Excitement all round – Birdfair 2015

For the past few years Birdfair has always been one of the highlights of my year. This year was particularly special after also being given some fantastic opportunities, which was very exciting!

Over the weekend, whenever I was on Twitter, I was seeing lots and lots of comments about Birdfair. Everyone seemed to be enjoying it greatly. That’s one fun aspect of the Birdfair, putting faces to the Twitter handles. Along with meeting new people, and chatting with old friends too. All are like-minded and very friendly. I’d love to name all the fantastic and inspirational people I met over my two days at the Birdfair but there was just too many!

I also thoroughly enjoyed looking around a lot of the marques and learning more about the work of different organisations, charities and so on. On a more serious note, it’s a great place where these orgs can network, join together in raising awareness, promote what they do and get more people involved. There’s always so much to do at the Birdfair, unfortunately I could only make Friday and Saturday so I didn’t get to do everything I planned to, like go out onto the reserve, but it’s top of my list for next year!

I was also taken back by all the excitement, and my nerves, for the two events I was involved with. The Friday evening event was brilliant! If you didn’t see it, myself and Josie Hewitt were compering the evening lecture with Chris Packham, Simon King and Nick Baker. They came out with some brilliant stories, which were very funny and entertaining. This was mixed with the second half consisting of some more serious stuff which was really interesting. Then just when I thought the evening event was all over, myself and Josie were presented with some Zeiss binoculars which was a massive surprise but nevertheless just amazing!

Once back at our digs, I got very little sleep after all the excitement. I was trying to decide if I was more looking forward to going out with my new bins for the first time or nervous for my talk the next day. I think it was a bit of both!

The next morning we went for a walk around and I met with some friends before heading to the Events Marque for my short talk with Chris Packham and two other young birders, Josie Hewitt and Connor Coombes. Josie was up first, she spoke about the great work she does, bird ringing and the science behind it. Then it was Connor who spoke about his photography and how he got into it all. Then I gave my talk which was about some of my campaigning work, getting people involved and involving young people. Then afterwards, Chris spoke and summed it all up.

It was definitely a fantastic experience and one I won’t forget! Plus it was the Birdfair which is always very enjoyable. A big thank you to Tina and Nigel who were backstage and calmed my nerves to some degree. Along with helping us prepare for the event, making it happen and much much more. As well as Chris who was brilliant and involved with giving us the opportunity to talk on Saturday, and the BTO too.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get many photos but I’m told that videos of the events will be put online so when they are I’ll post them!


Day of talking all things wild!

Back in November I gave my first talk at a local school which is a school for autism. After filming the wildlife in the woodland on their school premises over the summer I rounded up all of my best footage and produced a talk for the students. This was very similar to what I did today. Over the last few weeks and months I have been filming all the wildlife in the woodland on the school premises but this time I focused on species which are more active in the Spring and around the feeding station.

At the school they love the wildlife they have in the woodland. They have special lessons when the students will go out and do a variety of activities whilst being surrounded by nature and observing the wildlife around them. I’ve been told many times in the past that these kids are very tense and suffer from other illnesses like depression but when they’re out in the woods they immediately start to feel more relaxed and chilled out. This is very important for those children and it’s obvious by all of the photos I’ve seen and how they reacted to my talk that they love animals. This is mainly due to the regular lesson of going outside and the enthusiasm of some of the teachers. It makes me wonder the impact this could have on mainstream schools, undoubtedly it could be extremely beneficial.

In my talk, first of all I went through all of the birds that we filmed at the feeding station and some others which may also be found there. Then I went onto other day time visitors like the squirrels before going onto the visitors at night. With the trail cameras we were very lucky to film foxes and badgers in the woodland here which was really fantastic and really great to show the students. Overall it was a really lovely day and I really enjoyed myself. I look forward to perhaps doing another day of talks there in the future.school


I would also like to share some exciting news about a photography competition I won a few weeks back. Here’s the article in my local newspaper about it  – http://www.lichfieldmercury.co.uk/Young-Friary-photographers-impress-camera-skills/story-26642578-detail/story.html

A day of talking all things mammal!

Earlier this year I was asked to give a day of talks at a school for autism. Throughout the Summer and early Autumn I went along to the school grounds to film the wildlife they have in their forest with my trail cameras. The forest at the school is used regularly by the students where they do a variety of different outdoor activities. In the forest we managed to film lots of foxes, rabbits and squirrels along with the odd pheasant and jay.

When I gave the talk I included all the footage I had filmed at the school along with my own footage and photos. The talks were back to back all day, with breaks in between, and each lasted for around 25 minutes. Throughout I spoke about different mammals which would be present in the UK, and on the school grounds. I spoke about many different mammals from hedgehogs and squirrels to otters and badgers. The ages ranged from around 9 to 18 and it was great to share all my footage and show them what was going on outside their class rooms when no ones there. Plus talking about wildlife for the day was defiantly better then a day at school!

They were all a great audience and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!