It’s that time of year again where you get a post (or two) from my Birdfair 2017 Weekend, those 4 days (we start on the Thursday) spent volunteering on the Birding For All stand, living it up with the great and good of the bird watching world, and hobnobbing with wildlife TV presenters and authors alike.
Birdfair 2017 Weekend
This year we camped, a first as a family (well 3 of us, Tubs, Zoe and I), in the rather basic onsite campsite, but there will be more on that on another post:
The one thing camping did allow was evenings and early mornings on the nature reserve at Rutland Water, this gave me a great opportunity to photograph a stunning sunset over Oakham and the northern end of the huge reservoir itself.
Dusk at Rutland Water
Sun Setting towards Oakham
Pink waters of Rutland at Sunset
Life on the Stand
As with every birdfair it is great to meet all the people, patrons, members, and those after information, that visit the stand and this year was no different from birdfair 2016. What was different was what we were doing.
In previous years it was about selling raffle tickets, signing up members and, of course, letting people know who we are and what we do. This year we had nothing to sell (having taken a break from raffle ticket selling), were not pushing membership (which is free and you can sign up online) and were instead trying to engage with people on a deeper level, and hopefully find new blood for the volunteer group. It was all about finding folks who could review reserves for us, or would maybe be able to help the organisation in some way.
Time will tell how it went.
But of course there was also a lot of fun, laughs and celebrity visits.
David Lindo (aka the Urban Birder) with Zoe and Tubs And yes I will get those three articles across to you soon David 🙂
Mark Avery meeting Phil Gatley and Bo Beolens (aka Fatbirder or Dad as I know him)
Nick Baker meeting the team (Tubs, Zoe and Ann)
Events and Talks at Birdfair 2017
I suppose it could go without saying, but one of the highlights of the Birdfair 2017 weekend is, of course, the talks and events that go on in the large marquees, sadly as one who works I can’t always get to the ones I want to see but I did manage a couple this year, supporting friends who were involved.
Firstly was Bird Brain of Britain, hosted by Stephen Moss one of Birding For All’s patrons, and won by friend David Lindo, who Toby and I went along to support. Secondly was Birdless Pointbrain (which has no link at all to a popular evening quiz show), a great fun event with loads of our patrons involved and questions set by friend Neil Glenn, oh and being one of the 100 people questioned (or 133 people) was an advantage.
Bird Brain of Britain
Birdless Pointbrain Live at Birdfair 2017 Weekend
Birdless Pointbrain Live
One thing I did notice looking through the program is that there are more and more political elements that can be taken in than previous years and this is great as it gets important messages about persecution etc. across to some who may not always be as informed.
The RSPB stand also had a couple of great interactive items, one a display that helped demonstrate how reserves are designed and built, the other a puffin or terns eye view of the world in VR.
Toby as a Puffin
Puffins eye view in VR
Eating Out and Eating In
One thing to notice at any major event, and the birdfair 2017 weekend was no exception, is that with a captive audience food prices are NOT cheap, with a 330ml bottle of Pepsi costing £2.50 and a simple toasted bacon and egg sandwich being over £5 you can imagine things get expensive fast, we opted after day one to get drinks the night before in Tesco and bring our own into the fair, on a hot day this saves a small fortune.
Eating out of an evening on the other hand was a joy, we only ate at two of the eateries in Oakham (not that there are many, and I’d advise booking!) Wildwood, which was lovely large restaurant (we ate here Thursday and Saturday) and Relish a rustic burger bar with some cracking food, Zoe was particularly impressed with the mushroom and Haloumi burger (veggie).
Mushroom & Haloumi Burger from Relish
Overall it was another fabulous weekend at the British Birdwatching Fair (who calls it that?? it will always be birdfair). If we hadn’t come home to a water leak it would have been better mind you.