Tuesday, 25 August 2015

BirdFair 2015

Wristbands and bracelets from BirdFair
This year my family and I spent all three days at BirdFair, on previous years we had only been for one day, so I was excited about how much time we would have there and that we would finally be able to explore the reserve. Everyone on Twitter had been talking about Birdfair so I was becoming increasingly excited about it,which was adding to my anticipation!

Once we arrived we headed straight to the BTO stand as Ben Moyes, Toby Carter and I were volunteering for the BTO, promoting their new membership for under 18's.

AFON Young Birders
On the Friday we began handing out the leaflets for the BTO youth membership whilst exploring all the stands, we bumped into a few familiar Twitter faces including; Sam Pitt Miller, who was on the ringing stand working hard all weekend. Josie Hewitt, Georgia Locock, Billy Stockwell and Sorrel Lyall. We also caught up with David Walsh and a few other Twitter people, too many to mention!

That evening we attended a talk involving Bill Oddie, Lucy McRobert, Adam Rowlands and Ian Wallace. The talk was about their best birding days and at the end of the talk the audience had to vote for the best story told. Bill talked about the Faire Isle and all the amazing birds he found in their vast numbers on migration, Lucy spoke about searching and  finding Capercaillie, Red Grouse, Black Grouse and Ptarmigan in Scotland. Adam Rowlands spoke about rare birds he found and missed at Minsmere and Ian Wallace told his best birding day at Flamborough Head in the style of  a play. Ian Wallace won by telling a very captivating story about his adventure spending a whole day in pursuit of rarities.

Afterwards we headed straight to the events marquee where Josie and Georgia were hosting a talk asking questions of  Chris Packham, Nick Baker and Simon King. The evening was very interesting and we heard about their highlights and low points of their wildlife experiences. It was very funny but also had some serious messages about the choices humans face in the care of the planet.

On Saturday we went to an event hosted by Chris Packham and sponsored by the BTO, where Josie, Georgia and Connor Coombes spoke about their passion for wildlife and inspirations. Josie talked about ringing, including RAS and CES schemes, which I enjoyed very much, being a ringer. Connor talked about his passion for photography and what was the main stimulus for his interest in birds and finally Georgia talked about all the volunteering and campaigning she does for wildlife and what she does to help and inspire others.

Afterwards, a few young birders (Myself, Abby Miller, Ben Moyes, Toby Carter, Sorrel Lyall, Billy Stockwell, Max Hellicar, Noah Walker, Sam Pitt Miller and Zach (nerdboy386) went on a walk around some of the hides. We saw plenty of birds, including: Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Lapwing etc.

The Millers & Nick Baker
That day we also went to listen to Lucy McRoberts talk about mammals, which was fascinating and Beth Aucott's presentation on the work of A Focus On Nature; a growing organisation for young people to help them get involved in conservation of which I'm proud to be a member. So thank you to Lucy and all the other members of the group. 

That evening my family and I went on a cruise with Nick Baker, there were many species of Gull and also Grey Herons, Egrets, Common Tern and best of all 8 Ospreys! One we watched hunting and successfully - it was a great trip!

Ben as Henry the Hen Harrier
Finally, Toby, Ben and I headed over to the Swarovski tower, where we spotted a Great White Egret - a first for me! 

After viewing all the stands again we headed over to see the performance of the Gruffalo. Lucy McRobert played the  Squirrel, Rob Lambert as the Fox, Nick Baker as the Snake, Domenic Couzens as the Owl, Mike Dilger as the Mouse and Bill Oddie as the Gruffalo. It was a very funny performance, which all age groups enjoyed. 

It was also great to see so any supporters of the Hen Harriers, many people were wearing their Hen Harrier day t-shirts and wristbands!

Thank you to the BTO for allowing me to volunteer for them an help out, I had a wonderful weekend. It was great to be involved with the BTO and help them recruit many new young members, the BTO are very supportive and I feel a part of their family.

Also thank you to the BirdFair for the whole event. I can't wait until next year, put the date in your diary now  August 19th-21st 2016!

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