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Sunday, 18 May 2014


N O R F O L K   B I R D  F A I R

Sunday 18th May – 9am-5pm
Mannington Hall, Norfolk NR11 7BB

I arrived for the second day of the bird fair just in time for lunch. I was pleased to see that the carparks were much fuller then yesterday. I headed straight for 'Vette's Veggi Van' and had the same scrumptious wrap as yesterday, the bad news was though, that the chocolate brownie's had sold out!

I had a wonderfully lazy afternoon here and ate loads! Well, it needs to be eaten to be reviewed! An Apple & Cinnamon Crepe was tested out from 'Crepe Crusaders' – very nice it was too. Bumped into Dr Rob Lambert and Lucy McRobert – nice to see you both. I sat under the shady yew tree enjoying another Baileys & Banana ice-cream from 'Norfolk Farm House Ice-cream' with Paul L., Rose and Richard 'the hat' – it was very pleasant sitting here chatting and relaxing. I explored the gardens and woodland walks and lake in much greater depth today – its so exceptionally beautiful here.

I cheekily filled in another entry form to win the Swarovski binoculars at the Wex Photographic stand! But found out at the end of the day, just after closing time of 5pm, that the lucky winner will not be drawn until week, as they have to go through all the entries in case anyone has put more than one entry in!!! Ok, so I'm guilty! But I bet I wasn't the only one that did that!!!

Sadly I heard a few negative things today, like the fact that lots of posters had been taken down last night or in the middle of the night! The organisers were not going to be beaten though and posters were put back up again early this morning, which would added to the workload for the day!

The auction ended at 5pm and my only bid didn't win! I ended the day sitting on the patio outside the 'Greedy Goose Cafe' with the most amazing view, whilst enjoying blueberry and sour cream cake and a pot of tea! Sue Bryan joined me and we chatted about the day. I left reluctantly – the light was still beautiful and I wanted to stay, but time to go!

Besides the Spotted Flycatchers here, they also have Firecrest and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers!!! The website for Mannington Hall is HERE. 'Walks and the car park are available every day 9am until dusk. Car park £2.00.' Open the website link for full details of gardens, cafe etc.

Pied Wagtail on the roof of the 'Greedy Goose Cafe'.

 One of two Optics marquees.

 One of two Optics marquees.

Director Richard Campey at One Stop Nature,
who is based at Burnham Deepdale.

The lake at Mannington Hall.

Woodland walk at Mannington Hall.

Walk from the woodland walk through to the gardens.

My blueberry, sour cream cake & tea at the 'Greedy Goose Cafe'!

 My view, whilst eating cake at the 'Greedy Goose Cafe'.

Mannington Hall from the Sensory garden.

The moat around Mannington Hall.

Acacia Tree

A sleepy Penny and without Simon King!

As I was leaving.

I feel that this Bird Fair has been a huge success in a stunning setting and I really hope that it happens again next year. Obviously Rob and Jill Wilson have worked their socks off, as have their volunteers and I congratulate them hugely. Everyone I spoke to loved the setting, the relaxed feel about everything, the variety of exhibitors and the quality and choice of food venues. The only negatives I heard were about the signage (from non-local people without sat navs!) But AA signs etc are all added cost, so maybe next time. Maybe a bit a music would lift the food marquee area, such as English folk-pop duo The Fairbirds who played at Rutland last year?

I noticed that Dawn Balmer has said on my BF thread that 'maybe there is scope to expand to more of a wildlife fair....' 'A well advertised 'wildlife fair' might attract more local people too....' I agree with her to a degree – although a Bird Fair should attract the crowds, a Wildlife Fair would attract more. I can remember on several ocassions over the years, non-birders asking me what happened at Rutland Bird Fair and I had questions like 'what happens at a bird fair?' and 'are there birds in cages to look at?' The general public understand what 'Wildlife' means more than 'Birds'! I had also forgotten that (as Dawn has corrected me) that there have been two previous Bird Fairs in Norfolk, in 1999 and 2000, held at Blickling Hall. For those of you that didn't attend, here is the website again:

It goes without saying that the Rutland Bird Fair is the king of all bird fairs and deserves to be with all the hard work over the years, but I see no reason why Norfolk shouldn't stage is own fair (as other counties/regions have), be it 'Bird' or 'Wildlife' annually. There is room for us all! Maybe Simon King would consider attending next year free of charge to give Norfolk a boost? Oh and just a thought, instead of 'wildlife cruise with Simon King' how about 'Punting with Simon King' around the moat!!! Just for little old me please? Looking forward to the next one!

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