Sunday, 19 August 2012

Birdfair: Rutland Water

Today we are off on our annual trip to the Birdfair at Rutland Water.
Leaving at 6am and with the Birdfair not opening until 9am it gives us ample time to drive to Gamlingay  in Cambridge and scan the ploughed fields for any sign of the Dotterel that was reported for most of the previous day.
Unfortunately after an hour or so of scanning there is no sign of the bird, So it's off to Rutland.
Reed Warbler
Pulling in to the red car park just before 9am, we join the queue waiting to enter the fair. We choose the credit card line as it's much shorter and turns out to be a good move as we are quickly getting our tickets and having them scanned.
First stop is the BTO bird ringing tent, and even this early it draws the crowds.
Normally it's common birds that are pulled from the bags, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin. Today there are also Chiffchaff and Reed Warblers being caught. (last year saw a Nightingale ringed during one of the ringing sessions). It's fascinating to see these birds up close.
The tiny Chiffchaff weighing 4.6 grams on the scales is ringed and released. Next bird through the ringing process is a Reed Warbler. To think some of these birds being ringed today will shortly be making their way to Africa.

Next stop is the telescope and binocular stands. I make my way to the Swarovski stand and check out the new ATX 95 scope. It's an impressive piece of kit.
I like the new positioning of the zoom ring alongside the focusing wheel and I'm impressed with the new SLR camera adapter.
While testing the scope out Brian picks up an Osprey flying back towards the nest carrying a fish, It's quite distant but through the new scope it's very bright and sharp.
If you wanted to use the new camera adapter on the ATM 80HD (my current scope) you can but you would be unable to see the zoom degrees on the zoom wheel, as the collar of the adapter fits over this.

A part of dad's day at the Birdfair is celeb spotting, and he's quick to spot Jonathan Scott and Mike Dilger near the Swarovski tents.
By the end of the day he's either seen, spoken or had his photo taken with quite a few. The list includes Bill Oddie, Johnny Kingdom, Charlie Hamilton James and Mark Carwardine.

It's getting seriously hot inside the marques now so there's only one place to head for in these circumstances and that's the beer tent and some liquid refreshment at the food court.

By 3pm we have managed to check out every marque at the show, seen some great new products, some fantastic sculptures, paintings and photographs. The ability of these people to produce this level of artwork is amazing to see.

It's been another great day and there's still time to have a drive round to a nearby bridge for a quick look at the nesting Ospreys. There's two birds on show when we arrive.  Both are perched close to the nest site and give great views through the scope.

Stopping here also makes the long walk to the hide from the visitor centre unnecessary as the views are just as close from the bridge.
A drive round the outer edges of the reservoir trying to locate any Black Terns proves fruitless but we see even more of the site than we normally would, and it's packed with people enjoying the weekend sunshine.


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