Wales was great. Sunshine and showers but some big landscapes to explore. I climbed Hay bluff with the boy in horizontal hail and before a predictable holiday cold kicked in I enjoyed a number of more sedate walks in the foothills of the Black Mountains. The woodland birds were in fine voice, the hedgerows were full of colour and it was nice to see my first swallow and wheatear of the year.
My Easter break ended in York at the RSPB Members' Weekend. I always enjoy this event: a chance to meet committed members and volunteers, catch up with colleagues and listen to some fantastic presentations about our work across the UK and further afield.
This year's talks included an update on the rat eradication programme on Henderson Island, the Great Bustard reintroduction project on Salisbury Plain, a behind the scenes look at reedbed restoration, an insight into new reserves at the Crook of Baldoon and Middleton Lakes, our partnership with the Guides in Wales, our work on migrants, our new film about the Crane reintroduction and an update on the results from our FAME (seabird tracking) project.
As ever, I learnt a lot: did you know that a single guillemot travelled 350km in two days to collect food for its chicks?
To top it off, we had an evening with Bill Oddie at his best. I like Bill. I was a fan from his days with the Goodies. He was in his element on Saturday night reminiscing about the past 15 years of his wildlife television programmes. He shared some fantastic footage from these programme including ground-level shots of flocks of knot at Snettisham and the best display from a massive starling flock I've seen (you can see it here).
While Bill encouraged us to look for art in nature, he ended by toasting wildlife, birds and the good side of human nature. We saw that in abundance from a presentation from four of our Phoenix (teenage) members earlier in the day. Their message to the assembled (older) audience seemed to be quite simple but reassuring: you lot have done your best to destroy the planet, but don't worry, we know what to do, leave it to us and we'll fix it.
I may retire early.
Have a good week.
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