Well, I guess the title spells it out! On Saturday morning I headed north to to the Rutland Bird Fair. I departed Woking at about 06:15 am and arrived at the fair at about 08:45 am; 134 miles. En-route I picked up two year birds: Hobby, seen over the M25 motorway and Rook just outside the Bird Fair. There was a good turn out of people, not sure how many but 'shed loads' would be appropriate.
|Paul and Rose fitting my Scopac|
Though it would have been nice to have spent much more money, and I was tempted, I restrained my urges and bought two t-shirts, a Scopac tripod carrier and a book. The book is Tales of a Low-Rent Birder by Pete Dunne. A great book and what made it better was Pete Dunne was there and I got to meet him! I have already read some of his books but not this one, which is now signed!
|Posing with my new gear|
The Scopac was my big purchase which I got for £59. This is the original producer of these scope carriers and I was immediately impressed with the quality. Paul Lee and Rose Votier, owners and designers were extremely helpful and very passionate about this product. I guess the proof is in the pudding and thus far I have no complaints. I carry a Vortex Skyline 80 on a heavier Manfrotto tripod. Most of my time at the fair was spent moving from one hide to the next and they are spread out over a large area. I probably spent five hours birding and walking and the Scopac was really comfortable and allowed me, for the first time in many years, hands free birding. The workmanship is impeccable on this product and the weight is distributed across your shoulders evenly, making it a joy not a chore to carry.
It has yet to be used and abused to any extent but I am confident it will hold up over the years. Attention to detail is excellent with an inner pocket for a note book, field guide etc and an outer pocket which can accommodate camera, food, drink or small rain jacket. D-rings are positioned on both straps to allow items to be clipped on and a adjustable chest strap for comfort. All in all a great bit of gear!
|The view from Robin hide, Rutland|
The birding around the reserve was great and though there were many people attending the fair, most hides had plenty of room for viewing. I added 27 new year birds to my list including two lifers! These were Yellow-legged Gull and Little Stint; both seem from the Robin hide pictured above.
Other very welcomed birds included Ruff, Redshank, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank, Snipe, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Little Egret, Whinchat, Egyptian Goose, Willow Tit, Osprey and many more.