How was Delta Birding Festival second edition?
If last year you wondered if a festival for birders had any future in Catalonia, the answer now is definitely yes; and not only that, checking out the figures of attendees at this year's second edition one would say that the festival has a promising future.
More than 40 lectures and presentations, 8 guided tours, 3 boat trips, 40 commercial exhibitors, one film premiere, 3 exhibitions and several workshops overwhelmed the capacity of each of the 1.600 attendees, who had to choose among those activities and leave out many others that would surely also be of interest to them. That's not a failure of the festival; this is precisely what organizers wanted to achieve: a full range of options for the participants that would, literally, overwhelm the visitor.
Visitors were welcomed by enthusiastic volunteers who did a really good job helping out in every aspect of the organization, from arranging cars in the parking lot to accommodating speakers in the lecture marquees. Not surprisingly, their good mood and that of guest speakers and organizers passed on to visitors, who enjoyed an atmosphere of friendship and enthusiasm. Obviously, in an event of this kind it is something more than just the contents what will attract people and if the whole experience is a memorable one visitors are likely to come back in the future.
A festival for pros, amateurs and beginners alike
For beginners who might be reluctant to attend a festival with lecture titles that seem targeted to the pro the good news is that there was a full range of activities for those who wonder what this weird stuff of birding is about. The Take Flight guided tours or the Owl Pellet Workshops, just to mention a couple of examples, were targeted to introduce them in the world of birds and, according to their comments, the objective was achieved.
Pros and dedicated amateurshad plenty of choices at the DBF 2015 to satisfy their need of continuous consumption of birding matters. We may mention an energetic talk by Hadoram Shirihai, who told the story of how he found new species of Petrels in the Southern seas of the world. His stories of sense of loneliness in one of the last frontiers on Earth deeply moved a passionate audience who reacted with enthusiastic applauses in the middle of the talk.
The main lecture marquee was full during the talks of the best known international speakers which included also some photographers, like Markus Varesvuo, who raised several wows from the audience with some of his astonishing pictures of birds from his native Finland.
What did the net say?
The festival was covered by some international journalists and bloggers who were either invited by the organization or visited the festival on their own. Their comments are worth mentioning. Dominic Mitchell, editor of British magazine Birdwatch commented on his experience: "I was impressed. This was a well-organized event, thoughtfully planned [...] and full of attractions and activities, with an excellent line-up of speakers" and talking about the Delta he adds "It was also set in a superb location [...] and it's the first trade show I've attended where visitors can watch glowing pink lines of Flamingos, hawking Caspian and Whiskered Terns and rafts of Red-crested Pochards while browsing books and testing optics". This is certainly a privilege!
David Lindo, a.k.a. The Urban Birder and a popular British birder, highlighted in his blog his visit to the festival and his experience with a "plethora of birds at this time of the year" and quite a number of Spanish and Catalan blogs, such as Pito-real or Ornitologiaynatura, leave no doubt that they are not going to miss out next edition, a good proof that DBF 2015 was a success.
A place to announce events and meet the star system
DBF 2015 was also the place where several events were announced, of which the premiere of the TV programme Tocats de l'Ala, produced by Catalan TV, is specially worth mentioning for it had a warm welcome by festival visitors. Director Fúlvia Nicolàs and producer Joan Pavia presented a 5 minute summary of the 13 episodes of the series that follows Catalan birders seawatching, photographing, censusing, ringing, night-watching or witnessing bird migration. Needless to say that the audience -with some of the featured birders in the room- was evidently pleased that Catalan TV has helped out to popularize birding among the general public.
The ornithologist who is possibly the best known in Europe, Lars Svensson, has already confirmed his attendance and is pending the confirmation of researchers, authors, photographers dedicated and signed books and other stuff at scheduled times in the bookshop to all those who requested it and many visitors' comments were heard on how accessible and friendly those worldwide acclaimed ornithologists were.
What's coming in 2016?
DBF 2016 will take place at the facilities of Mónnatura Delta on 23rd, 24th and 25th September 2016. The standard set in previous editions poses a challenge to the organization for the forthcoming 2016 edition. Although no names can still be unveiled, the truth is that top-class investigators, book authors, photographers and artists have been contacted and the visitor will surely see the highest possible level in guest speakers. The novelty factor is being a central matter in the selection of guests and this is just a small lead for you to guess what's coming next: some authors of the most acclaimed bird books published in 2016 are very likely to show up in the festival...
So, keep tuned on, follow the event on Facebook, Twitter and the festival's web site, www.deltabirdingfestival.com and you'll be the first to know the amazing events that are starting to take shape for DBF 2016.
Unitat de Divulgació de l'Ornitologia - Institut Català d'Ornitologia