Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Great British Bird Bench Survey

It's January, the time of year when people in Britain are asked to undertake the great British Bird Bench Survey. The idea is to find out how many different bird benches there are in gardens throughout the UK.

Of course we want to help so for one hour on a Sunday morning, my imaginary husband Mungo and my best imaginary friend Miggy and I will record all the bird benches we see in our garden. 

A little birdie tells me the results will be Tweeted.

http://www.chrismcnicholl.com/


Miggy: Here on Paradise Island we have plenty of bird bench life. The woods are full of owl benches.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/rowanbank/8020394525

Mungo: Wait a minute, Migs, we haven't started.

Anyway, we're only counting garden birds. Here is our garden at La Casa Perfecta. 





Miggy: Yes, but I'm setting the whole scene for Paradise Island. For example, down by the lake there are geese benches.


http://www.ciaovt.org/Kay-Webb/Webb.htm

They fly away to Canada on a wing and a prayer.

Miggy: And of course, like all villages, Fribble-under-Par has benches by the duck pond.  The ducks lark about on the bench waiting for bread or quackers.


 https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrtea/2069585176 

There's loads here, Mungo. I'm counting two, four, six, eight . . . 


Mungo: We're not ready! It has to be one specific hour. I'll say when.

We ought to make a start; you know what the early bird gets.





Some of our neighbours are already out for the survey.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/micadew/10258140133 

Miggy: The Paragons next door seem to be taking it rather seriously.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/navalsurfaceforces/1464969641

Mungo: The helmets are a good idea though. You can't be too careful with dive-bombing birds.

Look, there's a bird bench over there. Is it a sparrow?


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carved_heron 



Mungo: Not sure. I need to get my bird books ready and have my binoculars to hand so I can easily identify the bench birds. 


www.etsy.com/shop/dogwagart

These are red and yellow birds I'd say. 

Mungo: Looks like they've just flown in from Russia.


www.etsy.com/shop/russianstore

They've steppe-d in for the survey I guess.  

Miggy: Being an island, we also have lots of rare sea birds. Swans for instance.



https://www.flickr.com/photos/rangerholton/2081626161/ 


Mungo: Swans are not sea birds. And they're not rare. You can find swan benches anywhere. 


https://www.flickr.com/photos/23837798@N04/2803077881

And anyway we're doing garden bird benches.

Miggy: I don't know much about birds. I hope I can keep my bench head above water.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/7781445@N08/3634025268




Don't worry, Migs. Our garden here at La Casa Perfecta has lots of bird bench life.  


http://www.ciaovt.org/Kay-Webb/Webb.htm

Mungo: That's because I feed them every day.


Miggy: Even though they eat like  

Mungo: I make sure they get plenty of fat balls through the winter.




Miggy: I'm sure we'll find plenty of bird benches for the survey. We're not going to have an empty nest. 


http://www.floriswubben.nl/


You're right, Migs. All sorts of pretty bird benches land in our garden all the time.


 http://susanshelton.com

One or two have even come into the house.


http://southernhospitalityblog.com/


Mungo: Yes, but what sort of bird benches? I have to name them.

Miggy: Brown ones.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/71256895@N00/9618072841

Mungo: But is it a starling bench or a wren bench or what?

I don't know. I only go by colour. Green ones.

https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=22285503@N00&q=bench

Miggy: Black ones.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eulothg/8649763515  

Mungo: No, that won't do. I need to know the type of bird it is.

Miggy: Here's a cute little bird. It's just come bob bob bobbin' along and rocked up on the arm of the bench.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/maryshattock/15519216680

Oh look, Migs!  Here's a lovely little whatsit!


https://www.flickr.com/photos/acrylicartist/8603278068  

Mungo: I can't count these. They're birds but they aren't bird benches. 

They've landed on benches though. Doesn't that count?

Mungo: No. It's the British Bird Bench Count. They have to be bird benches, not just birds on benches. 

It seems a strange path to follow just to find some bird benches.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcs-album/4454874705

Miggy: Let's hope we find some.

So can we start now, Mungo? 

Mungo: OK. One hour from . . . NOW!


Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

Miggy is sitting on a bench, hoping to lure some bird benches into the garden with her paper pigeon. 



 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wojciech_Gerson



Mungo has his bird bench book in hand.


Can we count the bird that has landed on your shoulder?

