If the British Birdfair is the Glastonbury of Birdwatching, now in its 29th year, playing out under eight massive marquees over 3 days (Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August 2017). Which “acts” do you see?
To add to the mix, there are well over 200 wildlife tour operators and companies to choose from, some of which are located on tourism board stands and then there is the extensive choice of lectures and presentations playing out across the Birdfair site to consider as well.
Blue Sky Wildlife has put together our recommended “must see” exhibitor list, for those either short on time and not really sure where to start. In marquee order they are as follows:
Inglorious Bustards – Spain (Marquee 1, Stand 28)
Simon Tonkin and Niki Williamson will be at the Birdfair for the first time this year. If you are seeking a Spanish birding and wildlife tour with a difference, Inglorious Bustards are passionate about birds and wildlife, and equally passionate about showing birders chilled-out birding adventures fused with relaxation, fun, local culture and delicious food. They are offering a 15% discount + a £60 donation to the Birdfair on each “The unknown vulture spectacle! – Ronda and the Straits” bookings from 25th to 31st October 2017, until sold out. More info
Birding The Strait – Spain (Marquee 2 Stands 8/9/10)
If you love wildlife photography, you must see Javi Elorriaga and Yeray Seminario from Birding The Strait. They offer really unique, birding and wildlife photography guided experiences in Andalusia, Spain and Morocco, a region with outstanding biodiversity. They are offering a 15% discount on every day trip or half day trip of birding in the Strait of Gibraltar booked during the Birdfair for the period October 2017-February 2018.
Photo credit: Birding The Strait
Wild Doñana – Spain (Marquee 2, Stand 8,9,10)
Wild Doñana is a young progressive company lead by Manu Mojarro who has several years of guiding experience and a vast local knowledge of Doñana, Odiel Marshes, Sierra Morena and Tarifa. The team is formed by the best guides in that corner of Spain, who are not only experts in flora and fauna but also specialise in half and one day Andalucia Tours. Manu will be located on the Andalucia stand. More info
Albatross Encounter – New Zealand (Marquee 2, Stand 46/47)
If you are considering a trip to New Zealand and love your seabirds, meet Lynette Buurman who can share with you why Albatross Encounter brings you up close to a diverse array of seabirds including albatross, petrels, shearwaters, shags, terns and gulls within the Kaikoura Peninsula, more than anywhere else in NZ. More info
Dolphin Encounter – New Zealand (Marquee 2, Stand 46/47)
Swimming with or watching the acrobatic dusky dolphins of Kaikoura New Zealand with Dolphin Encounter is a unique interactive experience with these gregarious mammals that will leave you with lifelong memories! Speak to Lynette Buurman who will be more than happy to assist with any enquiries and can also help with Albatross Encounter above. More info
Green Tours – Peru (Marquee 2, Stand 48/49)
Wilson Diaz from Green Tours will be located on the PromPeru stand. Green Tours is a Peruvian tour operator specialising in birding trips and they offer unique birding tours from the Pacific coast into the Andes and the Amazonian lowlands. Wilson has a real desire to offer something more than just tourist trips, but rather real nature experiences of Peru along with innovation, comfort, safety, and a strong commitment to their social and environmental responsibilities. Offering a 20% Birdfair discount on two set departure tours in 2018. More info
Unique Safaris – Tanzania (Marquee 2, Stand 58/59)
Unique Safaris are one of the finest outfitters in Tanzania showcasing the dynamic wildlife, astonishing landscapes, meaningful culture and unique hospitality of Tanzania. Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, a serious birder or someone seeking a meaningful escape from your hectic life, Unique Safaris may be the perfect wildlife safari and Tanzanian tour company for you. Ally Msami (Managing Director) will be on hand to assist in discussing custom or bespoke tour itinerary options. More info
Trogon Tours – Argentina (Marquee 2, Stand 74)
Trogon Tours is a fully licensed and highly experienced nature tour operator created and managed by passionate naturalists who have been involved in nature conservation and wildlife travel since the early 1980s. Trogon Tours offer wildlife tours in Argentina, Antarctica, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. Luis Segura and Lucas Marti will be on site to assist in defining your next wildlife travel adventure to South America and the Antarctica. More info
Gecko Canoeing & Trekking – Northern Territory, Australia (Marquee 3, Stand 3/4)
Mick Jerram has been on Australia’s Northern Territory stand for the last 4 or 5 years, highly knowledgeable about his NT species and a lovely bloke as well. Mick runs Gecko Canoeing & Trekking which is an award winning Australian tourism business, specialising in canoeing and kayaking wildlife experiences which show case the many unique specialist and endemic Northern Territory species. More info
Birding in Paradise Safaris – Uganda (Marquee 3, Stand 5)
Johnnie Kamugisha has been exhibiting at the Birdfair for many years, and besides being a bit of a character, he is the owner/operator of Birding in Paradise Safaris. They are an eco-tourism friendly wildlife tour operator specialising in birdwatching and filming based in Kampala while also offering birding tours in Uganda and Rwanda.
