Close Encounters of the Furred Kind – report back from the British Bird Fair

Jon and Udi

So great to see Udi Hettige again

Greetings from somewhere over the North Pole: I am on a plane bound for Tokyo and have some time to catch up on mammal stuff.

I was at the British Bird Fair last weekend.  It was my first visit but I am sure it won’t be my last.  The event was much larger than I imagined and there was talk of 15,000 people attending over the three days. It was also a lot more mammaly than I’d anticipated, with many of the speakers talking about mammal watching and many of the tour companies increasingly interested in mammal focused trips.

The event comprised 9 marquees full of exhibitors (mainly tour companies) plus another 4 lecture rooms running a program of 20 minute talks. I didn’t get to many of the talks unfortunately though a bunch of them looked very interesting.  I was too busy meeting old friends like Udi Hettige,  Sri Lankan wildlife finder extraordinaire (pictured above), people from the community like Richard Webb, Phil Telfer, John Wright, Steve and Karen Davis, Holly Faithful and more, plus many others I’ve corresponded with for years but had never met. I came home with a lot of new information and a serious dose of wanderlust. Damn.

I also gave a talk on mammal watching, looking at how much has changed over the past 10 years.  A couple of people asked if we could film it and so – if you really have nothing better to do for the next 18 minutes – then here it is.  Thanks to Amber for filming it, despite challenging lighting, and for all her help during the weekend.

Finally a big shout out to Matt Miller who gave me some really thoughtful comments when I was preparing this talk. All the interesting bits came from him.



  • tomeslice

    Hey Jon, I actually saw all 17:32 of it (mostly because I’m hungover this morning and can’t really do anything else right now…) and it was extremely informative and inspirational. Well done! (I’m sure there’s an emoticon somewhere over here with hands clapping, but I’ll leave it as a descriptive imagery that’s left for your imagination).

  • Robyn Cornish

    Congratulations on a great talk, Jon. Can’t wait to see the slideshow at Katy’s wedding. 🙂

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