Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Birdfair 2012

We’re just back from Rutland Water where we spent the weekend at the 24th annual British Birdwatching Fair.  As usual it was almost as exhausting as it was enjoyable!

After all the rain that had fallen on it in recent weeks there had been quite a lot of concern about the state of the Birdfair site and how it would stand up to thousands of visitors and their vehicles.  The reservoir was full to overflowing and the weather forecast for the weekend wasn’t that good.  It was a bit of a worry!  In the past there have been some fairly wet and muddy Birdfairs and everyone knows how unpleasant that can be. We still remember 2004!  As it turned out there was no problem, the ground had dried out well, there were just one or two showers during the weekend and in fact it was the heat and humidity that were the main features.

We arrived at Rutland Water at lunchtime on Thursday and spent the afternoon helping to erect the Avian Adventures stand in Marquee 3.  The exhibitors’ cocktail party followed but as it didn’t start until 7.00pm we had time for our own little party beforehand.

Marquee 3

Pre-party party

No, not the karaoke, Tim Appleton welcoming the exhibitors.

The cocktail party was sponsored by Extremadura.This is Elisa Cruz Parejo, Director General of Tourism for that part of Spain. 

Gerry Griffiths and Peter Scholes on the Avian Adventures stand.

The way they were:  Gerry Griffiths and Peter Scholes 
on the Avian Adventures stand in 1995!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were mostly spent on the Avian Adventures stand where we did an awful lot of talking!  We were there to advertise the overseas tours that we are scheduled to lead for Avian and also, of course, to promote the Algarve but there was also time to talk about many other topics including Belvide Reservoir and breeding gulls in the West Midlands!

We talked to countless people who have been on past tours and lots whom we have met in Portugal.   Many of these we now count as friends.  They included a couple who were on the first tour that Peter led for Avian in 1994 and have been coming with us ever since.

As in previous years, we looked out from the stand, across the marquee to the BTO stand opposite.  We have been enthusiastic supporters of the BTO for many years but we still haven’t come to terms with the new logo.  From some of the comments we heard, it seems we aren’t the only ones who regret the passing of the Gannet.  We hear that the RSPB are planning to ditch their Avocet logo in the near future, which if true also seems like a very strange decision.

We were able to get away from the stand from time to time but there were so many people to stop and talk to that progress through the marquees was slow.  We had to try out the amazing new Swarovski telescopes and we always like to look at books.  Peter even managed to go and hear Frank McClintock give a talk about Lagoa dos Salgados and the efforts being made to prevent the planned tourist development that threatens it.

Mike Warren working on the Birdfair mural, an annual feature of the event - his new book, American Birding Sketchbook, was just one of our weekend purchases!

Steve Cale was another artist exhibiting his work.

Bill Oddie, Nick Baker, Chris Packham and Simon King were amongst the television ‘personalities’ in attendance.

The colourful stand of ProExport Colombia – 
a country that we are both scheduled to visit soon.

If you’ve never been to the Birdfair, you’re missing a treat.  Next year’s event will be the 25th and there are already plans afoot to make a few changes.  That will be on 15th, 16th and 17th August 2013 – put it in your diary.

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