Mungo: It's not a bird bench.

Miggy: Can we count shoes birds in cages? 




Mungo: Definitely not. 

No bird benches land in our garden for twenty minutes. This is really depressing since next door Virtue Paragon is busy recording a kingfisher bench they've spotted on the horizon.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/cne-cna-c6f/15590447415 

Mungo: We're never going to find a kingfisher bench, are we?

http://www.thecarvedtree.co.uk/functional-sculpture/

Miggy: No, but toucan play this game. 



Miggy: Here's a little bench that was in their garden earlier.

Come spring there'll be lots of bird benches, including chickens.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattbeighton/5644466386 


Miggy: Maybe we can just bring our counting forward a bit?

Or we can count the wooden birds we put in the birdhouse bench?


https://www.flickr.com/photos/el_ramon/7287481260


Then there is great excitement as we see one of Lord Brassica's peacocks from Drizzly Manor.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/k8s/3705180201

Miggy:It's a bird! It's a bench! The eagle bench has landed.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggis/4748427672 

Mungo: The peacock isn't a garden bird bench though. I can't count it. 

Miggy: What a shame. There's another one.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/lirena/4691129285 


That would have given us two. As it is, we have nothing. 

Miggy: I wish we could find a love bird bench. 


http://www.tammybickel.com/project/bird-bench/

That would kill two birds with one stone.

Mungo: We don't want to kill them; we only want to count them. 

Miggy is finding this counting task hard to swallow. 

Mungo: I suggest the three of us need to step up our bird bench watching. 

www.etsy.com/shop/jokamin

Miggy: I'm already watching like a hawk.

Mungo: Yes, but we could learn a lot from cats. Look how attentively the cats are doing the survey.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/finnfrode/15317740358


Miggy starts to hum a chirpy little song, hoping to attract a hummingbird bench.

 https://www.flickr.com/photos/cneuman/4568457274 

Mungo: What are you doing? You'll scare the birds away.

Miggy: Just trying to keep my pecker up. 



http://www.thecarvedtree.co.uk/functional-sculptures 


Nothing happens. 

It starts to snow and I go into the house for a little bit of bread and no cheese. Also some tawny owl port to warm us up. 




By the time I get back all the bird benches have melted away. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mary_hutchison/5277992748/

Miggy: I wonder if they do the bird bench survey in America?

Mungo: Well, not the British Bird Bench survey, obviously.

Miggy: They probably have some kind of watch of their own. 


Jeff Gates @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/outtacontext/8435473266

Golly, those are strange looking birds. I wish we could see some like that.

Mungo: Quit droning on about it. 

Miggy says she's bored and doesn't give a hoot any more.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bedfont_Lakes


Miggy: We're wasting our time. This is just cuckoo.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/permartinson/6244035242

I hope you're not going to swan off. We need to complete the survey.



https://www.flickr.com/photos/23837798@N04/2803081969


Mungo suggests we need to spread our wings.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow_Russia_Lovers


Miggy: OK, let's go looking for bird benches around the garden. After all, the garden at La Casa Perfecta is pretty big. 

Mungo: We'll follow the cardinal points of the compass.




I choose south, where the garden of La Casa Perfecta opens out onto the marsh. I'm sure to find some sea bird benches there.


http://www.ciaovt.org/Kay-Webb/Webb.htm

Miggy: Maybe also some storks. 


https://www.flickr.com/photos/julia_at_flickr/2480478004

Storks are plentiful round here. In fact, one of our neighbours had her baby delivered by one on the morning of her wedding.





Miggy: Eeeeee! That made the feathers fly!


Here's Tamsin with her baby, Isambard, shortly after the event.







Miggy remembers that her Mum was in the Wrens during the war.  

Miggy: I don't know what a wren looks like though. Like this?


https://www.flickr.com/photos/c_x/2761584417

Or maybe something like this?


www.michaelalfano.com


Miggy: That's a peace bird I think. 

It's so easy when they identify birds on TV.


www.etsy.com/shop/viviennestrauss

Miggy: They just go: Oh, these birds are blue. Blue birds.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/c_x/2762432274/ 


Mungo: Or you watch what they're doing. 

These are love birds I think.



https://www.flickr.com/photos/firreflly/6072532662

Miggy: Are you sure? One looks like it might be pecking the other one to death.

