.....
Out and about in 2009 - A Brilliant Birding Year
The second in my 'out and about' series concentrating on my birding trips and adventures during 2009, covering 1,000's of miles in the UK. The year started off with some amazing Waxwings and great Gulls before repeated trips to Devon provided an expensive Penduline Tit (find out why) amongst a whole host of local specialties like Cirl Bunting. A late May trip to Scottish Highlands turned up most of the key local birds. After a few 'Summer specials'. Autumn kicked off with a local Purple Heron plus a Cornish Baird's Sandpiper. There will be lots more fantastic birds (not just rarities!) and great locations featured in between all of these - selected from the highlights of the year.....
A Guide to Gulls!
An attempt to break down barriers and have fun watching these fascinating birds! The problem is, Gulls have unsavoury habits and can be tricky to identify! They also tend to polarise opinion - you either love them or hate them! Their reputation isn't helped by the fact that there can be up to four 'ages' to some species - plus a seasonal variation within each year to confuse the beginner! They can be challenging but enjoyable if a logical approach is used when trying to identify them. This talk looks at the species most commonly encountered in the UK - breeding species and several vagrants. It features some popular inland sites in the West Midlands plus a pictorial guide to each species with tips on identification.
Butterflies, Dragons and Damsels of Shropshire
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
Jim's BIG year
The story of 2014 which saw me travel the length and breadth of the UK to seek out rarities and breeding birds. There's too may species to list here but be assured the best of the images obtained will be featured - from common residents to amazing rarities. It was a true roller coaster of a year and many of the highs and lows are featured. My target was 300 species - find out if I made it and enjoy the 1,000's of miles travelled from the comfort of your chair!
Golden Birding Moments
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.
Scilly Pelagic Magic
I'm now officically 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.
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