And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

British Birdwatching Fair

Yep, it was that wonderful time of year for UK birders, the British Birdwatching Fair. Our holidays in the UK were centred around a 2 day visit to the bird fair at Rutland Water Nature Reserve in August. It first started in 1989 and we had gone once before some years ago for one day and found that just a day there really wasn't enough!

We had looked forward to this day for a long time and yes, we were on our way!

It was an early start and the crowds had arrived already making long lines at the shuttle bus from the train station to the fair and at the entrance, but we were in.

Just like my wife Liz, 'Small but perfectly formed'. Had to take this picture!

We were lucky most of the 2 days, with sunny weather for the fair.

Lots of birders enjoying the birds at the big bird hide, which is part of the visitor centre at Rutland.

A good birding area at one of the other hides at Rutland Water, where we saw Hobbies and Marsh Harriers skimming the reeds.

Over 9 big marquees and numerous outdoor displays, with everything a birder could want.

Due to our travels to Borneo and lots of Asia, the Oriental Bird Club stand was of special interest.

If only pittas were this close and easy to see! Can anyone name the 2 pittas on the hat?

One of the huge marquees, with a Bill Oddie picture. We did see the real Bill Oddie checking out scopes and I told Liz to run up and give him a big hug, but she wouldn't do it.

The displays just blow your mind away!

The marquees go on forever.

One of the optics marquees. 'Oh, what's this?'

'Ok, lets do a deal'. I ended up buying a small scope, the Opticron GS 52, the little 'pocket rocket' as we now call it.

The British Birdwatching Fair was fantastic and everything we expected. It was probably the birding highlight of our holiday. We just wish we could visit it every year!

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