Birdfair 2016

Birdfair 2016 - Our Raffle Draw
Birdfair 2016 - Our Raffle Draw
I had the weekend booked of of work, this past weekend (19th to 21st August 2016), I booked it last year if I'm honest, so what did I do on my weekend away from the paying job? Did I spend it relaxing by a pool somewhere, sipping on cool cocktails? Did I spend it out in the field spending a few well earned days hunting down migrants? Or Did I even spend it with the kids hunting fictitious creatures known as Pokemon?

Well.... No!

No in fact I spent the weekend on my feet from 08:30 till 17:30, selling raffle tickets and promoting Birding for All, the access charity I volunteer with, at the British Bird Watching Fair at Rutland water, more commonly known as Birdfair!


Birding For All


I've spoken about Birding for All (BFA) a number of times, but for anyone who has missed it we are a small charity whose aim is to promote better access at nature reserves. Not just for the disabled but for everyone, as a parent better paths and gates rather than styles/cattle grids would have helped me no end. As someone with back issues, more benches or seats will help me get further (on bad days), and not to beat around the bush, I'm now the wrong side of forty and my mobility is only likely to get worse.

Basically Birding for All works for each and every one of us in getting nature reserves easier to visit, walk around and enjoy. Wellness, mindfulness, basically our health in every way, has been proven to be aided by connection with nature, so better access helps us all to be healthier.

The stand at Birdfair 2016 all set up ready on day 1
The stand at Birdfair 2016 all set up ready on day 1

A Visit from Henry Hen Harrier (You may recall seeing him on the Hen Harrier Day post)
A Visit from Henry Hen Harrier (You may recall seeing him on the Hen Harrier Day post)


Birdfair 2016


So this year as always I was there, on the banks of Rutland Water in Marquee 2, slogging away with my fellow volunteers, Zoe, Ann, Brian, Phil, Bo and Maggie.

It was hard work, squeezing cash out of fellow birders is always hard, hey when optics can cost into the thousands of pounds every penny counts right? But this year it seemed harder than ever, the Brexit vote and austerity are really biting hard, but we slogged on, and met many wonderful people who joined our organisation, parted with hard earned cash, for raffle tickets, books or just the kindness of their hearts, chatted about their experiences in nature or with disabilities, and generally had a tiring but wonderful weekend.

Weekend Highlights


I can't claim I worked solidly all weekend, Zoe and I managed a few hours here and there to explore the many wonderful marquees, wondered at the amazing art some people can produce (one artist in particular, Darren Woodhead, sketched a picture while signing the book Nightingales in November - as part of a prize we were giving away - that I couldn't have drawn with years of work!), dreaming of the exotic holidays on offer and watching our friend Tristan Reid talk about his Running for Hen Harriers (please support the work he is doing, the guy falls off mountains and stuff!).

Tristan, Phil, Zoe and Brian
Tristan, Phil, Zoe and Brian


On the stand we had many a celeb visit (we always do thankfully there are some great people in the naturalist/conservation world), but the highlight had to be the wonderful Chris Packham choosing to do a book signing on our stand, in fact he was straight off a plane and to our small group to sign for the masses.

Chris Packham signing books on our stand
Chris Packham signing books on our stand

Zoe being Chris Packhams sign holder (same sign as Hen Harrier day)
Zoe being Chris Packhams sign holder (same sign as Hen Harrier day)


Weekend Lowlights (does that work)


Our good friend and colleague on the stand Phil having an accident day 1 and requiring an ambulance, thankfully all was OK in the end, but there were worried people all around.

All in all it was a great event, but oh so tiring.

Looking Ahead


Of course we will be back again next year, and this time Zoe and I plan to camp, so if anyone has experienced the camping at Birdfair and would like to tell me which sites to use, and which to avoid (I'd love to be on the birdfair campsite but with no shower I'm not sure our stand visitors would!), please leave me a comment.

See you next year.

Oh and there were plenty more photos taken, but if you want to see them you will have to follow Birding for All on Facebook or Twitter, or read the newsletter. What you don't get the newsletter? Well perhaps you should sign up (click here) and become a member, it's free and we won't bombard you with emails (1 or 2 a year) or letters (1 newsletter a year) but your support is welcome.

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Please feel free to leave me a comment, I really appreciate the interaction and will reply as soon as I can. I apologise for any issues with posting comments, but sometimes Google's blogger platform plays up. ALL comments are moderated for SPAM, so please don't bother if the comment is unrelated to the post it will likely be deleted.

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2 comments:

  1. I hadn't realised how good this cause was...well done on your hard work. Looks like a great event :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a cause that grows as the population ages as well :) Thank you

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