Shetland Nature – Scotland (Marquee 3, Stand 14)
Shetland Nature is a Five Star accredited tour company offering small-group wildlife, birding and photography holidays in and around Shetland while promoting conservation awareness. Brydon Thomason, who is the owner operator of Shetland Nature, has been participating at the Birdfair for at least the last 5 years and is also one of the best wildlife photographers on the wildlife circuit.
Dabas Tūres – Latvia (Marquee 3, Stand 20)
Ilze Vilšķērste from Dabas Tūres (Nature Tours) will be offering guided nature tours, birdwatching holidays and wildlife photography tours for small groups or individual travellers throughout Latvia. Dabas Tūres are just completing their new guest house near Lake Lubans and would like to offer a complimentary birding weekend in 2018 as a prize draw during the Birdfair.
Yorkshire Coast Nature – England (Marquee 3, Stand 35)
Yorkshire Coast Nature is a nature tourism company dedicated to unique wildlife encounters in Yorkshire and beyond! Steve Race and Richard Baines lead the photography and safari workshops. Their aim is to bring you the very best nature holidays in England from whale watching, getting up close and personal with 200,000 seabirds, rare birds of prey, butterflies, reptiles and flowers. Check out their amazing wildlife photography on their stand, well worth the visit for that alone. More info
BirdLife International – Global (Marquee 5, Stands 1/2)
BirdLife International needs no introduction. An amazing organisation doing amazing things for bird conservation around the world. As the world’s largest nature conservation partnership together they are 122 BirdLife Partners worldwide – one per country or territory – and growing. As the recipient of the profit from the Birdfair activities last year, they received £350,000 towards their “Saving IBA’s in Danger” initiative highlighting Madagascar. In 2017, Birdfair will be supporting the BirdLife International project “Saving Paradise in the Pacific”, raising funds for vital work to save endangered species from extinction read more. Birdfair special offer: a 20% discount off a yearly subscription to BirdLife – The Magazine – bringing you the latest conservation insights direct from the field to your door. Pick up a free copy at the stand. More info
Colombia Birdwatch – Colombia (Marquee 5, Stands 12/13/14/15)
Colombia Birdwatch offer more than just a birding or nature tour, they offer an immersion into Colombian lifestyle, not only showcasing the wealth of bird species but also highlighting the culinary specialties and way of life of each region they visit. Christopher Calonje will be based in the ProColombia stand and is offering a 10% discount on set departures for 2017, 2018 and 2019. More info
Manakin Nature Tours – Colombia (Marquee 5, Stands 12/13/14/15)
Manakin Nature Tours, located on the ProColombia stand, is one of the leading birdwatching, wildlife and photography tour operators in Colombia. With over 95 nature locations and 30 different routes to enjoy, Manakin Nature Tours is lead by the charming and experienced birder, Luis Eduardo Urena. Travel with Luis to amazing Colombian locations such as the Andes, Choco, the Santa Marta Mountains, Magdalena Valley, the Amazon, Caribbean and Pacific coastal routes and as far away as the Eastern Plains. More info
Uncover Colombia – Colombia (Marquee 5, Stands 12/13/14/15)
Nidia Penagos from Uncover Colombia will be situated on the ProColombia stand and they offer a portfolio of Colombian tours carefully designed to include a diverse mixed of ecosystems found in various regions of Colombia, including a wide range of bird species. Established in 2012, Uncover Colombia seek to offer authentic tours to discover Colombia’s wildlife, incomparable natural beauty and rich cultural diversity.
Livingstone African Safaris – Uganda (Marquee 5, Stand 29)
Kalema Livingstone established Livingstone African Safaris in 2000 and specialises in personalised, private safari tours, birdwatching, nature trekking, wildlife trips and cultural experiences around Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. For those hardcore birders, Kalema offers a 30 day “Mega Birding Uganda” tour which takes you through out Uganda’s National Parks, reserves, sanctuaries for the endemics and this could produce over 750 bird species. More info
Livingstone African Safaris
Buenos Dias Birding – Argentina (Marquee 6, Stand 7)
Alejandro Ronchetti and Horacio Matarasso will be exhibiting at the Birdfair for their second year, however with nearly 30,000 Facebook fans worldwide you will understand why they are so popular. Buenos Dias Birding, based in Argentina, specialise in birding, wildlife and nature photography tours in the diverse wildlife areas of Southern South America.
