British Birdfair 2015 – a whirlwind

What a whirlwind it was! A 20 hour delay of flights through to the UK, only 5 nights in the UK and then straight back home again to a full house – – -. Only now, after 3 weeks, do we feel rested.

The flight over started poorly with our plane breaking down in Cairns, thus missing all our connections. Qantas were particularly helpful, may I say, with a night in Brisbane, followed by a flight to Sydney to catch another connection to Dubai and beyond. It did feel a bit weird though, being 2000 km further away from our destination 24 hours later than we had started!! Emirates very nicely gave us an upgrade (my favourite word) for the last leg so, at least when we hit the ground running, we were somewhat rested. Fortunately the trip home was less eventful.

Birdfair was fantastic, as always. It gets bigger and bigger every year and was successful for us this year with the AU$ being so weak against the pound. It certainly makes it easier to sell Australia when the exchange rate is favourable. It makes it expensive to attend, but hopefully is worthwhile in the long-run.

This year we gave lectures on birding in TNQ and ran a competition with an 8-day prize here in the tropical north with accommodation and birding tours. A great prize and over 400 entries. Stephen Moss, UK celebrity and friend of our part of the world, drew the prizewinner – a Steven William, who is very excited about visiting us next year.

TV personality Stephen Moss drawing 8 night  birdwatching holiday package in TNQ

We were fortunate enough to have help on the stand this year from Sue Gregory of Cassowary House, the lovely Rochelle Stevens – PhD candidate, Peter Waanders from Bellbird Tours in SA and ex-Kingfisher Park owners and new retirees, Keith and Lindsay Fisher (lucky b–s). It was too busy for us to get around and look at the other exhibits unfortunately, but we’ve picked up a few holiday ideas along the way, which is always good!

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Back on the home-front, the wonderful Silvia looked after Red Mill House for us while we were away. And – survived to tell the tale – – -.

The weather changed from winter to spring in those few days and the birds have changed accordingly. Pied Imperial Pigeon and Metallic Starling are both around in big numbers as the breeding season starts for them. Australasian Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo and Cicadabird have become more obvious with their calls. And – – we have been getting some rain! The rainforest needs this and you can just feel the trees and plants sucking up the water. Very pleasing indeed.