It is always one of the most anticipated weekends of the year …It was time once again for the 2015 Bird Watching Fair at Rutland Waters. Due to a myriad of different reasons we had a complete change of plans for this weekend and we could only attend the Saturday and Sunday. By a stroke of good luck we managed to find a motel at the last minute just fifteen minutes away from Egleton. Normally you can't get within miles of where the show is as all the accommodation is booked up a year in advance.
We were at the show ground with very little problems just before ten am, and I was somewhat over excited, at one point I thought Dawn was going to put reins on me. There were so many people to say hello to and so many talks to go and see, and we only had two whole days to do it all in!
We made our way to the Events marquee for our first talk of the day, or rather quiz of the weekend. It was the annual Question of Stork. There was no Mike Dilger on the Saturday as his BBC filming had over-run, so we had no repeat of him doing the mime round, which is always quite something. As always it was great entertainment.
One of the great things about BirdFair is the amount of people dashing from the lecture marquees to try and get between two talks. We had to do the entire length of the fair to try and get to one in the Anglian Birdwatching Centre. We made it just in the nick of time. We had gone to see an interesting presentation on birding in Gambia. I visited there a long time ago. It was a wonderful place and I would love to go back there again, but this time with my birding hat on. I have often wondered since I have taken up birding in the last ten years what I actually saw whilst I was out there, when I had no interest in the hobby. The hotel we stayed in at the time was geared up for bird watching. During the talk by Neil Glenn he mentioned places like fishing village of Tanji on the coast, and it was amazing to think I have been there. There isn’t an adjective that quite describes the sights, sounds and the smells of throngs of a couple of thousand people (and several thousand drying fish!) trying to make a living from the sea. It is one of the greatest places I have visited on Earth!
It was then another dash to Lecture Marquee to see an utterly brilliant talk by Dominic Couzens on Extreme Animals, or Extreme Heat as he started with. It was absolutely scorching by this point. I have no idea how many buckets of sweat we lost sat in the tents all day. Dominic's talk focused on lots of incredible facts about wildlife, and his new book is definitely going on my Christmas wish list this year. If you like QI you will certainly love the topics covered in this book!
It was time for a spot of lunch, and I finally met up with Jo Hemmings. Jo is a media psychologist that regularly appears on day time TV discussing a huge range of topics. We became twitter friends a long long time ago now, first over Big Brother as she loves a bit of reality TV and then I discovered her bird watching writing credentials. We have tried to meet over the past four years and failed dismally, but we made it! And we shared a drink, the odd wasp, and plenty of chat over the lunch break!
The afternoon continued in the vein of meeting up with old friends and visiting as many stands as we could. It was great to bump into and chat to Mark Avery, Matt Merritt from Birdwatching Mag, Kelvin from BTO Cymru, Phil Gatley from Birding For All (and long-time visitor to RSPB Conwy), Jackie Garner in the Art Marquee, I finally put a face to the twitter feed of Phil Walton on the Birders Against Wildlife Crime stand, we are not related, but we decided we do share a rather cool surname!
We ended the day rooted in the Authors Marquee, which is one my favourite marquees at the fair. We were back to see another talk on Crossley ID Guide: Britain & Ireland, again by Dominic Couzens, who is the “co-author” of the book. It was interesting short talk about quite a controversial field guide. I had it for Christmas last year so I was quite interested to hear the entire background story to it.
The final talk of the day was in the Authors Marquee, where we went to see Mark Avery and Keith Betton talking about their new book "Behind The Binoculars". The book is basically interviews with well know bird watching people on what inspired them to do all that I have done and achieved in life and conservation. They were joined on "stage" by Ian Wallace and Debbie Pain.
Ian Wallace is a wonderful raconteur, and I am fairly sure I have seen him at one of the WOS conferences I have attended. He most certainly doesn't sit on the fence about anything, and this made for a wonderfully lively ten minutes debate. Debbie is the Conservation Director for WWT. The whole thing was very reminiscent of Hay Book Festival, I hope the BirdFair organisers take note of this and do a few more of these panel/ conversational type events in the fringe marquees. They can be more interesting than the endless list of people basically plugging a book.
