All The Fun Of The Bird Fair Rutland Water August 2019

If just one photograph can sum up an event maybe this is it!

The Bird Fair, an annual event held in a field by Rutland Water in central England where all things bird and birdwatching come together. How best to describe Bird Fair? It is often called a trade fair but it is so much more than that. For me the Bird Fair is a meeting place for thousands of like-minded people from all over the world. A chance to be inspired, to learn and to laugh a lot, to catch up with old friends and make new ones. So lovely to meet up with so many people all passionate about birds, wildlife and conservation and feel part of something. Often it is so easy to be dragged down by doom and gloom, so many horror stories about wildlife, witness the recent beautiful male Hen Harrier its legs smashed in a trap on a Driven Grouse Moor or the magnificent Golden Eagle with a similar evil trap attached to its leg to die a slow death also on a Driven Grouse Moor. Climate chaos and the resulting damage to our one planet that we are all part of. It can be depressing. But once a year come to Bird Fair and stand shoulder to shoulder with thousands of folks, just like you, that want to change our planet for the better. Feel part of something positive, be part of something positive. Listen to wildlife hero’s such as Chris Packham standing up for wildlife with facts, science and the law backing him, makes your heart beat faster! We can win, we will win, if enough good people stand up and be part of the change. We can’t all make impassioned speeches at Bird Fair but we can all make a difference, get involved, stand up for our wildlife in all ways possible.

These days we stay in the lovely market town of Uppingham, south of Rutland Water, at the Lake Isle Hotel where we are always assured a warm welcome. The breakfasts at the Lake Isle are really good and set us up for a long day at Bird Fair. This year we also ate our first evening meal at the hotel, joined by a lovely group of friends and again the food was really good. We always used to stay in Oakham, just north of Rutland Water, but one Thursday evening before Bird Fair we arrived at the hotel and no answer at the door, strange. We knocked again nothing, tried the door locked, looked in the window, no furniture! They had gone bust! Not ideal the night before the busiest weekend of the year for hotels in the whole area. Luckily we found beds for the next three nights but far from ideal! Especially the last night which was in a “room” so tiny only one person could stand at a time and even then not upright! The shower was directly over the loo in what was basically a cupboard off the tiny bedroom. Thankfully the following year we found the Lake Isle and have stayed there ever since.

It was really great to see such a variety of folks all enjoying the Bird Fair and particularly inspiring to see so many young people, there is hope. There are lots of events running throughout each of the three days of the fair and I really do believe there is something for everyone who has an interest in birds and wildlife. The talks are always worth checking out, so much variety and so many great speakers to listen to. Everything from planning your next birdwatching holiday, where to find great cake, dragonflies, badgers, rainforests, and vultures, bats, you name it there is likely to be a talk about it at Bird Fair. But much more than talks, you watch a ringing demo by the British Trust for Ornithology and learn so much, join one of the many guided walks and see birds at bird fair. Or if you prefer a more gentle approach take a guided boat trip out on Rutland Water to see the Ospreys that breed here.

Another wonderful thing about Bird Fair is the Art Marquee where beware, it can be wonderfully expensive in there! An amazing array of bird and wildlife art await you and it is jaw dropping to wander around the stands admiring the superb work on show, mostly paintings but sculptures too and it would be very easy to spend every penny you have here. This year temptation got the better of Ruth and she swooned over Chris Rose’s work, Chris is an amazing bird artist and produces birds in landscape paintings which we really love. We were lucky to get to know Chris, and his lovely partner, a few years ago while we were all working at The Grant Arms Hotel, Speyside, Scotland so of course his work is even more appreciated now. While at the hotel we joined an enthralled audience to watch Chris paint a winter scene of a Crested Tit in a Caledonian pine forest, it was a spell-binding hour and the finished picture was just beautiful. The painting was auctioned for charity, the RSPB, but we were out bid by a certain Scotsman – David Slator – so it went to a very good home. But having been so close we had unfinished business and Ruth just had to have some of Chris’s art, and now we have!

