Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Birdfair 2011

So, its August which meant Birdfair! Three days of slogging around the tented birding festival at Rutland Water. And as usual, three days is never enough! Sorry if I missed you. My weekend in brief!

Day 1 - arrived at 0900 and spent an hour with Vine House Farm enjoying a nice latte from the best coffee stall at the Birdfair - the Coffee Man outside Marquee 2. My 1000 appointment with Minox was running late (plane from Germany delayed) so I got to spend an hour catching up with folk including Mark Avery who extracted a tenner from me for his excellent book, Blogging for Nature and Mark Thomas and an update on his amazing building of a heligoland trap on the Yorkshire coast - cool!

Minox finally arrived for our meeting and I enjoyed more of the Coffee Man's fine latte. At 1215 I met up with a very nice man from Thomas Cook to finalise details of the 2012 spring birder flights to Lesvos, and of course another cup of fine latte from the Coffee Man (good job the loos are close by).

I had a very late sandwich with friends before my meeting with Leica at 1500 - coffee, but not from the Coffee Man :-( and finished in time to catch up with my friends at Newpro (now distributing Vortex bins) before finding a not-so-comfy seat to while some time away with mucker Ian Rowlands of Planet Whale - thankfully no coffee!

So day 1 as usual taken up with business not a jot of browsing the marquees. Tomorrow? Spent no money (other than on coffee and sarnies!). Saw some birds flying around including Great Spotted Woodpecker and Osprey.

Day 2 - I spent most of today in more meetings, but thankfully had time for a nice lunch with my friends Pam and Roger Crofts from Rochdale talking all things birds and football (Dale and Posh mainly). I spent a long time in the optics marquee catching up with all my optical friends (Leica appear to be solely responsible for populating Zeiss and Swarovski!) before managing a little bit of browsing and catching up with folk on stands who cant get away! BTO stand was fab with the live Cuckoo updates. Saw some birds (Osprey again). Drank coffee. Still no money spent in anger. Left the Fair early to make the Posh vs Ipswich game at London Rd to enjoy the Posh thumping the tractor boys 7-1!

Day 3 - Liz and I had a lay in due to thunderstorms over Farcet Fen got us thinking the Birdfair would be knee-deep in mud by now. How wrong we were when we crept in at ahemish and spent a very nice day leisurely strolling round the marquees trying hard not to spend money! Nice man Paul Doherty, Bird Images, gave me a copy of his Birdwatching in Europe DVD on which Lesvos features (review on Lesvos Birding soon) while we talked Eagle Owls (one of our pet subjects). Eventually committed to purchases in the art marquee, a Harriet Mead Long-winged Conehead and (another!) Carry Akroyd print. Neither of which we paid for there and then! Nice gals these artists! Drank coffee (from the Coffee Man!), ate a very nice hot pork bap and enjoyed a lovely ice cream. Went home shattered! See you next year.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Turtle and pecker in the garden

There was a time I used to get up to a dozen Turts in the garden. Not any more. They stopped breeding on the fen a few years back. They still breed within three miles of here but this is the first Turt of the year hear.

Despite its relative lack of trees, the fen can be good for peckers. I've seen all three species in ten years here. A single record of Lesser Spotted just outside the village in a winter tit flock, mot winters we get Great Spots hanging around the nut feeders, and in summer we get Green Woodies coming in from neighbouring areas to feast on all our ants.