RSPB Scotland has announced Bill Oddie, the voice and face of birding broadcasting, will be attending Scotland’s Big Nature Festival in East Lothian next month.
The two-day event, that is run by the wildlife charity and includes the Scottish Birdfair, is being held on 23 and 24 May at Levenhall Links by the Firth of Forth and famous Musselburgh Racecourse. The site is a premier birding hotspot managed by East Lothian Council, and is widely recognised as one of the best places in the country for birdwatching.
Bill Oddie will be giving talks on both the Saturday and Sunday in the specialist talks tent, and will host a book signing for his new collection: ‘Bill Oddie Unplucked’. The writer, television presenter and conservationist first rose to fame in the 1970s as one of The Goodies and went on to become one of the UK’s favourite wildlife presenters, regularly fronting shows like Springwatch on BBC2.
Scotland’s Big Nature Festival is now in its fourth year and is expected to attract some 6,000 bird and wildlife lovers from across the UK and beyond. Over the weekend there will also be a fantastic range of other talks from local and international speakers including Sir John Lister-Kaye; David Lindo, otherwise known as The Urban Birder, and BBC Landward presenter Euan McIlwraith.
The event’s new venue is a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) which is teeming with wildlife including migrating curlews, oystercatchers, sand martins, green and wood sandpipers and a host of resident species like skylarks and reed buntings. RSPB Scotland and the BTO will also host the ever-popular ringing demonstration where people can watch birds in the hand, before they are ringed and safely released.
There will be fascinating workshops on offer including wildlife photography and raptor and wader ID, as well as guided walks, birdwatching for beginners, Scotland’s largest optics demo, and a range of activities for families including pond dipping, bush crafts and a mini-beast hunt. The event is also part of the Scottish Government’s Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 programme, delivered by VisitScotland and EventScotland, and will involve over 100 exhibitors including a farmers market, local artisan foods, a bar and live music.
RSPB Scotland Director, Stuart Housden, said: “The line-up for Scotland’s Big Nature Festival this year is really impressive, with a great range of expert speakers, and I am delighted Bill Oddie will be with us for the weekend. He is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about nature conservation, keen to encourage young people to watch nature, and people love to hear from him. That’s exactly what this festival is about – not only does it provide an ideal opportunity for families to enjoy a fun day out in a wildlife rich green space, it allows them to engage with some of Scotland’s top conservationists and learn more about wildlife and what they can do to protect it and give nature a home.”
The featured species for the festival this year is the curlew, with all proceeds raised going towards the conservation of this spectacular wader and other threatened species in Scotland.