Then Mungo announces there is only four minutes to go out of the survey hour. This sets the cat among the pigeons small bird benches. 

Mungo: Come on, we've got to find at least one bird bench. 

Miggy: You're right, Mungo. We can't duck out of it.


©Ross @ geograph.org.uk 


A tiny bird flies into view and lands on the bench, proud as a peacock.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/teejaybee/2684307465 

Miggy: I'd like to take him under my wing, Miggy says.

And then, light as a feather, two birds descend with a bench.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/frikjan/7162706433

Miggy: Birds of Paradise Island! 

Just in the nick of time, our bird bench survey ends and we're over the rainbow with our total count of one bird bench.




However, given that we've spent a whole hour for just one bird bench, Miggy concludes that the British Bird Bench Survey is for the birds. 

So I've got a better idea. How about instead of counting bird benches, we count all the bird puns in this story? After all, a bird in the hand . . . 


Credits


Chris McNicholl from Co. Down in Northern is a young designer with a passion for being creative, and is driven by an excitement and enthusiasm for producing objects that give pleasure and benefit to others. TweetingSeat is an interactive park bench which is designed to explore the potential for connecting digital and physical communities. The bench logs its usage by uploading images of its users and environment to a live Twitter feed, allowing people to interact with it both in person and virtually. The aim of TweetingSeat is for people and communities to form their own relationship with the object through the way in which they choose to use it. Each time someone sits down, TweetingSeat uploads an image from two cameras to the Twitterfeed. One camera is located on the bench looking at the surrounding space, and another is located nearby looking at the people who use it.  http://www.chrismcnicholl.com/   

The wooden owl bench was photographed in 2012 at the Winkworth Arboretum, UK. The photographer is Peter Dean, who is a university academic manager living in Buckinghamshire. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rowanbank/8020394525


Artist Kay Webb is a native Vermonter who has always been inspired by the natural beauty of Vermont, Lake Champlain & the beautiful local islands. She is a member of Champlain Islands Art Organization and exhibits her work regularly. Not surprisingly, birds are an important part of the natural landscape here and three of Kay's lovely watercolours feature in the bird story: the green garden bird bench, painted in 2013, Geese by the Lake, 2012, and the most recent osprey bench. http://www.ciaovt.org/Kay-Webb/Webb.htm

The flock of wooden ducks on a bench was photographed in Canterbury in 2007 by Stephen Train, who is a student in Canterbury.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrtea/2069585176  

The worm and woodlice bench was photographed in Phoenix Garden, London in 2014. The photographer is Kacper Gunia, a software developer from Poland who now lives in London. https://www.flickr.com/photos/cakper/14331470694

The black and white photo of people watching something was taken in Sacramento, California  so they're not actually our neighbours, nor do we know what they are watching. It's unlikely to be bird benches, is it? The photo is by Micadew, who describes himself as hyper, obsessed with flickr and his camera, and in love with street photography. https://www.flickr.com/photos/micadew/10258140133  

The sailors with helmets on are the US Naval Surface Forces, who, on August 2, 2014 when this was taken, were assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22). Small Craft Action Team (SCAT) stand watch on the bridge wing during a training event. San Diego is on its maiden deployment as a part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group to promote peace and freedom of the seas by providing deterrence, humanitarian aid and disaster response while supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy in the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stacy M. Atkins Ricks/Released)  https://www.flickr.com/photos/navalsurfaceforces/1464969641

The kingfisher bench, the woodpecker bench and the heron and fish bench are all by Paul Sivell at The Carved Tree. http://www.thecarvedtree.co.uk/  Paul Sivell is an Environmental Artist specialising in tree carving, stump carving, wood sculpture and bespoke wood carving. He uses chainsaws and chisels to recycle dead, dying, fallen and felled trees, turning them into stunning works of art. He follows an ancient tradition as a sculptor and creative artist, but whereas the monumental sculptors of the past would employ teams of assistants to speed up the carving process by rapidly removing the waste material, Paul works alone and his assistants are his chainsaws. His work features in many Benchsite stories. 

