If you didn’t already know, Global Birding Weekend is the brainchild of Tim Appleton, originator of the world’s first and biggest annual birdfair.
We love the idea of connecting birders from all over the world in a common cause to raise awareness of conservation issues and to help save wild birds and habitats through raising money to help Birdlife International, all while having fun doing something we all love.
Not only that, but encouraging people new to the joys of birdwatching and also contributing to scientific knowledge by entering sightings to the eBird global database!
With our long history of supporting conservation we just had to get involved.
We are proud to be part of the global birding and conservation family and the Global Bird Weekend is a perfect fit for the Flyway Birding family we’ve already been embraced by.
From the outset, we at Viking decided we wanted to reach out to our friends, supporters, partners, ambassadors and customers to form a fully inclusive team. We’re already a family because we share a common love of birds, the miracle of migration, and a desire to help preserve the things we love.
Our core team at present consists of birders, migration lovers and conservationists from various points along the East Atlantic flyway from the UK to the Gambia.
This inaugural Global Bird Weekend is raising funds to help Birdlife International put an end to the illegal trade in wild birds.
You can donate to our team JustGiving page here – every penny is appreciated thank you!
Meet some of the team!
Niki is also co-owner and partner in Inglorious Bustards, and lives with Simon in the delightful village of Facinas in the epicentre of migration – The Straits of Gibraltar, Spain.
Niki grew up playing amongst the woodlands, fields and streams of the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. She was given a YOC (Young Ornithologist Club) membership for her 6th birthday, and has loved nature ever since. Somehow, Niki has managed to remain a member of the RSPB Wildlife Explorers under 9’s to this day, and has found her intellectual level in the Rookie cartoons.
Describing herself as a professional tree-hugger, Niki worked and volunteered for the RSPB for twelve years, managing habitats, brandishing chainsaws with varying levels of threat to limbs (her own and others) and honing her birding skills in amazing wetland, upland and coastal habitats.
In recent years she had the pleasure of working with Nature-friendly farmers to make the countryside a better place for wildlife. Latterly she headed up RSPB’s Eastern England farmland advisory team which, together with the other partners in Operation Turtle Dove, were working to ensure a future for this iconic bird.
Niki is one of the original members of #teampeanut – a crack troop of A-team style conservationists looking at ways in which West African peanut growers could not only provide peanuts for birdfood but also provide habitats for struggling migratory species – including Turtle Doves – through Fair to Nature accreditation.
Seeing first hand the challenges faced by journeying birds all across the flyway has given Niki a deep passion for the epic spectacle of migration. This, and her love of international adventure makes her a proud founder member in the Inglorious Bustards’ motley line-up (Oh and by the way, it was her that thought of the name…).
Simon is co-owner and partner in Inglorious Bustards, living in Facinas in the heart of The Straits of Gibraltar, Spain.
Simon was raised in Plymouth in the UK and his early birding habitats were rubbish tips, sewage outfalls and fish factories. It all started when, at nine years old, his enthralment with the natural world led him to sneak out with his father’s massive binoculars at first light, returning home many hours after dark covered in estuarine mud and other indescribable detritus, to face the music!
Fulfilling a boyhood dream, Simon worked for the RSPB full-time for fifteen years; the first projects he was involved in were to protect breeding Hen Harriers and Bee-eaters in the North of England. Simon has lectured in ornithology, specialising in a variety of subjects including bird ethology, migration and bird populations. He worked in farmland bird conservation for the most of his RSPB career, latterly working at the RSPB’s headquarters in Sandy. He and Niki launched the first landscape-scale farmland bird initiative, The Thorney Farmland Bird Friendly Zone.
