Global birdfair finally takes off
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, birdwatching’s favourite jamboree is returning after a three-year absence.
The British Birdwatching Fair received international recognition as the biggest conservation event of its kind, yet there were fears it was heading the same way as the dodo when Covid struck.
After the pandemic saw the 2020 and 2021 fairs cancelled, things looked ominous – would it ever return?
Step forward Tim Appleton who, to use an apt conservation term, is “reintroducing” the annual gathering of the birdwatching clans under the banner of the Global Birdfair.
Tim was the founder of the original British Birdwatching Fair, which was held annually from 1989 at Rutland Water and raised £5million for conservation causes. He has worked ceaselessly to bring back all the favourite attractions that made the original event a must visit on birders’ calendars.
Running through the what’s on list for next week’s three-day Global Birdfair makes exciting reading. Expect lectures and discussion panels involving the movers and shakers of the conservation movement, talks from leading birdwatchers and wildlife filmmakers, an art exhibition and a host of stands displaying all things of interest to birdwatchers, expert or novice.
There will also be strong representation from the nature tourism sector with lots of ideas for travelling around the planet to see birds, mammals and other wildlife in their natural habitats.
Global Birdfair is also supporting a project to restore one of the most important ecological hotspots in Europe.
Spain’s bird-rich Laguna de la Janda, close to the Strait of Gibraltar, was drained in the 1960s for farming, but there are plans to create a 400 hectare nature reserve for common cranes, collared pratincoles and Montagu’s harriers to flourish.
“If you are attending this year’s Global Birdfair you will be contributing to the revival of this emblematic wetland strategically located right in the migration flyway between Europe and Africa,” says Tim.
■■The Global Birdfair takes place at the Rutland Show Ground in Oakham from Friday to next Sunday. For ticket details, see globalbirdfair.org