Champions of the Flyway!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Birdfair 2016

Well, that was fun. Amity and I are just back from this year's Birdfair, and what a blast it was, on every level. We were there to represent Yorkshire Coast Nature, our local wildlife tour company out here on (you guessed it) the Yorkshire coast, with company directors, close friends and all-round top geezers Rich and Steve.

It's been a real pleasure to be involved with YCN since its inception a few years ago, and it's hard to imagine more lovely people to work with; long may it continue to prosper, and I'd recommend the tours and workshops to anyone.... (and we won 2nd prize for best tourism stand - quite an accolade with so much quality competition!).

With the boys working it hard on the stand, we had plenty of opportunity to explore, although any good intentions to catch lectures during the day went out of the window - with so many people to talk to, it could take an hour or more to make it out of one tent and into the next. But we made it around most of the stands and around most of the site eventually, and it was better than ever.

Come Friday afternoon and it was time to deliver my lecture - a quickfire, super-distilled, bespoke Birdfair version of my (typically 90-minute-plus) 'Filey International - Arrivals and Departures at North Yorkshire's Bird Observatory' talk. As anyone familar with Birdfair knows, there's an overwhelmingly international bias to the lectures, and the vast majority involve far flung and exotic places - and so to be representing not only a British location but a small Yorkshire bird observatory was a real privilege. Better still, it was a full house, and a great audience - plenty of whom tracked me down afterwards with some lovely feedback.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Birdfair is indeed the people - re-acquainting with old friends and colleagues, connecting in the real world with virtual brethren, and making new friends from often unexpected places. I'm not always great with crowds - especially not for three solid days - and have a habit of zoning out periodically when immersed in such environs (and so apologies if you were a victim of such a wide-eyed blackout), but for the most of the time I think I managed to pay attention... I did consider an attempt at roll-calling all those who made it such a great weekend, but soon realised they really were too many, and all I'd achieve would be the accidental omission of various lovely people - so I'll just have to pull the old 'you know who you are' chestnut out of the fire. You know who are.

Special mention must however go to our dear friends the Perlmans - Yoav, Adva, Noam, Uri and Libby feel like family these days (and were also the bargaining chip that ultimately persuaded Amity to pull the many strings to be there!), which is all thanks to a much-missed mutual friend of ours, a certain Mr Garner. Yoav (and Keith and Paul) did Martin proud at the RSPB Friday evening lecture dedicated to him, and there was inevitably and hearteningly an awful lot of love and respect in the room. Maybe we can work on a more permanent event or suchlike to honour our friend? We'll see.

So - thanks to everyone who made it such a blast, to Tim for being the perfect host, and to the awesome Tina for going the extra mile. Here's to next year!