Saturday, 23 May 2015

Bird fair

I went to Scotland's Big Nature Festival today, also known as the Scottish Bird Fair.  It was held in East Lothian this year, just outside Musselburgh.  

You could be forgiven for thinking that this buzzard had just dropped in to pose for the cameras, but of course he's had his day, no more soaring over the fields of East Lothian for him.  He's now well and truly stuffed - but still pretty magnificent!
The event was held under canvas on Levenhall Links, and it couldn't have been a better day.  The sun shone from dawn till dusk, and when I got there, just before 11 o'clock, the visitors were arriving in healthy numbers.  It delights me that people are so interested in wildlife.  The countryside needs every bit of interest and love it can get.
I love all the different stalls at these events.  I had a good chat with the lady on her basketmaking stand.  She works with willow and rushes, producing some lovely work.
The bushcraft tent and teepee were popular with children, all eager to learn how to make fire by rubbing sticks together!

There were all sorts of exhibitors, including artists - see below my friend and art tutor Kittie Jones, who I have mentioned before on the running wave (
and a wonderful second hand bookshop, which always attracts me like a magnet!
There were bird watching related exhibitors from overseas - below a group from Texas, another next door from Spain.  Stands exhibiting cameras, binoculars, telescopes, outdoor clothing, wildlife rescue and conservation groups.  Anything and everything to do with the countryside.
There was a tent dedicated to the East Lothian Countryside Ranger Service, which is the council department running the grassland surveying volunteer work I am involved with. 
 There was a spot of pond dipping,
and in the RSPB tent I made a little newspaper pot and filled it with compost and a selection of wild flower seeds, corn poppy, corn marigold, cornflower and mayweed, to grow in the garden!
There was a chap from the National Trust for Scotland, making sticks of charcoal - twigs of willow, stripped of their bark and placed inside a tin and 'cooked' on an open fire for a while.  I love charcoal.  It's one of my favourite things to draw with!

There were talks and demonstrations.  There was a queue a mile long to listen to Bill Oddie, so I had to pass on that, but the programme offered lots of really great stuff.  I hope the weather holds for tomorrow.  The organisers should go home tomorrow night, feeling pretty pleased with the whole event.

On the way home I visited one of my favourite garden nurseries, Macplants, at the gloriously named hamlet of Bogg's Holdings.  It's a proper nursery, where they grown lovely things themselves.  They were busy getting stuff ready for next week's big Gardening Scotland exhibition.

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