Simon has conducted research on Corn Bunting crop nest site selection and on the seed palatability of farmland granivores. He also co-launched Operation Turtle Dove, co-ordinating efforts in the UK and internationally to save the species from extirpation. Simon has worked as the Conservation Manager for Conservation Grade, working on ground-breaking and exciting conservation projects in Spain, Portugal, Central America, Morocco, Senegal and The Gambia and is widely travelled in these countries, being particularly familiar with their avifauna, lepidoptera and mammalian species. Simon now lives in the epi-centre of migration at The Straits of Gibraltar as one of the Inglorious Bustards working on a variety of conservation projects, and tour leading.
Despite this long and varied career, he was once described by an eminent public figure as having no discernible talents apart from hanging out at sewage outfalls looking at gulls!
Dr. Alejandro Onrubia
Alejandro is the project coordinator at Fundación Migres, working on a number of scientific monitoring schemes here in The Straits of Gibraltar. Many will know Alejandro from his skills in monitoring the crossing of thousands of soaring birds here in The Straits, where seemingly he spends every waking moment at a watchpoint busily ‘clicking’ each new traveler through the migration bottleneck.
Aside from monitoring work, Alejandro is also working on new sustainable eco-tourism opportunities in partnership with the Inglorious Bustards.
Alejandro is a well published ornithologist having authored a vast array of scientific studies, improving our knowledge of bird migration and the ever-increasing and changing threats these migrants face on their travels. Alejandro has vast experience and knowledge and he translates that through his friendly, patient and enlightening guiding skills. Every time you go birding with Alejandro, you learn something new!
Tijan is one of the most experienced conservationists, birders and guides in The Gambia. He is much respected by his peers and renowned for his ability to use his wealth of knowledge to train new and upcoming guides in the country. So much so that locally he is often referred to as ‘Elder’ or ‘Uncle’! He certainly has our respect too, and we are proud to have him on the team. Tijan is a passionate conservationist and is involved in local projects around land use policy and illegal hunting and trafficking of birds. He even hosts the unofficial RSPB Brufut office at his home! He also was one of the original members of the aforementioned #teampeanut, working on sustainable peanut production management to protect wildlife habitats and the wider environment. Simon and Tijan have worked with each other for nearly twenty years and are often locally referred to as brothers!
Stuart manages the Viking Optical shop in Edinburgh. Hooked on wildlife from an early age by watching Jaques Cousteau, local birds on the nearby Union canal in Edinburgh had to substitute for the undersea world.
Six years as an itinerant contract warden for the RSPB culminated in an opportunity to join Viking Optical who had recently become the optical supplier to RSPB.
Stuart is immensely proud of the conservation work supported by Viking Optical through various partnerships and sponsorships which have grown in scope throughout his 20+ years with the company.
What he lacks in birding skills is partly made up for by an enthusiasm for migration and conservation.
We want that family to grow! To that end, here is a call – we want you! Anyone can join our team for the Global Bird Weekend of 17th & 18th October. Beginner or expert, back garden, local park, nature reserve, birds from the bus…whoever you are, wherever you live and however you see birds…we value your input. Every bird record is of value and so are you!
Please join us! Here’s how to get involved:-
- Please register here in order to take part. Please enter your name AND Viking Flyway Birding Team if you would like to be part of our team.
- Set up an eBird account here in order to log your sightings (skip this step if you already have an eBird account).
- Share your eBird sightings from the 17th October to the team account which is VikingFlywayBirding (no spaces).
Paul from Swarovski will be showcasing the new NL Pure binocular range in our Edinburgh store on Thursday 17th September 11am – 4pm.
NL Pure – the revolutionary binoculars with the largest field of view to date and barely perceptible edges, without compromising on ergonomics and handling. In other words: Best optics, packed in the smallest possible size. The NL Pure thus provides unprecedented nature experiences.
Enjoy a (sanitised) hands-on trial of the NL and also a demonstration of the ground-breaking dG digital identification aid!
The Swarovski dG 8×25 is the perfect monocular for you and your family. This long-range optical device allows you to view distant objects and instantly share what you are seeing via the Swarovski Optik dG app. Work together with your friends and family to identify distant animals or objects. Of course, this monocular features Swarovski’s extremely high-quality glass and construction.
