Back in January, Tim Appleton and Penny Robinson the Global Birdfair founders, looked at each other across the table (and no doubt a bottle of red) and asked, ‘Shall we? Or shan’t we?’ Happily the answer to that question was ‘We shall!’ The result was another magnificent Global Bird Fair, which Wader Quest attended.
The weather did it’s best to, literally, dampen our spirits, but the nature of the event is such that, during the three days, there is a constant round of bumping into people you only see at Birdfair these days from your past. Add to that many more recent friends and some people with whom you have had dealings, and of course many, many more new faces to meet and greet. The result is that there is never a dull moment and it is such a joyous occasion that the odd downpour largely goes unnoticed, with most just shrugging it off.
For Rick and Elis Simpson, who attended all three days, the joy was enhanced by the presence on Saturday of Phil and Karen Hadley who had come along to volunteer on the stand. On Sunday they were joined by Ray Heaton a Trustee of the charity. New Trustee John Beaumont and his wife Gislaine, also stopped at the stand during their independent visit to the event, this being the first time they had met any other Trustees in person. The large Wader Quest logo you can see in the stand picture was new this year and was generously supplied by Opticron and greatly enhanced the visibility of the stand from along the marquee.
Despite the weather it was another great year for Wader Quest at the event. Increased revenue, some sign-ups and renewals and some very generous donations; thus fulfilling our two charitable aims – raising awareness and raising funds.
Among the many old friends we saw Mary Colwell, champion of all things Curlew Conservation, who came to pay us a visit and fittingly posed for a selfie under the ‘rusty Curlew’. Before you think we have invented a new species of Curlew, these fantastic steel wader cut-outs are designed to rust in your garden and produced by Red Dragon Metal Art who generously allow us a commission on all sales. They proved popular among visitors to the stand as did our four new wader pin badges; Common Snipe, American Avocet, Grey Phalarope and Killdeer. The 2023 Friends of Wader Quest members’ badge was also available for the first time.
Rick gave successful talk that was, by all accounts well received, on Saturday entitled Waders; Myths, Legends and Faux Pas. It covered myths such as the Egyptian Plover cleaning the teeth of crocodiles, Woodcocks flying to the moon and Goldcrests piloting migrating Woodcocks. Legends covered were Moonbird the Red Knot and E7 the Bar-tailed Godwit for their incredible feats of migration. Faux pas mentioned were Cox’s and Cooper’s Sandpipers, Red-kneed Dotterel and Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis, and offered an alternative to the accepted meaning of the genus name Numenius. Naturally he also managed to get in the collective noun for waders in flight, that being ‘an inspiration of waders‘.
All in all, another brilliant Birdfair, so our grateful thanks go to Tim and Penny for all their hard work and dedication and also and perhaps especially, to the many volunteers who braved the weather to keep us safe and well cared for over the weekend.