It was a great way to end day one of our visit, we popped outside and got our traditional book signed by Mark and then it was back to the motel to wash all the sweat from our pores and go for a fantastic meal in the diner next door ... the best thing about your day one visit to BirdFair is that you get to do it all again the next day ... and that I shall tell you about next week!
All Images © Anthony Walton
Hoffem ni ddiolch i Cellan, sydd newydd gwblhau camp a hanner, y Haute Route. Seiclodd 850km dros 7 diwrnod o Nice i Geneva gan esgyn 22000 medr er mwyn codi arian i un o brosiectau rhyngwladol yr RSPB – Coedwig law Gola. Ma hwnna fel seiclo o Gasnewydd i Gaerfyrddin gan esgyn tair gwaith uchder yr Wyddfa bob dydd! Gorffennodd yn 304ydd allan o tua 600 ddechreuodd y ras.
Dyw e ddim yn rhy hwyr i gefnogi Cellan: https://www.justgiving.com/Cellan-Michael1. Ma Maint Cymru wedi cytuno i fatsio unrhyw arian ma’n ei gasglu!
We would like to thank Cellan, who has recently completed an amazing feat, the Haute Route. He cycled for 850km over 7 days from Nice to Geneva climbing 22000 meters in order to raise money for one of the RSPB’s international projects – the Gola Rainforest. That’s like cycling from Newport to Carmarthen climbing 3 times the height of Snowdon every day! He finished 304th out of around 600 that started the race.
It’s not too late to support Cellan: https://www.justgiving.com/Cellan-Michael1. Size of Wales have promised to match the money that he raises!
Dyma rai o uchafbwyntiau Haute Route Cellan / Here are some of the highlights of Cellan Haute Route:
Mae'n siwr roedd golygfeydd fel hyn yn help ar y daith / Views like these were probably a help on the route
A gwersylla mewn llefydd fel hyn. / And camping in places like these.
Machlud braf dros yr Alpau / A nice sunset over the Alps
Y dyn ei hun yn mwynhau pecyn o greision Jones yn Geneva / The man himself enjoying a packet of Jones crisps in Geneva
please scroll down for English
Yn dilyn adroddiadau o linosod y mynydd yn cael eu gweld ger Twll Du yn Nant Ffrancon, penderfynodd grwp ohonom fynd i ymchwilio a chyfrif faint sydd yn y dyffryn.
Cwrddodd y grŵp, oedd yn cynnwys aelodau o’r Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol, y BTO a’r RSPB, yng ngwaelod y dyffryn i astudio map oedd yn dangos y mannau arolygu hanesyddol a’r mannau lle welwyd yr adar ddiwethaf. Penderfynwyd rhannu mewn i barau i chwilio’r dyffryn am yr adar prin hyn.
Roedd graddau gwahanol o lwyddiant heb ddim adar i’w gweld mewn rhai mannau arolygu, tra mewn man arall gwelwyd 32 o linosod y mynydd diolch i gudyll coch wnaeth ddigwydd pasio gan ddychryn haid o’u cuddfan. Yn gyfan gwbl, gwelwyd rhwng 42-48 o linosod y mynydd, sydd yn addawol o ystyried pa mor hwyr oedd gwanwyn yn y mynyddoedd eleni.
Plîs rhowch wybod i ni os welwch chi unrhyw linosod y mynydd yn yr ardal yn y dyfodol er mwyn i ni fedru creu darlun gliriach o sefyllfa’r adar hyfryd hyn. Gyrrwch eich lluniau i Facebook RSPB Cymru neu Trydar @RSPBCymru
Following last week’s reports of twite sightings near Devil’s Kitchen in the Nant Ffrancon Valley, a group of us went to investigate and count how many are in the valley.
The group, that compromised of members of the National Trust, BTO and the RSPB, met in the bottom of the valley to study maps showing historic surveying sights along side the latest reported sightings. They decided to split into pairs to survey the valley for these rare birds.
Admittedly, there were varying levels of success with a few surveying sights devoid of any twites, while in another sight at least 32 were seen due to a helpful passing kestrel that flushed the birds out of hiding. A grand total of 42-48 birds were seen, an encouraging number considering the late start to spring in the mountains this year.
Please send us any twite sightings you may have for the area in the future in order to for us to create a clearer picture of the situation of these lovely birds. Send them to our Facebook page RSPB Cymru or tweet @RSPBCymru