Michael Leach has been a full-time wildlife photographer and author dince 1977 and is now one of Europe's top professionals.
He has travelled extensively in search of subjects visiting some of the wildest and most remote areas on Earth and his photographs have been published in over 600 books, appearing in more than 50 countries, which are regularly used by magazines, newspapers, museums, advertising agencies, conservation trusts and wildlife charities.
His trademark photographs of owls in flight have featured highly in his one-man photographic exhibitions throughout the country. He is a frequent broadcaster and widely published author and has written 23 wildllife books on subjects ranging from owls and big cats to bears and great apes and has also written for a long list of magazines such as Country Life, Observer Magazine, Practical Photography and Geographical.
It's a Funny Way to Make a Living
Michael explains the basics of his art in a revealing, humorous introduction to the realities of professional wildlife filming. This is definitely NOT a technical talk, it explains how to coax animals into the right spot and convince them that no-one is watching. We uncover cunning, underhand tricks-of-the-trade that produce amazing photographs. Be prepared to have some illusions shattered!
The Arctic and Antarctic are often blurred in modern culture, but they are very different environments. Michael’s adventures have taken him to both extremes . This talk reveals the fragile lives of elephant seals, penguins, snowy owls, and reindeer from both ends of the earth. In this time of global warming we discover landscapes now under threat of destruction.
Little was known about the Galapagos Islands when Charles Darwin visited in 1835. But his discoveries there produced ideas that completely changed the way we view ourselves and the world around us. Today these iconic islands are home to some of the world’s most extraordinary wildlife. This is their story.
In The Blink of an Eye
Michael’s photographs capture high-speed action in a way that is beyond the capabilities of human perception. In total all of the images in this talk encompass a time-span of less than 1/500th of a second and they reveal aspects of animals’ lives that are invisible without the use of this highly specialised technology.
The Natural History of Christmas
As we prepare for Christmas do we ever wonder where these customs come from? Here we discover the
natural history of the holly and the ivy, the pre-Christian roots of hanging mistletoe and that turkeys
never did come from Turkey! This illustrated talk reveals why the robin is our favourite Christmas bird
and looks at the origin of the Yule log. Best of all, it reveals just why we think that reindeer can fly.
In Search of the Flower Kissers
Hummingbirds, Aztecs called them rays of the sun and in Brazil they are known as flower kissers. There are more than 300 living species, from the tiny bee hummingbird ( the weight of a paperclip) to the giant Patagonian. Everything about hummers is extreme; their astonishing colours, 1000 beat a minute heart-rate, fearless aggression and, above all, breathtaking flying abilities. They are the only bird that can fly backwards. This talk looks one of the world’s most iconic birds.
Animals Behaving Badly
It’s not only humans that develop bad habits. Meet drunken monkeys, psychotic magpies, light-fingered apes and gluttonous owls. And discover why bad behaviour and intelligence are often very closely connected.
Winter in the Japanese Alps is harsh and numbingly cold. Thick snow blankets the ground for months. Yet this is home to macaques, monkeys that normally live in warmer climates. To thrive at this altitude ‘snow monkeys’ have developed interesting survival techniques. One is unique, they spend the coldest days chin-deep in outdoor hot-tubs. This is their story.
Sacred to the island’s people, lemurs are found in just one place – Madagascar. Once they were the most advanced mammal on Earth. There are around 86 species, some almost unknown to science while others, like the ring-tailed lemur, are amongst the most studied of all animals. Lemurs are clever and inventive, they are also believed by the Malagasay people to embody the souls of their ancestors. This talk explores lemur behaviour and their unique habitat – a habitat threatened by accelerating climate change.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Wolves of myth are murderous and vicious or seductive and cunning - the real animals are very different but equally compelling. Michael takes us into the Great Northern Forest - the realm of the timber wolf. He explores their complex social world, subtle behaviour and powerful family bonds. They are timid, intelligent and kill only to survive. In our shared history the most violent behaviour, by far, comes from humans. This talk unravels murky and misleading legend from fact.
In the Steps of the Ice Bear
Polar bears, the super-predators of the frozen North, may vanish in our lifetime. The ice that supports them, in every sense, is becoming thinner. This talk explores the life of the giant white bears that roam the Arctic wilderness, the seals upon which they depend and their turbulent relationship with humans. We discover the ancestors of the bear, the myths that surround it and consider its specialisation for an uncompromising and fragile environment. “A Fish With Feathers” is how an early explorer described the strange birds discovered in the remote seas around Antarctica. There are 18 penguin species, ranging in size from the metre tall Emperor to the tiny Fairy. They are superbly adapted for marine life. they even drink salt water. Michael has worked with penguins from the Galapagos to the Antarctic mainland. This talk looks at one of the most popular bird groups in the world. It covers identification, myths, breeding,
predators and pure fascination.
Beneath the Dark Canopy
A tropical rainforest is the richest habitat on Earth. on Earth. It contains more than half of all known species of land animals But But what exactly is a rainforest? Using experiences in Indonesia, the Amazon Basin, West the Amazon, West Africa and Central America, Michael explains how a forest works and shows a forest works and shows some of the highly specialised animals that have evolved to live in this fragile and intricate environment.
The Children’s Eternal Forest
Bosque Eterno de los Ninos is vast, one of the largest wildlife reserves in Central America. This cloud forest is home to monkeys, sloths, hummingbirds and species still undiscovered by science. It was saved by children from around the world. They raised funds and contributed pocket money, until there was enough to buy the forest. The children rescued a hugely important habitat and gave it, for ever, to the wildlife it supports. This talk tells the story of the forest and its salvation.
China’s Silver Cat Bears
Giant pandas live in the remote bamboo forests of China’s Sichuan province. Few westerners have the
opportunity to visit them, yet pandas must be amongst the most recognisable animals on Earth. This is the story of the discovery, environment, life and future of this icon of conservation.
In The Midst of Gorillas
Michael tells of his time in the cloud forest with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. There are now only around 800 individuals left on earth. He explains how to get close to these charismatic characters and demonstrates just how to communicate with the gentle, intelligent creatures that we have pushed to the edge of extinction.
The Complete Owl
Based on Michael’s best-selling book of the same name. This talk reveals our resident British owls in folklore and fact; it looks at barn owls and tawny owls,little owls and cat owls and the specialised techniques that help them hunt. It dispels misleading myths and reveals the realities of an owl’s life. The talk is illustrated with dramatic highspeed photographs of flying owls.
Owls of The World
Of the 133 species of owl alive today Michael has encountered 86 - in this talk he looks at many of these and tells of his adventures working with them around the globe for more than 20 years. We meet, amongst others, great horned, snowy, pygmy, great grey and spectacled
owls. And, of course, biggest of all – the deer-stalking eagle owl.
The Secret Life of Elephants
Haunting and iconic, the mysterious elephant is the architect of the bush. We travel to Africa and Asia to discover the private life of the herd and the unique place elephants occupy in human cultures. This talk also explores the remarkable new discoveries about elephant intelligence.
Wild animals are not just part of our natural heritage, they also part of our cultural history. But although many folklore tales are misleading, they can be illuminating and highly entertaining. Find out why badgers were believed to be indestructible, why pigs were convicted of murder and learn the fate of hedgehogs accused of witchcraft. These ancient misguided beliefs still colour some of our views of animals today. Wild animals are not just part of our natural heritage, they also part of our
cultural history. But although many folklore tales are misleading, they can be illuminating and highly
entertaining. Find out why badgers were believed to be indestructible, why pigs were convicted of
murder and learn the fate of hedgehogs accused of witchcraft. These ancient misguided beliefs still
colour some of our views of animals today.