This year we had a wonderful few days before Bird Fair sharing North Wales with five lovely friends from Costa Rica and very glad to report they loved it! They stayed at the wonderful Stella House B&B close to where we live in Llandudno, so easy to pick them up each morning. We spent the first day with them on Anglesey and they really enjoyed the spectacular sea-cliffs of RSPB South Stack where we enjoyed lovely views of Chough. Gannets were offshore here and Manx Shearwaters were also passing the lighthouse. Later at Malltraeth we were lucky enough to watch a Kingfisher always a thrill to share with our guests. In the nearby forest we watched two red squirrels before heading back to Llandudno for a lovely dinner together. We also took our Costa Ricans over to the Dee Estuary and RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands where we enjoyed so many birds. Black-tailed Godwits were massed on the lagoon in front of the reception hide and amongst them Avocets, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Green Sandpiper and more. At nearby Burton Marsh we were very lucky indeed seeing a Marsh Harrier and a Merlin. They also loved the mountains of Snowdonia where more Chough showed off and we watched Wheatears and Redstart. Down on the coast we had super views of a second Kingfisher, ten Greenshank, and a record count of 82 Common Eider and a Dipper. We enjoyed well over 100 species of birds with the Costa Ricans, enjoyed beautiful scenery, great food, castles, shopping and most importantly a lot of fun!

On the Sunday afternoon we spent time on the Grant Arms Hotel stand and chatted to lots of lovely people. The Grant Arms is a wonderful hotel and we love taking our Birdwatching Trips groups there where the welcome is always warm, the food wonderful and the wildlife nearby fantastic! This Christmas and New Year we will be part of the hotels wildlife team helping guests make the most of their time in the Highlands of Scotland. We will be leading guided walks, showing guests wildlife, giving talks and keeping the recent sighting board up-dated. Of course we will also be around in the bar in the evenings to chat and answer guest’s questions. We would love to see you there to sharing the Scottish wildlife with. Golden Eagles in the remote glens, Crested Tits in the pine forests, Dipper in the streams, flocks of Eiders and Scoters on the sea, Purple Sandpipers on the rocky shores, bottle-nosed dolphins in the sea just a few of the so many highlights on offer. There are many ways to reach the Grant Arms, you can drive, take the train or fly, once there a car sharing scheme allows you to reach all the wildlife locations and enjoy it all.

The Bird Fair brings together so many wonderful people in one place to celebrate all things birds and wildlife! We had so many laughs our sides were aching and tears rolling down our faces.

And just to prove the point here is our great friend Stuart having a right laugh at the Viking Optics stand. The Bird Fair allows you to try a huge range of optics before you buy, of course it is always a good idea to support your local optics dealer where possible and keep them there for when you need them. We are very lucky to have Focal Point Optics not far away in Cheshire where you are assured a warm welcome and first class customer service.

It is not just birds at Bird Fair! A lion pops in to see artist Chris Rose's stand.

That lion got around here he is at the Tropical Birding stand with Amy.

Always lovely to see Maria on the Country Innovation stand and a bonus Nick Baker!

Loving my new T shirt from Beryl and Alan Turner thanks so much!

This amazing painting was being done by street artist "ATM" on the Leica Optics stand.

And here is the finished Spoon-billed Sandpiper by "ATM" love it!

Our great friends on the Tropical Birding stand all ready for Bird Fair.

Our lovely group for our Leica Guided Walk on Friday in the rain!

And our lovely group for the Saturday guided walk in the sunshine!

Watching birds at Bird Fair, and there are plenty to see here!

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips here in the UK and across the globe. Small groups, lots of birds and great fun and the best customer care. Please see our Tours pages or email here for more details or if you have any questions...

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds and wildlife with you soon!

Contact us

* * *



Our Tweets

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. See our Cookie Policy for further details on how to block cookies.
I am happy with this


What is a Cookie

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past, which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site months or years ago.

NOTE : It does not know who you are or look at any of your personal files on your computer.

Why we use them

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, your computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our website so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them

Learn how to remove cookies set on your device

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using our site :

First party cookies

These are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site.

We use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Third party cookies

These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them.

We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

Log files

Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. The CMS puts together log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information about you. If you receive the HTML-formatted version of a newsletter, your opening of the newsletter email is notified to us and saved. Your clicks on links in the newsletter are also saved. These and the open statistics are used in aggregate form to give us an indication of the popularity of the content and to help us make decisions about future content and formatting.