Saturday, 30 August 2014

Hooded Plover Appeal target met!

Yesterday was an excelent day in two ways.

The first was an ad hoc (in the sense that it was arranged the day before) talk to around 40 Danish children aged between 11 and 15 at Ringsted Ny Friskole (Ringsted New Freeschool). The level of English in these youngsters is very impressive, which is just as well as my Danish is rather less so! I really enjoyed speaking to them and hope that they took something away from the experience themselves; perhaps being just a little bit more aware about waders and their challenges in this world?

The talk.
The second great thing to happen was a donation from Astrid Kant of The Netherlands whom we met at the Dutch Bird Fair with her husband Ronald Messemaker. She looked at the website, saw by how much we were short of our target and then donated that amount, which meant that we reached our target of £1,000 for the Hooded Plovers!

Astrid Kant with a three week old Black-tailed Godwit chick.
Astrid is a wader person too, she coined the name 'waderologist' which we have rather taken to. She wrote a book about the Black-tailed Godwits she has studied, unfortunately for the rest of the world the book is written in Dutch and not available in any other language. Her studies have explored the breeding biology of the godwits and their behaviour and preferences which has helped to encourage farmers to be more godwit friendly in their methods.
Astrid's book about 'meadow birds' what we would call waders.
So it was then that with two big donations from our presence at the Dutch Bird Fair we have done what we set out to do, raise £1,000 for the BirdLife Australia's beach nesting birds programme. However we intend to continue to raise money for the Hooded Plover appeal until we get back from our European sojourn when we hope to be able to add the money we have raised at the birding events.

Hooded Plover Appeal target successfully reached

It is very satisfying to have two projects under the belt that have successfully reached their target on time, and so we must thank all out supporters once again, both in the UK and around the world, who have believed in us and made this happen. A big THANK YOU to you all!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Dutch Bird Fair - Day 2

Contrary to expectations, today was slower than yesterday, The weather was better, although it rained a bit in the morning, and there were more people through the gate, but interest in our stand was slower than yesterday with us taking about half of yesterday's total. Nevertheless it was a pleasant day and we met some interesting people, not least among them Gerrit Gerritson of the Dutch wader ringing group. He told us some interesting facts about Dutch waders and their link to cheese, which we hope he'll put into a guest blog some time in the future.

The stand. Today we risked the table cloths as rain was not forcast.

We arrived very early and got set up with time to spare.

The stand ready and waiting for the visitors.

So, a little walk gave us a better idea of the surroundings of the fair itself with a large lake at the back which the optics stands overlooked. Just before the fair opened a White-tailed Eagle flew over but didn't linger long.

The lake from a hide.

It was good to see our friends Roy and Anja of the Agami Photo Agency for the last time, they had to leave the fair early to go to the Ajax game in Amsterdam!

Anja and Roy on the Agami stand.

There were some large camera shaped frames which were supposed to give the impression of lookin at the screen of the camera, very effective...

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until some buffoon mucks it up by stepping out of it!

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Off to Denmark tomorrow for a rest and some fun with friends from Brazil (and Denmark of course).

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Dutch Bird Fair - Day One

Packing the car we realised we had overdone it. Three large suitcases and all the stuff for the bird fair just didn’t fit. So two cases were returned to the house and part of each, our clothes and scarves to sell, we decanted into one.

The predominant feature of the journey to Dover was a constant stream of roadworks, but, despite this and including the M20 being shut around Maidstone, we arrived in time to get an earlier ferry than we had booked. No sooner had we arrived than we were off. The ferry looked like a refugee boat with people sleeping wherever they could find a flat surface, mostly the floor, but a few early and lucky people found padded benches upon which they could spread out.

Arriving on the continent we faced a long drive to the Netherlands. On this journey Elis's job was to keep me awake. As we left Dunkerque docks she fell asleep, and, despite stirring several times when I stopped to stretch my legs, she awoke in earnest as we arrived at our destination in Flevoland several hours later. We checked into our digs and it was then that we realised the carefully repacked suitcase replete with a good quantity of our clothes and a goodly proportion of our stock was languishing on our bed at home!

The A6 in Flevoland after a shower.

Never daunted we proceeded to the show ground, a procedure which was more complicated than it should have been due to some highly questionable directions for the hotel staff. It was raining and the wind was getting up. We found our pitch for the weekend; a stall with the cover still rolled up on the table, in the open air no cosy marquee for the hardy Dutch. Clearly we could not leave our goods there overnight, so we placed the cover over the top of the stall in the hope that it would keep it dry overnight and went back to the hotel and to sleep; perchance to dream.

The stand!

The first day of the fair was punctuated with short sharp showers with thunder mixed in but it did not seem to dampen the spirit of the visitors and we had a great day.

Early morning on our way to the fair.

One of the highlights was meeting Anne Keijser who came to the stand having tweeted us yesterday telling us she would do so to make a donation for the Hooded Plovers. This she did and it was very generous too speeding us inexorably towards our target.

Anne Keijser at the stand presenting her generous donation for the Hooded Plovers holding her Hoody Pin.

Whilst not as big as the British Bird Fair, the spirit is much the same and we had many interesting conversations on a variety of topics, mostly about waders of course.

A part of the fair; our stand on the right.

The stand looks a bit bare with half the stuff missing!