If there is a particular item you would like to try or you would like to book a one to one session, please call 0131 225 6389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Look forward to seeing you on the 17th!
See the whole Swarovski range on our website.
One of the few positives to come out of the lockdown period was the well reported upsurge in natural history interest.
Being largely confined to gardens and the local vicinity, people started to take the time to learn what was on their own doorstep. The answer was by turns surprising and beautiful. Hitherto unnoticed birds, wild flowers, and an abundance of insects on uncut verges, became sources of both wonder and comfort.
Exercise walks became mini voyages of discovery as something new caught the eye and aroused curiosity.
People on social media were questioning why verges were cut at the times they were despite teeming with life and posing no danger to traffic or pedestrians. Why trees, shrubs and hedges were cut whilst birds were nesting. It was wonderful to note that so many were enjoying the wildlife and then were bereft when it was needlessly removed.
The quiet in March and April was deafening. Little road noise, almost no planes thundering overhead meant that birdsong was heard loud and clear.
The economy will slowly recover and traffic levels will increase to pre-pandemic levels but there must be a glimmer of hope that many have been awakened to the kind of local environment that is better for everyone’s health and wellbeing.
Nature is amazing and you don’t have to travel thousands of miles to exotic locations to see its beauty and drama played out – it’s happening everywhere, you just have to look!
If you’re into birding in the UK (in fact anywhere in the world!), you’ll be familiar with Tim Appleton who founded and ran the worlds first and biggest annual bird fair at Rutland Water.
Viking Optical have been very proud to be associated with the Birdfair for the last 16 years and especially the contribution this event has made to nature conservation through the donations to Birdlife International every year.
That’s why it’s a pleasure to support a new venture!
This year, in these pandemic hit times, Tim has conceived a new initiative which will be the most inclusive birding event ever! Literally anyone and everyone can take part regardless of birding knowledge and geographical location.
The Global Bird Weekend will also contribute directly to the eBird database which is an amazing resource with over 100,000 users who log millions of bird sightings which further our understanding of bird populations and movements.
Why get involved? By participating in and donating to Global Bird Weekend, Birdlife International will be able to help put an end to the illegal trade in wild birds which threatens many species with extinction.
Help wild birds by going birding in your local area! Every sighting is of value!
Thanks to the astounding generosity of passionate anonymous supporters, Global Bird Weekend are able to make your contribution go even further. Donors have agreed to provide match-funding for the first £50,000 raised – this means your donation will be DOUBLED, to deliver twice the impact!
It’s very easy to sign up – do it today and have a great time birding on 17th & 18th October with the added bonus that you’ll be joining a worldwide birding family and playing your part in saving wild birds!
We have been one of the leading independent UK optical importers for over 30 years now and our ethos has been very simple – affordable quality.
The boom in environmental interest and the desire to get out and experience it first hand (or ‘Springwatch effect’ as it’s affectionately known here) has seen the sales of essential wildlife viewing kit such as binoculars rise steadily.
High quality instruments were out of the reach of many people but we have always prided ourselves in sourcing good value for money optics at price points anyone can afford.
This has culminated recently in our new ‘falcon’ range of binoculars and ‘swallow’ telescopes.
The Kestrel binocular represented a revolution in the quality of glass available at the price point. ED glass (extra-low dispersion – a dense optical glass which refracts light less), once the preserve of very expensive models, was now made eminently affordable to much critical success. Our falcon models are now used by enthusiasts and fieldworkers from the UK, Spain, and even as far afield as Peru!
Building upon this, in 2019 we launched the Swallow 65mm and 80mm telescopes at a price point less than the cost of the case for some top of the range telescopes!
We continue to innovate and look for solutions for people on a budget. In the fast-changing world of ‘digiscoping’ we decided early on that we wanted to make this as accessible as possible to all. Cue the Viking Smartphone Adapter which fits practically any telescope and smartphone combination!
Whatever your level of interest and budget, Viking Optical wants you to Extend Your Horizons!