Beaks and Peaks – Honduras (Marquee 6, Stand 15/16)
Located within the Honduras Tourism Stand, which won best international stand last year, William and Katinka who run Beaks and Peaks offer ethically and ecologically responsible birding and adventure tours in Honduras, in the heart of Central America. Sustainability, authenticity and diversity are the core values of their company. 10% discount on all Beaks and Peaks tours booked during the Birdfair and upto the end of August. More info
Wild Herzegovina – Herzegovina (Marquee 6 Stand 17)
Wild Herzegovina specialise in a Spring Migration Tour to Herzegovina, an experience surrounded by stunning nature reserves including wetlands, deep canyons and crystal clear rivers. Wild Herzegovina is based in the UK and run by Denis Bohm, a keen birdwatcher since the age of 13 years old.
Enchanted India – India (Marquee 6, Stand 20)
Nikhil Devasar is another character worth meeting with a massive smile and a love for adventure. He runs Enchanted India who have packaged their passion for all things Indian – wildlife, heritage, culture, landscapes, food and would like to share it with you! If you are planning to travel to India and/or looking to see Snow Leopards in the next 2 years drop into Marquee 6 to see Nikhil. More info
Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris – South Africa (Marquee 6, Stand 44/45)
Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris celebrated their 25th anniversary last year and are South Africa’s original birding outfit, offering top class set-departure, memorable custom birding tours and wildlife safaris in Southern Africa (or to be specific Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia or Zimbabwe). They also offer excellent family wildlife experiences. More info
Inkaterra – Peru (Marquee 7, Stand 4)
Inkaterra, Peru’s pioneer in ecological research and conservation funded by tourism since 1975, presents a bird watcher’s paradise – a program of exciting experiences at Inkaterra eco-luxury properties, in Peru’s top destinations. Discover nature at its most diverse, along with rich cultural heritage of the Andes and Peruvian Amazon. Set tours are available.
Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve – Ecuador (Marquee 7, Stand 37)
Organise a time to meet Richard Parsons from Bellavista who offer close encounters with a diversity of Ecuador birding species while their eco wildlife lodge protects 700 hectares of primary and secondary forest, home to the Spectacled Bear and Olinguito! A range of birding tours are available from single day birding trips up to 10 day tours. Learn more about Bellavista and the northwest at the talk offered by owner Richard Parsons on Sunday in Lecture Marquee One at 13.00-13.20 p.m. “Birds Of Northwestern Ecuador .. A Kaleidoscope Of Avian Diversity And Beauty”. Bellavista Cloud Forest is also offering 10% off any stay at the Lodge, or any birding /wildlife tour organized by Bellavista, when booked at the 2017 Bird Fair! More info
Letaka Safaris – Botswana (Marquee 7, Stand 58)
Letaka Safaris is Botswana’s premier mobile safaris operator which is based in the wild wetlands of the Okavango Delta. They have been operating safaris in Botswana since October 2000 when they started off as a small two man operation which has grown to become one of the most successful safari companies in Botswana. Owned and operated by Brent and Grant Reed who recently featured in 6 series as the #SafariBrothers on Nat Geo WILD. More info
Walk With Jith – Sri Lanka (Marquee 7 Stand 61)
Walk With Jith is a specialist bird watching and wildlife tour operator with over 10 years’ experience. Prasanjith Caldera who owns and operates Walk With Jith offers a wide range of birding (targeting more than 200 birds including all 33 endemics), nature and wildlife photography, safari and other special interest wildlife tours including dolphin and whale watching in Sri Lanka. More info
Atlas African Safaris – Uganda (Marquee 8, Stand 22/37)
Chris Winyi from Atlas African Safaris will be located within the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) stand and a offers East Africa safari experiences to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, ranging from short, medium or long stays or alternatively Cultural and Honeymoon safaris. Chris has put together 2 Best Pure Birding offers or Safaris and 2 mixture of Birding and Wildlife Offers for this year’s Birdfair.
Borneo Eco Tours – Malaysia (Marquee 8, Stand 43)
Baton Bijamin, from Borneo Eco Tours, has been attending the Birdfair for many years, previously located in Marquee 1 within the Tourism Malaysia stand, who are not returning this year. This year Borneo Eco Tours (BET) will be located in the Sabah Tourism Board stand. They are an award winning, low impact tour company that specialises in nature based tours around Borneo, namely Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. More info
Tabin Wildlife Resort – Malaysia (Marquee 8, Stand 43)
Lawrence Chin from Tabin Wildlife Resort will be returning to the Birdfair again this year, but this time on the Sabah Tourism Board stand. Tabin is an award winning nature reserve based in Borneo offering authentic Borneo-style jungle lodges and the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia dedicated for the breeding of wildlife. More info
Birdfair 2017 Information
For more information on Birdfair 2017, including opening times, lectures and ticket information, visit www.birdfair.org.uk
Originally Published: 5 Jul 2017