Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
In the early hours of Sunday 7th November GBG staff and volunteers packed up Hercule, tanks full of mealworms, and as much promotional material as we could find and headed down to Southampton as invited guests of the BBC's 'Live 'n' Deadly - Deadly Days Out' project.
Specifically designed to promote Steve Backshall's new CBBC TV show, which does a great job of introducing children to the UK's fantastic wildlife, the Deadly Day Out took place on a (mostly) sunny day in Southampton's Hoglands Park, a wide open space in the middle of the city. Our role? Help entertain the children who came along and to talk about the 'deadly side' of the Great Bustard's life from the food it eats to the foxes that prey on its chicks.
The GBG were located (along with the RSPB and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust) in a futuristic tent near the main stage. Our small area was continually manned by GBG staff and volunteers and the day was a huge success - mostly because an almost unbelievable ten thousand or so people turned up (with some coming from as far as Oxford and Bristol)! With the site not officially opening until 09:00, there were queues literally stretching right around the park by 08:30, and there was a line of people waiting to get into our tent right from the outset.
Fortunately the good folk queuing up outside had some entertainment while they waited, as Paul Betchley from the Hawk Conservancy Trust had brought along a Barn Owl and a rather wonderful 'egg crushing machine' which demonstrates how much weight a chicken egg can take before it explodes in a shower of yolk and shell (our record for the day was a remarkable 47lbs!).
Equally fortunately the weather remained good throughout the day and a good time was had by visitors, guests, performers, and an undeniably charismatic TV star alike...and of course all of us GBGers who did our very best to spread the GBG message along the south coast!