No more BirdFair

I heard yesterday that the decision not to continue BirdFair was made.

BirdFair was an annual festival of all things bird and animal related held each year in August at Rutland Water, affectionately known as the ‘Glastonbury of birdwatching’.

I first went in 2015 and have memories of being challenged by Ben Hoare from BBC Wildlife Magazine to see how many celebrities I could get my photo taken with.

Here’s a few of the photos I could find

Over the years BirdFair was a great place to meet up with people that I’d had chatted with on social media throughout the year and listen to some amazing talks.

Just visiting for one day was never enough chance to go to all the talks, catch up with people and look around the stalls, so after the first year we started staying nearby and going for the whole weekend.

It was important how in the last couple of years of BirdFair running, groups like AFON and people like Dominic Dyer really pushed to get more young people involved.

In the final years, I got a chance to talk there myself on various panels and do a book signing of my book Get Your Boots On.

In the current climate crisis, having a festival mainly based on advertising birdwatching holidays doesn’t seem right but I hope the gathering of wildlife enthusiasts will continue in some form or other.

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Brighton starlings

A few years ago I visited Brighton to see the starling murmurations by the pier

This weekend we were in Brighton again and although it is much earlier on in the year and the starlings are barely starting to gather, I did get a few photos of small groups before they settled down to roost under the pier.

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Great Spotted Woodpecker

Another stunning visitor to the garden is the Great spotted woodpecker. This one is a regular visitor and is in and out of the garden most of the day.

Since the hazelnuts have appeared, the woodpecker has been in competition with the squirrels in collecting them.

While the squirrels have been busy burying them for later, the woodpecker gets to eating them straight away. By jamming a hazelnut in the crack in the telegraph pole it can then peck through the shell to the edible stuff inside.

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Heron

The second stunning visitor to the garden (or house) in the recent days was a Grey heron.

With its 6 foot wingspan it’s an impressive bird

Landing on the roof it looked like it was using the height as a vantage point to check out all the local ponds. A sort of Google Earth for herons.

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Sparrowhawk

A commotion in the garden alerted me to the Sparrowhawk that was sitting on top of the bird feeder.

All of the sparrows had quickly disappeared into the depths of the hazel hedge but one dove was still waddling around on the grass.

Luckily for the dove, the sparrowhawk didn’t fancy its chances and left when a car drove past.

Posted in Animals, birds, Blogging, garden, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, nature, outdoors, Oxfordshire, Wildlife photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

National Badger Day 2021

Badgers are one of my favourite animals and I enjoy seeing all the posts on social media during National Badger day

Here are a few of my favourite photos I’ve taken over the past five years.

Cookie, is and always will be my favourite

There are plenty of local groups across the UK helping badgers, mine is Oxfordshire Badger Group

https://www.oxonbadgergroup.org.uk/

There is a full list of all the badger groups on the Badger Trust website

https://www.badgertrust.org.uk/

Happy Badger Day!

Posted in Animals, Autumn, Badgers, Blogging, Books, Environment, Every child wild, garden, Get Your Boots On, Local patch, mammals, nature, Nature Books, Oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife, wildlife books, Wildlife photography, Woodland | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Last few butterflies

Between the rain showers, a couple of butterflies have been feeding from the final flowers on the Buddleia tree in our garden.

According to an article by The National Trust I was reading, five of our native butterflies can hibernate over winter. These are the Brimstone, the comma, peacock butterfly, small tortoiseshell and the Red admiral.

We already have found a couple of small tortoiseshell butterflies tucked away in our loft space.

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Green Appleton

My first public event in what seems like forever, and it’s on my local patch.

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Hedgehog

Little tell tale signs that our visitor is back have been appearing in the front garden.

It wasn’t going close enough to our permanent Birdsy camera to trigger it, but a handful of hedgehog food and a second camera confirmed that we have a hedgehog visiting again.

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Snowdon – Yr Wyddfa

Not so much wildlife but landscape.

Last week 3 generations of our family climbed Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh.

We had been planning it a while and had booked an Air B and B in Snowdonia National Park.

Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales and England being 1,085 metre (3,560 feet) at the peak.

We decided that as it was the first time we have climbed Snowdon we would go up the Llanberis Path which is the easiest, but longest of the six main paths

Distance: 9 miles (there and back)
Total Climb: 975m (3,199 ft)
Time: Approx 6 hours (there and back)

We started in one of the car parks in Llanberis village

As we started walking we couldn’t see the summit due to the low cloud.

After stopping for food at The Halfway House around 542m we carried on walking.

Another rest and time for some photos at Clogwyn station around 732m

The strangest thing was queuing to have our photo taken at the summit.

And as you can see the weather changed a lot the higher we climbed

Beautiful views coming back down as we came out of the clouds.

I would certainly like to climb Snowdon again, maybe using a different path next time.

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