Monday, 22 August 2011

The 2011 Birdfair at Rutland

Just back from a long weekend centred round the British Birdwatching fair at Rutland Water.

It was a great weekend that Pam and I spend with Jack, Josh and of course Pete and Nina. Now I am no longer working on a stand all weekend we can spend some of the weekend at Birdfair and the rest doing other things with Nina and the boys, while Pete works on the Birdquest stand. This year we stayed at Lyddington and at the delightful Lyddington B&B.

Not only was the accommodation first class, set in some great grounds but it is situated right next to the Marquess of Exeter, a fine pub with a good restaurant, if a little slow when busy on Saturday night.

I did get a short time to walk round the village, which is one of the most attractive I've seen. Above is Bede House, next to the church and it looks worth a proper visit some time. It is a National Heritage property, so our membership will come in useful.

At the Birdfair, Simon King presided over the British Birds Photographic Awards, and gave his usual enthusiastic appraisal of each of the winners.

For the second year running Pete collected the prize for the best Digiscoped Picture. I must say this is a skill that in the attempts I've made I have completely failed to master.

On the Saturday we had an outing to Barnsdale Gardens. This collection of 38 Gardens was the project of Geoffrey Hamilton, famous for his multitude of TV, Radio and magazine appearances and writings. Each of the gardens shows an individual design for various needs and styles. Jack and Josh found the maze rather to their liking.

A splendid Bronze bust of Geoffrey modelled by his son Chris is in the Memorial Garden. The gardens are now in the safe hands Nick Hamilton, who was on had to answer questions. We met him in the organic vegetable garden, where there were some amazingly large cabbages!

One of the very many stunning arrangements in the gardens.

Ponds always hold a fascination for little boys and it didn't take these two long to find lots of interesting things.
One of the most prised was this Dragonfly exuvia. It is one of the larger hawkers, but I haven't keyed out which one yet.

There were a huge number of Ladybirds around, most were Seven Spot, but this one looks like one of the Harlequin morphs to me.

Walking round the gardens at the B&B the keen eyes of the boys soon found some good things to look at. W saw a Brown Hawker and a few Butterflies, but this bug was a little more unusual. I think it is call Coreus marginatus. The larvae feed on the seeds of plants in the dock family (Polygonaceae).

From be end of the B&B grounds there were good views over the rolling countryside. We saw two Red Kites and later six Common Buzzards were out in the recently cut fields, presumably finding rodents that were out there feeding on the dropped seeds.

A walk from the Osprey Centre did give some distant views of the female of the pair. She was sitting on a post and failed to give us a flying demonstration. Still it was good to know that they had reared three young. Hopefully I'll be seeing them as the migrate over St Margaret's alter in the year. Jack and I also got a fleeting view of a Kingfisher as it left one of the pools in front of a hide where we were told it had been on view.

Overall it was a great week end. Meeting old friends, spending time with the family and catching up on various things going on, not only in the birding world but also in other areas of natural history. As usual the Art Marquee drew me back several times, where the standards of the work exhibited was, as always superb.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Your ladybird is definitely a Harlequin. The brown legs are the diagnostic. (7-spots have black legs.)