Bird Fair Weekend

Bill Oddie and the BFA team (minus me)
Bill Oddie and the BFA team (minus me)
As you may or may not know (any birder is likely to be in the know here) the weekend before the bank holiday weekend in August sees throngs of those with an ornithological bent heading up to Rutland Water for the annual British Birdwatching Fair, an event to raise thousands (hundreds of thousands over the last few years) for various avian related charities, where thousands of like minded people gather to hear talks, peruse stands of various kinds (holidays, art, charity, optics etc.), I was one of the thousands.

Birding For All

This is only my second year working with the charity Birding For All, but it is one close to my heart (our aim is to promote barrier free access to nature reserves, for both people with disabilities and those without, like myself a parent), each year we have a large stand at the Bird Fair, where we hand out information, sell books and raffle tickets and generally network with the great and good in the birding world, this year, Zoe and myself had more influence in the set up than previously so we were quite happy to be there.

The stand on Day one
The stand on Day one

In previous years the chaps working the stand had set themselves up with desks to speak to people from, and while this is fine, we felt that the idea was barrier free and yet we hid behind, well, barriers! so this year we designed the stand to be much more open, and people responded very well, we had lots of positive comments (many noticing the change for the better) and generally more people seemed to "come in" to our stand rather than stay on the perimeter, a welcome change I think.

The Team Photo (no me again, I was taking the shot!)
The Team Photo (no me again, I was taking the shot!)


Our main funds come from monies raised at the Bird Fair each year, and after a brilliant 2013 we decided that we would try and sell more raffle tickets (we sold out last year), unfortunately this didn't work out well, I don't know if people are feeling the pinch more or just not feeling lucky this year we really undersold on the previous (we only sold 330 tickets this year very disappointing). Our donations were also down this year, but our book sales were up! This year over all we were down nearly £150 on last years taking form the bird fair, but still we made over £1000 so we live to fight another day (hopefully the profile of what we do was raised more).

Celeb Spotting

As always it was nice to meet some old friends (and new ones) put faces to people I have only spoken to on-line, and meet some of the most influential people in the birding world (Mike Clarke CEO of the RSPB sold books for us at one point!) but celeb spotting can be fun as well. Zoe managed to meet Chris Packham (to arrange a visit to our stand, which he ended up not being able to do, Next year Chris!!), but Bill Oddie popped by as did Iolo Williams (Springwatch), Mike Dilger (The One Show), Jonathan Scott (Big Cat Diaries), as well as numerous Authors and minor birding celebs (I'm not posting many photos as they will be on the Birding For All website soon enough).

Me talking to Bill Oddie about his work in Malta earlier this year
Me talking to Bill Oddie about his work in Malta earlier this year (nice man, really chatty).
Thanks to Brian Anderson for the photo

Mike Dilger accosting my old man!! They have known each other a while!
Mike Dilger accosting my old man!! They have known each other a while!
To everyone I met, thank you for being there, to all who bought raffle tickets again, thank you and I hope to see as many of you again next year.

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