Field Event Reports

2 March 2015 - ATOM Festival of Science

Set-up started around 8.30 and all was ready by 10.00. The morning had dawned somewhat dull and cold, but fortunately rain kept off and the sun warmed us all in the afternoon. AbNats displays included: how to build a wildlife-friendly garden; a photographic quiz of birds seen on Barton Fields; map and photos of Barton Fields through the seasons; results of the Abingdon and District Bird Garden survey; results of recent water analysis of water bodies in Barton Fields and Radley Lakes area; Barton Fields butterfly surveys; an aquarium with wildlife from ponds on Barton Fields; snake skins, various skulls, and bird and bee nests; and a binocular microscope mainly set up to look at pond-water bugs.

We were perhaps unsure of how the event would go, but our best expectations were exceeded. The stall was busy throughout the event and if anything it got busier in the afternoon when we expected a drop off. While we did not keep a count of footfall, an estimate of well in excess 100 seems valid. Adults discussed the various more technical displays, while the numerous children were delighted with the sticklebacks and tadpoles in the aquarium. The microscope was a great success with gasps of shock as the monster-looking damselfly larva swam across the viewing field, jaws agape. The 'winner' of the photo competition was an 11 year-old who managed all 22 birds – including the uncommon Snipe Redpoll and warblers (he was particularly pleased when he brought back his older cousin, who failed miserably!).

Our open Morning on Barton Fields, including walks around the site, pond dipping and bird watching was advertised and a few non-members did turn up for this event, including several family groups for pond dipping.

Thanks to the Committee members for the time taken to prepare the displays and man the stand, in particular to our Chairman who organised all the logistics, which made this a successful event publicising the Society.

Graham Bateman