Sunday, 19 August 2012

Birdfair 2012

Having just returned from a family holiday in Cornwall during which most of the time was spent on one of the many wonderful beaches relaxing but with also one eye on the bird news hoping something of interest might show up; sadly Cornwall failed to deliver this time - the sea was quiet (southerly winds - not good) and the land was equally as quiet with Aquatic Warbler and Spotted Crake at Marizon marsh the best of the birds - both of which I dipped! The returning car journey home took a mind numbing 8hrs and so the thought of jumping in the car again the following day for another couple hours on the road to attend the Birdfair at Rutland didn't initially fill me with excitement - but I'm glad I made the effort!

There were two particular products I was keen to have a look at; firstly Swarovski's new ATX/STX module scopes with interchangeable eyepieces and objective lens, I was particularly interested in the 30-70x95 model. My first impressions were all very good and I was hugely impressed when zooming up to x70 with very little degradation in quality which usually happens when zooming up to a high magnification (probably helped by the whopping 95mm objective lens). These new scopes don't come cheap with little change from £3k at the top end! But I can see many a birder upgrading from the current ATS/STS range in the future, as these will surely become one of 2013 must have items - continuing to keep Swarovski as the current market leader for birding optics!

Dear father christmas!

The other product I was interested in having a look at was MeoPix iPhone adapter - this has been available in the U.S for a while now but it's the first time I've seen this in the UK. As you can see from the picture below it's simply an adaptor for your scope to enable anyone with an iPhone to take great images quick, simply and with no fuss, by just pushing the adapter over the scopes lens (iScoping is the new term). This too didn't disappoint with images worthy of any blog and with a retail price of around £60 much more affordable for most people. I'm told this product should be available from a UK distributor this autumn, another popular Christmas present this year I think!

Who needs giant Canon lens!

I couldn't not stop by the Leica stand and although there was nothing new in the optics range on show, one of the Leica technicians was more than happy to give my bins a much needed clean and polish - you always receive a first class service from our German friends.

A bit of spit and polish sir!

Obviously the Birdfair conjures up the usual bird/wildlife TV personalities keen to promote their latest book or their sponsor's product and this year didn't disappoint and I managed to tick the following peeps on the day.

Simon King
Bill Oddie
David Lindo
Nick Baker
Mike Dilger
Jonathan Scott

Mr King selling the virtues of Zeiss bins

Bill Oddie not selling but buying

The 'One Shows' Mr Dilger autograph signing

Mr Scott - this man wears a 'tasche' well

And finally no visit to the Birdfair would be complete without a visit to the catering marquee (beer tent) to sample a fine ale or two from the Langton brewery - especially as temperatures on the day were hitting the mid-eighties, making the Birdfair Bitter go down very well!

My favourite stand on the day

A Birdfair favourite
As another hugely successful Birdfair draws to a close and with the increasing popularity of Bird and Wildlife watching, this annual event goes from strength to strength with now over 350 stands and exhibitors on show. Next years 25th anniversary (16-18 August) is surely going to be a big event, which is a milestone worth celebrating with another beer or two - see you all next year!

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