Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Birder's Paradise Middle Phase

After Phase One of the Birder's Site visits, came our return phase, where we went back to our 3 main sites and delivered workshops and activities, which would provide opportunities to talk to the public about the sites.
In Hanley Park, a visit from Tom Pine, parks liaison officer was interesting for us, as Tom brought the tree audit he had promised for us to explore. This was a fascinating document and beautiful map, which traced every tree in the park. The audit shows what an amazing collection of trees the park contains - something which we felt needed some attention.
We used the tree audit to identify a wonderful selection of trees, and decided that we would create a tree trail for our final visit to the park.
One of the trees we selected was the beautiful Himalayan Cedar, which has a startling array of cones at this time of year.
We also had lots of other visitors, including college students, the park keeper, and some other interested members of the public.
Carole Ware, Chair of The Friends of Hanley Park stopped by to discuss the idea of a bee friendly garden that we hope to work together on for the future. In the afternoon we were pleased to receive a visit from some of the 'Men In Sheds' group. This is a group of older men who get together regularly in the park to work on shared activities, sometimes gardening, sometimes games or art. They came along and made some bug hotels with us, and explored the caravan, and did a little bit of bird watching. 
At Westport Lake we did our sweetcorn for bread swap.
In fact, it didn't work the way that we had expected, as the people who were feeding bread to the birds tended to avoid us. But we spoke to a lot of people about the problem of feeding bread to birds, and gave out a lot of corn. And quite a few children did us some lovely examples of bread birds to use within our designs.
 They all seemed to be quite bloated.
It was great to spend another day by the lake talking to people about their experiences of birdlife there. 
We were really pleased that Helen Meharg, one of the countryside officers, was able to come and visit us, and see the Birdhide at work.
We were happy to be able to add a few more birds to our list, and though we didn't see them this time ourselves, we were told of sightings of a woodpecker and a kingfisher that very day! Hopefully we will see them ourselves next time.
We returned to the Spode factory as well, with an idea of spending the day in the Spode Rose Garden, auditing the birds there, but also doing some much needed gardening. Unfortunately, on arrival we were told that we couldn't access the garden, due to an asbestos problem in the adjacent building, so we had to set up next to the car park instead.
But our extra visit, to Hanley as part of the Appetite Big Feast weekend was more successful. We set up outside the Potteries Museum and spent time talking to the public about urban birds, and making bug hotels.
We enjoyed hearing the stories of that people wanted to share with us. Some were touching, some interesting and some were even quite gruesome!

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