THE 23rd British Birdwatching Fair starts today and will run until Sunday.
Organisers say the good weather forecast for the weekend is a weight lifted from their shoulders so that they can relax and enjoy the county’s largest annual event known in the trade as the “bird watcher’s Glastonbury”.
This year the Birdfair, held at the Rutland Water Egleton Nature Reserve, is once again set to attract 22,000 people from all over the world to the country’s smallest county.
Among them are celebrities such as Simon King, Mark Cawardine, Charlie Hamilton-James and Nick Baker.
Each will have stalls and will give lectures about their preferred subjects.
Charities, travel companies and even wildlife artists will be among the stall holders hoping to attract business and sell their products.
Co-organisers Tim Appleton from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and Martin Davies from the RSPB are enjoying getting into the swing of things once again.
Tim said: “The first stalls were set up on Sunday and the site is very busy at the moment.
“We have volunteers turning up every day to help with the set-up.”
This year, the money raised by the fair is going to help UK and European migratory birds in trouble, such as the cuckoo, turtle dove and spotted flycatcher.
In its 23 year history the Birdfair has grown to become one of the most important bird conservation events in the world and has raised more the £20m.
The annual auction for holidays, wildlife and bird related memorabilia will be held throughout the weekend.
There are still tickets available for the celebrity lecture “Trials and tribulations of a natural history presenter” by Mike Dilger on Saturday at 7.30pm in the events marquee.
Entry this year costs £12.50 adults, children under 16 free. Two-day and three-day passes are also available.
For information about events over the weekend and tickets visit www.birdfair.org.uk