Paul Sivell's heron and fish bench at Crane Park, Whitton, UK  was photographed by JMaill from Denmark for Wikicommons at
 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carved_heron_fish_bench_crane_park.JPG  

The dog with a pair of binoculars is an original painting called Bird Counting in Central Park. So they do have bird surveys in America after all! This dog twitcher seems to have found some very interesting birds on a bench. He's from Mike Holzer at dogwagart. Mike lives in Encinitas, California and clearly has a thing for dogs. His etsy shop has hundreds of 'em.  www.etsy.com/shop/dogwagart

Tatiana Grinchuk from Tomsk in Russia offers unique handpainted souvenirs, toys, and decorations for the home. She made the bright red Russian bird bench which I love and have been waiting to use for a long time. www.etsy.com/shop/russianstore

Dutch swan benches are much photographed. This one was photographed by Chuck Holton in Amsterdam.  
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rangerholton/2081626161/ Chuck is a full-time writer, daddy, and husband who lives with his family on a farm in Appalachia. He sometimes engages in public speaking, television production, adventure expeditions, and farming. 

The swans and the bench underwater are on Lake Bled in Slovenia, where Miggy and Mungo and I spent some happy weeks last summer. They were beautifully photographed in 2009 by Olli Pitkanen from Helsinki.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/7781445@N08/3634025268


There are three pictures of my garden here at La Casa Perfecta: one summer, one winter, one with a rainbow. The garden at La Casa is rather splendid, but it depends on which way you are looking. For the good, the bad and the ugly perspectives on my house and garden, see Welcome to La Casa Perfecta. If you're interested in Paradise Island see http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/my-paradise-island.html. And if you're curious about my neighbours, The Paragons and others, here's everything you need to know about them http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/whos-who-in-fribble-under-par.html


Floris Wubben's exciting Eyrie bench (2014) was inspired by the nests of eagles. Floris is one of the Dutch designers appearing in my Alphabet of Dutch Benches back in 2013.  The work of his studio in Eindhoven is to transform and combine natural materials, enabling furniture and nature to co-operate in harmony. Examples are his Potato Family furniture, the Number 3 Bench, and now the gorgeous Eyrie which you can see at http://www.floriswubben.nl




Susan Shelton is a self-taught artist whose work reflects the many influences in her life, including her cultural heritage as a native of Mexico, her love for her adopted home of California, and her background in science and love of nature. Susan's work includes functional pottery, sculpture, tile, carved ceramic murals, works cast in bronze, and a variety of landscape and public art installations. The beautiful blue peacock bench is one of her furniture items, which also includes a peacock table and other kinds of benches.  http://susanshelton.com/artist/Furniture/Benches/tabid/144/Default.aspx


Rhoda from Atlanta, Georgia is a southern girl full of grit. She has a fabulous eye for home decorating and offers plenty of southern hospitality and good ideas on her blog at http://southernhospitalityblog.com/ She created the pretty bird fabric storage bench from some Wayfair fabric she was given back in 2013. The story of how she transformed her house and her life is truly inspirational. This is one of those yummy-to-look-at blogs and I love her chocolate-painted doors and her cranberry bark crunch.


Carol from Essex photographed the little sparrow on her garden table in 2013.  
https://www.flickr.com/photos/71256895@N00/9618072841 Carol says her  photos are tending to get a bit bloggy at times -  a day in the life of. She says her photos are often criticised, because she often doesn't use the flash, her hands shake, a professional camera is too heavy for her to hold, and even if she did use one, she'd forget how. But she loves to take photos, to capture the occasion, the people, the atmosphere. After an event you often wonder "Who was there?, where was it?, when was it?"  This is her contribution to the History of her time.



Terry Bain is a writer, humourist and book designer from Spokane, Washington. He photographed the bright green parrot. Terry likes to write about cats and dogs and people, as long as the writing about people is all lies. His books You Are A Dog and We Are The Cat come highly recommended. https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=22285503@N00&q=bench  If you're keen in dog benches, see some mighty hot ones at  http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/dog-bench-days-of-august.html

Glenn Euloth from Nova Scotia would like to make it clear that a starling is not just a rat or mouse with wings. He photographed the pretty starling in the sun on the back of a garden bench in 2013.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/eulothg/8649763515  Glenn is an information architect and is currently promoting publicphotography.org  to provide an environment for all photographers to photograph in public without being harassed by anyone. publicphotography.org/  

Lots of people like robins. UK robins are smaller than North American robins, which makes them well suited for Christmas cards. The robin shown was on the bench end of a garden seat in 2014, photographed by Mary Shattock, who has some gorgeous closeups of birds  https://www.flickr.com/photos/maryshattock/15519216680

