Thanks to Speyside Wildlife, I had the opportunity to speak at the Birdfair this year. It was the first time I had ever been, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
We drove up from surrey to Rutland on Friday evening, a journey that should have taken about 3 hours but due to the worst M25 traffic I had ever been in, it took 5! we only arrived just in time to see the last three quarters of Chris Packham, Derek Gow and Helen Meech’s discussion on Rewilding.
The second day was also very action packed – in between having lunch with Speyside Widlife and rehearsing my speech, I went to the BTO’s bird ringing stand, which was very successful despite the weather, and saw a wren, a reed warbler and a song thrush being ringed.
I also went to two very good talks/events – A Question of Stork, a bird themed quiz loosely based on tv’s similar sounding (although not nearly as entertaining) program, and Europe’s top 25, an interactive quiz.
One of the highlights, however, was meeting Chris Packham (although it was only for ten seconds at an author signing session).
Finally, I went to the AFON meeting, where I met a few young wildlife enthusiasts my age, and saw a few familiar faces from the internet and television. They all advised me to join twitter, which I have done. This is my twitter page: https://twitter.com/JamesNaturalist
On Sunday I went straight to do my talk after arriving. Unfortunately only about 25 people turned up because Simon King happened to be doing a talk in the marquee next to mine! Never mind. I spoke about the Cairngorms Young Nature Presenter Competition – how I entered it, what the prize was like and what I’ve done since. The talk didn’t go too badly; I made the odd slip but that was pretty much it.
After the talk I could finally relax, and just wandered around the marquees, speaking to the conservation groups and wildlife artists that had stalls set up there. Unfortunately I didn’t have time for much, because we had to head back early, but I did enjoy myself. I also went to two further talks – Cairngorms Tales by Duncan Macdonald, a very entertaining mythical story set in Scotland, and The Endemics of Dreamland by Roy Atkins – another very entertaining talk about setting up a ‘dream list’ – listing the birds that he sees in his dreams. Some are real, some are creations of his highly vivid subconscious imagination! I won’t give too much away about either of these talks, in case they should want to do something similar next year.
So overall, I have really enjoyed my first visit to the Birdfair (I’m sure it won’t be the last!), and would highly recommend it to any wildlife enthusiast. I’m certainly going back next year!