It was my first visit to this annual event. It’s been going for almost 30 years. I’ve known about it for some time but have always been away on holiday when it’s on, so this first visit was looked forward to with great anticipation.
Would it live up to my expectations? Would it be as good as it promised to be?
It did, it was. It by far exceeded in both respects with more besides.
I went for one day – the first day – as a taster experience. Next time I’ll go for longer and use the camping field to stay over to have greater access to the large number of talks on offer.
Initial thoughts and responses in no particular order:
- organisation excellent – friendly welcome – dedicated volunteers and a great atmosphere created (reminded me of atmosphere at London Olympics 2012)
- initially a bit bewildering as so much to see, so many marquees – some orientation needed using plan in programme
- choice of talks/speakers huge – needed to be selective, get into queue early for most popular talks (but then most of them seemed to be well-attended – sign of high quality speakers/presenters)
- technology used in presentations professionally smooth – it all worked, no hitches and glitches – all too often in PA situations something goes wrong! Excellent all round at everything I went to
- greater appreciation of the variety of UK birds we have either as resident or migratory – Orkney and Shetland call…!
- overwhelming choice of stands to browse – so many holidays and guided tours on offer – lots of grey heads around looking at them – grey panther spending power out in force!
- helpful, friendly stall holders all happy to share/indulge their passion for the area or country they were representing
- important for me that I found the stands for organisations I’m interested in – protecting Hen Harriers, fighting wildlife crime – and was able to make contact with like-minded others
- discovered there’s a nature reserve in the very part of France I’ll be visiting soon – and enjoyed the entertaining bird call impersonations being made by one of the French stall holders
- oh yes – new, small, lightweight binoculars bought!
Pretty good for a taster visit; back next year for longer!
Image: Female Hen Harrier alarming at nest site – Kositoes, Wikimedia Commons