Candidate Profile

Provided by

Ecology & Conservation
Wildlife & Nature
As an ornithologist and research ecologist Peter has travelled widely and is a regular and highly successful cruise ship lecturer.

Peter’s interest in the environment and ornithology in particular was encouraged during his schooldays at Sedbergh. Whilst still at school he was part of one of the first expeditions to visit South-East Iceland to study the breeding distribution of the Great Skua. Subsequently he was to organise and lead his own expeditions to the Shetland and Faeroe Islands and was awarded a grant whilst an undergraduate at Cambridge University to extend his studies to Arctic Scandinavia. Such was his skill and expertise that he received his licence and has been ringing birds for well over fifty years. He went on to teach, working in England (Marlborough, Shrewsbury and St John’s School, Leatherhead) and Scotland at The Edinburgh Academy culminating with his final appointment as Headmaster of Lancaster Royal Grammar School where he spent eighteen very happy and successful years.

Peter is currently researching the environmental impact of changing patterns of agriculture of the birds of the Western Dales, working in conjunction with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Environment Agency. He is now in great demand to speak to enthusiasts from the RSPB, Scottish Ornithologists Club and regional Wildlife Trusts.

In common with many teenagers Peter was faced with choices and although he finally decided to follow a science route into teaching his other love is music and playing the cello. He has pursued this from his schooldays playing now with a number of orchestras in North West England.

In recent years Peter has enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with passengers on a range of cruises vising places as far flung as Polynesia, the Amazon, Central America, New England, the Atlantic Islands, Iceland, , Greenland, the White Sea, Baltic and Mediterranean, SE Asia, East Africa and the Indian Ocean. His talks which include top quality illustration and sound and video clips are both entertaining and informative. When not lecturing Peter welcomes the opportunity to enhance passengers’ experiences of the wildlife around them out on deck, with on-board commentaries and on tour from the ship.

Feedback has been consistently good: this recent comment from Swan Hellenic's Minerva is typical.
"Peter Mawby is excellent. He has enthralled people who didn't know they were interested in birds".
* indicates titles also suitable for general audiences

1. A rough guide to bird watching*:
This lecture provides an introduction for bird watchers. There are tips on how to recognise some of our common birds and advice about where to go and what to watch out for.

2. Wildlife on our doorsteps*:
Our gardens are a haven for wildlife. This talk celebrates the enjoyment they provide.

3. My space? Your space*?:
A “des.res.” is not just a human aspiration! In this talk I describe my own studies of territory in birds and consider the significance of living spaces to those involved in the conservation of endangered species.

4. The dipper: a favourite bird at risk?*
In recent years, the UK's breeding population of the dipper, a characteristic bird of fast-flowing streams and rivers, has declined steadily. This talk reviews the unique way of life of this charismatic bird, presents the results of a long-term study of the species and concludes with suggestions as to the possible causes for its decline.

5. Flight to extinction*:
In the last 500 years almost 200 kinds of birds have become extinct and the rate of extinction seems to be increasing. In this talk we shall visit Madagascar (elephant birds), Mauritius (the dodo), Iceland (the great auk) and North America (the passenger pigeon). Research and conservation might have saved these extraordinary birds as I will demonstrate from my own studies of a familiar and much-loved bird in a state of decline, the dipper.

6. A guide to wildlife hitch-hikers*:
The wildlife of islands is often unusual, sometimes unique. How does it originate and could ships, including cruise ships, play a part?

7. A feathered river across the sky*:
Recent research techniques are revolutionising our ability to follow the movements of birds and animals as they perform their annual migrations. This talk outlines the current state of our knowledge.

1.Tom's acre*:
In Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" Tom Bombadil spent all his life researching and protecting his "acre" of woodland. Is this the future for nature conservation?

2.The island. Our island*:
The unique wildlife of Madagascar is under threat. In this lecture I tell of the experiences of a group of Malagasy children as they visit their countryside for the first time.

3. Noah's Island:
Madagascar hosts one of the world's most unusual, endemic, diverse and threatened concentrations of wildlife. How can we explain this unique example of biological diversity?

4. Born Free?:
The book and film "Born Free" shaped the emotional response of a generation to the plight of Africa's 'big five'. What is the reality today?

5. Cape to Cape:
A celebration of the wealth of seabirds and animals to be found in the contrasting environments of the North Cape and the Cape of Good Hope.

1. Flight to extinction:
The Indian Ocean islands have the distinction of hosting the highest proportion of endemic bird species per unit area anywhere in the world but also the worst record of extinctions. Why?

2. Land below the wind:
The island of Borneo, the land below the wind, is home to a unique variety of wildlife. One of the first white women to venture into this natural paradise was Agnes Keith and in this talk we travel with her into the land of the head-hunters.

3. A letter to Mr Darwin*:
Alfred Wallace described himself as “a young man in a hurry”. In this talk I follow his footsteps as he observed and collected wildlife in the Amazon, Borneo and the Moluccan Islands, where he wrote two letters which revolutionised our understanding of the origin of species.

