Monday, 19 August 2013

Birdfair 2013

We‘re just back from an exhausting but very enjoyable weekend at the Birdfair held as usual at Rutland Water Nature Reserve.  The organisers describe it as the international wildlife event of the year and who would argue?  This year Birdfair was celebrating its 25th anniversary and with almost 350 exhibitors and four simultaneous lecture programmes it has grown well beyond anything that could possibly have been imagined back in 1989 when Tim Appleton and Martin Davies organised the first modest birdwatchers’ fair on behalf of the RSPB and the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.

Right from the start, profits from the Birdfair have been donated to conservation projects with the total amount raised now standing at more than £3 million.  Currently Birdfair is supporting BirdLife International’s Global Flyways Programme, funding projects to study and help migratory species.  This year it is grassland-dependent migrants in the Americas that are the focus, species such as Upland Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Swainson’s Hawk and Bobolink that rely on the effective management of grasslands throughout the Americas flyway where the remnants of native grasslands are fast disappearing under grain, oil-seed and other commodity crops.  A Birdfair-funded project will co-ordinate work at grassland Important Bird Areas in Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Argentina. 

Buff-breasted Sandpiper - this one was in the Algarve

We travelled to Rutland Water on Thursday to help put up the Avian Adventures stand and then spent most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday talking.  We talked about birds and we talked about travel.  We talked a great deal about the Algarve and we talked about many other places we have been and others that we would like to visit.  We talked to friends from countries in Africa, North, South and Central America and various parts of Europe and we talked to friends from the West Midlands.  We talked to people who have been with us on Avian Adventures tours and to many whom we have guided in the Algarve.  We talked to an encouraging number of you who are regular readers of our blog.  In short - we talked!

 The Avian Adventures stand before the Birdfair opened - all neat and tidy!

Marquee 3 - there were 10 marquees this year

Birdfair is undoubtedly one of the highlights of our year.  We always come away disappointed by how quickly three days have passed and because in that time we haven’t been able to get round the whole site and see everything and everybody.  Already next year’s event is in our diary - it’ll be on 15th, 16th & 17th August 2014.  

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