We attended the Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair last Saturday. The event takes its format from the larger Rutland Birdfair. It was a sunny afternoon and although the fair was well-supported, we were sorry not to see more people there.
We watched BTO ringers ringing a Great tit, and were able to ask questions about the purpose and process. Tagging has evidently made an immense contribution to our knowledge of migration, life expectancy and other aspects of bird life. I wondered (and was able to ask) how stressful it was for the birds during the actual ringing process and whether some of the tags we see aren't actually rather cumbersome. It seems that most birds accept the tagging process if it is carried out efficiently and under calm conditions.
As we walked along, we past a small watercourse, heaving with tadpoles, the first ones I had seen this year. It seems ages since we spent a bitterly cold afternoon looking for (and at) frogspawn at Landguard, Felixstowe. What a slow spring it seems to have been.
There were plenty of stands, full of friendly and knowledgeable wildlife people, representing organistions such as the local Wildlife Trusts (Suffolk and Norfolk) and the Hawk and Owl Trust (who monitor the Peregrines on Norwich Cathedral).
|The main marquee, where we chatted to staff from the Marine Conservation Society and other organisations|
Wex Photographic had a large marquee, and we spent a fair bit of time talking cameras and wildlife photography with the staff, who were incredibly helpful. They introduced us to independent wildlife photographer and Wex blogger, Tom Mason, whose photographs of a Waxwing and a flock of Knot were sublime.
There were refreshments of various kinds on offer in and around the Twitchers' Retreat, and there was plenty of time to relax in the sunshine.
There were also book-signings (we missed Bill Oddie) and lectures. We arrived in time for the presentation on the NWT Cley Reserve. David North told about the origins of the Cley reserve and about its precarious history on account of flooding and winter shooting. With the new facilities comes a renewed spirit of optimism, and I, for one, look forward to being out on those unique marshes once again.
So what did I gain from the experience of the Birdfair? Well, apart from a large handful of free (and other) literature, I came away feeling I had a little more wildlife, conservation and photography knowledge under my belt. It had been an enjoyable and informative afternoon in superb surroundings.
- You might also like my Adder post about RSPB Minsmere as the reserve prepares for BBC Springwatch.