1. A mighty river:
The world’s rainforests are home to over two-thirds of all living animal and plant species. In this lecture we take a journey down the greatest river in the world, the Amazon, looking at some of the inhabitants and examining the complex inter-relationships which bring them together

2. Man and nature*:
We are all too aware that Man must bear ultimate responsibility for the welfare of wildlife on Planet Earth. In this talk I consider two of our most threatened regions, the Arctic and the Amazonian rainforest, and compare the problems faced by wildlife there and the efforts being undertaken to conserve their unique biodiversity

3. In the footsteps of Charles Darwin:
Darwin’s own diary records in great detail his journey on the Beagle which was to provide the inspiration for “The Origin of Species”. Using carefully selected extracts and illustrations, I piece together the vital elements which ultimately led to his realisation that living things evolve.

4. The Kon-Tiki expedition and wildlife of the Pacific Ocean:
65 years ago the Norwegian zoologist Thor Heyerdahl and five compatriots set off from Peru on a balsawood raft. 100 days later their remarkable voyage ended on an uninhabited Polynesian island. This talk looks at the wildlife of the Eastern Pacific through the eyes of Thor Heyerdahl. corner of paradise.

5. A corner of paradise*:
The story of the creation of Costa Rica's nature reserves and protected areas which today occupy a quarter of the country's land area.

6. "El Nino" and the wildlife of the Ecuadorian islands:
El Nino 2015-2016 was described as a "Godzilla" event. What impact did it have on the wildlife of the islands of the Eastern Pacific islands?

1 “I know an Island...”*:
In this lecture I draw upon my personal experience of some of the most remote islands of the North Atlantic. What is the relationship between people and wildlife and can both survive symbiotically?

2. Understanding bird migration:
The amazing feats of navigation and endurance which birds perform on their annual migration are the subject of this lecture. I describe some of the most recent research techniques, including the use of geo-locators, which are gradually revealing the remarkable details of these extraordinary journeys.

3. Life on the Ocean Wave*:
Ocean currents play a vital role in the lives of wildlife and Man. In the North Atlantic we benefit from the largest and most powerful of them all, the Gulf Stream, which profoundly influences the flora and fauna of Northern Europe.

4. Beyond the Arctic Circle:
The polar regions are among the most sensitive and endangered places in the world. Their unique wildlife is featured in this lecture.

5. Iceland: A place for dreams and nightmares:
The wildlife of Iceland is no more than a few thousand years old. Visitors to the island must expect the unexpected and be prepared for surprises!

6. The quest for Qalupalik*:
For thousands of years the High Arctic has been home to the Inuit people. In this talk I consider their relationship with the wildlife of these inhospitable northern regions.

7. A wildlife saga: Sibelius, the Kalevala and swans*:
The call of the swan is a "natural anthem" of the Baltic States-beloved of the composer Jean Sibelius and an integral part of the myths and legends of the Kalevala and all who visit these wild shores.

1. Mediterranean wetlands at risk:
Sir Peter Scott’s wildfowl centre at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire paved the way for the rescue of wetlands worldwide, including the Carmargue, one of the premier wetland habitats in Europe.

2. Living with birds of prey*:
The Mediterranean region is the home of falconry. At close quarters there are few bird species with the character and cunning of raptors. In this talk I draw upon my own intimate experiences of living with birds of prey.

3. Linnaeus: a proud legacy or an unholy mess?:
The Swedish scientist Carl von Linne devised the binomial naming system which is used to this day to describe all living and extinct species. In an age of genetic profiling does his system have a future?
10 years service on a wide range of cruise ships including P&O, Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery, Voyages to Antiquity, Fred Olsen, Saga and Viking. Experience extends throughout the world with excellent feed-back scores and comments from every cruise.

The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Viking Sun SU191024 World Cruise 2019 - 2020 Sector 5 25 San Juan Thursday, October 24, 2019
Viking Jupiter JU190630 Into the Midnight Sun 14 Greenwich, London Sunday, June 30, 2019
Viking Jupiter JU190616 Into the Midnight Sun 14 Bergen Sunday, June 16, 2019
Viking Star ST180922 In the Wake of the Vikings 14 Bergen Saturday, September 22, 2018
Viking Sea SE180612 Into the Midnight Sun 14 Bergen Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Viking Sun SU180505 British Isles Explorer 14 Greenwich, London Saturday, May 5, 2018
Viking Sea SE170709 Into the Midnight Sun 14 Greenwich, London Sunday, July 9, 2017
Viking Sky SK170304 Romantic Mediterranean 7 Barcelona Saturday, March 4, 2017
Viking Sky SK170225 Mediterranean Getaway 7 Civitavecchia (for Rome) Saturday, February 25, 2017
Balmoral L1615 The Wonders of Spitsbergen 14 Newcastle Saturday, July 9, 2016
Voyager VGR160328 Contrasts of Latin America 13 Guayaquil Monday, March 28, 2016
Braemar M1526 Venice & The Beauty Of The Adriatic 28 Dover Saturday, September 12, 2015