Monday, 22 August 2011

Back from the Fair

I have just returned from my 22nd British Birdwatching Fair.  There have been 23 but stupidly I missed the first one because I did not think it would catch on.

The event is now a static entry in my diary - I cannot miss such an opportunity to meet up with old friends and meet up with some new ones.  People come from all corners of the World and the persistant telling of birding stories and experiences continues almost non-stop for three days.

I reckon I progressed each day at a rate of 5 metres an hour.  There are so many people to meet.  Many friends from my native Suffolk, a few from my now adopted Wales, some from overseas and members of the so-called Birding Celebrity Lists.  The latter included the One-Show's Mike Dilger, Nick Baker,Mark Carwardine, Jonathan Scott of Big Cat Diary and Simon King.  The meeting friends bit culminated with a splendid supper with my mate Bill Oddie and Pete Dunne and colleagues Shiela and Marlene from Cape May Bird Observatory in New Jersey, USA. I have visited the latter several times and we have all become good friends.

With Bill a few years ago

I also took part in one of the events on the big stage called Just a Linnet.  This is based loosely on the BBC Radio 4 programme Just a Minute.  Panel members were Dr Rob Lambert wacky Historian from Nottingham University, Mike Dilger, Stephen Moss author and TV producer and yours truly.  Author Dominic Couzens tries to keep order as Chairman and we try to keep an audience of several hundred amused.  I am convinced some slight of hand in the scoring enabled Dilger to push me into second place this year.

Pete Landsdown a pal from Wales and Tour Leader for Birdfinders

It really is a great experience each year to meet up with up to 20,000 birders, have such a great time and now raiseup to £250,000 international bird conservation projects run by BirdLife International.

I cannot wait for next year.

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