23 August 2013

Birdfair 2013 - the worlds greatest gathering of birders

We just came back to Varanger, Arctic Norway, after a weekend visit to England and the amazing Rutland Birdfair. Birds migrate worldwide to wherever there is suitable habitat. It seems birders migrate too, and Rutland is the birder site of choice. Some 25 000 birders and nature enthusiasts from all over the world have been recorded in this little village two hours north of London. It should be included in a list of wonders of the wild world, as a migration phenomenon not to be missed. Birders are preferably found behind a pair of binoculars at some nature reserve or some other wild place. At Birdfair you will find birders admiring fine optics, possible adventures, great birding destinations or exciting conservation projects. In addition it is situated next to a spectacular nature reserve, the Rutland Water, so you may see a bird or two as well. The Rutland BirdFair is an amazing blend of bird and nature conservation and business. Whenever I meet people in Varanger or elsewhere that doubt the size and impact of the birding world, I tell them about Birdfair. It is grand!

Birding is big. An aerial over the Rutland Birdfair site on Sunday evening after the crowds have left the area. This is a temporary town for birders and nature enthusiasts.

Great people at a great event!

Birds and people

 For 25 years birders have migrated to Rutland, in ever increasing numbers. For many good reasons: the many inspiring talks, the wide variety of stands, and the sharing of information. The past few days we have seen many great blogposts online about this years Birdfair experience. Surely there are as many Birdfair stories as there is people at the event. 
Birdfair is all about meeting people and sharing stories, ideas and making new things happen. As expected I did not manage to meet everyone I was hoping to meet, but with 1000s of birders flying around I am very glad to have met so many old friends. I did make a few new ones too. Check out our take on the Birdfair adventure in this little video. An eight minute fast-forward version of Birdfair, recorded with a small GoPro camera.

GoPro "docu" an 8 min take on Birdfair 2013

Birdfair on Thursday vs Birdfair on Friday. People arrive in massive numbers to celebrate birds, wildlife and nature - and the culture around it. 

Biotope presents Varanger

We are very gratefull for the opportunity the Birdfair organisers have given us. For us at Biotope this was an amazing experience. It was only our second ever visit, and this year we had a stand too, where we presented our destination of choice - Varanger! For several years we have engaged as birders and architects in the local communities in Varanger, making bird hides, wind shelters, a bird festival and much more pro nature destination development niceness. In Varanger birds and birding have made a big difference. For many years Varanger have been a well known destination for birders, but it is only during the past few years that this have been appreciated, and positively engaged with by people in Varanger. Our aim is to bring something new to the world of birding, by engaging as birders and architects. We now have several projects in progress beyond Varanger and even Norway, but Varanger will allways be our birder home. If you need a birder architect feel free to ask us - like birds we do not care much about borders. We are here to make a difference for both birds, birders and nature enthusiasts.

The ´Biotope presents Varanger´ stand after a few hours of building. Grand thanks to Mr & Mrs Garbett for amazing assistanse! You are great. 

As architects we aim to engage with, and collaborate with people. As birders we want to make sure whatever we do is good for birds too. In Varanger we have been fortunate to work with a wide range of very cool people. From local guesthouses, like the Ekkerøy Feriehus (present at first day of Birdfair with Trond Magne on our stand) to the veterans in Varanger like Vardø Hotel (supporting Gullfest and generally being great people!). There are too many good people in our region to go through in this post, but please do explore our website for more Varanger birds and people stories. We would however like to take this opportunity to thank our great partners in pro nature destination development in Varanger, for supporting our presence at Birdfair: Big thanks to Innovation Norway, Finnmark Fylkeskommune, Nordnorsk Reiseliv, Destination Varanger and Berlevåg kommune. 

In addition to the Biotope office (Tormod Amundsen, Elin Taranger & Alonza Garbett) we had a couple of good friends from Varanger joining us at Birdfair: Ørjan Hansen aka Mr. King Eider from the wonderful fishing village Båtsfjord. He is the man to contact if super close encounters of arctic sea ducks is on the wish list. His story of a fisherman gone bird guide and bird photo hide owner is proof of a Varanger in good progress. The same goes for our friend Frode Fjerdingøy, the owner of Vadsø Fjordhotell. Reopening an abandonned hotel in rural, arctic Norway is not a task anyone will jump at. Frode and his wife did, and by catering - an caring- for birders they have already established themselves as a birders base camp in Varanger. Birds make a difference in Varanger. No wonder why: some sights are simply breathtaking. Like the King Eider vortex

Pushing the Boundaries Talks - Reloaded

A heartfelt and warm thank you to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), for inviting myself and Martin Garner to give a talk at the opening day of Birdfair. It is an honour to be asked to do this. It was great to see a full Events Marquee. Judging by all the feedback after our talks, it seems we may have added even more inspiration to an already superb event. Thanks to everyone who showed up for our talks! Thank you Birdfair and thank you RSPB, especially Mark Thomas for the initiative. Also a big thanks to RSPBs main men Mike Clarke and Stuart Housden for kind words before and after our talks. Check out our previous article about Minsmere, outlining some of the amazing work of RSPB, and follow the RSPBs keenest birders on twitter @RSPBbirders

Rutland Birdfair & water from a birds perspective.

As Birdfair closed on Sunday we finally found some time to take our Quadcopter for a round of aerial photography: Rutland water is a man made habitat. The Birdfair itself is a force of nature!

Read more about this very cool reserve and the making of it on www.rutlandwater.org.uk 

Rutland Birdfair is the birding worlds favourite meeting place. Its neighbour the little village of Egleton is dwarfed by the size of Birdfair. A grand thanks to people of Egleton for welcoming the hordes of binocular-wearing people. 

Egleton, next to the Birdfair. It is like the definition of british countryside niceness. Surely this is where both Postman Pat and Shaun the Sheep lives.

Aerial panorama over Birdfair and Rutland water, after the crowd have left. This is home to the most amazing birding event in the world. Congratulations and big thanks to the Birdfair organisers Tim Appelton and Martin Davies, their brilliant co-workers (Carole, Tina, Ann and collegues), the volunteers and all the makers of this event. We cant wait to come back to another great Birdfair! Thank you! 

Best wishes from architect & birder

Tormod A. / Biotope

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