In July local bird watcher Des Loughney recorded 22 different species of birds as part of his regular bird monitoring in the area. He noted the following birds during his visits to the park:
Blackbird, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Feral Pigeon, Great Tit, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Longtailed Tit, Magpie, Robin, Song Thrush, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Wood Pigeon. And on Union Canal: Mallard and Moorhen.
He shared his findings with the Hailes Quarry Park Steering Group at their last meeting and commented that chiffchaff levels were back to normal after some leaner years. He reported that this is part of a wider trend for this species and that it may be to do with better migratory conditions, or improved wintering conditions. Hailes Quarry Park with its mixture of taller trees and ground cover is an ideal habitat for this bird.
The Steering Group also looked at other developments in the park. Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust organised several summer activities with local groups and schools including shelter building and a teddy bears picnic. They have also been working with Active Schools, Napier University and Jog Scotland to encourage more children and young people’s groups to use the park for running and keeping fit. Wester Hailes Library also encouraged families to use Hailes Quarry Park as part of their Edinburgh Explorers Spring programme, providing children with a trail guide of the park.
The Wetland area has now had a year of growth since it was planted and the group agreed that it was now looking more mature, with a diverse range of plants. Some local residents are not keen on the longer grass which is cut less to enable other species to grow through it. But this has enabled lots of orchids to grow which have been a beautiful addition to the park.
The Steering Group are now looking at the possibility of organising a mini Highland Games next year. This event used to run in the park and was very popular although a bit weather dependent! The Steering Group meets quarterly and is made up of local residents and organisations with an interest in the park. If you would like to come along to a Hailes Quarry Park Steering Group, or you have any suggestions about the park, please contact Abby Boutlbee at Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace trust on 0131 445 4025.