The Leica team is catching its breath after a great few days at this year’s Birdfair, which took place at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve from 21st to 23rd August. It was a busy few days: we unveiled a fantastic new product; launched a special offer on spotting scope package; premiered a series of films; shot some fresh video footage with our ambassadors (watch this space for more birding treats later this summer); caught up with old friends and made new ones. We even managed to spot a few birds!
The new product launch completed our top of the range Ultravid HD-Plus family. Visitors to the newly designed stand were the first in the UK to try the small but perfectly formed 32mm models – available in 8x and 10x magnification. They’re smaller even than some compacts, have a greater field of view and of course unbeatable clarity, contrast, colour fidelity and light transmission. With the build quality and optical excellence you’d expect from Leica, these pocket sized binoculars perfect for birders are robust and reliable wherever and whenever you need them.
For those after a new spotting scope, Birdfair saw the start of an attractive offer I the UK on the APO Televid range. For a limited period, those buying an angled APO Televid spotting scope, together with an eyepiece and 1.8 extender, will be able to get £500 at participating Leica dealers off when they part exchange any spotting scope or binocular.
The Ultravid HD-Plus range and the APO Televid spotting scopes both featured in the brand new mini-movies unveiled on the stand. In the trio of short films shot at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) London Wetlands Centre, Product Manager Nanette Roland demonstrates how to get the most out of your birding using Leica’s nature observation range of binoculars and spotting scopes and how to capture those hard-won moments with the latest digiscoping tools and techniques. The films are available to view on the Leica Birding facebook page and the website.
As with all the most glamorous film premiers, the stars were out in force – in our case this took the form of daily visits from our brand ambassadors. These included long-time stalwart of British birding, writer, conservationist and comedian Bill Oddie OBE, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller from The Biggest Twitch, The Urban Birder David Lindo, naturalist and TV presenter Iolo Williams, and Dr Debbie Pain, the WWT’s Director of Conservation. They shared birding tips and expert knowledge, along with optics advice, while they posed for pictures with fans, signed autographs and even snapped themselves for a few ‘red dot selfies’ (the Leica equivalent of a red carpet selfie).
Highlights included Debbie Pain talking about the WWT’s vital work to save the spoonbilled sandpiper, which is supported by Leica, Alan and Ruth on their world-record breaking round-the-world birding year in 2008, and presenting David Lindo who celebrated his birthday on the Saturday with a delicious birthday cake made by the Stamford Cupcake Company.
To add to the excitement, we had a film crew present throughout the first day of the fair. Leica is all about capturing stories as well as superb images, and our ambassadors have been good enough to share not only their enthusiasm but also their own Leica stories with us on video. We’ll keep you posted as to where and when you can see the footage and enjoy the inspirational stories for yourself later this year.
Our in-house experts were there to help too, flocking (no pun intended) to Rutland from around the globe. European nature observation product manager Nanette Roland flew in from Leica’s headquarters in Wetzlar in Germany, and US birding and nature markets manager and regular contributor to this blog, Jeff Bouton, arrived fresh from Florida. Nanette and Jeff shared their own Leica birding stories, tips and tricks with visitors. US sales manager Brian Bell, and Mark Symes, who heads up UK nature optics sales, also provided excellent advice on how to use the observation range to best effect, while technicians David Slater and Will Galpin performed onsite repairs and cleaning services for existing Leica owners.
Everyone enjoyed the atmosphere and the panoramic views of Rutland Water from the spotting scope platform, but even a 10-hour day on the stand talking birding wasn’t enough for some. Following a local tip-off, Jeff and Nanette mounted a successful expedition to seek out some little owls on the way back to base camp. Later still, unable to resist the lure of a spot of starlit birding, Jeff tracked down a tawny owl in the woods behind the team hotel after dinner. As the headline of our blog says… “We are birders: we are Leica!”