Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Rutland Bird Fair 2015

Already two thirds of the way through August and that can only mean one thing......Bird Fair :) I was hoping to blog after each day while in the hotel but was just too exhausted from the walking and talking so apologies for this being another long blog with all 3 days included.

  Friday morning we arrived at around 8.30am excited and ready to wander around the many stands in 10 different marquees.One of the first things we do each year is head over to the optics marquee to first cry over the Swarovski Optics, then have our annual chat with Jonathan Scott.Always a great guy to talk to.
  Jonathan doing his lecture the next day.

On the way back through the marquees we came across Simon King talking about his nuts ;)
He was showing the different ways Hazelnuts are eaten by various mammals like Squirrels, Voles & Mice.

 The first lecture we watched was David Lindo(The Urban Birder) talking about his new book.

  This was followed by legend Bill Oddie talking about anything as he didn't realise he had a talk to do lol I then bought his new book and asked him to sign it for us.

One of the main lectures I wanted to see was by Mark Carwardine on his love for Whales and all Ceteceans.Afterwards he was kind enough to sign one of his books for my nephew who is very interested in Marine Life.

  Another quick wander round the marquees and we had a fantastic talk with Caroline from BirdLife Malta with whom we joined last year.We talked a few times over the 3 days about the illegal hunting on Malta and the amazing work the people over there are doing.I ended up wearing their t-shirt and giving out cards for people to fill in and send to their MEP to get the EU to act against the Maltese Government to save our birds.

  This was followed by another serious lecture in the Events Marquee in association with League Against Cruel Sports with Bill Oddie, Ceri Levy and Dr. Toni Shephard telling us about the horrific killing of millions of birds in the Mediterranean and also in the UK.
 Ceri Levy
 Dr. Toni Shephard

  The shocking number of birds killed each year in the UK:( They also talked about the effect the 50 million game birds released each year have on our habitats and other wildlife.

  The first day ended with a more light-hearted lecture about best birding days.Bill Oddie, Ian Wallace, Lucy McRobert & Adam Rowlands each talked about their own best birding day and then had the audience vote on the best.
  Ian Wallace had a resounding victory after his amazing, entertaining speech and we got to see him afterwards whilst having free beer :)

  Day 2 and the main talk was with Chris Packham and a trio of young Birders, Scientists, Conservationists.Three very mature youngsters far braver than I am to do public speaking.All three doing an immense job.
Chris Packham.
 Josie Hewitt.
 Conor McCombe
 Georgia Locock

  Straight after this we had to rush across to Marquee 3 to see Mark Avery & Charlie Moores talking about Birders Against Wildlife Crime(BAWC).We caught up with the Bawc team(Charlie Moores, Lawrie Phipps & Phil Walton) numerous times during the Bird Fair, always great to see them and to try and support the amazing work they have done.
With Charlie.

  A quick run into the next doors Marquee 1 to see Tormod show us more about Varanger in Arctic Norway.Another great guy to talk too and hopefully we can get up to Varanger soon.We finally managed to meet up with a friend, Sara Frost who we hadn't seen since she took us out on a boat on the West coast of Scotland.
  We then saw Bird Brain Of Britain hosted by , yes that man again, Bill Oddie before heading over to the Authors Forum to listen to Mark Avery, Keith Betton, Ian Wallace and Debbie Pain talk about their collaboration on Behind The Binoculars.We also met Alan Davies & Ruth Miller(authors of The Biggest Twitch) afterwards too.
  A 15 minute drive back to Travelodge to collapse exhausted onto the bed before going back out for a meal at the nearby Little Chef.

  It seemed to have got to Day 3 of Bird Fair far too quickly:( but we were up earlier and arrived before 7.30am to get in a bit of bird watching from the hides before the event opened for the final day.
  A Wood Sandpiper was the highlight along with views of Green Sandpipers, Egyptian Geese and an Osprey.

There is an Osprey in this photo, honest :)

  We seemed to spend the last day mainly in the Events marquee but with quick trips out to various stands in between.More visits to Birding For All to meet the fantastic Phil Gatley, BirdLife Malta, BAWC, Islay(always good for free whisky;)), Hawk & Owl Trust, Biotope, and Hawke Optics(to get my first scope that cost more than £30).

  In the Events Marquee we again listened to Jonathan Scott explaining photography before introducing his wonderful wife Angie.This was followed by probably one of the most entertaining talks of the weekend by Martin Hughes-Games.It was his first Bird Fair and hopefully he will be back as he was great to talk too and while there Wild Sounds told us his book had become their biggest ever seller at Bird Fair, even beating Sir David Attenboroughs last visit.

  His lecture was followed by the Bird Fair's first ever Birdless Pointbrain(Tv's Pointless with Birders) chaired by Nigel Redman & Neil Glenn.Stephen Moss, Nick Baker, Mike Dilger & Martin joined in the fun along with a few Bird Fair volunteers.

  After listening to Martin's talk I decided I should go buy his new book so off we went to the Wild Sounds stand.Martin was joined by Nick, Mike & David Lindo at the signing table.

  After getting Martin to sign his book for us we went to talk to Mike about the Spurn Migration Festival that is coming up in 2 weeks time.He then signed our programme before doing his own artwork on Nick's profile photo.I then went to see Nick who signed his own photo before adding his own artistic touches to Mike's photo.:) Just looking at this pic and only now have noticed that it says Bird Fair 2014 on the bottom lol Guess they forgot to change the year on every page.

  The final event we attended, which turned out to be the funniest thing I've seen for a long time was the Bird Fair's rendition of "The Gruffalo"
  It starred Mike Dilger as Mouse, Nick Baker as Snake, Dominic Couzens as Owl, Rob Lambert as Fox and Bill Oddie as The Gruffalo, all narrated by Squirrel, Lucy McRobert.They all looked to be having as much fun doing the play as we had watching it.

  A hilarious end to our Bird Fair and another fantastic 3 days of lectures and meeting friends.Thanks to everyone who helped make it so enjoyable.I will probably miss some people off that we talked to but here are a few.
  Sara Frost, Charlie Moores, Phil Walton, Lawrie Phipps, Paul Cowley, Mark Avery, Nicola Main, Andrew Glaysher, Hawys Wynne, Karen Elizabeth, Georgia Locock, Phil Gatley, Caroline(BirdLifeMalta), Tormod Amundsen, Alan Davies, Ruth Miller, Ian Wallace, Mike Dilger, Martin Hughes-Games, Mark Carwardine, Nick Baker & Bill Oddie.
  Thanks to you all:)

  Only 358 days to Bird Fair 2016 ;)

  A few important websites you should take the time to check out:) Thanks


 Thanks for putting up with the very long blog, would've been shorter to write a book ;)



  1. Once again a great read buddy, I will definitely be there next year.

  2. A great blog! I'd love to have gone for all three days... maybe next time. I wish I had seen the Gruffalo performance, it looked like a lot of fun. I'm sure it will find its way to youtube.

    Louise (from Twitter / Hen Harrier Day)