A warm summers day, we saddled the horses (packed the car up) and made the trip to England's smallest historic county of Rutland for this years British Birdwatching Fair - recently hailed as the birdwatchers Glastonbury! Obviously a clean living version... The show has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1989 from an idea evolved from a local event held in 1987 at Rutland Water Nature Reserve called “The Wildfowl Bonanza”. The event was a great success and after much deliberation in the local pub - appropriately named The Finch’s Arms, the idea of a birdwatchers’ fair was hatched by the founders Tim Appleton and Martin Davies. The Fair takes place on the nature reserve at Rutland Water which itself is a huge water storage reservoir owned by Anglian Water. The nature reserve is a RAMSAR and Special Protection Area and is managed by The Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust.
We found it a well run and enjoyable show, and along the way we met some knowledgeable birders and staff from various brands who were only too happy to show us their new gizmo's. We even managed to consume one of the largest and best full-english breakfasts known to man at Hungry Birds cafe in Oakham. If you haven't been, we would highly recommend!
In excess of 20,000 visitors now attend the show annually and over 300 exhibitors display their products, with BirdLife International and its partners receiving the profits for conservation projects. Since the first project “Stop the Massacre Campaign” in 1989 to the present day, more than £2,000,000 has been raised to help save birds and their habitats in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. If you're thinking of attending next year but might need some more convincing, have a look at the video below. Tickets go on sale for next years show in March 2015.