WTSWW on summer migration to Rutland Water

Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager for the West

Lizzie Wilberforce, Conservation Manager for the West

Rob Parry, Conservation Manager for the East

Rob Parry, Conservation Manager for the East

WTSWW staff Rob Parry and Lizzie Wilberforce travelled to Rutland Water this August to promote the work of the Trust at the British Birdwatching Fair.

The Fair is jointly organised by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and the RSPB, and is now a huge annual event attracting over 24,000 visitors over the three days of the show. It takes place in late August every year at Rutland Water, with giant marquees hosting everything from displays about overseas birding holidays, to optics sales, charity stands, wildlife art sales, events, lectures and much more.

After noticing in previous years that Wales was spectacularly under-represented, both WTSWW and the Welsh Ornithological Society had stands this year, fortunately on adjacent pitches, so we could proudly fly the flag of birding in Wales. Both stands were busy for the whole three days and we got to talk to hundreds of really interesting people, many of whom were regular visitors to Wales, showing that there’s a great appetite out there for birdwatching holidays in our part of the country.

With an audience of so many thousand bird enthusiasts, promoting the amazing work and visiting opportunities on our seabird islands of Skomer and Skokholm was obviously a high priority for us. We handed out over five hundred leaflets to people interested in visiting Skomer and Skokholm, showing that the opportunity to stay overnight and experience the hundreds of thousands of Manx Shearwaters is an experience that easily competes even with some of the amazing overseas holidays being advertised at the same event. We also had the opportunity to share our ideas and current work on flagship projects like the Parc Slip Lapwing Recovery Project and the Wales Beaver Project. Hanc the stuffed beaver was a great attraction and was a conversation point with many of the visitors to the stand.

Wildlife Trust staff are rarely shrinking violets, but we can honestly say after three days talking non-stop and enthusiastically about the Trust and its work, even we were all talked out! Thank you to those of you who were at the Fair and came to say hello- and we hope to see lots of you there again next year.