Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Post 434 - Blown-away by brilliant Birdfair!

The Young Birders just before we went birding!
Hi All,

I haven't been posting much in August as I have been a bit busy. I've had a few days out around Yorkshire reserves and I will have to do an update post on that soon! I also had a holiday in Norfolk for 10 days, that was amazing so I should do a post on that too! To top all that off I also spent this last weekend in England's smallest county, Rutland, for this year's absolutely brilliant Birdfair.

Jono Leadley & me doing an interview for BBC Leicester
So what was so good about it? Well it is described as the Birdwatcher's Glastonbury. It is a festival all about nature, sure it has a big focus on birds, people like Birdlife, RSPB and the BTO are there, but also the British Dragonfly Society, Butterfly Conservation, Wildlife Trusts, A Focus on Nature and many others are there. Check out the exhibitors list on the Bird Fair website, it's pretty awesome.

There are so many great people that go but one of my favourite bits was meeting up with lots of young birders, I saw a lot of people that went along to this year's BTO Bird Camp and a lot of other young birders. It was great to catch up with them. I will do a blog on the young birders and another great group AFON as there are a lot of great young birders and naturalists and too many to mention here really.  We all went to do a bit of birding organised by Toby Carter as Rutland water is sort of his patch. It turned into a mini bird-race and the reserve is so good for birds that over 70 species were found in an hour and a half!

I also bumped into lots of people I know off twitter and from past Birdfairs and conferences. It was great to see you Alex (another top young blogger - please check out his blog) who I missed at last years Bird Fair. Other people I met up with were Hugh Brazier, Rob Sheldon, Charlie, Lawrie & Phil from BAWC, Phil Gatley, Andy, Ieuan, Viola, Paul, Lee from the BTO, Jono and Lucy at the Wildlife Trusts, Ben Hoare from BBC Wildlife Magazine. Chris Calow, Georgia Locock and so many others. Thanks to all of you for all the support and encouragement ;-)

People I missed but hoped to see were Tony Jeavons, David Darrell Lambert, Jason Alexander, Stewart Abbot  - hope to eventually meet up with you soon!

Great to see Chris again
Anneka Svenska
Then there were the speakers and wildlife presenters that I met. I went on a bug hunt last year with David Lindo so it was great to bump into him again. Of course it's always great to bump into Chris Packham and I got to say thank you for his support and following me on twitter. I also got to have a quick chat to Nick Baker and told him how the first Unsprung I was on, that he was presenting, really inspired me to start my blogging.  I was honoured to get a mention in her talk by Jess French who said some lovely things about my blog. I also saw Anneka Svenska who has been very supportive on twitter.

It was a busy time and I got to do some awesome stuff, like meet up with young birders, watch bird ringing, meet up with lots of people and go birding with the BTO. I also ended up doing an interview for BBC Radio Leicester with Jono Leadley of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, you can hear it here, about 47 minutes in, and I get to talk about conservation and how important it is. It was totally unexpected and unrehearsed but I think it's one of the best radio interviews I've done so far!

Jess French -
thanks for mentioning my blog 
David Lindo
One of the things I enjoyed the most though were the talks.There were some really good ones and more this year on important issues that are affecting our wildlife. The talk with Mike Dilger, Charlie Moores and Dominic Dyer (one of the people I didn't get to meet) was brilliant and really put across that everybody can help prevent wildlife crime and that anybody who commits it should be prosecuted - even if they are very rich and 'important'. I learnt a lot from that talk and the Grouse Shooting talk with Mark Avery (another person I had hoped to say hello to again and let him know I'm writing to my MP about the debate on grouse shooting). I really don't see how a hobby of a few people should be allowed if it harms wildlife and contributes to flooding. A lot of adults I speak to are quite annoyed that anybody who pays tax is helping to pay for it too! Surely hospitals and schools need the money more?

Chatting to |Nick Baker
I really enjoyed the talks too from Nick Baker and Jess French. They both spoke about how important it is to let children experience nature, to be able to play outside and get close to bugs, birds, mammals and plants, to be fascinated by the little things that rule the world and develop a connection with the natural world. It can make people sad if they don't have enough wild time and if they don't connect with nature they won't care for it. It is so important that young people do so that we have more people that will look after the world better in the future. Fear of letting children play out and technology were some of the things mentioned that stopped this but Jess French said technology can be used in good ways and mentioned my blog (thank you so much Jess :-).

Chris at the Rewidling Talk
Plugging the Ban Driven Grouse Shooting Petition
I also saw a great talk on rewilding, it was hosted by Chris Packham but the best bit was Derek Gow's presentation. He spoke so passionately about how different creatures need to be in our ecosystem because of the benefits they bring to other species. I'd love it if some of the Birdfair talks were put on youtube afterwards as I'd love to hear that one again.

So overall I've had an awesome summer. Bird Fair was incredible and it was really good that the conservation issues came out very strongly, at least in the talks I went to. Because of this I got to tell a lot of people about my petition. Its nearly at 4,000 signatures now. If you can help to get it up to 10,000 signatures I'd be very grateful.

Hope you enjoyed,


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