Rodney Campbell is the acrylicartist, an artist and photographer from Oxford, Michigan. He photographed the male downey woodpecker closeup in  March 2013. His photostream contains many other beautiful photographers of birds and other wildlife 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/acrylicartist/8603278068  


In 2010 a group at Aberdeen University students took over some land near student halls and started a wild garden. The sign Bird Bench was needed to point the way. Marc Roberts, an Australian living in London, took the photo https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcs-album/4454874705

The man with an antique pocket watch was photographed sometime between 1934 and 1956 by photographer Leslie Jones (1886-1967). The photograph is part of the Leslie Jones Collection at the Boston Public Library Print Department. I saw it on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/7216113430 and it is shown Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

Dziewczyna z gołąbkiem (Girl with a Pigeon) is an 1886 oil painting by Polish artist Wojciech Gerson (1831-1901). Gerson was a leading Polish painter of mid-19th century, and one of the foremost representatives of the Polish school of Realism during the foreign Partitions of Poland. A long-time professor at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw, he also wrote art reviews and published a book of anatomy for artists. A large amount of his artwork was stolen by Nazi Germany in World War II and never recovered. Girl with a Pigeon is now at the National Museum in Poznan.
 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wojciech_Gerson-Dziewczyna_z_golabkiem.jpg

Art is a cast aluminium sculpture by Richard S. Beyer (1925-2012). http://www.richbeyersculpture.com  It's located at the Rotary Pavilion in Bend, Oregon. It is one of over 90 sculptures Beyer created for public spaces in cities and towns throughout the USA (and beyond) that reflect local values and lore. His work is particularly well known in the northwest, where it appears in many public spaces. His designs are active and direct, using animals and people with expressively carved gestures to tell stories about experience and interaction. Beyer used humour to affirm the human condition, often making fun of things that limit and debase, such as pretension and complacency.The sculptures are brilliant and so are the titles: Coyote Reading a Candy Wrapper; Man Eating Dogfood; The Wedding of the Girl Who Grew Up With Chickens. You could tell a story from every title.  This image is available through Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives, at  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bend_Statue_(Deschutes_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(desD0045).jpg  


It's not Virtue Paragon writing; you knew that, didn't you? The US Navy sailors are standing watch on the bridge during sea and anchor detail aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) in October 2014. At that time they were in Rota in Spain. Gunston Hall is part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, and with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse A. Hyatt/Released) https://www.flickr.com/photos/cne-cna-c6f/15590447415 

Mickey June from Raleigh, North Carolina is an artist with a fresh and bold style. At his etsy shop he does, among other things, pet portraits, antique carousel animals, and home items. His children's toucan stool is painted with bright, cheerful birds to inspire imagination. www.etsy.com/shop/mickeyjune


The chicks on a bench photo is called Kissing Time and you may have noticed that a pair of chicks are kissing. You didn't? Have another look - it's sweet. The 2011 photo is by Matt Beighton, aka snufflopollus, who is from Leicester in the UK. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattbeighton/5644466386 

The birdhouse bench is a 2012 photo by Timothy Valentine from East Bridgwater, Massachusetts. Timothy is retired and has visited 11 US States, He has an impressive collection of bench photos from his travels too.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/el_ramon/7287481260


If you can't find a bird bench, why not make one? The Dekalb High School Art League in Auburn, Indiana made a striking peacock bench in 2009. https://www.flickr.com/photos/k8s/3705180201 It was photographed by k8, who shoots cats, parties, holidays and lots and lots of food. 

The bald eagle bench was photographed by Travis in Seldovia, Alaska in 2010. The bench artist is Hopkinson.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggis/4748427672   Travis has moved from pillar to post and is currently studying for a PhD and in the process of attempting to integrate hobbies into a practical future job: scuba diving and photography with archaeology. Good luck with that, Travis. 

