Sorry for the long delay in posting a blog about Rutland. I usually like to do these things as they happen, but with a very dodgy Internet connection at the accommodation we were staying at, it was impossible. Also, I sadly had my Panasonic Lumix stolen from my stand whilst at the show and it had all the images I had taken of the show build-up and preparation on it. This little camera was always in my pocket and I use it for all my blogging. It had loads of images not yet uploaded, so I was very sad to lose it and its contents. Sadly, I think some people had realised that Birdfair is full of wonderful trusting wildlife folks and an awful lot of expensive kit and they made the most of it as there were a number of thefts over the weekend. I would like to say a big thank you to Bushnell though, who have replaced my camera, so I now have another Lumix in my pocket for blogging!
Despite that little ‘hiccup’, Birdfair was just wonderful! This event is very special as it brings together a group of people who are very passionate about wildlife. For those who have never been, I would recommend that you do! Many use it as a yearly meeting point, to catch up with old wildlife mates and to meet new ones! The show is set in the lovely Rutland Water and hosts a plethora of stands from top end optics, to hand-made bird boxes… something for every wildlife enthusiast!
This year, I was part of the Bushnell stand. I work as a consultant for Bushnell and have become more involved with the development of the new range of trail cameras….. the Bushnell NatureViews. Anyone who follows me will know that I use these trail cameras a lot and their new close-up lenses have been fantastic, enabling wonderful remote captures of birds and mammals at my feeding stations. This year, I played a big part in the design of the Bushnell stand in the Optics Marquee. You can read more about this on my website HERE. Using some of the materials I had used in Gardeners’ World Live, I created a stand that aimed to mimic a garden. I felt it was important to see the NatureViews in context; set up on a feeder, a bird table or a waterhole so that people could appreciate the versatility of the kit and to show them how easy trail cameras are to use!
Working with a great team from Bushnell, the show was a roaring success, with SO many people coming to talk to us, find out more about the trail cameras and the other kit that Bushnell produce and to buy! We actually sold completely out of the new Natureviews and had to take orders as there was so much interest, which is brilliant! We also welcomed Darin, all the way from the States for his first experience of a British Show… what a show for him to start off with. The countryside around Rutland is somewhat different to his homeland in Kansas!
I was able to catch up with lots of friends, old and new and chat with the likes of Nick Baker, Charlie Hamilton James and Jonathan and Angie Scott. There are lots of new projects in the pipeline, which I will tell you more about in the coming months as they take shape! There are loads of great talks going on during the weekend, but I only managed to escape to Charlie’s… an inspirational one about his work with the River otters in Peru! Wow!
To top a fantastic weekend, we also won 2nd prize in the Best Stand Competition, pipped to the post by Swarovski Optiks, who had a series of stunning silver birch tree trunks in their marquee as part of their stand, from what I can remember, making you feel as if you were in a woodland! We were, of course, thrilled!
Sunday evening came all too quickly and it was pack-up time. I managed to cram an amazing amount into my trusty Zafira and it was time to head home.
I have spent the week following up on exciting leads and sending emails and talking on the phone to all sorts of great people. I am already looking forward to next year’s Birdfair and beginning to think how I can design a stand that will win 1st prize!! Thanks to the great team at Bushnell who made it such a fun weekend and to all of the people who I spoke to over the three days!