Liren Chen has photographed many benches in the area in and around Rochester, New York. The Peacock Throne dates from 2010. Its sponsor is the India Community Center of Rochester, Inc. and artists are
Chris Pallace and Kevin Serwacki  https://www.flickr.com/photos/lirena/4691129285  


I'm a great fan of orange benches. The pair of orange love birds are a metalwork by Tammy Bickel from San Francisco.http://www.tammybickel.com Tammy creates original metal sculptures and furniture which reflect on nature by creating three dimensional forms made of metal. While metal may at first seem a contradictory and discordant medium to mirror the beauties of the natural world, the industrial properties of this material show the powerful and enduring underlying properties of even the most delicate of nature’s creations. By emphasizing the underlying strength, nature’s fragile beauty and playfulness is magnified in Tammy’s work, as with the bright orange love bird bench.http://www.tammybickel.com/project/bird-bench/


I love the three hooded twitchers watching a bird above them. They're a mysterious and surreal trinity, rather like Miggy, Mungo and myself. Joanna Kamińska-Wujek in Cork makes colourful illustrations, paintings, giclee prints, greeting cards, sculptures, magnets and other one-of-a-kind creations. The three bird-like creatures with a bird overhead are a magnet, made of modelling clay and painted with acrylics and pencil. Her shop, Jokamin, is at  www.etsy.com/shop/jokamin

Finn Frode is from Hovedstaden, Denmark and he photographed his two cats, Snow White and Rags, watching birds together in October last year. Snow White is a mixed breed cat and Rags is a Somali.This photo captures the true nature of cats and their natural ability to watch and listen with so much attention. Finn has lots of great pictures of cats and other things and for good reason, this photo is very, very popular. https://www.flickr.com/photos/finnfrode/15317740358  For even more, you can see a lovely film of Rags birdwatching in the garden and we are assured that no birds were harmed in the making of this film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nntDnLoeG-E    

The hummingbird mosaic is part of a bench at Holyrood School in Edmonton, Alberta.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cneuman/4568457274/in/photolist-7XGxbJ-7XDgVZ  It was created by parents and students to serve as a memorial for a student who passed away the year before. www.makesomethingedmonton.ca/projects/456-intergenerational-placemaking-in-holyrood/    The photographer is Chris Neuman in 2010. Chris has an assortment of travel albums, a cat in a Halloween costume and an album entitled, with great honesty, Cat Oversharing. I've done some of that myself with Benchsite cat benches  


Mary Hutchinson is an illustrator, e-learning designer and developer from Scotland. She saw the slightly bedraggled little snow bird  in Gayfield Square Park in Edinburgh in 2010.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/mary_hutchison/5277992748/

America's New and Improved Neighborhood Watch is a remix photo by Jeff Gates, showing how drones are going domestic and being spotted over American skies. https://www.flickr.com/photos/outtacontext/8435473266 The photo is a new version of a WW2 propaganda poster showing airplanes (not drones) and the message Daddy helps build them to protect our freedom. It's one of many posters in Jeff's vast collection. Jeff is a photographer (used to teach college photography) now turned new media producer at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He blogs about various things at Outtacontext and did a photo documentary on the building of "the last freeway" in Los Angeles, the Century Freeway or I-105. As it happens I know that freeway; used to live in a house in Lynwood that was in its path. URL: inourpath.com



The second owl bench was photographed at Bedfont Lakes, UK by Maxwell Hamilton. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bedfont_Lakes_Owl_Bench.jpg

If you're a regular on Benchsite you'll know that I like to get some Lego in. I didn't expect to find a Lego cuckoo clock though. Per Martinson made it and it actually works! https://www.flickr.com/photos/permartinson/6244035242  It uses a quartz movement that he modified to work with the lego bricks. The clock was designed in Bricksmith and Per bought most of the parts thru Bricklink.



Orendhard1 has one of those photostreams packed with amazing things. He photographs streetart, for one thing, and he has a whole album of benches, including lots of swans like the one painted in ivy and the bright coloured one advertising the Volksbank. Swans? What Swans? is the title of the, um, swans. But he also does old cars, cyborgs, graffiti, and loads of ice cream and french fries that you see all over in the Netherlands.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/23837798@N04/2803081969


The open wings is a Lovers Bench in Moscow, photographed by Victor Grigas in 2012.  Victor is a storyteller for the Wikimedia Foundation and has been a contributor to Wikipedia since 2005. He has a background in film, audio and video and is interested in all things open source and public domain. Therefore, the image is at 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow_Russia_Lovers_Bench.jpg?uselang=en-gb

Caveman Chuck Coker lives in Desert Hot Springs, California. He likes history, esp. US National Archives and Records. He has ridden from Mexico to Alaska, coast-to-coast, and across the Arctic Circle on his motorcycle and he  photographed the bright red cardinal bench in 2010 when he saw it outside an art needlework shop in Nauvoo, Illinois. Whether by coincidence or not, the cardinal is the state bird of Illinois (and six other states I'm told). https://www.flickr.com/photos/caveman_92223/4644194995



Storks are well known as deliverers of babies all over the world. My great-grandma used to say that (name) was expecting a visit from the stork. As a five year old, I found this very confusing as I had never seen one. For years I expected a visit. Julia, from New York, photographed the red stork bench whilst travelling in Switzerland in 2008.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/julia_at_flickr/2480478004


Here in Fribble-under-Par, lovely local girl Tamsin has a rather strange perspective on benches and life. On the morning of her wedding back in July 2013 (long story about love), she found herself with a baby, who was eventually named Isambard (long story about bridge benches). Isambard's father's identity is still unknown, though it was been narrowed down to two possibilities - three if you include the stork. 



TheCX describes himself as just a guy in Monterrey doin' the living thing. That's Monterrey in México, which looks fabulous for doin' the living thing. The CX has good quality photos of many of the 71 benches from  the Exposición
de Bancas in Mexico City. In this story these include the large bird bench, and the bluebird bench, La Banca de los Pájaros. https://www.flickr.com/photos/c_x/2761584417/in/set-72157606786253411  
https://www.flickr.com/photos/c_x/2762432274/in/set-72157606786253411 In The Fiesta of Mexican Benches story last year his photostream  includes some of the other creative  benches along the Avenida de Reforma in Mexico City http://www.flickr.com/photos/c_x/sets/72157606786253411/#   


In 2013 we imagined there was peace here at Benchsite and we looked at some lovely peace benches. Michael Alfano's Peace Offering sculpture is the graceful wings of a peace bird; it's 67"x33"x19" and is in bronze or resin. The first bronze casting is on the Harbor Trail in Newburyport, MA and there are resin benches permanently installed throughout the United States in public locations as well as in private collections, and there are some on temporary exhibit. The sculptor would love to see it at the United Nations, among other places. His website and a gallery of his work is at www.michaelalfano.com

If you watch Springwatch you'll know how easy it is to identify birds on TV. Not so easy in real life. The TV bird watching collage is by Vivienne Strauss at www.etsy.com/shop/viviennestrauss  Vivienne does watercolour and oil paintings and reallllllly original collages, including a lot of bird ones. Titmouse tea, anyone? A small box of owls? This is the kind of etsy shop which inspires my Benchsite stories.

  
The two cockatoos grooming each other on a bench were at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney in 2011, photographed by Anna Ayvazyan, who originated from Armenia but now lives in Sydney. Anna is a fan of epik high and has travel albums from Russian, Hawaii, New Zealand, Paris, and elsewhere.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/firreflly/6072532662


Last Easter I was looking for chicken and duck benches and the yellow duck bench is one of the only genuine duck benches I have found. By that I mean it is actually a duck bench, rather than a bench having ducks on, under, or around it. It's a park bench at Ward Park, Bangor, in County Down, Northern Ireland, photographed by Ross for Geograph. Call me easily pleased but I have just realised the wonderful coincidence of duck and County Down.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bench,_Ward_Park_-_geograph.org.uk_-_732306.jpg  

 
Troy Bell, aka Teejaybee, is a natural history photographer, part adventurer, part artist, and part scientist - I'm now sure how much of each. The tiny wren on a bench was photographed by Troy  at Taronga Western Plains zoo in Austrailia in 2008. https://www.flickr.com/photos/teejaybee/2684307465 


The big bright colourful cartoon bench ends were photographed by Frikjan Kamppi from Helsinki. He reckons they're angry but I'm not sure. The photo is number 157 of a 366 day photographic project which Frikjan undertook back in 2012. https://www.flickr.com/photos/frikjan/7162706433

Interested in what birds eat? Not just worms. There are intriguing insect benches at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/national-insect-week-buzz-about-benches.html


Coming next:  Ohhhhh, come February it's going to get very cold. Frozen, in fact. And snowy. Very, very snowy.






On Benchsite next time watch out for some fabulous Frozen Benches from Slovenia Snowvenia, brought to you by Stanko and Darko. 



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